Tag Archives: sephora

Beauty Grab-Bag: Random Pretties

First of all, hooray, it’s finally spring!! I’m not freezing at the moment and I even have a window open, it’s a miracle! I haven’t done a grab-bag in a while so I thought I’d share some fun products I’m liking right now.

I haven’t bought a nail polish for more than $8 in years, but when I was at Ulta over the weekend they were having a promotion where if you bought a butter London nail-polish you would receive a free mini bottle of their powder polish remover, so I decided to indulge and purchase the color “Macbeth”. The powder polish remover is nice, it leaves behind a sort of baby-powder smell on your skin rather than a strong nail polish remover smell.

Butter London polish is $14 at Ulta, and despite the name it’s actually an American company. I really like the bright reddish-orange shade I bought and even on the third day there is minimal chippage, but when it comes down to it I’m still cheap and I’ll have to be impressed by an unusual color for me to purchase this brand again.

I fell and skinned my knees in front of Penn station last week both hurting and embarrassing myself while also ripping a new pair of $15 tights to shreds—so what did I do after that? I dusted myself off and went to Sephora where I bought this Hello Kitty eyeliner for $16 to cheer myself up. When you fall down, pick yourself up and buy some makeup—trust me.

It’s an olive-green color called “picnic basket” and it’s a nice alternative to my usual black winged liner. I’m a little worried it might dry out fast, but I’ll just have to wait and see. I’m very happy with this liner and thinking I might buy the purple the next time I find myself in Sephora (or the next time I take a spill).

This Pangea Organics lip balm came in my March Birchbox and at first I was like “whatever, sure, another lip balm”, but then it slowly won me over. It has a relaxing jasmine-y smell and goes on very smooth and moisturizes well. I haven’t decided if I can bring myself to buy another for $12 but I’m thinking about it.

This is the biggest problem with birchbox, they make you fall in love with expensive products and then you feel compelled to by them—I guess that’s kind of the point though right?

Last but not least, I’ve written before about my disappointment in the totally wasteful and annoying packaging of Urban Decay’s primer potion, they’ve finally listened to their fans and Sephora has changed the packaging for more efficient use. It’s always nice when a brand actually listens to their customers, isn’t it?

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Get Some Holiday Sparkle (On Your Nails)

Everyone goes crazy for glitter around the holidays (myself included) and Christmas is just a few days away, so it’s time to get some holiday spirit on those nails! I’m not usually a sparkly polish person, but it’s so festive, I just can’t resist during the holidays. Whether it’s chrome for New Year’s or red glitter to match your Santa suit, Christmas is the time to pull out all the stops in the polish department, load on the sparkles, paint on some holiday shine, and get ready to celebrate!


Here are my top five holiday polishes for 2010:

Orly, Dazzle

In my opinion, this is the best silver chrome polish out there. It’s so good in fact that it has been added to Orly’s permanent collection. It goes on smooth with streak-free solid coverage that really pops on all skin tones. It’s a perfect way to add some holiday shine without the glitter.

Sephora by OPI, It’s Bouquet With Me

Add some celebratory confetti with this pretty purple glitter polish. It takes a few coats, but the payoff is very pretty and festive. It’s a bit of a doozy to remove, so check out my tip about that down below.

OPI, Dear Santa

I keep this one in my collection and only take it out for the holidays. It’s an intense bright red with gold and crimson glitter, perfect for Christmas. It’s an easy way to add some holiday spirit to any outfit.

Milani, Gold Glitz

I couldn’t find anything about this glitter polish I bought at CVS last week, then I learned it’s part of a spring collection called “rockstar heavy” that is already available at some CVS locations. It’s an awesome glitter polish, really good coverage and very fine grain, not gloopy like other glitter polishes. The only problem is I wish I had bought all the colors!

OPI, Lucerne-tainly Look Marvelous

After Amanda recommended it in October I made a point to check out this OPI color from the Swiss collection. It has quickly become one of my favorite new polishes, and it’s great for the holidays too. It’s a dark shimmery gray, with a bit of sparkle and a touch of chrome. It’s got just enough shine to appear festive while still remaining subtle enough to wear with anything.

