I hope everyone had a very happy holiday! I must say that I am a bit bummed that this review is going up a bit later than I would have liked. I received the Sephora Favorites: Superstars set a little later in the season, and coupled with the time needed for me to test all the items out, the set flew off the shelves! It is currently no longer available on Sephora's website, though it still may be available in some stores. The upside is that all the items in the kit are all available for individual purchase, some even in the same mini sizes, if you missed out on the kit and there is something you want to try out.
The kit originally retailed for $75 and includes:
-The Original Beautyblender
-MAKE UP FOR EVER Step 1 Skin Equalizer Hydrating Primer
-Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water
-Tarte The Sculptor Countouring Face Slenderizer in Park Ave Princess
-Tarte The Slenderizer Bamboo Contouring Brush (mini size)
-NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in Himalia
-Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Lounge
-Touch In Sol Stretchex Stretch Lash Effect Mascara
-Benefit They're Real Mascara
-Clinique Chubby Stick Sclupting Highlight
-Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Highlight
-Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Liner in Intense Black
-Lancome Drama Liqui-Pencil Extreme Longwear Eyeliner in Noir Intense
The kit contains two primers: Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water and MAKE UP FOR EVER Step 1 Skin Equalizer Hydrating primer. Out of all the items in the kit, the MAKE UP FOR EVER primer probably contained the least amount of product, and I sure went through that tube quickly! I would have loved to experiment with it more, but of the few uses I did get out of it, I thought it definitely made the skin feel and look more hydrated and provided a nice base for makeup.
As for the Smashbox primer, I was probably the most curious about this, and it did not disappoint! It is a silicone-free liquid primer that I found not only works well under makeup, but also sprayed over it! As a base, it added some moisture to the skin and made it feel smoother and plumper. I also found this worked well as a makeup refresher throughout the day! I spritzed this on midday when things were starting to look a little dull and worn, and this definitely perked my skin up! It also does seem to extend the wear of makeup, so it can not only be used before makeup but also after it's been applied to help lock everything in place. All in all, this is a beauty multi-tasker that is sort of like a makeup primer, refresher, and setting spray in one!
Two mascaras were also included in the kit. The first, Touch In Sol Stretchex Stretch Lash Effect Mascara, is from a brand I had never tried before. I have fairly sparse eyelashes, and, for me, this mascara definitely provided a significant amount of length, but definitely not a ton of the volume that my lashes need. Mascara preferences can vary dramatically from person to person depending on their lashes, and this one is probably best-suited to those with shorter, thicker lashes that are mostly looking for a more dramatic lengthening effect.
As for Benefit They're Real Mascara, It is one I have tried in the past with mixed feelings. As it is definitely a hyped mascara, I was anxious to see what all the fuss was about. I had first tried this a little over a year ago, and my first impressions were fairly similar to the Touch In Sol mascara. I thought it provided good length, but not as much of the thickness or volume I wanted. However, after using it for a month or two, it started to grow on me more. Many mascaras become a bit drier with use, which can slightly alter their effect on the lashes, either a good or bad thing depending on the mascara or one's preferences! In the case of They're Real, it was a good thing for me! I started to find myself reaching for it more and more, and now usually have a tube of it on hand. While I don't think this mascara claims to be waterproof, it wears really well with minimal smudging or flaking, another asset or should we say "benefit" of this mascara : D)! Overall, I have come to really enjoy this mascara and was glad to have another mini tube of it.
The set also contains two highlighters, one powder and one cream. The powder highlighter, Laura Mercier Matte Radiance, is absolutely gorgeous and one of my favorite products in the kit! It gives such a gorgeous luminous glow, without tons of shimmer or glitter. The shade of it will also suit many skin tones. Highly recommend this one!
The cream highlight, Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight, I am not quite as excited about. It is not necessarily a bad product, but just doesn't wow as much as the Laura Mericer or some others I have tried. The shade is more pink-toned than the Laura Mercier Matte Radiance, and will probably be best suited to light to medium skin tones. Overall, it is pretty, but just not a standout product for me.
Now for the eyeshaows!
The first one included in the kit is the NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in Himalia, and it is absloutely stunning! A perfect shade to wear alone or incorporated into a look to give the lids a beautiful gleam. I have tried NARS eyeshadows in the past with mixed results, but this was my first experience with the Dual Intensity formulation! I might be going out and buying more!
The other shadow, Urban Decay Decay Eyeshadow in Lounge, is a shimmery duochrome-type shade which shifts into tones of red, green, and brown, depending on how the light hits. While it is a beautiful shade, it is not my most favorite of all the many Urban Decay shades I have tried. For some reason, I didn't think it applied or wore quite as nicely as some of the others. Nevertheless, it is still a fun color to experiment with if you don't have anything else like it in your collection.
Also in the kit is a mini tarte The Sculptor Countouring Face Slenderizer in Park Ave Princess, as well as a mini bamboo contouring brush to accompany it. I already had the full-size version of the contour stick in my collection, and while tarte is one of my favorite beauty brands, this is not one of the best products from the brand in my opinion. It is just a bit too on the warm, orangey side, which is not the ideal contour color for most people. On my fair skin, it just did not look very natural at all. I have tried it on someone with more of a tan skin tone, and while it was a bit more flattering, it is still definitely not the first contouring product I would reach for. Overall, the shade of this would definitely be better suited as an all-over bronzer on most, but using it that way defeats the purpose of the more precise stick form of this product.
As for the the mini contour brush, it is well-made and seems to be of good quality like most of tarte's other brushes. It's small size makes it a bit more difficult to use in my opinion though. It definitely still could get the job done in a pinch!
Both of the eyeliners included in the kit are great! The Stila Liquid Eye Liner has been a staple in my collection for a while now. It is fairly easy to use, rich in color, and long-lasting, and I can pretty much say the same thing about the Lancome Drama Liqui-Pencil. The Lancome liner is in the traditional eyeliner pencil format and needs to be sharpened, but it is much more creamy, intense, and smooth than many other pencil liners. The Liqui-Pencil name describes it well! I was also impressed with not only how this wore on my lashline, but also on my waterline! I will definitely get use out of both of these, and think they are great basic black liners to have in your beauty wardrobe!
All I can say is that you really can't go wrong with a BeautyBlender, and I am happy to have another one in my collection! While these are definitely pricey, they are high-quality sponges that perform much better than most other similar types on the market. They are light and bouncy, and press and blend most foundations into the skin like a dream! This is one splurge beauty item that I definitely think is worth the investment.
And that is everything that is in this lovely little set! While there were a few misses, all in all, this is a great array of products that l will continue to enjoy and get use out of. Even if you can't find the kit any longer, I hope that the review was helpful if you've had your eye on a specific product that was included in it!