Empties | April 2015


Ebates needs to SHUT UP with their 16% Cash Back coupons.  I mean, what am I supposed to do with this kind of information?  Ignore it?  When is the last time someone said they were going to give you money and then you forgot all about it?  If you have an actual answer to that, I question your priorities in life.  And also you may want to get your brain checked.  You know, just to be safe.

Needless to say, I bought stuff.  This should surprise no one.  But when you get a percentage back via rebate, it’s less buying stuff and more saving money.  And saving money means practically free.  And practically free is a valid lifestyle choice.  I’m keeping credit card companies in business, people.  I’m basically a hero.

Here’s some empties:

No, this Urban Decay Naked Skin foundation is not empty.  However, it was 14 months past it’s expiration  so I had to let it go.  I made an effort to use it, though.  For two weeks straight, I used nothing but this foundation, fruitlessly trying to make a dent in it.  But it was The Product That Would Not Die.  Then I got two pimples and felt a face-falling-off disaster was imminent.  Probably best not to use expired makeup.  Says me and most likely a scientist or two.

As for the foundation itself, it’s a very good one.  Coverage was about a medium and the finish was natural to almost matte on me.  Looked so pretty on the skin.  I would have no problem owning this again in the future.  You know, after I use up all my other foundations.  So in 2021, roughly.

I’m an oily mess come lunch time, so you’ll always find blotting papers in my purse.  These Boscia Green Tea ones were pretty decent.  I’ve had better (the Tatcha ones – could have 100% to do with the fact they are called Japanese Beauty Papers, but I’m not totally sure), but for the price of $10 for 100 sheets, they will do just fine.  They soak up oil and don’t disturb my makeup as far as I can tell.  I’m currently using another pack of Tatcha and as soon as they’re out I want to try the Shiseido ones.  But I will definitely go back to using the Boscia.  Good value, and they work.

I feel like my quest for tiny pores is going to last forever.  This Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Smoothing Primer certainly helps.  It’s a really great silicone-based primer that goes on very smooth and blurs out all the ugly bits.  Of course, if you have massive caverns like I do, they never quite disappear but you take what you can get.  If you have tinier pores, number one, this may be your holy grail ride or die miracle worker, and number two, go sit back down.  Nobody likes a winner.  Hmmmphf.

One of the absolute best setting powders I’ve ever used is the Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder.  I freaking love this stuff!  I use it under my eye and it definitely lends a brightening effect.  It’s subtle but still obvious.  The powder is very fine and it keeps my concealer nice and smooth.  I used my little sample maybe three times tops before I ended up purchasing the full size.  It’s totally worth the $24 price tag because if you just keep it for eye use only, it will last you ages.  You can use it on your full face it you want, but I haven’t.  Mainly I’m concerned it will put a white cast all over since it works that way under the eye.  Perhaps if you have fair or light skin, it would be okay.  I have medium, which is the maximum you can go for this particular powder (according to Laura Mercier).  Darker skin tones may not appreciate this as much.  Unless you like that much of a contrast, and in that case, get it girl.  You do you.

And now for cleansers:

Talk about luxury.  The SK-II Facial Treatment Gentle Cleanser is one of the best feeling products I’ve ever put on my face.  It’s creamy and luscious and using it makes you feel like one pampered princess.  I can’t say everyone would feel that way – it may depend on what you’re used to.  I mean, if you’re normally slathering your face in Creme de la Mer then you may not even blink an eye at this SK-II stuff.  But because I can only afford to buy someone’s free sample of Creme de la Mer, I love this SK-II stuff just fine.  Full size is around $75 and I put it on my Sephora wishlist in case someone wants to buy me a gift card.  You know, just in case.

The Laura Mercier Flawless Face Polish was a pretty nice exfoliator.  Had a very lovely smell to it.  It wasn’t harsh; didn’t feel like it was stripping your face skin off.  I don’t know about you, but I call that a bonus.  However, I’m not compelled at this point to buy the full size of it but I’ll use another free sample any time.  It was good.  It worked.  What more could you ask for?  Well, I suppose a Sephora gift card would be alright.  But after that, this face polish is fine the way it is.

My favorite – serums!

