Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Another Beauty Haul! - Ulta, Sephora, and a Very Generous Gift of Shiseido!

Hello! Hope you're having a great day! I have another beauty haul to share with you guys! Not sure if I have anything I want to do a more in-depth post on this time around (just a lot of little things), but I may post a review or two after using some of these products.
Nothing too crazy this time around; this is another mostly Ulta-based haul. I'm really digging shopping at Ulta; they have a huge selection of brands and products and an awesome reward system! I did pick up a few items from Sephora during the VIB sale, though I do regret not getting more things... 15% off isn't a lot, but it's still something! The best part of this haul, though, at least in my opinion, is the very generous of gift of Shiseido that a friend of mine gave me. I knew she was going to give me some of her extra Facial Cotton, but I didn't know she was going to give me a whole gift with purchase set!
She even gave me the cosmetics pouch the gift came in! How awesome is that?
As I did in my video, I'm going to start with my Shiseido goodies. I'm super thankful that my friend gave these to me to try; I don't have much experience with Shiseido and apparently I have been missing out.
The part of the gift I was expecting was a pack of their Facial Cotton. I've heard really good things about this product, but always thought it was kind of pricey for what basically amounts to fancy cotton squares so I never thought about buying it. I was so wrong; these are totally worth the extra money and they aren't even all that more expensive than regular cotton pads. For $9.50, you get 165 sheets/pads. If I buy my cotton rounds from Target, it's about $2.50 for 80-100 rounds. You pay about double the price per pad/sheet/round, but it's totally worth it. The Shiseido pads are softer than any I've ever tried and they're really good at holding on to your toner/softener and then depositing it evenly on your skin.
You even get a fun little diagram on how to use them on the back, include in what direction you're supposed to apply your toner/softener on your face. Talk about fancy! When I run out of these, I am definitely going to purchase more.
My friend knows how much I love sheet masks, so she also included some! This is a single White Lucent brightening mask and it's worth about $11 (you purchase these in a set of 6 for $68). She said she's had this sitting around for a while (she used to work at a Shiseido counter) so it's a little old, but it still feels moist inside so as long as it doesn't smell weird or anything, I'm sure it's still fine. Very excited to give this a try!
 She also threw in a mask from another skin care brand that she really likes, Hada Labo! I've seen this brand at Ulta in the drugstore side of the store, and have been surprised at how good of ingredients it seems to have. Like Shiseido, the Hada Labo products are made in Japan, which is another plus (though I don't think the brand itself is Japanese). Again, excited to give this one a try!

Along with the masks, I also got a set of deluxe samples from the Future Solution LX line. I've been using these products at least once a day and have been very impressed with how nice they make my skin feel. I haven't been using them long enough to say if they have any long term effects, but I really like the immediate benefits I've been seeing/feeling. The only downside is that they are scented, which can irritate your skin, especially if it's sensitive, but I find that it doesn't bother mine. It's also not a heavy or unpleasant fragrance and it disappears quickly after application.
This is the Ultimate Regenerating Serum; it's a little thicker than the other serums I've used, but it absorbs quickly and acts like any other serum I've used.
I also got a cute little jar of night cream! This is the product I've used the least since I have a few other face creams I'm trying to use up first, so I don't have much of an opinion about it, yet. I will say that out of the four samples I got, this is the one that I found to be lest exciting in terms of performance.
The two items I've been the most impressed are the the Eye and Lip Contour Regenerating Cream and the Concentrated Balancing Softener (which I can't find my picture of for some reason. It looks exactly like the full size, just smaller). The eye cream has a thick, emollient texture and it's one of the only things I've found that actually hydrates my eye area! I have some fine lines around my eyes which I'm okay with, but I have these deep crevices under my eyes that are caused by dehydration (both of myself and of my eye area) that are very difficult to counteract and that make me look a lot older and more tired than I actually am. The softener is different from any other toner (Shiseido uses softeners, not toners) I've ever used; it's more like a highly liquid lotion, but it is amazing and it makes my skin feel happy and smooth. It's $90 for the full 5fl oz size so I don't know if I'll buy the full size when I run out of my sample...but I really want to.

I know I keep saying it, probably to excess, but I can't thank my friend enough for sharing these goodies with me! I'm glad I got the opportunity to try a bunch of Shiseido skincare products, including the infamous Facial Cotton, but I also semi-regret it because now my other products might not be good enough anymore (especially my normal cotton pads!).

My mom came down to visit me last week (or so...) and we had a "mommy and me" shopping day! I got her her Mother's Day present and we did some makeup and clothes shopping. It was really nice to shop with someone else who was actually interested in makeup; I like shopping with my husband, but makeup isn't really his thing. We ended up going to Sephora, Ulta, and Forever21 (among other places, but that's where I bought things from).