(Loki loves to model)

Just for good measure, here are some other great glittery options to try out this season:

OPI Burlesque nail polishes, $8.00

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear Nail Color Strobe Light, $2.79

Sephora Only Gold For Me Top Coat, $9.00

Orly foil FX, $7.50

Milani Nail Art with Precision Brush Purple Outline, $3.99

While glitter nail polish can be really fun for the holidays (or everyday) it can also be an absolute nightmare to remove. Any polish aficionado knows that glitter is impervious to most removers, some are worse than others, but it’ something to consider before choosing a color. The easily removed chrome polishes are an equally festive option for those who can’t handle scraping glitter off their nails. For those who love to sparkle however, there seems to be no easy option for removal.


The best method I’ve found for stubborn nail glitter removal is to coat the nail in an old thick polish you have lying around and then let it dry for a few minutes. Once the polish has almost set, cover the finger in a cotton round and push down hard on your finger with your nail as you slide the cotton over the willful glitter to get the polish off. In effect you’re scraping the polish off, but the cotton acts as a buffer and protects the nail. If you have some really adamant sparkles left on your nail, you can file the stragglers off with a regular nail file or buffer. I’m sure some manicurists wouldn’t suggest that method and it might not be a great idea if you have weak nails, but if you have strong healthy nails and are on the verge of tears as you futilely dab at resistant glitter clusters, it might just save your sanity. If anyone has found a better method, I’d love to hear it!

May you all have warm, happy, healthy holidays and nails that glitter and sparkle this season!!

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Beauty Bullseye: Sephora gift-sets

I know I complained about Christmas coming too early last week, but I guess the holiday madness has gotten to me. This seems to happen every year actually, because I just can’t resist gift-sets, all those little samples wrapped up in some sort of cute and usually portable package, they’re just irresistible to me. Sephora is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for cute gifts-sets for friends, family, or maybe even yourself this holiday season.

Let’s take a look at some highlights currently available at Sephora.com, shall we?

Tarte The Jewelry Box  $52

Tarte comes out with a set like this every year, and while I’ve never had one myself (I already own more eyeshadow than any person ever should), I’ve bought them for friends who have loved them. Tarte is a pretty awesome brand, and this is a great value for the price, especially since you get a substantial amount of product (they’re basically full-sized). This year the set comes with a chain necklace that’s a nice bonus even if it’s not the most expensive looking piece of jewelry, but it’s still pretty cute (what can you expect for a throw in gift?).

Sephora by OPI Eighteen Piece Mini Nail Colour Set $48

I pretty much get excited just looking at little bottles of anything, but especially nail polish so I had to put this set on the list. The set contains 18 .12 oz bottles of polish from the Sephora by OPI collection, each one works out to under $3 which isn’t bad. The only downside is that you can’t choose which colors you get, so while there are some nice ones in there, there might also be a few that you hate and will never use. It’s the risk you run with any gift-set, but if you have a friend who is a big nail polish fan this is a wonderful gift—and any colors they don’t like, they can always swap with you!

Glitz & Glam Shimmer and Shine Makeup Deluxe Sampler $39

Sephora has a few of these deluxe samplers, they all feature a nice selection of best-selling products in small, but generous sample sizes. These are great if you want to try out some new products before you buy anything full-sized. This sampler makes an excellent holiday gift as it contains Sephora’s most glowy products, including a .17 oz Tarte cheekstain and Josie Maran Bronzing Argan Oil, perfect if you want to sparkle this season!

Too Faced Enchanted Glamourland $49


A friend of mine was recently raving about Too Faced Shadow Insurance primer, so naturally I have to feature this set which includes both eyeshadow and primer. If you don’t currently wear a primer under your shadow, it’s highly recommended, it will totally change not only the way your shadow looks, but how long it lasts on your lids. This set is cute for any girly-girl and features a bunch of the most popular Too-faced products including their Glamour Gloss in Pillow Talk which is one of the only lip glosses I wear (it smells nice and isn’t too sticky).

Sephora Makeup Palette To Go – BCA Edition $15

Isn’t this little pink palette just too cute? At $15 you should buy one for all the women in your life this Christmas, especially since Sephora is giving $1 to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation for each palette sold. Great for travel, and perfect as a stocking stuffer—you can’t beat the price, 8 eyeshadows, 4 lip glosses, and a blush all for just 15 bucks!

