Review: Urban Decay’s “Naked Basics” Palette

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With the enormous success of its “Naked” 1 and 2 eyeshadow palettes, it’s no surprise that Urban Decay decided to expand on its success!

After glimpsing the “Basics” palette on the ULTA shelf earlier this year, I first thought, “Why do we need yet another ‘Naked’ palette? These colors aren’t even interesting!”

Then I began to look more closely and – realized the rich possibilities offered by this palette.

The palette is sleek and thin, perfect for stashing away on a trip. It even boasts a mirror!

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It holds 6 very basic colors, which appear (deceptively) simple and which I shall describe below:

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1) “Venus” – Pearlescent shimmering white. Perfect to use as a browbone highlight or in the inner corner.

2) “Foxy” – Buttery warm-toned cream. Gorgeous as a base color over the entire eye! May also work as a matte highlight on the browbone.

3) “W.O.S.” – Very light peach-pink. Also flattering as a base color, as a matte browbone highlight, or even as a lid color.

4) “Naked 2” – Matte taupe. Exquisite as a subtle crease or lid color. Nicely mimics the natural shadow cast by the browbone.

5) “Faint” – Matte brown. Best able to deepen the crease, color the lid, or even as a brow color for brunettes.

6) “Crave” – Matte black. This color is able to infuse any look with smokey glamour! It can deepen the crease – and is excellent for lining the eye.

I have created a very basic (no pun intended!) daytime eye look below, using only shades from the “Naked Basics” palette:

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For this look, I used “Foxy” as a base over the entire eye over my Urban Decay primer. Then, I used “W.O.S.” on the lid. “Naked 2,” “Faint,” and lastly “Crave” were used to emphasized the crease. “Venus” was applied as an inner corner and browbone highlight. I then used “Crave” to line the lashline.

All in all, this little palette is a gem. The quality of the eyeshadows is everything we’ve come to expect of Urban Decay — buttery smooth, well-pigmented, and long-lasting. It possesses that “all-in-one,” versatile quality that lends universal appeal. One can create multiple looks with this palette of only 6 shadows. It may not be as large or popular as the “Naked” 1 or 2 palettes, but, if I had to pick only one, I would grab the “Basics” palette — and so should you! πŸ™‚

Final Score: 5/5

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Available at Sephora, ULTA, and urbandecay.com for $27

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VIDEO: MAC Lipstick Collection (Part 2) – Reds, Fuschias, & Berries

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Welcome back for the second half of my MAC lipstick collection! In the YouTube video below, I’ll be discussing the more dramatic colors, including the reds, fuschias, & berries πŸ™‚

The YouTube link is as follows: http://youtu.be/9xMwhFLnLDU

Below, I have posted lip swatches and official descriptions of the various colors discussed in the video:

RUSSIAN RED – “Intense Bluish-Red” (matte)

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VIVA GLAM I – “Intense Brownish Blue-Red” (matte)

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DEEPLY ADORED – “Deep Scarlet” (matte) {Limited Edition}

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CHARMED, I’M SURE – “Dark True Red” (matte) {Limited Edition}

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MAC RED – “Vivid Bright Bluish-Red” (satin)

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PROLONG – “True Red” (pro longwear lip creme)

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PERPETUAL FLAME – “Pink Cranberry” (pro longwear lip creme)

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SCARLET IBIS – “Bright Orange Red” (matte) {Limited Edition}

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LOVE GODDESS – “Mid-Tone Pink Red” (satin) {Limited Edition}

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MOXIE – “Bright Pink” (matte) {Limited Edition}

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LICKABLE – “Bright Clean Blue Pink” (cremesheen)

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POSITIVELY DASHING – “Mid-Tone Berry Blue-Red” (pro longwear lip creme)

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VIVA GLAM IV – “Mid-Tone Rose with Gold Pearl” (frost)

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PLUM DANDY – “Plum Frosted with Bronze” (frost)

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NEW YORK APPLE – “Muted Red with Pink Shimmer” (frost)

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CHIC – “Medium Golden Rose” (frost)

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SEQUIN – “Plum-Pink with Pink Shimmer” (frost)

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Until next time! πŸ™‚

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VIDEO: MAC Lipstick Collection (Part 1) – Pinks & Nudes

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Hi everyone!

Today’s post consists of my second YouTube video, in which I discuss and swatch half of my MAC lipstick collection consisting of pinks & nudes. I will post the second half, consisting of bolder colors, very soon!