From Sephora, I bought three of their new eye masks. This was still during the VIB sale so I had my 15% off. I do regret not buying more, but I didn't want to go too crazy so I think it was a lose-lose situation either way. At least this way, I have extra money laying around.
My camera really struggled taking pictures of these masks, especially the next two. It just really doesn't like yellow things, I guess. I tried to fix the color balance in Photoshop, but I think it was too far gone (and I'm not the best at color balancing) to really fix. There are quite a few different varieties of masks to pick from, and I picked the three that were most appealing to me based on what problems they're supposed to address. Plus, I seem to really like any kind of pomegranate mask, so this first one was a no-brainer. It's supposed to give you a "rested, free from fatigue, and energetic look". Neat!
I also picked up a Honey mask, which is for "velvety-soft, replenished, and balanced eye contour skin". Which actually sounds kind of creepy. I recently used my other eye mask (the Lotus one I ordered online), and I thought it was kind of funny that the fiber of the patches is stamped (it's a raised design) with the Sephora "S" logo.
Ugh, my camera and photoshop skills really struggled with the color of this one. It's a much more pleasant-looking yellow in real life; not this bizarre lemon color. This is the ginseng mask and it's for a "toned and energized look:". None of these masks promise any kind of long term benefit, so at $5 each for a single use, temporary treatment they are kind of on the pricey side, but they are pretty easy to get a hold of (unlike some Korean/Asian brands which tend to be less expensive) and do provide a nice, if temporary, benefit.

While we did spend some time looking at clothes at Forever21, I ended up, surprise surprise, only purchasing some more masks! Seriously, it's become an obsession. At least with skincare, I know I'll get use out of it and it won't just sit around.
 I picked up two more Baroness brand masks; this is the Collagen one, along with it's (super tiny) ingredients. I don't think a topical application of collagen does much, if anything, for your skin, but I want to try all of these and it's only $1.90, so I'm not out much if I don't like it.
I also got a Tomato Mask Sheet! I think I've gotten all the different varieties of Baroness masks now (at least, all the kinds that Forever21 carries) so now I can be a little more picky about the ones I repurchase. I know for sure I want to get more of the pomegranate and snail masks, but I still have a bunch to try.
I also got a hand mask from PureDerm! I've tried the hand mask from Julep before, and, like the nail masks, I wasn't too impressed, so I wanted to try a hand mask from a different brand (I actually ended up getting another hand mask from a brand called Miss Spa which I will show a little later in this post). I liked the foot mask I had from PureDerm so I look forward to trying their hand mask (I'm thinking about using it right after I finish this post!).

My mom and I also spent a good chunk of time hanging out in Ulta; I needed a new foundation powder (I finally hit pan on my Becca compact and my MAC Mineralize Skin Finish) and since I had 5x points on any It Cosmetics purchase, I figured why not give one of theirs a try?

I ended up with the Celebration Foundation Illumination because I much prefer more natural, luminous finishes to my powders over mattes since I think it looks more youthful and, well, natural! A lot of really matte finishes look a little heavy and fake to me, which is fine if that's the look you're going for, but I just like a more radiant look, especially in the summer.
From my in-store swatches, I don't think there's any actual shimmer/glitter in this foundation (some "illuminating" powders are actually really glittery, which is not something I want in my foundation), just a nice, soft, luminescence, similar to what I get from my Becca or MAC MSF.
The Illumination Foundation comes in a white plastic compact, unlike the original Celebration Foundation, which comes in a more matte, black plastic compact. It also comes with a little brush instead of the standard makeup sponge, which is kind of cool.
I got color-matched to Light; there aren't many color options in the It Cosmetics Celebration Foundation like (both the original and Illumination) and they seem to lean more towards the lighter end of the skin tone spectrum. I haven't played with this powder too much since I want to use up my other two first, but I do like the ingredients (no talc and no argan oil!...though mica being the first ingredient kind of worries me in regards to possible sparkly-ness) so I'm excited to see how this pressed powder foundation performs.

