But is it really splurging if it’s on the sale page?
I hadn’t used my $10 off birthday code at Ulta yet, so I filled my cart on the sale page. Actually, let me back up. I was scrolling the Sephora Presidents Day sale and saw that the Jackie Aina and Carli Bybel palettes from Anastasia Beverly Hills were 30% off, so I decided to redirect that purchase over to Ulta – not only because I have a coupon, but also because I feel like I get more value from being top tier at Ulta than being top tier at Sephora. Also, Ulta has BOMB GWPs.
Ulta didn’t have the Jackie Aina palette, but the DID have the Anastasia Beverly Hills Carly Bybel Palette ($31.50, down from $45). That’s fine, because the Jackie Aina palette looks a little cray. (I was hoping that the Alyssa Edwards palette would be back, but nope.) I only know Carli from the Allure Beauty Box she did last year. I was thinking that the palette would end up being pretty basic, but it’s got a nice selection of colors, with lots of shimmer and glitter. I’m enjoying using it, except that the glitter shades have the fallout from hell. It sprays all over my whole damn face. Primer helps a little bit, but it still gets everywhere. I’m gonna have to work on it.
I also decided to go out on a limb and try the Lime Crime Venus XS Vixen Palette ($10, down from $20). I’ve stayed away from Lime Crime for the most part because the owner was a shitbag, but since selling out in 2018, it appears they’ve turned their reputation around. The XS Vixen is a small red-themed palette. The quality is just OK – it doesn’t blend very well at all and the coverage is splotchy. Looks like I can continue to ignore this brand.
One more sale purchase – an Urban Decay Cosmetics Brow Beater Microfine Brow Pencil and Brush in “Dark” ($10, down from $20). I’m guessing that it’s on clearance because they are discontinuing it…which is fine. The quality is fine, similar to Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz, but still not as good (for me) as the Ulta Ultra Slim Brow Pencil.
I picked up the new Pacifica Sunshine Highs Toning Shampoo & Conditioner ($10 each) for my son’s bleached locks. I got it in preparation for another round of highlights, so probably next week or so.
There was also a free 28 piece beauty bag with a $70 purchase. You know I cannot get enough of those GWPs. Inside this HUGE red bag: Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Daily Serum; LORAC Pro Plus Fiber Mascara (eek, those fiber mascaras scare me); PUR Fully Charged Mascara; Boots No7 Dark Circle Corrector; Mamonde Petal Spa Oil to Foam (I have 3 sample bottles of this now – thanks, Ulta); Living proof. restore perfecting spray; Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in “Patina” (I really like this shade – I wonder if my old one is dried up?); proactivMD Deep Cleansing Face Wash (I used proactive back when it first came out; it worked for a while, but then ate all my skin off); Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector; Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly; First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream; It’s a 10 Miracle Finishing Spray; Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist 24 Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask; Patchology Flashpatch Illuminating Eye Gels (so many damn eye patches – I feel like a fucking pirate); TonyMoly Vital Vita 12 Ampoules Mix & Match Serums; Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder and Glow Powder; DevaCurl Supercream (no curls here, go will give away); Viktor & Rolf Bon Bon; Zitsticka (intrigued); Botanics Simply Calm; Ulta Beauty Matte Black Eyeliner; Biolage Airdry Glotion (what?); Pureology Colour Fanatic; Smashbox Photo Finish Oil & Shine Control; Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio; e.l.f. Poreless Primer Putty (oh, this is some GOOD stuff – I like it); Cover FX High Performance Setting Spray and Florence by Mills Clean Magic Face Wash (what does that girl from Stranger Things know about beauty products?) A dang good bag!
$1,088 to Diamond. I better step it up!
