Oh my god, it’s like day 59 with no sun, and I don’t think I can take it anymore. According to the weather, it’s supposed to be sunny today. If they consider foggy, misty, grey and gloomy a sunny day, then I’m just gonna go ahead and call in sick until April.
It’s Empties time! Hope you’ve set aside a full day because this is going to be the longest post I’ve ever written. I used up a ton of stuff this past month. Which is probably good for the environment. Most importantly, however, it clears up space for more new things. Let’s get started with some cleansers:
There is nothing technically wrong with the Epice Purifying Exfoliant, but I didn’t care for it. The micro beads were so tiny I couldn’t get them off my face. Like I’d rinse and rinse and rinse, and still I’d find little beads clinging to my skin. And when you have OCD, you absolutely can’t rest until you get every bit. So I’d be in the bathroom for practically eons. Additionally, if I used it while I was in the bathtub, I’d be sitting on micro beads for the remainder of the bath. Let’s just say it did not feel pleasant.
But not all exfoliants are made alike, thankfully. I absolutely love the Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser. This is what an exfoliant should be. The beads rinse completely and cleanly. It smells like furniture polish, which isn’t my favorite, but it’s tolerable. The most enjoyable thing about this product is that it’s a pretty dry scrub in the container. Scoop some out, then wet your other hand and rub together. Once it comes into contact with water it softens up and spreads very easily across the skin. Afterwards, you are left with a super soft, moisturized feeling. Now, I have heard conflicting reports that the full size isn’t as awesome as the sample size. Which doesn’t make sense cuz it’s the same stuff, right? So I’m a little apprehensive about ordering a full size, although I really really want to.
I was very curious about the Eve Lom Cleanser, as Vogue claims it to be the best cleanser in the world and it’s been winning awards for 25 years. I mean, that’s gotta be saying something. Certainly perked my cat ears right up. Anything award-winning I want immediately. Figured since the smallest size was $50, I should probably try a sample first.
Sometimes I amaze myself with my own insight. This stuff has the most horrendous smell of any product I’ve ever tried. Even worse than the one that smells like a fish hatchery. Like, would it kill someone to toss a few flowers in the batch? Now, if you read the reviews on Sephora, most people love this stuff. When they talk about the smell, some say it’s amazing but don’t worry, they are wrong. Others say the smell grows on you, which I cannot vouch for. However, despite that hideousness, this truly is a magical cleanser. It removes makeup like a champ, and comes with a little muslin cloth to help exfoliate your skin. It also comes with instructions on how to use it properly, which includes a lymphatic massage of your face. I don’t know about you, but I have a 17-step nighttime regimen; I have no time to massage my own face. Plus, I literally want to get this on then off in record speed because the smell hurts my tummy, and I am a princess. Would I repurchase this? It’s up in the air.
Got a little sample of the Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser, and it was alright. It left almost zero impression on me so I can’t remember much about it; however, it wasn’t gross or else this paragraph would be much longer. Pretty basic. Didn’t hate it. Nothing special. Moving on.
To body stuff:
I owned this theBalm Kiwi Facial Scrub for way longer than its 6 month expiration, so I’m tossing it. I figured if I kept pushing it, I’d end up with a face-falling-off situation, of which I have no time for. This was a decent facial scrub. The bits were rather large, but they rinsed very well. The smell was divine – and we all know how important smell is. Towards the end of its life span, I started using it on my body just to eke out more use. I liked it in this capacity as well. It’s a pretty large bottle for as much as I wanted to use it (like once a week, although 2-3 times a week is fine) so I didn’t get value for my money. Although I bought it on Hautelook for 50% off, so there’s probably a math problem in there somewhere for you.
No, the Philosophy shampoo/shower gel/bubble bath thing is not completely empty as you can see. However, this is the portion of product I could not get out of the bottle without muscle strain and/or breaking a sweat. No thanks. I did not use this as a shampoo or bubble bath, only shower gel. And I liked it alright. It lasted ages. The smell was very nice (Melon Daiquiri as shown). Even includes a little recipe right on the bottle. I will most likely repurchase at some point and pick another scent. Animal Cracker smells awesome, as does Cinnamon Bun. And Pink Frosting. Mmmmmm, who wants a snack? I do.
I actually finished a nail polish remover. Got these pads from Lauren B. Beauty and they’re super nice. First of all, they smell good. Like fruit or something. And one pad will do all 10 of your fingers, even hard to remove nail polish. It took me a long while to get through since I don’t paint my nails or change my nail polish all that much, but I wouldn’t be opposed to purchasing these again.
Onto hair things:
I suppose the Bvlgari au The Blanc hair conditioner doesn’t belong in the hair category because I did not use this as a conditioner. First of all, it’s super perfume-y, so unless you want your hair to smell like cologne, I’d recommend doing what I did and use this to shave your legs instead. I mean, I literally can’t attest to its hair conditioning powers, but it did a great job making my legs feel smooth. And I know there is still a small amount of product left in the bottle, but that’s the part that wouldn’t come out. Like there’s only so much beating it against the side of the bathtub that I can take. And all that spurting and sputtering. What can I say? I’m a quitter.
