May 2018 Allure Beauty Box – In the Fast Lane

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Yup, I added yet another Beauty Box Subscription to the mix – the Allure Beauty Box. (This is different than the seasonal Allure Beauty Thrills boxes from a few years ago.) My sister used to get it a few years ago, but ended up canceling it. I was sucked in by an ad for the June box – a collab with Kat Von D. They were nice enough to start my subscription with the May box – “In the Fast Lane.”

Inside my first box: Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Gold Eye Masks (2 sets); Kenra Dry Oil Control Spray; First Aid Beauty Hello Fab Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer (LOVE this stuff); St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Mousse (nope, nope, nope); and CLE Melting Lip Powder in “Desert Rose” (this is one of the most amazing products I’ve ever tried…this powder absolutely melted onto my lips without a mess and stays PUT – this is the next big thing in lip color).

There were also two new subscriber gifts – L’Oreal Ever Pure Hair Sheet Mask Steam Treatment (weird) and Grande Lips Hydrating Lip Plumper in “Lust Red” (my lips are plenty plump).

The products seem a bit higher end than my other boxes, but that might be because this is a more pricey box. I’ll give it a few months to see how it goes.

The Allure Beauty Box is $15/month, but they give you $5 off your first box. They also offer an option for $150/year – a savings of $30. You can sign up at https://beautybox.allure.com.

The Mother of All Sample Bags

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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…

Beachwave Me

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I have a love/hate relationship with my hair. I’m always looking for the next product/styling aid that will give me perfect hair…I try something new, get excited…then back comes the ponytail.

That being said, my current Revlon curling iron is probably older than my son (13!) and didn’t get very hot last time I tried to use it. I’ve been drooling over the Beachwaver Curling Iron, but at $129 – that’s a steep price for a curling iron! How can I rationalize spending that much money on a styler I’ll use just a few times a year? Well…I found a way.

First, you save up your Ulta Platinum Points for nearly 2 years – the last time I used my points was on the Alice Through the Looking Glass Palette! I had saved $67.50 in points. Then, wait for a 20% off coupon. Last week, the stars aligned and I snagged the Beachwaver S1 Curling Iron for just $35.70. Woo! I tried it out and it’s just as amazing as videos make it look. You literally just grab your hair and press the button and BAM – perfect waves. I haven’t done my whole head yet…but coming soon!

I also found a promo for a free 18 piece Beauty Bag with $30 purchase on RetailMeNot – check out the amazing contents: NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in “Milk” (already have one, but sure); Smashbox Photo Finish Primerizer (have some, but I like it); Bosley Professional Strength Ultra Boost Styling Creme (Bosley, like the hair plug people?); Clairol Hair Food Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner Infused with Honey Apricot Fragrance (Mmmmm); Jimmy Choo L’eau; First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads (huh?); Hempz Original Herbal Shampoo for Damaged and Color Treated Hair; Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium; Philosophy Amazing Grace; Living proof. restore mask treatment; goodol Wash Up Deep Clean Pore Glacial Clay; Nyakio Maracuja & Yangu Soothing Oil; Perricone MD Cold Plasma Face Serum; Rituals Hand Balm in “Indian Rose & Sweet Almond Oil”; Philosophy Purity Made Simple (love this stuff for when I travel); Hey Honey Good Morning Honey Silk Facial Serum; Estee Lauder The Smoother Universal Perfecting Primer; Organic to Green Coco Oil; and a $5 off $15 Ulta Collection coupon! I have finger cramps now!

My usual samples were also good –  NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment in “American Woman” and HASK Biotin Boost Shampoo & Conditioner.

I don’t plan on hitting the beach this summer, but my hair will be ready just in case!

Razzle Dazzle

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2017 is Kat Von D‘s year. I feel like she is dropping a new product every other week. Last week, she dropped her new Everlasting Glimmer Veil Liquid Lipsticks ($22). Of course, I wanted all 9 of them, but I controlled myself and ordered the prettiest two. I got “Razzle”magenta with pink glimmer – and “Dazzle”crimson with pink and gold glitter.

I LOVE these lipsticks. They’re so comfy and flexible. The glimmer is amazingly vivid and long lasting. I will say that my lips did feel dry and crack-y after eating and wiping my lips with a napkin, but other than that – they felt fine. I think I need more of these…oh, and Sephora is SOLD OUT. They’ll be back in stock on 8/22, so set your reminders…

For my regular samples, I got Lacoste Eau da Lacoste (smells preppy…tossed it to my son…he’ll probably just use it to set something on fire); Dior J’adore (still too floral for me – tossed it to my daughter); and Farmacy Honey Savior All-in-One Skin Repair Salve.

