My Holiday Sales Picks

I gotta be honest, each year the holiday sales start earlier and get increasingly confusing. I started receiving emails as far back as September, and many of you messaged me around October to see when or if I’d be writing my usual holiday sales guide. I know that great deals coming at you over this period can aggravate a pretty aggressive case of FOMO (fear of missing out). My overall approach this year has been to wait until the Black Friday- Cyber Monday weekend, even with earlier holiday sales start dates. And I feel like it has paid off. But with so many sales, instead of a long list that you could possibly peruse anywhere, instead I’m sharing exactly what I’m getting for myself and which sales I’m using to get them. Do note: this list is serum-heavy because sales are when I typically splurge on this category.

5% Boost: If you have a Chase Freedom credit card, purchases made using PayPal automatically reward a 5% cash back bonus, so as I go through the deals, if I denote this boost, just know that you can basically add another 5% to the promotion. If you don’t have this card yet, get it here (there is no annual fee).

NATURIUM – 25% off Orders $50+, Code: THANKS.

I purchased a bunch of products from Naturium last year, but haven’t gotten around to reviewing them even though I’ve been using them consistently. So consider this my repurchase/mini-review in one:

Vitamin C Super Serum Plus — Naturium is priced very reasonably (this retails for $25 regular price), and the Vitamin C Super Serum Plus (the most concentrated Vitamin C serum in the line) will not feel like you’ve sacrificed any quality. Initially, I wasn’t sure if Naturium achieved the low price points by sacrificing ingredient quality or concentration, but after using the Vitamin C Super Serum Plus, I can confirm it is not the case. This is a VERY potent, yet non-irritating Vitamin C serum that utilizes pure Ascorbic Acid, and I often notice my skin brighten and look more even overnight. Beyond the Vitamin C, what I like about this serum is that it’s a one and done because there’s also retinol, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide. I don’t really like to layer serums, I prefer to use one-two serums in my routine in one sitting, and changing them out daily based on how my skin feels. With the Vitamin C Super Serum Plus, it feels like I’m really going in on the Vitamin C without sacrificing anything else. I’m going to bring up the price again because it’s kind of unbelievable to me that this serum retails for $25, when really it could easily be going for $75+. So of course with 25% off, this is high on my repurchase list.

Alpha Arbutin Serum 2% — on nights where I’m not using Vitamin C or Retinol, I like using the alpha arbutin serum which has lemon (nighttime only!) and niacinimide to work on hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and balances skin tone. Where retinol promotes cell turnover, Vitamin C brightens skin and boosts collagen, this serum is a complexion brightening powerhouse that will work in tandem with retinols, Vitamin C, and anti-aging serums to really bring out that glow we all talk about. I also like adding Alpha Arbutin because you won’t usually find it in acid products, and it’s not only effective, but it’s considered a more skin-friendly alternative to hydroquinone (they’re the same root molecule), the gold standard skin brightener that dermatologists use for age spots, melasma, and post-inflammatory pigmentation.

YÜLI – 15% off Site-wide (with deluxe trial of Ambrosia Beauty Nectar), Code: BFCM21; 20% off Orders $250+ (with full-sized Harmony Body Oil, $80 value), Code: BFCM200.

YÜLI really is a staple in my skincare collection, and their once-a-year holiday sale is basically the only opportunity to get anything at discount. 20% off at $250 is the lowest price tier I’ve seen from them, not to mention you get an $80 product – Harmony Body Oil, which I feel is such an easy product to love that everyone can use. If you can’t hit that number, and just want to try something, you’re still getting a 15% discount, and they’re including a deluxe sample of Ambrosia Beauty Nectar, their most expensive (but worth it) product. Additionally, they take PayPal, so you can add in a bonus 5%.

Halcyon Cleanser – Limited Rose Edition — It’s no exaggeration to say that since finishing my last bottle of Halcyon Cleanser – Limited ROSE Edition last April, I’ve thought about it…. Each time I’ve cleansed my face. I mean… the original Halcyon is my holy grail cleanser, and the Rose edition is just so next-level aaahhhhhmazing. It smells of faint, aquatic roses, the type of fresh and pure floral that you just want to bury your nose into. And their rose is uncompromising, sourced from private gardens which is why the stock is so limited. I’m buying multiples.