Ulta Cyber Monday 2019
Ulta offered a HUGE Wintry Wonders 24 piece Beauty Bag with $80 purchase on Cyber Monday. Of course, I still had some gift shopping left to do…
Obviously, I’m not going to ruin Xmas by showing all the gifts I bought – but I can show the few things I picked up for myself. I’d been wanting to try It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream Rosy Tone Moisturizer for a bit, but the price ($48) was putting me off. 30% off though – you have my attention. I’ve been using it for nearly a week and it’s too soon to tell if there’s a dramatic change in the tone of my skin – but the texture of my skin is amazing right now. It’s dewy and clear – no breakouts, which is a good sign. I’ll continue to use it, but I’m not sure if I’d buy it again at full price.
I also picked up a sale Makeup Revolution Good Vibes Lip Balm with Cannabis Sativa ($4.90, down from $7). There’s no tint, no fragrance and no taste to this lip balm – I mean, it works as a lip balm, but I think slapping Cannabis on the label is just a selling ploy – there’s nothing a special about this lip balm – disappointing.
So, inside the Wintry Wonders bag: MAC Lipstick Sample Card, with “Velvet Teddy”, “Mocha”, and “Hug Me”; Becca Sample Card with First Light Prioming Filter and Backlight Priming Filter; Tom Ford Metallique (why do all Tom Ford scents smell so old lady?); Rusk Pro Restore01 Leave-In Conditioner; Ralph Lauren Romance; NARS Climax Mascara; Ahava Extreme Minerals Extreme Firming Eye Cream; Sagely Naturals CBD Cream; 18.21 Man-Made Wash in “Sweet Tobacco” (GROSS); Philosophy Purity Made Simple Moisturizer; Clinique Beyond Perfecting Super Concealer Camouflage + 24-Hour Wear Sample Card; Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Flawless Serum Foundation Sample Card (I’ll put it on my Jade Egg); Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel; Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion; Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer; Marc Jacobs Daisy; Unwined by Hask Red Wine Inspired Repairing Shampoo & Conditioner (very interested in trying this – even though I’m allergic to red wine – it should be okay, as long as I don’t drink it); Marvis Classic Strong Mint Toothpaste; Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating Scrub; Too Cool for School Pumpkin Sleeping Pack; Hempz Blushing Grapefruit & Raspberry Creme Daily Herbal Color Preserving Conditioner (but no shampoo???); Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Gel in “Dark Brown” (Yasssss…cannot wait to try it); Giorgio Armani Light di Gioia (surprisingly, it’s not horrible – reminds me of sunflowers); and Living proof. restore Perfecting Spray. This is a really nice bag, full of brand new products for the most part.
In addition to the gift with purchase, I was able to use a $10 off coupon on my order. $157 to Diamond…so close!
Sephora Play! SMARTS – Skincare by Age: 40s
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I’m not ashamed to admit it – I’m in my 40s – and my skin needs help!
Sephora Play! launched three extra boxes this month – Skincare by Age for women in their 30s, 40s and 50s. All of the boxes have great products, so I decided not to be a glutton and order all of them. I just ordered the 40s box.
The first thing I tried out of the box was the Volition Detoxifying Silt Gelee Mask. I’ve never heard of this brand before – but I’ve never met a mask I didn’t like. It was much thinner than a traditional mud mask, hence the silt? It kind of smelled like dirt, too…but it made my skin as soft as my 10 year old daughter’s.
I’ve also been using the Tatcha The Water Cream. It’s got an unusual slippery texture, but it sure does make my makeup stay on seamlessly, almost like it floats on my skin.
Also in the box: Caudalie Premier Cru The Eye Cream (I really need to start using eye creams); Kiehl’s Glow Formula Skin Hydrator; Sunday Riley Luna Retinol Sleeping Oil; and Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment (great brand).
And can we talk about the amazing plastic case it all came in? It’s a hard-side case, perfect for travel!
I did NOT get the samples I chose. Instead, I got Rita Hazan True Color Shampoo & Conditioner, Becca Ultimate Coverage 24-Hour Foundation, and Marc Jacobs Divine Decadence. I wanted NONE of that. I did get something I wanted very much – a Fresh Sugar Rose Lip Treatment for 100 points.
