Drugstore beauty is taking another leap into the future! After hearing that CVS Pharmacy partnered with Glamsquad & eSalon to create the “Beauty IRL” store-within-a-store (which I wrote about here), I recently read that its drugstore competitor Walgreens is getting in the game as well. They are partnering with Birchbox, the well-known beauty subscription service, to bring Birchbox boutiques to 11selectWalgreenslocationsin6U.S.citiesstartingthisDecember! See the image below from Walgreens’ Instagram with city listings/times.
This is very similar to CVS’s “Beauty IRL” concept in that these Birchbox-branded boutiques will “live” within a larger Walgreens store. But while Birchbox (and most other beauty subscription services) are synonymous with mini or sample sizes, these boutiques will be stocked with full–size makeup, skincare & haircare products from Birchbox’s roster of brands. To be more specific, this partnership will introduce 40 new brands into Walgreens including Sand & Sky, Wander Beauty, Embryolisse, Winky Lux & ARROW, to name a few. How exciting!
Interestingly, the products will be merchandizedbyneedandnotbybrand inside these Birchbox boutiques, which I think is really cool and unlike a lot of other shopping experiences we know. So if you’re not the biggest beauty shopper nor very brand-loyal, this may be something that excites you.
Supposedly each boutique will have “Birchbox-trained” beauty consultants to assist you, plus a “BYOB” (Build Your Own Birchbox) section where you can curate your own Birchbox from a selection of beauty mini’s. I think this is such a cool idea as I’ve been a Birchbox customer for a number of years now (and I love a mini anything). And if you don’t live in or near any of the cities listed above, the Birchbox offerings will also be available online at walgreens.com.
I think this will be another great option for beauty shoppers (big or small). It’s awesome to see drugstore retailers making big investments that will ultimately give their customers a different, more exciting experience. I can’t wait to see what comes next!
Are you excited for Birchbox to come to Walgreens? I’d love to know!
I’m not sure about you, but I’ve read up about CVS a lot recently and it certainly seems like they’re taking an aggressive position when it comes to beauty. Last week I spoke about how they’ve partnered with Kiss Products, Inc. to launch the brand Joah Beauty, bringing K-beauty inspired cosmetics into mass retail. Well, it turns out that CVS is broadening its beauty offerings in a big way through at least two other strategic partnerships. Firstly, they’re collaborating with the on-demand, at-home beauty service company Glamsquad to pilot BeautyIRL (IRL stands for “in real life” by the way), an exciting store-within-a-store concept that reimagines what the beauty aisle of CVS could be. And secondly they’ve also partnered with eSalon, the bespoke hair color company, to bring their Allure award-winning custom color kits to the masses.
Each partnership brings more fun, more personalization and more convenience to the beauty-shopping experience which really hasn’t existed at the mass retail level before.
Totally exciting stuff!
If you’re lucky enough to live in Andover, Massachusetts, Stamford, Connecticut or Florida you may have access to one of these BeautyIRL concept stores right now. So far CVS has made it available at just 4 locations in the U.S. (FL got 2, while MA & CT got 1 each), but there are plans to expand the offerings online and to more store locations by 2019. I have my fingers and toes crossed that one will come to NY soon! (However I’m not horribly far from Stamford, so maybe a field trip is in order 😉.)
So what is BeautyIRL exactly? I believe the idea is this: you feel like you’re walking into a stand-alone beauty retailer but in reality you’re simply wandering into the (enhanced) beauty department of your local CVS. It seems there’s a whole bunch of uber cool offerings in these concept spaces. There’s a “trending” section with up-and-coming indie brands; an expanded K-beauty section; more natural and/or organic products; and a whole section where you can shop just beauty mini’s. If that doesn’t excite you already, well get ready! A whole slew of on-demand, personalized beauty services are also on the menu thanks to Glamsquad including consultations, makeovers, blow-out’s, and various skincare services. Also, in massively big news for me, there were will a “Test-and-Play Hygiene Bar” where you can (finally!) sample and touch your favorite drugstore brands. Oh my gosh, are we finally getting drugstore testers???
