Category Archives: Empties

Empties | Summer 2015

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I’m not even gonna lie.  I’ve been polishing my nails for 90 some odd days straight and I haven’t functioned as a proper human being since.  In fact, I’ve unknowingly wore my underwear inside out for the past 13 hours.  If I can’t manage that, how do you expect me to blog?  Someone needs to come prioritize my life for me.  And also take away my internet cuz y’all know I’ve got almost 400 bottles of nail polish now because I AM AN EXTREMELY NORMAL PERSON.

But first, some empties.  This is a compilation of some stuff I used up over the summer.  I have another bag of empties to go through in a separate post, but wanted to go ahead and get this up for you now.  Because I may be a very lazy blogger as of late, but I still know what responsibilities look like.  You love me, oh yes you do.  Here’s serums:


I got this little jar of Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Gel in a kit over a year ago.  I took a long time to get to it cuz I’ll admit I’m attracted to little kits way before I’m ever ready to use them.  I had to throw away the eye gel because it solidified into a single gelatinous piece – like one of those toy boogers that little kids play with.  But the night gel was still safe, although that toy booger thing should’ve made me think twice.  I used it anyway and I must say it was the most boring serum in all the land.  It went on cool and wet, dried down slightly tacky, and left ZERO moisturization on my skin.   Spell check is telling me “moisturization” is not a word, but it should be.  It describes this serum perfectly.

(But seriously, that’s not a word?  I swear it is.)

One serum I did like was the Shiseido Glow Revival.  I don’t know what’s in this, but it’s pink, pearly and silky soft.  There’s something to be said about texture, because while this serum claims to give you a glowing complexion, none of that truly matters.  Cuz it literally melts into your skin and I. AM. DONE.  For real, here’s my paycheck for the next 10 years, gimme all the serum.

Then of course we will end the serums section with a bit of a bummer.  The Origins Plantscription serum has only one interesting thing going for it and that is:  it’s green.  Kind of rare in a skincare product.  Apparently it’s pretty powerful though.  It claims to reduce lines and wrinkles in a mere two weeks and that is because they traveled all around the world and found 20 of the best anti-aging plant extracts and put ’em in the tube.  I mean, that’s what they said anyway.  I used this less than two weeks, so what do I know?

Now, stuff for head and hands:


I love me some dry shampoo.  And the whiter the powder the better, cuz my greasy roots can get ridiculous.  I had a dry shampoo emergency not too long ago (yes, those exist) and picked up the TIGI Bed Head Rockaholic Dirty Secret at Target because I was too lazy to drive across the street to Ulta for my Batiste.  The only way I could marginally be convinced to go out of my way would be if Leonardo DiCaprio was waiting at the door with a Starbucks in his hand.  I’d pretty much do anything for that.

So I used this entire can of Bed Head, and let me just say BEING LAZY DOES NOT PAY.  Nothing beats my Batiste, y’all.  Cuz if you are a fan of white powder like me, then Bed Head will disappoint.  I’m not saying everybody won’t like it – if you prefer less white or even clear powder, this would probably be okay.  You’d be WRONG, but that’s beside the point.

Finally used up this tube of Camille Beckman Imperial Repair hand therapy.  I got it about a year ago (ish) and you can read how excited I was by clicking here.  Now that I’ve finished it, my opinion has changed just slightly.  After the novelty of squeezing this out of the tube had waned, I was able to focus my attention on the product itself.  It’s very emollient.  If your hands aren’t particularly dry, it may take a hot minute for the lotion to absorb.  So throughout the summer, I had a bad case of lotion hands every time I’d use it.  I did put a big dollop on top of a crusty cuticle and it helped soften it up real good.  But I probably won’t repurchase unless someone leaves me out in the wind too long.  I don’t know how that would even happen unless it involved Leonardo DiCaprio somehow.  Because LEONARDO DICAPRIO.  We’ve been over this.

One of the best inventions ever created are the Cutex Advanced Revival nail polish remover pads.  Now, there are other remover pads by other brands, but I swear this one is the best.  The pad is super wet and I can do all ten fingernails quickly and with no problem.  I tried to go generic on this one cuz Walmart carries an Equate equivalent, but they are definitely not the same.  I couldn’t get all my fingers done with the Equate one as it dried out too quick.  Save the hassle and just pay the higher price.  JUST DO IT.  Cuz I am the boss of you.

