Empties: May to September 2017

Posted on September 07, 2017 under Empties

Hello from Scotland! I landed yesterday morning and have been dealing with an uncharacteristic bout of terrible jetlag. I still feel a bit off, but I think one more sleep will set me right. I’m currently in a hotel and will be moving into my flat tomorrow afternoon. Yay! Here’s the view from my window:

Today I have some empties for you. This post outlines the results of my efforts to use up as much stuff as possible before my big move. Look, I had to use two box lids to house all of this crap!

Skincare

The Body Shop Chamomile Silky Cleansing Oil: My third bottle! I’m a huge fan of oil cleansers, and this one emulsifies my makeup really well and leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated.

A-Derma Exomega Emollient Cleansing Oil: Got this through work. It’s my second bottle of it. It’s a little bit thicker and less runny than the Body Shop one but takes my makeup off just as well. I do wish it had a pump, though.

Bioderma Sensibio Makeup Removing Micelle Solution: One of my favourite micellar solutions for sure – it’s a classic for a reason! It doesn’t dry out my skin at all, which a lot of micellar waters do.

Vichy Pureté Thermale One Step Cleansing Micellar Solution – 100mL and 30mL bottles: I find this micellar solution too drying for my face. I used it for travel and to remove swatches. The deluxe sample size (30mL) is especially great for shorter trips.

La Roche-Posay Respectissime Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover: I’ve cracked open my third bottle after using this one up! I think it’s so great – gentle but really effective and reasonably-priced.

Lancôme Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover: This is one of the best eye makeup removers I’ve ever used, but the price is unjustifiable. I really like the DS sizes for travel, but otherwise I stick to the LRP – it’s just as good and half the price.

Vichy Eau Thermale: I don’t use thermal water sprays on my face, but I used this to wet my sponge when I was feeling lazy. Got this for free through work.

Lancôme Tonique Douceur: This was gratis from work. I thought it was a decently effective hydrating toner, but it’s expensive for what it is and highly fragranced. Definitely would not buy for $39.

NeoStrata Purifying Solution 8% Glycolic Acid: My second bottle. My skin likes gycolic acid a lot. I also used this occasionally on my arms and legs since I have keratosis pilaris and glycolic acid is one of the few things that seems to visibly reduce it.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10%: My skin really liked this and I’d totally repurchase it. I have a full glycolic acid toner I got through work that I’ll use up first, though.

The Ordinary Niacinimide 10% + Zinc 1%: I like this to help purify and control blemishes. I don’t have acne-prone skin, but I get hormonal breakouts around my chin and since adding this to my stash I’ve found the severity of those breakouts has decreased. I’m also super into Niacinimide as a great all-around beneficial skincare ingredient: this form of vitamin B3 helps to even out skin and reduce dullness, and it’s an antioxidant as well.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5: This is my second bottle of this product; it’s replaced all other hydrating serums for me because it’s so much cheaper and just as effective. I usually use it day and night and it really boosts my skin’s hydration. It got me through a dry winter and I don’t find it too heavy for summer.

Lierac Hydragenist Moisturizing Oxygenating Replumping Serum: I didn’t enjoy this deluxe sample very much. It was super thin and oily, which made it messy to apply. The full size is $65, which seems absurd.

Lancôme Energie De Vie Smoothing and Glow-Boosting Liquid Care: My usual review of Lancôme products: nice, does what it says, but way too fragranced and completely overpriced. Got this through work.

Reversa Antioxidant Booster Serum: This is more of a light lotion than a serum. I enjoyed the texture and thought it helped keep my skin hydrated throughout the winter. It smelled like boiled hotdogs, though. I got it through work.

Vichy Aqualia Thermale Dynamic Hydration Light Cream: Nice moisturizer! Nothing amazing, but nice. Wouldn’t buy the full size.

La Roche-Posay Cicaplast: This is what I always use to heal my tattoos. It’s a lightweight gel formula that sinks in quickly and adds lots of hydration to the tattoo without dulling the colour as its sister the Cicaplast Baume B5 does. (The Baume is zinc-based, so it leaves a pretty severe white cast.) I’ve used it on three out of four tattoos so far and I’ll use it again next time!

