Empties | March 2015


There is a very high probability the year is 2016 and this post has just gone live.  Or at least it will feel that way.  Empties posts take light years to write.  There’s a hard core carpal tunnel event about to take place over here.  So get you some snacks and a blankie and cancel ALL your plans.  There’s no other place you’d rather be besides right here anyway.  (There really isn’t.  I checked.)

Let’s get started with some serumy things:



Got a free sample of the new REN Instant Firming Beauty Shot.  This stuff is supposed to plump and lift your skin – not over time, but instantly – to last for several hours.  Well, that definitely gets my attention.  In fact, you could be telling me the secret to the universe, but I have since checked out of reality.  Instant face lift in a bottle!  Actually, THAT might be the secret to the universe.  I just solved all your problems.  I can get back into pajamas now.

Sadly, however, this product doesn’t really do much.  At least not for me.  I used it in the morning, and I didn’t notice anything particularly transforming.  I could feel some tightening, though, so the ingredients were doing something, just not enough of that something.  This product is $54 in its full-size state.  I’m not against paying stupid amounts of money for a pile of promises, but at least I know ahead of time it doesn’t really work and I can confidently say no thank you.  That’s called SAVING MONEY, my friends.  I’m gonna go buy something else now.


ext up is the Lancôme Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate serum.  This product tackles a lot of stuff.  Like ten different things to be exact: texture, resiliency, elasticity, firmness, sagginess, fine lines, wrinkles, radiance, clarity, and skintone.  Sounds like a dream come true if you ask me.  I only got to use this for about two weeks so no miracles happened, but it was a nice serum.  Milky consistency.  Dries down very fast.  If you measure success based on texture and absorption rate, then this one gets an A.  If you’re more into the scientific aspects – you know, results and whatnot – you may consider consulting not this blog.  I am a professional, clearly.

For more evidence of my completely rational sense of thinking, I want to buy the full size of the Vichy Idealia Life Serum because it’s a beautiful pearly pink and there is no other point to this conversation.  Have you ever just seen something you knew you’d love with all your heart just by simply looking at it with your eyes?  Husband, baby kitten.  FACIAL SERUM.  I challenge you to pump a bit of this on your finger and then walk away as if nothing happened.  It’s nigh on impossible is what it is.

Sadly, the sample lasted maybe 3 days.  It had a moisturizer consistency which I’ll admit is not my fave quality in a serum.  But it had this lovely glow about it that I could not deny.  Here is its list of miracles:  illuminates the complexion, reduces hyperpigmentation, refines skin texture, minimizes pores.  It’s got me trapped in its web, y’all.  I neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed it.  That’s not an accidental nap, forehead down on my keyboard.  I NEED IT.

Next up – moisturizers:



This packet of the Eco-Beauty Good Day day moisturizer lasted me ages, surprisingly.  It’s in one-time-use packaging but with a nozzle, so I was still at it after two weeks.  I liked it alright.  It was a very lightweight moisturizer, felt very soothing on the face.  However, if you’re not in love with the smell of cucumbers you may not enjoy it.  It’s not your old school cucumber melon from Bath & Body Works, let’s just say that.

If you can base a product on looks alone, this Perricone MD Photo Plasma would be a beauty queen.  It has the most divine whipped, airy texture that I’d swear I’d eat if I knew it wouldn’t give me diarrhea and/or kill me.  But oh my – it was not made for me.  The description said it’s lightweight and non-tacky.  I found it to be the complete opposite.  My face felt moist almost all day long, and it was making me claustrophobic.  I realize now this is better suited to people who have dry skin, not combination like me.  So this jar is about half full – I made an effort; that surely counts for gold stars, gift cards, something?

If you like Retinol, give Kate Somerville RetAsphere night cream a try.  It’s pure retinol in a lipid shell that time-releases into your skin.  How scientific and fancy does that sound?  (Very.)  I liked it okay.  It has a heavy medicinal smell – verging on peppermint or eucalyptus or something along that line.  And it does take a bit to sink in.  But as far as Retinol products go, I could use it every evening without irritation.  Not sure if that happens to everyone or if I’m just a rock star, but I had no issues with it whatsoever.  There wasn’t enough in the tube to last me longer than a week, so as far as its efficacy goes, well your guess is as good as mine.  Success!

But of course I’d like the SK-II Cellumination Cream EX because the full size is $160 and that’s how my life works.  It’s an illumination moisturizer with a very pretty pearly sheen to it.  Similar to the pink sheen of the Vichy above although not quite as apparent.  I literally used this for maybe a week, so per usual I can only attest to the texture, which is extremely lightweight and lotiony with fast absorption.  Smelled nice.  If I had a larger size, eventually it would even my skin tone and diminish my dark spots.  Or so it says.  I’ll never know unless someone gives me $160.  Just throwing that out there.