Face stuff:


Another victim of the little kit situation.  I think I owned the Michael Todd True Organics anti-aging kit for about two years before finally delving in.  I’m assuming the Skin Defender AHA cleanser hadn’t turned to poison because I’m currently alive and writing a blog post.  However, I will say that this cleanser really wasn’t worth the risk of my face falling off.  There was nothing special about it.  It didn’t even smell particularly good.  Yes, there’s AHA in it that exfoliates your skin and brightens the complexion among other anti-aging things.  But it could’ve at least smelled like coconuts or something.  And because of that reason, I’m over it.

I did enjoy the Ole Henriksen African Red Tea foaming cleanser, though.  Smelled kind of fruity and the foam was nice.  Plus it won a Natural Health Beauty Award, and I don’t know what that is but they said award and so I can’t concentrate on anything else.  For those who aren’t as easily persuaded, it’s chock full of antioxidants and AFRICAN RED TEA, which makes it exotic and now you want it.  You do; don’t lie.

I really enjoyed this packet of the Erborian Pate au Ginseng black mask.  It is syrupy like molasses and more of a sheer dark brown than black, but who’s paying attention to that other than me?  This stuff is made from ginseng root, and according to Erborian, it’s been used to fight signs of aging for centuries.  I don’t know about all that because the only way to tell if something is working is if it has the word “whipped”, “parfait”, or “velvet” on the bottle.  And now perhaps “syrup” cuz my face felt pretty smooth after and I liked using it.

Now for eyes and lips:

I’ve reviewed the Dr. Brandt Glow retinol eye cream already – I just included it in the photo because it took me 8 SOLID MONTHS to finish.  I was bored wayyyy before that.  It’s not a bad product though. If you’d like to read all about it, click here.

This Tarte Maracuja lip exfoliator was the first exfoliator I ever used.  I had it for two years and it kind of got lost in the shuffle surrounded by other lip exfoliators I just had to have.  So it’s technically not an empty, but it had dried out on me.  But before all that, I did like it very much.  It was pepperminty and very gentle, but there was plenty of little scrubbers in it.  Someone at Ulta told me I could eat the scrubbers off my lips when I was done and I looked at her like she misunderstood what a lip exfoliator was.  Yes, maybe it’s edible (maybe it’s not) but there’s also dead lip skin mixed in it and I don’t know about you, but that hurts my tummy just thinking about it.  Peppermint flavored dead lip skin or not – no thank you.  But despite all that, no matter if the idea bothers you or not, just please don’t eat it.  That Ulta lady may be really crazy.  She may also eat toilet paper and cat food for all we know.  And I don’t want any one to die because then who else is going to read my blog?

Okay, this Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair eye cream is one of my favorite eye creams.  It feels so good under the eyes.  Kind of silky, and it absorbs right in.  I could swear it’s made a difference, but I do know how that psychological brain trickery works.  I’d definitely be the one that’s cured of all my anxiety by taking a placebo.  I put that much faith in things.  But regardless, I will repurchase this eye cream.  I thought it was lovely.  And no matter if it fixes my eye wrinkles or not, it makes me feel like it does and sometimes that’s what counts.

Clearly, I’ve been brainwashed.

Let’s do makeup:

I don’t remember a thing about the Sulwhasoo Snowise Brightening Serum BB.  How’s that for honesty?  I used it and nothing bad happened.  Does that help at all?  No?  Moving on.

Ugh. Fiiiiine.  It’s a BB cream that will brighten your skin and protect it from both light and heat.  It promotes a clear and bright complexion; it has SPF 50+.  And in comes in two beige-y shades.  I stole all that from the internet, except for the term beige-y which is a word I might possibly have made up.

One of my most coveted products of all time is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz. I don’t even know what it is exactly that makes it my favorite – it just is.  One end has a really nice spoolie brush and the other has the pencil.  It twists up, and the tip is very small so it’s super easy to use.  The only bad part is there is zero warning when the pencil runs out, it just literally won’t click up anymore.  That means, there’s a 97.0576% chance you’re going to have a future eyebrow emergency.  So I’m letting you know now: plan ahead and buy two.

I owned this Teeez Trendy Desert Metals mascara wayyyy longer than I should have.  Like maybe two years.  And I used it right up to the point where I threw it in my empties bin.  Pretty sure that might be verging on gross.  In my defense, because I own 27 other mascaras, I didn’t open this tube all that often.  I probably technically only used it 15-20 times.  So certainly that’s less gross?  While you decide, let me tell you about this mascara.  It has a thick cone shaped brush.  The tip of it could really get into the corner of your eye and get those baby lashes.  I thought it gave nice volume and decent length – but mostly volume.  I’d buy this tube again.  Except not for awhile because I still have all those other aforementioned mascaras.  Expired, but still.

