Ulta 21 Days of Beauty March 2018 Pt. 2

Hey y’all!

I noticed that I’m not buying as many products from 21 Days of Beauty as I did last time. I think it’s partly because I’ve tried more products and brands than I had 6 months ago and partly because I’m better stocked and don’t want anything to go to waste. I had hoped to pick up the Marvelous Mauves Eyeshadow Palette from Dose of Colors on April 1st, but apparently I slept in too late, and they sold out. Whoops! It looks like this will just send up being a 4-part series of posts instead of 5. Let’s jump into part 2!

Samples

I ordered online again, so I chose the Skincare Sampler this time.

Stay All Day Foundation & Concealer

from Stila Cosmetics

Photo of Stay All Day Foundation & Concealer sample from Stila Cosmetics
$40; Stila Cosmetics

The full-size product consists of 1 fl. oz. of the foundation and .04 oz. of refillable full-coverage cream concealer under the cap. This sample came with 4 shades of foundation (no concealer):

  • Fair 2 (Warm undertones)
  • Light 3 (Golden undertones)
  • Buff 7 (Warm undertones)
  • Tan 13 (Golden undertones)

My skin has neutral undertones, so I’d most likely be a match for Porcelain 0 or Hue 5, depending on how tanned I was. You can find your match here. Fair 2 worked pretty well for me.

The texture was kind of thick and made me a little nervous at first, but it held up really well over the course of the day. Even after a 12 hour day plus a workout, it wasn’t showing any signs of breaking up. Not sure if I’d purchase full-size because it felt a little heavy, yet I had to layer it on quite a bit to build up coverage. It’s also a bit pricey for me, but I would be curious to see how my supposed color match looks on me.

Chia Seed Oil Volumizing Shampoo & Conditioner

from Hask Beauty

Photo of Chia Seed Oil Volumizing Shampoo & Conditioner sample from Hask Beauty

I’m not really sure what shampoo and conditioner have to do with skincare, but I digress… It turns out chia seeds are just as good for your hair as they are for the rest of you, thanks to the proteins, antioxidants, calcium, and omega-3s inside.

You can’t buy directly from the Hask website at this time, so it directed me to Ulta’s website, but when I looked, the only Chia Seed Oil product I could find was dry shampoo. Maybe this shampoo and conditioner are so new that they haven’t rolled out yet? Have you tried the dry shampoo? I’m curious what you think of it.

The shampoo and conditioner were ok; they smelled nice without being overbearing. They gave my hair volume but left it feeling a little coarser than normal after blow-drying, even after using all my normal styling products. I probably wouldn’t purchase this for my hair (if I could even find out where to purchase it!)

Beauty Steals

Photo Finish Primer Water Set & Refresh Spray

from Smashbox Cosmetics

Photo of Photo Finish Primer Water Set & Refresh Spray from Smashbox Cosmetics
$32 for 3.9 fl. oz.; Smashbox Cosmetics

I love my current primer and my current setting spray, so I was mainly curious to try this out as a makeup refresher during the day. It was one of the Beauty Steals on March 21st, so I got it for half price! I love, love, loved it! The scent was very fresh and not too strong; I loved how hydrated my skin felt and how quickly it absorbed the product. I can’t decide if I like Too Faced’s Hangover 3-in-1 Setting Spray better. I’ll get back to you on that one…

Pérsona Identity Palette

from Pérsona Cosmetics

Photo of the Identity Eyeshadow Palette from Persona Cosmetics
$32; Pérsona Cosmetics

This palette had high reviews, and it was another Beauty Steal on March 21st, so it was half price. Why not give it a shot? These shades were created with brown eyes in mind (mine are hazel), but they’ll work with any eye color.

The palette has 6 shimmer shades:

  • Sassy
  • Goal Digger
  • Seductive
  • Bombshell
  • Goddess
  • Bossy

And 6 matte shades:

  • Humble
  • Charming
  • Maverick
  • Audacious
  • Chic
  • Fearless

When I first swatched these with my fingers, they were sooooo buttery smooth. I couldn’t wait to try them on my lids! They went on just as smoothly with brushes, and the pigmentation was to die for! To test out some of the shimmer shades, I used Goddess as my transition shade, Bossy to deepen, Goal Digger on my lids, and Sassy to highlight. I was so distracted by the beauty of these colors that I completely forgot to put on eyeliner! To test out some matte shades, I put a look together consisting of Maverick for transition, Fearless to deepen, Chic on my eyelids, and Humble to highlight. The matte formula was just as great as the shimmer. So far, I love them all!

This was the only eyeshadow palette I saw on the Pérsona website, but I can’t wait to see what else they come out with! It’s an excellent product, cruelty-free, and even made in the USA. Definitely a brand to keep an eye out for in the future!


2 posts about 21 Days of Beauty down, 2 to go! Have you tried any of these products? What did you think?

Love,

Sarah xoxo


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Spoil Me Sunday: 2-in-1

Hey, y’all!

Happy Easter or Passover to those who celebrate! Yet another weekend is almost over. Where does the time go?? A short post today about one of my new favorite masks:

7th Heaven 2-in-1 Charcoal Masque

from Montagne Jeunesse

Photo of 7th Heaven 2-in-1 Charcoal Masque from Montagne Jeunesse
$1.99; Ulta

When you’re short on time and your to-do list is long, who doesn’t love accomplishing two tasks at once? I received this masque as a stocking stuffer from my mother-in-law at Christmas, and it does just that! Not only does the charcoal work to draw out impurities, but crushed black lava and walnut seed exfoliate your skin while you’re applying and removing it. It has a nice thick texture, so it’s easy to apply without making a mess. I also love that Montagne Jeunesse is 100% cruelty-free (they’re vegan, too). The only drawback about this product for me was that the scent is pretty strong and bordered on overpowering. Despite that, I’d still repurchase because it left my skin looking and feeling so good afterwards.


