I LOVE SEPHORA. I can't get in there and not blow $100.
When I moved, I went through a lot of my cosmetics and tossed things, based on expiration dates (YES, your products expire!) and amount of usage. I'm always attracted and sucked in by fancy potions. It's a weakness I have. But I think over this summer I've discovered a few awesome keepers!
Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel (not pictured): This has the same active ingredient as Smashbox primer, but it's only $7 a bottle! I read about it extensively online before trying it, and I've gotta say, it works just as well as the expensive primers out there. It's my dirty little beauty secret... after all, not many people would own up to putting that on their face! I don't buy it at Sephora, but it was worth mentioning here.
Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream: I was trying to find a good BB cream that would function as an all-in-one tinted moisturizer, makeup primer, sunscreen, and oil controller. This one is pretty good. I mix it with a little bit of my Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel to make it go a bit further, since it is pricey. It works well that way too.
Smith's Rosebud Salve: I can't count the number of times I've seen this in a celeb's "must-have" makeup bag in magazines. I use it on chapped lips, peeling cuticles/hangnails, and any spot that needs a little bit of moisture and TLC. It's the cheapest thing on this list, at $6 per adorable little tin.
Benefit Boo Boo Zap: I love this clear liquid with salicyclic acid for treating my sporadic blemishes. It really does zap them quickly, drying them up so they aren't so noticeable.
Benefit Stay Don't Stray Eye Primer: I got a free sample of this from Sephora, then had to come back for the bottle! I'd used a MAC paint pot previously as an eyelid primer, but this Benefit product goes under the eyes too as a brightener! I swear it makes my eyes pop, and bags under my eyes go away. I am hooked.
NARS Lip Color: I have two NARS Lip Pencils and one Lipstick. The Sephora ladies were able to help me find some neutral, work-friendly colors, as well as a gutsy red that went with my overall look. The lip pencils are awesome, the easiest lip color I've ever found. Lips were really the missing piece to my beauty routine, because I always pick the wrong colors at the drugstore. That's why I needed to test them out at Sephora!
Stila Lip Glaze Trio: I love this gloss! It comes in some fabulous colors, and I was able to pick some up in a mini three-pack at Sephora. It's the perfect way to test out colors.
Buxom Lip Polish (not pictured): I got a great sample of Buxom lip gloss, to add to the full-size version I already had from a wedding I was in. This tingling, pretty gloss plumps your lips and looks great. I like to use this or Stila Lip Glaze on top of my matte NARS lip colors. Neither glaze is overly sticky, either.
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment (not pictured): I put this on my lips every night! It feels so smooth and luxurious.
Oh, and in case you were wondering about cosmetic expiration dates, here's a handy guide... most last less than a year. So toss away!