How to Finesse Your Ulta Rewards Program Part 2

Welcome back, faithful readers! I hope you all enjoyed part 1 of my Ulta rewards breakdown. If you missed it, definitely go back and read it! If you’re already a Platinum member, this one’s for you! . Once you’re Platinum, your rewards points no longer expire and that’s when the real fun begins! Below are some of my best tricks for maximizing your rewards points while spending the least amount of money.

Point Multipliers

Ulta frequently runs point multipliers on either all products, a specific brand, or particular items. The most popular multipliers are the ones on all products, which are usually 2x points for non-platinum members and 3x points for platinum members. This means for every dollar you spend you get 1 “base point” and 1 (or 2 for platinum) “bonus points. which is great when you were already planning to shop. I routinely wait to get my hair done until the triple points are on. $37 x 3 = 111 points in one go! that already $3 off your next purchase!

How to Finesse Your Ulta Rewards Program Part 2

I went through my emails from Ulta for the last 10 or so months and found that most of the 2x/3x multipliers have occurred on or around the 8th of the month unless the 8th fell on a Saturday.  With this knowledge, I now tend to hold off any major purchases I want to make if I know it can wait until one of those multipliers start up again. Other multipliers include 5x points on specific brands like Urban Decay or Too Faced or particular items like mascaras or fragrances. The 5x points are a lot more random, but if you were planning on making any brand specific purchases, that would be the day to do it.

How to Finesse Your Ulta Rewards Program Part 2

Members also receive double points during their birthday month and 5x points during their anniversary week (which is the week when you first signed up to be a rewards member. Be smart, and just sign up DURING your birthday month. That means one week out of the month, you’re getting 7x points on all of your purchases!

The best point multiplier there is is the annual Platinum 10x points event which generally occurs in late August. Platinum members get 10x points on certain brands and products and 5x points on everything else. I managed to rack up about 600 points this year during this sale! There are generally no associated coupons with this sale, but the points returns more than make up for paying full price.

Wait to Cash Out Your Rewards

As seen in the previous post, the number of points you earn equates to a particular dollar value off of your purchase. The thing is, not all Ulta points are created equal. At just 100 points, you only get $3 off of your purchase. This means each point is worth 3 cents. But at 2,000 points, you get $125 off of your purchase. This makes each point worth roughly 6 cents, which is twice as much as at a $3 value! The bottom line is, patience is key here.

Your points genuinely aren’t worth as much if you don’t wait to cash them out. The cashiers can only cash them out in the increments posted online as well. So saving and then spending them all at once is the move! It took me about 4 months of finessing the points, waiting for multipliers, and getting my hair done, but I saved up 2000 points to spend! Which brings me to Black Friday…

21 Days of Beauty & Beyond

Since you now know that cashing out your 2000 points all at once is the best course of action, here’s the tricky part. What exactly do you want? Because chances are, there will be a sale on it eventually. Cashing out your points during the 21 Days of Beauty Sale can be great, but only if 1 item you want is on sale for 1 day, which isn’t ideal. My suggestion is to wait for a big sale like Black Friday or Cyber Monday to do the dump like I did, or for a 20% off everything coupon which includes prestige. They only give those out a few times a year, but when it’s 20% off everything you buy, your points will go that much further.

I hope these tips help further your understanding of how the Ulta rewards program works and how to better finesse it in the future. I know it seems time intensive, but it really becomes second nature after a while. I wouldn’t trade in my Ulta rewards for the world! If you have any questions please feel free to drop them in the comments! If you have any tips of your own, def leave them down there too! I have finals next week, so I’m gonna be doing a loottt of detoxing! AND, my anniversary giveaway is coming up too! Stay tuned, and I’ll see you next week!