What are some of your favorite multi-tasking skincare products? I’d love to hear about them!

Have a great week!

Love,

Sarah xoxo


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Instagram: sarah.elizabeth614 (You can also click the icon at the top of this page.)

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Photo of Part 1 of my March 2018 Ulta 21 Days of Beauty haul

Ulta 21 Days of Beauty March 2018 Pt. 1

Hey, y’all!

It’s that time of year again…Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty! Twice a year, Ulta has a 3-week event of daily flash sales (“Beauty Steals”) where best-selling items will be up to 50% off for just one day. They also have weekly “Beauty Deals” where select Ulta Beauty Collection items are 50% off. On top of all that, they have “Hot Buys” that last the entirety of the event where select items are 25-40% off, but sometimes it applies to entire brands. If you’re a Platinum member, like me, or a Diamond member, you get free shipping on your purchase, even if it doesn’t meet the usual $50 minimum, as long as you have a Beauty Steal item in your cart. Throughout this event, there are some fabulous deals to be had; these aren’t just drugstore brands that are on sale. We’re talking high-end brands, too, like Urban Decay, Tarte, MAC, Strivectin, Peter Thomas Roth, etc. If you’ve never checked this out before, GET ON IT! This event is going on through April 7th, and it’ll happen again in the fall.

This is what I got in my first order of the event; more will be on the way!

Samples

I purchased online, so I got free samples; I chose the Skincare category this time.

Dipbrow Pomade

from Anastasia Beverly Hills

Photo of Dipbrow Pomade Sample from Anastasia Beverly Hills
$18 for .14 oz.; Anastasia Beverly Hills

This sample of 4 brunette shades came with the most adorable tiny brush I’ve ever seen! This was my first time using a pomade instead of a powder on my brows, and I learned very quickly that a little goes a long way. My brows were looking a little too Groucho Marx, so I took it off and started over. (Good thing my brows are the very first step of my makeup routine!) I thought I might use Chocolate on the inner half of my eyebrows and Dark Brown on the outer half to contour them, but Chocolate ended up being too light and a little too warm, so I just ended up using the Dark Brown. It’s nice just having one step instead of filling and then using a clear brow gel, but it never seemed to ever dry down to the point that it was truly smudge-proof. I don’t think I’ll be converting to pomade just yet.

Smooth & Protect Primer SPF 50

from NARS Cosmetics

Photo of Smooth & Protect Primer SPF 50 from NARS Cosmetics
$36 for 1 oz.; NARS Cosmetics

I’ve tried a sample of this primer before and I instantly fell in love. It has a similar texture to Smashbox’s cult-favorite Photo Finish primer, but it has the SPF in it, which Smashbox doesn’t. It does a great job of camouflaging pores and making my foundation last. When my Laura Geller primer runs out, this is without a doubt what I’ll be replacing it with.

Makeup

Bye Bye Pores Pressed Powder

from IT Cosmetics

Photo of Bye Bye Pores Pressed Powder from It Cosmetics
$29 for .31 oz.; It Cosmetics

I got a sample of this in my ipsy Glam Bag a few months ago, and I really loved it. It’s translucent, so it works on any complexion. It applies like a dream and feels so great on my skin. The silk, hydrolyzed collagen, antioxidants, and peptides in it all have anti-aging properties, and on top of it all, it minimizes pores and imperfections. It leaves my skin looking truly flawless, and the compact is perfect for touching up when I’m at work or out and about. Heck, I’ll sometimes wear it by itself just to get rid of shine when I’m running errands on the weekend and don’t feel like putting on a full face of makeup.

This was one of the Beauty Steals on March 19th, so I got it for half price. Win!

Skincare

Assorted Masks

from Leaders Cosmetics

One of the Hot Buys of the event is that the entire Leaders Brand is 40% off, so I picked up some new masks to try. Keep an eye out for these in future Spoil Me Sunday posts!

7 Wonders Amazonian Açai Anti-Pollution Sheet Mask

Photo of 7 Wonders Amazonian Acai Anti-Pollution Sheet Mask from Leaders Cosmetics
$6 ea. or $58 for 10; Leaders Cosmetics

Açai is full of antioxidants, and this mask also has Vitamins B, C, and E to help protect and rejuvenate skin.

7 Wonders Caribbean Coconut Calming Sheet Mask

Photo of 7 Wonders Caribbean Coconut Calming Sheet Mask from Leaders Cosmetics
$6 ea. or $58 for 10; Leaders Cosmetics

Thanks to its high Vitamin E content, coconut calms and soothes skin, reducing redness.

Daily Wonders Detox and Chill Charcoal Purifying Sheet Mask

Photo of Daily Wonders Detox and Chill Charcoal Purifying Sheet Mask from Leaders Cosmetics
$5 ea. or $48 for 10; Leaders Cosmetics or $9 for 2; Ulta

We all know how well charcoal detoxes the skin, removing impurities and minimizing pores. This mask also has Chlorella and green tea extracts to hydrate the skin.

Daily Wonders Breakup with Your Ex-Skin Cells Exfoliating Sheet Mask

Photo of Daily Wonders Breakup with Your Ex-Skin Cells Exfoliating Sheet Mask from Leaders Cosmetics
$5 ea. or $48 for 10; Leaders Cosmetics or $9 for 2; Ulta

Witch Hazel and Alpine Willow Herb extracts remove dead skin cells, unclogging pores and reducing redness, plus giving you some much-needed hydration.

Rapids Soothing Probiotic Bubble Mask

from H20+ Beauty

Photo of Rapids Soothing Probiotic Bubble Mask from H20+ Beauty
$6 for 1 fl. oz.; H20+ Beauty

I’ve never tried this brand, but I’ve always been curious to try one of these bubble masks, so why not start with one that’s on sale? It’s got probiotics, along with Champagne and Yuzu extracts to help preserve moisture in your skin. According to the product info, it should help reduce blackheads after 2 weeks with regular use (2-3 times per week). When I told my husband about it, he was fascinated and wanted to watch me use it. 😀 This will be a Spoil Me Sunday item for sure!

