Monday, December 15, 2014

Black Friday(ish) Haul! - Birchbox, Ulta, & More!

Hello! Hope you're having a good Monday (or whatever day it is when you read this). We're getting close to Winter holidays (are some already happening? I'm not too sure...) so I hope you're also staying happy and sane.

For this post, I have some things I want to share with you from Black Friday and beyond. Unfortunately, some of these deals are no longer available, but a lot of the products themselves still are, so I feel like this is still something worth sharing. Plus, I want to clean up my desk per usual.
I actually got some neat stuff and I even made my very first order from Birchbox (besides the subscription box)! Feel free to check out my video if you'd rather hear me say words, otherwise click below!
I debated if I should start with Birchbox or if I should start with Ulta and I decided...
Birchbox! How cute is this box? Also, it's really big! I think Birchbox does the same thing Sephora does; they have a few different sizes of boxes and just pick the one that's closest to the size ofr the product you ordered. This is my first order from Birchbox (besides the subscription boxes) and I am very pleased!
For...Cyber Monday I think, Birchbox had a coupon for 25% (or memory is not what it used to be) off pretty much anything in their store. I also had enough points saved up to get $20 and DevaCurl products had free shipping so...I totally only paid $10 for this $40 set!
This is a really nice trial set; you get a good variety of products to try that actually form the core of the line (does that make sense? I couldn't figure out a better way to say that) and they're nicely sized as well.
I've been curious about DevaCurl, but I've never purchased anything from the line. I tend to stick to my Ouidad and, since DevaCurl is just as pricey as Ouidad, I felt more comfortable staying with what I know. However! This was such a good deal that I figured it was now or never. And it was now!
In this nifty set, you get 8oz sizes of the No-Poo Zero Lather Conditioning Cleanser, One Condition Ultra Creamy Daily Conditioner, and Light Defining Gel, a 1.7oz size of  the Frizz-Free Volumnizing Foam, and the DevaTowel. Guess which is my favorite product so far? (Hint: it's the towel!).
I've used this set a few times now and I am definitely liking it, buy by far my favorite item is the towel. The towel itself retails for about $12 so basically, I bought the towel for $2 less than it retails for and got all the other products for free. Yes. This is a special type of material that helps prevents the frizz that can be caused by rough-textured towels (like mine. Because they are the ones I had in college. Yeah...) and it absorbs enough water so that your curls aren't super drenched but it leaves enough to help your styling products work better. This doesn't have the best reviews from what I've seen, and it kind of upsets me because the people who don't like this towel are using it incorrectly. Which happens a lot in reviews. This is a pretty small towel, which is the biggest gripe people seem to have with it. They are upset that they can't wrap their hair up in it. But that's not what this towel is meant for. If you wrap up your hair, you're going to lose a lot of moisture and then your styling products aren't going to work as well. People also say that it doesn't absorb as much water as their other towels and...that's a feature of it. It's like when people write bad reviews about sulfate-free shampoos and they complain that it doesn't lather enough. Like...isn't that why you bought a sulfate-free shampoo in the first place? Mind boggling. ANYWAYS. This has been a weirdly long rant about a towel but. Seriously. This towel is life changing.
Okay, so on to the actual products and why most people probably buy this set. This is the No-Poo, which is a cleansing conditioner. There's been a big movement in the hair world towards less shampooing for everyone, not just curly-haired people (who have been advocating it for a long time now) so this isn't that weird or mind-blowing anymore. One thing I will say about DevaCurl: their products have stupid names and I hate their color-scheme. The lime green is kind of obnoxious and "No-Poo"? It sounds like a 5 year old named it. I get what it's saying, but I dunno; it takes away from the feeling of this being a higher-end product, which it is. This has a very bright herbal scent, kind of like rosemary and mint, and I do feel like it cleans my hair while leaving it feeling soft.
Next step in the system is the One Condition. This is basically the end-all, be-all of DevaCurl conditioner; you use it after the No-Poo if you feel like you need more hydration (which pretty much all curly haired people will need) and then, after your shower, you can also use a little bit of it as a leave-in. I always feel kind of weird about using rinse-out conditioners as leave-in conditioners but I think that's just a mental thing. Again, this smells bright and herbally (the product description on Sephora says there is Rosemary in it, so yay I have a good nose) and it leaves my hair feeling soft.
As the final step, we have the Light Defining Gel. DevaCurl also has an Ultra Defining Gel, which I have a few big samples of and I think I prefer that one over this one. I believe the only difference between the two is the level of hold, but, while I can see the difference visually, I don't feel any difference in my hair. In fact, I can't feel either of these gels in my hair at all, which is pretty impressive.
This kind of feels like a little extra bonus product; this is the Frizz-Free Volumnizing Foam. I haven't actually tried this guy yet, so I'm not sure what it smells like (but I assume it's similar to the other products) nor can I say how well it works. In the past, I've used mostly mousse-type hair products because I liked how they distributed in my hair (compared to things like gels which I could never get to distribute evenly). I haven't used this yet because I do NOT need any volume. At least through-out my hair; a little bit of volume at my roots would be nice. If this is anything like the other products in the set, I'll be happy with it.

