Perfect Shine Splurge
Back in November, I think when Sephora was offering 15% off, Ulta sent out a $10 off $40 coupon, so why not restock on a few things. Sometimes, there’s nothing like splurging on fancy shampoo & conditioner!
I’d gotten to try NatureLab Tokyo Perfect Shine Shampoo & Conditioner ($14 each) in an Allure Beauty Box last year. I really liked it, but it wasn’t widely available. Fast forward a year and now Ulta carries it – score! The secret ingredient is grape stem cells. I don’t know what those are. I also picked up some a single use conditioners – PURA D’OR Single Use Hair Thinning Therapy Intense Moisturizing Masque ($1.79), HASK Shea Butter & Hibiscus Oil Anti-Frizz Deep Conditioner Packette ($2.99) and HASK Tea Tree Oil & Rosemary Hair & Scalp Treatment Mask Packette ($2.99).
Freeman Masks were on super sale, so I bought a replacement Cucumber & Pink Salt Clay Mask. I also grabbed a clearance China Glaze “Rainbow” for $2.62 and a new Flowery nail buffer.
I definitely did NOT buy that Kylie Cosmetics Velvet Lip Kit in “Bare” – it was a gift with $25 makeup purchase. I now know the secret of the Kylie Lip Kits! The lip liner is one tick darker than the lipstick, so it creates an optical illusion of a fuller lip. The more you know…I tried it out and the color was WAY too light for me. Hypothetically, my lips did look bigger though.
My $70 purchase qualified me for a Hello Holidays Sample Bag – it’s so fancy! Inside the bag: Dermablend Insta-Grip Jelly Primer; Awake Pore Down Tightening Concentrate; Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Towelette (WEIRD); Lake & Skye 11 11 (I could not smell this); MAC Lipstick samples in “Ruby Woo”, “M-A-C Red” & “Cockney”; Too Faced Damn Girl! Mascara; Pravana Color Protect Cleanse and Condition (HUGE samples tubes – will try these out after my next dye session); Philosophy Purity Made Simple Hydra-Bounce Eye Gel; Ahava Dead Sea Water Mineral Body Lotion; Tula Skincare 24-7 Moisture Hydrating Day & Night Cream; Smashbox Photo Finish Primer; Burberry Her; Yves Saint Laurent Mon Paris; NatureLab Tokyo Perfect Shine Shampoo & Conditioner (foilpacks for travel!); Tonymoly Golden Pig Collagen Bounce Mask; Gucci Guilty; AG Haircare Glow Shine Infuse Serum; Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear Sample Card (none of these will match me); Beekman 1802 Milk Drops Probiotic Ceramide Serum; John Frieda Frizz Ease Secret Weapon Touch-up Creme; Patchology Little Helper Energy Dietary Supplement Strip (a caffeine strip that melts on your tongue – is drinking a cup of coffee so hard?); and VDL Velvet Blur Primer.
Oh, and if the order looks a little light, it’s because there were a few gifts in my order…
Sephora Favorites Hello! Holy-Grail Greats
As soon as I start complaining about missing subscription boxes, Sephora releases another Hello! set. Even if it’s not all that great a set, I went ahead and ordered it – just to get some mail.
I didn’t think I’d like the Farmacy Daily Greens Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer with Moringa and Papaya, but it feels really nice on my skin. It’s similar to belif Aqua Bomb in silkiness.
I wore Valentino Donna Born in Roma today and I was surprised at how much I liked it – I don’t usually like woody oriental scents. I didn’t get an Italian vibe from this scent, it was very Far Eastern.
Also in the Holy-Grail Greats set: Tarte Lights, Camera, Action 4-in-1 Mascara (meh); Moroccanoil Treatment Light (meh); Smashbox Photo Finish Vitamin Glow (interested to try it); and Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 (meh).
The set was $10 and I used FREESHIP to get free shipping. The set also came with coupons for 15% off a full size purchase of each of the included products.
I’ve been saving up Beauty Insider points for several years and decided to use 500 points to get the Fresh Rose Hydration Heaven Set, which includes one of my favorite moisturizers – Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream, as well as Soy Face Cleanser, Rose Face Mask, and Sugar Rosé Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15 (my favorite balm).
I received two fragrance samples with my order. Leila Lou by Rosie Jane is a heavy jasmine scent – it didn’t smell bad, but it was too much jasmine for me. I’ll be giving this one away. Viktor & Rolf Magic Salty Flower is more my speed. There’s a touch of jasmine in this scent, but there are more blossomy and salty accords. I’ll be keeping this one.
$163 to VIB status in 2021.
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!
January Sephora Play! – Stress-Free Beauty
Oh, no matter how up to date I am on my posts, Sephora Play is always gonna be running late!
January’s theme is “Stress-Free Beauty” and includes products for your relaxation rituals.
So I wonder if Sephora knew that Kat Von D was jumping ship, when they put together this box? Did they know and use it as an opportunity to offload liners with the old branding? Or did was the move truly a surprise? Who knows? In any case, I have another Kat Von D Beauty Tattoo Liner in “Trooper”.
