What’s Up With That?Sephora Pricing Same Product, Same Size at a Premium

I pride myself on shopping around for the best deal-when all things are the same, same product, same size-I still look for the extra whatever to sweeten the deal.

The other day, I shopped online while my friend was driving and talking on speaker phone as we researched the best deal for a certain eye cream and moisturizer which was on her shopping list for the day.

After a few clicks, I helped her figure out how she could get the cream(s) she wanted, get the brand GWP, and the store GWP!

So this morning, the siren call of a Bobbi Brown GWP came in via Sephora’s daily sell email. I click on it-it looks good, so I check for the Estee Lauder Advanced Time Zone eye cream I like.

At Sephora a .5oz jar is $62.

At Macy’s a .5oz jar is $58.


I have become increasingly suspicious of Sephora’s practices.

I get that the 100 point aka $100 threshold for the VIB deluxe samples really cost me $100.

And that they now sell the same deluxe samples that the brands giveaway in GWPs in the stores and online.

But to add injury to insult by pricing at a premium?

I don’t think so.




Don’t Ya Hate It? MAC False Lashes Mascara

I recently received a sample of MAC’s False Lashes Extreme Black mascara and was super duper loving it for it’s lash separation and lengthening powers with no clumping.  Prior to that I was using some other MAC mascara, that over time started getting clumpy after an initial great start.

I don’t know if it’s me and I should be cleaning the mascara wand periodically or what, but almost all of my mascara ends up this way.  Although some like Estee Lauder’s Sumptous, starts out clumpy-prob from being overly ambitious in the thickening department.


I figure buying the new mascara at Windward Mall Macy’s would be a gamble-cuz, really, at the back of my mind I’m thinking that cosmetic products stay on the shelf longer at Windward Macys, 1) because of the size of the Kaneohe population and 2) that people probably would rather save and purchase Maybeline Great Lash or L’Oreal Voluminious, both great products at a lower price point.

I could get into Kaneohe Safeway’s expired products that live on the shelves long after the expiration date, but that’s another blog and everyone in Kaneohe who shops there already knows that fresh products are not to be found at Safeway. (Seriously, I was looking to buy one of their “bake-at-home” deli-pizzas and even they were expired.  I told the guy also shopping-“ya need to check the date.”)


It turns out after only a week of using the MAC product from WW Macys it is clumping already. Very sad. I figure this is because the product is old-since my sample tube, after weeks of using it, did not clump.

I know I have to take it back-no shame-if I pay $22 for a mascara, I want to use it.



Heading Down the Yellow Brick Road-Battle of the GWPS

Seriously, my eyes and fingers always answer the siren call of the GWP.  My favorite go to blog is GWP Addict-a daily update of all things GWP, written by Lisa of Arizona.

Over the years I have found some tried and true products that I like so much that I will always buy them for my basics and it takes a lot to turn my head to pull me away from my beloveds-Clarins’ SPF sunscreen, Kiehl’s Rosa Artica Moisturizer and Kitoko and Neuma hair products.

So, when I see it’s time to stock up on my basics, I go to gwpaddict.wordpress.com to see if there are gwp offers for whatever I have in mind.

I recently started using Estee Lauder’s Advanced Time Zone Age Reverse eye cream (which I haven’t written about yet!), which has the consistency similar to rosa artica moisturizer-a heavy (shortening like-yes like the baking stuff) cream that I rub a very small 1/2 pea sized or less amount on my finger tips and apply in the inner corners of my eyes.  It retails for $58 a jar.

I know that Macy’s is supposed to have an Estee Lauder event soon, early in September, so I’ve been waiting around-but I thought I’d check Lisa’s blog for any specials. So lo and behold Macy’s is having a Tuesday Flash Sale!* As you guys know, beauty products rarely go on “sale” unless they are about to expire or be discontinued so I snapped up the eye cream and a Laura Mercier Bronzer that someone put on me at NMs but I didn’t feel like buying at the time. The Estee product had a mini-gwp of advanced time zone eye serum(meh) and mascara(rarely buy mascara because companies always give samples. yay!).

So was feeling pretty happy about that.

However this morning, Sephora sent their daily blah blah of whatever is new, and I, heeding the call, open it and check out the new beauty lines, and failing to be sold, go to the Fresh products page, which eventually leads me off sephora.com to gwp addict in search of whatever.

I had seen the Nords $125 gwp gift bag with a bunch of samples, but I did not know there is also a gift bag for a $50 threshold. When you compare the two, I’d rather pay the $50, cuz from my point of view the $50 had better samples and less perfume which I don’t wear.


