Empties: January to March 2019

Posted on March 20, 2019 under Empties

I feel like this round of garbage accumulated very slowly and then very suddenly. I ran out of a bunch of staple products within a few weeks, which made my wallet sad but which was nonetheless satisfying. I note that I have not used up any haircare products over the last three months, but there is a lot of skincare in here.

Body

The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter x2: A very classic Clem move is buying three tubs of Coconut Body Butter at the beginning of winter when The Body Shop is doing 3 for $30 or buy 2 get 1. This is the only body butter I use, because the coconut oil makes it better than all the other ones. I go through it pretty quickly; I’ll probably polish off the third tub within the next month, at which point hopefully the weather will be more conducive to some lighter body creams. Obviously I will repurchase when November rolls around.

The Chemistry Brand Hyaluronic Concentrate: This was better in the fall when I first started using it; by deepest winter it was very necessary to layer it with something heavier. At $30, it’s pretty pricey for a hydrating body gel, especially when you’re me and have dry, scaly legs and arms. I won’t repurchase.

Skincare

La Roche-Posay Respectissime Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover: Look, I tried to cut corners and bought the Marcelle eye makeup remover when I used this up, and I regret it. It is not as good and it irritates my eyes. I will never stray from LRP again.

Biotherm Biosource Total Renew Oil: I love a good oil cleanser. This was a good oil cleanser. It’s also $37 for 200ml. I would rather pay $19 for The Body Shop’s 200ml cleansing oil. (Just kidding, you know I never pay full price for anything at The Body Shop, nor should you.)

Marcelle Ultra Gentle Cleansing Gel: I have been very loyal to this cleanser for a few years now. It’s gentle, it’s effective, and it’s cheap. I now have two of these in my bathroom: one on the counter and one in the shower. That’s how you know it’s very real between us.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Caring Wash: Another gentle gel cleanser. I liked this a lot, but it’s $22 for 200ml to Marcelle’s $13 for 350ml, hence why Marcelle has replaced it in my shower.

Vichy Idélia Serum: This is leftover gratis from literally two years ago. That’s the way it is when you work in cosmetics. Anyway, this serum felt nice and gave my skin an instant glow, but the plant-based antioxidant ingredients aren’t really worth the high price tag.

NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex: Okay, this product also has a high price tag, but I love it so much. It has ten times as much hyaluronic acid as The Ordinary’s HA + B5, and the texture is far superior. It has made such a difference to my skin this winter – I’ve been only slightly dry, with absolutely no flakey patches. I’m eventually going to investigate if Hylamide’s hyaluronic acid serum is a reasonable middle ground (and at $18 a lot more affordable), but I admit I’ve already cracked into a new bottle of MMHC.

The Ordinary 100% Plant-Based Squalane: A nice lightweight facial oil, but not my favourite since it doesn’t have the added benefits a lot of other oils do besides surface hydration. Last spring I travelled with squalane as my only facial moisturizer, and it worked well under makeup and gave me sufficient overnight hydration. I ended up using up most of this bottle on my arms and legs, because I’m not really using oils in my facial skincare routine these days.

The Ordinary “B” Oil: I used this up on my arms and legs, too. I think this oil blend is a nice idea for the indecisive, but I’d rather receive the full benefits of one oil. I’m pretty happy with my oil-less face routine, but marula will be the next one I try when I want to change things up.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA: I’ve gone through a few bottles of this now! I really like LA as an effective but gentle alternative to glycolic. I have very tolerant skin that does fine with glycolic, but lactic is a little more dry-skin friendly. I don’t like to have too many actives in my routine so I’ve retired this in favour of a vitamin C for the time being, but I’m sure I’ll go back to it at some point!

NIOD Survival 30: Dude, this is by far the best facial sunscreen I’ve ever tried. I was very much on the Vichy and La Roche-Posay train for a while, but Survival sits way better under my makeup. The pump tends to get clogged and spray product out a little aggressively, which is a bummer, and it’s obviously not cheap. But I’m firmly on this bandwagon. The texture is second to none (at least none that are readily-available in Canada), and I love that it’s packed with antioxidants for well-rounded protection.

