Monthly Archives: September 2018

Do You Need a Color Switch or Will a Dupe Work as a Dry Brush Cleaner? My Test and Review of Four, including a DIY Dollar Tree Project

If you are trying to decide whether you want to invest in a dry brush cleaner, Color Switch, or purchase a hair donut instead, I am here to help. Whether your brush collection is small or you have some brushes you love that you use for multiple colors, a dry brush cleaner can help. It is mostly commonly called a color switch, because the most popular one from Sephora and Vera Mona includes that in the title. Just like some will ask for a Kleenex when they want a tissue, some will ask for a color switch when they want a dry brush cleaner. They are also really helpful for people who swatch products using brushes. Let me know below if you want my reasoning for why brush swatching is usually wasteful and unnecessary. A color switch removes powder products from your brushes without any liquid. Yes, you can use a dry brush cleaner on cream products, but it will not remove as much product and will have you washing your dry brush cleaner more often.

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Bloomingdale’s Friends & Family Sale 25% Off Plus $15 off a $150 Beauty Purchase

As we enter the fourth quarter of the year, expect to see a lot of friends and family sales. This is the time of year when retailers reward its customers. Most friends and family sales are available to the public. That is the case with the Bloomingdale’s event each year. Anyone can take part, including those who stumble upon the event. No code is required to take advantage of the event. There are Loyallists bonuses during the event, so they will get extra rewards for purchases during the event. The Friends and Family sale starts online today and in-store on October 1st. It runs through October 8th.

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Sephora Play Smarts and Play Luxe – Is it Worth $20 or $25

See all 2019 Sephora Promotions, Sales, GWP, Deals, Promo Codes, and Events.


Sephora puts out limited edition Play Boxes that are not part of the regular subscription. These are Play Smarts and Play Luxe boxes. I’ve been subscribed to the regular Sephora Play box since the national launch, because it is only $10 a month. Even though I end up with a lot of duplicate samples, I gift the ones I do not want dupes of to friends, family, and women’s shelters. As long as I see the value in the box, I will keep my subscription. In 2017, Sephora started releasing limited edition Play boxes for $20. Like the $10 version, they had six samples. Unlike the $10 version, this was not a subscription. That gave people the chance to buy the ones that interest them and pass on the others. There were four boxes released in 2017, and I purchased three of them (no reviews, because I was on a blogging break) with zero regrets. Yes, they had the same number of samples as the $10 version, but they were all from luxury brands. Luxury samples are harder to come by, so I was happy to pay twice the regular price to try them. The fragrance was also a deluxe size instead of a vial, and the bag that came with it was nicer than the one that came with the $10 boxes.

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Sephora 10 Days of Samples With a Mystery Sample Revealed Each Day

See all 2019 Sephora Promotions, Sales, GWP, Deals, Promo Codes, and Events.


Sephora is bringing back mystery samples starting tomorrow. Every day, for 10 days, a mystery sample will get revealed. I always enjoy this promotion and others like it, because it is fun. Some people know how to look into Sephora’s system and find out which sample is coming ahead of time. As I do not know how to do that, do not enter the article if you are looking for a sneak peek. This article is just for tracking and to end with all samples listed in one place by the time the promotion is over. There are clues for what is coming and some of them are pretty obvious.

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Birchbox September 2018 Featured Box Review

I used the $10 Birchbox awarded to Aces from Customer Appreciation Day to purchase the featured box for September. Subscribers can always receive the featured box in place of a surprise box for their subscription or purchase the featured box for $10 if they want it in addition to whatever box they receive. It discounts automatically after you’ve logged into an account with an active subscription. Everyone else can purchase the featured box for $15. Because I used my $10 automatic credit on the 13th, I got this box for free. As this was not my September Subscription Box, I will review this in a different way than I do with my subscription boxes. Before I even saw the offer for $10, I was already considering buying this box. In other words, this is how I chose to let Birchbox appreciate me.

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Ulta Beauty Fall Haul Sales Event Stock Up On Everyday Faves September 23rd through 29th 2018

See all 2019 Ulta Beauty Promotions, Deals, Coupons, GWP, Sales, and Events. As soon as I get more information on the 2019 Fall Haul Sales Event, I will start the new article.


