I was compelled to write this post because one of my favorite times of the year is now almost upon us – the Sephora VIB Sale! For those that are unfamiliar, this is Sephora’s annual 20% discount event for VIB and VIB Rouge members of its loyalty program who spend at least $350 a year (the minimum qualifier for VIB status). Those who are VIB Rouge (spend $1000 a year) may get earlier access.
UPDATE – this year’s sale runs from November 6th to 10th, and an in-store evening event will begin November 5th for VIB and VIB Rouge members (Codes GIFTVIB and GIFTROUGE). I’ve been building my cart for weeks (since sadly I’m not lucky enough to know any Sephora employees to get a code for the Friends & Family sale), so I wanted to share what I recommend – staples that I’ve repurchased many times over and plan on getting again.
Clarisonic Twin-Pack Replacement Brush Head for Deep Pore, $44 – Does anyone remember the 4-pack that Sephora sold last year for $75? Sadly that is no longer available, so the twin-pack is the best deal for those of us loyal Clarisonic users. My Clarisonic is such a staple in my nighttime skincare routine that I still find it shocking when friends ask me if they should get it – my response is always a resounding YES, barring they do not have hyper sensitive skin prone to redness. (If you don’t have one yet, I highly recommend the Mia for $99.) I have oily/combo skin prone to congestion/acne and I LOVE the Deep Pore brush head. I’ve tried the Acne and Sensitive Brush Heads, and compared to those 2, the Deep Pore feels like it gives the best cleanse. Since the brush head is something I switch out every few months, I always have to get at least 1 or 2 of the twin packs. (Side question – has anyone with skin similar to mine tried the luxe brush heads?)
SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion, $70 – This will be maybe my 4th time repurchasing it, and believe me I really did not want to like this, as it is a super expensive toner. I first heard about it from Raeview, who claims it helped normalize her skin. While it hasn’t helped me do that (and I’m a bit dubious of a topical product’s ability to change your skin type), I’ve genuinely enjoyed it as a post-cleansing step to rebalance my skin and prep it for the treatments/moisturizer I apply afterwards. I want to note that I’ve also tried the SK-II Treatment that is their flagship product, but I haven’t noticed anything spectacular, so I won’t repurchase at this time.
First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser, $20 – a no-frills, non-fragranced foaming facial cleanser. It gets the job done WELL and does not include any ingredients that you don’t need (namely fragrance). My husband and I both use it, and it’s become a staple in my shower (works great with the Clarisonic!).
First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser with Red Clay, $24 – this will be my 3rd tube, and I absolutely love this cleanser. It smells slightly medicinal, which I actually really enjoy (versus completely synthetic fragrances), and I definitely feel like it provides a deep cleanse. I’ve read reviews that some others think this is slimy and hard to wash off, but honestly I have never experienced that. This is the cleanser that I keep at my sink to use in the mornings, and I look forward to using it every morning.
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 (untinted), $22.50 – I know a lot of people think this is not worth the hype for a $22.50 lip balm, but I’m telling you – it is absolutely indispensable to me. I can’t even count how many tubes I’ve gone through (8? 10?), and I ALWAYS go back to this. It is deeply moisturizing, has an SPF of 15, and I like that it has a substantial packaging that somehow makes the experience of applying it just a little bit luxe. Also, it has a faint lemon scent, which doesn’t bother me, and I am very, very sensitive to scents. It just bought 2 tubes a month ago because I was in dire need (I left my tube in car and it sadly melted) and couldn’t wait, but I’m buying at least 2 more because it’s one of those things I want to use everyday.
Boscia Blotting Linens, $10 – I used to think it was silly to pay this much for blotting linens. Blotting linens were one of those super cheap items I always picked up in bulk when I visited Taiwan. However, I’m almost done with my first pack of these linens and I must say they are awesome. They don’t disturb my makeup, and even for me (whose shiny face you can spot as a beacon in dark rooms), I only need one to get me through the day. The Charcoal version is new to me, but charcoal supposedly helps soak oil, so I am all about this!
Shiseido The Makeup Facial Cotton, $9.50 – This is quite touted on the Youtube beauty community as some miracle facial cotton, and while I don’t think this (it is still possible for them to break off), they are really nice for removing eye makeup. Since having my cheap Target cotton pads flake off into my eyes (not fun when wearing contacts), I’ve been using this for my eye area only. Because let’s face it, even at 20% off these cottons are still very pricey.
Buxom Lip Gloss Roulette, $59 – Buxom lip glosses are my favorite – they’ve totally made me crave that tingly feeling, and now I associate that characteristic of what a good lip gloss should be. In any case, this set has a ton of colors and gives you a lot of options – or you can always keep some for yourself and give some out with family and friends!
Anastasia Brow Wiz in Soft Brown, $21 – Quite simply one of the best, most easy to use eyebrow pencils out there. When I ran out of this, I thought I could get by with just my Shu Uemura Hard 9 Brown Pencil in xxx, which I really enjoy, but just nothing beats this for ease of use. It has a super fine, twist up tip and a great spoolie to comb through your brows after you pencil them in. I used to use the color Medium Ash, which has since been renamed to Medium Brown, but I’m going to go for a slightly lighter shade as my normal hair color is somewhat of a medium brown and I like to go slightly lighter than my normal hair color for brows to look less harsh.
