Beauty Haul: Ulta (January 2014 – #2)

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I went pretty crazy at Ulta in early to mid-January.  It was a triple rewards points period and even when I don’t need or want anything in particular, you can bet that I’m going to still buy a bunch of stuff to take advantage of the opportunity to earn points.  Here’s what I got in this trip (I didn’t lay this out very well for the picture to translate to words, but I’m going to start from left and go around in a way that makes sense to me – you should be able to follow by brand for the most part):

– Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner – Carbon Black

– NYX Radiant Finishing Powder (new item)

– NYX Butter Gloss – BLG02 – Eclair

– NYX Butter Lip Balm – BLB07 – Panna Cotta

– Essence Get Big Lashes Triple Black Mascara (new item)

– Essence Lipstick – 52 – In the Nude (clearance)

– Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquer – 101 – Celestial

– Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquer – 201 – Solstice

– Maybelline Color Sensational Lip Color – 730 – Coral Gleam (clearance)

– Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara – 01 – Black

– NYX Wonder Pencil – Light

– Essence Lip Liner – 04 – Honey Bun (clearance)

– Mon Image Eye Shadow Applicators (12ct)

I only got the last item to push me over the edge to use a coupon that I had – it was the closest cheap item to the register and it’s funny because I don’t particularly care for sponge shadow applicators actually (I’m a brush girl).  I don’t know if the Ulta coupons always specified that they couldn’t be used on clearance items, but they certainly do now.  I also know that I used the coupons on clearance items for a very long time and whether it’s a newer rule or if they just recently started enforcing it, I’m a bit bummed.

The Stila liner and the Clinique mascara were on my most wanted list and I had also been wanting to expand my lip product collection, so that was my main focus with this trip.  Again, I plan to review at least some of these products individually in the future, but for now, I’m still just posting about my recent acquisitions without much detail.

Beauty Haul: Ulta (January 2014 – #1)

Ulta Beauty Haul - January 2014 - #1

Ulta Beauty Haul – January 2014 – #1

I’ve already raved about Ulta in a previous post, but I could honestly rave about that store all day long, so that sentiment continues here.  The focus this time is a recent haul (from last month, yes – I have such a huge backlog of things that I want to post about, so it’s going to take me a while to get up to date… please bear with me).  The best part of this particular haul is that I only paid about $15.00 for all of the items shown here.  No, Ulta doesn’t love me enough to just give me this loot – at least, not yet (Ulta, if you’re listening, I’m open to that).  What happened here was pretty much the reverse – I clearly loved Ulta too much.  This stash for a steal was made possible by the rewards points I accumulated over the last several months, totaling 3,000, which was worth $175 in free merchandise.  Here’s what I got:

– Urban Decay – Naked Basics Palette ($27.00)

– Pur Minerals – 3-in-1 Universal Pencil in Cocoa Topaz ($17.00)

– Mally Beauty – Shadow Base ($18.00)

– Mally Beauty – Cancellation Concealer w/ Brush in Fair ($35.00)

– Too Faced – The Secret to No Makeup Makeup ($39.00)

– Smashbox – Studio Skin 15 Hour Wear Hydrating Foundation in 2.1 Light Beige ($42.00) ***Note, this shade was later exchanged for 1.1 Fair.***

– Laura Geller – Matte Maker ($24.00)

– Stila – Portrait of a Perfect Lip ($16.00)

– Eco Tools – Buffing Brush ($6.99)

The subtotal of these items was $224.99.  I utilized a 20% discount that was going on at the time, which was applicable to most of the prestige brand products and resulted in a $45.00 discount prior to the utilization of my $175 rewards credit.  At the end of this transaction, I only had to pay about $5.00 for the merchandise and about $10.00 in tax.  It’s only been more recently that I’ve wised up about the best way to utilize my points and I decided that I would no longer redeem my points until my balance was at least 2,000 (which is worth $125.00) – by contrast, 1,000 points is worth $50.00 and as I mentioned, 3,000 is worth $175.00.  I also decided that I was not going to redeem my points until I had that 20% off coupon for prestige brands.  It pains me to think of all the time (and money) I spent not paying attention to these things, but at least moving forward I know that I am working the system to my best advantage.

I plan to review most or all of these products in individual posts at some point in the future, so be on the lookout for those.

Tried & True: Tresemme 24 Hour Body Finishing Spray

Tresemme 24 Hour Body Finishing Spray

Tresemme 24 Hour Body Finishing Spray

I have been using the Tresemme 24 Hour Body Finishing Spray for several years now.  The moment I discovered it, I was in love.  It smells good, it’s inexpensive, and it’s easy to find.  I do have one quibble and that’s the “24 Hour Body” labeling.  I would not consider this to be either a supreme volumizing product, nor would I expect its effects to last all day.  That being said, the title “Finishing Spray” is perfection.  The product is a dream when used for that specific purpose.  If you need long-term hold or if you want a serious root boost, this is not the one for you.  But if you are looking for a spray that lightly sets your style with flexible hold and doesn’t leave you feeling like you’ve got a shit-ton of product in your hair (even with reapplication), then she’s a real winner (I’ve named her Tanya).  I’ve recommended this hair spray to numerous people and I’ve gotten mixed feedback, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the people who were at all displeased were really looking for a spray with significantly more holding power.