Bioderma Sensibio Eye: This eye cream grew on me when I abandoned the pretense that it would do anything but hydrate. As a lightweight moisturizing gel, it was very nice. I don’t have super dry undereyes, so the texture was perfect for me.

Aloe Mask: I don’t know what the brand of this mask is or where you can buy it, but it was a very nice hydrating sheet mask. Nothing super special, but a nice treat.

Life Brand Moisturizing Facial Sheet Cream Mask: This sheet mask was very much soaked in a thick, white moisturizing cream rather than a lightweight serum. I’m not sure I enjoyed this. I used two of them up, but only one is pictured.

A-Derma Intense Repair Lip Balm: I forgot to include this in the flatlays, but this lip balm honestly deserves its own picture because it is that good. It’s a clear, thin consistency which makes it a great daytime option when compared to the super thick and waxy Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm which I love for nighttime. The catch is that A-Derma has discontinued this product because of course they have! I would have repurchased it in a heartbeat, but apparently we just can’t have nice things in the year 2017.

Hair

Batiste Dry Shampoo in Floral & Fruity Blush and Big and Bouncy XXL Volume: I haaaated the XXL Volume so much. It completely dried my (super damaged) hair out. So I guess if you have extremely oily hair this stuff will really do the trick. The Floral & Fruity Blush wasn’t my favourite scent, but it was fine.

Light Blue Shade Original Shampoo and Volumizing Shampoo: Bottle three and four of Light Blue shade done and dusted – I’ve been using this for about a year now and I love it. It’s only $10 at the drugstore, and it’s the most effective purple shampoo I’ve ever used. It’s not too drying, either, which some purple shampoos can be. I didn’t notice any difference between the Original and Volumizing versions, but I have natural volume anyway.

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Hi-Impact Restoring Shampoo*: I got this through Influenster and I ended up really liking it. I like to alternate between a purple shampoo for tone maintenance and one that’s a little more hydrating. This fit the bill for a hydrating shampoo perfectly. I’ve generally been a fan of the John Frieda blonde hair products – one of the first thing I bought here in the UK was a bottle of their tone-correcting shampoo since I can’t get Light Blue Shade here.

Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm: This is a nice conditioner which was a hand-me-down from my mom. It’s not enough for hair that’s thoroughly bleach-damaged, but I liked to use this on my roots and a deep conditioner through the lengths. I can’t get very excited about conditioner, nor can I compel myself to spend much on it.

StriVectin All Smooth Conditioner: Sample size received through work. Way too expensive for what it is: a decent conditioner. I used it up on my trip to Kentucky in the spring.

StriVectin All Smooth Overnight Anti-Frizz Serum: Sample size received through work. I don’t know if this did anything, to be honest.

Bath & Body

L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil: I don’t care how unnecessary this expenditure is. I love this stuff too much to stop! Anyway, this mega-sized bottle of it lasted me and my mom more than a year and a half, so I’m not too mad about it.

Freeman’s Pomegranate Sugar Scrub: A staple of my empties posts.

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Fluide: I liked this okay as a lightweight body lotion, but my arms and legs are so dry that I really need something richer. They’ve discontinued this and replaced it with the Lipikar Lait, which is very similar in texture.

Avène TriXera Nutri-Fluid Lotion: Pretty similar to the Lipikar Fluide except much more watery in texture. Nice enough for the summer, but not my ideal body moisturizer.

The Body Shop Grapefruit Body Butter (mini): Meh. This is a pretty standard Body Shop body butter – it’s pretty greasy and not enough for my dry skin. The coconut one is the best one, and I will probably buy some this winter.

