It’s been over a year since my Dad passed away and over six months since my husband left me. He and I still debate over who left whom, but there is no doubt in my mind it was he who left me. There are days I want to power through, pretend I am Wonder woman and act like I do not need anyone to get by. Could I have reached out to friends and family more in my depression? Certainly, but I could not even put my feelings into words. At least not in a matter that seemed worthy of burdening anyone. When the writer loses her medium, the reader cannot respond. The truth is there has not been a single day I have not missed either of them immensely. For so long, they were my life and on odd days in 2017, I had to move on without both of them. Yes, literally odd days for those keeping track so that was a purposeful double entendre. Moving on would prove difficult and I find myself here in 2018 without much progress.
The rumors were true! When I read that Allure was putting a full-size Sunday Riley C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum in the January 2018 box, I had to subscribe. I subscribed at the tail end of last year and never received an email confirmation. Money was immediately pulled from my account, which is normal with a new subscription. Neither of my emails to customer service ever received a response either. It is nice to know that customer service has not improved since I was last subscribed when this was the Sample Society Box under Beautybar. Between lackluster boxes and shoddy customer service, I previously dropped Sample Society not once, but twice. While I had not given them another chance since they switched over to Allure Beauty Box, I expected more of the same.
Apparently, there are people who actually work in Allure’s customer service. They just only answer phone calls and never respond to emails. That is the exact opposite of Birchbox so they balance each other out. Is it too much to ask for a subscription program that responds to emails and answers phones! I finally got someone on the phone on 01/16/18. She told me that there was a mixup with my email address, but she updated the email address. My January box was in transit. Yay! Turns out she did not actually fix my email address, because I was still unable to login to my account online. After placing a second call, I determined there was a letter missing in my email address. Now, that the missing letter got added, I could get access to my online account. The second lady informed me that my shipping confirmation and referral link was in my welcome email. I reminded her that the welcome email went to the wrong email address so I cannot confirm if referral links are actually included in the welcome email.
Referral links are hard to come by and I did not get mine until deep into March 2018. As far as I can tell, the $10 welcome box is available on the direct site and does not need a referral anyway. Considering the referral gift whether referring 1 or 50 people a month is a single tube of Mally Volumizing mascara, I am not sure the person referring gets much benefit either. Though I have not tried that mascara yet, it is one of the over 100 I own.
I will cover 2019 Ulta Gifts with Brand Specific Purchases in my Deals article (not yet posted). See all 2019 Ulta Beauty Promotions, Deals, Coupons, GWP, Sales, and Events.
Ulta has a lot of brand or product specific gifts with purchase each year, and I could not possibly track them all. I do want to call out the ones that are really worth it every time I see them in 2018. While we all have different ideas of what makes a great GWP, this will cover the ones I see and love enough to mention in 2018. These are general offers available to everyone and are always listed in the GWP section. Targeted offers (not listed on the site but instead emailed to specific members) are in a different article. GWP bags are also covered separately, and though many brands offer multi piece gifts, the bags are always a mixture of many brands. Beauty Breaks are general and sometimes brand specific, but I only mention them in their article. Offers that are only available as Platinum Perks are not covered here.
The Sephora free face mask Friday is only available today, 01/26/18. If you are reading this any other day, the offer is gone, but scroll down for information on the skin moisture meters. Sephora has a free face mask event today. It is for a Sephora sheet mask, which retails for $6. There is no purchase required to redeem it, but you must go a Sephora store and have a Moisture Meter hydration reading to receive it. This is available at SiJCP and freestanding Sephora stores until closing. Sephora has pushed us to get us into to the stores to try out their new moisture meters all month, and this offer finally got me to go.
When Volition launched at Sephora, the company reached out to me to see if I wanted to sample some items. I had never heard of the brand. After a little research, I was eager to try the samples. Volition has skincare innovators submit ideas. Someone at the brand is in charge of selecting contestants to feature on the site. Registered site users vote on which campaigns the brand will fund. This process is great for the innovator, the consumer, and the brand. The innovator gets his/her product to market with the help of the brand. Consumers get a voice in new products they want to see. If the consumer and the innovator are happy, the brand wins with sales. I love this idea and supporting it makes me feel good.
