My First Sephora Trip Back In The USA Part 1

When you’re overseas you get the benefits of finding new cosmetic and skincare goodies but you also miss out on many things released back home. While living in Germany, I didn’t have easy access to a Sephora and most of the cosmetics sold in Germany are for medium toned warm complected women. Needless to say I didn’t buy much when I was there. I was really looking forward to my first Sephora trip once I was back. I was a bit overwhelmed when it finally happened though. So many things to catch up on! Not to mention I forgot how relentless the SA’s can be there. In Germany no one approaches you unless you make eye contact. In France, they will ask you if you need help once and give you their name then walk away and let you shop until you go to them. I prefer that. I was swarmed by at least 15 people and 8 of those came back repeatedly. This made the trip hard to handle and also difficult to swatch and take photo’s for you guys. Many of my readers out there who are in love with beauty will have tried most of this stuff already but I’m going to show you a few swatches and give some mini reviews about what I tried.

On the makeup side of Sephora, I was really intent on checking out newer offerings from Tarte, Nars, Dior, YSL and Urban Decay. I swatched a few things from Tarte and YSL that didn’t get pictured because after Dior my hands were too gooey to work my phone. Let’s start with the color swatches I did manage to capture!IMG_0124


NARS Kauai over Nars Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base

Here is one I’ve been dying to swatch, Nars Kauai. The lighting in this Sephora wasn’t the best. The purple is amazing with good pigmentation and smooth application. It’s a great balance of red and blue pigment with a hint of gold sheen. The gold is very neutral even though it looks green in the photo. It applies as smooth as butter. I was hoping it wasn’t going to be soooo good. Now I want it more than ever and even if I won’t wear it often I think I need to own it!


From top to bottom: Ether, Rockstar, Empire, Deliquent, and Mainline with Kauai all over NARS primer

1. Ether: It’s both subtle and complex. It’s a warm gray base with cool purple, blue, and copper colored micro-shimmer. It’s a bit lacking on pigmentation but it wore alright over the base. I’m not sure I’d buy it but it’s pretty!

2. Rockstar: A deep eggplant with a subtle red violet sheen. This applied like butter and was the second most pigmented of the group. This is a great mid tone liner. Not as harsh as black but more fun than brown or gray. I was worried it would be too red but it seems with the dark base it’s just enough flash without looking clown-y.

3.Empire: Is a sophisticated shade. It’s got a red violet base with a blue violet overlay that is not quite a shimmer or sheen; it’s almost semi-matte and hard to really describe. It almost looks like you mixed a matte violet blue with a subtle sheen violet red and this is what came out. It’s also as dark as Rockstar, just a different tone that makes it look a little softer.

4. Delinquent: It’s got a similar base color to Ether but it’s got a different set of shimmer colors. It applies patchy enough even over the base that I’d probably not buy it but it’s very pretty. It was the first swatch to wear off my hand.

5. Mainline: It’s a deeply pigmented, smooth as butter liner that’s got a medium blue base and a deep teal matte overlay. I thought it was the best of the bunch in terms of pigmentation. I have it still faintly on my hand a week later! I’ve scrubbed and scrubbed with everything I have and it’s still faintly there.This is a must buy for brown or amber eyes. I would absolutely buy it except for one reservation. It’s the exact color of the veins in my skin! I’m not sure how that would look for someone with green eyes and prominent under eye veining. Concealer might help but it might not be enough. Any input from you readers would be appreciated!

Makeup I tried that wasn’t photographed:

1.Tarte EmphasEYES: This is a waterproof eye brightener much like Rimmel ScandelEYES Nude. The idea is the same but the formula on the Rimmel seemed smoother to me. The Tarte is a better color for me but it was still a bit dark for my skin tone. I’d think it would match well for the NC/NW 20 to 30 complexion range. I can’t say as to how the formula would work on the waterline or if it would pill or fade. I’d give it a B+ just based on the swatch for those of the above skin tones.

2.Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer: This stuff is no joke. It’s got as much coverage as my Lancome Effacernes! It’s got a great shade range and it’s perfect for both undereye and spot concealing. You MUST have a fully moisturized undereye area before applying or it looks chalky. This lasted all day for me and I got a sample to use at home because of the color match. It’s almost too light! I might want to try the next one up too. I give this an A- but will give a more in depth review later based on continued use.

