Empties: February to May 2018

Posted on June 20, 2018 under Empties

My empties posts are always at irregular intervals because that’s how using products up actually works in reality. Sometimes I’ll use up eight thousand products in the span of a month and sometimes three months will pass with my only empties being, like, a lip balm and brow gel. This post features a four-month accumulation because things were slow on the empties front around here; after my last empties post, I was left with a bunch of close-to-full products.

But I had a very convenient alibi for an empties post when it came to leaving the UK – although I’m getting this up nearly a month after returning home.

No press samples in this batch. Things I received for free through work are marked with an asterisk.

Skincare

A-Derma Soothing Foaming Gel*: This is a decent cleansing gel, though it’s nothing special. I prefer more hydrating cleansers, anyway.

Vichy Idélia Peeling*: I liked this! My skin responds well to glycolic acid and this was no exception. However, if Deciem can survive their CEO’s long-term public meltdown, the glycolic from The Ordinary is like $7 and just as good.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5: Speaking of The Ordinary! I’ve honestly lost count of how many bottles of this I’ve gone through. It’s just such an effective, low-cost serum. Will keep using.

Origins Drink Up! Overnight Intensive Mask: You can see that I’ve done a number on this tube in an attempt to get out every last drop. This is my favourite night cream for winter time, and I can say that for the second year in a row the dreaded nose flakies have failed to make an appearance thanks to this rich moisturizer. A tube conveniently lasts me November through March, which is the perfect amount of time.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Intense Soothing Care*: This is a really great daytime moisturizer. It’s rich enough to really hydrate dry skin, but thin enough to sit well under makeup. I’m working through some other things right now, but I’d happily go back to this. I went through a few tubes of the thicker, richer Toleriane Ultra, but I think this one is better-suited to daytime use.

Vaseline Lip Therapy + SPF 15: This was a decent lip balm that certainly got me through a dry winter. Nivea works better for me, though.

A forgotten empty, photographed later:

Bioderma Sensibio Eye Contour Gel*: A nice thin eye cream that delivers a medium amount of moisture. My undereyes have become quite dry lately, which I’m chalking up to age, so maybe I will buy another tube.

And while on vacation I used up a mini 100mL bottle of Bioderma Sensibio H2O which I forgot to photograph. The original Bioderma remains one of my favourite micellar solutions, alongside La Roche-Posay.

Hair

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Tone Correcting Shampoo: Oh wow, more of these? I can’t help it – it’s a good blonde shampoo and I would always buy it when Superdrug had it for £3.95. That’s a bargain!

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Shampoo (mini) x2: Went through two of these while travelling, only managed to photograph one. I’ve been using this shampoo on and off for over three years, so these travel minis are a no-brainer.

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Conditioner (mini): A solid conditioner, another tried and true product that rotates in and out of my haircare routine with regularity.

Toni and Guy Damage Repair Mask: I’ve used up a lot of deep conditioner in four years as a blonde, so I feel confident in saying that this one was average. I want to say it weighed my hair down a bit, but now that my hair is actually reasonably healthy it gets greasier a lot faster, so it’s hard to say accurately.

A straggler, photographed later:

Toni and Guy Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo: This dry shampoo worked well, but not as well as Batiste. It also had a very strong smell which I did not enjoy. The only reason I bought it was because I was one second away from fully succumbing to jetlag and could not for the life of me find the Batiste in the Superdrug I was in. You know that when I step off a plane my first priority is Batiste.

Bath and Body

A-Derma Exomega Emollient Balm*: I absolutely love this product. Despite the name “balm”, it’s not a super thick lotion, yet it delivers a lot of moisture, which is absolutely necessary for someone with KP. This can also be used on the face, so it’s a true multitasker. It’s right up there with La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP+.

The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter x2: This is the only Body Butter I like, and I exclusively buy it in bulk during 3 for $30 sales. Because of the coconut oil, it has a thicker, semi-solid texture and it does absolute wonders on my perpetually-scaly, KP-ravaged limbs. Weirdly, the first of these tubs that I went through had the same texture as a regular Body Butter, which was a devastating blow. The second one had the texture I like, which was a lot better – but I’m still thinking they’ve reformulated to make the textures consistent across all scents, and I just ended up with an older tub. If this is the case I won’t keep buying it, since the texture was what I liked so much about it. (Okay, and it makes me smell like I live in a hut with a palm frond roof, which I love.)

L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil: You know I love this stuff. Is it absurdly expensive for something that is on my skin for like twenty seconds total? Yes! But it’s so luxurious, and I really cannot underestimate how dry my arms and legs are. They need every bit of moisture they can get.