I lucked into a promotion code that provided a 12 sample skincare bag: Tata Harper Clarifying Mask for Blemish-Prone Skin; Hum Raw Beauty Green Superfood Powder in “Mint Chocolate Chip Infusion” (do I look like Gwyneth Paltrow to you?); Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream; Kopari Coconut Melt Moisturizer; Farmacy Honey Potion; Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief (but are they MAGIC mushrooms?); Youth to the People Kale + Green Tea Spinach Vitamins Age Prevention Cleanser (ugh); Boscia Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel; Kora Organics Noni Glow Face Oil; Josie Maran Surreal Skin Argan Finishing Balm; Tarte Drink of H2O Hydrating Boost; and First Aid Beauty Coconut Skin Smoothie Primer Moisturizer (I really like this stuff – I already used up my deluxe sample from June’s Play! box). A few things I won’t use, but the rest are great!

Only $329 left to ROUGE…

Sephora Play! June 2017 – Your Summer Starters

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Oops! I left town without finishing my homework…

Without further ado, here’s June box/bag, “Your Summer Starters”: Benefit The POREfessional (so much of this stuff, but it works); OUAI Rose Hair & Body Oil (smells so good); First Aid Beauty Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer (excited to try); Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel (ooooh, more coconut); Kat Von D Everlasting Lip Liquid in “K-Dub” (This is SO my color, well…my old car’s color; Also, I used the alias ‘L-Dub’ on another blog years ago); and Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium (nope).

A great box, cannot wait to use more of the products!

I wish I could use the 50 point bonus cards on online orders – I hardly EVER go into the store.

If you haven’t signed up yet, do so 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.

Magical Bag

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Did I need more liquid lipstick? No, but I wanted it. Same thing.

I’ve been jonesing to try the Ofra Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick ($17) since it dropped at Ulta a few weeks ago. I’d been admiring “Emerald City” – not a duochrome, but a trichrome – for quite some time. I also picked up “Versailles”, because I need more rose gold in my life. “Versailles” is very close to Jeffree Star “Pussy Whipped”, but not quite as peachy. “Versailles” looks better on me, TBH. I haven’t tried “Emerald City” yet. The Ofra formula is nice and smooth and not drying.

I also decided to try Ulta Adjustable Coverage Foundation in “Fair”, which is very affordable at $14. I’m pleased with the performance. it’s light coerage, but a good match for my skin. I also picked up the new Ulta New Hue Shadow Switching Pan. I know I just paid $9 for a sponge in a tin, but this damn thing works like a champ. I don’t know that I could’ve made my own at home for cheaper. I spent just enough on Ulta products to get a FREE Deluxe palette, one of those ones with ALL the products – 24 shadows and blush and lip stuff. I might never use it, but free is free. I used a code for $5 off $15 in Ulta products, so I got all those goodies for a steal.

I also threw in a Zoya Remove+ for shits and giggles. My free sample pack had Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-Aging Micro-Sculpting Cream Moisturizer and Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer (for my man).

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The real star of my order was the FREE 24 product beauty bag that I got with a $60 purchase. It was packed so full, I can barely get all the stuff back in it!

Inside this magical bag: philosophy time in a bottle repair serum (love this stuff, but too pricey); DevaCurl Buildup Buster Gentle Deep Cleansing Serum; it Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Full Coverage Anti-Aging Waterproof Concealer (I’ve heard good things about this stuff); Sexy Hair Long Sexy Hair Shampoo, Conditioner and Detangler (I don’t have long hair anymore, so I must be patient); NYX Total Control Drop Foundation (4 shades, surely the lightest will work); Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Intensive Eye Contour Cream; Clinique BIY Blend It Yourself Pigment Drops (very interesting concept); Urban Decay All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray (Finally! I’ve been wanting to try this); Ulta Mattifying Balm (another one I’ve wanted to try); Too Faced Mascara Melt Off Cleansing Oil (another genius idea); Jimmy Choo L’eau; Tory Burch Love Relentlessly; Benefit Hoola Quickie Contour Stick; Julep love your bare face Hydrating Cleansing Oil; Unwash Bio-Cleansing Conditioner; First Aid Beauty Oil-Free Mattifying Gel (another WOW product I want to try); Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Cucumber and Green Tea (I stuck it in the fridge for a hot nasty day); Organic to Green Coco Oil; Lancome Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate; Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in “Butter Scotch”; Vitabath Spa Day Body Wash in “Lavender Chamomile”; COOLA Classic Sunscreen White Tea Moisturizer; StriVectin Hair Deep Repair Mask; and Smashbox Cover Shot Golden Hour Eye Shadow Duo. Phew, finger cramps. Oh, and another $5 off $15 Ulta coupon.

