Rant: Why I Left Sephora During My Time MIA

Hello loves,

It has been awhile, but I’m back! A lot happened during this last year that kept me VERY busy. I got promoted twice, moved, and am in progress f getting my anxiety and depression back on track. That was honestly a major reason for my hiatus. I enjoy reviewing for you all and I love makeup… but my anxiety about feeling like I HAD to post or I was failing took a lot of the enjoyment out of it for me to be blunt.

Now I’m back on track and LOVING it again, and I hope that my renewed love will show through my reviews even though tone is hard to convey through writing!

NOW THAT THAT IS OUT OF THE WAY, let’s get to what you all are here for: Why Ulta is awesome and why I’m over Sephora.

There was no single incident that made me go,’Hmm I think I’m going to switch over’. It seemed to be a more gradual shift in my shopping habits. I used to be a die hard Sephora customer. I posted raves like this.

Part of the issue is the attitudes of the sales associates at each given store. While Sephora is nice enough, they always seem to have this elitist attitude and look at me like I don’t belong there. Ulta associates aren’t as knowledgeable in general about the product features and benefits, but I usually know what I want and they are more than willing to help me locate it.

I started to realize that if I could buy items at either store (my favorite brand is Urban Decay which is available at both stores), that I switched to Ulta for their rewards program. At Sephora, you save up points to get deluxe samples… I finally figured out that I either A) was never excited by the samples that were available B) Could have gotten those samples for free from stopping in the store in person and asking or C) had to spend $150 to get a tiny mini thing that usually gets me two uses.

At Ulta, they reward my obsession with money off… meaning more FULL SIZE, ACTUAL product to obsess over. They drive my addiction, but they also reward me for loyalty to them when I am planning on buying everything anyway. As a Platinum member, they are constantly sending me emails for 5x or 3x points, and at a minimum its 1.25 points per dollar that I spend. I also visit the Salon at Ult, and get points for this as well.

They also reward me for being a hoarder. I currently have hoarded enough points for $70 off… A few more points and I get $125 off a purchase! The more you save your points, the more cah value they end up having!

The other main thing that I realized is that it seems like Ulta has worked out partnerships with brands that benefit the consumer more. For instance, I almost ALWAYS get additional free samples when I order UD from Ulta, unlike Sephora where I just get what I paid for.

I will post an example in the next few days of one instance where I got a HUGE bag of free stuff from Ulta, and money off and how it kicked my Sephora free stuff haul in the ass.

Til next time,

A

Advertisements

Haulin’: Sephora VIB Sale

Hello lovelies!

Thank you for bearing with me while I was gone for awhile there! We moved to a new place so my haul, camera, chargers, etc have been scattered everywhere the past few weeks!

I will wait a bit to do swatches and reviews, but let me show you all of the goodies that I got!

So I know this is very overdue, but I had to share the deals I got! Everything was 20% off! The prices that are after each item are the usual price though and do not include the 20% off.

Sephora Favorites Lash Stash – All kinds of amazing mascaras to try out for only $45? Sign me up! $45.00

Clarisonic Mia2 Detox kit – This is the Clarisonic Mia 2 with an added kit of small detox items from Glam Glow, Boscia, and more. I love the color of the Mia2 in this kit and the small size fits perfectly in my little baby hands. haha $150.00

Urban Decay Ocho Loco 2- I was torn between this and the UD Black Market set but I’m really happy I went with this. There’s a reason why these liners have hit cult status. $59.00

YSL Touche Eclat – I got the Luminous Radiance which is the original color that they came out with. This is the one that meshes best with my skin tone. This is one of the only items I’m still a bit unsure about but I had nothing to lose so why not give it a shot? $40.00
Urban Decay Vic 2 Palette- This thing is so pretty that I didn’t even use it at first. I just sat and looked at it in all of its glory. A bit bolder than my usual taste, this palette will be great to mesh with some neutrals to create a little more exciting looks! $59.00

I also later grabbed the  Sephora Favorites Fragrance Sampler for Her which is an AMAZING deal! It’s got a bunch of fragrance samples for you to try and a voucher so that once you find your favorite you can get a full size! Amazing value since some of the voucher sprays alone are worth over $65. The clutch that comes with it is also surprisingly cute.  $65

Freebies from all of the orders:

Stila Favorites – 500 point perk

-Eye Shadow in Kitten
-Lip Glaze in Apricot
-Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso
-Convertible Color in Peony
-Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in Lionfish

Philosophy Miracle Worker Sample

Murad Clarifying Wipes Sample

Dolce & Gabbana The One Sample

Lacoste Eau de Lacoste Sample

Murad Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture Sample

VIB lips tote

I will write some followups for these for more detail and with swatches! In the meantime thank you for reading even when things get really crazy for me here!

