My 21 Days of Beauty Picks Plus One Product to Avoid

Every year beauty lovers anxiously await the Ulta 21 Days of Beauty deals! I am no different except this year I am on a low-buy, I’m consciously not spending money on makeup and beauty until I use more of my stash. If you’re interested in a tour of my epic stash check out this video on my YouTube channel.
I am however, human and a makeup addict so I will be picking up a few things. In chronological order, here are my picks for must have buys plus one to skip.

dose of colors desi x katy friendcation palette and teami blends green tea detox mask


 
Although I am not indulging in either of today’s deals, I am very tempted! The Dose of Colors Friendcation palette is beautiful. I also want to try the Green Tea Detox mask from Teami (use code Not26 for 10% off) because I love their teas. I will definitely be trying it once my mask stash is smaller than it currently is.
 
 

Peter thomas roth hungarian thermal moisturizer, get drenched kit, and free potent-c gift


Another pick is the Peter Thomas Roth Hungarian Thermal Moisturizer. I love PTRs hydration moisturizers. There are several PTR deals during 21 days. One of the deals that is available during the whole event is the “Get drenched” kit which contains hands down my fav moisturizer for dry and aging skin, the Peter Thomas Roth water drench cloud cream. Don’t miss the free gift with $35 PTR purchase if you snag either of these deals!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tarte tarteist pro glow & blush palette remix and pro remix amazonian clay palette

One deal I AM getting is the tarte tarteist pro glow blush palette remix addition. I was planning on buying this with the next 20% off prestige coupon so I’m psyched to get it at 50% off. I’m skipping the eyeshadow palette since I definitely don’t need more eyeshadow.

 

tarte tartlette toasted palette


 
I already have the tartelette toasted palette but if you don’t, this is a great time to pick it up! If you love warm tones and orangey red neutrals this is for you. Similar to Urban Decay Naked Heat but better quality in my opinion.
 
 

Urban decay eyeshadow singles and origins travel & trial kit


 
Urban Decay singles are great for grabbing a shade or two without the space a whole palette takes up. Even at $10 they add up though so a palette might be a better deal depending on what shades you’re looking for! I will be grabbing Half baked.
If you’ve been wanting to try Origins this travel & trial set is perfect. The Ginzing products are some of my favorites. The eye cream is one I’ve repurchased multiple times.
 

Lime crime venus 3 palette


Lastly one item I recommend avoiding is the Lime Crime Venus 3 palette. I purchased this one sale but still found it to be really disappointing. Several colors look exactly the same on the eye and it’s so amusing that they claim to be “no fade” because they fade even when I use a primer (I’ve tried different ones) and setting spray. I can’t speak to the quality of the first two but I will be decluttering the Venus 3. Not worth $19!

What items are you picking up during this sale?

Sephora VIB Rouge $100 Reward – What I bought plus tips on getting your own!

Sephora rewards bazaar has exclusive items for vib and vib rouge

If you shop at Sephora you are probably familiar with their Beauty Insider program and the online Rewards Bazaar but in case you aren’t – Sephora has a free rewards program. You can read more about it on their website but in a nutshell you earn points based on the amount of money that you spend. Anyone can enroll and begin earning points. If you spend $350 or more in a calendar year you get VIB status and if you spend $1,000 or more you become VIB Rouge.

Vib rouge beauty insiders can get a $100 reward coupon

Of all the special rewards only available for VIB and VIB Rouge, the best is probably the $100 reward which is not a gift card but a coupon. Every Tuesday and Thursday new items are available in the Rewards Bazaar at 9am pacific time and this is when you can snag one of the $100 rewards. In addition to being Rouge the rewards are 2500 points.