Birchbox released a new limited edition box today. This box is included in the Valentine’s Day Shop offers that work with the discount code VD20 through 02/03/18. I was already going to pick it up, but I was thankfully distracted. When I went to purchase it this afternoon, I noticed Birchbox placed 50 surprise points for being an Ace in my account. For those looking to track 48-hour 50 point surprise offers, I’ve got you covered. An offer for all subscribers went out on 12/08/17. Offers for Aces went out on 12/31/16, 03/24/17, and 06/28/17. The offers appear to release randomly, but I will let you know if I ever notice any patterns. I take advantage of these points when possible, because there is no purchase minimum to redeem them. As an Ace, you also get free shipping on any purchase.
It says it is a 48-hour surprise. The official email did not come until the next morning, and it says this offer is valid through the 27th. That means those of us who were lucky enough to stumble on it before the announcement got more than 48 hours to redeem them. If you are an Ace and looking for something to spend your 50 points on, I suggest this box!
Give Me Some New Lip is a new Sephora Favorites Set. I love when Sephora puts out a new Favorites Set. These sets retail for a lot less than the value of the items inside. As long as the items you plan on keeping exceed the value of the price you pay for the set, it is a good deal. This is one of my favorite ways to sample new items, and I like the sets even more when they have some full-sized items inside. While paying for samples is something I do often in subscription boxes, I limit how often I pay for samples in sets. The mystery of subscription boxes and desire to get things I would never purchase prevails in that case. When a set only has samples and costs over $20, I am less likely to purchase it. Paying for samples is not always a bad thing, especially when sets have items you really want to try, and you have not been able to get them for free or as a GWP.
I was scrolling through Facebook one day and saw an ad for FabFitFun from Lisa Rinna. Between The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Days of Our Lives, I am a fan. To my surprise, the winter 2017 box she showed in the video was incredible. It was also still available. Admittedly, I Googled past boxes after I subscribed, and I have not found any as amazing as this one. That either means the boxes are starting to improve or this was just a super incredible box that may not ever be matched in the future. By the time I received it, it was no longer available for purchase so I could not tell you about it in time. The Editor’s Box that is available now does have the $70 poncho from this box as a fashion choice, but I am not certain I would purchase the editor’s box even if I knew how much I loved the poncho.
Ulta releases 20% off prestige coupons at least five times a year for UltaMate members. These are unique, one-time use coupons that work on most prestige items. There are times when offers get mailed and emailed. Codes that arrive via mail are always different from codes that arrive via email. If you receive one from each medium, and the codes are different, you have two codes. Other times, the offers are only mailed or only emailed. When an online code accompanies a store bar code, you can redeem in-store OR online. The codes used to work in-store and online, but Ulta has officially tied them together. Regardless of which method you redeem first (online or in-store), the other will not work. I’ve confirmed that by testing it both ways. Platinum and Diamond members get extra offers each year. Offers tend to release around the same time each year so looking at the release dates for the previous year is the best way to see when they will come the next year. I will update this article every time I see a new 20% off prestige coupon.
Birchbox puts out a lot of high-quality Discovery Kits. These are smaller versions of the Limited Edition Boxes and typically come in a clear TSA approved travel bag. A discovery kit is a themed bag with multiple brands curated by Birchbox. Some discovery kits, particularly the ones with all samples, are not worth purchasing. Of course, I usually buy them for hard to get items I really want to try or already love. As long as the value of the items I am keeping exceeds the amount I am paying, I will usually purchase the kit. Others are more than worth it.
Sephora Play! is a subscription box that offers five deluxe beauty samples and a foil packet or perfume vial for $10 a month plus tax. Shipping is free. Only items sold at Sephora come inside the box so most items are from well-known, high-end brands. While Sephora does carry a few low-end and luxury brands, they do not really appear in the subscription boxes. 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. The $10 charge processes immediately for new subscribers and from the 1st through the 4th for succeeding months. Boxes usually ship from the 11th through the 15th.
Birchbox gives at least 5 deluxe beauty samples each month for $10. Some boxes have more than 5, but anything over 5 is usually a foil. Boxes get customized to your beauty profile, but you cannot opt out of any type of sample. All boxes are a mixture of haircare, makeup, and skincare. There are times when body care items pop up, and you can select an option to receive no more than 6 fragrance vials a year. You could get a box with 2 haircare items, 2 makeup items, and 1 skincare item or any similar variety, but you will not see more than 2 items from any category unless the third is a foil. If you are looking for a box that is mostly makeup or mostly skincare, this is not it. Those looking for a well-rounded sample box may enjoy this subscription.
