My Amazing Beauty Haul

I often see people bragging about their amazing collections of recent beauty product purchases (can’t say that I blame you – shopping is fun!) and I wanted to join in.  However, I don’t usually go on shopping sprees with beauty products, except for “everyday use” things like shampoo and shave gel. Now I feel I deserve to brag, since I got all this for a ridiculously low price…

All This for $17. AFTER sales tax. 

Each item cost just $2.99 and was an additional 25% off.  Wow, right?

My Beauty Haul:

Urban Decay Deluxe Eye Shadow – originally $18

Tarte Eye Shadow Duo (x2) – originally  ???, around $15

LORAC Eye Shadow – originally $19

Tarte Amazonian Clay Pressed Mineral Powder – originally ???, around $28

Sephora Perfume Atomizer – originally $15

Korres Face Primer – originally $28

Nope, Not Typos:  I really paid $17 for 7 full-sized items that each cost more than that originally (except the perfume atomizer).  Yes, I’m very happy.  Ecstatic, actually.

OK, So Maybe I Won’t Love Everything:  So what? The way I see it, at these prices I can afford to try something new.  Even though I’m pretty sure most (if not all) of these items are discontinued, I’m OK with that.  I needed face primer and I don’t want to spend money on it right now.  I needed to ditch some of my old eye shadows and this gives me the perfect excuse to throw them out.

Other Items I Didn’t Buy:  Ilamasqua nail varnish for $5.  Charlotte Ronson eye shadow kits for $11.  4-piece, full-size OPI nail polish sets for $18.  Also:  A bunch of Sephora brand stuff that just didn’t intrigue me.

Why The Good Deal?  Here’s the thing:  Sephora stores are amazing.  But if you want amazing deals like these, you have to shop at the Sephora “inside JCPenney” stores.  They had 2 sections of stuff (I resisted the urge to buy everything!) all on clearance PLUS an extra 25% the ridiculously low prices.

Funny Caveat:  While I was checking out, the cashier asked “Is this yours?” about the Urban Decay eye shadow that was lying by the cash register. (I hadn’t seen any in the clearance section.)  I said “No, but I want it!”  🙂

Shop Around:  Some of these kinds of deals are available on the Sephora website right now.  I didn’t see any in the Sephora stand-alone store.  I highly recommend you take some time to browse the website sale section and/or your area stores to see what you can get.  The holidays are right around the corner!

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Thumbs-Down: Trader Joe’s “99% Pure” Aloe Vera Gel

I love shopping at Trader Joe’s.  It has a “hometown grocery store” kind of feel, as well as good prices on stuff I need/want.  I’m not a regular Trader Joe’s shopper by any stretch of the imagination (there isn’t one very close to my house), but I like their “store brand” products and buy them when it’s practical.  Knowing that aloe vera gel is good for sunburns, I bought a bottle of this stuff to keep around.  I’ve also heard it’s good to put under makeup in hot, humid climates – like the one where I live – so I was hoping to use it for that too.  Unfortunately, I got a patch of sunburn where I failed to re-apply sunscreen soon enough at an all-day, outdoor concert in 104 degree Texas heat.  So, out came the aloe vera gel…

Pros: Inexpensive.  Fragrance-free. Recyclable container.  Labeled “Cruelty-free” (not certified by Leaping Bunny or PETA) Not any different than any other aloe vera gels I’ve tried.

Cons:  Doesn’t have a country of origin.  Contains a HUGE ingredients list for something that’s labeled “99% pure”.  I guess they mean the aloe that’s in it is 99% pure.  Ingredients:  Water, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, butylene glycol, calendula officinalis flower extract, arnica Montana flower extract, tocophersolan, TEA-carbomer, methylparaben, diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, trisodium, EDTA.   Um, yeah, not cool.

In Summary:  I should have read the package.  I trusted Trader Joe’s reputation.  Turns out their reputation is on the downslide for deceptively advertising use of non-GMO products, as well as being pretty dodgy when it comes to answering questions about their products.  (Read story here:  http://foodbabe.com/2013/08/07/what-is-trader-joes-hiding/)  I’ve been trying really hard to avoid buying products that contain parabens.  Guess I need to shop around for another aloe vera gel…

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars  1-star

Price:  (don’t remember, but under $5)

Available at:  Trader Joe’s

trader joe aloe vera

Review: L’Oreal EverCreme Nourishing (Sulfate-Free) Shampoo

I really like the idea of sulfate-free shampoo.  I don’t color my hair (often, and never permanently), so I don’t NEED sulfate-free shampoo for color protection.  I just don’t like the idea of stripping my hair of all its natural oils.  This is one of the less expensive sulfate-free shampoos on the market, so I’ve been using it…

Pros:  Smells nice. Inexpensive.  Coupons and sales regularly available. Cleanses without over-cleansing.  Still lathers as well as other shampoos.

Cons:  Fragrance is a little on the “sweet” side, which some people might not like. After using it a while, you might notice your hair feeling kind of “heavy”.  If you have oily hair and/or use a lot of hair care products, it might not cleanse well enough for you.

In Summary:  This is a good shampoo.  However, I only wash my hair 5 or 6 times a week (trying to keep it healthy, since I’m donating it soon!), so sometimes I have to alternate with a not-sulfate-free shampoo to make sure my hair gets really clean.

Note:  This product also comes in an “Intense Nourishing” formula.  So, if you have very dry hair, it might be a good choice for you!

Rating:  4 out of 5 stars  4-stars

Price:  approx. $6

Available at:  drug stores, mass merchandisers, Ulta 

l'oreal evercreme nourishing shampoo