Expanding My Brand Horizons

Ulta has been running a 2x points promotion for the past week or so, with plenty of deals to sweeten the pot. Because my 40th birthday was approaching I decided to treat myself to a few things. My order arrived the evening before my birthday and I got right to photographing all of my new goodies. So of course I’m sharing my Ulta haul here!

Ulta beauty haul

Going for the Glow

I’ve heard great things about Real Techniques brushes and I was VERY tempted to buy the super cute Brush Crush 302 Blush Brush, which costs $12.99. However, their standard Blush Brush is $8.99 so I decided to get that instead. The brush is so soft and fluffy and it will be a great addition to my small but growing brush arsenal.

Real Techniques Blush Brush, Pacifica Crystal Dew Setting Spray, Skinfix Energizing Micro Scrub
Real Techniques Blush Brush, Pacifica Crystal Dew Setting Spray, Skinfix Energizing Micro Scrub

I also decided I wanted to try a setting spray. I’ve only used one before—a mini of the Urban Decay setting spray that came out years ago. I settled on the Pacifica Crystal Dew Setting Spray ($10) because it’s free of parabens, phthalates, and alcohol. Plus, it’s cruelty-free and vegan. Not to mention the fact that Pacifica is KILLING IT with their packaging. I think Pacifica is the Tarte of the drugstore brands, packaging-wise. I’m really interested in trying more from the brand!

This spray contains quartz powder, coconut water, vitamin E, grapefruit seed extract, and goji berry extract. It smells SO GOOD–sort of a rose-and-berry combo. So far I’ve only used this spray once, on my birthday. I sat outside in the hot, humid weather for a couple hours that evening and felt like my makeup stayed on very well.

Scrub It Up

The Skinfix Energizing Microscrub was a free gift with a $25 purchase. Ulta sells this full sized tube for $30, which sounds like a lot for a drugstore brand. I just checked the price on Amazon and they’re currently selling it for $22.43. Anyway…I got mine for free, so, YAY! I see this brand at CVS and have seen a couple bloggers talk about it, but it doesn’t seem like one of those brands that’s on everyone’s lips. This particular scrub contains mostly natural ingredients and is also sulfate, paraben, phthalate, and cruelty-free. Even better is that the exfoliators are biodegradable. I’ve used the scrub once so far and liked it; it’ll be a nice addition to my shower routine.

Makeup Selections

I picked out three makeup products to try: Lime Crime’s new Wet Cherry Lip Gloss in Naked Cherry ($18), Wet n Wild Megalast Liquid Catsuit Lipstick in Rebel Rose ($4.99), and Wet n Wild MegaLast Catsuit Liquid Eyeshadow in Nyctophilia ($2.50—Ulta had a Wet n Wild buy one, get one half off special).

Lime Crime is one of those indie brands that all the cool kids are talking about. The vibe is similar to Too Faced, but with more brightly-colored packaging. The brand is controversial but has apparently cleaned up its act so I feel okay trying it out. Their cult favorite Venus palette colors aren’t up my alley so I haven’t been moved to buy one. The brand is also known for its Matte Velvetine liquid lipsticks but I’m pretty meh about liquid lips (despite buying one in this haul). When I saw that Ulta carries Lime Crime’s new glosses, I figured now would be a good time to try the brand!

Lime Crime Wet Cherry Lip Gloss in Naked Cherry

The gloss comes in a chubby tube with a chubby doe-foot applicator that’s more akin to Tarte’s Shape Tape concealer than your standard lip gloss. Unfortunately, Naked Cherry is a little pale for me. The shade looked like the perfect nude in the tube, but it’s lighter than my lips and washes me out. The gloss also settled into the fine lines of my lips almost immediately. It smells JUST like an ’80s roll-on cherry lip gloss! I love that nostalgia factor. I want to exchange this for a darker color but Lime Crime is online-only at Ulta and I don’t want to pay a return shipping fee. So I’ll probably return it to the store for credit. Wah-wah. Maybe next time there’s a sale I’ll try a different shade.

Jackie Johnson, the host of the Natch Beaut podcast, talks up the Wet n Wild Liquid Catsuit Lipstick all the time. Though I haven’t been a matte liquid lipstick fan, at $4.99, I figured…why not try it? This brand has really turned a corner; when I was a kid it was the shitty, cheap brand at the drugstore. The prices are a bit higher now but you can tell that Wet n Wild has put a lot of effort into product development and branding. Wet n Wild is also 100% cruelty-free, which is rare for a drugstore brand.

Wet n Wild Liquid Catsuit Lipstick in Rebel Rose

I picked a mauve shade called Rebel Rose. It’s a very pretty color that dries down a little darker on my lips than it appears in the tube. The compact doe-foot applicator is curved to hug the lips perfectly. I actually find this product to be a very comfortable matte lip. Much more so than the Tarte Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint, which I get angry at and remove immediately every time I apply it. And at a fraction of the cost, Wet n Wild’s version is well worth it! I wish this color was a little bit lighter, but it still works on me. I will likely buy this lipstick in more shades. Thanks to Jackie for the recommendation!

Because Ulta had buy one, get one 50% off on Wet n Wild products, I also decided to try the Megalast Liquid Catsuit Eyeshadow. The Nyctophilia color is part of their spring limited edition Goth-o-Graphic collection (hence the holographic skulls on the cap). I didn’t have high expectations for this liquid shadow, but at $2.50 it was worth a shot.

Megalast Liquid Catsuit Eyeshadow in Nyctophilia

This dark, glittery indigo is SUCH a gorgeous color! Unfortunately, this eyeshadow did not work for me at all. The formula is thin and watery. The shadow is very patchy and doesn’t layer well (see photo below). To be fair, I tried the shadow without any regular or glitter eyeshadow primer, so it’s possible it might perform better with one of those. I will be returning this product even though I hardly spent any money on it.

Makeup Swatches

Below are swatches of the three makeup products from my Ulta haul:

Top to bottom: Lime Crime Wet Cherry Gloss, Wet n Wild Liquid Catsuit Lipstick, Wet n Wild Liquid Catsuit Eyeshadow

And here is a too-close-for-comfort pic of the Wet n Wild liquid eyeshadow on my lids. I’m sharing this so you can see just how badly it performed on me. It creased like WHOA and the application was incredibly patchy. I never use liquid eyeshadow so it could partly be user error, but I wouldn’t recommend this product.

Last But Not Least

I did pick up a few more items in order to get to that free shipping minimum! I love foot peels, so I got the TONYMOLY Foot Peeling Shoes ($6.50). I’m curious how it’ll compare with the TONYMOLY Shiny Foot peel that I’ve used before. I needed a new makeup pencil sharpener so I got an Ulta brand sharpener for $2.50. To push my cart over the edge, I added a Flowery Natural Nail File for $1.

Ulta had coupon code so I applied that to my order for $3.50 off. So I ended up getting all of these products for a grand total of $53.91! I’ll be returning a couple things but I’m sure I’ll find something to exchange them for in the store.

Have you taken advantage of Ulta’s bonus points offer? Did you stock up on favorites or did you step outside your comfort zone like I did this week?