Last item in the bag is this Smashbox Photo Finish lid primer.  This is my second tube.  I really like it, although I think I liked it better during the first tube.  This is a tinted primer, so it puts a little peach color on your lids.  It covers up veins and makes everything look smooth, which is my favorite part.  The second tube I purchased, my left eyelid had some creasing every now and then.  Not sure if it was from the primer or because I am getting old and more droopy.  I don’t think I’m going to buy another tube, though.  I’m going to go back to my Urban Decay Primer Potion because I like that one the best.

Oh my gawd, that entire post took two months to write.  You can only imagine how busy I’ve been, working so hard during the day and watching YouTube videos at night.  No wonder I can’t get any blogging done.  If you wanna catch a glimmer of what I’ve been up to though, take a little peek at my Instagram.  Go on, I’ll wait …

NONE of that stuff happens while sitting on a couch typing on an iPad.  You have to be sitting at a kitchen table at the very least.  Still in pajamas though, after all, we are still referring to ME.  If you’d like, you can give my little Instagram a follow to keep up with all the excitement.  And I will be back on the blog, I promise.  Maybe a little re-vamped version of the blog, but on the blog nonetheless.

Bye lovelies!  Thank you for still being here.

Empties | May 2015

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It’s June and that means winter is almost here.  Ugh.  You know, as much as I complain about stifling heat and humidity, I’ll take it 100% of the time over snow, ice and cold.  No one ever got in a car accident because of a heat index, but winter is scary.  Roads don’t work right in winter.  And there’s no more green grass and skies are more gray than blue.  The whole thing is hideous.  So even though it is June and technically winter doesn’t start for six months, it might as well be tomorrow.  I swear, someone better push that STOP button before I have a meltdown.  I’m not crazy or anything, but I’m pretty sure this is how it starts.

Let’s do some empties!

Used up the L’Occitane Immortelle Essential Water, which is just a fancy name for toner.  This product was just okay for me.  It had a super perfumey smell that I didn’t particularly care for.  Maybe it refreshed the skin, maybe it prepped it properly for serum and moisturizer, but if you touch your tongue to your lips for a nanosecond after spraying this on your face, the game is over.  You like the taste of roses in your mouth for about two hours straight?  Then by all means, lick away.

Tried some new wipes.  Not because I fell out of love with the Pond’s ones, but because I can’t stop trying new things.  Picked up the Simple Oil Balancing ones to sate my curiousity.  And while I didn’t feel they did anything astounding in the way of oil control, these were pretty decent wipes.  Not as wet as the Pond’s but definitely wetter than some of the other brands I’ve tried lately (ahem, Klorane – I’m talking to you).  I’m currently using another pack of the Simple wipes but the exfoliating version.  These have a rougher texture in order to buff your skin, and can kind of be a little painful first thing in the morning, but they’re good wipes too.  I’ll repurchase.

I am still on the search for the best cleansing milk, so I bought the REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk.  I was not a fan.  It had a very unpleasant smell – kind of peppery and strong – and I had to force myself to finish it because I couldn’t stand it so much.  Paying $28 for it might have also been a reason, but it was mostly the smell.  It broke up the makeup alright, so if you like smelly cleansers, first of all you’re WRONG, but secondly this would probably work just fine for you.  I think I’m going to give up my quest and go back to the original one I tried in the very beginning – Clinique Take the Day Off.  It’s good stuff.

I bought an anti-aging skincare kit from Michael Todd Organics about 18 months ago, and thought maybe NOW would be the perfect time to start using the products.  First up is the Cranberry Antiox toner.  Unfortunately, I can’t say much for it since it’s honestly just a basic toner, but it does have antibacterial properties in it as well as vitamins to repair and strengthen the skin.  It soothes redness and restores proper pH balance.  It also has organic aloe vera leaf juice in it, which doesn’t sound as fancy as melted ice water from the top of the Swiss Alps or anything, but I imagine it’s still a pretty good thing.  Not sure if I’d repurchase only cuz I want to try everything else first.  I have two in the stash right now (both full size) and then I’m buying the Givenchy mattifying toning lotion because that sounds like something different, and also cuz GIVENCHY.  Is that shallow?  Probably.

