We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

7 Tried & True Must-Have Products

By Dustin Hunter, Makeup Artist

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Dustin Hunter has been designing various media since his early teen years. Studying several different art forms, Hunter’s creative background ranges from illustration and photography to fashion and interior design to music production and makeup artistry. He has worked for over a decade as a professional illustrator and his retail interior design concepts have been featured in nation-wide publications, receiving recognition for their uniqueness and creativity.  Check out his blog and YouTube channel!


MAC Reflects Transparent Teal Glitter

7 Tried & True Must-Have Products

I’m a sucker for multi-purpose products: pigments, cream and liquid paints, mixing mediums, etc. I like to custom-blend just about everything! Not everyone feels the same way, though, and sometimes, it’s nice to have one product that does a job and does it well. These are some of my tried-and-true favorites from a few different companies (hopefully some that you haven’t heard of before)!

Estée Lauder Pure Color Lipstick | Their Long Lasting Cream finishes are some of the best lipsticks I own. They cover well and feel luxurious on the lips. The BEST ones are almost always limited edition. Favorites in the Permanent Range: Cherry Passion, Melon and Rose Tea.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tars | I’m actually not a huge fan of these on the lips, but, OH, the blushes these make! They last forever and blend like a dream (they DO have mint in them though so avoid the eye area). Favorites: Cha-Cha and Divine.

Face Atelier Ultra Sheer | I love these liquid luminizers because you can mix them with foundation, cream blush or bronzer for glowing skin or apply them on their own (I use a fluffy blush brush) for a natural highlighting effect. Favorites: Champagne.

Terra Firma Gel Mineral Matte Finish Bronzer | I use this on myself all the time. It’s highly pigmented (I dilute it with body lotion), long-wearing, won’t rub off on clothes and looks SO amazingly natural – If most bronzers are too orange for you, look no further! (There’s also a shimmering version if you like to twinkle.)

MAC Reflects Glitters | A MAC PRO exclusive (but anyone can buy from MAC PRO). I’ve used these in a multitude of ways: mixing custom lip gloss, over mascara for sparkling lashes, on top of just any eye look, pressed over lipstick for a metallic foil effect, as a face and body highlight, worked into a hairstyle, etc. Not many things are THIS pretty! (Be aware that MAC lists these products as “not for use in the eye area.”) Favorites: Reflects Bronze, Reflects Gold and Reflects Transparent Teal.

MAC Blot Powder and Purely Cosmetics Diamond Perfect Finish Powder | My two favorite setting powders! Blot Powder by MAC is perfect for mattifying a look without adding any color or texture. Diamond Perfect Finish Powder by Purely Cosmetics is a transparent loose powder that easily outperforms the transparent powders I have from MAC and MUFE (smoother application, better line diffusing AND it doesn’t bounce light back in photography).

See more photos & swatches!

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

Holiday Gift Guide: Totally Holiday, Totally Gift-Worthy and Under $50


Holiday Gift Guide: Totally Holiday, Totally Gift-Worthy and Under $50

This part of the holiday gift guide shares my favorite just-for-the-holidays palettes and kits over $30 but $50 or less–not over-the-top indulgent gifts but we’re getting there. If you missed it, I already posted the under $30 guide! 🙂

Eyes: Long-time readers know I’m a huge fan of Aqua Eyes, and the Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Aqua Eyes Collection ($36.00) contains five travel-sized (I’m guessing 0.02 to 0.03 oz.) and one full-size (0.04 oz.) eyeliner; for the price of two full-sized eyeliners, you’re getting six shades to try of a fantastic formula. Urban Decay also has two Eyeliner Sets ($32.00 each) that contain five travel-sized 24/7 Eyeliners; there is also a Shadow Pencil Stash ($34.00). At this price point, you can find some excellent palettes that came out just in time for the holidays, like Urban Decay Mariposa Eyeshadow Palette ($39.00) and Bare Escentuals Ready 8.0 Eyeshadow Palette ($40.00).

