Sephora VIB Appreciation Sale | 2018

Ack! Sure, as soon as I make it official to the world that I’m going on a month-long spending hiatus, Sephora has to announce that they are having a sale.

Good news is that it doesn’t end until September 3rd, so I guess that means that ‘no-spend August‘ will be followed up by ‘prodigal September‘.

Sephora thought it would be a great idea to celebrate Beauty Insiders and the changes to the Beauty Insider program.

Here is the low-down on the sale:

VIB Rouge
20% off
Fri 8/24 – Mon 9/3
Use Code: YESROUGE

VIB
15% off
Thurs 8/30 – Mon 9/3
Use Code: YESVIB

Insider
10% off
Thurs 8/30 – Mon 9/3
Use Code: YESINSIDER

So, my account states that my VIB status will expire in December 2018. If I want to keep it, I need to spend $180 before the end of the year. If I would like to jump up to VIB Rouge, I would need to spend $830 before the end of the year.

I’m pretty sure spending that much money would be frivolous, but it’s fun to dream about being so rich that spending $830 on makeup is pocket change.

So with that, here are my potential lists for the sale.

If I want to keep VIB:

Too Faced
Born This Way Super Coverage Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer
$36

Dr. Jart+
Water Fuse Ultimate Hydro Gel
$48

Bite Beauty
Agave Lip Mask
$30

Too Faced
Born This Way Foundation
$49

VIB Sale 1Pictures

If I convince Brian that beauty is priceless, I will add:

Iluminage
Touch Permanent Hair Reduction + Epilator Cartridge and Precision Adapter
$556

Anastasia Beverly Hills
Brow Wiz
$27

Benefit Cosmetics
Hoola Matte Bronzer
$38

Dr. Jart+
Water Fuse Hydro Sleep Mask
$60

Atelier Cologne
Collection Azur – Cedre Atlas (100ml)
$160

 

Chances of reaching VIB Rouge in 2018 is extremely thin. However, seeing as I’m low on (or have already run out of) foundation, concealer and face cream, it’s highly probable that I will at least keep my VIB status through 2019.

Are you shopping the sale? What’s on your list? Let me know in the comments below.

Brush or Sponge?

I used to apply my foundation with my fingers. (That’s a no-no, right?)

Then I began using those triangle wedges, which I thought were the bomb!

One day, I overheard my sisters talking about how the new thing was to apply foundation with a brush.

I went out and bought one.

I only used it once because it didn’t blend anything and left my face looking like a construction site with tire grooves left in the mud.

Not cool.

I went back to using those trusted triangle wedges, thinking that would be the only thing I ever used from that point forward.

When I began watching makeup tutorials on YouTube, I learned that there was a better brush to apply your foundation. I tried it and loved it. My only problem was that sometimes my face looked like I used debris for foundation, especially in the winter months. It wasn’t until I realized that it was exfoliating my skin that I decided to look into other options.

This is where the term damp beauty sponge came trotting along into my life. I bought a beauty sponge and tried it out – running it under warm water until it had soaked up enough H2O to hydrate an elephant. That might be an exaggeration, but for real, I had no idea what I was doing the first time I used this technique.

So, should we apply our foundation with a brush – or a damp beauty sponge?

Brush
Pros – faster application, blends nicely, works well with fast-setting foundations
Cons – exfoliates during application, not the best for dry or sensitive skin

Damp Beauty Sponge
Pros – melds product into skin, leaves a flawless finish, great for sensitive skin
Cons – can breed bacteria if not cleansed/dried properly, slow application, doesn’t work the best with fast-setting foundations

We’ll go back to my question – brush or damp beauty sponge?

I say, ultimately it depends on factors such as skin type, foundation type, personal preference and the amount of time you have. As a matter of fact, I prefer the sponge, but the Becca foundation sets extremely fast, so unless I’m Speedy Gonzalez, it doesn’t blend well with the sponge – so I use a brush to erase any harsh lines I get.

What application method do you prefer? Let me know in the comments below.

June Favourites

june favs Pictures

June has already flown by and we are well into July for that matter.

You guys know I’ve been starting up my YouTube channel and the very first thing I filmed and edited was a June Favourites video. The thing is, I have learned a thing or two with editing. Also, I’m pretty sure I forgot some products.