The Body Shop Shea Butter Exfoliating Sugar Body Scrub: I am firmly a drugstore gal when it comes to body scrubs, but I picked this up during a 3 for $30 sale so I can’t be mad. It had a very interesting soufflé-like texture. Otherwise, it was a sugar scrub. It was fine, but if you pay full price for it you’re a fool. (Well, that goes for all products from The Body Shop, but especially sugar scrubs. Come on.)

Makeup

Benefit “That Gal” Primer (mini): Can we talk about the value of this mini? It contains 7.5mL of product, and the full size is a whopping 11mL. I mean. What. Strangely generous size aside, this is a pretty classic illuminating primer, though it has a thicker texture than others I’ve used and a very noticeable pink tinge. I enjoyed using it during the transition from winter to spring, when my skin decided to protest the change in seasons by being dry as a bone. Would not pay for the full size, but would probably spend Sephora points on another mini.

Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Crème in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (mini): I don’t know if it’s fair to feel this accomplished about using up a mini, but I do. I mean, this is only the third lipstick I’ve used up in my life, so it has to count for something! I really like the Le Marc Lip Crème formula and this was a very flattering neutral which I enjoyed wearing immensely.

Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara (mini): This used to be a favourite because it delivered volume and length without any clumps. Like, I dare you to try to make this mascara clumpy. It just doesn’t happen. Unfortunately, I have now discovered that it does not hold a curl at all, which is a dealbreaker for me. I don’t know if the mini just performs differently than the full size I had, but something is up here.

Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Mascara (mini): I don’t remember anything about this. The end.

Miscellaneous

Only one item in this category today, and a boring one at that. Tesco Beauty Nail Polish Remover was a nail polish remover. I got carded when I was buying it in September because I was also buying a knife and you’re not allowed to do that if you’re under eighteen. When the self checkout machine flagged me I totally thought it was because of the nail polish remover because I guess you can huff it or maybe make something explosive out of it. That story is not very interesting, but neither is nail polish remover.

The end! Now I’m back in Canada accumulating more empty things to show off at some random point down the line.

Lipstick Collection: Fuchsias and Bright Pinks

Posted on April 16, 2018 under Inventory

Fuchsia was the first lipstick colour I ever fell in love with. When I was 19, you could expect to see me sporting fuchsia more often than not. It’s a colour that I’ve grown out of somewhat; I still really like the right tone on me, but I don’t think it’s my most flattering colour anymore. (To be fair, when my fuchsia obsession was at its height, I had brown hair.) Regardless, this portion of my collection is still pretty robust, even after trimming it down in the summer.

This category can get slightly hazy – sometimes there’s not a lot separating a warm fuchsia from a pink-based coral or a cool fuchsia from a warm lilac. I’ve just gone with my gut here, which has involved rearranging the configuration of products I presented in my lipstick inventory post back in the summer. (By the way, as always, arm swatches are available in that post.)

And here are my bare lips:

Lancôme Le Lip Liner in Rose Lancôme

Man, isn’t this colour just so pretty? It’s bright and unapologetic and it has the hint of warmth that I love in a good fuchsia. Although you definitely should not spend $30 on a lip liner, if you do, Lancôme liners have an almost gel-like quality and they glide on very comfortably and evenly. Personally I like to cheap out on lip liners, but I’ve found it really hard to find a bright, warm fuchsia and I bought this with Optimum points anyway. (Of course. Come on. I buy everything with Optimum points.)

ColourPop Lippie Stix in Heart-On

Ugh, I still hate the name. However, this is a great lip liner option – it’s cooler and deeper than Rose Lancôme, so it fulfils a different function. You can see in the photos in the original post that a purple undertone can become more apparent in cooler lighting, which makes it a nice layering option to change the undertone of a fuchsia lipstick. Also, one time I wore this lip liner by itself to work, and a man asked me why, and I said because I liked it, and he said, “No you don’t,” and I still don’t know what he meant by that. Actually, I’m pretty sure he meant he didn’t like it, which is fine because he was buying Just 4 Men hair dye because he wants to pay more money for less hair dye solely because there’s a picture of a man on the box. Anyway. This lip liner reminds me of that man. I hope he’s having fun touching up his grays.