This was on sale for $4.80, but not as part of the 21 Days of Beauty event.

Spoiled Rotten At-Home Pampering Kit

from Patchology

Photo of Spoiled Rotten At-Home Pampering Kit from Patchology
$25 (regular price); Ulta

Another brand I haven’t tried before! This kit includes:

  • 1 Illuminate 5 Minute FlashMasque
  • 1 pair of Rejuvenating Eye Gels
  • 1 Hydrating Lip Gel
  • 1 PoshPeel Pedi Cure

I just had to get this–it has Spoil Me Sunday written all over it! Can’t wait to give these products a try. You can buy the individual items from Patchology, but it looks like this kit is only available from Ulta. Patchology has other kits and sets on their website worth checking out.

This item is one of the Hot Buys, so for the whole 3 weeks, it’s 30% off.


Will you be getting anything from 21 Days of Beauty? What do you have your eye on? Let me know in the comments!

Love,

Sarah xoxo


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Instagram: sarah.elizabeth614 (You can also click the icon at the top of this page.)

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Ulta Beauty Haul: March 2018

Hey, y’all!

To keep my beauty addiction in check, I set a budget each month and (do my best to) stick to it. This month will look a little different than most because Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty is going on, but I’ll post about that separately. These items are just what I bought outside of the event. Some were purchased in-store, and some were online.

The Samples

Because I purchased some of my items online, I got free samples. I chose to go with the “Variety” category this time, and these are the two that I got:

Cushion Complexion 5-in-1 Skin Perfector with Turmeric

from Julep

Photo of Cushion Complexion 5-in-1 Skin Perfector Sample from Julep
$30 for .16 oz.; Julep

Since it’s a sample, it didn’t come with the eponymous cushion applicator, but I was interested to try the product itself. This sample came with 4 shades:

  • Ivory (Light with Warm-Neutral Undertone)
  • Cashmere (Medium with Cool Undertone)
  • Desert (Tan with Neutral Undertone)
  • Clove (Deep with Cool Undertone)

I ended up mixing Ivory and Cashmere to (almost) match my complexion. Looking at the color chart on their website, I would think Linen or Ivory would be my match, but Ivory looked too light when I put it on, so I guess I’m somewhere between the “Light” and “Medium” categories. I used Clove as a liquid contour with some success; a little went a long way, and it was a little hard to blend on top of the foundation layer.

The 5-in-1 it refers to is Concealing, Correcting (thanks to the Camellia Seed Oil), Blurring (thanks to the Soft-Focus Powders), Illuminating, and Brightening (thanks to the Turmeric Extract). Overall, I liked the formula. It blended well as a foundation, had medium coverage that was buildable, had a lovely demi-matte finish, and it lasted pretty well throughout the day. It made my skin look gorgeous! Have you used this with the applicator? Comment below to tell me what you thought! I’m not sure if I’d purchase the full size. It depends on how the applicator feels, how well it applies the product, and whether or not I could actually find a shade that matches my skin.

Lemon & Sage Body Butter

from Bliss

Photo of Lemon + Sage Body Butter sample from Bliss
$12 for 6.7 fl. oz.; Bliss

I’m terrible about remembering to moisturize my body, but I love citrus, so I was excited to try this. I was a little disappointed because it wasn’t very citrusy, but the Shea Butter and Coconut Oil do make it super rich. It absorbs quickly into the skin and isn’t greasy at all. I doubt I’d buy it, but at least I can say I’ve tried it.

Now let’s move on to the actual haul!

Skincare

Retinol Advanced Brightening Serum

from Skincare L de L Cosmetics

Photo of Retinol Advanced Brightening Serum from Skincare Cosmetics
$19.99 for 1 oz; Bed Bath & Beyond

Just a couple weeks after buying it, this product doesn’t seem to be available at Ulta anymore. My skin tends to get dull from not getting enough sleep, so I tend to gravitate to any brightening skincare products.

The active ingredients include Retinol (duh), Vitamin C, Melanoid to improve skin brightness and luminosity. It absorbs quickly into the skin which is nice, but overall I was underwhelmed by this serum. I didn’t love it, didn’t hate it, but it didn’t really seem to do much of anything. I’ve seen greater results from other products that I’m using (I’m planning to write a post about my skincare regimen soon, so more to come on that.) I wouldn’t go out of my way to find this product elsewhere to repurchase. It also annoyed me that this brand doesn’t seem to have a website of their own, so I don’t know much about them. Oh well, I can say I gave it a shot.

Hydrating Night Cream

from Derma E

Photo of Hydrating Night Cream from Derma E
$29.50 for 2 oz.; Derma E

I ran out of the night cream I was using previously, and I had been wanting to try this one for a while. Active ingredients include:

  • Hyaluronic Acid – helps rehydrate skin
  • Vitamins C & E – antioxidants with anti-aging properties
  • Aloe – helps soothe skin

The texture is very rich without being greasy; it’s just what my skin needs after a long day. Also gotta love the fact that it’s guilt free–the Derma E brand is 100% vegan and cruelty-free. I would definitely buy this again! I only have 2 complaints: 1. I wish it came in a pump bottle instead of a jar so it didn’t take up so much space on my countertop. 2. I wish it didn’t have fragrance added to it. The smell reminds me of bananas, so I guess it could be worse, but I could do without it.

