Sunday, April 7, 2013

Disappointing Sephora Order

Hello! Hope you had a good weekend and are all rested up ready for a new week! Haha, I feel a little weird starting off a potentially negative post with such a happy opening. Yes, unfortunately, my most recent purchase from Sephora was a bit of a let down. I've had nothing but positive experiences in the past with them, so I was really surprised at how this order turned out. It sounds weird, but since this is the first time I feel Sephora has let it's quality control slip, it's made me a little less interested in purchasing from them in the future. I know, one mess up shouldn't be enough to turn me off of a company, especially since it's really been the only mess up, but it just makes me question whether Sephora is slipping or not. I did get my 15% off VIB coupon for chic week, so I'll most likely be ordering from them again soon, but if it turns out like this order, I may have to start thinking about going back to just purchasing from them in store.
Let's get started, shall we?
So here's my order all laid out and pretty! When I initially opened my box, I was happily surprised to see that they included an extra fourth sample! I had picked the Algenist, Ole Henriksen, and the benefit samples, but they threw in a Clarins sample as well. I gave it to my mom (along with the other one I got previously) since it's for more mature skin, but it was nice to see another sample. My main goal was to try the Fake-Up concealer by benefit. As I said in the last post, I've been trying to find a really good under eye concealer that was also hydrating and wouldn't settle into my creases, and Fake-Up sounded like it was made with me in mind. Unfortunately, it didn't have the best reviews on Sephora's website, so I wanted to try it out before I committed to buying it. I know Sephora is really good about letting you return products if you don't like them, but I don't like the hassle of returning things so I try to avoid it if possible. They also included one of those big perfume sample/advertisements for Miss Dior. One thing I noticed is that my samples didn't get their own little baggie like they did in my last two orders; they were just thrown on the top, which I thought was a strange step-back.

I'll start with the things I was happy with.
I don't know why I take up close pictures of my samples; you can see them perfectly well in the "whole order" picture. Oh well! So I was happy with my samples, especially since I got four instead of just three. I did try out the Fake-Up and, to be honest, I'm happy I didn't buy it. It's not a bad concealer, it did a good job of covering my under eye circles, but one problem I tend to have with benefit products is that they're way too yellow and dark for me. I used the "Light", and it was still pretty off from my skin tone. I think I may have said this before, but benefit's "Hello Flawless!" was my first foundation compact. I got it before they had expanded the color line, when the lightest color they made was the...."champagne" one I think. Or maybe it was the "petal" one...hmmm. Either way, it was too dark and too yellow for me, but I was so excited to be using such fancy make-up that I kept wearing it. They did expand their color choices, and they do have an "ivory" one now, but I haven't tried it to see if it matches me better. Another thing I didn't really like about Fake-Up was that it never really felt like it dried down. It felt very wet all day and I was very aware that I was wearing it. It didn't settle into my creases as much as my previous concealers, but it did settle more than my new MAC concealer (which I am still in love with!). The MAC one is just as hydrating, but it feels like it sinks into my skin better and I don't feel it sitting there all day. With Fake-Up, my eyes felt almost dewy and gummy; it was a little unpleasant. I like the idea of Fake-Up, but maybe if the formulation was a little different.

Here's the other item I was completely happy with:
Since I've been on an "all the make-up steps!" kick, I decided to get myself some face and eyelid primer. I'm not sure how long this phase is going to last, I didn't want to invest in any full sizes right away. I'm a big fan of Too Faced products, and I've heard a lot of good things about their primers, so I bought this little kit of deluxe samples of some of their products. You get a 0.13 fl. oz. size of their LashGasm mascra, a 0.17 oz. tube of Shadow Insurance, a 0.1 fl. oz. tube of Glamour Gloss in the color "Sex Pot", a 0.12 oz. tube of Lip Insurance, and a 0.17 oz. tube of Primed and Poreless for $20 (which is about the price of the full sized Shadow Insurance). I have used all these products in the past, with the exception of the lip primer, and I was generally pleased with their performance. Now that I am a little more "serious time" with my make-up, it will be nice to revisit them and see how they stand up. My only issue is that I don't like the Glamour Glosses for the sole reason that they have plumping properties; I'm just not a big fan of lip plumping products. Otherwise, they're good glosses.