You do want to be careful when using a larger amount of this spray as you don’t want to spray it too close to your head or you’ll end up with a bit of a helmet (though that’s really true with any hair spray product).  But the reason I mention it is that if that should happen, I’ve found it’s typically easy to brush out and doesn’t leave too much residue behind, but be particularly careful when using this with any kind of updo as obviously those are not so easy to brush out.  It’s hair spray 101, people – as with any other variety, make sure you spray this from at least 8-10 inches away from your head.  And to follow up on that thought, I wouldn’t actually recommend this for use with any formal updos as it just doesn’t have the staying power you’ll need for one of those.

(Side note: contrary to how I feel about the word “makeup,” I have no definitive stance on “hair spray” vs. “hairspray” – I’ve been known to use both and will most likely continue to use both, though I will try to maintain continuity within any given post.)

Tried & True: Rimmel Just Let It Go… Gentle Eye Make Up Remover

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I try to be loyal with beauty products, I really do.  But it’s a fine line between my penchant for loyalty and my curiosity about new products.  Anything that I label “Tried & True” will be considered a go-to item in any given category.  It may even be an all-time favorite, which happens to be the case with this particular product – Rimmel’s Just Let It Go… Gentle Eye Make Up Remover (it used to simply be called “Gentle Eye Make Up Remover,” but I guess they felt it needed a more punchy name – I do not agree).  It will take a lot for me to try another makeup remover.  I’m not saying it will never happen, just that I will need a very specific reason for venturing outside my box on this one.

Side note: I am going to do my best to always use the true name of a product, regardless of how I feel about the spelling of certain words.  In this case, when referencing the actual name, I am calling it “Make Up Remover,” but for my own purposes, this is “makeup remover.”  Makeup. Is. Not. Two. Words. (not in Beeks’ world anyway)

I have used this product faithfully for years.  As someone with a sensitive eye area, any product I use for makeup removal must indeed be gentle.  Rimmel doesn’t disappoint.  I don’t wear contacts (hell, I don’t even wear my glasses 99% of the time), but I would imagine that this would be suitable for any contact lens wearers out there.  It’s oil-free, which is a must for me – I have combination skin, oily in the T-zone, and aside from occasional night treatments or very rare bouts of extreme dryness, I do my best to avoid adding oil to my face.  Plus, I just personally cannot stand the feel of an oil-based remover, all slick and icky.  Another important aspect of this product is that it does a really good job of removing waterproof liners and mascaras, which are great when you need them, but usually a pain to get off of your face.  It’s reasonably priced (usually around $6 or so), has nice packaging (never had a spill when traveling), and the bottle lasts a long time (I use it in the morning for touch-ups/refining and at night for full removal).

My Beauty Mecca

Favorite store to shop for beauty products… hands down, it’s Ulta.  The rewards program can’t be beat, especially once you reach Platinum status, and I really like the fact that they carry such a broad spectrum of products.  That’s why I prefer it over a store like Sephora.  The low-end to high-end offerings, the drugstore-type items, not to mention the coupons and the sales.  Yes, some things I could probably find cheaper at a store like Target, but if I can use a coupon and earn points on the transaction, I’m going to get it at Ulta instead.  Bonus if the item is on sale as well – in that case, it may very well be cheaper than Target AND the reward points are just gravy.  You have to spend $400 in a year to achieve Platinum status and you do have to re-qualify annually to maintain it.  Platinum status is particularly advantageous during your birthday month, when you earn double points on all purchases.  Also, throughout the year they have special events for Platinum members where you can earn 3x points.  I was very lucky this past year that one of the 3x points offers coincided with my birthday month (November) – I earned extra points just for being Platinum, then double points, followed by triple points.  I made bank on rewards points that month and Platinum points never expire, so I don’t even have to rush to decide what I’m going to use them on or risk losing them because I forgot they were there.  Bottom line, if I’m going to buy these products anyway, why not do it at a place where you get something back?  And I’ve found that you get the most for your money at Ulta.  Happy shopping!

The Legend of Beeks

Hello all!  I’m Beeky, self-professed beauty product addict/hoarder.  I don’t have a career in the beauty industry… at least not one that’s based in reality.  However, I do play makeup artist in my bathroom on a daily basis and while that may not gain me any legit credibility within this field, I think a lot of women can probably relate.  My purpose here is simple – to share my thoughts and findings related to both products that I have found to be tried and true, as well as new products that I am eager to sample.  I’m a beauty fiend on a budget and as such, most of the products I review will be ones that I consider to budget-friendly, based on price and/or bang for the buck.  I hope that you’ll find my reviews cover a wide range of products and provide useful feedback based on my experiences.  In addition, I welcome suggestions for products to review and if should you try something based on one of my recommendations, I’d love to hear what you thought.