Ulta dropped another mini event between it and the 21 Days of Beauty, which ends today. This Fall Haul Event is bigger than it was last year, so I think it will continue to grow each year. I was not blogging last fall, so I have no article to link. Items are up to 50% off on makeup, skincare, haircare, and bath. Most items are 30-40% off. While this event is essentially a long list of Hot Buys, I am keeping those separate for tracking purposes. Unlike the other events, this event is almost purely drugstore items. Yes, drugstore items go on sale all the time as documented in my Buy More, Get More article. I’d still suggest taking a look at the offerings. Some of these deals are the best I’ve seen all year. Ulta wants us to keep our wallets opening, and I am listening.

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Sephora Favorites Give Me More Lip Review 2018

See all 2019 Sephora Promotions, Sales, GWP, Deals, Promo Codes, and Events.


The Sephora Favorites Give Me More Lip Kit was marked down to $47 on 11/21/18. I thought this was a great deal at $68, so I think it is a steal at the new price. After the somewhat disappointing Superstars Kit and the lackluster Superstars Everyday Must Haves Kit, my expectations for the Sephora Favorites Give Me More Lip were low. Thankfully, this exceeds my expectations, because I think this is a pretty good set. I have no problem paying the full $68 asking price, so I placed an online order today. In the past, I would have shied away from a set with so many non-traditional bullet lipsticks, but I am trying to broaden my horizons and try new things. At some point, I will write a comprehensive article on the liquid lipsticks I’ve tried and go over my results for which one is best for dry lips. Until then, I will keep exploring.

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Sephora Play September 2018 Subscription Box 780 Review

Sephora Play! is a subscription box that offers five deluxe beauty samples and a bonus 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 to Beauty Insiders, 12.5 points to VIB members, and 15 points to VIB Rouge members. This box also 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.

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BzzAgent Campaign Downy Unstoppables Fresh Scent

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. How many programs you qualify for will depend on your participation efforts and BzzScore. The more you do the higher your score.

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Julep Maven September 2018 Subscription Box Review

Julep Maven is a subscription program. While Julep started as a nail polish brand, it expanded to include a large variety of beauty products. Members get to select the items they want inside their boxes so there are no surprises. Mavens can stick to nail polish, try products from the ever-growing beauty line, or both in their monthly Julep subscription boxes. Products are always full-sized. Many of these beauty products are just as incredible as 5-free nail polish the brand offers. As a nail polish lover, I can say with certainty that these polishes chip less than most brands. A Maven membership helps subscribers get full-size products for a fraction of the cost to purchase them separately. They are quality polishes so I would probably purchase them at $14 each even if I did not have my Maven membership. The color selections and polish finishes are more vast than almost any other nail polish line. Almost every month, Julep releases seven new colors (and at times re-release 1-2 from the vault).

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Sephora Favorites Superstars Everyday Must Haves 2018 Grab or Pass

See my 2018 Sephora Favorites Superstars Kit Review, and all 2019 Sephora Promotions, Sales, GWP, Deals, Promo Codes, and Events.


I used to love Sephora Favorites and while I am not ready to stop loving them just yet, the Sephora Favorites Superstars Everyday Must Haves 2018 is another disappointment. Who is curating these? How does the team in charge of curation not get that $75 for the one I am discussing today and $80 for the one I discussed last month is too much for a kit of mostly samples? In the past, the kits that contained mostly samples were $40-$45. This changed with the Skin Wonderland kits, which are always over $60 and typically sold without a full-size item in the entire kit. A lot of the items in that kit are sold in travel size, so many shoppers can justify paying that much for samples. You will notice that I have never reviewed any, because I have never purchased a skincare set of samples for more than $45.

Even $45 was too high for me unless there was at least one hero full-sized item that saved the kit or I could grab the kit on sale. It’s 2018 and there are too many ways to come by samples for a lot cheaper than a $75 or $80 kit. That means the full-size items in these kits need to pull their weight to justify the value. When they don’t, you end up with a kit that is unlikely to move without a discount. In my humble opinion, the full-size items in this kit do not pull their weight. I will start by saying at first sight, this one is actually more appealing than its predecessor that went for $5 more. Unlike its predecessor, there are a few items in here that have not been sampled by Sephora via promo codes, Sephora Play boxes, or Beauty Insider Point redemptions. Therefore, it will have some new items to people who have not already purchased the full-sizes.

