Empties | January 2015

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I know I always say my Empties posts are the longest ever written and that you may suffer from dehydration or bed sores before you ever get to the end of one, but this time I swear it’s true.  I’m warning you now, if you don’t grab some snacks and a squishy pillow to sit on – heck, some diabetic circulation socks wouldn’t hurt either – then what ensues after is completely NOT MY FAULT.  And the fact you are reading this sentence right now means you have accepted all responsibility and we have now entered into a legal, binding agreement.  Success!

Here’s a whole bunch of body stuff that nobody cares about:

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I can’t even pretend this is interesting.  It’s hand lotion, a staple item that you use but never talk about.  I mean, when’s the last time you called up your best friend to rave about about a hand lotion?  But I finished it and that is the point of this post.  So would I repurchase the Great Barrier Island Bee Co Hand and Nail Cream in Manuka Honey?  No.  Cuz I used the whole tube and any amount of curiosity I might have had (very very slight) has now been satisfied.  I’d move on to something with more adorable packaging and a better smell.  Not that it had a bad smell, but chocolate it ain’t.

At first, I thought I liked this Figs & Rouge hand cream in Mango Mandarin.  It didn’t smell very citrusy, but it did smell like candy, and I like candy.  But the longer I used it, the more watery the texture became, and then I noticed the candy smell didn’t linger on my hands very long.  It still had a smell, but not a delicious one.  Luckily it was a very small tube; otherwise, I would’ve had to toss it and then feel guilty about it for a billion years.

I took a Kneipp Herbal Bath in Balancing Lavender and man was it strong.  I tried to be all Zen and spa-ish about it, but if you don’t freaking looooooooove lavender, you might wanna think twice.  Because it’s lavender like someone crowned it King of All the Lavender.  Aside from all that, though, the liquid is bright blue but it doesn’t stain your tub which is a perk.  And you do feel sort of girly and frou-frou sitting in your blue lavender spa bath.  That’s nice sometimes.  Sadly, though, I didn’t get so relaxed that I had to be gingerly lifted out of the tub and laid princessly on my bed surrounded by pillows, blankies, and snacks.  How unfortunate for Kneipp that they couldn’t make that a side effect. Boo.

If I had to choose between a body butter or a body lotion, body butter wins every time.  There’s just something luxurious about a body butter that a lotion can’t top.  This Soap & Glory Sugar Crush body butter is officially one of my favorites.  It is a wonderfully rich cream that reminds me of cupcake frosting, which may or may not have 100% to do with my undying love.  It sinks in very fast, leaves no grease behind, and makes for some nice velvety skin.  The issue (for some) is the Sweet Lime scent.  It’s peculiar.  Like, it’s definitely the perfect sugar-to-lime ratio, but your brain has a hard time believing the lime when it’s almost certain it’s expired furniture polish.  So it took some getting used to.  I would definitely buy it again though.  Texture-wise, it’s perfect.

The Ahava Deadsea Water body lotion is pretty boring, but I used it because I technically paid for it.  Can’t really say much about it.  It was a typical lotion consistency and smelled like musky honeysuckle.  I’m not sure that’s a valid description, but that’s the best I can do after having talked about lotion for the past 17 hours.  Can we move on?!

Nope.  Here’s a Bliss body butter in the Grapefruit and Aloe scent.  I wouldn’t say this scored high on the grapefruit scale, unless you count SweeTarts in the grapefruit family.  However, it is the quickest absorbing body butter I think I’ve ever used.  Like I’m literally trying to rub it in and it’s disappearing at the same time.  I’m all for fast absorbing lotions, but sheesh.  Can I enjoy it for more than a millisecond before you take it away?  I know I sound very tough, but y’all know I got the full-size sitting in my Sephora cart as we speak.  It’s a lazy girl’s lotion, and that’s me in a nutshell.  You’ve read my blog, right?

I’m not sure why I kept the tube of Harvey Prince Hello body cream to show you in my Empties as I pretty much told you all you need to know in my original review.  So kindly click here if you care to know that it smells just like perfume, and if you like perfumed lotions then this one is for you.

