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.

Pre-moving declutter part II: Face and Eye Makeup

Posted on August 31, 2017 under Declutter

Throughout the years I have hauled my ever-expanding makeup collection back and forth between various locales. I’m never going to be a makeup minimalist, because I think it’s fun to try new products and to be able to do lots of different looks, but in preparation for my upcoming move back to Scotland I’ve been slowly weeding out useless products from my collection. There are things that I’ve been moving with me for years that I never touch. When I have to move my entire life via plane, I have limited space for the most important things I own. I don’t want to waste space transporting stuff that I hold onto only out of some strange, nebulous compulsion and not because I actually use it.

Since my last declutter, I’ve continued to put things aside to pass onto more loving homes, and finally I am ready to share my latest ruthless round of culling with you. Some of these items are products which I’ve had almost as long as I’ve been a makeup user but which I can no longer justify keeping. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – there’s nothing like a transcontinental move to help you declutter!

Because there were a lot of products, I’ve decided to do lip stuff in a separate post. Today we’ll be going over eye and face things (and a few other random bits).

Face Products

Paul and Joe Illuminating Primer: I don’t see myself using up this DS size; I don’t think it does much and I won’t miss the extra step.

Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation in 110 Porcelain: Despite my dry skin, this formula works quite nicely on me – it’s lightweight, medium coverage, and not too drying at all. It’s also a great colour match for me as it’s a very fair, yellow-based shade. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this product, especially since it’s one of the few foundations at the drugstore that’s actually still cheap. But I have too much foundation as it is, and this one didn’t fill any specific niche for me. I want to use up what I have before it goes bad, so out this goes.

NYX Colour Correcting Palette: These colours are a bit too creamy and crease-prone for me. The only one that I got any use out of was the peach, and even then it didn’t layer nicely with other liquid and cream products. You can see that the yellow and both of the concealer shades are totally untouched.

Sleek Blush By 3 Palette in Lace: This was a longtime favourite; I have no complaints about the formula of either the mattes or the shimmer shade in this palette. But I only ever used the middle shade, Guipure, a warm pink which has the prettiest sheen thanks to its gold shimmer. When I think about it, I rarely reach for Guipure over, say, Hourglass Luminous Flush or my LE Chanel blush, both of which give a similar – though not identical – effect on my cheeks.

ELF Illuminating Palette: These powders are terrible and look like nothing on me.

ColourPop Super Shock Cheek in Rain: A lovely warm lilac which I used to have good fun with. Looks great applied heavily to the cheeks and up the temples. However, I don’t love cream blush, and this product taught me that I won’t wear purple blush on a regular basis. I pretty much bought it to test that hypothesis, so I consider it money well-spent.

Eye Products

L’Oréal Voluminous Base: The last time I bought a mascara primer I concluded that I would never work this extra step into my routine, and that has held true. Lesson learned, belatedly.

Revlon Mega Multiplier Mascara*: This mascara did basically nothing for my eyelashes.

Lancôme Grandiôse Extrême Mascara in Bleu Nuit*: I was never impressed with this mascara, and the unremarkable effect it had on my lashes was not mitigated by the colour. The navy blue barely showed up on me, leaving me with a mascara that read as a rather boring black. Pass!

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk: Once upon a time NYX was impossible to get in Canada and I made my mom buy me not one but two of the 2013 staple Milk when she was in New York. (Now there are two NYX stores in Toronto.) Let’s see – this creases like a bitch on me when used as an eyeshadow base and is too thick to reasonably use as an eyeliner. I used up that much of the shorter pencil when I was trying to make me and my two friends look dead on Halloween and otherwise it has not been useful.

Stila Smudge Sticks in Halfmoon, Purple Tang, and Lionfish: I use these liners very rarely and see no point in keeping them around.

Maybelline Colour Tattoos in Tenacious Teal, Electric Blue, and Inked in Pink: The days of cream eyeshadow are largely behind me, though Inked in Pink was once a daily-use product for me. Tenacious Teal and Electric Blue are not colours that I ever wear. I probably shouldn’t have bought Electric Blue in the first place, though I believe it was on clearance for a reasonably $2.50. Tenacious Teal served its purpose in replicating David Bowie’s “Life On Mars?” video.

