Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Beauty Haul Time! - Sephora VIB Sale, Ulta, and More!

Hello! Hope you're having a great day! For this post, I wanted to share some of my recent beauty purchases with you! Over the last month or so, there have been a ton of great deals out there and while I've been able to resist many of them (...or they sell out before I can get them), I have taken advantage of a few here and there.

I know I've been mostly avoiding posting hauls on my blog since they end up being really long and are probably boring to read, but since I haven't been posting videos on YouTube (which is where my hauls usually go), I still wanted a way to share some of my thoughts about my purchases, especially the ones that don't warrant their own posts (though there are some items that I will make separate, more in depth posts about). Hmm, I think that is a run-on sentence. I had a lot of thoughts I wanted to express at once...
I'll start with what I picked up at the Sephora VIB Rouge sale, since that's what I started with in the title (very scientific reasoning...). Because I am a VIB Rouge member (though not after December; I drop down to a regular VIB), I got to use my coupon before everyone else (except for other VIB Rouges, which there seems to be a ton of these days). I believe everyone got the same coupon, the 20% off your total purchase, and the only difference was when you were able to use it. It is also a reusable coupon (unlike the 20% off at Ulta which is a one time use), so you can use it as many times as you want in-store, online, and at Sephoras in JCP. I ended up purchasing items in-store and at a Sephora in JCP.
With your purchase, you also got a cute little tote for free. I love the gold splashes that Sephora is doing for their holiday packaging this year (very lux), but the tote itself is kind of meh, especially compared with other gifts I've gotten for making special purchases as a VIB Rouge. I wish they had included a sample or two; even a couple extra foil packets would have value to me. I also did not get this the first time I used my coupon; I only got it the second time. The first time, though, was at a Sephora in JCP, so that might have been why.
Before I even got my coupon, there were a couple items I knew I had to purchase, and this was one of them! This is the Alchemy II nail polish by Formula X. I have the original Alchemy from last year and, since I love it so much, I wanted to get the second version. Also, I really like collecting the Formula X polishes, and the Alchemy polishes are special holiday limited editions.
 This polish is very similar to the original Alchemy in that it's a foil polish made up of a bunch of different colors of fine glitter (if you get really close to it, you can make them out. Far away, it looks like one color). Alchemy II is a bit warmer, more of a rose-copper gold color where Alchemy is cooler champagne. Both polishes have special gold lids (the only two that I know of that do), and again, Alchemy II's lid is a warmer, coppery gold where Alchemy's top is cooler. Both of these polishes have platinum dust in them, but I'm sure in a very, very small amount since they only retail for bit more than the regular Formula X polishes (these polishes are $14 each, regular ones are $10.50-$12 each).
Because I have a nail polish obsession, I bought more nail polish! This is the Infinite Ombre set by Formula X and it's Sephora's version of the OPI Color Paints and the Essie Watercolors.
In this kit you get a silver foil base and four primary colors you can layer on top to create effortless ombre looks. I was interested in this set when it originally came out, so I was ecstatic to see that it was on sale at my Sephora in JCP for only $14! Add my 20% off coupon on top of that, and I couldn't say no. I'm going to make a more in depth post about this set, so if you want to know more, be sure to check it out (it will likely be going up right after this post).
This was another product I knew I was going to get the moment I heard the 20% off coupon was coming; this is the Kat Von D Mi Vida Loca lipstick set! I'm not going to spend much time talking about it here since I am going to make a post just for this set, including swatches and reviews.
This set has seven mini Studded Lipsticks and one limited edition full size Studded lipstick in the color Gold Blooded. Right now, this kit is the only way to get Gold Blooded (which even has special white packaging), while all the minis are available in full size. It was between this set and the Mi Vida Loca Remix eyeshadow palette; while I love this set and am very happy to have it, I wish I would have gotten the eyeshadow palette instead since it's no longer available. Sadness.
The second time I stopped into Sephora to use my coupon, I ended up more "everyday" items. I decided to go old school and pick up another bottle of my favorite BB cream, the Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox Beauty Balm. Dr. Jart+ was the first Korean brand BB I ever used, and it's the one I keep coming back to (part of the reason why is that it's easy to get my hands on through Sephora). I stopped using BB creams for a bit and used foundations instead, but recently I find myself drawn to them again. I think they make my skin look much nicer than foundation, even though they don't always cover things as well. I'd rather have healthy looking skin with a few teeny spots than flawless skin that looks unnatural and off. The original BB cream is awesome, too, but I like this one since it helps with acne and the pigmentation it can cause.
I also got some more brush shampoo. Girl has to keep her brushes clean! There are a ton of options for brush shampoo, including making your own, but I prefer to use this one. It's a little pricey at $7 for this bottle, but it lasts me a long time and cleans my brushes well, so I never feel like it's a waste of money.
I had enough points at this time to get a 100-point reward, and my Sephora had these Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer samples available. Sort of. This was the last one they had and, since it was the display model, they offered to give it to me without taking off any points. The associate assured me it was unused, even showing me the clean applicator. I've heard a lot of great things about this moisturizer, so I really appreciate them letting me get it for free!