Unboxing my sephora vib rouge reward haul

how to get a $100 reward from sephora

  • First, you have to be Rouge which does mean that you have to spend $1,000 at Sephora. There is no getting around that. One way to get to that $1,000 without spending that much money is to share your reward account with someone else. If you have a friend, family member, someone that you are close with that you can share the account with, this will help you both get that Rouge status – the catch is that you will have to share the points and perks so make sure that it is someone you know is going to be willing to share!
  • Next, you have to save up all your points to get to 2500. DO NOT SPEND POINTS ON SAMPLES!!!!!! Most people agree that Sephora’s rewards are kind of a bad value. Unless it’s something you really want to try I suggest never redeeming less than 500 points at a time and if you’re saving for the $100 coupon every point counts.
  • Subscribe to Play! by Sephora monthly subscription box and redeem the 50 bonus cards that come in each one.  You also earn points on the $10 subscription so this is 60 points per month = 720 points per year.

For all my tips and tricks be sure to watch my YouTube video above!

Important things to know about the $100 sephora reward

Because the reward is a $100 coupon NOT a gift card, there are some important things to keep in mind before you use it. Once you have the reward, it has to be used within 90 days. It can be used in store or online but you have to use the entire $100 at once because it is essentially $100 off a purchase. Because of this, you can’t return or exchange what you get. You should buy something you know that you aren’t going to want to return. It can be something you are stocking up on, a palette or item you know you will like, but probably not the best time to try a new foundation or concealer.
You will not earn points on your purchase. If you use Ebates, you will not earn points there either because since the reward is a coupon it’s like you are spending $0 if you only spend $100. (If you are not already using Ebates, consider signing up! You can earn a % back on Sephora and Ulta purchases, plus many other retailers!*) 
Some people on message boards complain that it’s really difficult to get one of these rewards but I got one on my first try. You need to be on a computer not your phone, be on the Rewards Bazaar a couple minutes before 9am pacific, and refresh until it shows up.
Have you gotten a $100 Rouge reward? What did you get with it! Leave me a comment and let me know.
* Please note that this is a referral link so I do receive credit if you enroll.
Sephora $100 Rouge Reward haul

A $5 Dupe for Huda Beauty that is Good Quality!

I found an affordable dupe for huda beauty obsessions that is good quality

When I first saw the $5.50 UCanBe Makeup dupe for Huda Beauty Gemstone obsessions and Mauve Obsessions, called Mask, I figured I’d spend a couple dollars and make a video about a poorly made dupe from China. I was shocked at the quality of this palette.

Is Made in china makeup any good?

Actually a lot of familiar low-priced brands have their makeup made in China, like Morphe for example, so just because a brand is Chinese it does not mean that it is bad quality. I was shocked at how closely some of the shades swatched, here is an example:
UcanBe Mask palette vs Huda Gemstone Obsessions swatches
You can see live swatches and all the shades compared in my YouTube video at the top of the post!

what is a dupe, is it the same as a fake?

The difference between a dupe (short for duplicate) and a fake palette is that a dupe does not claim to be the palette that it is similar to. Fake makeup will say it’s Kyle Cosmetics or Jeffree star and look very similar, it can be very difficult to tell what makeup is fake because they try as hard as they can to look exactly like the real thing. Dupes do not claim to be the designer palette – this palette for example is the UCanBe Makeup Mask palette. While it has made colors similar to the Huda Beauty Gemstone obsessions it has completely different packaging and does not try to hide that it is by another company. Fakes will often contain harmful ingredients that can make you sick, cause allergic reactions, or are carcinogenic, since they are not regulated. Legitimate brands that make dupes, such as UCanBe and other popular dupe brands like Copycat Beauty, Bad Habit, FaceCandy, and the brands you can find on the Hush app list their ingredients just like other reputable makeup brands. Some mix up the colors in the palette and give them different names than the original, while others look exactly the same as what they are duping.

Will I have a bad reaction to a dupe?

Since dupes list their ingredients, unlike fakes, if you know that you react to a certain ingredient like talc or carmine, you can avoid that palette. I have used almost every color in the UCanBe Mask palette and I have not had any itching, redness, or negative reactions to the shades. It is possible to have an allergic reaction to ingredients even in name brand makeup and it is possible to have a reaction to any makeup. I find my skin to be a little more sensitive than average but it’s not super sensitive so just because I did not have any bad reactions it doesn’t mean that you will not.
Ucanbe Mask compared to Huda Gemstone Obsessions

UcanBe Mask Palette dupe for Huda Gemstone Obsessions

I purchased the UCanBe Mask palette from Amazon using a discount code that they shared on their Instagram. Currently the palette is $10.99 on Amazon.

