Ulta Adventures! One Girl’s Ongoing Quest to Find Bad$ss Beauty Bargains

Published in: Eylure, Just For Fun, Loreal, Makeup, Maybelline, Ulta

Ulta Adventures!

Ulta Adventures!

Because, obviously, the most logical thing to do with that new Real Techniques Contour Brush you just picked up on sale on Ulta is use it to pretend you’re contouring your cat’s cheekbones.

Tabs contouring with his new Real Techniques Contour Brush

Tabs contouring with his new Real Techniques Contour Brush…



Yeah, um, my brush stash is looking a little more robust these days — robust like my tabby! — because I went to Ulta last weekend and the Real Techniques brushes and brush kits were on sale.

They still are, too (buy one get the second one 50% off), and you know me and the word, “sale.”

I’m definitely my mother’s daughter. ๐Ÿ™‚

Tabs contouring with his new Real Techniques Contour Brush

Tabby makeup artist…

I’ve been wanting to try these forever because Ive heard so many good things about them. Plus, not gonna lie, I’m kind of a Sam and Nic fangirl.

I grabbed a couple of face and eye brushes, and I’m very excited about using them. I’ve been wanting to step up my drugstore makeup game.

Real Techniques Brushes

The Real Techniques Brushes…

While I love the fancy-schmancy stuff, as in high-end/department store makeup, there’s also a lot to love at the drugstore, and I’m hoping these brushes live up to the hype.

Real Techniques Brushes

The Real Techniques Brushes…

Speaking of bodacious bargains that perform well, I may already be in lust with one of the foundations I snagged, L’Oreal’s True Match Lumi.

My friend Miss Marisol recommended it, and even went so far as to say that she keeps backups of her backups.

Yes, it’s THAT serious.

So of course I had to try it.

Loreal True Match Lumi

Loreal True Match Lumi foundation in Sand Beige and Sun Beige ($12.99 each)

I grabbed two shades, Sand Beige and Sun Beige, because, honestly, it is so difficult to figure out which shade to get in a store when there are no testers.

I’m always tempted to open the bottles and swatch them on myself right there…but then I’m afraid that somebody’s going to notice and be all, “GROSS! Oh, my gosh, Becky! That girl just opened that bottle of foundation over there!”

I don’t want to be that person (although I am ALWAYS tempted).

So I ended up getting the two closest shades, and after trying them at home, apparently, I am not Sand Beige.

Sand Beige must have been secret code for, “There is a lot of pink in this foundation.” FYI.

So Sun Beige it is! — and Sand Beige is going back to Ulta.

I’ve been wearing and testing it for the past couple days, and I’m liking it so far. It sits on the skin beautifully, doesn’t settle into my pores or fine lines, and looks fairly natural.

I have yet to see how it looks in pics, but so far, so good.

I also grabbed a few other face products to try. Last week I asked the Twitter-verse for drugstore makeup recs, and a lot of peeps raved about the Maybelline Fit Me line, notably their Fit Me Concealer.

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer ($6.99)

I remember trying the Fit Me line a long time ago when it first came out, and to be honest, I wasn’t wowed, but that was a while ago, so I thought I’d give it another try.

Well, Fit Me Concealer? I can see why people like it. It totally reminds me of Diorskin Nude Skin Perfection Hydrating Concealer by Dior ($34). Like Diorskin, it’s easy to blend and doesn’t look heavy or fake, not even on the dry areas of my skin or around my fine lines.

The only thing is…I’m afraid it might not be opaque enough for my under-eye sitch. I’ve only used it once, so I haven’t really tried to make it work, but as of now, the jury’s still out.

Maybelline Fit Me Foundation and Powder in shade 240

Maybelline Fit Me Foundation ($7.99) and Powder in shade 240 ($7.99)

The Fit Me Foundation and Fit Me Powder I also grabbed (in shade 240, which is new) look like they might be a little too dark for me. I haven’t tried them on yet, so we’ll see.

I swear, sometimes it’s really hard to gauge shades accurately under those fluorescent store lights…

I also stocked up on some things I just generally needed (haha, “needed”), like this CND Solar Oil.

CND Solar Oil

CND Solar Oil ($7.50)

I got a bottle for me and a bottle for my mom because, honestly, she’s so funny… OK, we both suffer from RCS (otherwise known as Raggedy Cuticle Syndrome), and so for Mother’s Day last year, I got her a Dior cuticle cream, thinking, ya know, that it would be something she’d never buy for herself.

So I called her before going to Ulta and asked if she needed anything. Since I had cuticle oil on my list of things to get for myself, I mentioned it to her and asked if she’d ever used the Dior cuticle cream I got her as a gift. She was like, “No, I just put it on a shelf for decoration. It’s so pretty! I just want to look at it.”