So. Yeah. Really pumped about getting that set, especially for only $10 with free shipping. I love holiday deals.

And then I got some stuff from Ulta! I actually got a bunch of Black Friday deals from different places, but they are Christmas presents so I don't want to show them off until the people I got them for, uh, get them. But I did buy somethings for myself from Ulta that I can share with you.
My best score (for myself, anyways) was this $10 Black Friday set from Mario Badescu. I'm a big fan of the Mario Badescu line, though I haven't tried too many of their products. I'm also slightly obsessed with mini sample sets so. Yeah. I basically needed this. I was worried that my Ulta would be all sold out of it since it sold out pretty quickly online, but they still had some on the morning of Black Friday. I got five travel-sized products (I'm pretty sure you can buy all of these on their own in this size, so by my definition these are full-sized products, just small) and one foil packet thing (lame but what can you do). I...just realize now that all the bottles are turned in a way that prevents you from being able to see what they are...
The back of the bag lists all the products along with a short description of each. I'm already familiar with two of the products:
The Glycolic Acid Toner, which I have the big size of and love...
...and the Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater, which I just finished my full sized bottle of so I'm especially happy I have this little guy. One thing I really love about the Mario Badescu line is that it's high quality but not ridiculously expensive. The full size of my toner was only $18 and the full size of the spray is just $7 (it might be $8 now; I think the prices increased slightly, which is lame).

Everything else I got in this set is new and exciting!
I got a 1oz of the Enzyme Cleansing Gel (with AHAs!)...
...a 0.07oz Peptide Renewal Serum with peptides. For renewing...
...a 0.50oz Seaweed Night Cream...
And a foil packet of the Ceramide Eye Gel. And all of it was only $10! Unfortunately, you probably won't be able to find this set anymore, but all of these products are available individually and are definitely worth checking out.