Let’s take off our makeup:

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I’ve been trying several different kinds of makeup wipes, and since it’s not always feasible to pay $15 for the Ole Henriksen ones that I love the most, my best substitute at this point is the Pond’s Original Fresh towelette.  They have this lovely quilt-type design in them so they feel more substantial than a sad little wispy wipe you sometimes get.  They are adequately wet and very gentle.  I’ve already bought two more packs since, and haven’t gotten bored yet.  That’s a hefty big deal because the very nature of a makeup wipe is pretty much boredom.  I mean, how excited do YOU get over makeup wipes?  If you say higher than maybe 18 percent, you probably need more friends.

Tried the Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear Micro Water as an easier-to-find alternative to my newest fave, Bioderma. (Which has since been added to the Beautylish website, so my point is now moot.) And I really liked this. It worked so good in getting off my mascara, like maybe even a skosh better than the Bioderma. The only negative is that it’s double the cost of the Bioderma, so the mere fact it’s only slightly better will keep me from buying the full-size. However, if I have an extra $32 in my pocket and there’s a World Bioderma Crisis in effect, I suppose I’d have no choice.  Life is hard sometimes.

Now whatever you do in terms of makeup wipes, I demand you to walk away from these Klorane ones. Unless you like sad wispy wipes like mentioned above. These were so thin and barely wet, they did virtually nothing on my face. I might’ve gotten a pack that had sat out in the sun for weeks, or maybe they’re just that bad. I dunno. But since I’ve found the Pond’s ones, I’m good with not knowing for sure.  I will say the Klorane has “soothing cornflower” in it, and I don’t know what that is, but that makes me want to buy them.  I’m resisting, but my weakness for adjectives is in full effect.  Just SHUT UP with the word “soothing.”  Also keep your trap shut with “whipped,” “velvet,” and “made in France.”  Ugh.

Hair stuffs:

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I tried with the Julien Farel Hydrate Restore shampoo thing, I really did. I used it four different times even though I did not enjoy it from use #1. It’s just such a weird product. In place of your normal shampoo and conditioner, you use this stuff on your dry hair, mix with water and suds up, then rinse. Except I have super long hair and it takes about half the bottle just to apply one coat. And apparently that’s too much. Julien Farel told me himself (well, whoever manages his Instagram, that is), so the next time I applied less and also on wet hair. Didn’t make much difference. This stuff is just too heavy on my fine hair, even though this is a fine hair formula. Are you exhausted yet? Trust me, after four tries, I was dadgum pooped. Made the decision to let it go because after four bad hair days in a row, I was risking an HR violation for distracting hairstyles since no one can look away from a greasy scalp.

Another incident of me including a product in the Empties picture when I’d already reviewed it about 2 weeks prior. It’s the Philip B Deep Conditioning Crème Rinse and my opinion hasn’t changed since I talked about it here. The Cliff Notes version? Eh.

Then there was this Alterna Caviar Omega Nourishing Oil. Two things about this product: it’s ultra syrupy, stringy and messy. You need to lay down some napkins before opening the bottle just to save yourself the clean up time. I almost thought there was something wrong with it – like mine had turned to poison or something. Because that’s immediately where my mind goes since hypochondria is a REAL DISEASE. But my friend’s sample was the same so I suppose it was fine.

Second thing about the product is the poorly constructed sample bottle. The little dropper was so cheaply made, it was zero fun to mess with. This really has nothing at all to do with the efficacy of the product itself, but can’t say it didn’t add to my dislike. As far as how the oil performed on the hair, I applied it to my ends only and it didn’t make too much difference. It was fine, but I wasn’t amazed. It wasn’t enough to make me keep it.

And now for makeup:

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I will never ever ever be without a little jar of the MAC Cosmetics Paint Pot in Painterly. I love this stuff so much; it’s the best eye primer I’ve ever used. It covers your ugly red and blue veins and gives your eyelid a lovely velvet matte finish. Plus, the vibrancy of your eyeshadow is amplified times a thousand – I know this is a mathematical fact cuz I didn’t apply it one day in an effort to save time and it was the worst mistake of my life. Even worse than wearing socks with high heels.