NARS Audacious Lipstick in Angela

I honestly have no idea how to categorize this lipstick. Is it a bright magenta? Is it a super bright cool-toned pink? Is it almost a lilac? I don’t know! In the end I decided that it’s too light and bright to be magenta and too pink to be lilac, which leaves it in the vague “bright pink” category. Rest assured that the Audacious formula is one of my favourites of all time – I have five of them! You can read my full review of the formula here. Angela is my most recent addition to the Audacious collection (though it’s not really that recent an acquisition since I bought it in August). I was slightly nervous that this colour would be way too much, but I shouldn’t have worried. In general, I can pull off really saturated colours, and this one totally works.

Bite Beauty Matte Lipstick in Custom Colour

Oh, you thought NARS Angela was freakishly bold? Well, allow me to introduce to you this custom colour from Bite Beauty, which is Angela on steroids. This is possibly the most unapologetically loud lipstick I own, and I love it for that. The formula is also great – I’m in a small minority who doesn’t live and die by the Amuse Bouche formula, but I really enjoy the matte formula Bite offers at their lip labs. It strikes a nice balance between wear time and comfort. In the original post you’ll be able to see that it can appear a bit more purple in some lights, but overall I think it’s just shy of being a true purple. Whatever it is, I love it.

ColourPop Lippie Stix Matte X in Poppin

This is genuinely one of the best lipstick formulas I have in my collection, and I always forget about it. It has a true matte finish but manages to look beautifully smooth on my lips. It also wears like a champ. And this is just a really nice colour – anything that leans berry is going to be flattering on me, but I like that this colour has that nice vibrant punch. If I ever make another ill-advised ColourPop order, I might have to try some other Matte X colours, because this one is seriously so good. (And, hey, it was a GWP, so I didn’t even spend any real money on it.)

Revlon ColorBurst Balm Stain in Lovesick

I have such an intense nostalgic love for this lipstick. It was one of the first I ever bought, right when I was first getting into makeup in early 2013. I have a perfectly clear memory of buying it: I was at the end of my first year of university, just finishing exams, and preparing to move back to Toronto for the summer. I bought it from the Pharmaprix near my dorm and put it on just to see how it looked. I wasn’t used to so much colour on my face, but I found that I really liked it. I wore it constantly during the summer. On my nineteenth birthday, I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that it was a really flattering colour on me. Wait, here is a picture from that exact day of discovery:

Anyway, I then proceeded to buy like fifteen more fuchsia lipsticks that summer because I had found My Colour. This is no longer My Colour, but it’s still a great lipstick. They haven’t made this colour in years, so I cling to my tube. (By the way, this is my second tube – the first one melted in the sun – so it’s not actually five years old. Just, like, three. Whatever.)

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Fiore

I’m pretty much over liquid lipstick these days, but Stila’s formula is about as good as it’s going to get for me. Fiore was a gift from my friend Kristin a few Christmases back, and she obviously knew me very well when she selected this bright pink! I actually prefer this tone on me to the OG fuchsia, Revlon Lovesick. (I’m wearing it in the picture on the sidebar! Which was taken 3 years ago the last time I lived in Glasgow, ha.) Though this is undoubtedly a bright pink, it’s a bit more muted than some of the others I have. It’s like a daytime bright pink. I don’t know what it is – there’s just something in the undertone that makes it a bit more of a reasonable colour.

Lancôme Matte Shaker in Pink Power*

Dude, I love this lipstick. Like, I’m over liquid lipsticks and I still love this one because it truly doesn’t feel like a liquid lipstick. And this is the kind of in-your-face vibrant warm fuchsia lipstick that I’m all about. It’s just so good. I think if I had to pick a single fuchsia from my collection, it would be this one. The colour is just exactly what I want, and I can’t rave about this formula enough. And this is coming from someone who just declared that she is over liquid lipsticks. I have tried enough liquid lipsticks that claim to be different to be wary, but this one actually is. (It doesn’t wear the same way as a classic liquid lipstick, either, but this particular colour stains so brilliantly that that doesn’t matter.)

YSL Rouge Volupté Shine in 28

I really didn’t need to buy this lipstick, but I love it anyway. I’m not normally a sheer lipstick person, but I absolutely love the Rouge Volupté Shine formula for casual days (and travel, when comfort is of the utmost importance). Though this is definitely a bright colour, the fact that it’s sheer means that it’s not too much when I want to slap on a sheer foundation and mascara and run out the door to grab brunch. And though this is (obviously) not a long-wearing formula, it fades to an even stain, which is a bonus. Obviously, I wouldn’t call this a fuchsia, but it fits into the catch-all category of “bright pink” for me. It appears a bit warmer in photos than in person, but in real life it’s definitely pink.

