I should explain a bit about how bloggernomics works, in the US at least. Alllllllllll of this stuff I buy and review on fan-b/Instagram or talk about when I do freelance beauty writing is a tax write-off. The blog makes money from affiliate links that pay commission and the display advertising you probably have blocked, and I get paid to write about beauty stuff (only on sites other than fan-b though). I then take all of that money and hurl it hard and fast at nice products that I hope will be magical. I have a full-time job that pays the bills, so I just want the blog to break even.
I don’t have an accountant or anyone else telling me what to do with this whole tax mess, so I need to keep my books clean as hell from year to year and not end up doing weird stuff like buying things in one year and discussing them the next because my grasp of blogger taxes isn’t that sophisticated. So if I buy something one year, I need to talk about it that year.
The problem is that, as you’ll see in my next few reviews, it sometimes takes me more than a year to test a product. And frankly, I like that about me. I’m disorganized and grouchy and kind of into kpop idols more than someone my age should be, but I’m not into giving my opinion until I’m really ready.
This means that I need to talk about the stuff I’m hauling now…now. So! Welcome to the start of my year-end tax-related orgy of consumerism! I’m hopeful that the information in these IRS-driven posts will actually be useful, enabling, or just fun to see. Plus, I want to find out what you’d like to see reviewed first — tell me in the comments or on Twitter.
Cult Beauty Skincare Haul
Cult Beauty, based in the UK, is the shit. I live in the US and this is kind of my fantasy shop. Imagine: you can get Blossom Jeju (kbeauty), Mizon AHA BHA toner (kbeauty), Sunday Riley, fancy fragrances, the latest Pixi releases, value bundles…it’s like Sephora with better curation and a higher joy quotient. I really feel like the people making the decisions are just in love with beautiful things. Sure sure, that’s probably a naïve view, but I really like shopping here and even just looking at what they offer. Added to all of that is the fact that the prices posted on the site include UK/EU VAT, so they actually drop by 18%ish for me once they go into my US-bound shopping cart. AND there are crazy things like mind-blowing goody bag offers and beauty boxes. Oh, and there’s free international shipping over £50 and new customer discounts.
Time to NYC: I placed my order on 17 November 2016 and it arrived in my office Monday, November 28. Potentially adding to the shipping time was the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday and fact that my office building has been closed for the past four days. Cult Beauty says on their site that once standard shipments are despatched, they take 5-10 business days to reach customers in North America.
Cult Beauty lists prices including VAT, so I’m going to list the adjusted prices that I paid due to living outside of the EU and not needing to pay taxes at the time of sale.
I’ve been wanting to try Nuxe products for a bit, but I didn’t want to buy full bottles of anything. This travel sampler seemed like a cost-effective way to test the brand.
I feel like the last person to try Tata Harper’s eponymous skincare line, so I found a set with a lot of products and lower price, in part to hit the minimum for the goody bag.
I’m obsessed with cleansers and I’ve never tried a beauty product from Austria, so I grabbed this after reading some very favorable reviews. It leaked a bit, but after investigating everything I determined that it wasn’t more than a few ml lost, not a huge deal.
Morphe Pro Firm Blending Crease Brush (M441): £4.79
I wanted to hit the minimum for the goody bag, so I threw in this Morphe brush. It didn’t cost a ton and I can always use eyeshadow blenders, so I overcame my side-eye at Morphe (they get a lot of noise marketing from beauty influencers) and threw it in my cart.
Alpha-H With Love Collection: £20.83
I wanted to try Alpha-H’s Liquid Gold, which has great reviews. BUT I see that alcohol is one of the top ingredients, so I didn’t want to shell out for a full-size bottle. Enter this cost-effective value set.
I need to confess something: I’m hunting for a Sunday Riley Good Genes dupe. I really like Good Genes, but it’s just waaaay too expensive to be part of my regular routine. So I threw down enough money to buy a year’s worth of Good Genes to snatch up every legit-looking lactic acid on the market. Seriously, I do not recommend blogging. ahahah
This lactic acid cream is one of the acids I’ll test on my hunt. It’s not cheap, but you do get more product for less money, so it’s under consideration.
Cult Beauty 2016 Goody Bag
I’m just going to drop this here.
With a purchase of £150 I got this:
- May Lindstrom The Youth Dew Hydrating Facial Serum 20ml, full size (£96)
- Pixi Glow Tonic 100ml (about £7.20)
- By Terry Baume de Rose Flaconnette 2.3g (about £9.60)
- Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone 20ml (about £13.60)
- Joer Long-Wear Lip Crème in Lychee 6ml, full size (£15)
- Huda Beauty lashes in Giselle full size (£12.50)
- Foreo Luna Play (£29)
- Charlotte Tilbury Pocket Kiss sample
- Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask 15ml (about £23.50)
- Morphe Deluxe Buffer Brush (M439) full size (£13)
- gold makeup bag
- Zelens Z Matrix Energy and Moisture Infusion 15ml (about £25.50)
- Moon Juice Beauty Dust 3g (about £1.70)
- Anastasia Beverly Hills Mini Brow Wiz sample
- £15 Cult Beauty gift card
Since I don’t pay UK/EU VAT, I’m still unclear whether I really needed to buy a full £150 worth of stuff after VAT was removed or if I could have just bought a pile of stuff with a £150 sticker price, paid less due to VAT being removed, and still received the bag. At less than £150, the goody bag was still in my cart, but I wasn’t willing to chance it and discover that I’d fucked up this magnificent haul because I resisted adding a few products I want to try anyway. I should really ask Cult Beauty about this for the next time a gift with purchase offer comes around, hmm.
It looks like Cult Beauty does about four-ish goody bags per year and they don’t sell out for maybe 48 hours or so (which is shocking to me because WOW). That may not be the case in the future, but it’s not like there’s a history of these being insta-sellouts. I haven’t been swayed by the last few, but this one, wow.
WOW, PEOPLE! Ok, off to pour this haul into my bed and roll around in it. Anything here have you curious?
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Clicking those links before you shop means that fan-b receives a small commission, which helps to support the blog by funding experiments like this. Please see my full disclosure for more information.