How about a useful tip – a rare and beautiful thing in the blog. The Paint Pots come in a variety of shades. I believe they are marketed as cream eyeshadows or bases. But if you wanna do what I do (you do), and your complexion is cool toned, buy Painterly. If you have a warmer, yellower tone, buy Soft Ochre.

But we can’t win them all can we? I got this sample of the MAC Cosmetics False Lashes mascara and I was not a fan. This added virtually zero percent volume to my lashes, despite the fact the length was decent. I mean, if I’m going for a natural eyelash look, I suppose this would be a good one. Or maybe it would look nice on the bottom lashes where you don’t usually load up with mascara anyway. But other than that, it’s a no-go for me. I passed this along to my daughter who’ll use just about anything that’s free.

I’m not sure why the Clinique Almost Lipstick is named Almost Lipstick because it’s more like Definitely a Balm if you want my opinion. I got the color Black Honey, and it’s super dark in the tube. But it’s extremely sheer on the lips, which is fine if that’s what you want. It felt nice and moisturizing, just like a lip balm (see?), and because the color is barely there I’d apply it to my lips after removing all my makeup. But would I buy another one, that is the question? Ummmm, maybe, but probably not.  Just because I don’t normally like sheer colors. It’s a nice product though.

I never really thought there would be much competition between brow gels.  I mean, it’s basically just clear mascara; what else can be said about it?  So I was using this Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel without any definitive knowledge that it’s the best there is.  You’ll have to trust me on that unless you feel like hoarding a bunch of brow gel and trying them all out one tube at a time.  But I’ve sampled two other kinds just out of curiosity, but nothing has tamed my brows better than this one.  Sure, you get crunchy eyebrow hair out of the deal, but when’s the last time someone’s ran their fingers through your eyebrow hair?  I’m hoping the answer here is never cuz otherwise I’m totally horrified.  So relax with your crunchy eyebrows – at least they are coifed for Jesus and fab at all times.

One of the very first high-end mascaras I ever purchased was the It Cosmetics Hello Lashes.  It’s well over a year old now, which is why it’s landed in the Empties pile, but I loved it when I used it.  Then I bought about 27 other mascaras and it fell out of constant rotation. The brush is one of those rubber or plastic ones, somewhat big, but the best part is the little ball piece at the end of the brush that gets at your teeny tiny inner corner baby lashes like a damn professional. Gives you nice length, decent volume and no clumps. I’d buy this again without question.

One big mascara fail for me would be the Maybelline Lash Sensational mascara. This is a new one and I was really excited to use it. The brush is pretty unique, sort of flared out on one side like a butterfly wing or something. Supposed to give you super fanned out lashes. And it did a pretty good job of it. But removing it was the most terrible experience. It was goopy and sticky and pulled out like 7 lashes in one go. I don’t have extra lashes just to get rid of like that so I had to say goodbye. I gave it to my daughter because, again, FREE.

I went online to see if anyone else had the same disaster that I had with this mascara, and I found nothing to back me up. Not sure why – did I get a bad one? Or was I having an off day with my makeup removing skills? I could’ve given it another try, but I did not imagine those 7 lost lashes, and all I can say about that is no thank you.

My most favorite eyeliner pen is the Kat Von D Tattoo liner in Trooper. I’m sure I don’t even need to say much about it because you’ve most likely heard raves from a billion other people. It’s just really really good. Super black, fluid and easy to apply. It’s not a matte liquid, but it’s not super glossy either. The brush tip is very flexible, and after months of using it, it didn’t fray on me one bit. I’ve got a couple other eyeliner pens in the stash, but I’m definitely coming back to this one soon.

Next is some miscellaneous skincare:

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I bought a little Omorovicza kit, and the Queen of Hungary toning mist was in it. That’s another one of those words that get me, queen. Who doesn’t want to use this now? There’s actual history to this mist as it is modeled after the Queen of Hungary Water, the world’s first recorded perfume formulated for Queen Elisabeth of Hungary in the 14th century. Ughhhhh, COME ON NOW. You had me at queen; now you gotta get all braggy? I mean, I’m gonna buy about 17 bottles at least, but still.

