Birthday Haulin’

When it comes to birthday presents, I’m one of the easiest people on the planet to please. If it smells nice, tastes good, or looks pretty I’m probably going to love it. And when in doubt, the gift of shopping never fails to put a smile on my face. It also so happens that by being born on a holiday weekend, there are almost always amazing sales that I can take advantage of during my self-gifting birthday binge. While I did do some serious damage at the mall earlier this month, this haul is truly a collection of all the beauty shopping I’ve done both since and before my birthday. After all, if I’m going to write up a haul post, I might as well show you everything new I’ve been trying and loving as per late. If you caught my wish list post from a few weeks back you’ll probably recognize quite a few familiar things in the picture above. I really don’t waste any time when it comes to making good on said types of lists, apparently. So, without more rambling from my end, let’s dive right in.

The first stop on my birthday beauty shopping train was to none other than the Mecca of Makeup (or to the layman, Sephora). If you follow my instagram you might have seen a post I put up of all the freebies that I scored when I ordered the Coola Makeup Setting Spray SPF30 ($36) at the end of last month. I’m not usually one to impulse shop, but my birthday gift was available, there was an amazing coupon code, and I was really, really curious about trying it out. SPF is so important (and not just in the summertime) but it can be really impractical to reapply when you’re wearing a face full of makeup. This setting spray will not only help to keep your makeup looking fresh and lovely all day, but it also gives you a boost of sun protection anytime you need it. I’m definitely planning on writing a more in-depth review of this soon, so stay posted for that!

I also caved and finally upgraded to Flash shipping, which means that for the next year the sale section of the Sephora website is going to be a thousand times more tempting (speaking of which, have you seen that the Bite Beauty Watercolor Lip Gloss Library is in there?? You know…just saying). I figured it will really come in handy around the holidays or when great coupon codes and such appear so that I don’t have to worry about the $50 threshold for free shipping.

Of course, my parents ended up giving me a Sephora gift card for my birthday, which gave me an excuse to splurge on a few other items I’d been dying to try. I snagged both the Stila Aqua Glow Watercolor Blush in Water Poppy ($26) and Cover FX Custom Cover Drops in G30 ($44). First off, let’s talk about this blush.


Maybe it’s my inner artist, but something about the whole watercolor branding on any beauty product always seems to reel me in. Just the word watercolor says effortless, sheer, natural and beautiful, which basically sums up everything I’d want to put on my face in the summertime. This liquid blush gives a gorgeous flushed stain to the cheeks that lasts all day. Having swatched a few different shades in the store, I’m pretty positive I chose the most vibrant and pigmented of the bunch. You really only need a teeny tiny amount to get that rosy glow and have to be careful not to overdo it. I’ve heard mixed reviews about how long wearing some of the other shades are, but Water Poppy has enough staining power to seriously stay put. I definitely will have to take some pictures of it in action to share with you all so you can see how beautiful it looks!

And then, of course, were the super splurgey Cover FX Custom Cover Drops. While the price tag is a little cringe worthy, it seemed like such a unique and versatile product that it was worth the investment. Basically, the idea is that rather than buying a variety of foundations with different finishes and levels of coverage, you can mix your custom cover drops with moisturizer, primer, or another foundation to create a unique base with as much or as little coverage as you need. There is an amazing range of shades available, so people of all undertones and skin colors should be able to find their perfect match. After using this a few times I’ve decided that there is definitely a little trial and error involved in getting the finish I want. I think this is going to be another one I’ll need to write up a more in-depth review on once I’ve had a chance to play some more.

Keeping with the trend of crossing things off my Birthday Wishlist, I also placed an order from ULTA and invested in a beautiful, shiny Extra Large Z Palette ($28). I have no idea why it never dawned on me to buy one of these sooner, as I feel like they’re kind of a beauty junkie staple, but I finally got with the program. This past weekend I had my first ever adventure in de-potting, which I will be sharing in a post to come. Needless to say I made a little bit of a mess, but also feel fantastic about condensing some of my beauty clutter.

Of course, I couldn’t help but peruse the rest of the ULTA website and take advantage of the great sales that were going on. All NYX products were 40% off, so I decided to pick up the NYX Prismatic Eyeshadow in Golden Peach ($6) and NYX HD Finishing Powder ($9.99). Spoilers, both of these products are FANTASTIC. I am seriously so impressed. Golden Peach is stunning on the eye, and I have nothing like it in my collection (which is saying something considering how many shadow palettes I’ve got lying around), and the powder is probably the best I’ve tried from the drugstore ever.