Since I don’t run out of makeup on the regular (or ever) given my vast collection, I won’t be “repurchasing” anything else. But I still wanted to call out great items that I use on a regular basis and would wholeheartedly recommend if you are looking for anything in this category:
Setting Powder: NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder, $35 – It offers the perfect amount of “blurring” and has semi-descent oil control. I like it WAY better than the Hourglass Setting Powder In Diffused Lighting, which i use for the same purpose… but I should probably think of another use for it (e.g., under eye setting), since it has zero oil control and disappears from my face within an hour
Mineral Foundation: Laura Mercier Mineral Powder SPF 15 in Natural Beige, $39 – still one of the best mineral foundations. I have the Chanel Vitalumiere Powder but have yet to test it. Maybe I’ll do post on that coming up.
Budge-proof pencil eyeliners: NARS Larger Than Life Long Wear Eyeliner in Via Veneto (black), $24 and Giorgio Armani Smooth Silk Waterproof Eye Pencil, $28 (in select stores only) – I use the NARS when I don’t care to smudge out my eyeliner and want it to stay PUT. I use the Giorgio Armani (I have the brown one) more regularly as it gives me more time to smudge it out and also is pretty budge proof. If I were to repurchase only one, I would go for the Giorgio Armani.
What are your recommendations for the Sephora VIB Sale??
There’s a great tag floating around Youtube called The Perfect Palette Tag, and it is a topic around makeup palettes – your favorites (or non-favorite) why. I’ve really been enjoying seeing what palettes people chose – here’s mine:
1. Best packaging – Laura Mercier Artist Palette 2 ($48)
There are so many factors that can make up “best” packaging – aesthetics, function, practicality, or something else entirely?? I chose to focus on function and practicality (as I tend to do). What I like about this palette (besides the colors, which are really great):
- Padded – I don’t need to worry about it breaking if I pack it in my makeup bag for traveling
- Made of shiny faux leather – easy to wipe and clean
- Magnetic closure that overlaps to the side of the palette – secure clasp won’t let the palette open accidentally
- Large mirror on the inside
This palette is sold out online at Sephora.com, BUT I’ve seen it in stock at various Sephora stores, so check out your local store.
2. Best color payoff – Urban Decay Smoked Eyeshadow Palette ($49)
This palette is amazing, and if you don’t have it, you should seriously consider owning it if you like smokey eye looks. It does a smokey or smokier neutral eye so easily. The only shadow you need to supplement this is a lighter blending shade (my favorites are Burberry Sheer Shadow in Almond, MAC Quarry, Soft Brown, or Kid). Pigmentation is fantastic, and I have yet to experience any fallout.
3. Most versatile – Urban Decay Naked 2 Eyeshadow Palette ($52)
No surprise, one of the Urban Decay Naked palettes had to come up in this tag. My favorite is Naked 2, because you can do anything from an extremely natural, no-makeup makeup look to an intense smokey eye – without the glitter from Naked 1. I haven’t purchased Naked 3 yet – I know I’ll cave and get it at some point, but the rosy nude look isn’t my thing.. have you tried Naked 3?
4. Best for traveling – Maybelline Stylish Smokes Quad in Natural Smokes (~$6) or Urban Decay Naked 2 ($52)
I think the BEST palette from the drugstore is Maybelline Stylish Smokes Quad in Natural Smokes (which has a different layout now) – you can go super natural or smokey – all in a lightweight compact. Thus, it’s my favorite for traveling light (very light), but if I were traveling and I wanted more options yet still have the same versatility, gotta go back to my answer for Question 3, which is Naked 2.
5. Biggest regret(s) – Laura Mercier Eye and Cheek Palette and limited edition color holiday quads
I routinely purge my makeup collection of items I don’t like, but for reasons unknown to myself I have yet to get rid of the Laura Mercier Eye and Cheek Palette. I got this with the intention of having it be my go-to travel palette, but it just doesn’t do anything for me. Did I get a dud? The eyeshadows aren’t super pigmented, and the blushes are meh. I think I’ll finally get rid of this one.
Other regrets are color limited edition holiday quads, namely Tom Ford Emerald Lust, YSL Boreal Palette in Arctic Night, Guerlain Ombre Eclat 4 Couleurs in Velours D’Or. These colors just totally suck me in, but I NEVER use them, and they end up gathering dust. Maybe I’ll bust them out for holiday parties… but most likely not.
These are all great palettes (I mean, I made the MUFE palette myself!), but I just never use them.
7. Most Used / Most Loved / Which palette would you want with you if you were on a deserted island?
I think the original purpose of this question was to tease out your one Holy Grail palette, but I decided to focus on the deserted island part. The sequence I would choose to focus on would be firstly flawless skin, then blush/bronzer, then eyes, then lips. If I were trapped on a deserted island and I needed some makeup products to survive, I would firstly want some sort of base, like the Make Up For Ever Concealer Palette ($38) or various colors of the Shiseido Sun Protection Compact Foundation SPF 34 PA+++ ($27) in pan form in a Z Palette, because 1) I still want flawless looking skin even on a deserted island, and 2) I’d want SPF with coverage because I don’t want suns spots. And because why not.
But if I needed to choose color products, I’d choose the NARS Danmari Blush Palette, complete with a bronzer, highlight, and various blush shades. Since that was limited edition, I’d go with something like NARS Blush and Bronzer Duo in Deep Throat and Laguna ($41).
If I HAD to choose an eye palette, I’d pick NARS And God Created The Woman ($59), since it’s smaller than the size of my hand and has staple NARS shades: Alhambra, Bellisima, Kalahari, Galapagos, Coconut Grove, and Night Clubbing. It’s decently versatile and would go AMAZINGLY well with the tan I’ll get on that deserted island!
Check out my favorite videos on Youtube for this tag so far:
What are your favorite/least favorite palettes??