5 Beauty Bits to Snag at Dermstore's Anniversary Sale

I wasn't sure about making this post since I've already shared this sale twice on my Instagram stories, but each time I got questions about what would I recommend, what am I buying, etc. So while I responded to those messages, I thought I would kill two birds with one stone (that saying always sounded so morbid to me, I don't want to kill any birds...) and share my sale picks while simultaneously chatting about some products I've been meaning to review.

If you're unfamiliar with Dermstore or their anniversary sale-- here's whatchu need to know. Dermstore is an online beauty store owned by Target. They frequently run sales but certain brands like Sunday Riley and Drunk Elephant are often excluded from said sales. But once a year they run their anniversary sale which is 20-25% off sitewide, including those oft excluded brands!

The sale is going on until the 12th and you can get up to 25% off with code "HAPPY18."

They also recently launched a rewards program. Imagine a place where you could get Sephora brands on an Ulta-like rewards program (aka $$ instead of free samples). That imaginary place isn't imaginary at all, it's Dermstore! Of course, there isn't a 100% overlap between brands available at Sephora and Dermstore, but there are plenty, including a lot of skincare major players.

In addition to buying stuff, they have a bunch of supplemental ways to gain points. Let's say you place an order for 2 items. You then share your order on Facebook, write reviews for both items on their site, and share said reviews on Facebook. All in all, you would gain 450+ points from doing that! And for every 1000 points, you can redeem $10.

You can find the complete list of ways to earn points here.

Enough about that, here are my top 5 picks from the sale!

1. Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum

Retail: $80.00 Sale Price: $64.00

Ingredients: Water, Ethoxydiglycol, Ascorbic Acid, Glycerin, Laureth-23, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Juice Extract, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Tocopherol, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Acetyl Glucosamine, Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Glutamylamidoethyl Imidazole, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrodemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrobisdemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Glycine, Sucrose, Maltodextrin, Propanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Xanthan Gum, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 60

This was the first vitamin C I ever tried and I sort of rue the day that I made the decision to purchase this... after trying the top of the line, best of the best option, I have less motivation to try anything less.

While I believe Drunk Elephant has well-formulated products and seem pretty much perfect on paper, in practice most of the products I've tried haven't performed quite as perfectly for me. That said, this product is perfect on paper and in practice for my skin.

I shared a first impressions review on this serum back in March and 5 months down the line, I've sadly finished it. If you're curious to read about what makes this the perfect, top o' the line, best o' the best vitamin c serum you can read the post. I also discussed packaging + consistency + scent in the post.

Now onto results.

I've been using this serum almost every single day for about 6 or 7 months. I apply it in the morning as my first step after cleansing because that's what the Asian Beauty subreddit told me to do. And everyone knows you need to listen to what the internet tells you to do. (In all seriousness their reasoning makes sense to me, Snow White & the Asian Pear has a handy post all about pH dependent products.)

I don't use any other exfoliants, physical or chemical, in the mornings. I also like to wait about 20 minutes before moving onto the rest of my routine, although if I'm in a rush that window is probably closer to 10.

Over the months I've noticed that a lot of the texture issues that I have on my cheeks have disappeared. I still get an occasional pimple or two, especially around that time of the month, but all the milia I had on my cheeks have disappeared. If you read my review on the Ordinary niacinamide serum back in October, you can see what milia I am talking about. The niacinamide serum helped tackle them, but the vitamin C serum did an even better job at permanently extinguishing them and condemning them to the pits of hell.

One of my biggest issues is acne scarring. A pimple only lasts for 2 or 3 days, but the scars torture me for months on end. This serum doesn't make them disappear overnight (sadly) but it speeds up the healing time significantly.

To be honest it wasn't until I looked at the photos I took for that post until I realized how much my skin has improved. I also realized I published more photos of my face in January for my review on the Maybelline cushion foundation and it's easy to see how many texture issues I had back then. At that point, I had run out of the Ordinary serum and had not started using the Drunk Elephant serum. When I compare it to my skin now, I'm surprised at how many fewer scars I have and how much even toned my skin is in general. It's nowhere near perfect but it's a noticeable improvement!

2. Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water

Retail: $14.90 Sale Price: $11.17

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Peg-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Fructooligosaccharides, Propylene Glycol, Disodium Edta, Cetrimonium Bromide

I remember the first time I tried Bioderma's micellar water the brand wasn't even being officially sold in the US. My friend had brought it back with her from her study abroad trip and it was a love-at-first-sight product for me. At the time I wasn't really into beauty back then but I loved the product so much I repurchased it for $35+ off Amazon. And it's one of the few products I continued using as I morphed into a skincare addict.

Thankfully these days Bioderma is slowly creepin' into American stores but unfortunately, it's still overpriced at many places. If you happen to visit some of the beauty stores in Chinatown in Manhattan, one 500 mL bottle goes for $30!

I was so happy to see Dermstore finally began carrying Bioderma a month or two ago!

If you're curious on my thoughts on Bioderma, I've done a post comparing the sensibio version to Simple and Sephora's micellar waters here, and another post comparing it to Garnier's two micellar waters. The tl;dr version of those posts is that Bioderma does the best job at removing my makeup, including waterproof mascara, without drying out my face or leaving behind any residue. Of course, no micellar water removes all my makeup and I always follow up with a second cleanser or oil cleanser + second cleanser.

3. Sunday Riley Good Genes

Retail: $105.00 Sale Price: $78.75

Ingredients: Opuntia Tuna Fruit (Prickly Pear) Extract, Agave Tequilana Leaf (Blue Agave) Extract, Cypripedium Pubescens (Lady's Slipper Orchid) Extract, Opuntia Vulgaris (Cactus) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract & Saccharomyces Cerevisiae (Yeast) Extract, Lactic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Squalane, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, Ppg-12/Smdi Copolymer, Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol And Ceteareth20, Glyceryl Stearate And Peg-100 Stearate, Arnica Montana (Flower) Extract, Peg-75 Meadowfoam Oil, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass) Oil, Triethanolamine, Xantham Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Steareth-20, DMDM Hydantoin

I'm gonna indulge my inner drama queen for a moment here and declare this to be one of the most controversial products in the skincare world.

The first time I ever heard of this serum a few years ago I scoffed at the price and wondered what kind of looney person would spend $100+ on a serum??? I had also learned about it from a YouTuber and was skeptical said YouTuber was shadily shilling this crap/ only liked it because it was expensive and fancy as fuck.

Fast forward to November 2015 and I purchased one of the Sunday Riley travel sets during the VIB sale. I was a chemical exfoliant newbie but convinced myself that Good Genes would work for me (oh how naive I was.) It burned the fuck outta my face, I started to purge, and I quickly gave up and deemed the product a rip-off. Back to Sephora it went.

Then November 2016 came around and I was much more experienced with chemical exfoliants and skincare in general. After trying a few samples of Good Genes I decided I was ready to give the full size a try.

The point of that whole back story is to explain that I get it-- this shit is expensive and a reasonable person would and should be skeptical of a beauty product that has a triple digit price tag.

I've been using it for about 10 months now and can say I've been indoctrinated as a faithful follower of the cult of Good Genes at this point.

It works. I wake up with smoother, glowing skin every single time I use this. Whatever bumpiness or zits I have at night literally shrink overnight. With daily use, I also noticed my skintone to be more even and my dark spots to fade somewhat quicker.

When I initially started using it I would use it every other day and eventually worked it up to every day. While my skin could tolerate it, I realized I didn't need to use it every single day. Shit is expensive and using it every single day was a waste.

Nowadays I've rolled back to using it twice a week or as a spot treatment around that time of the month.

