Birthday Month Beauty Swag

Ah, January. Beginning of the year and it was also my birthday month. Whoop! I had started gathering up the freebies a few weeks and picked up the rest after my birthday. The one thing I wanted to get ASAP was the mini gift set from Sephora. They’re offering 3 this year From Bite, Glamglow, and Bumble and Bumble. I chose the set from Bite since I was immediately drawn to the shades of the lip products.

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The set contains samples of their Agave lip balm and lip scrub, and deluxe sample sizes of their Matte Creme lip crayon in Glace and Amuse Bouche lipstick in Chai.

Ulta’s freebie was a Cranberry and Pomegranate lip oil and mask. If you subscribed to their email list and entered your birthday, you’ll receive a coupon to print out and present at any location to receive it. In addition, there’s also a promo to activate which gets you twice as many points for their Ultamate rewards program for every $1 you spend during your birthday month.

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Haven’t used the lip oil yet, but it smells nice. I don’t know if it’s just me that feels this way, but Ulta’s birthday freebies have been somewhat lackluster in past years, with the exception of the Benefit Porefessional from last year.

I also noticed in their recent ad that they change the freebies depending on when your birthday falls. That kind of annoyed me. It would have been nice if they were all offered as options and we could choose one like with Sephora. *shrugs* Oh well.

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November Sephora Haul

Seeing that I had less than $100 to spend before reaching VIB status, I decided last month to finally check off some items from my wish list. Also with flash shipping, I really had nothing to lose. Here’s what I purchased.

 

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Clockwise from top left:

NUDESTIX Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Mini Set – I had received one of their matte pencils when I attended Generation Beauty in SF earlier this year. I liked how long it lasted, and the matte effect didn’t feel drying. All three shades in this set are neutral, so obviously it was something I had to own.

 

Sephora Collection Double-Ended Blemish Extractor – It’s about time I bought one of these. I’m guilty of the old use-two-fingers-to-extract method for black/whiteheads. Hopefully this tool will lessen the chances of irritation on my face.

 

Shiseido Facial Cotton – One of my top three choices for cotton pads. 10 bucks for 165 pieces may sound ridiculous to some, but the quality of these is almost incomparable to others I’ve tried. I did use another brand for a while, but I felt it was about time I treated myself to these again. Ya know, for old time’s sake. ūüėõ

 

Rahua Classic Shampoo (mini) – I placed this in the basket out of curiosity. According to the description, it uses 100% natural ingredients. Benefits from using this shampoo are to fortify weak/damaged hair, regenerate scalp and hair follicles, and promote moisture retention. After a few uses, I don’t plan on purchasing it again. Not too thrilled with the scent and it doesn’t get as sudsy compared to the other shampoos I currently use. I’m all for natural, but sadly not with this product.

 

Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash – I’m already a fan of this after previously receiving it in an Influenster box. I love using it when I double cleanse because it feels refreshing (thanks to the spearmint), and it leaves my face squeaky clean without feeling tight. I have yet to own this in full size. Maybe next time?

Sephora Winter Flush Blush Palette – I’ve been in great need of new shades of blush, so seeing this at under $20 was pretty much a steal. The shades are simply numbered 1 through 8. I think the shimmery ones are a little too small to gather up with a standard blush brush, so I think I’ll just use them as coordinating highlighters instead.

 

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask – This is another Origins product that I’ve previously tried and loved. I use this every other week (although twice a week is what they suggest) to detox my pores. One of the user reviews on this mentioned it helps shrink large pimples, so I’ll consider using it as a spot treatment whenever one of those suckers decides to show up. Thankfully it doesn’t happen very often.

That’s it for my haul. I also purchased a few things not long after reaching VIB since they had their discount event (score). Do you have any of these items on your current wish list, or did you purchase any of them recently? I’d love to hear your thoughts on them.

Birthday Beauty Bonuses and Hauls

I’m in the process of prepping to do a beauty no-buy for the month of February. Since this is my birthday month, I’ve done a little gathering here and there of a few products before that starts. I see myself being OK with the makeup part since I use it sparingly, so the real challenge will focus more¬†on what I use¬†often. Here’s what I obtained during the birthday week.

 

Sephora

I’m always excited to see what Sephora has to offer for their birthday freebies. This time around, Beauty Insiders have their choice between a mini set from Caudalie or tarte. My skin care routine is pretty much set, so I opted for the tarte duo. It contains a 1ml Creamy Matte Lip Paint in Birthday Suit and a 1.5g Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Paaarty. Loved how both of the shades looked, although the lip paint is appears darker when applied compared to how it looks in the tube. I think this is the best freebie I’ve gotten from Sephora to date.

