My take on Sephora Brand makeup

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My take on Sephora Brand makeup

Sephora is a place where it’s very easy for the makeup-obsessed to spend a lot of money. Sephora tends to focus on midrange and higher-end brands like Dior, Smashbox, Anastasia, Bare Escentals, Urban Decay, Make Up For Ever, Tokidoki, and OPI. Generally (but not exclusively) if you can regularly find a makeup or beauty line in a US drug- or discount-store, you won’t find them at Sephora. They do feature some less-costly makeup (Pop Beauty, Sugar), but the “inexpensive” niche seems to be reserved largely for Sephora’s own bath and beauty products.

I’ve tried many Sephora makeup items, and found them to be hit-or-miss - mostly average, a few hits, no outright bombs. None of the products I’ve tried are truly hideous (like Ulta’s loose mineral eyeshadows, which are dreadfully underpigmented and have no staying power), and there are even some favorites.

Sephora Lip Attitude Lipsticks
I’ve gotten a few colors from this collection, and have found them to work decently, but not necessarily as well as some of the higher-priced drugstore lipsticks. They aren’t super-moisturizing, but they’re not drying; they won’t always last all day, but they don’t fade after two hours; and their pigmentation levels are about average. Occasionally shades will go on “clearance” price (usually $6) because they’re being discontinued…that’s a good time to buy.

Sephora Nano Lip Liners
I love these. They’re $5 each, they’re small, they come in a pretty wide range of colors, they apply easily and don’t tug much, they don’t skip. Plus…$5 for a lip liner? That works quite well for me.

Sephora Shadow Palettes (blockbuster palettes)
This was the first thing that caught my eye at Sephora: one of their Blockbuster palettes. The same time I bought this, I also bought my first BE shadow, and very quickly fell in love with loose-powder shadows and turned my back on pressed shadows and blushes for ever. But…I keep looking. They’re so gorgeous, they’re compact, and if you don’t object to pressed shadows they can be a good value and a good way to travel. At under $50 for over 100 color-items, they’re like boxes of crayons for grown-ups.

Sephora Flashy Waterproof Eyeliner Pencils
I love these. Love, love, love, LOVE. My favorite colors are Flashy Pink, which I use to line my waterline (it brightens my eyes, and unlike using darker liners on my waterline, gives the appearance that my eyes are larger); and Flashy Mauve, which I use under some of my liner shadows for a great, subtle “duochrome” effect. These are $8 each, you get the same quantity as Urban Decay’s pencils, and on me, they apply and wear as well as the Urban Decay liner pencils. What’s not to love??? (I just hope that they bring back their Flashy Pink at some point. I got a “backup” when the color went on clearance, and am hoarding it - sealed - for when I finally do run out of my primary Flashy Pink.)

Sephora Doe-Eyed Felt Eyeliner Pens
I only have one of these - khaki green - but I do like it. It’s easy to apply, it does stay all day (after it dries), and the shape and tip give me a goodly deal of application control. I also honestly think, though, that for the price they’re charging, the color should be more pigmented. This isn’t a “regret” purchase, but I won’t be buying any more, and I won’t be replacing this when it finally runs out. (I went to my local crafts store and bought a set of brush-tipped markers…and hey, guess what? They work just as well, cost me less per marker, and have colors that Sephora’s line does not have…like a good rich purple. I have no idea if regular markers are eye-safe or not - so that’s the downside. They don’t contain any overt warnings against using near the eyes or on the skin; but since they aren’t marketed as makeup, that isn’t necessarily a warning they would have included.)

Sephora Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner
These are kind of cool: a waterproof eyeliner with a smudge sponge, a built-in sharpener, and it’s retractable. They cost more than the Flashy Eyeliner Pencils, but you get some extra doodads. They’ve got a wide range of colors and finishes (matte, shimmer, glitter). I only have two of these, and while I do like some of the extra “features”...the application isn’t as smooth as the Flashy Pencils that I love so much. I found that I have to press just a little harder to get a good, solid line. There’s a slight bit of tugging at the skin when I apply these, that I don’t have with the Flashy Liners. And as for the smudge-sponge tip and built-in sharpener…neato, but even when travelling I can use other tools (the sharpener I use for all my eye pencils, and a cotton swab for smudging.)

Sephora Waterproof Smoky Creme Liner
I’ll be writing up a full review of these later today; but my initial impressions were: average solid performer, good for the price, very middle-of-the-road. They’ve added quite a few colors since I bought mine (just a month ago!!), and while the price is undeniably good, the application and consistency could be just a bit better.

I’ve tried a few other Sephora-branded products - their concealer pen (good), makeup brushes (varied), lip glosses (average-to-poor) - and I’ll talk a bit more about them tomorrow. Right now, a Firefly marathon is calling my name :D And according to a few blogs, next week is the Sephora Friends and Family event, where you can get 20% off of anything in the store or the website. In previous years, the code has been “FF” plus the year (FF2008, FF2009) so this year it will probably be FF2010. Sign up for Sephora’s customer mailing list to get the information!!

Have you tried any Sephora brand products? What have you tried, and what was your experience?

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