I would like to officially announce that my Christmas tree has now been undecorated and stored away. It is barely January. That’s quite impressive if you ask me, as I’ve been known to keep the tree up until well past Valentine’s Day. My latest record is February 22. So as a reward for succeeding at life (once again) I have decided to treat myself to a Sephora shopping spree. Otherwise known as “a thing I do all the time for no reason whatsoever but labeling it as a reward for something good makes me feel less guilty.” Was that run-on sentence? Probably.
It’s Empties time, people! Go grab your snacks and postpone your to-do list. We are rearranging your priorities right this very second like MAGIC. Here we go:
Some body stuff:
There shouldn’t be a spa so close to my office, but then again I would never have found this brand. It’s Farmhouse Fresh Goods and don’t go to their website unless you have some lottery winnings just begging to be spent. This Honeysuckle Orange Custard is a body moisturizer that is half shea butter and half live fruit cells suspended in an aloe gel. It is a science project in a jelly jar – or pretty close to it at least. The smell is a delicate creamy orange, not overly potent in a citrus explosion kind of way. It was a very nice moisturizer, and it lasted light years. Oh, and it also came with a little wooden spoon for mixing the two halves and for scooping out product when the jar got too low. That’s probably the best part, not gonna lie. That wooden spoon was precious.
This Lush Popcorn lip scrub isn’t empty, but it expired. I bought it back in December 2013 and used it like crazy. It did a decent job of exfoliating my lips, although it was never perfect. I may unknowingly have an incurable straggly lip skin condition because if anything was gonna work, I’d swear this product would. But as long as my expectations are low, I can be pretty impressed. This is definitely a rough scrub, not delicate or softening as it’s not mixed with a lotion or even that much oil. The taste is both sweet and salty. I didn’t deliberately eat this stuff, but a little got in there anyway. Luckily the product directions said it’s okay, otherwise I’d be on WebMD trying to figure out how long I have to live.
The jar came full to the brim, and a little goes a very, very long way. I got about 2/3 done before the expiration date, although it did dry out quite a lot by this time. Granted, I didn’t use this every single day and I took a break here and there to try other products. But my point (there is one) is the $10 you’ll spend is well worth it.
Now for some moisturizers:
I’ve tried several different facial oils in the past year, and I can now without a doubt tell you the Kate Somerville Dilo Oil is the absolute best. Number one, the smell. It’s not herbally like practically every other oil out there. This has a lovely exotic, floral scent. It comes from a tree in Fiji (so now you want it). The oil is dry and it sinks into your skin almost immediately. Like, you could apply this then lay your face on a silk pillow without fear. I put this on right before I go to bed (after all my other skin care, including moisturizer). The smell relaxes me like it’s aromatherapy. Benefits include improving firmness and elasticity, hydration, evenness of skintone, and reduction of fine lines and wrinkles. After this sample, I ended up buying the full size with the $25-off Sephora VIB Rouge coupon they sent out for Christmas. After I finish the other facial oil I started (which is not as good), I will stop trying facial oils and use this for eternity.
One of the best morning moisturizers I’ve used is the Origins GinZing Energy Boosting one. I say “morning” because it has ginseng and coffee bean in it to help energize and wake up your skin. You can use it at night, though; your face won’t fall off or anything (I checked.) It’s extremely light weight and has a nice orange scent. Absorbs rather quickly, which is good for my morning routine as there is no extra time to wait around for moisturizer to dry. This jar lasted me over two months so you get good value for your money. And who doesn’t love that? (Crazy people.)
Sometimes I get stuck on something that’s hard to shake. I read an article that gave out a list of top 10 beauty products to spend all your money on, and I tried very very hard to look away. Temptation gets the best of me roughly 97.957775% of the time. So now I own a deluxe sample size of the La Mer Gel de la Mer moisturizer. Curious as to why it’s so special, and why in God’s name do they charge $285 for 2 ounces of it. Cuz if there’s not diamond dust in it or a Marie Antoinette authentic autograph on it, I’m not sure even a French moisturizer should be that expensive.
Obviously I can’t afford or justify the full size. But I couldn’t stop being curious. So I purchased this itty bitty baby sample from eBay for a mere $19.95 (including shipping!). Not saying that’s anything to be proud of, but I have a sickness, and until someone takes my internet away, I’m afraid there isn’t much else I can do about it.
There are 5 versions of the iconic (and original) Crème de la Mer. And of course, NATURALLY, the one that fits my skin type is the Gel de la Mer which is $135 more expensive. The Gel has an ultra-light texture and a super luxurious smell. It spreads on very gently and dries down to this stunning velvet finish. If you have oily skin like me, this one is your baby. Now that I’ve finished the jar, I miss it a lot. It may very well be psychological brain trickery, but I swear I need it now. Anyone have a La Mer coupon or gift card handy? Ugh.
