Target releases seasonal beauty boxes. These are not subscription boxes and always sell out the day they release, usually in the first few hours. A new box released today and is still available. Shipping is always free, and the box contents announce as soon as the box goes on sale. Most items are sample sized, but there is almost always a full-size item or two inside. Value is usually at least triple the cost. The only variation in box content is on color items. Unless the color is specifically stated in the description, colors will vary. Boxes usually range in price from $5 to $10. The Target November Beauty Box retails for $10.
See General 2018 Beauty Bag Offers.
Ulta Bonus Points is a promotion that assigns a flat number of points with a specified purchase. These are targeted offers, so some accounts will not receive them at all. If you do not receive an email on this promotion, remember to check My Bonus Offers inside My Rewards. It is a good idea to check there anytime you see someone receive an offer you did not. There is always a chance your email had trouble coming through. For those who receive these bonus offer promotions, the amounts will always vary.
Some people get less bonus points, but they have a smaller buy-in. Others may get more bonus points, but they have a higher buy-in. Occasionally, there are people who get less bonus points for the same buy-in, but this is less common. The general rule is people get different offers based on account history. I’m guessing people who spend more throughout the year get the higher buy-ins with better bonus offers, but these offers are not an exact science. Free shipping is also reduced to $35, so those with a buy-in under $50 can still get free shipping with their bonus points. I did see a buy-in for $30, so they should add an extra $5 for free shipping (considering shipping costs $5.95).
If you’re a beauty lover who is also a mother or father, I am sure you can relate to disappearing beauty items. Your kids sometimes act like your items are getting up and walking away, but there is a more logical reason they’re missing. The cooler the item looks, the more likely it is to disappear. They see the items as toys and typically use the items in very different ways than we use them. Your tools are probably on awesome adventures. My boys each take off with my things, and they like different items. Of course, there is always a chance you have a budding makeup artist on your hands, depending on the age of your kid.
This Nerd Block Jr For Boys subscription for my 5-year-old son, Connor. It costs $19.99 plus shipping ($6) per month and is for boys aged 6-11. All plans auto-renew. You get a discount paying up front for a set number of boxes. Save 10% at 3 months ($17.99 each plus shipping), save 15% at 6 months ($16.99 each plus shipping), and save 20% at 12 months ($15.99 each plus shipping). Each box has at least $60 in value and gives 4-6 toys plus a T-Shirt. We are on the six-month subscription. You pay for all boxes and shipping on all boxes up front. Nerd Block has a variety of subscription offers including: Classic, Arcade, Horror, SciFi, Comic, Jr For Boys, Jr For Girls, and the newest offering Shirt. For details on all boxes, visit my Nerd Block Page.
See 2018 VIB Promotions.
Most Sephora promotions are online only. They are generally available with a $25-$50 purchase (depending on how great the promotion is). That is usually the only way to get pre-packaged samples as well, because you can select three free samples with every online purchase. There are rare times when Sephora has pre-packaged samples in stores and even less often when they have promotions in stores. Store promotions usually have the same rules as online promotion meaning a $35 online purchase would also require a $35 in-store purchase to redeem the promotion. Sephora released a promotion that requires a $35 purchase online, but it does not require a purchase in store. This is not even the first free in-store promotion this year.
I won full-sizes of dr. brandt Power Dose Vitamin C and dr. brandt Power Dose Vitamin D from a dr. brandt giveaway. This is why I enter so many giveaways. If you enter enough of them, you may actually end up winning. The products arrived on 09/25/16, and I immediately opened them. Every morning, I use the Vitamin C. In the evening, I use the Vitamin D. Of course, I did not start both on the same day. My skin is sensitive, so I only use one new product a day. I started with Vitamin C on the 26th and Vitamin D on the 27th. That makes this the 30th day using both. It takes at least a month to evaluate the effectiveness of serums. Until a month passes, I usually withhold my opinion, unless it breaks me out or gives me a rash.