Firming DMAE Moisturizer

from Derma E

Photo of Firming DMAE Moisturizer from Derma E
$22.50 for 2 oz.; Derma E

I had been planning to buy something else, but Ulta had a buy one get one half off deal on Derma E when I bought the night cream, so I bought this to go with it. Active ingredients include:

  • Dimethyl MAE – firms skin
  • Alpha Lipoid Acid – antioxidant
  • C-Ester – derived from Vitamin C, but it’s more stable, penetrates deeper into the skin, and is less likely to break down due to environmental exposure
  • Jojoba Oil – moisturizing
  • Vitamins A & E – additional antioxidants

It has a much richer texture than I expected, but you can use it both morning and night, if you want. Despite the richness, it’s not greasy, it absorbs fairly quickly, and it doesn’t affect my makeup application. Due to the DMAE and ALA, Derma E recommends doing a “patch test” to gauge your skin’s reaction before using it all over your face. I didn’t have any adverse reaction, but some sensitive skin types might. The label says a slight tingling sensation is normal, but I didn’t feel anything. I might repurchase, but I’m not sure. I wish it came in a bottle instead of a jar, and it says it has fragrance added, but it doesn’t smell like much of anything to me. I can’t decide if I like it more than the moisturizer I was using before. Decisions, decisions…

Scar Gel

from Derma E

Photo of Scar Gel from Derma E
$19.95 for 2 oz.; Derma E

This is what I had originally planned to purchase with the night cream, but it was out of stock in the store, so I had to purchase online. I had seen several beauty gurus on YouTube rave about this product, so I wanted to give it a try. I’ve got scars from old blemishes just like everyone else, as well as scars on my body (I’m clumsy). For new scars, you should apply 2-3 times a day for 8 weeks to see results. For older scars, apply twice a day for 3-6 months.

It’s a very light clear gel that absorbs right into the skin and isn’t greasy at all. Because it’s so light, I use it right after my toner so that it can fully absorb into the skin. It smells like Bergamot, so I guess they at least used something natural for fragrance. We’ll see how well it works over the next few months!

Sonicsmooth Replenishment Kit

from Michael Todd Beauty

Photo of True Sonic Dermaplaning System Replenishment Kit from Michael Todd Beauty
$26; Michael Todd Beauty

I’ve been dermaplaning religiously for a couple of months now, and I’m seeing an improvement in my skin. It was time to get more blades, so I purchased the replenishment kit, which is only available online. It consists of 7 replacement blades (a 2 month supply), cleanser, and after treatment gel (.85 oz. each). Ulta needs to update their website because it says the kit comes with the Oat & Honey cleanser, but I’ve gotten the Charcoal Gel Cleanser instead twice now (once when I bought the device and now with the kit). Not a huge deal because I’ve tried both and don’t have a strong preference, but it’s nice to know what you’re actually getting when you buy something.

It annoys me that you can’t just buy the blades by themselves because I haven’t run out of the cleanser or the after treatment gel, but there’s not much I can do about that. I’ll probably just give the cleanser to a friend. I’m still in love with the device, though!

Makeup

Fit Me! Shine-Free + Balance Stick Foundation in Coconut

from Maybelline

Photo of Fit Me! Shine-Free + Balance Stick Foundation from Maybelline
$8.99 for .32 oz.; Maybelline

I wanted a liquid or cream contour, but I just wanted one color. I didn’t want to buy a whole palette. I also didn’t want to buy a whole other shade of Tarte Shape Tape just for contouring, so I tested some things out in the drugstore beauty section and settled on this. It’s completely matte thanks to the powder core, which is exactly what I wanted, and it blends pretty well with a damp beauty sponge. Bonus points for the fact that it’s fragrance free. I like it well enough, especially for the price, but I’m on the fence about repurchasing.

Luxury Baking Powder – Lace

from Makeup Revolution

Photo of Luxury Baking Powder in Lace from Makeup Revolution
$8 for 1.23 oz.; Makeup Revolution (Yes, the label is crooked, and it drives me crazy!)

I needed a good baking powder, especially to set my concealer under my eyes. Someone had mentioned this one on YouTube, and for the price I figured I had nothing to lose. The “Lace” powder is a neutral light pink tone, but they also have “Terracotta” that’s a deeper shade, a Banana Powder, and “Ghost” that’s white.

It works really well; I met some friends for drinks the other night after going to the gym, and one of them asked if I had reapplied makeup after working out because it looked so good (I hadn’t). I apply it with a damp beauty sponge, let it set for a few minutes, then dust off the excess before using setting spray. I’ll usually get some shininess in my T-Zone around lunchtime, but that’s what blotting sheets and powder are for. My only gripe with this product is the packaging. I get it that the sieve at the top is to prevent clumping, but it makes it difficult to get product out to where I can use it without making a mess. Despite that, I’ll be repurchasing. The quality of the product for the price point is too good to pass up.

Tools

Expert Concealer Brush

from Real Techniques

Photo of Expert Concealer Brush from Real Techniques
$6.99; Real Techniques

I have yet to try a brush from Real Techniques that I didn’t love; this one was no exception. It’s so soft and gentle on my under eye area, but it still does a great job of blending my concealer. The aluminum handle makes it nice and lightweight and comfortable to use, and the synthetic bristles are very easy to clean. For such a good price, how can you pass it up?

Retractable Lip Brush

from e.l.f. Cosmetics

Photo of Retractable Lip Brush from e.l.f. Cosmetics
$3; e.l.f. Cosmetics

I needed a new retractable lip brush because the one I had was old, like 20+ years old from when I had ballet recitals as a kid. Yikes. Anyway, this one comes to a point, so it’s great for lining your lips or touching up. You can use it for filling in if you’re patient, but I have a Ben Nye brush that I tend to use for application in the morning. This one lives in my purse for touch ups on the go. It seems to have trouble staying fully extended, but it manages to get the job done. Bonus points for the fact that it’s easy to clean.

Nails

Nail Recovery Kit

from Nail Tek

Photo of Nail Recovery Kit from Nail Tek
$20; Nail Tek

I have naturally soft, peeling nails to begin with, but gel nail polish has wrecked them. This nail kit is my saving grace.

Foundation 2 is a ridge filling base coat; it does the job excellently, but what I really love is how quickly it dries. By the time I had gotten to my last nail, the first five were already dry. It dries a little opaque and pretty matte, so it’s easy to tell when it’s dry. I don’t think I’ll ever use anything else on my fingernails ever again!