Also in this month’s box: Cover FX High Performance Setting Spray; Glamglow SUPERMUD Activated Charcoal Treatment Mask; Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Relief & Resilience Soothing Treatment Lotion (I JUST got this in October’s box!); Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer; and Giorgio Armani Beauty Si Passione (gross and stinky).
This box was meh. Sephora – do better!
Sephora Play gives you 5-6 prestige samples a month, for just $10! You can sign up at sephora.com/play.
Naked Honey Diamond
I did it!
What did I do?
Well…I did several things. I bought the Urban Decay Naked Honey Palette ($49), even though I said I wasn’t going to buy it yet. But I had a good reason! I got my hair cut at Ulta the day after Xmas and it put me SO close to Diamond status – only $52 away…so…
Admittedly, the colors are somewhat similar to the Naked 2 palette, but with a bunch of gold shades added. Even so, it’s a good palette. The colors are creamy and blendable, even more blendable that usual! I also like the brush that came with the palette – it’s great for packing color.
Ulta was having a deal offering any it Brushes for Ulta for $5 (regularly $14) with a palette purchase. I got the Airbrush Blending Crease Brush #105. Since it comes with a cap, I’ll through it in my travel bag for Vegas.
I also threw in a few stock-up items – a L’Oreal Colorista Bleach Highlights Kit ($10.99) and a few packs of Exfoliating Cotton Pads ($3.49). Even though I used a $3.50 off $15 coupon, I qualified for the FREE 23 Piece Sparkler Beauty Bag with $70 purchase.
Inside the Sparkler Beauty Bag: Joico Defy Damage Foilpacks with Shampoo, Conditioner, Protective Masque and Protective Shield; NARS Climax Mascara (I’m using it right now – I like it, it’s not clumpy); Rituals The Rituals of Sakura Sensational Foaming Shower Gel; NEST Fragrances Bamboo & Jasmine; Urban Decay Subversion Volumizing Lash Primer; Giorgio Armani Si Passione; Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male; Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in “Dark Brown” (so tiny!); Too Cool for School Rules of Mastic IX Enhancer (you cannot tell by the name, but this is a skin serum); Vichy Mineral 89 Skin Fortifying Daily Booster; Mamonde Lip Sleeping Mask in “Plum Blossom”; Peter Thomas Roth Peptide 21 Wrinkle Resist Serum; First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream; StriVectin anti-wrinkle SD advanced plus Intensive Moisturizing Concentrate; boscia Luminizing Black Mask; Kenneth Cole Mankind Legacy; Grown Alchemist Hydra-Repair Day Cream; Living proof. Perfect hair Day 5-in-1 styling treatment; Phyto Detox Clarifying Detox Shampoo (no matching conditioner – boo); it cosmetics Confidence in a Cream; NYX Retractable Eye Liner in “White”; Smashbox Always On Liquid Lipstick in “Out Loud”; and Benefit Precisely, My Brow Pencil in 4.5 (another so tiny!). The bag it came in was a glittery blue velvet one, and quite roomy. It might be coming to Vegas with me, too.
So yeah, I’m Ulta Diamond for 2020 – that will give me x1.5 Ulta points and free shipping (over $25)…I’m excited to see what kind of points I can rack 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!
July 2019 Ipsy Bag – Dive In
Dive in? Well, okay. I’m just glad that the “Dive In” theme isn’t all waterproof products – I cannot ever get that shit off.
My product choice this month was Smashbox Cosmetics Always On Lipstick in “Babe Alert”. Nude rose – I cannot get enough of nude rose lipstick.
Also in this month’s palm frond decorated ipsy bag: Billion Dollar Brows Eyebrow Brush (the insert says that the brush is infused with charcoal to resist bacteria – what? why?); Color Club Nail Polish in “Palm to Palm” (it matches the palm fronds on the makeup bag); FEEL Mindful Palo Santo Soothing Mask; and TheBalm Cosmetics Eyeshadow in “He Said, She Said” (I may need to try a primer woith this shade – I used it this morning, and the shimmery lavender shade was barely visible).
If you’d like to try Ipsy – click here. I’ll earn 250 points if you sign up through my link.
Sephora Play! May 2019 – Beauty BFFs
I am INTRIGUED by the name of May’s fragrance sample – Viktor & Rolf Salty Flower. I know, I know – I need to grow up. I usually like citrus scents, but I haven’t decided how I feel about this one. It’s got a hint of orange, but it’s buried underneath a powdery, old lady smell. I’ll have to wear it a few times to really decide.
Also included in this month’s “Beauty BFFs” box: Benefit Cosmetics BADgal BANG! Mascara (a decent mascara); Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick in “Stepping Out” (reminds me of NYX Soft Matte Metallic in “Cannes”); Sol de Janeiro Copa Cabana Cream (smells so good that I want to drink it); It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Eye Cream (bahhhh); and Alterna Haircare Caviar Anti-Aging Restructuring Bond Repair Leave-in Heat Protectant Spray.
