Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ulta Haul! - Benefit, Mario Badescu, NYX, and More!

Hello! Hope you're all having a good week! I'm...90% sure it's Wednesday, so halfway through! ...It's hard sometimes to remember what day it is when your work schedule is kind of messed up.

For this post I have an Ulta haul for you guys! Ulta's been having another "21 Days Of Beauty" promotion going on so they've had a lot of really great deals and gifts with purchase (GWPs from now on because acronyms!) in-store and online. Most of the time, I feel like I get better deals online; things are usually in stock and I don't feel like I have to worry about products being touched by strangers (seriously, the drugstore side of my Ulta is a mess; if it's unsealed, you can bet it's been used). The only things I really like to stop into my Ulta for are a. Zoya nail polish, b. clearance, and c. sometimes they're more lenient with GWPs and will give them to you if you're close enough (if you have to spend $35 to get a GWP and you only spend $32, they'll usually give it to you). Otherwise, online all the way!
Lots of things in bags this time!
I think one of the most fun things to do while shopping online at Ulta is to play the "how much can I get for free?" game. Ulta even makes things easy for you by having special sections on their site for GWPs and "Buy X get Y free/50% off" deals. It is kind of annoying that, with the exception of the occasional promotion/deal, you have to spend at least $50 to get free shipping, but you really can get a lot of neat stuff for cheap.
Including free samples! Every online order gets three free samples; unlike Sephora, you don't get to pick your individual samples, you can only pick what type (there's a fragrance sampler, a skin care sampler, and a variety sampler. I always get the variety one), but I feel like there's a bigger variety of samples, and you even get a mix of drug store and high-end/
You also get info cards on any brands/promos that Ulta wants to pimp; this card has a Laura Geller sampler set...
and I also got a booklet about the new It Cosmetics For Ulta brush line. The display in-store is kind of cute; they made the "It" logo out of brush heads. I was tempted to touch it, but then thought about how many other people probably have and thought better of it. I also got the most current catalog, but didn't take a picture of it. I always find the catalogs they included with orders to be a little behind the most current promotions, but that makes sense since it takes Ulta shipments a little longer to get to me (for some unknown reason. Maybe the 3-Day shipping from Sephora has spoiled me).

I think I'll start small and work my way up!
...yeah, I caved into the hype. I don't even like EOS lip balms, but damnit, I love coconut! I don't know; I don't even want to open this right now since I have 6000 lip balms already opened.
I wanted to use my $3.50 off $10+ coupon, but I didn't have enough products in my cart that were "coupon friendly" to use it, so I threw these guys in just for fun. These are the NYX Ultra Pearl Mania Loose Pearl Powders in Oro and Sky Pink.
NYX eye products were "buy one get one 50%" and since I've been so into loose pigments lately, I figured I'd give these a try.
On the right is Oro, the left is Sky Pink. These are actually really nice as far as the pigment itself goes, but the packaging is just awful. The bottles have really skinny necks so it's difficult to get a brush inside and it's surprisingly hard to get a little bit of powder out without making a huge mess. There are a lot of videos about depotting these pigments on Youtube and, when I get my hands on some suitable containers, I'll do the same.
I got another travel size of the Dr. Brandt Xtend Your Youth Dual Fusion Water because...
You got two (two!) Dr. Brandt GWP samples with any (any!) Dr. Brandt purchase! Apparently, each of these samples are worth $10 each and...I only paid $9 for the water ( was the cheapest thing from Dr. Brandt) so...I win! I got a good sized sample of the Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion (this has been in a few subscription boxes now; it's a great exfoliant) and a sample of the DNA Triple Peptide Eye Cream. And I am all about eye cream.
And then, because I've been obsessed with sheet masks, and these were on sale "buy two get one free!" I bought two and got on free. I got another Glacial Clay Spa mask since I really liked it the last time I used it (except for the smell; it's not bad, it just reminds me of something and...I don't know. I don't like it) and then I got two random other masks. Also, I love the ridiculous Photoshopping on these. Who is their graphic designer? I can't tell if these are genius or terrible; isn't that always how it is?
Now on to the more "serious" things, or the things that I actually intended to purchase in the first place. I just finished up my LUSH Tea Tree Toner and I'm almost out of my Boscia Clear Complexion Toner, so I've been looking for a replacement. One of the biggest hurdles to finding a good toner is finding one that is alcohol-free. Many, many, many toners on the market have alcohol as their second or third ingredient and alcohol really isn't something I want to be putting on my skin. I've never used anything from Mario Badescu before (at least, I don't think so) but I've heard good things so I thought it was worth a look. This toner caught my eye because the ingredients that are listed online are: "Deionized Water (Aqua), Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice) Gel, Grapefruit (Citrus Grandis Fruit) Extract, Glycolic Acid". That's...pretty much perfect. No alcohol, no parabens, no fragrance, nothing but good skin ingredients. So I bought it.