Nothing beats completely free offers. Sometimes, there really is no catch to obtaining free items. You just have to know where to look and how to find them. Welcome to the fourteenth installment of items I’ve received for free. Past articles feature different freebies. The offers at times come in emails. Sometimes, you will see them on a blog or the direct brand’s website. Other times, you can find free offers on social media or even through snail mail. My Free Samples Page provides more information on sample opportunities. Offers can at times come by phone, but I never answer numbers I do not recognize. I will miss out on any that come that way.
Shopathome ended ShopGold on purchases on August 16th, but is giving everyone until November 2nd to redeem ShopGold earned before it ended. Any ShopGold not cashed out by then gets forfeited, so cash in your ShopGold soon. All purchases still earn the traditional cash back, but Shopathome is no longer a hybrid of Pay-To-Shop programs. I recommend joining multiple programs to Get The Best Deal.
See recent articles on Sephora Sale items.
This is the first day of the Sephora Employee Appreciation Sale, but I will be updating my previous article on that instead of writing a new one. The sale I’d like to go over is one that takes place everyday. It is one that hides in plain sight. And, yes, I am referring to the freestanding Sephora. Those familiar with shopping in a Sephora in JC Penney know that most stores usually have a sales rack where items are clearly marked with the sometimes insanely low sale price. If you have not been to one, think of the clearly marked sections at Target or Ulta. It is similar to those. That sales rack alone is reason to visit a Sephora in JC Penney, but they’ve stepped up their game in a lot of other areas. Between exclusive events, sets, GWP, and free gift offers, it is usually worth stopping by. I have not been to a Sephora in JC Penney in a long time, but I’d love to visit again soon.
See recent articles on Sephora Sale items.
My review of the In-Store Event and GWP Bag.
The official shopping dates for the 20% off sale at Sephora are out. This sale is for VIB and VIB Rouge tiers, but Rouge members can share the discount with anyone in-store on the first day of their sale. VIB Rouge members can shop online with 20% off using code 20ROUGE from November 4th-7th, and VIB members can shop online with 20% off using code 20VIB from November 11th-14th. Redemption cards for in-store purchases went out, but each store should have a card behind the register for those who do not receive one. If you are a Sephora shopper without a rewards account, you should really consider joining. There are a lot of codes and specials that are only available for Beauty Insiders. Sephora separated the tiers again for 2016 just as they did for VIB Rouge and VIB in 2015.
Today, I want to go over the similarities and differences between the Pixi Beauty Flawless Beauty Primer vs Becca Backlight Priming Filter Base. This will be the first in a series that I can almost guarantee will be sparse. My constant need to rank things usually prevents me from objectively comparing products to one another. One always seems better so my rankings are, of course, subjective. Every once in a while, I use a product and immediately think it is very similar to another product. It happened so long ago before this that I cannot even remember the last products I found this similar. Part of the reason is I usually do not have multiples of the same type of product open at once (other than a few where multiples make sense and do not expire quickly). Thus, I typically resort the recency effect, and I’m only able to somewhat objectively compare products to things I’ve tried recently. Comparing similarities side by side requires both products be opened at the same time.
See recent Sephora Play articles.
Sephora Play! is a subscription box that offers six beauty samples for $10 a month plus tax, shipping included. The charge posts from the 1st through the 4th, and the boxes start shipping around the middle of the month. Spots are limited, but you can place your name on the waiting list if they’re unavailable when you check. This gives one more sample than the standard $10 box offers, because it considers the monthly fragrance as a bonus item. Only items sold at Sephora come inside the box, so it only includes well-known mid to high range items. There is not a traditional rewards program with this box, so you cannot get points for referring friends or writing reviews. It does award 10 Beauty Insider points and applies $10 toward your purchase minimum to maintain your Beauty Insider status. Visit my Sephora page for descriptions on points and status.