Intensive Therapy 2 is a strengthener that helps seal the layers of the nail together. It should be applied every day for best results. Girl, my nails need it! It dries quickly like the Foundation 2–hallelujah! It’s a little soon to tell how well it will work for my nails, but I’m optimistic.

Renew is a cuticle oil for all nail types that nourishes and conditions the cuticle. It has tea tree oil and Vitamin E to help keep cuticles healthy. I like to apply it right before bed and then put on moisturizing gloves.

I’ll definitely be buying these products again, and I plan on checking out other Nail Tek products, as well.


Whew, that’s a wrap! Have you tried any of these products? Any that you want to try? Let me know in a comment below!

April is just around the corner! We’ll see what it brings besides showers. 🙂

Love,

Sarah xoxo


If you’d like to be notified when new posts go up, please subscribe to Balanced Life Beauty.

Instagram: sarah.elizabeth614 (You can also click the icon at the top of this page.)

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Photo of my March ipsy Glam Bag

ipsy Glam Bag Review: March 2018

Hey, y’all!

A new month, a new Glam Bag! The theme for this month’s Glam Bag was #ipsycreate, so it was a black and white design by Priscilla Witte, and it came with 2 markers (mine were pink and blue) to make it your own work of art. I thought it was a really cute idea. Wanna see what was inside? Keep reading!

Good Night! PM Sheet Mask

from Meg Cosmetics

Photo of Good Night! PM Sheet Mask from Meg Cosmetics
$6 ea.; Meg Cosmetics

If you’ve read previous posts, you know I’m always down to try new masks, but I have yet to encounter a sheet mask that I fall in love with and want to repurchase. The Tea Tree oil and Rosemary extract give this mask a very clean smell with just a hint of citrus, which was nice. I will say that of all the sheet masks I’ve tried, this one fit me the best. I have a high forehead, and a lot of the Korean brand masks stop like an inch below my hairline. This one came all the way up to about 1/4″ below my hairline, so there’s that. This one left my face feeling super sticky long after I had removed the mask, which was annoying. I think I’ve realized, though, that my biggest frustration with sheet masks is that none of them fit my face well. Besides the forehead issue, I have yet to find one that will stay adhered to the sides of my nose without encroaching on the outer corners of my eyes. It seems that until I find the unicorn of sheet masks, I won’t be buying the same one twice. Same goes for this one. Le sigh.

My Rating: 3/5

Glow Duo

from City Color Cosmetics

Photo of Glam Duo Highlighter from City Color Cosmetics
$5.99; City Color Cosmetics

I love a good highlighter, and I’ve been impressed by everything I’ve tried from City Color Cosmetics thus far, so I was excited to give this a whirl.

The powder side is a little more glittery than I would normally use for everyday makeup, so I only used it (sparingly) on my cheekbones. I didn’t use it to highlight my nose, chin, cupid’s bow, etc. The color is gorgeous, and it goes on like a dream.

The cream side is more subtle, so I used that for highlighting the rest of my face. It’s got a nice buttery texture, but it’s nice and light. I also tried layering it over the powder on my cheekbones, and the effect was really pretty. Definitely going to keep experimenting with this.

My Rating: 4/5

SL41 Blusher Brush

from SLMISSGLAM Beauty

Photo of SL41 Blusher Brush from SLMISSGLAM Beauty
SLMISSGLAM Beauty

The bulk of my brushes came from Amazon, but every now and then I’ll splurge on a particular brush. Getting them in my Glam Bag is even better! I’ve gotten a brush from SLMISSGLAM before in a previous Glam Bag, and I literally use it every day. My only complaint about that brush was that it was teal, so it didn’t go with my other brushes that are predominantly pink and black. I was super excited to get another SLMISSGLAM brush this month, and this one is pink! Bonus that it’s sparkly, too. 🙂

SLMISSGLAM Beauty doesn’t sell individual brushes, unfortunately. At the moment, their sets range from $38.50 for a set of 2 to $325 for a set of 25. As I expected, the (synthetic) bristles are super soft and easy to clean. At first I was a little concerned that it wasn’t dense enough to apply my blush/highlighter/etc. effectively because of how it compared to my other blush brushes, but it ended up doing a great job of blending it out for a natural looking glow. Love, love, love!

My Rating: 5/5

Sex Kitten Eyeliner

from Tarte Cosmetics

Photo of sample size Sex Kitten Eyeliner from Tarte Cosmetics
$20 for full size; Tarte Cosmetics

I had tried a sample of this eyeliner from Ulta before and liked it, so I didn’t mind seeing it in my Glam Bag this month. My personal eyeliner preference is gel for my waterline and liquid for my upper lid, so this wouldn’t be my first choice. I can use it on my waterline, and it’s ok, but it doesn’t last. When I used it on my upper lid, it went on smoothly without any skipping or tugging, and it lasted all day long. I wouldn’t purchase the full-size, but that’s not because it’s a bad product. It’s just not my thing.

My Rating: 2/5

Freematic Eyeshadow Mono in “Lola”

from Doucce

Photo of Freematic Eyeshadow Mono in
$10 ea.; Doucce

Eyeshadow is one of my favorite parts of doing my makeup, so I’m always game for trying new brands. A friend of mine gave me a Doucce palette she had received and didn’t want, but I hadn’t gotten a chance to play with it much. “Lola” is a really pretty pinkish purple that can work for daytime or evening, depending on what other colors you use with it to contour. It applies really smoothly with zero fallout; the color isn’t super vibrant when you first apply, but it’s buildable, which is nice. Not 100% sure I’d buy other colors, but I’m not writing it off.

My Rating: 4/5


This month’s Glam Bag had an average rating of 3.6. I always like getting brushes, and I liked the mix of skincare and makeup in my bag. I might need to change my profile preferences to nix sheet masks, but I’ll leave it alone for now.

