Empties: June to August 2018

Posted on September 07, 2018 under Empties

Yay, empties! True to form, I never threw out the very dirty One Direction fragrance set box I’ve been housing my empties in for years even though I totally said I was going to. So today I am clearing out that dirty box to make room for more stuff to make it even more dirty.

Skincare

Vichy Idéal Soleil Ultra-Fluid SPF50: I really liked this. It’s a solid lightweight facial sunscreen that does its job. It’s about $25, which is kind of expensive, but I can also duck into my local drugstore and buy it, so convenience wins. (I do want to try the much-lauded Bioré sunscreen, but it’s not readily-available and I don’t know if I want to commit to such a complicated relationship with an essential step of my routine.)

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF60 Lotion: I did not care for this. I mean, it protected me from the sun pretty well, but it also pilled on my skin if I sweat. And, the thing is, in summer, when I am most likely to take the time to apply body sunscreen, it is hot. And when it is hot, I sweat. So… yeah. Good thing I got this as gratis, because I’d have been annoyed to spend thirty bucks on this.

La Roche-Posay Respectissime Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover: I have lost count of how many of these I’ve used up. You know the drill – as effective as Lancôme Bi-Facil (and without the cloying fragrance), half the price. (Actually, I’m using up a bottle of Bi-Facil that someone gave me right now, and I think the LRP is a bit better.)

Biotherm Homme Aquapower Eye De-Puffer: I got this as gratis at a Biotherm training and I kept it for myself because I know zero men who would use an eye cream, let alone appreciate an expensive one. This is definitely not worth $31, but I did really enjoy its light gel texture and cooling sensation first thing in the morning.

The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%: This product has been called the Granactive Retinoid for like 95 years now, so that shows you how long I’ve had this. Anyway, I really, really liked it and have actually ordered a new one. I remember when this product first came out and I was blown away that you could buy any type of vitamin A derivative for under $40, let alone its price of $9.80. And it’s truly both gentle and effective.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5: This is maybe my fourth or fifth bottle of this. It’s a great, super cheap hydrating serum. Currently I’m using The Ordinary’s Marine Hyaluronics, which is basically the same thing but with a thin, watery texture and none of the stickiness of the 2%. (The texture never bothered me, anyway, so I don’t have a strong preference between the two.)

Lancôme Absolue Night Precious Cells Recovery Night Cream: Do you think I would ever in a million years tell you guys that a $205 night cream is in any way worth it? No I would not. And I will not. This is a thick, nourishing moisturizer. I will save $170 and keep buying my Origins overnight mask. (Obviously, I received this product as gratis.)

Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm: This is just one of those indulgences that I don’t feel bad about anymore. As my mom said to me one day while on vacation, “Thank you for introducing me to this overpriced bougie bullshit.” But, truly, is $17 too much to ask for months of hydrated lips? I don’t think so. (One pot of this usually lasts me about 8-10 months, so I really can’t complain.)

Vaseline Lip Therapy – Aloe: I thought the taste of this was gross. It was also kind of slippery and not that effective.

Nivea Hydro Care Lip Balm: This is still my favourite standard stick lip balm. It’s effective and it layers nicely under lipstick.

Haircare

One lone product in this category today, and though it’s a boring (and standard) one, it’s also a milestone. I truly could not tell you how many tubes of John Frieda Sheer Blonde Tone Correcting Shampoo I went through over my four-year stint as a blonde. However, those days are (almost) over. I’ve almost grown my hair out enough to hack off the last of the blonde, so I’m now trying to find a haircare routine that works for my natural, non-blonde, non-bleach-damaged hair. This is the last tube of purple shampoo I’ll use for the foreseeable future, though it’s certainly a good option within that category.

Makeup

Random unmarked loose powder: There is truly nothing identifying about this packaging. I don’t know what it is. It was a good loose powder. To replace it I bought the Marcelle one, which is huge and will legit last me a decade. (This little tub lasted about three years.)

NIOD Photography Foundation, Opacity 12% (sample): This is very much not a foundation, but rather a liquid illuminator. It’s super pretty under makeup. It’s also $30, so… you know. (I will say, out of all the illuminating primers I’ve tried I do like this one the best. Although I’m a primer skeptic so take that potentially faint praise as you will.)

Maybelline Master Conceal Camoflage Concealer in Fair: I don’t think this product ever really caught on in the wider beauty world, but I liked it pretty well for both blemishes and under the eyes. Honestly, there’s still a lot of product in this tube, which is probably because it’s an outrageously generous 12mL/0.4 fl oz. (That’s 40% of a standard foundation size.) But it is very old, and its time on is up.

