Sephora’s had this shade, Formula X in Alive, on clearance for over a year, or longer. I got this ages ago for $6 and don’t regret it, and it’s still on for $6. It’s a beautiful, creamy peachy pink shade with decent coverage in 2 carefully applied coats, but I think I have 3 in the swatch picture. The peach looked nice against my NC20/25 skin, and wore really well even when my nails were longer. Nice for spring and summer. The cap cover comes off to reveal a ridged, easier to use brush handle.
I was near a Sephora this weekend to return the Tocca Florence minis which was just a bit too potent for me, and I’m surprised I was refunded without a hitch. I wish I could say that about the gift card refund I was supposed to have received recently, I will get into more detail a bit later. First, this adorable little sample!
I was hovering around the fragrances hoping to find someone to help me with a sample decant, but there was no help despite the staff to customer ratio being staff heavy at the time. I couldn’t seem to get anyone’s attention even though a few bypassed me to disappear into the stock room. After several minutes, I eventually gave up and went to stand with my mother at the cash, where she was paying for items and choosing this Givenchy lipstick sample to redeem points on. Apparently they had just got it in that day! Interested, I asked if I needed to purchase an item in order to cash in some of the points I had accumulated (given by Sephora due to the huge amount of trouble they have given me, their idea) and it turns out I could just redeem! Finally some good news out of this company, especially good as I am now more than reluctant to ever buy anything from them again.
This Givenchy Le Rouge lipstick in Rose Dressing 202 is a brand new 100 point redemption deluxe sample. I’m not sure about availability, it was at the Guilford (In B.C., Canada) location but I can’t find it on their website. I’ve included a lot of pictures as the presentation is lovely.
The lipstick is packaged in a very cute velvety cardboard box with a slide out compartment, carefully wrapped in branded “Le Rouge” tissue paper.
Once unwrapped, you can see even the sample tube itself is fairly luxurious, with the Givenchy name printed in the chrome detailing. The full size tube has similar chrome detailing, but the tube itself is leather!
The product itself is an intense coral pink. It is lightly rose scented as prestige cosmetics often are, but the scent fades almost immediately once on the lips. The taste of the fragrance, however, lingers. The formula itself is lightweight and smooth, and applies evenly. The pigment builds well. It held up with through a cup of tea, and wore off evenly with no patchiness. It did feel moisturizing, which leads me to the downside of this lipstick formula – it doesn’t “set”. Most lipsticks, even the moisturizing ones set up a bit, not to say that they get dry but they at least seem like they won’t transfer at the slightest touch. This lipstick felt so slippery the whole time I was wearing it. It felt like it would slide outside of my lip line. I kept checking it, and it didn’t seem like it was sliding away but I still didn’t like the feeling. I don’t want to have to feel like I need to continually check my make up to make sure I wasn’t doing any accidental clown impersonations.
The colour itself is nice, bright for summer. I will use it until it’s gone, but I don’t seem myself buying this slippery formulation. The shade seemed familiar. I though it looked a little like the Sephora brand lipstick I have in 1st Night so I did a side by side swatch shown here. 1st Night is a more intense pink, and Rose Dressing is oranger, but they are both vibrant corals.
Now for my update on the ongoing Sephora disaster that they are presenting as customer service. About 3 weeks ago, I called, as per their instruction, to get a refund on my order in lieu of them honoring my gift certificate. Full details can be found here on my post about that order. I called, provided my order number, the gift card number, it’s pin number all as requested. The girl on the phone assured me everything was processed and I’d be refunded. I waited, got worried when I didn’t see the refund, and sent them an email to inquire. They told me to wait. So I waited. No refund. I sent another email, this time asking for a confirmation number for my refund. Days passed. I finally got a response. You will not believe it, but they had the nerve to say that “I had never provided the gift card number”. Yes, they claimed this, despite that I personally called myself to provide it and was assured it was processed. Yes, even though they had other emails from me asking about why the refund wasn’t processed. No one actually bothered to check my refund until I had to follow up asking for the confirmation number for proof. They just sent the canned answer telling me to wait, wait, it’s just me not being patient, not their failure to do their jobs, and wait! Unbelievable. This wasn’t the first time they didn’t actually bother checking what was going on and placed the blame on me (a previous time was when I asked them why they didn’t bother sending the gift box as it was on my order form, same line as my phone number, and they said it wasn’t there. Yes, even though it was right there in front of them, hilarious.) So I did call again, and made sure they processed it right there and then on the phone, which I thought I had already done the first time. I did get an email saying that it was intended to go through within another weeks worth of business days, but at this point I will believe it when I see it. I asked the woman why it wasn’t processed the first time, and why no one bothered to tell me what was going on despite several emails on my part. Her answer? “I don’t have access to any of that information”. To me, that translates as no explanation. And that is not acceptable.
