Natasha Denona Holiday 2018: Aeris

I feel like Natasha Denona eye shadow palettes are the Porsche of the beauty world. They are stunning, high quality and way beyond most peoples’ price range. When the Lila Pallet was first released, I wanted it so bad. Luckily, I found the the Huda Beauty Desert Dusk palette satisfied my need for purple shades. However, since the first press photo of the Aeris pallet, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I have to be honest, it was mostly the blue shade. Luckily, the Sephora VIB sale came around and the palette was in stock at my local store.

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This is a five pan palette and is said to consist of “metallics, mattes, duo-chromes and sparkling chroma crystals.”

To me, I see only three formulas. Burnt Terracotta is a matte while Ice Blue, Red Bronze and Nude are metallics. The final shade, Peach Bronze, is a sheer glitter and I believe it is considered a chroma crystal. All of these were swatched dry with no base or primer.

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When I review palettes, I try to make looks using only the shades that are in the palette. All of these looks were created only using a mix of the five shades in the Aeris palette.

I LOVE this look! I started with Burnt Terracotta in the crease. I went in lightly at first and built it up lower in the crease. I went in with a tiny flat brush and Red Bronze on the outer two thirds. On the inner one third, I laid down NYX glitter primer and topped that with Peach Bronze. I took Ice Blue on a pencil brush and took it all across the lower lash line. For the inner corner, I wanted to brighten things up with a little Nude.

For this look, I wanted something more daytime but still glam. The best part? It is SO EASY to replicate. I started with Burnt Terracotta lightly in the cease and then packed all over the lid. I also smoked it on the lower lash line. I took a little concealer and blended it on the center of my lid. Then, I topped that with Nude and blended the edges with Burnt Terracotta. I added more Nude on the inner corner and the center of the lower lash line. Add some winged liner and you’re done!

As I mentioned, I am in love with Ice Blue and I wanted to use it in a different way. I took Burnt Terracotta and fluffed it all over the lid and blended into the crease. I applied NYX Glitter Primer on the inner two thirds of the lid and topped it with Peach Bronze. For the lower lash line I used Burnt Terracotta and added more Peach Bronze to the inner third. The look is finished with Ice Blue on the inner corner.

This final look I wanted something festive for a holiday party. I look Burnt Terracotta lightly in the crease, outer corner and on the lower lash line. I used my KVD Tattoo Liner to create a wing and topped it with NYX Glitter Primer. I then took Red Bronze to create a metallic red wing. I finished with Nude on the inner corner. This look is beautiful with a red or nude lip.T (2)I really enjoy the colors in this palette. That being said, it isn’t really a stand alone palette. There is only one matte, so you are limited there. Luckily, the colors all work well together.

The one matte shade is beautiful. It is smooth, blendable, and buildable. It works great as a transition and to create a warm smokey look. Nude and Red Bronze are beautiful metallic shades. They apply best with a damp flat brush or with your finger. Ice Blue is a little more sheer and needs to be built up a bit. I definitely prefer to use my finger or a small, stiff brush with the blue. The final shade is Peach Bronze. At first this shade was disappointing because it was so sheer. However, now that I know how to use it, I like it. It works best topped over another shadow. Also, you will want to use a tacky base and your finger to get the most opaque application. I love using it on the inner corner, lid and lower lash line.

Do you own anything from Natasha Denona?

Xoxo Sammie

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NYX In Your Element Palettes

When I first saw the images for the NYX In You Element Palettes, I was instantly drawn to both Earth and Metal. Something about them just spoke to me and they were so different from the reds, oranges and yellows that everyone seems to be coming out with. The best part,l is NYX is a drugstore brand so I figured that I would be able to pick up both for somewhere between $30 and $40 USD. Sadly, that wasn’t the case.

On launch day, I rushed to my computer and anxiously waited for the NYX Cosmetics website to load. When it did, I was shocked. They were changing $30 PER PALETTE! Considering they sell $5 single shadows and other affordable products, I was dumbfounded. I decided that I would be much better off saving my money and picking up one higher end palette instead of spending $60 on two drugstore palettes.

So I waited and I am so glad I did. Right now, Ulta is having a sale September 24-30 and the NYX In Your Element Palettes are on sale. With the $3.50 coupon, they are only $17.50 before tax. Still a little pricey, but a bargain considering what they cost before the sale. So, I decided it was time I picked up both the Metal and Earth Palette.

The Earth In Your Element Palette was the first one that caught my eye in the press release pictures. The color selection screamed fall to me and gave me ABH Subculture vibes. While this is most certainly not a dupe, it is a good alternative if you had problems with the ABH formula or you were too concerned to purchase it.

When I swatched this palette in store, I was concerned. The colors seemed to be patchy and ill pigmented. I didn’t even pick it up at first and almost talked myself out of it. But, I kept thinking of how pretty the colors where and how it was on sale. I told myself that worse come to worse, I could always return the palette if I didn’t like it.

In the end, the palette performed much better than it swatched. The mattes were buildable and blended well. In the first look, I used colors 1, 3, 10, 4, 6 and 11. For the second look, I used colors 1, 8, 7, 2, 9, and 5. I didn’t have any problems with any shade in particular. The shimmer shades apply best with a stiff or damp brush and the green shades need to be packed on to show their true color.

Out of all six element palettes, Metal seemed to be the most fun. It is a palette of 12 different shimmer shades. So, obviously this is not a stand alone palette. But the colors seemed fun and unique.

When swatching all the colors, it became apparent that a couple of them would be used best as a topper or inner corner highlight as opposed to a stand alone shadow. The two that would be best as toppers are 1 and 5.

Also, I found that the shades did not work well with a brush. I tried with a dry flat brush, damp flat brush and with my finger. I decided to show how two different colors applied with each method. These can be placed directly on the lid, but will benefit being placed over the top of glitter glue or a tacky base. I found that there was a little bit of glitter fallout.