So moving along, we'll go from "things I am totally happy with" to "things could have been a little better". So on the website, Sephora was (they might still, actually) having a "spring sale" where they added a bunch of stuff to their sale section. A lot of things from the brand Tarte got added, which is exciting because I like Tarte! They do a lot of natural, "good for you" products that don't have a lot of extra chemicals like parabens. Still on my blush/bronzer kick, I really wanted to pick up this little travel sized duo of the Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in the color "Dollface":
And the Amazonian Clay Bronzer in "Park Avenue Princess":
Uh, also, I just realized these pictures would be more helpful if I actually showed you what the product looked like, but I didn't think of that when I took them. Oh, one thing I really want to try and start doing is swatching products for you guys. Actually, let me do that now.
Alright and we're back! So as you can see, I am incredibly pale and don't have the best lighting, but you get the idea. I also tried to blend these out a bit, but I did have to build up the color for both of them since they do go on quite sheer, the blush more so than the bronzer. They're both very flattering colors and are very easy to wear, especially since they do apply fairly sheer. My Lorac bronzer is nice, but it's so pigmented that it's easy to put way too much on and then have to spend a long time trying to blend it out. I do like these products, but it's the packaging I'm a little "meh" about. They're cute little plastic compacts, and I do like the fake croc pattern on the bronzer, but they don't have mirrors in them; the tops are just solid plastic. I know that sounds like a weird thing to gripe about, but these were $12 together (on sale!), so at $6 each, they feel kind of cheap with no mirror. That could just be me, though, and it is kind of a silly thing to even notice, but I'm a big fan of luxe and detailed packaging.

Now let's go from "things that could have been a little better" to "things that had some flaws". As you know if you've read my previous Sephora post, I've been collecting the Sephora Hello Kitty nail polishes like a woman on a mission (which was to get all the polishes, heh.). I thought I had achieved this, but as you will see a bit farther down, I did not (foreshadowing! Actually, not really.). Here are the HK polishes in Banana Cream and Blueberry.
I really love the colors of these two polishes and I am very happy I was able to snag them. I swatched them for you!
The yellow is pretty spot on to what it looks like in real life; it's a cool, buttery kind of pastel yellow. I think it's a very wearable color (I'm not a fan of really bright yellows since I think they look weird on me and you tend to need a LOT of coats to get them to be opaque) and will be nice for spring. The blue is more grey in real life, and I think it looks prettier than it does in the picture. It's kind of a heathery, purplish blue periwinkle which, once again, I think is very wearable and appropriate for spring.

Now for why I was a little disappointed in these polishes. I know they were sale items, but they seemed to be a little flawed. At $5, they're not the most expensive polishes, but they were originally $10, which is more than O.P.I. runs (though not as much as actual high-end polishes. I love nail polish, but I don't know if I could ever justify spending $24 on a bottle of Dior polish. Though maybe I haven't tried it yet. Julep polishes are on the more expensive side and you can really tell the different between them and O.P.I.). If I had paid full price for these two with the issues they had, I would have been a little miffed. I'll start with Banana Cream.
I'm not sure how well it shows up here, but around the top and along the side of the cap, there were these huge brown spots. I thought at first that they were maybe from spilled polish from bottle that had broken in the warehouse or something, but looking at more closely, it's actually the chrome color flaking off. I'm not sure if the polish is just that old or if there was a flaw in it's production, but it really cheapens the overall effect of the polish and kind of ruins the cuteness of the bottle. Once again, packaging gripes are lame, but it's one of those things I pay attention to.

I don't have a picture of my issue with the Blueberry bottle, so you'll have to imagine it. The brush for my Blueberry polish was kind of messed up; when I first opened it, there was one SUPER long fiber that curled up and kind of tucked itself inside the cap. It was really weird; but I was able to cut it off. Now there's just this one weird fiber that sticks out where the bristles meet the shaft. The bottom of the brush also had issues, too; the bristles were all ragged and there were some that where quite a bit longer than the others. It made application of the polish hard to do neatly, so I had to trim those, too. It's not the biggest deal ever, and I was able to reasonably fix it, but again, that's not something I expect to have to do with $10 (or even $5) nail polish.

