Believe it or not, it’s that glorious time of the year again…a Sephora Sale is here! Yes, that’s right. There’s a Beauty Insider Appreciation Sale in August instead of the usual early November VIB time frame. No one seems certain if this is a replacement sale time, or an additional sale. I’m hoping for the later…I think! 😉 Given the unexpected discount season, I thought I would share some of my Cruelty Free Recommendations for the sale. So we’ll start with the recommendations, and end with the boring sale details – there’s an unusual restriction this time around that I haven’t heard many mention that may affect your purchasing, so I’ll explain that. So, without further ado, let’s get into it!
I think I’ll start with makeup since that’s likely where there’s the most interest. Let’s start with non-colorful complexion products. I don’t really have a foundation to mention just because it would depend so much on what you’re after – light coverage, dry skin, matte finish, what-have-you. There are a ton of great foundations at Sephora, but my current go-tos have been the Wet n Wild Cushion Foundation and the Osmosis Colour Foundation, neither of which Sephora carries. That said, I have a super pricey primer that I love and do not go without! It is the Tatcha The Silk Canvas Protective Primer. This keeps everything in place, product doesn’t settle into lines or pores, it creates a nice smooth surface to start out with and it supposedly creates a barrier between your skin and the products on top. It’s truly a great primer. Moving into powders, I would highly recommend the BECCA Hydra Mist Set & Refresh Powder (full review here) especially if you’re looking to control oil. It also just feels cool and it sets makeup wonderfully without looking heavy or cakey. If you’re looking for a powder that is truly undetectable on the skin and doesn’t do much more than set the products underneath – meaning it doesn’t do much for preventing oil or accentuating dryness – I would definitely check out the Cover FX Perfect Setting Powder. I love both of these powders and couldn’t pick just one! 😀 This is slightly out of order, but if you’re into setting sprays – I personally only use them once in a while and am rather picky about them, but there is a standout – the Cover FX Dewy Setting Spray is fantastic! The mist on this – and I believe any of the other Cover FX setting mists – is just beyond the finest of the fine. I also appreciate that there is no alcohol in the Cover FX Setting Sprays because I find it sometimes kind of burns when I spray others on my face. Not with the Dewy Setting Spray! And the end result is really nice because it adds a glowy life back to the face without any glitter (the Illuminating version has definite glitter specks in it). Interestingly enough, I also find that though this setting spray does give that nice healthy glow, it also keeps me from getting overly shiny on my own! It’s like the best of all worlds in one bottle. One thing to note: the Catrice Prime and Fine Dewy Glow Setting Mist creates a similar look for a lot less, but the spritzer is nowhere near as fine. So now your face is ready to add a bit of color back. Let’s see what that has to offer!
Obviously what colors work best on each person will vary, but these are some of my favorite colorful complexion items with some of the shade I love as well! For blush, I absolutely love the Bare Minerals Gen Nude Powder Blushes! These look so natural and healthy on the skin. The color selection at Sephora is slightly less than at Ulta, but the shades “Call My Blush” and “That Peach Tho” (both at Sephora) are just gorgeous, natural looking shades on my skin tone. The blushes are not too soft, not too firm, not too pigmented, but just pigmented enough. They’re the Goldilocks of blushes. 😄 Similarly, there are the Antonym Certified Organic Baked Blushes. These blushes not only look stunning in their packaging, but they are so beautiful on the cheeks! They look incredibly natural with just the subtlest hint of natural glow. My favorite shade is “Rose,” but “Peach” is gorgeous as well. I don’t have a bronzer to mention because I’m not a huge bronzer user, but I do use contour powders and have two recommendations for contouring. The first is a powder contour from Kevyn Aucoin, aptly named The Sculpting Powder. I have the shade “Medium” and it works wonderfully on my light skin tone (using a light hand as I do with pretty much everything). The powder blends like a dream and looks natural on the skin – no harsh lines! If you’re more of a cream contouring person, I love the Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation contouring shades. They only have a few dedicated as contouring shades (they’re listed with the rest of the Foundation Sticks), but I find that “Fawn” works perfectly for my skin tone. The product itself is creamy, but not overly so that it smears everywhere. It blends out with ease and, again, it looks really natural on the skin. That’s enough of that, so now you’re ready for some glow!
