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: May to July 2016

Posted on July 12, 2016 under Empties

Wow, time flies when you decide to rewatch the entire 202-episode series of The X-Files, eh? (A side effect of this is being very into matte brown eyeshadow and mauve lipstick. Dana Scully is an inspiration in so many ways…) I was getting so caught up in government conspiracies that I almost forgot I even had a blog! Today I have for you another randomly spaced-out installment of empties.

There are no press samples included in this batch, so anything marked with an asterisk was received for free through work.

Skincare

empties-skincare

Jouviance Micellar Solution*: This was okay: it was pretty effective but maybe a bit more drying than the La Roche-Posay one, which so far is my favourite. Would not pay actual money for this, but if I got it through work again I’d use it up.

Lancôme Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover: This is the best eye makeup remover I’ve ever used, including in comparison to other biphase products. Lately I’ve been using Clarins Truly Waterproof mascara, which lives up to its name, and Bi-Facil can handle that. I’m very sad that this is gone because $36 for an eye makeup remover is unjustifiable. Normally I just live off the sample/GWP sizes, which I do have two of. When they’re gone I will have to have a serious conversation with myself about whether dropping 3 hours worth of wages on eye makeup remover is an option.

La Roche Posay Toleriane Riche Soothing Protecting Cream*: This is a great thick moisturizer for dry skin. I was mostly using it throughout the winter, but even in April and May it wasn’t too bad – it sinks in quite quickly, though it certainly wouldn’t be suited to oily skin. My line of work means I haven’t purchased moisturizer in two years, but theoretically I would buy this.

Reversa Eye Care Anti-Puff and Dark Circles*: This kept my undereyes moisturized but did nothing for my hereditary dark circles. I didn’t expect anything else, so I wasn’t disappointed.

Haircare

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Standard for me: John Frieda Colour Renew Tone-Correcting Shampoo and L’Oreal Color Radiance Protecting Mask. The John Frieda blonde shampoos are continual repurchases for me because I find them effective for the price point. I do like the L’Oreal mask, still (I’m just finishing up my fifth or sixth tub of it), but I probably won’t be repurchasing now because I’ve found things that work even better.

Makeup

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Rimmel Stay Matte Powder: This isn’t technically empty, but at some point it becomes a quality of life thing, you know? Scraping powder from the edges of the pan is just not worth it. I have repurchased this one, because it worked well for me and I see no point in spending more than $8 on a powder.

Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hour Foundation: Technically I didn’t quite finish this one either – there are maybe three or four more uses in the bottle. But I left it out in the sun and now it smells like cat pee, so it must go. I did like this product, but I’m more into a lighter coverage and thinner consistency for the summer (and maybe in general). Definitely a great budget option for the four skin tones Rimmel makes products for.

Rimmel Brow This Way Eyebrow Gel in Clear: I liked this slightly better than the Essence one because it wasn’t quite so wet and sloppy, but I also felt like I used it up really quickly. Plus, it’s considerably pricier than the Essence one, and I’m just not willing to pay $7 more for less wet brow gel. So back to the Essence it is!

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner: Standard. I have completely lost track of what number I’m on now. At least my fifth, maybe more. Since I discovered it about three years ago I have not looked back!

Miscellaneous

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3 year old $3 eyelash curler from Walmart: I thought this was doing the trick until I got Tweezerman curlers. Now I see what I have been missing out on!

Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear Nail Polish in Pacific Blue: My original bottle of Pacific Blue! I could probably add some thinner to get more wear out of this, and I just might, because I only have two backup bottles and then I will be forever without my favourite nail polish in the world. Still not ready to forgive Sally for this cruelty.

… And that is it! Hopefully you will hear something from me in fewer than 12 days, but I can’t promise anything when I still have 182 episodes left to watch.

Review: John Frieda Sheer Blonde Hi-Impact Shampoo, Conditioner, and Restoring Oil Elixir

Posted on May 21, 2016 under Reviews

Note: I received these items for free through Influenster (referral link – I get 5 points if you sign up using it), but all opinions are my own!

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Hi-Impact Shampoo, Conditioner, Oil

I was really excited when Influenster sent me a box of John Frieda’s newest goodies for blonde hair: firstly, because it’s the first time I’ve qualified for an Influenster campaign, and secondly, because I’ve been using John Frieda blonde products for quite some time now. I’ve tried various tone-correcting shampoos and conditioners, but I return to good ol’ John most frequently because the prices are reasonable and the products are good.

Influenster sent along three items from the new launch, all from the Sheer Blonde Hi-Impact line: the Restoring Shampoo, Restoring Conditioner, and Restoring Oil Elixir. All of the copy about these products talks about how they “Repair and restore a healthy look and feel to distressed blonde hair” – however, I don’t believe they’re supposed to particularly colour correct, unlike the Go Blonder, which I love, or the Colour Renew, which is a true purple shampoo.

Although my hair is (very) damaged and I’m actively attempting to bring it back to life, generally when I’m looking to buy a product marketed specifically for blonde hair I want something that is tone-correcting. Very light blonde hair is a pain to maintain, and absolutely requires specialty products!

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Hi-Impact Shampoo and Conditioner

The Hi-Impact Restoring Shampoo and Conditioner are decent products. They leave my hair feeling fairly healthy and soft. However, my hair is really damaged at this point, and with these products I still don’t feel totally comfortable going without a deep conditioner. For someone with dry or moderately damaged hair, the shampoo and conditioner might do. For me, they don’t quite cut it – though I’ll admit that I’m a more extreme case than the average person. However, when paired with my usual Ice Cream hair mask my hair does feel softer than when I use the regular Go Blonder or the L’Oreal EverPure purple shampoo. I’ll use these guys up, but I’ll probably go back to my Go Blonder when they’re gone. I will say, though, that I haven’t found my colour has become significantly more brassy since I started using these products about a month ago. I just prefer to have something that does some heavy duty tone correction.

These products aren’t bad by any means; they’re just not quite right for my damaged blonde hair’s needs. I imagine they’d work quite well for other people – and probably not only blondes. (I guess they’re marketed towards blondes because it’s assumed that blonde = bleach = damage, which is certainly true in my case.)

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Hi-Impact Restoring Oil Elixir

The Hi-Impact Restoring Oil Elixir is very much for me. It’s a lightweight, thin oil which can be used on wet or dry hair. I try to avoid heat on my hair, but once in awhile I really don’t have a choice but to blow dry my hair so I won’t show up to work soaking wet. (I have a lot of hair; it takes a minimum of four hours of air drying before it looks at all socially acceptable.) Two pumps of the Restoring Oil Elixir leaves my blown-dry hair soft, smooth, and shiny. I’ll also use a pump of it mainly through the ends of dry hair if I notice that it’s feeling a bit crunchy. It doesn’t feel like oil on the hair and doesn’t make my hair greasy any faster – although, it should be noted, I have naturally dry hair made drier by bleach, so it doesn’t tend to get greasy very fast anyway.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with this Sheer Blonde Hi-Impact collection. In general I’ve been pretty impressed with the John Frieda products I’ve tried; while the shampoo and conditioner didn’t suit my needs, I think they’re nice moisturizing products, and the price point is pretty reasonable. And, of course, I love the oil. A little goes a long way so I don’t see myself running out of it too soon, but I would absolutely consider repurchasing it.