December 21, 2009

Five Favorites: December 2009 Edition

Hello, Beautiful!

These are my current five favorite beauty products for December 2009:

1. The Dior holiday eyeshadow palette
This is a beautiful palette to have! I received this as a Christmas gift from my mom (thanks mom!). I was giddy upon receiving it, as I am upon meeting any new beauty product for the first time.

This palette contains four beautiful iridescent shadows that I would describe as the perfect neutral palette. It contains a dark brown/plum, a light pink, a taupe and a champagne gold. The champagne gold color is more of a highlight color than it is a shadow, but it's beautiful in its own.

The pigmentation does not disappoint. I've tested these out with and without shadow primer. Of course they lasted longer with the shadow primer but they still held up for hours without it. The colors also show up beautifully, with or without shadow primer.

Pics & Swatches:

[no shadow primer beneath]

You can purchase this palette at Sephora for $42. They just took it off their website on December 22, so I guess they no longer carry it online. You may still have luck at your store but it's evident that this palette will be gone before we know it!

2. NARS Oil-Free Foundation
This is the only foundation that I've ever purchased more than one bottle of in a row. I normally try out a foundation and half way through buy a different one because I've become bored or just aren't satisfied. I have terrible skin due to my health issues so I need a full coverage foundation. Not many pass my test, but this one makes the grade!

It gives you a near flawless face with a beautiful matte finish. I don't always need to use concealer with this foundation, which I love. It is fast drying, which seems to be the main complaint from some women who have tried this. I actually find that to be a good thing.

I prefer to apply this with a foundation brush (I use MAC's 190 foundation brush), but I also get great results using a sponge or even my fingers (which is the method NARS endorses).

Sephora no longer carries this product on their website but you can still purchase it directly from for $40.

TIP: When selecting your shade go by the shade description and not what it looks like on your computer screen. My perfect shade (Budapest) looked too dark on the screen but the description matched my skintone perfectly. I'm also mostly Hungarian so it's not a big surprise that Budapest matches my Hungarian skintone so well.

3. NARS "I Want You" Lipgloss Set
This was my first introduction to NARS lip glosses and I gotta say I'm impressed! This set features five mini lip glosses in these popular shades: Turkish Delight, Greek Holiday, Orgasm, Striptease, and Dolce Vita.

It may say "mini" but they're not very mini at all. In fact, if you've ever owned an original Smashbox lipgloss they are the exact same size. What I love best about these glosses is they're nicely pigmented, feel comfortable on your lips and aren't sticky at all. They last a good length of time, considering they are a gloss.

Because you receive five beautiful shades it's hard to pick a favorite, but I think I like Dolce Vita the best. It's one of those "must have" colors that every girl should have in her collection.

Pics & Swatches:

[Colors from left to right: Turkish Delight, Greek Holiday, Orgasm, Striptease, and Dolce Vita]
[Colors from left to right: Turkish Delight, Greek Holiday, Orgasm, Striptease, and Dolce Vita]

[SIZE COMPARISON BELOW: (pic 1) Smashbox original next to NARS "mini" -- (pic 2) NARS "mini" next to NARS full sized]
[The NARS full sized gloss above in pic 2 is the color Tempest]

You can buy this set at for $45 - that's less than $10 per gloss!! NARS also has a 5-piece lip gloss collection on their website for $40, but I don't like the color selection as much as the one I have.

4. "Best of Make Up For Ever" Value Set
This is one set I couldn't pass up... in fact, I purchased it twice! It's a "beauty insider only" set at Sephora (although I've recently seen it at HSN too). It's a limited edition set so you better buy it now while it's around.

If you've never tried Make Up For Ever's brand this is a great introduction into some of their best products. If you're a fan of Make Up For Ever's brand then you must have this set! The value is amazing considering what you receive:
  • A full sized Smokey Lash ($22 if purchased separately)
  • A full sized Aqua Eyes liner ($17 if purchased separately)
  • A full sized HD Microfinish Powder ($30 if purchased separately)
  • A travel-sized HD Microperfecting Primer ($15 if purchased separately)
  • A travel-sized Sens'Eyes Waterproof Sensitive Eye Cleanser
[Keep in mind the pics below show the products used... and I forget to get a close up of the primer]

Get it now at Sephora for just $49!! That's an AMAZING value ($91.50 to be exact)

5. My $2.99 "makeup brushes"
I have a mix of brushes in my makeup brush collection. Some from Victoria's Secret, a few from MAC, some from IMAN, and then there are non makeup-makeup brushes. I usually go to Michael's craft store (or any craft store for that matter) and browse their paint brush section. Usually you can find some good brushes at great prices.

I recently picked up two brushes that were $2.99 each. One I use for a concealer brush (although applying cream shadow would be another use). The handle isn't super long like some paint brushes and the bristles are soft, yet dense enough to handle the application of concealer.

The second one I use as a liner brush. Like the other brush, the handle is still short enough to handle the brush with ease. The bristles aren't as dense as some of my other liner brushes, but this will create delicate, soft lines. I don't think this will be an everyday brush, but it will definitely come in handy. I have also tried this brush when applying brow powder and I actually prefer using it for that method.


So those are my five favorite beauty products for the month of December. Check back in January for my January favs!!

Until next time....

xoxo with love & beauty,

Crystal Valentine B.
- The woman who runs

Welcome to the Valentine Kisses blog!

Hello, Beautiful!

My name is Crystal and I'm the owner of I created this blog to document and gather all my beauty tutorials, swatches, and of course exclusive sales, deals, and contests to my blog readers!

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xoxo with love & beauty,

Crystal Valentine B.
- The woman who runs