Test drive: Sephora birthday gift

Reviews, Test Drive


Welcome to Test Drive, where I’ll be reviewing free samples, gift with purchases, or other forms of smaller makeup products. First up is this birthday gift available for Beauty Insiders, VIB’s, and VIB Rouges at Sephora. There are three available gifts, but I picked the makeup option from Tarte cosmetics.

First, I’m sorry to say that this is the only makeup option and it’s clearly directed at people with fair skin. It’s a light blush and a light liquid lipstick that clearly won’t work for anyone darker than a light-medium skin tone. I hope Sephora realizes this and makes two offering for makeup or a more adjustable option like a red lipstick and deeper blush that can be more universal.

I love Tarte and they’re one of my favorite brands, so I was excited when I saw this. Let’s take a look!

This set comes with one of the cult favorite 12-hour Amazonian Clay Blushes in the shade paaarty. It’s a light pink shade that I really like. Of course it’s also helpful to have a smaller blush than the full size because I find it much easier to go through. Blushes (like everything else) have an expiration date, and it’s nice to try to finish them in a reasonable amount of time.

The other item in this duo is the Tartist creamy matte lip paint in the shade birthday suit. This is not the same as the Tartist quick dry matte lip paint, as I quickly found out. I appreciate that this is a small size, because I rarely feel like I’m running out of liquid lipstick and this is a great way to test out Tarte’s formula!

Both of these are now available in full size versions, should you decide you like this so much and want to purchase it.

1. The lipstick

I own the quick dry in the shade Bestie, a gorgeous nude brown. That formula dries down extremely matte and is completely transfer proof. That is one of the only two liquid lipsticks I own that will not budge off my face no matter how hard I try (the other is Too Faced Melted Matte– see swatches of Queen B here).

This, however is very different. I find the formula pretty close to the Julep It’s whipped matte lip paints: beautiful shades, horrible wear time. Okay, fine, the Tarte lip paint has a longer wear time, but their formulas feel very similar.

I love the packaging thought. It’s very cute and I love the gold lettering. This also has a very mild minty fresh scent. I don’t love it, but it’s not an issue for me when wearing the lipstick.

The applicator on this is a standard doe foot applicator. I prefer this much more than the applicator on the quick dry paints, because that applicator is curved to form around your lip but it does so in a weird way. This applicator is simple and perfect for me.

This shade is very comparable to blush, except a bit darker. This one is very close to my natural lip color, so I can’t wear this with a bold outfit or bold eye look or I feel completely washed out.

Keep in mind that I have fairly pigmented lips, so I will also be including a swatch of this on my hand with the blush.

I really like this color, but I find the formula a bit too drying sometimes. As people begin to move away from the two year long trend of liquid lipsticks, I too am using them less and less. I like the color and the size is perfect for travel, but once I use it up I will not be repurchasing.

This is the mini beside the full sized quick dry matte lip paint. They don’t have the same formula, but they do come in the same packaging. The shade I have (bestie) was promoted around the holidays, hence the beautiful packaging. The shade is still around in the permanent collection, but the patterned lid is not.

The mini comes with .034 fl oz while the full size has .2 fl oz. The full size also retails for $20. I’m not going to say anything about not receiving enough product because

a) Liquid lipsticks take a while to go through and

b) it’s free. Literally all you do is sign up with a beauty insider account and get this within a few days of your birthday. You don’t even have to buy something with you gift! I’m not going to complain about how much product I receive with free stuff because it’s free!

It comes with the classic Tarte blush embossing, that is sadly beginning to fade over daily use of this blush. I really love this shade, but it is extremely light. Once again, this won’t work for anyone who has skin significantly darker than mine. Seriously Sephora, did you think this through?

I love the formula on this, thought. I own the full sized in the shade seduce and that is my perfect nude blush. It’s subtle, it’s blendable, and it’s long wearing, although I’ve never worn it for 12 hours so I can’t speak to having the level of staying power.

I didn’t use this enough till I put it on the chopping block to declutter. Suddenly I fell back in love with it. I remembered how much I loved everything about it, especially the shade. It is now one of the product I use daily.

The most noticeable difference between them is that the full size has a mirror while the small size doesn’t. I’ve never used the mirror for applying blush, but I have used it to apply lipstick many times. Because the smaller one doesn’t have a mirror, it feels much lighter.

The weight difference on this is the same as the difference between the lipsticks. The small size has .05 oz of product while the full size has .2 oz. The full size retails for $29.

I am happy to note that the formula in these feel the same and I don’t notice any difference (for better or worse) between the two.

As you can see, the colors pair very nicely together. For my skin type and tone, I really like this free gift (especially the blush) and I know I’ll use it. However, I wish that it could’ve suited more skin tones then it did.  If you like this gift, you can pick it up at any Sephora within (I think) a week of your birthday. If you don’t like this gift, there are two other’s to choose from: one from Caudalie and one from Jack Black. If you want to buy either of these and your birthday has passed, then you can order them off Sephora, but you’ll receive the full sizes.

Ciao bella!





All products discussed in this post were purchased by me.

This post contains affiliate links.

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