Just $211 to Rouge…
The Mother of All Sample Bags
Ulta might be stingy when it comes with its regular samples, but they are more than generous when it comes to their gift with purchase sample bags. To kick off the Memorial Day weekend, Ulta offered the Mother of All Sample Bags with a $65 purchase…but first, my purchases.
When I get the emails with a sample bag or gift with purchase, I’ll check the sales and fill up my bag. Sometimes I’ll complete the transaction, but oftentimes I don’t. I’ll usually just leave stuff in my bag for next time. Unfortunately, my bag was empty, so I had to start this shopping trip from scratch. I started by checking the Ulta Sale page. I noticed that Edge/Skintimate Shave Gel was BOGO 50% off. Unfortunately, they were out of Edge, so my husband will get to shave his head with Skintimate. Then I noticed that L’Oreal Colorista Semi-Permanent for Brunette Hair was $8.99, down from $10.99. Since it doesn’t work all that well, I figured it would be perfect to use on the kids. I got 3 – Teal, Midnight Blue and Maroon. I also found Ofra Limited Edition Metallic Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in “Fantasia” (it reflects in blue, red and purple – it’s almost holographic) for $10.20, down from $17.
Another deal I was able to take advantage of was a Makeup Revolution Mystery Bag Offer with $25 purchase. This one was hard to do, since Sally just sent me ALL the newest palettes. I decided on the SophX Ultra 24 Eyeshadow Palette, $15 and the Pro HD Brighter Than My Future Palette, $20, but $16 after my 20% off any one item coupon. I had never heard of @SophieDoesNails until this palette, but apparently, she’s a famous Influencer in the UK. I tried out the eye shadows today (without primer) and they do seem to be slightly higher quality than the normal eyeshadows. They blended seamlessly and lasted decently well. Most of the colors are shimmery and I’m not sure what I’m going to do with all the dark greens, but looking forward to playing with it. It may – or may not – be a dupe for the Morphe Jaclyn Hill Palette. It looks somewhat similar, but infinitely more wearable. The Pro HD palette is a blush/highlighter palette. The shimmers are INTENSE. I tried one of the striped ones and had to pat half of it off – I looked like an alien. Good stuff, man. Inside the Mystery Bag: the Unicorns Unite Salvation Palette (I actually don’t have this one!), The One Sculpt Contour Stick, Ultra Strobe Stick in “Peach Lightening”, and Salvation Velvet Lip Lacquer in “The One for All”. Not bad.
And now. what was in the 29 piece Mother of All Sample Bags? In no particular order: tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer (4 shades); DevaCurl Melt into Moisture Matcha Butter Conditioning Mask; Urban Decay Troublemaker Mascara; Sexy Hair Sexy Suds Shampoo & Conditioner; Ulta Beauty Poreless Face Primer (nice); Benefit Roller Lash (one of my fave mascaras); Hempz Herbal Healthy Hair Herbal Fortifying Shampoo; First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads; Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 50; Sexy Hair Love Oil; Prada Candy; Maybelline Great Lash (that iconic pink and green tube); Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Cloud Cream Cleanser; NYX Worth the Hype Volume & Lengthening Mascara; Eyeko London eye do liquid eye liner in “carbon black”; Woman by Ralph Lauren; dermalogica Sound Sleep Cocoon Transformative Night Gel-Cream; Julep Love Your Bare Face Cleansing Oil; living proof. No Frizz Nourishing Style Cream; Mario Badescu Aloe Vera Toner (this opened inside the bag and got everything a bit MOIST); Lime Crime Unicorn Hair in “Bunny” (there’s no way this peachy shade would ever work in my hair – or anyone’s hair for that matter); philosophy Purity Made Simple Moisturizer; Mamonde Pore Clean Clay Mask; Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in “St. Tropez”; Lime Crime Diamond Crushers in “Lit” (even though I think Lime Crime is a shit brand, I’m looking forward to trying this one out); Kenra Platinum Luxe One Leave-In All-in-One Miracle Spray; COOLA Dawn Patrol Classic Primer; Garnier Skin Active Micellular Foaming Gel Cleanser; and Becca Ultimate Coverage 24-Hour Foundation (3 foil swatches). That’s a lot of stuff, right? That’s at least $50-60 worth of samples! AND it came in a huge, high quality woven canvas makeup bag. Oh, and did I forget the $5 off $15 Ulta Collection coupon?