06-29-15-p04-cid0628156443-7-adam-38ab9e85-1d00-4cde-8a97-a4c20110e43d-fil-file $125


I already knew I needed to restock my Clarins’ sunscreen-I had tried the Murad Invisible Blur which is great, but no great gwp so I bought the Clarins,plus Nords is offering a two-fer sale of $62, a savings of $22. But as I am checking out, I think to look at the Estee offer.

A much much better gwp than Macy’s for a $45 gwp threshold, plus spend $5 bucks more and you get the $50 gwp bag!

I know so what, but I work from home so little things are exciting.

The clincher for me is that Nords ALWAYS has free shipping to Hawaii which is a huge perk. It’s pretty much why I do not shop the Fresh or Clarins’ company online stores because shipping is outrageous to Hawaii. I mean it’s like they are sending the products to Russia.  (I recently got ballet slippers from Grishko Russia, and unbelievably, shipping was free!).


It pays to be a shopper, and a free shipper.


*These offers will expire and may not be available when you read this post.


I don’t mind wearing mascara, cuz I’ve never had a lot of lashes.

I’ve had bfs with longer, thicker lashes than I have.

But that’s just typical of the men v women v looking good without any anything.

That’s a different subject.

I’ve used Revitalash and GrandeLash MD which both produced great results.

Lashes like hair are cyclical, meaning, there are going to be times, every 90 days or so, when lashes fall out, and are




I was in that period and started searching the internet for a deal on GrandeLash MD. I had paid $40 for it online, which seemed like the going price for the goods.

I also wandered onto their official site, and found that the $40 version was not necessarily the real deal.

Who’da figure?

Never even realized I was buying the bootleg version at the bargain basement price.

Searching more, and checking out reviews on various skincare product sites, it appears that sometimes the bootleg version does not work.

That might be that the product user was in the 90 day cycle and thus going against the grain, or the product was just a liquid tube of hopes and dreams. Or not.


I opted for Rapidlash-a product that appeared to not be anything more than a less expensive alternative to the grandmommy products revitalash and latisse whatever.

I use it fairly faithfully, applying it thinly like eyeliner.

It definitely works.

Maybe too good because the lashes on my left eye are growing unevenly, and there’s an actual clump of lashes in the middle that look like clumpy lashes when your mascara formula is for thickening. Plus the middle lashes are significantly longer than the others.

Otherwise, this product works well enough that I still don’t want to pay $125 for a tube of trailblazer products.

It cost about $40.


Hi-Brow-Luxury v Sephora

If you haven’t noticed brows are having a moment.  Many younger trendy women are sporting thick, almost bushy brows, which are wild yet polished–an update of Brooke Shields’ big-brow’s of the 70’s when Calvin Klein was in.

Now that I have my classic, high-arch brow shape under control courtesy of Stacie at Marsha Nadalin, I’ve been in search of the perfect brow color and formula.

Before I ever laid a brow pencil or powder to my own, I used to wonder why older asian ladies would have reddish brown marks in their eyebrow area.  My own mother, and her sister followed the same – straight, slightly-upward angled brow of the 00’s? My mom is of the ilk that she doesn’t leave the house without brows and lipstick-always,

In fact, that’s pretty much what most ladies will say when asked. Here and there there may be an add-on like myself, I have to have mascara on, and probably some tight liner. Then there are the girls who wear eyelashes everyday-which I admire, cuz I could get an eyelash on by myself If someone paid me!

In any case.

Maybe 6 months ago, I was running low on my Laura Mercier pencil which is in an ash-blonde color even tho I have pretty black-brown hair. It’s pretty much the best color after I softened my look up from using Bobbi Brown’s Mahogany eye shadow for brow powder.

So, the salesgirl finds that she is out of my color, and offers a color that is close, but not the same.

Maybe months later, I try it on, and my mirror is right by natural daylight, and to my horror, I have that weird reddish-brown color ala Maybelliene.  (You know, it’s those two red pencils that double as brow and eyeliner-which by the way are too hard to use on your eyelids).

I applied some powder color to tone it down, but I’m really a put it on and go type of gal, so two steps for brows is too much.

Thing about me, is once that I am convinced that something is good, the fastest way to make me really want it, is to not have it.

imgresThe stock at Nords was pretty much non-existent when I was introduced to Anastasia’s powder brow color in medium-brown and her dual-sided brow with spoolie brush.

I found the brush in Macy’s where the travel size and the regular sized brush were the same price, $18. A little pricey, but hey, I wanted it.

Found the brow color online at Sephora.

So excited to use both products together!

But to tell you the truth, the delivery on the desired beautiful brow affect, underwhelmed. I’m not quite sure why. To use the brush and powder together is a lot of effort, and not the easy one-step endeavor I desire.

So, when Sephora had a Fresh VIB “gift”-of course after spending $500 of loyalty dollars with them, I picked up their branded brow pencil with a brush on the end.

