Sephora VIB Sale - Review

A habit I picked up in my second year of pharmacy residency was relaxing by watching makeup videos. I'm not entirely sure how I started, but all of the sudden, I was watching almost daily. I found these videos to be the best way for me to wind down and even fall asleep. There's something mesmerizing about watching other people create literal art on their faces #blendingdreams.

This addiction, however, usually means I end up buying makeup I don't necessarily need or wear on a day-to-day basis. This holiday season has been particularly busy for makeup launches and specials. Here are a few things that I bought during the Sephora VIB sale due to the holiday hype, what worked and what didn’t. Please also note that while this seems like a lot (which it is), I was able to get most of this with gift cards and as noted by the title, on sale. I also am no stranger to returns seeing as I have extremely sensitive skin and am often allergic to products.

Keep in mind my skin type is medium-olive in color, extra dry and sensitive so what does and doesn't work for me may perform completely differently for you. 

1.      Tartlette Toasted Palette, $46 (USD)

I bought this palette because Samantha Ravndahl did a warm smoky eye with it. First of all, if you don’t know Sam and you enjoy makeup videos, you’re really missing out. She’s raw, real and hilarious. Even my husband laughs as he listens to her speak and told me that he enjoys when I watch her. She created a beautiful look and to be honest and it completely convinced me I needed this palette in my life. I'm not sure why since I definitely suck at smoky looks, but I think deep down I was sucked into the idea I would look like Sam (which is ridiculous as she is a white, Canadian girl), if I purchased this. Consumerism at its finest.

I loved this palette for a lot of reasons. Yes, loved. I sent it back. It was as stunning as I had imagined when it showed up. The warm and toasty colors, true to its name, were velvety and soft in texture and blended like a dream (save the color Candle which is more of a chunky, pressed glitter). That being said, I found the colors to be too orange for my liking. I’ve seen this work on someone with olive skin tones, but I was really overwhelmed, especially for an everyday look. I quickly drifted from using it back to my everyday palette that I custom built, so I wasn't using it enough to justify the cost.  


Of note, many have pointed out that this palette is very similar to the Urban Decay Naked Heat palette. If you’re interested in this, I recommend checking out Kathleen Lights review and comparison of these two. It is the review that tipped me toward the Tartlette palette although the UD one is very beautiful as well and if you love the Naked palettes and the warm-tone trend, I’m confident you love this.

2.      Smashbox #ShapeMatters Palette, $55 (USD)


I actually exchanged my Tartelette palette for this one and used a $20 discount. This product includes 9 eyeshadows, 4 face powders (1 contour, 1 bronzer, 1 matte highlighter/contour shade and 1 shimmery highlighter), an eyebrow wax and two eyebrow powders. This was recommended by Tati Westbrook on YouTube (I would embed a video, but she has a Trademark that makes me nervous). It also includes a nice sized mirror and a brush that actually isn’t the worst (albeit, not the best). I like this fine. It’s not amazing, but good for traveling since it contains multiple products. I sent this back recently as well (I know, I know), but the dark eyeshadow (plum and black) shades were difficult to blend for me and despite the other shadows being very pretty, I again wasn't using them more than my custom palette. The rest of the powders were nice, but I thought the face powder pans were a bit too small for any of my brushes to fit comfortably in and the eyebrow powders/wax weren't my favorite (I prefer pencils or fiber-gels).

3.      Tarte Blush Palette, $44 (USD) – Limited Edition Blush Bazaar (this is still available)

I love Tarte products. I find they do not irritate my skin and work very well (which is why I'm highly disappointed in the controversy currently surrounding them over the Shape Tape Foundation). This caught my eye as it was recommended in almost every holiday gift guide I watched. It also contains quite a bit of product for the price and the packaging (which I usually don't pay much mind to) is gorgeous. This palette contains 8 blushes and 2 highlighters. I generally do not spend a lot of money on blush as my go-to is a CoverGirl brand. But I do struggle with a blush's wear-time and commonly find they are undetectable by noon. These blushes hold a bit longer and have taken a spot in my makeup drawer.

