Beauty · PSA · Vintage Post

Sephora Order/Prize Opening! (and a word of caution)

Sephora_Order_BoxLast 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.





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!


Enjoy your week!

Beauty · Vintage Post

Rimmel Dark Signature Glam’Eyes Quad Eye Shadow Swatch and Review, Radiant Orchid Theme Continued!

Continuing on with my series of purple eye shadow swatch and reviews in honor of Pantone’s Color of the Year Radiant Orchid, today’s subject is Rimmel Glam’Eyes Quad Eye Shadow in 017 Dark Signature. The label on the back says it “Complements Green Eyes”, which I’m sure may be true but I just went ahead and ignored that advice.


Rimmel Dark Signature
Rimmel Dark Signature
Rimmel Dark Signature
Rimmel Dark Signature


The shades are quite pretty, and are listed 1 through 4 for application as shown on the back.

1) a pale greyish lavender. They want you to apply this in the middle of the lid. My favourite of the quad. Mostly matte.
2) the closest to the “Radiant Orchid” shade itself, a brightened medium purple shade, undertones leaning red. They want you to apply this on the inner and outer corner. Slight amount of microglitter.
3) a frosted white shimmery shade. They want you to apply this on your brow bone.
4) a deep dark brown based purple. They want you to apply this to your outer V/corner. Slight amount of microglitter.

Rimmel Dark Signature Swatch Outdoor Light
Rimmel Dark Signature Swatch Outdoor Light
Rimmel Dark Signature Swatch Indoor Light
Rimmel Dark Signature Swatch Indoor Light

I did apply as instructed on the back as I was curious as to how it would look. Pigmentation is slightly better than average for drugstore makeup, there was some fallout but it blended and brushed away easily.

I applied this near a window for better outdoor lighting. It looked very purple when going on, and I loved it. I did notice however when walking around the house and checking in regular indoor lighting that it quickly seemed to fade to shades of greys and browns. The texture still looked nice, the dimension was still there, but it certainly wasn’t purple under an incandescent bulb. When I checked over back in outdoor light, the purple was still visible but not quite as intense as it was upon application. What bothered me most about this was no longer being able to see shade 2, the brightened medium purple, on the inner and outer corner as they had advised for application, as it did look pretty interesting. Some swatches on eye in various lighting below. Also wearing Smashbox Photo Op Eye Brightening Mascara, Milani Liquif’Eye black liner on waterline and the black shade from Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Gel Cream Liner for Hazel Eyes. I’ll probably go ahead and review that set on it’s own, it’s wonderful! (Edit: probably discontinued…sad).


Rimmel Dark SIgnature
Rimmel Dark SIgnature
Rimmel Dark Signature
Rimmel Dark Signature
Rimmel Dark Signature
Rimmel Dark Signature

Overall, good texture, pigment ok as long as you don’t mind it looking dulled in indoor light, or if you plan on being outside in the sun while wearing it. It blended well and didn’t seem to crease very quickly. If you don’t mind your colours looking different in different lighting, then this is a decent purchase. I find Rimmel to be very reasonably priced especially on sale. The medium and darker purple remind me a lot of 2 shades in a purple Annabelle trio that I plan on trying soon as well. I have higher hopes for the pigments in that one.

If I were to use this one again for a purple look, I’d eliminate the frosty white highlight shade on inner tear duct and brow bone and use a matte cream shade, something more like the one in the purple Almay palette reviewed earlier. Would probably also try an additional base over my foundation, I have a purple cream eyeliner from the same set as the Physician’s Formula cream liner mentioned above that might do the trick, smudged lightly over the lid to enhance the purple shades.

Rimmel is available at mass retailers (in Canada) and averages from $4-10 for items across the entire brand. This Rimmel Glam’Eyes Quad Eye Shadow is 0.148oz/4.2g and I probably paid around $5 for it. I’m definitely interested in trying a few more of these quads, probably some of the more neutral/lighter ones now that I know how the pigment behaves in different lighting. Perhaps Romantic Cool, Smokey Purple, English Breakfast!


Beauty · Beauty Box · Vintage Post

Review: Eye Studio Sampler 2013 from Shoppers Drug Mart

Products included in the Shoppers Drug Mart Eye Studio Mascara Sampler 2013
Products included in the Shoppers Drug Mart Eye Studio Mascara Sampler 2013

I received a lovely and thoughtful gift of this mascara sampler for xmas 2013 from my mother, who knowing my skepticism regarding the cost of high end beauty products, told me to give ’em a try to “find out if it makes a difference or not”.  Below are the mascaras reviewed in no particular order (just how I pulled them out of the box day to day).  Accompanying my own assessments are the ratings from Paula’s Choice as available, as I do find that their ratings on products outside their own line to be quite fair, and quick to point out if a harmful ingredient is included that may cause issues, which I greatly appreciate.  When I reference a “heated curl”, this is when I heat up my eyelash curler for a moment with a blowdrier, tested quickly by a touch on my inner arm (much like one would with a baby bottle) to make sure it won’t burn me, then used to curl lashes as normal.

Benefit Bad Gal: 6/10, Average review on Paula’s Choice (and I agree)

-Overly large brush, not great for deep set eyes like mine as it kinda bumped skin a bit.
-Very good singular lash definition even at 4 coats. No real clumping or need to comb out.
-Decent length at 4 coats, but lack of volume.
-Took a curl reasonably well (non heated). Edit: Curl dropped out within the hour.
-Glossy black well separated finish, flexible
-Small flakes at a few hours.
-Minimal eye irritation.
-Top and bottom eyelashes occasionally slightly stuck together when blinking, likely due to glossier formula.
-2 face washes to remove.
-This product would be good for someone not looking for volume, but for an enhanced natural look with slightly longer, well separated and glossy lashes.