Now on to Ulta! I went a little crazy since A. they had (and still have) a ton of great deals going on, B. I needed a lot of new skincare items, which can get a little pricey, and C. I had a ton of points to spend.
The biggest deal that I knew I had to get involves hair care tools! I want to try to do more things with my hair, besides just waking up and hoping for the best, but I didn't have the best tools. I have a nice curling wand since I purchased that fairly recently, but my blow dryer and flat iron were super old and super cheap. Ulta was (and still is!) running a deal where, if you spent $49.99 or more on Hot Tools, you got your choice of a deep waver, flat iron, or curling wand for free!
I ended up going with the Crimson Fade Turbo Ionic Salon Dryer since it had the best features for the best price (there was a different one that I really wanted, but it was $20 more). This ended up being an even better deal since it's a special that includes some extra accessories for fee (it normally doesn't). Add to that that it rang up on sale for $10 off and, well, it would have been silly to not get it!
For my free item, I picked the flat iron. The deep waver looked interesting (and was worth more), but I don't think I would get as much use out of it as I would a flat iron.
I've used this a few times now, and I really like. The digital temp display is really handy and it is leagues better than my old flat iron (it was $15 and I got it from Target years ago so...), though I do have to say that the temp control is in kind of annoying spot. I keep hitting it when I switch hands, so I have to keep readjusting it (which is when the digital temp display really becomes useful).
I'll stick with hair products for now (all I bought was skin care and hair care), so next up is this tube of John Frieda Frizz Ease Secret Weapon Touch-Up Creme! I'm always looking for products I can use on dry hair to help style it, and this one seemed interesting. Normally I avoid drugstore hair care products since I don't like a lot of the ingredients and they don't often perform well on my hair, but I was impressed enough with the Frizz Ease primer that I thought I'd give this a try.
Ulta has all kinds of travel-size hair care products on sale right now, so I got some to try! I somehow ended up getting all Sebastian products, which is odd... This first one is the Sebastion Shaper Zero Gravity hair spray. I've started using hair spray more often, and enjoying the styling possibilities it's opened up for me, but I'm finding that I prefer a lighter hairspray. I haven't tried this one yet since I have some others I want to get through first.
I also got a mini Whipped Creme styling mousse. This stuff is pretty awesome, but a little goes a really long way. I'm used to other mousses where you have to use a baseball-sized amount; this is a much creamier, thicker kind of mousse and if you use too much, it will leave your hair greasy and limp. You also don't get a lot in the mini since I used it all up after less than two weeks. I want to get the bigger size, but I'm worried I'll go through it super fast.
The last mini I got was Potion 9. I've heard good things about this styling lotion, so I was excited to give it a try, but it turns out it's bright orange! At first I thought I got an old bottle and it went bad, but looking it up online shows that that's just the color it is. Since my hair is platinum, any coloring in my hair products will mess with my hair color so I'm way too terrified to try this product. I'm sure the orange color is no big deal for darker hair, but even my hair oil, which is just tinted yellow, changes my hair color enough that other people notice it.
Now on to skin care! I mostly picked up products that I've used before and loved, but I did get some new things to try as well. This is an oldie, but it's a goodie! This is the Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner. It's an alcohol-free toner that helps with skin texture and pigmentation. As much as I love the Pixi Glow Tonic, it's a little expensive ($15 for a small bottle, $29 for a big one), and this whole big bottle from MB is only $18. If you're looking for new skin care products and you don't want to spend a bunch of money, I highly recommend checking out Mario Badescu.
Also from MB, I got a mini bottle of the facial spray! I wanted the bigger bottle, but Ulta was out of stock so I settled for the small one (the small one is $5-$7, the big one is $7-$9. I can never remember exactly how much it is since it seems to fluctuate depending on where you buy it, but I know that's the range). I don't like how this spray smells since I hate the scent of roses, but it's such a great product that I can get past it. You can use this during the day if you need a quick pick-me-up, or you can use it like I do on my hair in the morning! It helps hydrate and reactivate my curls and calm down much of my frizz.
This is a product for me! I was on a quest for a new eye cream and, since I'm very picky, I wasn't having much success. I polled a lot of my friends and ended up picking up the Mario Badescu Ceramide Herbal Eye Cream on their recommendation. And I am happy I did! This is an excellent eye cream; it's very hydrating, but it also sinks in nicely and doesn't leave my skin feeling greasy. At first I was worried that I would go through this jar quickly (it's not that expensive, I think it was around $20), but a little goes such a long way that even though I've been using this every night ever since I bought it I've barely made a dent it. Definitely a repurchase.
Since I had a bunch of points to spend, I figured I'd splurge a little and get a big bottle of the Dermalogica Precleanse. I love to use cleansing oils before I wash my face, especially when I'm wearing makeup, since they remove any surface gunk (hence why it's called "precleanse") and help your cleanser, well, cleanse better! I love that this size comes with a pump; the smaller size I had was just a screw top lid. As for how this compares to other cleansing oils I've used, I think I like this one the most since it's effective and it doesn't irritate my skin (yay argan oil allergy). The only other cleansing oil I can think of that I would consider purchasing instead of this one is the DHC cleansing oil.
I bought canned spring water! Seriously, I did, but I love this stuff. It sounds kind of weird, but I find thermal spring water sprays to be really soothing, especially on freshly shaved skin. I will say that I would have preferred the Avene one, but I figure this La Roche-Posay thermal spring water spray will be comparable (La Roche-Posay is a European drugstore brand and I feel like European drugstore brands have higher standards than American drugstore brands. Also, Ulta doesn't carry Avene.).
Speaking of drugstore products, I bought this CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser! I got a sample of this product direct from CeraVe, and I was pretty impressed with it. As far as drugstore cleansers go, this has pretty good ingredients and since I liked my sample, I thought I'd give the full size a try. This guy is also going to live in my shower so I didn't want to get a really expensive cleanser; I find that products that stay in the shower don't last very long; they either get weird from water getting into the packaging or the high heat and humidity makes them go bad faster.
Finally from Ulta, I grabbed another TonyMoly sheet mask since they keep them right at the cash registers and I had a moment of weakness. I've used the wine mask from TonyMoly before and really liked it, so I grabbed another. I really wanted the milk one, but they only had one more and it looked really beat up. I do prefer to get these from Urban Outfitters since they're less expensive there ($3 at UO, $3.25 at Ulta, $7.50 for two from Sephora), but it's much easier for me to get to Ulta and buy them there.

