FIRST OF ALL – IT’S THE BLOG’S ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY ON WORDPRESS! It’s come a long way since then and I hope it continues to grow.
Now on with the post: I am a strategic shopper. I wait for sales and then I ready my wallet. This time of year usually sees the best sales, so along with getting discounted Christmas presents for others, I also like to treat myself. This year I might have gone a little bit overboard because I actually had a good amount of money saved up and I graduated, meaning I literally deserve everything (this is how I justify these things to myself). From splurging on a MAC pigment (one of very few fully priced items in the batch) to the annual Sephora VIB sale, here’s what I’ve been buying:
The Home Shopping Network is not a site I usually visit, but with a coupon for $20 off high-end makeup brands (this is possible for newcomers to the site every so often; read about it here), I had to at least browse. I found the Lancome BB Cushion and decided to purchase that in the shade Buff C (exchanged it for Bisque N later, then returned after that because I didn’t love it). Cristina has one and I use it every chance I get. The light feel and buildable coverage are everything I like in a foundation, but I couldn’t justify $40+ on something that didn’t have the quantity to back it up. In the end, I’m glad I saved money on it because as I mentioned earlier, I didn’t wind up loving it the more I used it (review to come).
Listen, when I saw SunbeamsJess’s tutorial using the MAC Copper Sparkle Pigment, I needed it in my life right then and there. I decided to wait and buy it only after turning in a draft for my 25-page thesis this past semester. The second I saw it IRL, I knew it was worth the $22. I applied it with some water and it was actual magic. I’ve literally worn this to every holiday-themed event this festive season and love how bold it is. Full review to come.
I needed some new makeup brushes in my life and I was going to go for another MAC 217 and some kind of shader brush from MAC to pack on the pigment, but then I found these and fell for their copper packaging. I went for the E45 Small Tapered Blending Brush, fluffy E25 Blending Brush and the E56 Shader Lid Brush. My favorite is the tapered blending brush because it’s small enough to get in the crease and dense enough to do some good blending. The shader brush works pretty well with the pigment, but I do wish it were a bit shorter and wider. The fluffy blending brush is good, but it is too long for really precise blending and works better once I’ve done the bulk of the blending, but I might just be spoiled by the MAC 217. While I do like these, I feel like there are better out there and they’re much cheaper than the MAC alternatives.
Mom sampled the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation earlier this year and loved it! Seriously, she can’t stop talking about the compliments she received whilst wearing the sample and how much of a difference an expensive foundation can actually make (which is why I splurge every now and then, mother). Anyway, I decided to buy her a bottle for Christmas and because I ordered from the Chanel website, they came with two samples (a face cream and a mascara) and I also got it gift wrapped. The packaging was way bigger than it needed to be, but it was absolutely divine AND FREE. She is so in love with this and I think it really made her Christmas.
I’ve recently become obsessed with Kathleenlights and after watching her highlighter collection and mulling over buying a BECCA highlight, I decided to visit the ColourPop site and look for Wisp, the shade she raved about. I found Butterfly Beach and decided I really liked it because it was more peachy rather than gold, white, pink or silver, which meant it should suit my skin tone quite well. This is an intense highlight that is still somewhat subtle because it blends into my blush, but it is also definitely noticeable and could be worn as a blush on its own. IDK how it works, but it’s lovely and so so good. Deffo my new fave. I also unknowingly purchased the Kathleenlights-created Lumiere shade of the Lippie Stix. It’s a nice pinky, nudey mauve, perfect for every day wear. I also got the shade in Grunge, a plumy mocha brown. I definitely prefer Grunge, but the formula of these Lippie Stix isn’t my fave. They claim to be matte, but they have a slight sheen that I’m not a fan of and as a result, don’t last long at all. They’re also deceptively moisturizing because of the slick texture, but actually seem to dry out my lips. I feel like the lip pencils would have been a better option, but at $5 a piece, I’m not too upset.
I am so proud of Tanya Burr and I’m so obsessed with this palette. I really didn’t have high expectations for the blush and bronzer, but I was dying over the way the highlight looked in her videos and figured the rest of the palette didn’t really matter, but I love the peachy blush and the bronzer. Everything is really pigmented so if you like your cheek products, this is one for you. I love that the blush gives off a healthy flush and the bronzer may be a bit more orange than I like, but it looks quite good when you’re in desperate need of cheek bones and sun. The Tanya Burr Cheek Palette has defo made it onto the list of one of my fave products of all time. Unfortunately, it isn’t on Feel Unique’s site at the moment, but keep checking because that’s what I did and it wound up being on offer at 3 for 2 (I got two rosy palettes to give as gifts and kept this one for myself).
I finally picked up the Bourjois CC Cream this past summer in London and it instantly became my favorite face product. It feels light and doesn’t look cakey, but it also provides medium coverage. Cristina tried it and really loved it as well. She picked up the Bourjois Healthy Balance Powder over the summer and I’ve seen so many bloggers rave about it so I decided to give it a try as well. I don’t see anything special about it, especially when I compare it to the cheaper Rimmel Stay Matte powder. I also don’t like how heavily fragranced it is, but it does get the job done without looking too powdery.