How about stuff serums and moisturizers?  Yes:

Finished the Jurlique Herbal Recovery serum.  I don’t remember anything special about this other than the fact it had a milky consistency.  I swear I need to keep better notes sometimes.  I mean, does “milky consistency” help anyone at all?  Unless you’re big on milky consistencies, I’d venture a NO.  So because I am a professional, I have done some research for you.  Here’s what it says it does:  reduces the appearance of fine lines, helps increase elasticity, restores radiance and increases hydration, all while antioxidants create a natural defence shield to help protect against environmental aggressors. Leaves skin visibly glowing, hydrated and younger-looking.

I cut-and-pasted that entire thing.  I hope that’s not illegal.  Cuz prison life is not for me.  When you have 27 foundations to get through, you ain’t got time to go to jail.

Then I finished the Caudalie Vinosource SOS Thirst Quenching serum and I remember even less about this one.  Who sucks?  ME.  This post has spiraled all to hell.  In my defense, the tube lasted about a week.  I barely had time to put it on my face before it was already empty.  I don’t recall hating it, but nothing stands out in my mind in regards to miracles.  Two things I do know:  it’s best for dry skin because it’s a hydrating serum and it’s made in France.  That France thing get your attention?  Yeah, me too.

Let’s get this post back on track.  I really liked the SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair.  It had a nice consistency and left the skin under my eyes very velvety and soft.  It absorbed pretty well too, which is my number one quality in an eye cream.  I would totally buy a full size except OF COURSE it costs $98 for half an ounce.  Why do the things I like the best always costs the most?  Who’s in charge of the Universe?  We need to fix this like stat.

Got a single-use packet of the Omorovicza Blue Diamond Super Cream along with one of my Nordstrom orders.  I usually don’t bother with these samples, but I like the Omorovicza brand so thought I’d go ahead and give it a go.  It feels extreeeeemely luxurious on the face.  Like sinking into a ginormous pile of pillows.  Or taking off your bra after working all day.   But unfortunately for me, the cream never really absorbed into my skin.  I felt it sitting there for a good long while so I gave up and went to bed.  Upon further research, I discovered its main focus is to deeply hydrate the skin, and since I’m oily/combo, it’s simply not for me.  I also discovered it repairs the DNA chain, and I don’t know what that means but it sounds like something I want.  Pretty sure there’s some gaping holes in my DNA chain, particulary where my thighs get fat.  So if this Super Cream can make me skinny, that’d be great.  I’d put up with a greasy face for that kind of miracle.

Thought I’d try out the Fresh Seaberry Face Oil because I like to make my 17-step nighttime routine as long as humanly possible.  I mean, when you get to 17 steps, one more isn’t going to make a bit of difference now is it?  But since I applied the oil right before I turned my lamp off to go to bed, it felt more like it was just part of my chapstick/hand lotion routine instead of my face one.  Let me just say I don’t really know what the purpose of a face oil is other than to seal in your moisturizer so it doesn’t evaporate off your face in the middle of the night.  But I liked it nonetheless.  It’s not my favorite oil – that’s the Kate Somerville Dilo Oil – but it was fine.  The smell was more herbally than I prefer so I wouldn’t repurchase for that reason specifically.

Let’s do masks:

I’ll admit I wanted to try out the Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud for two reasons and two reasons only:  it was black and it came from Ireland.  Otherwise known as non-acceptable reasons to choose skincare.  But who doesn’t want to smear black mud all over their face?  Especially 9,000-year-old mud that’s been harvested by hand from the Irish countryside.  They might as well tell me it’s been blessed by Jesus Christ himself, cuz at this point I’m all yours.  I may be incredibly shallow, but they made me that way.

In case you didn’t know, mud isn’t dirty.  It actually purifies and decongests the skin. There’s some volcanic ash in there too to draw out oil and impurities.  This is right up my alley.  My skin has all those things.  I loved how smooth and creamy the mask itself was.  And it didn’t dry like a hard shell on the face.  It removed cleanly and easily and left my face so incredibly soft. I really really loved it.  I’ve added this to my Sephora wish list for future purchases – mostly because it’s mud from Ireland – but also because I think it might work.

I did not finish the Boots Botanics Ionic Clay Mask but I owned it and used it for well over a year.  This is another of those masks that acts like a magnet and draws out impurities in the skin.  In fact, it says it contains a negative electric charge which is what helps create that magnet.  In other words, you can just sit this on a table with a little sign and call it your science project.  Homework, DONE.  Just like that.

I did enjoy this mask while I used it.  I liked that it was a pretty earthy green color.  However, it dries incredibly hard.  It was almost painful when you scrunched up your face in order to crack the mask a little bit.  And removing it took some time.  Basically, you need to plan for a mask like this.  It’s not a wipe-and-go; it requires a chair and a snack cuz you gonna be there a bit.  I decided to throw it away because the last time I used it I swear it smelled like burnt popcorn which was a new thing so I figured it was going off.  Better safe than sorry.

