You know the old maxim, "To shop at Sephora is to waste hard-earned money on something at Sephora"? Well, no one wastes money at Sephora like a Sephora cast member wastes money at Sephora, and today, our undercover operative Jasmine is going to share with you some of the dumbest ways you can line the pockets of LVMH shareholders. It's a particularly thrilling time in the life of our spy, who was finally accepted into the elite "Science Of Sephora" training program and is sucking up more juicy counterintelligence to Alger Hiss with us buying public as we speak. In the meantime, she tackles exotic new hair removal tools, crap that claims to cure under-eye circles but really doesn't, skin bleaching, and those "inspiring" messages on all Philosophy products. (Who gets paid to write those goddamn things anyway?) All this and more after the jump. Questions? Comments? Email SephoraSpy@gmail.com.
How do you use a brightening/lightening product without getting kabuki face?
Fuck yes, I love these products. I have so many of them going and I like them all. I use them just because. They work, not fast enough, but they work. You have to be really consistent to see results, and as you get older your cellular turnover starts to slow down, so if some kind of pimple trauma happens to your skin, it might take up to a year for it to go away, so I'm constantly using something like this at night. Something funny about hydroquinone is that it turns brown if you don't use it right away. I have some shit from a derm from years ago that's all brown and nasty and I put it on anyway. My boyfriend calls me "chocolate chip" when I do that because it looks like I have them on my face. I'm shameless. From Sephora, DDF Fade Gel 4 and Post-Acne Spot Lightening Gel by Murad are my favorites. You can use them on age spots, acne scars, melasma—what you can't do is use it while you are pregnant to lighten your unborn child. Also, there's no point in smearing this stuff all over your face, it's more for spot treatment. The full-face treatment with hydroquinone is how kabuki face happens. If you're trying to get rid of freckles, for example, you'd have to decide whether a face several times lighter than your body is worse than your freckles, because there's pretty much no way to avoid smearing it all over your face in that case. If you're going for a whole kabuki face system, go to Shiseido. They have a whole line called White Lucent. Shieseido are the kabuki face masters. They've been perfecting it for like 200 years.
Have you ever achieved Zen by reading the labels on Philosophy products?
Close to it, sister, close to it. Maybe not Zen so much as nirvana. What I heard about Philosophy is that it was designed by a woman who was doing aromatherapeutic massages on cancer patients who had compromised skin from radiation therapy. So she was doing these with super natural nice products and infusing them with good vibes or something, and discovered by doing this that good vibes never hurt anyone, even when they're topical. So that's the idea behind the positive messages on Philosophy products: when you read something that makes you feel good while using a beauty product, you have an extra little moment of positivity in your day, which your face may or may not end up appreciating in the long run. Some people love it, some people just like it, and some people think its bullshit. I like it.
(Ed Note: I just looked that up and it appears to be actually true. You can read more about Philosophy in this Salon piece.. God I hate those fucking messages though. I mean, as long as I'm being forced to stare at the thoughts of some blowhard for the duration of my shower, couldn't it be someone interesting, like Hegel or Jack Handy?)
Which products are the biggest money wasters?
Exfoliating cloths or cloth pillows or whatever. Those things are a waste of everything and it seems like every product line has one. There are these stupid Shiseido The Makeup Facial Cotton things that piss me off every time I see them. Ladies, you should already know not to buy things like this. Just use a motherfucking washcloth. Also, anything that claims to grow your eyelashes or brows. Talika Eyelash Liposomes is one. Revitalash is another. They are both bullshit. Your eyelashes are not going to get longer, ever.
I have 190 Sephora points. Where my free deluxe samples at?
You need to march up to that counter and say, "where's my free shit?" They scan your Beauty Insider card at the register. The gifts are good. It's usually some kind of full-sized product. The products rotate... so if it's something crap, you can hold off on cashing your points in and wait until they're offering something you want.
How do I cope with under eye circles? Does that Hylexin crap really work?
Hylexin does and does not work, and I'll tell you why: under your eyes, there are these fat pads that keep the area really puffy and full, and as you age, these pads shrink, causing you to look like Skeletor. Underneath the fat pads are capillaries, which are full of blood, and these are what you're looking at when you see a dark circle. Hylexin stimulates the capillaries which somehow lightens their appearance. So this will work if your undereye circles are a product of aging, as opposed to something hereditary or generic or structural in your face. If you're 45 and have just noticed the dark circles over the past few years, it might work for you. If you've had them since you were ten, the only thing that is going to fix the circles is plastic surgery, and the only thing that's going to help them is a good concealer. We just got a new product in at Sephora called Eye Slept by someone named Tricia Sawyer who I've never heard of before and know nothing about. It's basically a primer that smooths the undereye area to help concealer stick and prevent it from creasing in the fine lines under your eyes. It has sort of a light greenish tint to it, and it works like crazy. Personally, I feel like fuck an undereye circle. I mean, I have them, but I also choose my battles and most of the time, they are the least of my worries. Too much undereye shit going on tends to make people's otherwise good makeup jobs look like they're going to a newscaster audition. I think the best possible solution for any kind of eye issues is a cute pair of novelty frames. They not only distract everyone else from whether or not you have undereye circles, they also distract you.
What's up with the No!No!?
OMG, I just got serious training on this at Sephora camp. I loved it. I Nonoed both of my arms. It's addictive. It's not really a blade. What it is is a hot coil, or wire, that sizzles the hair off... they call it crystallizing... you know how hair is coiled up like a little nugget thing under the skin? The whole idea of the No! No! is that if you apply enough heat to the hair follicle, on top of burning the hair above the skin off, the heat will also eventually alter the follicle so that it stops growing hair entirely. You'd have to keep at it. The blade coil thingy wears out probably every six shaves or so, but I think that after you went through about six of those, you'd pretty much be hairless. Anyway, using it is pretty foolproof. There's an LED light on it that stays on only when you're at the perfect 90 degree angle contact with your skin. If the light starts blinking or goes off, you're doing it wrong. It works best if you only use it on really small areas of skin at a time, maybe an inch or two, and go over the area a few times. You'll feel some heat, a slight prickle, hear a little sizzle, and you will smell the burned—sorry, crystallized—hair. It comes with a little exfoliating buff to remove the crystallized hair from your skin, but the first few times you use it you might want to even shave afterwards. It's definitely not as effective as a razor until you've been at it for awhile. I think it would be good for someone who is super hairy, used in conjunction with shaving.
Earlier: Mineral Makeup! Lip Plumpers! Oil Cleansers! Colonics? Sephora Spy Spills All, And More!
How I Conquered My Cystic Acne, In (Just!) 17 Painful Steps
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