The $10 charge processes immediately for new subscribers and on the 1st in succeeding months. Boxes usually ship from the 8th through the 12th. At the end of every month (actual date varies), Birchbox will email an option to select a sample (from a choice of 3-5 items), or the featured box where you know all samples up front. If you want a sample choice and the featured box, read this article. Subscribers can review 5 samples for 10 points each once during the lifetime of the account. Those who pay subscriptions up front get points to use toward shop purchases. Anyone with a month-to-month plan does not get points for the subscription, but the amount spent will go toward the $300 annual minimum to achieve Aces status.
Sephora VIB members spend at least $350 a year to maintain their status. What do they get for this reward level? VIB exclusive promotions are available to all VIB and VIB Rouge members. Anytime I see a VIB exclusive promotion in 2018, I will add it to this article. My goal is to keep a listing of all promotions available. This article will cover promo codes as well as any offer available to members at this level. Rouge members have all the benefits VIB members get so Rouge members can take advantage of these offers. Offers are only listed in the article where all members at that level can redeem them. It means there are offers in the Beauty Insider promotions article not listed here that VIB members can redeem. If you are a Rouge member reading this article, there are offers in the Rouge article that are only available to Rouge members.
I received my Sample bag and wanted to go over the contents while it is still available for those considering it. The promo code WATERWORKS gives a 12-piece sample bag with a $35 purchase. It is also available in store, but you will need to show a picture of the promo to the sales associate. The Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel is deluxe sized, and the other 11 items are foils. This bag coincides with the 2x points event on skincare at Sephora. Ulta also celebrates skin in January with the Love Your Skin Event. If you happen upon this article after this offer expires, I keep a general listing of Sephora sample bags.
See the 2018 offers below to get an idea of when they could repeat in 2019. I’ve decided not to cover the 2019 BOGO offers, but I am covering all major 2019 Ulta Beauty Promotions, Deals, Coupons, GWP, Sales, and Events.
Do you wait for your favorite drugstore brands to offer buy more get more sales to stock up? Ulta always has a lot of offers in the Buy More Save More section. If you want to buy 1 and get 1 50% off, buy 1 and get one 1, buy 2 and get 1 free, buy 2 and get 2 free, etc, learning when your brand may offer discounts can help you plan for it. Every time I notice a brand at Ulta release an offer, I will update this master list. It is possible I may miss some. By the end of the year, I hope to have every offer released. Ulta has so many of these sales at once so this a daunting task. My goal is to compare them next year to see if the offers come at the same time each year or if they are too random to predict. This list can also give you an idea of what offers your brand has released in the past so you can decide if you want to purchase now or wait until the next offer pops up.
Ulta sends gift with any purchase offers to select UltaMate members throughout the year. Large GWP bags have a dedicated article and are almost never targeted (outside of a group, like Platinum bags or affiliate bags). These gifts with purchase are targeted offers (offers sent to only select members). At any given time, there are anywhere from 0 to 4 available offers. It is certainly possible there are more than 4 at a time, but 4 is the most I’ve ever seen. They will almost never appear in the general GWP section or available offers section for select affiliates. In other words, the only way to take advantage of these offers is to receive them yourself or receive them from someone who received the offers. No one gets all offers, and people who do not get emails never get any. I want to share all the offers I am aware of here. If you receive any I do not, please let me know, and I can add them.
I love when Sephora puts out a new Favorites Set. These sets retail for a lot less than the value of the items inside. As long as the items you plan on keeping exceed the value of the price you pay for the set, it is a good deal. This is one of my favorite ways to sample new items, and I like the sets even more when they have some full-sized items inside. While paying for samples is something I do often in subscription boxes, I limit how often I pay for samples in sets. The mystery of subscription boxes and desire to get things I would never purchase prevails in that case. When a set only has samples and costs over $20, I am less likely to purchase it. Paying for samples is not always a bad thing, especially when sets have items you really want to try and have not been able to get them for free or as a GWP.
See all Ulta Beauty Promotions, Deals, Coupons, GWP, Sales, and Events for 2019.
As a deal shopper, I like to scroll through the sale section at Ulta a little more than I probably should. Sometimes I come across amazing items in there that are definitely worth sharing. Instead of writing a new article every time I come across a great sale item, I am going to list those items here for 2018. These are the items I feel are worth mentioning. There are too many great deals to list them all so I suggest periodically checking it yourself. If I purchase anything I list, I will let you know and offer or link a mini review when I can. The date I noticed the item in the sale section is next to it, but it may have appeared sooner than that. If the sale is over by the time you happen upon the article, this at least tells you the item has a history of going on sale. A new sale could pop up in the future if you’re willing to wait on the item.