I was like, “MOM! It’s not just for display. I wanted you to use it… OK, I will get you a different cuticle oil from Ulta that you can actually use.”

LOL! Moms are so funny sometimes.

Last, but not least, I also grabbed a couple boxes of my favorite Eylure lashes. ๐Ÿ™‚

Eylure No. 117

The Eylure No. 117s

Eylure No. 154

The Eylure No. 154

So, uh…I’ve been stuck in front (and behind) a video camera, which I am this close to throwing across the room, for two days.

See, I tried to record a new kind of video tutorial, thinking, “Oh, this is gonna be easy. It’s only gonna take a few hours.”

Famous last words…

Next thing you know, it’s two days later, I’m ready to rip my hair out, and the video isn’t even done.

So that’s where I’ve been.

Everything’s fine. I just get absorbed in projects sometimes and have a hard time finding my way out.

What’s going on with you?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 34 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Agata says:

    Hi Karen,
    I always love reading about what you picked up! Real Technique brushes are the bomb, almost all my brushes are RT. I hope you like them just as much as I do. I am curious about that L’Oreal foundation now!

    Maybe you’re being too critical with that video??? It can’t be that bad! Good luck anyways and keep calm!
    Agata recently posted … My Beauty Tag

    • Karen says:

      Hi Agata,

      I’m really stoked about the brushes. They feel so soft and comfy! Do you have a favorite RT brush, by the way?

      Thanks for the encouraging words on the video. There’s a bunch of technical things I should’ve figured out beforehand, LOL. Oh well, at least blogging is always an adventure, right?

      How have you been? Are you feeling better?

      • Agata says:

        RT Setting Brush is my favorite, it’s a small tapered brush and it’s perfect for highlighting! I should actually buy another one for contouring my nose!

        Videos are harder to record than they seem. That’s why I kind of gave them up for now, plus I am always self-conscious about my accent or all of a sudden not knowing how to pronounce a word (although I never have such problems in real life, lol). But I am sure you will figure out the challenges and as always provide us with excellent content.

        I am feeling better, at least physically! Thank you for asking.
        Agata recently posted … My Beauty Tag

  2. Elena says:

    Awesome drugstore haul! I have been on major drugstore kick lately. I picked up some of the Maybelline creamy matte lipsticks, Rimmel Show Off Lip Velvets, and the new Rimmel Wonder lash mascara with Argan Oil (love!!!). It is so nice to be able to buy 3-4 lip products for the price of one higher end one!

    Although that hasn’t stopped me from picking up new Dior and Armani stuff lol.

    I would love to hear your thoughts about the solar oil! I suffer from RCS too! Lol.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elena,

      Thank you for sharing your recent drugstore haul! I will add that Rimmel mascara to my list… I’m always looking for a new one to love!

      OK, so Solar Oil is amazeballs. When I’m good about applying it my cuticles RCS stays on the down-low. LOL. The oil is slightly thicker than most cuticle oils so it takes a little bit more time to work into the skin, but I don’t mind that at all because it is the most moisturizing one I’ve ever tried. It also leaves a slight sheen behind too, which I like!

      • Elena says:

        Yeah! I like it a lot actually. My local Ulta had a display and there was a $1 off coupon stack attached to the display. It doesn’t make my lashes super thick but it gives decent volume and length. I am lucky though my lashes are already fairly long, dark, and thicker.

        It’s a great “everyday driver” sort of mascara. I’m really enjoying it (plus I am trying to switch to drugstore mascaras since Lancome, much as I love it, gets so pricey and I try and be good about tossing my mascara after 3 months!). Sometimes with drugstore mascaras I have had issues with my eyes getting really irritated or the mascara flaking off and this one definitely doesn’t do either!

        LOL Good to know! I have been slathering my cuticles with an oil rollerball from Sweet Baby by Donna (an etsy shop my friend introduced me to) and Lush’s Lemony Flutter. I had my eyes on CND’s Solar oil because well…I love trying new things!

  3. Simply Linh says:

    I think I have Raggedy Cuticle Syndrome as well! I’m on the hunt for a good cuticle oil. Maybe I’ll get that one next time I’m at Ulta.
    Simply Linh recently posted … Maybelline Creamy Mattes ‘Touch of Spice’ and ‘Divine Wine’ Review/Swatches

  4. kim says:

    my dog loves it when I take my fluffy powder brush and wipe her cheeks with it. It’s adorable! Cant wait to her hear you take on the real techniques brushes. They always seem a little pricey for a drug store brand, but if they get your stamp of approval, im all in!

  5. Erin says:

    I love RT brushes. I prefer them because they are generally good to great in terms of their use but they are cruelty free and that’s a big plus for this animal lover. I don’t mind using animal hair brushes where the animals aren’t harmed but those aren’t always easy to find. You can also afford to have a lot of duplicates for blending or certain products.
    Erin recently posted … Green Fin 2013 Merlot

  6. Debra says:

    I cannot believe how that cat sits and poses!

