Haute 3way: Janessa + Sephora + Pantone Universe

Published on August 1, 2013 by   ·   1 Comment

How did I live before I had a Sephora within an hour’s driving distance?  True, it’s just a baby Sephora nestled inside JC Penney, and it doesn’t carry all of the brands found in a regular Sephora (the most painful omission is OCC – I’ve fallen in love with Lip Tars! They’ve carried a handful of colors at JCP Sephora, but not nearly enough…), but it’s still a little beauty oasis in the veritable desert that is North Dakota’s beauty and fashion culture (What?  We have a beauty and fashion culture in North Dakota?!  It may be hard to find, kittens, but it’s there, struggling to survive in the face of puritanical conservatism and a deeply held belief in the virtues of polyester).

As I’ve been playing around in the candy-colored wonderland of Sephora, I have to say that I’m still feeling pretty lukewarm to their store brand.  I have a few of the eyeshadows, which to me are the highlight of their collection, and their luminous primer works well enough and is a pretty good deal for less than $20 (read more about this primer and 9 others in my Primer “Face Off”), but nothing has really knocked my proverbial socks off except for a little side project they have – the Sephora + Pantone Universe collections.  Now, I had made occasional stops into Sephora back in my MAC girl days, but not enough to really see what they were up to; when I first starting dipping my toes into the Sephora waters, I saw a sign about Tangerine Tango, the 2012 color of the year, but I wasn’t really drawn to it that much.  Of course, starting any new meeting with the words “tangerine” and “lipstick” is a surefire way to make my eyes gloss over.  I’m sticking to my guns that only black women should wear lipstick of either fuchsia or coral, and tangerine is close enough to coral that I’m going to nudge it that direction as well.

Tangerine Tango

But after Tangerine Tango had had its day, something wonderful happened: Sephora launched their 2013 Color of the Year: Emerald.  This should be no surprise to return readers of the Makeup Forum as I did an earlier post about this fabulous product launch (if you missed it, you can read it HERE).  In fact, a lot of the products I’m going to show off in this post were already featured in that post, but I’ve added some new goodies to my collection, and I want to spend a little bit more time talking about the amazing quality of the collection, and of the Sephora + Pantone Universe line as a whole.

One of the great things about the Sephora + Pantone Universe line is that in addition to great color in great packaging (which we’ll talk more about in just a bit!), they also put out some pretty fabulous accessories.  With the Emerald collection and with the Spectra/Aurora Borealis collection, they offered great travel bags.  The Emerald bag is more of a structured box and is perfect for storing your goods for travel; it also comes with a smaller box that I’ve started using to store my “boy jewelry” and accessories in when I’m traveling.  The stiff sides keep the boxes from getting crushed or knocked around too badly, making it perfect for storing goodies that need a little extra TLC.  The Spectra bag is a soft travel bag; it and the brush collection case are made of a gorgeous fabric that is treated so that it looks either green or purple depending on the light and angle at which it is viewed.


The brushes are deliciously soft fibers and they clean up amazingly well (though you can see one of mine is still dirty from the last time I played with it – bad Miss Jaye! – I have used all of the brushes at least once and cleaned them back to a bright white, at least for now!).  The description on the website said that they change color in your hand or in direct sunlight, but I haven’t seen that particular effect yet.  I don’t know if they are just referring to the colored chamber in the middle of each brush, but it just appears purple and sparkly to me.  If there is some other effect caused by heat or light, I haven’t noticed it.  But that’s a pretty minor complaint for a brush set that includes some nice staple eye brushes, and my absolute fave cheek tool, the angled blush brush.

Now everyone loves a good accessory, but of course the collection is only as good as the makeup itself.  And Sephora + Pantone Universe does NOT disappoint.  The eyeshadows feature amazing pigment; in addition, the two palettes in the Spectra collection feature quite a few duochrome shadows (the website made it sound like all the shadows were duochrome, but this is not the case, there are several matte shadows in the mix) that are absolutely to die.  I was worried  that the palette on the left was going to be too neutral to be of much use to me, but I’m glad I gave it a try because it features some really smashing shimmery goodness.  The yellow and the green on that palette are both duochromes and both look amazing (at the end of this post, I’ll have a gallery of ALL the products taken both with and without flash to give you a better idea).


With the Emerald collection, I found that their eyeliners light and easy to apply (well, as easy as liquid eyeliner can be – I always seem to be riding the struggle bus!) and the 4 Emerald liners with different finishes/effects were a great asset to my collection considering how much I love green, though it may be a bit of an overdose for people who don’t use that much green in their typical face routine.  Also, I picked up the Elemental liner collection with four shades inspired by the four elements, and my one complaint is that the green metallic liner (representing Earth) is indistinguishable from the green metallic liner in the Emerald collection.  I have to see how the tiny label on the bottom is printed to see what collection it goes with.  If even I say there is an overabundance of green, you know there has to be a problem!  But the other three elemental colors are lovely: Water is a bright glittery blue that layers extremely well; an interesting choice, Fire avoids more vibrant shades and is instead a smokey gray in the tube that dries to an almost chocolatey brown; and Air, my absolute favorite of the collection, appears gray in the tube but applies almost lavender with a gorgeous pink shimmer.


Some of the Emerald collection pieces have started to go on sale, and I got a pretty good deal on the 3-shade color block with Amberlight, Olivine, and Emerald Glitter, and I have a great abstract leaf print gown dress I’m in the middle of sprucing up with some feathers and crystals that is going to look amazing with an eye look done from this trio.  All of the shadows in the Sephora + Pantone Universe collection have great pigmentation and apply amazingly well without being streaky or chalky.

Another recent addition to the collection was the Alchemy of Color palette, a fabulous square palette of pressed shadows all side by side to look sort of like paint chips.  The design is clever and really shows off the diverse colors of the shadows as well as how wonderfully they coordinate together.


Now, the products alone are delightful, but another highlight of these collections are the packaging.  Everyone of these palettes is made of sturdy plastic, and most of the covers (on the shadows anyway) have a magnetic feature which is fun to play around with but also really easy to access which protecting your shadows.  This is a nice change from a world where so many palettes now are just sturdy cardboard with fabric coverings (Urban Decay, Lorac, and SugarPill are just a few of the companies that offer these cardboard pallettes).

As I noted, I came to the Sephora + Pantone Universe party kinda late, and I wish there was a bigger selection of lip products in the lines to give me a broader perspective.  The eye products, however, are stone cold amazing and I recommend them to each and every beauty maven out there as they are fun to play with, easy to blend, and look stunning on your face.  I keep checking the website to see when new products are added to the line, and though I love Emerald I’m already gearing up to see what the 2014 Color Of the Year will be…

Now Go Forth And Get Painted!

(Below is a gallery of all of the Sephora + Pantone Universe products in my collection – except for the 3-pack of Emerald nail polishes that seem to have disappeared into the chaos of my life after my last pedicure – and features photos taken with and without flash so you get a better sense of the way the colors and especially the duochromes look in different lights.  I apologize for the sort of messy backdrop as I just changed out the silver fabric I had with some new stuff and I didn’t have time to get it perfectly situated.  Enjoy!)

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