This winner of this giveaway has received her gifts. The next giveaway has posted. You can enter that one and see what the winner of this giveaway received.
Happy New Year! This year flew by like no other. I have some more items to re-home, so I wanted to host another giveaway. To make sure the winner receives his/her prize by Valentine’s Day, I am cutting the entry period off after January 31st. For this giveaway, I have four brand new, full-size products and a fifth the winner can select from three options. Once again, these are products I already own, and I just do not need duplicates.
It’s time for the Best in Beauty for 2018! Part of the reason we try new things is the thrill of the hunt. We all want to discover a holy grail or made for me product and are willing to gamble on the unknown. At times, the risk pays off, and we find things worth talking about. Those are the items we want to shout about from the rooftops. Deal shoppers do not always try things the moment they release, because we like to read reviews and wait for sales. The items on this list were not necessarily released in 2018. I did not discover their greatness until 2018 though. This is a list of the 10 best products I tried for the first time this year and for good measure I have two bonus products. While it is amazing when we find drugstore items that perform as well as high-end ones, and I sample products from low-end to luxury with that goal in mind, this list is only indicative of the best products (not the best in their price range).
It’s time for the worst in Beauty for 2018. Few things suck worse than spending hard-earned money on an awful product. Whether low-end, mid-range, high-end, or luxury, any money spent is a bad deal when the product is terrible. I really could call this article the 10 Worst Beauty Deals of 2018. The more you spend the more disappointed you are when there is no return on your investment. It is also the reason we are more forgiving when drugstore products let us down but feel more disappointed when a high-end product is a bust. This is why high-end and luxury products make these lists more than drugstore items. Some are just not a fit, but others are universally bad. Okay, nothing is universally good or bad, but some products come close. Of all the products I tried this year, I selected my ten least favorite. I limited the list to products I tried for the first time this year. Deal shoppers do not always try things the moment they release, so these things did not all launch in 2018.
After I review my Empty Products, I take extra time to go over the standouts. It is a round-up for the best of the best. Only products that seem like they’re made for me make FabuFind status, so there are a lot of items I love that never make it. These are items I would repurchase, even without a deal. Items I am loving but cannot finish any time soon make it into my Core Collection. To eventually spotlight all FabuFinds, I will never repeat items already mentioned in a past article. That does not mean they lost their magic. An item not spotlighted in a past Empties article may get promoted as I try it more and fall deeper in love. If something gets demoted from FabuFind status (formula changes, skin changes, finding something better, etc), I will note the change in the original article I mentioned it in. There are two products I consider FabuFinds in my Fall 2018 Empties that I have not discussed yet.
I can’t believe we are only eight days into winter, because it has been so cold here for a while. Either this year was one of the coldest fall seasons ever or it just affected me more than it usually does. It could also be this sickness that is jading me.
I love reviewing my empty products, because I usually know by the time I’ve finished something how I feel about it. Reviews based on first impressions can change, so empty product reviews are much more comprehensive. These are most of the items I finished during the fall of 2018. A few always slip through. For items that I neither love nor hate, I am always willing to try them again, but I will not seek them out. This generally means I will only try them again if they are: free, on sale, or in a set (sets are a great way to get a deal as long as the value of the items you want to try exceed the cost you are paying). Empties from my October and December Foil Challenge are not here, because I wanted to avoid the redundancy. The pH of products I’ve tested this season are below. Visit the pH article for info on how I test and a list of everything I’ve tested.
Every time Ulta Beauty sends me 5x points multipliers for specific brands, products, and services in 2019, I will update this article. Bonus Points and offers for 5x points on anything get tracked separately. These point multipliers combine with other offers. See my article on Earning and Redeeming Points for more details on how they combine. If you do not receive an email on this promotion, remember to check My Bonus Offers inside My Rewards. You can activate offers from there (or the email, if you receive one). Most 5x points offers are targeted and only redeemable by those who activate them. Activate your offers before you shop. It is a good idea to check there anytime you place an order, because I’ve found offers I did not get an email for in there.
