September loves – candle, nail polish, concealer

The first item is a surprise as I thought I already de-cluttered it last time. It’s the Urban Decay Naked concealer, which accentuated my lines and faded in uneven dry patches a few hours after I applied it. I jokingly named it “instant aging concealer” and put it away in the de-clutter box. Last week I found it lying in the corner of a vacant travel makeup bag I stored away and decided to give it a go again during my trip so that I can throw it away on the road if I still don’t like it.

Urban Decay naked concealer.jpg

Well this time I decided to not risk it either under my eyes or around my nose & chin. Instead, I used it to clean up my brows. I trimmed my brows into specific shapes, which leaves some darker pigmentation around the brows (not actual hair residue but just shadows, you probably understand it if you have thicker brows that you trim down on a regular basis). I applied it to conceal those areas around my brows, and it worked perfectly! It is a medium-to-high coverage concealer and is thick yet smooth so it blends into my foundation nicely. I don’t know how different the skin near my brows is from my under-eye or the rest of the face, but I didn’t see dry, uneven patches this time around mid-day although it fades a little bit throughout the day. If you have similar issues with some supposedly good concealers, maybe give it a go in some other areas around your face?

bath and body works stress relief candle.jpg

I never liked bath and body works products as they smell artificial and overwhelmingly scented to me whenever I walk by their store. But then I read somewhere that they have some classic scents that stand out and are so popular that people overseas will pay ridiculous shipping fees to get these from the US. I had to try it especially when I walked into a promotion for 3-wick candles. I was looking for the candle in the scent of Stress Relief. The candle is of a cream color in a green jar, which looks clean, fresh and gives out such a pleasant note of eucalyptus mint and sweetness.  The candle smells nice without being lit and can fill an entire small-to-medium-sized room with soothing, refreshing, forest-type of scent when it is lit. As long as you don’t expect a candle to make all your problems and stress go away, I’d say this is a great buy.

 

The last item is a nail polish that looks so pretty for fall if you don’t go for a berry/plum shade as everyone else. It’s the Cornwall Gardens Sweet Almonds Nail Polish Powered by Matcha by Nails Inc. I don’t get it why Nails Inc doesn’t get as much hype as other expensive nail polishes as they are so much better than brands like Butter London and Zoya. The color glides on so smoothly and I don’t necessarily need a second coat. Why I love it more than other nail polishes is that it’s very easy to apply, keeps a subtle sheen layer on my nails for days unlike some other polishes that tend to turn dull and greyish after 1-2 days of wear. They are not super long-lasting if you don’t apply a top coat but I really love the color and the tone, and have been reaching out to it constantly in the past few weeks.

Hope you might find this helpful. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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Tips on saving money on beauty purchases 

  • If you can afford a high-end product that you have been keeping an eye on for a while, try avoid looking into dupes. You might think dupes will save you money but believe me, no matter how many dupes you get, if this is really something you wear everyday, you will always be wondering how it performs no matter how good the dupe is. Most likely you will cave one day and the dupes will just be pushed to the side, gathering dust and becoming a waste of money. 

Most of us live on a beauty budget but I know I will feel better about myself bringing home fewer A products rather than a ton of B products. You will also feel less stressed when you have fewer beauty products lying around, knowing that you love and make good use of every one of them.

  • Watch fewer YouTube Haul or What’s New type of videos. They are dangerous and you never know how many of these products are sponsored by the brands. Besides, these videos don’t offer much information on how the products really perform so they are practically useless unless you are a collector and live on an endless budget. 
  • Organize and rotate your makeup products regularly so you don’t buy something new and then realize it looks exactly the same as something you have at the back of your drawer. I usually rotate where I put my makeup products once every two weeks. 
  • Write/archive product review and swatch posts by category so you can always look back to these posts when you are craving something new to see whether you already have something similar. There are not endless shades even that’s what the brands wanted you to believe. 
  • Don’t ignore the power of packaging. We are women, and we love beautiful things. One thing I’ve noticed with my own feelings towards makeup is that I get tired and bored of products in flimsy packaging much sooner than those in gorgeous packaging in general. The Laura Mercier baked highlighter that’s in a pretty case has literally pulled me back from hitting the order button for another highlighter several times when I just look at it again. Among drugstore brands, I like Loreal and Milani packaging. 

