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Jezebel's Millihelen beauty site just ran an Ask Me Anything of sorts with an anonymous Sephora employee in which she answered readers' questions about basically every product and brand available at Sephora. The staffer seems to have tried them all and had corresponding strong opinions about the best and worst Sephora has to offer. Here are her thoughts, organized by category. Scroll down to find out what brands she thinks are overrated and over-priced.
Eyeliner: "Try Marc Jacobs. It's the only one that doesn't transfer from my upper tightline when I blink."
Eyelash curler: "I was using the Revlon one for ages and then I used a Kevyn Aucoin one and was like WHOA, I didn't realize there could actually be a difference."
Eye shadows: "Make Up For Ever reformulated their shadows this fall and they are gorgeous."
Mascara: "A lot of people like Too Faced Better Than Sex and Benefit They're Real, but I don't because the brushes are too big. You have to get to know what brushes you like best, I think. And if you like a dryer or wetter formula….And to be honest, there are some GREAT drugstore mascaras! (CoverGirl is under-hyped.)"
Lipstick: "NARS Audacious!"
BB Creams and Tinted Moisturizers: "Dr. Jart makes some decent ones. The Waterfuse (blue tube) is good for anyone with dry skin. The down side is that there is no shade range. I personally love the Diorskin Nude BB cream (pink tube) but again, only four shades and a bit pricey. NARS pure radiant tinted moisturizer offers decent coverage, glowy, but not too glowy, and a much larger shade range. I've even been selling Sephora Collection CC cream lately. Fairly decent shade range, good price point."
Foundation: "I like the [Make Up For Ever HD foundation] for a more natural finish but some decent coverage (I use a beauty blender to sheer it out a bit)...I like UD Naked because it's lightweight but covers decently."
Contouring: "The Smashbox has been pretty universal, even on dark-medium skin tones that I didn't think it would show up on, it has worked!"
Highlighters: "I like Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfectors. The powders are more glittery, but the liquids are gorgeous and they are coming out with a cream that I can't wait to get my hands on!"
Skincare: "FAB (First Aid Beauty) because they seem to be gentle yet effective. I can safely recommend them to most skin types. Same with Ole Henriksen. I think Peter Thomas Roth is over priced but decent (love his Pumpkin enzyme mask and the new Irish Moor mask)."
Her favorite secretly awesome product: "I feel like people side eye the $19 price tag of the Beauty Blender, but I won't give mine up. Oh, but related - the solid Sephora Collection brush cleaner - SO good!"
Her favorite $$ product: "YSL Touché Eclat may cost all the monies, but is totally worth it."
Her favorite less expensive products: "I was actually going to recommend the Sephora Collection for bang for your buck. Some of their basic skincare is pretty decent (moisturizers) and the color products as well. We've noticed that their eyeliners are basically the same as UD. I haven't noticed them breaking. Make Up For Ever, however, is a fantastic line, but pricier."
What she thinks are Sephora's worst products: "Smashbox is always very 'meh' to me, but they do have some workhorses. NARS also makes some hit and miss products. (Their eyeshadows are often chalky). Strivectin and Peter Thomas Roth can be SO over priced. Origins has never inspired me. I think a lot of luxury brands struggle to justify their costs (Dior, YSL, Guerlain, etc)."
What she thinks are Sephora's most overrated brands: "That's hard. Benefit can HYPE a product like nobody's business, but they're not a bad brand. I think a lot of luxury brands are hit or miss at the prices they ask you to pay (YSL, Dior, Guerlain, even Marc Jacobs). You know, now that I think about it, people think Bare Minerals is God's gift to skin, and it's just not. But people are LOYAL to that brand. It amazes me how much we sell. Josie Maran may be slightly overrated too, but she doesn't have a huge line."
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