Ritual of the Dao Calming Treat by Rituals

Rituals is a brand that I have been interested in trying since I first heard about them. I love the idea of promoting mindfulness and self-care in body care products – it’s a unique viewpoint I have not seen much of especially not in international brands! When Tryazon offered an opportunity to try them I jumped at the chance and was very excited to be selected for a free box. As always, even though I received this for free for review purchases, my opinions are my own. If you know me, you know I have no problem saying I dislike something even if I received it from a brand. I have been intrigued by Ayurveda since I read a book by Depak Chopra and I take an Ayurvedic herb so I felt like Rituals products were made for someone like me, who loves luxury beauty products but also values spirituality and ancient practices.

Ritual of the Dao Calming treat

Your Path to Inner Peace


I received the Ritual of the Dao Calming treat which is a 4 piece set with a gorgeous reusable box. If you or the person you are a buying a gift for appreciates beautiful packaging these sets will impress. This retails for $29.50 so it is not going to break the bank if you are looking for a thoughtful holiday gift for your yoga teacher or child’s teacher, even a coworker or friend. The Dao also comes in larger packages, the Calming Ritual for $45 and the Calming Ceremony which is $99.
These items are avaliable for purchase on the Rituals USA website but many of their products are now at Ulta Beauty’s website and select stores as well. That’s also great for those of us who love to get Ulta points on everything possible.
Ritual of the Dao Calming treat
I loved the scent of white lotus and yi yi ren, it was fragrant but not overpowering. It had sweet notes to it which surprised me. The body cream did not leave my hands feeling greasy which I appreciated, you can never tell when a product will make you feel like you need to wash your hands. I had never tried shower oil before and it was a lot of fun. Now that it has finally cooled down in Mississippi, I know my skin will start to get dry as it does every winter. Overall, I loved this set and I would love to receive it as a gift or give it as a thoughtful present. While you don’t have to use them in a ritualistic way, following the directions will absolutely leave you feeling calmer and more centered.

Dao is an ancient Chinese philosophy centred on achieving balance between Yin and Yang. This enables you to experience a harmonic flow where you’ll feel that everything is perfect; just as it is. – Rituals 

Other rituals include The Ritual of Sakura, The Ritual of Hammam, The Ritual of Ayurveda, The Ritual of Happy Buddha (which I am considering purchasing as a gift for myself once I run out of Ritual of the Dao products!), Ritual of Samurai, and the new Ritual of Yalda. I don’t think you could go wrong with any of these, just pick the one that resonates most with you as each ritual has a different theme such as renewal or balancing.
Ritual of the Dao calming treat
 
Have you tried any of the Rituals products? What did you think of them! Leave a comment and tell me which other rituals/scents you recommend.
 

