For beauty addicts, few occasions deliver as heady an adrenaline rush as the prospect of a forthcoming sale. Each November, the Sephora VIB (Rouge - did you really need to ask?) sale beckons its siren song to those of us waiting to stock up on seasonal necessities (a foundation shade a notch or two paler, perhaps some heavy duty skincare products for those of us forced to endure winters in the northern hemisphere). It's also an opportunity to splurge on pricey items we've been eying, and try new things. I am terribly disloyal and generally don't stick to one website or store (shopping around is half the fun), but come October you can be sure I'm revising my Sephora cart and loves list endlessly. So if you're all set with your regular products and want to have some fun, here's an overview of some new and new-ish products from my favorite brands.
- Victoria Beckham x Estee Lauder. Unfortunately it doesn't appear that the entire collection is available from Sephora but a good chunk of it is. Now would be a good time to snap up some of the higher priced items from this already highly priced LE collection. The bronzer in Java Sun is a favorite of mine, beautifully matte but never splotchy, easy to build up and blend out, and encased in a compact heavy enough to do some damage wielded correctly. The Morning Aura cream, a favorite of Emily's, can be applied under makeup, mixed with foundation, or on it's own for a luminous dewy glow. Highlighter addicts should not miss Modern Mercury, the most beautiful rose-gold highlighter in existence.
- Giorgio Armani. The new launch that I've been most eager to try is Giorgio Armani's Ecstasy Shine lipsticks. Just because it's fall doesn't mean we need to be all matte lips all the time, ya know? The Ecstasy Shines lean towards being a tinted balm rather than full-on lipstick, but the pigmentation looks impressive. No one does reds like Armani and the color range, while not extensive, looks packed with gorgeous, classic colors. Word on the street is they have a similar consistency and finish to the YSL Rouge Volupte Shines, my favorite balmy/glossy lipstick formula of all time, so obviously I have to check them out. I'm passing on their new compact, the Holiday Face & Eye Makeup Compact. I don't enjoy having generic cream concealer shades in the same compact as my eyeshadow.
- Clarins. Staying with the hydrated lips trend, for dry lips sufferers who haven't tried the Clarins Lip Comfort Oils and are curious, Clarins released 4 new colors over the summer. I really enjoy the formula of these. They are thick and cushiony, almost like a gel. A few leave a light tint, but are quite sheer. In comparison to other popular lip oil products, I'd rank Lancome Juicy Shakers the thinnest oil but the most pigmented, YSL Tint-in-Oils in the middle with a slightly thicker consistency and a lovely tint (although all the pinks look the same one they're applied), and then Clarins with the thickest formula and sheerest tint.
Clarins also reformulated their Double Serum (for the 8th time I believe). Those looking to punch up their winter skincare regimine might enjoy this, as long as you aren't sensitive the the many botanical extracts Clarins uses in their skincare products. The new Double Serum has the same hydric phase and lipidic phase, and the same ingredients with a few new extracts, included teasel and tumeric, a powerful antioxident. The dispenser has also been redesigned and is now adjustible, which I appreciate because you can customize your oil-water ratio. I'm hesistant to flat-out recommend skincare products because they're even more YMMV than foundation, but this is a somewhat iconic product that has been around for decades so it's worth mentioning.
- Tom Ford. Tom Ford's main new products include the Lips and Girls line, a few new Boys, and his lipstick shade extenstion. He also put out a LE highlighter and lip color, although it appears only the lip color is available at Sephora. The lip color is one of his metallic shades, sort of a rosy nude, and the real draw for me is the packaging. Called the Orchid Soleil Lip Color, it's packaged in the same rose gold fluted metal as the Orchid Soleil fragrance. It looks gorgeous but only if you're into metallic lipsticks. Now that Sephora carries the majority of the Tom Ford Beauty line, I highly recommend the Cream Color for Eyes both in the singles and the duos, and the Shade and Illuminate Cheek duos- Sublimate and Scintillate are both stunning and I could rave about Sublimate all day. These are cream products, a highlighter and blush, and Sublimate has a subtle pearly pink highlighter and plum blush that are amazing for fall. Scintillate is similar but more of an apricot tone- both are lovely.
Sadly his eyeshadow singles, which will be exclusive to Sephora in the US (sold at regular counters elsewhere), don't drop until Black Friday. Hopefully this will give us enough time to recover from the sale, but would have been nice to grab a few of these at 20% off!
Dior. Dior has quite a few new lipstick lines out and I'm having a hard time keeping them straight- I've long thought they need to slow their roll and focus on extending their existing lines that have fabulous products- like the Addict lipsticks and all their variations (Lip Glows, Addict Lacquer Sticks, Addict lipsticks, etc) and the NudeSkin line.
