not a professional. just crazy.

Strat Haul: What I Bought from Sephora’s Beauty Insider Sale (Which Ends Today)

The author, wearing every product she bought from the Sephora sale. Photo: Rio Viera-Newton

The beauty insider sale at Sephora is itself a holiday — that time of year when you get 15 percent off the products you’d ordinarily only splurge on after payday (those who are part of Sephora’s VIB program enjoy 20 percent off, which is a good reason to join). But there’s one slight issue: going to Sephora during the sale, especially in New York City, is extremely hectic — last time I witnessed two people physically fight over the last Fenty Trophy Wife. So recently, I’ve been really into shopping the Beauty Insider sale online. Plus, Sephora’s return policies are flexible in comparison to most online retailers (the product can be used, you just need the receipt) — so if something doesn’t work out, I don’t mind returning it to the store when the chaos has passed. Because despite the fact that the 20 percent discount allows me to impulse buy just about anything, I typically still have one or two product regrets that I end up returning a few days later.

This year, however, it was different — everything I bought from the VIB sale I absolutely adore. So much so, that they’re the only products I wore on my face all weekend long. If you need a little guidance on what to buy, look no further. There’s only one day left of the Sephora sale, so pop over to Sephora and use the code BIBONUS at checkout for your 15 percent off (or ENJOY if you’re a VIB for 20 percent off).

This is a product I have been wanting since I first laid eyes on it. But as a highlighter obsessive, I kept talking myself out of it, telling myself I already had too many. I am truly kicking myself for not having this product since its launch. This is the brightest, boldest, highlighter I have ever used without getting that overly shimmery appearance — despite how blinding it is, it somehow still comes across as totally natural. If you have fair skin as I do, the pinky-nude color perfectly blends into the skin to provide you with that glowy, pearly beam on the high points of your face. But it gets even better: one end of the stick is a highlighter, and the other is a balm, so if you want that kind of wet highlight look, pat some of the balm end on top of it. Did I mention the packaging is stunning as well? Mother has done it again.

Okay, I know this product totally seems like something I should already own, but I tried a friend of mine’s in the shade “Rally” once and it was kind of too light on my skin and I wiped it off in about two seconds. But when I was swatching some of the Milk products, I came across the shade “Quickie,” a deep berry color, that when I put it on my hand gave me the loveliest flush to my cheeks that actually looked natural, instead of nonexistent. This has quickly become an everyday staple of mine. Unlike the Charlotte Tilbury Beach Sticks which are more on the creamy side, this product is a touch more slippery and on the hydrating side, which makes blending it into your skin easy. I could use this without a mirror. Per usual, I love using it on my eyelids and lips for the full soft-glam look.

I had been looking for this concealer everywhere after hearing rave reviews about it from one of my favorite makeup artist @Nikki_Makeup (not to be confused with Nikki Tutorials), who is the global brand ambassador for Becca Cosmetics and does tutorials on her Instagram Stories every Sunday. In one tutorial, she used this concealer, and showed how amazing it is for natural, everyday coverage, but with buildable yet dewy qualities that make it ideal for covering zits. I looked for this concealer everywhere but it was nowhere to be found. So you can only imagine how ecstatic I was when I finally found it on the website. Unlike Tarte’s Shape Tape which is quite tacky and takes some work to truly master, this product is the perfect balance of watery yet full coverage. It blends quickly and without pull into the skin, which means concealing zits, dark spots, or undereyes is beyond easy with this concealer. I mean it when I say I won’t be using another concealer anytime soon — immediate holy grail! I’m fair with yellow undertones, and I love this in the shade Fair.

Another Becca product that I purchased thanks to Nikki Makeup. When it comes to my skin products, I usually use a tinted moisturizer for daytime and a medium to full coverage foundation for the evening. But my skin gets super red and blotchy during the winter, so in preparation I was looking to buy a full, but not too full, coverage skin product that I could wear during the day into the evening — a day-to-night foundation, if you will. This product is exactly that. This weightless, medium-coverage foundation covers up any imperfections, without looking cakey or flakey at all. It also has this blurring effect so that you look like you have no pores. It’s mattifying but not at all drying — it’ll give that lovely velvet look to your skin. I’m the shade “Shell” and have been wearing this foundation daily since I purchased it.

My sister wears a cat-eye almost everyday and has sworn by this liquid eyeliner for as long as I can remember. I historically haven’t been too precious about liquid eyeliners, but since going redhead I’ve been more regularly rocking a subtle cat-eye (can’t really explain why, I I think I just love the contrast). Let me just say: I’m terrible at using liquid liner. I have a wobbly hand and it takes me about 45 minutes to perfect. The super-pointy tip of this liner makes getting that perfect line super-easy to do, and so much product comes out so that you don’t have to tug like crazy. It also stays put all night, so that you don’t ever have to retouch it. A true must-have for anyone who loves a subtle, thin cat-eye or is a little clumsy.

I love beauty blenders, but recently I’d been looking for a good old fashion foundation brush that can really make sure I spread all my makeup evenly across my face. I watched a video where makeup artist Kate Synott applied Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s foundation with this brush, and I couldn’t believe how quickly and flawlessly this brush buffed the product into the skin. I never used to believe that brushes really made a different in your foundation, but this blew me away. There’s something about the flat yet angled brush gets into any little nooks and crannies of your face, and makes even the mattest, most-difficult-to-blend foundations buff seamlessly into your skin (for me this would be my Flesh Beauty foundation stick which can be tricky to spread). If you’re in the market for a new foundation brush, this one is everything.

Charlotte is finally at Sephora. Her makeup products are some of my all time favorites ever, so I was really intrigued to try out some of her skin-care/skin-prepping products. I had a sample of this Charlotte cream and absolutely fell in love with it — it’s calming, ultramoisturizing without being too greasy, and looks beautiful underneath makeup. With rosewater, hyaluronic acid, camellia oil, and rose hip oil, this moisturizer is everything your skin is craving this winter. It also has SPF in it, which I always love. There’s a reason this product is a cult favorite.

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The Best of Sephora’s Beauty Insider Sale, Which Ends Today