fivezero's Sephora VIB Sale Haulage (November 2017)

Haulage! Sephora VIB Sale (November 2017)

As a VIB member at Sephora, the annual 20% off VIB sale was open to me on Friday, November 10, and I’ve since placed two orders, even though I was trying to limit myself to just the first. This always happens, and I blame November being my birthday month so usually I give myself a little more license to splurge.

Sephora VIB Sale, November 2017

(Look at that fine print! I never realized this but we “clients” are limited to 1 Dyson item and 5 Pat McGrath eyeshadow palettes per transaction; Canadians are also limited to 3 Fresh, Yves Saint Laurent, and Dior items per transaction.)

Of course, for the last couple of months, I’ve been anticipating this sale. I’ve been chucking things in and out of my shopping cart (it helps that I don’t bother to consider brands I can get at Shoppers Drug Mart / beautyBOUTIQUE, like Urban Decay, Dior, Estée Lauder, Smashbox, and Clarins).

Here’s the list of stuff I hauled, the freebies, and the stuff I wanted to haul but didn’t!

Once again, I bought more lipstick (granted, they were all marked down before the 20% discount) even though I need ’em like I need a hole in the head.

Stuff I Hauled

Too Faced Sweet Peach Eyeshadow Palette
Too Faced Sweet Peach Eyeshadow Palette [C$59]
I’ve loved the Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Eyeshadow Palette that I got during last November’s VIB sale! It was a no-brainer to get the Sweet Peach palette this year.

Nails Inc. Sparkle Like a Unicorn Set with Nail Polish, Sheet Mask, Lipstick
Nails Inc. Sparkle Like a Unicorn Set: Illuminating Sheet Mask, Mini Nail Polishes (2 × 5 mL) in Unicorn VibesUnicorn Dot Com, Lip Trippin’ Iridescent Strobe Lipstick in Unicorn Tribe [C$21]
I already picked up the previous Sparkle Like a Unicorn set, so obviously I had to get this one, too. It comes with a lipstick and a sheet mask! I’ve never tried any non-nail polish things from Nails Inc., so this will be interesting.

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fivezero's Topbox, July 2017, plus $10 Beauty Surprise

Topbox — July 2017

I recently resubscribed to Topbox (referral link), a Canadian beauty subscription that costs CA$12/month (shipping included!) for four beauty products. I had originally canceled it back in December 2015 because I felt I was getting too many of the same repeated items—Cake Beauty lotion, in particular. I chose to resubscribe last month because I’d been checking out some of the recent Topboxes and they looked pretty nice. Plus, $12 is really quite cheap considering it includes shipping.

Topbox offers a couple of different options each month. You can create a box wishlist from a list of “Privé” boxes, which typically consist of 1 or more items from a single brand (this month I recall seeing Privé options for Bobbi Brown, Dr Belmeur—there were quite a lot to choose from! I am just drawing a blank). You can wish for the Privé boxes that interest you, and depending on your luck, you might receive that box instead of the general Topbox. I’ve never personally wished for a Privé box—for whatever reason none of them has ever piqued my interest enough to forgo the regular box. I guess I just like getting a selection of brands!

Another option is the $10 Beauty Surprise, which you can add to your monthly Topbox. I believe I’ve only done it once (possibly twice?) and I remember receiving a full-size Teeez lipstick, which was awesome, except that it was red and I honestly have enough red lipstick. Nevertheless, I thought I’d do the Beauty Surprise this month—go all in!

My first Topbox, now that I’m back, is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, I got some great stuff that I will definitely use. The bag is well worth the $12+$10 I spent. On the other hand, I did get some repeat items!

