April 2017 Favorites

April 2017 Favorites
GVP Compare to Clairol Shimmer Lights
, $10 / Sally Hansen Cuticle Massage Cream, $5 /
Tarte Shape Tape, $25 / L’Oreal Sublime Glow, $9 / Febreze One, $6

I made a typo when I was writing out the title of this post – I accidentally wrote, “April 2015 Favorites.” Yeah, right.

I’ve moved on from Blond Brilliance. Priced similarly for way more product, Sally Beauty’s GVP line has what is apparently an excellent dupe of Clairol Shimmer Lights. I wouldn’t know because I haven’t tried Shimmer Lights, but what I do know is that this stuff is glorious for preservation of blonde.

It’s back! My cuticles are a mess since the manicure that blew my no buy. They did a fairly shoddy job, and now my fingers are worse off than before. This is the universe’s way of getting me back, ha. To help protect them, I’ve been slathering the Sally Hansen Cuticle Massage cream into them a couple times a day. I’m almost all fixed up.

I’ve jumped on the bandwagon. Shape Tape is a really great concealer. It isn’t some godly ambrosia perfect for every situation as the masses on YouTube would have you believe, but it is pretty solid.

I’m using Cabana Tan on my legs, but my arms (which take color at a comically rapid rate and do not suffer aggressive exfoliation from shaving) are getting a gradual sunless tanner for now. I’ve used Jergens with success but wanted to try L’Oreal Sublime Glow for fun and bought it over the winter – I like how it smells a bit more than the Jergens, and it seems as effective. Bonus? This has a small bit of fun, non-distracting, non-tacky shimmer – just enough to highlight the skin ever-so-faintly and give it a bit more life. I use medium. Note: This isn’t Sublime BRONZE, which is their more aggressive sunless tanner. This is the gradual one!

I’ll be the first to admit I have a Febreze problem. I have since as long as I can remember. Back in the day, it was Meadows and Rain. Then, Thai Dragonfruit, Allergen Reducer (smells surprisingly nice and I still use it). Next (and also currently), the Tide scented one since that’s my husband’s laundry detergent preference. I’ve tried and liked many more. Then, Febreze came out with their refillable Febreze One product and I immediately purchased it. It’s a fabric refresher and air freshener in one. It’s non-aerosol, and you can buy refill cartridges rather than whole new bottles. The Bamboo scent reminds me of something between Tide and Meadows and Rain – it’s clean, but not nauseatingly so. There’s a distinct, crisp Ozone note that I can’t.get.enough.of (its what I love about Yankee’s Margaritaville Mother Ocean candles!) Anyway, then BzzAgent sent me the other two scents which are quite lovely as well. I love that they’re lower-waste and that it’s a multi-use product. Couch? Curtains? Bathroom? Office? Handled.

shop

Recent Repurchases – Fall/Winter 2016

Us beauty bloggers talk a LOT about new things we’ve tried, or NEW(ish in my case!) favorites, but I think we collectively do a poor job of talking about what we loved enough to repurchase. I might really enjoy a product for a few months, but by the time I get to the end of the bottle or hit pan, things may have changed.

Here’s are my recent repurchases as of last week.

 

Recent Repuchases - Million Dollar Tan Cabana TanMillion Dollar Tan Cabana Tan

Some of my hunt for a more cost-effective sunless tanner has been chronicled. I’m not unhappy with Million Dollar Tan in the slightest, but accessibility and cost are key items that factor in my buying choices. St Tropez is more accessible didn’t blow my mind. Vita Liberata is more accessible, but also more costly. Many drugstore options are hit-or-miss. On Thanksgiving, Million Dollar Tan featured a 40% off discount – so I snagged the already-discounted 2-pack of Cabana Tan for only $30 TOTAL with the 40% code and free shipping. Normally $32 EACH (I’ve never paid full price, but still) this is a solid deal. With my usage, it takes me forever to get through the product, so it will be about two years before I need to replenish.

For those who would prefer to order through a retailer, Nordstrom carries it now too.

 

2016 Holiday Gift Guide - Big Sexy Hair Volumizing SetBig Sexy Hair Root Pump

I’m utterly helpless when it comes to hair, but I’ve figured out how to be presentable for work. One of the consequences of insisting on having long hair is that long locks tend to weigh down roots, so I need help in that department. I’ve bought a few travel-sized bottles of Big Sexy Hair Root Pump before, too gun-shy to shell out for the a full-sized can. This gift set from JcPenney (fluctuates between $22-25) finally got me to bite the bullet with some promo code and rewards cash for ultra-cheap.

Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki

Sigma F80

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What I NEVER Buy at Sephora

What I NEVER buy at SephoraI’m generally comfortable with investing in quality products, and there are some things I am glad to splurge on. In spite of just locking in VIB for another year, though, there are some things I NEVER buy at Sephora. This is just a list of things I won’t buy for myself; I may buy them as gifts if I know the recipient would love it. This is also not a list intended to criticize people’s shopping choices (except maybe the Louboutin nail polish), just to point out what I choose not to buy.

