There are no Ultas very close to my house, but there are 3 within about 30-40 minutes of where I live. Every time I have been in the area of one and stopped by, I've been consistently disappointed. Not only does their rewards program suck, which wouldn't bother me if it was a great store otherwise, but no matter which of the three I visit, they always seem to be out of anything that catches my eye. Also, a lot of their testers seem to be missing or broken. I wouldn't complain so much about this if I hadn't experienced this lovely bit of customer service after I needed to return a foundation that was the wrong color and ended up breaking me out: Me: Hi, I need to return this foundation. It's the wrong color and it ended up breaking me out. Salesperson: You know, we have testers for a reason. Me: Yes, but the tester for this particular shade of foundation was missing, so I guessed based on the two colors on either side of it, plus it broke me out. Her: Sigh. I need the receipt, plus your driver's license, and you need to fill out your name, address, phone number, etc etc in this book. You are also only allowed 3 returns per year, and yes WE DO TRACK THEM, so be sure you want something before you buy it next time. Me: ........ I filled out the information and got my money back, but I don't appreciate being treated like a criminal for trying an item and not liking it/it being the wrong shade/it breaking me out, especially when I have the receipt! That was my first and last purchase at an Ulta, and though I do occasionaly pop in to browse if I'm near one, but that experience has made me wary of ever buying anything there again, not to mention they're always out of everything anyway. I have a Sephora 5 minutes away from my house and will continue to shop there instead, since they appreciate my business and I don't have to make a special trip anyway.
I went to MAC yesterday intending to buy a different lipstick, but after the new Viva Glam lipsticks caught my eye and I swatched them on my hand, I knew I had to try this one. When I put it on, I knew it was the one for me. I'm an NC25 and it's a perfect "my lips but better" shade for me. It's almost like a more pigmented version of NARS dolce vita. I apply it over chapstick to sheer it out a little bit for everyday wear, but for a nighttime look with a smoky eye or a cat eye, it would be a great subtle read. The thing I like most about it is that it isn't frosty or drying on my lips.
I purchased this product a few days ago, along with the powder. After reading the reviews, I was prepared for some serious sparkles... However, I had to really inspect my face in full on sunlight to see even the tiniest speck of shimmer. Maybe I got one from a less sparkly batch? So sparkles haven't been an issue for me at all, and I am in love with this foundation. I'm a die-hard MUFE mat velvet+ fan, it's my HG foundation, but in the winter I sometimes find it a bit drying. Compared to MUFE mat velvet, Photoready is slightly less coverage and a little more moisturizing. I could see how it could come off as either too oily on someone with oily skin emphasize dryness if you have really dry skin or don't moisturize well, but on my normal, sometimes dry in winter skin it's perfect. It covers any redness on my cheeks and around my nose/mouth as well as fading acne scars, but on newer scars or fresh spots I need to use concealer (which I don't with mat velvet). In other words, this isn't going to be my go-to foundation at "that time" of the month, when I usually break out, but it's fine when I'm not breaking out. I prefer this by far to MUFE HD, which I think this may be trying to emulate. For reference, I'm around an NC25 in MAC, 30 in MUFE mat velvet, and 004 Nude in Photoready. All in all it's a great foundation, especially considering that it was only about ten bucks!
This was the only mascara I used back in high school. I'm not really sure why I stopped using it, because I remember always loving it. Fast forward a few years to me rediscovering this at a CCO. I like it just as much now as I did back then. Don't use this if you want a lot of drama, that's what Diorshow is for. But for a natural, everyday look, this mascara is amazing. It gives me a "my lashes but better" look. It doesn't clump or make my eyelashes spiky. I also love the silver tube it comes in!
