Sephora Staples & Splurges

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I’m a beauty product junkie, and Sephora is my go-to. 

A few times a year, Sephora has a Beauty Insider sale with up to 20% your entire purchase. The Beauty Insider is Sephora’s free-to-sign-up rewards program. They’ve just revamped their program (which I already thought was pretty good), but there are still three tiers dependent on the amount you spend at the store in a year. Beauty Insider, VIB, and VIB Rouge are the levels and you can sign up here if you’re not already a member.  

I wait for these sales to make some of my pricier splurges or to stock up on my favorite staples.

Here are a few of the things I swear by that definitely will feel better on your wallet with a discount:

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Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer.

I got this for Christmas almost two years ago and it is still one of the best things in my bathroom. I LOVE this hair dryer. It’s ridiculously expensive given that your basic hairdryer is under $50, however, it’s something that I use multiple times a week, am always happy with the results, and will last for a long time. 

I have medium-length, fine hair so I don’t spend hours drying my hair no matter what. However, the Dyson Supersonic dryer is so quick and with such smooth results (as opposed to the frizzy flyaways I get with almost all other dryers) that I barely need to run a straightener over just the ends for a completely polished look. It cuts my dealing-with-hair time in half. If I had longer or more unruly hair, I would be even happier with this dryer, I suspect. 

Clarisonic Mia.

Maybe there have been total breakthroughs in the skincare appliance game, I have no idea because I’m so happy with the Mia I’ve owned for years and years. I alternate between face washes (I like this one and this one), and I use my Clarisonic a few times a week in the shower. Make sure you keep it clean and bacteria-free by changing out the brush heads every few months, but this is the most gentle, easiest way to wash and exfoliate your face. All ages, all skin types. 

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For someone who actually hates to do her hair, I sure do buy a lot of stuff hoping for some magic. I’ve experimented with all kinds of things for my limp locks, but here are my tried and trues:

Bumble & Bumble Thickening shampoo & conditioner.

A couple of years ago, I tried a bunch of different drugstore brand shampoos because it felt like surely “nice” shampoo was a myth. NOT A MYTH. I noticed right away with the cheaper brands that even though they looked good on the first day, my hair looked way greasier and in need of a wash after 24 hours. Whereas with Bumble & Bumble Thickening shampoo, I can do days between washes. The small bottle of the conditioner will last me awhile, but I buy the giant version of the shampoo (only available online) and it lasts for months (plus check out the bang for your buck with the big one compared to the small one.)

Bumble & Bumble surf spray.

Same brand, completely different product. I use this surf spray on damp, almost-dry hair for the messy-but-not-gross look I wear most days. (This one is not pictured above.)

Living Proof dry shampoo.

Speaking of messy-but-not-gross (this is basically my hair’s tagline), Living Proof Dry Shampoo is everything everyone says it is. I’m fairly new to this product (I’ve been using it for maybe 6 months) because I never really liked the results of dry shampoo. It always looked or felt weird to me, or flat didn’t work. Not true with this one! Finally I understand what all the dry shampoo hubbub is about. 

Dry Bar Triple Sec.

This can work as a dry shampoo, but I use it as more of a texturizer. In some ways it’s a cross between the surf spray and the perfect hair day, but when I need a lot more oomph. I can use Triple Sec on clean hair, dirty hair, blowout hair, beach-y hair and be happy. It’s a go-to.

Moroccan Oil.

My stylist told me not to use this on my color-treated hair because it might affect the cool tones (turning them yellow or brassy), so I’ve held off after years of using this great oil on my dry ends. I love it and still break it out sometimes anyway because nothing makes my hair smoother or shinier. Only use a little bit if you have fine hair like I do, otherwise it can weigh it down or make it look greasy. 

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Amore Pacific everything.

