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…

Kat Von D – 10th Year Anniversary Collection

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I’ve been waiting months and months for this…and on Cinco de Mayo, Kat Von D released her 10 year Anniversary Collection. It’s everything I thought it would be and more.

The 10th Year Anniversary Eyeshadow Palette ($52) was the first thing into my cart. I am blown away by the quality of the shadows. I tried it yesterday, without primer and it was ultra, mega, SO pigmented. Although Kat excels at matte eyeshadows, I’m really drawn to the transformer shades in this collection. I did a look centered around “Alexandra” (rose gold glimmer) and it matched my rose gold hair perfectly. When my husband got home from work last night, he actually said my makeup looks cute…and he NEVER says that. Literally, the best I can hope for it, “You look nice,” but usually I get “What is wrong with your face?”

So, this palette gets the husband stamp of approval – that’s even higher praise than “Jeffree Approved”!

I also picked up the 10th Anniversary Lipsticks – Everlasting Glimmer Veil in “Gold Skool” ($22) and Studded Kiss Lipstick in “Santa Sangre” ($19). I wore “Gold Skool” with “Lolita II” Everlasting Lip Liner yesterday and it KILLED. Now, the $64,000 question – how does it compare to Jeffree Star “First Class”? The two aren’t even really similar – “First Class is a black-leaning metallic, while “Gold Skool” has more of a glittery gold dust finish. Not dupes at all!

I dropped $93, but I didn’t even get the whole collection. There’s also a brush set ($125), a highlighter ($30), an eyeliner ($20) and a traincase ($150). I wanted them all…but I also wanted my family to eat this month. I am VERY happy with my purchase and I am confident when I say that Kat Von D has overtaken Urban Decay as my favorite cosmetics brand.

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Since I have Sephora Flash, I broke my order up into two orders, so that I could get double samples and use two promo codes. I got my doubles AND Sephora still sent it all to me in one box. Winning!

I used a promo code to get an Amore Pacific Set, which includes Vintage Single Extract Essence, Botanical Radiance Oil and The Essential Creme Fluid. I also used a code to get a fragrance sample bag with Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb, Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium, Stella Peony (the one I wanted to try – need to buy it); Philosophy Amazing Grace Ballet Rose (another love); Giorgio Armani Sky di Gioia, Chloe Fleur de Parfum, Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh AND Urban Decay Troublemaker Mascara. Nice!

For my sample picks, I got 2 Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade (each sample card had 4 colors AND a tiny brush – been wanting to try this so bad!); Urban Decay Vice Special Effects Top Coat (includes 4 colors – “Fever”, “Reverb”, “Ritual” and “White Lie”); and Clinique Moisture Syrge 72-hour auto-replenishing hydrator. Wait! That’s only 4 samples! They screwed me!

But…only $568 until Rouge…I might do it!

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!

Gloomy Lotion

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As cynical as I am, I’m a sucker for a new products. I’ve been wanting to get my hands on L’Oreal’s True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer in “Fair” ($14.99). (In my head, I always think Gloomy Lotion). I’ve been really liking the GlamGlow Illuminating Moisturizer. The Gloomy Lotion doesn’t smell as good, but it does the job – I like it.

Since I had a 20% off coupon, I filled my cart with a few other things to get to $50. I also wanted to try Maybelline’s Total Temptation Eyebrow Definer Pencil in “Medium Brown” ($7.99). I’ve been loving on the Ulta Slim, but this one is a winner, too! It’t only about 2/3 the length, so it might not be such a good deal pricewise. I got a $5 off a future purchase from those brands for my purchase.

I also got refills of my SheaMoisture Peace Rose Oil Complex Shampoo and Conditioner ($11.49). It wasn’t on sale, but hey, 20% off. Speaking of rose, I also had to try out Philosophy‘s new scent – Amazing Grace Nude Rose ($20). It’s similar with Ballet Rose, but instead of notes of leather, there are green notes. It made my husband gag, so that’s a really good sign.

Oh, and thanks for actually sending me samples, Ulta! I got a cared with three different shades of Too Faced Born This Way Foundation and a card with samples of L’Oreal Revitalift Serum and Moisturizer.

Only $397.23 to get to Platinum for 2019. Chances of hitting Diamond status? At this juncture, I’d say highly unlikely.

Midnight Mermaid

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Ulta is now carrying wet n wild cosmetics – online only. There was a 20% off coupon in my email. What a time to be alive!