I do not believe in nail polish expiration dates. Microbes typically cannot survive in polish, and the period after opening number on some nail polish bottles is merely a formality. They are there for governments or consumers who like them. Surely there are exceptions, but polishes that are well taken care of generally last a long time. Store them away from heat and light, and make sure you close them as tightly as possible after each use. Keeping air from penetrating the bottles is key. Bottles that are not tightly closed will go bad quickly, even if they’re brand new. Over time, some polishes break down faster than others. The brands I am mentioning in this article are guilty of this. Before tossing polish, it is always a good idea to attempt restoration. If your polish is so hard that you cannot pull the brush out, restoration gets a lot more difficult. Tossing those is probably best, although not necessary.
I’ve always appreciated that Paula’s Choice does not do animal testing. While I have not yet boycotted brands that do, I like buying from those that do not. My skin is sensitive, so I get reactions from products. It is still nice to try as many new products as possible, and I use Beautypedia (an expert site affiliated with Paula’s Choice that uses scientific research instead of opinions for reviews) as a first stop in seeing what ingredients may have caused my reaction. Both sites are a great source of information. Anyone can sign up for Paula’s Choice Testing Panel to test products and give feedback. Panelists immediately fill out a short skin care profile. When Paula’s Choice needs a new item tested, it reviews profiles. A short survey determines whether the panelist moves forward. Those who do take part in the test fill out an exit survey by the deadline. Successfully complete one test to qualify for more.
See 2018 VIB Promotions.
It’s that time of year when the promotions at Sephora start rolling in back-to-back. This Sample Filled Clutch promotion is this year’s take on the MIXITUP promotion from last year. The Sephora Eight Perfect Days Advent Promotion just wrapped yesterday. That is still so fresh that there are plenty of items still available under that promo. Employee Appreciation starts in less than a week. The Customer appreciation bags (with 7-8 deluxe samples) come out at the beginning of November. VIB Rouge shoppers get first access to the VIB sale, starting November 4th. Then, the VIB shoppers get access to the VIB sale, starting November 11th. All of these promotions are within a month, but even more promotions arrive if you add another month to the timeframe. We will see Black Friday deals and a Mystery Bag of samples for Cyber Weekend. Gift cards for all Beauty insiders roll in early December, and it will all wrap up beautifully with the Sale on Sale. I love the last 2.5 months of shopping with Sephora. It is my favorite time for deals!
Influenster gives free trial products of everything from beauty products to household items. To qualify for programs, you fill out quick product surveys. Once you’ve qualified, they mail the products. Try them and tell people what you think in person and on social media. Complete a short exit survey and review the product(s) on Influenster. The more active you are the more programs you qualify for. Everything received from Influenster is free. Some virtual Voxboxes or multi product packages include coupons to redeem for the product. At times, the coupon will not cover the full amount, but you can opt out of any program that only offers discounts or does not interest you. If you are unfamiliar with Influenster, you can read my overview.
Deal shoppers love a nice GWP. We also tend to love ways to sample items for a decent price through subscription boxes, favorite sets, limited edition boxes, and any kit that gives us more value than we pay for. Sometimes our collections grow to a point where you can no longer use everything in a timely manner. I’ve written about product expiration dates before and have mentioned that checkcosmetic.net and checkfresh.com can help you check some of them. The problem is those sites do not cover all brands or all products within a specific brand. Manufacturers usually try to help if you write into their customer service department for production date information on listed batch numbers, but I’ve had hits and misses that way.
See General 2018 Beauty Bag Offers.
Ulta had two gift with purchase bags available at the same time a little over two weeks ago. There are two completely different bags available now. The first is one I’ve already covered in this article, where I go over all the Beauty Breaks for this month, but I will post the details again below. That is the bag that popped up days ago where you have to either select the gold or blue option. Another bag is only available today, and this one has a targeted purchase. I did link the new bag to this article, where I go over all the deals for the Gorgeous Hair Event, but I will post the details again below. It does have a lower buy-in though. General GWP offers that combine with these bags are also available, so those who order quickly can get 4 gifts with purchase.