Apparently, Ulta didn't list all of the ingredients (even though all the other products I looked at had all their ingredients listed; I compared them to the ingredients lists from the official Mario Badescu website, which incidentally does list all the ingredients for this toner) and there's a lot more in here including fragrance, parabens, and colorants. I still think it's something I'm looking for as far as toner goes since it's alcohol-free, but I might not have been too excited to get it if I had seen the full list. There is another toner I'm interested in, the Aloe Vera one, and that is nothing but water, aloe vera, and parabens.
I also got a GWP deluxe sample of the Hyaluronic Eye Cream! Yay, more eye cream!
 And this was the item that started this order in the first place: this is the Benefit Frisky Six sample set and it's exclusive to Ulta. I have a love-hate relationship with Benefit; it was one of the first mid-high-end brands that I got into and they started my love for makeup, but I struggle with a lot of their products. I think they're interesting and cute, but many of them just don't perform the way I want them to (so it might just be me and not Benefit, who knows!). Benefit has a couple of these sampler sets, but I've never been tempted to buy one since I've owned/tried everything in them! Except this one! The only product in this sampler that I've used is the They're Real mascara (I can never remember which mascara is the one I hate: They're Real or Bad Girl Lash". I've been wanting to try the Lolli-Tint and Lolli-Balm ever since they released it...this spring, I think? I think it's a super pretty purple, and this is the first sampler set I've seen it in.
So, yeah, like I said, this is the only product in this set that I've used before. People really like the mascara and I believe this is one of, if not the, top sellers from Benefit. I don't know if I'm going to use this or not; I have so many other mascaras and I'm really not sure if I even like this mascara.
There's also a deluxe sample of the Sugarbomb blush/face powder! Out of all of Benefit's products, I think their boxed powders are my favorite. I love the Dandelion blush/powder; it's a gorgeous pinky peach color and it really brightens up your complexion. These powders are scented, but I don't think it lingers and you won't be smelling it on your face.
There are four different colors in this powder ("peach, soft plum, pink and rose" according to Benefit) that you swirl together and "sweep on cheeks for a natural radiance". It's subtle, but like Dandelion it just makes you look youthful and awake.
This is probably really hard to see, but since this is a subtle color I had a hard time building it up for a swatch. On the far left is a swatch of all the colors swirled together and then I tried to swatch each color individually (though it doesn't matter since, after swirling them all together once, they get muddled anyways). I feel like Sugarbomb is a little more peachy-orange where Dandelion is more pink, but I think both are gorgeous powders and I'm excited to give it a try.
 This is another product I was curious to try: Ooh La Lift under-eye brightener! I have intense, chronic dark under-eye circles and I will try almost anything at least once (almost) that promises to make me look awake and not like I've pulled an all-nighter. Fun random side stories: when I was in middle school, there was a goth boy who fancied me and asked me one day how I got my eyes to look so dead. In high school, there was a kid on the bus (...I didn't have a driver's license) who asked me if my parents abused me since I had two black eyes. A. No and B. who even asks a stranger that? So. Yeah. Lifelong panda struggle. Anyways! This product "contains raspberry extracts and light-reflecting pigments to instantly perk up tired eyes. This delicate pink balm can be applied on bare skin or over makeup", which is a direct quote from the item description on It looks pretty much white to me, but in the bottle there is a slight pink tinge. The only thing that concerns me is the "light-reflecting pigments", which usually means there's some kind of shimmer/glitter in it and I really don't like shimmer under my eyes (...though it's cool pretty much anywhere else on my face).
Continuing on kind of in the order the products are in the box, we have Sun Beam, the warmer, sunnier, version of High Beam! I've used High Beam before (a liquid highlighter similar to Benefit's ___tint products except that I don't think these stain) and it's pretty, but it's a little too "cold" for me. Sun Beam is basically the same thing, just bronze.
Shiny! I've really, really been into gold/bronze makeup lately (...I think I refuse to give up summer) and this is such a gorgeous highlight if that's the look you're going for. I've never had a full size of this product, and I honestly can't imagine ever even going through my little sample; a little goes a long way!
Two products left and they kind of go together! This is Lollitint, which I have no idea how to punctuate but it's apparently all one word, though that's kind of annoying to read. This is one of Benefit's famous "lip and cheek tint/stains", except it's in a new color! Benefit describes it as a "candy-orchid" color and it was released about the time that Sephora announced that the color of the year for 2014 was Radiant Orchid. I love these kinds of lilac/orchid purples, so I was very excited! Unfortunately, I have a hard time with these ___tints from Benefit; they stain immediately and I just can't seem to blend them in before I get weird streaks on my cheeks. Benefit suggests applying them by either making "whiskers" or dots, but no matter what I do, it looks goofy. I think I might try to put a bunch on my hand, then stipple it on my cheeks with a brush. If my hand gets a weird stain, eh. I think these work much better as lip products, honestly.
This little guy is Lollibalm! Another newer product, this is a "lip hydrator" balm in the same, pretty candy-orchid color as Lollitint. This lip balm also comes in a few other colors that coordinate with other ___tints, but this is my favorite (even without ever trying it on myself...). When these first came out, people were really divided about them; some people thought they were amazing, other people were super disappointed with them because they are incredibly sheer. I think If I were to purchase the full size of this product with the expectation that the color on the tube is the color that would show up on my lips, I would be very disappointed, too. However, I know that these are sheer, and since I'm expecting it to be sheer, I'm very happy with it. Sometimes, just a wash of color is nice.
Here are both Lolli____ products swatched: the top is Lollitint and the bottom is Lollibalm (see how sheer it is?). I love how these two colors coordinate and I think one of the reasons why the ___balms are so sheer is that Benefit wants you to use them over the ____tints since they can be a little drying (I feel like most staining type products are. Afterall, they need to dry down to stick around).

And that's my whole Ulta haul! I haven't ordered anything from Ulta in a long time since I hate that you have to purchase $50+ to get free shipping (except when there are promos), but I was so excited to see a Benefit sampler with almost all new (to me, at least) products that I had to order! I'm very happy with this order, even with the slight disappointment with the toner ingredients, and I hoped you enjoyed reading about it!

Thanks for reading! <3

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