So, today you are getting the June Favourites in a full-out blog post.

Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner
Universal Dark
$8.95 CDN

skinny brow liner Pictures

Ugh, I wish that I knew how to do my brows like the pros, but I’m just not there yet. Part of my problem is that I have yet to figure out what colour I should use – blondes are too light and taupe looks so strange. The only colour that seems to match my eyebrows is this Annabelle liner. I’m just hoping that it doesn’t look too dark against my bleach blonde locks. Anyhow, this liner is great! I’m not even sure I can tell a difference between this one and the Anastasia Brow Wiz – it’s that good!

Tarte Mermaid Skin Hyaluronic H2O Serum
$55 CDN

mermaid skin Pictures

I really wanted to try this, but I didn’t want to splurge on it if I didn’t love it. So, when I saw the coupon code on Sephora for a free trial size with purchase, I jumped right on it. You guys know I love hyaluronic acid, so it’s almost a no-brainer that I would love this. I use it after I wash my face at night, after a shower, and also underneath my primer/makeup. The only thing I’m not fond of is that it goes tacky for about 3 seconds before it absorbs into the skin.

Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser
$11.99 CDN

Baby skin Pictures

I actually picked this up closer to the end of the month, but I loved it enough to add it to my favourites immediately. I don’t use this on my whole face, just where I have more visible pores – right around the nose and slightly onto the cheeks. It doesn’t feel heavy or pore-clogging, but it absolutely smooths the pores.

Hard Candy Highlighter Trio
Cruisin the Coast
$9.00 CDN

highlighter trio Pictures

I don’t know why, but I struggle a bit with finding a highlighter that gives a good glow without adding a huge neon sign that says ‘wrinkles and texture party here.’ I know, that is part of highlighter, but a girl still likes a bit of a glow. Needless to say, this highlighter trio hits me perfectly.

Hard Candy Glow Setting Spray
$6.00 CDN

HC setting spray Pictures

I’m pretty sure this can be classified as a dupe for UD All Nighter setting spray. I’ve been using Urban Decay everyday for a while, but a few months ago my skin started getting so dry that it couldn’t handle that spray. My skin got so dry that it hurt, but I still wanted to set my makeup. I happened to run across this Hard Candy one and couldn’t pass it up for $6. It sets my makeup beautifully and adds a slight glow to my skin. It also makes my makeup last throughout the whole work day. You  seriously can’t go wrong with this.

Foreo LUNA Fofo
$120 CDN

Luna Pictures

This was a product that came in my FabFitFun box (this was actually worth more than I even paid for my whole box!). I always wanted to try out these types of products, but the money. Always the money. I just don’t want to waste my money on something I won’t use or don’t like. I tried this out right away and I love it! It measures the hydration of your skin, sends it to an app on your phone and then walks you through a timed face wash routine. So great. Ok, I’ve lived without it for this long, so it’s possible, but now that I have it, I think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread! Bonus, it’s a great (and fun) way to teach young ones how to properly wash their face.

Have you tried any of these products? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

**The FabFitFun link is an affiliate link, which means I received a small commission if you purchase through my link (no cost to you). All opinions are my own, honest thoughts.**

Rowena Francis YouTube Launch Video

Guys.

I am so excited to launch my YouTube channel!

I’ve actually been sitting on it for a few months now because I wasn’t even sure I knew what I was doing – or getting in to.

Let me tell you! It’s so much fun.

I started this blog because I needed something that I did just because I simply enjoyed it. No obligations. No frustrations. Just something I love.

Now imagine talking to a camera. It’s almost like therapy. Except no bill. You can say everything you’ve ever thought…then edit it out.

Genius. Pure genius.

With that, here’s my launch video:

Comment below with videos you’d like to see me do.

30 Beauty Questions Tag

I’ve seen this tag on a few blogs lately and thought it would be fun to do. I copied the questions from Imperfect Beauty so head over to her blog and check out her answers (and give her a follow).

1.) Do you remember your first makeup item?

Maybelline Watermelon Kissing Koolers and Maybelline Bubble Gum Kissing Potion when I was 7 or 8. Apparently I was keen on the idea of kissing.

Does that count?

I also used to borrow all of my mom’s Mary Kay and Avon makeup.