Makeup Revolution Brand Review

Makeup Revolution is a London-based cosmetics brand that is carried in Ulta stores and on Ulta’s website. You may have noticed the display in your local Ulta store, it has gotten larger over the last couple years and rightfully so! It’s a drugstore priced brand with the quality of prestige makeup. They have also gotten some negative attention recently for their “dupes” of brands like Too Faced and Kat Von D.  The photo on the left is only a portion of my Makeup Revolution collection and I want to talk about some of my favorite items from the brand.
It should be noted that their full line is only available on their Tam Beauty website  but they do offer free shipping to the US with a $40 purchase which is better than some US-based brands offer! I started getting really enthusiastic about the brand when I purchased the Newtrals vs Neutrals palette. It is full of warm toned browns, reds, and oranges, and at $12 it is a steal – not to mention that MUR is frequently on buy one get one 50% off deals at Ulta. I had tried other eyeshadow palettes from them in the past but the Essential Day to Night Redemption Eyeshadow Palette was unimpressive and it ended up shoved in the back of my makeup organizer. The swatches that I saw of New-trals vs Neutrals made me want to take a chance, even though I had found that the previous eye shadow was not very pigmented and a little dry. The Newtrals vs Neutrals palette was nothing like the one I had tried before! The colors were beautiful and well pigmented for a low priced brand. No, it is not the same quality as a $40 or $50 palette but that shouldn’t be expected from a $12 palette. On the request of some instagram followers, I swatched the palette.
Makeup Revolution Newtrals vs Neutrals paletteThis is a great palette for fall. Warm toned neutrals are still extremely popular and I don’t see that popularity waning any time soon! I had purchased the Iconic Pro 2 eyeshadow palette around the holidays but had forgotten about it because I had also purchased the Tarte Tarteist Pro palette and a bunch of Makeup Geek singles around the same time. I decided that I needed to give the Iconic Pro 2 a chance to wow me and I was not disappointed. It is also $12 but remember with BOGO 50% off if you purchase these at the same time one would be $6. The Iconic Pro 2 is cool toned shades with browns, grays, plus a bold blue and golden green thrown in. Both of these palettes are a mixture of shimmery shades and matte shades that make themMakeup Revolution Iconic pro 2 palette swatches both great choices if you’re new to makeup or are just starting to expand your collection but have to stick to a budget. Remember that I’m very pale, typically using the lightest of any foundation, so some of these lighter colors will “pop” a lot more on someone with darker skin.
The real standouts in the brand are the Skin Kiss highlighters, although the baked highlighters are also an incredible value! The Skin kiss highlighters are hands down my favorite highlighters, I reach of them before Makeup Revolution Skin Kiss Highlighterany of my more expensive highlighters by Smashbox and Lorac. The Skin kiss are available in three super pigmented shimmery shades, Peach Kiss, Gold Kiss, and Ice Kiss. I haven’t yet added Ice kiss to my collection but I definitely will at some point. These are HUGE, the size of a Jeffree Star Skin Frost, and at $9 anyone can afford one.
I also purchased the Ultra Blush and Contour palette in shade Sugar & Spice. It’s a variety of pink, rose, and nude blushes in matte, shimmer, and baked finishes. A little of these goes a LONG way. They are super pigmented and the baked shades are mixture of blush and highlight. There are some warm and some cool tones in this so if you, like me, are just getting into wearing blush on a daily basis this is a great palette to start with. It retails for $10 on Ulta’s website.
It can’t all be perfect though. From my first photo, you may have noticed that I only have two lipsticks. At $5, the Salvation Velvet Lip Lacquer makes it easy to buy less traditional colors like the purple shade Depravity, but these have no staying power. The wear off easily and while many MUR products have 4-5 stars on Ulta’s website you will see most of their liquid lipsticks and lip kits have 3 stars or less. The Salvation Intense Lip Lacquer is not much better when it comes to long-wear, you will be reapplying these throughout the day even if you do not eat or drink. If you have a meal, they will absolutely be gone.
Overall, the Makeup Revolution  brand is continuing to make better and better products. They seem to have their finger on the pulse, knowing what is hot right now and which popular products will tempt makeup lovers into trying a low priced dupe. Do you have a favorite MUR product? What has your experience with the brand been like? Comment and let me know!
Makeup Revolution Blushing Hearts Blusher

Swatching My Entire Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velour Liquid Lipstick Collection

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched my two videos on my top 12 liquid lipstick brands, you will find out my #1 pick in this post.
This is my full review of Jeffree Star Cosmetic’s Velour Liquid Lipsticks. I talk about which colors I like and which I did not, the differences in the formula between colors, how well they hold up during/after eating and drinking, if they’re transfer proof, everything you could want to know!
I swatch the 15 colors in my collection: Mannequin, Celebrity Skin, Gemini, Rose Matter, Doll parts, Calabasas, Candyass, Masochist, Androgyny, Sagittarius, Redrum, Rich Blood, Watermelon Soda, Pumpkin Pie, and Unicorn Blood!

My Top 12 Favorite Liquid Lipstick Brands!

