It’s been awhile since I’ve been here. And if I’m honest, it’s been really difficult to prioritize, or even be interested in beauty these days. Between coronavirus and the uprisings against police brutality and Black lives matter, plus a big move that I’m still in the middle of, it’s been difficult to focus on makeup.
However, because I’ve been moving, I’ve been really trying to use up as many products as possible so I wouldn’t have to pack as much stuff. It goes without saying that there are a TON of products in this post because I finished up a bunch of products that were half empty or near empty.
While it might be a little while before I do more makeup reviews – mostly because I’m still waiting for all my stuff to get to my new place – I wanted to get this post up while I already have another bag of empties starting to pile up!
Starting with makeup removers, the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil is my all time favorite cleansing oil. It takes off all my makeup effortlessly without leaving any residue behind, plus I think it’s pretty affordable for how long it lasts because a little goes a long way. I will definitely repurchase. I characterize the Son and Park Beauty Water as a makeup remover because I used it mainly as a micellar water for light makeup days, but the beauty of this product is that it could be a makeup remover or toner, and it leaves my skin feeling refreshed. I’d repurchase this as well. I also have a packet of the Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes, which I hated. I don’t think they did a good job of taking off makeup OR cleansing my skin, and they burned my eyes. I used this to wipe off swatches from my hands or arms when taking photos.
For face cleansers, I absolutely loved the Red Earth Hydrate Refreshing Cleanser, especially in the winter. It’s definitely very hydrating and felt heavy on my skin as summer came upon us. However, I have no idea what happened to the brand as I can’t seem to find it anywhere anymore.
For toners and sprays, I consider the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA toner a holy grail for keeping my skin clear. I would repurchase again although I’m currently using the Glow Recipe PHA + BHA Pore Tight Toner (gifted), which I find more gentle but still effective. Over the winter, I relied on the Muji Light Toning Water – High Moisture Formula to keep my skin from getting dehydrated. It’s cheap and basic, but definitely does the job. I will repurchase this for the next winter. I also finished the Georgette Klinger Coconut Facial Mist (gifted), which was pretty basic. It had a strong coconut scent that bothered me at times so I usually used it to dampen my foundation brush. I far prefer MAC Fix +, which is an oldie but definitely still beloved. I use this for so many things – dampening my brushes, as a face refresher + hydrator, or as a finishing spray to make my makeup look less powdery if I’ve gone a bit overboard. I always have a bottle of this around.
I finished a bunch of serums this month, including a fantastic Hyaluronic Serum and Niacinamide Serum from Good Molecules (both gifted by the brand). I absolutely loved both of them – I used the hyaluronic serum in the morning in conjunction with the Inkey List Vitamin C Cream, because the cream is POTENT, and the niacinamide at night. I noticed a different in the clarity of my skin and pores with the niacinamide serum, and the hyaluronic serum did a great job of keeping my skin plump and hydrated for an affordable price. I would repurchase both again. The Vitamin C cream was effective, but I think I prefer a traditional serum formula over the cream. I also enjoyed the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Serum, but I didn’t like that it was fragranced. If you want something affordable, I’d recommend the one from Good Molecules. A serum that I didn’t feel was very effective is the Herbivore Prism Serum, which I had a deluxe sample of. I was excited for its AHA exfoliation properties, but noticed no difference in my skin, even after using the whole sample (which lasted a couple weeks).
I’m a total eye cream lover, and I thoroughly enjoyed the Inkey List Caffeine Eye Cream. It was a lightweight gel-cream that definitely made my under eye area look less puffy. I will definitely repurchase this, since I love that it’s only $10! I also finished the Context Skin Vitamin C Eye Cream, which I liked for the very lightweight gel texture, but I didn’t notice any kind of brightening or depuffing effect. I wouldn’t repurchase this one again.
For my moisturizing step, I enjoyed the Erno Laszlo Phelityl Night Cream (gifted) as a super emollient yet lightweight cream, though I didn’t feel like it was life-changing.I wasn’t wowed by The Organic Skin Co’s Daily Rituals Rosehip and Orange Moisturizer (gifted), either. It was a little too heavy for my skin, especially once the weather warmed up, and I actually ended up using this as a body moisturizer, which my body loved. The Honeysuckle and Turmeric Face Oil from the brand was pretty nice as a finishing oil in my skincare. Again, I don’t think it was life changing but it definitely did the trick to lock in moisture for my skin.
As for masks, I always like having a tube of the Origins Drink-Up Intensive Overnight Mask. It’s a great alternative to facial oils in the summer when I don’t want to add something heavy to my face. I also use this throughout the year when I feel my skin needs an extra dose of moisture. As an exfoliating mask, I really enjoyed the Danielle Henkels Exfo-Glow (gifted), which was a mask you apply for about 5 minutes. I noticed a subtle brightening effect, and my skin always felt softer after using this; however, it felt like a bit of an “extra” product in my routine that I don’t really need. Masks that have appeared in previous posts are the Mediheal Golden Chip Acu-point Mask, ViiCode Eye Mask, and Ansaligy Eye Gels (all gifted). I enjoyed all three and would purchase them again.
I feel lucky that I don’t really get acne anymore, but some recent stress plus weather changes gave me a few weeks of persistent breakouts. During that time I was really thankful to have the Mighty Patch Micropoint for Blemishes (gifted), which are acne patches that have little micro-darts in them to treat cystic acne. I would definitely repurchase, although I do feel that it’s not very cost effective, since you only get 6 patches per box.
I’ve been trying to finish up some nearly finished makeup products over the past few months and it felt so good to clear these products out, even if they were very beloved.
