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!
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.
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.
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…)
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.
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.
Posted on July 07, 2017 under Lists
All the beauty products that came into my life in April, May, and June! I’m including not only makeup but hair, body, and nail stuff, as well as beauty tools. Anything that has a second price listed in brackets reflects what I paid with my 30% off employee discount. Anything I’ve converted to USD reflects how much I paid at the time of purchase.
Products purchased between April 1, 2017 and June 30, 2017
There are a few brushes missing from this picture because I am imperfect.
- 03/20: Essence Matt Matt Matt Vibrant Shock lipstick in 09 – $4.49 ($3.14). I forgot to add this to my list from last quarter, so I’m slipping it in here. I wanted a fun lip colour for the Green Day show I went to so I picked up this navy blue. I didn’t love the formula on this and I’m undecided if I should keep it or not, but for three bucks it served its purpose.
- 03/26: L’Oreal Colour Riche Nail Oil nail polish in Vert Époque – $3.00. Again, a product that I missed in my last roundup. This was on clearance for three bucks and I loved the creamy turquoise colour, so I bought it. No regrets!
- 04/04: Milani Color Statement Lip Liner – Nude – $4.29. I’m on a lipliner kick lately and the price on these is good, so I thought I’d try one. Really enjoying it, and for an unbeatable price!
- 04/04: Milani Eyeshadow Primer – $9.49. I ran out of my NARS and didn’t want to shell out $30 for a new one, so I thought I’d try a cheaper option. Again, I love this product, so this was a great purchase.
- 04/04: ELF Small Stipple Brush – $3.99. I’ve been looking for a good brush to apply cream products with, and emilynoel83 raves about this brush for this exact purpose. When I came face-to-face with one, I had to buy it. Although this brush goes for $3 on the ELF website, with the Canadian conversion this price is spot-on. (At the time I purchased it, $3 USD converted to $4.02 CAD.) I’ve actually been using it most often for contouring: it gives quite a soft, subtle look, which I like.
- 04/04: ELF Blending Brush – $3.99. I’d been meaning to buy a few more ELF Crease Brushes since I use mine every day, and I thought this was the same one. When I got it home I saw I was mistaken, but I still use it regularly.
- 04/04: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Topcoat – $12.99 ($9.09). Replacement.
- 04/25: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 – $6.80. Replacement.
- 04/25: The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane – $7.90. Replacement for my argan oil, which I used up. I read Lindsey’s post about squalane and was sold, and so far so good!
- 04/25: The Ordinary Serum Foundation in 1.1N – $6.70. I definitely didn’t need this, but I wanted it, and I bought it. It happens!
- 04/30: Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in Mermaid’s Eyes – $4.80. This was on clearance for 80% off and I purchased it with Optimum points.
- 04/30: NARS Audacious Lipstick in Anna – $40 ($28). Purchased with Optimum points.
- 04/30: Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara – $28 ($19.60). Replacement, purchased with Optimum points.
- 04/30: L’Oreal Brow Plumper Brow Gel – $8.99. Replacement, purchased with Optimum points. On sale from $15.49.
- 04/30:NYX Wonder Pencil in Light – $6.99 ($4.89). I got this to use in my waterline because I don’t have any nude eyeliners for that purpose. Purchased with Optimum points.
- 04/30: Lise Watier Eyeliner in Marin – $23.00 ($16.10). Purchased with Optimum points.
- 04/30: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Indigo. $29.00 ($20.30). Purchased with Optimum points.
- 05/09: Witchcraft Be Strong – $10.99 ($7.69). Replacement. I can’t live without this stuff. My peely nails love it.
- 05/16: ELF Small Smudge Brush x 2 – $5.99 total. Canadian beauty retailer FTB Beauty is closing down and I bought a bunch of brushes when they were on clearout for 40% off. I’ve had one of these brushes for years and I use it daily, so I picked up two more.
- 05/16: bdellium tools 768 Round Dome Shadow Brush – $5.99. Also from FTB Beauty.
- 05/16: bdellium tools 787 Duet Fiber Large Tapered Blending Brush – $7.49. From FTB Beauty.
- 05/16: Real Techniques Bold Metals 201 Pointed Crease Brush – $13.79. From FTB Beauty.
