Hauls Galore! Ulta + Coastal Scents + Birchbox...OH MY!

I have to admit, I have been buying like a mad woman. Sometimes it's easy to overlap a want vs. a need. I needed a special shampoo and conditioner that would promote hair growth since I have been suffering from hair loss again. I've always had thick, luscious hair, even with my lupus, but around December 2010 (when I started experiencing my first horrible flares) I started losing my hair. Around the beginning of this year, I noticed my hair growing back thicker. However, I observed that when my plaquenil increased in July (I took 400 mg everyday but only 200 mg on weekends, but now I take 400 mg everyday), the number of hairs ending up on my brush and the floor increased. I've heard some pretty amazing things about Nioxin, so I decided to take the plunge. It's not cheap. I got the System 1 (for thin/normal hair) Scalp therapy conditioner for $23 (the 10.1 oz bottle). Luckily I was able to avail of the Buy 2 Get 1 Free option on Ulta.com so I also purchased the 3.4 oz Nioxin System 1 Scalp Treatment for $25, getting the System 1 Cleanser shampoo for free. After the first use, I could not stop touching my hair because it was so silky. The shampoo and conditioner smelled like peppermint, which is a bonus because I LOVE peppermint. Peppermint mochas (why I look forward to winter), peppermint ice cream, peppermint patties...you name it. The peppermint oil and white tea extracts cleanse the scalp and add shine, while its cystine amino acids increases the strength and thickness of hair. I have high hopes for these products, so I will review them again in a few weeks.

I also got the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge! In the makeup world, the Beauty Blender is seen as the holy grail of sponges. Using the sponge instead of a brush for foundation makes it smoother to blend on the face. Unfortunately, the price is steep at $20 so I got the Real Techniques dupe for $6 which seems to work well. I tried it with my Tarte 12 hour BB cream and it blended into my face like a charm without looking too cakey. You can use the sides of the sponge to blend your foundation or BB cream, the tip can be used for touching up blemishes and the flat end is for contouring. I forgot to dampen it before using it in order for it to expand in size.

After seeing the summer sale on Coastal Scents (25% of eyeshadow palettes), I couldn't help but snag the 88 Original Palette for $12.32. The colors look bright and fun, and the case is flat at 9.12" x 6.53" x 0.5" (which makes it perfect for traveling), but I can't help but be disappointed because there is some fallout, and the shadows are not as pigmented and definitely did not last all day even though I used a primer. Usually when I use the primer, my eyeshadows can withstand 12+ hours. Not this one. The shadows completely creased and faded at the end of the night. This would be better suited for beginners trying to experiment, and I consider myself a beginner even though I wore makeup since I was 13...it's only now that I've been experimenting more and becoming much more serious about it. Which is also why I purchased the 22 piece brush set. It comes in a case which makes it perfect for traveling.

Coastal Scents 88 Original palette? Womp womp...

I'm also excited to get my first Birchbox! I seriously felt like I was opening a treasure chest. Beauty boxes are becoming all the rage (Birchbox, ipsy, Julep, Beauty Box 5, etc.) because you can get samples every month and try them out before making a full on purchase. And they are usually only $10 a month. Well for Birchbox, the women's boxes are $10 per month whereas the men's boxes are $20 per month. They go by a point system. If you earn 100 points, you can get $10 off of a full sized item from their shop. There are many ways to earn points: 1 point for every dollar spent on a full sized item, inviting friends, and 10 points for every sample review you write. I am expecting ipsy, another popular box (well actually a bag...the glam bag) founded by the famous Michelle Phan. I'll do a side by side comparison in another entry. Although I do keep hearing that Birchbox has more emphasis on skincare whereas ipsy has more makeup...
My samples: Catherine Malandrino Style de Paris Fragrance, K6 Skincare Clean Antioxidant Facial Cleanser, LAQA & Co. Sheer Lip Lube Pencil (Bees Knees), Noir Cosmetics Long Wearing Eyeliner, and Whish Shave Craving Cream (Acai Grapefruit).

I'm totally satisfied with my samples. I needed an eyeliner so I'm glad I waited for this rather than purchasing one. I'm hoping that the cleanser will help with my pores, blackheads and whiteheads, and I also definitely needed the shaving cream since I recently ran out!

Thanks for reading!


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