How about a few makeup removers:
Another product the result of a relentless curiosity, I purchased the holy grail of supermodels everywhere: Bioderma Sebium H2O micellar water. Oddly enough, it is also from France. However, this time it isn’t readily available for U.S. customers. Had to get this little sample bottle on eBay. I wanted to give it a try first to see if it lived up to the hype, as the full size of this product is roughly $25 (although for 16.91 ounces which is quite a lot – compared to the Neutrogena, per ounce price is almost the same – I did a really hard math problem just now – my brain hurts).
I’ve been using the Bioderma for a couple months now. The sample that I finished as well as a full size that I got off Amazon. I do really like it. It’s very “wet” which sounds like a weird way to describe something liquidy but not sure how else to explain it. And because it’s so wet, I feel like it completely cleans my eye with very few swipes. Gets off mascara with the least amount of lash shedding. So yeah, it’s probably the best makeup remover I’ve ever used. I will definitely continue to repurchase.
Not a huge cleansing oil fan, but as far as that genre goes, the Dermalogica Precleanse is a really, really good one. Aside from the smell, which isn’t unpleasant, but I guarantee no one threw any flowers in the batch, I felt like this product truly broke up my makeup and I was able to wipe most of it away with a cotton pad before using my pretty white washcloths to do the rest. So if I was forced to buy a cleansing oil because of a Cleansing Milk Crisis (in capital letters because of how dire that situation would be), then I suppose it would be this one. If I gotta do it, might as well do it the least horrible way possible.
Speaking of cleansing oils, I started out kind of liking this Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Melting Cleanser. It is a gel product similar to one of those aloe vera sunburn relief gels you store in the fridge. As you apply it, it starts to melt onto your face into a cleansing oil. Then when you add water to the mix, the oil turns into a cleansing milk. The idea of this sucked me in immediately, and it went into my basket before the lady finished her sales pitch. But if I’m honest, it’s just the gel portion I really wanted, because after that it gets boring really fast. I mean, it turns to an oil and we’ve already determined that I don’t love oils. And when you get to the milk part, it’s not the same consistency like a true cleansing milk. So yeah, I got over it really quick. It did the job and I finished it like a true professional would do, but I won’t repurchase. I’ve moved on.
And now, SERUMS!
I received a one-time-use sample of this Lumene Bright Now BB serum in a past Blush Mystery Beauty Box and I was surprised by how much I liked it. Y’all know that little foil packets are pretty much pointless in my eyes, so the fact that I went out and bought the full-size after using this one single time should tell you something: it’s nice stuff. The texture is lotiony and soft, the smell is a faint orange, and the fact that it’s loaded with skin brightening vitamin c means at some point it’s going to make all my splotches disappear. It took roughly almost 3 months to finish the bottle, and as soon as I’m done with my other vitamin c samples, I’m going back to this. You get it at Ulta and the $3.50 coupon they send out all the time can be used towards it. Success!
I feel like I’m on a roll with all this brightening stuff because I used this Estee Lauder Enlighten Dark Spot Corrector and it turned out to be a pretty nice little serum too. The sample was too small to determine if it was actually going to lighten my dark spots, but as you all know, efficacy isn’t always my top priority. I use products based on texture and cute packaging. Probably a wrong way to go about it, but I can’t deny who I am inside.
If you love stuff that gets absorbed almost instantaneously, then you should go ahead and buy this. It starts to sink in while you are using it, and then is completely dry within 10 minutes or so. You get a slightly silky finish – it could use a boost in this department – and the smell is nicely fragrant. I’d most definitely repurchase a full-size because I suppose I would like to know if it would work on my dark spots even if the pretty purple bottle is the most important.
I’m just gonna be honest and say I can’t remember a damn thing about the Equitance Brightening serum. The only note I have on it is that it sinks in within 5 minutes. Pretty sure I didn’t hate it in that case. But if you need to know anything else about it, I’m sorry I have failed you. The sample lasted like 3 days – what more could I really say about it? It was part of a skin care kit that New Beauty Test Tube sent to me in the summer. I took the cleanser and moisturizer with me to Vegas a few months ago, and I did really like both of those things. Aside from the fact it looks like it came from a doctor’s office (i.e., boring as hell), I would recommend the set.
I had tried this Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment several months back when one of my boxes sent me a single use packet. Couldn’t really review it properly then, so I’m happy to be able to report on it a little better this time. I mean, don’t prepare yourself for something scientific or anything, but if you wanna know how it smells (like a dentist’s office), what the texture’s like (very thin; almost watery), or how long it takes to dry (about half an hour), then you’ve come to the right place.
