Sephora’s “Summer Surge” kicked off on Sunday with an exclusive shopping event for VIB Rouge members (the top Beauty Insider rewards program tier) and I actually woke up extra early on a Sunday to head to my favorite Sephora store just so I could score the exclusive goodies. This cute shopper (above), plus a “limited edition” cosmetic bag filled with samples were available during the event (from 9-11 AM) with a $35 purchase.
I actually got there after 11 AM, but I called first to make sure I would still be able to get the free stuff if I came late, and the sales associate told me that the shopper and cosmetic bags would still be available until they ran out of them. So, if you missed the event, you might still be able to get the freebies if your Sephora store didn’t run out of them yet!
Sephora Summer Surge VIB Rouge Sample Bag
These were the freebies in the “exclusive” makeup bag. The bag itself was just a plain black case — they made it sound a little nicer, but it’s whatever. I have so many makeup bags at this point that I don’t even know what to do with them, and a solid black one always comes in handy. I think the products in the sample bag differed a bit from person to person, I guess it depended on whatever the store had available. The bag I received included the following eight samples:
DR. JART+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm SPF 25 Mini Sample (0.2 oz.) — Also a good size, especially for trying out the product over a few days (I think I can get at least a week out of this tube, maybe more).
Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm Mini Sample (0.23 oz.) — Another great size. I had this same exact sample before and you get a LOT of use out of this little jar. I would say almost a month since you use so little of the product around the eyes.
Deluxe sample-sized (0.12 oz.) Blinc Mascara Amplified in Black — This is a completely new product for me so I’m excited to try it out.
Benefit Watt’s Up! Highlighter Mini Sample (0.08 oz.) — I have so many of these already that I haven’t even had to buy the full-sized product yet. Love this one and the sample size lasts forever because I use so little of the product, it’s great!
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer – Protect Deluxe Sample (0.5 oz.) — Awesome size, great primer. I have actually been mixing this with my other Laura Mercier primer (the radiance one) and I’m loving the result.
My purchases (4x points)
And, of course, I had to buy something. In order to get the freebies you had to spend at least $35, which is never a problem for me when it comes to ANY kind of shopping, not just makeup! I actually placed an online order on Sephora.com a couple days before the “Summer Surge” on Sunday, so I really didn’t NEED anything.
Alterna Bamboo Smooth Anti-Humidity Hair Spray ($18 for 7.5 oz.; sephora.com): I got this because I so desperately needed a new, GOOD hair spray. My hair gets super frizzy and poofy during the summer, and I have been on the hunt for a good anti-humidity hair spray for … years, really. I love Alterna’s Bamboo Smooth line so I decided to try this one out, and I’m definitely liking it a lot so far! I’ll really put it to the test the next time it rains — which will probably be in a day or two thanks to this super stormy New York summer.
Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in Violet ($20 for 0.01 oz.; sephora.com): I don’t really use Stila’s Smudge Sticks in natural colors for everyday wear, but I do love the ones that come in bright colors and I decided to start a mini collection. It seems like some of the bright colors are only available in stores (like the turquoise shade), but this beautiful violet is definitely available in stores and online. I’m going to do a colorful summer eyeliner post this week and include this one from Stila 🙂
Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix ($12 for 1.01 oz.; sephora.com): I’ve been using the Urban Decay All Nighter makeup setting spray for a couple of years now, but I have been meaning to try out this one from MUFE since the product description makes it sound so wonderful. I only used this once so far (I’ve been doing lazy, half-assed makeup the last few days), but I think I like it better than the UD spray! I bought the smaller bottle so I could try it out; the full-size bottle costs $29.
Sephora Beauty Insider 100-point samples
And the very last things I got during the Sephora Summer Surge shopping event were these two Beauty Insider 100-point samples. I have so many points and I keep saving them up for an awesome 500-point set, and there are some great 500-point rewards right now but it’s all stuff I either already have, or stuff I don’t really have a use for. So I just pick up the 100-point samples whenever I see something I like. I actually have so many of the 100-point Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Exfoliant (my favorite exfoliator) right now that I don’t even have to buy the full-size tube anytime soon 🙂
The Sephora Summer Surge is going on until August 10 and it’s a chance for Sephora Beauty Insiders on all tiers of the program to earn extra points on all purchases, in-store and online. Beauty Insiders (the first tier) get 2x points, VIBS (the second tier) get 3x points, and VIB Rouge (the third tier) get 4x points.