The Sephora Favorites Superstars Kit Everyday Must Haves retails for $75. There are 11 products in this kit making the cost of each item $6.82. Three items are full-sized. If you were to purchase the full-size items separately, you would pay $66. That means even someone who wants all three full-sized items is still investing some money in samples. With most Superstars kits, the full-size products more than cover the cost for the set.

– 0.003 oz/ 0.085 g Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Medium Brown (full-size)
– 0.085 oz/ 2.4 g BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Champagne Pop
– 0.52 oz/ 15 mL Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte’s Magic Cream
– 0.13 oz/ 4 mL Dior Diorshow Mascara in 090 Black
– 0.13 oz/ 4 mL FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna Pro Filt’r Mini Instant Retouch Primer
– 0.035 oz/ 1 g Kat Von D Studded Kiss Creme Lipstick in Underage Red
– 0.12 oz/ 3.5 g Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder Glow
– 0.5 oz/ 15 mL Smashbox Photo Finish Primerizer Primer + Moisturizer in 1
– 0.153 oz/ 4.5 mL stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow in Kitten Karma (full-size)
– 1 oz/ 30 mL Too Faced Cosmetics Hangover 3-in-1 Replenishing Primer & Setting Spray Mini
– 0.04 oz/ 1.2 g Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Perversion (full-size)

Medium Brown is too dark for my brows. As I already own it, I know I can make it work. Since I can make it work, I would keep this if I had the set. I do not want to go out of my way to purchase things that are not ideal for me, so this is not a selling point on this kit (for me). It is probably the best color when only choosing one for a set like this, because most of us can probably get it to work. Thus, I understand the shade selection. Though I have said so many times that they should have variations on the kits for color products to suit more customers. Those who love this color will probably see more value in this item.

The stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow in Kitten Karma is very beautiful and performs pretty well. It goes on vibrant, blends better than I expected, and stays on well. My eyelids and hooded and oily, so I do have some creasing with this. However, my eyelids crease with anything now. Things that used to work, like NARS Pro Prime Shadow primer, no longer work for me. Just because my eyeshadows always crease does not mean I do not enjoy them. This is stunning and I think most people will love it. Those who do not already have it will probably enjoy trying this.

I do really like the Urban Decay eyeliner. It is pigmented, goes on smoothly, and mostly stays put on the upper lid. My waterline cannot hold this for too long. Perversion is the most sampled color, so I have a lot of these even after giving a lot away.

Champagne Pop was in the last set, and I think it is odd to place the same sample in the very next set. Anyone who purchased the last set now owns this, if s/he did not already. It is a beautiful highlighter that I enjoy, as I mentioned in my review of the other set.

I’ve heard great things about the Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte’s Magic Cream and even ordered a foil sample of it. So far, I have not tried it yet. If I place it in my October foil challenge, I might be able to try this while there are still some kits left for sale.

I already have samples of the Dior Diorshow Mascara in 090 Black, the Smashbox Photo Finish Primerizer Primer + Moisturizer, and the Too Faced Cosmetics Hangover 3-in-1 Replenishing Primer & Setting Spray, but I have not tried them yet. Unless I really love them (after trying them), I would not keep these duplicates.

The FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna Pro Filt’r Mini Instant Retouch Primer, the Kat Von D Studded Kiss Creme Lipstick in Underage Red, and the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder Glow are products I do not own at all, so this would give me a chance to try some new things.

I said I would purchase the last one if it discounted from $80 to $40 and purchased it a few days later when it did just that. It is highly unlikely I will guess the price I am willing to pay twice and get my request granted again. However, I will give it a try. If this kit dipped to $40, I would be willing to purchase it. This does have more items in it that I do not already own, but I already own all three of the full-sizes. Since I would basically be buying this solely on the strength of the samples, I think paying over $40 is too much. There are more unique items in this, so I cannot see Sephora discounting this to almost 50% off. People will probably buy this to try new things. If a discount is granted, I am thinking it will go to $50 (and that will be at the end of the year in the sale on sale if they have not sold them by then).

They are all nice items, and I think anyone who does not already own them might enjoy all three (if the products and colors suit them) of the full-size items. A specific brow color can work great for those with a compatible hair color. People who dislike glitter shadow, cream shadows, or light shadows might get disappointed with the stila product. Black eyeliner is a staple for most. For those who wear black eyeliner, they usually already have multiples. It would have been nice to see either the Magic Cream, the primer, or the setting spray in place of any of these full-size products or better yet adding one to the three already here. After all, the last kit was only $5 more and had four full-size products.

