So, my birthday is at the beginning of August, meaning that about a week or two ago I received my card from Sephora’s VIB program telling me that it was time to redeem my special birthday gift. Since I had already been plotting an order – both to restock some essentials as well as to splurge and get myself a few presents – they didn’t have to tell me twice!
Mostly skincare items as per usual, but my two birthday treats were a cosmetics kit and a perfume. I’d been eyeing both for years, but for some reason it’s a lot harder for me to justify makeup and fragrance purchases than skincare, so I’d put them off over and over.
Between active codes, my rewards points, and my VIB birthday gift, I was able to net a ton of samples & GWP items as well. The sheet mask wasn’t a freebie, but it wouldn’t fit in the photo with the full-sized items.
Here’s the main attractions looking all pretty unboxed. I gotta say, I personally love Dr. Jart’s packaging for the Water line. That color is one of my favorites and everything manages to look high-end without actually being in fragile glass bottles or anything!
I’ll go over everything individually for the curious, so hit the read more if you’d like to see the specifics!
First up is a repurchase & some brand loyalty action, haha. I’ve been using Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Water Sure Gel for quite some time – I think this is my fourth or fifth pot, actually. It’s the best moisturizer for my skin that I’ve ever found (though ofc that doesn’t stop me from trying other creams because skincare junkie) – I took photos for a full review, so that should go up within the next day or two, but the tl;dr is that it’s hydrating, absorbs easily, doesn’t get sticky or greasy, doesn’t irritate or break me out, and with my skin type? Let’s just say it’s really rare to find a moisturizer that covers all those bases.
So when I decided that I wanted to introduce a sleeping mask into my skincare habit, obviously the one I wanted to try first was the Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Water Max Sleeping Mask. If it’s at the quality level of the other Dr. Jart+ products that I’ve tried (I’ll shamelessly drop in my Ceramidin Liquid review here as further proof of how much this brand has impressed me), specifically the Water Fuse cream, this should be fantastic. I’ve been using a retinol serum at night and a quickie acid peel in the morning, so I wanted to amp up my moisture levels a bit at night – particularly since we’re approaching the season where my skin tends to do that annoying “oily but dehydrated” thing due to high aircon in August/September and then cold weather & heating doing a number on me from October until whenever Spring decides to show its face.
I think the actual bottle for the sleeping mask is fantastic. It’s one of those airless pump styles, which to me is the most hygienic (I wish the gel-cream was packaged this way as well!) and the opaque, slightly frosty turquoise color is just beautiful and classy IMO. Love it!
The notes for Fresh Sake have long intrigued me, however my local Sephora NEVER had a tester out for some reason. I finally gave in and ordered this without ever having smelled it before, based solely on the notes and my positive past experiences with Fresh products.
Langsat Fruit, Grapefruit, Ginger, White Peach Absolute, Lotus Flower, Lily of the Valley, Osmanthus, Vanilla, Musk.
I love lily of the valley, lotus, vanilla, musk, peach, grapefruit and ginger, so this seemed like a pretty safe bet. Unfortunately, I am not really feeling it – I don’t HATE it, but to me it’s incredibly middle-of-the-road, veering on generic. The peach is finally making an appearance after two hours on my skin, but the scent overall is starting to fade already! If it only turns lovely right as it’s about to dissipate, to me that’s not worth it. I think I’ll be returning this, and maybe either exchaning it for Coach Citrine Blossom, or I’ll attempt to find an affordable-yet-legit decant of By Kilian’s Flower of Immortality – I bought a sample of that from Lucky Scent, and it’s probably the best white peach scent that I’ve found thus far. I was hoping that Fresh Sake could dethrone it because it’s far more affordable, but it seems that was not meant to be. Sad!
I was interested in a few of the Benefit kits, but ultimately ended up selecting the Benefit Feelin’ Dandy Lip & Cheek Kit because the swatches I’d seen around the web seemed the most appealing. I’d tried Dandelion a few times in stores and liked it, but for some reason never made the plunge. So when I saw that I could finally get it AND a matching lip gloss as well as mini sizes of Posie Tint (one of the two tints I was most interested in trying – Lolli Tint is the other) and the High Beam highlighter (which I know from experience is quality and works for me), I suppose it was just an inevitable purchase!
Looks gorgeous, doesn’t it?
I just want to take a moment to give some link-love to the reviews that helped me settle on this kit over others: Musings of a Muse, Glitter Geek (how perfect does everything look on her??), and The Sunday Girl, you are all total enablers!