Everything else in this haul is also from Ulta, but were purchased during two additional trips. Not that it makes it any better or anything, but it's a mental thing (it would feel more splurg-y and irresponsible to get everything in one big trip instead of over a couple, even though you're spending the same amount of money).
I did get another It Cosmetics item in order to take advantage of my 5x points. I don't often get extra points since the brands/products Ulta offers it on don't appeal to me or aren't products I need (I get a lot of 5x point offers on Bare Minerals, Philosophy, and fragrance). This is a travel-size of the Tightline mascara; I've heard people are kind of divided on this product, some people love it, some people hate it. You get a super tiny brush and it's supposed to be a kind of mascara primer product instead of a mascara in it's own right, if that makes sense. I have long, blonde lashes and deepset eyes so I either miss a lot of my lashes or I get mascara everywhere when using normal mascara brushes (but especially the big, puffy ones). I'm hoping this will help me get an even layer of mascara over all of my lashes, root to tip, that I can use my regular mascara on top of.
I also picked up this Controlled Curls mist by the brand Hask. I don't think I've tried anything from Hask before, but I was looking at some of their products while I was shopping the Shea Moisture section (they're right next to each other at my Ulta) and I was impressed with the ingredients, especially for the price. I got this thinking I could use it as a refresher mist in the mornings, but now I think it's more like a spray gel. Which is fine with me because they spray gel I currently have isn't all that great and this only cost me about $8.
 I love how this product is alcohol-free and, while it does have dimethicone in it, it's pretty far down the list and aloe, the ingredient they tout as being the most beneficial in this product, comes before it. I'll have to experiment with this product and see what I can do with it!
Normally, I don't like face masks that I have to wash off, but these are self-heating mud masks and I've been curious to give one of those a try! I really like this brand, even though I can't pronounce it, and these were even on sale buy one get one 50% off!
I also how the ridiculous graphics on these masks; it's like the guy they hired to do all the Photoshopping tried to see how crazy he could be and still get it approved. It totally works to their advantage, though, since it makes the packaging very eye-catching. Also, these are cruelty-free and PETA approved. I just read the little blurb next to the cruelty-free logos and it's both amusing and kind of disturbing: "We're vegetarian and animals are our friends, that's why we don't bash bunnies or add bits of animals". ...okay then.
 This is the other hand mask I was talking about before! This is the Illuminating Hand Treatment by the brand Miss Spa. This is a single-use hand treatment and it's a little more expensive than my PureDerm one at about $7 (though very comparable to the Julep mask). Miss Spa is a new brand to me so I'm curious to see how this mask performs. It's made in Korea, so that's always a good sign. There is a hydrating hand mask as well, which I might try next if I like how this one performs.
I also picked up some body care products from Shea Moisture! During the summer, I much prefer to use dry body oil mists over regular body lotion since the dry oil mists absorb a lot faster and don't leave me feeling damp and greasy (which is the worst feeling ever when it's super humid). My favorite dry body oil mist is the Honey and Almond one by c.Booth, but it's kind of annoying to get my hands on because the only physical place I've found that sells it is the Nordstrom Rack in the Mall Of America. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that Shea Moisture makes a few dry body oils that are readily available at my Ulta!
 I've been very happy with the products I've used from Shea Moisture; they have great ingredients, are inexpensive, and seem to perform well! I got a Tahitian Noni and Monoi mist and a Superfruit Complex mist (which I made sure did not have Marual oil in it, unlike the conditioner). Both of these smell nice and, again, I really like the ingredients, especially for the price.
Kind of boring, but I got some more no-metal hair elastics. I normally buy these from Target since I work on the assumption that Ulta is more expensive in general, but these are about the same price as they would be at Target (I don't think Target carries Karina, but these were $2.99 and a comparable set of Goody elastics was $2.99). I went with blonde ones because I like when these kinds of elastics blend into your hair instead of standing out (unlike when I wear the knotted hair ties and I want people to see all the crazy colors).

Everything else I picked up on sale; another thing I like about shopping at Ulta is that they seems to have a lot more stuff on sale/clearance than Sephora (which makes sense because they carry a lot more "cheap" brands).
I know, I know, I shouldn't buy China Glaze polishes, even on sale; I'm never happy with them. But I had heard so many good things about this color that I couldn't let it go.

This is Mind The Gap which was from the railroad collection that came out in the fall, I think. It's one of those colors that's so ugly it's kind of cool, though it's surprisingly not all that unique to my collection. It's like a dark khaki/olive greenish brown color with gold and green sparks in it. It's nice, but it's not something I find that exciting.
This, however, was a very exciting find! Ouidad is one of my favorite haircare brands (and they make my holy grail Balancing Rinse Essential Daily Conditioner, which I think is called Vitacurl now), but it's very expensive and I can't always afford it. This is a travel size bottle of the Curl Quencher Moisturizing Condition; it retails for $8 and I paid less than $1! I have used this product before and did find that it was a little too heavy for my hair, but I'm not going to pass up a Ouidad product for less than $1. I'll probably use this once or twice a week instead of daily to make sure it doesn't weigh my hair down too much.
I also got some ring flash tattoos! I've been wanting to jump on the flash tattoo trend (is it still trendy? I might have missed the window) but never wanted to spend the $10-$20 on a sheet or two of temporary tattoos. I never would have paid $3 each for these mini sheets (I think they were part of the Easter 5 for $10 sale so you could have gotten them for $2 each), but I can stomach paying $1 a sheet. I think these will make cute rings, or I could chain them together to make a bracelet.
 Finally, I got a box of Sally Hansen Salon Effect Real Nail Polish Strips in 285 The Bold Rush. These are kind of expensive full price (I think they're like $8-$10) and since I prefer to switch up my nail polish frequently, I didn't want to invest in them. But on sale (I think these were less than $3), I will give them a try! In the box you get an orangewood stick (are these actually orangewood anymore? I haven't seen a real orangewood stick in a long time), a file, and two sealed packs of nail appliques. Since these are made out of real polish, once you open the packs they'll dry out and I haven't heard of a way that you can reseal them to use them at a later date. That means that you have to have all your nails the same design if you don't want to waste any, which is kind of lame. I wish they put these in even smaller sets, like three or four to a sealed pack and then give you four packs so you could use a few at a time and not have to waste them all. I've never tried anything like this before, so I'm curious to see how well it will work with my nails.

And that's everything! Whew, it feels good to get all caught up!

Thanks for reading! <3

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