Makeup

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD foundtation in Y215: This is my no-brainer, no-fuss foundation that never lets me down. It applies easily with whatever method I choose (brush, sponge, fingers), it has a nice medium coverage and a natural finish, and it never makes my skin look dry. This is also one of my best shade matches. (I was previously using R210, which was too pink.) I’m trying to get through some of my other foundations right now, but I can see myself going back to this.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly: I loved how this brightened my undereyes in initial application, but after a few hours it looked so dry on me. I know not everything works for everyone, but I’m sad that this didn’t work for me… especially at $36.

Marcelle Ultimate Fringe Effect Mascara: I’m generally a fan of Canadian drugstore brand Marcelle, and I thought this mascara was great. If anything, it got better with age. It gave me the length and definition I so crave in mascaras and never got clumpy. It wasn’t great on the bottom lashes because it transferred, but it’s a nice little drugstore option for those in the Great White North.

Stila Stay All Day Waterpoof Eyeliner in Intense Black and Snow: Loved these. Snow was so much fun, and Intense Black is a staple in my life. I can’t even tell you how many of them I’ve gone through, but I’m probably approaching double digits now.

Clarins Waterproof Eye Pencil in Noir: This is a creamy, smooth pencil eyeliner. I used it daily to tightline. It’s not totally transfer-proof, so I wouldn’t repurchase.

Benefit Gimme Brow in Light: As much as I liked the convenience of this tinted, fiber-filled brow gel, I don’t think I could justify the price. I do really appreciate how easy this is to travel with; when I’m away I don’t always want to fuss with the pomade I usually use. There are lots of dupes on the market, though.

Tanya Burr Cosmetics Lash Glue: Even after I wore my Tanya Burr false lashes into the ground, I held onto the glue they came with. I think it’s great, and I love the brush applicator. It’s very goopy now, so it’s time for it to go.

Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Eastend Snob: I think this is the third one of these I’ve gone through – it’s such a no-fail colour, popular for a reason.

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Patina (mini): I loved this dusty, mauvey pink colour, but my mini is finally all dried up. I probably won’t repurchase because I’m getting tired of liquid lipsticks.

ELF Lip Exfoliator: This brown sugar- and shea-based lip exfoliator is very convenient because it’s in stick form. Buying from ELF is a pain, though, since it’s hard to find most of their products in-store in Canada. (And the UK, for that matter…)

Miscellaneous

Quo Nail Polish Remover: This is a standard nail polish remover.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Sugar Fix: I could get more mileage out of this bottle with a nail polish thinner, but I’m not a nail polish person and the fact that it’s goopy and lumpy tells me that it’s time to say goodbye. I loved this cornflower blue, and I think the Miracle Gel formula is great.

ELF Daily Brush Cleaner: I liked this just fine, but the scent is pretty strong and as Lyn pointed out, you’ll get the same results with alcohol.

Foil Samples

Vichy Pore Purifying Clay Mask: This stuff totally works. I used it once all over my face and once localized on a gnarly chin breakout. I’d never buy the full size because you can buy kaolin-based masks for a lot cheaper.

Vichy Quenching Mineral Mask: This was nice, but I can give my skin a shot of moisture for cheaper.

Vichy Double Glow Peel Mask: I didn’t love the gritty texture on this mask. Because I incorporate AHAs into my daily skincare routine, I don’t really feel the need for an AHA mask.

Smashbox Insta-Matte Lipstick Transformer: I don’t like how goopy this is; it just feels like an extra layer on my lips. If I really want to mattify a lipstick I’ll just powder it through a tissue.

Benefit They’re Real! Remover: Oh, boy, I could not resist the urge to try another part of the They’re Real! line given how much I absolutely despise both the mascara and eyeliner. This did get my waterproof eye makeup off, but because it’s a lotion it’s a weird texture to use on the eyes. I prefer a biphase remover – it’s quicker and not as messy.

By the way, I am finally letting go of my trusty empties box, because it has seen better days:

Yes, that means saying goodbye to Harry Styles…

… but I have tickets to see him in October and April so I think he’ll forgive me.

Empties: March to May 2017

Posted on May 12, 2017 under Empties

I seriously need to figure out a place to store my empties box that’s out of sight, because it’s kind of a bummer walking into my room to see a box of literal useless garbage.