Sephora Endless Color Blockbuster $48

If you know someone who has only recently entered the world of makeup, whether it be a teenage niece or a cosmetic curious friend, this is the perfect gift. I personally wouldn’t buy it if you already have a large makeup collection because there is a lot of stuff in there, but if you want to experiment and are looking for a variety—look no further.  Don’t expect high-caliber products, this set is definitely quantity over quality, but half the fun of makeup is playing with it anyway. With almost 100 shadows and 70 lip-glosses, you’re sure to have fun and find what colors suit you, that way you can invest in some higher quality products next year!

Deluxe Fragrance Sampler For Her $50

Last but not least, if you or someone you know is a fragrance fanatic, this is both a fun and practical gift. Sephora sells this kit for $50 which includes 12 perfume samples, the idea is that you try out each of them and then bring in the voucher included in the kit for a full size bottle of your favorite. As any perfume connoisseur knows, you can’t tell how a scent will interact with your body chemistry by spraying it on one of those paper strips in the store, you need to be able to wear it around for a couple of days before you decide if you really love it. I can’t be alone in having purchased a scent which I thought I loved and was later repulsed by, so I think this is a brilliant idea! The only downside is that last year they had a few different samplers to choose from and this year there is only one.

Anyone have other Sephora (or any cosmetic) gift-set recommendations? I’d love to hear them, got to get started on that Holiday shopping STAT!

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Beauty Bullseye: Sephora

Truth be told, I’ve probably spent more time in Sephora than in any other store in my adult life. It’s one of those places I go when I’m meeting a friend who is late, or if I just want to kill some time or escape from the wildness of the street for a few minutes. I can see how, to some, Sephora might seem like a nightmare, there are dozens of women pushing past each other, fighting for mirrors, or the attention of salespeople, perfume may get sprayed in your eyes if you’re not careful, and sometimes the lines are incredibly long, but if you love makeup—it’s heaven, all the things you love conveniently in one place to enjoy. Oh Sephora, how I love thee, let me count the ways!

The advantage of Sephora is that, unlike the drugstore, you get to play with the makeup—to me, this is a huge advantage, because if I had a dollar for every product I bought in a drugstore that I never would have purchased if I tested it, well I’d have a lot more money to spend at Sephora. Some people might like to shop the makeup counters at department stores, but not me. I hate having to jump from counter to counter, trying to shake off salesgirls who are so bored they won’t stop following me around making suggestions, or trying desperately to get their attention so I can just buy what I need. At Sephora there is usually a sales girl around if you need help, but once they’ve politely asked you if you need something, they leave you alone—I wish retailers would realize this is the perfect way to provide customer service. I’m someone who has worked a lot of retail, including department store make-up counters, and I can tell you, people don’t like you in their face, but they do want your help when they need it.

They also have their own brand of products, and for the most part they’re really great and reasonably priced too, I have often opted for a Sephora brand product when the name brand was just way too expensive, and I haven’t really been disappointed.

Flashy Liner Waterproof, $8Colorful Duo Eyeshadow, $8, Ultra-Shine Lip Gloss, $7

Sephora has been around since 1997, it originally opened in France in 1993, and is owned by Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH). I couldn’t find anything too negative about the company either, so that’s a plus. They have a generous return policy, and regularly offer free shipping over $50 on their site too. If you like Sephora you’re probably already a beauty insider, which means they give you a card so when you buy stuff you gain a point for every dollar spent, once you hit 100 points you get a fancy deluxe sample, and then once you hit 500 points you get a mini-kit or sample set, right now it’s a benefit best of sampler kit. I have 474 points in my bank right now and I’m not sure what happens if I just keep saving them, either way it’s better than other stores offer. A lot of places don’t even give samples anymore—or they’re inconsistent about it, and who doesn’t love free samples?

As a beauty insider you also get a birthday gift, for the past couple of years it has been a mini bottle of Philosophy birthday cake shower gel—or at least that’s what I’ve gotten. You have to pick it up in stores, but it’s a smart little incentive to get you in.

In fact Sephora is very good at getting you into their stores to spend money. They send e-mails with 15% off coupons, and I’m a total sucker for them. I go in thinking I’ll outsmart them and buy a product I was going to buy anyway, but then I see a new lip balm, or an anti-frizz spray. Suddenly I’m thinking “well, it is 15% off the whole purchase so I should probably buy some more stuff too” and then I leave having spent $65 and saved $9. Coupons are all about justification, I can walk out of there feeling proud that I was so thrifty, when really I wouldn’t have even considered buying that stuff if it weren’t for the discount—damn you Sephora, you get me every time!

