I Finally Lost My Sephora Virginity

This was my first time buying beauty products anywhere other than the drugstore!
Publish date:
September 24, 2013
updos, shopping, lip balms, sephora, buns, Benefit, highlighters, mascaras

If you've read any of my previous articles here on xoVain, you know that I like to do beauty on a budget. I tend to focus on affordable drugstore products and DIY projects--mostly out of necessity--but also because I genuinely prefer to do it this way. I don't think a product necessarily has to be expensive in order to be good.

And yet...

It gets difficult to constantly write and read about beauty without eventually wanting to step outside your comfort zone. I didn't experiment with makeup in high school, so sometimes I feel a little behind. While I'm gushing about this crazy cheap Wet 'n' Wild nail polish that I just discovered, other people my age have already moved on to more "grown-up" purchases. (Yes, this is what it's like inside my head: "I want to be a grown up and buy expensive lipstick too!")

I had never been to Sephora before, and last week I decided to change that. OK, I'd gone there once, but it was only for a few minutes, with my boyfriend tagging along. I didn't buy anything, and it totally doesn't count.

The closest Sephora is almost an hour away, and I could never afford most of the products there. I still can't, but that didn't stop me. I went on a whim without planning to buy anything in particular. I just wanted to smell and sample a little bit of everything that I keep hearing about: popular perfumes, BB creams, skincare products, you name it.

One particular brand that I've been dying to seek out was TokyoMilk. Their perfume line intrigued me with names like La Vie La Mort, Tainted Love, Gin & Rosewater; and packaging with images of guns, insects, skulls, and octopi. Hannah wrote about Marine Sel here, calling it the perfect scent for her Nova Scotia summer.

Unfortunately, they didn't carry much of the line at Sephora. All I could find was a few tins of TokyoMilk Dark Salted Caramel Lip Elixir. This is a good thing, however, for two reasons: If they had the actual perfumes, I totally would have blown a ton of money on one, AND the Salted Caramel lip balm is amazing. Luckily, it was only $7.

It smells heavenly--very sweet, as you would expect from the name. My boyfriend thought it was too sweet, but I want to eat it. It's very thick and hydrating, goes on clear, and makes my lips super-soft and slightly sweet. Trust me, I'll be writing more about these lip balms soon.

I bought one other thing: a Sephora Bunette for my younger sister. I don't know; it was also $7 and I thought she might like it. Despite the dumb name, it's actually sort of neat.

You unfold the bunette and make a very high ponytail (I believe this works best for a top bun). Then you tie another elastic somewhere between the middle and the end of your ponytail.

Feed the end of your ponytail through the gap in the bunette, then wrap your hair around the bunette until you get to the base of your ponytail. Then you bend the bunette into the shape of your bun. My sister has a lot of hair, so she found it necessary to use a lot of bobby pins to secure the back of the bun.

I did bring home one other thing from Sephora: a free sample package from Benefit, containing tiny tubes of They're Real! Mascara and Watt's Up! Highlighter. Apparently you get this as a birthday present when you sign up for a Sephora card (because of course I signed up for a Sephora card).

You can also get one of these samples simply by sweet talking the Sephora saleswomen, which was my mother's prefered course of action. Whatever works for you.

I've heard a lot about this mascara--namely that it's the best--so I was excited to try it. Here's a before shot of my regular lashes:

After using my eyelash curler and applying one coat of the Benefit mascara, this was the end result:

Much better. This is definitely a great mascara, although I'm still not sure if it's completely worth the higher price point. It's a little clumpy, and smears easily. I did not have to assure anyone, "Yes, they're real!" so that was disappointing. I did like the ability to use the tip of the wand, though; and I can't deny that it makes my lashes look amazing.

You might also be able see the highlighter in the after picture; I applied it above and below my brows, as well as above my cheekbones. It looks pale and shimmery in the tube, but appears to go on rather... orange. You can definitely see an orange streak above my brow in the picture above. Maybe I didn't blend it well enough (OK, probably) and maybe it just looks that way in photos. It looks nice in the inner corners of my eyes, at least.

There were two other things I tried but didn't buy. I rubbed some Dr. Jart's BB cream on my chin but it didn't do much for me. As much as I like the idea of BB creams, I think I need full coverage with foundation.

I also spritzed on some Tom Ford Black Orchid, which I've been curious about. I really liked it; it works for both men and women, with a mixture of sweetness and musk. I might have to save up my money for either that or a holy-grail foundation.

Next time I go back to Sephora, I mean business. Tell me what I should spend my hard-earned money on! I trust you guys more than anyone I know in real life--at least when it comes to beauty products.