A good box, with a wide variety of useful products.
Sephora Play is one of the better subscription boxes with consistently high-end products. Sephora Play is only $10/month. You can sign up at sephora.com/play.
My sweet Sally sent me an Ulta giftcard for my birthday last month. At first, I wasn’t intentionally saving it – I almost used it on a haircut a few weeks ago – but I’m glad I did save it. The new Urban Decay Naked Reloaded Palette ($44) was released at Ulta on March 4th – I ordered it that day in order to get the gift with purchase.
Sure, I have the first six Naked palettes (OG, Naked 2, Naked 3, Naked Smoky, Naked Heat, Naked Cherry), plus a dozen other Urban Decay palettes – but I need THIS one, too. There are a few interesting tweaks to the Naked “formula” – first off, there’s no brush – I guess that’s why it’s $5 cheaper than the rest of the Naked palettes. They also changed up the pan sizes – the lighter base shades have large pans and the dark and glitter shades have smaller pans – brilliant! That’s exactly how it should be! I’ve used it three times so far, and other than having to decide which brushes to use, the experiences have been great. I haven’t used it with primer yet, because it doesn’t need it. The shades are neutral enough for any skin tone, although they seem to lean olive, strangely enough. It’s the perfect neutral starter for someone just getting into prestige brands of makeup. I’ll be reaching for this palette often.
The gift with purchase was an Urban Decay Makeup Bag, in signature black, white and lilac. The bag included a deluxe sample of Eyeshadow Primer Potion Anti-Aging and a full size 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in “Perversion”. For some reason, I expected there to be a lipstick – nope. Free is free though.
For shits and giggles, I added two new Feeling Beautiful Freeman Masks ($4.29) to my cart: Deep Clearing Seaweed + Sea Salt Mud Mask + Scrub (I really liked the scent and how exfoliating this mask was) and Soothing Watermelon + Aloe Cooling Gel Mask (not especially cooling, but I did feel like it calmed my skin before my shower).
I also qualified for another freebie bag, which had a really strange assortment of products. The standout sample in the bag is the Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in (what I believe to be) “Crimson Chrome” – it’s not labelled, so I’m making an educated guess. I love the color and how it looks on me, but it gets on EVERYTHING – my poor hamburger ended up wearing most of it today. Also in the bag: Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels; Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm, Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Deodorant/Anti-Antiperspirant (why?); First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream; and Clarins Multi-Active Jour SPF 20. See what I mean? Odd.
$193 to Platinum…
Sephora Play! Smarts – Complexion Your Way: Matte
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On the second weekend of Sephora’s ROUGE BONUS 20% off sale, they dropped new Sephora Play! Smarts boxes – Complexion Your Way ($20), with a choice between “Matte” and “Dewy”. Of course, I chose “Matte”.
The star of this box was the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Matte Longwear Foundation + Primer. The sample card came with Primer and three shades of foundation. Amazingly, the lightest shade, “150”, was the near-perfect shade for me. There was just enough in the pack for a thin full face application (with a Beautyblender). It was BEAUTIFUL, especially topped with the Cover FX Perfect Setting Powder, also included in the box. This will definitely be the next foundation I buy.
Along with a nifty netted zipper bag, the “Matte” box had It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cleanser Skin-Transforming Hydrating Cleansing Serum (love this cleanser); Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight; Smashbox Photo Finish Pore Minimizing Primer; Peter Thomas Roth Hungarian Thermal Water Mineral-Rich Moisturizer; and Sephora Collection Beauty Magnet Concealer Brush. I will use all of these, immediately.
I added another purchase to my order – the Ellis Brooklyn Bibliotheca Discovery Set ($20), a fragrance sampler that includes six of the brand’s set. Can you believe that the one I originally received was totally evaporated??? I was SO pissed. I called Sephora immediately and they sent me a new one, no questions asked. Luckily, it was fine…and I got two more samples. Oh yeah, did you hear that Sephora only gives two samples per order now? There will be riots in the street!
Back to the Ellis Brooklyn set…it was utterly disappointing. I really didn’t like any of the scents enough to buy a full size. I had especially high hopes for “Rrose” – I love a good rose, but it was bland. “Raven”, “Myth” and “Sci Fi” were the best of the bunch, but didn’t last long enough for me to get a feel for on me. “Rives” was straight up POISON that gave me a headache (probably the lavender). I wore “Fable” today and I cannot even remember what it smelled like. I am utterly disappointed in this set. I was hoping to find another high quality niche brand to love, like Atelier or Replica, but every formula was weak and was gone within 10 minutes. FAIL.
Oh samples! In the first shipment, I got foundations – Milk Blur Liquid Matte Foundation (3 shades on a card) and Giorgio Armani Face fabric Second Skin Makeup (4 shades foil packs). The second shipment gave me another sample of Ellis Brooklyn Myth and Dior Joy. Oh, joy.
Just $44 to Rouge!