Friday, August 3, 2012

Massive Asian Haul 2012!

Hello! I bring you my Asian haul 2012! Ok, I know this haul looks absolutely ridiculous... and it kind of is but it is also spread over multiple trips so I didn't go buck wild in one go. I had a chance to go to Asia twice this year and really wanted to make the most of it since I wasn't sure if I would be able to go back in a long long long time (and import fees are ridiculous on Asian products!) 

Before leaving, I read quite a few blogs to see what brands people recommended. I had some previous experience with Asian products after I went Korea. While in Asia I also kept an eye out for good deals. Hopefully this will be useful for people who are going to Asia and want to see some good items to get! 

All the items together!
The Face Shot Mini Pet Fruits Hand Cream - I have tried this already and I love it! Smells great and absorbs very very quickly!
The Face Shop Lovely ME:EX Ghassoul Mask
My beauty Diary Face Mask Value Packs - These masks are great and ridiculously affordable in Asia... 4x cheaper than in the US! The make great gifts as well! I have tried a few already and they worked wonderfully. 

Oshima Tsubaki Oil - One of my most haves; way cheaper in Asia!
Shu Uemura Cleansing Beauty Oil Premium A/O Advanced Formula - I decided to cough up the extra cash to get this cleansing oil at duty free. Much cheaper than getting it online but still more expensive than my DHC cleansing oil. 
Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Travel Set

Shiseido 131 brush - This is suppose to be very comparable to Shiseido's perfect foundation brush but costs $22ish v.s. the $30 for the perfect foundation brush. 
Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler Duo Set - I got this set at duty free because the deal was just ridiculous! Two Shu Uemura eyelash curlers for $28 whereas just one curler is $20 in the US!!

Diorsnow BB Cream
Dior Global White Reveal Ritual Set:
White Reveal Moisturizing Lotion Rich 50 ml
Diorsnow D-NA Control White Reveal Day Essence 7 ml
Diorsnow White Reveal Fresh Creme 15 ml
Diorsnow UV Shield BB Creme White Reveal UV Protection SPF 50 - PA+++ 30 ml

I have been disappointed with the BB creams I have tried so far but heard a lot of good things about the Diorsnow BB cream so it was one of my must have items. I saw this set while in Taiwan and it includes a full size bottle of the bb cream as well as generous samples of other items in the Diorsnow line (plus a cute bag!) It costed around $10 more than just the bb cream on its own so I thought it was worth it. I am excited to try it as I work through my BB cream collection!


Now onto the Cosmetics!

KATE mineral BB gel cream + mineral loose foundation combo - I got a sample of this BB cream with the KATE eyeshadow palette and OMG. IT IS AMAZING!! It was so SO SO perfect I bought the full size right away and can't wait to use it but I am scared once I do I won't be able to use all the other bb creams I bought (including the Dior one.) 
Skin79 Miniature Set  - This set was less than $6 so I decided to get it. I heard a lot of great things about Skin79 bb creams so I thought this was a great way to try different creams in the line. 
Etude House Sweet Propose Make up #1 Kiss Me: LUCIDarling Fantastic Gradation Eyes #3, LUCIDaring Fantastic Rouge #4, Moon Crystal Power Gloss #1, Lovely Cookie Blusher #02, Precious Mineral BB Cream SPF 30 PA+++ #2 Glowing Skin - Even though I have tried quite a few skincare items from etude house, I never tried any of the cosmetics. I thought this was a great way to try different things from etude house's cosmetic line. 

Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus MascaraJudy at BeautyBagg lists this product as one of her all time favorite Mascaras so I had to try it! 
Fairy Drops Volume Burst Mascara Waterproof - I have heard SO much about this Mascara so I had to get it! 
Fairy Drops Platinum Mascara Waterproof Type
Kiss Me Heroine Make Impact Frame and Curl Mascara
Kiss Me Heroine Make Long and Curl Mascara
Dejavu Fiberwig Mascara

Dajavu Lasting-fine Eyeliner - I tried both this and the perfect liner in store and they seemed to have extreme lasting power. Have yet to try it on though.
Dejavu Perfect Liner 
K-Palette 1 day tattoo eyeliner - Famous! I had to get it and try it!
CakeMake Cream Cheek 05  - I have recently gotten into cream blushes and this one looked beautiful
Lavshuca Blush in RD-1
Sasatinnie Super Dolly Mono Eyeshadow 06, 11, 13, 14 - The shadows were less than $2 so....
KATE Real Create Eyes BR-1 
The Face Shop Nail Polish - I love these polishes! They dry so so so so fast and are absolutely beautiful! The salesperson at The Face Shop basically gave me a medicare in 5 minutes and I was totally sold.  Kinda pricey though.