I have quite a few highlighters to recommend, again in different formats. The first is the RMS Living Luminizer. I feel like this is one of those great cream highlighters that gives you a “glow-from-within” look. It’s kind of a firm cream, but it’s easy to apply with a finger and it blends out nicely on the skin. It stays put all day and I feel like it plays well with powders – I usually apply it over powder with no issues. Another cream highlighter that I love is the Milk Makeup Highlighter in “Lit.” Again, I feel like it looks natural and blends into the skin seamlessly. It comes in a convenient twist-up stick so you could apply directly, or I always apply it to my fingers and then onto the cheekbones. It blends easily, wears well and also works well on top of powders. If you’re looking for a natural looking powder highlighter, check out the Cover FX Pressed Highlighters. These are the perfect consistency and produce a nice, natural looking glow to the skin. You can build them up for a more intense glow as well, but they also work great for that more naturally radiant look. If “lit-from-within” isn’t your thing, check out the BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector PressedHighlighters. These are kind of the old school intense glowing powder highlighters. I love both “Opal” and “Moonstone.” There are minis available for certain shades too if you don’t want to be swimming in the same highlighter for years. As an honorable mention for a liquid highlighter that can be either applied only where you want to glow, or mixed into foundations or primers for an all over radiance, the BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid Highlighters are also gorgeous…and wonderfully natural when used as liquid highlighters (though I understand these are going to be 50% off during Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty so you might want to hold off). Whew! I think that covers all of the complexion makeup products I have to recommend this time around…on to the eye makeup!
I feel like I usually have a ton of recommendations in the eye makeup department – especially eyeshadows – but this year I feel like it’s a semi-small bunch. My biggest suggestion seems silly as it’s an eye liner pencil, but they are so good!!! I’m talking about the Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliners. These are just so pigmented, easily blended but then set to a budge-proof wear, and they stay put even on the inner rims of the eyes. The color selection is beautiful too! They have matte and shimmer finishes and just released glitter finishes too! I really cannot get enough of these twist-up eye pencils. If you’re looking for another great one that has an even better color spectrum – shocking as that is – check out the Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Pencils. Again, creamy, budge-proof after a brief blending period and pigmented, though not quite as good as the Marc Jacobs pencils…plus the Urban Decay needs sharpening as well if that’s an issue. For mascaras, I have two brand new releases that I cannot choose between because they’re both incredible! The first I’ve reviewed and it is the Milk Makeup Kush High Volume Mascara. This is a fantastic mascara that adds great volume without weighing down lashes or looking overly clumpy. The brush is massive, which I could do without, but the formula is so good! If you’re more in the market for length and definition, I have a sample of the Hourglass Caution Mascara that is perfect for that. Basically both of these mascaras will do it all without weighing down lashes – in fact the Hourglass seems to lift my lashes. The main difference I see is that you get a more volumized, fluffy look with the Milk Mascara and a longer, more separated and defined look with the Hourglass. For an abrupt jump to eyeshadows, I just have one palette that I would recommend right now and it is the Urban Decay Born to Run Palette, again I’ve reviewed it here. This palette has a fantastic shadow formula, and the color selection is great for neutral to slightly colorful looks. It’s just beautiful! Obviously if the shades aren’t for you, then another Urban Decay or maybe a Too Faced palette with shades more to your liking would be great picks as well. I suppose I can throw in an honorable mention of the Marc Jacobs Eye-Conic Multi-Finish Eyeshadow Palettes. These palettes are filled with fantastic quality shadows, but I always find myself creating the same looks because the colors seem a bit limiting to me. For the price, you’re better off with the Urban Decay which still has fantastic quality, but more variety. That’s going to do it for eye makeup recommendations…on to the lips!