And here we go from "things that had some flaw" to the outright "disappointments". I'll continue with the nail polish roll we have going with what I thought would be the final polish in my quest to obtain all the HK polishes.
This is the color "Purple Sprinkles"; it's basically the complement to the "Pink Sprinkles" color, but I think it's supposed to be a bit more opaque. I don't know if you can see it very well in the picture (it was hard to capture without taking the plastic off, which I didn't want to do since I was going to return it), but it arrived 1/3 full and completely dried out. It was one, solid, sparkly mass in the bottom of the jar.  I'm not sure how it happened, since it's still sealed, but I think there may have been a flaw in the cap that let air in. I was pretty disappointed about my polish arriving this way, since I clearly couldn't use it and had to return it, and this one was probably the hardest of the collection to catch back in stock (I haven't seen it since). I only own one other purple color (a small bottle of Sephora by O.P.I. in the color "Iris I Was Thinner"; it came in the 500-point nail set) and was pretty excited for this one. It was really annoying to think that I was finally getting it, but then to basically have it snatched from me at the last second. Hmm, that's a weird way to describe it, but you understand the feeling I mean, right?

And now finally, the item that really made me question Sephora's quality control. This was the item in the "brown bag of mystery" from my group shot:
This is the Tarte 24/7 Lip Trio in the color I have no idea. There was actually an issue where some people who ordered this got the wrong colors so I'm not really sure which one I was meant to get. They've taken it down on the site, so I can't check unfortunately. This was supposed to be a set of three of Tarte's 24/7 lip sheers, which are kind of like a lip balm with a stain. They originally had an SPF of 15, but we'll get into that in a second. In my quest for a good lip balm, I bought these thinking that $14 would be a good deal to try them out since originally the set was $28 I believe and the individual ones were on sale for $6 each. Here I could get three for less than $5 each AND a cute little bag! Wishful thinking. Oh, they're also wrapped in tissue paper here because the tubes are actually made out of recycled aluminum and the tissue kept them safe.
Here they are all nice and lined up! See that sticker on there? Yeah, that's where the issue with these stems from. I don't have a picture of it (and unfortunately I can't link you to the page on Sephora.com where these are listed because other people had pictures of it) but these are expired. Two of them expired about mid 2012 (I can't check since I've already returned them) and one of them had an expiration date in 2011. So. Yeah. Super gross. I know these were on sale, but I think it's really shady to sell expired products without telling people that they are expired. Some people don't mind that kind of thing (I'm sure they're still safe, but it just really grosses me out) and would be happy to buy things at discount prices, but people like me feel like they've been...lied to? That sounds harsh, but that's kind of what it boils down to. I was really, really disappointed that Sephora, a name that until now I have trusted completely, would sell something like this without telling people. A lot of other people complained in the review section of this product within a few days of me receiving this (so it must have just happened recently) and then it went out of stock completely. I do have a theory of why Sephora was selling this expired product, and it has to do with those little stickers.
This is what's under those stickers. If you can't see it in the pictures (I had to zoom in pretty far), the stickers say "24.7 natural lip sheer". Under the stickers, it says "24.7 natural lip sheer SPF 15". I'm thinking that it's the SPF that the expiration dates were for and since it was expired, Sephora couldn't sell them and still call them "SPF 15". They used to stickers to relabel them so that they were able to sell them even though they were expired. I know some companies put stickers on their bottles because of a name change or a slight formula change in a product but they don't want to have to just throw out the old bottles (I actually don't mind this practice, I think it's much greener to merely relabel than to throw a bunch of unused plastic into a landfill), but this just feels really shady, like they're trying to skirt FDA regulations.

There you have it; my first ever disappointed order from Sephora. Will this stop me from ordering from them again? No, but it makes me much more cautious about, especially regarding anything in their sale section. I was able to return the polish and the lip sheers to my physical Sephora store without any hassle which is nice, so I'm not really out anything (except my purple polish...I hope it comes back in stock), but it's just the idea that my confidence in Sephora as a "beauty expert" has been shaken a little by this experience. I'll likely order from them again, soon, and I'll let you guys know how it goes!

Thanks for reading! <3

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