Last mask was the Wild Honey Apothecary Pumpkin Cocoa Raw Honey mask that I picked up from the Birchbox shop.  This one was pretty interesting.  First, it didn’t smell much like pumpkin, which was okay by me since that’s not my fave smell.  The consistency was like a thick and sticky honey (aptly) mixed with a bit of sugar (or something like sugar) to give it a bit of texture.  As you apply it on your face, it’s kind of hard to smooth out.  I mean, the word “sticky” may be an understatement here.  But as it starts to melt from the warmth of your skin it almost liquifies and then it becomes another sort of problem altogether.  Suddenly your face is dripping.  It can be a messy mask if you’re not careful.

Removing the mask is surprisingly easy, though.  As long as your washcloth is hot enough, this will wipe away very cleanly and completely with hardly any hassle.  And then get ready for the smoothest skin of your life.  Aaaaaahhhhh.  Not even kidding.  A drippy face is now completely worth it.  I would buy this again with no question.  I loved it.

Last bit – hair and body.  Weeeeee! Look:

I loved the Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special shampoo and conditioner so much that I bought more of it before I even finished these samples.  First of all, I loved the smell.  Reminded me of peppermint, although I know now that is just how tea tree oil smells.  And the tingly, cooling feeling on your scalp was really nice.  I felt like it got my hair super squeaky clean too.  And after I dried it, my hair was silky soft.  I couldn’t keep my hands out of it.  I wanted other people to put their hands in it.  Like strangers even.  Well, just the cute ones.  But still.

I was working through this tiny Fresh Sugar lip polish sample for what seemed like such a long time.  A little bit goes such a long way with this product.  Y’all may recall the issue I have with straggly lip skin (that may or may not be caused by sleeping with a blowing fan on my face for eight hours straight).  I’ve yet to find a cure.  And sad to say, I’m still looking.  But while this isn’t one of those miracle products, it still worked good enough.  At least for most of the day anyway.  Wasn’t a big fan of the brown sugar scent, though.  That’s pretty much the only reason why I don’t think I’ll buy the full size.  However, the exfoliating bits were nice and gentle and the polish itself was very moisturizing.  So if you don’t suffer from chronic dry lips, or you can manage to sleep without a fan in the room (how, I’ll never understand), this may be a product you should try.

Last item is this Lauren B. Beauty hand crème in Orchid and Peony.  There isn’t much to say about a lotion.  It had a thin consistency that absorbed pretty quickly and smelled like flowers.  I did look up some information on the internet just in case I was missing the point, and surprisingly I was.  It’s laced with antioxidants, peptides and amino acids.  I don’t know what any of that means or anything – this isn’t THAT kind of review – but I’m sure some of you scientists out there will get it.

Will you be surprised if I told you this post took two weeks to write?  Probably not.  My track record lately has been kind of sporadic.  If my husband would stop making me do stuff – like dishes and grocery shopping – I’d be a better blogger.  So all this is his fault, and I’ll be sure to let him know YOU ARE NOT PLEASED.  I’m getting back into pajamas by way of protest.  Bye, friends!

Empties | April 2015

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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!

Empties | March 2015

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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.

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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.

Empties | February 2015

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It’s Empties time again, otherwise known as YOUR favorite time of the month.  I suppose it would be my favorite time of the month too, if it didn’t take 10 years to write the dang post.  As a matter of fact, those two sentences right there took 5 days.  I’m trying to reprioritize my life.  But Allure magazine keeps sending me a new issue like every month, so it’s difficult to stay on top of things sometimes.  And the DVR won’t just watch itself, ya know?

First up – moisturizers:

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Picked up this Ole Henriksen Nurture Me moisturizer, not because I have sensitive skin that needed soothing and coddling.  It’s because it reminded me of a strawberry parfait, and I’m not sure there’s any other way to make your skin care decisions.  It looked delicious.  BOOM! In the basket.

Finally got around to trying it after storing it away for about six or so months.  The plan was to share it with my husband since it was a full size jar, and anything full size always lasts me like 18 years or so.  Well, he took one finger full and decided he DOES NOT like strawberry parfaits and I was left alone to my own devices for the next three months. Blah.  Moisturizer samples just racking up over here while I’m diligently using this entire jar all by myself.

