How To Shop For Makeup

how-to-shop-forimg_8645

The title of this post changed quite a few times as I was writing it.  “Who’s this chick that thinks she has any authority on how I buy my makeup??”  If there’s one thing I’m incredibly good at, it’s getting the most value while shopping.  Does this mean my friends make fun of me for having coupon codes at the ready?  Absolutely.  Does it mean B rolls his eyes every time I make him go into an extra store because they have 100 kicks that day?  You betcha.  But stretching my dollars means more clothes in my closet so no shame.  This post is going to be a long one based solely on the depth of information I have to share with you, so definitely go grab a snack before diving in.

Makeup is one of those things seems to never be on sale.  It scarcely goes out of style and if they can charge full price for it, why not?  So my number one trick for affording the makeup that I want is maximizing the point systems to my benefit.  I usually only voice my positive opinions on this blog and just choose to omit the more negative ones, but I’m going to break it down for you guys and give you my real opinion so you can hopefully maximize your own hard earned cash too.

Stop Number One: Ulta Beauty.  Ulta’s point system is the. best. in the business you guys.  You get points for everything you buy, and you can redeem them on absolutely anything.  Zero exclusions.  You can redeem your points at any value, so no waiting to spend $1000 to earn a measly $20 reward.  Since they also hand out coupons like it’s going out of style, I buy 100% of my drugstore beauty needs from Ulta.  That’s everything from Burt’s Bees and Conair to NYX and OPI.  If it can be found at Ulta, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be buying it there.  For starters, there’s the coupon situation, but for seconds this helps me earn points towards the prestige brands.

Prestige brands, while not included in the regular coupons, frequently have other deals going on inside Ulta.  Whether it’s $10 off a bareMinerals purchase or 5x points on an Urban Decay purchase, I’ve found that patience in waiting for these deals always pans out in my favor.  In November I went on a huge Ulta shopping spree for free because I had $175 in points saved up.  That included everything from an Anastasia Beverly Hills palette to Buxom lipgloss and Urban Decay Naked foundation.  It was a good day.

img_8664

Stop Number Two: Nordstrom.  While Nordstrom’s point system is not as lucrative as Ulta’s, I do spend a lot of money there on clothes so it makes sense to also use my Nordstrom card benefits towards makeup purchases.  If Ulta doesn’t carry a brand, I go straight to Nordstrom.  Brands like MAC and Bobbi Brown are frequent Nordstrom purchases for me.  They also have my favorite Sigma Beauty brushes for powder foundation and liquid foundation.  Despite the fact that I think their price points are perfect for the quality makeup you’re getting, I also love the specialized training the girls at their respective makeup counters have.  Combining the quality and knowledge with a decent points system makes these a solid double in my book.  Granted it seems to take forever for me to get a Nordstrom Note (return on investment), but it’s the best option available for sure.

img_8653

(It’s important to tell you guys that I used to buy all of my NARS products at Nordstrom before they were carried at Ulta!  Ulta doesn’t have the full line yet, so I’ve still been buying the classic NARS lipstick and lip glosses at Nordstrom, but anything that Ulta carries will always be bought at Ulta!)

(Also worth noting is MAC’s Back to MAC recycling program.  You can return six empty MAC products to your MAC counter or store, and receive a free MAC lipstick as a thanks for your commitment to the environment!)

IMG_8649.jpg

Stop Number Three: Sephora.  I know I know.  I love Sephora as much as the next girl.  But if you can get past their sleek black and white interior and the really good lighting, their rewards program is kind of garbage.  You can spend tons of money at that store and you’re still only able to redeem it on things that they say you can.  And even then, more often than not they’re only sample size products.  Don’t get me wrong, I have gotten some really great samples from them, like Urban Decay eyeshadow primer or a Sunday Riley cream I was dying to try but afraid to drop $65 on.  But when I know there’s so much more return on my investment I could be getting, it’s really hard to justify spending my money at the place with the better bag.  For this reason, I usually only buy things at Sephora that can’t be found at Ulta or Nordstrom, i.e. Bite Beauty, Marc Jacobs, or Kat Von D.  They also tend to have much, much more in the skincare department, so masks and face serums are frequent Sephora purchases for me.  In addition, Sephora’s service is 1000x better than Ulta’s, so if I really need advice on a new contour color or new facial oil, I will definitely go to Sephora and just bite the bullet on the rewards points because it’s nearly impossible to get the same friendliness or knowledge at Ulta.  But when I’m going to replace the same concealer I always use… I just have to go through the chain of command.

how-to-shop-for-makeup

Moving into a slightly more shopping-neutral territory, I use ebates and shopkick religiously in my shopping escapades.  Most of my actual purchasing is done online, which you would never know if you asked B how frequently we go to the mall (about once per week).  While I love the experience of seeing things in person and am a total mall rat, I’ve found you can really maximize the bang for your buck by doing your actual purchasing online.  First step is I can add and take away things from my cart without the pressure of a sales person breathing down my neck.  I add things, think about them for a day or two, and then can decide whether or not I really need/want it without the pressure of deciding in 37 seconds (nothing flares up my indecision quite like the pressure of time). After I’ve added everything to my cart, I can wait a day or two to see if it goes on sale (this is particularly true with GAP brands.  They have always have 25-40% off, so paying full price there is just straight silly).