But CVS is not stopping at just cosmetics & skincare. You can also now get bespoke hair color kits in the new BeautyIRL locations thanks to their partnership with the e-commerce company eSalon. Color consultants will be on-site to match customers to their perfect hair shade and to operate a device that will create and dispense custom shades. The whole hook is making the product available for immediate purchase.
The concept of BeautyIRL builds off CVS’s biggest beauty campaign yet, the “Beauty in Real Life” campaign which initiated earlier this spring. All of the beauty promo imagery from this campaign was released with absolutely no retouching or digital manipulation of any kind to foster more realistic beauty standards. It also featured a diverse roster of “real” women (so no models or celebs) to give the campaign a more relatable feel.
If the BeautyIRL concept is a success for CVS, I think it will mark a definitive change in drugstore & other mass retail beauty shopping. If you read any article about the future of retail there are a few trends that always get discussed: enhanced experience, more product choice, and more personalization. Consumer expectations are shifting and we generally want more of our in-store shopping experience. CVS is attempting to answer to those needs with their new beauty initiatives. I’m excited to see what happens next!
What do you think about CVS’s beauty initiatives? Would you go into a BeautyIRL space if it was in your local CVS? I’d love to know!
I haven’t written about skincare yet on here, which is probably a big shocker to a lot of other beauty bloggers. Truth be told I rarely change up my very basic skincare routine of eye cream, serum & moisturizer. Don’t skincare routines seem to be getting longer and more complicated as time goes on? It’s all very confusing to me. At the end of the day I think you should be guided only by what your skin needs and what it’s currently doing, rather than by what the new product releases are. By that rationale, I’m guided by my dry, sometimes flakey skin that needs as much moisture and illumination as possible.
I’m just not the biggest skincare connoisseur. I know what works for me and so I tend to be quite product-loyal (not necessarily brand-loyal). Historically, I’ve used both the Garnier SkinActive Ultra Lift Anti-Wrinkle Firming Eye Cream and the No. 7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum for years now. (I was quite late to the party on serums in general; back in the day I just used moisturizer and that was it.) But I can’t resist sometimes changing the product line up. For instance, I will change up moisturizers from time to time. I was a big fan of the Chanel Hydra Beauty Creme for a while but then I discovered the more affordable Clinique Moisture Surge range, which is a firm favorite for life.
With that being said, I have made a few sneaky skincare purchases over the past few months that I wanted to talk to you about now. Some of these products have already become favorites, some I’m still testing, and one I haven’t even tried yet. That is how I’m categorizing them for this post. Let’s get into it!
Belif The True Cream Aqua & Moisturizing Bombs – Shop here
I spoke about my newfound love of The True Cream Aqua Bomb (and a little about the Moisturizing Bomb) in my earlier post on beauty mini’s, which was a hit with a lot of you. To recap, I didn’t buy either because I redeemed some of my Reward points on two separate Sephora visits, but I would absolutely buy either formula in the full size. You can buy either the standard size (50 ml for $38) or the mini size (25 ml for $22.00) from Sephora.
Belif is a Korean skincare brand I believe (someone correct me if I’m wrong), that has exploded on social media recently. Their products already have reached cult status like that of Tatcha and Laneige. To that point, The Aqua Bomb and TheMoisturizing Bomb are both considered ‘Bestsellers’ on Belif’s website. Everything is formulated without parabens, sulfates, phthalates & synthetic preservatives, synthetic dyes & fragrances, mineral oils or animal byproducts.
When I wrote my earlier post I didn’t realize that Aqua Bomb technically wasn’t formulated for dry skin; it’s more suited to normal, combo or oily skin since it has a very lightweight, gel-cream texture. I still felt it hydrated and plumped my skin quite nicely, however I used it during the very humid NY summer when my skin was probably at its best. I’m just about to finish my mini of the Moisturizing Bomb, which is indeed formulated for dry skin. It’s definitely thicker than the Aqua Bomb and is creamier as well.