I wish I could tell you I remember using the StriVectin-AR Advanced Retinol Night Treatment but I don’t.  I emptied it at the beginning of the month but forgot to write anything down.  I couldn’t tell you if it was creamy, milky, oily or watery.  I have no idea how long it took to sink in or whether it smelled like roses or herbs.  But what I can tell you is this:  it has retinol in it, but it did not irritate my skin at all even though I used it every day.  How’s that for a review?  We good?

Okay, that’s not how a professional blogger behaves.  I will copy and paste from another website a description of the science of this product.  Or, for fear of plagiarism, I will ad lib:

Reduces deep-set wrinkles and fine lines, hydrates and nourishes, plumps skins, evens tone, and refines and smooths skin’s texture.  Contains both NIA-114 (niacin) and Retinol, two of the best anti-aging actives, which help strengthen the moisture barrier of your skin, which apparently is a very good thing.  And it does all these things while you sleep, so you don’t even have to try very hard.  All you gotta do is wake up and BE BEAUTIFUL.

This NeoStrata Antioxidant Defense Serum sample was okay.  I didn’t get more than 5 days’ use out of it, so it’s hard to say if it was really doing anything.  Then again, that’s pretty much how all my serum samples work.  But if all you care about texture and cute packaging, honestly I’d say 5 days is all you need.  The texture was like an oil, but it was more slippery.  I used it just in the morning since it had antioxidants in it (which help protect against the environment), and I had no issues with layering foundation and makeup on top of it.  I probably won’t buy the full size because if I’m going to spend $78 on a serum, I’d rather have this next one.

I could tell after this one-time-use packet that I needed the Clarins Double Serum in my life.  I just loved the texture of it so much.  It’s similar to the NeoStrata in that it’s like an oil, but the Clarins is less slippery and more moisturizing.  There are two sides – two serums that are kept separate that mix together once you pump it out.  I’m not sure why they are kept separate.  Perhaps to retain the purity of each side?  There’s a high possibility that’s not right, but it sounds scientific enough to be right.  And also kind of romantic cuz that’s how my brain processes scientific information (i.e., not very scientifically; i.e., not very well AT ALL).  This serum felt so soft going on, almost like velvet.  It did take a bit to sink in, so I’d probably use less the next go-round, but once it absorbed my skin felt brand new.  I could have completely skipped moisturizer because it felt that good.  I mean, I didn’t because I love my 17-step routine, but I COULD IF I WANTED TO and that is the point.

And finally, some moisturizers:

Still trying to use up the little Ole Henriksen sample kit I purchased over a year ago.  This one is the Sheer Transformation moisturizer, and it was just alright.  It’s pretty lightweight so it absorbed rather quick and left my skin feeling smooth.  But there just wasn’t anything special about it for me.  It does a lot of nice things though – like fades dark spots, evens skin tone, soothes and balances the skin, as well as exfoliates with sugarcane and fruit AHAs.  So what’s not to like?  I dunno.  I’m being a brat, I guess.  Perhaps if it was packaged in an old-timey jar with a cute vintage-y logo, I’d like it more.  Does that make me shallow?  Probably.

Last product is the Clarins Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrate.  I’ve been on a roll lately with some really nice eye creams.  This one is no exception.  It’s has a medium-thick consistency and goes on very smoothly.  Absorbs well and leaves the under eye area nice and silky feeling.  I approve wholeheartedly.  The only issue I have with it is its instructions of use.  It says to apply from temple-to-temple.  What does this mean exactly?  Apply from one temple to the other, as in across the nose and everything?  And would that include eyelids as well or just the under eye portion of the temple-to-temple frame?  What if I decipher this incorrectly and I end up with no eyes?  Well now I’m properly panicked.  Don’t these people know I need explicit directions, not just a vague temple-to-temple reference that means absolutely nothing?  Ugh.  Just apply it under the eyes and call it good.  No sense in breaking out in hives over eye cream.

You’ve reached the end of a surprisingly short Empties post this month.  But don’t worry – May is shaping up to be a big one.  I’m plowing through samples like someone paid me to do it.  Perhaps one day they will and then I will be a millionaire.  Hooray!  See you next time, Friends!

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