Texture wise it's like a lightweight lotion. Like the Drunk Elephant serum, I apply it as the first step after cleansing and wait 20 minutes before applying my next layer, usually at night. You hear a lot that AHAs make your skin more photosensitive so they should only be used at night. Only half of that statement is true. AHAs do make your skin more photosensitive buuuut that photosensitivity can last up to a week so it doesn't matter if you apply them at day or night, you still have to wear sunscreen!

Is it worth the price tag? Hell to the yes. Do you need to forsake buying groceries to purchase this? Hell to the no. It's a fantastic product that delivers results but there are plenty of lactic acid treatments out there that won't have you relying on cup noodles for a month. As much as we love beauty products, there are more important things in life like rent, food, and financial security. If you're looking for an affordable alternative, Fanserviced-b reviewed a whopping 17 lactic acid treatments!

4. Indie Lee Squalane Oil

Retail: $32.00 Sale Price: $24.00

Ingredients: 100% Olive Derived Squalane Oil

I've been promising my squalane oil comparison post for two months but fingers crossed it will be up within the next few weeks!

What I can say is that I liked all of the oils that I tested, including this Indie Lee one!

Oils usually leave me feeling greasy and many break me out, but squalane has quickly become a favorite. It sinks in and actually hydrates my skin instead of chilling on the top doing jackshit. Also it has no smell!

Indie Lee is often excluded from Dermstore sales so the anniversary sale is the perfect time to give the brand a try. I recently started using the co-q10 toner and it's already becoming a quick favorite.

5. RMS Beauty Cheek2Lip

Retail: $36.00 Sale Price: $27.00

Ingredients: *Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, *Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), *Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, *Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, *Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, *Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil, Tocopherol(non-GMO), Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Propolis Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, And May Contain: [+/- Titanium Dioxide CI 77891, Iron Oxides CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499, Mica CI 77019]. *Certified Organic

Over the past few months, I've decided cream makeup doesn't get the love it deserves. Especially for drier skin types!

I'm obsessed with this blush and have been wearing it at least 3 or 4 days a week.

It's pigmented. It lasts all day long. It doesn't emphasize my pores. It's easy to apply and spread with my fingers. It gives me a naturally flushed look. It layers well over liquid foundation and over and under powders. I honestly can't think of anything I don't like about this blush!

Honorable Mentions

Because I'm only one gal, I don't have the time to write about every single brand and product available on Dermstore's site. They've got everything from Anastasia Beverly Hills to Herbivore Botanicals to Rahua to Youth to the People.

That said I wanted to give a shout out to some products & brands that you don't often find on sale. They're ones I've already tried, already bought during the sale, or have on my own wish list.

Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy Mask
No lie, I bought this cause it's blue ๐Ÿ˜†  (and because I've read a few convincing rave reviews) I've used it two times so far but can't say how I feel about it yet. I get some tingling when I use it but that isn't always a good sign...

100% Pure Shampoo Burduck & Neem Shampoo
Dandruff is the bane of my existence and I'm always looking for a product that will get rid of it once and for all without stripping my hair or making me greasy.

Foreo Luna Mini
Probably my best beauty impulse purchase ever.

It has a timer so in a way, it forces me to cleanse my skin for a whole minute. My skin also *feels* cleaner. I don't like using stripping, foaming cleanser so I like that I can get extra clean skin without worrying about drying out my face.

Youth to the People Age Prevention Cream
This and Farmacy's honey drop moisturizer were my favorite lightweight moisturizers this summer. I reviewed it in my spring favorites which you can read here!

DHC Liquid Eyeliner EX
According to Sal this is the best dupe out there for Tom Ford so naturally, I must have it ๐Ÿ˜‰

By Terry mini Hyaluronic Acid Powder
Powders aren't usually something I care about buuuut people talk about this powder so much I want to try it. A powder that isn't going to suck all the moisture out of my face, color me intrigued ๐Ÿค”

Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer
A cult classic concealer. The coverage on this concealer is ridiculously full coverage. The littlest amount goes the longest way.

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