I had to split this into two videos so it wasn’t too long! When I set out to make a video about my top ten liquid lipsticks, I realized that I had twelve different brands so I decided to rank them all. When I don’t like a liquid lipstick, I return it, so these are all brands and formulas that I like – but some I like more than others.

The brands that I rank include: Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick, Ofra, Hard Candy Velvet Mousse, Wet n Wild liquid catsuit, Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velour Liquid Lipstick, Tarte tarteist quick dry matte lip paint, Crystal Hearts Cosmetics, Colourpop Ultra Satin, Makeup Revolution Salvation Velvet Lacquer, Milani Amore Metallics, Colourpop Metallic liquid lipstick, Maybelline Vivid Velvet, Palladio Velvet Matte Lip Cream, and Ofra Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick.

My First Storytime Video – I Got the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette Free!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Reniassance PaletteI had been wanting the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette for the longest time! At $42 it’s not a cheap palette but the value is definitely there. I had swatched this in Ulta many times and more than once had it in my hand to check out and talked myself out of it because I just didn’t NEED it. Finally when I had the chance to get this for free, from Ulta so yes it is 100% authentic, I jumped on it. It took having the guts to ask a question that could have been considered rude but I figured nothing ventured, nothing gained!
If you’d like to hear the story of how I got it for free, in my very first storytime video, check it out! It’s not clickbait, I do have to warn you it’s probably not something that you can replicate.

My Instagram Social Experiment Results – How To Get Followers Without Being Shady

If you missed part one of this post, describing what my experiment was and why I did it check it out here. Tl;dr it: I noticed I had literally hundreds of accounts following and then unfollowing me quickly so I identified some red flags for accounts that do it and I decided to try it myself.

Does follow unfollow really get you lots of instagram followers?

I was curious after 200+ accounts followed/unfollowed me, most following and unfollowing within 24 hours, does this shady practice actually get you lots of followers? Are people that dumb because I caught on pretty quickly..? So I gave it a try. I followed ten accounts a day for a week using specific criteria on ones that I thought would be most likely to follow back. As I stated in my last post, I have removed the name and username of the example accounts that follow/unfollow because it is not my intention to call anyone specific out.
Most of the people I talk with on instagram, my followers and those I consider friends, seem to agree that follow/unfollow is rude, shady, or downright evil! So why do so many accounts do it? Does it really get you tons of new followers?

I followed accounts on instagram to get more followers

Boring white generic instagram feed exampleUnlike the follow/unfollow accounts I did not unfollow people immediately. However I wasn’t interested in all 70 of the accounts I followed so I will be unfollowing some of them. No disrespect to any of those accounts – not every account produces quality photos and as our feeds become clogged we do have to pick and choose who we want to see. I don’t follow accounts that only post giveaways for example, because I like to see photos of what people makeup are using and the looks they are creating with it! It’s also my personal preference but I’m not a fan of the super white, generic, lifestyle type accounts – they all look the same and it this point that look is pretty boring and overdone. I know you know the ones I mean! I like personality, not feeds where I can’t tell one photo from another user’s and where it looks like you’re just trying to appeal to the most number of people. No judgment that is just my preference, to me makeup = COLOR!
I am not unfollowing anyone who followed me back however! 🙂

how can you get more instagram followers

Here is the result of my follow/unfollow experiment.
I followed 70 accounts and 15 followed back. That is a lot of work for not much payoff! I think it could be that people don’t automatically follow back anymore because we are so used to people unfollowing and following just to get the follow. It’s possible some people looked at my feed and weren’t interested and decided not to follow back. Probably some don’t use instagram daily. Overall the time it took to follow and unfollow didn’t seem worth it to me, of course I made an effort to see who had actually followed back and didn’t unfollow them – it is probably quicker for people that don’t care about following anyone and just batch follow and unfollow. That to me still just feels shady and douchey, even with a low payoff I guess it would work to get followers if you are doing it with hundreds of accounts but I can’t see doing that myself.
Unfortunately the best way to get followers is a slow way – to create great content and to slowly build a REAL base of engaged followers over time. I will be sharing the results of my giveaway experiment in the future so stay tuned for those stats!
 