The company formally known as Organix (I have no idea how to say it but it's Ogx now) had a special going where it was buy one get one free. That's a pretty rare deal (most of the time it's like buy two get one free or buy one get one 50% off) and I've been curious about the Formally Known As Organix line of haircare. I've heard that it's probably the best kind of non-salon brand hair stuff you can buy. I believe they are best known for their argan oil stuff, which I unfortunately can't use due to allergies (I found someone who was also allergic to argan oil! They said it was because they were allergic to basically all type of nuts, which I thought was interesting). I picked out two different conditioners because I have enough shampoo to last me a life time.
I got this Kukui Oil conditioner because I have the Kukui Oil spray from this line and I really like the smell of it. Which is kind of a weird reason but eh. I've used this a few times and it leaves my hair feeling soft, but it doesn't look soft, if that makes sense. I feel like it's just coating my hair which is making it feel nice, but it's not actually doing anything for my hair so it still have it's natural texture if that makes sense. It's nice, but probably not for me.
And...then I got this because it smelt nice and I like the word Awapuhi. Seriously, that is why I bought it. I haven't used it yet so I can't say if it's good or not, but I'm kind of worried it's going to be similar to the Kukui Oil conditioner in that it will make my hair feel nice but not look nice. I only paid $8 for the two of these bigs. Plus, now that I have my DevaCurl set, I don't really feel like using these just to use them. Not sure if I'm going to give them away or keep them around to use in case of emergencies.
And then, because I love little stocking stuffer things, I got some 5 for $5 products! Honestly, I don't really think these are that great quality-wise, but it's fun to have a few extra things. I kept two things for myself out of the five, one being these Holiday Cookie scented face & body wipes. I haven't opened these yet since I'm still working on another pack of face wipes so I don't know how they smell or anything. I'm not really going to use these on my face; I got them mostly to wipe off swatches.
And I got a nail polish. Again, not the best quality, but I only paid $1 for it (though I also only paid $1 for my Kleancolor polishes and they're actually pretty nice).
There were a few colors to choose from and I went with RSVP. It's a pretty french grey with a sheen.
You get a good idea of the grey color, but the picture doesn't show the sheen very well. It's surprisingly pretty and I'm sad it doesn't show up.
The brush is a little wonky unfortunately. Not sure how well it shows up here, but there is an extra long hair and it makes polish application way more fiddly than it needs to be. I've seen this happen in many other brands of polish (even in ones that cost significantly more than $1. Like ten times more) and it's easy to fix by cutting off the offending bristle, but it's annoying.
And then for some reason C.Booth products were all like half off. I thought they were clearing out the line, which is sad because as far as drugstore-tier bodycare goes, they make some nice stuff. But then it went back to full price and it's still there so who knows. But! I'm not going to turn down 50% some pretty nice lotion! I got the 4-in-1 Multi-Action Vanilla Butter Body Lotion and the Honey Almond Firming Body Lotion; I would have liked to have gotten another bottle of the Honey Almond Dry Oil but for some reason the only store I've ever seen that carried it in real life (as opposed to the apparently fake world of the internet...) is Nordstrom Rack.
The Body Shop was all 50%, which is the only excuse/reason I have for buying this. I can't say no to a cheap face mask (I mean, I can, if it's not good for my skin).
I needed chapstick and didn't have any on me; because I'm a germaphobe my only option, besides dealing with nasty chapped lips, was buying one. I picked this one out because I generally like the flavor of coconut. This definitely smells/tastes like coconut, but it's pretty fake and sweet so I probably wouldn't get it again.

I got a few other little things here and there:
This was actually given to me so I wasn't sure if I should include this in a haul or not. I didn't talk about it in my video, but I did want to make a quick mention of it here. Because I am curious about the EOS lotion and their newish stick-form lip balm. Pretty sure I'm not going to like the ball lip balm since the only other sphere I like is the new coconut milk one, but I've never tried the lotion nor the sticks. I assume the sticks have the same formula of balm, but maybe the different form with make it apply differently? We'll have to see!
Finally, I got a bottle of China Glaze nail polish! I went to Sally Beauty Supply since that's the only place where I can consistently find the Nail It! magazine and, whenever I go, I have to check out the sale section. This is New Birth from the Giver collection and I actually considered picking up this polish while it was full price. I really like the book the Giver (at least until...well, hmm. I don't want to spoil things since people do still read it for school so I'll keep mum about it) and thought it was cool to do a polish collection based on it (even though it's technically based on the movie). I also love these kinds of super pale, pastel colors.
It's really, really pale so even the swatch looks white, but I promise it's a baby blue. Actually, the "blue-ness" of it makes it look even whiter. Hmm. Normally, I don't buy China glaze polishes because I'm not a fan of the formula, but this was on sale for $3.50 so. Why not?

And that's everything! Sort of! Like I said, I left out the stuff I got as presents since I don't want to spoil anything for anyone in-case they read my blog. I also probably left out some things I talked about in my video; I really need to post as soon as I can after my videos go up, otherwise I tend to shift things around and forget what I got when.

Even though some of these deals aren't available anymore, I hope you found this haul interesting to read about!

Thank you for reading! <3

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