YSL Rouge Pur Couture in 57

This is where the colour category gets a little fuzzy. In my big lipstick inventory back in the summer, I put this in the coral category, but swatched next to a bunch of true corals it looked really pink. However, here it is photographing very coral, especially compared to the true fuchsias in this post. So, apparently I can never win with this colour, but I still consider it a warm bright pink with a slight blue-y duochrome shift under some lights. That sounds kind of like something a middle schooler circa 2006 might have worn, but I promise it’s really pretty. This lipstick is pretty much a trophy for me, unfortunately – the formula’s nothing special, and I think the floral scent is truly revolting. I mean, I still wear it, but basically the only reason I don’t part with it is that it’s YSL. Which is a bad reason, I know, but that’s the way it is.

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Electric Poppy

Speaking of warm pinks that are borderline coral-y but really who’s to say what is what when colours are so nebulous and subjective and can we all just agree that I’ve had a hard time trying to categorize these last few and I’m doing my best…! This one is just so gloriously playful. It’s not a serious colour at all; it’s just fun. In my experience, the Matte Revolution formula is consistent across all colours – that is, it’s creamy, comfortable, and reasonably long-wearing.

And because I feel like I’m going crazy with these warmer pinks, I went on a bit of a swatching frenzy:

L-R: YSL #28, YSL #57, Charlotte Tilbury Electric Poppy, Marc Jacobs So Sofia, Revlon Fire and Ice

Maybe you can better understand where and why I drew the line? Maybe not. The more I think about this the more I’m second-guessing myself, even though back in August I was convinced I was entirely wrong in my classifications of YSL #57 and CT Electric Poppy in the coral category. It’s a slippery thing, and the line between “warm bright pink” and “definitely coral” is hazy. At least for me. Maybe you guys are better at colour taxonomy.

I had a lot more lipsticks in this category back in the summer, but luckily I managed to trim the collection down to a more reasonable size. (Okay, there are still a lot of lipsticks here.) Even though fuchsia is no longer my go-to colour I seem to have had to do a few culls specifically targetting the excess of fuchsia in the past few years, which I guess goes to show that old habits die hard.

Empties: September 2017 to January 2018

Posted on January 30, 2018 under Empties

My last empties post was at the end of the summer, before I moved to Glasgow – it’s been awhile! But after months of diligently using stuff, I have finally collected enough garbage to share with you.

Anything marked with an asterisk was received as gratis through work. There are no press samples featured in this post.

Skincare

Biotherm Blue Therapy Serum-In-Oil*: I’m very sad to see this go, because it was an absolutely lovely, nourishing serum step. However, at $78, I will not be replenishing my supply. I will say, though, this truly is a “serum-in-oil” – it feels oily and is incredibly rich and hydrating, but it sinks into the skin easily and doesn’t feel heavy like some oils tend to do even on my dry skin. I would buy this with Optimum points if I were in a particularly indulgent mood.

Biotherm Life Plankton Sensitive Emulsion*: This is an overpriced moisturizer. It was absolutely fine as a pre-makeup step, but for $55 I don’t want “absolutely fine”.

Jouviance Glyco Laser 5% Soft Peel Night Cream*: My skin loves glycolic acid, and a 5% concentration worked really well for nightly use. This cream was great over the spring and summer months – it wasn’t too heavy but gave me enough hydration. It was fortuitous that I ran out of it as the cooler weather started to settle in, because it wouldn’t have been enough for winter.

Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet: This moisturizer layers nicely under makeup but isn’t as hydrating as I would have wanted. It also smelled really weird, and not in a good way. It was convenient to have on hand for travelling, but hahaha $48 for a 40mL tube of an okay moisturizer.

The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane: I like having an oil on hand for my hair, body, and face, and this one didn’t disappoint. It worked well for all three purposes and I liked it a bit more than The Ordinary’s Argan Oil, which was a tiny bit heavy on my face. I have repurchased this and use it whenever my face needs some serious help in the hydration department!

Nuxe Rêve de Miel Lip Balm: I have sung this lip balm’s praises enough times, I think. This is the second pot I’ve finished; of course, I’m already enthusiastically working my way through a third. I got my mom hooked on this stuff, too. It’s on the pricier side ($17 CAD), but a pot lasts me upwards of a year and it’s legit the best thing for my dry lips.

