Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Ole Henriksen Haul & GWP Value Breakdown

A couple of weeks ago Ole Henriksen was doing a huge gift with purchase event whereby you get a $100 "surprise" gift bag of goodies with a $50 purchase. I would have done this post earlier so you guys could take advantage of the deal but it took over a week for my order to ship and by then the deal had ended. Keep a look out for this type of GWP from Ole Henriksen because I think they do this more than once a year.

I might have said a couple of months ago that I was going to stop falling for these GWP deals and skincare minis in general. But it's really so much easier to pack small sample serums and creams for short trips than having to decant everything. Long story short, I thought it was a great deal and ended up ordering two full size cleansers that I've tried before and liked. I really enjoyed the African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser when I had the 1.5 oz travel size - it smells wonderful and cleanses the skin without leaving it dry. I didn't really see anything else I really wanted to get so I chose the Empower Foaming Milk Cleanser which I had gotten as a foil sample from Sephora last year. So I guess I'm all set on the cleanser front for at least another year (still working on finishing a couple before I open these).

Despite the snail-pace shipping, one huge perk that comes with buying directly on the Ole Henriksen website as opposed to a retailer like Sephora is that you can stack up to three discount codes. So I was able to use the $100 gift code as well as two smaller GWP codes which are still currently active! The codes are OLEMUSTHAVE and WELCOMEGIFT. You can currently stack them with FREESHIP to get those goodies with any purchase.

OLEMUSTHAVE includes a .5 oz Walnut Complexion Scrub, a .25 oz Sheer Transformation and a .25 oz Truth Serum Collagen Booster. WELCOMEGIFT includes a .5 oz Sheer Transformation, .5 oz Pure Truth Melting Cleanser and .25 Truth Serum Collagen Booster.

I paid $60.97 for all of the products pictured above as well as a cute pink makeup bag. Let's break down the retail value of the GWP items to see how much this is worth (in some instances I'm rounding down so the total value will be a conservative estimate).

Truth Serum Collagen Booster (.5 oz, .25 oz X 2) = $48
Sheer Transformation (1 oz, .5 oz, .25 oz) = $38
Invigorating Night Treatment (.5 oz) = $14.10
Pure Truth Youth Activating Oil (.25 oz) = $11.25
Ultimate Lift Eye Gel (.25 oz) = $10.50
Walnut Complexion Scrub (.5 oz X 2) = $9.30
Clean Truth Cleansing Cloths (pack of 10) = $8
Truth Sugar Glow Polishing Mask (.5 oz) = $6
Pure Truth Melting Cleanser (.5 oz) = $4.25
Empower Foaming Milk Cleanser (1 oz) = $3.9

Total: $153+

Not too shabby! I'm most excited to try the Invigorating Night Treatment because it uses a combination of glycolic, lactic and citric acids to chemically exfoliate. The various sizes of Truth Serum and Sheer Transformation will be super handy whether I'm packing for a one-night sleepover or a week-long trip.

Are you guys fans of Ole Henriksen skincare? Do you get lulled into purchases due to GWPs? Does anyone else bring out the paper and pencil to calculate GWP values like I do?

Monday, July 25, 2016

My Top 5: Cheek Brushes

When it comes to makeup brushes, I can be a bit of a snob. I fully admit to being a squirrel hair, Japanese-made brush enthusiast who will spend somewhat mind boggling amounts of money on wands that ultimately just put powder on my face. Some people prefer to spend money getting their nails done every week or on expensive haircuts. I personally would rather have a good selection of excellent makeup brushes so to each their own. I'm listing the retail prices of all the brushes as a reference point in case you're interested in any. Note, I purchased all of these myself although some were bought during promotions which lowered the price. 

Let's start with my most recent brush acquisition: Wayne Goss' The Air-Brush ($35). I'll begin with my one gripe about this brush. It's limited edition and currently sold out. I don't know if they're bringing it back but if they do, I think everyone should have one. It's actually one of the most, if not the most, affordable blue squirrel hair face brushes I've seen. It's incredibly soft and, like all of Wayne's brushes, handcrafted in Japan. My main use for this brush is for blush because the small paddled shape fits perfectly on the apples of my cheeks. With this brush, I don't have to worry about overapplying my blush. It's also thin enough to add some highlight to the tops of my cheekbones if I wanted to multitask. 

My preferred brush for highlighting is the Wayne Goss 15 Brush ($25), a delicate fan brush that adds just enough luminosity to the cheeks without looking frosty. When I'm applying really pigmented powder highlighters like TheBalm's Mary Lou-Manizer or Becca's Champagne Pop, it's easy to go overboard and emphasize pores. This fan brush diffuses the pigment just right and is the perfect size for swishing along the high points of my face. 

When I bought the Chikuhodo Takumi T-4 Cheek Brush ($52), I thought I was going to use it for blush. But the round shape and density didn't really lend itself to being a great blush brush for my needs since I prefer to pat on my blush. What this brush is excellent for is buffing in bronzer. This brush really unlocked my love for bronzer again because it blends in the color so well. The T-4 is large enough to cover the areas I want to warm and deepen quickly but it's not so fluffy as to darken my entire face. The Chikuhodo Takumi brushes are made of Saikoho goat hair which is one of the highest grades of goat hair due to its softness. 

I have a different favorite brush for contouring which is the Surratt Artistique Sculpting Brush ($90). This small angled brush made of squirrel and goat fibers is just the right size to fit in the hollows of my cheeks. I use this brush to apply cool toned contour powders because using a brush like the T-4 would make my complexion too ashy. The angled shape of this brush makes it easy to chisel my way to a slimmer face in no time at all. I love that Surratt is available at Sephora and I recommend holding out until the yearly 20% off sale to add these to your cart. 

To round out my top five cheek brushes, I've chosen an affordable synthetic brush to shake things up a bit. My favorite brush for cream blushes is the Bdellium Tools 954 Duet Fiber Slanted Kabuki Brush ($18). I almost always turn to synthetic brushes when using cream products because the fibers are more durable compared to delicate natural hairs. I really like duo fiber brushes for applying pigmented cream blushes because it minimizes the likelihood of over application. The white fibers pick up the product and the more tightly packed green fibers at the base help blend everything out. The size of this brush is perfect for applying blush as it's not too small or large. I also appreciate the shorter handle which is great for travel and allows me to get up really close to a mirror. 

For those of you who appreciate the beauty of a well-made makeup brush, I hope you enjoyed this read on my top five cheek brushes. If you're just starting to build your brush collection, perhaps this helped you out as well. What are your favorite cheek brushes? Any I should add to my wishlist?