You’ve all heard me sing the praises of the Carol’s Daughter hair mask. I decided to get the matching Monoi shampoo and conditioner as well because I can’t get enough of that delicious smell. But while the smell was as lush and intoxicating as expected, I’m not sure the shampoo and conditioner is my Ride or Die. It’s not bad, mind you, but I think I can live without it. Kind of hurts my heart to say that, but honestly, the mask does everything I need. So most likely I will try a cheaper shampoo and conditioner next (heard great things about Clear, plus it won an Allure award) and continue with my weekly mask treatment. Sound like a good plan? It totally does.
My favorites – masks and serums:
I pretty much just used this Sesha Botanical Hydro sheet mask just so it wouldn’t go to waste. I’m not a fan of sheet masks. They feel gelatinous to the touch and they never give me the satisfaction I usually get from traditional masks. However, if you are one who loves a good sheet mask, this one gave me ridiculous soft skin afterwards.
I almost used this entire tube of SmartFX Smart Eye Wrinkle Lift, but I was around two months into it and got really, really bored. You know how it is when you have new products you want to try – you make the best effort you can in finishing up current products but those new products keep enticing you with their fancy packaging and pristine good looks. I tried to ignore it and carry on, but I swear this SmartFX kept replicating itself just to be annoying. I’m sure that’s fantastic news for people who like value for their money, but I am (apparently) not one of them. I took matters into my own hands and tossed the dang thing.
But before all that, this was a decent eye cream. It was tinted, and I really enjoyed the finish it left under my eye. Did it plump my fine lines? Doubtful. But it had psychological brain trickery going for it cuz I kept using it anyway.
One of the best products I used this past month was the Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum. I have a big freckle underneath my left eye and some discoloration along the hollow of my cheek. I only applied this serum to those areas, even though you can apply it to your entire face. After a few weeks, I could tell a huge difference. And the longer I used it, the better the results were. My under eye freckle nearly disappeared and the cheek discoloration went away entirely. The only thing it didn’t work on was my pimple scar. Which is unfortunate because I can live with that dang freckle; it’s the pimple scar that ruins my complexion. Now that I haven’t been using it, however, the freckle has darkened up a bit. Cheek still looks pretty good, though. So it’s not a miracle product for me, but it’s worth a try if you’re curious.
One of the nicest eye creams is this hydrating one from Bobbi Brown. Got it in a 500-point perk (along with other stuff) from Sephora, and despite its teeny tiny size, I swear it lasted over a month. The texture is ultra creamy and smooth. Once it sank in, which was relatively fast, your eye skin would feel like velvet. Who wouldn’t love that? (Crazy people.) I have loads of other eye creams to try now, but this is definitely one I will come back to.
Y’all know I love my serums. Got this little sample of the Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate in my Birchbox, and was so super excited to give it a try. The formula is kind of like a syrup; it oozes out of the bottle. I put a couple drops on my face, and it starts to get tacky/sticky very quickly. But once it evaporates (ten or so minutes), my skin felt very nice. I could use this with other serums – the Shiseido is meant to boost the benefits of other products – but I didn’t. Why add another step to my nighttime regime unnecessarily? I mean, I do it on purpose all the time; that’s enough. However, if you do choose to use this along with another serum, apply this one first. Not sure why it matters, but Shiseido says it does, so then do it. Always follow the rules when it comes to Science (due to malfunction-slash-chemical explosion-slash-angry hives-situation that may occur).
And now for makeup removers:
How about some boring ole Neutrogena makeup remover cleansing towelettes to get you going in the morning? I can’t even tell you anything special about these wipes. They are basic, but do the job very well. Not much else you can say about them. I will repurchase one day probably. I’m testing out a few other wipes right now, plus I bought another pack of the Ole Henriksen Pore Refining wipes I originally tried a few months ago. Now those wipes are something. They have eucalyptus in them, so they perk you right up in the morning. They are my favorite because of that reason, but I don’t like spending $15 on them. So if I have just $6.50 in my pocket and a wipes emergency (it happens), I’ll go back to Neutrogena without a doubt.
As for the Clarins eye makeup remover, this was no more special or effective than my normal Neutrogena one that is $6. In my opinion, save yourself some money. Unless you just enjoy buying fancier brands for no apparent reason. I mean, obviously I do it all the time – you’ve read this blog before, right? But sometimes my brain tells me stop it. Paying $28 for eye makeup remover that provides the same results as a drugstore product sounds like someone doesn’t know how to do math right. And while I’m not a math genius or anything, a “D” is still passing and therefore I’m able to put down the Clarins and walk away.
Lord, are we done?