I can see where they’d call it Nurture Me.  It was a very soothing, gentle moisturizer.  Felt ultra cushiony on the skin.  Smelled less like strawberry, more like a cotton candy type scenario, which surprised because I’d swear it was strawberry in the store.  Regardless, still smelled pretty good (not manly at all, obviously), had medium-length drying time, and left my face feeling soft and pampered.  It was nice.  Would I purchase it again?  Probably not.  My attention span is very short.

Another Ole Henriksen moisturizer I tried is the Truth Revealed Super Crème.  It’s a daytime moisturizer, and this one came in a little kit of seven samples.  In even better news, it has the consistency of marshmallow crème!  Please tell me there are other people out there that perked up when I said that?  I can’t be the weird one by myself.  I mean, how else are you supposed to love a moisturizer?  You give it the texture of cupcake frosting or caramel drizzle, that’s how.  And then I will buy it by the basket-full.  It’s basic 5th grade science.

Aside from that, I did like the product.  It felt almost sticky putting it on, but within seconds the stickiness disappears.  Plus, it smells like oranges.  And it sinks in fast.  But perhaps the best part (other than that marshmallow thing) is that it leaves a glowy sheen on your face.  Not sparkly, just glowy.  It’s pretty subtle, especially when you top it with foundation, but you can notice a slight brightening kind of difference.  I would purchase this cream again for sure.

Next is the Paula’s Choice Resist C15 Super Booster vitamin C drops.  You can mix this with your serum or foundation or use it alone, but it helps to get rid of brown spots to even out and brighten your complexion.  In case you weren’t aware, vitamin C is amazing for your skin.  If there’s one thing you can do for it every morning, it would be vitamin C in some form or another.  These drops are a convenient way to get it done – since you can mix them with something, you don’t have to make it an extra step in your routine.  Unless you are like me, and what’s one more step in a 17-step regimen?  Not much difference, I can tell you that.  But for people who actually care about getting to work on time, these drops are handy.

Can I just tell you how much I freaking love the Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar?  This is not a scientific-based love since all I had was a sample tube with a week’s worth of product in it.  No, this is texture-based love, which is how I rate pretty much everything anyway.  So smooth, so soft, absorbs super fast.  It was a pure pleasure to apply.  I can’t think of anything more nerdy to say, so yes, it was a pure pleasure.  Lots of people feel the same way, too, so for once my opinion actually makes sense.

Apparently this a reformulated version of the original Hope in a Jar, although they still do sell the original so I’m guessing it’s not meant to replace it.  The description on the Sephora website said it’s an advanced, lightweight, whipped moisturizer … and then I stopped listening after that.  Because WHIPPED.  Lawd, I need it.

And now, serums:

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First is the Skin Inc Custom Blended Anti-Aging Serum.  Not sure what was specifically customized since Glossybox did it for me, but this is what the Skin Inc company specializes in.  It’s like a salad bar, where you pick out your own skin concerns (or “ingredients”) and then your perfect serum is born.  Pretty cool concept as it leaves out ingredients you don’t need (like stuff for sensitive skin – since mine isn’t sensitive – or cure for acne) and makes more room for the stuff you do need (like spackling paste to fill in all the wrinkled parts).

The texture of this serum is like a slick water.  Goes on super wet.  However, it evaporates pretty fast which I appreciate.  Time is money in the morning, and I never seem to have enough of both.  My little bottle only gave me enough use for a couple of weeks, but I did like the feel of the serum.  And knowing it was made to address my personal skin care concerns .  I’m open to a new bottle – preferably one with anti-pore, anti-gravity, anti-blotchy, as well as your basic anti-old age.  I just want to replace my old face with a new one.  Is that too much to ask?

Several years ago, I was in New York City and while standing on 5th Avenue, this tiny old woman wearing an ankle length leopard fur coat and furry hat with a feather in it walked past me. And out of the 10 million people walking around that day, she is the only person I managed to see twice in a two hour period.  Had I gotten closer to her, I’m almost certain she would’ve smelled like this Dior One Essential Intense Skin Detoxifying Booster Serum because when I think of old luxury, I think of old ladies in fur coats.  Particularly this one.  I mean, furry hat with a feather in it.  Come on!  If you’re not a billionaire, you wouldn’t wear this, let alone buy it.