Not Picture: 
The Face Shop Extreme Brush Pen Eyeliner EX - I forgot to add this to the picture because IT IS ALREADY IN MY MAKEUP BAG! This eyeliner is so natural, easy to use, and smudge proof... seriously I am in love. The salesperson at the face shop recommended it and it has literally be better than any western eyeliner I have ever tried. I hope all the other Asian eyeliner I got are just as bomb. 

I hope this helps anyone who is looking to blow some money in Asia! Will do more in depth reviews of the items sometime soon!

Friday, May 4, 2012

How To Find Great Deals on Cosmetics

Although buying cosmetics can be painful on the wallet, it doesn’t have to be! There are ways to find deals and steals on many of your favorite brands if you know where to look. I am here to share with you some of my favorite places to look for deals. I have also included some examples of my favorite finds to inspire you on your own deal searching quest! Sorry in advance if this post is extremely long but I promise you it is worth it!

Hautelook: Hautelook is similar to websites like Groupon and LivingSocial but instead of getting great deals on travel packages and restaurants, you get amazing offers on fashion and beauty products. The deals last for two days only and products are often on sale for 50% off or more! Brands that frequent Hautelook include Stila, Urban Decay, Lorac, Too Faced, Philosophy, Cosmedicine, etc.

Urban Decay Book of Shadows IV ($29, retail $64), LORAC The Croc Palette ($18, retail $36)

Nordstrom Rack: Although most people think of clothes and shoes when they think about Nordstrom Rack, there is also a beauty section too! You can find some great deals on cosmetics, skincare, and hair products at your local Nordstrom Rack. Most of the cosmetics are sealed and you can usually ask for an item from the back if you want to be sure that your product has been untouched. Brands I often see at Nordstrom Rack include Smashbox, Stila, Too Faced, Fekkai, Origins, etc.

Stila Dream in Full Color Holiday Palette ($19.97, retail $39.00), Too Faced Eye Shadow Insurance Policy High Impact Eye Shadow Collection for ($14.97, retail $35)

T.J.Maxx/ Marshalls: Often people believe that T.J.Maxx and Marshalls’ beauty sections are just filled with no name junk... and it is, for the most part. However, there are some great deals to be found through all the clutter. Brands like The Balm and Shiseido can be found easily but there are also random pieces from other brands too. One major problem with these stores is that people tend to touch EVERYTHING. Therefore, if buying an unsealed beauty product make sure to stick to powers as they are less easily contaminated compared to liquids or creams. But if you can’t stomach the idea of fingers on your eyeshadow, which is totally understandable, better to stick to sealed cosmetics and skincare (or other stores.)

Clinque Radiance Revealed set ($27.99, retail $39.50), The Balm Shady Lady Palettes ($12.99, retail $39.50), The Balm and the Beautiful Palette ($10, retail $44.50)

The Cosmetic Company Outlets: Outlets can be a bit of a hassle since they are usually located away from major cities. However, they offer some really great bargins. The Cosmetic Company outlets are often located wherever there are premium outlets. I believe there are over 70 stores in the United States. This is the outlet for Estee Lauder which means you can finds all the brands that are under Estee Lauder including MAC, Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Origins, Smashbox, Prescriptives, and of course Estee Lauder (who knew all these brands were under one company!) Items are at least 10% off but are often discounted much more. Another huge perk is that you are able to find recently discontinued items such as MAC limited edition collection products, holiday sets, and exclusive sets. I was able to purchase a discounted Clinique eyeliner for you sister no problem!