Does that count?

Ok, how about that green Sephora corrector I bought when I was in my twenties? We’ll go with that.

2.) Describe your perfect mascara. Have you found one that fits your specifications?

I have high expectations from mascaras. My perfect mascara would be a blackest-black, non-waterproof formula that is thick enough to coat my lashes individually without clumping them together. I have tried A LOT of mascaras and would only classify 2 of them as perfect – L’Oréal X-Fiber and well, I don’t remember the name of the other one (it was discontinued about 10 years ago).

3.) What kind of coverage do you prefer from a foundation? 

Summertime = Light coverage
Wintertime = Full coverage

4.) Favourite high-end brand?

Too Faced.

5.) What cosmetic brands have you always wanted to try but still haven’t?

Mac. I haven’t tried a single thing from Mac. Comment below on what you think my first Mac purchase should be.

6.) Favourite drugstore brand?

I really do love so many drugstore brands, but I think I favour L’Oréal overall.

7.) Do you wear fake eyelashes? 

No. My natural eyelashes are longer than some fake ones, so I’ve never seen the point. Maybe I should try them?

8.) Is there any kind of makeup you can’t leave the house without?

Lips and mascara, but sunglasses can always sub in for mascara.

9.) What is your most cherished beauty product?

I’m not sure, but I’m going to say Dune by Christian Dior. Reminds me of when Brian fell in love with me 20 years ago.

10) How often do you shop for makeup? Do you like to pick up an item here and there or get lots of goodies at once?

I probably shop every. single. day. However, I don’t actually buy products that often. My general rule of thumb is to buy enough for free shipping, but not too much that it would cause Brian to question my need for makeup.

11.) Do you have a “beauty budget” or you spend freely? 

I mostly spend freely – as long as it fits into my general rule (see question 10).

12.) Do you utilize coupons, rewards cards and sales when you shop for cosmetics?

100% yes. If it’s not a deal, I’m not buying.

13.) What type of product do you buy the most of?

Mascara.

14.) Is there a brand that you absolutely can’t stand?

Not particularly, but there are some brands that I avoid buying.

15.) Do you avoid certain ingredients in cosmetics like parabens or sulfates?

No, but it is something I’ve started thinking a lot about lately.

16.) Do you have a favourite place to shop for makeup?

Not really, but I do shop at Sephora, Ulta, Walmart and Shopper’s Drug Mart.

17.)  Do you like trying new skincare products or do you keep a certain routine?

I can get pretty finicky with skin care products. So, usually if I find something great, I stick with it until my skin changes. Check out my current skin care routine here.

18) Favourite bath and body brand?

L’Oréal has been my long-time go-to. I’ve also started loving Briogeo, but it is on the high-end, so I use the products sparsely.

19) If you could only buy from one brand, which brand would you choose?

L’Oréal – they carry my favourite hair colour, hair care, makeup, etc.

20) What brand do you think has the best packaging?

I’ve never really understood the idea of evaluating packaging, but recently I found myself ooh-ing and ahh-ing at some Hard Candy packaging.

21.) Which celebrity always has great makeup?

I’m really not much of a celebrity follower, but I really like the way Katy (Lustrelux) does her makeup. She always looks flawless.

22.) Do you belong to any online makeup communities?

Influenster is the main one right now. I’d like to join up with Canadian Beauty Bloggers when I gain a bit more influence.

23.) 5 Favorite Beauty Gurus?

Kelly Strack, Katy, Desi Perkins, Jaclyn Hill, Tati

24.) Do you like multifunctional products like lip and cheek stains?

No.

25.)  Are you clumsy in putting on makeup?

I don’t think so, but I’m far from perfect.

 26.) Do you use makeup base/primer for the eyes?

Don’t judge me, but I’ve only used eyeshadow a handful of times. This is the area I’m attempting to learn.

27.)  How many hair products do you use on a typical day?

If that typical day includes a shower, 6. If it doesn’t, 0.

28.) What do you apply first, concealer or foundation?

Foundation, then concealer.

29.) Do you ever consider taking makeup classes?

I definitely think about it.

30.) What do you love about makeup?

I love that makeup can accentuate or transform, depending on how you want to use it. It’s creative and I love everything about that.