The other part of online shopping that gets me the most cash back in my pocket is ebates.  Since I do so much online shopping, it would be just straight silly to not use ebates.  Even if you don’t do that much online shopping, anything is better than nothing.  All you have to do is go to the ebates website, find the store you want to shop at, and then click through their link.  Then once a quarter, they will send you a Big Fat Check in the mail with all of your cashback.  Yes, seriously.  It really is that easy.  Click here to get an extra $10 when you sign up!  Last time I used my check to help ease some of the holiday season bills, but I’m thinking I might use February’s to splurge on some face masks or Too Faced’s Peach line.  My nose says buy the delicious smelling makeup, but my brain says face masks.  Skin first, makeup second.

Thank you all so much for reading!  I hope this is helpful as you go about building those stellar makeup collections!

xo, C

Spring Makeup Updates

IMG_0402

Happy Friday!  I hope you all had an awesome Cinco de Mayo yesterday!  I know Cinco de Mayo isn’t one of the blockbuster holidays in Mexico, but I’m down to celebrate anything that commemorates the underdog while allowing me to consume copious amounts of tacos.

While spring wardrobe updates are obvious (and required), something I think about less is updating my makeup routine.  By the time the weather starts to change I desperately need a change though.  Whether it’s adding a coral lip or bright warm toned nail polishes, here’s a quick roundup of some of my latest beauty buys!

IMG_0391 IMG_0392

I usually stick with nude and pink nail polishes, but all this gray weather has gotten me into a major slump, and I needed to shake things up and some unconventional nail polishes seemed like the perfect way to do that!  The nail salon I go to uses OPI hand lotion and it is the bomb.com.  I love these mini versions that are perfect to keep in your purse or car!  Winter wreaks absolute havoc on my skin, so I’m constantly putting on lotion and OPI is one of my favorites.

Nail Polishes: OPI Got Myself into a Jam-balaya, OPI Purple Palazzo Pants, OPI I Cannoli Wear OPIOPI Hand Lotion Set

IMG_0395

95% of the time, I’m wearing either Burt’s Bees lip balm or a pale pink on my lips (a la these ones from the Lip Product Lineup).  But spring does weird things to me and I suddenly felt much more adventurous then I usually do with my lip makeup.  I ordered Caitlyn Jenner’s ‘Finally Free’ from MAC (100% of the proceeds are going to the MAC AIDS Fund Transgender Initiative), and the rosey nude mauve color is so universally flattering I think everyone needs this in their makeup bag!

On one of my weekly Ulta trips, I went on the hunt for a coral color to liven up my spring wardrobe, and saw that the Urban Decay Revolution lipsticks were 50% off this month.  Without hesitation I scooped up the Sheer Streak and am loving the result-the sheerness makes the coral slightly more palatable than the conventional hue!

Lastly, old habits die hard, and I couldn’t resist adding another pink lipgloss to the repertoire.  You’ll find this Naked ‘Liar’ shade nestled in my purse right between the old reliables.

Lip Products: Naked ‘Liar’ lipgloss by Urban Decay, ‘Finally Free’ lipstick by MAC, Sheer ‘Streak’ Revolution lipstick by Urban Decay (50% off this month!)

IMG_0398

I am by no means a mask expert.  I’ve only started recently using them because my tired skin needs some extra love.  As someone who isn’t super willing to drop half of my paycheck on makeup and skincare products, these Sephora masks are the perfect price and do a great job of giving my face the extra boost that it needs. Between the harsh dry winter and just overall lack of sleep, I find that there is a mask solution for pretty much everything!  I’ve been loving alternating them and seeing the magic come to life!

Masks: Sephora

Face Products: bareMinerals ‘Complexion Rescue’ in Opal | W3LL PEOPLE Contour Kit (also available here)

 

Thanks for reading!  Have a great weekend!

xo, C

Lip Product Lineup

Lip Product Lineup | The Sol Compass

I am extremely (sometimes irrationally) picky about lip products.  I am constantly applying lip balm, so I have to really love a lip product to be willing to give up the Burt’s Bees for an hour or two (seriously, it’s a problem).  Luckily for you all, this means that I have found la crème de la crème of lip products over the years and today I will be sharing those products with you!  It may seem like there are a lot, but it’s nothing compared to how many I’ve tried and disliked!