MAC Special Edition Holiday brush Set ($34.50, retail $49.50), Clinque The Almost Look ($39.50, retail $57.00 Sephora exclusive), Smashbox ready for your closeup? set ($49, retail $75 QVC exclusive)

Lancome-Designer Fragrances & Cosmetic Co. Outlets: Similar to the Estee Lauder Outlet, this outlet is also usually located wherever there are Premium outlets. This store ecompasses high-end brands that are under L’Oreal such as Lancome, Yves Saint Laurent, Kiehl’s, Stella McCartney, and Giorgio Armani. Unlike The Cosmetic Company outlets, the Lancome outlets are even more generous with their deals. Items are at least 15% off their retail price but they also often have 50% off or 65% off tables. Moreover, during certain holidays, like Black Friday, they often have additional 50% off deals. I absolutely love being able to try new products at a discounted price! Plus, the store near me is nice enough to call me whenever there is a new shipment of my favorite night cream or YSL products.

Lancome Primodiale Night Cream ($25, retail $70), Lancome Oscillation Masacara ($10, retail $35), YSL Blush ($15, retail $45), YSL Gloss ($15, retail $30), YSL Eyeshadow ($10, retail $30)

IMATS and other Makeup Trade shows: Trade Shows are an awesome way to get great deals on cosmetics. The most prominent makeup trade show is currently IMATS which is held all over the world. All the big makeup brands, and some up and coming brands, exhibit at these shows and offer steep discounts on their items-- often anywhere between 20 - 80% off. They are always a great way to meet fellow beauty enthusiasts, sit in on classes taught by your favorite beauty gurus, and be inspired by makeup artists. The downside to these shows is that there is an entrance fee to get in-- oh and the obnoxious lines. You can read more about my IMATs experience here.


Friends and family Sales: Not to be forgotten are the Friends and Family sales! Many brands have their own friends and family sales where they commonly offer 20% off their products. A great way to get those extremely high end products that never go on sale is to buy them during Sephora’s Friends and Family sale which is usually in November. During this time Sephora offers 20% off everything in their store-- that means you can get Dior, Givenchy, NARs, etc all at 20% off! Therefore it is always smart to look up for these deals! See my Sephora Friends and Family haul post here.

Sephora Friends and Family Haul

Specific Brand Websites/ Sephora/ Ulta Sale Sections: Don’t forget to check out the sale sections! Although sephora rarely has items on sale in store, their website’s sale section is always full. Likewise, often you can find items on sale on the brand’s website before they go on sale at sephora! By comparing prices you can make sure you get the best deal.

Ebates: Lastly, ebates, a online cashback website, can make it seem like you are buying everything on sale. Ok, I know it looks extremely sketchy and sound illegitimate but after a friend of mine recommended it I got curious. I have tried it and it works! After Sephora’s friends and family sale, getting a $30 check from ebates definitely help resolve some guilt (psshhh ebates is currently offering 8% cash back at Sephora.)

One final point, I have been asked if there is something wrong with items that are on sale and the answer is, there usually isn’t. Often the items were limited edition and so when they didn’t sell during their particular window (like holiday items.) Then they are moved to other places in order to make room for the new collection. Other times, they have upgraded the formula of a particular product but still have back stock of the previous formula. Items at legitimate outlet stores, like the ones I have named above, will not be expired. Remember, as long as a product is unopened, liquids and creams have a 3 year shelf life and powders will be good for even longer.

If you made it to the end of this obnoxious essay, I hope you found it extremely helpful! After all, it is quite hard to feed a makeup obsession paying full price for everything :) If you have your own tips and tricks on finding great deals on beauty products please let me know! I would love to hear from you!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tony Moly Intense Repair Live Snail Cream Review!

Today I will be reviewing Tony Moly's Intense Repair Live Snail Cream and Eye Cream! I bought this set when I was in Korea last year for around $35 and have been using it for the last few months. I am down to the bottom of the jar for the night cream and thought it was about time I reviewed it for you guys.

In case you never heard of snail cream, snail cream was all the rage in Korea last year when I was there. It is basically cream made of the mucus snails leave behind when they crawl-- not the snail itself (I hope!) The story goes that a couple of snail farmers in Korea started noticing that their cuts healed faster and their skin was softer after handling snails. Therefore, it was decided that snail mucus was beneficial to our skin.