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How to Finesse Your Ulta Rewards

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How to Finesse Your ULTA Rewards Program Part 1

Hey guys! I hope you all had wonderful Thanksgiving breaks (for those of yall that celebrate anyway), and even better Black Friday/Cyber Monday hauls! Anyone who’s been reading my blog for a while knows that in the debate between Ulta and Sephora, I will pick Ulta every single time. Now don’t get me wrong, Sephora has a couple items I can’t get from Ulta and for that I am grateful. However, I believe that Ulta’s reward program is better overall from Sephora’s.  On Black Friday, I walked away with a haul worth $162.05 for only 86 CENTS! So how exactly did I do it? It was largely in part to the Ulta rewards program, aptly named the Ultamate Rewards Program.

Today and Thursday, you’ll find plenty of tips and tricks that will maximize your Ulta rewards if you’re already shopping there, and hopefully, convert you from Sephora if you’re not! 😉 For today’s post, I’m breaking down how the Ulta Rewards Program works, and what you should know about each tier of membership!

So How Does the Ulta Rewards Program Work?

Before we get in deep, here’s the rundown of the Ultamate Rewards Program! New members & non-platinum members earn 1 point per 1 dollar spent. As your points add up, they become $ off “coupons” stored within your account for use on ANYTHING in the WHOLE store (which is way better than tiny samples imo). Non-platinum members get a free birthday gift and are allowed to keep their points for a year before expiration.

How to Finesse Your ULTA Rewards Program Part 1

What About Platinum Ulta Rewards?

It gets even better when you become a Platinum member (like yours truly). In order to reach this tier, you have to spend $450 in a calendar year (that is January to December). This may seem like a lofty goal, but I’ll be teaching you a few tricks on how to reach that threshold quickly! Platinum members earn 1.25 points on every 1 dollar spent which means that every $4 Platinum members spend become 5 points! Our points also never expire, so you can save up for some of the bigger redemptions values without worrying about expiration!

Platinum members also receive the aforementioned birthday gift, PLUS a $10 coupon that can be used on anything in the store for their birthday. The cherry on top of Platinum membership is the Platinum exclusive sales that happen throughout the year. Whether it’s getting to shop the newest Naked palette 3 weeks before everyone else all the way up to the annual 10x points Platinum member event, Platinum is where you wanna be!

So What’s the Fastest Way To Platinum?

I hate to break it to you guys, but there’s not a true fast track to Platinum. $450 is $450. However, I can tell you a few tips to get to Platinum with the most product in hand!

  • Get your hair done at the Salon! – The Ulta Salon seems to be a thing a lot of people don’t know about! Along with its drugstore and prestige makeup areas, Ulta is also allowed to sell professional haircare products because it owns a salon! I get my hair washed, blow dried, and flat ironed at Ulta for $37 (which is a steal considering a lot of places start at $50 for a silk press). I get my hair done there about once a month. Bam! That’s literally $444 right there. So even if you did nothing else but get your hair done, you’d be able to hit Platinum in a year. The fun part comes when I upgrade my style to a color or a cut. That’s a little more money added to my total in a very short period of time. Considering you’re likely also buying makeup and skincare at Ulta, you’ll be at $450 in no time!
  • Sign up for the emails! – If you’re not signed up for Ulta emails, you’re missing out. That’s how you find out about point multipliers, current sales, and get coupons you can use in-store and online! This is also where you get a monthly email tracking your progress to Platinum, as well as Platinum perks and early sales.
  • Shop on Wednesdays for Beauty Breaks! – Every Wednesday around 11 am EST (10 CT, because that’s where Ulta’s HQ is located) Ulta sends out its weekly Beauty Break where they highlight a brand’s products and offer a great GWP (gift with purchase) for about 4-5 hours. For example, one day the featured brand was Urban Decay, and they offered a 4-piece Urban Decay GWP with any $50 purchase! It allows you to a) cross the free shipping threshold and b) grab all of the items you wanted along with a great bonus gift! The threshold ranges from $40-$75 on an average week.

With these three tactics combined, I reached Platinum status in early June of this year! That means if you’re not currently Platinum, you are automatically upgraded to Platinum, then you keep your Platinum status until December 31 of the following year! So the earlier in the year you achieve Platinum, the better! This means a new user would keep their Platinum status all the way through the rest of 2017 AND all of 2018! How’s that for awesome?

