Clinique The Nutcracker Act 1 makeup collection | Glittery fairy dust for the princess in all of us

I'm going to say something shocking to you. Makeup sometimes can be boring. Yes I said it! Every season, there seems to always be very similar trends happening - dewy skin in summer, light washes of eye color in spring and vampy, wine tones in winter.  Most holiday collections this year have focused on plum lips, sparkly shadows and rosy blushes - all of which I love, however a little variety never hurts anyone! Clinique seems to agree with me as they've debuted a most interesting collection for winter 2014.

Inspired by the classic Christmas ballet, The Nutcracker, the new similarly named limited edition collection by Clinique features two "acts" or parts: Act 1 focuses on light, airy pinks, while Act 2 focuses on vibrant purples and lilacs. Today I have Act 1 to show you, which consists of a shadow/blush palette, illuminating face powder and a new Chubby Stick lip balm (which I didn't receive).

In the words of Janet Pardo, Senior VP of Clinique Global Product Development, Act 1 is
"...inspired by the characters, costumes and scenery of the performance. The tulles and velvet fabrics in vivid pinks, glittering whites and vibrant purples inspired us to develop a color collection that brings to life the whimsy of The Nutcracker."

Snowflake Suite shadow quad



The shadow and blush palette features a very girly mix of pink and mauve tones:
  • Sugar Cane, a sparkly white browbone highlight
  • Crystal Pink, a a blue-pink bubblegum with moderate shimmer
  • Mushroom, a very pretty mauve that has more of a satin finish
  • Boron, a satiny black-grey
The palette also includes a blush pan of similar tone and pigment as Crystal Pink, but deeper. What's nice about this palette is that it comes with two brushes (one double-ended shadow brush and one blush brush) for those on the go moments and a large interior mirror. 

Price & Packaging
The packaging of this palette is just like the Clinique A Black Honey Affair, which means fingerprints galore. I think what would be a nice touch in future would be if Clinique included a little dust bag like other higher end brands in order to keep the packaging clean. Hopefully that also wouldn't mean a bump in the already pricey $46 price! Considering this is a fairly standard configuration for a palette, the price definitely got some side-eye from me.

In terms of pigmentation and wear, this palette was nowhere near as stellar as the A Block Honey Affair palette. Even with a primer, I found these shadows to be hard and very sheer. Granted, they are also very light colors, but even the mauve required heavy brushing to get any color payoff. If you're a fan of sheer shadows that you can slowly build up, then this may work for you, but for me, I'm very much in the blend it out, not build it up, camp. 

Boron was the only shade that had decent color payoff for me and worked excellently as a dark outer corner color and smudged along the lashline. The colors are all very pretty, and lean more towards the cool side, which makes it an interesting alternative to the warmer-toned Urban Decay Naked 3 palette.

Wear time was pretty standard as I wore this with a primer. I didn't experience any fading even after 8 hours.

Final Verdict: Ditch - although pretty, the colors didn't translate well from pan to face and for the price I think there are better options out there.

Wearing all four shadow colors


Blended Face Powder


The Blended Face Powder in Snowflake Dreams is a loose powder designed to be used as highlight for the face and decolletage. Unlike other highlight powders, this one is pink toned which gives you a lovely flushed finish.

Price & Packaging
This powder comes in a fairly standard screw-top jar with a sifter that allows you to tap out a bit of powder at a time. To use, I simply turned the jar upside-down for a moment and then took off the lid. At $29 per jar, this powder is a steal as you will probably need 1000 years to use it up, as I'll explain below.

As someone not used to loose powders, I found this kinda messy and got powder all over my fingers and counter. My biggest piece of advice with this product is to use it VERY VERY SPARINGLY. It is literally pink fairy dust and if you dip your brush even slightly too much into the powder and don't tap off the excess vigourously, then you will end up looking like a shiny pink bowling ball. This thing is PACKED with glitter! PACKED!!

Closeup of all that glittery goodness

That being said, if you follow my advice and you are very judicious with your use of this, you can get a lovely rosy finish to your skin that brings light to your face and wears well for hours. I think this would be a pretty way to finish off your collarbones as well if you are wearing a fancy strapless dress as the pinkness isn't too obvious and may be more natural looking than straight up gold powder.

Wearing The Nutcracker blush from the shadow quad with the powder on top

Final Verdict: Ditch - it's tricky to use and the jar is way too big for any sane person to ever use up.

Swatches + FOTD

Left to right: Blended Face Powder, Sugar Cane, Crystal Pink, Mushroom, Boron

Left to right: Crystal Pink, Mushroom, Boron, blush from the shadow quad

Swatches of the entire Act 1 collection

Wearing the entire shadow quad and the blending powder

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