Discounted Beauty

The only thing I love more than beauty products is finding a bargain on those beauty products (although if you ask my husband he will say it’s spending money).  I am a true bargain hunter –  my idea of the perfect Saturday afternoon is spending an hour perusing TJMaxx (my happy place), latte in hand, looking for the best deals on everything from clothing to shoes to jewelry to home items. Beauty was not an area that was always associated with discount in a pleasant manner – it used to imply used, old or imperfect products – ones that you wouldn’t actually want to use on your face, body or skin. Well the times they are a’changin for beauty and the off-price world is ALL over them. If you’re looking for beauty at a discount, check out my top picks for getting your favorite brands for a good deal.

Brick and Mortars:

TJMaxx and Marshalls – this family of brands under the TJX umbrella has managed to grow their beauty department to something of a marvel in the past few years. I once could never tell what I would be able to find there and now brands are consistently brought in on the regular and merchandised well in the store. You can almost expect to find liters of Biolage, Redken, Sexy Hair, and Biosilk hair products, Essie and OPI nail colors, along with brushes and hair tools from brands like Hot Tools, GHD, and T3. Skin and body products are merchandised by color and you can expect to find drugstore brands like Sally Hansen, Loreal, Aveeno and Neutrogena in the mix. If I am looking for a particular product, I often check here first before paying full price as these stores have been known to get obscure brands like Bliss and Ahava on occasion. Something you will also see :  clothing and accessory brands that you didn’t know had makeup lines. Did you know that Max Studio sold makeup? I didn’t either until I saw it in TJs.

Ocean State Job Lot – for my New England gals you might be shocked to know that I check this lower budget chain quite often (when we moved this fall we discovered we are down the street from one). I would not believe it either if I didn’t see it myself but if you have the time to look, you can find a good gem of a beauty product here. The chain gets loads of makeup and skin products on the regular from mostly drugstore brands like Maybelline, Loreal, Wet n Wild, Almay and Neutrogena. Some of the makeup is there due to packaging changes or discontinuation but there are plenty that are at your local drugstore being sold full price (so why pay it?). This is where I picked up my Essie growth treatment for $3.99 and love it! I have also found more Essie products as well as OPI shades. If you live near one of these stores, this is worth a look! Bonus: you can also pick up some cleaning products for your bathroom while you’re there.

Nordstrom Rack – although not an extensive beauty department, you can find some good options at this store, while your checking out the amazing clothing and shoe selection. The mix includes Sephora –type brands like Stila, Smashbox, Philosophy and drugstore brands like Loreal, NYX and Neutrogena. The store also includes nail polishes from Essie, OPI and Orly. Kind of a random mix, but not a bad one.

Flash Sale sites:

Rue La La: Now I am partial to this first one, probably because I am employed by them but Rue La La’s beauty department has EXPLODED over the past year. It’s become a major category for the organization and is on track to be even bigger in 2016 (I’m just a LITTLE excited). We have many recognizable department store luxury brands such as La Mer, Dior, Shiseido, Oribe, Chanel and Kerastase. We also have tons of the same brands you would find in your nearest Sephora such as Too Faced, Clinique, Lancome, Clarins, Nars, Bumble and Bumble, bareMinerals, Clarisonic, L’Occitane, Davines, Living Proof and Philosophy. The items are sold in multi-day boutiques with names like Blowout Bar or Beauty Bar and encompass hundreds of high quality, discounted beauty finds.

Hautelook: I am a regular Hautelook shopper and really enjoy their jewelry department. They tend to have brands I have never heard of and that definitely translates into their beauty department as well.  This flash sale site, which is predominately driven by brand events, has two beauty events per day, ranging from hair and skin appliances to gel nail polish and obscure makeup brands. Brands you can expect to find on Hautelook are Kevyn Aucoin, theBalm, Crown Brush, Laura Gellar, Josie Maran, NYX, FHI Hair Tools, as well as ones that you have never heard of (but could easily become your newest find).  One franchise that I do miss – #mani Monday – a weekly nail event that would include lots of uv gel nail polishes and lamps that were affordable options to the nail salon.

MyHabit: Amazon’s flash sale site’s approach to beauty is much like Hautelook’s  – brand driven.  This is great – unless you don’t know the brand and just want to browse around. In that case, the website does have a Beauty tab in which you can click to see all products live on site at that time. Brand offerings are much like Rue La La’s and Hautelook and include Living Proof, Kerastase, Lancome, Borghese as well as UV nail polish brands.

If you are a beauty lover who doesn’t like to pay full price (like me), there are definitely options for you out there, as long as you don’t mind a little digging. For me, its half the fun.

Where are your favorite places to find discounted beauty products?

Maureen

My best of 2015 Winners

Everyone has else has posted their favorite 2015 items so its time I summed up all of my favorites as well! Here are the items that I found in 2015 that I love and think you should give a try as well! And unlike everyone else, I will also be posting a second part of this (which is hard for me to write but just as important)- my disappointments of 2015. Hopefully those will save you some time in purchasing if you were interested in those items. Ok, let’s get down to it! Here is who impressed me this year:

Face:

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Gel Cream has been a big winner for me this year. I blogged about it at the beginning of the year and since then, it’s the only foundation I have used. The only change I have made is my application- I now apply it with a wet sponge instead of dabbing it my dry face with my fingers.

Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder – I found out about this product (along with the one below it) together in a video tutorial about the “baking” process. Although I don’t use this powder for that, I use it regularly when I don’t want a dewy finish, but a more matte look. Its invisible and a little goes a long way!

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer – I have been advised to use this on many Sephora trips as it’s a bestseller, but didn’t try it until this year (I’m a stubborn Taurus). It’s fabulous for under eye and along the nose coverage, as well as hiding any blemishes. This was a big find this year.