Essence Lash and Brow Gel: Yes, this crusty tube once contained clear brow gel. I don’t know why I keep buying this product when I’m feeling too cheap for L’Oréal – it truly has almost no effect. Yes, L’Oréal is audacious for charging $15.99 for a clear brow gel, but it’s also really good. I think it’s time to just accept that (and stock up when it’s on sale).

L’Oréal Paradise Extatic Mascara: I hate to be a Negative Nancy, but this much-lauded mascara (which, in case it wasn’t obvious, is the UK version of Lash Paradise) didn’t do much for me. I mean, it wasn’t awful. I thought it was decent as I was using it. But as soon as I switched back to Clarins Truly Waterproof, I was like, “Oh yeah, this mascara is it.” L’Oréal is not.

Quo Blending Sponge: This was my favourite Beauty Blender dupe for years and years and years, but I think they’ve reformulated them. The one pictured was great, as always, but the one I bought to replace it is a lot denser and soaks up so much product. So now the one good product Quo made also sucks.

Nail Care

Quo 100% Acetone: I used this up over many years. I don’t know why I bought it or even why I didn’t just take the $3 loss instead of stubbornly deciding to use it up. I will not buy 100% acetone ever again.

Quickies Nail Varnish Remover Pads: I honestly bought these because I was like £1 off Superdrug’s free shipping threshold. They’re not very good pads; it takes a lot of elbow grease to get anything off.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat: I have used up many, many bottles of this top coat (over all brands of nail polish) over the past four years. I’m trying out one of Sally’s other top coats right now, but I always seem to go back to this one.

Miscellaneous

Here are some items which are not empty but which are now unusable.

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder: The lid for this powder shattered in my move from Glasgow to Toronto, which is fine because I never use pressed powder. Anyway, this remains one of the most poorly-packaged products ever to torment this sacred Earth.

Sally Hansen Hard As Nails in White On: A leakage caused this bottle to fuse shut; I could probably get into it if I tried, but it’s pretty old and it’ll only cost me like $4 to replace.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in All Chalked Up: This nail polish became gloopy and unusable super quickly, which is honestly a huge bummer because 1) I absolutely adore the colour, and 2) it’s been discontinued so I can’t replace it. Maybe this is what will finally make me buy nail polish thinner.

… and that is everything I used up over the summer!

Packing Light for Prague

Posted on November 25, 2017 under Life

My last few trips I did not bother to pack light makeup-wise, either because I didn’t have to or because I felt I needed options. This weekend, however, I’m going to Prague for purely touristy reasons, and I thought this would be the perfect time to exercise some restraint. As with all my European weekend trips, I pack entirely in one small school-sized backpack, so I really need to streamline my makeup to make room. I thought I would share my very minimal makeup bag today.

I can easily fill a liquids bag with skincare, but I know that when I’m walking around all day and sleeping in a hostel dorm room at night my desire to keep up with a complex skincare routine is zero. So my liquids bag – which is from Muji, by the way – reflects a back-to-basics approach.

The skincare steps I cannot do without are cleansing and moisturizing. The Caudalie Vino Perfect Serum from this year’s Sephora birthday gift will help boost the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra moisturizer to keep my skin nice and hydrated. I’ve never had issues with dry undereyes until the past month or so, so I decided to bring the Biotherm Homme Eye Depuffer (which, by the way, is a nice gel eye cream even if you’re not a man). I got a sample of the Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor which I’ve been saving for travel, since obviously my poor dead hair requires a lot of moisture. I don’t have any travel-sized shampoo right now, so I’ll have to pick one up at the airport.

The IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream is such an easy, fuss-free foundation that it was a no-brainer when it came to choosing which base product to pack. The packaging is also incredibly travel-friendly. For concealer, Maybelline Master Conceal works under the eyes and on blemishes.

I can’t be without Milani Eyeshadow Primer, and Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner is a staple for me as well. The Lancôme Hypnôse Drama mascara mini is convenient for travel, and I like the mascara as well. (Lancôme mascaras are so hit and miss to me, but this one is a hit.) Finally, a fresh tube of Essence Lash and Brow Mascara to keep my brow hairs in place.

And then the rest of my makeup easily fits in one small bag, which is a point of pride when I am prone to overpacking.

For the cheeks, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure goes with everything and is a perennial travel staple for me. This is the most beautiful flattering blush colour in the world despite how “meh” it appears in the pan. I’m not sure if I’ll bother with highlighter, but I figured I’d give myself the option. Glossier Haloscope in Quartz is easy to apply without brushes and it gives a very natural effect, so I thought it would be perfect for travel.