This next one is another repurchase, even though I’m nowhere near ready for refills of these items. It’s just that the Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads Kit is such a good deal that it’s absurd. After trying out only three of the items from this kit, I knew that I needed to snap up at least another box before it sold out or was discontinued. The Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads themselves are the star attraction, obviously, and I’m really fond of them. What makes this set so remarkable, though, is that for only $3 more than the peel pads by themself (the 60-count Un-Wrinkle peel pads are normally $45, this set is $48), you get:
– 3.3 oz Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel
– 1 oz Max Sheer All Day Moisture Defense® Lotion with SPF 30
– 0.25 oz Laser-Free Resurfacing Eye Serum™
– 0.5 oz Cucumber Gel Mask
Like, holy shit. That’s really generous! To break it down – the full-size of the cleanser is $35 for 8 oz, making the sample worth about $14. The SPF lotion’s normal version is $42 for 1.7 oz, translating to about $24 for the ounce you get here. The cucumber mask is usually $45 for 5 oz, making it the least impressive sample (cost-wise, at least) at a $4.50 value. And the most exciting thing? The eye serum, which is usually $58 for half an ounce. You get a quarter ounce here, so that’s $29 worth of product!
I think it goes without saying that if you use at least two of these products – excluding the mask, since it’s not a hefty size – this kit packs a whole lotta economic oomph. The fact that I am crazy-go-nuts for both the eye serum and the peel pads makes this a definite “stock up” item. Add to that the cash back that I get when I shop Sephora via eBates (usually from 4%-10% cash back), and this set is kind of a no-brainer for me.
As an aside, if you’re a PTR fangirl like myself, it’s worth noting that the official PTR site has a variation of this kit for $52 that swaps the eye serum and cucumber mask for a half-ounce bottle of their Neuroliquid Volufill Youth Serum. Given that the Neuroliquid serum retails for $120 for 1.7 oz, that’s definitely still on the “holy shit” level of value.
The Soap & Glory Face Soap And Clarity 3 In 1 Daily Detox Facial Wash was clearanced to $10 and is, as to be expected, now out of stock at Sephora. I grabbed it because it had almost entirely glowing reviews and, at that price, I was willing to give it a shot. I’ve never used any Soap & Glory products before, so I’m interested to see how this performs.
The Sephora Collection Green Tea Sheet Mask is supposed to mattify and give some anti-blemish care to your skin. It had primarily positive reviews when I placed my order, but in the past couple days it’s received some one-star reviews – uh oh! I guess the only way to know which side I’ll fall on will be to try, huh? I’ll make sure to review this one, since sheet masks are still somewhat of a new occurrence in Western brands. I’ll be interested to see how it compares to my beloved My Beauty Diary masks!
The current VIB birthday gift features a lipstick and mascara from Make Up For Ever, a brand that I’ve never actually tried myself. It contains mini sizes of their Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick and Smoky Extravagant Mascara. I usually go for more natural eye/lip colors, so we’ll see how these look on me! I’ve had some people on my subreddits encouraging me to try a darker lip, so I suppose now’s the time!
And here’s part one of the sample spree! The code I used for the two Supergoop minis seems to now be defunct, but it gave GWPs of both Supergoop! CC Cream Daily Correct Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Sunscreen in Light to Medium and Supergoop! Advanced Anti-Aging Eye Cream Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 37. I’d been dying to try Supergoop products, so this was a blessing. I’m wearing the CC cream at the moment and so far I’m really liking it! Non-sticky, nice finish, and I was able to put on enough to get the SPF 35 without looking overly made up. In fact, it looks incredibly natural. I’ll keep using this and see how my skin reacts, but so far this is really nice!
However, don’t fret: there is currently a coupon code for a GWP size of SUPERGOOP! SPF 30+ City Sunscreen Serum. Use code SPFSERUM with a purchase of $25 or more! Don’t forget that you can shop via eBates for an additional 4% cash back at the moment, too.
I redeemed VIB reward points for the MDSOLARSCIENCES Mineral Tinted Crème Broad Spectrum SPF 30 UVA-UVB Sunscreen mini. I have not yet tried it, so not much to say here!
The Shiseido IBUKI Refining Moisturizer was just a normal, select-at-checkout sample, but it is something that I’ve been wanting to try for some time. The Philosophy Time in a Bottle and the Korres Greek Yoghurt Advanced Nourishing Sleeping Facial were both VIB rewards redemptions. Korres and I have a hit or miss relationship – sometimes they just dump too many irritating ingredients into their products, but other times they’re perfectly lovely. I’ve been curious about the greek yoghurt line, and figured that I’ll try this out once the weather gets colder and more drying. The Philosophy serum has been much-hyped, so I figured that I might as well see what all the fuss is about!
Lastly, we have the fragrance samples. I really liked my miniature of Atelier Cologne’s Rose Anonyme that came in a past GLOSSYBOX, so I figured I’d give their Cedrat Enivrant a sniff. It sounds interesting: lime, tonka, juniper berries, etc. It could skew a bit masculine, but I can do unisex if it’s not too generic-cologne-y. Likewise with I LOVE NEW YORK BY BOND NO. 9 I LOVE NEW YORK for Fathers – it’s obviously marketed towards men, but lime, sage, lavender, and grapefruit blossom sound like a lovely, fresh combination!
So, yeah – it was quite a hefty Sephora haul, for me at least. I’m excited to try everything, though a bit bummed that it looks like loving Fresh Sake just isn’t in the cards for me.
Just a reminder that shopping through eBates tends to soften the financial blow a lot – I got 4% cash back on this order, and as you can imagine, that was a pretty good discount for an order of this size. It’s totally worth signing up.
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