Merry Christmas to Me!

Every year, the holiday season provides the opportunity to get some good deals on some great makeup. On top of the sales, there are value sets that include deluxe samples and minis and even full sizes. Expensive products become more affordable. It’s a great opportunity to expand your collection. There’s a healthy chunk of my own collection that is made up of these sets.

This year, I decided to go with a palette set and some lip colors, and while a few of these are no longer available, I thought it’d be nice to talk about my thoughts on these. (I also got a free Urban Decay Naked 3 palette with my VIB coupon and a Swagbucks gift card, but you guys have probably seen enough of those reviews.)

Too Faced – The Chocolate Shop

Too Faced has really built their brand on two things: packaging and fragrance. They’re famous for their scented eyeshadow palettes, for example, that are made to resemble chocolate bars. Their holiday set this year delivers on both. I didn’t save the box, but when you open it, this is what you find:

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The packaging is folded and held together with a pretty pink “top.”

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It unfolds to reveal a pretty “Christmas in New York” scene that frames a deluxe sample each of Too Faced’s famous Shadow Insurance eyelid primer, Better Than Sex mascara, and Melted lip color.

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Below that is a palette that includes a blush, highlighter, Chocolate Soleil bronzer, and various eyeshadows. Too Faced also includes a fold out insert that suggests ways to wear all of it. As you can see, this is just about everything you need for a full face except for the foundation.

Too Faced’s Shadow Insurance primer is pretty average. It’s nothing special, but I can always use eye primer.Their Melted lipsticks have been hit or miss, with some being too drying while others sit comfortably. This is one of those colors that I’m not crazy about, but it’s a nice matte nude in any case, and it smells like chocolate. Their Better Than Sex mascara is where they shine for me. It definitely delivers on volume while managing to never clump or smear. I look like I’m wearing false lashes if I build it enough.

The palette, however, leaves a lot to be desired. Too Faced has been disappointing in the quality of their palettes lately, and their Christmas palettes don’t appear to even use that quality of formula. Too Faced’s Chocolate Soleil bronzer is among my favorites, but while this is the same color, it’s defintely not the same formula. I find myself being more careful with the one provided in the palette, as it can be patchy and streaky. The same goes for the blush here. Normally, I’m a fan of Too Faced’s blushes, but this one just doesn’t deliver.

The matte shadows are incredibly chalky and tend to sheer out way too much, which is why I didn’t bother with swatching. (There are plenty of other places where you can find those if you’re interested.) Would I buy this set again? No, and I’d have probably considered returning it if it wasn’t for this:

The shimmers and metalics are gorgeous, if you’re willing to use something stickier than your average eyelid primer– like say a glitter primer.I have absolutely been using them for foiling, particularly “Indulge” and “Sugared Raisin,” which makes me feel a little more like I got my money’s worth. (It’s definitely not worth the over $300 Too Faced claims it is.) While the $58 limited edition set here is sold out at Sephora, you can still find these two particular colors included in the White Chocolate Chip palette. That said, this one hasn’t been getting great reviews, either, and in fact seems to implement a formula that manages to be even worse than the one used for the holiday set, so I’ll just keep my glitter primer and stick with the holiday set for foiling.

At least the newly re-released (and permanent) Sweet Peach palette seems to have improved in quality since it’s original limited edition release. I’ll probably be getting that, and I’m glad I listened to my gut after reading the reviews and didn’t shell out over $100 on ebay back when folks were snatching up the LE palette and reselling them.

Bite Beauty Lipstick Minis

Bite Beauty made me a fangirl the first time I tried one of their Amuse Bouche lipsticks. Since then, I’ve collected a few full sizes, and I swear by their Agave Lip Mask, which is the only thing that seems to keep my lips from getting horribly chapped during the winter months. Not only are their lipsticks beautiful, somewhat long lasting, and keep my lips moisturized, but they’re also made from food grade ingredients! With a product you smear on your lips and are almost guaranteed to ingest some of, it’s something that I’m surprised more cosmetics companies haven’t considered.

And Bite Beauty made a wonderful effort to put out good quality, affordable options this season. Their regular size Amuse Bouche lipsticks are $26/each. That’s not horribly priced, but for around the same price over the holidays, you could buy a tin with four miniature lipsticks or lip crayons or two miniature lipstick duos, and Bite Beauty did not skimp on the quality of these. I got two of the duos and the tin with lipsticks. Since it’s still available, I might just go back and grab the crayon set, too.

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The minis are four gorgeous neutrals: Fig, Pepper, Honeycomb, and Nori. Fig is a rosy shade, while Pepper and Honeycomb are pink and brown nudes, respectively. Nori is a gorgeous dark and vampy shade. All are well-pigmented and true to the colors represented on the insert that comes with the packaging, as you can see from my blurry, blurry swatch photos. They’re that same moisturizing and long lasting formula that I love, and they hold up well in their tubes. The tube packaging is that same soft exterior that you get with the full size, and the tops snap securely into place, so no worries about these opening up in your purse and making a mess.

Unlike the Kimchi deluxe sample I got with Sephora Play back in the spring, which smelled heavily of peppermint, these have the same fruity scent as my full sizes.

These have really managed to impress me. I ate a chilli dog at work one day while wearing Nori, and when I went to reapply I noticed that it had managed to leave a stain behind that was so vivid that it looked as if my lipstick was still fresh!

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The duos are equally gorgeous. There are four possible combos, and I walked away with two. Again, I’m tempted to go back and grab the other two, because these are all still available at $14 per duo. The two colors in each duo can be worn by themselves or layered. You can even mix and match them.

I already have Pepper, of course, from the tin above, but I got the Pepper/Bronze duo because 1. I will likely use enough of the Pepper shade to justify having two minis, and 2. I really wanted that Bronze top coat. The other set I got was the Jam/Opal. Jam is probably one of the few purple-tinted colors that I’ve gotten to work on myself. (I do love my vampy shades.) The Opal top shade is a beautiful iridescent that simply just isn’t done justice from the pictures. You can see from the swatches what each shade looks like individually or layered.

On applying these, I do recommend applying the bottom coat first, blotting, and then applying the top coat by dabbing over it with a finger. Otherwise, you get the bottom coat color all over the top coat bullet, and that’s no fun for when you want to wear them separately.

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