Starting with makeup removers, the Bobbi Brown Cleansing Oil was pretty effective at taking off all my makeup, but it left a slight residue that I definitely needed to wash off with a second cleanser. I wouldn’t buy it again. Once the winter weather really came full force, I started using the Jane Scrivner Nourishing Cleansing Balm (gifted), which is a rich cleansing balm that melted off my makeup, but really needed to be used with the washcloth that it came with. It did feel very nourishing, but I probably wouldn’t repurchase it out of sheer laziness I feel every night. I prefer a cleanser that can rinse clean, but if you don’t mind using a washcloth, this is a fantastic cleansing balm.
For cleansers, I used up the Erno Laszlo Pore Refining Detox Double Cleanser (gifted), which has little capsules of charcoal to help detox and clarify pores. I really loved this as my second cleanse and really felt like it did a good job cleansing my skin. I would consider repurchasing this! I use travel size cleansers for my gym routine because the smaller tubes are easier to squeeze into a small shower bag. The Arcona White Tea Purifying Cleanser smelled nice but was a fairly standard gel cleanser that didn’t stand out to me. The Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser actually felt really nice and didn’t leave a weird film like some foam cleansers do, plus it didn’t feel stripping or drying, like other foam cleansers can. One of my favorite cleansers is the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, which is just a really nice gentle and effective moisturizer. I already have a couple backups of this ready to go.
I also used up the African Botanics Buchu Botanical Enzyme Polish, which I used as a mask/physical exfoliator hybrid. I felt like it was really nice, but this mini size took me nearly a year to use up because I don’t love the feeling of physical exfoliators, so I don’t think it’s worth repurchasing a full size – especially since it’s pretty pricey.
I had this Acwell 5.5 PH Balancing Toner for awhile, and really loved it. It did a good job of preparing my skin for serums and treatments while taking off any traces of makeup left over. I felt like it kept my skin clear and glowing without stripping it at all. I’d repurchase it again! I had to stop using the Luzern B Tonic because it was just too heavily scented for me (and I can usually handle a lot of fragrance!). I had it for a couple years and just wasn’t using it, and I just needed to let it go. I also unfortunately had to dump out the last half of my Pixi Vitamin C Toner (gifted) because it oxidized and went bad. I only had it for a few months and don’t think the short shelf life is worth purchasing it again.
I loved The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid (gifted) as an affordable and effective option to add an extra layer of hydration. I noticed that this one was just slightly tacky but it absorbed pretty quickly. I actually like this little plastic bottle because it’s easy to throw in my gym bag. I kept the bottle and refilled it with the Hyaluronic Acid from Good Molecules, which I actually slightly prefer because it’s not tacky at all.
The Fresh Vitamin Nectar Glow Juice (gifted) was really like a juice for my face. It offered hydration and brightness, and it felt really refreshing to apply, though it felt like an extra “nice to have” step in my routine. I also used up the Temptu Core7 Serum (gifted), which I used mainly as a skip prep serum to provide extra moisture and luminosity to my skin.It had a very very subtle shimmer that brightened my skin. I recently got the Glossier Futuredew, and I think the Temptu serum is a more subtle and more serum-y watery version of Futuredew. If you have oily skin and Futuredew is just too much for you, the Core7 serum could be a good alternative!
For some undereye products, I really liked the Caudalie Resveratrol and Lift Eye Lifting Balm, which I felt was effective and depuffing my eyes and providing moisture. I was less impressed by the Bioderma Eye Cream, which was a good basic cream for moisturizing, but I want my eye products to do a bit more than just moisturize.
Thanks to some traveling, I finished quite a few mini deluxe samples. The Ahava Serum wasn’t really anything special for me, so I used it just as an extra hydrating layer. It also felt more like an oil than a serum. I had a tiny sample of the Sum 37 Secret Enhansion Emulsion, which was a great hydrating essence. I’m definitely interested in trying a bigger size since this sample was tiny. I really like the Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizer, and I’ve used up a full size tube before. It’s lightweight so it works well for oily skin, especially in warmer months. A fantastic winter cream – and cream to keep my face hydrated on airplanes – is the Ursa Major Golden Hour Recovery Cream. It’s moisturizing and soothing, with ingredients like calendula to calm my skin. It was really effective without feeling too heavy. I have another sample size but I’d love to get a full size version.