Urban Decay Naked Basics is probably the most boring travel palette choice in the world, but it’s small, practically indestructible, and foolproof. I decided to add an eyebrow pencil into my repertoire mainly for travel purposes, so I don’t have to mess around with a brush and pomade when I’m on the go. The Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner in Universal Taupe is one of many ABH Brow Wiz dupes, and it works for me.

Forgive me for being extra and packing two lip balms. Overnight, my lips need the heavy-duty power of Nuxe Rêve de Miel, but during the day I prefer something a little lighter like Vaseline Lip Therapy. In an uncharacteristic move, I am committing to a single lip liner – Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Enchantment – and a single lipstick – YSL Rouge Volupté in #17. I love moisturizing lip products when I’m travelling, and the soft berry shade of #17 makes it a perfect candidate for this trip. I usually like to pair the Rouge Voluptés with a liner underneath to increase the staying power a bit, so I’ll likely just wear this combination together each day.

I tend to really overpack brushes, but this time I cut it down to the essentials: Magic Collection Oval Brush, ColourPop Blush Brush, ColourPop Blending Brush, ELF Crease Brush, ELF Eyeshadow C Brush, ELF Eye Contour Brush, ELF Small Smudge Brush, Elf Spoolie. Wow, I do really like ELF brushes, don’t I?

(By the way, I definitely washed that foundation brush after I took this picture!)

In case you were wondering about cleansing, I did buy a pack of makeup wipes from Superdrug. I hardly ever use wipes, but I just think washing my face with an actual cleanser while travelling is more hassle than it’s worth. My skin is pretty resilient, so I think it’ll survive. I love using actives on my skin, but I know that I can get away with just makeup wipes and moisturizer for three nights. It’ll make my life easier!

Anyway, I’m off this evening with my nice light makeup bag. I’ve wanted to go Prague for years, so I’m really excited that I could finally make it happen.

Pre-moving declutter part III: Lip products

Posted on September 03, 2017 under Declutter

I’m back with one last declutter post for you before I’m off to Glasgow! I was quite ruthless with my lipsticks and managed to get rid of almost a third of my collection.

If you want to see swatches of any of these colours, you can refer to my recent lipstick inventory.

Things That Are Old

ColourPop Ultra Satin Lips in Marshmallow and Prim: The two times I wore Marshmallow in public were worth the $6 USD I spent on this supremely unflattering purple-grey. I knew it would look like shit on me when I ordered it, and it surely delivered. Sadly, it and Prim, a striking deep brown with a hint of purple, both smell very off now. ColourPop products don’t seem to have a very long shelf life.

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Shameless: Do you know how long I spent popping into every drugstore I passed to see if they had an unmarred tube of Shameless? So long. And then I finally found this tube, in early 2014, and I wore it a lot, and now I don’t wear it anymore. I still love the colour, but it’s old besides being flawed (patchy, not as comfortable as other Matte Balms).

Joe Fresh Matte Lipstick in Raspberry: Raspberry is from the OG Joe Fresh line (pre-expansion into Shoppers Drug Mart, back when the prices were considerably lower) and it used to be one of my absolute favourites. I still love the playful pink-red, but the formula no longer excites me when I compare it to other lipsticks I have, and the packaging has been broken for almost as long as I’ve had it. The only way to describe the state of this lipstick is “crusty”.

Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss in 06: I love this colour and I have held onto this very old tube for longer than I probably should have while hunting for a suitable dupe. I have finally found it and can now say goodbye to this old, nasty tube.

Colours That Look Bad On Me

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liners in White Russian, Ransom, and Intrigue*: Buxom sent me six of these and I kept half. I really like this formula – and I use the rosy brownish pink Hush Hush and burnt orange Covert Affair regularly – but these colours do me no favours.

Tony Moly Cat Chu Wink Lipstick in Orange Pop: This is a sheer neon orange which does not suit me in the slightest. It’s okay, I bought it because it looks like a cat (proof here), and that alone has brought me joy for many years.

Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge Lipstick in Pourquoi Pas?: Okay, listen, I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but I got this as gratis from a Lancôme training I did for work back in the spring, and I was super excited to get one of these fancy clicky tubes until I saw the colour. This is a sheer, cool hot pink that looks like shit on me. I wore it to work one day despite my reservations and I regretted it the entire time.