Cheeks/Face: Too Faced In Your Dreams Makeup Collection ($39.00) is an eye, cheek, and lip palette that’s great for someone new to makeup; I like it because everything is presented in an easy-to-digest manner, and the colors coordinate with each other, so there is no guessing. Benefit Project Flawless ($32.00) is a cutely packaged set that contains a highlighter (Girl Meets Pearl), mascara, lipgloss (Foxy Lady), and blush (Bella Bamba). If that’s not quite to your taste, you could check out Romancing the Mirror ($39.00), which contains That Gal, Sugarbomb, and BADgal Lash.

Lips: I’ve been really digging Bobbi Brown’s High Shimmer Lip Gloss Trio ($38.00); they’re fairly sheer, but they had so much dazzle and shine without feeling gritty–I’ve been reaching for these (because I need to do lip swatches for them!) to layer on top of other lipsticks. Estee Lauder’s Pure Color Gloss to Go Set ($32.50) comes in a cute red faux leather zipper cylinder case with six holiday-appropriate glosses, and I like that it’s ready to give (there’s also a lipstick version).

Skin/Body: I love the way Estee Lauder set-up their skincare gift sets this year; they categorize them based on theme, like even skin tone or anti-wrinkle. Clinique has an excellent set for dry skin (Moisture Surge has saved my skin before!) called Total Moisture ($44.00). Consider giving a decadent, luxurious body cream in the form of this Laura Mercier Souffle Body Creme Sampler Set ($50.00 for 4×3 oz.).

Fragrance: Elegantly packaged, convenient to use, and full-sized, Tocca Beauty Rollerball Trio ($48.00 for 3×0.33 oz.) contains three different scents (Florence, Cleopatra, and Colette), which can be gifted as a set or easily broken up. Juicy Couture ($35.00 for 3×0.33 oz.) also has a trio of fragrance sprays of their signature scents. Fresh Sugar Obsessions Rollerball Trio ($35.00 for 3×0.34 oz.) contains popular Fresh scents, and if you have a foodie friend, this might be a good one for them. What’s really great about rollerballs is they’re easy to give, and they can be re-gifted, too–if you give your friend a kit, and they dislike one scent, it’s so easy for them to pass along to a friend/family member.

Do you have any suggestions for readers on the prowl for holiday gifts this year that came out just in time for holiday gift-giving?

The best thing to do is go outside and look at what products you’re thinking of wearing to make sure everything matches/coordinates. Then, when you’re in the space with the less-than-stellar lighting, concentrate on texture and light/dark–pay less attention to the color as you are whether everything is fading to the right gradient, edges are softened, etc.

— Christine

Do you have a question idea? Submit yours here.

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

Holiday Gift Guide: Totally Holiday, Totally Gift-Worthy and Under $30


Holiday Gift Guide: Totally Holiday, Totally Gift-Worthy and Under $30

First, I want to cover holiday gift sets, kits, palettes, and value sets specifically and exclusively. There are several more posts to come, including items from holiday color collections as well as permanent products and more. I tried to take into account the incredible input I received from readers, so the whole guide is broken down by price with special attention to different categories of products (e.g. lipgloss vs. eyeshadow), as well as I tried to provide commentary on who the gift might work for.

A Few Money-Saving Tips

  • If you’re on a tight budget this year but feel you absolutely must buy something to gift, consider doling out more on a single value kit/set but then breaking it up. For instance, a kit with ten lipglosses can be split and gifted to two or three or even ten people. You can buy festive holiday ribbon at a local crafts store to tie around the gloss, or you could include a few holiday candies or homemade baked goods.
  • Splitting up sets is also a great idea if you’re looking for stocking stuffers or you want to do more mixing-and-matching of gifts for your favorite pals (say a gloss, eyeliner, and lipstick).
  • When it comes to getting the most for your money, pay attention to the amount of product you’re getting and compare to the full-sized version (and its price).
  • Consider nail polish sets and kits; some come around for the holidays (but availability online may be difficult), there are lots of fantastic brands for $2-5 a pop, so you can get a good variety without breaking the bank.

Eyes: Snag two travel-sized eyeliners (which are usually around 0.03 oz., compared to 0.04 oz. for full size) in Oil Slick and Rockstar in Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil Duo ($14.00); there is also one in Bourbon and Ransom. Bare Escentuals Strike It Rich Prime Time Collection ($28.00) contains five miniature-sized versions of the brand’s colored primer, which I’m a fan of; the only way the kit could have been better is if they included Urban Nature!

