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Makeup

I mentioned in a previous post that I received a mini quad of the Coastal Scents Revealed Palette to try in my January Birchbox.  I was really excited because I’ve been wanting to try these shadows after hearing wonderful things about them.  I had never gotten around to buying Coastal Scents palettes after suffering a huge letdown from BH Cosmetic palettes…you know, those big 88 and 120 palettes? Coastal Scents supposedly sell the same exact palettes, except they got their own name plastered on them instead of BH’s.  But the Revealed Palette has received rave reviews from the beauty community and has been praised as a great dupe for some of the higher-end cult favorites on the market.  In fact, the palette has done so great that Coastal Scents recently came out with a second edition of the palette.  So now that I have some of the shadows to try out, I’ve decided to put them to the test against a few of my most loved palettes…and I’m pretty impressed!

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Coastal Scents v. Lorac (1, 2); Urban Decay Naked (1, 2, 3); Too Faced Chocolate Bar.

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One of the perks of being a Beauty Insider with Sephora is that every year during your birthday month, you get a free gift.  The gift usually contains two to three deluxe samples from brands that they, obviously, stock.  Last year, the gift was Make Up For Ever’s Smoky Extravagant mascara and Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N9 (2014).  The year before that, it was Benefit Cosmetics’ Watt’s Up highlighter and They’re Real mascara (2013).  And the year before that was Fresh’s Sugar Lip Treatment and Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment (2012).  I don’t know what the gift was for 2011 and earlier; I only became a Beauty Insider in 2012.

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There are three levels to Sephora’s rewards program: Beauty Insider, VIB, and VIB Rouge.  It’s free to sign up to be a Beauty Insider.  For VIB, I believe you now have to spend $350 within a calendar year. In the past, I am pretty sure you had to spend $500 for that level.  For VIB Rouge, you have to spend $1,000 within a calendar year.  If you are a VIB Rouge member, I believe you get an additional deluxe sample for your gift.  I wouldn’t know, I’m only a VIB. :[

Anyway, my birthday month is January.  Which means that I get to find out what the gifts are and receive them a lot earlier than most.  Exciting!  So for this year, Sephora is giving away NARS Lip Pencils!  As a VIB, you get the lip pencils in Rikugien and Cruella.  Click below for pictures and swatches!

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This post is inspired by my friend Dora, who asked about what must-have items a starter makeup kit should contain.  I am not a beauty blogger, but I do have a strong, strong addiction to makeup that borderlines creepy and disturbing.  So in the spirit of my creepiness, I bring you what I believe, are the building blocks of a basic makeup toolbox.  First things first: reach deep down inside of you and figure out what your makeup philosophy is.  Yes, that’s right.  Do it.  Why do you want to wear makeup?  Is it merely to coverup your perceived imperfections?  Or is makeup more of a burdensome accessory that you want to pull out only on special occasions (much like a pair of killer high heels)?  Knowing why you want to smear warpaint on your face will help guide you through your shopping choices and save money on overhyped items that you will never actually use.

This post will be organized into 2 categories: “necessities” and “bonus items,” followed by recommended products, all tried-and-true.  Think of the makeup journey as going from looking sick to normal, then finally to glam (or chic, romantic, whatever your style is).  With a fresh face sans makeup, I look sick.  Actually, with my dark under eye circles, I look more like a walker.  So the items I have in my “necessities” pile bring me from sick to normal.  Then if I want to go a bit further, I’ll use the items in my “bonus” pile to go from just normal to glam.  Make sense?  I hope so, I’m terrible with explaining stuff.  Did I mention I’m not a beauty blogger?

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This post is on a box service called Memebox, which technically is not a subscription box because you don’t pay for a periodic subscription.  I use the term “Subscription Box” simply because it is widely used to describe services that send you a box of mystery goods at a fixed price.  Memebox is a Korean box service that fills their boxes with all of the best (or most hyped) products from Asia. Although it is a good way to try Asian products, I knew nothing about how they are priced on the Asian markets and worried about being ripped off.  But I eventually got suckered into trying one when Dani (from CoffeeBreakWithDani) collaborated with Memebox and came out with a box filled with products all handpicked by her.  I was initially very impressed with the CBWD box and eagerly browsed through Dani’s videos on Memebox unboxings to check out what their other boxes are like. But soon enough, I came across a video that confirmed all of my initial suspicions.

In Dani’s Memebox Unboxing of the 9th Edition Box, she talks about KeraSys Oriental Premium Shampoo.  According to Memebox, it’s purported retail value is $90 for a full-sized bottle at 600g – making the 200g sample we received worth $30.  On Amazon, the full-sized bottle is worth only $12.99.  At the local Asian markets near me here in the U.S., the full-sized is only worth $3.99 — we’re not talking about a $5 or $20 difference; we’re talking about a $86 difference here!  I then checked with a friend of mine in Korea and she told me that this brand is sold in the Korean version of Target over there, and that the most expensive product in this line is worth only $10 there for a huge bottle. Last time I checked, they don’t sell $90 shampoos in Target.

MEMEBOX, tell me how you can claim that a bottle of shampoo that is worth $3.99 to be worth $90?  It’s terrible how you try to trick us into thinking that what we paid is pale in comparison to the value of the box we receive.  I no longer trust this company and will never be ordering from them again.  Seriously, shame on them.