I just recently started using the Magic Cream after getting it at Sephora the day of the Charlotte Tilbury launch (and the day I met Charlotte herself!!). I deliberated for a while before putting this on my wishlist since it’s so darn expensive (50 ml for $100!), but I have to say the Sephora employees really talked me into this. The words “revolutionary” and “life-changing” were thrown around a lot, and while I’d like to say that I’m immune to all that sales mumbo-jumbo, clearly I’m not!
This is a very luxurious, thick cream that feels amazing to apply to your face and smells beautiful. The story is this is the secret weapon product that Charlotte formulated and used on models, clients and celebrities before they walk the red carpet. I think this will be a hero product for me going into the fall and winter months due to its richness. I tend to apply it at night before bedtime but you can also use it prior to makeup as Charlotte often promotes; I have yet to use it in that capacity. This gives a beautiful sheen and a feeling of plumpness to my dry skin. I really like it so far and it hasn’t broken me out at this point, but I’ve only been using it for about a week now.
(UPDATE 10/10/19 – sadly, I will be returning this product to Sephora. About a week after writing this post, I noticed little red bumps on my forehead, around my nose & my chin. I stopped using it for a few days to see if my skin would clear up and it did. Then I used it for about 3 more nights just to double-check and sure enough, the little red bumps came back. Such a bummer!)
On charlottetilbury.com there are 3 sizes available (150 ml, 50 ml, & 15 ml), although Sephora just seems to sell the 50 ml tub. The formula has SPF 15, and is gluten-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free & cruelty-free.
Honey Belle Elixir Rejuvenating Facial Oil – Shop here
I spoke about the Elixir Facial Oil and about Honey Belle’s backstory in my earlier post detailing my Indie Beauty Expo haul. At the time of writing that post I still had not received this product in the mail, but since then I have incorporated this into my nightly routine. I hadn’t used a facial oil in ages so I was keen to get on that bandwagon again. I found a way to incorporate this product that didn’t extend the time of my normal routine: I combine it with my moisturizer. So far I’ve only added it to the Moisturizing Bomb from Belif and not the Magic Cream; I think the Magic Cream has enough richness on its own.
The smell of the Elixir is quite strongly herbal and ‘homemade’ but I like it. It gives serious shine and glow to the skin which you would expect from an oil. It doesn’t stay tacky for long and seems to absorb into the skin quite nicely, but keep in mind I’m applying this right after my shower so my pores are ready to drink this stuff up. Is it doing amazing things for my skin? I’m not sure at the moment to be honest, but it’s a lovely product that I like using. As the colder months approach and my skin gets drier, I will probably be able to tell more of a difference.
You can grab either the mini size (15 ml) for $15.00, which is pictured above, or the standard size (56 ml) for $34.00. Very affordable organic skincare.
I purchased this just recently and it’s currently waiting its turn behind my latest pot of the Garnier eye cream, which I’m about halfway through at the moment. This smells amazing and as the name would suggest, it’s got a gel cream texture (my favorite). I’m new to Fresh skincare but I have high hopes for this little guy. There’s 15 ml of product in there for $41.00 so it’s definitely not cheap; this is actually my first foray into luxury eye cream. According to Fresh’s site, this is a cooling eye treatment that promises oodles of hydration and illumination. Oh, and ‘30 hours of continuous moisture.’ Cool, sign me up! I’ll have to report back 😉.
Fresh products are primarily made from natural ingredients and are cruelty-free.
Have you tried any of the products on this list? What skincare products are you currently loving or trialing? I’d love to know!
Big news today! Over the weekend I hit 100 followers on my little beauty blog here! While this number may be small in comparison to many other bloggers out there, it’s a big deal to me. I started this blog in May of this year right before graduating from business school because I love the world of beauty and everything in it. I wanted to find and/or pull together a community of like-minded people where we could discuss our passion for products and trends and get to know one another. I think we’ve made a great group. Everyone is so supportive and kind, which can be challenging to find on the internet these days.
