Archive | January 2012

Score, Sample, and Splurge

Perfume is one category where I think it’s almost ridiculous not to try before you buy. There are so many competing brands, they are happy to dole out samples to try to capture your attention. This gives you a little time to decide how much you like a product and how much you are willing to spend.

20120125-234430.jpgSo how do you rack up the free schtuff?

Score
1. Play with the testers. This will immediately weed out the ones you can’t stand. Fragrance is completely based on personal preference so reviews won’t help you much on this one. You’ve got to play the field and see what you like. Start in the air or little cards if they are provided. Believe me, if you hate it, you’ll be glad you didnt spray it on your skin ( I had this experience with Sarah Jessica Parker’s Lovely, sorry SJP I think you rock but that scent did not.)

2. While you are there, see if they give out free samples at the perfume counter. Sephora and department stores are usually pretty great about this. Besides the worst they can do is say no!

3. Order subscriptions to fashion magazines and subscribe to receive Ulta‘s mailer. These always have fragrance tear outs.

4. Sign up for emails from various beauty sites like Ulta, Sephora, Drugstore.com, Birchbox, Bluemercury, etc. They all offer free samples with every order, but occasionally they’ll have an extra bunch of samples for you with purchase.

Sample
There are lots of pleasant smells out there right? Here’s how I decide the scents that are truly worth spending my hard earned money on.

1. The most important factor is how it makes you feel. Do you still catch a whiff hours later and think “i smell gooood”?
2. Does my significant other notice? We’ve been dating a long time and I switch up lots of scents but he doesn’t usually say much. If he brings it up, I know it’s got to be good.
3. Do I already own scents that smell similar to this?

Splurge
Sometimes a good scent is worth the splurge, even if you just save it for special occasions. And the sampling is how you know it’s worth it. Next on my list to buy us Gucci Guilty Oriental Floral. I never would have even considered it because of the price tag but after trying a deluxe sample (small bottle with two-three uses) I am hooked though. Plus once I actually researched, it’s not that much more than a lot of fragrances. Smelling pretty is expensive!

Once you decide to splurge you can still get deals. Google the name of the perfume – stores have individual promotions for free bonuses with purchase. It’s also worth stopping in the department stores, they often have gift sets at good prices, with extras like lotion and body wash of the same scent. Also, stores like Ulta and Macy’s have deals where you get a bonus no matter which scent you purchase.

Happy sniffing!

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Take Care of Yourself, Still Look Pretty

As many know, I am the furthest thing from a morning person. I have the luxury of working out at night, but I used to work out over lunch because that was the only time many of my friends with kids could squeeze it in. “How can you possibly have time to do that?” – I was asked that question again and again. NO the answer is not take a two hour lunch so I can redo my hair and makeup after working out and showering.

The answer is . . . the perfect arsenal of products.

First, and in my opinion MOST importantĀ  – dry shampoo. Truly it’s a Godsend. I do not like the powder ones, but the spray ones are fantastic. They counteract the oil, and bam! Fresh hair. There are some good pricy ones out there (Ojon, Tigi Rockaholic Dirty Secret) which are GREAT for omg I want to preserve my awesome Saturday night hair on Sunday. For the gym bag, I love the Tresseme waterless shampoos. They run about $3 each, just make sure you get the correct one based on whether you have curly/wavy or straight hair. The curly one is extra moisturizing so it can make straight hair look greasy.

Next, and this is important, pack TWO kinds of wipes, one for your face and one for your body. Some people are not sensitive at all, but if I use body wipes on my face, I break out. For my body, baby wipes work great, any kind. The best place to find these is in the travel aisle so you are not carting a giant tub of wipes. For my face, Garnier Nutritioniste Towelettes have come in super handy. Even when I shower at home after the gym, I often run errands in between and it helps to at least get the gunk off my face in the meantime.

These are the key tools. After you’ve used them to clean your entire body, face, and hair, proceed with deodorant, makeup, etc. Two things I strongly I suggest are moisturizer and body spray. The skin dries out from the salt in your sweat, so moisturizer is always good. Body spray just puts a little extra pep in your step as you get back to the grind of work.

Mama Knows Best

My mother hardly ever wore makeup, but what she did teach me was very valuable: spend good money on your basics and go with the affordable, even cheap, products for your colors. I thought I’d open my blog with these words of wisdom, as they kind of lay out my perspective. I am a product junkie, but a poor one, so I constantly debate the value of “is this product worth it?” Sometimes it is worth paying more for a product and sometimes it’s not. Higher priced, higher quality products last much longer, but sometimes something more affordable will do just as well.

So that is my goal – to give you the honest, unbiased lowdown. My friends have been encouraging me to write a blog for sometime, saying “Why should I try five mascaras when I already know Liz can tell me about her experiences with me first?” So here I am, sharing it with theĀ  world — the good, the bad, and the value. I hope LPO will be the first place you check for product advice, and if I haven’t reviewed it yet or covered and advice topic, submit your ideas. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll do the research and get you one!

Based on my product addiction so far I’ve developed . . . da da da da da (that’s my magical drumroll)

The LPO Golden Rules

1. Lipstick – there is never any point in buying expensive lipstick. You get free ones in gift packs and I just haven’t noticed a big quality jump. I guess the only exception is if an expensive lipstick is your very favorite color you can’t find anywhere else. Chubby pencils with lip plumper are a whole other story. I’ll pay a little more for that, but that do have good cheaper ones. Hey, if you can prove me wrong, please do, I just haven’t found a lipstick worth paying a ton.

2. Mascara – Drugstore mascaras have gotten so much better, there are so many options now. There are a few exceptions I’d splurge on, but for the most part, it’s not worth it, when it’s unsanitary to keep your mascara longer than three months.

3. ALWAYS seek out a bonus – If you want to buy department store makeup, always wait until they offer the bonus with purchase. If you buy online with Ulta or Sephora, they always offer free samples, and make sure you sign up for their emails because they’ll have extra bonus samples. Also check to see which brands are offering bonus with purchase. A lot of times the skin care lines do this. Bonus! They are both on ebates.com, so you can get a percentage of your money back. In store, the Sephora staff are very helpful and will often do deluxe samples for you. CVS constantly has beauty offers where you get CVS bucks (basically in store credit) plus their beauty club gives you $5 for every $50 spent. Never buy bath products at Victoria’s Secret or Bath and Bodyworks at full price. They are always having bogo or 3/whatever price sales. And finally, check retailmenot.com for coupon codes and coupons.

4. Skincare – Skin products are a toss up, some cheaper ones are great, some are awful. In this category, it’s just a lot of trial and error.

5. Hair – A lot of hair products are close to the expensive stuff, but not quite as good. What I often do is use more affordable products most of the time and buy a smaller version of the expensive product and only use it once a week (hellllllllllllo Pureology conditioner for going out Saturday night!)

6. Foundation and Concealer – This is the one area where I say go for it! These are always worth spending more money on. It’s like the difference between starting a painting on a crumpled piece of paper or a beautiful clean canvas. Powders I have found are fairly similar, but if you know of one that knocks it out of the park and can’t be beat by the affordable stuff let me know. I’m always open to being proven wrong.

For my quick and dirty reviews, visit my pinterest board – product junkie.