I like this foundation. Just a thin layer provides complete, opaque coverage. It covers any blotchiness, acne scars, acne, dark circles, etc. without having to pile it on, so it looks fairly natural - just don't forget to add some blush, or else you might end up looking a little corpse-like! I have been applying it with a sponge, rather than a brush, if that makes any difference. Usually I like the finish of foundation better with a brush, but this one looks better applied with a sponge. I find it applies way too heavy with a brush for regular use. It's also important to work quickly and in small sections because once it sets, it stays - I have had no problem with it transferring. As far as the scent, I didn't notice an overpowering smell at all, and I'm usually pretty sensitive to smells. Love the squeeze tube packaging. I'm around an NC25 and shade 210 is a perfect match for me. EDIT: One thing I don't love about it is how it photographs. I thought (and still think) it looked great in the mirror, but I wore it to a wedding and looking back at the pictures, something just seems off. Yes, I did use blush/bronzer, etc. I'll still wear this foundation for special occasions, but not ones where lots of pictures will be taken! So minus one lippie for that.
Deodorants -Kiehls - Superbly Efficient Anti-Perspirant and Deodorant Cream
yayitsanne 9/18/2009 2:20:00 AM
This deodorant is wonderful. I'd give it six lippies if I could. At first I was worried about the fact that it's unscented, but a week and a half of using it in hot weather has proven to me that other deodorants are only scented to mask the fact that they just don't work that well. This product keeps me dry and smelling fresh all day. Sometimes on really hot days when I'm outside a lot I might reapply halfway through, but I don't HAVE to, it's more that I'm paranoid. There's no residue, and no disgusting "deodorant balls" under my arms when I use this. Another reason I need to rave about this product: for the past few years I've been dealing with a really bad rash in my underarms (gross, right?) and nothing, not prescription creams from the dr, using new razors, or trying many many other deodorants, got rid of it. After two days of using this one, my rash was totally gone! As a test I went back to my old deo and the rash came raging back. It's seriously amazing. I balked a little bit at the price - $11.50 USD for the smaller tube, 1.7 oz - at first, but considering the fact that it got rid of my rash (hey, I'd pay twice the price just for that reason alone) and the fact that when I added it up I was spending more on my regular daytime deodorant and special nighttime deodorant, both of which were uneffective after about an hour, I don't feel so bad about it.
I'm very impressed with this product. It's the first hair product I've used (and believe me, I've used a lot) that leaves my blow dried hair smooth and straight, without being frizzy. Usually I have to run a straightener through my hair to get rid of the frizziness after blow drying, but not with this product - and all along I just thought my hair was destined to be frizzy if I was ever caught without my flat iron! My hair isn't straight, so it doesn't turn out as stick straight as if I'd flat ironed it, but it gets rid of the frizziness and poofiness, which is good enough for me.
This is an unexpected LOVE. I had researched Kiehl's moisturizers and decided to go pick one up, and on a whim got this as well. It's amazing. It's creamy and doesn't dry my skin out at all, yet it's not so creamy that it feels heavy or makes me break out. I also like that it's not super runny. I really feel like it "clings" to any makeup or oils on my face and gets everything off, without stripping my skin. I don't even have to use a separate eye makeup remover with this. Packaging is a win - nothing fancy, just a standard squeeze tube, and the price isn't too bad compared to some of the cleansers I've been trying out from Sephora, either.
I use this as a night cream. It's very moisturizing. My skin is normal/combo-ish and right now, in the summer, it's too heavy for day use, but it's perfect for night. I use the Ultra Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15 during the day. The price ($24.50 USD) and the amount you get is decent for such a rich moisturizer, as well. The only thing I would change is the packaging - I hate dipping my fingers in the little tub, so I have a small acrylic spoon I use to scoop it out instead.
Misc Beauty Tools -Palladio - Rice Powder Blotting Papers
yayitsanne 9/2/2009 2:07:00 PM
I'm a die hard Clean and Clear fan, but I saw these at Nordstrom Rack for cheap and decided to pick them up since I'd heard good things. They're okay, but I don't feel that they absorb oil as well as the Clean and Clear sheets do, and they're also a bit messier to use on the go, especially if you're wearing black or have a black purse! I'll probably keep these around for emergencies, but don't think I'll repurchase.