I’ve included a category for samples once again here, but I’ll put deluxe-sized samples (that I got to use for awhile and form a real opinion on) in their respective categories.

As always, I’ll clearly indicate which products I received for free through work as well as any PR samples.

Skincare

Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask: This got me through the winter very nicely. I think the price ($32 CAD for 100mL) is pretty fair too. I bought this back in November and just finished it up on Monday, so it lasted quite awhile. Moving into warmer weather I’ll use a less intense night cream, but I’d certainly consider repurchasing once the cold weather sets in again.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Riche Daily Soothing Nourishing Cream: I’ve gone through three tubes of this stuff now. It’s my favourite winter daytime moisturizer: it’s thick and nourishing but still sits well under makeup. I don’t have very reactive skin, but I do like that this product contains very few ingredients. I have a lot of specialized skincare products so I like a no frills moisturizer that I can layer with actives.

Clarins Daily Energizer Cream Gel: This was a sample. I had high hopes for this lightweight, gel texture moisturizer, but I found that it made whatever makeup I put on top of it pill. That’s a no-go!

Life Brand Tightening Facial Sheet Mask: You guys, I am so dedicated to the empties cause that I did this face mask in Montreal and put it in a Ziploc baggie to transport back to Toronto to put into my empties box. This was an unremarkable sheet mask which was probably not worth the effort. It did make my skin feel very soft and nourished, but I didn’t notice any tightening effect. Also IT DID NOT FIT MY FACE AT ALL:

Anyway, worth $1.67 for the sheer fun of doing face masks with your friends.

La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Serum: I got this through work. I’m a huge fan of La Roche-Posay skincare, but this serum missed the mark for me. I didn’t find it particularly hydrating at all and much prefer the Vichy Aqualia Thermale serum. At this point, though, I’ll forego both and stick with the next product.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5: I repurchased a new bottle of this stuff the day it ran out. The guy at the Deciem store was like, “Have you used this product before?” and I was like “Yes and I cannot live one day without it.” This works great as a hydrating serum pre-moisturizer, and for $6.80 CAD I don’t feel bad using it liberally morning and night.

The Ordinary 100% Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil: So, more than a year ago I learned from an episode of Dragon’s Den that all argan oil comes from Morocco and Algeria. The vast majority of the work harvesting and processing argan oil is done by Berber women in this region. The Moroccan government has actually helped established women-run co-ops to produce argan oil. Amazingly, Berber women have exclusive rights to selling and producing it. So buying argan oil is a great way to support a woman-run industry! That spiel out of the way, I loved this product for my hair and body. It was a bit too heavy for my face. The 30mL bottle is not the most cost-effective way to go for a body moisturizer (even at $6.80), however. I’m currently trying out The Ordinary’s squalane on my face and hair, so I’ll have to see how that goes before I decide which one I want to repurchase.

NeoStrata Purifying Solution – 8% Glycolic Acid: This was my first true foray into the world of glycolic acid toners, and I enjoyed it. I have another bottle on the go but I think I’ll try something else when I run out of it. I did really like it and often recommend it to customers who want something a bit higher than the Pixi Glow Tonic (which is 5% glycolic), but I like to switch things up and I’m not such a huge fan of alcohol being so high up in the ingredients list on this one.

Arbonne Lip Intelligence Lip Treatment*: I did like this lip balm a lot, but at $46 I would never repurchase it. I can’t help but assume that the high cost is due to the fact that Arbonne is a multi-level marketing business. When I accepted press samples from Arbonne a year and a half ago, I wasn’t aware that it was an MLM and going forward I definitely won’t support any MLMs on my blog or in real life.

Hair

Matrix SoColor Hair Dye in 6W Light Brown: I had a very ill-fated attempt at dyeing my hair brown over the red. (I mean, it wasn’t a disaster, it just didn’t show up at all. Even on my virgin roots it just went auburn…) Anyway, that whole debacle taught me that I should be blonde until it kills me.