 

In past years, I would just head to the nearest store location to redeem for the gift, but I added the set to an order I placed online. This crossed a few more things off of my loves list. Luckily the other products I still have on there aren’t limited edition, so I can hold off on purchasing them for another time (e.g. after my no-buy month). Here’s what I got:

Escada Agua Del Sol rollerball – Is it just me, or do most of Escada’s fragrances smell similar? I had a slight obsession with them in past years, but tapered off due to that fact. I did purchase this one because it was limited edition and only available online. Notes for this one are mandarin, apricot nectar, and sandalwood. They also have another limited edition fragrance at Ulta in celebration of their 25th anniversary. Will I cop it? All signs point to…probably.

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer (0.33oz) – I agree with a fellow blogger that a little of this goes a long way, so buying their full size would not do justice for me, especially since I don’t reach for it often. Plus the miniature size is easy to toss in my makeup bag when I travel. I consider it one of my HG primers.

Lavanilla The Healthy Deodorant in Vanilla Grapefruit – I’ve been using a more natural deodorant towards the end of last year and have been loving it. I liked the scent of this when I checked it out in store, so I bought it to alternate with what I already have. Hopefully it’ll also do a good job with reducing odor.

Smashbox Cover Shot Eye Palette in Softlight – Upon first viewing the Cover Shot palettes online, I wasn’t sure whether I’d actually invest in one. But I found them to be the perfect size for travel when I saw them in person. I picked the one that’s probably the least popular in terms of shade selection and wear. I’ll have to see for myself after trying out a look or two with it. Thankfully Sephora has a great return policy if it happens to not be¬†worth the investment.

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in TMI – This was the last to be checked off of my Vice lipstick wish list. The shade is a sheer mauve-pink.

 

Ulta

The birthday swag from Ulta is either hit or miss. I still have a shadow palette that I got from them probably over 2 years ago that’s still unopened. *shrugs* However, I did hop on this year’s giveaway since 1) it’s from Benefit and 2) it’s their Porefessional primer, which I’ve been curious about. I also added a blending sponge since I plan to dispose of my somewhat neglected Real Techniques one soon, and also grabbed one of the new NYX Lip Lingerie lip colors in French Maid since they’ve added 12 new shades to the current lineup.

 

I also placed an order for Urban Decay’s Vice liquid lipsticks that released last week. Will get a post up on those once I have them. If you have any of the products featured here, let me know your thoughts on them.

Fall Haul: Sephora

Since renewing my Flash Shipping last month, I’ve started to check things off ¬†from my Sephora list. I’ve made 2 purchases so far, and plan to make a few more before the year’s end.

 

Part 1:

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It’s Skin Cookie & Body Ice Cream, Mint – This is one of those items that I constantly sampled every time I paid the store a visit. This body cream has a light texture and contains “cookie chips” that melt when massaged into skin. This comes in 3 scents, but I always gravitated towards the mint. It smells only faintly of mint, and I liked how soft my hands felt after using it.

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Closer look of the product. Looks like mint chip ice cream!

The Blend 07, White Tea – Yet another item I¬†loved to test out at the store. This one sat in my list for months. The Blend by Fred Segal is a collection of fragrance oils, ranging from floral, to fresh, to spicy, that can be used alone or mixed together for a customized scent. I didn’t see myself liking the White Tea so much since it has a spicy note. But from the list on the Sephora site, it’s only one, which is why it wasn’t overpowering for me. It’s hard for me to not smell my wrists after putting it on. Long story short, I eventually had to own it.

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick, Speedball – This is one of the Sephora exclusive shades from the collection. I loved how the vivid purple shade looked when I swatched it. Not too sure how it’ll look ¬†when I get around to wearing it, but I figure it would be pretty bad ass.

Part 2:

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Benefit Cheekathon Blush & Bronzer Palette – I had originally planned on purchasing this from Ulta with my rewards points, but to my dismay it was discontinued at the store and online to make way for their current products. Thankfully it was still available with Sephora. I don’t see myself purchasing another blush any time soon since this has a nice range of shades. Swatching these didn’t do much justice since all these shades are sheer and easy to build if you’d like more color pay off.

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I’m actually glad I didn’t do too much damage with these purchases. But with the holidays around the corner, that can easily change (heheh!). ¬†Hoping to get some use out of all these items before I move on to my next purchase.

Play! by Sephora – The Minimalists

Throwing it back to June’s Play! box, which was the last that I received from this subscription.