Cheeks:

benefit lollitint cheek & lip stain – I received this in a Sephora 500 perk set and honestly did not think I would use it. I have used the original Benetint Rose stain in the past and found it was just a bit too pigmented for me (given being pale), so I figured I would feel the same way about this color. This is more of a very pretty purpleish pink and looks feminine on both lips and cheeks. I liked it so much I even tried more colors when I went to Sephora  (on one of my MANY trips this year)!

benefit watt’s up! highlighter – this took me awhile to find! I was looking for a great champagny- gold highlighter to use on my cheekbones, nose and under my brows and after trying almost everything in the store, I stumbled on this. It’s the perfect color for someone with light skin tones, comes in a creamy/easy to apply formula and has a soft focus sponge on the other side for easy blending. SOLD.

Too Faced Cocoa Contour Makeup Palette – so at this point at the end of the year, I had watched about a million contouring videos and tried about every contour product available at Sephora, including reading reviews. I tried all the fan favorites (Kat Von D creamy AND powder formulas, Nars, Clinique, etc) and finally got to this. It has four total colors (two browns, two highlighters) all named after chocolate, which by the way, it smells like. This is the first palette I have found that has a lighter brown for a pale girl like myself that was not ruddy brown/red, but a true brown to give you that real contour shading. The palette also comes with a guide to several different looks, depending on how dramatic you want.

Eyes:

bareMinerals 5 in 1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eye Shadow – I jumped on these so fast as soon as they came out, I can’t believe I didn’t do a blog post solely about them! I bought three colors – all of which are gorgeous. The formula goes on creamy and dries to a powder. This is the perfect product for someone who wants to swipe this one without too much work and look polished quickly- either with fingers or the applicator it comes with. The lighter colors I have really open up the eyes (Barely Nude and Candelit Peach ) and the Divine Wine is a nice crease color.

Urban Decay Naked2 Eye Shadow palette – I mean, do I even need to write anything here? Its 12 colors of absolutely gorgeous nude shadows, in which you can take the look from day to night to super drama depending on how much you want to add. The only thing I wish is that I had ALL the Naked pallettes, but that give me something to strive towards for this year.

benefit they’re real! lengthening mascara– I received this in the same 500 point perk gift that I got the lollitint and knew I would like this. I did have to apply at least two coats to get my desired drama look, but I was very happy with the result, which was wide-eyed, long and curled lashes. I would definitely consider purchasing this the next time I need a new mascara. Comes in three colors!

Lips:

Urban Decay Naked Ultra Nourishing Lipgloss in Beso – this is GORGEOUS. A little pink, a little purple, it is ultra-feminine and makes me feel so pretty. Not sticky but shiny and you can feel the moisture.

Fresh Sugar Lip Shine Treatment in Rose – if you love any of the Fresh Sugar lip balms, you will love this. It’s a super nourishing lip gloss with a bit of color and the same light lemon scent as the rest of the Sugar line. I loved it so much I wore it on my wedding day!

 

What were your favorite finds of 2015?

Maureen

Out with the old (make space for the new)

As we approach the start of the new year, many of us take this time to purge the old so we can make room for the new, whether it be goals, attitude or just plain stuff. This is a time we tend to donate gently used clothing, furniture or anything else that would benefit someone else in need. We also tend to rid our closets (and life) of things we no longer need because they are used up or no good to us anymore. The same process applies to cosmetics and beauty products as these, like food, have a shelf life of their own. So when, you ask, is it time to say goodbye? Well it depends on the item. Now don’t be scared – let’s hold hands and do this together.

I know many of you are keeping old makeup or hair products around for the same reasons I am – one being money. You feel you spent x amount of dollars on a product and whether or not you used it, you feel you should keep it around, lingering in that linen closet, staring you down every time you open it. You need to think about cosmetics the same way you’re thinking about those clothes – if you haven’t worn that lipstick in a year – well the odds of you picking that up tomorrow are very low. There is something that doesn’t get you jazzed up about that item, whether it be the color, formula or maybe you just found something better. Why don’t you put it and yourself out of its misery and throw it away?

Most items that you use on your face should be gone within a year and a half (unless its mascara) but my rule of thumb is one year and you’re out. Seriously- why are you keeping it? For the one time you MIGHT use it? Odds are you won’t so get rid of it now. Any kind of lip product should be a year or less, especially if you were sick when you used it. Mascara that has been opened and used should only be kept around for three to four months. That’s usually no problem for me, because I love to change up my mascara often. Same goes for eyeliner. Think of all that bacteria its harboring! Hair products are much longer for obvious reasons but I still say if you have been looking at the bottle of hair serum for a year and are passing it over day after day, its taking up space. Time to say goodbye.

So what about your unused items that you haven’t touched but know you won’t? What about all those little mini samples you won’t use but just can’t throw away? Well there a few options. My first thought is return it if you can. Sephora has changed their return policy so that you now need a receipt in order to return an item, but other than that you shouldn’t have a problem. Ulta and Nordstrom both have time-tables on their return policies and Ulta will only let you exchange your items, not giving you your full refund (you might want to note this when purchasing there). Returning not an option? Give it away. If you have something you know you won’t wear because its not your color choice, give it away. Chances are your sister/cousin/mom/coworker might love that color and you will be saving them dollars. Better yet, plan a beauty swap with your girlfriends where you all bring gently used (and acceptable) products that you don’t want anymore but can’t bear to throw in the trash. Same goes for curling/straightening irons, etc that you have too many of or didn’t work out.

Hopefully this gives you the push to throw away or donate some of those items you have been eyeing in your makeup bag. I will be doing it too so strength in numbers!

Maureen

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