The odds of me keeping duplicate Stila shadow or Urban Decay liner are slim, because I do not use either often enough to justify backups. In case the Stila dries up, I guess it would not hurt to have a new one ready to go. That means I would keep the ABH pencil and at least a few of the samples to get my personal value over $40. I cannot see any scenario where I would get $75 in personal value from this or even $60 assuming this is still available when the fall VIB sale starts.

Since this is the second Superstars Kit released in the second half of the year, I doubt we will see another one before next year. Those who purchase one each year will either have to pass this year or decide which of the two available are the lesser of the two evils. Of course, a sale could happen on either set again in the future if they sit too long. Something tells me this one will not sit as long though, given it has more new products inside of it.

Yes, this post was a little more negative than usual, but I feel strongly this is another miss. Only someone who does not mind paying for samples AND either wants to try a lot of new things (if s/he does not already have them) or already loves a lot of these things. It helps if the person buying this set wants all three of the full-size items, but that person would still be paying something for the samples even if s/he keeps all the full-size items. These kits are so much better when the amount of the full-size products at least covers the cost of the kit. That way, the samples are a bonus instead of something you’re buying.

Sephora.com, Inc.

What are your thoughts on the Sephora Favorites Everyday Must Haves 2018? Let me know below. Sephora does not inform any Beauty Insider of all promotions. It does list a great deal of them on its Beauty Offers page, but I list some it does not on my Sephora Deals Page. Between the ones it lists and the ones I list, you can catch most of them. Subscribe to emails to get targeted offers. If you’re spending over $25 online, there is always a promo code that you can apply. Most major events run on a set schedule, which is why I track them. See all Sephora articles. Read Tips For Getting the Best Deal When Shopping Sephora. View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration.

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The Ulta Beauty Fall 2018 Gorgeous Hair Event Starts in September

See the article for Spring 2019 Ulta Beauty Gorgeous Hair Event, and all 2019 Ulta Beauty Promotions, Deals, Coupons, GWP, Sales, and Events.


The Gorgeous Hair Event will take place from Sunday, September 30th through Saturday, October 20th. This semi-annual event takes place every spring starting in May and every fall usually starting in October. It is a 21-day event where hair products from mostly high-end brands get discounted up to 50% off for one day only. This twice a year event has steals for all things hair (shampoo, conditioner, styling, tools, and much more). There are also specials that run throughout the event. These steals and Hot Buys get highlighted in the upcoming catalog and the special event page. While some jumbo haircare makes this event, deals in the Jumbo Love Event are typically better.

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Birchbox September 2018 Subscription Box Review and Your Customer Appreciation Day Reminder

Today is Customer Appreciation Day, CAD. See my Customer Appreciation Day article to see what’s happening.


I’ve been a Birchbox subscriber since February of 2014 and over 4 and a half years later, I am still happy. There have been a lot of changes over the years, but I continue to receive new things to try. Some of my favorite beauty products, which I’ve touched upon many times, are things I found in my Birchboxes that I probably never would have purchased otherwise. My September Box, from the original subscription box celebrating eight years, is another hit. All five items are new to me, and four of the five are products I am happy to try. As I’ve said many times over the years, even the ones that do not excite you upon arrival can surprise you once you try them. Thus, I would rather have a box of new items, which bring new possibilities than a box of products I’ve tried before and find okay. Granted, I always like getting duplicates of products I love, and I try to grab Real Chemistry Peels from Birchbox as often as possible. I love when it is a sample choice, because I can always use more.

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FabFitFun Fall 2018 Subscription Box With Add-ons Review

FabFitFun is a quarterly subscription. It puts out one box per season. Boxes have over $200 in value. The items are always full-sized and include products from: beauty, wellness, fashion, and fitness lines. Subscribers can either pay $179.99 for an annual subscription ($20 off when buying 4 boxes up front) or $49.99 for a Seasonal subscription. Shipping is free, but sales tax gets charged (in certain states). There is usually a code to receive $10 off your first seasonal box. Those codes are fffa2p6 or FAB10Members can select add-ons at deeply discounted prices to include with their boxes. All subscribers get to customize some choice options, but Annual Subscribers (select members) get extra choices.