- 05/20: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Duo – $6.49. These duo sets were marked down from $19.99 to $6.49 at my store. I actually don’t love the nail polish colour (in Aqua Chakra) and I’ll probably just give it away, but the topcoat alone is $12.99 full price and I go through it like water so it seemed like a prudent purchase.
- 05/20: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel – All Chalked Up – $6.49. Another clearance polish! This one appealed to me because of its pale, grey lavender tones. I really like it and it’s well worth the price. The Miracle Gel formula is one of my favourites.
- 06/07: Light Blue Shade Shampoo – $9.99 ($6.99). Replacement – this is my favourite purple shampoo.
- 06/10: Quo Deluxe Powder Brush – $14.99. I’ve been eyeing this brush for over a year and it was on sale for 40% off, so I snapped it up. Full price is $25!
- 06/19: Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution lipstick in Secret Salma – $39. Technically I bought this with birthday money that my grandma sent me, but I will include it in this category.
The lipsticks I bought this quarter. Looking at this, NARS Anna and Charlotte Tilbury Secret Salma look almost identical, but I swear they’re different! Anna is a lot dustier and cooler than Secret Salma.
Jeez, looking at this list you’d think I was really into nail polish. Or clearance nail polish, at least…
Total value (CAD): $407.52 (almost the exact same as last quarter’s value…)
Total spent (CAD): $178.10
Year-to-date value (CAD): $812.70
Year-to-date spent (CAD): $512.94
Products received at no cost between April 1, 2017 and June 30, 2017
Makeup I got for free.
In the interests of full transparency, “gratis” indicates that I received the product through work, whereas “PR” means it was sent to me by the brand for review on my blog. I would receive gratis whether or not I had a blog, and the teams who handle gratis and PR are totally different.
- 04/01: Wet N Wild Liquid Catsuit – Nice to Fuchsia – $4.99 USD ($6.68 CAD) – Gift. Okay, technically I picked this out myself and am fully responsible for it entering my collection. I also fully intended to pay for it, but I was in Walmart in Kentucky with my family and my dad said I should just add it to the groceries we were buying because he didn’t want me using my credit card to pay for it. (I always use credit in the US because my debit card generally doesn’t work.) So I’m including it here since I didn’t spend my own money on it. Thanks, Dad!
- 04/04: Biotherm Life Plankton Sensitive Emulsion – $55 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/04: Biotherm Blue Therapy Serum-In-Oil – $78 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/04: Biotherm Biosource Total Renew Cleansing Oil – $34 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/04: Biotherm Homme Aquapower Eye Depuffer – $30 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/04: Lancôme Absolue Night Precious Cells – $205 – Gratis. Received at a brand training. I haven’t used this yet because the fact that it is $205 intimidates me.
- 04/04: Lancôme Energie de Vie Liquid Care – $60 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/04: Lancôme La Vie Est Belle Florale EDT – $93 – Gratis. Received at a brand training. I’ve since destashed it without opening it because I don’t like the scent enough to keep it. My coworker said her mom would like the scent, so she gave it to her for Mother’s Day.
Some skincare I got for free.
- 04/04: Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge Lipstick – 317 Pourquoi Pas? – $39 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/04: ELF Illuminating Palette – $6 USD / $8.03 CAD – Gift. My mom made an ELF order and received a bunch of stuff, including this, as GWP. She passed this on to me as she already owned the same product.
- 04/11: La-Roche Posay Micellar Water Ultra – $19.95 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/11: La-Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 – $16 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/11: La-Roche Posay Toleriane Ultra Moisturizer – $34 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/11: La-Roche Posay Lipikar Xerand Hand Cream – $11 – Gratis. Received at a brand training. Passed this on without opening it.
- 04/11: Vichy Eau Thermale 150mL – $13 – Gratis. Received at a brand training. Passed on unopened; I don’t use these thermal water sprays.
- 04/11: Vichy Idéalia Serum – $49.95 – Gratis. Received at a brand training. Gave to my mom because I have too much skincare on backup to bother with something that I’m not interested in.
More free skincare.
- 04/11: Vichy Idéalia Peeling – $39.95 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/11: Vichy Mask Sachets – Double Glow Peel, Quenching Mineral, Pore Purifier – $6.99 each ($20.97 total value) – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/11: Vichy Teint Idéal Pure Light Face Roll-On – $27 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 05/21: Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Pacific Blue – $4.99 – Gift. My friend Kristin found a vintage bottle of the old formula of Sally Hansen Pacific Blue lying around and generously donated it to my cause. Now I have four bottles of PB, which makes me feel slightly less anxious about the impending doom of using up the last of the world’s supply of the stuff.