I wanted to say thank you to each and every one of you for following, reading and engaging in my little corner of the internet. It really means a lot. So in gratitude, I wanted to give something back. One lucky winner will win a $100 Sephora eGift Card to spend on whatever your heart desires! This is open internationally. (Outside the U.S. and Canada, the eGift Card is redeemable online; in the U.S. and Canada, it’s redeemable online and in stores.)
Here are the rules. In order to win, you must:
1. Follow my blog (of course).
2. Leave a comment below this post telling me one fun fact about yourself. (One comment per blogger/entry; if you spam the comment section you will be disqualified.) I’ll start it off: in 2011, I walked in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade under The Diary of a Wimpy Kid balloon!
3. Like this post and my previous three blog posts. (You will need a WordPress account to do this.)
4. Be 18 years or older
5. Have a valid email address in order to claim your eGift Card if you win.
*All of the above criteria must be met in order to be eligible to win.
The giveaway will be open for 3 days, ending on Friday, Sept. 14th at 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The winner will be randomly chosen, and I will make a short announcement on here regarding who won. The winner will have 24 hours from announcement time to claim their prize. If they don’t claim it, another winner will be chosen/announced, etc.
I hope everything is clear. Good luck to you all and thank you very much once again for the support ❤️.
Disclaimer: this giveaway is in no way affiliated or sponsored by Sephora, WordPress, or any other entity.
If you don’t follow me on IG, first off you should (my handle is @weareglamerus), and secondly you wouldn’t know that I’ve been barking my head off for the past few days about attending Indie Beauty Expo (IBE). If you’ve never heard of IBE before, it provides a major platform to smaller, independent beauty brands from around the world to connect with buyers, press and consumers mainly through their large-scale expos. The expos (or conventions) travel around the U.S. and Europe, but luckily for me it was in NYC this past week. I believe the next expo will be in London this October, so I’ll link the website here if you’re interested in looking up the exact info.
Below you’ll find IBE’s mission statement taken directly from their website.
IBE’s mission is to provide a platform to recognize, showcase and celebrate independent beauty brands and to support the growth and success of the entrepreneurs behind them
I’m going to talk about the Expo in 2 parts here on the blog. In this first post I’ll give a general overview of IBE, share a few photos and some takeaways. In my next post I’ll talk more in depth about the products I picked up while I was there and the brands I interacted with. So consider this an introduction of sorts.
I booked my General Admission ticket in early July for $39.00, which included a tote bag and discounts on products sold at the Expo. Conversely I could have booked a VIP Admission ticket for $195.00, which included everything from the General Admission ticket plus tons of samples ready for me in my tote bag. (And those bags looked bulky! So now of course I regret being cheap, but oh well.) I believe ticket prices change depending on the location of the expo and various other factors, so don’t take my quotes above as categorical.
IBENY was held at Pier 36 in the Lower East Side right on the East River. It was a 2-day event that was open to the public on the first night for about 4 hours (‘Shop Indie’), and to trade professionals, buyers and press on the second day (‘Trade Indie’). Over 200 skincare, cosmetics, haircare, bodycare, wellness and personal hygiene brands were in attendance; you can check the full exhibitor list here. Most of these brands I had never heard of before, and this was exactly why I wanted to attend the event. I dedicated an entire post not too long ago as to why I think indie beauty is important, which I’ll link to here. I’m really proud of that post so please go check it out.
There was no line to get into the event space thankfully so check-in was a breeze. I was handed my black, branded tote, a map of the space and sent on my way. I felt the space was quite easy to navigate as I was making laps around each and every aisle and crevice of the pier. There was definitely more skincare brands there than anything else, I’d say. I noticed quite soon upon entering that most of the cosmetics brands like Ellis Faas and Kokie, for instance, got very easily swamped with passers-by, so I had to make several laps before I could come back to play with the products. But there was considerably less cosmetics at this particular expo so that’s probably why.