    An Ulta just opened up at the new Target down the road. And that’s where we are going tonight after trying the new Blast Pizza place.

    I’m putting the cuticle oil on my list cause I am sitting here looking at my Chanel Rouge Noir, base coat & top coat and I’m thinking’ – it’s not gonna happen today. The cuticles are still a bit raggedy. It’s sweet how your mom reveres Dior to shelf status!

    Marisol is an instant upper! Love that name. My blush-phobic friend emailed to say she is wearing the MAC Lovejoy today!!

    I’d take a break from the video work, do something really fun, give it a bit more rest and then go back to it. No rushing genius!!

    • Debra says:

      Not Ulta or drugstore finds, but for the semi-dark under-eye days, I use MUFE Life Concealer as a corrector. For the definitely dark under-eye days, it’s Bobbi Brown Tinted Eye brightener in the tube.

  7. Tulipthecat says:

    Tulip was really into my real technique foundation brush I was using this morning. I put it on the table and them she was wiping her face on it…silly cat.

    I have RCS as well so I bought a cuticle cream at Lush and a cuticle remover at Ulta. They look better but I’m not so good at remembering to use it.

    I tried the new Maybelline Fit me foundation and didn’t really like it. It made my face seem drier and I saw flakes. I tried it twice and both times the same thing happened. Maybe it would be better in the summer. Right now I’m into the Tarte amazonian clay foundation. I tried the Maybelline bloom collection lipstick in orchid ecstasy and I found it was a little bit drying for me. Today I have the hourglass Fever lipstick on and I LOVE IT!!! I’m going to Stanford Mall later on today with a friend so of course I will be stopping by Sephora. Oh by the way the recommendation of using the Kate Somerville anti bac clearing lotion worked great on my chin acne.

  8. Rebecca says:

    I’m an RCS sufferer as well. The Essie cuticle oil is not as thick and gooey as Solar Oil but it’s still pretty moisturizing and WAY cheaper.

    My mom was the same way! I would get her luxurious candles, perfume, hand cream etc. – and that same Dior nail cream and their lip balm – and she wouldn’t use them because they were too nice!! She passed away in March and when I went through her things I found several unopened or barely used gifts I had given her. It made me sad – I wish she’d realized she deserved nice things all the time. Next time you see your mom, tell her that Dior cream is your love for her and you want her to feel it every day.

  9. Allison C says:

    I loved reading about your Ulta affordable makeup haul, Karen! Love seeing your stash of Real Techniques brushes. I need to try some one of these days, and I wish it could be now. I also enjoyed reading about the L’Oreal and Maybelline foundation products. I hope you’ll jump back in after you’ve worn them for a while with a “post mortem”. They both and the concealer look beautiful in the bottle but that isn’t the way to judge, though I often do.
    Allison C recently posted … MEG 21 Bright & Firm Eye Treatment

  10. Sami says:

    Tati (from YouTube) really liked the new infalliable foundation by L’Oreal. I think its called pro-matte. You should try it. My skin is dry so the word matte in foundations scared me!

  11. Kelly B. says:

    I’ve been eyeing a lot of these products, trying to resist the temptation to buy them ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m the same way with the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer-I tried it when it first came out, thought “meh”, but now I’m hearing all these amazing things about it so I’ll have to try it again!
    Kelly B. recently posted … New Revlon HD Lip Gloss, Review & Swatches!

  12. Kwmechelle says:

    Lovely drugstore haul! I haven’t tried the RT brushes but I’ve heard such great things about them. I’ve being trying to resist the urge to pick them up but the sales prices aren’t helping me stick to my plans. OAN- I picked up Explicit tonight from MAC. I bought it to pair with Nightmoth and MAC Viva Glam Rihanna 2. The Riri 2 Lipglass was long sold out but my gaaaawwwdddd, Explicit works purrfect! Seriously, if they EVER bring Riri 2 lipstick back, I’m getting backups for my backups. I know I’m totally dramatic right now. But, that moment, when you find the purrfect lip combo to make you get yo’ life- yeah, I’m having one of those right now.
    P.S. I love that I have cyber makeup friends to share my happy makeup news! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Rachel says:

    I know what you mean about drugstore foundations, it’s almost impossible to find a match! Tabs looks like he enjoys the contouring!

  14. Sylvia says:

    I visited my first Ulta a couple months back and I was not disappointed. Too bad they’re not in Canada… ๐Ÿ™
    Sylvia recently posted … Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour: Review And Swatches

  15. Hey karen, I have been waiting to see your haul since Monday ๐Ÿ˜‰ ..

    Rt brushes are really awesome and I also want yo try them out but they are priced highly here and no sales at all ๐Ÿ˜› ..