I also forgot my regular samples – Redken All Soft Shampoo & Conditioner and HASK Biotin Boost Thickening Shampoo & Conditioner. I checked my Ultimate Rewards Balance and I just need ~$50 more to hit Platinum. There’s a slight possibility that I could make Diamond if I get a few haircuts…
Sephora Play! May 2018 – Beauty Goals
May’s Sephora Play! box marks the 2nd anniversary of the service and they’ve “compiled the beauty products that have stood the test of time with their incredible formulas and cult following.” (Yes, I snatched that quote directly from the box insert.)
Even though I’m not much of a highlighter girl, I’ll add a bit to my cheeks and browbone when I want to look fancy. I’ve been wanting to try Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter in “Champagne Pop” – it really is a cult favorite, at least on Instagram.
I’m not quite as excited about the rest of the box – only because I already have loads of these very same products, not because they products are bad. I have at least 7 or 8 Kat Von D Tattoo Liners in “Trooper” and probably 700 samples of Benefit The POREfessional. I use these products – but just not as much as I receive them. I have never tried Bumble and bumble. Thickening Volume Hairspray – but I use hairspray maybe twice a year?
I am looking forward to trying Sephora Collection Mud Mask Purifying & Clarifying – I love me some mud masks.
My lil sis is getting the Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb – it’s one of her favorite scents.
The denim pouch is also cute. Someone help me figure out what to do with all these pouches I’ve been getting – I’ve used them for panties when I travel, but I could use help figuring out to do with the rest of them.
If you don’t get Sephora Play, join up now. Sephora Play is only $10/month. You can sign up at sephora.com/play.
Sephora Play! October 2017 – Complexion Companions
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know.
Sephora must have heard my complaints last month – fragrance is back. This month’s fragrance is Chanel Gabrielle. It’s an old fashioned scent, reminiscent of Estee Lauder – maybe White Linen or Joy.
The rest of the products in this month’s “Complexion Companions” box are…you guessed it…for your complexion. I am most excited to try Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder – it’s insta-famous. Also included: Becca First Light Priming Filter Instant Complexion Refresh (I think I tried a sample of this before and it broke me out?); Make Up For ever Ultra HD Skin Booster Hydra-Plump Serum, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation in R230 (I’m betting it’s too dark, since I use 115 in their Cover Stick); and Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in “Moonlight” (Hmmm…).
A very interesting and cohesive box this month.
I am SO proud of myself for remembering to grab the Play! card when I went to Sephora Friday – I got my 50 points!
Do yourself a favor and sign up NOW. This is by far the best subscription box I get every month. Sephora Play is only $10/month. You can sign up at sephora.com/play.
Sephora Play! June 2016 – The Minimalists
What am I gonna do with all of these white canvas bags Sephora is now sending out in their play boxes? Ideas, anyone?
This month’s products are intended to help you create an easy summer routine, with that lovely cliche…less is more. Maybe. we’ll see…
The first thing I noticed in the box was the bright fuchsia bottle of Tarte Tarteguard 30 Sunscreen Lotion. It’s not waterproof, so I’ll try to figure out a time to try it out. Also in this month’s box/bag: bareMinerals Bareskin Sheer Sun Serum Bronzer (hmmm…maybe I can use for contouring); Benefit They’re Real Mascara (drowning in mascara right now, but this is a good one); Bumble and bumble. Don’t Blow It (H)air Styler; Becca Backlight Priming Filter (I probably have samples of this already, but haven’t tried it); and Tocca Florence Eau de Parfum (Bergamot and Violet – a bit too “mature” for me).