The biggest takeaway for me was that independent beauty is really at the forefront of the clean/green/natural (whatever you want to call it) movement. Walking around the pier, the buzzwords I saw and heard were “organic,” “natural,” “vegan,” “plant-based,” and “cruelty-free.” As more and more consumers become concerned not only with what they put in their bodies, but also what they put on their bodies, indie beauty will continue to flourish more and more. I think this really has to do with the level of transparency that indie brands have with their customers. A lot of these brands hand-create their products in small batches, so they know exactly what’s in them and how to market them effectively. And many of the brand founders created these product lines to initially solve skin or health issues of their own or that of a family member. There were a lot of very interesting stories behind the brands, which I’ll get into more in my next post.
I took a short video clip of inside the event space which you can check out over on my IG (again, the handle is @weareglamerus, or scroll up to my IG roll on this page).
Has anyone attended IBE in the past? Do you have any indie beauty products that you’d recommend? I’d love to know!
Over the past month or so I seem to have accumulated a nice little collection of beauty mini’s from various Sephora trips (I need to stay away now for quite a while, pray for me), and from my Birchbox subscription. I think mini’s are genius. They are such a good way to sample various products and brands; they’re less expensive and take up way less room in your collection than regular-sized products would. Most of the time now when I go into Sephora I go straight to the mini section near the registers. You can shop nearly every category in mini-size there from makeup, to skincare, haircare, bodycare and fragrance. And if you subscribe to any beauty box service, you’ll know that every month you get a curated collection of mini beauty products based on your preferences. I used to get Glossybox back in the day but switched over to Birchbox a few years back.
I thought I’d take you on a little tour of my current mini beauty collection since I’m really enjoying several items at the moment. This post is somewhere between a haul and a review. I’ve used and loved some of these products, while I still need to try others; others are just meh so far. Let’s get into it.
Mini = 0.23 fl. oz; full size = 1.18 fl. oz. for $40.00
I received this last month and have used it a few times since. I love a good BB cream since I’m a light-coverage girl. I’m always willing to try a new one. This is definitely super light in terms of texture (it’s almost runny) and coverage, but honestly it’s just OK in my opinion. It’s got a subtle yet lovely scent, but I don’t find it offers much moisture, glowiness or anything particularly special to my skin. I was sent the darkest shade (Light/Medium) which isn’t very dark at all as you can see from the swatch photo above. Take a quick look at the Birchbox website and you’ll see it only comes in 3 shades. So if you have a deeper skin tone this will probably look ashy on you. I’ll continue to use this so as not to waste it, but I wouldn’t purchase the full size.
Peek Beauty Metalimatte Naturally Quick Drying Blush in Aboo – Shop here
Mini = 0.05 oz.; full size = 0.24 oz. (?) for $22.00
Got this a few months ago and have used it on and off ever since. You know I love a good cream blush and the cute sliding-tin packaging on this one got me from the start. I love how Birchbox really reps small indie brands like this. Peek is all about semi-sheer, weightless textures and this blush definitely embodies that makeup philosophy. The product is very creamy and layers on the skin quite nicely. The color is super natural (like a light peachy-pink) so if you want to see decent payoff you have to build it up a bit. However you get a nice glow from the peachy-golden pearl. While the website says this color is out of stock, it appears you can still order it. It’s also not clear to me from looking at the site just how big or how much product you get in the full size. I sincerely hope that what I consider the “mini” is not the actual full-size! But I did find a review of a few other Peek products on rougebeka.com that said most products in the line had 0.24 oz. I do like this product and will continue to use it, but probably wouldn’t purchase the full size; there’s other cream blushes I love more.
Winky Lux Disco Kitten Gloss in Groovy – Shop here
Mini = 0.05 oz.; full size = can’t find product weight but retails for $14.00
This came in August’s Birchbox and I immediately became obsessed with it for obvious reasons. Look at that sparkle and the weird green color! I hopped onto my IG (@weareglamerus) and did a quick little video showing the product, so please head over there if you want to see it, or scroll up this page to my IG roll. I’ve never tried anything from Winky Lux before but I remember seeing all those photos of the clear lipsticks with the mini flowers in them. This gloss is one of those self-adjusting products that changes color depending your body’s chemistry, so don’t worry the bright green color goes away! On me this turns into a bright, cool-tone pink. It’s got a ton of shine with hardly any stickiness or grittiness from the glitter. It also has decent staying power on the lips, but just know that as the gloss wears down the glitter gets more and more noticeable. I think this is a fun product and the gloss is super comfy, but the pink is a little bright for me so I’m not sure if I’d purchase the full size.
