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: July to October 2016

Posted on October 12, 2016 under Empties

This is my hundredth post, and also just about the two-year anniversary of this blog. (I’m early by about a week, but oh well.) On this occasion I have another instalment of empties, brought to you by an overflowing box that I am eager to dump out. I’ll probably do one last empties post before the end of the year, but as we all know, I space them out rather sporadically so I can’t promise a thing.

As always, anything I received for free through work is indicated with an asterisk.

Haircare

empties-october-hair

L’Oreal Colour Radiance Protective Mask: Man, are you tired of seeing these yet? Me too. Luckily this is the last of my neverending stash of these. I did really like this product for quite awhile there, but now that my hair is nearing three years of bleaching it’s not quite as effective as some other things. Great for dry but not terribly damaged hair, though.

Marc Anthony Nourishing Oil of Morocco Deep Hydrating Conditioning Treatment: Now that’s a name! I really liked this product and I’ll probably add another packet into my rotation when I’ve made my way through some of the deep conditioners I already have. I wish they sold a full-sized version of this (rather than just a regular conditioner), but I don’t mind buying smaller packets of deep conditioner as I can stretch them for a long time and it allows me to switch things up regularly.

Light Blue Shade Original Shampoo: I love this purple shampoo. It really helps with the labour-intensive upkeep required to be a platinum blonde, and works better at cutting brassiness and maintaining platinum better than anything else I’ve tried. (And I’ve tried a lot of things!)

Hi-Test 30 Volume Developer: I have never found a particular developer to be any better or worse than all the others. I currently have ten half-used bottles because for some reason I went through two years of selective amnesia surrounding purchasing developer, so it is notable that I actually finished one.

Skincare

empties-october-skincare

Lancôme Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover: I used up two of the deluxe sample sizes of this product. As established several times on my blog, I think it’s incredibly effective but also overpriced. Luckily, I have discovered an alternative for half the price, which you will be seeing on this blog very soon!

Avène Hydrance Optimale Légère*: I felt pretty meh about this moisturizer, to be honest. It was a pretty thin texture, which was okay for summer, but I still prefer a thicker moisturizer. It’s not that it did a bad job or irritated my skin, but I just really like the feeling of a thick cream (that doesn’t feel heavy on the skin).

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Fluid Lotion SPF 60*: Good stuff, people!

Bath & Body

empties-october-body

Freeman Pomegranate Body Sugar Scrub: A Clementine classic! I like this stuff a lot. It works and it’s cheap and cheerful.

A-Derma Exomega DEFI Emollient Balm*: I attended an A-Derma event in May for work and received a big swag bag. This is the only product I’ve gone through so far, and I must say I really liked it. It’s on par with the La Roche-Posay Lipikar AP+ Baume for me in terms of effective but gentle body creams for my dry, KP-ravaged limbs.

Makeup

empties-october-makeup

Clarins Truly Waterpoof Mascara: Definitely one of the best mascaras I’ve ever tried. I’d use Optimum Points to buy this again, for sure. It made my lashes look incredibly long, and it lived up to the waterproof claim. (Something to keep in mind if you’re one of the many people out there who does not enjoy removing waterproof makeup!)

Lancôme Grandiôse Mascara: This mascara was such a letdown. I generally really like Lancôme mascaras, and the packaging is so beautiful that it totally sucked me in. But when my work friend gifted this to me and I actually tried it, I was disappointed! It’s more of a volumizing mascara (my preference is for length), but I find that it looks clumpy quite easily. It’s not unusable by any means, but I wouldn’t repurchase this at a drugstore price, let alone for the $35 Lancôme is charging!

NARS Illuminator in Copacabana: I got this sample of Copacabana with a purchase I made on r/makeupexchange and it lasted me a very long time. (You can see there’s still product in there, but I left it unsealed and it dried up.) I loved this very shiny pink-toned highlight a lot. I’m loathe to purchase the full-size because, seriously, that is way more product than I could ever reasonably need, and I already have five highlighters, which I feel is more than enough for me. But maybe one day if I ever make a dent in my highlighter stash!

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer: I’ve tried several samples of this and it’s always left me feeling disappointed. For all the hype it receives I don’t feel that it does anything for the longevity of my foundation – and, yes, I’m testing it with silicone-based products. I’ve used this with at least three foundations with the same underwhelming results each time.

Dior Forever & Ever Wear Extreme Perfection and Hold Makeup Base: This was miraculous with my Rimmel Lasting Finish 25H Foundation. I never felt that that foundation went on well with a damp sponge until I used it on top of this primer – it looked glorious. And it really did hold it in place all day. I didn’t find it did much for my MUFE Ultra HD, which is ultimately what held me off from purchasing the full size for an admittedly absurd price. I’m still on the hunt for a primer that works well for me, and I’m growing increasingly skeptical that any of them actually do anything.

And that concludes this instalment of “Pictures of My Garbage”!

Empties: February to April 2016

Posted on April 29, 2016 under Empties

empties-april-header

Wow, it’s only been three months since my last empties post! That’s pretty good for me. So, blah blah, I used some stuff up and I just moved back to Toronto so I took pictures of all this stuff and then threw it out before I left Montreal. YOU KNOW THE DRILL.