What’s inside:

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bareMinerals BareSkin Bronzer – This liquid bronzer can be used on the face or body. Very easy to blend on its own or mixed in with foundation or body lotion. It was still a bit wet and wasn’t blended in entirely on the swatch, but the color looks promising. I have yet to actually use it on my face.

Becca Backlight Priming Filter – The fact that it contains shimmer makes me a tad hesitant to actually use it. Might not be too bad if it’s a small amount. According to the product description in the box’s insert, this adds a “soft-focus filter” which blurs imperfections and add a luminous glow.

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Swatches of bareSkin Bronzer and Backlight Priming Filter.

Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara – I’ve received samples of this a few times in the past and used it occasionally. The formula is a bit wet compared to other mascaras I’ve tried. This one however gets a bit smudgy on me after a few hours. I’ll¬†be¬†passing this along to my mom.

Bumble and Bumble Don’t Blow It – This leave-in cream supposedly adds volume to fine-to-medium hair. Just apply to towel dried hair and let air dry. The smell of this is awesome, but I didn’t see a very significant result once my hair fully dried.

Tarte Tarteguard 30 Sunscreen Lotion – My favorite product from this box! There’s always a year-round need for SPF, plus the mini size is perfect to take on trips. I’ve tested it out prior to one I’m going on next month. No irritation and the texture is light.

Tocca Beauty Florence – Upon first smelling this, I had assumed it had jasmine in it. Nope. It’s actually a blend of bergamot, violet petals, and blonde wood. I found myself sniffing my wrist numerous times during the day. I’m not always a fan of floral fragrances, but this is pretty subtle if I don’t over apply and won’t give me a headache.

I decided to discontinue this subscription mainly because I would rather purchase full sized items that I’d actually need rather than receive small bunches of deluxe samples and most likely not use everything I get. The price for the subscription, however, is great ($10 USD with free shipping to select states), and it includes products from brands I’m more familiar with since I shop at Sephora often. Visit the Play! site here to check out what they’ve included in past boxes, and to sign up for their wait list if you’re interested in subscribing.

Play! by Sephora, May 2016 – The Forces of Nature

After being beauty subscription-less for over 6 months, I jumped on the opportunity to check out Play! This monthly box includes 5 beauty products and 1 fragrance sample. There’s also a pamphlet that gives information about the items sent to you, and includes a Play! pass that can be used in store ¬†to receive expert beauty tips and earn Beauty Insider points when you make a purchase. May’s theme, The Forces of Nature, focuses on products that “are high performing and good for you too”.

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Pamphlet with description of the items included in the box.

What’s inside:

Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine – Citrus is one of the notes I like in a fragrance. This one isn’t overpowering.

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche in Kimchi – Bite’s Amuse Bouche lipsticks are highly pigmented and formulated with edible oils for hydration. This color is a bright pink, which is a bit out of my desired shade spectrum.

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask – I had tried this in the past with a previous subscription, but am glad to see this again since it’s in slightly larger packaging. This worked great on my dry ends thanks to frizz reducing argan oil and deep conditioning avocado oil.

Korres Wild Rose Sleeping Facial – This rose oil overnight treatment is said to moisturize and brighten skin. I’m a bit skeptical with this since I have combination skin. I suppose I can try it on my cheeks since they tend to be the driest part of my face. We’ll see.

Origins Maskimizer + Drink Up & Clear Improvement masks – The small spray container of Maskimizer is said to help prime the skin before applying either of the included masks. That’s the first time I ever heard of a product like that. The Clear Improvement mask has active charcoal to clear pores, while the Drink Up mask is to be used overnight to hydrate.

tarte Tarteist Lip Crayon in Latergram – If there’s anything I know I’ll use from this box, it’s this item right here. Although I haven’t used lip liner much in the past few years, I can’t resist a nice neutral, which this one is.

I feel like this was a so-so introduction to this subscription. I plan on using at least 4 out of the 6 items I received. Hopefully June’s box will be better. I’d love to know your thoughts on this if you’re also a subscriber.

Sephora Play: I’m In!

Sephora had announced the concept of a beauty box subscription late last year. I had signed up for a notification once it became available, but of course I let it slip my mind. My friend had informed me that she received an invite, so I checked my inbox just in case. Low and behold, I got one too. Since discontinuing my subscription with ipsy last year, I had been on the fence about joining another one. But after checking the information about Play, which amounts to $10 USD plus some cents per month, who am I to say no to that? Plus Sephora is one of my top go-to places for beauty.

My sub should kick in next month. Each box contains 5 deluxe samples and a bonus fragrance sample. It is currently only available for select states in the US. Spots for the sub are limited, so be sure to sign up here to reserve yours.