Cheeks/Face: Trial kits like Benefit One Prime Day ($10.00) are great for personal use but also to give, because you’re giving someone the chance to try new products they might not otherwise buy, but if you’re not totally sure they’ll love them, neither of you will feel bad. I’d give this to a friend who complained about their oily skin! Something else to consider is Benefit’s Powda WOWza, which consists of three top-selling face powders (and two that I love): CORALista, Bella Bamba, and Hoola.

Lips: This is an easily one of the best places to get a lot of bank for your buck when it comes to holiday sets–there are numerous lipgloss/lipstick kits available. I love the sheer, tinted hydrating lip shines, and the Philosophy Much Mistletoeing Lip Shine Set ($20.00 for 4×0.50 oz.) is a good value (these are full-sized!) and already comes in festive packaging. Korres has a great lipgloss formula in their Cherry Oil Lipglosses, and for the holidays, they have a Cherry-Picked Cherry Oil Lipgloss Quad ($28.00 for 4×0.20o oz.) set–and don’t let the word “quad” fool you, because they’re four individually packaged glosses that are full-sized. For lip balm, you know I’m loving and have to recommend Jack Black Balm Squad Lip Quad ($25.00 for 4×0.25 oz.) includes four full-sized lip balms of my very favorite formula in four flavors (there is also a lip balm/hand cream duo for $12, and both formulas TOPS!).

Skin/Body: Badger Three Bold Balms Set ($15.99) is a fabulous balm for healing dry, cracked skin, and this set gives you one to help with sore muscles, another for everywhere, and one scented to help you sleep–a totally classic multi-purpose balm but in a cuter set for the holidays. Bliss Winter Wonder Hands ($11.00) is a duo of hand creams that are purse-sized and fit easily into stockings. It’s not my very favorite hand cream, but it’s a good one! Burt’s Bees Healthy Hands Repair Kit ($12.99) is perfect for someone who works with their hands or loves to do their nails (and is therefore meticulous about their hands!).

When it comes to body care, my favorite go-tos for gifts are Philosophy and Bath and Body Works. Philosophy has numerous gift sets available (from all categories they offer), but a few of the ones I like best are Sugar Plum Frost Set ($18.00), Candy Cane Trio ($22.00), and Fun in the Frosty Air Trio ($25.00). Similarly, Bath and Body Works has tons of various baskets and sets. Giving body products are excellent gift ideas for people who enjoy relaxing (think baths and long showers) or for those you don’t know well enough to be able to pick a specific color for. If you’re unsure about someone’s scent preferences, food-based scents tend to be most generally applicable, so long as they’re not cloyingly sweet.

Fragrance:  They may be teeny-tiny, but you’ll be surprised at how many uses you’ll still get out of Tocca’s Love Yourself Collection ($18.00 for 7×0.05 oz.). Pacifica Hawaiian Ruby Guava Take Me There Set ($18.00) contains travel-sized versions of the scent’s rollerball perfume, body butter, and body wash, which would be a great layering kit, especially for someone who enjoys fruitier, tropical scents.

Do you have any suggestions for readers on the prowl for affordable holiday gifts this year that came out just in time for holiday gift-giving?

Lancome Color du Jour Color Design Eyeshadow

Lancome Color du Jour Color Design Eyeshadow
Lancome Color du Jour Color Design Eyeshadow

Lancome Color du Jour Color Design Eyeshadow

Lancome Color du Jour Color Design Eyeshadow ($18.00 for 0.042 oz.) is described as a “metallic golden eggplant.” It’s a reddish-burgundy with copper sparkle. The color payoff is decent but on the sheerer side. I’d love it if the texture was denser, because it feels a bit dry here. It’s redder, less plum, compared to MAC Trax. The color is more like MAC Star Violet but with gold shimmer and less frost.   I briefly tested this for a few hours to check on whether there would be fall out, and I’m happy to report that there was none after five hours of wear.

Lancome’s eyeshadows are actually formulated to be long-wearing with “pigment-packed color.” I don’t typically get quite so long in practice, though it’s not bad without a primer. I tend to get subtle creasing after eight hours without a primer, but when I use a primer, I have no issues at all, even after twelve hours.

Lancome Color Design Eyeshadow Colour du Jour

On Instagram