Wella Color Charm T-18 Lightest Ash Blonde Toner: Speaking of blonde, the colour has always been a DIY project. When I went back to blonde, it was super brassy and my usual Manic Panic toner concoction didn’t cut it. I went back to Wella T-18, which I did NOT have a horrible reaction to this time. I’ll still save this for special occasions since I don’t want to push it, but it just is the best toner for ashy, white blonde hair. And trust me, I’ve tried a lot.

StriVectin Hair All Smooth Shampoo: I got this in a little set at a StriVectin training. It was very handy for travel, which is how I used it up, but it’s nothing special. I’m not going to direct my customers to it when I can sell them John Frieda or Marc Anthony for half the price.

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask: You know, I have been so desperate for anything that will keep my hair on my head that if this stuff was miraculous I would have shelled out the frankly ridiculous $46 CAD for the full tub. I think this was worth the 100 points I spent on it at Sephora, as it was a perfectly serviceable hair mask which kept my nasty dead hair in fairly good condition. The 30mL sample size also lasted me probably about 10 uses, and it was great to travel with. However, for forty-six goddamn dollars it had better be doing something amazing, because $46 is a fairly significant chunk which I could be using to pay my telephone bills and automo-bills. (Actually, I don’t have any automo-bills because I don’t have a car and can barely drive!) I’d probably spend points on samples of this for travel purposes, but I’ll just keep buying hair masks at the drugstore which all basically do the same thing for like $35 less. Also, the one thing that actually rescued my hair from the depths of bleach-destroyed hell after I went back to blonde was Olaplex.

Bath & Body

Calgon Hawaiian Ginger Shea Sugar Scrub and Body Wash: The scent of this was nice, but I definitely will not repurchase because I don’t think it was too effective as a scrub. When I bought it I didn’t realize it was more of a sugar scrub suspended in a body wash, and I feel like it’s too liquidy to really grip the skin well. My mom unearthed yet another tube of the Freeman’s pomegranate scrub which I love, so I’ll be going back to that.

Old Spice Champion Deodorant: So, I bought this stick on sale for $3.99 back in September 2013 and I JUST used it up now. Men’s deodorant is SO GOOD! I also prefer the scent of this to, like, cucumber or baby powder. I did purchase another stick of Old Spice, but this time I switched it up and went with Bearglove. By the way, I buy the gel version.

Makeup & Nails

Witchcraft Be Strong: The best treatment for my peeling nails. I’m on my third bottle!

NARS Pro-Prime Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base: My dudes, I have waxed poetic about this eyeshadow primer for a long time, but our love affair is over. They must have reformulated it – my first tube lasted me two and a half years and could get me through absolutely anything and this tube lasted a year and got me through maybe 7 hours. I picked up the Milani eyeshadow primer and that shit is so good and less than a third of the price.

Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss Lipstick in 08: The last time I finished a lipstick was two years ago, and I had to make a real effort to use this one up. This rosy neutral with a hint of brown was a go-to everyday shade for me for awhile, but I wore it constantly for 6 weeks and so now I am glad it’s gone. It’s definitely a flattering shade on me, but it’s not very exciting – yet every time I wore it to work I got so many questions on it. I once sold four tubes in one day just because people asked what it was. I won’t repurchase because my Buxom liner in Hush Hush* is basically the same colour.

Look how dead this lipstick is!!!!

Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base: I swear I’m always spending my Sephora points on shit I’m not that excited about, and yet I always seem to have Sephora points. And no, it’s not because I spend so much at Sephora, because I really don’t. I’m a Shoppers loyalist. Anyway, I ended up using this sample up by mixing it into foundation. I thought that gave a very nice, glowy look, but the full size is $54, and, like… no.

Foil Samples

NARSskin Total Replenishing Eye Cream: This was a very thick eye cream which would be a nice nighttime treatment for those with dry undereyes. My undereyes don’t really need much (a thin gel formula is fine), so this was a bit too much for me, and the full size is $68 hahahahaha are you kidding me NARS.