Are you a member of a subscription service? What fun things did you receive this month? Leave a comment to let me know!

I’ve also recently subscribed to Yes, Oh Yas! You get 3-7 full-size beauty products every month for $14.99 + shipping. I can’t wait to get my first box next month! Want 10% off your first box? Use coupon code SARAH614 when you check out!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Love,

Sarah xoxo


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Photo of Biore Self Heating One Minute Mask

Spoil Me Sunday: Fire & Ice

Hey, y’all!

After being out of town the past couple of weekends, the name of the game this weekend was getting back into a regular routine. The biggest focus was meal prepping (we’re making an eggplant parmesan from scratch that I’m super stoked about) and cleaning our condo. I wanted to focus on deep cleaning my skin, too. It’s finally starting to clear up, and I’d like to stay on that trajectory.

Self Heating One Minute Mask With Natural Charcoal

from Bioré Skincare

After using my ExfoliKate, I wanted to heat things up a little more, so I popped on this mask for a minute. The warming sensation felt so good, and when I rinsed it off, there was a refreshing cooling sensation, thanks to the menthol that’s in it. Yes, it has fragrance in it (sigh), but I noticed the menthol more than anything else. I loved how clean and fresh my skin felt afterwards. After a day of cooking and cleaning, it’s exactly what I needed!

You can find a box of 4 single-use packets for as low as $5.82 on Amazon, or you can find it at your local drugstore for a little more (usually around $7.99.) This is a skincare item I always like to have on hand for whenever my skin needs it.


What do you think of self-heating skincare products? Are you a bigger fan of products with a cooling sensation? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Have a great week!

Love,

Sarah xoxo

Spoil Me Sunday: What the Heck is in This??

Hey y’all!

I wasn’t feeling up to a super involved Spoil Me Sunday this week. I’ve been really busy, so what my body needed this week instead of a lengthy spa day was a good workout and then a chance to veg and recharge. (This blog is called Balanced Life Beauty, after all!) Last week, my skin was looking fantastic, and this week I’m breaking out all over the place (hooray for hormones!), so I used a couple of clay masks to detoxify, unclog, and soothe my skin. Sorry for not including pictures this week–these were samples I had received from Ulta, and I had used them before, so the top part of the packets had already been cut off.

Pure-Clay Masks

from L’Oréal Paris

Both of the masks I used were from this line. The first one was the Detox & Brighten Charcoal Clay Face Mask ($12.99 from L’Oréal Paris). It was definitely the heavier of the two and dried down more than the other one. It felt like your typical yawn-and-your-face-cracks type of clay mask. My skin did feel cleaner afterwards, but I didn’t notice any significant increase in brightness.

The second one I used was the Exfoliate & Refining Pure-Clay Red Algae Face Mask ($12.99 from L’Oréal Paris). This one felt lighter on my skin, and I’m hoping it will help clear out my pores to get rid of this breakout. It never completely dried down, so it didn’t crack when I moved my face; I almost forgot that I had it on. This mask was also noticeably easier to remove. (Side commentary: the red color reminded me of that episode from BBC’s Planet Earth where the elephants were covering themselves in red clay to cool down. My husband cracked up when I pointed that out.)

My main issue with these masks and the reason I don’t plan to purchase the full-size versions is what’s in them: propylene glycol (can cause skin irritation), perlite polysorbate 20 (can be contaminated with carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane), triethanolamine (can be contaminated with carcinogenic nitrosamines), phenoxyethanol (can cause skin irritation), and parfum/fragrance, among other things. The fragrance is what got me looking at the ingredients list in the first place because the scent was so strong. I prefer my skincare products to be unscented because sometimes my skin doesn’t react well to it, and oftentimes it just smells too strongly for my personal taste anyway. These definitely smelled way too strong for me. I’m going to be looking a lot more closely at ingredients lists to see what else is hiding in my skincare products. I had been thinking of writing a series of posts to act as a sort of glossary of ingredients in beauty products (what they are, what they’re for, etc.) but I’m not sure how I want to format that yet.


I’m hoping that some R&R today will give me the energy I need for the week ahead. I need to work on getting more sleep during the week. How do you like to recharge? Leave a comment below!

Have a great week!

–Sarah xoxo

Spoil Me Sunday: Spice Up Your Life

Hey y’all!

For this week’s Spoil Me Sunday, there ended up being an unintentional theme: spices! I’m absolutely in love with these products, so let’s jump right in:

ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment from Kate Somerville

Photo of ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment
$75 for 1.7 fl. oz.; katesomerville.com or $85 for 2 fl. oz.; Sephora

Full disclosure: I didn’t buy this. My friend Jessi gave it to me because she had received it (I think in a subscription box) and wasn’t going to get around to using it. Boy, did I luck out! This stuff is incredible. I didn’t want to like it because of the price tag, but I couldn’t help it. Per the suggestion on the insert that came in the box, I used it in the shower so my pores would be more open. It’s green, which I wasn’t expecting, but the smell is what really caught me off-guard. It contains both Cinnamal and Cinnamomum Cassia Leaf Oil, so it smells very strongly of cinnamon, which is one of my favorite spices. It was like someone had turned Big Red chewing gum or Hot Tamales candies into a skincare product, and I was putting it all over my face. 🙂 Anyway, you just spread a thin layer on your face in a circular motion, let it sit for up to 2 minutes, and then rinse off. Skin tingling and some minor flushing is normal (mine definitely tingled, but since I was in the shower, I can’t tell  you if it flushed.)