NIOD Hydration Vaccine: This is a silicone-based barrier meant to prevent moisture loss from the skin. Supposedly it can be used AM and PM, but I don’t think this would sit nicely under makeup. I used it pretty much every night in the winter and I think it helped a bit – but I have so many hydrating products in my routine that I think I would have been fine without it. I probably won’t repurchase this one, but it was fun to try.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Fluide: You can probably see that I have transitioned much of my skincare over to Deciem, but I’ve never been a fan of the Natural Moisturizing Factors. I am sticking with the LRP Toleriane line! I’ve tried every moisturizer in this line (I think), although when I bought this I definitely meant to get the regular Ultra. As a daytime moisturizer I think Toleriane Ultra is absolutely fantastic; this lighter version is nice, but I could have done with richer hydration during the coldest months. Totally my fault, and still a great product.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Sensitive Riche (sample): This moisturizer brought me into the Toleriane world, and I am so grateful for it. This is great for very dry, sensitive skin. I find the Toleriane Ultra works a bit better with makeup, but I am still a huge fan of this one.

Abnomaly Petrowhat? in Milk: This is a squalane-based alternative to petroleum jelly ointments. Unfortunately, I really did not care for it, and ended up using it up on my elbows, where I’m not sure it did any more than it did for my lips. However, you can see I did my best to not waste a drop of it.

Makeup

CoverGirl The Super Sizer Mascara (Waterproof): I have now embarked on a doomed journey to replace my beloved discontinued Clarins Truly Waterproof. This mascara held a curl and built volume nicely, but it didn’t give me the ultra-long feathery effect I crave. It also smudged a bit under my eyes, which makes me wonder why I put myself through all the pitfalls of a waterproof mascara anyway.

Bare Minerals Prime Time Foundation Primer (deluxe sample): This is a very standard silicone-based primer, which is to say it did absolutely nothing for me and I had no thoughts on it.

Glossier Priming Moisturizer (sample): I guess this belongs in the skincare category, but I put it here to round out this sad little offering. My brief impression of this product is that it’s pretty hydrating and sits well under makeup, but there are a lot of moisturizers that tick those boxes and I’d rather stick with one I don’t have to specially order.

Miscellaneous

Orly Nail Lacquer in After Party: This is a very fun nail polish with black, navy, and purple microglitter. I distinctly remember ordering it to my first year dorm room, which means it’s at least six years old. I’ve used it a lot and now it’s very gummy and gross and it’s time to say goodbye. It was gorgeous, though.

Sally Hansen Gem Crush Nail Color in Lady Luck: I honestly don’t know how this survived the great nail polish declutter of 2017, because it is gaudy as hell in a way that does not appeal to me. (I mean, I love some gaudy things, just not this.) It’s also completely dried up and gross. Bye.

Sally Hansen Diamond Shine Base and Top Coat: Not as good as my trusty Sally Hansen Miracle Gel top coat, the subject of one of my earliest blog posts. (Please see the first image in this blog post for evidence that I indulge my love for gaudy things frequently. That hideous ring cost me $0.37 at H&M.) I have since corrected this error in judgment.

Quo Blending Sponge: This used to be my favourite blending sponge, but they have definitely reformulated it. It has way less give and it soaks up a tonne of product. I’m currently using another one which I bought simply to ensure that this one wasn’t just a dud (it was not), and then I’ll have to find something else.

Now I’m going to throw this all in the recycling bin and start anew!

Top 18 of 2018

Posted on December 25, 2018 under Favourites

This will almost certainly be my last year structuring my favourites posts this way; I just don’t anticipate having nineteen favourites next year. But here are the eighteen items that brightened up my 2018. These products are presented in chronological order and encompass things I tried for the first time this year. (I cheated a little bit but it’s my blog and the rules are made entirely by me, so whatever.)

NYX Epic Ink Eyeliner

After four years of religiously buying the Stila liquid liner, I made the switch to NYX this year. I see virtually no differences between the two liners other than the price tag. Liners have the tendency to transfer on my lids, but this one stays put all day, which is 90% of what I care about. It’s also easy to apply, and one pen lasts a long time. (I can’t give a terribly accurate gauge of how long since I go through phases with liquid liner and haven’t used it too frequently this year.) NYX products nearly always disappoint me, but their liquid liners consistently impress.

Bite Beauty Custom Lipsticks

I really like the custom matte formula that Bite offers at their Lip Labs, and of course I’m in love with the burnt orange and vibrant magenta shades I got on a bitter day in January. I genuinely really like these lipsticks, but they’re also a favourite because of how fun the custom creation experience was. Definitely one of my most memorable Christmas presents from last year!

Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Creme in Strawberry Girl

This is a bit of a cheat: I incldued So Sofia in last year’s roundup, so Strawberry Girl wasn’t exactly a risky purchase. (Especially since my mom bought it for me on the last day of our month-long European adventure…) Of course I love this creamy, comfortable, longwearing formula and the sleek, substantial packaging. (It has a magnetic closure, guys!) But this muted-ish coral is new to my collection, and since I have nothing else like it I feel justified in calling special attention to it. After years of avoiding anything in the peach/coral/orange family, these are now some of my favourite colours to wear, and Strawberry Girl is complex and flattering. Here it is on my face:

Zoeva Luxe Petit Crease brush

This picture sucks because my DSLR wouldn’t focus on it so I had to use my phone.

