One thing I spend a lot of my money on is makeup. It’s taken me many years of trial and error to find products that perform well enough that I’m happy to put them on my face every day. Unfortunately, a lot of them are department store brands, so I’ve had to be a bit thriftier in my procurement methods to avoid going broke.

I don’t like shopping at the counter. I find it intimidating and feel like I’m being pressured to buy stuff that I don’t need. I’ll go there when I’m in urgent need of something (e.g. I’ve totally run out of foundation), but instead I usually put in one or two big orders a year from US stores such as Sephora and Nordstrom, avoiding the need to speak to sales assistants and saving myself a fortune.

Sephora held their annual Friends and Family 20% off sale in November, so I decided to use it as an opportunity to stock up on my every-day makeup items as well as pick up a couple of cheap gifts for Christmas. I also needed some MAC so I paid a virtual visit to Nordstrom. Fiona at Shopaholiques helped me out with parcel forwarding (Nordstrom) and assisted purchasing (Sephora) services.

See below for item listing and price comparisons.

(Note: I bought all of this when $1 AUD = $1 USD. All prices include discounts and sales tax/GST)

Sephora

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Deauville ($35.95 USD vs $79 AUD)

NARS Pro-Prime Multi-Protect Primer ($27.39 USD vs $69 AUD)

NARS Illuminator in Orgasm ($24.82 USD vs $58 AUD)

NARS Illuminator in Copacabana ($24.82 USD vs $58 AUD)

Stila Lip Glaze Set ($21.40 USD vs $65 AUD)

L’Occitane Hand Cream Confections ($34.24 USD vs n/a)

NARS Bronzing Powder in Laguna ($28.24 USD vs $55 AUD)

Nordstrom

Clinique Cream Shaper for Eyes in Egyptian ($16.05 USD vs $32 AUD)

Le Metier de Beaute ‘Creme Fresh’ Tint for Lip and Cheek ($29.96 USD vs n/a)

MAC Brow Set ($16.05 USD vs $28 AUD)

MAC Prep and Prime Transparent Pressed Powder ($24.61 USD vs $42 AUD)

MAC 150 Large Powder Brush ($44.94 USD vs $85 AUD)

Le Metier de Beaute ‘Flawless Face’ Kaleidoscope Face Kit ($101.65 USD vs n/a)

As you can see, there’s quite a difference in price between Australia and the US, with most items around half the price. Shipping to Australia and insurance cost around $55 USD and I paid $24 for parcel forwarding and purchasing services from Shopaholiques but I still think I came out miles ahead. It was also a great opportunity to access brands and products that aren’t available here (i.e. Le Metier de Beaute).

Buy your cosmetics here www.sephora.com and here www.nordstrom.com

For parcel forwarding/assisted purchasing: www.shopaholiques.com

Haul: Adore Beauty

Posted: December 15, 2011 in Beauty, Hauls, Shopping
Tags: , , , ,

Adore Beauty held their online Christmas VIP event on 7 December with a tonne of great offers including free shipping, gifts with purchase and discounts on a huge range of products. The event ran for 24 hours which gave me plenty of time to mull over my purchases. I couldn’t resist putting in an order – it was a great opportunity to snap up a few last minute gifts.

This is what I ended up with:

Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh EDT (20ml + 15ml refill) $40 (for my colleagues)

OPI Avojuice Hand and Body Lotion in Peach $19.95 (for me!)

I got free shipping because I spent over $99 and I got a free gift for spending over $49 which was AMAZING! It had four mini body butters from MOR, a Guinot body lotion and a Clarins body wash. These will be great for taking on holidays. I also got the usual two samples and sweet treat which are always a nice touch. Delivery was super quick – I ordered at 3pm on Wednesday and my package arrived first thing Friday morning!

I love that VIP nights have spread to online sales as well – no crowds, no jostling at the testers and no waits to checkout. It’s such a pleasant experience shopping from the comfort of the desk or the couch and it allows me to make far more rational purchasing decisions because I can easily research items and compare prices on other sites.

Shop online here: www.adorebeauty.com.au

Time for a Christmas giveaway, I say! One day I hope to be the Oprah of the blogging world, giving away iPads and cars at will, but for now, a small beauty gift featuring a few of my favourites will have to do.

This is what you could win:

1. 2011 Stila Lip Glaze Set featuring 8 x 1.5ml glosses in Kitten, Kaleidoscope, Apricot, Grapefruit, Fantasy, Starfruit, Dreamy and Believe

2. NARS South Beach Multiple Minis x 2 (4g each)

3. The Body Shop Mini Strawberry Body Butter

4. Nude Skincare Sample Box including Miracle Mask, Age Defence Moisturiser, Advanced Eye Complex and Cleansing Facial Oil

5. Frederic Fekkai Glossing Cream Sachet x 2 (9ml each)

Entering is simple – Subscribe to this blog (see left) and leave a comment below telling me the best Christmas present you ever got. Ever. (Mine was Puppy Surprise – I remember my sister fighting with me because I got five puppies and she only got two!)