Some of the active ingredients:

  • Lactic Acid: “chemically” exfoliates your skin
  • Silica: physically exfoliates your skin
  • Fruit enzymes: enhance exfoliation
  • Salicylic Acid: dissolves debris that clogs pores
  • Aloe Vera & Honey: soothe and condition skin
  • Vitamins A, C, & E: antioxidants
  • Soy-Lipid: repairs your skin’s natural barrier

 

My skin looked brighter and felt softer and smoother after just one use. You should only use it twice a week max, so this tube will hopefully last me a while. Will I repurchase? I would seriously consider making this a regular skincare splurge. I look at skincare as an investment (and hopefully a way to avoid the temptation of plastic surgery later on), so I’m not ruling this one out.

Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask from Andalou Naturals

Photo of Anadalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask
$14.95 for 1.7 fl. oz.; andalounaturals.com

I’ve used this one before, and I’ve loved it since Day 1. I bought it back in the fall, and it was perfect for the season. Between the pumpkin purée, the clove flower extract, the nutmeg kernel powder, and the cinnamon bark extract, it smells like autumn in a jar. That means that basically I can enjoy a little piece of autumn year-round, which is heavenly! It has some ingredient overlap with the ExfoliKate, but some different ones, as well.

Some of the active ingredients:

 

  • Pumpkin purée: good for your skin in multiple ways
    • Fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) that smooth and brighten your skin.
    • Vitamins A & C that soothe skin and boost collagen production
    • Small molecular structure, so it can penetrate deeper into the skin for greater effectiveness
  • Aloe Leaf Juice & Honey: soothe & condition skin
  • Glycol Acid: another AHA that chemically exfoliates the skin
  • Fruit Stem Cells: anti-aging properties
  • Fruit Extracts: brighten your skin thanks to the naturally occurring AHAs

 

Applying this makes me think of putting a thinner-consistency pumpkin pie filling on my face, which is funny to imagine. You just apply, leave it on for 10-20 minutes, then rinse off. I like to use it every few weeks or so, just because I have so many masks in rotation. This one won’t be leaving the rotation any time soon!

It’s important to note that while you should wear sunscreen every single day, it’s especially important when using products that contain AHAs because your skin is more sensitive to sun exposure. If you don’t wear sunscreen regularly, you’re just going to undo all of the anti-aging work you’ve put in!

Rose Gel Restore Mask from Trader Joe’s

I talked about this mask here, so I won’t go into it again, but it was a nice way to soothe my skin after the more intensive products that preceded it.


What are some of your favorite beauty products that contain food ingredients? Share in a comment below!

I hope you have a fabulous week!

–Sarah xoxo

Spoil Me Sunday Product Reviews: Masks

For this week’s Spoil Me Sunday, I just did two face masks because I’m also taking some time to test out at-home dermaplaning. I’ll post about that later in the week when I can give a full review on how my skin felt the next day. In the meantime, let’s jump right in!

My 7th Heaven Passion Peel-Off Mask

from Montagne Jeunesse

Photo of Montagne Jeunesse 7th Heaven Passion Peel-Off Mask
$1.99 at Ulta

The active ingredients they call out for this mask are Passion Flower, Pomegranate, and Raspberry, which explains the fruity scent and bright pink color. (Once you have the mask on, the color makes it look like your entire face is sunburned, but I digress.) As you would expect with a peel-off mask, it has a gel consistency, but this one seemed runnier than I’m used to, so it got a little messy when I was applying it with my silicone pack brush. They say the drying time is 20-25 minutes, but it took closer to 45 minutes for it to dry completely on my face. It peeled off fairly easily and didn’t leave my skin feeling tight or dry, just nice and exfoliated. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a fan of one-use masks for multiple reasons, so I probably wouldn’t re-purchase, but it was a pleasant experience overall.

Refresh Clay Detox Mask

from Trader Joe’s

img_0803

This is another one from the mask trio I mentioned in last Sunday’s post. It was a limited-time offer at Trader Joe’s, but who knows? Maybe they’ll bring it back at some point. This is a traditional clay mask that also claims to cleanse the skin. It has a mild citrus scent that honestly reminds me of Froot Loops, but there are worse things. It’s not too thick, so it spreads nicely, and it’s easy to get a fairly even distribution. It took about 30 minutes for it to dry completely, and it came off pretty easily with a wet washcloth. It left my skin feeling clean and refreshed but a little tight. Not sure if I’d repurchase because I have so many other masks to go through, but I wouldn’t rule it out.


My skin feels clean and prepped to try dermaplaning now–stay tuned to see how that experience goes. Wish me luck!

Have a great week!

–Sarah xoxo

Spoil Me Sunday Product Reviews: Body Scrub, Masks, & Nail Polish

Sunday is my day to prepare for the week ahead, both literally and mentally. We get our grocery shopping done on Saturday so that we can meal prep on Sunday. Any last-minute laundry gets done. Basically anything that we won’t have time to do during the week gets taken care of.

My favorite part, though, is a ritual I started for myself a few months ago: Spoil Me Sundays. I’ll do whatever beauty treatment(s) my body needs that day, whether it’s a mask (or two), a hair treatment, a mani/pedi, or anything else. It’s about taking the time to fully charge myself for the week ahead so that when I walk into the office on Monday morning, I’m on my A-game, ready to roll.

This week I used a few products; some are new, others are tried-and-true favorites. Let’s dive in!

KP Duty Dermatologist Formulated Body Scrub with Chemical + Physical Exfoliation

from Dermadoctor

Image of Dermadoctor KP Duty Dermatologist Formulated Body Scrub with Chemical + Physical Exfoliation
$46 at dermadoctor.com

My workout this afternoon was a low-impact HIIT that had me sweating like crazy. Before I turned on the shower, I hopped in and rubbed this on my arms and legs to exfoliate off all the grime, which felt fantastic. I use it about once a week to help prevent the Keratosis pilaris (KP) that I get on my upper arms. The consistency reminds me of buttercream frosting with large sugar crystals mixed in. It feels great and leaves my skin noticeably smoother. One thing to note: the active ingredients in this product can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so don’t forget your SPF!