I didn’t dislike this serum, but I didn’t get any instant results like the ads claim it would do. But longterm results include restoring damaged skin, reducing hyperpigmentation, lines and wrinkles, evening out skintone, and increasing firmness. Reviews are generally excellent and I wouldn’t be opposed to trying this further. Except it’s $105 so we’re just gonna move on.
Lord, are we done?!
No, here’s makeup stuffs:
I really loved using the Caudalie Beauty Elixir. I’m not sure what it is though – a toner? A setting spray? A face refresher? It could probably be all those things, but I chose to apply it after I cleansed my face but before my serum. It has this lovely and addicting eucalyptus tingle to it. Like, if it was 100-degrees out, this stuff would feel amazing. Plus, anything called a Beauty Elixir has got to have somewhat magical properties in it, certainly? Like the fountain of youth or the secret of life maybe? Otherwise, they would just name it “toner” or “setting spray.” I checked the website, and apparently this toner/serum hybrid smooths the skin, tightens the pores, and provides an instant burst of radiance. So while it appears that Cleopatra didn’t invent it nor did it spritz the face of old European royalty, it seems to do some pretty cool stuff. Fiiiiiine. Beauty Elixir, then.
A lip balm is a lip balm is a lip balm. Unless you are the Malin + Goetz Mojito lip balm, then you are fabulous. As you well know, my lips are in a constant state of scraggly. Having a floor fan blowing on your face for 8 hours every night probably doesn’t help. So I’m always on the lookout for a good lip balm that can help protect my lip skin. Now I’m not saying this Malin + Goetz one is a miracle worker or anything, but it’s one of the better ones I’ve tried. Consistency is like a thick oil and it really coats your lips. Very slight minty tingle. And when I wake up, the oil is dry but still there. Plus it lasted for quite a while. I’m going to buy another one as soon as I finish the one I’m currently using.
One of the best, most pigmented and pretty highlighters I’ve ever used is the theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer highlighter. This stuff is glorious. Sadly, however, I dropped it off my bathroom counter and golden shimmer went everywhere. It shattered so much that if I felt like doing the alcohol trick to put it back together, I couldn’t. Probably wouldn’t have anyway, but you’re missing my point. I will, however, purchase this again. If you manage to keep it intact, this product will last almost a lifetime. You need to barely dab your brush in, that’s how insane the pigmentation is. I can’t think of any other highlighter that does what this one does. Price is $24 which isn’t terrible considering it’s not drugstore. If you’re in the market for a new highlighter, I highly suggest giving this a shot. If you don’t like it, then kindly send it my way. And also you are WRONG.
Have I mentioned I have large, cavern-like pores? Only a billion times, I’m sure. I’m always game for trying a product that claims to make your pores virtually disappear. So when I heard the Kiehl’s Micro Blur Skin Perfector did exactly that, it could’ve cost the equivalent of a car payment and a water bill, I still would’ve bought it. Luckily however, it was only $35. Kind of pricey but if it was going to give me the skin of a porcelain doll, then technically it was practically free.
Well, this product is weird. The texture is bizarre; it separates like nobody’s business. Like, it doesn’t come out of the tube all creamy and smooth, but with air holes all in it. The water oozes out away from the cream, and I’m not sure if that’s normal. Reading reviews, I saw that maybe two other people mentioned the same thing. I went ahead and used it, and once you get it on your face and practically force it to stick and smooth out, it blurred the pores in an average sort of way. I’m thinking the beauty guru who said this product was a miracle was no doubt using it on 14-year-old models. Certainly not 40 year olds with splotchy complexions and pores the size of canyons. I stuck it out, though, and used this product until it’s near end, but the separation factor really started to give me the hives, so I had to let it go. I won’t repurchase. I like the Smashbox pore refining primer better anyway.
Last product in the trash is this little sampling of the Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat highlighter pen. I used the color 2 Luminous Ivory because I figured that would be light enough to highlight but not so light that it would do reverse panda on me. I start applying it, and yes it’s a pretty good shade for me. Kind of a neutral tone, although the Sephora website said it’s for fair to light complexions with yellow undertones. But what was most satisfying was the illuminating properties – it is one of the few products that I could actually see with my eyes that it was giving me a glow. I gave color 1 Luminous Radiance (for pink undertones) a try and it was definitely a pinker color. This one, I felt, really helped with my under eye circles. So now I’ve pretty much decided I’m buying one of these, but I can’t figure out which one I like the best. Probably just gonna have to buy them both. I can’t put myself through unnecessary torture.
Well, look at you, reading all the way to the very end. Give yourself a pat on the back for being so awesome. I’ll write more so you can read more and we’ll do well by each other. K? K.