My last trip to the States was 3 years ago, and because I was clueless back then, I didn't create a Beauty Insider account. This time, I made sure to remedy that. Even with the abysmal state of the Australian dollar (long gone are the glory days of parity), I didn't exactly exercise restraint. (Though I did manage to avoid buying any lip products, so I'll give myself that.) It's surprisingly stressful when your travelling companion, like an AA sponsor, limits your visits to Sephora to the number of fingers on one hand. I had to make sure I wasn't skipping over anything I would regret not buying, but also not go completely overboard (because as we all know, that's easy to do).
My loot (hauled in one and a half weeks, over 4 Sephora stores):
- Smashbox Primer Water ($32 USD, about $50 AUD)
- Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - Radiance ($20 USD, about $30 AUD)
- Clinique Cheek Pop in Nude Pop ($22 USD, about $34 AUD)
- Anastasia Beverly Hills Shadow Couture World Traveler Palette ($30 USD, about $46 AUD)
- Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara in Brown/Black ($10.50 USD, about $16 AUD)
- Maison Martin Margiela Lazy Sunday Morning Rollerball ($25 USD, about $39 AUD)
- Fresh Sugar Lychee Rollerball ($22 USD, about $34 AUD)
- Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone ($19 USD, about $29 AUD)
- Fresh Soy Face Cleanser ($15 USD, about $23 AUD)
- Elizabeth and James Nirvana Mini Rollerball Set ($25 USD, about $39 AUD)
- Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Shampoo ($11 USD, about $17 AUD)
- philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser ($11 USD, about $17 AUD)
- Benefit Rockateur Box o’ Powder Blush ($28 USD, about $43 AUD)
- Too Faced Love Flush Long-Lasting 16-Hour Blush in Baby Love ($26 USD, about $40 AUD)
So basically, I spent a lot of money.
Mind you, that's not all the cosmetics/skin care stuff I bought in the US. Ugh.
I did also buy the Boscia Tsubaki Cleansing Oil-Gel but I ended up returning it the next day after one use because it left my skin feeling taut and dried out.
Some of the stuff was literally more expensive than if I'd bought it in Australia (Smashbox Primer Water, Too Faced blush), some was only slightly cheaper but basically the same price (philosophy cleanser, Benefit Rockateur). The extensive rollerball display at Sephora was like Christmas and I was pretty ecstatic when two perfumes I'd been eyeing were available in rollerball form (Maison Martin Margiela Lazy Sunday Morning and Fresh Sugar Lychee, both unavailable in Australia). I also couldn't resist any of the good ol' minis (Fresh cleanser, Elizabeth and James rollerball set, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector, Laura Mercier primer, even that darn 60ml bottle of Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Shampoo which I classify as the most ludicrous purchase ever, because as if I do hair, as if this shampoo is especially better than other shampoos, and as if I couldn't buy 2 litres of Pantene for the same price).
It didn't feel right to come away from Sephora without an eyeshadow palette, so I limited myself to just one: Anastasia Beverly Hills Shadow Couture World Traveler Palette. The price was right, the reviews were mostly positive, I hadn't seen the palette available at the Sydney Sephora store, there are a multitude of shades and finishes, and I was curious to try my first product from the brand. I had listed the Make Up For Ever Artist Palette Volume 1 – Nudes as a potential purchase, but the shades/packaging seemed underwhelming to me in person. Maybe neutral shadow fatigue. I wasn't interested in the new Naked Smoky palette from Urban Decay at all. I had a look at Buxom, and while the shadows swatched beautifully, nothing was really calling out to me as a must. Other options (Smashbox, Laura Mercier, Tarte, Stila) were too expensive with the currency conversion. I kind of wanted the Bobbi Brown Telluride Eye Palette but it was $52 USD, which would've worked out to have been $81 AUD. Like, no.
l-r: Too Faced Baby Love, Clinique Nude Pop, Benefit Rockateur
Bottom to top: Too Faced Baby Love, Clinique Nude Pop, Benefit Rockateur
Bottom to top: Laura Mercier Radiance Primer, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone
l-r: Laura Mercier Radiance Primer, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone
For some reason, I was super into the idea of dewy, highlighted skin, so I purchased the Laura Mercier primer and the Becca, with the idea of potentially mixing them into my foundation, or applying it to my face before foundation for added natural luminosity. I also bought a small tube of MAC Strobe Cream and a Benefit set that included a 'That Gal' Brightening Face Primer sample, so I'm good with liquid highlighters for now. After trial and error, I've learned to avoid placing luminiser over my nose, and that a 40/60 ratio of highlighter and foundation is a bit excessive.
While I'm sure I have similar blushes to three I bought, I'm really happy with all of them. Too Faced Baby Love almost reminds me of a pinker/plummier NARS Douceur, Clinique Nude Pop is like a muted version of NARS Madly, and Benefit Rockateur is a foolproof pick that goes with anything.
One product I'm on the fence about is the Smashbox Primer Water. As a primer, it did absolutely zilch, and as a setting/refresher spray, I'm not convinced it's any better than much cheaper options such as rosewater or even MAC Fix+. I do like the packaging and the spray mechanism, but I'm not sure if that's $50/116ml like. Probably not, but now that I've bought it, I'll try to forget about the inflated price tag and enjoy it.