We at Best Coast Beauty always seem to give each other makeup or skincare goodies as gifts, so this year we decided to do a Christmas Gift Exchange for each other and report back on how our gifts worked out. We imposed a $50 (ish) limit, sent each other our Sephora wish lists and got to ordering. For us, part of the fun is trying new products, and part of the fun is picking out things we think the other person might like. Read on to see our reviews, and know that each of us wish you and yours a beautiful holiday filled with love, laughter and a little sparkle! Merry Christmas!
GLAMGLOW BRIGHTEYES Illuminating Anti-Fatigue Eye Cream
Find it HERE
From Liz’s wishlist I selected the GLAMGLOW BRIGHTEYES Illuminating Anti-Fatigue Eye Cream. I know Liz doesn’t like to spend money on skincare (it’s not sparkly or instantly gratifying), but I also know she appreciates the good stuff. My compromise was to give my favorite raccoon something good for her, in a shiny package. Truthfully, I hadn’t heard anything about this eye cream until she mentioned it so I’m curious to see how it works out! ~Lea
Who doesn’t want more illuminated under eyes? Although I don’t have a lot of dark circles or wrinkles to contend with, I have really dry under eyes with some bumpy texture and have to be careful putting concealer in this area because it can become a patchy desert pretty quickly. For that reason, I’d love it if the whole area was bright and hydrated without needing a lot of product.
This GLAMGLOW product claims to be a brightening under eye cream that combats fatigue with caffeine, hyaluronic acid and peptides. The cream itself has no detectable fragrance and a light pink iridescent shift when you first dip into it. Once I tap this around the eye with my ring finger, the iridescence mostly blends into my skin, however, it does retain a light sheen, which I actually like. This is the “illuminating” element, and it does work to reflect light and provide a very minimal brightening effect.
This eye cream is hydrating enough, though I can’t say it completely drenched my parched under eyes in moisture, and I didn’t experience any irritation using it. I think this is best as a morning eye cream because of its illuminating qualities (I’m currently using the Tarte Maracuja Oil at night and really love it to help keep dry patches at bay). I’ll keep applying this eye cream to see if it makes a more noticeable impact with continued use because in my experience, it takes at least four weeks to really see what an eye cream will do. So far, I have high hopes for this new one from GLAMGLOW.
Natasha Denona Mini Gold Eyeshadow Palette
Find it HERE
To balance out sending Liz the beauty equivalent of getting socks for Christmas with the eye cream, I also selected the Mini Gold Palette. I don’t recall her ever having talked about using Natasha Denona shadows and since they’re reportedly some of the best, a mini palette seemed like the perfect introduction (with some unique shades too). ~Lea
This is my first ever Natasha Denona eyeshadow. The full size Gold palette is on my “If I Win the Lottery Wish List” because, you guys, it looks beautiful and amazing, but it’s a whopping $129. Even I can’t convince myself to shell out that kind of cash for an eyeshadow palette. So I was really happy to be able to try this mini palette of 5 shades that has the same color story feel of the big Gold palette without the hefty price tag.
Let’s go through the shades themselves. Lodge, a mid-toned camel color, is a great transition shade matte. I really liked this one overall and found it provided good color payoff and was really smooth. Dark Sepia, a slightly shimmery dark brown, didn’t pack as much of a punch as I wanted it to. When I applied to the outer corner with a brush, I didn’t get the deep color I was seeing in the pan, so keep that in mind. It’s not horrible by any means, just less rich than I thought it would be.
Next up is a beautiful, shimmery gold aptly named D’or. It adds a lot of light and glimmer to any look and is best applied with a fingertip to minimize glittery fallout (this had the most fallout of any of the shades in the palette). I really like this one at the inner corner and inner portion of the lid. The second matte shade, Bia, is a unique olive green. I don’t think I have anything else like it. I tried to apply this all over the lid and found that, although it swatched on my arm really nicely, it was a bit patchy to apply on the lid with my brush. I had to work a little more to blend it and still thought it was uneven. The final shade, Antheia, is a metallic green with a gold shift. I think it’s probably the most interesting shade here and I had the most success with it when I patted it on the lid with a wet, flat brush.