No. Here’s makeup:
I took a little break from my holy grail sunscreen, Cotz, just to try something new. I had received the Coola mineral sunscreen (matte tint version) in one of my boxes and I really liked the texture. Ordered the full size, which was pretty pricey, but it lasted for months and months. My only issue was the pump on my bottle didn’t always work. It drove me bananas when I’d be trying to get going on my morning routine only to find myself pumping the nozzle about 70 times until something came out. I almost gave up on it about 17 times. This product is very light weight. Sank in pretty quick into the skin and left a nice silky feeling behind. Using this felt more like applying makeup. No beachy sunscreen here. Now that I’ve finished it, I’ve gone back to my Cotz, but I wouldn’t mind another bottle of Coola. You know, if anyone feels like getting me one.
If you have hideous, cavern-like pores like me and have struggled to find a good product to help mask them, Dr. Brandt Pores No More is one of the good ones. This is very much a silicone primer with a nude skin tone. Similar to Benefit’s Porefessional. Might be a tad bit creamier. Now don’t go be expecting miracles or anything. You won’t walk away from the mirror with a porcelain complexion – unless you already have one. But it did help blur out the imperfections and for that I am grateful. I’ve accepted the fact that nothing will turn back the time on my face (with the exception of laser surgery, perhaps). As long as these little pore filler things exist, I will somehow manage to carry on. Sobbing, but carrying on.
My lips are a mess. I’ve yet to find anything that will control my dry, flaky lip skin. I had some hopes for the Fresh Sugar lip treatment, but it didn’t help either. It may be due to the fact I have a fan blowing straight on my face for 8 hours every night. However, I’m so addicted to the fan that there’s no way I could sleep without it now. If the electricity goes off in the middle of the night, I don’t wake up because of a large clap of thunder; I wake up because someone turned my damn fan off.
But I digress. This lip balm is just like anything else I’ve tried. It has a brown sugar scent that I don’t actually care for. Aside from all that, if you read the reviews on Sephora it seems as though I have no idea what I’m talking about. Everyone loooooves the Fresh Sugar lip treatment. Everyone but me.
One product I do love is the Too Faced Chocolate Soleil bronzer. This thing is heavenly. First of all, it smells like a dream. I’m pretty sure someone in Marketing is kicking back with their feet on their desk – as well they should. Make things smell like chocolate and women will buy it, whatever it is. That’s how chocolate Pringles manage to still exist. But truly, in addition to the smell, this is a really nice bronzer. The color looks kind of dark in the pan, but on the cheek it is very flattering. I have light/medium skin if that helps you gauge whether you can use it or not. It would probably be too dark for fair skin. The sample I used actually crumbled into a million pieces so I had to toss it. I tried using it by dabbing my brush in the crumbs, but it became very messy. I’ve since replaced it with a full size, even though I have a ginormous Marc Jacobs bronzer that’s barely had its textured imprint rubbed off yet.
Another lip product that is a big fat waste. I bought the Hourglass No. 28 lip oil out of sheer curiosity. Also because at that time in my life I owned one Hourglass thing, and it was my mission to buy something – anything – else. Sometimes I make no sense. I could’ve bought a blush or even a foundation. But I bought a lip oil. And guess what? Chapped lips everywhere. Yes, it was a pretty thick oil, but I never felt one time that it was doing anything special for me. Yes, it lasted eons. Like I’d still be using it if my granddaughter hadn’t put the tip in her mouth right after eating a snack of Cheetos. If I could say one nice thing about it, I’d say it’s not too sticky. And it felt alright on the lips. And possibly it didn’t work very well for me because of the aforementioned fan situation. I’ll give it that at least.
There is nothing wrong with this L’Oreal Silkissime eyeliner. It’s super black, very creamy, and stayed put really well. All good eyeliner attributes. But I had the worst time sharpening this thing. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t get a smooth sharpen. The pencil portion was jagged and stuck out further than the eyeliner in the middle, and it would stab me in the eyelid if I tried to use it. This is not an exaggeration. I gave it two chances to straighten up, and still with the stabbing. I had to let it go. Luckily it was pretty inexpensive. There is a little gold band around the tip of the pencil so maybe that part just doesn’t sharpen very well. Whatever the case, I gave up cuz I have 27 other black eyeliners to last me for eternity.
I received this Dior Diorshow Iconic mascara for free so I’m perfectly fine to say I did not like it and I’m throwing it away. The formula was so dry it literally did nothing for my eyelashes. There’s a distinct possibility I got an empty tube. I mean, it was free after all. But now I’m not keen whatsoever to try the full size version. Although there are fifteen times more 5-star Sephora reviews than 1-star, so again, I may have no idea what I’m talking about. My daughter gets it now. She loves everything.
Oh my gawd, you’ve made it to the end. I assume anyway. I did give myself a massive case of carpal tunnel so if that guilts you into sticking around, then I win at blogging and can get back into pajamas now. Thanks, Friends!