Last thing isn’t a moisturizer per se but close enough.  It’s the Crabtree & Evelyn Verbena and Lavender hand cream.  I really liked this.  I kept it at my desk at work and used it a couple times a day.  It wasn’t super thick, so I didn’t sit around with lotion hands for hours (big plus).  The smell was zingy and fresh.  Y’all know I’m not a huge buyer of hand creams, but I’d consider trying another one of these.  Cuz out of all the hand creams that exist in the entire world, this is one of the less boring ones.

Let’s play Beauty Shop:



I’ve owned this Klorane Desert Date leave-in cream for over a year and figured it was time to let it go.  I was getting very close to the bottom, but with only twice weekly use (and sometimes no use at all), this stuff would probably turn to moldy sludge before I finished it all.  I really loved it though.  The smell was heaven.  Not fruity or floral – more exotic, musky, heady, and warm.  This may not be at all what it smells like, but describing smells is not my forte.  Unless you are a normal thing like oranges or (erlack!) cucumbers, if you come at me smelling like a Desert Date, I have no idea what to say to you.

Aside from all that, the product wasn’t heavy or greasy.  I applied a dime sized amount and I never felt a scummy film in my hair after blow drying.  I’d buy it again for sure.

If you want to know how the Davines OI Absolute Beautifying conditioner performed on the hair, sadly I have no story for you.  However, if you’d like to know how it is as a shaving cream, then have yourself a seat.  This is some thick, emollient cream.  Smells very good – similar to the Klorane above.  I liked it a lot for what I used it for.  My legs smelled divine, although who’s getting the benefit of that, I’ll never know.

I liked the Fekkai Intensive Fortifying hair mask.  It had a nice, thick consistency and felt like it was really sticking to my hair.  Smelled very good as well.  It did soften up my spiky ends, made them look less dry and split-end-y.  Once I run out of all my Carol’s Daughter masks (I have two big ones), I think I will go back to this for a bit.  Or maybe I’ll try the Moroccanoil one first, then the Macadamia one, THEN go back to the Fekkai.  Life has too many choices.  Life is HARD.

Another shaving cream – the BeeKind conditioner.  Typical conditioner consistency.  Smelled like the best, freshest, zingiest lemon.  Would be nice in your hair had SOMEONE sent me the matching shampoo to try.  But because they felt it made perfect sense to give me just half a duo, I’ll never know.  It’s like trying to watch Part 2 of a movie without first watching Part 1.  It’s logical, basic mathematics people.  Get with it.

How about some face stuff:



I’ve yet to repeat cleansing milks as I’m on a quest to find out which one is truly the best.  At this point, I’ve tried Clinique, Le Couvent des Minimes, REN (the Rose Centifolia one), and Caudalie.  Out of all those (since you’re asking), the Clinique is the best.  So about this Clarins one (with Gentian – for oily/combo skin).  It’s okay.  Smells just like a drugstore body lotion like Suave or Vaseline.  It’s thick and creamy.  But there was something about it that didn’t put it over the edge.  Don’t ask me what that “something” is because this isn’t a proper review.  (You know, the usual.)  But for the sake of those that need some bit of useful information, they have an Alpine Herbs version for dry skin peeps.  There!  Aren’t you glad you stopped by?

Picked up a cute little mask kit last summer from Peter Thomas Roth and decided to finally get around to using it.  Selected the Rose Stem Cell mask first.  It’s the anti aging one, and it’s supposed to counteract fine lines, wrinkles, dullness and sagging.  And in case you select products based on how good they’ll look with your bathroom décor, this mask is a bright baby pink and lovely.  Consistency is a straight up gel, like something you’d pull out of your fridge and put on your sunburn.  In fact, you can store these in the fridge if you’re so inclined.  I won’t cuz chances are high I’d decide to use this mask as soon as I sit down in a bathtub full of water.  It’s best to keep it at arm’s reach.

I’m not a huge fan of microdermabrasion scrubs, primarily cuz the exfoliating particles stick to your face for what seems like days after you wash it.  There’s a possibility I’m exaggerating here but I have OCD so who really knows?  What’s normal to most is the end of the world to me.  In any case, I know exfoliation is important, and nothing helps keep my skin soft quite like a nice round of microdermabrasion.  So I suffer for my beauty, and my husband (and wallet) suffers right along with me.

So the derma e microdermabrasion scrub is good.  It does what just about every scrub I’ve ever used before does.  It will scar the shit out of your face if you press to hard.  Rub gently, my friends.  But it has a nice lemon scent, and it does the job.  Washes away mostly clean – I did pick particles off my face for a little bit afterwards.  I’d buy this again though.  I’m not against it.