StriVectin LABS Silver Peel-Off Purifier: I kind of don’t think this really did anything! Maybe it’s just that it has more of a cumulative effect, though? It did look cool on my face, at least, but that’s not enough to make me spend $72 on the full size.

The Ab Crew Caffeine Shampoo: I got this as a sample at the Deciem store. I didn’t really like this one at all – the texture was a strange sticky gel which I don’t feel was very effective on my thick hair. I also think it’s hard to assess the efficacy of caffeine on my hair with only one use. Anyway, I don’t need my hair to “wake up” (whatever that means), I need it to not be crunchy/on the verge of death.

Hylamide HA Blur: This is billed as a “finisher”, but it can also be used as a primer. I didn’t find it did anything as a primer, but maybe I should have used it mixed in with my foundation or overtop it. MEH.

The Chemistry Brand HA3 Hand Hydrator: Another Deciem sample! It was a nice enough hand cream, but I don’t really use hand cream since my hands are like the only part of my body that aren’t dry and don’t typically need any added moisture. It smelled nice, though!

Normally I space these posts out very sporadically, but I can pretty much guarantee that the next one will be sometime in August before I move. See ya then!

Empties: December 2016 to February 2017

Posted on February 20, 2017 under Empties

I feel like I did an empties post pretty recently, but I have accumulated a lot of garbage which I would like to throw out so that I can hoard new garbage in my room! So here you go…

Skincare

La Roche-Posay Respectissime Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover: This is definitely my favourite eye makeup remover. It’s gentle, super effective, and half the price of the Lancôme Bi-Facil. Have repurchased!

Bioderma Sensibio H20 Makeup Removing Micelle Solution: I got this for free through work and I really liked it. It’s right up there with the La Roche-Posay micellar water for me. A lot of micellar waters I’ve tried (Vichy, Avène, Garnier) have left my face feeling too dry and tight, but this one doesn’t dry me out. My mom and I are currently working our way through one of the 500mL bottles.

La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water: Obviously, I got this from work, because I am the kind of cranky skeptic who does not believe in paying money for a can full of water. I mean, they can say it’s packed full of minerals, but the literal only ingredient on this can is “water”. I know a lot of people swear by this stuff, but I am not one of them. I actually had this little can for about two and a half years and finally used it up by spraying it on my blending sponge to get it damp when I was too lazy to go run it under the bathroom faucet.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Riche Soothing Protective Care: This is my favourite winter moisturizer. It’s quite thick and rich, but it sinks into my skin pretty fast and I can easily put makeup on top of it. This was my second tube of it and I’m on my third now. Once it starts getting warmer I’ll have to switch to something a bit lighter, but this one is seriously great for dry winter skin – and if you’re super sensitive it’s a great option too.

Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm: I love this stuff and seriously spent all day a few weeks ago going to five different Shoppers to hunt down a new one because they were all sold out. I scraped every last bit of product out of this jar and I will do it again with my current jar.

Body

The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter: I got three tubs of this in early November during a 3 for $30 sale and I AM OUT OF THEM ALREADY. Yes, since December 2 (when I posted my last Empties), I have used up TWO tubs. My dry skin loves this stuff. I’ll probably buy three more when there’s another good deal at the Body Shop, because obviously you should never buy anything full price there.

A-Derma Xera-Mega Nourishing Anti-Dryness Cream: I got this for free at a brand training event I attended for work. I loved this and I loved the Exomega Emollient Balm too. Both of them did a great job of hydrating my dry winter limbs without feeling too heavy or sitting on top of my skin.

Haircare

L’Oreal EverPure Repair Remedy Mask: This was pretty average as hair masks went. It made my hair feel pretty nice, but I don’t think it really repaired it. (I mean, my hair is super bleach damaged, so it’s not like I’m expecting a miracle.) It also had a very strong eucalyptus scent which I became accustomed to but did not enjoy. I think this has been discontinued, but I wouldn’t repurchase anyway.