How To Get More Instagram Followers Without Being a Douchebag

I recently did a giveaway on my Instagram. I had heard from friends that people will unfollow you after they don’t win and I had seen on other accounts that people say they track that so people can’t enter future giveaways if they unfollow. I decided it would make sense to do that, so I downloaded a couple “follower tracker” apps. Since my account is small and I don’t make money doing this I wanted only free apps and after using a couple I liked “Followers for Instagram – Followers And Likes” by Social Mana LLC so I kept it and uninstalled the rest.

Follow and unfollow trying to get more instagram followers

Getting more instagram followers app that tracks followersIt was once I started monitoring that I realized how many accounts follow and then unfollow 12-24 hours later. It seemed like the vast majority of instagram followers were unfollowing soon after following. I am sure you have noticed this yourself but what I didn’t realize before I started using the app was the huge number of instagram accounts that do this! I have 326 followers right now and incredibly, over 200  have followed and unfollowed!
Since the app tracks everything, I can see the vast majority unfollow soon after following so it’s not an engagement thing – the accounts and people that actually care about following me keep following so it’s not a content issue.
 

You can spot who is going to unfollow and just not follow back

Follow unfollow instagram app accounts with thousands of followers tend to unfollow quicklyAs far as I can tell, everyone thinks follow/unfollow is uncool and not a good way to try to get followers, yet plenty of accounts do it. I actually have three instagram accounts and beginning to track unfollows and engagement I can easily tell who is going to unfollow me quickly and I’ve started just not following back unless the account actually interests me. I do unfollow when someone unfollows me, it seems only fair.
Red flags for accounts that are likely going to do the evil follow/unfollow are having thousands of followers but only following a few accounts. I want to show examples but I’m not trying to call out accounts so I have removed names and usernames. The picture to the right (ironically calls herself “genuine” but followed unfollowed within 24 hours) has 15,000+ followers but doesn’t follow many so I did not follow it back. I was not surprised to notice they unfollowed me soon after following.

Red flags for accounts that will unfollow you

Business accounts nearly always unfollow. Unless it is a brand that you have heard of before and been interacting with (i.e. you followed them first and are familiar with the brand, they have shared your content, they have commented on a post, etc.) they will likely unfollow you. I never follow back a brand that isn’t one I know and use such as Tarte, Covergirl, Maybelline, BH Cosmetics, etc.
The “brand” in the photo of the left doesn’t actually seem to be a real brand and may actually be a spam account. They have over 4,000 followers and are only following 3 and only have 2 posts which is another red flag! I did not follow this account because it did not interest me. It unfollowed me within a day.

Accounts that cover Different SUbjects than you will likely unfollow you

Another red flag is a large account that is not about what your account is about. My accounts cover makeup, fitness and health, and psychology mental health, respectively. If a predominantly fitness account follows my makeup account, that’s a red flag to me that they will be unfollowing me because my subject matter is different than theirs. I have also had really random genres such as sports cars follow my makeup account and again that was a red flag that they would unfollow. I have lots of “lifestyle” accounts and fashion accounts follow me and every single one unfollows.

Does follow unfollow get you more instagram followers?

Follow unfollow on instagram red flags to help get followers and avoid unfollowsI was curious after watching hundreds of people unfollow me. Does follow/unfollow REALLY get you a bunch of followers? So I decided to try it myself. Nothing outlandish, for one week I followed ten accounts that I found through hashtags I have used or on the “explore” page of Instagram.
I wanted to make sure to keep it to accounts that were similar to mine so I had the following criteria for those I would follow with no other reason than for them to follow me back:

  1. They had to be makeup focused
  2. They had to have around the same number of followers as me. The reasoning for this is that accounts with thousands of followers are unlikely to follow back in general.
  3. They had to have recent instagram photos, within the last 24-28 hours. If someone doesn’t post regularly they may not get on instagram daily so they wouldn’t have the opportunity to follow back during the experiment.

Those were my only criteria, follow accounts like mine, with a similar number of followers, who were posting similar content. I followed ten accounts a day for a week.
Stay tuned for my results!