When I first was approached by a sale lady trying to sell me snail cream I was like "OMG RUN IN THE OTHER DIRECTION... THAT IS NASTY!" However, after being approached repeatedly at different stores I got semi comfortable with the idea. I purchased Tony Moly's snail cream since, at the time, it had the highest concentration on snail mucus (if your going to put snail gunk on your face might as well go all out... right?) Here is the description on the box:

Tony Moly Intense Repair Live Snail Cream [Anti wrinkle & Whitening & Skin Repairing]
Skin repairing & nourishing cream with filtrated musin (mucus) ingredient form living snail
 Snail mucus filtrate 31,500 mg (Concentration 70%) / 6 skin irritating elements free formula

It is a highly concentrated skin rejuvenating and nourishing cream containing snail mucus filtrate that gives self repairing and strengthening power to the skin. This moisturizing cream is made of a very mild and skin friendly formula that uses only fresh and safe ingredients. Also, it is certified as an anti-wrinkle and whitening functional formula which has amazingly silky texture and premium skin treatment effects. It makes the skin firm, clear and supple.

The night cream felt a bit thin. It absorbed quickly but left a sticky residue. The smell is quite pleasant which is a huge plus! However, after months of using it, I found this snail cream to be only ok. It didn't break me out or feel too greasy but it didn't stop my face from drying up during the winter. It also didn't leave my skin feeling more soft or supple in the morning nor did it help any scars heal faster. All in all, I didn't see any snail benefits (or maybe it just works at snail's pace!) I found that my holy grail night cream, Lancome's Primordiale Nigh Skin Recharge to be much much much more effective (however, to be fair, it does cost twice as much.)

I found the eye cream to be likewise ineffective. It has a liquidity gel like texture which was a bit odd. It didn't do much for my skin and when my eyelid was dry and raw from winter, it actually would burn on my lid. It also irritates when it gets into my eye so I have to be extra careful. I have yet to find an eye cream that I like but I know this one was definitely not it.

So I was a bit disappointed with these snail creams. I did purchase Etude house's snail cream which I am excited to try. My sister has been obsessed with the etude one so I am not giving up on the snail cream idea. However, I think the Tony Moly cream is just not for me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Deal Alert! Stila Dream in Full Color Palette at Nordstrom Rack!

So I know I haven't posted in forever... I am sorry! I have a few post planned so hopefully I will get more motivated to start writing those up. In the mean time, I wanted to let everyone know about this deal alert!

I was at Nordstrom Rack this past weekend and so that it was overflowing with these Stila Holiday Palettes! They had both the Dream in Full Color Palette (the one pictured here) and the Daydream eyeshadow palettes. Both were released around November 2011 for the holidays.

I didn't get the daydream palette but I believe it was originally priced at $22 and was sold at nordstrom rack for only $11!

The dream in full color palette was on my wishlist but I never got around to buying it. It is a HUGE palette that comes with 29 eyeshadows, 7 blushes, 1 smudgestick eyeliner, and a 12 page lookbook. It is valued at $366 and was sold over the holidays for $39. I bought it at Nordstrom Rack for $19.97. Although I don't know how the quality of the eyeshadow is- the smudgestick eyeliner is my go to Kohl eyeliner. It seriously does not move and I think it out preforms even the Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner. The eyeliner alone is priced at $22 so getting the palette was a no brainer! It's like getting a free palette!

Anyway, if you guys are interested be sure to check your local Nordstrom Rack for these palettes!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sephora Friends and Family Sale 2011 Haul!

Hello everyone!

So I know this post is a bit late but here is my haul from Sephora's Friends and Family Sale! The Sale was from October 20th - November 2nd and everything was 20% off at Sephora's website if you had the special friends and family code (plus I got 4% cash back with ebates!)

Unfortunately, the sale was madness. Most of the things I wanted went out of stock pretty quickly (including a gift for my sister) and still continues to be out of stock... ARGH!

Everything I got from the sale!
But I did pick up quite a few great items! I wanted to use this opportunity to try out new brands that I had heard so much about and also focus on items that I don't have too much of (i.e. no more eyeshadow although I was SO tempted and continue to be tempted by many of the holiday palettes.)