The link to my video is as follows: http://youtu.be/J1xrpasNQ-w

Below, I have also posted lip swatches of the various shades mentioned in the video:

“UNLIMITED” – Muted Dirty Rose (matte)

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“BOMBSHELL” – Bright Rosy Pink with Shimmer (frost)

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“ANGEL” – Soft Pink (frost)

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“VIVA GLAM V” – Neutral Pink with Pearl (lustre)

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“SWEETIE” – Ultra Sweet Pink (lustre)

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“PURE ZEN” – Frosted Warm Nude (cremesheen) {Limited Edition}

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“POLITELY PINK” – Dirty Pink (lustre)

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“BLANKETY” – Soft Pink Beige (amplified creme)

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“CREME DE LA FEMME” – Pink Laced with Gold (frost)

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“MODESTY” – Muted Neutral Pink (cremesheen)

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“FAUX” – Muted Mauve-Pink (satin)

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“SYRUP” – Cloudy Pink (lustre)

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“TWIG” – Soft Muted Brownish Pink (satin)

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“KINDA SEXY” – Neutral Pinky Rose (matte)

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“PLEASE ME” – Muted Rosy-Tinted Pink (matte)

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“SPIRIT” – Muted Pinky-Beige Brown (satin)

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Stay tuned for Part 2! Take care πŸ˜‰

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Review: CoverGirl’s “Ink It” Eyeliner

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Drugstore eyeliner always seems to be “hit-or-miss,” which is always a great reason to read reviews and make an informed decision!

Today I will rate and review CoverGirl’s new “Ink It!” eyeliner πŸ™‚

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The website states that these eyeliners, available in 6 shades, “glide on smoothly and easily without skipping, dragging, or pulling,” leaving behind color that “lasts all day long.” We shall examine these claims, one by one.

The pen design allows you to twist up the product with no sharpening required, which is always a plus.

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As I swatch the product, it appears to possess vivid pigmentation:

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So far, so good!

Application to the lash line, however, begins the difficulty. Tugging the lid a great deal and requiring many strokes to apply product, this liner does not dispense smoothly AT ALL. Novices to eyeliner will be completely lost with this product since application is very difficult, even for a makeup veteran like me. And forget the cat eye — that is impossible with this liner!

My attempt:

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One caveat, however — This eyeliner, if ever you can manage to apply it, will indeed last all day without smudging. The swatch did not fade from my hand, even after multiple hand washings.

This product was a disappointment. The ad, which I will display at the bottom of the blog post, was tempting, so my hopes were high. The eyeliner does not “glide” onto the lid, as the company promises — far from it! Application is very tedious. Its longevity then becomes a problem, since the line made by this product is, due to the difficult application, coarse and uneven at best.

Save your money — $5 is too much to spend on this monstrosity!

Final Score: 1/5

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Available at Walmart, CVS, Walgreen’s, Rite Aid, Target, & ULTA for $5

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Review: CoverGirl’s “Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation”

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Earlier this year, CoverGirl released a bold new foundation, which claimed to act as primer, foundation, and concealer (hence the “3-in-1” part of its moniker), all the while providing a full-coverage finish that will combat shine all day.

As an oily skin sufferer, I was intrigued!

The sturdy glass bottle possesses a pump, which always helps dispense the product and avoid a spill:

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As you can see, the product appears to have a thick consistency at first sight. My shade is the palest, “Ivory,” out of 14 shades:

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It applies smoothly to the face and quickly covers blemishes and redness; I agree that this foundation is full coverage. The finish is matte, although the product does not feel heavy at all. No need to apply sunscreen underneath as the foundation contains SPF 20.

Bare face:

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After Foundation:

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The lasting power of this foundation is considerable. The coverage lasted late into the evening — until I cleansed my face! A hint of shine surfaced on the T-zone in mid-afternoon; nevertheless, this is an impressive feat as far as oil-fighting foundations are concerned. I was very impressed by this product, which lives up to the vast majority of its claims. It does indeed act as a 3-in-1product, with the capacity of a primer (with SPF 20), foundation, and concealer (with its full-coverage capabilities). It also fulfills it’s “Outlast” label since it lasts well into a working woman’s long day.

Full face:

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As far as drugstore foundations are concerned, this is top of the line. Bravo, CoverGirl!