So now that you’re Platinum and you don’t have to worry about your points expiring, this is where the fun begins. On Thursday, I’m going to show you how to maximize the points you get while minimizing the amount of money you spend, so be sure to check back for PART 2! Got any questions? Leave them for me in the comments!

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Home Goods Gift Guide Under $20

One of my favorite parts of moving into college was decorating my dorm room however I liked it. I spent a lot of time in TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Home Goods, and Target looking for the perfect items to make my space my own! So I’m showing you my favorite decor buys for under $20 so you can decorate your place too!

This post contains some affiliate links through which I earn a small commission dedicated to the upkeep of this blog.

Gift Guide Home Goods

  1. Gold Pencil Cup: I love the shimmer gold home items can bring to a room! This cup is a hammered gold holder for all of your writing utensils, or if you want to be a bit snazzy for party hosting, you can put those cute striped straws or candy inside of it!
  2. Over The Door Mirror: This over the door mirror from Target is the perfect way to make sure you can check your whole outfit before you head out of the door each day! My roomies and I all had the same idea. There are 4 in our suite!
  3. A Chic Wax Melter: Candles are great and all, and I know more than a few people who love to use their emptied candle jars as holders for q-tips and the like. However, consider wax melts! Especially in places that don’t allow candles, wax melters add an extra oomph to the room, and you get the greatest scents too! I buy mine from Bath and Body Works, but Target has some great scents as well.
  4. String Lights: String lights, or “fairy lights” as some call them, give a warm glow to whichever room you decide to put them in. I like how they look over a canopy bed or around the entryway between two rooms.
  5. Floor Rug: This reversible throw rug from Urban Outfitters will bring a little cozy onto your hardwood floors and give you an area to sit furniture so that it’s not sliding all over the place.
  6. Marble Storage Box: This little storage box is too cute! I’d use it for jewelry, lipsticks or even my never-ending supply of disappearing bobby pins and hair ties!
  7. Faux Baby Plants: Plants are known to liven up any home, but if you’re like me, and was not born with a green thumb, these little faux succulents are perfect for sitting on a windowsill or your desk and admiring!

Those are just a few ideas to brighten up your living space in your day to day life, and all for under $20! I hope you guys enjoyed this year’s gift guide series, and I may add to them as I find more cute trinkets you can pick up for Secret Santa and your loved ones. I will DEFINITELY be posting my post-Black Friday Haul, with a separate post for Cyber Monday because I plan on going all out! Everyone be safe, enjoy your families and the food, and have an awesome week!

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Makeup Gift Guide $20 and Under

Long time, so see yall! I’ve been really busy with school, but I’m back with another gift guide to make up for the lack of posting! Plus, as a bonus, there will be a THIRD gift guide with home goods posted tomorrow. This way, you guys will have a full list of gift shopping this weekend for Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

This post contains some affiliate links through which I earn a small commission dedicated to the upkeep of this blog.

Makeup holiday gift guide
  1. Target Advent Calendar: This advent calendar also includes some hair and skin items, but the makeup items included are pretty great, and the whole shebang is only $15!
  2. Maybelline The Blushed Nudes Palette: This is my favorite drugstore palette out of the bunch. The colors are a perfect blend of mattes and shimmers all in sweet blushes and browns. It’s a great dupe for the Naked 3 palette, but the formula is quite good for a drugstore palette! Plus, Maybelline products are BOGO 50% at Ulta right now, with a bonus 6% cash back on Ebates! Read the full review here!
  3. Glossier Cloud Paints: These liquid blushes are buildable and easy to use! Just be cautious about which color you pick, as they are not all POC friendly (looking at you Dusk). Read the full review here!
  4. Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick: While these aren’t the greatest in terms of wear time, I am 100% in LOVE with the formula and how it feels on my lips. Never chapped or dry like other liquid lippies can do. Plus, the pigmentation is to DIE for. They’re only $13.20 at Ulta right now, full size, so I’d pick up one (or 3).
  5. L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Mascara: My drugstore mascara of choice! It’s great for lengthening, but not necessarily for curling, so it’s perfect for those of you with naturally curled lashes!
  6. Glossier Boy Brow: Y’all already know how I feel about this stuff. It’s the only brow product for me! Read the full review here!
  7. Covergirl Clean Matte BB Cream: Not the greatest color selection for WOC (I’m the darkest and even then it’s a bit warm) but the actual matte formula is flawless!