I guess that’s it, 30 questions. I don’t know the first idea of who to nominate, but if you’re reading this and you want to do it, tag me, I’d love to read your answers!

Don’t forget to comment below on what you think my first ever Mac purchase should be.

Spa Night In

I am about to dive into a crazy busy week couple of weeks. I have deadlines that line up, back to back, each day next week and then some. If I don’t start off on the right foot, I may find myself a bit frazzled by the time June rolls around. June?

I don’t want that.

So, amongst many things (like doing the actual work to prepare), I am going to start off with a night of pampering.

Here is my favourite recipe for the perfect Spa day at home.

Clean House
Ok, maybe this isn’t pampering, per se, but having a clean house will help me relax when I want to. I like to have everything cleaned out, organized, vacuumed, washed, dried, folded, put away. You know, the works. The good news is that I have 2 kids that are quite accustomed to doing chores, so I won’t be running around like a crazy lady. Ok, maybe I’ll still be running around like a crazy lady, but it won’t be because I’m overworked. Plus, I’m totally convinced that my kids would choose to clean the house over anything else. I think.

Snacks
You can’t be pampered without food and drinks. Am I right, or am I right? I’m not the wine and dine type, but I do love a little bubbly – or as my kids call it, rich people water. PerrierZevia Ginger Root Beer has been my jam as of late.

If I’m really feeling fancy, I’ll put my drink in a crystal goblet and pour it over crushed ice.

Fancy also means I’ll throw together a tray of hors d‘oeuvres – garlic stuffed olives, an array of cheeses, crackers, fruit, chocolate. Chocolate.

If I’m not feeling overly fancy, I’ll make sure I have some Ruffles Sour Cream ‘n Onion chips.

The point is, I make sure I have food & drinks I love ready to devour.

Movie
If I’m going to have a night in with all the works, I want to watch a great chick flick. I mean, I might want to shed a tear or two, just because. Crying is cleansing, right?

Anyway, I will definitely be picking a movie that the hubby refuses to watch – Fried Green Tomatoes, Steel Magnolias, you get the picture.

PJs
I want luxurious pjs. I want the kind of pjs that you spend money on. I want pjs that make you feel like a million bucks.

Then I want comfort.

Yes, this pampering night is all about the comfort! Say what you will, but my TMNT sleepshirt is the best thing since sliced bread. Cozy. Comfy. Totally rad.

Face Mask
Once the house is clean, snacks are prepped, movie is picked, pjs are on, it’s time to get started. I will cleanse, rinse & moisturize my face, then slather on my favourite face mask. I’m currently loving the GlamGlow YouthMud Tinglexfoliate Treatment.

Talk about a mouthful!

Seriously, just like the name says, it tingles. It. Tingles.

But I love it.

There’s something about it that reminds me of a tropical vacation – and that’s literally a life goal, to be living it up in the tropics.

This week, I think I’m going to venture out to Sephora and grab a GlamGlow Bubblesheet Mask. I’ve heard great reviews and I really like GlamGlow.

Nails
I don’t always add this step into my pamper routine, but this week, it’s in there. I have gel nails, so I don’t need to do my fingernails. I just don’t have time to get a pedicure and I plan on wearing sandals next week, so I definitely want to do a pedicure.

Fun fact, when I was a teenager (and into my 20s) I used to paint a design on my nails every day to match my outfit. Every. Single. Day.

My current schedule would never allow for such frivolousness. Except! Except I stumbled upon the perfect quick-dry nail polish! Sally Hansen Insta-dri. You don’t even know! This nail polish can stand it’s ground with only a single coat. Plus, it literally dries in seconds!! (I just realized that this product actually makes those claims!) Hands down favourite polish. I won’t ever go back to other polishes. I don’t know how I waited around for paint to dry when I was young. It’s not even like I had a phone or iPad or anything to pass the time.

Bedtime
Last, but certainly not least, I will snuggle into my bed full of fluffy pillows and suffocating warm blankets. Then I’ll probably talk Brian’s ear off well into the midnight hours.

Do you like to enjoy a good spa night before you dive into a long week? Let me know in the comments one of your favourite pampering products.

Beauty Reward Programs | Hot or Not?

