Empties: Summer 2015

Posted on September 06, 2015 under Empties

Before we begin this post, I would like to take a moment to bask in the glory of an experience that will probably cause many people to judge me:





The thing is that if you’re not an adult One Direction fan you will never understand how fun a 1D concert is. Like, it’s embarrassing enough to be 21 and at the concert, so you might as well make a fool of yourself, uninhibited, and have the time of your life. And when Harry Styles spits his water out at you and some of it ends up in your mouth (#blessed), you might as well sink to the ground dramatically because it’s all you’ve ever wanted. Same thing when he gets down on his knees right in front of you. Same thing when he wears gold boots. Same thing when he exists in any capacity.

Even more embarrassingly, this is my sixth One Direction concert – I’ve gone to two a year since 2013. Three of them have been on the floor. This show I was second row back from the catwalk, and it was life-affirming. I mean, HARRY SPIT HIS WATER AT ME. (Yes, he’s my favourite. This is just a logical choice to me.)

Now. Onto the content you’re here for.

After 18 months’ absence, I’ve just arrived back in Montreal to finish my degree. (If all goes according to plan I should have my BA in early June!) It seemed ludicrous to haul empties to another city, so I photographed what I used up this summer before I threw them all out the other day.

Products in italics are sample sizes.

Products denoted with an *asterisk* were received for free through work. All opinions are my own and the individual companies were not responsible for me acquiring these products.



I have several backups of the Freeman Body Sugar Scrub in Pomegranate because my mom bought them in bulk and then gave them to me, and I will happily use them. It works and it smells good, which is enough for me! Meanwhile, I hated the Palmer’s Cocoa Body Scrub. Anyone who’s been to Primark will know what it’s like to get sucked into hastily throwing something into your basket at the checkout. This was one of those purchases for me: it was only about £3 and was taunting me in that long, winding line. It did a decent job as a physical exfoliant, but I despised the scent. I just cannot stomach the smell of chocolate in my shower. I learned my lesson!

Out of the three Body Shop Body Butters, Mango was my favourite. I’ve repurchased it several times. Strawberry was okay, but the scent was a bit too artificially sweet for my liking. As for the sample of Green Tea I got, I did not like the scent and wouldn’t purchase it.



The Garnier Clean+ Nourishing Cleansing Oil was my first foray into the world of cleansing oils, and I enjoyed it at the time. However, I do prefer the Body Shop’s Camomile cleansing oil, so I won’t repurchase. As for “wouldn’t purchase in the first place”, I’d use Avène Micellar Lotion* if I were to receive it for free through work again, but wouldn’t spend actual money on it. I found it a bit drying compared to the La Roche-Posay micellar solution, which is my current favourite. That said, I currently have two micellar backups (all via work), so I probably wouldn’t buy any at the moment! I adore the Lancôme Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover and I always cry when I run out of my samples of it since I refuse to spend $36 on the full size!

La Roche Posay Toleriane Fluid Soothing Protective Non-Oily Emulsion* wasn’t exactly right for my normal-to-dry skin, but I think it’d be a great option for those with combination to oily skin. It’s very lightweight and sinks in quickly and lacks a strong fragrance. It kept the more normal areas of my face feeling soft, but it didn’t quite do it for the dry patches around my nose and between my eyebrows. I would recommend it to people lacking dry patches, especially anyone who wants something very lightweight for the summer.

On the other end of the texture spectrum, The Body Shop Vitamin E Intense Moisture Cream was a very thick cream that worked best at night for me. It did a pretty good job of moisturizing, but the scent was truly awful. It smelled like straight up soap – and not the scented stuff that makes the bath aisle smell amazing.



Lots of mascaras! L’Oréal Miss Manga Mascara in Indigo disappointed me; I hate the swivel wand, and the colour did not show up well. I was hoping for a bright, bleu Majorelle-esque colour, but it was very subtle. I’ve used the Maybelline Illegal Length* and Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant before and like them both enough to use again, but probably not to purchase with my own money. Benefit Roller Lash and Lancôme Définicils were both new to me; out of the two, I preferred the Lancôme. Roller Lash underwhelmed me and the sample dried up shockingly quickly. Définicils was my daily mascara until I used up the sample, and I liked it, though I don’t think it’s Lancôme’s best mascara offering.