A small selection, but certainly the cream of the crop, and each one is under $20! What are some of your favorite under $20 picks? I’ve gotta put together my own shopping list! 😉 Check back tomorrow for a gift guide with the best beauty tools out there!

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Skincare Gift Guide $20 and Under

Welcome to November ladies and gents! So glad to have you all here for another year’s worth of gift guides at TCM. Today’s gift guide will be for my favorite skincare picks that are $20 and under because we want our coins to stretch this year am I right? And while there may be some overlap, this isn’t 100% my Best of Beauty Awards! Some of these are products I have on my own personal wishlist based off of friends’ recommendations!

This post contains some affiliate links through which I earn a small commission dedicated to the upkeep of this blog.

Skincare holiday gift guide

  1. Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser: This is pretty much the only cleanser I’ve used for the last year (not counting heavy makeup days) and it has held up to the test of time. Just to point out, nothing on the site claims it removes waterproof makeup (which is why when people mention that it didn’t, it drives me nuts) but it’s great for a basic cleanse and to remove a little mascara and eyeliner!
  2. Pond’s Cold Cream Cleanser: This stuff removes all of my makeup. Always. Never fails. I love how creamy it feels, and you get an enormous jar for less than $6 at Target. #winning
  3. Pixi Glow Tonic: A good, gentle chemical exfoliant for beginners, plus it was the only chemical exfoliant I tried this year that didn’t break me out! I just reviewed it here!
  4. Nair Face Cream: Yes, I Nair my face. Nothing to be ashamed of! I just got my hairy likeness from my dad, and I’m not fond of how my products apply when the hair is there. I only do this about once a month and a half or so because I don’t want my skin to get irritated, and because it’s chemical, it doesn’t grow back super fast either.
  5. Glossier Super Bounce: Holy Moly I love this stuff. The Glossier Supers were my first foray into concentrated serums, and while Super Glow turned out to be a bit of a bust, and I don’t have much need for Super Pure (unless it’s being preventative hence my not having pimples), Super Bounce has just made my skin so plump and juicy!!! I feel so full of moisture! It’s amazing!
  6. The Ordinary Retinol: One of the things I hear so often from my older, skincare inclined friends is “I wish I’d started earlier!” Since I’ve had the fortune of starting super early, one of the things I’ve incorporated into my routine is this retinol! It’s creamy and sinks right into the skin, and it doesn’t smell too medicinal either. And it’s SUPER cheap! It’s a win all around! Plus, if you buy from ASOS, you can use their coupons!
  7. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel: This was a product recommendation from an Asia Jackson Youtube video, and although I’ve only been using it about a month, I’m in love! It smells so fresh, sinks right into the skin, and doesn’t leave any residue even on my oily days which my Priming Moisturizer could do from time to time.
  8. All Tony Moly Sheet Masks: This brand is not only affordable and Instagrammable, but also very effective at making me feel hella luxurious, if only for 30-60 minutes at a time.

I hope this list helps you get a jump start on your holday shopping! Keep an eye out on Thursday for my cosmetics gift guide! See you soon!

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Glossier Wowder Is Here

Good news for all of my Glossier fans out there! It’s LAUNCH DAY! Today, Glossier has dropped the latest in its line of makeup, Wowder. Now, all the marketing talking about “It’s not a powder. It’s Wowder.” is a little cheesy, I’ll admit. However, as a person with combo oily skin, all of Glossier’s products do not work for my skin as they adhere strictly to their “dewy” look (talking about you PM Rich!). SO I’m very excited to try a powder that can possibly control this oil on my face! I currently use the Covergirl Clean Matte Pressed Powder, and I’ll have a comparison review up after I’ve had some time to test it out more thoroughly.