Manicure Products

Sephora just isn’t the place to go for manicure offerings. I know some people love Deborah Lippmann, but I just haven’t been ensorceled by her products. I’ve shared my thoughts on freaking Louboutin making lacquer, on not liking FormulaX, and how unbelievably ridiculous Nails Inc is with their NAILKALE. If I’m shelling out $15-30 dollars on polish, you can bet it’s going to be UV/LED cured and a massive, pro-sized bottle, at that.

There are more brands, but the best bang for your buck when it comes to manicure supplies is simply NOT there at Sephora.

Mascara

Although my favorite mascara to date is prestige, I never buy at Sephora and pay prestige prices for mascara. This drugstore option gets me results nearly the same – and for the $12/tube savings, I’m fine with a potential and slight drop in quality.

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Tan Talk: St Tropez

St TropezSt Tropez Classic Bronzing Mousse, 8oz for $42

I haven’t been quite as committed to sunless tanning this year as previous years. I’ve had less time to dedicate to beauty rituals in general! When I got a deluxe sample of St Tropez Classic Bronzing Mousse, I was a bit excited – it’s a self-tanning cult classic, after all. Beyond that, mousses tend dry faster than lotions…and patience is not one of my virtues.

After showering and doing the necessary prep (shaving, exfoliation, etc), I gave the little bottle a shake and grabbed my application mitt (ain’t nobody got time for orange palms).

Initial Reaction

Everyone, including me, is surprised by how markedly green the foam seems upon first dispensing the foamy mousse. It isn’t a true green, of course, but there’s definitely green pigment in the formula – the rationale is that it helps offset any orange hue that would otherwise result.

Is it… scented? Oh, no, why?! Research indicates it wasn’t always – but now it features fragrance notes of bergamot, green apple, lavender, rose, jasmine, tuberose, musk and wood. One of my requirements for a tanning product is that it does not have added fragrance. I discuss my, ‘requirements,’ and how, “self-tanner smell,” isn’t the product but the result of DHA reacting with skin in my old post about Million Dollar Tan.

Application

I always use a mitt regardless of the type of product, but it isn’t optional with a mousse. This stuff dries fast. Almost too fast – if it’s your first time with a mousse, I’d say you have a 50/50 shot of getting it right the first time. I’ve even used a mousse product before, but St Tropez dries even faster than Vita Liberata.

Top Application Tip: Work in smaller areas than you would with a lotion. With a lotion, I’d do an entire leg or arm at a time. With mousse, do lower and upper separately.

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Costco Beauty

I’ve shared a a few of my finds at Costco (like the makeup wipes I was using) but I keep coming across more Costco beauty finds that I never thought would be there. I discovered a few more recently, and I couldn’t resist sharing these steals with you.

Clinique
moisturesurgeintense

Moisture Surge Intense

I used a sample packet of the regular Moisture Surge just before my flight home from California in March. Between the ultra-dry air out there and the dry plane cabin, my skin was thirsty. Like all Clinique skincare, Mositure Surge/Intense is unscented. I probably wouldn’t use this as a day cream unless you either a) live in a very dry environment b) are a flight attendant or c) have pretty dry skin. Moisture Surge Intense is normally $52.50, but Costco has it for $29.

Dramatically Different Lotion+

I personally use the gel (which is not sold at Costco as far as I can tell), but the Lotion goes for the same price at usual retailers, but you can grab 2 for $40.

St Tropez

sttropezexpressThis isn’t news on this blog, but the fact that you can get St Tropez at Costco for a fraction of the cost that you would spend on it at, say, Sephora? Worth it! I’ve seen the classic mousse on their site before – it isn’t on there now, but you may be able to find it in stores. They do have a few other St Tropez items in stock online, though – like the Express formula for $26 (regularly $44) and the facial cream for $22 (regularly $30).

 

Beautyblender Two-Pack

beautyblender2 for $30 isn’t as great of a deal of the 8- or 12-packs available to the pros, but us mere mortals will take what we can get. They carry all of the silly novelty colors. Skip the red, it bleeds.

StriVectin

strivectin

The stretch mark cream turned wrinkle reducer is available in a 2 oz two-pack for $99. StriVectin has been a highly rated product for over a decade, so if you’ve been considering buying it or want to restock? This is a pretty good value (compared to $79 for one from Macy’s or Amazon).

bareMinerals Serum Foundation

bareskinThe samples I tried didn’t play nicely for me, but if you’re already happy using this, it’s worth checking to see if they carry your shade. At $22, it’s cheaper than anywhere else. Downside is that they carry a very limited shade range. I’ve seen the Original foundation here in the past, too.

The Bottom Line

By Costco’s nature, inventory does not stay the same forever. If you keep an eye on their site, though, you’ll find (as I did) a slew of products that slay their normal prestige pricing. Unlike Costco stores, Costco.com accepts all major credit cards making this inventory fairly accessible.

Also, Costco doesn’t know who I am, none of this is affiliate stuff. The Costco beauty deals are just too good to overlook.