The only positive experience I have had with Sephora was the girl who took my return and gave me this lipstick sample. Each and every other experience has been horrendous. Beyond that, actually. It takes at least 5 points of contact to get any one of them to do their jobs, and even then your odds of getting proper service are abysmally low. I have never had such consistently bad experiences as a customer, ever, anywhere. They, as a company, are not concerned about doing things the right way the first time, or any time after that for that matter. Even when you do all the hard work for them, they respond with complacency at best and gross incompetence at worst. I’m truly hoping there won’t be further negative follow ups to this one. I don’t like writing them, but people deserve to know where their money is going. Those high end prices sure aren’t going to proper customer service training.
A company that doesn’t acknowledge and respect the reason why it is even in business, the customer (especially one who sought their assistance as fastidiously as I did), doesn’t deserve to be in business. And people deserve to know. I tried for many weeks with great time and effort spent on my part to make my business with Sephora work, and they failed on every account to provide. I will redeem the last of my points there, in store only, with no purchase made, some time in the future. I will not, however, ever purchase with them again. I will seek any other source. A beauty blogger with all the time in the world to follow up and inform the public of deplorably bad service is not a bridge you want to burn. It does make me sad, but they went out of their way to be awful, both in store and online. I do make exception for the one girl who processed my refund and gave me the lipstick sample, she was great!
Any Canadians have any other beauty supply suggestions for me? I’d love to hear!
Up first for review from my Sephora prize/haul is this cute hand cream and fragrance rollerball travel set from Tocca. It includes a small (but not tiny) 60ml/2oz tube of hand cream and a mini rollerball fragrance which is 7ml/0.24oz.
Tocca Florence is elegantly described on Tocca’s website as “A Parisian beauty and sophisticate, Florence conjures memories of old-world Paris.”
Top Notes: Italian Bergamot, Grapefruit Leaves, Green Pear, Apple
Tocca Florence is a white floral that opens up green, likely due to the bergamot, and then after a few minutes opens up into an opulent gardenia scent. I can occasionally catch hints of the other fruit and florals, but they are light and fleeting as that gardenia sure does stomp it’s ladylike, well dressed foot all over the rest of the notes, save for a sniff of fuzzy violet leaves at the very end. After the gardenia shines through at it’s full force, it stays fairly linear. I would recommend a sample first if you are interested in this as it is very distinct and might not be for everyone. It would be gorgeous for the right person. Gardenia lovers only!
The hand cream’s fragrance stays true to the perfume itself. The size is perfect for a purse or desk drawer, and the formula is lovely and very soft and moisturizing, likely as its full of shea butter and coconut oil.
Although this one is nice, it wasn’t quite right for me and will be going back as I expect to be near a store this weekend and the package slip says I can return in any Canadian or US store, but with their track record I won’t get my hopes up. I do wish they had this travel set in other fragrance selections, as they have so many and some sound delectable!
Nice sentiment 🙂
I would like to once again thank Rebecca at lastcontrast for the prize!
Last month I was the lucky prize winner of a giveaway from the wonderfully generous Rebecca at lastcontrast! The prize was a $50 US gift certificate for Sephora which I gladly put towards this order. I am relieved I was able to use it for this order, as Sephora sure did give me a hard time about it. If you want to get straight to the goods, please skip ahead to the picture below. If you want to be aware of the behaviour of companies you may be buying from and are selective about where your beauty products are sourced, please read on.
I had a write up ready to go regarding their refusal to honor this gift certificate as I was in Canada. I will summarize here. I had it from them in writing that they were keeping the cash for it and not providing any goods or refund to the original buyer. Obviously, this refusal to provide a solution was completely unacceptable. Over the course of my numerous carefully worded, polite emails, I did the work for them with suggestions and workarounds (six in total) that I know companies should be capable of from my 20 years in customer service myself. I begged for my concerns to be brought to management (on multiple occasions) or at least to someone with the authority to assist me. All I got in response were canned answers from whoever had the misfortune of getting to reply to my email, and by their replies I could tell no one was reading my concerns. As I had given up, and they clearly didn’t even bother trying to actually assist me, I allowed myself to be upset. I sent them an email stating as such and that my write up regarding their blatant refusal to assist after taking someone’s cash would be made available to them via links on any social media I could find including my blog and their Facebook pages for public review.