Buy More Save More offers have a dedicated article. If you’re looking for BOGO offers, 2018 offers are listed there. Hot Buys (deeply discounted items) have an article of their own. Most sale items stack with the 20% off prestige coupon. Many drugstore items stack with the general coupon.
This article covers all blanket bonus point offers for 2018. I have a separate article for brand or product specific bonus points. As soon as I see them, I will update this article with new offers. It could be a large post by the end of the year depending on how generous Ulta is with bonus point offers. These bonus point offers are separate from point multipliers, which I also track. My goal with tracking offers is to better predict trends, as many retailers including Ulta repeat offers around the same time each year. This means I can look at the 2017 offers to get an idea of when 2018 offers may arrive.
By having them all listed in one place, it is also easier to see a pattern (if there is one) and helps predict when the next 2018 offer is coming. 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.
See all 2019 Sephora Promotions, Sales, GWP, Deals, Promo Codes, and Events. I am only doing a general deal article in place of this one for 2019.
As a deal shopper, I like to scroll through the sale section at Sephora a little more than I probably should. Sometimes I come across amazing items in there that are definitely worth sharing. Instead of writing a new article every time I come across a great sale item, I am going to list those items here for 2018. These are the items I feel are worth mentioning. There are too many great deals to list them all so I suggest periodically checking it yourself. If I purchase anything I list, I will let you know and link a review when I can. The date I noticed the item in the sale section is next to it, but it may have appeared sooner than that. If the sale is over by the time you happen upon the article, this at least tells you the item has a history of going on sale. A new sale could pop up in the future if you’re willing to wait on the item.
Limited Edition Boxes are my favorite items to purchase from Birchbox. These are a mixture of full and sample sized items that usually fit a specific box theme. All boxes have a value far greater than the cost so they are a great deal when the items you want to keep exceed the value of what you’re paying. Better boxes sell out quickly, but the ones that linger will occasionally pop up in the sale section for 30% off. Aces sometimes get 40% off on sale items. Predicting which ones will sell out is not always easy so I buy the ones I really want close to the release date. If you’re on the fence because of price, wait it out.
See the 2019 Lucky Bag article.
The day after Christmas every year Beautylish sells Lucky Bags. Inspired by Fukubukuro, a grab bag of surprises for Japanese New Year, these bags usually have double the value of their cost. As someone who loves subscription boxes and trying new things, this is something I’ve always wanted to buy. Like subscription boxes, this mystery bag is not for those who do not like to try new things or have fears they will hate all the items. I allowed the shipping charge and a brand Beautylish sells that I cannot support to prevent me in years past. My niece informed me she loves that brand so I even had a way to dispose of it without throwing it away. This year, I decided to go for it.
Sephora releases a lot of promotions each year. I’ve decided not to list all the promo codes for the Beauty Insider level, but I am mentioning every offer worth redeeming in 2018. These are offers any Beauty Insider can receive. If you shop at Sephora (especially online) and have not joined the Beauty Insider program, I highly recommend it. Joining is the best way to take advantage of promotions that are not available to the casual shopper. Everyone who joins gets Beauty Insider status so all offers will apply once you’ve joined. Subscribe to emails after joining and you should receive an email every time a new offer you’re qualified gets released.
Each offer will only be listed in the article where all members within that level can redeem it. VIB and Rouge members have all the benefits Beauty Insiders get so they can take advantage of these offers. If you are a VIB or Rouge member reading this article, there are offers in the VIB and Rouge articles that are only available to VIB and Rouge members respectively.
I track all Sephora offers, and this article covers all Sephora Sample Bags for 2018. Whenever Sephora releases a sample bag as a GWP, I will list it below. If I redeem any of these bags, I will write a separate article with a review and link the article next to the offer. Bags known to repeat each year get notated, and I will also note if the offer is a change from the previous year. This article tracks offers to note changes over time. These bags are available for all rewards members in the Beauty Insider program unless otherwise specified. Items are online only unless otherwise specified. Bags are in reverse chronological order.
I track all Sephora offers, and this article covers all Sephora Point Multipliers for 2018. Sephora usually uses point multipliers as a benefit for certain promotions so most multipliers come with minor events. When I write a separate article for an event, I will link the article next to the offer. Events known to repeat each year get notated, and I will also note if the offer is a change from the previous year. This article tracks offers to note changes over time. As I see point multipliers, I will post them below. These multipliers are for rewards members on the Beauty Insider program. There are times when your multiplier depends on your Beauty Insider Status. Unless otherwise specified, all Beauty Insiders get the same offer.