Another sneaky trick they institute are the mini products strategically placed in front of you as you wait in line. I have seem many women (myself included) add-on an extra $5-$30 picking up one of those tempting little guys. Sometimes you think they’re going to be cheap because they’re small, but you have to be careful, because they throw in some expensive full size items to trick you. I’m sure if you have will power it’s not hard to resist, but miniatures are so appealing for some reason, it’s a phenomenon, it’s so pleasing to see something shrunk down small, I just can’t help it!

FileMate by tweezerman $5 each, Fresh Soy Face Cleanser To Go $15 for 1.7 oz., Sephora for OPI Daily Hand Moisturizer To Go $5 for 1.7 oz., Brilliant Glossing Sheer Shine Mist To Go $9 for 1.7 oz., Some Kind-A Gorgeous To Go $9 for .09 oz.,

When I walk in to a Sephora I usually don’t even know where to start, because the fun of it is the ability to play. Put a lipstick on, wipe it off, spray in some curl enhancer, why not? Alright, I assume a lot of women do this but maybe not—If I’m on my way somewhere else and I pass a Sephora, I like to run in and try on some new perfume or makeup, and then just pop back out in to the street and be on my way. It’s an awesome way to really figure out if you like something. Often I’ll forget I even did it and then on the way home I’m wondering “what’s that gorgeous smell?” only to realize it’s coming from my own wrist. Other times I go in there with a mission, or even better, with a gift card, but usually I go in to see what’s there. I like to play a game with myself, it’s called “if I had all the money in the world what would I buy?” I’m sure you’ve played it before too. It’s similar to the game “What would I buy If I had to buy something” which I only play in stores I don’t like. Here’s my list of what I’d be buying at Sephora today if I didn’t have to worry about silly things like rent, health insurance, or credit card payments—hey, you can always dream!

I have a purple eyeshadow obsession, also a Shiseido eyeshadow obsession, they go on so silky smooth and blend together beautifully, too bad they’re $25 each.

Shiseido Luminizing Satin Eye Color in Ghost, $25 for .07 oz.

Recently when I go into Sephora I’ve been sampling the Tocca fragrances, they all smell amazing. What I love about them is how they really change when you spray them on your skin, they are scents with a great deal of depth, there are so many lovely notes to discover as you wear them all day.

Tocca 1.7 oz Eau de Parfum Sprays, $68 for 1.7 oz.

I’ve posted before about the Tarte lip stains, but little did I know that was just the glossy collection, now they’ve come out with a collection of matte shades too. I want one, they’re very similar to the others, but without the shiny glossy finish, and they come in a whole new set of bright colors.

LipSurgence™ Natural Matte Lip Stain,$24 for 0.1 oz.

I hate washing my hair, it’s long, easily tangled, and takes forever to dry, so I’m a big fan of dry shampoo. I’ve been reading good things about this one from Klorane, I’ve tried it in stores and it seems really nice, but I have tons of Oscar Blandi at home, so I have to use that up before I can justify buying more. It’s also nice that it’s made without Parabens, Sulfates, Synthetic Dyes and a bunch of other bad stuff.

Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo With Oat Extract, $18 for 1.7 oz.

I haven’t been able to bring myself to buy this Clinique skin-tone corrector because of the price, I have the moisturizer and it has helped lighten some sun damage around my eyes, so I really want to see how effective this product is. I’ve tried it in stores, but with a product like this you really need to keep using it to get results. It’s also supposed to be great for lightening acne scars.

Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, $49.50 for 1 oz.

Sephora keeps trying to get me to buy this eyeshadow compact, no seriously, they’ve sent me e-mails recommending it and it’s all over the magazines. It calls out its siren song to me when I’m in the stores, but the price is steep and I already have more eyeshadow than anyone I know, maybe one day though…

5-Colour Eyeshadow – Stylish Move 970, $58

For many years I’ve dreamt of a hair iron that could do anything—barrel curls, soft waves, or straight and smooth. I haven’t had the pleasure of trying this baby out, but in my imagination it’s amazing, so I’m going to go ahead and believe that for the price, this iron can do anything—I wonder if it can crimp too?

The Seductress: Curl, Wave & Straight One-Inch Iron, $230

Let’s be honest though, if I really had all the money in the world I would just buy a whole Sephora store and live there, or attach it to my house as an extra room. That way I wouldn’t have to worry about storing all of the products I buy either, wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Anyone else have a deep love of Sephora, what are your “if money wasn’t an issue” dream products?