Just so everyone is aware, Danish Sephoras carry Zoeva, and it’s a wonder I bought only this brush. But it’s fantastic – soft and comfortable to use, the perfect size and shape for delicate crease work. Brushes aren’t exactly the most exciting of beauty products, but judging by how much I reach for this it would be a glaring omission to exclude it from this list!

Stila Shimmer & Glow Liquid Eyeshadows – Jezebel and Kitten

There is nothing I don’t love about these shadows. They’re ridiculously shiny, they’re easy to apply and blend out, and they seriously do not budge. These shadows make it so easy to create a stunning, high-impact look with minimal effort or skill. I have a gif swatch of them in my summer favourites post in case you want to see how excellent they are. By the way, I love the original Glitter & Glow shadows, but those are definitely prone to a bit of fallout. Not so with these, which are truly gorgeous without any of the mess.

Clinique Cheek Pop – Peach Pop and Ginger Pop

Once again, I am supremely late to the party here, but that’s only because I have believed in the supremacy of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes for so long. And they are still my favourite blush formula, and I still wear Mood Exposure basically every day, but there are limited shades in that formula and this year I wanted something new. The Clinique Cheek Pops are sheer and buildable and come in a nice array of tones – though clearly I’m leaning into warm tones. Peach Pop was practically all I wore this summer, and Ginger Pop is a nice burnt orange that I’ve been loving in the cooler weather. While I’m not a huge fan of the aesthetics of clear plastic packaging, I love how compact and easy to store these babies are.

The Chemistry Brand HA3 Hand Hydrator

I am very picky about hand creams because I absolutely cannot deal with the feeling of anything sticky on my hands. If it leaves a residue, I will not use it, which is why I have spent most of my life not using hand cream. This one sinks in so quickly and does a great job of hydrating. Bonus: I love the lemongrass scent!

NIOD Photography Fluid Opacity 12%

I basically don’t believe in primer. I’ve tried a lot that do not make my makeup last any longer than it would without, and I find a lot of illuminating primers lose their impact as soon as I put foundation on. But this one genuinely makes a difference even under a layer of foundation – it’s not intense by any means, but it leaves a gorgeous natural radiance. It can also be used as a liquid highlighter, though I prefer it as a primer.

NARS Velvet Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl

Another cheat, since I already love NARS Cruella. But I lusted after Dragon Girl for years until I received it as a very generous gift from a family friend. This vibrant strawberry red is pure fun and I wish I had a chance to wear it more often. (My current workplace is neutrals-only, sadly.)

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Malibu Peach

AHHH I cheated again! I almost exclusively buy the Miracle Gel formula because it works really well for me and there are a lot of great colours in the line. Malibu Peach is a fun, bright, modern peach that is outside of my usual comfort zone but no less great. For some reason I always get compliments when I wear this colour.

Here is a close-up to prove how bad I am at painting my nails.

Marcelle Translucent Loose Setting Powder

I am all about that loose powder life nowadays, and this one is both inexpensive, massive, and effective. Even in the dead of winter it doesn’t leave my skin looking parched – it has a gorgeous smoothing effect and sets makeup perfectly. I don’t always feel the need to powder, but when I’m using a more dewy foundation that doesn’t totally dry down I always use this. Marcelle is one of my favourite drugstore brands; they just do things right.

CoverGirl Super Sizer Mascara

The worst thing in the world happened this year, which is that Clarins discontinued their Truly Waterproof mascara, which in addition to holding a curl like no other also made my lashes long, defined, and perfectly fluttery. The reason is probably that I was the only person in the world who bought it, so it makes sense from a business perspective while still remaining personally devastating. I’m not going to say this CoverGirl mascara is as good: it’s a lot more volumizing than the Clarins, so it forfeits some of the effortless flutteriness. But it makes my lashes look good, and, crucially, it holds a curl better than basically any of the high end mascaras I’ve tried recently. I’m happy to keep using this mascara because the results are great and the price tag is right. (I got it on sale for $6.99, you guys. The Clarins was $28.)

Bite Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Verbena

I obviously took this photo with a potato.