Thanks for stopping by! Let me know if you have any tips in comments.

Miscellaneous empties – body, hair, food…

I’ve been gathering a bag of empty bottles and cans since July and the bag is finally filled up and I’m ready to let it all go 🙂 Maybe gathering these empty containers makes me feel a weird sense of comfort and achievement. Anyways, I don’t want to bore you with a dozen of pictures so I just wanted to show you two.

The photo below features a few of my favorite repurchases, and I probably will continue to stick to these staples in the upcoming months/years. I wanted to give a shout out to the Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt and the ACT mouthwash.

I’ve yet to find any alternative that will work as great as the Sea Salt shampoo. It cleans all residue and excessive oil from my scalp and leaves my hair very fluffy and clean. You only need a tiny bit each time to massage it into your scalp then foam it up with water. A deeply moisturizing hair conditioner or oil spray will work better with this shampoo as it tends to dry out the hair ends a bit. I use it at least once every week (more frequently in the summer time). In my opinion, this is worth every penny. You can buy it at Sephora here.

I’ve used up countless bottles of ACT mouthwash as it’s probably the most mild mouthwash I’ve ever tried. The minty flavor is refreshing but not overwhelming.

September empties.jpg

Products in the photos below are not bad. They are just kind of “meh”. I will not repurchase these as I’ve found better choices in each category.

September empties 2.jpg

Thanks for reading and hope you have a good weekend!

 

 

Sephora Play! box September 2016

I wasn’t impressed with what I received in the Allure September box so I was looking forward to my Sephora box instead and it seems better than the Allure box this time (rarely happens as Sephora box is $10 per month while Allure is $17+/- with tax).

It seems Sephora wanted to surprise (or disappoint some) Play! subscribers a bit as it will always send out variation boxes moving forward. For this month, you will get one of these 2 versions below. I like version A better and I was happy to learn that I will be receiving version A 🙂 4 items are identical between the two boxes.

Version A – if your Sephora box number is #1850098 (you have to log in to the Sephora mobile site, not the Mobile app or desktop site, and the number will show up next to the Play! box in your purchases history)

  • Anastasia Clear Brow Gel (excited to try this)
  • Kat Von D Tattoo Liner (heard great things about this)
  • Living Proof Night Cap Overnight Perfector (Living Proof never disappoints me)
  • Sephora Collection Rouge Shine Lipstick (interesting)
  • Tory Burch Jolie Fleur Verte (my first Tory Burch perfume)
  • Dr. Jart Water Drop Hydrating Moisturizer (like this better than the Ole Henriksen transformation gel)

Version B – if your Sephora box number is #1850080 (you have to log in to the Sephora mobile site, not the Mobile app or desktop site, and the number will show up next to the Play! box in your purchases history)

  • Anastasia Clear Brow Gel (same as Version A)
  • Kat Von D Tattoo Liner (same as Version A)
  • Living Proof Night Cap Overnight Perfector (same as Version A)
  • Sephora Collection Rouge Shine Lipstick (same as Version A)
  • Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation (I’m not a fan of the transformation line from Ole Henriksen. I love their vitamin c serum though!)
  • Atelier Cologne in Sud Magnolia (tried a few Atelier cologne already)

What do you think fellow subscribers and beauty lovers? Which one do you like more and do you like the variation box system?

sephora-play-september-2016

Image credit:  www.mysubscriptionaddiction.com

Updated with GWP photo: My experience with SpaceNK & the 2016 Autumn Beauty Edit Event – gift bag with samples worth $400+

Update: I’m very impressed with the gift bag I received during this event. It’s not our normal size cosmetic bag. The bag is very durable, in a size that’s bigger than A4 paper and is filled with deluxe samples. Here is a sneak peak of the bag and a few small step-up gifts:

I am more of a fan of mid/late summer than fall but luckily there are things to look forward to including this amazing SpaceNK twice-a-year beauty event where you will receive a beauty bag with more than $400 worth of samples when you make a purchase of $250 or more in-store or online.

I’ve had mixed experiences with SpaceNK. I genuinely enjoy its minimalist and elegant store display, its selective product curation featuring mostly UK/European skincare brands, some of which I’ve fallen in love with after getting introduced to via SpaceNK.