Lancôme Matte Shaker in Yummy Pink*: I actually haven’t even tried this product on, but see above re: cool pinks. I love the Matte Shaker in Pink Power, which is much warmer, so I’m sure a friend will enjoy this brand-new product.

Colours That Are A Little Bit Off

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Viola (Mini): I want this to be warmer! The difference between lavender and lilac is crucial for me, and this is just a hair short of lilac. I don’t think it’s completely unwearable, but I’m still on the hunt for the perfect lilac.

Little Mix By Collection Lipstick in Perrie: This dusty medium purple is very pretty but not quite right on me. I wore it a lot when I got it, but I tried it on recently and wasn’t wowed. This lipstick was £2.50 so I think it was money well spent.

MAC Matte Lipstick in Please Me: Light and mid-toned pinks are tricky on me, and this one is just slightly wrong. It’s not horribly unflattering, but when it comes to everyday colours I can do a lot better.

Colours That Are Similar To Things I Like Better

Little Mix By Collection Lipstick in Jade: This is a rosy brownish pink, a colour description that I have already used in this post in reference to the Buxom Lip Liner in Hush Hush. I prefer the matte, longwearing formula of Hush Hush, and I have no need for both.

Joe Fresh Long Wear Liquid Lipstick in Fuchsia: You know, I have to give Joe Fresh credit for coming out with these (now discontinued) liquid lipsticks ahead of the curve. I bought this well before the liquid lipstick trend had beat itself to death. I used to love this ultra bright fuchsia. I’ve noticed that my feelings towards fuchsia – once my favourite lipstick colour – have changed considerably, and this isn’t a colour I love on myself anymore. I have similar shades that are just more flattering on me. Also, yes, I have two tubes of this, because I lost mine, repurchased it, and found the original tube within hours.

Lancôme Color Design Lipstick in Posh Pink: I wanted this lipstick to be a replacement for the Rimmel shade, but it’s too pink and not vibrant enough. I have plenty of bright warm pinks and corals; this one is unnecessary.

Little Mix By Collection Lipstick in Leigh-Anne : A redundant red. That’s it for my Little Mix makeup products! Ironically considering the name of this brand, I have decided that collector’s items do not need to stay in my makeup stash. I absolutely love British girl band Little Mix, and these lipsticks are really good for the mere £2.50 they cost, but this colour is generic and unnecessary in my life.

Clarins Rouge Prodige in Fusion Red: I like the shiny finish of this slightly warm-leaning red, but it’s not the most practical when it comes to wear time. I have both warm reds and true reds which I prefer over this. This is one of my oldest makeup products and the packaging is so pretty that it pains me to part with it, but I don’t think I’ll actually miss it.

MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Hang-Up: Again, a sheer, moisturizing finish for a fairly deep shade is not my favourite. This colour is very similar to the Buxom Lip Liner in Mystery, and since it’s matte I think the formula is more compatible with the richness of the colour. I do like Hang-Up a lot (the colour is super pretty and it’s comfortable to wear), but it’s time for it to go.

Things I Just Don’t Like

Joe Fresh Matte Lipstick in Scarlet: Scarlet is housed in much sturdier packaging than its younger sister Raspberry up there, but it has always been a little “meh”: a bit patchy and not my most flattering colour. I have deep reds/wines/berries that I think look nicer and that have far superior formulas.

Lancôme Color Design Lipstick in Wannabe: I love this colour, but the formula is quite waxy and I don’t enjoy wearing it.

Essence Matt Matt Matt Vibrant Shock in 09: This product taught me that I like navy blue lipstick, but that’s the only good thing I can say about it. It’s too sheer for such a bold colour and it wears off easily.

Know Cosmetics No, My Lips Are Sealed Topcoat: I didn’t notice that this did anything, and I didn’t like having to apply it from the little spatula on the end of the wand.

Lip Liners

Arbonne Lip Liner in Berry*: The formula on this is fine, but it’s a colour that doesn’t pair that well with any of my lipsticks.

MUA Lip Liner in Brooding Plum: I’ve used this with my deeper reds enough times to justify the £1 I spent on it, but it’s a fairly dry formula that’s not that pleasant to work with.

Collection Lip Definer in Damson: A truly beautiful deep plum that doesn’t go with any of my lipsticks. It’s pretty dry by now, too – I’ve had it for ages.

That’s 24 lipsticks, 3 lip liners, and one lip topcoat. Combined with the face and eye makeup products, that is a total of 57 products plucked from the loving embrace of my collection. These products completely fill up one makeup bag, which I think is a considerable amount of space to have saved in my luggage. Yay!