Nivea Hydro Care Lip Balm: I’m pretty sure I got this in my stocking when I was, like, 15, and recently started using it on a regular basis. Anyway, this is actually a really nice stick lip balm. I switched to Vaseline in a stick after I used this one up, and this one gives longer-lasting and generally richer hydration. When I finish the disappointing Vaseline I’ll probably go back to good ol’ Nivea.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5: Photographed separately and on a different background because I finished it while in Toronto for Christmas and don’t understand the meaning of the word “consistency”. I use this as a hydrating serum step and I love it; this is the third bottle I’ve finished.

Hair

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Tone-Correcting Shampoo x3: I have been around the block when it comes to purple shampoos, and my favourite is Light Blue Shade. Since I can’t get that here in the UK, I have come back to a longtime favourite. The obvious downside is that I go through a 250mL tube quickly, as you may have surmised from the fact that there are three empty tubes featured in this post. But my hair has been suitably ashy, and the price is right. John Frieda is one of the rare brands that is much cheaper here in the UK; normal price is £6.95, but I always buy my shampoo when it’s on sale for £3.95. That’s about $6 CAD, down from the ~$14 it goes for in Canada. (By the way, the bottle in the second picture is the old packaging, because I still had a tube of it kicking around back in Toronto.)

Batiste Dry Shampoo – Blush: I don’t love this particular floral scent, but my friends and I have come to the conclusion that for some reason the Blush Batiste works better than the regular one. Batiste will always be a go-to dry shampoo staple for me because it works and you can find it nice and cheap at Winners. (I mean, not that the $10 price tag at the drugstore is terrible, either.)

Makeup

Remind me not to photograph black tubes on a dark background again…

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer in Fair: This is my second shot at this concealer. The first time I used the pink illuminating shade and found it made my undereyes look ashy. This time I went for Fair, which was a great shade for me. It’s a pretty good undereye concealer, but it doesn’t blow my mind.

Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara: My favourite mascara – it makes my lashes look super long and defined without any clumps. I don’t mind that it’s waterproof; biphase remover takes it off easily. I despise spending money on mascara and bought this with Optimum points so I could wear it to my friends’ wedding. (Good thing; I cried!) I’ll need another good excuse to buy another tube, as much as I love it – $27 ain’t cheap.

L’Oreal Brow Artist Plumper in Transparent: This truly is my favourite brow gel. The hold is great, and it never looks wet or crispy on my brows. However, I think $14 for a drugstore brow gel is pushing it, so I only buy it when it’s on sale for $8.99. Right now I’m using Essence because I ran out of this stuff and it wasn’t on sale and I was feeling very cheap. I miss it, though. God, don’t you hate getting hooked on a product that’s unnecessarily expensive? I mean… it’s clear brow gel, the most boring product on Earth. I don’t want to spend more than $5 on it!

Nails

Witchcraft Be Strong Protein Hardener: I’ve had peely nails for about three years now, and this base coat really helps keep them in good shape. Since I used this up I discontinued use since I can’t find it in the UK, and I find my nails are actually in really good shape. I speculate that it’s because I’m no longer working with my hands so much, but it could be coincidental. Either way, I strongly recommend this if you struggle with peeling nails!

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat: I fell in love with this top coat back in the summer of 2014, and after trying a few others I have ultimately come back to this one. I like it better than the ever-popular Seche Vite! Now that I’m not working retail my nail polish lasts a lot longer, and I can get through an entire week with no chips when I use this top coat.

Beauty UK Nail Polish in Black: I bought this nail polish when I studied abroad in Glasgow, and now that I am back in Glasgow it has become a gloopy mess. Full circle! There’s nothing special about this nail polish either way. Knowing myself I assume this was cheap and that’s why I bought it over all the other black nail polishes out there, and if that’s the case then I think it’s a good budget buy.

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Barracuda: This baby blue is one of my favourite nail polish colours ever, but the last time I used it it was so gloopy that I had to remove it immediately. I’m not sure if I’ll replace it because Barry M Sugar Apple is so similar that it’s hard to justify.

Lancôme glitter polish: I stole this from my mom’s nail polish stash in high school. (I would apologize, but she hardly ever wears nail polish, let alone glitter, and she probably got it for free because I can’t see her spending $30 on nail glitter.) It’s a really pretty fine white gold glitter that applies evenly, and it has been a staple of my Christmas manicures for many years now. But it’s pretty much completely dry, and the bottle has been caught in the crossfires of a few mishaps, so it’s time to say goodbye.

I don’t normally have so many nail empties, but I’m happy to thin out the herd even more. I’ve been getting increasingly stressed with the concept of owning a lot of things, so the more I use up the better. I’m not sure when my next empties post will be or how many products it will contain, but stay tuned, I guess.