*Disclaimer/Disclosure – All of the photos above are from Sephora.com . I will replace with my own photos once I am able to get some of of my camera!

Haul/Rave: How I Got Tons of Free Stuff at Sephora!

Hey guys!

So the day before the big VIB Sale at Sephora, I placed an order for other items so that I could maximize my deal codes/points/GWP’s. Here’s what I grabbed!

Kat Von D Tattoo Concealer

For starters, I bought Kat Von D Tattoo Concealer. I got the lightest color available, but it is still a bit dark on my skin. I tried it out in store though and it covered the black in my tattoos and was resistant to fading. I will just put some lighter powder over it and blend it out to get it to match my skintone. This was $25 but qualified me for the bag and samples below.

wedding 114

This was a bag that I found a code for when looking on the Sephora website. You can choose from 4 different bags which all contain different items (As of the date of this post, the 3 other options are still available with $25 purchase. Just enter code BLITZ at checkout!)

The samples are listed below and came in a cute black makeup bag:

  • Living proof. frizz nourishing styling cream 1 fl. oz.
  • CLEAN Original Eau de Parfum 0.03 fl. oz.
  • Too Faced Beauty Balm in Nude Glow 0.17 oz.
  • Living proof. prime style extender 0.33 fl. oz.
  • BUXOM Lash Mascara in Blackest Black 0.2 fl. oz.
  • Origins Plantscription Anti-aging Cream SPF 25 0.5 oz.
  • fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 in Petal 0.07 oz
  • Urban Decay B6 Vitamin-Infused Complexion Prep Spray 0.5 fl. oz.

wedding 116

With every purchase on Sephora.com, you get to choose 3 free samples. For these I got Marc Jacobs Daisy, Burberry Brit Rhythm for him, and YSL L’Homme Libre.

Then I also used some of my Beauty Insider points that I have been saving (for nothing in particular, I just kept them because I hadn’t found anything worth using them on). It seemed like a lot of the good stuff all came around at once, so I cashed in!

I snatched up a Lancome Energie De Vie Dullness Relief & Energy Recharge Daily Cream for 100 points. This is a really big sample compared to the size I thought it was going to be!

My other 100 point reward was a Clinique Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Color Balm in Mightiest Maraschino. This is a vibrant classic red that I can’t wait to find an excuse to wear!
Then came the 500 point freebie from Urban Decay!

wedding 120

This came with deluxe samples of the B6 Vitamin Infused Complexion Prep Spray, All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray, Eyeshadow Primer Potion – Anti Aging, and Eyeshadow in Mushroom which is a gorgeous grey shimmer.

Finally, because it was my birthday month, I got the free birthday samples with this order from benefit.

wedding 118

Benefit Samples shown with Deluxe Lancome 100 Point Sample

The birthday items are They’re Real! mascara which I am absolutely in love with, and Watt’s Up! highlighter. This little guy is a cream to powder with the exact right balance of brightening and shimmer.

So if you add up each free item that I got, it totals 20! Amazing for only buying one thing, right? I will say that the way that i was able to do this was by saving up points and waiting to get the concealer for over a month before I found the right time. I found an amazing online code to put on top of my points, as well as my free birthday items and the samples that come with every order. I love when I can place an order online and feel like I robbed the place!!

Anyone else have as good of luck (or even better)?

Rave: Sephora Custom Makeup Application Service (Plus Skin and Color IQ)

Recently I bought a Dior Foundation online that I had been looking at for awhile. I got it in the mail and was very excited. When I went to use it however, I found out that unfortunately the shade was too dark for my skin. This in combination with the fact that it wasn’t as full of coverage as I like, lead me to make the decision to go to Sephora to exchange it.