Related: Glossier Canada is Here

Glossier's Wowder is Here
Photo courtesy of Glossier

I was always skeptical of loose, translucent type powders because they always look so white in the pan, but Wowder comes in 3 different shades! Plus, Jackie Aina already put up her review of it, so I know this is coins well spent! Wowder costs $22 USD ($27 CAD) by itself for the inevitable restock, BUT you can get a Wowder/Brush combo for $35 USD ($45 CAD) which saves you $7 than if you bought the brush and Wowder separately. If you don’t need another powder (and let’s be honest with ourselves here) but you want to give the brush a go, it is $20 USD ($25 CAD). Now for me, that’s a lot for a brush, and I’ll also be comparing this brush to my Real Techniques powder brush in the near future.

Are you a first time Glossier customer? Well, you’re in luck! Shop with my link and get 20% off and EVERYONE gets free shipping with the Wowder Duo! That’s $28 USD ($36 CAD) for the duo, $17.60 USD ($21.60 CAD) for just the Wowder, and $16 USD ($20 CAD) for just the brush! So what are you waiting on??

Happy shopping!

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Best National Lipstick Day Sales 2017

Best National Lipstick Day Sales 2017

There are a lot of made up holidays throughout the year like national pancake day, national ice cream day, even national donut day! However, my favorite is National Lipstick Day which is today, June 29th! Here, I’ve rounded up some of the best lipstick sales so you can get your pout on! Click on the link to access to sale!

MAC: MAC is actually doing TWO deals this weekend. For the first, all you have to do is show up! Go to any of their stores and receive a full-sized lipstick. The Reddit forums have been running wild and it seems how this works will vary by store. Some are using a specific collection, some are handing them out randomly, and some will let you swatch and choose your shade. Call your store ahead of time to find out. MAC is also offering a free Prep + Prime Lip with any $50 purchase online with the code LIPDAY.

Urban Decay: UD is offering 50% off some of their best-selling Vice lipsticks which puts them at $8.50! It’s a small selection, but worth it if you want to stock up on some of the cult classics. Plus, UD has a great rewards program, and if you sign up with my link you start with 10 points out of the gate!

Related: 6 Lovely Red Lipsticks for Dark Skin

ULTA: Ulta is winning the beauty game as usual with tons of brands and deals on all things lipstick with their online sale. The standouts are 2 for $10 NYX lipsticks, Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipsticks (try Bacca or Rubino!) are only $13.20, and all Revlon lip products are $5! There are also plenty of free gifts with purchase on your favorite high-end brands so go give it a look!

Smashbox: When you buy any lip product from Smashbox today, you can get $5 off AND a free lip bag with promo code KISSME! I really enjoy their Be Legendary Liquid Lipstick in Crimson Chrome and all of the liquid metal shades tbh!

Glossier: And of course, if you’re a new Glossier customer in the US AND Canada, you can get 20% off of your first purchase which includes the sweet flush of a Generation G lipstick. My favorite is Crush, because it’s such a nice hint of pink on my two toned lips which is amazing!

NYX: Buy any Liquid Suede Metallic Lipstick, get a Liquid Suede Cream lipstick free! Also, add any lippie to your bag online and get free shipping!

Too Faced: 15% off any lip product with code KISSKISS

Birchbox: Get a free deluxe Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick when you sign up with the code LIPDAY.

Stila Cosmetics: BOGO Free Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick, no code needed.

Related: Product Review: Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick

That’s all I’ve got for now, but I’ll be updating this post with other deals throughout the day, so keep checking back! Have a great National Lipstick Day!

Happy shopping! <3

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Glossier Canada is Now Live

Today’s the day ladies and gents! Last week, Glossier announced that they would finally roll out international shipping! Today begins the launch, where all Glossier Canada babes can place their orders! The notable exception is Quebec, sorry guys! They have plans to launch in Quebec sometime next year. Also, Invisible Shield, Digital, and Physical Gift Cards will not be available for purchase. Glossier is looking to launch IS in Canada sometime this fall. They don’t have plans to open a Glossier Canadia showroom, but stay tuned for something really cool later this summer!