Ulta releases so many beauty bags during the year that I split up the 2019 beauty bag articles into General Beauty Bags (listed in the GWP section), Affiliate Beauty Bags (available to anyone who happens upon an affiliate post), Ulta Beauty Collection Beauty Bags, Diamond Perk Beauty Bags (available to Diamond members), Platinum Perk Beauty Bags (available to Platinum and Diamond members), Friday Summer Treats, Skinfatuation Offers, and Beauty Breaks (4-6 hour offers). There are also targeted GWP Coupons (I receive on my account and share). Every time I see a general beauty bag or GWP offer in 2019, I will update this article. These beauty bags are gifts with a minimum purchase. Bags initially carry a charge for the GWP minimum. Add the bag and a qualifying purchase to your account while the offer is active, and the cost for the bag should reduce to zero. The gift with purchase minimum is based on the subtotal, so you should still qualify for the gift if your total dips below the minimum after a coupon gets applied.
When it comes to Sephora Play versus Birchbox comparisons, I feel a month-to-month match up is too short. To really get a feel for which is better, I’ve compared every box I received from Sephora Play in 2018 to every box I’ve received from Birchbox in 2018. That is 12 monthly battles in one article. I’ve been subscribed to Birchbox since February of 2014 and Sephora Play since the national launch in May 2016 without any breaks for either. Those subscriptions have provided me with a lot of mini samples that I paid $2 each for ($10 box divided by 5 deluxe samples). Every month, I review Birchbox and Sephora Play separately (click those links to see the reviews). Detailed, dedicated articles are usually more helpful, so I will continue to separate their monthly reviews. After each year wraps, I write a comparison article to go over the products and values for each box picking the one I like the best each month. I will also go over the average value of the 12 boxes for the year, and other important information. My goal with this is to give a comprehensive review for those who are looking to subscribe to only one or the other. While I will give my opinion, look at the boxes and the information I provide to decide which is best for you.
The 2019 Sephora Rouge Qualification gifts have been officially announced. For 2019, this welcome gift is referred to as the Sephora VIB Rouge Tier Celebration Gift. See the VIB gifts, which were also announced. This is a major change from 2018. There was a welcome kit in the past, but the 2019 welcome gifts are intangible (other than the certificate options). Each member can select the option s/he likes best. These changes will officially launch on January 16th. Members of each tier who qualify can redeem the gift of his/her choice on the 16th this year and starting on the 1st in each year that follows.
Beautylish 2019 Lucky bags have sold out, but the sign-up list for 2020 Lucky Bags is already up. My 2019 Beautylish Lucky Bag review is below, because my bag arrived on January 22nd. To keep everything regarding this deal in one place, I used this article to let people know the bags were about to go live and review my bag after I received it. I hoped that would serve as a reminder for anyone who forgot or did not already know about the bags. A quick recap is the XL bags were gone in four minutes, and I was not one of the lucky people who scored one. Thankfully, I did get a regular bag in fair to medium, and I look forward to seeing how it compares to the bag I received last year. Once I receive my bag, I will review it here.
The Love Your Skin Event for Winter 2019 runs from Sunday, January 6th through Saturday, January 26th. This is a 3-week event centered around skincare. It features daily steals up to 50% off and promotions that run throughout the entire event. While I would love to see this repeat as the other 21-day events at Ulta do, this one only takes place once a year in January. Ulta overlaps this event with the Winter Liter Sale, which starts today. Both of these major events end at the same time.
Welcome to the place where I like to discuss my favorites from each season that I did not finish. Anything I’ve finished this season made it into my Empties article. Items I am still in love with as I empty them become FabuFinds. While I cannot promise I will ever finish these (some products expire before I can empty them) and I cannot promise I will still love them enough to label them as FabuFinds upon completion, I loved them throughout this season. These are items I reached for many times even though I have plenty of similar items in my stash collecting dust. Many of these items are serious contenders for my Top 10 of the Year. There were six items I reached for constantly this fall.
