Tips and Tutorials

NARS Steven Klein Holiday 2015, Part 1: The Gift Sets

Published in: Collections, Makeup, NARS, Video

It wouldn’t be the holidays at NARS without a gift set with some man junk…

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NARS Steven Klein Full Service Mini Kabuki Brush Set ($95)

And a lady in a Jason Voorhees mask…

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So, yeah. It’s pretty much business as usual over at NARS! :)

The brand likes to scoot along the razor’s edge with their holiday collections, often doing collaborations with cutting edge artists, and their holiday releases are anything but boring and traditional. Instead of reindeers and candy canes, we get ladies in lingerie wearing sexy aliens masks.

This year’s collab is with fashion photographer Steven Klein, and it’s a big one. I’ve split it into two parts, with this first video covering the gift sets, which arrive on the NARS website and at NARS boutiques October 5, and then in stores November 1.

Here are some swatches and pictures, and there’s a lot more info in the video at the top. I hope you see something you like.

nars steven klein dispair cheek palette

NARS Steven Klein Despair Cheek Palette ($65)

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NARS Steven Klein Despair Cheek Palette Blushes in Nico, Savage, Esoteric and Ferocious

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Benefit Holiday 2015 | First Impressions

Published in: Benefit, Kits and Sets, Makeup, Product Reviews, Video

benefit holiday 2015

Four of the six Best of Benefit holiday kits for holiday 2015

Why do I suddenly feel the urge to wear neon and listen to Wham!?

Oh, maybe it’s this: the Benefit holiday 2015 collection and its candy-colored, ’80s theme.

My goodness, girlfriend. It just occurred to me that, depending on your age, you may not have heard of Wham! — which is a thought that makes me want to take a long walk off a short pier (dramatic much?).

Seriously, though, they’re one of the quintessential ’80s party bands.

benefit holiday 2015 party poppers

The Benefit Holiday 2015 Party Poppers ($45) Best of Benefit kit, coming to all Benefit counters and stores

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The Benefit Holiday 2015 Your B.right! to Party Best of Benefit kit ($49, coming to all Benefit counters and stores) and Party Hoppin’ kit ($39, exclusive to Ulta)

Speaking of parties, this year’s Benefit holiday 2015 collection Best of Benefit kits sure look like they’re having a blast (look at those bright colors!). I’m getting distinct notes of out-of-control New Year’s Eve parties that can’t stop, and won’t stop, until well after dawn.

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Benefit Holiday 2015 Party Poppers ($45) Best of Benefit kit, coming to all Benefit counters and stores

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theBalm Holiday 2015 Collection First Impressions

Published in: Collections, Makeup, Palettes, theBalm, Video

thebalm holiday 2015

The two theBalm Holiday 2015 palettes

I hope the holidays are hella balm, girl, because you know what!? YOU DA BALM.

You da balm dot com!

The balm…? Get it??

Alright, alright, I know. Weak word play…but it’s so much fun. :)

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Yes, I’m actually holding theBalm In the Balm of Your Hand palette ($39.50) in the palm of my hand…

The holidays have officially begun over at theBalm. Their new holiday 2015 collection is available now, and it’s just two pieces — actually, two palettes. One of them is called “In theBalm of Your Hand Greatest Hits Vol. 1,” so you’ll literally be able to hold theBalm in the palm of your hand.

Both palettes are filled with some of the brand’s most popular products, so there aren’t any new colors here. One consists of powder and cream products for eyes, cheeks and lips, and the other contains a trio of powder highlighters.

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theBalm In the Balm of Your Hand palette ($39.50)

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Dior Holiday 2015 “State of Gold” Collection | First Impressions

Published in: Collections, Dior, Makeup, Video

dior holiday 2015 blazing gold

Center stage: the Dior 5 Couleurs State of Gold Eyeshadow Palette in Blazing Gold #866 ($63, available now at and coming to Dior stores and counters this November)

Despite its official moniker, “State of Gold,” Dior’s holiday 2015 collection could have been called “State of Gold and Gray,” because gray makes a memorable appearance. Dior played with the concept of mixed metals in this release, and even though gray is not a color that usually pops into my head when I think, “Yay! Holiday collections!” I think it really works here.

I’ve been wearing five of the 13 pieces in the release, which is available now at and coming to Dior stores and counters this November, and I’m impressed by the way Dior handles these mixed metals.

But first! — why gray and gold? Well, both are iconic, signature colors at the House of Dior, much like beige and black are over at Chanel.

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The Dior 5-Couleurs State of Gold Eyeshadow Palette in Blazing Gold #866 ($63)

But with this collection, Dior handles the two colors in what I think are unconventional ways, like what they’ve done here with the eyeshadow palette I’ve been wearing, Blazing Gold. There’s a cool gold in the center next to a gray shade, but the gray isn’t just one of those blasé run-of-the-mill grays. No, it’s a breathtaking shimmery taupe-ish gray with flecks of cool golden micro glitter.

Seriously, it’s so beautiful that I almost can’t take it! — and when you wet it and wear it as an eye liner? Great Caesar’s ghost, it sparkles like 100 Leonid meteor showers. Gimme dat sparkly gold and gray! :)

dior holiday 2015 gris or passion

The Diorific Vernis in Gris-Or #227 and Passion #951 Nail Lacquers ($28 each)

I love funky combos and interesting ideas like that, and Dior does it again with the Gris-Or Nail Lacquer, where they combined gold and gray in the nail polish. I never would have expected it to work — a mix of metallic gold and metallic platinum? — but I think it totally does.

I’ve worn two of the four lacquers in the collection — gold and platinum Gris-Or and creamy, classic red Passion — and I like them both.

And can we just talk about Dior’s nail polish brush for a second? Isn’t it the best thing ever?! Flat and wide, it covers my entire nail from base to tip in a single swipe, and that brush tip is a beast. I love the crescent moon shape; it perfectly fits along the base of my nails, creating crisp, clean lines every time. It never leaves a mess, either, by getting polish on my cuticles.

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Diorific Mat Velvet Colour Lipstick in Radieuse #430 and Fascinate #580 ($38 each)

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5 Reasons to Use a Lip Brush

Published in: Makeup Tips/How To

5 reasons to use a lip brush

1. Lip Brushes Are More Precise Than Lipstick Bullets

Lip brushes, with their little, compact brush heads, are usually a lot more precise than your average lipstick bullet, so you can place your lipstick exactly where you want it, every time. Plus, they don’t smooth and dull like a lipstick bullet after you’ve used it a few times and the tip gets all smushed and the edges melt away… Not a problem when you’re working with a lip brush.

2. Lip Brushes Waste Less Product

To get the most moolah out of your lipsticks, apply ’em with a lip brush, because when you apply a lipstick directly from the tube, little bits tend to pool and glob in and around your lip lines and other textured areas. Also, once you wear a tube of lipstick down to the nub, don’t throw it away yet! You can reach down into the bullet to get the hard-to-reach stuff with a lip brush.

3. It’s Easier to Apply Your Lipstick Evenly With a Lip Brush

Ever have trubs evenly applying your lipstick? If you do, instead of going back and forth over the same patchy places (and wasting even more product!), even everything out by brushing over your entire lip with a lip brush.
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