I was excited, because wet n wild just released a new collection – The Midnight Mermaid Collection. It’s very similar to Black Moon Cosmetics Cosmic Metals Collection – imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! I picked up almost all of it. I got all 4 of the MegaLast Metallic Liquid Catsuit lipsticks ($4.99) – “Coral Crown”, “Harbor A Crush”, “Siren’s Jewel” and “Sea Seduction”. I only got one of the three MegaLiner Metallic Eyeliner ($3.99) – “Trident’s Shimmer”. I also only got one of the four Color Icon Metallic Liquid Eyeshadows ($4.99) – “Lara’s Necklace”, because DUH. I also picked up the Mermaid Highlighting Bar ($6.99).

I keep saying that I don’t like buying fragrances without smelling them first…but then I keep doing it. After reading the description of Philosophy Amazing Grace Ballet Rose, I went ahead and picked up the mini size for $18. It also came with a 4 oz. bottle of Amazing Grace Shower Gel as a free bonus! I am SO glad I picked it up – it’s now my second favorite rose scent, after Cartier Goutte de Rose.

 

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I also picked up a little something for Lily – the China Glaze My Little Pony 6 pc Micro Mini Kit ($15). It’s a tie in to the My Little Pony movie coming out next month. Maybe the polish will get her over the pain of me refusing to sit through it in the theater. Oh – and my Variety Sampler included foilpacks of Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream and Botanics 100% Organic Facial Oil. Meh.

This order did not push me to Platinum Status for 2018, but you know what did? Friday before last, I took the kids to get their back-to-school haircuts at Ulta and I got a cut and color. I was going for a rose gold melt, but my stylist didn’t want to make all my hair fall out by bleaching it too much, so it ended up a pinkish red. I also went ahead and signed up for the Ulta Platinum card, so I could get 20% off all our haircuts. Ulta may be an expensive place to get kids’ haircuts…but at least I ended up with $61 worth of points out of the deal.

Since Hurricane Harvey has had us housebound for several days, I decided to play around with my Midnight Mermaid stuff. On my eyes, I used “Lara’s Necklace”, the green liquid eyeshadow, and “Trident’s Shimmer”, the pewter eyeliner. I LOVED the liquid eyeshadow and may be picking up some of the other colors. I did not care for the liquid line – it was too goopy, especially on top of the liquid eyeshadow. My lips are an ombre of the blue and green lipsticks – “Sea Seduction” and “Siren’s Jewel”, with a bit of the Highlighter in the middle. The lipsticks are just as great as the other liquid catsuits, and the price cannot be beat. It’s a lot for every day (Can you say MiMi?), but just right for the middle of a hurricane.

Saint or Sinner?

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Fragrance is a very personal thing. What smells wonderful on one person, may well smell like a corpse flower once it hits your own skin. The only way to know…is to try it out. I get SO many samples from my boxes, that I have a good chance to try out lots and lots of different fragrances. (Collecting perfume samples is something I’ve been up to since I worked up enough courage to start asking for samples at the Foley’s Makeup Counter while shopping with my mom.)

Sometimes though, you just buy a fragrance – whether based on the brand, the name or even the bottle. Even though I was in the middle of my vacation, I couldn’t pass up the $15 off $50 email…I went ahead and ordered travel sizes of Kat Von D Saint and Sinner at $22 each. I crossed my fingers as I opened Saint to smell it…and promptly spilled it all over my arm. Luckily, I’m a fan of the light vanilla jasmine scent. Sinner is a spicier scent, with cinnamon and patchouli. For some reason, it just doesn’t last on me – I cannot catch a whiff even 10 minutes after putting it on. For me, Saint is the clear winner and I could see buying a larger bottle.

I also ordered Sephora Collection Luster Matte Long-Wear Lip Color in “Rose Luster” ($7, down from $16) to get to $50. It’s a nice matte color, but I didn’t feel like it was very long lasting.

For samples, I ended up with Madame C.J. Walker Beauty Culture Silkening Blow Out Creme (weird), philosophy Purity Made Simple 3-in-1 Cleanser (love this stuff); and Lancome Dual Finish Multi-Tasking Powder & Foundation in One All Day Wear.

Only $432 left til Rouge!

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.

Give Me Some Nude Lip – 3rd Edition

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Even though I was able to resist the 2nd Edition of Sephora’s “Give Me Some Nude Lip” – I wasn’t able to resist the 3rd. Really, the only reason I didn’t get the second was because I already had a full size of Urban Decay “1993”, but I had none of the ones included in this set.