Winter is when I go ham on face oils, so I’ve been trying a bunch of them. First is the Nyakio Maracuja Oil, which was sold at Ulta for a hot second – and no longer is available on the website. This was a great oil, and my skin has always reacted well to Maracuja Oil. My skin felt really soft and glowy, though I will probably purchase another brand that’s easier to restock. The Sunday Riley C.E.O Vitamin C and Turmeric Face Oil felt really nice and brightening. I don’t think I noticed any anti-inflammation from the turmeric, but this tube may have been too small to notice a long term difference. However, it still felt pretty nice and I’d consider purchasing a bigger size. I also really liked the Trilogy Rosehip Oil. Rosehip Oil has always worked for my skin at just providing lasting moisture, and I like the simplicity of the Trilogy one.
I seem to use more sheet masks in the winter because I want that extra step of hydration so I have a few to share! First are the Etude House Hyaluronic Acid Mask and Snail Mask. I got these as a gift with purchase from Etude House when I bought some products in Taiwan and loved both of these! I noticed a huge difference in how calm and restored my skin felt with the Snail Mask, and the Hyaluronic Mask was ultra hydrating. I still have one of each left, but I want to get more of the Snail Mask at some point. I was gifted the Wonder Honey Green Brilliant Mask, which I also liked. It’s another moisturizing/brightening mask that I noticed a difference with, though I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to get these again.
I used up two more of the Ansaligy Eye Patches, which I find incredibly effective at depuffing, moisturizing, and soothing my eyes. These patches were originally gifted for a sponsored post I did with them on Instagram, but I would definitely purchase them on my own. I also used up two of the Klorane Smoothing Eye Patches, which were just fine, but nothing special to me.
I also used up two regular masks from Georgette Klinger (both gifted). I loved the Phytic Exfoliating Mask for deep pore cleansing. The Vitamin C Mask was also nice, but I used it more of a slightly less intense deep cleanser, since it also has clay in addition to Vitamin C. I definitely preferred the Physic Mask, but both were nice. I probably wouldn’t repurchase only because I currently have a big collection of masks. I also really liked the CosRX Ultimate Nourishing Rice Mask, which is a sleeping mask I used often to restore brightness. I think it also helped keep my skin clear and radiant. I’d definitely repurchase this again.
Finally, rounding out skincare isn’t really a skincare item…but it was attached to my skin so maybe it counts? I used up a pack of the Good Patch Dream Patches, which are transdermal patches you stick to your skin. These Dream ones had melatonin to help make you fall asleep quicker, and they were actually SUPER effective. They’re not like a sleeping pill that knocks you out, but within 10 minutes of putting one of these patches on my wrist, I was noticeably sleepy and more relaxed. They also don’t keep you asleep, so you don’t have to worry about sleeping through an alarm. I will definitely be repurchasing these for long stressful days and plane rides.
I used to like the Not Your Mother Clean Freak Dry Shampoo, but for some reason it hasn’t been working for me anymore. I might still repurchase in a pinch since it’s so affordable, but I won’t be stocking up on these anymore. I am slowly depleting my backup stash of the Elizabeth and James Bourbon Dry Shampoo, and I will be heartbroken when they’re all gone. It’s just my favorite dry shampoo ever. I have one more left that I will be using very sparingly.
The Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray is just a cult classic and I still like it for texturizing my hair. I have a backup I’m using already, though I think I may have found a replacement that I like *better* than the Oribe…which shocks me just as much as it probably shocks you. The AG Haircare Texture spray has been my preferred texture spray lately. It’s a completely different finish as it’s not matte or as gritty, so but it leaves my hair with a gorgeous tousled finish that is more effortless than using the Oribe one. Going forward, Ill purchase the AG one instead.
Although I am not really a hair product person, I like to apply a hair oil after washing my hair to keep it shiny and moisturized. I’m not really too picky, as long as I feel like it’s moisturizing my hair, and this Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Hair Oil was affordable and did the job. I’d repurchase again. I also used up a tube of the cult favorite It’s a 10 Miracle Styling Potion, and I see why everyone likes it. It’s an all in one leave in conditioner, heat protectant, and provides some very light texture, all in one go. I loved using this when I just wanted something quick and didn’t want to worry about adding in any other texture products. It’s a bit pricey for me, but they come in GWP often enough.
I used up a big tub of the CeraVe SA Cream, which has a bit of salicylic acid to help exfoliate skin. Since I have keratosis pilaris, this helped keep red bumps at bay while still being quite gentle. I love affordable this is so I’ll definitely repurchase. I also used up a mini of the Bliss Body Butter, which I love for a lightweight moisturizer. With the winter weather, I’ve been applying hand cream like crazy, and one of my favorites this season has been the Clarins Citrus Hand and Nail Treatment Cream. I loved the bright citrus scent, and this hand cream is one of the best I’ve tried for restoring moisture while absorbing quickly. This is a splurge for me but I definitely want to restock it at some point.