Awesome product! When using the sponge, I find the coverage of Hello Flawless comparable to my standby powder foundation, MAC studio fix, but I actually like it better because it doesn't seem to get as oily throughout the day as studio fix does. Unfortunately this is more expensive and you get less product than studio fix, so I would say that along with the lack of color selection puts the two on a level playing field - both are awesome, but I can't say one is better than the other. EDIT: After using this for a few weeks I have realized that not only does this keep me less oily, but it also doesn't oxidize and cake up after a few hours like studio fix does. I have also been getting fantastic results applying it with benefit's angled brush (I think it's intended to be a blush brush) instead of the sponge. It looks so natural and covers all my imperfections! Most of Benefit's products are all hype and end up disappointing, but this foundation is one of their wins.
HG blush - I never thought I'd say that since there are so many different blushes to go with different looks, but this one is amazing and perfect! It's like the blush equivalent of a "my lips but better" lipstick. Maybe my cheeks but better? Anyway, it gives the perfect glow on my NC25 skin. Like one of the reviewers said below, you look lit from within. The fact that it's matte makes it even more versatile, I can leave it as is for a really natural look or add an MSF or highlighter on top for some shimmer if I want. Unfortunately it's LE, but I'm sure MAC will re-release it eventually like they have been doing with most of their LE products lately anyway. I can't speak for darker skinned girls, but if you have light or light/medium skin, you need this blush!
HG material. I'm NC25 and Tea Party is the perfect color for me. I never thought I'd find a foundation I love this much, especially a stick foundation, and especially because I usually write most of Benefit's products off as gimmicky and overpriced. However, it's perfect - perfect medium+ buildable coverage without feeling heavy or looking cakey/piled on, perfect bleandability without being too thin, perfect color match (I literally can barely see it when I put it on my skin, it's that close to my skin color) and perfect finish - not necessarily dewy but also not so matte that I look like I spread chalk on my face. I do need to blot about halfway through the day, even when I set with powder, but I don't expect any foundation to keep me 100% oil free through an entire hot summer day. I can deal with that because even when I do look a bit oily, it's easy to blot away because the foundation doesn't pool and end up looking uneven. Yes, it's pretty expensive and it seems like it I may go through it quickly, but this is a product that's worth its price tag. I haven't found anything comparable.
Foundations -Make Up For Ever - HD High Definition Foundation
yayitsanne 8/18/2009 5:31:00 PM
This product is just so so. For what it does, I definitely don't think it's worth the price. It gives medium coverage, but on me I felt like it accentuated any flaws rather than covering them. It doesn't even conceal all of my uneven skintone and it really sunk into my pores. I like the fact that it comes in a pump bottle, but other than that it's nothing spectacular. It's not awful, but it's not an amazing miracle foundation either. If you're looking for a good foundation from MUFE that provides awesome buildable coverage and still looks pretty natural (no fuller coverage foundation is going to look 100% natural close up) try mat velvet +. It's cheaper, too!
First the good: this product provides awesome coverage and looks very natural. The finish is neither too matte nor too dewey. I also love that it is a pressed mineral powder. The bad: for me, this powder doesn't work for a couple reasons. First, I could not find a good color match. I'm MAC NC25 and all the colors are too pink toned (I looked sunburned) for me. Also, "light" was a bit too light and made me look sick, while the next shade up "golden medium" was way too dark, and still too pink, even though you'd think golden would mean it was warm toned! Next, and worst of all, it made me break out! I always make sure to remove my makeup and use cleanser at night, and I've never broken out from any powder foundation before - I've used everything from minerals to MAC. So, if you can find a good color match and don't break out, this is a fantastic product. If you're at all warm toned or break out easily, steer clear!