Inside this 3rd “Give Me Some Nude Lip” ($28): Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in “Kristen” (very…MOIST); Marc Jacobs Beauty’s Enamored Hi Shine Lip Lacquer in “Sugar Sugar” (haven’t tried this one yet); NARS Cosmetics Velvet Lip Glide in “Bound” (Somewhere between a lip gloss and a matte liquid lip, it stayed put most of the day and was very hydrating); Tarte lippie lingerie matte tint in “Revealed” (I thought I hated chubby lip pencils, but this one is nice and long-lasting and a nice medium brown); Too Faced Lip Injection Glossy in “Spice Girl” (I have regrets about wearing this to work today – my lips were stinging for a good hour and a half…and looked no plumper); and Urban Decay Vice Waterproof Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in “Trivial” (Full size – and the best shade of the bunch). This was a good buy – I can see wearing all of these, except for the Lip Injection.

I also splurged on Taste Beauty Felicia the Flamingo Lip Balm ($10). Even though I hate using my finger to apply lip balm, I will make an exception for this cute little flamingo float.

I used a code to get a Deluxe Sample of Atelier Cologne Clémentine California. I love the smell – like fresh Cutie Clementines – but it doesn’t seem to last very long on me. I’ve worn it twice this week and it faded by the time I got home from work. I was also pleasantly surprised to receive the exact samples I picked: philosophy Purity Made Simple Cleanserphilosophy Time In A Bottle 100% In-Control, and SUNDAY RILEY C.E.O. C + E antiOXIDANT Protect + Repair Moisturizer.

How am I gonna get to Rouge Status by the end of the year? I have $674 left!

Buck that Fudget

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I am trying so, SO hard to stay on a budget. But I got that email with my 15% off code for the Sephora Spring Event…

I made it to the second to last day and then “splurged” on a single lipstick. I’ve been wanting to try Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in “Veronica” ($20), so since Sephora is carrying them now, I took the plunge. First off, the formula is GREAT. My lips didn’t get dry and cracked and formula did not budge all day. I picked the exact perfect color for me – a dupe for Jeffree Star “Androgyny”. I’m in love with these lipsticks. I wish I hd less resolve.

For samples, I actually got my picks this time. They were John Varvatos “Dark Rebel” (hoping it would be a good one for my husband, but it was nasty – smelled like some cheap old man shit, like Brut); philosophy purity made simple 3-in-1 cleanser for face and eyes; and Tata Harper Repairative Moisturizer (their misspelling, not mine).

Maybe my budget will be more open when the next sale hits…

First Ulta Haul of 2016

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I didn’t think it would be so soon…but here it is – my first Ulta haul of the year.

I had been using John Frieda Illuminating Shine and I REALLY like they way it makes my newly short hair feel. I noticed it was $3 each on Ulta’s site and went nuts, ordering 3 each of shampoo and conditioner. (I guess it is discontinued now – it’s no longer on Ulta’s site. FUCK.) Isn’t that the way it always goes? You find something you like and them BOOM – it’s gone. Ugh. I also got a John Frieda Gift with Purchase – travel sizes of John Frieda Beach Blonde Cool Dip Purifying Shampoo, Smooth Seas Detangling Conditioner and Sea Waves Sea Salt Spray. Of course, I just cut all the blonde off my hair, but these will be good for summer.

I also picked up Urban Decay Loose Ultra Definition Finishing Powder – I’ve been using the Pressed, but wanted to try this. I also got Biore Baking Soda Liquid Cleanser (is baking soda the new charcoal?) – I tried it last night and it was nice. I had been lusting over Nicole by OPI “Pick of the Glitter” for about a month, after spying it in a Walgreen’s display. It was still on my mind, so I broke down and bought it. (It is every bit as good as I thought it would be.)

My purchase qualified me for the Platinum Skin Beauty Break Gift with $60 Purchase – a little plastic makeup bag with NOICE samples. Inside the bag: Dermablend Professional Setting Powder (Pricey); Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser (going to Vegas with me); StriVectin SD Advanced Intensive Concentrate for Wrinkles & Stretch Marks (Which one should I work on first?); Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive (Leave it to Gwyneth Paltrow to make beauty products in the worst scent imaginable); Clarins Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrate; Lancome Renergie Lift Multi-Action Lifiting and Firming Moisturizer; Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels; Patchology FlashPath Eye Gels; and Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil. This is the best sample bag I’ve gotten from Ulta, I think!

I didn’t get my Variety Sampler though…Bummer.