For some nail products, I used up another bottle of the Zoya Remove, which is my favorite nail polish remover. It’s gentle and takes off all my nail polish effortlessly. I also finished yet another Seche Vite Top Coat, which has been my favorite top coat for years. I love it, but I’ve been trying out the Ella and Mila Top Coat, which is slightly cleaner alternative. It’s working out really well for me so I may have found a replacement! A nail polish I actually finished is the Illamasqua Vice Nail Polish. I loved this polish for my toes, though I’m glad to be clearing an older nail polish out of my collection.
Some more random products I finished include the Dr. Bronners Almond Pure Castile Soap, my favorite brush cleanser. This tiny bottle lasted me a year, so I’ll probably stick with buying these little ones! I’ve also finished yet another Schmidt’s Bergamot and LIme deodorant, which isn’t my absolute favorite, but is a pretty good natural deodorant for me.
I saved my favorite category, makeup, for last. First is the Cover FX Anti-Acne Primer, which really made a great base for my makeup, but it’s a very silicone-heavy primer, which is not my favorite type of primer. On the other hand, the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Blemish-less felt like a lotion that gripped any base that went over it, but it wasn’t anything too special for me. Similarly, the Smashbox Primerizer felt really hydrating on my skin, and it worked well to keep my skin from getting dehydrated on some of the colder days we had, but I don’t see a need for it on most days. While it did a pretty good job of keeping my makeup in place, I’ve tried other primers I like just as much so I don’t see a need to repurchase this.
I’m very sad to have finished the L’oreal True Match Lumi Cushion foundation. It was a wonderful glowy light-medium coverage foundation that was so easy to use. This didn’t last on the shelves very long before it was discontinued, and that’s unfortunate. Although the Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Base is well loved by many people, I just couldn’t really find a good place for it in my routine. It was too glowy as a primer, and too subtle as highlighter, so I ended up using it as a brightener on my cheekbones to give me just a bit of a glow. It just wasn’t for me. I always keep a small powder for my gym bag, but even this small powder Tarte Amazonian Clay Powder lasted me for nearly 2 years. I thought this was effective at giving a weightless finish to my makeup, and it also helped slightly control my oil.
Some of my all time favorite cream blushes were the now-discontinued Vincent Longo Water Canvas Blush in Clover Mist. These had a unique sponge texture that stained my cheeks and lasted ALL day. Plus, these compacts were huge so it took forever to actually finish one. I actually still have a couple shades I hoarded when I found out they were discontinued…
The Too Faced Chocolate Bronzer is a cult classic that is a classic for a reason. It’s just a really good matte bronzer that has the right tones to bronze without looking orange. I have a lot of bronzers at the moment but I would absolutely purchase this again.
For eye products, I finished the Marc Jacobs Highliner in Ro(cocoa), a gorgeous deep bronze brown shade. I love how well these liners stay on my lids without smudging or fading, but they do dry out in the tube pretty quickly. I only recommend these if you know you’ll use it regularly before it has a chance to dry out. For mascara, I finished yet another Maybelline Full n Soft Waterproof Mascara, which I love as a base mascara. I try other waterproof mascaras but always come back to this. I also love how the Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara layers over it, and it was fantastic at giving me a false lash effect, but unfortunately it smudges like crazy on me.
And finally, some more lip products! All the products are quite old and discontinued, so I’m glad to finish them. First is one of the old school Clinique GWP lipsticks in All Heart. It was a really lovely lightly shimmery red that was really easy to wear, and I haven’t found a replacement shade. Another easy to wear shade with a moisturizing formula was the Catrice Lipstick in Maroon. I bought it in Germany, so it might still be available, but this line of lipsticks isn’t available in the US, even though Catrice has started selling here. And I know I’ve talked about these Maybelline Color Sensational lipglosses before, and I’ve finally finished the last shade I have of this. These are long gone but they were just a nice non-fussy and lightly glossy lipgloss that I kept at my work desk.
….If you’re still with me to the end of the post, you are a rockstar. Lesson learned that I will not be waiting nearly 3 months to post about my empties again because this is a marathon to write AND read. I’d love to know what you finished these past couple months as well!
As always, thanks for reading.