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Lovable Lipsticks

It often seems like you’re either a lipstick person or you’re not. My generation seems to prefer lip gloss and lip stains, not to mention tinted lip balm, over your standard lipstick. I think the time is ripe for a lipstick comeback, and I credit Mad Men for paving the way, who doesn’t want to look like Joan Holloway? I was never that much of a lipstick person. I tend to forget I’m wearing it and smudge it everywhere, and I’m also too lazy to re-apply it. My collection stands at a measly 29, and most of them are either from Clinique bonuses or gratis I received while working for M.A.C. Recently however, I’ve rediscovered lipstick, which has sparked me to go back and check out what I have, and of course buy some new ones!

Here is my current collection, not so interesting, definitely not nearly as interesting as nail polish.

Within seconds of setting these out my adorably, evil cat Loki jumped up into the middle of the shot, then he just sat there, all pissed at me for invading his space. Ugh, cats.

Some lipsticks I keep only because I love the packaging, mainly this applies to Anna Sui, in fact I’ve never been too crazy about any of her make-up, but the packaging gets me every time, I do love her perfume though.

Moving on, with lipstick you really need to see the color, and you can never tell what it looks like until you try it on. Unlike things like nail polish or eyeliner, you need to choose a shade that works with your skin tone. I was going to photograph the colors on my hand, but it wasn’t very interesting, so I got my lovely fiance James to try them out for me—no wait, just to photograph me, that would have been creepy. I’m also trying to get more comfortable in front of the camera so I won’t freak out when I have to take my wedding pictures, so please bear with me!

This is one of my favorites, and it’s only $12 at Sephora. It goes on a bit sheer and is very moisturizing!

Sephora Lip Attitude – Glamour in Rosy Frivol $12

This shade is a matte pinkish brown, I think it flatters a lot of skin tones, it was one of the bestselling shades when I worked at M.A.C, and I think it still is.

M.A.C. lipstick in Twig $14

If I were to eat a lipstick (which probably wouldn’t be advisable) it would be this one. It’s the most expensive in my collection by far at $30, but it is oh so delicious! It goes on very light and can be layered, and it has a glossy finish. A great summer lipstick, it’s not heavy at all, and gives a perfect, bright wash of color.

Gloss Volupte in Frozen Cherry $30

I used to wear this shade a lot and have only just rediscovered it. It has a 60’s mod vibe because it is a very light pink, not too bright. It is part of the Lustre Lipstick collection from M.A.C, which I happen to love because they are slightly more sheer and not messy, very easy to apply.

Mac Lustre lipstick in Lovelorn $14

I can’t pass up a Clinique bonus, which is where I got this shade. It is very berry colored, nice in the fall, and as usual with the Clinique bonuses it flatters many skin tones.

Clinique Different Lipstick in A Different Grape $14

I usually go for bright when I wear lipstick, but this one is a very pretty nude, very comfortable to wear, and goes on nice and smooth.

Clinique Long Last Soft Shine Lipstick in Blushing Nude $14

I had to leave out a bunch of my favorite colors because they’re no longer available, but I couldn’t leave this one out even though it was a limited edition and was discontinued. It is RED, like, serious red. It’s a huge pain to apply because it gets everywhere, but when you put it on you just have to pout like Gwen Stefani or snarl like Cyndi Lauper, which is fun, everyone should try a red lip every once in a while! You can try M.A.C in Russian Red or Lady Bug for a similar effect, or YSL Rouge Volupte in Red Muse ($34).

M.A.C. lipstick in Powerhouse (discontinued)

Remember what I said about skin tone and lipstick, yeah well here is an example of why it is important, gold lips + pale skin=not good.

This color has been discontinued also, but you can try the shade Chintz, for a similar frosty golden look.

M.A.C. lipstick in Golden Rule (discontinued)

I’ll end with my favorite lipstick, I got this one free with the back to M.A.C, which is a great program where you can bring six empty M.A.C. products (powder, lipstick, whatever as long as it’s M.A.C) and they give you a free lipstick, you can find more information about it here. It’s a great way to get a free product, and recycle.

I love this color, pink, bright, light, love it. I think this is the perfect shade for summer!

M.A.C Lustre Lipstick in Lustering $14

How does everyone else feel about lipstick, do you wear it? Does it make you feel beautiful? Do you have a favorite shade? If you don’t wear it, why not?

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