Last, but certainly not least, my rep page does work for all new Glossier Canada customers! You can get 20% off your first purchase, and free shipping with any two items! Of course, you can always check out my page to see my favorites, but I HIGHLY recommend the Phase 1 set w/ Coconut Balm Dot Com as a starter! You get free shipping, and skin care basics, which is what the brand is all about!

Happy Shopping!

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Birthday Balm Dotcom is HERE 

Happy Birthday Balm Dotcom Giveaway

Glossier’s latest launch has finally arrived! The newest member of the Balm Dotcom family is Birthday! In collaboration with the bakery, Milk Bar, this balm tastes and smells like their famous Birthday Cake! 

The package is absolutely to die for! It includes a teeny bit of micro shimmer to add a little sparkle to your day! It shows up on my skin very well and is perfect for an on the go highlighter!

You can grab yours today for $12 or for 20% off (that’s $9.60) if you’re a first time customer! Thank you to everyone who has shopped with me so far! I wouldn’t have gotten this far without you!

Happy Shopping!

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5 Beauty Products I Regret & Won’t Be Rebuying

I haven’t done a post like this in a very long time! I’m generally satisfied with the products I buy because a lot of research and thought goes into my purchases. I AM working with a student budget after all. That said, now that I’m trying to get into the habit of finishing up products I buy, I’m starting to realize that some of the purchases I made (or were gifted) are absolute garbage for me. Keep in mind, different products work differently for different people, so take what I’m saying with a grain of salt. So, in no particular order:

1. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz Pencil

To be completely fair, this was all my fault. I wanted to try a different brow product besides Boy Brow, and Ulta had these for 50% off. After doing some color matching, I thought I’d give it a go. Bad idea! I have super thick, curly eyebrows. I don’t need a pencil to define or draw my brows in, rendering this product useless. I returned it, and I won’t be buying it again.

2. Maybelline Graffiti Nudes

I love my Blushed Nudes and Rock Nudes, so I had pretty high hopes for this palette. The colors are nice, but the pigmentation is awful. All of the shades with exception of like two of them are chalky, under pigmented, and difficult to blend. BUT, they have unique colors I don’t already own, so I’ll keep putting with it for now.

3. Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer/NYX Matte Setting Spray

So this one is a tag team because the object of both of these products is to extend the wear of my makeup. I don’t think either one of them works phenomenally! While I do sort of like the Smashbox primer, I don’t like the consistency and how it makes my skin feel. Plus, it only extends my makeup wear by about 2-3 hours which isn’t effective at all in my eyes. And the NYX Setting Spray doesn’t dry matte so my oily skin mixes with it and makes me extra shiny. Nuff said.

4. Colourpop Cosmetics Creme Gel Liner in Teaspoon

So I love the color of this eyeliner. And when it works, it REALLY works. The problem is that it’s too brittle and breaks off almost every time I use it. So there’s so much wasted product, it’s ridiculous! I want to try again, but I can probably find a similar color that won’t break every time I use it. Ah well. It was good while it lasted.

5. BareMinerals Matte Powder Foundation

My very first foundation. I’m sure a lot of you guys have horror stories about that. Wrong color, too heavy handed, etc. In the color department, it’s not too shabby. But, for a foundation that’s supposedly matte, it sure doesn’t look matte. I find myself getting oily 3-4 hours after I start wearing it. Plus, I don’t think it gives the complete coverage I expected out of it. I’ve had it for a few years now, and I’m not even close to finishing it, so it’s probably going to hit the trash can during my move to my dorm.

So there you have it! 5 (or 6 technically) beauty products that weren’t my favorites and I won’t be rebuying. Make sure you check out my Instagram (@thechicmachine). I’m doing a great giveaway for the next 24 hours, and you don’t want to miss out!

Love ya!

-Dymond M. <3

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