I’ve been in the market for a brown liquid eyeliner for quite some time now, and when I saw that the Tarte Limited Edition Lights, Camera, Lashes Precision Longwear Liner ($20) was on sale for $12 I jumped at the opportunity to pick one up. First of all, how fun is the packaging on this?? The color is gorgeous and I love the little gold accents. As for the liner itself it seems to work pretty darn well. The nib reminds me a lot of the Stila Stay All Day liner, and the formula is very opaque and matte. For a brown liner it’s definitely still pretty dark, but is a tad less intense than black and therefore easier to wear during the day. My only complaint is that the nib got dry pretty quickly during the application process which made things a little trickier.

I recently let a sales associate at The Body Shop talk me into renewing my Love Your Body membership, which meant that I had a $10 Birthday gift at my disposal to use. While I was originally gravitating towards the scrub when I wrote my wish list,  I ultimately decided to get the The Body Shop Virgin Mojito Body Sorbet ($15) instead. I’d never tried a Body Sorbet before, and the formula seemed like it would be really refreshing in the warmer weather. The mojito scent is totally spot on – like fresh limes and mint, and actually has no sweet/vanilla-y notes to it at all. The girl in the store recommended that I keep this in the fridge to boost its cooling, soothing properties which I may just have to try doing.

And of course, I still ended up getting my scrub fix by picking up a tub of the Early Harvest Raspberry Body Scrub ($20). This stuff looks and smells exactly like raspberry jam, and was on sale for half price. How was I supposed to resist??

Last but not least I’ve rounded up my loot from a few different drugstore trips. Influenster invited me to a digital VoxBox campaign for Schwarzkopf, so I decided to use my coupon to pick up a can of the Schwarzkopf Styliste Ultime Biotin+ Volume & Texture Luxe Fresh Dry Shampoo ($6.97) at my local Walmart. I was actually surprised at how happy I was with this. Dry shampoo is one of those things that I love in theory, but a lot of brands just don’t get right. This did a pretty great job of soaking up the greasies without giving my hair a dirty texture. It also smells kind of fabulous.

At CVS I FINALLY got on the bandwagon and bought the Simple Micellar Cleansing Water ($7.99). I had tried their eye makeup remover eons ago and wasn’t all that impressed, so I hemmed and hawed a bit about purchasing their cleansing water. I’m so glad I finally got over myself because this stuff is amazing! It does a great job of breaking down makeup, leaves your skin soft without a sticky residue, and smells absolutely lovely. In fact, it reminds me a lot of the Caudalie Cleansing Water but for a fraction of the price.

Speaking of bandwagons, I also grabbed the uber hyped L’Oreal Le Matte Lip Pen in She’s So Matte ($9.99). I have to say, this was pretty excellent to. Tati (one of my favorite sources for product recommendations) describes this as a “comfortable matte” formula, which I totally agree with. It glides on really easily and feels very lightweight on the lips, but still provides a ton of long wearing color. Over the hours I did feel that my lips started to get a little bit dry, but it wasn’t too terrible or overly annoying. I also really appreciated the super slim pen format, which made it much easier to get a precise application.

This last product is something I happened to stumble upon in Target and am so glad that I found. I’ve always been a bath person, but in the past year I’ve become kind of obsessed with epsom salts and their magical ache-relieving abilities. I knew that Shea Moisture had a pretty expansive range of products, but when I saw that they made a Coconut & Hibiscus Dead Sea Salt Muscle Relief Mineral Soak ($12.99) I was totally overjoyed. With a blend of soothing salts and skin-softening coconut oil, this stuff makes bathing a blissful, tropical smelling experience.

I know this post was a ramble-y one, but I ended up being so impressed by so many things that it was hard to try and keep it brief! I definitely will be doing some in-depth reviews and maybe some tutorials using these products, so be on the lookout for those posts in the near future. Speaking of which, if you want to make life easy and get notification whenever I write a new post, you can subscribe by email in the handy box on the top right side of this page. I promise I won’t spam you ten thousand times a day (cause really, who needs that in their life)!

Also, what would you guys think about my doing hauls with non-beauty bits? In my shopping excursions I had also made out like a bandit picking up some clothes, chocolate, etc. Would that kind of post be of interest to you? Write a comment and let me know if you’re a beauty haul purist or if you are as nosy as me and love seeing all the cool stuff other people snagged during their shopping adventures.

What is your favorite item to self-gift? Would you be excited to try any of these products? Which should I review first?

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