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Memebox 9th Edition; picture straight from its website (http://us.memebox.com/memebox-old/memebox-global-9).  KeraSys Oriental Premium Shampoo included.

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Tarina Tarantino’s Emerald Pretty Eyeshadow Palette recently joined my makeup collection, just in time for Halloween.  This palette is a limited edition, inspired by the “magical and bejeweled land of Oz.”  The shades were created to capture the essence of The Emerald City, and you know what guys?  I think she succeeded.

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The palette is housed in strong cardboard material, designed to look like an emerald. Despite its 3-dimensional appearance, the cover is flat.

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So I had a bit of a rant fest in my previous post about Ulta consistently dropping the ball on professionalism and service (read it here).  I actually emailed them immediately after my post to voice my disappointment.  I was not expecting much because they were just missing samples and not missing products that I actually purchased.  Furthermore, I had already gone out of my way to rectify the first two issues I had with them, so the missing samples were really all that’s left.  However, I did expect at least an apology and an assurance that they will try to be more vigilant with their packing procedures in the future.  An automated email told me that someone would get in contact with me within 24 hours – which actually turned out to be more like 48 hours, but who cares.  When I finally got their response, I was really impressed.  But I should’ve known that Ulta’s professionalism and customer service would not change overnight…nope, didn’t happen.

This is a copy of the email I received from them:

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I mentioned in a previous post that I wanted to make a Twitter account so that I can announce beauty sales and bargains I find around the internet.  Well, another idea struck me this morning as I was browsing Hautelook.  I have been kicking myself endlessly when I missed theBalm on Hautelook this past March, and since then, have been obsessed with tracking down the details of the sale so I could decide between buying theBalm stuff that I want now at (more or less) regular price, or waiting for another theBalm event on Hautelook.  Then I started wondering about what the sale featured and whether what I wanted would have been featured in the sale anyway.

I have been trying to track down what the 2014 sale looked like, and did find some posts about the sale online, including mentions from some of my favorite beauty bloggers.  But what I saw were mostly alerts to the sale, what their favorite items were from the sale, and what they would recommend beauty lovers to try out.  That is all great, but it did not provide me with an entire running list of what the sale offered and I decided that in my alerts, I’m going to do just that.  So here is the latest event that caught my eye (sorry it IS a bit late and is ending tomorrow – but I literally thought of this idea an hour ago while debating about buying the Mary-Lou Manizer!) —

NYX @ Hautelook
Ends Sunday, July 15 8AM Pacific

Happy Shopping!

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Q: How do you prevent eye makeup from smearing, smudging, and budging throughout the day?

A: If you apply foundation or concealer over your eyelids as part of your foundation / concealer routine, stop it.
Chances are, your face is oily and moisturized enough to not need the added moisture.  With an eye primer of your preference, your eye makeup should be able to withstand the coming summer heat!

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Sources: (1) & (2)

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I have been a loyal customer of Sephora for an extremely long time now (think 10+ years), and to this day, I still cannot imagine going anywhere else to shop for all my beauty and skincare needs. There are some instances where I have dabbled elsewhere – but for good reason, such as when Sephora stopped carrying Lorac, or just straight up don’t carry a line that I want.  At any rate, I think that Sephora has one of the (if not the) best rewards program in the business.  When purchasing from the website, and I’m sure you’re all familiar with this, you get to choose 3 samples from a handful of samples that are presented to you.  This is such a smart move!  Some websites just surprise you with whatever the hell they want, and I just end up disgruntled with all these samples that I would have never picked out for myself, and thus, would never try.  Plus, Sephora always pick a nice array of samples to offer: you always have some perfume, some primers, lip colors, etc.  Never do I find myself in a situation where I’m forced to pick all perfumes or all foundation colors.

What I want to talk about today, however, is their 500 point perk rewards.  These sets are redeemable by trading in 500 points as a member of their Beauty Insider program, and by far, provide me with the greatest amount of joy.  But honestly, not all of these sets are created equal – so which one is your favorite?  Mine has GOT to be the Fresh set that was available sometime late last year.

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I ordered from Hautelook a few weeks ago for the first time, after spotting an event on Cargo cosmestics.  I was really excited to try out their Swimmable’s line and ended up buying the bronzer and all three blushes available in that collection.  The bronzer and blushes all claim to be water resistant, and while the bronzer only comes in one shade, the blushes come in: Bali (a medium rose pink), Ibiza (a shimmering hot pink), and Los Cabos (a soft tangerine).  Sounds beautiful, right?  So I did not expect to receive this:

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Yep, two of the four Cargo items, the bronzer and the blush in Bali, came completely smashed up.  Ibiza (not pictured) came mostly intact, but had some chips on the side.  Only Los Cabos survived the ride, apparently.  But there is a happy ending!  I managed to salvage the powders following an easy beauty trick that requires nothing more than rubbing alcohol, a sandwich bag, a clean spoon, tissues, and something with a flat surface, such as the end of a kabuki brush or a quarter.  I also contacted Hautelook and they were very nice in making the situation right, so overall, I’m pretty pleased with this transaction.  Anyway, see how I managed to fix the powders below!

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