What I Received as a $10 Beauty Surprise

  • Cake Beauty🇨🇦 Delectable Skin Perfecting Bronzing Body Lotion in Sweet Cream (100 mL full size) [value: CA$18]
  • Cake Beauty🇨🇦 Delectable Ultra Nourishing Hand Cream in Coconut & Cream (60 mL travel size) [value: CA$6]

Great, more Cake stuff! That was my first reaction, because I was already annoyed about receiving Cake lotion upon Cake lotion from both Topbox and their other subscription box, Luxe Box. I was initially also annoyed about getting a full sized bronzing lotion, since that isn’t something I normally use. But upon giving it a try on my skin, it turns out that it’s super subtle despite the way it looks in the bottle—and it smells awesome! I’ve never tried the Sweet Cream scent before, and it smells lovely and milky. So this is a reasonable win.
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OUAI Haircare CLEAN Shampoo

OUAI — CLEAN Shampoo Review

I love my Ipsy subscription nowadays, even though most things I receive are just a “like” for me. Mostly I just enjoy trying a variety of products and brands, which is why I feel that the subscription is worth it for me.

But occasionally, I do come across an item in my Glam Bag that prompts me to get spendy. Trust Fund Beauty is one recent example (I now have quite a lot of these nail polishes!). Another is OUAI, whose Treatment Masque for hair was a product I really enjoyed, even though I preferred using it as a conditioner rather than as a mask.

I was tempted to pick up the full-sized Treatment Masque, but it comes in single-use foil packs rather than in a nice squeeze tube like my sample came in. Ugh. So, I thought I’d venture into the rest of their product line.

Normally, I’d have picked up one of their conditioners, since that’s how I was using the masque, but I had recently finished up a couple of shampoos.

I decided I’d go for the CLEAN Shampoo when Ebates Canada was offering 8% cashback at Sephora (and, ahem, there was a clearance on some Anastasia Beverly Hills eyeshadows). In hindsight, the VOLUME Shampoo would have made more sense due to my current postpartum hair loss, but summer is upon us and I like to use a clarifying shampoo more often when it’s hot out.

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The Body Shop — Banana Conditioner Review

I should have known better than to buy The Body Shop’s Banana Conditioner strictly for the scent: of course it would end up smelling like banana candies rather than actual bananas!

Everything banana-scented basically uses isoamyl acetate, a chemical that is naturally found in bananas and which gives them their distinctive smell. However, in different concentrations, it smells different (the BBC article I linked mentions that in dilute concentrations, it actually smells like pears!). In addition, this artificial banana scent may actually resemble the real thing more than we thought. Today’s bananas are pretty much all the Cavendish cultivar, but prior to the 1960s, the Gros Michel cultivar was the most common. It was wiped out by a fungus, which is why we use the Cavendish today, but some who still grow the Gros Michel say that it does have a sweeter, more “artificial” scent.

Well, truth be told, I prefer the subtler scent of the Cavendish banana! I’ve never been one for banana-flavored candies or the like, so I’m not sure what possessed me to buy this conditioner. I suspect it was The Body Shop saying that the conditioner contained actual banana purée (as the second ingredient listed, no less!), and somehow I thought maybe it wouldn’t smell like banana Runts.

A beauty classic returns. This thick and creamy conditioner leaves hair beautifully soft and tangle-free. It contains real banana puree.

Luckily, the scent isn’t actually that strong nor that sweet, so I don’t really mind it—though I’d obviously prefer a different scent.

One thing I do want to mention is that the conditioner looks somewhat different on the website than it does in real life—or at least the bottle I received in the mail. Above, you see my photo of my bottle of conditioner. Bright, mango yellow, right?

Here’s the website version:
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Ipsy — August 2016 Glam Bag “Sugar Highness”

Obviously, I’m quite late with my August Ipsy (referral link) bag. (The September Glam Bag post is on the way!) August was a busy month, with visitors coming and going, and baby Olive still in her second month of life.

She’s a total sweetheart, though. Looks just like her brother did at the same age, but with a dose of pixie. She’s got a bigtime appetite and loves to smile and coo from only one month. Plus, she’s already sleeping through the night at just under three months, which is why I’m no longer a zombie.

Back to Ipsy. August’s bag was a bit disappointing. It was a nice mix of products, but none of them were things I am especially keen to use. Some of it is quite expensive stuff, too, but still…eh.