- 05/24: Lancôme Matte Shaker in 374 Kiss Me Cherie – $29 – PR.
- 05/24: Lancôme Matte Shaker in 378 Pink Power – $29 – PR.
- 05/24: Lancôme Matte Shaker in 379 Yummy Pink – $29 – PR. I’ve put this aside to give away to a friend; I can tell that I won’t like the colour on myself so there’s no use in using it and contaminating it.
- 06/16: Avène Couvrance Mascara – $19 – Gift. Part of my birthday gift from my boss. Passed this on to my mom ’cause I don’t need mascara right now. She has sensitive eyes so she’ll appreciate it more than I will!
- 06/16: Laboratoires Filorga Meso-Mask (travel size) – $70 full size – $42 value – Gift. Part of my birthday gift from my boss.
- 06/16: StriVectin Multi-Action Stress Defense Hydrating Water Gel – $65 – Gift. Part of my birthday gift from my boss.
- 06/16: Avène 3 in 1 Makeup Remover – $20 – Gift. Part of my birthday gift from my boss.
- 06/16: Vichy Mineralizing Thermale Water (mini) – $7.95 – Gift. Part of my birthday gift from my boss. Yes, another thermal water spray that I do not want.
- 06/16: A-Derma Soothing Foaming Gel – $15 – Gift. Part of my birthday gift from my boss.
Body care and stuff.
- 06/16: La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 60 Lotion – $29.50 – Gift. Part of my birthday gift from my boss. Very timely, since the day I got this I discovered that all my body sunscreen was expired.
- 06/16: La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 – $16 – Gift. Part of my birthday gift from my boss. Now I have two of these!
- 06/19: Stila Magnificent Metals Liquid Eyeshadow in Rose Gold Retro – $31 – Gift. I went shopping with my mom on my birthday and she offered to spend a few Optimum points on me. A super glittery eyeshadow seemed like the perfect ridiculous item to choose.
- 06/19: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire and Ice – $11.99. Another little birthday gift from my mom. I don’t normally wear colours like this, but I was feeling adventurous!
- 06/22: Revlon Mega Multiplier Mascara* – $13.99 – PR. Got this from Influenster and did not care for it!
Total value (CAD): $1203.95
Year-to-date value (CAD): $1689.39
Uh, I wasn’t lying last time around when I told you that you’d see a lot more gratis in this post. The Lancôme training school is extraordinarily generous. I gave away quite a bit of this stuff to friends and family without trying it myself just because I don’t like to have too many skincare products going at once, and I already have a lot of backups. If products don’t interest me then I’m not going to try them just for the sake of it.
I’ve been thinking a lot about beauty blogging lately. In any genre of blogging there are professionals and hobbyists; I think this divide is especially obvious when one is blogging about something so driven by consumerism. Professional beauty bloggers have huge makeup collections because they try everything. On the other hand, I’m a normal person, buying and using things that I’m actually interested in. I try not to buy products just for the sake of reviewing them and to instead buy what calls to me. My own beauty purchasing is pretty under control (though I still buy more than the average makeup consumer, probably), but working in cosmetics means I’m constantly acquiring new products faster than I can reasonably use them. But then, it is my job to keep up-to-date on products – I mean, my literal day job, regardless of my blog. However, I’ll be leaving my job next month (eep!), so my beauty stash is going to be a lot more under control and the second section of my quarter 3 accountability post will be considerably smaller. See you then!
Posted on May 12, 2017 under Empties
I seriously need to figure out a place to store my empties box that’s out of sight, because it’s kind of a bummer walking into my room to see a box of literal useless garbage.
I’ve included a category for samples once again here, but I’ll put deluxe-sized samples (that I got to use for awhile and form a real opinion on) in their respective categories.
As always, I’ll clearly indicate which products I received for free through work as well as any PR samples.
Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask: This got me through the winter very nicely. I think the price ($32 CAD for 100mL) is pretty fair too. I bought this back in November and just finished it up on Monday, so it lasted quite awhile. Moving into warmer weather I’ll use a less intense night cream, but I’d certainly consider repurchasing once the cold weather sets in again.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Riche Daily Soothing Nourishing Cream: I’ve gone through three tubes of this stuff now. It’s my favourite winter daytime moisturizer: it’s thick and nourishing but still sits well under makeup. I don’t have very reactive skin, but I do like that this product contains very few ingredients. I have a lot of specialized skincare products so I like a no frills moisturizer that I can layer with actives.
Clarins Daily Energizer Cream Gel: This was a sample. I had high hopes for this lightweight, gel texture moisturizer, but I found that it made whatever makeup I put on top of it pill. That’s a no-go!
Life Brand Tightening Facial Sheet Mask: You guys, I am so dedicated to the empties cause that I did this face mask in Montreal and put it in a Ziploc baggie to transport back to Toronto to put into my empties box. This was an unremarkable sheet mask which was probably not worth the effort. It did make my skin feel very soft and nourished, but I didn’t notice any tightening effect. Also IT DID NOT FIT MY FACE AT ALL:
Anyway, worth $1.67 for the sheer fun of doing face masks with your friends.
La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Serum: I got this through work. I’m a huge fan of La Roche-Posay skincare, but this serum missed the mark for me. I didn’t find it particularly hydrating at all and much prefer the Vichy Aqualia Thermale serum. At this point, though, I’ll forego both and stick with the next product.
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5: I repurchased a new bottle of this stuff the day it ran out. The guy at the Deciem store was like, “Have you used this product before?” and I was like “Yes and I cannot live one day without it.” This works great as a hydrating serum pre-moisturizer, and for $6.80 CAD I don’t feel bad using it liberally morning and night.
The Ordinary 100% Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil: So, more than a year ago I learned from an episode of Dragon’s Den that all argan oil comes from Morocco and Algeria. The vast majority of the work harvesting and processing argan oil is done by Berber women in this region. The Moroccan government has actually helped established women-run co-ops to produce argan oil. Amazingly, Berber women have exclusive rights to selling and producing it. So buying argan oil is a great way to support a woman-run industry! That spiel out of the way, I loved this product for my hair and body. It was a bit too heavy for my face. The 30mL bottle is not the most cost-effective way to go for a body moisturizer (even at $6.80), however. I’m currently trying out The Ordinary’s squalane on my face and hair, so I’ll have to see how that goes before I decide which one I want to repurchase.
NeoStrata Purifying Solution – 8% Glycolic Acid: This was my first true foray into the world of glycolic acid toners, and I enjoyed it. I have another bottle on the go but I think I’ll try something else when I run out of it. I did really like it and often recommend it to customers who want something a bit higher than the Pixi Glow Tonic (which is 5% glycolic), but I like to switch things up and I’m not such a huge fan of alcohol being so high up in the ingredients list on this one.
Arbonne Lip Intelligence Lip Treatment*: I did like this lip balm a lot, but at $46 I would never repurchase it. I can’t help but assume that the high cost is due to the fact that Arbonne is a multi-level marketing business. When I accepted press samples from Arbonne a year and a half ago, I wasn’t aware that it was an MLM and going forward I definitely won’t support any MLMs on my blog or in real life.
Matrix SoColor Hair Dye in 6W Light Brown: I had a very ill-fated attempt at dyeing my hair brown over the red. (I mean, it wasn’t a disaster, it just didn’t show up at all. Even on my virgin roots it just went auburn…) Anyway, that whole debacle taught me that I should be blonde until it kills me.
Wella Color Charm T-18 Lightest Ash Blonde Toner: Speaking of blonde, the colour has always been a DIY project. When I went back to blonde, it was super brassy and my usual Manic Panic toner concoction didn’t cut it. I went back to Wella T-18, which I did NOT have a horrible reaction to this time. I’ll still save this for special occasions since I don’t want to push it, but it just is the best toner for ashy, white blonde hair. And trust me, I’ve tried a lot.
StriVectin Hair All Smooth Shampoo: I got this in a little set at a StriVectin training. It was very handy for travel, which is how I used it up, but it’s nothing special. I’m not going to direct my customers to it when I can sell them John Frieda or Marc Anthony for half the price.
Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask: You know, I have been so desperate for anything that will keep my hair on my head that if this stuff was miraculous I would have shelled out the frankly ridiculous $46 CAD for the full tub. I think this was worth the 100 points I spent on it at Sephora, as it was a perfectly serviceable hair mask which kept my nasty dead hair in fairly good condition. The 30mL sample size also lasted me probably about 10 uses, and it was great to travel with. However, for forty-six goddamn dollars it had better be doing something amazing, because $46 is a fairly significant chunk which I could be using to pay my telephone bills and automo-bills. (Actually, I don’t have any automo-bills because I don’t have a car and can barely drive!) I’d probably spend points on samples of this for travel purposes, but I’ll just keep buying hair masks at the drugstore which all basically do the same thing for like $35 less. Also, the one thing that actually rescued my hair from the depths of bleach-destroyed hell after I went back to blonde was Olaplex.
Bath & Body
Calgon Hawaiian Ginger Shea Sugar Scrub and Body Wash: The scent of this was nice, but I definitely will not repurchase because I don’t think it was too effective as a scrub. When I bought it I didn’t realize it was more of a sugar scrub suspended in a body wash, and I feel like it’s too liquidy to really grip the skin well. My mom unearthed yet another tube of the Freeman’s pomegranate scrub which I love, so I’ll be going back to that.
Old Spice Champion Deodorant: So, I bought this stick on sale for $3.99 back in September 2013 and I JUST used it up now. Men’s deodorant is SO GOOD! I also prefer the scent of this to, like, cucumber or baby powder. I did purchase another stick of Old Spice, but this time I switched it up and went with Bearglove. By the way, I buy the gel version.
Makeup & Nails
Witchcraft Be Strong: The best treatment for my peeling nails. I’m on my third bottle!
NARS Pro-Prime Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base: My dudes, I have waxed poetic about this eyeshadow primer for a long time, but our love affair is over. They must have reformulated it – my first tube lasted me two and a half years and could get me through absolutely anything and this tube lasted a year and got me through maybe 7 hours. I picked up the Milani eyeshadow primer and that shit is so good and less than a third of the price.
Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss Lipstick in 08: The last time I finished a lipstick was two years ago, and I had to make a real effort to use this one up. This rosy neutral with a hint of brown was a go-to everyday shade for me for awhile, but I wore it constantly for 6 weeks and so now I am glad it’s gone. It’s definitely a flattering shade on me, but it’s not very exciting – yet every time I wore it to work I got so many questions on it. I once sold four tubes in one day just because people asked what it was. I won’t repurchase because my Buxom liner in Hush Hush* is basically the same colour.
Look how dead this lipstick is!!!!
Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base: I swear I’m always spending my Sephora points on shit I’m not that excited about, and yet I always seem to have Sephora points. And no, it’s not because I spend so much at Sephora, because I really don’t. I’m a Shoppers loyalist. Anyway, I ended up using this sample up by mixing it into foundation. I thought that gave a very nice, glowy look, but the full size is $54, and, like… no.
NARSskin Total Replenishing Eye Cream: This was a very thick eye cream which would be a nice nighttime treatment for those with dry undereyes. My undereyes don’t really need much (a thin gel formula is fine), so this was a bit too much for me, and the full size is $68 hahahahaha are you kidding me NARS.
StriVectin LABS Silver Peel-Off Purifier: I kind of don’t think this really did anything! Maybe it’s just that it has more of a cumulative effect, though? It did look cool on my face, at least, but that’s not enough to make me spend $72 on the full size.
The Ab Crew Caffeine Shampoo: I got this as a sample at the Deciem store. I didn’t really like this one at all – the texture was a strange sticky gel which I don’t feel was very effective on my thick hair. I also think it’s hard to assess the efficacy of caffeine on my hair with only one use. Anyway, I don’t need my hair to “wake up” (whatever that means), I need it to not be crunchy/on the verge of death.
Hylamide HA Blur: This is billed as a “finisher”, but it can also be used as a primer. I didn’t find it did anything as a primer, but maybe I should have used it mixed in with my foundation or overtop it. MEH.
The Chemistry Brand HA3 Hand Hydrator: Another Deciem sample! It was a nice enough hand cream, but I don’t really use hand cream since my hands are like the only part of my body that aren’t dry and don’t typically need any added moisture. It smelled nice, though!
Normally I space these posts out very sporadically, but I can pretty much guarantee that the next one will be sometime in August before I move. See ya then!