    Loreal lumi foundation looks great but I am eager to see how Maybelline fit me performs..

    Ohh yeah moms are like that.. But they do treasure gifts :-*

    Have a lovely weekend.. And yes waiting for that video now ๐Ÿ™‚
    Poo@beautyandmakeupmatters recently posted … Lโ€™Oreal Paris Revitalift Anti-Ageing + Firming Aqua Milky Toner Review, Swatch

  16. shannon says:

    Many years ago L’oreal had a foundation that I absolutely loved called Translucide that I absolutely loved. I wonder how Lumi compares?!!

  17. I use the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer, but it is a little sheer on itยดs on to cover my dark circles, so I use it on top of a corrector and it works just fine.

    RT are the brushes that I keep adding on my Christmas/Birthday Wishlist for almost two years now, but no one (read: Mr. Loca) seems to get the hint.
    But I am glad to see Tabs approves them, I was a little hesitant to buy before he had tested them!

  18. I have the Fit Me concealer and its amazing! My skin has been getting so dry this winter and it doesn’t emphasize dryness at all and I like the natural, medium coverage.
    Ankita@corallista recently posted … Perfect Glowing Pink Cheeks with Physician’s Formula Custom Blush for Brunettes

  19. Haha, I know the feeling. You know you don’t need anything but come on, it’s a SALE! And there is 50% off! Hello! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Innรƒยฉov Densilogy supplements for thicker healthier hair: the results after three months

  20. Tracy says:

    Great Haul! I’ve been on a high end binge lately but after seeing the RT brushes a drugstore run might be in order. I own a number of the single RT brushes but none of the sets. Wondering what you’re thoughts are so far? Also jumped on the bandwagon with the Fit Me concealer but still not sure I’m ready to give up my Nars Creamy Concealer. I picked up the Lumi foundation because I heard it was a dupe for my HG, GA Luminous Silk, but sadly it didn’t sit right on my skin. I used a brush, my fingers and a Beauty Blender with no luck. As I slowly creep towards 40 I’ve noticed my skin needs all the hydration it can get and I’ve been so frustrated lately with finding bases that play nice with my skincare which I recently amped up in the hydration department. Any suggestions?

  21. Kim says:

    Thank goodness – I’m relieved to hear about the video camera (not your woes, but that that’s where you’ve been). I’m glad everything else is OK. ๐Ÿ™‚

    That is way too funny about your Mom. She could use it AND keep it for decoration. But I think getting the Solar Oil was probably a better bet. HAHA!

    So, hey, Jupiter Ascending? It’s a few weeks from release but I’m hoping it’s going to be good. And Kingsman. I might actually get to the theater in February. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Chris25 says:

    My shade is also Sun Beige! Yay!!
    Chris25 recently posted … Current Favorites: Beauty and Life Vol. 12

  23. Marisa says:

    Real Techniques sake?! Say What!
    Good haul Karen!

  24. Katherine M says:

    I bet your video is going to be awesome! Tutorials can be a tough one – it can be hard to lay out all of the steps when you can do them yourself so easily.

    I love Ulta, myself. I really think that drugstore makeup has gotten a lot better over the years. There are many things that can now compete with high-end stuff. The dermatologists have even said as far as anti-aging stuff goes, the drugstore stuff is not only as good, but often better than some of the high-end faves.

    One thing I really love about Ulta is that you can find brands like UD, Stila, and Smashbox, but also NYX and L’Oreal. It’s easy to drop some money in there ๐Ÿ™‚ I really enjoy the Body Shop body butters, the entire NYX line, and the fact that they sell roller ball perfumes for about $30, which means I can get Acqua di Gioia for a helluva lot cheaper than getting the spray version.

  25. fancie says:

    I love the Maybelline Fit Me foundation and concealer. It’s one of the first formulas I fell in love with. I’ve heard a lot of good things about that Loreal foundation. Guess I need to try it one day and finally pick up some RT face brushes. I really like the eye brushes
    fancie recently posted … Whatโ€™s Your Favorite Fragrance?

  26. Kim says:

    Can’t wait for updates as I never buy drugstore anything having little luck in the past. But I too have been hearing about all the great things now available. So i figure if our fav neighborhood makeup addict is taking the plunge then I too can vicariously through her contemplate some things as well- per your updates reviews of course! The real technique brushes I have – all two of them – are lovely and I enjoy them for travel not worrying about losinf them and I adore watching the ladies who created them also. Finally, a new Karen video? Yes please and thank u! Sorry it’s been such a pain but we will look forward to it!

  27. Debra says:

    Dear Husband is now using my (our) Solar Oil for his cuticles. Says it is very nice. Likes the almond scent.

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