Like many of you probably are, being at home all the time has meant that I’ve been able take my time with my skincare and makeup routine. I have still been doing my full skin and makeup routine because it helps provide some routine and normalcy to my day, though no judgements here if you’ve been skipping everything! But because of that, I’ve been able to finish so many products, so enjoy reading through all of the products I’ve finished!
Note: all products with an asterick (*) after the name were gifted by the brand or through PR.
For makeup removers, I was really impressed with the Good Molecules Instant Cleansing Balm, which is the skincare line available at Beautylish. Moist cleansing balms leave a residue on my skin, but this one rinsed off easily with water. I also like that a full size is quite affordable ($15 for 2.5 oz). I’d definitely repurchase.I was less impressed with the Alpha-H Essential Cleansing Balm, which did leave a residue, and was impossible to rinse off without a washcloth. I went through yet another Clinique Take the Day off Eye and Lip Makeup Remover, which is my ultimate favorite eye makeup remover to take off all my waterproof mascara.
Some serumes I finished include the Hyaluronic Acid Serum from The Inkey List. This is another affordable skincare brand, and I loved the plastic tube packaging because it made it less likely to break, so it was easy to travel with. The formula itself is fine, though it had a slightly tacky finish. I actually prefer Hyaluronic Serum from Good Molecules, since it sinks in better without being tacky, though I decant that one (which comes in the standard glass bottle with dropper) into this plastic container for traveling.
The Maycoop Raw Sauce Essence has a cult following for a reason, because it made my skin look so plump and hydrated. This bottle also lasted me for over 2 years, although I only use it during the late fall, winter, and early spring. I will absolutely get this again in the future because I like the effect it gives.
Another winner is the Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, which really helps keep my skin clear and even. If I don’t use this regularly, I notice some dark spots and freckles start to become more apparent. It’s not an all-powerful dark spot healer, but I do notice a subtle brightening and evening effect. I’d repurchase this, for sure. The Puristry Vine Therapy Serum was part of a collaboration with the brand, though this was the least impressive product to me. I don’t think it was really effective, although I love all the other products in the line.
Eye creams are probably my favorite category of skincare, so I always enjoy using them. The Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Dew it Right Eye Gel is a great gel-cream texture that hydrated and soothed my undereyes, even though it had a light formula. I don’t think it’s the best I’ve ever tried, but it is a good eye cream, especially for day time. The Joanna Vargas Revitalizing Eye Cream* is a great moisturizing eye cream that I loved using in the winter. I found that products tend to pill in combination with this if I didn’t let this fully absorb, so I had to be careful with how much I applied. I’m not sure I’d repurchase since this retails for $75 and I have eye creams I like better for less money.
For moisturizers, I always love the Belif True Cream Aqua Bomb Moisturizer. It is super hydrating but feels light thanks to the gel-cream formula. I like this formula for the winter while the regular Aqua Bomb formula is great for the spring and summer. I also enjoyed every drop the BeautyBio The Quench Restoring Quadralipid Cream*. It is insanely hydrating and creamy without being too heavy. Though it comes with a hefty price tag ($125 for 1.7oz/50 ml), it lasted over 6 months of daily use. I have a lot of moisturizers but I’d consider repurchasing this one. The First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer is just a great basic moisturizer that I know will be hydrating without irritating my skin. I always have a mini or travel size of this around.
The Innisfree Daily UV Protection Cream SPF 35 – Sebum Care is a nice SPF with a powdery matte finish, but it left a white cast unless I moisturized really well. This would work if you have oily skin, because the oils would help the SPF blend in better, and it would also work if you have lighter skin. Although I liked the formula, the white cast made this finicky.
I have so many facial mists that I forget to use, so now that I’m at home all day I’m trying to remember to use them more. I’ve been using the Fig and Yarrow Apothecary Orange Blossom + Lavender Complexion Water every day after my shower as a toner and loved the scent. I like using this after my shower because it immediately adds some hydration back into my skin after a hot shower before I use any other skincare products, and I think my skin has improved because of it.