Ellie Goulding x MAC review on The Sol Compass Ellie Goulding x MAC Review on TheSolCompass.com

Leading off, we have the MAC x Ellie Goulding collab.  I fell in love with it before I even saw it in person.  For starters, I love Ellie Goulding (her voice is electric and her personality magnetic), but more importantly we have similar skin coloring so I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about color matching too much.  The colors are all colors people actually wear in real life, which is what really sealed the deal for me.  I’m not a fan of purple lipstick or green eyeliner or some of the crazy celeb collaborations MAC has produced in the past (looking at you, Ariana Grande), so makeup that works for every day use is a home run in my book.  The attention to detail that was paid in this collection (down to the logo embossed lipstick) is something I can greatly appreciate.  I picked up these three pink shades at Nordstrom, but I also loved the golden shimmer of the Explosion lipgloss that I tried (the store was out, so I had to order it online.  Yep, tester was THAT GOOD).  Timeout: I desperately wanted to try the Halcyon Days/Halcyon Nights palettes, but I had just loaded up on eyeshadow before the holiday season and, ya know, money.  So if anyone wants to bring back a full report on those that would be swell!

Lipstick: Without Your Love | Lip Crayon: Innocent | Plushglass: Goodness Gracious

(I linked to Nordstrom, since I love their easy navigation and free shipping, but you can shop the collaboration at MAC and Macy’s, too!)

Must Have Every Day Pink Lipglosses

On deck, we have my reliable every day lip glosses: NARS’ Turkish Delight and Bobbi Brown’s Petal.  You can find one of these in my purse (or car) at any given time.  Any lipgloss that’s in contention for daily use with me has to be light pink, not sticky, and have just the right amount of shine.  I love these two formulas, and the colors are perfect for every day use.

NARS lipgloss: Turkish Delight | Bobbi Brown lipgloss: Petal

Too Faced Lipstick

In the hole, Spice Spice Baby.  This Too Faced lipstick comes recommended by my friend Kelsey (she’s an aesthetician and I treat her recommendations like gold), and it came recommended to her by one of our friends who works at Ulta.  So yeah- it’s kind of a big deal.  The creamy and rich formula cannot be beat.  It’s so hydrating that I don’t even miss my lip balm when I wear it!  A lot of the colors are too rich for my personal every day taste, but there are quite a few pinky and nude ones I have not yet tried, and Spice Spice Baby is universally flattering.  Or so I’ve been told, I haven’t accosted random pedestrians on the street to test that theory.  Yet.  Stay tuned.

Lipstick: Spice Spice Baby (also available at Sephora)

NYX Butter Gloss and Lip Liner

(I have officially run out of baseball expressions).

After spending a bit too much money at the MET Bar, my friend Amanda and I spent a rainy day at the mall googling MAC dupes for Jenner-worthy lips.  Our favorite result was NYX Ever lipliner and NYX Tiramisu butter gloss.  It’s possibly the darkest I’ve ever had my lips while still liking the results!  You can sort of see how they look in this post.  My sister also loves the NYX butter gloss in Crème Brûlée!  It’s a really soothing and creamy formula that’s perfect for every day, and you can’t beat the price.

Lipliner: NYX Ever | Lipgloss: NYX Tiramisu

Must Have Buxom lipliner from Sephora

The last batter in today’s lineup is this little Buxom rockstar.  Also highly recommended to me by a friend, it acts like a balm, liner, and lipstick all in one.  All my friend needed to do was tell me it was owned by bareMinerals (though sold exclusively at Sephora) to get me on board instantly (bareMinerals addiction last expressed here and here).  This stick is crazy hydrating, and I love how it looks like a lipstick but has the precision of a liner- especially useful with someone with inferior makeup application skills like myself!  I’m dying to try Amsterdam and Bombay next!

Lipstick: Buxom Dolly

 

Do any of you use these products?  Are there any that I need to add into the cycle?  Sound off in the comment section!

Thanks so much for reading!

xo, C

Moisturize

IMG_6684

Winter is always impossibly hard on our skin, and I’ve been noticing the palpable dryness more than ever in the past week.  Obviously, the first solution for this should be to drink more water, a habit I am constantly trying to pick up (I fill up my S’well bottle all day long), but the right products can make a world of difference.

I’ve never been one to use a separate night cream, but when I was experimenting with various Yes To products last winter for this post, I tried the calming cucumber night cream, and was amazed at the results I saw after the very first night.  My skin had never felt so soft, hydrated, and calm during the middle of winter, and I was instantly hooked.

I’ve used all sorts of lotions, from Bath and Body Works, to Aveeno, to the LaMer samples from Sephora (you guys rock xo)- and this L’Occitane shea butter body lotion is by far the best for its price.  I use it for everything, and it does a fantastic job moisturizing without an overpowering scent.

IMG_6688

For specific body lotions, Burt’s Bees does not disappoint (as usual).  I love this coconut foot creme and the almond milk beeswax hand creme.  They are both stronger than a regular body lotion, and do wonders for renewing and moisturizing those extra dry parts.  The best part: you can find both of them at Target for under $10- which is a dealmaker if you go through lotions as fast as I do!

IMG_6690.jpg

This Rosebud Salve is the greatest and most hydrating lip balm ever.  Hands down.  You all know how much I love my Burt’s Bees lip balm, but this gives a bit extra kick and is extra soothing.  I usually only keep them at my desk, since it’s not always appropriate to apply a lip balm with your finger, but it’s always a relief when I get to apply the soothing balm on my chapped winter lips.

What are your favorite hydrating products to use during the winter?  I’m always looking to try new ones, so sound off in the comments below!

xo, C