I really loved the Fresh Black Tea Age Delay eye cream.  My tiny sample lasted me well over a month, and if I didn’t have a thousand other eye cream samples, I’d be buying a full size of this one.  It’s just really nice.  A thick, emollient cream – reminds me of custard-style yogurt or really firm pudding.  It feels velvety on the eye and absorbs quickly.  When reading up on the history of Black Tea as skincare, it’s been around in some form since 250 B.C. and they called it the Immortal Elixir.  Ummmm, yes please.  If you’re somehow NOT putting this in your shopping cart right now, I question your mental state.

And finally – makeup:



I feel kind of guilty trying to review the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue cream for you because I literally can’t remember much about it.  But this is an Empties post, and I emptied it, so there you have it.  What I can recall is that the coverage on this is pretty sheer.  If you are plagued by splotchy bare skin, you may not find this suitable – unless you’re fine with sheer coverage.  The description says it’s buildable to medium, but there wasn’t enough in the sample to add extra layers.  The shade I got was Natural 05 and it seemed to be a pretty decent match.  Finish is dewy and has a high SPF of 30.  So if you are having one of those days where you just want a little something – for appropriate times like grocery shopping or going to the post office – this would work just fine.  Or you can do what I do and put on full drag then sit around watching Netflix all day.  And then go buy groceries.  Cuz nothing says normal, rational behavior like full coverage foundation and stripey blush and pushing a cart full of Malibu Coconut Rum and deli meat through the grocery store.

What were we talking about?  Dunno.  Moving on.

I’m always on the search for the next best thing when it comes to pore blurring makeup.  Picked up a sample of the Dr. Jart+ Pore Medic Pore Minish primer.  It’s pretty good.  The consistency is like a clear silicone-based gel.  Goes on very smooth.  Has a slight lemon scent but feels sort of tingly like peppermint.  Not sure if anyone else experienced the tingle though cuz I can’t find one review that references it.  But I am super in-tune with bodily sensations due to my hypochondria, so I could feel a gnat land on me for 1/1000th of a second when other people would never even notice.

Blurring properties are decent.  My pores looked smoothed over, but not invisible.  I don’t think anything would make them invisible.  You can’t put a tarp over the Grand Canyon; you can’t put makeup over my pores.

I’ll admit to being a sucker for gimmicky things.  The Benefit License to Blot oil blotting stick is nothing but gimmicky.  But guess who snagged one up anyway?  Luckily it was just a free sample; if I had paid $20 for this thing, there may have been a few punches thrown (with noodle arms so no one gets arrested).  This product is TERRIBLE.  It did absolutely nothing for my oil.  It didn’t blot anything up – instead it removed my makeup.  That is not a fair trade, lemme tell you.  I followed the directions, which was to apply with short, swift strokes.  Nothing happened.  I tried it for three days thinking perhaps I was doing it wrong, but my face felt just as oily as before.  Maybe there was a slight mattification, but it was so minimal (and I was still oily-feeling) that I could have easily not done anything at all.  If I am faced with the choice of doing something or not doing something, especially if the not doing something involves pajamas, I’d easily not do something.  In other words, quit making me do something that is pointless and stupid.  If I have to do something, make it worth my time.

One product that is definitely worth my time is the Smashbox Always Sharp eyeliner.  I have a small collection of them (this one is the black one), and I love them all.  When I have no time in the morning, but I still want to do some nice eyeliner, these Smashbox ones are a great fit.  They sharpen automatically as you twist the cap off, so you always have a nice point.  The tip is creamy and glides on nice and smooth.  I can even draw a little wing – not a crisp one, but one nonetheless.  If I must complain about something (and I must), I can mention two things:  they don’t wear well in the waterline (at least on me) and they get used up quicker than a traditional eyeliner.  However, that’s not enough to make me not want it.  They save me time.  And they won an Allure magazine award.  Need I say more?  (No. You are convinced.  Put it in your basket.)

Last product in the trash is a sample of the Dior Diorskin Nude Air serum foundation in 030 Medium Beige.  This is a nice foundation.  It’s ultra liquidy and is dispensed by a dropper.  Coverage is pretty sheer, but it does perfect the skin really nicely.  I had to do two layers to achieve that result, but like I said, I suffer for my beauty.  The finish looks very natural.  I was quite impressed.  I have yet to rush out to buy the full size though.  I’m trying desperately to put a dent in the 27 foundations I already own.  About 2/3 of the way through one of them, but it expired March of last year.  So  yeah.  I have a long way to go.

You’ve made it to the end!  Internet high-fives for whoever is still reading.  But trust me, I’ve worn myself out good and proper – all for YOU.  If that doesn’t guilt you into reading a blog post from start to finish, nothing will.

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