The Sephora Beauty Insider Community at times sends gratis to its members. As some of you may know, I took 2017 off from most social activity. Those in my personal life saw me a lot less. My blogging was almost nonexistent. Social media also slowed down. I just needed some time off from most of my responsibilities. On 08/16/17, a Beauty Insider Community moderator at Sephora reached out to me to see if I wanted some free products. The answer to that question is always yes. Who does not love free products? Everything is always better when it is free. In exchange for the free products, Sephora and the brands want honest reviews. It is impossible to review makeup when your break from life completely halts makeup application. Well, I finally tried all the items Sephora sent me on behalf of these brands, and my reviews are ready. Better late than never.
Happy Thanksgiving. Today is the official launch for the Tom Ford Lips & Boys Lip Colors at Sephora. To celebrate the launch and appreciate the most active BeautyTalk users (community members of Sephora’s online Beauty forum), Sephora and Tom Ford sent selected community members a free lipstick. The best part of this giveaway is we got to select a fellow BTer to receive a free lipstick as well. The ability to pay the gift forward makes receiving this gift even better. I love that I got to pick someone to receive a gift, and I selected the person who is going through the most. Hopefully, a tiny gift can brighten her season. This is my favorite time of year. On a similar note, the lady in front of my husband in the Dunkin Donuts Drive Thru this morning paid for his order. That has never happened to me, but I would also pay for the person behind me, like my husband did.
A Sephora moderator contacted me via its Beautytalk Forum on 06/03/16. Beautytalk is my favorite online hangout, because there are a lot of like-minded friendly people to chat with about all things beauty. I probably hang out there a little more than I should. Those familiar with Beautytalk may know me under the user notcreative. The moderator wrote, “as an active community member who has made great contributions and given helpful product recommendations on BeautyTalk, you’ve been especially chosen to receive a free gift (no purchase necessary) of a new Ole Henriksen product! You will receive Power Bright, a three-step brightening system with a 25% Vitamin C Complex.”
Beautytalk hosted a giveaway on 03/07/16. Ten winners were selected at random to receive four full-size products from Madam C J Walker Beauty, a new line introduced this spring to Sephora. Entrants only had to comment on why they wanted to try the line with the #MadamCJWalkerGiveaway hashtag before midnight. My entry (notcreative is my username) mentioned that I need assistance from product to help my curls. They are big on the under side of my hair but the top side only looks wavy without product to hold them in place. It seems like winners’ hair types range from wavy to very curly, so I think what one typed in their entry had less to do with winning than pure luck. I was selected as one of the ten winners on 03/11/16.
Sephora hosts a variety of chats via Beautytalk with beauty professionals who represent the brands we know and love. I’ve participated in a lot of them for over a year. Who better to ask your brand specific question to than the brand creator or a top executive! On 06/29/15, Drybar and Bumble and bumble each chatted with Beautytalk members for an hour. Although I’ve dabbled with Bumble & Bumble, I do not have a lot of experience with Drybar at all (other than my shower cap, which I adore). The topic was hair, and I struggle with nothing when getting ready more than hair.
I want to find a magical product that reduces or eliminates frizz in a foolproof form. Hair oils can look greasy when they’re not applied perfectly. My hair is seriously a huge frizz ball, but I almost prefer the frizzy look to oily when I apply hair oil improperly. Rubbing it together and applying from mid shaft to ends helps reduce the oily look, but I wish there was something more effective near the base of my head. Though neither Alli Webb nor Mischa answered my specific question, I did find some helpful responses in the insightful questions others asked.
Sephora hosts a variety of chats via Beautytalk with beauty professionals who represent the brands we know and love. I’ve participated in a lot of them for over a year. Who better to ask your brand specific question to than the brand creator or a top executive. Murad and Dr. Dennis Gross are two brands I love, so it was nice to see that Dr. Murad and Dr. Gross themselves were going to chat with us for an hour each. The topic of the chat was summer skin care, which was specifically set up to discuss sun safety.