16oz is a good amount of product, especially considering how long it lasts when you only use it once a week. Before sales tax, the price comes out to about $2.88/oz, which isn’t awful, but there are other so many other exfoliants at different price points to choose from. Full disclosure, I bought this during Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty back in September, so I paid half price for it. I really like it, and I’d buy it again if there were another sale, but I’d be hard-pressed to pay full price when there are so many other body scrubs out there to try.

Silicone Pack Brush

from Memebox

Image of Memebox Silicone Pack Brush
$8 at memebox.com

This little tool is such a simple concept that I wish I’d thought of it! It’s just a little spatula that you use to apply face masks. It reduces messiness, and it helps me use less product because it doesn’t end up all over my fingers. It’s a little tricky to get an even application around the nose area, but it comes with practice. I definitely get more precise application so it’s easier to avoid my hairline and eyebrows.

My only complaint is that I wish the handle was a little longer. Measuring from the top of the silver portion to the end of the handle is only 3″ long, but it’s incredibly easy to clean, and I use it for every single mask I apply, regardless of whether it’s a thinner consistency peel-off mask or a thicker clay mask.

7th Heaven Black Seaweed Peel-Off Deep Pore Detox Mask

from Montagne Jeunesse

Image of Montagne Jeunesse Black Seaweed Peel-Off Mask
$1.99 at Ulta

My first mask of the day was a new one I’d never tried before. I got this as a stocking stuffer from my mother-in-law for Christmas. I really enjoy peel-off masks for a couple of reasons: 1. I enjoy the exfoliating properties and how it leaves my skin feeling fresher and brighter. 2. The act of peeling it off is so ridiculously gratifying!

This had the typical consistency of a peel-off mask; it had some fragrance to it, but it wasn’t overpowering. Using every last drop in the package, it’s still never going to look like it does on the woman in the picture as far as coverage, but oh well. I didn’t apply it as evenly as I had thought, so some parts hadn’t dried completely when I started to remove it. I got impatient and washed the remaining bits off.

Overall, I think it was fine. I’m not generally a fan of single packet masks because it seems less environmentally friendly, and it makes it a little more difficult for me to be able to see at a glance what products I have in my arsenal. Not to mention, you get more product for your money when it comes in a tube. With only .3oz in a packet, this one comes out to $6.64/oz, while Formula 10.0.6’s Get Your Glow On Peel Mask (I’ll post about it another time) comes out to $2.06/oz for a 3.4oz tube. I probably wouldn’t get this one again, but I can say I’ve tried it.

Rose Gel Mask

from Trader Joe’s

Image of Trader Joe's Rose Gel Mask

I received this as part of a 3-mask set from my Secret Santa at work this holiday season. Apparently this was a limited-time offer from Trader Joe’s just for the holidays, but at $6.99 for the set of 3, it’s definitely affordable, and it smells lovely, if you like rose scented products. If you’re interested in trying it, you’ll have to keep an eye out to see if they bring it back at a later date.

It has a gel consistency, but it’s not a peel-off mask. After doing the black seaweed mask, this one felt calming on my skin. I enjoy it, but it seems to take awhile to dry (maybe that was just me being impatient again.)

Nail Polish in “I Love My #Selfie”

from Trust Fund Beauty

Image of Trust Fund Beauty's nail polish in the color
$15 for a full-size bottle at trustfundbeauty.com

I first learned about the Trust Fund Beauty brand when I got a bottle of their nail polish in my June 2017 ipsy bag, and I loved it! The colors are vibrant, the staying power, even on my toes, is fabulous, and the full-size bottles are HUGE (.57 fl oz)! Considering that I don’t think I’ve ever used up an entire bottle of nail polish in my life (they usually go bad first), I really like that they also offer sets of 6 mini (.1 fl oz) bottles for somewhere between $28 and $32.

This color came in one of those sets and is just a gorgeous classic red. I tend to go with reds, pinks, and plums on my toes, but since the company I work for has rather conservative views on nail color, I’ll sometimes go with a flashier pedicure like gold or blue. Today felt like a good day for a classic pedi, though. This color goes on very smoothly, it’s not streaky, and I don’t need more than 2 coats to get the deepness I want. I can sometimes go as much as 2 weeks without my pedi even chipping, which is quite a feat, considering that I have to wear close-toed shoes 5 days a week.

Color Dip Nail Polish in “Female Phenom”

from Red Carpet Manicure

Image of Red Carpet Manicure Color Dip nail polish in
$9.99 from Red Carpet Manicure

I’ve never been great at giving myself a manicure because I get impatient waiting for the polish to dry, and since I’m constantly working with my hands, professional manicures at regular intervals seem like a waste of money. I had tried at-home no-light gel kits before, but I’d still manage to smudge my nails before they completely dried. Needless to say, I was super excited to try Red Carpet Manicure’s Color Dip powder gel polish. Up to 3 weeks of wear, and no smudging!

Their normal starter kit comes with the color “Contract Please,” which is a sheer pink. I wasn’t paying attention and accidentally bought their holiday kit instead when Ulta had it on sale, which came with “Red Carpet” (a red glitter) and “Dream Girl Gold” (a gold glitter). Neither of those are technically something I can wear to work, so I picked up “Female Phenom,” which is a sheer pink. They call it a shimmer, but it’s really more of a pearlescent finish. The whole process is a lot of steps: buff, base coat, color, base coat, color, activator, base coat, buff, activator, two layers of top coat, but there’s no wait time. Worth it!

I never managed to get the glitter ones to last more than a week and a half, but maybe this one will be different, since it’s not a glitter. For some reason they would always start to peel up at the base of my nails–I might not have roughed them up enough with the buffer. I used the one that came in the kit, and it didn’t hold up very well–it was worn out after 2 manicures. I’ll keep you posted on how this color holds!


That concludes my first Spoil Me Sunday of 2018! How do you get ready for a busy week ahead? Have you tried any of these products before? Leave a comment, and let me know!

Have a lovely week!

–Sarah xoxo