The One Where AJ Goes Rouge

2016 was my year of beauty. I've always liked makeup, but 2016 was the year I *truly* committed to it.

As in, I spent $1000 on makeup committed to it.

I was checking out at Sephora in early December when I was informed that I was only 100-something dollars away from hitting VIB Rouge, their top-tier rewards program. I was simultaneously horrified and proud that I was able to spend that much money at Sephora in a calendar year. The completionist in me wanted to see this through to the end, of course. Only $100 away? CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. 

How does one go Rouge, you may ask? Here's a play by play.


I decided to randomly get into contouring. I don't know if I watched too many YouTube videos or too much Keeping Up With the Kardashians, but I decide to schedule a makeover at my local Sephora store and have HER teach me how to contour. For some reason I buy not one, but two different contour palettes, and two different brushes. I'm assuming the lipstick was a point of purchase at checkout. For contouring noobs, the Tarte palette is really great for beginners (and I LOVE the blush). The Kat Von D palette is super pigmented so it's awesome once you've mastered the craft a little more.

I am not sure if I have ever used that lipstick.

While makeovers are free, they do ask that you spend $50 on some product if you aren't Rouge. I ended up buying almost everything she used on my face, because I am a huge sucker. The Becca highlighter in Pearl is still my most favorite (I use it every day!). It's like, instant wake up powder, even on your most trashbag-looking days. I can't function without a Beauty Blender now, so that's a thing. The Lancome foundation was okay. I loved the compact but dang, almost $50 for a foundation that didn't last that long is too much. I feel like the cushion compacts really waste a lot of product in the sponge. That Bobbi Brown pencil is awesome for muting redness.


My makeup artist from last month informed me that they offer free classes on Sunday, so I decided to sign up for a color correcting class. I am determined to become a makeup genius, or at the very least, I'm going to try and wear makeup every day so no one tells me I look tired. I learn everything about color correcting ever, and decide to buy everything they offer in the store. I have not used any of these items in months, but they were great when I first started.

But wait, there's more! Not reflected on this list, because I bought it at Ulta, yet ANOTHER color correcting palette from Tarte, that I end up using as...wait for it...a contour palette. I should not be allowed access to a credit card. 

Oh, and those mini Beauty Blenders in all the color correcting colors? Yeah, you don't need those. No one needs those.

April & May

I attend another Sephora class, this time on daytime smoky eyes. I actually loved the techniques I learned at this one, and came out relatively unscathed with only two items. I still use the Laura Mercier caviar stick and the Tartelette Tease palette on the reg, so that was a good choice.

I saw an ad for the Too Faced Mascara Melt and decided to try it. It works well, but I don't use it every day. Kat Von D Ink Liner has been a staple for me for over a year now, so that's a rebuy. 10 stars.


In June I have a mental breakdown over this Becca x Jaclyn Hill highlight and blush palette. It's sold out, so that means that I MUST have it. I used a gift card from my birthday to purchase it when it finally restocked, and I must is a lovely little palette. Here's a cute little alternative. I also became obsessed with Kat Von D face products after getting a package of her concealer and powder in the mail, so I decided to mix up my foundation and try the Lock-It. I LOVE THIS STUFF. Seriously, seriously great foundation. Apparently I decided I needed that lip paint. I bought a Sephora brand beauty blender for this blog post.

July, August, September

I chill out on the spending for a few months thanks to funemployment. Only Sephora purchases are a few gifts for friends. Sarah at Sephora calls to see if I'm okay since she hasn't heard from me in a while. I wear almost zero makeup, as my dog does not care what I look like. 

October & November

I'm back! I'm tired of my blonde looking brassy, so I buy a purple shampoo from DP Hue. If it's good enough for Miley Cyrus, it's probably good enough for me. I join Sephora Play for $10 a month so I can get addicted to even more products (and yes, it's legit). I attend another smoky eyes class and fall in love with this Estee Edit shadow, absolutely go bananas over Bobbi Brown's Eye Opening Mascara. The Naked Smoky palette goes on sale for 50% off, so obviously I have to buy it to complete my Naked set. I've actually used it more than almost any other palette lately.


What? I still haven't spent enough to go Rouge? No. So I drop some heavy hints around Christmas and boom, $100 in Sephora giftcards. I use those to stock up on more Ink Liner and buy this Becca Foundation and travel size of Laura Mercier powder for our Europe trip, since KVD doesn't make very portable items. Honestly, the jury is still out on the Becca foundation. I was so excited, but after the incredible coverage you get with Lock It, it's a tough sell. 

It's New Year's Eve in Dublin, Ireland and I've still got $35 to go. From a wine bar in the Temple Bar district, I grab this UD Naked Ultimate palette that I've been eying and this shadow pencil - which I highly recommend as an alternative to the Laura Mercier mentioned above. I'm guessing I had a coupon or something, because otherwise I cannot explain why I spent $68 when I only needed another 30 or so.

The Naked Ultimate palette lives up to its name. That thing is awesome. I love the purple colors on the top right mixed with a strong cat eye.


I actually cannot tell one difference between VIB and VIB Rouge. Someone told me it was free two-day shipping, but I paid $10 for that last year (which may have contributed to my status). I received no balloons in the mail, no special golden ticket, there are no t-shirts or even a badge for my blog to brag about how good I am at spending money on something you wash down the drain every night.

Someone please stab me if I attempt to do this again in 2017.