So this mist is a makeup refresher, toner for after your cleanser, and it has innovative skincare in it so you get the benefit of it making your skin better. Nice smell even. It’s good stuff. Full size is $90, so for one, it bygod better be good stuff, and for two, I’m never going to use it again. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted.

Out of all the masks you can use, a peel-off mask is my ultimate favorite. There’s just something about peeling your “skin” off your face that is oddly satisfying. That fact alone makes me love the First Aid Beauty Red Clay mask. And if I could peel the mask off in one big sheet, well, what bigger trophy would be more amazing? That’s right: there isn’t one.

This mask won an Allure Beauty Award in 2014, so if you aren’t convinced to buy this yet, something is clearly wrong with you. It’s a great mask for oily skin people and those with large pores or congested skin. And while I didn’t notice this happening with me, it does claim to give you an instant complexion boost in 20 minutes. I’m probably too critical of my own face to recognize an instant complexion boost. Mostly because I’m 40 and consumed by the fear of wrinkles. Everything else gets lost on me.

Lord, are we done?!

Almost. Finally, some serums:

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There really isn’t much to say about this Algenist Retinol Firming and Lifting serum because there’s no way to tell if it works after a week of sampling. Did I appear firmed and lifted? I dunno. No one told me I did, so I suppose not. But if you wanna know the texture and smell, I got you, Boo. Very lightweight. Does not have a flower or fruit smell, but also not stinky. Sinks in very fast but does not leave a 100% smooth finish – only slight. Is that convincing enough to make you wanna buy it? Probably not. But if you came here looking for a scientific analysis, you made a typo on your Google search.

I used the SeaRX Anti-Wrinkling serum (now called Anti-Wrinkle Facial Lift) for a whopping 5 days and here’s my thoughts on it: clear, almost watery; sticky as you’re applying it, then it dries relatively fast; finish is just dry, not silky or smooth. There wasn’t much excitement in using this product. Like, I was totally cool with it being done after five days. It’s hard to explain. I just moved on and never looked back. Sorry bout ya.

One serum I kind of did enjoy was the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster. I used this every morning as it’s considered a day serum due to its vitamin C properties. It appears to be an oil in the bottle, but it’s not. It’s a slick little liquid that absorbs quickly into the skin, smells very citrusy, and claims to brighten your complexion as well as protect your skin from the environment. I don’t know if it really does either of those things, but the very idea that it does is sometimes enough for me. I’m easily persuaded. It’s why I own 27 mascaras.

I put this It Cosmetics Serum Collagen Veil Primer in the wrong category, even though it is a serum but it’s mostly a pre-foundation primer. Despite that, though, I freaking love this stuff. It has the most beautiful scent and texture. It’s like a silicone gel lotion, but thicker. It spreads so nicely across the skin, and sinks in very quickly. I’d buy this again in a heartbeat. I bought it with an Ulta 50% off coupon, and it was totally worth it. It’s just a feel-good product, almost like aromatherapy or a spa experience. I’m gushing like a girl in love, People! Put it in your basket.

Last product is the Chanel Hydra Beauty serum that I got as a free sample for my birthday. It’s not a bad serum, but it’s got an extremely thin consistency. Sinks in about medium-quick, so I probably wouldn’t ever purchase this on my own. However, it does smell ultra luxurious, like old ladies in fur coats. That’s a bad example. Never mind.

Oh my gawd, you made it to the end. How awesome are you? (Very.) I spent like 5 days writing this, so I’m pretty awesome too. Carpal tunnel is setting in, but I’m a PROFESSIONAL so what do you expect? I mean, if Kevin Durant can have a bum knee AND win an NBA MVP Award, then certainly I’m allowed a wrist cramp? Because blogging and professional basketball is practically the same thing. In terms of skill, that is.

Bye, Loves!

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One response »

  1. Pingback: Birchbox | April 2015 | Snacks On Rotation

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