Ambrosia Beauty NectarAmbrosia Beauty Nectar has been described as witchcraft in how it just does… everything you could want for the skin in an almost indescribable way. Writing a review for it a while ago proved it be a challenge because there was so much I wanted to say, and didn’t know how to say. Yes, even I found myself out of words. Just trust me on this, it’s an exquisite product. You know how you always hear about miracle serums that do multiple things? This is it. And the ingredients deck is all killer, no filler. For instance, there are multiple actives classed as pharmaceutical-grade antioxidants, and each one is like a miracle ingredient that has long been missing in skincare. Yes, it’s expensive, but there are still serums multiple times this price that don’t have a third of the innovation and formulation integrity as this one. It’s also why I stock up on this during the sale. The formula is absolutely worth it for what you’re getting.

Paula’s Choice – 20% Off Site-Wide

Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment: When it comes to retinols, I prefer to stick to the tried and true retinols, and when I think of tried-and-true, science-based formulas, you can’t go more standard than Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol which is a very powerful, result-driven retinol that happens to also be outfitted with antioxidants and even Vitamin C. It’s such a packed ingredients list for a great price. I had purchased two bottles last year that lasted me until August. I’ve felt a retinol-shaped hole in my routine since then, so I’ll be picking up one extra bottle this year.

Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant: When it comes to acid-exfoliants, I’m kind of done with glycolic acids. They’re harsh, photo-sensitizing, and can cause inflammation. Upon researching acids, I started finding more and more literature about the strengths of Salicylic Acid, an acid I recall from my acne-prone teenage years. I purchased a travel size of the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant (pictured) last year, and have loved it for how gentle and effective it worked. Salicylic Acid works on the sticky and congested bits, the clogged pores, build up, and congestion. That’s why it’s so marvelous for acne. But even for those without acne, I feel those are the qualities one would want from an acid. Plus it’s so much gentler than glycolic acid.

The Nue Co. – 30% Off Site-wide + Free Barrier Culture Cleanser ($42 value) on orders $100+; Code: GARCONBF30

I love this deal because not only is 30% super generous, but the free bottle of Barrier Culture Cleanser (which I reviewed here) is so welcomed because it’s a product I would have otherwise purchased since I did like it a lot. Additionally, they accept PayPal, so you’re potentially looking at a whooping 35% off.

Barrier Culture Moisturizer — The ideal light yet weighty gel-cream texture, lightly scented with the most delicate touch of something nice and comforting, sinks into skin wonderfully, just perfection. Barrier Culture Moisturizer just resonated with me off the bat, and it’s sort of the ideal moisturizer for me. I’ve found myself always reaching for it as my moisturizer of choice from mid-summer to the colder temperatures we’re now experiencing. Such is Barrier Culture Moisturizer’s versatility that it never feels heavy yet always provides that perfect moisturizer benefit. I’m already on bottle 2, and will be purchasing another.

Destress 360 — Truth be told, since initially trying Destress 360 and really enjoying the benefits that I experienced, I’ve been looking around at others. BUT each time there is something that piques my interest, I read the ingredients list, compare them to Destress 360, and Destress 360 wins me back every single time. Most stress supplements focus on 1-2 herbs, an adaptogen or a CBD, but Destress 360 is so much more thorough and holistic. Since the pandemic, I’ve found my anxiety levels have increased significantly, but I just find that Destress 360 helps me coast through stressful days with ease that I otherwise would not have had.

Special Note: I would also recommend their Functional Fragrance, but I just feel like I’ve BEEN all about it for so long now. Seriously though, if you haven’t tried it yet, you really should.

Violet Grey – 20% Off Site-wide

D.S. & Durga Rose Atlantic — D.S. & Durga is one of those cool niche fragrance brands that I’ve been wanting to try, and I got a bottle of their Rose Atlantic after hearing how pretty much every cool kid in fashion and entertainment swears by it. I felt there was no better entry point to this chic Brooklyn perfume brand than the future Santal 33. And boy was it love at first sniff. Out of the box, I was afraid it would smell old-grandma, but nope, Rose Atlantic is much smoother and hipper to ever be that. The rose is soooo nice and fluid. Rose Atlantic is forward and clean without being cloying nor overbearing. There is more staying power and direct fragrance gravitas than just essential oil based perfumes, yet without the overwrought synthetics that feel overwhelming with ongoing wear which was a delight to discover. This is such a nice personal fragrance that feels beautiful, clean, and luxurious.