I finished more face masks, including another Sephora Coconut Water Sleeping Mask, which is a nice travel sized-pod that I like for travel. It’s a pretty basic sleeping mask, but it comes in handy when I’m on the plane or in a hotel room with dry air. The Mediheal Golden Chip Acupoint Mask* was part of a collaboration, though I really loved this. It had little acupressure points that helped push the product into the skin while lightly releasing some tension points in my face. I will definitely repurchase these, especially since they’re so affordable at around $4 per mask. I also used up yet another Etude House Snail Mask that I already talked about in my last empties post. I really enjoy how soothing these are. Although they’re pricey, the Joanna Vargas Forever Glow Sheet Masks are some of my favorite and most effective sheet masks for giving hydration and glow. I used one on my birthday last week as a special treat. For eye gels, I liked the Acura Radically Rejuvenating Under Eye Hydro Gels for being refreshing, though I didn’t feel like they did much other than add some short term hydration.
One of the most classic lip balms ever are Chapsticks, which I still really love! The Candy Cane scent is also delightful, as it has a slightly sweet peppermint scent. I find these really effective as a basic lip balm and though I have about a million other lip balms to use up, I will inevitably purchase one of these again.
I used up a couple primers, including the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, which I know is a classic. I wasn’t expecting much from it, but I really enjoyed this. I really did notice a brightening and tightening feeling when I used this as a primer, plus it gripped onto makeup really well without feeling sticky or tacky. Plus, I swear it had a bit of oil controlling properties even while give me a healthy glow. I’d consider repurchasing this. I wasn’t as impressed by the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer, which I felt did absolutely nothing in terms of improving how foundation applied or increasing longevity for my makeup.
I love a good cream contour and bronzer, and the Wet n Wild Contour Makeup Stick is a nice cheap cream bronzer. Although advertised as a contour, it was far too warm to work as an actual contour, but it warmed up my face really nicely, while blending into my skin well. I don’t think it’s my favorite cream bronzer ever, but for <$5, it definitely did its jobs well.
I’m finally entering the world of brow gels (I used to only use powders or pencils), so I’ve been trying different brands in the past year. A few months ago I ran out and had to make a quick run to the drugstore. I picked up this L’oreal Boost and Set Brow Stylist, and unfortunately it was a dud. I liked the small skinny brush, but it didn’t really do anything to hold my brows. Thankfully I’ve since replaced it with the ELF Beautifully Bare Brow Gel and I love that one much more.
I have long resisted KVD Beauty because the former owner, Kat Von D, is…unsavory to say the least. She is no longer in charge of the brand so I eel less guilty about using the Tattoo Liner. I know this is beloved, but I wasn’t impressed with it. I don’t think it applied as smoothly as my preferred Japanese liquid liners, although the lasting power was great. I wouldn’t repurchase a full size.
An unexpected love was the Milk Makeup Kush Mascara. I was really prepared to hate this, and I did..at the beginning. But after a few weeks the formula dried out just enough to be the perfect consistency and I got a really nice fluttery, lengthened, and volumized effect from this. I thoroughly enjoyed this mascara and will repurchase once I go through the other mini that I have.
I’m not always consistent with setting sprays, but I always have a mini of the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray, which does a fantastic job of keeping my makeup intact ALL DAY, even in the dead of summer. I always get minis of these as GWP so I haven’t had to purchase a full size yet, but I absolutely would if I ran out of the minis.
I have 2 expired products I have to get rid of this month – the Stila Shimmer and Glow Liquid Eyeshadow, which I love, although the packaging makes it prone to drying out. The Ilia Tinted Lip Conditioner in Maybe Baby also expired and smells off. I loved the idea of this tinted lip product with SPF, but the product itself was very fragile (it broke at the base within a couple uses) and it went off much quicker than my other SPF lip products.
Since we’re all home these days, I’ve been washing my hair less out of sheer laziness and going through a TON of dry shampoo. I didn’t love the IGK Jet Lag Invisible Dry Shampoo. It’s meant to be a lightweight refresher, and it was definitely too lightweight for my oily scalp,so I ended up using it really quickly. I also love the idea of a non-aerosol dry shampoo, so I wanted to love the Klorane Dry Shampoo Powder, but the pump mechanism on this just didn’t work well. It would deposit clumps of powder (even when I would “shake it vigorously” for up to 20 seconds as instructed) rather than a fine mist, so it didn’t give me an even cleanse. The clumps also made it difficult to distribute the white powder, so if I wasn’t careful, my roots would have a slightly white powdery tint….not cute. I’ll be testing out other non-aerosol dry shampoos.
