Butter London BOGO at Ulta!

I may be a little late in reporting this, but if you haven’t heard the internet-wide shrieks of delight, there’s a huge Buy One, Get One free sale on Butter London nail lacquers at Ulta!

I am completely ashamed to admit it, but I broke my buying ban for this sale.  I DO, however, have the best intentions – I’ll be stashing these away for holiday gifts in a couple of months!  (Am I still considered a rule-breaker if the makeup isn’t for personal use?)  While these polishes are normally $14 each, the BOGO sale means each bottle ends up being about $7 – less expensive than Essie!

I haven’t tried Butter nail polish yet, but I’ve heard great things about it and I’d be thrilled to get one as a gift… so my friends and fam are lucky this year.

Haul away, fellow polish fiends!

M

Overnight Success

It’s great waking up to pretty skin.  Most days, it’s just my foggy vision blurring my face into evenly toned, pore-free gorgeousness – but I do have an arsenal of no-fail products for days I need to wake up looking like a Disney princess.


For smooth, ready-to-go morning hair, I start with a good blow dry (either left over from my day, or after a night shower).  Sleeping on wet hair has never done me any favors.  Before heading to bed, I rub a few pumps of Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Overnight Hair Rescue $38, on my palms and coat my hair from the middle to the ends.  A quick pass with a wide tooth comb, and it’s good to go.  In the morning, I have freshly conditioned, pretty-scented, silky hair that’s ready to walk out the door.  My only word of caution is to err on the side of too little product – too much looks greasy.


For my face, I can’t forsake my old stand-by: Alba Even Advanced Night Cream $15.  It really evens my skin tone and makes my pores less noticeable.. but for can’t-risk-it days (weddings, brunches, and DRIVER’S LICENSE PHOTOS) I turn to AMOREPACIFIC Moisture Bound Vitalizing Masque $60.  After cleansing with my Clarisonic brush and finishing off with Clinique Clarifying Lotion, I apply the “masque” generously all over my face and neck.  It feels like a moisturizer, but takes a little longer to soak in.  It’s miraculously not greasy, sticky, or chalky, so my compliments to the chef.
In the morning, my face is plump (in a good way), smooth, soft, and even.  After a quick rinse, I have the perfect canvas for Big Day makeup.


Lastly, there are the eyes.  One big problem with my “need to look good tomorrow” nights is that my sleep is often compromised, and the eye bags give it away.  I don’t typically have issues with redness or puffiness, but when I do, it’s on an important day.  I’ve found out, though, that I can usually nip the problem in the bud with Clinique All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage $28.  It’s an eye serum with a metal roller ball applicator – which I always found a little gimmicky until this.  I rub the cold metal under my eyes and over my lids before bed, and by morning – normal eyes with normal eyelids.  I couldn’t ask for more.  It doesn’t do the miracle work of my everyday eye cream, but I can easily tap that on in the morning to take care of fine lines, dryness and circles.
These three products are my best shot at overnight success.  But I’ve also heard amazing things about Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery and I’m kind of dying to try it when my buying ban is up.

Do you have a no-fail night routine?

M

August Polish Picks

August Polish Picks

Left to Right:

August is a tricky summer/fall month – I can’t get into jewel tones and dark polishes just yet, but neons don’t seem right either.  Right now, I’m totally feeling neutral blush and copper colors.. rich, grown-up and unbeatably easy to wear.  I also love a matte finish (especially over a metallic polish) – it’s unexpected but not outrageous.   And if I start feeling old and boring, I stick on a couple of back-to-school decals.  Nerdy cute, these look great over clear polish or Decades of Dysfunction.  (And for my noncommittal ladies, they peel right off for unexpected business meetings.)  The Hello Kitty nail stickers aren’t the highest quality I’ve used – they tear pretty easily – but use tweezers and some extra caution, and you’ll be fine.

M

Splurge, Steal, or Skip – Conditioner

The Splurge: Bumble & Bumble Creme de Coco Conditioner

It’s no secret that I’m deeply in love with Bumble and Bumble’s Creme de Coco scent.  I love the Hair Masque, and this conditioner is equally fantastic.  While I don’t see the dramatic improvement I do with the mask, I get smooth, soft, and deliciously scented hair without the time commitment.  Perfect for the everyday shower routine.  $24 at Bumble & Bumble (and buy one get one free at Target!)

The Steal: Aussie 3-Minute Miracle

Surprisingly effective for the low, low price, Aussie 3-minute Miracle delivers “deeeeep conditioning.”  There’s a noticeable difference in my hair texture after one use.  It’s not as softening as Bumble & Bumble, but it’s the nicest drug store conditioner I’ve used.  The scent is a little bit like a strong, cheap fruit punch, but it’s not unpleasant.  For the $4.29 price tag (at Ulta and drug stores), it’s worth smelling like the Chiquita lady.