I felt very “meh” about the Collection Cream Puff Moisturising Lip Cream in Cotton Candy. The colour was very pretty and you can’t beat the price (about £2.50), but it wasn’t very smooth to apply and definitely was not moisturizing. I didn’t hate it, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

I got fairly used to Revlon ColorStay Makeup for Normal to Dry Skin in 110 Ivory, but after switching back to Revlon’s far less popular Nearly Naked, I do not harbour any particularly warm feelings towards ColorStay. I know it’s a favourite for a lot of people, but I didn’t find it especially great. I’m not a full coverage foundation person anyway, so perhaps I’m not adequately qualified to make this call; either way, I doubt I’ll repurchase. On the other had, I do love L’Oréal La Touche Magique Highlighting Concealer in Rose Beige, which was featured in a prior empties post: “The fact that it covers my very dark, very present undereye circles so well and never creases makes me love science.” I ended up trying out a new undereye concealer after I ran out of La Touche Magique, and I honestly regret it!

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat is a favourite of mine, and I’ve repurchased it. I’m shocked it lasted as long as it did – about a year, with approximately weekly manicures. Definitely worth the twelve bucks!



John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Bonder Lightening Shampoo did a great job at toning the green tint out of my hair, and it is quite effective at keeping the brass out as well. It’s not a miracle worker nor is it a replacement for a toner, but I’ve felt that my hair has retained its cool, pale tone quite well in the five months that I’ve been using this shampoo (and the coordinating conditioner). Batiste Dry Shampoo (original scent) is a staple for me. I have no interest in trying other dry shampoos because this one does the job!

Finally, I bought Ice Cream SheCare Deep Conditioning Mask in a moment of stupidity when I thought that purple packaging = purple conditioner and quickly discovered that it was just a normal conditioner. It was absolutely not a mask, and was no match for bleach-destroyed hair. I ended up using it in place of shaving cream just to finish it. It would probably be an acceptable option for those who haven’t doused their heads in bleach a dozen times, but I am not that person.

Phew. Now I can start anew here in Montreal!

Review: Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

Posted on May 18, 2015 under Reviews

When I was staying with Aisling at the end of March, she mentioned that she had bought the Garnier micellar cleanser and didn’t like it. It was her first experience with a micellar water, and she was not impressed! Specifically, she noted that it did not do a very good job at removing her eye makeup.

I was a bit curious about it as I’ve personally found micellars to be great, but have only tried more pricey ones, so while staying with her I test drove it for the whole weekend.

I have to say, despite the hype and generally excellent reviews online, I’m inclined to agree with Aisling!

I normally use a dedicated eye makeup remover or an oil cleanser to get rid of my waterproof mascara and eyeliner, but I’ve used micellars in a pinch and they work pretty well as long as you let them soak the eye makeup off. This one, however, barely made a dent in my Stila Stay All Day liquid eyeliner – it took quite a bit of rubbing to get it all off, even after holding a soaked cotton pad against my eye for half a minute.

It took off my face makeup much more thoroughly, but it really dried my skin out – it felt very tight. This is disappointing and, quite frankly, unacceptable for a product that claims to be soothing! If my skin is screaming for moisturizer, it is not soothed. These days my skin runs more on the normal side of things, and cleansers don’t typically leave it feeling so parched!


With a mini Eiffel Tower, because it’s imitating the cult French pharmacie product. Or something.

Most of the reviews of this product on the Boots website seem to indicate that the users haven’t tried any other micellars before (“I bought this product 2 months ago after considering spending £16 on the infamous Bioderma Micellar solution”), so I’m guessing a lot of the positive reviews come either from people who don’t have anything in the same family of products to compare it to, or from bloggers/vloggers who are being sponsored by Garnier. I allow that this product may simply have not worked for Aisling and I, but I am a bit taken aback by the 4.7/5 average rating on Boots.com considering how lackluster the two of us found it!

At just £4.99 ($9.38 CAD) for 400mL (£0.012 or $0.023 per mL), this product is much more affordable than micellars from other brands such as Bioderma ($26.95 for 500mL, or $0.054 per mL), La Roche-Posay ($22 for 200mL, or $0.11 per mL) or BioBeauté ($19 for 200mL, or $0.095 per mL). I’d say if you have a dedicated eye makeup remover and skin that leans more on the combo to oily side rather than dry, this is a good budget option. But if you’re on the drier side or want a micellar that will be much better at removing eye makeup, I’d recommend either Bioderma or La Roche-Posay (but only when they have their micellar on special – double the amount for the same price). Those two are legitimately effective products and they are both great for sensitive skin. Sometimes it’s worth it to pay a little extra! It pains me to admit that a budget option is simply not as good as the fancy stuff, but in this case I think that’s very much the case.