Sephora Play! July 2016 – Effortless Summer

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I feel a bit guilty that this month’s Sephora Play! bpx has been sitting my my counter – unopened – for a week. I’ve been so busy with…stuff…and life…and stuff…

I ripped open the box and found a bevy of perfect products to give me an “Effortless Summer”. Inside the adorable pink popsicle bag: NEST Fragrances Citrine (a clean citrus and freesia blend – it didn’t make my husband gag); First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser with Red Clay (I used it last night – it is the most beautiful shimmery rust colored gel); OUAI Wave Spray; Smashbox Photo Finish Pore Minimizing Primer (Yassssss queen – I need these crater pores minimized); Beauty Blender Blotterazzi (I’ve been curious about this – I usually use paper towels from the bathroom to blot); and Too Faced Soleil Matte Bronzer in “Chocolate” (LOVE the smell – I need to locate the other one of these that I have).

If you haven’t signed up yet – get off your can and DO IT! 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.

Rouge Note

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Last week was the hotly anticipated Spring discount code for Sephora. 15% off anything and everything. Sephora isn’t like Ulta, throwing coupons around left and right – this is a BIG deal.

The first thing I ordered (on Friday) was the Atelier Cologne Nécessaire Nomade set ($45). It’s a cute little tin with 8 .14 oz travel sprays. The included scents are Bergamote SoleilCédrat Enivrant (my absolute favorite Atelier scent – my original travel spray is almost empty), Orange SanguinePomélo Paradis (I’ve been coveting this one since smelling it in-store), Mandarine Glaciale (I already have one of these, too – but so what?), Sud MagnoliaFiguier Ardent, and Cédre Atlas. I just wish I wasn’t suffering from the worst ever sinus cold, so I could enjoy the scents…fuck it, I’ll spray them all over me so everyone else can enjoy them.

For samples, I got Lancome Advanced Genifique (not what I picked), NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 30, and Benefit The POREfessional.

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I actually got the thing I ordered Sunday first – on Wednesday. Funny how that works.

I never thought I’d buy a Clarisonic. But ever since I started this site, with all the subscription boxes and samples, I’ve been taking better and better care of my skin and I can really tell the difference. Then I got an extra Clarisonic brush head with an Ultra freebie. So I took the plunge…and picked the Clarisonic Mia 2 Faded Rose Floral Favorites Set ($149), which includes Boscia Tsubaki Cleansing Oil-Gel and L’Occitane Pivoine Sublime Perfecting Cream. (Both Sephora and Ulta carry many different Clarisonic sets, with different colors and different products. Unfortunately, Ulta excludes the Mia 2 from coupons, or I would have used my 20% off coupon to buy one there.) I used it for the first time last night and it was a bit weird, but my skin felt soooo soft afterwards. Only time will tell if it makes a long-term difference in my skin and I keep using it…or get bored and shove it in a drawer.

For samples, I got Atelier Figuier Ardent, First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream and GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment (Again, not what I picked – but I’ll take it). I also used points to get the Estee Edit Dissolve the Drama 2-in-1 Makeup Remover + Cleanser.

I made a pretty good dent in my spend…only $197 to Rouge status for 2017!

Summerstash

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Oh Nouveau Cheap, you are so dangerous to me…the moment she posted Sephora Favorites Summerstash on sale for $30 (regularly $45), I jumped all over it.

Even though this set came out a year or two ago, I neeeeeeeded it. Inside the sassy gold canvas bag: Buxom Divine Goddess Luminizer in “Venus” (the product I am least likely to use); Deborah Lippmann Nail Lacquer in “Mermaid’s Dream” (yassss); Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee; Marc Jacobs Beauty Mini Lash Lifter in “Blacquer”; Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Waterproof Pencil (my big sis called dibs); NARS Travel Size “Laguna” Bronzing Powder; Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Stained Gloss in “New Wave” (AND it came with a brush!); stila Cosmetics Magnificent Metals Foil Finish Eye Shadow in “Kitten” (YASSSS); and Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray.

I finally used some points to get some goodies – Buxom Objects of Obsession (500 pts), which includes Mini Vanity Lash Mascara in “Show-Off Black”; Mini Hold the Line Waterproof Eyeliner in “I’ll Be Waiting”; Mini Full-On Lip Cream in “Kir Royale”; and Mini Full-On Lip Polish in “Sophia”. I also got two 100 pt items – Pink Gel Coat Nail Strengthener & Brightener and Liquid Blendercleanser.

I also used a code to get two extra samples – NARS Audacious Mascara in “Black Moon” and First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream – in addition to the three regular samples, Marc Jacobs “Decadence” (smells like the inside of a rich old lady’s purse); Dr. Dennis Gross ferulic + retinol wrinkle recovery peel and Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer.

I may have too much mascara now…

The Saga of “Give Me Some Nude Lip”

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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.

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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!