Marc Anthony Hydrating Coconut Oil and Shea Butter Deep Nourishing Conditioning Treatment: Man, I bought two of these little packets back in June and I’m just now finishing the second of them. I use this about once a week and the packet is pretty generous, so I can make one of these stretch a long time. I like this treatment a lot and it always leaves my hair feeling smooth and healthy, but it’s not very cost-effective so I think I’ll hold off repurchasing for the time being.

Matrix SoColor Conditioning Permanent Hair Colour in 6C: This is what I used to dye my hair red and I liked it pretty well. I’ve never dyed my hair a natural colour before so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I like the colour result and it’s lasting pretty well. The colour is also really vibrant on top of my natural hair colour, which surprised me. All in all, good stuff. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to maintain red hair for awhile or go back to something similar to my natural colour, so stay tuned.

Makeup

Essence Lash & Brow Gel Mascara: Standard. This must be my third of these now. I don’t think it’s the best brow gel on the market, but it’s three bucks so a lot can be overlooked at that price point.

Lancôme Hypnôse Star Mascara: This mascara was okay. I ended up liking it better as it dried out a bit, which is normal for me, and I think anyone looking for volume would enjoy it. However, I think the original Hypnôse is better, and I prefer a lengthening formula anyway.

Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Tough As Taupe: Man, I am so proud of this one, guys. I used up an entire cream eyeshadow. It took me three and a half years, but I did it! I use this on my brows every single day, and I swear it’s looked almost empty for at least two of those years. Here’s a closeup to show just how empty it is:

The product that’s left on the bottom is so hard that I can’t get any colour from it. I’ve used absolutely every useable molecule of this product. Woohoo! And yes – I’m going to break open a new pot of it, because it’s been a staple in my life pretty much since I started doing my brows and I love it. I’ve never found a brow product that’s a better colour for me.

Miscellaneous

Essence Gel-Look Plumping Top Coat: You know, I still think my Sally Hansen Miracle Gel is my favourite top coat, but I always spring for Essence when I’m feeling cheap. It’s good but not the best. I haven’t yet decided if it’s worth sacrificing a week-long chip-free manicure for $10 savings.

Witchcraft Be Strong Protein Hardener: My nails started peeling about three years ago, and finally I decided to try a base coat to combat this problem. (I’d been holding out because I don’t really want to add an extra step to my nail-painting routine!) When this bottle got too goopy to use and I was too lazy to repurchase a replacement it became very clear to me how much it actually did for my nails. They still peel occasionally, but the problem has been drastically mitigated. I’ve made significant progress on my second bottle.

Quo Blending Sponge: So, I’ve never tried the original beautyblender because I am the type of person who physically cannot part with $26 for a sponge. But I have tried a lot of cheap blending sponges, and this one is my favourite by far. It’s very soft and does the one function it has very well. Plus, it’s $7, which is a price I am okay with.

Samples

I’m trying to make an effort to actually use up the samples I accumulate, throw into a box, and never look at again, so here are a few I’ve used up recently.

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer: I have used up so many foil packets of this stuff with so many different foundations and it never does a single thing for me. My foundation looks the same on top of it and doesn’t last any longer. NO.

Deciem Hylamide SubQ Anti-Age Advanced Serum: I layered this with my hyaluronic acid from The Ordinary for maximum hydrating benefits and I really liked it. That said, I won’t be buying the full size because I have enough serums for the moment and because I’m not really interested in anti-aging products at the age of 22.

Josie Maran Pure Argan Milk Intensive Hydrating Treatment: Maybe I used too much of this in one go, but it felt a bit heavy on my skin. It did a good job of hydrating and would probably be a nice overnight treatment, but I just looked it up to find out how much the full bottle costs and the answer is $70, so ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

By the way, the box which holds my empties is from a One Direction fragrance set that I got for £10 at Superdrug in early 2015 and split with my friend Bec. Ridiculously, I brought the empty box back to Canada with me when my study abroad was over because I love One Direction and really wanted a cardboard box with a picture of them on it. So, basically, I hauled garbage across the Atlantic Ocean so that I could use it to store more garbage. Woohoo!