Shiseido Perfect Mascara Full Definition: Poor review on Paula’s Choice due to the alcohol content, and I agree. Might not test.

-Alarming smell of strong alcohol right when tube is opened, and ingredients does list it. Apprehensive about testing this as I worry it will sting my eyes.
-This product would be good for no one, don’t put alcohol in your eye.

Note: tested product carefully and briefly and determined it was possibly formulated for asian eye shape challenges (from personally heard anecdotes from friends and colleagues – application, performance and smearing/smudging concerns due to monolids, the alcohol content would make it dry faster to circumvent this)

Clarins Wonder Perfect: 9/10, Best rating on Paula’s Choice (and I agree)

-Incredibly deep velvety black shade. I’ve never seen a mascara so intensely dark.
-Non glossy, velvety matte black finish.
-Some clumping at 2 coats.
-Wetter formula, normal sized manageable brush.
-Made lower lashes look very long
-Applied a 3rd coat when dry, crazy length although there were some clumps to comb out, they weren’t too bad
-Took a curl but drooped as it was non heated
-Dry and non sticky, no flakes so far
-Zero eye irritation
-Still somewhat flexible when dry, not entirely crispy
-Seems a bit water resistant. Washed off after 2 full washes. Eyelashes felt soft when cleaned.
-So far clear frontrunner.
-This product would be good for someone looking for a rich, velvety plush lash with length and volume.

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color: 8/10, No Paula’s Choice review on this particular kind at time of review

-Standard spool style brush of normal size which suits my needs just fine.
-Decent black matte color.
-Minimal clumping even at 3 coats
-Built more length than volume, but built reasonably well by 3 coats
-Drier formula which I find is easier to work with for cleaner multiple coats
-No eye irritation
-Nice fanned out fringe that took a curl ok (non heated), didn’t immediately fall out
-Bit of flaking when touched
-Dried soft and flexible
-Top and bottom lashes stuck a tiny bit when blinking, but this was at 3 coats.
-This product would be good for someone looking for a well rounded every day mascara that performs well but not a huge amount of volume. Good for a quick office look on a rushed morning.

Lancome Hypnose Drama: 5/10, Average Paula’s Choice review (she was more generous than I)

-Large, S shaped wavy brush picked up and deposited huge gobs of product even after being scraped off.
-Clumped. Lots. Even at just one coat. Had to brush it out to give it a chance.
-Started flaking within minutes of drying.
-So gobby I didn’t want to apply another coat. Edit: took risk with another coat. Spider lashes.
-Lower lashes looked short even after application.
-Light rose scent as many other Lancome eye products. Doesn’t bother me, but eye products don’t need fragrance.
-Took curl well.
-Lashes still soft when dry.
-Washed off easily in shower.
-Note: This mascara’s formula reminded me a lot of L’oreal’s other offerings (L’oreal owns Lancome) only L’oreal’s brushes perform much better with their more manageable size and shape.
-This product would be good for: Tammy Faye Bakker, drag queens
-Tried this mascara with a preferred brush wand from Maybelline Full n’ Soft and it performed somewhat better

Note: read a few other reviews of this product that circumvented all the goop and clumping by wiping off most of the product on a tissue prior to use, but I will be damned if I’m going to waste the majority of a costly beauty product by throwing it away before it even gets a chance on my face. A high end product should work out of the box without any screwing around to get it to function well (or in this case tube).

Smashbox Eye Brightening: 8.5/10 No Paula’s Choice review on this particular kind

-Average size dense bushy brush
-Good matte black shade
-Separated eyelashes, still ok separation at 2 coats
-Built pretty good length and ok volume at 2 coats
-Wouldn’t want to go more than 2 coats as it was already getting a little spidery/furry
-Very resistant to flaking, even when I tried to make it flake, would be great for contacts
-Dried soft and flexible
-Seemed to hold a non heated curl better than most
-Washed off easily but did sting a little tiny bit when the watery mascara got into eyes, not enough to be a deal breaker though
-This product would be good for someone who wants to only put on one fast coat and have effective results for a quick daytime look.
-A very close second pick out of this bunch of 6.

Bourjois Non Oily Eye Makeup Remover 6/10

I did not find that this product performed any better or worse than any other remover that I have, and I have a range from no name cheapies to high end as well. It claims to be non oily, but does have that super slick thin oily silicone feel. Anyone who has ever applied flea drops to the back of their dog or cat’s neck knows this particular slick oily but not oily feel. Left remains of waterproof mascara despite claiming to be “ideal for waterproof makeup”. As always, still had to wash face as usual after use to remove all traces of both the makeup and remover.

So, in conclusion, was the high end worth it?  The answer is “sometimes”, and unfortunately on a case by case basis as different things work well for different people.  If you have a drug store product you love love love, by all means don’t waste your cash searching for the elusive holy grail product, you will only disappoint yourself.  If you are like me, and your favourite has been discontinued and/or is impossible to find (my beloved Maybelline Full n’ Soft waterproof) then by all means grab one of these sampler packs and have some fun! The best part was the gift certificate for a full sized mascara, free, once you pick your favourite!