ColourPop Super Shock Shadows in Beverly and Stereo: At a year and a half old, Beverly is completely dried-out and useless. I enjoyed it while it worked! Stereo, a dark plum with gold shimmer, was never the colour I wanted it to be – which is my fault for trusting the (Photoshopped) swatches on the ColourPop website. Realistically, I’m not going to use it – out it goes.

Lancôme Color Design eyeshadow in Infinitely Indigo: Four years after this eyeshadow made its way into my collection c/o Aisling, it’s finally time to say goodbye. I’m actually at a point in my makeup-wearing life where the colour this eyeshadow appears in the pan appeals to me, but it shows up much more muted on my eyes. Unrelated, but I wonder when Lancôme is going to repackage their eyeshadows: the black and clear plastic looks quite cheap.

Stila Eyes Are the Window Palette – Spirit: These are nice sheer, buildable shadows, but I have a lot of neutral eyeshadow and this is the palette I reach for the least. All the shades are dupeable within my own collection, so I won’t miss it.

Sleek i-Divine Eyeshadow Palette in Ultra Matts V2: I begged Aisling to send me this from England when these palettes were all the rage in 2013. These are nice enough matte eyeshadows – they don’t live up to, say, ABH or KVD quality, but for a $15 palette I have no complaints. There were a few colours I really liked in this palette, too. The plum, Villan (sic) was a particular favourite. But these colours just don’t speak to me these days.

The Body Shop Eye Palette in Smoky Plum: This palette is constantly almost getting destashed, and then I use it and remember that I really like it. These taupey purples really appeal to me, and each shade in this palette is carefully-selected. But I still never seem to reach for it, and when I want a neutral purple eye look I have other options.

Lancôme Color Design Palette – GWP: I held onto this quad for the peach shade, Kitten Heel, which really is beautiful. The other shades, though they complement Kitten Heel perfectly, are utterly generic and not especially great quality. In the end, I don’t use Kitten Heel enough to justify keeping this quad, and I can get similar looks from other products.

Lancôme Color Design Palette in Blush Sweetness – GWP: I did at one point really enjoy these pinky shades – and they are incredibly soft, smooth, and blendable – but I pulled this palette out after at least a year of neglect and found that I didn’t like the look I got from it. Save for the middle shade, every other colour in the palette is easily dupeable, and I don’t really like the middle shade on myself anyway: it makes me look a bit ill, whereas a more saturated pink looks like a deliberate statement.

Wet n Wild Silent Treatment Trio and Comfort Zone Palette: After literal years of saying I would, I finally bought an empty palette (one of the tin ones by MUFE) and depotted the Wet N Wild eyeshadows that I actually use. The depotting process warped the plastic so the compacts don’t shut, so I’ll have to toss these.

Fragrance Samples

I had no idea I had collected so many fragrance samples that I will never use. I’m not big on fragrance anyway, and my tastes lean towards the very simple. I’m passing on these samples of Givenchy Dahlia Divin, Narciso Rodriguez For Her, Jean Paul Gaultier Classique, Paco Rabanne Olympea (x2), Dolce and Gabbana Dolce, Burberry Brit, Lacoste L.12.12 (x2), Thierry Mugler Alien Eau Extraordinaire, Prada Candy Florale, and Prada Candy Kiss.

Miscellaneous Products

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Rosy Outlook and Essie Play Date escaped my big nail polish declutter, but when I wore them again I felt very “meh” about both. Rosy Outlook is a little too saccharine a pink for my tastes, and I wish Play Date were a tinge warmer. It’s not the most flattering colour on my nails.

I’ve never found a use for my Real Techniques Pointed Foundation Brush, but perhaps one of my friends can.

That’s 27 makeup products, 12 fragrance samples, 2 nail polishes, and one brush. Not bad – and wait until you see the lipstick declutter!

Inventory: Highlighters, Bronzers, and Contour Products

Posted on July 19, 2017 under Inventory

Onwards with the inventory series! Today I’m doing highlighter, bronzer, and contour products all in one, since I don’t have enough of the latter two categories to warrant their own posts. As always, I’ve linked to full reviews where they exist.