And what do you know. Unexpectedly, I got a call. A CALL, and they left me a message. Not an email. Someone, only after my upset email, decided to help me. Evidently they decided to honor my gift certificate as a refund to my card after my order had shipped (presumably so I couldn’t back out at that point). This workaround was similar to one of my suggested solutions. Incidentally, I’m still waiting for this refund but they swear it’s gone through on their end. I’ll believe it when I see it, and if I don’t I will issue a chargeback, as I do have it (in writing again) that they were to apply said refund. I am disappointed that my polite calls and emails were brushed off and ignored, but the snarky, upset one that promised to share their willingness to swindle customers with the public got their attention. I think it says a lot about the difference between Canadian and US culture. The only thing that kept them from blatant theft was the threat of me telling everyone about it. Keep that in mind when you’re dealing with Sephora in the future, if you’re particular about where your beauty dollars are spent.
ON TO THE GOODIES!
I will quickly go over the haul as numbered. I will do more thorough reviews as the products are used, would be far too much to go into here!
1) Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette – the reason I placed the order in the first place. I have wanted this for a very long time but wouldn’t ever allow myself to spend that ($64 Can) on a beauty product. The gift card prize was the only way this could have ever happened. I haven’t used them all yet but so far “Pistol” is my favourite! This no longer comes with a lip gloss, which is a pity.
2) Tocca Florence Travel Fragrance Duo – contains a hand creme and a roller ball fragrance. A light fresh white floral that leans green.
3) Smashbox Full Exposure Eye Shadow Sample – 10 shades, 5 shimmer, 5 matte. Single use sample portions.
4) Sephora’s Niche Fragrance Sampler – includes Maison Martin Beach Walk, Tocca Simone, Tokyo Milk Dark Tainted Love, Nest Midnight Fleur, Clean Skin, and Atelier Orange Sanguine (the topmost left in the waxed paper wrap there is a post card and a sample vial. Most beautifully presented sampler I have ever seen.) There is also a Juicy Couture La La sample but this was not included with the niche sampler, but for this list purpose, and for my later review they will be grouped together.
5) Tarte Flush Cheek Stain – a deluxe sample, from redeemed points Sephora gave me for my “inconvenience” while they were still declining to honor the gift certificate. An impressive amount for a sample. This could last for a few weeks worth of daily uses at least!
6) Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Medium/Deep matte bronzer. Smells of chocolate, lovely. Also a points redemption as above. Also an impressive amount for a sample, this is the size of a large single pan eye shadow.
7) Make Up For Ever HD Powder sample – a tiny amount of powder on a card.
8) Urban Decay Primer Potion samples (x2 as one was with the palette) – 4 different types of their Primer Potion line, says there is to be a weeks worth of each within the packet. I’m particularly interested in the “anti-aging” one as I’d not heard of it before. I’m still not completely sold on the idea of needing one product to make another work as it should without assistance.
9) Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet – another points redemption as a deluxe sized sample. I admit to liking this far more than I thought I would. It’s simple but lovely.
10) Make Up For Ever “Happy Birthday” deluxe sample pack – contains a mini lipstick in N9 and a mini mascara in Smoky Extravagant. Added this to my order as it was available for free as my birthday is this month.
I would like to once again thank Rebecca at lastcontrast for her generous prize. I would have never had the opportunity to try these high end products otherwise. The out of pocket expense for the large list above was only $25 Canadian (I had to make it $75 for the free shipping as I’d rather the amount go towards product than ship costs)! Pretty good haul I think! 🙂
There was something missing from this order. I had selected that it be accompanied with the magnetic closure Sephora “gift box”, I was looking forward to using it for more attractive photographic purposes for this and all upcoming blog posts regarding the contents of this order. I sent them off another email to ask them about it. I found my order confirmation email where the words “gift box” were right there in black and white for their easy reference, and used it for my reply. I got an email back, immediately. They had the nerve to state that I had not included it on my order. Yes, even though it was stated right there. On the same page. On the order confirmation. Just a few inches down. I replied to them stating the obvious, that it is right there on the same page, but I don’t expect a reply at this point. I don’t understand why they didn’t send it, would have been a ton of free advertising as it would have been used in many of the photos for each of the upcoming reviews on all these products. What a missed opportunity for them, shame! EDIT: they sent back another email (was even from the same rep) saying they added 25 points to my account. Seeing as you need at least 100 to get anything I don’t know how this is satisfactory, but again the loss is really theirs – me as a customer and the free advertising they would have received.)