Aside from that, this is a very nice serum.  Goes on very smooth; feels ultra fancy.  Consistency is thin, yellowish, and milky.  Face feels pretty soft afterwards.  You can use it as a serum or as a pre-serum serum because it will boost the effects of anything you put on top of it.  This detoxifies your skin, regenerates cells, and boosts luminescence.  And I don’t know about you, but the word luminescence is almost as brainwashing as whipped, soufflé, or sorbet (all of which makes me buy whatever it is – whipped slug trail sorbet?  Sounds delicious.  Yes, please.)  Full size of this stuff – the 1 ounce version – is $100.  Did your dreams just die, cuz mine sure did.

This Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate is surprisingly so nice.  When I first put it on my finger, it came out like an oil.  I was scared, I’ll admit.  But a pea size amount of this stuff will smooth over your skin like the finest silk.  It feels oily at first, but it sinks in very fast and there is no oily traces left whatsoever.  This serum is meant for dry/very dry skin, but I used it anyway (I’m normal with oily t-zone) because I got it in a box so technically paid for it.  My skin did not reject this.  My oily t-zone did not get worse, although I could see where it would most definitely work best for someone with the appropriate skin type.  I did notice that Paula has a combination/oily version, so I’m definitely interested in trying it out.

Now let’s put on makeup:

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I do not understand the mechanics of a setting spray, but I’ve been using them anyway because I like to add as many steps as possible to my morning routine.  This NYX Dewy Finish setting spray is fine.  Pretty inexpensive, so even if you feel it doesn’t add any benefit you didn’t spend a fortune on it.  I’ve been told this stuff settles the powder on your face so you look more healthy – hence the dewy finish.  I don’t want to look powdery, so even though I can’t tell a bit of difference in the appearance of my skin, I’m using it anyway.  I like to think everyone else looks at me and wonders what my secret is.  They probably don’t –  maybe just the opposite – but if I can’t have psychological delusions such as these, how else will NYX sell their product?  I mean, I’m basically saving their company from bankruptcy.  I am a hero.

I only used this theBalm Put a Lid On It eyelid primer because it came as a free sample with an eyeshadow palette.  It lasted light years.  I didn’t like it as much as the Urban Decay Primer Potion, but it still worked.  I have one hooded eye that creases and sweats (oh so attractively), so if I can find a primer that fixes all that, it’s a winner.  Texture is slightly oily as it’s applied, but dries down kind of powdery.  It’s fine.  No thrills, but if someone sends me another tube for free, I’d definitely use it.

I was not a huge fan of the Tarte Timeless Smoothing primer.  It’s silicone-based, which I’m fine with.  It does have that silky feeling on your fingers.  But it just did not spread well for me.  I needed to add tons just to get it go all over.  Or at least it seemed that way.  It blurred my pores somewhat, but it wasn’t anything that wowed me.  My issue could be the jar format – perhaps if it was in a tube, it wouldn’t be as stiff to spread around.  I dunno.  I won’t buy it again, though.

I wanted to love this Revlon Ultimate Suede lipstick in Boho Chic so much.  The color is stunning.  It’s a gorgeous red shimmer but with a matte texture.  Really beautiful.  I put it on right after I bought it, and my immediate thought was SUPERMODEL, which honestly wasn’t that far off from real life.  For me, it was a wearable red.  I don’t know why exactly, but I felt like I could wear it to the grocery store in my pajamas and feel completely normal (except for the pajamas at the grocery store part).  However, not even 15 minutes later after the formula had dried, I looked in the mirror and noticed it went grotesquely patchy.  The color settled in the center and inner rim of my lips and was absolutely hideous.  I applied more (naturally) in case I did it wrong the first time, but no.  It went down the same dark path as before.  What a bummer!  I thought I found my holy grail red.  I have no idea if all the colors are like this, or even if this incident only happened to me, but I’m sad I had to give it away.

Got a little sample of the DHC Velvet Skin Coat primer.  It was alright.  It had the consistency of the inside of an Almond Joy, so that part right there made me kind of love it.  Aside from that, though, it didn’t perform any better than any other primer I’ve ever used.  So I finished the sample, my curiosity sated, and I moved on with my life.  The end.

Okay, this NARS All Day Luminous foundation.  It’s new (and is replacing the NARS Sheer Matte line, per my girl at Sephora), and anytime there is something new I feel it’s my duty as a blogger to buy it and review it.  This would be a tax deduction if someone cares to pay me to continue writing posts.  In the meantime, though, I had Sephora make me a little sample.  None of the colors was my perfect match so I got the closest I could find which was Punjab.  But sadly, it was too yellow.  I have another one, Vallauris, which is for pink undertones so I’ll give that a try.  It may be too dark though.