Powder Highlighter

Whoever led me to believe that the ELF Illuminating Palettes were good should be JAILED, because they are TERRIBLE. I am so heated about this that I am in caps lock mode. You’ll be able to see better in the swatches below, but they have basically no payoff at all and are powdery and dry-looking. I’m on board with a subtle highlight, but these are just bad.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Moonstone was my first highlighter purchase, and it’s one of my favourites. It’s the perfect light champagne shade for my fair skin, and though it packs a punch it’s not glittery or chunky. I don’t always want a highlight this in-your-face, but it’s beautiful for those moments. The SSP in Opal is most talked-about, but if you’re on the fairer side check out Moonstone – it gives pretty much the same effect but is more suited for fair to light skintones.

I really enjoy the peachy-pink glow of my Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in Iridescent. However, all in all I think this is a pretty standard highlighter, and I was expecting more of Hourglass. As the world’s biggest Ambient Lighting Blush fan, I yearned for them to do a proper highlighter for ages, so of course I was first in line to buy one when they launched. I do think this is a nice powder – finely-milled, soft, and glowy without being glittery – but I was kind of expecting them to revolutionize the highlighting game. I enjoy the one I have but I won’t buy another.

The first four swatches are the ELF highlighters, but you can’t even see the first three because THEY ARE SO BAD. After those we have Becca Moonstone and Hourglass Iridescent.

Cream/Liquid Highlighters

I much prefer powder over cream when it comes to blush, but with highlighter it’s the opposite. It’s partially the ease of swiping on a cream product and partially the finish creams tend to give. Powder highlighters are usually more intense, whereas creams are slightly toned-down and melt into the skin better.

The Topshop Glow Highlighter in Polished is probably my favourite highlighter ever: it gives an intense, pearly glow that is downright otherworldly. It’s a statement highlight, but I love it. I own nothing else remotely like this.

Glossier Haloscope in Quartz was my first exposure to stick highlighter, and it could not have been a better one. This is an incredibly emollient formula which looks almost glazed on the skin. It can be applied directly from the stick and blended in with the fingers with minimal effort. It’s super pretty and just how I like my highlight to look: present but not over-the-top.

I wasn’t expecting much from the new-ish Revlon PhotoReady InstaFix Highlighter Stick in Pink Light, but I do like it. It has a dryer texture than the Glossier Haloscope by far, so I like to apply it by rubbing my finger in the product and then tapping it onto my face. It also doesn’t blend as easily, but it doesn’t require excessive elbow grease by any means. It gives a very nice, borderline metallic pink highlight. They do make one in a champagne shade as well, but champagne highlighters are a dime a dozen and I do find something more pink-based quite flattering on my skintone. My only major complaint about this product is that it costs $23 in Canadian drugstores. Like… what? DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THE DRUGSTORE IS, REVLON????

Finally, the newest addition to my highlighter collection, Vichy Teint Idéal Highlighter. This is a liquid product which is applied via rollerball. It’s a very thin, sheer, almost white-based formula which doesn’t add much colour to the face but which gives a glorious wet look. I got this at a Vichy brand training and wasn’t expecting to enjoy it, but it’s quickly becoming one of my favourites. It’s easy to apply straight from the tube, blends in easily with the fingers, and looks stunning on the skin. I’d definitely recommend this one if you want a wet-look highlighter!

L-R: Topshop Polished, Glossier Quartz, Revlon Pink Light, Vichy Teint Idéal.

Bronzer & Contour

I only ever have one bronzer at a time because it’s not a product type which I use heavily. Currently I have the Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer in Light Bronzer, which is a good option for fair skin. I find this slightly warmer than the lightest shade of The Body Shop Honey Bronzer, for reference, but it still works fine on my skin. I’m not a bronzer connoisseur so I don’t have much to compare it to, but it’s nice. I don’t know that it’s necessarily worthy of the raves it got on YouTube when it first launched, because it doesn’t seem like anything special to me, but what do I know about bronzer? Not much! Oh, I also really dislike the strong artificial coconut scent, but that seems to be one of its drawing points for many people.

I love love love my Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Light for contour. It’s not too ashy but not warm by any means, and the depth and shade work very well on my colouring. This is a pricey little guy, but so far I have no regrets about this purchase.

L-R: Physician’s Formula, Kevyn Aucoin

Obviously, I’m very happy with the state of my bronzer and contour stash – I have one product to fulfill each of those functions, which is exactly what I need. I think my highlighter collection is a tiny bit excessive for someone who isn’t a highlighter fanatic, but it’s under control. I don’t see myself acquiring more products in any of these categories, at least not for quite some time.