I only have three lipstick recommendations, but they’re all…shocking…spectacular! 😄 My first is the pricey Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Crème Lipsticks. I will say that I don’t love many of the neutral shades available, but the shades I do have and the formula in general is amazing! They are creamy, comfortable, pigmented, long wearing (especially for a bullet lipstick) and just seem like a luxurious treat. These are probably my favorite formula of lipstick and they just wear incredibly well! I can get away with not reapplying all day without looking like a hot mess! One of my favorite shades is “Core Cora,” though I prefer it in the Spring and Summer, “Slow Burn” is a great natural shade, and a new fave addition is “Strawberry Girl” (again more Summer / Spring vibes) which is basically a subtle strawberry shade. Moving on to another favorite – the Urban Decay Vice Lipsticks. These are amazing lipsticks in a staggering array of shades at a not-so-bad price ($18)! I find every finish (Cream, Sheer, Metalized, Comfort Matte and Mega Matte) comfortable and there really is something for everyone. Some of my favorites are “714” (cherry red with a Mega Matte finish), “Sheer Liar” (great neutral lip with a Sheer finish), “Firebird” (fuchsia with a subtle purple shift in a Cream finish), “Love Drunk” (beautiful berry in a Comfort Matte finish), and “Naked” (perfect nude/neutral Cream finish). My final lip pick for the event are the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Color Splash Lipsticks (full review with swatches here). Again, pigmented, creamy, comfortable, and wears well with a demi-matte finish. My favorites shades are “Daiquiri,” a wearable coral, “Surf’s Up,” kind of a neutral peachy shade, and “Island Life,” a neutral rose. This range has so many wearable shades that you really can’t go wrong!
Alright. Moving on to some Skin Care picks. It’s difficult to recommend things as everyone’s skin is so different, but I feel like these products are good for pretty much any skin type. First we have the best makeup removing balm I’ve tried – the Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Balm. It’s absolutely fantastic, gentle, effective, and is a rather nice experience to use! It’s not too greasy nor is it drying. It’s just a wonderful balm cleanser. I typically follow it with a second cleanser to just ensure I’ve removed everything, but if you just wanted to use this, the skin is left feeling clean and comfortable. Fantastic stuff! If you’re more of a cleansing oil kinda person, or you just want something to wash a makeup-free face, the Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil is absolute perfection, not to mention such a nice pampering product. It’s pricey ($48), but I really do think this is the best cleansing oil I’ve tried. Again, it’s not drying nor does it leave a greasy film behind. It rinses away completely with just water and is just a pleasure to use. For an all-around great eye cream that I think anyone would enjoy, I recommend the Youth to the People Superfood Peptide Eye Cream. I love this eye cream! I feel like it doesn’t do anything miraculous, but it moisturizes so well! Anytime my eyes seem a bit on the dry side, this cream will magically fix it in 1-2 uses. It’s a bit thick, but it’s not heavy and it applies with ease. You need just a tiny little amount so the tub will last a good long while and the price isn’t exorbitantly expensive at $35! For facial sunscreens, I have two that I would recommend. The first is the Coola Full Spectrum 360° Sun Silk Drops SPF 30. These liquidy sunscreen drops feel completely weightless on the skin. It has by far the least noticeable texture of any sunscreen I’ve used. It plays well with makeup, and it also protects against blue light which I think is fantastic! I will say that I feel like I’ve gone through it quickly and it’s on the pricey side of sunscreens ($46), but it’s a fantastic option if you’re willing to spend the money. A slightly more affordable option that I also love is the Farmacy Green Screen Daily Environmental Protector Broad Spectrum Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30. This is a more traditional lotion-type sunscreen that blends into the skin beautifully with a virtually unnoticeable feel. Makeup wears well over it and it’s just a great, if not rather basic, sunscreen. It doesn’t claim to protect specifically against blue light, but it does claim to “protect against environmental factors associated with skin aging.” Not entirely sure what that means, but it’s a great daily facial sunscreen. If you’re in the market for a new mask – which a sale of this sort is a great time since they tend to pricey “accessories” – I love the Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, as well as the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask. Both are fantastic acid-based exfoliating masks…with equally impressive price tags ($80 and $62 respectively). Either mask will give you baby soft and smooth skin that just looks so much happier and healthier. They are certainly worth the hefty price tags and will last a good while since you need so little and only use them once or twice a week. I should caution that the Tata Harper mask doesn’t have the longest shelf life (maybe 6 months), so if you’re thinking about it, you may want to use it exclusively until it’s gone so it doesn’t expire. It’s totally worth it though! 