However, my correct color match isn’t what you care about (is it?) – it’s the foundation itself.  This is a very liquidy, fluid foundation.  It will seriously run all down your arm if you’re not fast enough.  The claims are full coverage with only one drop.  My opinion is maybe two drops, and maybe more like medium coverage.  But my face doesn’t conceal easily, so if you have the skin of a 14-year-old, you will most likely fare better.  And then go sit yourself back down, because nobody likes a winner. Pffft.

The finish is noticeably luminous, not just something that claims to be luminous.  I think it’s very pretty, especially on my old dull face.  It works for all skin tones, which is nice.  I really hope the other color works good for me cuz I want to own this foundation in a most unhealthy way.  In fact, I wouldn’t be past buying the Punjab shade just because I have no real control over myself.  I mean, what’s a little yellow tinge on a pink-toned face in the grand scheme of things?  Aren’t there real issues in this world to be more concerned about – like the socks with sandals epidemic, or camel toe?

Finally, let’s take off our makeup:

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But not with the Yes To Cucumbers soothing facial towelettes.  These were no bueno.  Yes, I see that little award winner sticker on there, but for once, it failed me.  I bought this packet to take with me on my trip to LA, which was the only benefit.  Unless you like towelettes that are barely wet and the nauseating smell of cucumbers (but not fresh ones), then you should bypass these too.  Was not a fan.  Not even a tiny bit.

Working my way through my multitude of cleanser samples.  Finished up the derma e Radiant Brightening cleanser and it was just okay.  Nothing in here that really moved me.  It’s a clear gel, smells citrusy, and leaves behind a dry/tight feeling afterward.  Not necessarily a bad thing – since I have combo/oily skin, I could use a little drying out.  But other than that, there isn’t anything special about it that makes me want to buy the full size.  It may be brightening, but I’m not compelled to find out for sure.

One thing I did like was the Jurlique Herbal Recovery eye cream.  This was a medium-thick cream that smoothed on the skin like a dream.  You don’t need much, like less than a pea-size.  Had no noticeable smell – there might’ve been, but not enough for me to really notice.  It was soothing, absorbed quickly, and left behind a nice velvety feel.  The tube lasted eons.  I have the matching serum and night cream to get through as well, which needs to be soon since the package is clearly marked with an July 2015 expiration.  And on August 1, obviously it all turns to poison.

Several months ago, I had a very large and painful zit.  Went into Sephora to find something to make it go away, and the sales girl gave me a sample of the GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment.  She said I could use it just on the pimple, even though it’s marketed as a full face mask.  Took it home, put it on, and within two days I was pimple free.  At this point, I was beside myself and told everyone I knew as if I had invented the dang thing.  A couple months later I buy this GlamGlow sample kit and took to this mask like it was holy grail and blessed by royalty.  However, this time it didn’t work quite the same.  Not really sure what happened.  Yes, it does a great job of clearing out the pores (as evident by the dots appearing on your nose and chin while the mask dries), but the miracle I was expecting was nowhere to be seen.  Well, boo!

So here is my conclusion then.  This stuff works great at ungunking your pores (shhhh, it’s a word).  It leaves your face feeling very smooth, clean, and renewed.  Maybe it shortens the lifespan of your zit, but maybe it does not.  Maybe your zit was only going to last two days anyway and you attributed the miracle to the wrong thing.  It is a pricey baby – $69 for 1.2 ounces – and if you use it three times a day like their little scientific study suggests, it may not last very long.  BUT.  I would probably buy it again one day.  I’m not above wasting money.  I own 27 foundations that are all about to expire at roughly the same time.

Last thing, although not pictured, are the Sephora cotton pads.  I tried to include a picture of the wrapper, but it was clear plastic and wouldn’t show up very well.  But trust me, I emptied it.  In fact, it’s like my third or maybe fourth empty packet of these pads.  I really like them.  They are the best I’ve used out of the Target brand, Swisspers and White Cotton from Walmart.  You get 70 pads for $4 and if you are a few dollars away from free shipping, go ahead and toss a pack or two of these in your basket.  I haven’t had any issues with them at all.  Shedding is very, very minimal if at all.  I suppose they could shed if you try very hard on purpose.  Like wiping a honey mask off your face with them or something.  But for the most part, they work exceptionally well and I will continue to buy these and only these until someone (perhaps Jesus) invents something else akin to a miracle.

And on that note, we’re done.  How many people are still reading?  Whoever you are, internet high five for you.  Thank you thank you thank you for not making me talk to myself for the past 17 days (while writing this post).  More to come soon .. xoxo!

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!

Empties | December 2014

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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!

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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:

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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.