The pencil is very thin, and the color, at least to my eye is perfect. However, I am curious about the “brush”.  It is a little spikey, 3/8 inch in length, comb-like brush, that when used, kind of hurts actually.

Anyway, I still use the Anastasia powder with an old Lancome brush that works surprisingly well.

But I have to admit, I am still in search of the perfect brow solution.

Maybe brow artists will come up with the same concept as Drybar, where customers come in daily to have their brows sketched on expertly.

Well, you never know.


Penalized in Paradise-UPS-Clarins and Fresh

First of all, let me say that I love Clarins’ and Fresh products – most of them at least.

However, the treatment of Hawaii as a nation unto itself, is simply outrageous.

Both companies, including one or two others I have purchased items from, use UPS.

When I see free shipping offers from either company, in my dreams, I imagine that they have finally twisted the arm(s) of their UPS account executive and have succeeded where other companies have been successful.

I sent the same email to Clarins and Fresh this morning.


There are two points to make about UPS-

The negotiated rate charged to ship to Hawaii is outrageous and unreasonable – other companies are able to negotiate palatable rates – but $20, that’s too much.

UPS’ service to Hawaii customers is atrocious. Hawaii Yelp complaints about UPS are in the minus stars category.  My own UPS experience includes the driver blocking my car in my driveway, forcing me to stop and sign for a package by shoving the signing thing in my face.

The other UPS bad experience is the driver will leave packages with neighbors, who in turn leave the packages outside, because they are not aware of the contents.

It would be great if you would expeditiously review your relationship with your shipping choice.


Just to let you know, my relationships with my neighbors are fine, but one is a little “different” and that’s who UPS leaves the packages with to be left outside.

In any case, I got a call from Fresh about 10 minutes after I sent off the above email.

Seriously, the conversation only supported my observation that Hawaii customers are being treated as insignificant. “Corporate”, “We are a large company” etc. etc etc.

Et cetera

Et cetera

Et cetera

I got a generic customer service em from Clarins this am. Don’t expect any response.

I don’t know if they feel that “we are having a meeting about it” is salvo for the slight.

Maybe I’m just feeling a little salty this morning from the impending vog-but seriously, why?


Down to the Last Nub-Laura Mercier Brow Pencil v Clinique Super Fine Liner

You know something is seriously good when you use it down to the last itty bitty bit.

Much like scraping the bottom of a good bowl of chocolate pudding-it’s so good.

My brows and I had a rocky relationship for years before I met brow artist Stacie at Marsha Nadalin. Pre-Stacie, my brows were hideously lop-sided with one arch much much higher than the other.


I didn’t really think about brow make up either. I’m pretty sure I never thought about my brows until Jamie formerly of Bobbie Brown counter in NM, showed me how to use Mahogany eye shadow for my brows.

In any case, I graduated to Laura Mercier’s Brow Powder which comes in a duo pallette of a lighter and darker shade.  For me it’s pretty easy, because I don’t like to spend a lot of time on brows-just dab my brush into each color and slap it on!

Searching for the easiest, I also bought LM’s eye brow pencil in Blonde – which is an ashy brown color, because you know, blondes don’t go around with blonde eye brows unless they wear no make up. Neither do brunettes wear just brown color.

There’s nothing particularly special about the pencil itself, but when you compare it to others-the color and smoothness win out above others.

If people looked at their eyebrows in the sun, then a good number of them would realize that the Maybelliene  (sp) generic brown is actually a red-brown and looks odd in the sunlight. Or, people opt for black which is just too black.

We are having a brow moment in probably one of the last frontiers that cosmetic companies have to exploit in the search for perfection. L’Oreal has a number of products from pencil to products that make your hairs look bushier and echo Brooke Shields sun visor brows.

I like a fine arch-but not too thin.

I was with my Mom-shopping at the Clinique counter, and knowing that I had about 2 inches left of my LM, thought I’d try the Superfinerliner brow color from them.

I didn’t use it right away-but when I did, I thought the color is fine but there is one product defect that makes it impossible.

Much like a No 1 soft-lead pencil that I love to use, the thin thin thinniness of the products breaks under the solid grip of pressure that I use.

Really it’s not that bad, and of course I am exaggerating, but I get out a few strokes and it breaks.

There are a number of these 1/8 nibs of brow color here and there in my make up kit, on my vanity on the bathroom floor-(horrors) – the product is just too brittle.

So, I am back to the nub.

Actually I just bought a new LM brow pencil that comes with a spoolie brush on the end which is more than I need as well.

Maybe I can use it to rake through my eyelashes?


Battle of the Tinted Moisturizers-Bare Minerals v Laura Mercier

I’ve used Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer for a couple of years because some days I just don’t want the coverage of foundation, but I want a little something.

