December was quite the action packed month for me – I traveled internationally for the first time, I turned 26, and then there was Christmas. During my international travels to France and England, I picked up a few items that aren’t available to us here in the states. I feel that most the products I picked up were worth the money, but there were a few things that turned out to be duds.
I was really excited to go to Selfridges in London and check out the Zoeva products they had. As far as I know, Selfridges was the only store that was close to our hotel that sold Zoeva products so I made it my mission to swatch the Cocoa Blend palette. I so badly wish these products were easier to get in the US because they are spectacular. The two palettes I snagged were the Cocoa Blend palette and the En Taupe palette. I almost grabbed the Naturally Yours palette, and now that I realize how much the shipping costs for the US I really wish I did. First, the Cocoa Blend palette is what dreams are made of. The bronze shade in the top row is jaw dropping, and for being so affordable the matte shades are really impressive. Second, the En Taupe palette is everything I could ever want in a cool toned palette. I feel like the shades are interesting and complimentary of each other. In both palettes, the shadows are extraordinarily pigmented and are really easy to blend. These are on par with some of my high-end shadows, and even with the exchange rate they were a bargain. I also picked up one of the brush sets (not pictured) and they’re incredible. The only issue I have is the foundation brush is a bit scratchy, otherwise they are very well made brushes.
I also made a point to stop in Superdrug and Boots while in Windsor while in England. I felt that Boots was somewhat disappointing, but Superdrug was my jam. In terms of lips, I grabbed a Maybelline ColorDrama lip pencil in Berry Much and the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Hot Pepper. The Maybelline lip pencil reminded me a lot of the Nars Velvet Matte Lip pencils, the color is gorgeous and the staying power is really impressive. The Bourjois Rouge Edition was really disappointing since it wasn’t fully opaque and has almost a soft whipped texutre. I know this sounds nice but trust me, it’s a weird feeling. I also ended up grabbing a few more products from Bourjois: Healthy Mix foundation, Healthy Balance powder, and the Bronzing powder. All three are outstanding! The foundation is one of my new favorites, and the Healthy Balance powder has really exceeded my expectations. They were all impulse purchases and I don’t regret them one bit!
Once I got home, I noticed that I was breaking out in the areas of my face that I used my Too Faced Chocolate Soleil bronzer on. I’m really bummed about this, because the color is so perfect for my skin tone! I went out in search of a matte bronzer without harsh chemicals that might aggravate my skin. I landed on the Tarte Park Ave Princess in the matte version since it’s formulated without fragrance or other weird ingredients. I’ve really enjoyed it so far, and I find that the color is very realistic and the formula is a breeze to blend.
One of the most exciting cosmetic launches of the year (to me) was the Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush palette. I swear the people at Hourglass are wizards, because these blushes are absolute treasures. The colors in this palette are really wearable since there’s a coral, nude, and deeper berry. I was heartbroken when I missed the first blush palette Hourglass came out with, so I made sure to not miss out on this one. It’s pretty expensive, but truth be told I still think it’s a great value. I never hit pan on blushes, even though I’ve been using some regularly all year – so it makes sense to me to spend money on something when I’ll end up getting more variety. The actual colors are marbleized with the Ambient Strobing powders, so the blushes themselves are really glowy. Incandescent Electra is the only shade available outside the palette, however I noticed the single that I have is different from the one in the palette.