However, I suggest you take caution with their sale products as I once received a high-end skincare product that expired a long time ago when it was on sale. I took it to the SpaceNK counter and learned that the stores operate completely differently from the website, each has its own warehouse so you can’t return a product you bought online to the stores. After I emailed the website team and told them about the situation, they decided to give me refund and asked me to send the product back (I really hope they didn’t end up selling it to someone else). It took more than 45 days before the refund was issued to my credit card. When it comes to product expiration date, it’s particularly tricky for some of these lesser known brands carried by SpaceNK. I usually use http://checkcosmetic.net/ but some European brands are not listed there.

After that experience, I trust products sold in SpaceNK stores more than those sold online especially those in the Sale section (these are probably on sale because they’ve been sitting in the warehouse for a few years).

SpaceNK has a noteworthy loyalty program called N.Dulge. I highly recommend sign up for this free membership. You will get early access to events, accrue points from purchases that you can later use as store credit ($5 for every $100 spent), and it’s a membership card, not a debit or credit card. Sometimes they will also host $100-$20 promotion or give away $10 credit to your account.

SpaceNK doesn’t offer birthday gifts to all members like Sephora does at least in my region in the US (gifts are offered to selected customers – I guess based on how much you spend there per year). However, when you are on the list, the gift is way better than what you can get in Sephora. They are generous with these gifts.

Lastly, for those that might be deterred by its $50 free shipping threshold, you can get 2-day free shipping on all orders through Shoprunner (except for very few products that need to be shipped via USPS ground). If you are an American Express credit card member, you can sign up for Shoprunner for free here: https://www.shoprunner.com/non_member/home/

The 2016 autumn beauty event hosted by SpaceNK is amazing as you will receive more than $400 worth of deluxe samples plus a spacious SpaceNK cosmetic bag when you spend $250 or more in-store or online (excluding Sale products). It is open to N.dulge members on 9/7 and 9/8, and will be open to public on 9/9. It only lasts through 9/9 and the bag is usually sold out early in the day. I’ve noticed that this year many department stores (including Barneys, Nordstrom and Lord & Taylor) have downgraded their gift with purchase offerings and most of the samples you will get from these stores are now either foil packets/tiny samples or from mid-range products at best. SpaceNK on the other hand is still generous with the brands and sample sizes it includes in the 2016 bag. It’s probably the best I’ve seen in the market so far for Fall beauty events.

Here is a full list of what’s included in the bag – 29 samples in total. It’s my first SpaceNK autumn beauty bag and I will update you when the bag arrives.

You can also check it out on the SpaceNK website here for the event details and the promo code to use to get the bag: http://www.spacenk.com/us/en_US/essentials-collection-2016-ndulge-early-access.html

  1. 111SKIN Space Anti Age Day Cream
  2. Aquareveal Satin Bright Soft Water Peel for Face
  3. By Terry Baume de Rose Crystalline
  4. Derm Institute Anti-Oxidant Hydration Gel Masque
  5. Diptyque Eau De Toilette
  6. Diptyque Le Redoute Scented Candle
  7. Dermarche Labs FullFill
  8. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum
  9. Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser
  10. Goldfaden MD Brightening Elixir
  11. Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Icon
  12. Juara Candlenut Body Creme
  13. Kat Burki complete b Bio-Correcting Face Creme
  14. Kevyn Aucoin The Essential Mascara
  15. Lipstick Queen Medieval Lipstick
  16. Malin + Goetz Vitamin E Face Moisturizer
  17. MD Solar Sciences Mineral Tinted Creme SPF 30
  18. Mila Moursi Lifting Serum
  19. Miriam Quevedo Platinum & Diamond Serum
  20. Natura Bisse The Cure Cream
  21. Omorovicza Deep Cleansing Mask
  22. Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Shampoo
  23. Ouai Finishing Creme
  24. Philip B. Light-Weight Deep Conditioning Creme Rinse or Maui Wowie Volumizing & Thickening Beach Mist
  25. R+Co Dallas Thickening Spray
  26. Ren Flash Hydro Boost
  27. Rodial Bee Venom Moisturizer
  28. Smith & Cult Lip Gloss in Life in Photographs
  29. Sunday Riley Good Genes
  30. A cosmetic bag

 

Thanks for stopping by 🙂