Point multipliers are usually automatic whether purchased online or in-store so you do not need to do anything to activate the offer other than present your Beauty Insider information. It can take up to 24 hours for point multipliers to apply (more common when purchased in a SiJCP), but most points credit immediately after the purchase. My Sephora Deals Page keeps a list of all current offers, so make sure you stack these multipliers with current promo codes and offers.
Sample choice for Birchbox subscriptions this month was really tough. This was the first month in a long time where I would have been happy with any choice or the curated box. Anytime I see the Real Chemistry 3-minute Luminous Peel as a sample choice for Birchbox, I have to grab it. That is one of the best products I’ve ever discovered in any subscription box. It will be 50% off at Ulta during the Love Your Skin Event on the 24th, and I am planning on getting one there as well. I actually ended up with all three sample choices in my regular box so I got really lucky. Once I fulfilled my Real Chemistry fix, I needed to get my hands on the curated box.
Brent from DAILY GOODIE BOX reached out to me in January of 2017 to see if I wanted to sample a box of freebies. The answer to that question is almost always a resounding yes. I love trying new things, but it is more fun to try them when they’re free. While the box was in transit, my Dad passed away. My Dad was my best friend and my favorite confidant. He gave the best advice, and I felt lost without him. To make matters worse, my husband accepted a new job far away from my friends and family. Moving Day to the new city was the day after my Dad died. Blogging was the furthest thing from my mind so I could not bring myself to write. Some say time heals all wounds, but I do not think that’s true.
It has been almost a year since my Dad passed, and my heart is in no better shape than it was the day it happened. In fact, it feels worse. During my free fall into depression, my husband decided it was all too much for him. He threw in the towel, and everyone else felt so far away. People tried to reach out, and I will always appreciate that. My figurative voice was gone so I was unable to express anything or reach out for help. Feeling all alone in the world is a hard thing to overcome, and depression is very lonely.
With UltaMate Rewards, Ulta Beauty already has the most rewarding loyalty program in the beauty community, but learning more about how to earn and redeem points can take your savings to the next level. By only spending points when they are worth the most and stacking as many bonus points and multipliers as possible, your return on investment could easily multiply from what you’ve received in the past. The most important step to maximizing your savings potential and making the most out of the program is to learn when to redeem. Once you’ve done that, learning how to maximize earnings will get you to redemption faster.
I go over larger Point Perks in my 2018 Rewards Bazaar article. While I love seeing all the high-value perks released in the Rewards Bazaar at Sephora, I rarely redeem them. Some say never redeem too many lower point perks, but I say go for it. The rewards are usually more valuable when you save up, but I see value in everything I redeem. Otherwise, I would not bother. If I’ve been thinking about purchasing something or see something I love pop up as a 100-point perk, you bet I am redeeming it if I have enough points. Doing this can save me a lot, because it temporarily curbs spending on the product. Granted, if I fall in love, it will only encourage more spending. That is the beauty of the freebie though. Brands offer samples to get us hooked. It is great for everyone. I am actually more discerning on 500-point perks. Sephora usually only includes 4-5 items in each one. Considering I can use 100 points to get an item I really want, I do not want to purchase a 500-point perk to get an item or two I really want and 2-3 I could not care less about.
See 2019 General Beauty Bags and all 2019 Ulta Beauty Promotions, Deals, Coupons, GWP, Sales, and Events.
Ulta releases so many beauty bags during the year that I split up the 2018 articles into General offers (those available to anyone), Diamond offers (those available to Diamond members, Platinum offers (those available to Platinum and Diamond members), Beauty Breaks, and Affiliate offers (those available to anyone who happens upon an affiliate post). There are also offers for individual gifts with any purchase. This article will cover the general offers. Others are linked above. These beauty bags are gifts with a minimum purchase. Although the shipping minimum goes off the final pre-tax total, the GWP minimum goes off the subtotal. That means if you find a coupon or discounted item that lowers the final total, it will also lower your GWP buy-in. Add the bag to your cart and it will show the purchase minimum as the cost for the bag.
The total for the bag will drop to zero once you have a qualifying purchase loaded into the cart so play around with it. If your cart should qualify but the total does not drop to zero, the offer expired. Ulta will give you the bag, but it will charge you the purchase minimum for the bag. This means a bag with a $60 purchase minimum will charge you $60 after the free offer expires no matter what other items are in your cart. Remember to remove the bag (for expired offers) before checking out or it will charge you. Any bag I redeem will include a link to the review next to the post. There are a number of brand specific gifts, but this only covers beauty bag offers that are available with any Ulta.com purchase.