😄 If you’re looking less for glowing skin and need more help with congestion and acne, or you’re looking for something with a lower price tag (though still not low at $48!), I would try the Herbivore Blue Tansy AHA + BHA Resurfacing Clarity Mask. This one is a fantastic acid exfoliator as well, but I find that it helps more with breakouts than the other two. It doesn’t so much clear up breakouts – though it does help them disappear a bit faster – as it helps prevent breakouts. It’s quite gentle while still containing rather high percentages of each acid, but the addition of blue tansy helps to soothe the skin while exfoliating. It too will leave you baby soft and smooth, but really helps with acne and acne scarring as well. My final skin care mention is the Kopari Coconut Melt – I have a full review here. I really only use this for moisturizing my body and for shaving, but it can also be used as a makeup remover, hair mask, face moisturizer, or in any other way you would use coconut oil. Yes, it is simply coconut oil, but it’s taken from only the finest coconuts which truly does make a difference. I was so skeptical that it would be better than any other coconut oil, but it honestly is! It’s much lighter in texture without losing any of the amazing benefits of coconut oil. It’s my absolute favorite body moisturizer and I definitely recommend it! And that’s going to do it for Skin Care recommendations…thank goodness! 😄
That brings us to Hair Care. Again, depending of your hair type and texture, product recommendations will vary, but these I feel would be pretty good all-around choices. I only have a few. The first is the Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo. If you suffer from a dry or itchy scalp or deal with dandruff (I’m blessed with all 3 these days!), then this is just the ticket! I use the sort of gooey and gritty shampoo about once a week and it keeps my scalp nice and comfortable and completely flake free! It’s an absolute wonder product if your scalp is misbehaving…it’s also great for normal scalps to help remove all the gross build-up we all get from styling products and just everyday life. If you have damaged hair from heat styling, coloring, or other various methods of tress torture, a fantastic addition to your weekly hair care routine is the Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector. This is a hair bonder, meaning that it repairs the broken bonds in each strand leaving hair stronger and healthier. You simply apply this cream once a week to towel dried hair, leave it on for about 30 minutes, and then wash your hair as you would normally. I find my hair looks so much smoother, healthier and feels a lot softer every time I use this. It’s an absolute life saver for damaged hair! Speaking of damaging hair, if you’re one who struggles to keep a style in your hair – aka make curls last or keep a blow out looking fresh – check out the Ouai Memory Mist. This aerosol spray just lightly spritzed on hair before styling really does lock in whatever style you create and keeps it that way for days! It’s a miracle product, especially if you hate styling your hair as much as I do. 😉 If you’re looking for a moisture boost, a bit of texture, as well as some de-frizzing, I have been loving the IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel. This is basically a leave-in conditioner cream that makes my hair so much softer and enhances my natural waves just a touch while eliminating that poofy reverse mushroom look. It’s actually a bit of an unusual product because I don’t know that I’ve seen anything that does something similar. It’s almost like a texturizing leave-in conditioner that smoothes, softens, de-puffs, and ever-so-lightly holds without crunchiness or stickiness. I think it must do a bit of everything! 😄 I use it mostly for the hydrating benefits and then straighten or curl after my hair air dries. However, should I choose just to air dry my hair and leave it, it looks acceptable. I kind of feel like whatever your hair needs, this creates a good base to jump off from. That leads us to the final hair item and that would be hair tools. Any sale is a great time to buy a pricey new enter-your-hair-styling-tool of-choice-here because they can get pretty expensive! I was skeptical that the high-end styling tools were really worth it, but I think they are. At least the T3 SinglePass Luxe Professional Straightening and Styling Iron and the T3 Whirl Convertible Styling Wand have been worth the extra cash in my eyes. I just find these tools make styling my hair faster, and the style lasts longer. I love that the Whirl Styling Wand gives you the ability to change the barrels for different curl / wave looks. They offer bundles as well that include multiple barrels of differing sizes and are a great value. If you’ve ever considered buying a higher end styling tool, the sale would be a great time to do it! And that is going to do it for all of my Hair Care recommendations!