As I mentioned, I tragically have to wear neutral makeup to work, so it’s always nice to find a neutral lipstick that’s still interesting. Verbena is just that: it’s described on Sephora as a “rose terracotta”, which is the perfect description of this layered, hard-to-pinpoint shade. I’ve never been one for nude lips, and I definitely prefer my neutrals more on the rosy brown side, so this is right up my alley. The hint of orange makes it interesting, but it’s still perfectly appropriate for work.

There is no light in Toronto at this time of year, but this picture is basically colour accurate.

Drybar 100 Proof Hair Oil

I have upped my haircare game and I now use one product daily, which is this hair oil. It makes my hair smooth and shiny and adds some hydration, since I now blow it dry a few times a week. A little goes a long way, so although this is not a cheap item, it’ll last me forever. (I also bought it during the Sephora sale, because I’m smart like that.)

First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Bendy Avocado Concealer

The hype about this concealer is so real: somehow it looks completely natural but still covers and brightens undereye circles amazingly. It’s comfortable on the skin, it’s pretty crease-resistant, and it wears well throughout the day. I’m kind of mad that I like it this much because it’s $28, but shit. This stuff is great.

NIOD Survival 30

$30 for 30ml of sunscreen is clearly expensive. But dammit if this isn’t the best facial sunscreen I’ve tried so far. I’ve used Vichy, I’ve used La Roche-Posay, I’ve used Avène, and this is the least-greasy, most-layerable of all. It doesn’t feel, smell, or look like sunscreen. I also love that it’s packed full of antioxidants for broad protection from free radical damage. The pump delivery system is great, too.

Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment With Avocado

What a luxurious, rich, truly hydrating eye cream. I can’t find fault with this product, other than its $39 price tag. The 15ml tub will last a long time since very little product makes a big impact, which is the only way I can justify this purchase. That said, while I truly love it, I will certainly be on the lookout for cheaper dupes.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment

Bougie and overpriced? Of course. But these tinted lip balms are absolutely stunning: they soothe and hydrate while giving the lips the illusion of fullness and a gorgeous hint of colour. I balk at spending a lot on something with minimal visual impact, but my lips thank me every time I apply one of these so I guess I can’t really be too upset.

2018 was not actually a huge year of makeup discovery for me, mostly because I reined in my spending quite a bit. The majority of my beauty spending was on old staples, but I did discover some new products that I’ve happily incorporated into my daily routine.

Empties: June to August 2018

Posted on September 07, 2018 under Empties

Yay, empties! True to form, I never threw out the very dirty One Direction fragrance set box I’ve been housing my empties in for years even though I totally said I was going to. So today I am clearing out that dirty box to make room for more stuff to make it even more dirty.

Skincare

Vichy Idéal Soleil Ultra-Fluid SPF50: I really liked this. It’s a solid lightweight facial sunscreen that does its job. It’s about $25, which is kind of expensive, but I can also duck into my local drugstore and buy it, so convenience wins. (I do want to try the much-lauded Bioré sunscreen, but it’s not readily-available and I don’t know if I want to commit to such a complicated relationship with an essential step of my routine.)

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF60 Lotion: I did not care for this. I mean, it protected me from the sun pretty well, but it also pilled on my skin if I sweat. And, the thing is, in summer, when I am most likely to take the time to apply body sunscreen, it is hot. And when it is hot, I sweat. So… yeah. Good thing I got this as gratis, because I’d have been annoyed to spend thirty bucks on this.

La Roche-Posay Respectissime Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover: I have lost count of how many of these I’ve used up. You know the drill – as effective as Lancôme Bi-Facil (and without the cloying fragrance), half the price. (Actually, I’m using up a bottle of Bi-Facil that someone gave me right now, and I think the LRP is a bit better.)

Biotherm Homme Aquapower Eye De-Puffer: I got this as gratis at a Biotherm training and I kept it for myself because I know zero men who would use an eye cream, let alone appreciate an expensive one. This is definitely not worth $31, but I did really enjoy its light gel texture and cooling sensation first thing in the morning.

The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%: This product has been called the Granactive Retinoid for like 95 years now, so that shows you how long I’ve had this. Anyway, I really, really liked it and have actually ordered a new one. I remember when this product first came out and I was blown away that you could buy any type of vitamin A derivative for under $40, let alone its price of $9.80. And it’s truly both gentle and effective.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5: This is maybe my fourth or fifth bottle of this. It’s a great, super cheap hydrating serum. Currently I’m using The Ordinary’s Marine Hyaluronics, which is basically the same thing but with a thin, watery texture and none of the stickiness of the 2%. (The texture never bothered me, anyway, so I don’t have a strong preference between the two.)