For holiday they do have a new, innovative lipstick, the Diorific Rouge Kohls. These are powder lipsticks; Dior describes them as a kohl powder with a long-wearing matte finish. I find the regular Rouge Dior mattes to be somewhat dry and the darker shades patchy, but these seem significantly smoother. And of course, the packaging is gold and over the top and I suspect it will get an either love-it-or-hate-it reaction. I'm kind of into it, to be honest.
- Pat McGrath. I've been all about Pat McGrath lately, since the launch of her Mattetrance lipsticks over the summer, and the fall release of her extensive Luxetrance lipstick line. Half my cart is Pat Mcgrath. I had decided not to buy any more eye palettes because lately I've been prefering singles, quads, or customizing my own, but of course I have to get one of these beauties. As soon as Emily opened her Subliminal palette for me on Skype any self control I had went out the window. I think any of the three would be a worthwhile purchase. The palettes include Subversive, Subliminal, and Sublime. Sublime appears the most neutral, with a few warmer browns and copper, and an intense emerald green. Subliminal is cooler, and features an incredible saturated blue. Subversive calls to me the most, with its smoldering violet. Meanwhile her lipsticks have frankly ruined my life. It is definitely worth adding one or two to your cart, because you won't be disappointed. I'm now comparing every lipstick formula to hers. The formula is rich and consistent between the lighter neutrals, vivid brights, and venomous darks. The lip liners are also A+.
YSL's new foundation, All Hours, has been getting mixed reviews- I've seen both raves and rants. I tested out a sample and it seems lightweight, semi-matte, and long lasting, although definitely not 24 hours as they claim (why do companies do that??). My skin is dry-normal and the Touche Eclat foundation lasts all day on me as well, so I can't speak to oilier skin types.
I really wish the Touche Eclat Cushion was available at Sephora, as well as the Dior Diorskin Cushion. However lots of foundation favorites are available during the sale- I love Armani base products especially Luminous Silk, Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation and Concealer, and Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation. The Koh Gen Do may be my favorite, I've never used a foundation that just looks so much like skin. The sale is a great time to buy as the price is on par with Luminous Silk- not cheap. A con would be the extremely laughable shade range. KGD is a Japanese brand that really wasn't well known in the U.S. until the past few years. I remember first purchasing their liquid illuminator from Sephora online; I went into the store to ask about it ahead of time since it was difficult to find it in person or find reviews online and the SA looked at me like I was nuts. They had never heard of the brand despite selling it online. Anyway, this meaningless tangent means to illustrate that IMO the foundation shade range was clearly solely designed with Japanese skintones in mind- I wear 213 which is either the deepest or 2nd deepest shade and I'm basically an Average White Chick. However, my fellow olive people who are in the NC 20-25 range may be in luck as 213 is a nicely muted olive color that is the closest match I have ever found to my winter skintone.
Other favorites to consider
- Fude lovers, not a ton of options for us BUT the ones that are available are winners. Tom Ford and Surratt both have their brush lines available on Sephora's website. Check out Tom Ford for goat and Surratt for squirrel. These brushes are rarely discounted elsewhere, the only other place I've found is Surratt at Cult Beauty on occasion, and with the exchange rate (£ to $) it wasn't that much cheaper. I've heard great reviews of the Marc Jacobs bronzer brush and La Mer powder brush and they do look pretty plush, but I'm a snob and refuse to pay fude prices for synthetic machine manufactured brushes.
- Kevyn Aucoin Book of Contour vol II. I've been raving about this palette for over a year and recently bought another one for my sister who had used the Candlelight powder from my palette and fallen in love. The deal on this is insane- the palette includes the Sculpting Powder in Medium, Sculpting Cream, Candlelight Cream, Candlelight Powder, and 4 eyeshadows for $65. The face products are full size- for example, the Sculpting Powder included is .14 oz, the same amount as the individual pans which sell for $44. Both the Candlelight and Sculpting powders are holy grail products for me, so it's a no-brainer
- Surratt blushes and eyeshadows. Incomparably silky, finely milled powder products.
- NARS lip products- specifically Velvet Matte Lip Pencils, Powermatte Lip Pigments, and Velvet Lip Glides.
- Armani Eye Tints
Phew that's a lot! Remember the sale for VIB Rouge members is 20% off and started Nov. 3rd, ending Nov. 6th, VIB also gets 20%, Beauty Insiders 15%, and their dates are Nov 10th-15th. This year, VIB Rouges will also be able to shop the sale Nov. 10-15th. Good luck and happy hunting!