When it comes to makeup, holiday gift sets are seriously where its at. Prettier-than-usual packaging, excellent variety and value for money…resistance is generally futile. So when Make Up For Ever reached out with the opportunity for me to test their holiday collection, how could I say no?
Anyway without further ado, here is an epically long post with FOTDs + my first impressions on Make Up For Ever’s Cult Make Up Set, the Artist Plexi-Gloss Duo, the Cult Brush Set and 15 Artist Shadow Palette.
Cult Make Up Set, SGD$53
The Cult Make Up Set is a curated sampling of the brand’s most raved-about products in travel sizes. You get an Aqua Liner, Aqua Smoky Extravagant Mascara, HD Powder, Aqua Lip pencil, Aqua Eye pencil and the Step 1 Smoothing Primer, all in a glittery orange pouch. There’s no going wrong with any of it, so while this kit is great for someone just starting their makeup collection it’s also perfect for a veteran who would certainly appreciate the high-quality staples.
On its own, this is pretty much a smoky evening look in a box. I blended out the black Aqua eye pencil around my eyes, added a flick of the liquid Aqua liner and lots of Aqua Smoky Extravagant Mascara and the finished it off with red lips a la the Aqua Lip pencil.
Artist Plexi-Gloss Duo, SGD$34
Next up, the Artist Plexi-Gloss Duo includes 2 mini lip glosses in #209 (opaque fuchsia-pink) and #403 (opaque red), both of which are super saturated in colour and shine. As a side note, I was really amused by the Plexi-Gloss’ notched paddle applicator. There was definitely some initial skepticism over its strange shape, but once I used it I realised how well-designed it was for controlled/even gloss application. It’s such a weird thing to geek out over, but its actually made me kind of snobby about regular lip gloss applicators now!
The pink is a little cool and the red is more neutral, but because they’re so vibrant they’ll definitely work with a fairly wide range of skin tones. This would be a lovely gift for someone whom you want to give something pretty to, but whose makeup tastes you don’t know super well (like a colleague for example).
Cult Brush Set, SGD$135
Lifehack: no lie, you’d be saving over $80 buying these brushes in a set rather than individually. This set comes with a flat foundation brush (#106), a round blush brush (#152), a flat eyeshadow brush (#226), an angled eyeliner brush (#260) and a flat angled brow brush (#270) in a travel case with individual slots for each brush.
I actually use my set quite differently based on my personal needs. For example, I like to use #106 for cream/liquid highlighter, #152 for buffing in liquid foundation and #226 for applying under-eye concealer. I’m usually a little wary about special edition travel sets because it’s not uncommon for some brands to skimp on brush quality to make up for the price difference, but I’m happy to report that these are as soft and well-made as my full-sized Make Up For Ever brushes.
15 Artist Shadow Palette, SGD$116
Undoubtedly the crown jewel of the Holiday Treasures collection, the 15 Artist Shadow Palette is a sturdy cardboard case which holds 15 eyeshadows ranging from muted to bright and mainly lean neutral-cool in tone. Overall it’s a very versatile combination of colours that’s best described as sophisticated yet fun: lots of elegant neutrals with a few brights kept wearable by their refined textures (i.e. no chunky glitter).
The palette also comes with an illustrated instruction booklet for 5 different holiday looks, but I kind of ignored it (oops!) and did my own thing instead: first a daytime look using the more neutral shades on the left side of the palette, and then….
A not-so-daytime look using the right side of the palette. The smooth, intensely pigmented shadows in this palette make bold looks a snap to do. I didn’t even have to use a damp brush to get this level of colour saturation – I simply patted them on dry over a base.
Bonus Review: Ultra HD Foundation
Though its not part of Make Up For Ever’s holiday collection, their Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation deserves an honourable mention for being the starting point of ALL the looks you see here. This review is actually long overdue because I bought this foundation 6 months ago, and have been using it almost daily since then.
Take it from someone who lives with a photographer: they weren’t kidding when they named this Ultra HD foundation! I could rave about it indefinitely, but since seeing is believing here’s a close-up shot of my skin, 100% straight from the camera without any editing or retouching whatsoever. I was shot with the most HD way possible: with studio lighting and a 38 megapixel medium format camera.
Yes, there’s still texture. No, I don’t look airbrushed. But that’s the beauty of this foundation – it really just looks like naturally flawless skin.
Speaking of skin, mine is of the dehydrated-oily variety, so I like to use this foundation over the Step 1 Skin Equalizer Hydrating Primer on days my skin is particularly flaky (like when I’m in dry-as-a-bone-LA), and then set it with HD Pressed Powder to keep the shine at bay. I’m also acne prone, but this doesn’t clog my pores or cause breakouts.
Availability: If you’re in Singapore, you’ll find all the above products available at your local Sephora boutique. For my international readers, you can find the Artist Palette and Plexi-Gloss Duo at Sephora online. Currently, the Cult Brush Set and Cult Make Up Set are unfortunately sold out online (even on Make Up For Ever’s website), so if you want them I suggest you make friends with someone in Singapore before they sell out here too!
These products were provided as a press samples, however all opinions and observations are my own and not influenced by the brand or its PR team. This post contains affiliate links