Round-up: The Best of Holiday 2016

NARS Mind Game Velvet Lip Glide Set
NARS Mind Game Velvet Lip Glide Set

Here’s a look back at all of our holiday product coverage this season! 🙂 You can view the full list here (157!), but I thought I’d highlight the top 25 on the blog as well as see what was covered and how well things did overall!


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Claudia Avatar

Christine, thanks for your very detailed reviews. I trust your work so much that I don’t buy makeup anymore without “consulting” Temptalia. Can you clone yourself and do skin care products too? 🙂

Christine Avatar

LOL! I really don’t think I’m particularly insightful when it comes to skincare, so even if you cloned me, I’m not sure I’d be able to give you the same level of review as an eyeshadow! I feel like I can tell someone what works for me and why I like it, but offering deep analysis of ingredients is definitely not my forte!

Anime Avatar

Christine, I love everyone at Temptalia so please don’t take offense to this: the first display of the NARS mind game coffret for this particular post is spelled “HARS”. otherwise hope everything is going well!

Anime Avatar

No sweat at all! Everything always looks perfect — you do such a great job and I am just happy to help everything stay beautiful!

By the way, do you remember when I said I loved Project Chimps so much that I bought a backup? Well I may or may not have also stocked up on the MetalMatte palette as well! Thank you for helping me wade through the ocean of terrible releases this year, (sorry not sorry!) as well as confirming that this one was worth snatching up!!! I think the rest of my holiday season will be pretty tame — I want to swipe up one or two of the newly released Hakuhodo brushes (the undyed blue squirrel/saikoho goat ones!!!) and I’m probably buying whatever Sugarpill releases for the remainder of the year. Oh, and the Copper Metalmorphosis kit from Pat McGrath. So excited!

kjh Avatar

FYI Sephora shoppers: Mind Game set appeared locally in little Sephora and slightly bigger Sephora instore Sat AM. Still OOS online. But the news is, little Sephora, at least, was still giving 20% to the rouges during the vib time frame. This has to be corporate, and not ‘local initiative.’ Doubt that is true online, but you might want to check your locals. They were semi hush hush about it, but I’m thrilled I could score mind game @20%, when it was unavailable during rouge time slot.

Fran Avatar

Lip products seem to be the top scorers this holiday season, with cheek products coming in second and eyeshadow palettes lagging far behind! I’m thrilled that I’ve got tons of new lipsticks to try — unusually, there were lots of mini lip sets that contained mostly colors that are likely to be flattering for me 🙂

I’m actually really liking my NARS Give Intake Dual-Intensity palette. Unusually, it has all the kinds of colors I need to do a complete basic eye look, and I can get at least two cool-leaning neutral eye looks that will be appropriate for job interviews and almost any job setting. Plus two of the blushes do work fine for me even though they lean warm. If I applied intensely, they might not, but I mostly concentrate color on my eyes and lips, so I go lightly on my cheeks. I still think it would be a more cohesive palette if the cheek colors were cool-toned, though.

And of course I’m still loving my Viseart and MUFE palettes. The Kat Von D Shade + Light is mostly for my kit, since the warm colors are really too warm for me, and all-matte eye looks on me tend to look dry/emphasize wrinkles; I need to add or top with a bit of shimmer.

I’m loving my new Chikuhodo, Wayne Goss, and MUFE brushes; I plan to order some from Smith Cosmetics when their brush folio comes back in stock, and I’m thinking of using my Nordstrom Notes toward a couple of Tom Ford brushes — or toward one of the new Simplehuman mirrors, once Nordstrom actually gets the new models.

Fran Avatar

Ah, MUFE brushes! I use the eye brushes a lot, because I’m a nut for sanitizing eye brushes after each use, they’re my favorite synthetic brushes, and of course, being synthetic, I can sanitize them quickly with alcohol. So flat shaders: #s 208, 220, 226, 228, 230, 244, also 210 and 240. I like the #234 angled shader brush for applying/blending eyeshadow on my hood. The #216 and 236 are great for buffing out cream shadows and stubborn powders. For gentle blending, the #242. For tightlining with gel I find #172, the “precision corrector brush”, to be perfect. The #274 double-ended brow brush is perfect for applying Aqua Brow without overdoing it. The square lip brush, #300 — very precise. The #120 medium powder fan brush is great when I have a very pigmented blush that I want to apply sparingly. I love the #160 teardrop shaped blush brush for applying countour. The #144 Precision Highlighter and Concealer brush is probably my favorite highlighter brush, especially when I want precision. The #154 Buffer Blush brush is perfect for the MUFE HD cream-to powder blushes, applying and blending out. The #148 Blending Blush brush is perfect for what it says; if cheek products have gone on too intensely, if I pick up some finishing powder with this brush I can buff it all into submission. I don’t use foundation brushes on myself except to blend out the edges, and my favorite foundation brushes to use on others actually come from other brands, because I prefer buffing-style foundation brushes to paintbrush-style. I find the MUFE powder brushes to be great for powders like their HD powder, not so much for my Hourglass powders, so I use mine more in my kit than at home.

I wish companies would come out with awesome eyeshadow palettes at the holidays — even time a permanent release to come out then. An awesome eyeshadow palette is just such a great gift, for yourself or someone else, because you can spend a lot of time playing with it.

Fran Avatar

Christine, I think high-quality synthetic brushes are great for pro kits because of the ease and quickness of sanitizing between clients, also for preventing allergic reactions (since some people have allergic reactions to animal-hair brushes). I think they’re especially good for working with cream products, too; maybe try the 228 for applying cream eyeshadows and the 216 and 236 for blending them, and try the 154 for cream blushes like the MUFE HD blushes and the Bite Multistix. Especially if you don’t like to have to wash cream products out of your natural-bristle brushes. And I think the flat MUFE flat synthetic brushes work well for eyeshadows that work best with that kind of brush — the choice depends on how large or small of a brush you want.

Hildegard Avatar

I hate to ask, but was the Mac Sweet Plum Eye Bag set reviewed? It was the one thing from the Mac Nutcracker collection that appealed to me and I don’t want to break the piggy bank unless it’s really good.

I’d love to get my hands on the Nars blushes and maybe the Mind Game Velvet Lip Glide, but my budget’s not up for it. I wish more brands got better at international distribution (and/or to have Sephora in my part of the world). I see so many things on this list that I just can’t find anywhere.

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