I was planning on skipping my December 2018 Julep Maven box, because I was out of pre-paid boxes and was very close to my beauty budget for December with all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. The problem is I forgot to skip. You have to log in between the 20th and the 24th to skip a box. With all the emails I received for that week on the best deals of the year, I missed the email reminding me that selection was open. It was there (as I discovered later), so it was 100% my fault. It also means this was the first box in the history of my Julep subscription (which originated in May of 2014) that I did not get to customize. One of the things I love about Julep is I get to pick everything that goes into my box. Whenever I cannot find enough things to buy or want to take a break for financial reasons, I do. Since I am on a Bombshell subscription, I could not even see what items I was receiving. My order history lists my December 2018 items as Wintry Florals. So, the items I received below were 100% a surprise. You can call it a Christmas gift I “sent” to myself by forgetting to skip the box. Keep reading to see if I regret not skipping or consider this a happy mistake.
There is a new promo code starting on Christmas Eve where Beauty Insider Members can receive more deluxe samples with higher purchases. This is the Spend More, Get More promotion. I’ve included these offers with the standout Beauty Insider Promotions all year, but I decided to start a separate article to track these. Every time I see one of these offers through 2019, I will update this. 2018 is almost over, so it did not make sense to end it there. A lot of people wish Sephora would let them select one promo code per $25 spent and these offers are usually more fruitful than that. Too bad they only pop up occasionally and for a limited time. Having an idea of when these might come up can help those who hate using a promo code with a $25 minimum purchase on a $75 order and cannot wait until the next discount comes out. Trust me, I am right there with you. The free sample with the $25 purchase offers rarely appeal to me, so I barely ever redeem any of them.
The 2019 Sephora Birthday Gifts are out, and they’ve caused quite a stir. Sephora birthday gifts for 2019 have up to four options depending on your Beauty Insider Rewards level. These Sephora birthday gifts come from Drunk Elephant, Kat Von D, Jo Malone, Milk Makeup, and IGK. A lot of retailers other than Sephora offer birthday gifts, so check my list before your big day. There are two Sephora birthday gift 2019 options any Beauty Insider member can redeem.
The online only option(s) for this year is for Rouge and VIB members only. It started as a Milk Makeup Gift but switched to Jo Malone in Quarter Two. Before quarter two even wrapped, it switched again to IGK. Sephora is also starting the year with the option for Rouge and VIB members to get 250-points in place of a gift. That option was not added until August of 2018. A lot of retailers offer birthday gifts, so check my list before your big day. I reviewed the Bumble and bumble, Bite Beauty, and Glamglow birthday gifts from 2018. See my 2019 Sephora Birthday Gift review for Drunk Elephant, Kat Von D, Milk Makeup, and Jo Malone.
The October 2019 Ulta Beauty birthday gift is in. We also know the Ulta Beauty 2019 birthday gifts for November and December. Each UltaMate Rewards member gets two or three 2019 Ulta Birthday Gifts based on rewards tier. This is the first year where gifts get released by birth month. Before this, Ulta birthday gifts were released by quarter or a year at a time. A lot of retailers other than Ulta offer birthday gifts, so check my list before your big day. With 2019 Ulta birthday gifts getting announced by birth month, it is highly unlikely many spoilers will come out. I will spoil them as quickly as I can. If you have not joined the UltaMate Rewards Program, sign up before your birthday. A birthday gift is still a present, so I suggest grabbing them as long as a trip to the store is convenient. As someone with a Quarter One birthday, I am pretty familiar with less than stellar Ulta Beauty Birthday Gifts.