It’s no secret that beauty costs money. Let’s be downright honest here. It’s expensive. So, how do you make it worth it? Is there a payoff?

Can I just say, the payoff is feeling great and looking like a million bucks. However, beauty stores tend to have some sort of loyalty reward program to reel you in.

Hook. Line. Sinker.

Here are my reviews/thoughts on the few bigger beauty stores where I shop.

Ulta
The nearest Ulta is about 40 minutes and another country away, but it doesn’t stop me from heading out there to shop.

Ulta has a reward system called Ultamate Rewards. There are 3 membership levels: Member (free, earn 1 pt/US$1), Platinum (US$450, earn 1.25 pt/US$1) & Diamond (US$1,200, earn 1.5 pt/US$1). I am currently at the Member level because I only started actually shopping there 3 months ago, and the dollar exchange hasn’t been favourable for Canadians (which means I pay more). All levels receive a free birthday gift as well as 2x the points in your birthday month. The Platinum & Diamond levels also receive a US$10 birthday coupon and points never expire. If you’re Platinum, you will also receive free shipping on orders of US$25 or more and will also receive a US$25 beauty service reward card every year.

The nice thing about Ulta is that they sell both drugstore and high-end brands. So, you can get everything you need at one store. That also means I’m in there for a good few hours, at best. There are also a few items I love that are exclusive to Ulta, so it’s worth it.

The thing I love about Ultamate Rewards is that your points equal a dollar amount so you can use it towards any purchase.

The thing I’m not loving about this is that the website is not consistent between the US site and the CAN site, so I have to shop the US side if I want to get my rewards. Twist my arm, I might as well stop by Chick-fil-A while I’m out there.

Sephora
I have a love/hate relationship with Sephora. I feel like we’ve parted ways so many times, but I’m constantly lured back in by it’s Sephora-ness.

Samples. Beauty Offers. Exclusive Products.

Sephora’s reward system is called Beauty Insider. There are also 3 membership levels: Insider (free), VIB (C$350), Rouge (C$1,000). I am currently a VIB. All levels receive a birthday gift, have access to the Rewards Bazaar as well as the Beauty Insider Community. The VIB & Rouge levels also receive monthly gifts and free custom makeovers (1x for VIB). The Rouge level also gets you free shipping on all your orders, a private hotline and invitations to exclusive events.

In my opinion, Sephora has the worst rewards program. Although you can rack up points quickly and there are lots of sales and bonuses (like the Spring Bonus, check out my wish list), your points can only be used in the Rewards Bazaar. Products are launched in the Bazaar every Tuesday and Thursday 9am-5pm (PT) and they go so fast, it’s unreal. I have an alarm set on my phone and by the time I tap on the Rewards Bazaar tab, everything good is already sold out. Every. Time. My points just keep racking up, unused. Pointless, in my opinion. How ironic. Yet, I keep going back cause it calls me.

Beauty Boutique
I am true and true Canadian. So, I wouldn’t be true to my heritage if I didn’t include a Canadian company.

Shopper’s Drug Mart, anyone? Sorry, I mean Beauty Boutique.

Alright, if we’re going to be hands down open here, the Beauty Boutique is my impulsive spending place. There’s one just around the corner. I could walk there, even if I was stranded at home with no car.

They have just recently switched over their rewards program. It used to be Optimum Rewards, but has since changed to PC Optimum.

Now, I love the PC rewards program. I use it for my groceries, gas, everything. One year, I was able to pay for 90% of Christmas with my PC Points. So, the fact that they joined up with the Beauty Boutique just sets me over the top.

In my opinion, the Beauty Boutique is not quite as established as Sephora or Ulta, but it’s coming along quite nicely. They have great deals and a well-established reward system. It’s a bit different from the other reward systems as it doesn’t have tiers built-in. It is free to join and you can earn 15 pts/C$1 or more, depending on the store you’re shopping at or card you use (PC Mastercards earn more). 10,000 points is equal to $10. There are always opportunities to earn bonus points – I just usually flip through the flyer to see what’s happening.

There you have it. My 3 favourite beauty stores and their reward programs. My favourite would definitely be Sephora, if they switched their bazaar over to dollar value rewards. I probably would spend all my money there.

Until then…

What is your favourite reward program? Do you buy things based on rewards? Comment below.