They say the free goodies are just for VIB Rouge, but if it’s not a busy store and they have extra freebies they might be able to give them to any Beauty Insider member. Always ask for free samples no matter what! You’d be surprised by what they have behind the counter — like how I had no idea they had this freebie from BUXOM on my last trip. Happy summer makeup shopping!
So, now that I’m finally done with all of my subscription boxes for the month, I can finally start going through all of the beauty products I have acquired recently and start branching out a little more and doing more posts on all of my other (material) loves — fashion, DIY, shopping, decorating, even recipes … and whatever else I find blog-worthy. I’m happy that everything is finally coming along.
I made two medium-sized beauty orders a couple of weeks ago — one from Sephora and one from Beauty.com. I was going to put in all the samples and Sephora VIB gifts I also received with my Sephora purchase but I waited too long and pretty much used up most of the products already. So, I’m just going to go over the items I bought and then I’ll do individual reviews of these products in posts of their own.
As far as the Beauty.com order goes … well, I got yet another awesome sample bag (read about the last Beauty.com sample bag in my post here). I still cannot get over how amazing these things are and, even though Beauty.com is currently sold out of the sample bag I wrote about in this post, they will definitely have another one during the month of April (they seem to offer these bags once a month).
If you make a purchase of $100 or more at Beauty.com during the sample bag promotion period you will receive a makeup bag packed (and I mean PACKED … the last one came with 11 products and this one came with 13!) with different deluxe-sized beauty samples. I’ll be making a post as soon as the new Beauty.com sample bag is out for April, so keep an eye out! These things are wonderful. And they’re a great way to try products that you have either (a) never heard of before, or (b) have been meaning to try.
So, anyway, on to the Sephora stuff first:
Marc Jacobs Beauty Genius Gel Foundation in #38 Beige Deep
Marc Jacobs Beauty Genius Gel Super-Charged Foundation ($48 for 1 oz.; sephora.com) comes in 16 different colors, so it’s nearly impossible to not find your perfect match. It is described as a “breakthrough gel foundation that’s anti-aging, long-wearing and awakens your skin to its ideal radiance and clarity.”
I have had the WORST dry skin problems this winter (a whole post on that later), and I’ve tried a bunch of different foundations lately — none of which really fixed the problem. I finally got around to trying the new foundation from Marc Jacobs Beauty and it’s really the only one that worked well for me. It didn’t look dry on my skin and, when mixed with a little tinted moisturizer, it gave me that “dewy glow” look that I always want.
I’m not too convinced on the coverage aspect of this foundation just yet — I think I’ve been too scared to apply too much of it (for fear of getting those dry skin patches), so I have been using it veryyy minimally. Because of this, I’m not exactly getting the coverage that I want. I’m not sure if it’s my light hand or the foundation itself. I’m going to try adding a little more tomorrow when I try it out again to see if I get my perfect results. There are a few more foundations that I wanted to try (hydrating foundations/ones for dry skin), but if this one gives me my perfect results then I would love to stop my search and have it be my daily, go-to foundation.
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer – Radiance
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer – Radiance ($33 for 1.7 oz.; sephora.com) is described as a “lightweight, creamy gel that creates an invisible barrier between skin and makeup to prime your face for color.”
This was another product that I purchased to help out my dry winter skin. I love the way it really gives off a radiant glow and it definitely adds to the “dewy” effect (which some people don’t like), but I still like my Smashbox primer a lot better underneath the new Marc Jacobs Beauty foundation. I have been trying the Laura Mercier primer in a few different ways, though, because it really is a great product. Today I mixed it with the MJ Beauty foundation and my skin looked fresh, radiant, smooth and hydrated all day (no dry patches today!).