The last Sephora Birthday gift I am reviewing for 2018 is the one from Bumble and bumble. I redeemed the Bite Beauty gift from Sephora for my birthday this year, and I arranged a trade with a friend to get the Glamglow gift. Both of those gifts got reviewed separately (click the links to read them). That only left one of the three gifts Sephora offered for this year for me to review. An option to redeem 250-points in place of the gift popped up later in the year. My plan was to redeem the Bumble and bumble gift when my son got his Sephora birthday offer. Yes, I was planning on stealing my son’s Sephora gift, but it’s not like I would not have given him something in exchange for it. Well, his birthday just passed. When I logged in to place an order on his account for the Bumble and bumble gift, it was gone.
A few years ago, a reader emailed me about CouponCabin. I used her referral link to sign up, but then I forgot about it. Earlier this week, I received an email directly from CouponCabin. Apparently, they reach out to blogs to see if writers want to offer deals to their readers. This is not a sponsored post. I’ve never even done a sponsored post, but I would let you know if I ever decided to. So far, I have not been interested in any offers I’ve received. There are no affiliate links in this post, because I have no affiliation with CouponCabin. As CouponCabin does not even offer referral links at the moment, you will not find any of those either. The only benefit I get from posting this is knowing that some of you will score an amazing deal. That is enough for me.
When it comes to putting broken powders together the traditional way, I’ve had mixed success. For the most part, it works and leaves the formula intact to perform the way it did before the repair. The traditional method is to crush up the powder, mix it with isopropyl alcohol until it resembles wet sand, and press it back together. Using 99% alcohol and very firm press will typically yield the best results. I’ve noticed the powders crack and crumble more when I do not press very firmly, use 70% alcohol, or use too much alcohol (where your product looks more like mud than wet sand). Trial and error will help you learn how to master the right amount of each. At 70%, it takes longer for the liquid to evaporate. From my experience, the longer the product sits wet in the pan, the more likely it will crack and dry out once it finally returns to powder form.
It’s time to review my December 2018 Sephora Play Box. 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.
The FabFitFun Winter 2019 Edit Sale is up next. Every time the FabFitFun Edit Sale opens in 2019, I will screenshot all of them in this article. What is the Edit Sale? The Edit Sale is a quarterly sales event for subscribers after it finishes sending out the seasonal boxes. Items in the Edit Sale come from past boxes, past add-ons, and new items for 25-70% off. You can add up to 3 of any item to your cart. Once the sale wraps, you will get charged for any items in your cart, so you can add or drop items without checking out throughout the event. Items ship up to 2 weeks after your card gets charged. Orders over $25 get free shipping for mainland US shoppers.
Another new promotion launched at Ulta Beauty today. It is 3x points for UltaMate members, 5x Points for Platinum members, and 7x points for Diamond members on all products. This is the first time I’ve even seen a 7x points offer that works on all products. It is also the largest general multiplier I’ve seen since 2014. That was the last year the 10x Points Event in August applied to all products. Since 2014, every time we’ve received a 10x points offer, it only applied to select products. That makes the 7x offer on all products the best points offer since then.
I track all Sephora offers, so this is more than just a 2019 Sephora sale calendar. It is the master calendar for all 2019 Sephora Sales, Promotions, GWP, Deals, Promo Codes, and Events. By tracking all offers, I can predict sale dates and other events for the future. Consider it a starting point for budget planning or an idea of what to expect and when. To keep this as concise as possible, this timeline serves more as a guide map. Whenever I write a separate article to delve into more detail on the event or promotion, I will link it below. If a separate article does not exist, I will list the pertinent information in this one.
This Sephora sale calendar will only include major promotions, except links to any I spotlight, like regular Beauty Insider promo codes, Rewards Bazaar Perks, sale items, etc. Anything I find worth mentioning is below. The main thing people look for on the calendar are the 2019 Sephora Sale dates, so they can see when they can get 20% off, 15% off, or 10% off. This timeline shows that you do not always have to wait for a traditional sale to get a good deal. See Tips For Getting The Best Deal At Sephora for a deeper dive into Beauty Insider Rewards Program and how to maximize your deals.