I do enjoy both of these palettes and think they are pretty. The colors definitely perform better than I expected after swatching in store. Both palettes did have a little bit of fallout but nothing too crazy. So the big question, are they worth the price?

In short, the answer would be no. At full price, it is ridiculous to pay so much for something from a historically drugstore brand. Where I think NXY went wrong is by partnering with social media influencers. Each palette was designed by a different influencer and the price reflects that. I wish NYX had created the palettes without the collaborations and kept the price around $20. However, if you see one that you like then I would definitely pick it up while it is on sale.

Do you plan on picking any of these palettes up?

Xoxo Sammie

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Storybook Cosmetics: Wizardry and Witchcraft Palette

If you are part of the beauty community on any social platform, chances are you’ve heard about Storybook Cosmetics. They first shot to fame with their Harry Potter Wand inspired eye brushes. Their designs are based off of the stories we loved growing up and still cherish. The company is run by three sisters and is a fairly new indie brand. Their designs are so special and truly fascinating. The only downside? As of right now, items have to be preordered. So, when I saw this palette go on presale back in February, I snagged it.

Fast forward to May and it was finally here! It came wrapped in this beautiful brown bag and their business card is a bookmark. How cute is that?!

The packaging of the actual palette is stunning! It is the same shape and size of a typical book and would look beautiful on any vanity or desk.

Not only is the packaging right up my alley, but the colors all swatched really well! Each is done with just one swipe and without primer. Here are the colors, top to bottom, as described by Storybook Cosmetics:

Broomstick: rusty brown (matte), Sorcerer: ruby red (metallic), Cloak: graphite grey (matte), Potions: emerald green (metallic), Prophecy: pearly white (pearl), Salem: frosted pewter (pearl), Merlin: sapphire blue (metallic), Bewitched: coppery gold (metallic), Cauldron: charcoal black (frost), Spell Book: rich mahogany (pearl), Charms: shell pink (matte) and Jinx: shimmering silver (metallic).

I created two different looks here, so as to show you how pigmented the shades are and how well they blend.

For the first look, I wanted to do something that you could wear every day. I started with using Prophecy as a base. Then, I went in with Charms as my transition shade followed by Sorcerer in the crease and then took a little bit of Broomstick to deepen the crease further. For the lid I used Bewitched and for the lower lashline I went back in with Charms and Sorcerer. The look is finished with a little bit of Jinx on the inner corner.


For the second look, I wanted to go with something fun and smokey. I started, again, with Prophecy as my base. For the crease, I went in with Cloak and then took Cauldron all over the lid and blended it into the crease slightly. Once everything is blended out, I went with Potions all over the lid, right on top of Cauldron. I used Cloak to smoke out the lower lash line and then went in with a little bit of Potions right on lashes. The look is finished off with a little Jinx on the inner corner.

Overall, I was really impressed by this palette. I was a little nervous because I had seen a couple swatches that were not that great. However, I found each shade to be beautiful, blendable and pigmented. I will say, for most people, this is not going to be an everyday palette. It also retails for $52, which isn’t inexpensive. That being said, if you are a makeup junkie who is also a book worm, then this is the perfect palette for you.

Are there any products from Storybook Cosmetics that you have been dying to try?

Let me know!

Xoxo Sammie

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Review: KVD Pastel Goth Palette

Guys, it finally happened. A few days ago, I got the notification I’d been waiting for: the KVD Pastel Goth Palette was in stock again. Thank God for smartphones and the Sephora app. Sometimes, I can’t remember my life without my phone by my side. Being thankful for the notification, I quickly purchased the palette before it disappeared again. 

A couple weeks ago I reviewed the Lorac Pro I Love Brunch Palette. I was so excited for the pastel colors but I found them to be poorly pigmented and it took far too much effort to get each shade to work. So, unfortunately, I decided to return it. However, I couldn’t let go of my desire for spring and pastel colors. 

Fast forward to today and I am happy to say I’ve found another palette to satisfy my lust for pastels.

The Kat Von D Pastel Goth palette is something new for the brand, and I’m loving the change. The artwork is in Kat’s signature style with matte black packaging and tattoo inspired artwork.

There are eight shades included. I was a little nervous when I opened the palette because I don’t know about you, but those colors do not look pastel.

However, the colors swatch beautifully. They are pigmented and smooth. Most importantly, they give the pastel vibe I have been searching for. Just for comparison, here are swatches from the Lorac palette and the KVD palette side by side. Both of these swatches were done without primer. What a difference in pigmentation, right?

Now, although this palette is beautiful, it is not really a stand alone palette. That being said, you can create some beautiful looks.

I really loved this soft, sunset inspired look. I used meow in the crease, clementine on the outer third of my eye, star on the lid and skull as my brow bone highlight. 

I think this palette is really great and a lot of fun! I highly recommend it if you are looking for some fun new colors for spring. It is great for creating soft looks, fun winged liner or adding a pop of color on the lid or lower lash line. Overall, I am so much happier with this palette than the Lorac one. The color, quality and packaging are all superb.

Hope your hump day is going well! Until Friday,

Xoxo Sammie
Update: I would just like to touch on the controversy that happened earlier this week with Kat and KVD Beauty. If you’ve been on social media, you will probably have seen this picture posted by Kat. Unfortunately, she seems to have gotten a lot of backlash for posting the picture. People have been saying that it’s just a dupe and she shouldn’t be upset etc. Before getting upset, I highly recommend watching this video from Kat. I don’t want to get into specifics, but I will say that I love KVD Beauty. I highly respect her and her line and I think that the work she does is amazing. I think we all should try to open our minds before jumping to conclusion or attacking others. 

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