Mini = 0.25 fl. oz.; full size = 1 fl. oz. for $39.00
I’ve been milking this little guy for months now. I’m not one for face primers because I never felt I needed one, but when I saw the words “radiance” and “hyaluronic acid” I became intrigued. Smashbox describes this as a primer/highlighter hybrid and I completely agree. It’s got a slight golden, almost reddish tint when you first squirt it out of the tube but don’t be alarmed, it does dull down when applied to the skin. What you’re left with is a subtle golden sheen to your skin. I usually apply a tiny amount to my T-zone before my base and then sometimes I even tap a small amount over the high points of my face for a little extra sheen. I like it a lot, and it does seem to lengthen the hold of my base. I was a bad blogger and completely forgot to swatch/photograph this, so I apologize but I’m sure you can find swatches elsewhere online. I would purchase this in the full size.
Mini = 25 mL for $22.00; full size = 50 mL for $38.00
Before using this I hadn’t had an amazing skincare discovery since I first tried the Clinique Moisture Surge line years ago. I didn’t purchase the Aqua Bomb per se. I used my Sephora rewards points at the checkout, but you can buy either the standard or the mini size on Sephora’s website. Wow, I totally loved this! It has this lovely gel-cream texture, which is quite similar to the Clinique Moisture Surge actually. It sinks quickly into the skin, leaves almost no tack but gives this wonderful hydrated, almost plump feeling to the skin. Plus it has this subtle fresh smell that I think is delicious. I finished the whole thing and promptly got a mini of The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb on my next trip to Sephora (again with my rewards points). While I love the Moisturizing Bomb too, I think my heart belongs to the Aqua Bomb; I prefer the texture more. Would absolutely buy it in the full size!
Milk Makeup Holographic Stick in Supernova – Shop here
Mini = 0.25 oz. for $14.00; full size = 1 oz. for $28.00
I’ve been wanting to try more products from Milk Makeup forever, since I love the whole vibe of easy-to-use, no-fuss stick makeup. I recently bought my mom the Matte Bronzer in Baked and she absolutely loves it. I’ve tried one of their Eye Pigments but that was it before I got this. I jumped when I saw this little Holographic Stick since I love a cool-tone highlight. It comes in two other shades, but they definitely wouldn’t match my skin tone. The texture on this is almost balmy. It goes on quite smooth, blends very nicely and even layers over powder without much issue. It gives a subtle sheen of a duo-chrome purple/blue, so if you’re into intense sparkle then keep moving. I’ve used and applied this in a number of ways. I’ve layered it both under my base and on top of on the high points of my face; I’ve applied it both straight onto the skin from the stick and from my fingers. I wouldn’t say it’s got the best payoff, but I’m not one for intense highlighters. I’d say I like it a lot, but I don’t necessarily love it. I’d repurchase in the mini size, not the full size.
Natasha Denona Mini Lila Eyeshadow Palette – Shop here
Mini = 0.8 g for $25.00; full size = $129.00 for 15 shadows
I’ve been dying to try Natasha Denona shadows since the line initially launched, but I’ve always been deterred by the huge palette sizes and the huge price tags. So when I spotted this new Mini Lila Eyeshadow Palette at Sephora, I snatched it up immediately. Supposedly this is an “extension” of the larger Lila Palette with five brand-new shades not included in the 15-pan palette. I have not tried this yet on my eyes since I’m currently testing the Urban Decay Born to Run Palette, but the swatches on this were a-maz-ing. Soft, smooth, no tugging or skipping and with no eye primer underneath. The mattes actually seemed softer and even more pigmented than the shimmers, which blows my mind. I cannot wait to try this out after my other testing is done so I’ll report back. I have high hopes!
Have you tried any interesting beauty mini’s lately? I’d love to know!