I was able to create a light, shimmery look with this palette, and also amp it up a little with the darker greens for more color. This palette has great staying power, and every time I wore it, the shadows lasted well on the lids and there wasn’t any creasing. Although it doesn’t have me running out to buy Natasha’s super spendy full sized palettes, this is a nice one with a few unique colors that I’m glad to add to my eyeshadow stash.
Kevyn Aucoin The Neo-Blush in Grapevine
Find it HERE
I picked the Kevyn Aucoin The Neo-Blush for Lea because I know she’s been curious about trying this brand. The gradient blush seems to make it possible to go really hard for a bold look, or keep it light and fresh all with one product. It’s always fun to experiment and try new colors, and this looked like a great way to explore different blush looks. ~Liz
I’ve been needing a new blush for months and have never tried a Kevyn Aucoin product (because of the price tag), so this was an especially exciting gift. The shimmery compact has a nice weight to it and really feels luxurious. At the same time it’s tastefully slim with a generous mirror in the lid- A+ for packaging! I had hoped the ombré effect across the pan would give me options for sculpting my cheekbones. I’m new to utilizing multiple shades of blush at one time but so far I’m really liking the results.
I was able to swipe my brush vertically in three places to get sort of a light, medium and dark shade on my brush each time. The formula blends effortlessly and is generously pigmented. I also really like that the lighter end of the spectrum has a slight shimmer (I’m assuming for use on the apples and higher points of the cheek bones) whereas the darker end is matte- this was a well thought-out product! I have continued to use this almost daily for the last 2 weeks and still love it.
The only con is that if you swipe your brush horizontally, the darker pigment sticks to and seems to stain the lighter end…I’ve only done this a handful of times at most and already the colors are becoming one. The blended shade is still gorgeous but since there weren’t any swatches of this online, that could make it hard to choose a shade. Based on the initial package, it’s impossible to tell what shade you’ll end up with when it’s all mixed together. Unless you are diligent about not mixing the spectrum, the ombré effect and dual finishes amount to a beautiful gimmick.
BECCA Cosmetics Pop Goes The Glow Champagne Pop Face & Eye Palette
(on sale for $28 as of 12/24/19)
Find it HERE
I picked this palette for Lea because I thought it could provide all the color for the face in one palette. There are blush and bronzy shades for the cheeks that would also make great eyeshadows, and a generous helping of BECCA’s famed Champagne Pop highlighter. On busy days trying to get both herself and her little kiddo out the door, I wanted this palette to deliver easy, pretty options for Lea without a lot of fuss. ~Liz
I was SO excited to get this from Liz (and not altogether surprised that she chose two of the most shiny/sparkly items on my list). I received a mini BECCA highlighter in an Ipsy package once and loved it until I hit pan and had to use the back of a makeup brush to literally scrape the last specs of powder away from the edges. Their price points are reasonable and the powders are finely milled, so I was excited to try additional items (this palette includes blush and bronzer as well as highlighter). Also would you take a look at this packaging!!
The mirror in the lid is generous but I wish the palette would flap all the way open. I know that’s nit-picky but having the lid stick straight up at 90 degrees makes it hard to hold with one hand. After swatching all of the shades I had reservations about the bronzer (quite shimmery) and the rose gold shade (glitter is a little chunky).
After an application and wear test I’m happy to report that the bronzer (Caramel) is actually stunning on, it imparts more a sheen than shimmer. The highlight shade (Champagne Pop) is as good as I remember BECCA highlighter being. The blush (Berry) is very pigmented and comes in a cohesive shade. Gold eyeshadow in general doesn’t really suit my skin tone and I’m not tan enough to use this shade (Truffle) anywhere else. The rose gold (Pink Crème) is a little chunky but wearable, perhaps also as a blush topper in the summer. I have a favorite rose gold Super Shock Shadow from ColourPop in the shade Weenie that is a richer shade and goes on smoother than this BECCA option, if you’re in the market.
As a whole, I’m glad I own this because to travel with it’s a complete look. I’m curious to see if more options open up for me in the summer as my skin tone deepens, but even if I only use the bronzer, blush and highlight shades this palette is still worth purchasing.