For the last several years the Amore Pacific line has been my absolute favorite, gold-star winner skincare line. I use the facial cleanser, various moisturizers, and the eye cream. On the occasion that I’ve tried something different, it just doesn’t measure up. Amore Pacific is the best for my skin. It is not, however, the best for my wallet. While not the craziest of the fancy face creams, it’s still really pricey. If I was going to buy just one thing from this line, it would be the gel moisturizer. I actually started with and used the creme moisturizer for a few years (it’s great) and then accidentally picked up the wrong package one time and came home with the gel. I tried it and like it better for most of the year now. (It's actually not a gel at all, it's just a nice, light moisturizer.) The creme is great for winter or if you’re having some skin issues (it’s thicker, but not like La Mer heavy), and I’m glad to have it on hand. But most of the time I prefer the lighter, effective gel hydrant. It’s cheaper, too.

Clinique 72-Hour Moisture Surge.

When I’m traveling and don’t want to risk taking my pricier skin care with me, I’ve been using the Clinique Moisture Surge and I really do like it. It has a great feel, not at all too oily or thick. 

Drunk Elephant Sukari baby facial.

I finally tried this brand after everyone was raving about it last year. This baby facial really works. It’s probably a little harsh if you have sensitive skin, but I need tons of exfoliation and this wipes everything out in 20 minutes, revealing fresh skin without redness or next-day sensitivity. Some people reported that it burned a little, but it doesn’t bother me at all. I followed it with the Virgin luxury facial oil that was a free sample, and I really liked that, too. I may splurge on it this time. (Although my favorite facial oil is Living Libations Best Skin Ever and I use it religiously.)

Benefit Porefessional.

Another example of where using the sample size converted me. Benefit Porefessional really does make your pores disappear and makeup goes on smoother. 

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Armani Luminous Silk Foundation.

I have several foundations that I use and love, but the one that always garners compliments is the Armani luminous silk foundation. I was turned on to it by a makeup artist who used it when I had my makeup done for an event and I haven’t looked back. It has the prettiest finish while also making it look like it’s just my natural skin that is so great and not the liquid magic on top. 

Bare Minerals BareSkin.

I’m lazy about beauty stuff most of the time, so I don’t use the Armani daily. For daily use I love Bare Minerals BareSkin, because it is good for my skin and applying it with the special brush means I can have my whole face presentable in 30 seconds. It’s forgiving and easy, and yes, I do think you need the special brush for application. 

Dior HydraLife BB Cream.

If you’re a tinted moisturizer/BB cream type of person, the Dior Hydra life is worth the steep price tag. This is what I put on if I’m going to be outside all day not only because of the extra SPF but because it doesn’t melt off in the heat. It also has a really dewy finish that looks especially nice outside. 

NARS everything.

NARS is probably my all-time all-over favorite brand. I love almost everything I try from NARS, but their lipsticks are my favorite. I think the Audacious line is one of the best formulas on the market. My signature colors are Anna and Janet.

I also love, love, love their velvet matte lipsticks. I wore Sex Machine at my wedding (ha!) and still keep one in my makeup bag and in my car if I need a quick swipe. 

If you’ve ever read a magazine in your entire life, you know that the NARS orgasm blush stick is one of the most universally flattering out there and I use it almost every day. 

Urban Decay Naked Palette. (NOW DISCONTINUED)

Another staple that is in millions of bathroom drawers world-wide is the Urban Decay Naked Palette. I am not that great at eye-makeup (see again: lazy) but this palette makes it look easy. I barely buy eye shadow anymore because this one has everything I need. There's also a Naked 2 Palette and a Naked 3 Palette. 

Better Than Sex mascara.

I bought Better Than Sex mascara after I admired (over and over) a friend’s eyelashes in her instagram photos. I’ve been loyal to L’Oreal Voluminous for years upon years, and this isn’t all that different (which is to say they’re both awesome), but the Better Than Sex tube comes with a much better brush. 

Tom Ford lipstick.

I’m sort of new to the Tom Ford lipsticks (it just pained me to pay for lipstick at that price point), so I started with the smaller ones called Boys & Girls and really like them. I think I'm going to graduate up to the larger size with more pigment. (I did buy and return this one, though, because it definitely didn’t seem worth the money.)


I'll be making a trip to Sephora this week and I'll besides replacing some of these staples, I'll also probably try a few new things I've had my eye on. Follow along on Instagram or I'll update here soon. Stay tuned...

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