We're coming to the close of this haul! I went to Marshalls with a friend recently and got some good deals on nail polish! Did you expect anything else?
The best deal I got was this Butter London Brilliant Bronze trio. This is a set of three full size Butter London polishes, which retail for $15 each. The set itself was already a deal at $39, but I got it for $10! Three Butter London polishes for less than the price of one; who can pass that up?
Inside there is a "get the look" card which shows you have to create a look using all three colors.
The first polish in this trio is called Torch.
Butter London describes this color as an "opaque, bright coral with a gold shimmer". It's super pretty, but it's a little sheer so you might need three or so coats to get it really opaque. This color is no longer available according to Butter London's website.
Next is Poole, a polish I have been wanting to add to my collection!
 Poole is described as an "opaque, deep aqua creme" and it was fully opaque in two coats. This polish is currently available on the Butter London website, though there it is described as a robin's egg blue. Either way, still a gorgeous color!
Finally we have Marbs, which has the best name in this trio.
 Marbs is an "opaque, gold shimmer" and is opaque in two coats. Since it is a foil/chrome, it does show brush strokes so you will have to use a little more care than normal when applying it (if you care about brush strokes; I normally don't mind them much, so I don't worry). This polish is available on the Butter London website, but only in the 40-piece London Calling set, which is $475.
The last item I got from Marshalls, and the final item in this haul, is the nail polish The Sky's My Limit by OPI.
This polish is from the Mustang collection, which is why it has a special cap design (it's one of those shrink-wrapped plastic overlays). It's not the most unique color (I have a lot of these shimmery kind of blues), and it looks more interesting in the bottle than on the nail, but it's a limited edition color and it's pretty enough that I can justify spending the $5 one it. It's a little on the sheer side; my swatch is two coats, but if you're super picky about opacity, you'll probably want to do three on your nails to make sure.

Whew, and that's my haul! I am reminded why I try to avoid doing these...I hope you at least found this somewhat interesting, and be sure to keep an eye out for more in depth posts about some of these items, specifically the Formula X Infinite Ombre set and the Kat Von D Mi Vida Loca lipstick set.

Thanks for reading! <3

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