Final Score: 5/5

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Available at Walmart, CVS, Walgreen’s, Rite Aid, Target, & ULTA for $9

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Review: Neutrogena’s “MoistureSmooth Color Sticks”

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Neutrogena’s “MoistureSmooth Color Sticks,” released in early 2013, have been widely acclaimed on the beauty circuit.

Of course I had to test the product myself! πŸ™‚

The website states that these little lip crayons, if you will, “instantly moisturize lips, while continuously conditioning them so they are softer and smoother in just 3 days with nothing on them,” with a “sheer wash of moisturizing color that lasts for hours.”

The design reminds me of the popular Clinique chubby sticks! Thankfully, the twist-up pen precludes sharpening, which is always a messier alternative.
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I purchased the “Bright Berry” shade, which, as the name suggests, is a pinkish berry hue. The color applies very smoothly to my hand — and to the lips. I was shocked — pleasantly so — at the bright pigment! Its vivid hue reminds me more of a lipstick than a gloss.
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This definitely moisturizes the lips like a balm. The usual waxy sensation associated with lipstick is absent. It lasted for 2 hours before needing re-application.

Full face:

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On the whole, I liked this product. It provided the color intensity of a lipstick with the gentle moisturizing properties of a balm. It did not last long before fading — and will need occasional re-application throughout the day — which is a disadvantage. Nevertheless, for a balm-like product, its longevity is standard. It’s always a trade-off between moisture and durability with these lip products, as the two always seem to have an inverse relationship. Nevertheless, the MoistureSmooth Color Stick lives up to most of its claims without carrying an unwieldy price tag. A nice product to carry in your purse! πŸ™‚

Final Score: 4/5

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Available at Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreen’s, & ULTA for $8

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Review: Bobbi Brown’s “Smokey Eye Mascara”

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Scheduled for release in late September 2013, Bobbi Brown’s “Smokey Eye Mascara” promises “thicker, fuller, bolder lashes in a single super-saturated stroke.”

We’ll see if this mascara lives up to the company’s claims!

Having received a sample from my local Bobbi Brown counter, the container is smaller than the actual size, but the wand is the same. It appears to be your standard cylinder-shaped mascara wand — no frills here:

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This mascara, in the shade “Blackest Black,” adheres smoothly to the lashes. I disagree with the statement that it delivers “thicker, fuller, bolder lashes” in a single stroke….but it DOES deliver them with 3 coats!

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Very nice indeed! This mascara does frame the peepers with a glorious dark fringe. It delivers volume and length — albeit with 3 coats. Of note, I experienced no clumping, smearing, or fading as the day progressed. “Smokey Eye Mascara” is not a holy grail mascara in my opinion, but it is a very good one — and well worth the purchase. The perfect finishing touch to a smokey eye πŸ™‚

Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars

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Now available at Nordstrom.com for $28. Coming to Sephora and Bobbi Brown counters in October 2013

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Disclosure: Special thanks to Mrs. Donna at my local Bobbi Brown counter for furnishing the sample! πŸ™‚ As always, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Review: Lancome’s “Teint Visionnaire Skin Correcting Makeup Duo”

3

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LancΓ΄me recently released its Visionnaire Skin Correcting Makeup Duo foundation, modeled after its famous Visionnaire anti-aging serum. With a built-in concealer hidden within the bottle’s lid, the foundation, which contains SPF 20, promises to even out the complexion, improve the look of pores/lines over time, and color correct. It is marketed primarily as an anti-aging foundation.

Last week in my local Sephora, a sales representative provided me with a sample of this foundation. (The price is a whopping $60, so I could not purchase without sampling first!)

The foundation (on Sephora’s shelf):

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The consistency feels lightweight, but not runny. That being said, a small amount goes a long way. I only dipped the side of my brush in the foundation and was able to cover my entire face.

The first thing I noticed was how well it evened my skin tone, particularly the redness around my nose. It possesses a completely neutral undertone – neither warm nor cool. For reference, my shade is the palest in the range, Ivoire 100.

The second thing I noticed was the foundation’s dewiness. I am usually wary when foundation ads promise a “dewy finish,” which equals “oily” in my estimation. Nevertheless, the initial finish was gorgeous, so I kept an open mind.

Before foundation:

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After foundation:

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As you can see, this foundation completely neutralized my redness, and my face seemed to glow. So far, so good!