I’m still testing these products out to see how I like them best. I’m also using a tinted moisturizer mixed into the foundation, so that could be why I felt like this primer didn’t allow the foundation to “stick” enough.
Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Radiance Lotion
Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Radiance Lotion ($22 for 1 oz.; sephora.com) is described as a “lightweight daily formula that instantly illuminates the complexion while delivering 24-hour moisture for a radiant, youthful glow.”
This was another product I bought to try to combat my dry skin. I’m still on the fence about this stuff and I think it’s one of those products that you have to use over a period of time before really noticing the results. I test and try out so many products every single week and I try to incorporate all of them into my beauty routine, so when I get a new product like this I can’t really tell how well it’s working because chances are I used a new serum or something that’s supposed to have similar results.
I guess with all these new illuminating/hydrating/anti-dry skin problems my skin has definitely made a turnaround. I still use a cream moisturizer over this lotion (which is a suggested use), so I’m on the fence about it because I’m not really sure how necessary it is. I’m going to have to not use it one day and see if I have less hydrated skin before I can really tell how well it’s working.
Smashbox Full Exposure Palette
The last item I got from Sephora was Smashbox’s new Full Exposure Palette, which I have been meaning to buy since it came out. I got a little sample card (I think from Birchbox) when this palette first came out and I was so impressed by the blendability of the shadows — even on one of those stupid sample cards — that I had to get it. I usually love Smashbox products and eyeshadows so I’m not surprised I love this one.
Smashbox Full Exposure Palette ($49 for 14-shade palette; sephora.com) is described as “a set of universally awesome neutrals that includes how-tos for six different eye shapes.” This set also comes with a dual-ended shadow brush and a bonus deluxe-sized Full Exposure Mascara. I’m not going too in-depth on this one because I want to post a full review with swatches this week.
The next products in this post are all from Beauty.com, and these are the ones that came with that amazing sample bag (below). I did a haul post on Beauty.com not too long ago (found here) and I just love ordering from this site because they have such a great range of beauty, skincare and haircare products and if you order during a sample bag promotion period you’re seriously hitting the beauty sample jackpot.
Batiste Dry Shampoo – Blonde
I actually only recently started using this dry shampoo, after years of trying to find a dry shampoo that I didn’t hate. This one is definitely a bit of a “cult classic” and it’s loved by many. I find that it actually REFRESHES my hair, instead of just drying it out like many other dry shampoos tend to do. It brightens my highlights and it doesn’t leave any gross white residue-y mess. (NOTE: Drugstore.com and Beauty.com are the same company, so you can buy products off of either website and combine them into the same order).
Batiste Dry Shampoo ($7.99 for 6.73 oz.; drugstore.com) is described as “an instant hair refresher for blonde hair” with a hint of color. It revitalizes hair, removes excess grease and leaves hair “gorgeously clean and fresh with added body and texture.”
The next product, a blush from Laura Geller, came with a deluxe-sized sample of Laura Geller’s Spackle bronze foundation primer. Beauty.com is always doing some kind of promotion with different brands where you get a free sample of one item if you buy a product from that specific brand. I don’t think they are doing the Laura Geller promotion right now, but I’m sure they have a bunch of other ones going on.
Laura Geller Blush-N-Brighten Baked Cheek Color ($27.50 for 0.17 oz.; beauty.com) comes in five different marbleized shades that are “swirled together in a soft, silky powder for a glow-giving blush with universal appeal.” I bought the “Golden Apricot” color, which is described as “rich tones of apricot, cream, gold, and a hint of rose.”
Laura Geller Blush-N-Brighten in Golden Apricot
I have really only used this blush once so far — I’ve been using the Tarte blush from the March/April New Beauty Test Tube a lot lately — so I can’t really judge how well it works. I can say that I sort of wished it had more pink to it since it’s a lot more “golden” than pink, but I guess it lives up to its name (“Golden Apricot”). Because of my dry skin this winter I really need a blush that’s soft and blendable, and this one held up pretty well when I tried it out. I’m going to wear it over full makeup tomorrow and test it out for real.
Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil Pure Treatment Oil
The next product is one of my favorite hair products ever from Alterna. This is one of the only hair oils that actually works in my dry, color-treated hair and it never weighs it down — you should only use a little tiny bit, which also makes it last forever. Every time I run out of this stuff I make sure I have a shiny new bottle waiting around as backup; I can’t imagine going a day without using this in my hair (it’s that good). This oil makes my hair look SO much healthier (and it looks pretty bad without it) and it even heals it, so A++++
Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil Pure Treatment Oil ($25 for 1.7 oz.; beauty.com) is formulated with “eco-certified ingredients” and it is free of sulfates, parabens, gluten, phthalates, synthetic color, mineral oil and petrolatum. It contains instantly-absorbing Kendi Oil and strengthening Organic Bamboo to banish frizz and impart intense shine while protecting color and providing vital nutrients.
Anastasia Brow Wiz
I forgot to take the photo for this next product, so I’m using the official product photo from Beauty.com. Another super popular product, the Anastasia Brow Wiz pencil is a must-have for many makeup cases and this is actually the first time I’ve used this product. I’ve used the Anastasia Brow Gel before and I knew this pencil was amazing so I finally bought it. I got the “medium ash” color and it does exactly what it’s supposed to, plus it has a spooley end to tame unruly brows.
Anastasia Brow Wiz ($21 for 1 oz.; beauty.com) is described as “the slimmest of slim mechanical brow pencils with a spooley brush on one end for gentle blending and grooming.” This brow pencil “draws the tiniest of lines” and it easily mimics brow hairs with a super skinny pencil.
NARS Bronzing Powder in Casino
The last product in my Beauty.com order was my favorite bronzer from NARS. Well, actually, my favorite is “Laguna,” which they were sold out of, so I opted for the slightly darker “Casino” instead and I’m not disappointed. I just have to use a lot less of it (which I have to do anyway since it’s winter time and my skin is not that tan).
NARS Bronzing Powder ($38 for 0.28 oz.; beauty.com) is described as a “diffused powder with golden shimmer” that creates an “all-over warmth and contour for the entire face.” This bronzing powder creates a “natural-looking glow, which enhances or creates the look of tanned skin.” NARS bronzers fill in lines and pores for smoother looking skin and have a very subtle shimmer that adds a natural glow.
Beauty.com Free Gift With $100 Purchase Makeup Sample Bag
And, last but not least … the sample bag from Beauty.com. As I said earlier, this particular sample bag is already sold out, but Beauty.com seems to hold a similar promotion once a month where you buy $100 worth of stuff and you get a sweet bag jam-packed with beauty samples. This one came with 13 deluxe-sized samples and the sample bag I received last month (maybe it was two months ago?) had 11 samples in it. Totally awesome and so worth it. Plus, this time around, the bag was pretty cute (I wasn’t too excited about the design on last month’s bag).
Take a look at all these wonderful goodies … which all come in greattttt sample sizes. The Bare Minerals bronzer (bottom right corner) was a cute little deluxe-sized compact and everything else was definitely large enough to get multiple uses out of them.
I’m not going to list every single sample item since there are a lot, but there was awesome stuff in there from GLAMGLOW, Caudalie, Urban Decay, the aforementioned Bare Minerals, Paula’s Choice, H2O Plus, Nuxe, Nick Chavez, Peter Thomas Roth, a nail file from Butter London, and even one of those animal print hair extensions (which I will definitely find a use for, no matter how tacky and silly it may be!).
It’s soooo easy to find $100 worth of stuff on Beauty.com and these sample bags are so, so awesome and way too hard to pass up. I’ll most likely (definitely) be buying even more stuff on Beauty.com the next time they release a sample bag … I can’t wait to see what they have in store next!
I’m going to do individual reviews on all the products in this post throughout the week. For now, all pricing and availability information is next to the name of each product in this post, which featured products from Sephora.com and Beauty.com.