This is just a pure haul post so I won't be swatching or reviewing anything (mainly because I haven't had the courage to touch anything yet) but I will hopefully review some of these items at a later date. So here is everything I picked up:

All the items unboxed (except for the benefit big 10)
I am going with my family to Hawaii for Christmas so I was interested in the idea of waterproof makeup. I really loved Make Up For Ever's aqua liner (they really are SUPER waterproof) so I decided to get some more of the aqua creams too. These creams can be used for eyes, lips, and cheeks! I am still having a hard time applying these creams but hopefully I will have perfected the technique by Christmas.

Make Up For Ever items
I got the Aqua creams in #9: Coral (Top) and #12: Golden Cooper (bottom.) I though that it would be a really great eyeshadow and blush combination. I also got a gel luminizer, Uplight in #23: Pearly Golden Flesh. The luminzer is not waterproof though!

Going with the idea of trying new brands, I got two value sets. This is a great way to try many different products from a brand at a low(er) cost. For the price of one of two individual products, you can try multiple full size or travel size products!

the two sets compared to my Iphone 3
Although the boxes and products look huge online, in actuality the boxes are pretty small. You can see how they are only a bit bigger than my Iphone 3. Regardless, the samples will last pretty long and give me a chance to see what I like!

Benefit The Big 10

The first set I got was Benefit's The Big 10. This set is benefits 10 bestselling items in deluxe travel sizes. The items included in this set are:

Dandelion (soft pink): Blush
Erase Paste in No. 2 Medium: Concealer
Benetint (rose): Cheek and Lip Tint/ Stain
High Beam (luminous pink): Liquid Highlighter/ Luminizer
Posietint (poppy pink): Cheek and Lip Tint/ Stain
Ooh La Lift:  Eye Brightener/ Primer
Stay Don't Stray: Eye Primer
That Gal: Brightening Face Primer
The Porefessional: Primer that Minimizes Pores
Bella Bamba (watermelon pink): Blush

This set sells on Sephora for $32 and with the discount, I got it for $25.60-- and with ebates it was cheaper still. I think it was definitely worth it since the mini blushes and concealer will last a long time. I think high beam will probably also last quite long since a little goes a long way!
Radiant & Rested: Volume II Universal Complexion & Color Collection + 2 Full Size Blushes
I also got Tarte's Radiant & Rested: Volume II Universal Complexion & Color Collection as well as two Full Size Amazonian Clay 12 hour blushes. I had bought a concealer from Tarte before which I didn't like (and they also stopped selling it in Sephora so I guess it really wasn't so good) but after hearing so many good reviews on the Amazonian Clay 12 hour blushes and the LipSurgences, I though it was time to try again. This set came with:

Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Glisten (golden peachy pink with gold shimmer)
Provocateur Amazonian Clay Shimmering Powder in Champagne (golden champagne sheen)
Smooth Operator™ Amazonian Clay Illuminating Serum
LipSurgence™ Natural Lip Luster in Sweet (golden pink)
The Bright Side Double-Ended Eye Brightener (day - shimmering champagne/ night - shimmering pink)

This set had two full size products. The LipSurgence ($24) and The Bright Side Double-Ended Eye Brightener (not sold separately.) Everything else was a deluxe sample size, including the blush, (much to many reviewer's disappointment.) The set retails on the site for $42 and I got it for $33.60.
Full Size Tarte Blush (Blissful) compared to Sample Size (Glisten) from the set
I think the price is quite steep and unless you definitely want to try more than 2 items, I would probably not pay full price for this. That being said, I wanted to try 4 of the items (wasn't too crazy about the Eye Brightener) and it was a great way for me to try out Tarte's products.

I haven't tried any item but the LipSurgence yet but I have to say the Lipsurgence is quite amazing! Will have to get that holiday set and review them for you!

The two full size Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour blushes I got (pictured above) were Blissful (warm peach) and Exposed (Nude.) These blushes retail for $25 each but with the sale I got them for $20. I am absolutely excited for these since blush never tends to stay on me for more than a couple hours and I had very few blushes to begin with. The problem is, they are so pretty I am afraid to touch them!

I hope you guys enjoyed my haul and I would love to hear about any recent makeup purchases you guys did! Hopefully I will get to review these items soon-- if there is a specific items you would liked to be review asap, let me know or else I may be slow as a turtle to review them... yeah I haven't reviewed any items from IMATS yet ;)