Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sephora vs. Ulta 2015 birthday gift comparison

I have had the Sephora and Ulta free 2015 makeup gifts for a little while now, so I thought I would do a comparison smackdown post. The 2015 Sephora gift is two NARS lip pencils - Cruella (velvet) and Rikugien (satin).  The 2015 January, February, & March Ulta gift is an Ulta store brand complete eye palette in Indie.

So which one is better? 

 Left: Sephora 2015 birthday gift, Right: Ulta 2015 birthday gift

Ulta - Ulta Complete Eye Palette in Indie

The netutral 5 shade Indie quint  is pretty middle of the road compared to other eyeshadow formulas in a similar drugstore price point. I like the three lighter satin finish shades, but I'm not in love. Compared to higher end eyeshadows, the satin finish isn't very refined and the texture of the formula comes off as powdery and under pigmented. The darker browns both have blending issues. I find this palette to be usable, but not inspiring.

Read more in my full review here.

Ulta Complete Eye Palette in Indie swatches (3 swipes per shade, no primer)

Ulta Complete Eye Palette in Indie on the eyes

Sephora - NARS Lip Pencils in Cruella and Rikugien

Cruella (velvet) and Rikugien (satin) are both shades I think quite a few people would enjoy- an MLBB (my lips but better) pink and a classic red. I like the pencil format of both, but the formulas don't do much for me. Unfortunately I found both shades to be drying, especially the velvet matte formula of Cruella. I have very dry skin, so I could see these working better for other people.

Read more in my full review here.

Sephora 2015 birthday gift swatches: NARS Rikugien (left), NARS Cruella (right)

Sephora 2015 birthday gift lip swatches: NARS Rikugien (left), NARS Cruella (right)

Overall, I didn't fall head over heels in love with either gift, but NARS Rikugien is my favorite of the three items. For me, the dryness of the NARS velvet matte formula was my least favorite and the mediocre Ulta eyeshadow formula secured the 2nd place slot simply by not being aggressively uncomfortable to wear. The Sephora gift is a better value and I appreciate that it isn't a Sephora house brand item. Given that both gifts are free, I recommend picking up both and trying it for yourself!

The Ulta birthday gift changes quarterly - this quarter (July, August, September) gets a free Urban Decay Perversion mascara mini instead of Indie. I have a review & lash demo of Urban Decay Perversion mascara here.
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