The holidays are a dangerous time for beauty junkies. This is when value sets, limited edition gift products, and seasonal discounts all come together to wreak havoc on your willpower under the guise of holiday cheer. You feel much less guilty buying for other people, but when you see NARS put out a new compact filled with bestselling blushes or an assortment of lip pencils at a fraction of the price…how can you resist getting a little something for yourself?
You can’t. Because we are suckers who are ruled by our impulses. But at least we’ll look good doing it.
So far I’m happy to report that I have not gone apeshit on holiday releases, as I would have in the past. I’ve had my eye on many, but ultimately decided that they weren’t worth it, weren’t in the budget, or I simply couldn’t justify the expense. When you’re earning money, it’s your money and you can decide as you please. When you’re a dependent student, purchases made on a whim come with lots of unnecessary baggage.
However, I couldn’t resist one: the Laura Mercier Mini Caviar Stick 2014 set.
Mini Caviar Sticks Ahoy!
I’ve had my eye on the caviar sticks for awhile now, but they’ve always been on the periphery of Lemmingville: sometimes they’ll pop in and clamor for attention amidst Hourglass this, NARS that, but I’d always find a reason to boot them out: the price of each stick and the inability to decide which shades to buy, mostly.
I was intrigued by the product quality: the dense, pigmented shimmer, the perfect mix of light and dark neutrals. The one-shade, can’t-be-bothered-but-I’ll-still-look-hot-like-a-French-girl-who-came-in-on-a-motorcyle effect. Caviar sticks were dangerous territory: I feared that once I got one, I wouldn’t be able to stop.
Thank God for holiday sets! Laura Mercier launches these mini caviar sticks every year I believe, but with different shades and quantities. This year’s limited edition set (£38, $55) comes with 6 easy-to-wear shades – all from the permanent collection.
I tried to photograph this as soon as possible in case anyone was thinking of purchasing this set, or wanted to see more swatches of the caviar sticks.
- Khaki – neutral taupe with pearl
- Cocoa – chocolate brown with bronze pearl
- Copper – warm gold shimmer
- Moonlight – metallic champagne beige
- Amethyst – soft mauve with pearl
- Rosegold – rosy gold shimmer
Roughly 80% of the shades I’ve been eyeing are represented in this collection (in fact, if it had included Plum, that would have been pretty much everything. HAH, just kidding).
Clockwise from top: Moonlight, Rosegold, Amethyst, Copper, Cocoa, Khaki.
I should have taken pictures of scale, but each stick is roughly the length of a credit card and weigh a gram each, which makes them extremely travel-friendly. No more lugging around my Naked 2 palette; for trips long and short, this and NARS And God Created the Woman are all I need.
You twist the top half of the tube to roll the product up. I found that this felt a tiny bit flimsy in the mini caviar stick packaging that I do not recall in the permanent packaging. While I was able to roll up the product and back down with ease, I didn’t feel that the product was completely secured. I wouldn’t roll it too far past the tip for application.
It’s almost frightening how smoothly these apply – so much so that I have to be careful to use light pressure, especially on the darker shades, or else we will get into extreme panda territory. Each swatch represents two single swipes side-by-side, which meld beautifully together. Most of the caviar stick range are high shimmer, which you can see in all the shades. I imagine because of the creamy, yielding texture and wearable shades, these will be used up quickly.
However, when blended out you get a sheer, luminescent wash with a hint of the richness of the original color. The colors set within 30 seconds so you have to blend it quickly, but once they set, they truly set. I have a video on Instagram showcasing how even a hard swipe across some older swatches didn’t change a thing, and it took a few firm passes with a Bioderma-soaked cotton pad to remove these swatches.
I shall attempt to embed it:
I still have to experiment with application techniques before I can truly deem it fuss free, but so far I have been applying direct onto the lid, blending with a finger, then cleaning up the edges with a short stiff brush. Not exactly pat-and-go, but close enough. Apparently for lighter application you can apply to your hand first, then use a brush to apply onto the lid, or use a brush on the stick itself.
Personally, I think the set is a pretty decent value because I’ve been meaning to try the caviar sticks for awhile. This set has 6 of them and in most of the shades I want to try, at a fraction of the price. However, last year I think they had a 6-piece full size set for £55 which would have been even more amazing.
Each mini caviar stick comes with 0.03 oz of product. The full-sized caviar sticks are 0.05 oz. In the US, the set is touted to have a value of $101, meaning you “save” $46 to have all these shades. The UK doesn’t promote the value price, likely because a) the imported prices here are high enough that the savings are marginal, ha and b) the US market tends to be more crazy about how much they “save” on what they buy.
I can say that I would have spent £120 on full-size versions of these shades and I got to try them out for £38. I’ll be able to identify favorites for cheaper, and only buy full-size versions of those.
What holiday sets are you grabbing this year?