3. Tarte Amazonian Clay BB: Nice range of shades and I like it’s sheerness. It’s got SPF 20 and it looked pretty natural on my hand. Based on this swatch alone, I’d give it a B+. I got a sample so I’ll report back!

4. Tarte SmolderEYES Amzonian Clay Waterproof Liner: I tried this in the golden beige shade. I liked it but it wore off in 4 hours but I’m sure wear time on eyes would be better. Based on my swatch, I’d give this a B.

5.Tarte Skinny SmolderEYES: I tried the shade in Sunstone Bronze. It went on very soft and smudged slightly. It did wear well once it set until I removed it with make up remover 10 hours later. It’s a very complex shade with it’s rich red brown base and copper and violet shimmer that almost equates to a burgundy from a few feet away. I don’t normally like brown base liners but this is so rich and complex I might pick it up because it would probably look great with green eyes! I’d give it an A- based on my swatch.

6. YSL Top Secrets All in One BB: I wanted to try this BB cream after seeing it reviewed over at We have similar complexions so I picked this up based on her recommendation. I tried the shade “clear”. Based on the swatch I’ll give it a B+ just because it’s a little warm for me on my hand. I got a sample so I can do a full review!

7. YSL LE TEINT TOUCHE ÉCLAT: Another great recommendation from our roguish friend! I selected the shade B10 because it was the lightest they had. It’s a neutral/peach undertone. I might be a BR10 which has a neutral to rose undertone but for that I’ll need to sample elsewhere as Sephora doesn’t carry this shade. I didn’t get to swatch this because of the lack of a tester. They opened a new bottle, made me a sample, and then took the bottle back to the back room of the store!

Sorry for the marathon of products! I tried what I felt I had time for and what held the most interest for me. I didn’t try Urban Decay Naked 3 because they were sold out at that Sephora and the tester was more than well used. I will look for that on my next trip. The next part of this article will feature my skincare and fragrance finds! Stay tuned!

Do you have any experience with the cosmetics mentioned today you’d like to share? If so let us know if the comments below!


  1. 1


    Ooh, I’m interested to see what you think of the YSL goodies! I’m surprised the BB cream came up warm – you know, I really do wonder sometimes if we get slightly different things down here in the Asia/Pacific region… The peach undertone in the touche éclat is really good for blue under eye circles!

  2. 2

    Erin says

    They might have slightly different undertones based on Asia! I know a lot of brands do! It may have looked a bit warm on my hand but the face will be the true test!

  3. 3


    Oh I really wanna try the Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer now! I’ve been going back and forth with this one because I seriously don’t need another concealer! But it’s sooo tempting!!!

    You say 15 SA’s approached you?! OMG WHY SO MANY?! I didn’t know there were that many people working at the same shift in one store! Mine has may be 5-6 max and they are all very nice and polite and give me space to look around. They probably come ask if I need help may be once or twice and that’s about it.

    But what’s odd is, why did they bring the item back to the back room?!!

    • 4

      Erin says

      If your skin gets oily this might be a good blemish concealer. It’s very nice for eyes when used ultra sparingly over moisturized eyes. It also plays well with the Tarte Maracuja Eye Cream! You can mix it for lighter coverage. Yeah it was SA overload. They had 4-5 working the skincare side and 5-6 on the make up side. Then they had two working the door and two on registers that would float. Then one woman in women’s perfume and one man in men’s perfume. Then two on make over duty at a set of tables in the middle of the store. It was crazy! The store is too little for that many! As for the back room, I’d assume to slap a tester label on it!

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    Oh my gosh, if I did all the swatching and comparisons that you did I would have left the store without a penny to my name. Sephora can be an overwhelming place, but you dove in with both feet! I laughed heartily that Dior was too gooey to photograph. Truth!

    • 6

      Erin says

      I’m the kind of person who rarely buys something at Sephora the first time I see it even if I like it. If I see something that looks good to me I write it down and then look up reviews. If the reviews are good, I’ll sample. Then I’ll buy if I feel it’s a great product or fills a hole in my collection. This is why so many of my color cosmetics come from the drugstore. If I make a $8 lipstick mistake, it’s not the end of the world. A $30 lipstick mistake is another story! If I’ve already seen good reviews from a skin twin or a reviewer with similar coloring, I might buy it the first time if I have some disposable income.


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