If you’re like me, you begrudgingly love the sun. It is wonderful to spend a day playing in the sun, but the rays are so damaging to our skin. Sunburns, sun spots, and the long-term wrinkle damage can prematurely age us. On 06/02/15, I was happy to take part in this chat. Although you may have missed the chat, someone could have asked a question similar to one you may have had, so it never hurts to refer back to it. There were a couple of insightful questions that both Dr. Murad and Dr. Gross answered much to my delight as much as the poster of the questions.
Some of you may have already read Beautytalk and How It Pays to be a Member. Well, courtesy of Formula X owner, Kendo, it is paying again. It appears Sephora sent the vast majority of Beautytalk members were gifted a free Formula X The System to Go Set. The set contains 4 0.1oz nail polishes and retails for $16. While this thread clearly demonstrates some are still waiting, I have a good feeling most people will be victorious in receiving a set. Thus far, responders have only reported to receiving Alive, the set with peach-pink polish, and Pyrotechnic, the set with red polish. I am watching the thread to see if anyone receives Thrilling, the set with gray polish.
If you have not received yours yet but have ever created a Beautytalk account, there is a good chance that yours is on the way. The first reports of this lovely gift were dated five days ago, but I only received mine yesterday. With thousands of users, it makes sense that they are staggering mailings. It does not appear closeness to Kendo has anything to do with the timely manner in which you will receive the item either. My package was mailed from 525 Market Street, 15th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105. Although I live in the next state over, people in Canada (yes, Canadians are not excluded) received theirs before I received mine. There was even a user who reported receiving one at her UK address.
We’ve been in the information age for some time now. In this time, I have joined a number of different online communities. My favorite by far is Beautytalk. It is Sephora’s advice community. Yes, Sephora has an online place for discussion. People can ask questions, discuss beauty, get advice on products, start threads for a number of different reasons, and hang out. The vast majority of users are beauty enthusiasts who love it as much or more than I do. Their wealth of knowledge and helpfulness is impressive. Most are so incredibly friendly and will take as much time as you need to explain things in full detail.
There are many communities like this, and I like everything they stand for. For nearly two years, I’ve been hanging out on Beautytalk far more than any other site. For those familiar with BT, you may know me as notcreative. I try to help when I can, but I mostly like to share deals. Getting the best deal on my purchases is something I strive for. I created this thread to share my passion with other people. The result was that I found a lot of like minded people. It quickly became one of my favorite hangouts, and I have spent a lot (and saved a lot) thanks to everyone who contributes to the thread. After six months on that thread, I realized I loved it more every day. That inspired me to create this site.
The most obvious reason I love Beautytalk is because of all the real life and online friends I’ve met. If you’re reading this and we have a relationship thanks to Beautytalk, you know what I am referring to. It is so amazing to discuss beauty with friends who share the passion with me. I found I like helping people, too. Many people were kind enough to help me when I first got started, and I enjoy returning the favor. Plus, I still get occasional help from users, because no one person knows everything. We all lean on each other for advice.
It pays in a number of different ways to be a Beautytalk member as well. Active Beautytalk members usually have first access to point perks, promotions and advance notification of Sephora’s sales. There are fantastic regular threads for Sephora perks and promos that you need join BT and be a VIB to view. A special sale thread is created with each new one. Sephora staggers its emails, so I usually see the information on BT long before I receive my email. Sometimes, fantastic offers are gone before I get my email, so I have taken advantage of these offers thanks only to BT.
Beautytalk also runs occasional giveaways for members only. In the most recent giveaway, ten lucky members won the new Clarisonic Smart Profile systems. I love my Plus, so it was awesome that I had a chance to win that. Seven of the ladies who won are people I know, so I was very happy for them. Of course, I wanted one myself, so I was 1% jealous.
Beautytalk frequently asks users to trial full sized new products before they hit the market. The most recent batch of recipients tested the Sephora Pantone Color of the Year items. It seems like most were gifted the eyeshadow palette and lipstick. All Beautytalk members whether new or a long time member, a beauty insider or a VIB Rouge are eligible for these tests. Every product has a different selection criterion. Members who were selected for the CotY gifts have actively shared looks and reviews in one of the many threads where users upload pictures.