If you haven’t signed up yet – what are you waiting for? This is by far the best subscription box I get every month. Sephora Play is only $10/month. You can sign up at sephora.com/play.
The Saga of “Give Me Some Nude Lip”
I’m going to tell you a story…it’s a very scary story…but I can promise that it has a happy ending.
The Monday before last, Sephora released an all-nude version of their “Give Me Some Lip” Set – even though it was $28, I had to have it. Inside the all new “Give Me Some Nude Lip” Set: Laura Mercier Crème Smooth Lipstick in “Milky Way”; NARS Lipstick in “Dolce Vita”; Marc Jacobs Beauty Mini (P)Outliner Longwear Lip Pencil in “Prim(Rose) (cocoa spice)”; NUDESTIX Lip + Cheek Crayon in “Whisper”; and Tarte Deluxe Tarteist Lip Paint in “Namaste Nude”.
On Thursday…my box arrived. I gleefully opened the box, carefully peeled the sticker seals from the lip-shaped box…and the contents were FUCKED UP…Noooooooooooooo! There were two Marc Jacobs lip liners and no Tarte Lip Paint. A tragedy. I called Sephora Customer Service…and their computers were down and they couldn’t help me. I called an hour later…and the phone jockey hung up on me. I called right back…computers still down. Finally, a few hours after that – everything was back to normal and I got someone who could help me. She told me that she would send out another one immediately and I could just return this one to my closest store. YES.
So while I waited, at least I had other samples to play with. My order qualified for the free Beauty to Love Sample bag, which came with Becca Backlight Priming Filter (huh?); Atelier Cologne “Mandarine Glaciale” (I have so many samples of this, but I love it); Perricone MD Re:Firm Surface Recovery Treatment; Touch in Sol Feels Like Honey Moon Skin Base (I just tried the one I got in my last Allure Beauty Thrills – it’s ok, but not moisturizing enough for winter); BITE Beauty Agave Lip Masks (I tried the last sample I got a few days ago – feel nice at bedtime); First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Sleeping Cream; Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer; and Skin Inc Pure Deepsea Hydrating Mask. I’m glad I got these good samples, because I didn’t get ANY of the ones I picked at checkout. Instead I got Thierry Mugler “Alien” (Smells so gross); Clinique Moisture Surge (I like this stuff); and Dr. brandt Do Not Age Beauty Sleep Serum.
On Saturday, I dutifully delivered my fucked up lip set to Sephora. The return was quick, but then the “Cast Member” decided I need skin stuff and showed me a bunch of skin care stuff and smears some Kate Somerville stuff on my hand. I thanked her and got the hell out of there without buying a thing.
Days passed…On Tuesday, my new box arrived.
I was holding my breath as I opened it…YES! Everything in this box was perfect. I also got three more samples – Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Makeup Stick (I feel like I keep getting Lancome stuff and I should be more excited about it…but I’m not); Prada “Candy” and DKNY “Be Desired”.
I’m going to be taking all these nude beauties with me to Vegas in a few days – I can’t wait to try them all! Good thing I ordered it on the first day it was available…it’s already out of stock! Yay – happy ending!
Just the Samples, Ma’am
Last week, Sephora was offering 5 face samples with every order, so I went ahead and ordered a gift I had been planning anyway. The 5 samples I picked were : tarte Maracuja Oil (is Maracuja the next Argan?), Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer in “9 neutral”, philosophy purity made simple 3-in-1 cleanser for face and eyes, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in “OPAL” and Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation in “Light 48” (I’ve been wanting to try this one for a while). I also got a free mini Make Up For Ever Lipstick in “Rouge Artist Natural” – it’s so tiny and cute!
Oh, and I signed up for Sephora Flash, too! For $10, I’ll get free 2 day shipping from Sephora for a year…this is very, very dangerous, I can already tell.