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.

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!