Most of the time, different people are selected to receive trial items, so there is a good chance you will be picked to try something at some point if you’re active. In August 2014, I got my turn. The Moderator sent a private message asking if I was interested in trying the Dr Dennis Gross Alpa Beta Medi-Spa Peel. The message said I was selected due to my contribution on the skincare boards. I just had to respond with my address, and Sephora shipped me the full size product to trial. This product retails for $110, so it was quite a gift. The only thing I like more than a deal is getting something for free. Sephora and Dr Dennis Gross only asked that I review the item on Beautytalk and the Sephora review page explaining that I got the product free of charge (in the interest of full discretion).
I started this thread on Beautytalk to document my journey. My journey ended yesterday as I used the final of 16 weekly treatments. It took me a little longer than 16 weeks to complete the product. Due to sickness and vacation, I took some weeks off. That proved to be a mistake. There are 16 individual peels inside the jar. They’re pre soaked circular pads that are extremely thick. Another user and I (as you can follow along on the thread I attached) noticed that the pads started drying out right when the jar was opened. She decided to transfer her pads to a more secure container. Although, I considered it, I ultimately decided to keep the item in the original container, because it was better for the review.
As my journey took closer to five months than four, the last 3 pads were pretty dry. After the third to last barley gave me any liquid, and I felt it was a wasted peel. With the last 2 pads, I decided to wet them slightly with water to re-activate the liquids. Although, I am sure it reduced the effectiveness slightly, I know it was better than the nearly dry pad. You can feel these pads working, especially if you have an open cut or acne on your face. The pads cause the area to sting a little. It is not a sting I cannot handle, but it is definitely noticeable. Despite having an open wound the day I used the almost dry pad, I felt nothing meaning the active ingredients were not as effective as they usually are. When I used the last two pads activated with additional water, I felt the usual burning. You will feel no burning at all if you have no cuts or acne, which I was fortunate enough to experience a few times.
Each package contains 16 peel pads (step 1), a 0.5oz firming peptide milk (step 2) and a headband. I only ever used the peptide milk and nothing else on my skin immediately following treatment. I have extremely dry skin, but I found it held enough moisture to hold me over until the next face wash. Nervous, my skin would feel dry, I used three pumps with every treatment. Surprisingly, I still have peptide milk left now that the peel pads are gone. Thus, I recommend 3 pumps with each pad. The combination of these two products can leave your face feeling sticky. Through trial and error, I discovered the stickiness was reduced when I waited five minutes between the finish of the peel pad to the application of the milk. That is two minutes over the recommendation of the product.
I want to share some before and after pictures here, because the improvement in skin just from right before to right after treatment is drastic. The product continues to work after application as well.
Even with the five minute technique, your skin will probably still feel slightly sticky. Thus, I suggest this treatment be applied at night before bed. Sticky skin when you’re going about your morning is not ideal. This product creates an incredible glow that seems to linger on average of about 4-5 days with the glow being the most beautiful immediately after application and fading over time. If you want a nice glow for your day, it may be worth enduring the slightly sticky skin. I did that a couple of times and found it worthwhile.
My skin improved greatly with this product. The ingredients definitely work hard. I love the glow, and that the glowing effects stay on your face after many washes. When your skin is normally dull, you will definitely notice the difference of glowing skin. The verdict is this is an excellent product if used within 16 weeks or transferred to more secure container. Skin will glow and improve in overall texture. I recommend it highly. It is expensive at $110, but a single treatment only costs $6.88. That is not too bad. For an even better deal, this can be purchased during chic week for 15% off or the fall sale for 20% off. My plan is to pick up my next one in the fall if I have made my way through most of my mask stash by then. If I have not, I will pick it up during chic week next year. I will definitely purchase this again (even if I must pay $110).
Sephora does not inform a single Beauty Insider of all deal details. Certain offers are targeted and others have different purchase minimums based on the code. Remember to check New Offers and/or Recycled Offers before placing an online order. If you’re spending over $25, you can add a promo code to any order. See all Beautytalk and 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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