Royal Fern PHYTOACTIVE SKIN PERFECTING Essence — I just LOVE pressing this onto freshly cleansed skin. Firstly, an essence is a fluid that has a high concentration of plant based matter, and this uses the namesake Royal Fern extract which is an anti-pollution, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory extract. It’s pretty much an instant refresh for tired skin. Now… the product that put Essences on the map is SKII’s Essence, and this one is just sooooo much better in my opinion. This contains good acids, like gluconolactones, that tame enlarged pores, manage hyperpigmentation, and soothe irritation. It also has my favorite acid, lactic acid, that helps to plump as it exfoliates. It’s one of the only acids that is exfoliating, hydrating and anti-aging. Finally the Royal Fern extract helps to overturn the effects of pollution and UV damage on the skin. And it smells so clean and fresh in a green unisex way. 

Special Note: Last time I posted a Violet Grey sale, so many of the products I recommended got excluded so I not only made these purchases successfully with the code, but also checked again prior to publishing this post. If you have your eye on anything from Augustinus Bader, I’m happy to confirm that as of this writing, their products are 20% off as well. I purchased the newly launched Augustinus Bader Eye Cream with the 20% applied.

Memorial Day Weekend Sales

I didn’t plan to make a post on sales, but then it seemed that before I knew it, my inbox was flooded by incoming sale alerts. So forgive me if this sales guide isn’t as comprehensive as ones I’ve done in the past, but I thought I’d share some that I am shopping!

Violet Grey: 20% Off – Automatically Applied

I have to start this short list off with Violet Grey because they’re actually what prompted me to take a gander and decide to partake in a few sales for Memorial Day Weekend. 20% Off is special when it comes to Violet Grey for two reasons. The first is that Violet Grey does maybe 2 sales of this level a year (if you skip this one, you’ll probably have to wait until Black Friday). The second is that the Violet Grey curation typically features high-end brands that are harder to find on discount, making it really valuable if you were saving up for a splurge or investment product. Here’s what I have added to my shopping cart:

Victoria Beckham by Augustinus Bader Cell Rejuvenating Power Serum – Augustinus Bader is just about every beauty editor’s favorite thing, and their original moisturizer – The Cream – even landed as one of the Best Skincare Products of All Time from WWD. The only thing keeping me back from trying them? They are quite an investment. Add their lauded collaboration with Victoria Beckham, and we’re definitely talking about creme de la creme. But if there is anything I’m going to splurge on during a 20% off, it’s going to be their most exclusive which I know won’t be available for this price anywhere else. And I could ALWAYS use a good serum, so this seems like the perfect opportunity to test out the “Cell Rejuvenating Power Serum” which contains the highest concentrations of the Augustinus Bader patented ‘secret sauce’ in all of their products that works by supporting the skin’s own ability to fix itself. Also the bottle is pretty, and looks unlike anything else I own.

Vintner’s Daughter Active Treatment Essence – Vintner’s Daughter products are priced a pretty penny. And, they’re sticklers about never being on discount. You’ve probably seen those email blasts by retailers talking about store-wide discounts, and the fine print typically includes an exclusion on Vintner’s Daughter. But Violet Grey is the only place that seems to be exempt from this, so when they have a sale, it’s the only time and place you’ll land a Vintner’s Daughter product off retail price, and 20% at that for this sale. Obviously we all know Vintner’s Daughter has built the reputation they’ve built on being cultish and celebrity-driven. But Active Treatment Essence does seem like such a more complex formula than their initial face oil – Active Botanical Serum – that I had wanted to try it for ages, but never pulled the trigger because the regular price of $225 just felt too high, but getting it for 20% off does change things. Also the Essence sounds ideal for summer, and would layer really nicely with the serum I’m also getting from above.

Hanacure All-in-one Starter Kit – I feel like we’ve all seen their Instagram ads, and the photos of celebrities like Drew Barrymore using this mask that makes you look old and wrinkly as it works, and then once you wash off, is supposed to be the most amazing thing ever. The formula comes from South Korea, and you need to mix in the ampoules with formula using a brush (that is included) which all feels very… science adventure. Plus, it’s only $29 regular price, so yeah adding to cart.

Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush Stick in Petal – I’ve had my eye on Westman Atelier since they launched. And at $48 for the blush at regular price, their price point is actually quite more accessible than I imagined. Their packaging is in a very chic stick format that would travel easily, won’t scratch, and is convenient for reapplication, and the formula is on par with anything you’ll find in green beauty makeup so getting it for 20% is making me really excited. I chose their blush as my first product because I feel like that’s really hard to get wrong since it’s such a versatile product, and I chose the Petal color because it’s their top selling that is said to work for the most skin tones.

The Nue Co: 25% Off – Code MEMORIALDAY21

Okay, so I’ve written about The Nue Co quite a bit recently, my last post was on their recently launched skincare system, and prior to that, I had talked about their Functional Fragrance in my Bedside Wellness Routine. Their recent launches clearly struck a chord with me. I just find The Nue Co’s approach to supplement really intelligent by diversifying into the way we can supplement through fragrance and skincare. And the formulas are so sophisticated, and well done. That’s not to say their ingestible supplement are lacking, I’ve just started Sleep Drops, and although I’d like to test it a while longer before writing a full review, it’s something that is making a positive impact to my sleep quality. Here’s what I’m getting from their Memorial Day sale:

Functional Fragrance: What can I say? It’s my favorite fragrance, and the one I wear most frequently. It doesn’t overwhelm my sensitive nose, and unlike probably 98% of fragrances out there, it doesn’t feel suffocating after a few hours where I instinctively want to wash it off. The anti-stress benefits are genuine, and feels very calming and grounding, but even without it, the fragrance is something that can be worn just because it smells so damn good.

Barrier Culture Moisturizer: If you read my write up on The Nue Co’s entire skincare system, you’ll know that I really liked all three products (Cleanser, Toner/Serum, Moisturizer). However, I’ve found myself most concerned with running out of the moisturizer, despite the fact that it should still last me a while. This shows perhaps how much I’ve come to enjoy it, that I’m already in that state of making sure I’m not going to run out. The moisturizer is a super-light, delicate gel-cream that absorbs so quickly, is never greasy at all, yet always leaves my skin perfectly happy. I don’t think I’ll be using other moisturizers this summer, so I’m definitely stocking up on this.

Magnesium Ease: This will be a new-to-me product from The Nue Co. I’ve had my eye on it for a while because the idea of a topical magnesium supplement is really compelling, and I also thought this could deliver some additional benefits as a face mist. This spray is supposed to help with stress and sleep, which would pair well with the current Nue Co products that I have (their Functional Fragrance Anti-Stress supplement, and Sleep Drops). It seems like this is a great boost up product that can tie everything together.

Naturium: 20% Off when you spend $50+ Code: MEMDAY

I’m working on getting a detailed review on some Naturium products I’ve used over the past couple of months. In the meantime, here’s what I’ll say: the formulas are good, they’re like a modern lovechild between Paula’s Choice and Drunk Elephant, and their price points are at a surprising halfway point between the aforementioned brands and budget brands like The Ordinary. Here are the products I’m getting:

Retinol Complex Serum – The two things I always have in my skincare are sunscreen and retinol. So I’m always looking for good, reliable retinols that are scientifically backed. The reason I like this one is because it uses photostable, encapsulated retinol, AND bakuchiol, and costs just $20 regular price. If you can find something that works, is made well, and the price is more than justified — stock up.

Mixed Greens Nutrient-Rich Cleanser – I’m gonna be honest, I think this is a dupe for Youth to the People’s cult Superfood Cleanser. They have similar language, ingredients, texture, feel, and performance. The key difference? This cleanser costs just $16 for a massive 7oz bottle at regular price. So, it’s pretty obvious why I’m getting this.

Multi-peptide Eye Cream – I know not everyone believes in eye cream, some people say you can just use moisturizer. But I just feel like I need that extra oomph. And this is the perfectly textured soft cream, and it contains three types of peptides, all for $16 – again, at regular price. It does replicate the performance I get with some $60-$80 eye creams.

I also know that The Detox Market is having a Memorial Day Sale as well (10% off $100 code DETOX10, and 15% when your order is $150+, code DETOX15). However, with the above, I’m pretty set, but I thought I’d mention this for anyone else who might be interested since they do carry a very wide range of green beauty products.

Hopefully this was as helpful as my previous sales guides, leave a comment if I missed anything or if you have your eyes on anything to take home from this weekends sales!