Lancôme Absolue Night Precious Cells Recovery Night Cream: Do you think I would ever in a million years tell you guys that a $205 night cream is in any way worth it? No I would not. And I will not. This is a thick, nourishing moisturizer. I will save $170 and keep buying my Origins overnight mask. (Obviously, I received this product as gratis.)

Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm: This is just one of those indulgences that I don’t feel bad about anymore. As my mom said to me one day while on vacation, “Thank you for introducing me to this overpriced bougie bullshit.” But, truly, is $17 too much to ask for months of hydrated lips? I don’t think so. (One pot of this usually lasts me about 8-10 months, so I really can’t complain.)

Vaseline Lip Therapy – Aloe: I thought the taste of this was gross. It was also kind of slippery and not that effective.

Nivea Hydro Care Lip Balm: This is still my favourite standard stick lip balm. It’s effective and it layers nicely under lipstick.

Haircare

One lone product in this category today, and though it’s a boring (and standard) one, it’s also a milestone. I truly could not tell you how many tubes of John Frieda Sheer Blonde Tone Correcting Shampoo I went through over my four-year stint as a blonde. However, those days are (almost) over. I’ve almost grown my hair out enough to hack off the last of the blonde, so I’m now trying to find a haircare routine that works for my natural, non-blonde, non-bleach-damaged hair. This is the last tube of purple shampoo I’ll use for the foreseeable future, though it’s certainly a good option within that category.

Makeup

Random unmarked loose powder: There is truly nothing identifying about this packaging. I don’t know what it is. It was a good loose powder. To replace it I bought the Marcelle one, which is huge and will legit last me a decade. (This little tub lasted about three years.)

NIOD Photography Foundation, Opacity 12% (sample): This is very much not a foundation, but rather a liquid illuminator. It’s super pretty under makeup. It’s also $30, so… you know. (I will say, out of all the illuminating primers I’ve tried I do like this one the best. Although I’m a primer skeptic so take that potentially faint praise as you will.)

Maybelline Master Conceal Camoflage Concealer in Fair: I don’t think this product ever really caught on in the wider beauty world, but I liked it pretty well for both blemishes and under the eyes. Honestly, there’s still a lot of product in this tube, which is probably because it’s an outrageously generous 12mL/0.4 fl oz. (That’s 40% of a standard foundation size.) But it is very old, and its time on is up.

Essence Lash and Brow Gel: Yes, this crusty tube once contained clear brow gel. I don’t know why I keep buying this product when I’m feeling too cheap for L’Oréal – it truly has almost no effect. Yes, L’Oréal is audacious for charging $15.99 for a clear brow gel, but it’s also really good. I think it’s time to just accept that (and stock up when it’s on sale).

L’Oréal Paradise Extatic Mascara: I hate to be a Negative Nancy, but this much-lauded mascara (which, in case it wasn’t obvious, is the UK version of Lash Paradise) didn’t do much for me. I mean, it wasn’t awful. I thought it was decent as I was using it. But as soon as I switched back to Clarins Truly Waterproof, I was like, “Oh yeah, this mascara is it.” L’Oréal is not.

Quo Blending Sponge: This was my favourite Beauty Blender dupe for years and years and years, but I think they’ve reformulated them. The one pictured was great, as always, but the one I bought to replace it is a lot denser and soaks up so much product. So now the one good product Quo made also sucks.

Nail Care

Quo 100% Acetone: I used this up over many years. I don’t know why I bought it or even why I didn’t just take the $3 loss instead of stubbornly deciding to use it up. I will not buy 100% acetone ever again.

Quickies Nail Varnish Remover Pads: I honestly bought these because I was like £1 off Superdrug’s free shipping threshold. They’re not very good pads; it takes a lot of elbow grease to get anything off.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat: I have used up many, many bottles of this top coat (over all brands of nail polish) over the past four years. I’m trying out one of Sally’s other top coats right now, but I always seem to go back to this one.

Miscellaneous

Here are some items which are not empty but which are now unusable.

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder: The lid for this powder shattered in my move from Glasgow to Toronto, which is fine because I never use pressed powder. Anyway, this remains one of the most poorly-packaged products ever to torment this sacred Earth.

Sally Hansen Hard As Nails in White On: A leakage caused this bottle to fuse shut; I could probably get into it if I tried, but it’s pretty old and it’ll only cost me like $4 to replace.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in All Chalked Up: This nail polish became gloopy and unusable super quickly, which is honestly a huge bummer because 1) I absolutely adore the colour, and 2) it’s been discontinued so I can’t replace it. Maybe this is what will finally make me buy nail polish thinner.

… and that is everything I used up over the summer!