For daily use, I use two mixed together (as you can probably tell). I dip my brush in both Fortunate (pink melon) and Angelic (peachy pink). I love both highlighters depending on if I’m looking for a cooler pinky highlight or a warmer golden highlight. These are not blinding highlights if you use a light hand, so I find they are subtle enough for daily use but can be built up if you prefer. They also layer on the blush fairly well if you want to add a sheen to the matte colors. Note: I’ve also noticed that these do not blend well on the wrong foundation (It did NOT go well on a BeautyCounter brand foundation for me). 


4.      Becca: Jet, Set, Glow! Prep & Prime Kit, $25 (USD)

 Backlight, First Light, Eye Brightener

Backlight, First Light, Eye Brightener

This is a travel set of the Backlight Filter Face Primer, First Light Filter Face Primer, and the Under Eye Brightening Corrector. Even though I don't use these products daily, I bought this kit partially because it is so hyped, but also because the description boasts a "refreshed look" which Lord knows, mommy here could really use. I love both of these primers. The Backlight primer is a beauty guru favorite and creates the most luminous, dewy finish. The First Light primer has a purple tint and is actually my favorite. For those who aren’t familiar with color correcting, purple is supposed to combat yellow tones (which I have - hold your jokes) that can make your skin appear dull. This primer looks odd at first, but smooths into your skin effortlessly. When foundation or BB cream is layered on, you look refreshed and alive. Warning, though, it has a slight scent (almost lemongrass) that can be off-putting at first. But the scent fades quickly for me and I do not notice it after it blends into the skin.

The Under Eye Brightener is okay. Again, this is meant to color correct as the salmon color works to combat blue tones under the eyes. I also get some darkness around my mouth that I occasionally use this for. It’s not bad, and I use it, but it’s not my favorite of this kit. It tends to crease a bit under my eye and look a little cakey. If you are interested in this product, there’s a Pixi version from Target that is similar, but not quite as creamy (warming the product between your fingers before applying or adding a beauty oil helps with this issue). It’s a reasonable alternative though, and much cheaper.

5.      Marc Jacobs Highliner Matte Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner in (Earth)quake 41 and Obey-Ge 66, $25 (USD)

 Obey-GE 66; (Earth)quake

Obey-GE 66; (Earth)quake

My, oh my. I love Marc Jacobs products. Yes, they are pricey. But for all the “high-end” make that I have ventured to try, I would highly recommend investing in these. I struggle with pencil or gel eyeliners for multiple reasons. They smudge, they transfer to either my undereye or onto my contacts, they bleed, but worst of all, they makes my eyes itch. This is the ONLY gel/pencil eyeliner I have tried that does not make my eyes itch. Period. It still smudges on me a tad, but once it dries down, I get great wear time and much less transfer than any other pencil I have ever used. I love brown eyeliners for a softer look (compared to black) and the shimmery eyeliner adds a pop to the water line to open the eyes. I also have the Fineliner and absolutely adore it for tight-lining.

6.      Huda Beauty Desert Dusk Eyeshadow Palette, $65 (USD)

I did not purchase this for myself. It was a birthday/Christmas gift for my cousin. This palette was made for her. It’s bold, shiny and colorful. Not only is her personality fitting of this, but her total look. She looks incredible with these bright purples, oranges, and duochrome shimmers/chunky glitters. I was excited to see it in person though, and was not disappointed. It is so beautiful. If you're into these looks, the reviews on this are stellar and there are several YouTubers who have created some gorgeous looks (e.g. Tati Westbrook and Samantha Ravndahl).

7.      Makeup Forever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Primer Mini-Hydrating Primer – Universal Formula for normal skin with occasional dryness (travel size), $17 (USD)


This was a return. I was pretty disappointed in this product. I bought the mini size to try it out (the normal size is a whopping $37 US). YouTube loves this product – to death. I also enjoy the Smoothing Primer from this exact line, so I was so hopeful for this primer. However, I think my skin was sensitive it. I also found that it made the other makeup on top of my foundation blend extremely patchy. Product, such as bronzer and blush, grabbed in odd ways and turned muddy looking or gathered so I looked clownish.

If you like hydrating primers, I highly recommend the Becca primer from above or the Too Faced Hangover Primer instead. I can’t say either do much for my makeup longevity, but they do keep my face feeling hydrated and allows makeup to smooth on. Both also give me a luminous, healthy look. Again, the Smoothing Primer is great for pore-filling and smoothing but probably not for those with dry skin unless you mix it. 

That is all for this makeup review! Please comment below and let me know if you like these types of posts and would like to see more.