Although I will thoroughly enjoy using and trying out these products, and I am more than grateful for the prize, I am not sure I would ever order from Sephora again. They refuse to let their e-gift certificates to be used in Canada (why? That’s a huge market they’re just shutting out!) and their customer service is at best farcical and at worst dismissive and grossly incompetent. In the future, if I find the need for a high end beauty product, I will see if it is available from *any* other Canadian retailer first, such as Shoppers Drug Mart, Murale, London Drugs, any department store or even order directly from the product’s company website if need be. I don’t think I would ever put myself through ordering online with Sephora again. I am not close enough to a brick and mortar Sephora store for it to be much of a concern as to whether or not I’d go in to buy there.
EDIT: Unbelievably, I have even more disastrous service stories regarding this same order, they failed to refund me as promised and refused to explain why! Full story at the bottom of the post, here.
I did a quick search and there are some seriously horrifying Sephora customer service stories out there! Anyone else have one? I’d be interested to hear it! Also if anyone has any favourite looks with the Naked 2 palette they would like to share I’d be very interested in that as well!
My first empties post! I really like reading these types as they almost always come along with a quick review of a product after it’s been used long enough to go empty, making it (presumably) a more thorough and fair assessment. By the time you finish a product, you’ve got to have something to say about it. Some of these are brand new to me, and some I’ve been using for a while.
I’ve numbered them 1-8 in the photo below for a quick write up about each.
1) Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation 100 Ivory.
This is a product that I’ve been really wanting to try for a while, as I keep seeing such rave reviews. I was lucky in that the sample shade matched me well, and I really liked the texture. The coverage was also pretty good. My only concern was that it seemed a bit thick, cakey on some areas when applied with fingers, even when blended out. As I didn’t have enough product sample to try out different application techniques, I might try this out some time in the future with a damp/dry sponge/brush etc to see what might work better for the formula. If this foundation contained sunscreen, I’d buy it again on the merit of that and the texture/coverage alone and learn to make it work for me regardless. But it doesn’t contain sunscreen. As it stands right now I’m a bit on the fence about this one. I prefer Rimmel Lasting Finish at the moment.
2) St. Ives Green Tea Cleanser
Initially, I really liked this cleanser. It has a very light green tea scent, has the surfactant my skin agrees with most (sodium laureth sulfate), has salicylic acid and even some green tea extract. It removed makeup well. Unfortunately, I noticed that my skin seemed to get oilier faster after using this product, so I decided to find out why. Turns out this product contains a menthol derivative (menthyl lactate) which can cause mild irritation and subsequent excess oil production. It’s a real shame they added that, this would have had holy grail beauty product status for me (tough accolade to obtain) and at $3.50, twice as sad.
3) Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control 3 in 1 Hydrating Acne Treatment
This is a 2% salicylic acid treatment, and as that, it performs well. I’ve been using this for a few years now actually, and my skin is smoother. The bottle doesn’t clearly say what the 3 in 1 effect is, it might be on the box which I don’t have handy. I wouldn’t really say this is moisturizing as it is in a silicone base and dries to a silky finish (think something like a thinner, watery version of the Smashbox primer type texture). As for stress control, well I wish stress control was as easy as a skin treatment. What this product is in fact really good at is helping speed up healing and minimize redness. Apparently this is discontinued in the US. It is still available in Canada, and I’m grateful for it as there is no other afordable, widely available within Canada irritant free salicylic acid treatment. The US has another option made by Clean & Clear but I can’t find it anywhere in Canada. If Neutrogena discontinues this in Canada I’m not sure what I’ll do! I will buy this as long as they make it. If they stop making it, I may have to rethink my love of Neutrogena.
4) Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti Wrinkle Cream
This one’s not quite empty yet but close enough to add here as I’m getting to the last dregs and I’d probably throw it out before my next empty post. I did a very thorough review on this one you can find here. I will buy this one as long as Neutrogena makes it as well.
5) Aussie You Can Shine Shampoo
Had a lovely super fresh citrusy orange scent. I suppose my hair was shiny, clean. I did like it. I might buy it again if it’s on a fantastic sale. I have a lot of shampoos to get through right now though, and although this performed well it wasn’t magical, it was shampoo, so this wouldn’t be an immediate rebuy. Only concern, it’s second surfactant is sodium lauryl sulfate, which is considerably more of an irritant risk than sodium laureth sulfate (it’s first surfactant). Although it doesn’t bother me, it does bother some people, so I thought it would be worth mentioning.