More stores were added to the in-store cash back option for ebates. If you’re already using ebates for online shopping, it takes a few extra steps to take advantage of in store offers. As I mentioned at the end of last year in my Get Paid To Shop Online article, this program is still in the pilot stage. It’s been running for less than a year. In that time, I’ve used linked cards on offers twice. Within a few days of each purchase, I received an email from ebates stating I was getting cash back for my in-store purchases. The credit came in within 2-3 days after receiving the email on both. This is a relatively painless process, but it does take a little time.
One of the questions I see often from Sephora VIB or Rouge members is, “where are my handpicked gifts?” This is a legitimate question, because handpicked gifts are listed as a benefit for VIB and Rouge members. The benefit list seems a little vague, because it is. As someone who lives for details, I describe the actual benefits of all the programs and shopping Sephora in general. Those who’ve read my reviews or are familiar with my Sephora Deals Page will notice that I do not list hand-picked gifts as a benefit of the VIB or Rouge program. Why? Sephora and I have a very different idea of what a gift is. A gift is something given with no expectations. Granted, it’s always wonderful to reward a gift giver in some way, but it is not necessary.
See recent articles on Sephora Sale items.
The employee appreciation sale took place from October 14th-21st in 2017. I did not write an article, but I did partake.
Sephora Employee Appreciation, also known as the Friends and Family Sale, has returned for 2016. It will run from Sunday, October 23rd through Sunday, October 30th. Employees give unique 20% off discount codes to friends and family. These discount codes are on a postcard, which can get gifted in person or mailed. Emails were available again this year, but the emails were not sent out until the first morning of the sale. A lot of companies include all customers in friends and family sales. These codes from Sephora are for legitimate friends and family. A good sales associate can make a customer feel like a friend. If you never hang out away from Sephora, odds are you’re not friends. They only get a limited amount of post cards, so please do not be offended if they do not offer one to you.
There is a private event for anyone who receives a postcard from 7pm-9pm on the 23rd. This is usually a two-week sale, but it’s only eight days this year. That explains why Sephora abandoned the mid-October start it usually does. The VIB Rouge and VIB 20% off sale dates have been officially announced. Like last year, each tier has four days to shop the 20% off sale.
When it comes to nail polish, I am a huge fan of Julep’s five free formula. These polishes chip less than most, and the polishes themselves are a good deal when you have a Maven membership. They are quality polishes, so I would probably purchase them at $14 each if I did not have my Maven membership. Luckily, I do not have to pay that much. The color selections and polish finishes are more vast than almost any other nail polish line. Every month, they release seven to nine new colors (and at times re-release 1-2 from the vault). I have not skipped a box since I first subscribed in May 2014, because I find something I want every month. More often than not, the nail polishes are what draw me in, but I like to try Julep’s beauty products as well.
See the 2018 Give Me More Lip Review
No one puts favorites sets together like Sephora. They are one of my favorite things to buy, because I love sampling a lot of items that I get an incredible deal on. This is the first year since I started shopping at Sephora that there is no Give Me More Lip Set. The large set lip lovers get this year is Give Me Some Lip & Liner. It has 14 lip products, so it is right on par with past sets (they usually have 15-16). There are four full-size products in the set and as usual the value of the full-size items exceeds the cost of the set. If you’re interested in the full-size items, this set is definitely a deal.
I love all things Ulta and all things Julep. When I received an email from Miriam at Julep stating she was going to Ulta on 10/08/16, I decided I wanted to check out the event. The Julep event I attended on 08/29/16 was a lot of fun. This event was in a store, instead of a restaurant, so I went in knowing it would be a different experience. According to the email, I’d get a chance to play with some Julep products, have a tutorial, and a GWP if I decided to buy anything. I responded to the email to see if she needed an official RSVP. Miriam said I did not need to RSVP as long as I came in between 12 and 6:30.