Skincare

empties-april-skin

Vichy Pureté Thermale Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover: I desperately wanted this to be as good as the Lancôme Bi-Facil for a much more reasonable price, but it just wasn’t. I mean, it was okay, but it didn’t do super well with my Stila eyeliner. I imagine it would not be very effective at taking off waterproof mascara, not that I ever let waterproof mascara touch my eyelashes. Still haven’t decided if I can justify actually spending $36 on the Bi-Facil, though – I’ll probably pick it up with Optimum points next time.

La Roche-Posay Physiological Micellar Solution: This is honestly my favourite micellar solution. It does a really good job without ever stripping the skin. This size bottle is pretty bad value ounce per ounce compared to other brands (I got this particular one free through work), but when they have the double sized bottle for the same price I snap it up.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Hydrating Toner: I used to really love this toner for some added hydration, but I’ve made a lot of changes in my skincare routine that makes this unnecessary for me currently.

Bio Beauté Gentle Comfort Exfoliant With Red Berries: I didn’t feel that this was a particularly effective physical exfoliant. I honestly prefer just using my Sephora Precision Pore Cleansing Pad with my cleanser a few times a week. But then, my skin does better with a good AHA than with physical exfoliation anyway!

Bath and Body

empties-april-body

L’Occitane Almond Milk Concentrate: This cream is a really great experience. It smells incredible and it has a light, almost whipped texture which I really enjoyed. It definitely was not enough for my legs in the dead of winter.

Freeman Pomegranate Body Sugar Scrub: I use these up a lot. I like the product. I think I’ve exhausted my supply, though. I will repurchase if I can find it!

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP+*: Clearly I loved this, because I cut it open and scraped out every last bit of product. This worked wonders for my legs, which suffer from a moderate to severe case of keratosis pilaris. It didn’t cut down on the pigmentation of the KP, but it made my legs feel very smooth and soft without being laden with heavy product. Would most likely repurchase, though I currently have a large backlog of body moisturizers that I’m trying to get through!

Haircare

empties-april-hair

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Conditioner: I’ve used this up a lot of times and I’ve already repurchased it (and the shampoo). I really do notice a difference when I don’t use it. Because my hair is a very light blonde, it tends to go green rather than brassy, and this fights that really well.

L’Oreal EverPure Colour Care System Moisture Shampoo: I think my pink hair faded quickly due to the fact that Manic Panic sucks, but I don’t feel like this particularly helped maintain the colour. It wasn’t super moisturizing, either, but my hair needs a lot more help than the average human’s. Definitely won’t repurchase this one.

Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Moisturizing Shampoo (sample): This is a pretty nice and extremely cheap moisturizing shampoo. It doesn’t blow me away (and I prefer to use blonde shampoo anyway!), but it’s decent for travel.

Ice Cream Dry-T Mask: So, I liked this a lot when I first got it and I still do. But I’ve come to the conclusion that my hair gets used to masks if I use them for more than about six months, so my second tub of this stuff did less for my hair than the first. I’ll probably repurchase this, but I’ll rotate it with at least one other mask.

Marc Anthony Hydrating Coconut Oil and Shea Butter Deep Nourishing Conditioning Treatment (sample): What a name! I actually loved this stuff – I wanted to try a treatment with protein but knew I was moving soon and didn’t want to commit to lugging a big tub of something back with me, so I bought this little sample packet. My hair hasn’t been in such good condition in ages! I probably won’t purchase the full size since I’m guessing pure coconut oil would do the same thing. Either way, I’m definitely sold!

Makeup

empties-april-makeup

Maybelline Color Tattoo in Edgy Emerald: Not empty. Not even close! It just dried up. But I got it for $2.50 at Jean Coutu in 2013 and it got me through a few St. Patrick’s Days, so it’s all good.

Essence Lash & Brow Gel Mascara: This was pretty good for a $2.99 brow gel. Sometimes the wand deposited a bit too much product, leaving my eyebrows looking shiny, but I didn’t mind wiping it off with my finger. I mean, it’s $2.99. I didn’t repurchase it because there was no Essence at my local Pharmaprix, but I’d definitely consider buying it again. Brow gel is such an unbelievably boring product that I have no intention of ever spending more than about $5 on it.

OCC Lip Tar in Hoochie: Again, his is not actually empty; I cannot imagine ever actually finishing up a Lip Tar. This just went bad, separating and becoming impossible to apply. I’m very sad, because I absolutely adored the colour. I’ve been hunting for a dupe without success. I’d consider repurchasing Hoochie, but it’s kind of a hassle since OCC isn’t at Sephora anymore. And I do feel like this went bad kind of quickly, to be honest.

Miscellaneous

empties-april-np-remover

Sally Hansen Moisturizing Fast and Gentle Nail Polish Remover: Ugh, I need to stop going for gentle nail polish remover. It never works as well. Bring on the chemicals!

I’m going to keep pushing to use up skincare and body products, because I have a lot of those and nobody needs as much of it as I have. Until next time!