While I was online I happened to see about the service they offer in store for Custom makeup applications, as well as a Personal Beauty Advisor option and Skin and Color IQ. I figured I’d make an outing of it and drive to Madison to make the exchange instead of just returning it online and possibly getting another incorrect shade.

First I made an appointment online to do the CMA online. It is very easy to do and makes for an easy way to not only secure your appointment, but also get additional information all in one place.

I was also able to look up the differences in the CMA and PBA options. They both require a minimum purchase, and the PBA seems much more involved. The PBA is a complete overview and overhaul of your beauty routine. It includes everything from your skincare and fragrances to your makeup for multiple looks.

I opted to go with the CMA option which is a $50 minimum purchase (as opposed to a $125 min for the PBA) because I didn’t need anything quite THAT involved and extensive. I put on my online reservation that during my appointment I would also like to use the Skin and Color IQ services.

I made it to the store 5 minutes before my appointment and went to do my return. I mentioned at the counter that I had an appointment and they let me know it would be a few minutes so I found my way over to the Skin IQ screen.

 

Skin IQ:

I loved this! Theres  a big touchscreen on the wall and you can narrow things down by what issue you would like to tackle, type of product, etc. I started messing with the screen on my own and then the Color Consultant who was doing my CMA (named Bao) came over and helped me out. She was able to more quickly narrow the product results for me than I could’ve been able to do on my own. Once we got a few good products chosen, we saved them to a list and printed it. She then lead me to each item in the store to try. I ended up choosing one that I liked to purchase that day and on the print out from the machine there is a barcode below each item. Right now there is a deal where if you buy an item from your Skin IQ list, you get 100 beauty insider points which is pretty amazing since you could buy a $20 item and get 100 points!

 

Color IQ:

After the Skin IQ screen, Bao used the Color IQ system on me as well. Pantone helped create a chart and scanner where they scan 3 areas on your face (the three that could vary most in color) and come out with a number that you can use to get your exact foundation match! I really liked this because there are so many brands, shades, etc that I didn’t have to worry about potentially missing a great matching product! She wrote down my number and brought samples of the foundations for my skin color.

We did the scanner once and my skin showed as being very red. She rescanned me because they have you use a makeup wipe first (even though I had nothing on) and she said that the rubbing can cause your skin to appear more red if you don’t give it enough time. Sure enough the second time my skin was less red, so just be aware of this if you use this service!

 

Custom Makeup Application: 

We did a foundation application (to test drive my Color IQ choice), different smokey eye, contouring, and just finished off the look with the cheeks and eyes. I went in mostly to just try some different products and techniques. Bao helped me to tweak my contouring a bit for how pale I am (by using darker colors in a lighter stroke vs lighter colors packed on a bit more heavily).

Bao was amazing. She listened to any concerns, my daily routine, the products I typically use, etc and seemed genuinely interested. She was also extremely knowledgeable and friendly.  She offered product tips and tricks, tweaks to my routine that would make it faster or easier, and helped my try on any of the products I was looking at. She also made my face look much thinner than when I usually contour myself with lighter color but more of it, and what woman wouldn’t love that??  They aren’t working on commission so I feel like they are giving you more honest feedback than if they were (obviously they’re still trying to make a sale but aren’t crazy aggressive about it).

Overall, I decided I’ll make the hour trip to Sephora more often than just shopping online, mainly because of the experience I had with Bao. I’ll still shop mainly online because of the convenience, but I’ll come in a few times a year. One thing that meant a lot to me was that the whole appointment was supposed to be 45 minutes. She spent almost 2 hours helping me. I was worried at first when we had only done my eyes and the IQ services at the 45 minute mark, but was relieved that I did not once feel rushed. She took her time to address anything and everything that I wanted too. The hour and a half service is supposed to cost $125 for a minimum purchase, but she had no idea how much i was spending when she spent all that time assisting me. I definitely made sure to send in a survey saying how much I loved her service.

 

Have you ever used any of these services? How satisfied were you? Would you do it again? Let me know in the comments section!!