For an extra entry, follow @melbournebeauty on Twitter and retweet the following: “I just entered Melbourne Beauty’s Christmas Giveaway! http://wp.me/p17VrG-8U You should too!”

This is a game of chance, the winner will be drawn at random.

You must subscribe to this blog to win

Entries close 11:59pm AEST December 24, 2011. Australian residents only.

Good luck!

Ever heard of The Body Shop at Home? It’s basically like a Tupperware party but with products from the Body Shop. A friend of mine is a seller and invited me to have a party at my place. I’m usually not a fan of these sorts of things, either because the products are too expensive (e.g. $30 for a lunch box) or they aren’t something I want to purchase in front of family and friends (e.g. lingerie).  Then there’s the overwhelming obligation to purchase something – even if I pick the cheapest thing, I’m normally out $20+. And it always ends up being something useless like a rolling pin.

Anyway, I decided to go ahead with the party and invited a heap of friends around for lunch. I also told them that there was no need to buy anything if they didn’t want to – I had a few things on my personal shopping list but was willing to pay full price for them. The party started with an icebreaker game where names were pulled out of a hat, prizes were handed out, then they were stolen from each other as more and more names were drawn out of a hat. After that, we broke into two groups and took turns doing hand spas, trialling a range of different soaks, scrubs and moisturisers. While this was happening, a selection of products were laid out for everyone to try and experiment with at their own leisure, without the sales pressure that normally comes with visiting a Body Shop store.

The ordering process was quite easy – there were a heap of catalogues and order pads scattered around the room. Orders were delivered within the week so it was great for everyone trying to finish off their Christmas shopping before the silly season well and truly starts.

The benefits of being a host are amazing and make hosting a party truly worthwhile. A mixture of free product, half price product and discount product allowed me to get everything in the photo above for around $100 (retail value of over $240). It was a great opportunity for me to stock up on everyday items and try a few new things for little cost.

The items I chose were:

Peach Body Butter $27.95

Cranberry Joy Body Butter $27.95

Earth Lovers Cucumber & Mint Shower Gel $14.95

Fruity Butter Trio $31.95

Spa Wisdom Africa Shea Butter & Sesame Oil Body Balm $38.95

Fuzzy Peach Bath and Shower Gel $12.95

Mango Body Scrub $27.95

Pink Grapefruit Body Scrub $27.95

Sweet Lemon Body Scrub $27.95

For product info: www.thebodyshop.com.au

For party info: http://www.thebodyshop.com.au/Content.aspx?Id=8

I’m not American so I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. One thing I do celebrate is Black Friday – think of it as America’s version of Boxing Day sales but on steroids. It’s too crazy to attend in person (see pic below) so a lot of retailers are extending the offers to their online stores, running for the whole weekend as well as Cyber Monday (a day dedicated to online sales).

Shopbop had an event where you could get a $50 discount when you spent over $250 USD. I’ve had my eye on this Marc by Marc Jacobs Blade Chrono Watch for a while now – I’m going through a nautical phase (navy blazers, horizontal stripes, etc.) and I thought this would match perfectly!

The band is leather and the face has etched silver logo lettering with crystal markers.

I needed something else to get me over the $250 threshold so I bought this House of Harlow 1960 Crystal and Leather bangle which was marked down to $70. It’s a real standout piece, I can see myself wearing it with a heap of different outfits.

All up it converted to $227 AUD. I also used eBates to get a 2.5% rebate on my purchase.

www.shopbop.com

I LOVE magazines! Every month, I go into my newsagents and come out with a stack of my favourites. InStyle is a must and SHOP is one that has come, gone, and recently returned to my pile. I went to Westfield Doncaster today and picked up these from Big W:

Did you see what’s stuck on the top of Madison? A FREE butterLONDON nail polish valued at $22! You can choose from Yummy Mummy or Trout Pout (pictured). I ended up going with Trout Pout, a pinky, salmony coral which would be perfect for a summer pedi. I think I’ll go back and grab Yummy Mummy as well since I’m loving nude nails at the moment. The magazine also comes with a coupon for $10 off when you buy any two butter LONDON polishes from participating retailers. Pretty good deal for $8.95!

**Did you know that “yummy mummy” is the most-searched term on my blog? You can find a swatch of this popular neutral polish here

Look what I picked up from The Perfume Connection today!

It’s Marc Jacobs ‘Lola’ , described by Beauty Heaven as “…a warm, floral scent with a signature note of fuschia peony. Fruity top notes of pink peppercorn, pear d’anjou and red grapefruit deepen to the fuschia heart, which also contains rose and geranium. Base notes of vanilla, tonka bean and creamy musk finish the scent.”

The set contains a 20ml EDT in an atomiser, along with a 20ml refill…

…and a cute little coin purse.

The atomiser is quite a decent size – it is large enough to fit in the palm of your hand but still compact enough to carry in your purse. It doesn’t have a lid (I wonder how many stray perfume lids must be floating around in womens’ handbags!). You twist it up like a lipstick, spray your perfume, then twist it back.

This set would make a great Christmas gift – I’m thinking about buying it for a colleague. It retails for $69 and is selling fast – check for stock with your local Perfume Connection or buy online here.