I track all Ulta Beauty offers, so this is more than just a 2019 Ulta Beauty sale calendar. It is the master calendar for all 2019 Ulta Beauty Promotions, Sales, GWP, Deals, Coupons, and Events. By tracking all offers, I can predict sale dates and other events for the future. Consider it a starting point for budget planning or an idea of what to expect and when. To keep this as concise as possible, this timeline serves more as a guide map. Whenever I write a separate article to delve into more detail on the event or promotion, I will link it below. If a separate article does not exist, I will list the pertinent information in this one.
This Ulta sale calendar will only include major promotions, except links to any I spotlight, like Hot Buys and sale items. Anything I find worth mentioning is below. Ulta has deals or some type of event taking place almost every day of the year. There is almost never a reason to make a full-price purchase without getting some type of benefit. See Tips For Getting The Best Deal At Ulta for a deeper dive into UltaMate Rewards and how to maximize your deals.
It’s time to review my December 2018 Birchbox! 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, and you can opt out of one type of sample per box during sample choice. 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 in your profile. You could get a box with 2 haircare items, 2 makeup items, and 1 skincare item or any similar variety, but you will rarely 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.
Whenever free shipping at Ulta drops below the minimum $50 purchase it usually has through 2019, I will update this article. The most common drop is to free shipping with a $35 minimum purchase, but free shipping with a $25 minimum purchase offers appear at times. Diamond members get free shipping with a $25 minimum purchase, but there are times when that drops as well. I will try to note dips in the free shipping minimum every time I see them. Discounts on the minimum will also get mentioned in the corresponding articles for events. There are certain free shipping minimums always tried to events. Others pop up randomly without an event, so I decided to dedicate an article of its own to track them.
Whenever Ulta offers a free eRewards card with an online gift card or eGift card purchase, I will update this article. It does not happen often, so I will use the same article to track offers through 2019 and probably longer. Whether you are purchasing the gift card for yourself or someone else, the free eReward card sweetens the deal and puts free money in your pocket. Those looking to purchase gift cards should learn when these offers pop up and try to purchase them then. Others can just purchase gift cards for themselves whenever they pop up to have their money stretch further when they buy things. The offers I’ve seen so far are for a free $10 eReward on a $50 gift card purchase, and a free $20 eReward card with a $100 gift card purchase. If any other offers pop up, I will edit this. Both of those offers give 20% in cash back on top of the rewards you can earn as you redeem them.
Although, I love that PINCHme keeps sending me free magazine redemption codes, it disappoints to see it is not as easy as it once was to get free samples. It has been so long since I’ve purchased a magazine subscription yet thanks to companies like this, I always get them. My guess is the magazine industry (at least in print form will be non-existent in the next five to ten years). I do most of my reading online anyway, so I will not miss print magazines once they are officially a thing of the past. Companies must adapt over time to grow (unless they have a niche market on lock), so I do not begrudge PINCHme for the changes. Nevertheless, I would be amiss to continue reviewing items without noting them.
It’s time to review my Winter 2018 FabFitFun box! FabFitFun is a quarterly subscription that 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 fffa2p6and FAB10. Members 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.
When the add-ons opened up for the Winter 2018 Box, I noticed FabFitFun was offering a Men’s Gift Box for $49.99. It is the FabFitFun for Him 2019 Edition. That gave me the opportunity to get my husband a FabFitFun box of his own. I decided to show the contents to him before purchasing it instead of surprising him, because there were a couple of things I was unsure of. After looking, he assured me that he would probably try everything but the dopp kit. He already loves the dopp kit he owns. With 7 items inside, I figured it was still worth the purchase if he tried six. Besides, my 12-year-old (he was 11 when I ordered this but 12 when it arrived) does not have a dopp kit of his own yet. Everything inside this set would stay in the family making it a great purchase decision. While I am unsure if this was FabFitFun testing the waters to see if it could release a Men’s Box on a regular basis, its first release was a success with us. We would consider buying more, because my husband finally likes trying new things.