Of late, I’ve been pretty happy with my complexion, so I’ve forgone wearing tinted moisturizer or foundation.

Maybe I’m just getting even lazier?

Nah-I just think as you age, looking flawless doesn’t quite look right on a daily basis-good for special occasions tho.

Flawless foundation coverage is like wearing a push up bra that leaves your boobs 2 inches under your chin.  It just looks odd when you’re 50+, and your boobs look 18+.  Much like the women who have fakies and are 60+ and their chest is rock hard and up by their ears.


I was intrigued when I saw the Bare Minerals TInted Moisturizer in a mag, because the ad copy emphasized that the product was formulated to retain moisture-whereas other tinted moisturizers -the pigment actually dries the skin.

I never thought Laura’s or any other product, Bobbi Brown, Shiseido, (too many to mention), did a great job of moisturizing my m-skin.

I went to Nord’s expressly to visit the BM counter (ha ha I bet they didn’t think of that when they named the product), but BM had left the building. So I went 200 yards away to the BM store.

Unfortunately, the 3 ladies at BM were fairly disinterested in helping customers.  There were no other customers in the store-roughly around 1pm on a weekday.  The person who did wait on me, greeted me at first, then wandered off.

In any case, she eventually helped me with a shade and applied it over thier silicon primer with their special kabuki/stipling brush. I explained to her that the powder formual turned gray on me, plus my skin was too dry anyway.

She acted surprised when I said I would buy it-I don’t get it-are there really that many looky-loos? I usually will sample the product, but at $29 bucks a tube, it sounded reasonable.

The real test for me is using it over my regular regimen and seeing if it: 1) worked with my sunscreen and did not pill, and 2) didn’t turn ashy gray during the day and 3) kept me hydrated.

BM’s tinted moisturizer works well with sunscreens formulated to work with makeup like Clarin’s SPF and Estee Lauder’s Day Wear, but terrible over creamier formulations like Mychelle Coconut Cream SPF or Avene’s slighted tinted sunscreen.

As for color-it stayed true and a couple of people remarked my skin looked amazing.  

I think it keeps me as hydrated a little better-but I wouldn’t say it’s exceptionally better.

Still at $29 a tube v Laura’s $42 a tube-it’s not a hard decision. Plus the BM product is actually more buildable and starts with more coverage than Laura. 

I love Laura’s Radiance primer, but I think it’s adios for her tinted moisturizer!


Third World or Fourth? Beauty Products From Places Beyond

If it quacks like a duck, looks like a duck – is it a duck?

Question I ponder when I get samples from Ipsy that are labeled PRC, Made in China or anywhere that far east.

Save Japan and Korea-when it comes to beauty products, I wonder what is in that?

Some of us have seen those news reports about bootlegged beauty products- you know in the makeup supply stores you find a MAC cosmetic for cheapo. Maybe you rationalize that the product is last season or a little past the expiration date, but if the news is accurate, the products may be made in less than sanitary conditions in China, and the products may be more than just dirty-they may contain dangerous components like LEAD.


I wrote IPSY after getting nearly an entire sample bag with products from China. They must have listened because the next month they sent only one product from the PRC.

What? In some world, PRC is not the People’s Republic of China?



Those Little Samples Are For Sale-Sephora

Have you noticed lately that Sephora is selling the same deluxe samples that used to come with gwps?

I get that everybody needs to make dinero-but part of the fun was to get samples!

I’m not really into getting a sample of product that has had a bunch of germy fingers dipped in because some people don’t obey cosmetic etiquette. You know what I mean.

Those people who dip their fingers into jars, across eye shadow and actually apply lip color from the tube!

Seriously could anything be more gross?

They’ve done studies on how many of the super ick germs find their way into make up displays.

You know I used to be a ready participant in getting a free makeover at the counter-but the more germaphobic I get the less interested I am. I might put on a color on my wrist and wipe off with alcohol at the most nowadays.


Sephora used to go pretty good samples for VIB ladies and they were usable. But don’tcha hate the samples that are just a whisper of product? Like Skinceuticals Eye SPF. I know eye product is applied the size of a pea, but when I get a sample like that, I have to really be jonsing to try it to use the manini sample.

I’ve been buying product from Neostrata and Lovelyskin.com the last few times for skincare. I think Neostrata is really generous with the size and the amount of the samples, but so far nothing to write home about. Lovelyskiin sent me the Skinceuticals sample which is not their fault, but they don’t really have great samples to select from at checkout.

Lovelyskin.com does have a cool comparison table that you can see how different products stand against each other. I used it to choose an eye product last month.

So Sephora take a note-I’m giving you the bulk of my beauty dollars in the quest for the 500 point perks (really I paid $500 for those mini’s of Laura Mercier)?, so how’s about show your customers some love with better samples?