I was surprised to find that, after several hours’ wear, the oil had still not appeared. My skin still looked “dewy” and youthful, not oily as I had feared.

After 6 hours:

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Overall, I was very pleased with this foundation. It evens skin tone beautifully and will be a dream for those with rosacea, acne, and other sources of redness. As a moderate-to-full coverage foundation, it can also conceal major imperfections such as old acne scars, pimples, age spots, etc. — even without the concealer! Those with dry skin will enjoy its smooth, hydrating texture while those with oily skin will be relieved that it occasions no major shininess in the T-zone. The healthy SPF dose of 20 also bolsters the product’s anti-aging claim. $60 is a lot of money to shell out for foundation and concealer, but in this case, you get what you pay for.

Final Verdict: 5/5

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Available at Sephora & LancΓ΄me counters for $60

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Disclosure: Although this sample was provided by my local Sephora, these opinions are my own

IT Cosmetics Haul & Review (YouTube Video)

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A little over a week ago, I was browsing through the aisles of my local ULTA when I happened upon a new company display.

It was none other than IT Cosmetics, a high end brand of which I have heard so many good things!

I have reviewed the products purchased that day in my first ever YouTube video πŸ™‚

Thanks so much for watching! πŸ™‚

Review: Sephora Collection “Color Lip Last” Lipsticks

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When one passes through Sephora, the eye is immediately drawn to more expensive brands — Nars, Makeup Forever, Urban Decay, and the like. Recently, however, I have discovered hidden gems in the Sephora Collection itself, often overlooked — perhaps since it receives less press and is cheaper.

I hope to introduce you to the Collection’s treasures in coming days and months, beginning with its “Color Lip Last” lipsticks.

According to sephora.com, this lipstick’s “high coverage pigments distribute intense color.” The website also states, “The ultra-thin texture feels light, and the waterproof formula makes it refreshingly smudge-proof.”

I purchased 5 shades and will discuss them, one by one.

Shade #1– “Vintage Pink”

The website describes this color as “brownish light pink.” I would describe it as mauve instead. What this description also fails to mention are the lovely silver sparkles which infuse the lipstick.

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The formula glides on smoothly, with a creamy texture. However, it dries quickly — and will not budge once it sets.

The pigment is true to the tube, and I did not notice any patchiness on the lips:

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This hue is quite office-appropriate, producing a my-lips-but-better effect, enlivened by the fine silver sparkles.

Shade #2 – “Natural Pink”

The website describes this color as “peachy pink.” It is similar to the first color except this shade is matte — no shimmer of any kind.

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On the lips:

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Putting the lipstick in context:

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As you can see, this is the classic nude lipstick — not “concealer lips” (which erase them and may consequently wash out the face), but a lipstick 1-2 shades darker than the natural lip color. Again, this one is ideal for the office.

Shade #3 – “All You Need is Red”

Alright, let’s vamp it up! πŸ˜‰

This shade is described as “deep coral red.” I agree with this assessment, although the lipstick appears fuchsia in the photo, for some reason. It is entirely matte.

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Striking shade of orange-red — reminds me of Mac’s “Lady Danger” lipstick. Due to the undertones conferred by the coral, this lipstick might suit warmer/darker complexions best. All eyes will be upon you while sporting this shade!

Shade #4 – “Pure Red”

This is a matte red, with neutral undertones.

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Behold “Elizabeth Taylor” red, ladies — bright true red, with all the seductive properties associated with that silver screen icon. Since it possesses neutral undertones, this lipstick will flatter all complexions.

Shade #5 – “Wanted Red”

This shade is similar to the last one, albeit darker.

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Gorgeous red! This is the shade a geisha might wear — the color of blood. Not a shade for the faint-hearted, though. The undertone is once again neutral, so all complexions can safely wear this lipstick.

In short, these lipsticks DO last all day — so much so that makeup remover is required to clean them from the lips at the day’s end; therefore, these “Color Lip Last” lipsticks are aptly named. The pigmentation is dramatic, as promised. I do not think these feel “ultra-thin” or “light” on the lips, but they aren’t drying like so many other long-lasting lipsticks.

DO check out these little jewels the next time you are browsing through Sephora! A whopping 26 shades are available, so chances are high that you’ll find at least one you like! πŸ™‚

Final Score: 4.5/5 Stars

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Available at Sephora for $12

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