I had a $5 coupon for Ulta with the purchase of $10 or more so I decided to buy Kat’s Christmas present and treat myself. I got Kat the Maybelline Blushed Nudes eyeshadow palette (to go with the OG one I bought her last year) and I got myself the Maybelline Color Tattoo in the Black Drama Leather effect shade. The palette is a very close dupe for the Urban Decay Naked 3 from what I can see and the Color Tattoo isn’t anything too special. It is very creamy and I’m sure if you build it up, the leather effect is more noticeable, but I like it for gel liner or as a cream base for a black smokey eye. I also picked up my first bottle of Simple Micellar Cleansing Water and have since purchased two more. I love this to help remove the makeup that lingers after cleansing and for helping me remove really heavy eye makeup. It’s also always on offer everywhere, so look out for it!
Sephora: VIB Sale
This is the one everyone waits all year for and this year I had no idea what to buy. I wanted to buy some skin care, but I also wanted something fun and new. I went for the Sephora Collection Clean Machine Konjac Sponge Duo after receiving the Boscia version in my Play! by Sephora box from October. These claim to have similar properties, are two for the price of one, and are the same size as the full-size Boscia version, so we’ll see how they go in a month when I need to discard the one I’m using. Then I went for the Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream which was a whopping $30, but I realize I’m getting old and need to treat my eyes well. Plus, it should last until April or May, which is good. I repurchased an old fave – Coco Chanel Mademoiselle Eau de Parfum. I bought myself this fragrance on my 18th birthday as my first proper perfume and I still have a bit of that bottle left. Mine is so old, the liquid is more gold than pink. The packaging on this is stunning, so I’m excited to have a new bottle. I then went a bit crazy and went for the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Witches, a black shade. I wanted something for Halloween that was good quality and as dark as it gets. I’ve heard good things about this formula, but it wasn’t the most opaque when I tried it on. I think the Sephora Collection versions are better, but it might just be that black is a more difficult shade to work with. Regardless, I returned it so it’s not pictured here. The next few are gifts for friends and are also not pictured: I bought the Sephora Collection Wishes Come True Eye and Face Makeup Palette. It comes with four eyeshadows, two highlights and one blush. It’s compact enough for travel and has a good variety of shades. The colors are beautiful and truly, I’m sad I didn’t buy one for myself. I also got the Sephora Collection Color Wishes 5 Eyeshadow Palettes to spread among three friends. These were disappointing because of how small they were. The boxes are the length of my thumb and the shadows themselves are the size of my fingernail. There’s no way I would gift these to friends in their 20s, but if you’re looking for some nice shades and textures to gift a 9-13 year old, I think these would work really well, especially because they range from neutral to smokey shades. This is the reason I decided to buy the Too Faced Le Grand Chateau from HSN as replacements for these. The palettes are much bigger and have greater quality and quantity. Lastly is the Too Faced Most Loved Set, which included deluxe samples of the Melted Fig liquid lipstick, a Soleil Matte Bronzer, Shadow Insurance eye lid primer, Hangover Replenishing Face Primer, and the Better Than Sex mascara. I gave away everything but the Hangover primer and mascara and while they were cool products, I definitely wouldn’t have called them “deluxe” sample sizes, but they did pair well with the Le Grand Chateau palettes.
Sephora: Black Friday/Cyber Weekend Sale
This is the one where I didn’t spend more than $11 on a single product, which was nice after splurging on the VIB sale. Not pictured is the set of Sephora Sheet Face Masks I gifted to a friend, along with a set of the Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser and Wipes. I received the pictured Bosica Detoxifying Black Cleanser as a free mobile offer when you spend over $25 and kept it for myself because it’s one of my favorites from the October Play! by Sephora box (Idk why but the sample Boscia Konjac Cleaning Sponge made it into this photo as well, but the two go well together so there you go). I also got myself the Sephora Green Tea Sleeping Mask, which I have yet to try, but it sounds like a dream. Then I repurchased an old fave, the Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara. It sounds crazy, but it’s an actual necessity because it separates and defines your lashes like nothing else since it has the tiniest wand. Also, it doesn’t smudge or give me raccoon eyes, so that’s a win. It’s a small thing that makes a huge difference.
Sephora: $20 off $50 VIB Sale
This was a pleasant surprise as I wasn’t expecting free $20 from Sephora. I picked up the Nails Inc polish in Windsor Mews because just look at it. I’m having a major Nails Inc moment as the formula is long-lasting and the packaging is beautiful. This is a lovely shade because it’s a purple/gray and I just think it’s a more exciting neutral. I also picked up a Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in Always Red. It isn’t pictured because I gave it as a gift, but it’s one of my top five fave lip products EVER and the red shade is not only a good one to have, but it’s really flattering on everyone. I also picked up the Hourglass Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint in the shade Shell. Cristina had a sample of this during my graduation, so she let me borrow it and I instantly fell in love. Don’t worry, a review will be up soon. I also treated myself with the Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb in the .84 oz size because it is the actual best!!! Seriously, treat yo self to the magical hydrating powers of this moisturizer (more on it here). Lastly, I finally picked up the Bumble and Bumble Pret-a-Powder dry shampoo (this linked version of the product is in support of Breast Cancer Awareness, BTW). I’ve been wanting to try a more organic dry shampoo that didn’t have alcohol in it, but the price of this always put me off. I got the small version at the Beauty on the Fly section of the store and have been LOVING IT. It is really effective as a dry shampoo, soaking up all that excess oil, and it also gives so much volume and sass to my hair. All of that makes it look extra good now that it’s much shorter.
Well that’s the shopping done for a while! I’ve left out a few presents because they were gifted before writing this post. What have you been buying? Maybe I have enough money for a few more items….Xx S.