The world’s favorite annual beauty sale

That would be the Sephora Friends & Family sale! For one week in November, everything is 20% off – I literally spend all year curating, adding/removing items from my online basket and then nitpicking which items I need to stock up on and which new goods I want to try. Sephora is a place that’s akin to my beauty heaven on earth but I avoid it like the plague during busy times like this and resort to the serenity of online shopping. I placed & received my order in under a week (they’re AWESOME at shipping items to you in 3 days or less, Amazon take note) and have had the time to try some items – below are some of my favorites, ones I don’t care about and one product I strongly dislike.


Make Up For Ever Super Matte Loose Powder in Translucent Natural 12 ($29)

  • Controls shine on your face, gives a naturally matte look
  • I prefer loose over pressed powder as the latter has extraneous ingredients to get the powder into its compressed format
  • Love this powder so far! It has made my AmorePacific Cushion Compact (review below) far more wearable as it has essentially “mattified” that product when I set it with this powder.

Urban Decay De-Slick Oil-Control Makeup Setting Spray ($31)

  • Most eager to see how this will help makeup hold up in summer/humidity
  • Really want this to hold up for post-work events as it’s easy to touch up your eye makeup but who can be bothered carrying around face powders and large brushes in your purse all day?
  • Too soon to give a verdict but I do think my makeup is staying put better on days when I use this

Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper ($20)

  • My favorite liquid eyeliner – the pen form makes it easy to wing out your eyeliner
  • A note on Kat Von D’s two liners (Ink vs Tattoo) – the Tattoo liner’s pen is a lot softer/has way more “bend” so it doesn’t really help me as much when I’m trying to get a super precise and sharp flick when winging out my eyeliner for a cat eye look

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour in Moonlight ($29)

  • Love creamy eyeshadows in the winter – these are as creamy as they get!
  • I swatched all the caviar sticks in this line like a crazy lady and this was by far my favorite shade amongst them all – it’s a shimmery champagne beige color, would work well for any eye color
  • Love smearing this all over my eyelids and on my lower lashline – has a beautiful brightening effect on the eyes

AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ in 204 Light/Medium Yellow ($60)

  • AmorePacific has a great rep as a skincare company that produces products that help the skin
  • Also drawn towards makeup by Asian brands (Shiseido, AmorePacific) as I think they would produce shades more suitable for my Asian skin tone
  • Supposed to be good for all skin types; works for my oily skin but primarily because I don’t live in a humid city and due the current time of year (winter)
  • Comes with an extra CC compact, making steep price point a little more bearable
  • Primarily got this as I was able to get my color matched (ColorIQ) at Sephora; if you have the ability to get color matched at any boutique, would recommend that!
  • Cons: can’t imagine using this without setting with a powder, it would rub off on anything/everything.

Sephora Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner in 23 Shimmer Bronze ($12)

  • Love this shimmery copper bronze shade, really suits brown eyes and medium skintones
  • It’s a rather thin eyeliner (i.e. you can create a super thin line) so it would take a lot of product if you wanted this to act as an eyeshadow on your eyelids
  • Not as creamy as I would like, but great if you intend to just use it to line your eyes, not blend it out

Too Faced Boudoir Eyes Soft & Sexy Eye Shadow Collection ($36)

  • What drew me to this eyeshadow set was because I LOVED how it looked when a Sephora make up artist used this on one of my best friends with dark brown eyes
  • It’s also one of Sephora’s best-selling eyeshadow palettes!
  • 3 different combos from a light day look to a sultry night look
  • The delicate shades of purple really suit dark brown eyes like mine

Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 01 Always Red ($14)

  • Liquid lip stain, dries to a satin/matte red
  • Far more easier to apply than a red lipstick, IMO
  • It’s immune to the effects of eating & drinking: had a hearty meal of fried chicken & fries, def needed re-application afterwards

Benefit Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel in 05 Deep ($24)

  • I’m all about finding brow products that really define this precious features
  • While my Shiseido eyebrow pencil does a great job filling in gaps & adding volume to brows, I’ve been looking for a gel to keep them looking even better groomed
  • I’ve been using this every day or a week or two now – so far so good. Wouldn’t say it’s a “must have” but I like the idea of a gel helping my brows to stay in place



Marc Jacobs Beauty #Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powder in Mirage Filter 40 ($49)

  • Love that this is a highlighter & contour powder in one palette
  • Large palette comes with a large mirror that easily allows you to see you entire face
  • As I have oily skin, don’t need additional shimmer in my highlighter or contour powder and appreciate this doesn’t have that
  • Overall effect is quite subtle; due to the hype and raves on Charlotte Tilbury’s Filmstar Bronze & Glow Face Sculpt & Highlight ($68) I’m tempted to stray from this palette and try the CT set and see how it compares

Dior Crayon Eyeliner Waterproof in Trinidad Black ($30)

  • I decided to stray from my previous all-time favorite waterproof eyeliner (the Armani Waterproof Smooth Silk Eye Pencil in Black) as I wanted to try something that was even darker and more smoother to apply
  • It seems to transfer onto my lower lashline which isn’t preferable; will continue to test this out to see if it is actually waterproof or if it does indeed budge (gasp)

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+ in Medium ($38)

  • Just recently moved this from my “hate” to “on the fence” – turns out less is more when it comes to this product. Instead of using a full pump, I use the tiniest of pumps to only apply the minimal amount I need.
  • Initially had high hopes but it fell short when I found that 1 pump of this product this accentuated the slightest dry spots on my nose
  • I have oily skin overall so I wasn’t expecting this to highlight those like a sore thumb
  • Oddly enough I feel that this product delivers a slightly white cast on my face – my AmorePacific cushion compact has the same SPF 50 but I don’t detect an unattractive white cast like I do with this product
  • Still planning to test it out a few more days before I decide to return it.



Overall I’m happy that I was pretty choosy with what items I purchased and that, unlike last year, I didn’t end up hating 60% of what I bought! Getting wiser with understanding what I like, what I need and what works for me 😉 Not surprisingly I’m already thinking of items I need to get for the next Friends & Family sale–I think I’ve gained a good bit of inspiration from this very insightful ITG Top 25 list…


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