Sephora birthday gift 2016
Sephora offers two choices for your free 2016 birthday gift - a skincare set from Fresh or a makeup set from Marc Jacobs. Normally I choose the Sephora makeup set over the skincare, but this year's Marc Jacobs duo didn't interest me. I prefer thin eyeliner pencils over the thicker gel pencils to get a precise, thin line or to tightline and I prefer tinted lip balm or lip gloss to full on lipstick, so I went for the other option.
I was really excited to try Fresh minis of the rose face mask and soy face cleanser - I have loved everything I have tried from Fresh in the past, especially their lip treatments. I am pleased to report both of these are quite nice and don't irritate my sensitive skin. My favorite of the two is the rose face mask - it smells like real roses! Neither product is a game changer, but I enjoy using them.
I didn't love either one of last year's NARS pencils (Rikugien was fine but nothing special and Cruella was crazy drying on me), so 2016 is a step up.
Ulta birthday gift 2016
Unlike Sephora, Ulta's free birthday gift changes quarterly. My birthday is in February, so I got the January - February - March freebie, which is a Benefit roller lash mascara mini! Compared to last year's Ulta house brand palette, roller lash is downright luxurious. My favorite Ulta birthday gift to date was the free full size CK mascara (2014 if I remember correctly?), but this is better than last year for sure. No word yet on what next quarter's Ulta gift will be, but I will come back and update when they announce.
So far, I'm liking roller lash much better than Benefit's they're real mascara. The brush on they're real was sharp and pokey and the formula was much too wet and clumpy for my taste. Roller lash is much more separating and lengthening than they're real, but can also get clumpy and weigh down the lashes with too much product.
The roller lash wand is similar to Cover Girl's clump crusher, but a little less curved and with a more dramatic difference in short vs long bristles on each side of the wand. Clump crusher does a much better job than roller lash at providing lash separation and buildable length, but roller lash offers more volume and drama.
Urban Decay birthday gift 2016
Urban Decay's beauty junkies rewards program is brand new and there isn't a ton of info about it online yet. When I first read about the Urban Decay free eyeshadow on your birthday offer, I was worried that they were trying to clear out an unpopular shade or a mini or something, but no! You get to pick your own shade and it is a full size! The bad news is that it does require a purchase, but this is a great offer if you were planning a UD purchase or if you want a better value way to get a single eyeshadow shade. If you don't have it already, I highly recommend Sin. I like this style of rewards program because it allows you to customize the shade of what you want and get a full size product - I hope more brands get on board with birthday bonus gifts!
If you want to sign up for Urban Decay beauty junkies, you can use my referral link here (the referral program is open to all, if you sign up with my link we each get 10 points) or sign up through their website.
Happy birthday!!! I hope this roundup was helpful to you and enjoy your freebies! If you know what next quarter's Ulta gift is or know about any other makeup birthday offers, please tell me in the comments.
2017 UPDATE: Click here for info on the 2017 gifts!