The Skip: Terax Crema Conditioner

Insultingly priced at $24.99 at Amazon, this ‘luxury conditioner’ was surprisingly lackluster.  I’ve read about its cult following, and checked out the rave reviews… but for me, it did almost nothing.  It has a truly bizarre scent – a little bit fishy with hints of plastic and play doh – but I rubbed it into my hair anyway.  (Seriously, why did I do that?)  I gave it a few minutes to get to work.. then a few more minutes when it didn’t feel any different.. then eventually I had to get out of the shower.  Nothing.  Even after a few tries, I’m struggling to see what this fish paste does to my hair.  I don’t know what the hype’s about, but this bottle’s been lonely in my shower for a few months now.  Skip.

M

Splurge, Steal, or Skip – Lip Balm

The Splurge: Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15

If you’re fancy enough to drop $20 on lip balm, this is the one to buy.  It’s nourishing and smooth, like rubbing a warm stick of butter on your lips… if you’re into that kind of thing.  I most certainly am.  This lip balm is not at all waxy or sticky, and there are tons of great colors to choose from.  Luscious as hellll.  $22.50 at Sephora

The Steal: Maybelline Baby Lips SPF 20

Baby Lips should really have its own Best Stuff post, it’s so good.  For being such a cheapy cheap lip balm, it out performs almost every other brand.  Baby Lips skips the waxy chapstick feel, and soaks into my lips comfortably and quickly.  It’s a must-have in every purse and car compartment, especially since it’s cheap enough to replace if/when it melts.  Quenched and Peppermint (both clear) are my two favorites – I didn’t realize the other four kinds are tinted, and picked up Cherry Me and Peach Kiss also.  The tint is noticeably cheap; the colors are Bonne Bell awkward and they apply unevenly.  Save yourself the patchy peach lips, and stick to clear.  $3.99 at Ulta and drug stores

The Skip: Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm

I know I’ll probably be one of the first official Burt’s Bees haters, but hear me out.  A few years ago, Burt’s Bees Beeswax lip balm was in every one of my jacket pockets.  It was my miracle drug – smooth, but a little waxy, with a soothing minty tingle.  But over the past two to three years, something at Burt’s Bees has changed.  I was thrilled when I saw the lip balm in grocery stores and gas stations, but when I picked up a replacement tube, I noticed it was hard.  Like a solid beeswax candle.  It wasn’t a fluke, I received more tubes as holiday gifts, and they were exactly the same.  Solid, waxy, and almost impossible to rub on my lips.  So I gave up on Burt and every single one of his bees.  Farewell, old friends, you were loved.

M

Pssst – Freebies at Ulta & Sephora!

Just wanted to let you guys know, Ulta has a seriously fantastic Benefit gift with purchase on right now!  Free Deluxe Size Porefessional balm, Bad Gal Lash mascara and Cha Cha Tint w/any $25 Benefit purchase.  For the record, I haven’t tried any of those three, but I WANT to!  (Anyone know if they’re good?)

If I were to jump on this deal, I’d blow the $25 on:

  • Erase Paste concealer ($26) – I’ve been in and out of love with this, but right now, it’s my daily under eye concealer.  It only comes in 3 shades, which is weird, but it’s surprising how well it blends into foundation.  It’s thick (paste, indeed) so I have to take some time patting it in with my fingers or a sponge.  Worth it.
  • Bella Bamba blush ($28) – Got a sample size as a Beauty Insider perk with Sephora, and I am digging it.  I’m usually a coral or peach blush girl, but when I go pink, it’s Bella Bamba.  It’s a little shimmery, and it smells like fruit punch Starburst.  And for some reason I like that.
  • Finding Mr. Bright kit ($27.99) – for $1.99 more than the Erase Paste alone, you get mini sizes of Erase Paste in Medium, Girl Meets Pearl, Posie Tint, and High Beam.  BARGAIN.
  • Sweet N Wow 2-piece kit ($29) would make an adorable gift for my light-skinned blonde friend.  Posie tint and Sugarbomb blush.. perfect light pinks.
  • Maaaaaybe Stay Don’t Stray eyeshadow and concealer primer ($26) – I tried my Sephora mini sample of Stay Don’t Stray just yesterday with mixed feelings.  I’m not sure when a concealer primer should go on so I put it on over my foundation primer, but before my foundation.  I was impressed with how it brightened up my eye area, but once my foundation and concealer were on, it wasn’t especially noticeable.  I might also add – my eyeshadow STRAYED!  I’m willing to give it another chance, but I’m not sure I’d buy the full-size yet.

Also going hard on the freebies, Sephora’s 15 Days of Beauty is offering your choice of 6 of their “mini thrills” today with a $25 purchase and the code “15DAYS” at checkout. Your choices are:

  • Kat Von D Sin-Full Lash Mascara (deluxe sample)
  • Sephora Collection deluxe sample set – primer, SPF 15 moisturizer and a mascara
  • Gucci Guilty shower gel (deluxe sample)
  • Chloe long vial (perfume deluxe sample)
  • Korres travel size Guava Body Butter
  • Tarina Tarantino Sparklicity Gloss (deluxe sample)

Not bad, not bad at all.

M