A promotion similar to the Merry Minis one Sephora offers in December (usually starting on the first) starts today. This one has an added twist, and it’s a twist I’ve never seen before. Every day for eight days, Sephora will add a new item to the promo code, PERFECT8. That’s right, we have another advent promo. Each item will be available until it runs out of inventory (as usual), but using the promo code and purchasing from a select category will also give you a point multiplier. I’ve never seen a point multiplier tied to a specific promo code before, so this is unusual. With nice perks finally getting added to the Rewards Bazaar, I like that they added a point multiplier that never existed before. The promo code is only available to Beauty Insiders, but anyone shopping Sephora should seriously consider joining for all the perks I go over in my Getting the Best Deal at Sephora article.
See recent Birchbox articles.
This is officially my 50th Birchbox. That includes boxes I’ve received across three accounts and replacements I’ve received for ones that were lost or damaged, like last month when Birchbox sent me a new box to replace ONE broken item. My 50th box got a little banged up along the way, but most of the 50 boxes arrived in perfect condition. Of all 50, I cannot think of any I’ve ever hated. I do think my first one was my least favorite (which I cover in this overview). April 2015 was probably still my favorite, because September 2016 disappointed slightly. October 2015 was my highest valued box at a whopping $68.32. May 2015 was the lowest valued box (still over the $10 I paid, but barely). December 2015 was the sweetest box. January 2016 was the most themed. April 2015 (a different one that the one linked above) had the prettiest box, but the one from April 2016 was similar and almost as pretty. It’s really been a great ride when I stop and look at the boxes, and I never imagined I’d get 50 boxes in when I subscribed.
By GWP, I mean a real gift with purchase. Technically a single deluxe item is a GWP. Although, I do appreciate that MAC started offering a free deluxe sample with direct orders once it resigned the site, I prefer my GWP in bundles. It is also possible to get a single MAC deluxe sample with select department store purchases. My MAC collection is relatively small. As a deal shopper, I do not find many deals on MAC items. I actually addressed this last year when I finally purchased the 217 brush. MAC items are cheaper than most stores that sell their own items and have counters in department stores, but I still need to feel like I am getting a deal. The number one thing that urges me into a purchase is a GWP, followed by a discount. Granted, I would choose the discount if it was better than my (I always calculate the value of what I would use) GWP value.
There are so many products I fall in love with but will take a while to finish. Instead of waiting until I can mention them in a FabuFinds article or waiting to see if they make the Top 10 of the Year, I want to go over items from my Core Collection. These are items I consider great deals (even at full-price, although I will still try to get them with a deal). If I ever finish them, I will probably name them FabuFinds and replace ones that do not already have back-ups. Sometimes, they are items I’ve had for a while and just tried or items I tried in the past but love more upon rediscovery. Occasionally, I purchase items I love that do not fit into an article other than this one. When I try something from a recent acquisition where I wrote an article, I will always edit a mini review into the original article (love, hate, or anything in between) or mention it in an Empties article (if I finish it quickly). A single product review in the original article will not always depict how much I love it compared with other items I tried that month. This lists my Deal Discoveries from September 2016 that I am not even close to finishing.
My fascination with Bath & Body Works began in high school. When I was in college, I discovered the Express Credit Card worked there, and I ended up buying way too many things. Most of my college wardrobe could have served as an Express ad. It’s possible it still works there, but I no longer carry any store cards. As I got older, I outgrew most of the scents, because I realized they were a little stronger than I wanted. Those who remember my love for Bath & Body Works still gift me things from this brand to this day, so I’ve never been too far away. One of the items I’ve wanted to try was the 3-wick candles. There are so many reviews stating these candles are comparable to more expensive ones, and I just needed the right deal to test this claim. Of course, I do not have any really expensive candles (waiting for the right deal on those, too), but I do have some in this price range.
BzzAgent is an international network of consumers who take part in word-of-mouth campaigns for a variety of products and services. It is a membership program that gives subscribers free products to try. After trying the free products, members review and share their experiences with the campaigns to qualify for future campaigns. Short surveys will appear in your profile. Complete them to see if there are any new campaigns available. When you complete surveys, you can accept free MyPoints offers. There are over 1 million BzzAgents in the US, Canada and the UK.