6) Aussie Moist Conditioner
A somewhat iconic, well known conditioner. I liked it. Has a nice tropical coconuty scent. It performed well, as I do like a richer conditioner. My only concern is I’m suspicious it might have made my skin break out. Looking at the ingredients the only thing I think that may have done that is the jojoba oil. I guess I will know within a few weeks if it were this conditioner or not. I’d rebuy on the same stipulations as the shampoo counterpart above, on a great sale.
7) Vaseline Cocoa Butter Lip Therapy
As you can tell by the well worn label, this was with me and used often. I’m the type who always needs something on their lips. I won’t use the lip balm types that have menthol, camphor, or other irritants as I find they are the ones that cause the “addictive” rebound lip balm effect. This is basically just Vaseline in a smaller container, and I already like Vaseline for a lip protectant. Yes, I’d absolutely rebuy, but I’ve already refilled this small container with the same Vaseline Cocoa Butter scent from a larger container so there’s no need to.
8) Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Abricot from Sephora
Up last we have the end of a sample of Vanille Abricot. It was nice, a bit sugary for me. The sweetness was of an intense icing sugar variety. The apricot and other fruits (papaya and jackfruit) kept it tropical and warm. I liked it, but I didn’t $85 like it. Too bad I can’t find the Vanille Almande at all, now that might be worthwhile. If I ever did buy this, it would not be at full price and it most certainly would not be from a Sephora. Or anything else from a Sephora. At the moment I’m currently battling with them to get them to honor a new, perfectly valid $50 e-giftcard awarded to me as a prize, and so far (4 phone calls and countless emails later) they are refusing to assist me, provide any goods, or provide a refund to anyone (myself or the gifter) because I am in Canada (yes, we do have Sephora here). Essentially, they have the money paid for the gift card and are not interested in assisting me beyond that point and I do have this in writing from their most recent email. I offered a set of six perfectly reasonable, fair solutions in a politely, carefully worded email. All were declined. I am awaiting final confirmation that they will keep the cash and refuse to provide goods or refund before I make my public write up to share on my blog, their Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media I find to be relevant to the subject. I will not purchase anything from a Sephora until this is resolved satisfactorily. I will, however, continue going in for free samples, at least until I feel I’ve received about $50 USD worth. Seems fair don’t you think?
Sorry to leave my empties post on that note, but there was no way I was going to say the word Sephora without saying what was on my mind. There will be a full write up soon on what happens. Up until today I was giving Sephora the benefit of the doubt as a large, well known company to do the right thing customer service wise and so far I’ve been greatly disappointed. Still hoping for the best as I would greatly prefer to report on a positive experience. 🙂
Things are finally warming up in the lower mainland and things are starting to smell like spring! This is my favourite time of year, and a perfect excuse for slightly brighter, warmer, fresher looking makeup. I wanted to share one of my favourite brights for spring, Sephora Rouge Cream Lipstick in 1st Night.
Starting with the tube packaging, I love it! It’s a classy, basic black matte tube that flares out ever so slightly at the top and bottom, giving it a bit of a slimmer middle. The product dials down completely to be covered up by the tube. There is a sticker on the side of the twist up tube clearly showing the brand, name of shade, it’s numbered code and a “Made in France” tag. The word “Sephora” is circled along the bottom of the tube as matte lettering on a glossy base, a beautiful and subtle design element. The very bottom has a clear window showing you the exact shade of the lipstick inside, as shown in the picture below. This is my favourite detail. Overall it is feminine, user friendly and modern.
The shade is described on Sephora’s site as a true warm rose. I though it leaned cooler on my skin, maybe I’m imagining it. It looks great either way. I would describe this as a brightened, intense rosey pink. There is just the tiniest fragrance/flavour of something like strawberry gummi candies covering up a small amount of standard lipstick smell. The formula is amazing. Incredibly pigmented, moisturizing enough that I don’t feel the need for a balm or gloss with this lipstick, and the wear time is fantastic for a lipstick that does not claim to be long lasting. Application is smooth and even. The swatches below show it in 3 different lightings, flash, shade from sun, and in sun. The pigment is so intense that this was just one single swipe down of lipstick on my arm!
This lipstick has the surprising ability to make my thin lips look fuller all on it’s own! I have a couple of brights that do this, could be why I gravitate towards them.
Sephora lipsticks retail in Canada for $15.50. This is a high end formula at mid range pricing, and is well worth taking a look at. If one single swipe provides complete opacity, you would use a lot less product so I’d imagine these lipsticks would last a long time!
Do you have any favourite brighter, fresher makeup for spring?