Ipsy Glam Bag, August 2016, Sugar Highness
Image: ipsy.com

What I Received

  • 111SKIN Bio Cellulose Facial Treatment Mask (23 mL 1-use full size; GBP£20, or GBP£85 for a 5-pack)
  • Beauty for Real I-LINE 24-7 Waterproof Eyeliner in Black Magic (0.28 g full size; US$14)
  • Lord & Berry 20100 Maximatte Crayon Lipstick in Intimacy (1.8 g mini; full size for US$20)
  • NYX Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator in Gleam (13 mL mini; full size 18 mL for US$7.50/CA$11)
  • Peter Lamas Supreme Radiance Complexion Booster (10 mL mini / full size 30 mL for USD$44)
  • Ipsy makeup bag

Here are some more detailed product shots:

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Hask Charcoal with Citrus Oil Purifying Shampoo

Hask — Charcoal with Citrus Oil Purifying Shampoo Review

I was recently in the market for a new clarifying shampoo and decided to go with Hask since I was already enjoying their Monoï Coconut Oil Deep Nourishing Conditioner (samples of which I’ve received twice in subscription boxes).

From Hask:

Check your (hair) baggage at the door with HASK Charcoal with Citrus Oil collection!

Hair weighing you down? It’s time for a detox! Introducing HASK Purifying Charcoal Collection – a complete line that features a Shampoo, Conditioner, and Deep Conditioner that are formulated to give you a deep clean and bring hair back to life.

Whether you rely on dry shampoo to maintain your weekly blowouts or reach for sprays and gels regularly, overdoing it with product can create build-up that weighs your hair down and can seriously cramp your style. Charcoal, a hero ingredient derived from coconut shells in the Philippines, acts as a magnet and attracts and removes impurities – like product build-up – so you are left with hair that is full of body and shine. For an extra boost of radiance, HASK purifying charcoal combined with vitamin C-rich lemon and grapefruit oils, invigorates and clarifies hair without stripping away any moisture.

At the moment, there isn’t a great selection of sulfate-free shampoos at the drugstore, so it’s wonderful to find one that is easy-to-find and inexpensive. (I also like the L’Oréal Ever* line). A bonus with Hask is that the packaging is pretty swell, too:

Hask Charcoal with Citrus Oil Purifying Shampoo

The ingredient list (lifted from Ulta.com):

Water/Eau (Aqua), Sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl betadine, Cocamide MEA, Glycerin, Glycol stearate, Charcoal powder*, Citrus paradise (grapefruit) peel oil, Citrus medical limnonym (lemon) peel oil, Hydrolyzed soy protein, Panthenol (vitamin B5), Dimethiconol, Sodium hydroxide, Sodium chloride, Polyquaternium-7, Dicaprylyl ether, Decyl glycoside, Glyceryl oblate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Phenoxyethanol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance/Perfume (Fragancia) (*Activated charcoal/Charbon active).

Hask Charcoal with Citrus Oil Purifying Shampoo, ingredients

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L'Oréal shampoos in EverStrong Thickening, EverCrème Nourishing, EverCrème Intense Nourishing

L’Oréal — EverCrème Nourishing Shampoo Review

Over the last several years, I have mostly switched over to using only SLS/SLES-free hair products. I made this decision because I was inexplicably getting a really dry and itchy scalp, and, after trying various dandruff shampoos to no avail, finally figured out that it was the SLS/SLES ingredients that were causing it. Lo and behold, after going SLS-free in my shampoos, my scalp returned to normal and it feels better than ever!

The main reason most brands use SLS/SLES in cleaning products, like shampoo and body wash, is that it causes the product to foam up marvelously, even in hard water, and it is a cheap ingredient. Unfortunately, it’s also a drying ingredient and can cause negative skin reactions.

I am personally not one to put too much stock into “all natural” brands, as there are plenty of naturally-occurring ingredients that are terrible for you (cyanide, anyone?) and likewise, there are synthetic ingredients that work great and are harmless. But, since “green and natural” brands make up the bulk of shampoos that don’t contain SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) and SLES (sodium laureth sulfate), those are the brands I tried. However, it took a lot of trial-and-error to find the products I liked best, since just because something is “all natural” doesn’t actually mean that it is going to work for you!

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