On the topic of washing hair, it takes me ages to finish an actual shampoo because I have short hair and only wash my hair 2-3x a week. It took me about 2 years to finish this Brooklyn Botany Tea Tree Shampoo but I absolutely loved it. It was clarifying without being stripping or drying, and I love the tea tree scent. It was just the right balance of being able to cleanse the residue from my hair without being too strong. The Fekkai Apple Cider Clarifying Shampoo took me even longer to finish (maybe 4 years?…eek!) since I only used it a couple times a month for ultimately clarifying. Although I liked it, I’m currently using a Briogeo hair scrub that is even more effective that I am more likely to repurchase.
The Schmidt’s Jasmine Tea Deodorant with Sensitive Skin Formula was a really wonderful deodorant with a gorgeous scent. I prefer this formula much more than their original one, which can feel gritty. The sensitive formula is very smooth and doesn’t irritate my skin at all, and I think it has a good balance of deodorizing and antiperspirant properties. I’d buy this formula again, but I really LOVE this scent!
Obviously I can’t show a bar soap since I used the whole thing, but I finished a Natura Brasil Maracuja Creamy Exfoliating soap* that did a great job of cleansing, lightly exfoliating, and moisturizing. I also loved the fruity scent. I also used up a big bottle of the cheap and reliable Dove Body Wash Winter Care, which my partner and I shared. I love Dove body products because they are so intensely hydrating, and this Winter Care version was extra moisturizing. I love more expensive body washes (see below) for their scent or the experience, but I will always trust Dove body washes.
Since then, I’ve been trying to use up some travel size bath products that were languishing in my bathroom drawers. First is the Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash, which I really liked. It’s an AHA body wash that gently exfoliates your skin, which is beneficial for me, since I have KP (aka “chicken skin,” little red bumps on my skin). I noticed a difference with this body wash in how my skin looked! I also used up a Pink Grapefruit Shower Gel from The Body Shop that was in our bathroom cabinet for a long time. I haven’t used anything from TBS in a looong time and I was reminded of how nice their scents are, though I find it to be a very average body wash.
For body lotions, I absolutely loved the Hempz Herbal Body Butter. It felt whipped and light, but was crazy hydrating for my skin. I have such dry skin on my body that moisturizing daily is a MUST, and even then, most moisturizers are not hydrating enough, so my skin will literally flake off. I know a product is good if my skin doesn’t flake at the end of the day, and this Hempz body butter fit the bill. Plus, even though the scent was the “original” scent, it had a fruity, almost Skittles-like scent that was fun. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find the body butter formula anywhere anymore (thought their moisturizers in a pump bottle are still available).
I’ve been going through loads of hand sanitizer lately, as I’m sure all of you are, as well. The Touchland Hand Sanitizers* are wonderful, both in terms of aesthetics, as well as the variety of scents they come in. I was gifted this bottle when they first launched earlier last year, but I will repurchase as soon as they come back in stock!
In addition to hand sanitizers, I’m also applying hand creams 10x as often to compensate for wasahing my hands so much, and the Bath and Body Works Overnight Moisture Hand Cream is a great overnight hand treatment that is also affordable. This was a gift to me but I will repurchase this. I kept the Jurlique Rose Hand Cream* at my office desk and it really helped keep my hands hydrated during the day without being greasy or heavy. The rose scent also smelled like real rose without being too cloying.
Ive been busy using up a lot of fragrance samples! Ill just give a quick overview of everything: Atelier Cologne Sud Magnolia had a heady magnolia fragrance that smelled great in the tube, but turned sour on me. MAC Ruby Woo just smelled..awful with a weird mix of musk and spice that didn’t work. Michael Korda Wanderlust was surprisingly nice with a jasmine note that I always like, but didn’t last more than a couple hours on me.
Narciso Rodriguez For Her is a nice deep scent with orange blossom and musk that I liked. Versace Eros was a forgettable scent to me. And though Tory Burch Love Relentlessly is not what I gravitate towards, since its a sweet floral, I actually really liked it for an uplifting sweet scent, plus my partner reliably complimented me every time I wore it (not that I need his approval, but it is noteworthy when he actually comments on something I wear!) I’d actually consider buying a travel size to keep around.
Thanks for reading through another round of empties! It’s crazy to see how much product I can actually use in 2 months. Did you see anything you liked or have tried>
As always, thanks for reading.