That brings us finally to perfumes and colognes. I feel like scents are so personal that I couldn’t possibly tell you what to pick, but if you’re in the market for a new fragrance, I highly recommend anything from Pinrose. Their fragrances are all beautiful, not to mention vegan and cruelty free. I really enjoy Secret Genius in the Fall / Winter for it’s sophisticated warm vanilla coziness. In the Spring / Summer, I prefer Lil’ Dipper, which I would call a subtle creamy floral, as well as Tambourine Dreamer, which is more of a traditional white floral scent…I usually hate floral scents, but something about these mix with my chemistry well and I absolutely love the scents! Pinrose has so many great options as well as some wonderful sampler sets if you’re trying to find your favorites…or can’t choose just one. 😉 My other Fall / Winter favorite comes from Elizabeth and James and it’s their Amethyst scent. This is a really comforting, cozy, warm scent to me. It’s slightly out of my traditional vanilla vein, but no less delightful to my nose! If you like vanilla-based scents, but are looking for something a bit less obvious and just a touch different, this might be a great one to check out. I’d love to give more fragrance recommendations, but everyone is so different and they’re so hard to describe that you’re probably best served just by the reminder that fragrances rarely are discounted and tend to be nice luxuries as opposed to necessities, making the sale a great time to either restock or try something new!
Now for the details. The sale is for all Rouge, VIB and Insider members, but the discount percentage and the dates you are able to shop vary depending on your rewards level. For Rouge members, you can shop the entire length of the sale (yea!!!) which will run from August 24th through September 3rd. That gives Rouge members a six day head start to the rest of the reward tiers. Rouge receives 20% off, however take note of the fact that the mailer states that you get only one online use. I personally am rather irritated by this as I’m one of those who tends to think of multiple things I want to add throughout the sale (I know, I’m not being eco-friendly there), and I prefer to shop online…plus a lot of things I’m interested in are only available online. But still, it beats not having the discount. 😄 Just keep in mind that once you’ve placed an online order, you’re done unless you go to the store where you can make unlimited purchases. Moving on…. VIBs will receive 15% off everything from August 30th through September 3rd, I assume with the same single online use restriction. Finally, Insiders are eligible for 10% off everything (still with one online use only I believe) between August 30th through September 3rd. In addition, Sephora is finally changing their Rewards system a bit – mostly for VIBs and Rouge members. I believe beginning now, VIBs will now earn 1.25 points per dollar spent, while Rouge members will earn 1.5 points per dollar spent, so points accumulate faster. Eventually (of course not during the sale), there should also be the option to redeem points for full size products (while supplies last 🤨) and best of all if you’re a Rouge member, they will have the option to redeem their points for $100 Rewards! I assume that means something like a gift card to spend on whatever you want. Still not quite as good as Ulta’s Rewards program, but a definite improvement because their samples are rarely anything I even remotely care about. I’m so glad Sephora is finally switching things up with their rewards, and I’m really excited for the sale (to be fair, this is going up later than I hoped and I’ve already made my online purchases…and maybe an in-store one as well! 😉).
Believe it or not, with that I’m finished! 😄 We’ve gone through all my best cruelty free recommendations from Sephora. There are plenty of fantastic products that I haven’t mentioned simply for the sake of space…or a poor memory! 😄 That said, this is a hefty list with more than enough options to choose from. Hopefully this has given you some great ideas either for the sale, or just a better sense of whether or not a product is for you. I think I’m in dire need of a long nap, so thanks so much for stopping by and happy shopping…or just hoping you’re having a great day if you’re passing on the sale this time around!!!