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BrandBacker and Lypsyl Silky Swedish Beeswax Lip Balm Intense Protection Review

My lips are very dry. As I’ve stated many times over the past couple of years, I am on the hunt for the perfect lip balm. In my attempt to find the perfect lip balm for the best possible price, I have purchased countless balms. Every time I think I am ready to post my comprehensive review article, I purchase more lip balms to test. I did that once again, so I am still testing new ones. My goal is to get that large review up before the winter is over. Fingers crossed I can stop buying lip balm long enough to finish the article. In order to properly review a lip balm, I need a minimum of two weeks using it multiple times a day with no other lip balms. In some cases, I am even able to test it with no other lip products, because it is not unusual for me to go two weeks without wearing makeup. It also helps to stop using any lip balm at all after testing one to see how my lips feel after I stop using the product.

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Sephora Favorites 2018 Superstars Kit Review

See the grab or pass on the Sephora Favorites Superstars Everyday Must Haves, and all 2019 Sephora Promotions, Sales, GWP, Deals, Promo Codes, and Events.


This 2018 Sephora Favorites Kit came back in stock temporarily (after I reviewed it), but it returned to its original $80 price tag. I went over the reasons I would not purchase the 2018 Sephora Favorites Superstars Kit at full-price in a grab or pass article. The main reason was the original price of $80 was too high for mostly samples that Sephora has given out many times. Of the $85.50 in full-size products, none of the items really grabbed my attention. I already owned two of them and the other two were things I would not usually purchase, especially at full-price. All of the samples already existed in my collection, and I did not need duplicates of any of them. My decision in that article was I would purchase the kit if it dipped to $40. At that price, I could justify grabbing the two items I did not already own and keeping some duplicates of the products I really love and would actually need. Days after posting that article, Sephora discounted the set to $40 in its Labor Day Sale. To make sure I could not pass this deal up, Sephora allowed me to use my Rouge discount code from the Beauty Insider Appreciation Event for an extra 20% off bringing the final sales price to $32.

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Ulta Beauty Offers 3x Points on Everything for UltaMate and 5x Points for Platinum and Diamond Members 2018

See all 2019 Ulta Beauty Promotions, Deals, Coupons, GWP, Sales, and Events. As soon as I see the first 2019 offer for 3x points for UltaMate Members and 5x points for Platinum and Diamond members, I will start the new article.


I track all Ulta offers, and this article will track every offer given for 3x points on everything to UltaMate members and 5x points for Platinum and Diamond members in 2018. Articles have already gone up for 5x points on everything, 2x for UltaMate, 3x for Platinum, 4x for Diamond, 10x Points for Diamond and Platinum, and 5x points on specific brands or products. This is typically the last (unique) offer each year, so it will usually be the last article on points published each year. Any after this would be new offers, which have not existed in the past. Every time a corresponding offer pops up, I edit the respective article for the year instead of starting a new one. That keeps every like offer in one place.

You can always look in the Rewards section of your Account whether you receive a notification email from Ulta or not. Offers can get activated from there or via email (if you receive one). This article pertains to blanket (general) offers based on level, so most should get included. It does seem that those excluded are having less luck getting included when they call customer service. They are typically told the offers are targeted, but blanketed offers to a reward tier are not usually targeted. To learn more about earning points, I recommend reading this article on Earning and Redeeming Points.

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Sephora VIB Rouge Only Closed Door Event Holiday 2018 Preview

See recent VIB Rouge Events, and all 2019 Sephora Promotions, Sales, GWP, Deals, Promo Codes, and Events.


The first closed-door, VIB Rouge only event for 2018 took place at Sephora on Saturday, September 15th from 8:30am – 10am PST. This event gave Rouge members first access to the holiday launches. Most years have at least two closed-door events, so it is still possible we will get one with the VIB sale later this fall. This event was not as grand as some past closed-door events for a season preview, but it was still worth my time. Every event is different. Some stores provide the bare minimum while others go all out, so no two experiences will be the same. I recommend reading Inside a Sephora VIB Rouge Event for those who have never attended who are trying to decide if this event is worth their time.

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Target Facial Beauty Box September 2018 Review

Boxes usually release on the first Monday (or last Monday when the month has 5). This is the first in a long time where it released on another day.

Target releases monthly beauty boxes. These are not subscription boxes. They used to sell out on the same day they released, but that only happens with the super incredible boxes now. If you consider the box I am about to share incredible, grab it now. 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 Facial Beauty Box September retails for $7. Another box also released today. As I am not purchasing that one, I will not cover it.

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