MAC Face and Body Foundation is my holy grail foundation of all time, although I’ve had this 4oz bottle for years. It gives me the perfect light natural coverage, and the water resistant formula keeps this intact on my skin, even during hot and humid days. I’m taking a break to use up some other products but I will repurchase this with 100% certainty.
It takes me forever to use up concealers, and this trial size of the It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Illuminating Concealer was no exception. It probably took more more than 6 months of daily wear to use up this tiny tube! I love the full coverage option for days I’m feeling particularly tired. Even though I usually gravitate towards light coverage products, I really enjoyed this formula. I’d repurchase a full size.
For some #panporn action, I’ve FINALLY finished the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Palette after several years of very regular use. I found a use for all 3 powders – Dim Light as an overall face powder, Radiant Light as a bronzer, and Incandescent Light as a highlighter. I love the flawless airbrushed finish these gave me. I may repurchase in the future but they’re not a total necessity to me. I’m more likely to repurchase an individual shade.
For cheek products, I had a tiny sample size of the Bare Minerals Sheer Sun Serum Bronzer that was okay, but a little too greasy for me. I think this is discontinued anyway. There’s a couple cheek products this time – the first is the now discontinued Josie Maran Coconut Water Gelee in Pink Bliss. I absolutely LOVED these gel blushes because they gave a stain-like effect that lasted all day on my oily skin, and I’m still a bit bitter that they’re gone. Sadly, one of my Kjaer Weis blushes in the shade Above and Beyond expired and started smelling rancid. I’ve had a few shades of these blushes for a couple years, but this one went rancid much quicker than any other shades.
Moving on to eye products, the Lorac Eye Primer came as a gift with purchase, and while it is perfectly serviceable, it’s not my favorite eye primer by a long shot. I notice my eyeshadow creasing on hotter days so this isn’t ideal. I prefer the Milani Eye Primer, which I think is very underrated. Another underrated product is the Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense in Rich Chocolate, which was my every day eyeliner for awhile. It is a really rich brown shade that is just the right balance of brown and black. It also has fantastic lasting power without smudging or fading, and the pencil itself doesn’t dry out quickly like the Marc Jacobs products do. I would definitely repurchase.
My only mascara empty for these couple of months was the W3ll People Expressionist Mascara. It’s a decent mascara, and has nice volumizing properties, but it isn’t very lengthening, which doesn’t help my tiny eyelashes. I wouldn’t repurchase a full size.
And one last makeup product that I had to get rid of is the Smashbox Always On Liquid Lipstick in Driver’s Seat. I really like this formula of liquid lipstick for staying on forever without being overly drying, but the reality of liquid lipsticks is that they always dry out really quickly. I’m kind of over liquid lipsticks so I probably wouldn’t repurchase it, but this is a solid formula if you still like them.
With the quarantine still going strong, I’ve actually been using more hair care because I’m washing it less. I started noticing that my scalp would get very flaky and dry with all of the dry shampoo I used, which would make it even oilier, so I started experimenting with different shampoos. I had a small sample of the Redken Beach Envy Volume Texturizing Spray, which really did give me great texture, but unfortunately did not keep my hair clean. It started to feel gritty after just one day, so this is a miss for me. More misses are the IGK Direct Flight Multi-Tasking Matcha Dry Shampoo and the First Class Charcoal Detox Dry Shampoo. I know IGK dry shampoos are well loved, but both of these made my hair feel gritty and dirtier after using them – especially the First Class Dry Shampoo – and they made my scalp feel dry. The different formulas have different oil absorbing properties for how dirty your hair is, which I appreciate, but neither of these formulas worked for me, unfortunately.
For some hair treatments I did like, the Briogeo Rosarco Leave-In Conditioning Spray has become my preferred leave-in treatment lately. It makes my hair feel healthy without weighing it down, and it really does help with reducing some of the frizz and fluffiness my hair can get. I already have another one in my cart to repurchase. Some other treatments I tried and liked were the Klorane Mango Oil and the Biosilk Silk Therapy with Coconut Oil. I used to use another version of the Biosilk, which broke me out horribly, so I’m glad to see that the coconut oil version did not. They were both fine oils, but I didn’t think they were amazing.
I’ve been going through body products quickly recently, trying to finish up anything that was nearly finished to clear big bottles out of my collection. I ran out of soap about a month before I moved and instead of using another soap bar or big bottle of body wash, I went into my minis collection to use up some sample sized items. First up is the L’occitane Verbena Shower Gel, which is actually from a hotel in Taiwan. I’ve used this before and really love the fresh citrus scent but don’t think the body wash itself is anything out of this world. The Ulta Beauty Sweet Grapefruit Body Wash had a really pleasant scent and it felt great using it in the shower. Again, nothing crazy, but if you enjoy grapefruit scents, this is a good one. A body wash I did really enjoy was the Vitabath Pomegranate and Blood Orange Body Wash. It lathered up really nicely, and the scent was exactly as juicy as you’d imagine.
For moisturizers, I went through a large bottle of the Nivea Oil Infused Cherry Blossom and Jojoba Oil Body Lotion, which had a really nice silky texture, but I don’t think it provided long-term hydration. It’s better for warmer weather, or if your skin isn’t as dry as mine. I went through another mini of the Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Cream, which I’m not a fan of. The scent is too strong for me, and I don’t think the cream provides long term moisture for me, either.
Moving on from body products to hand creams, the Hempz Ultra Hydrating Herbal Hand and Foot Glaze felt super hydrating for both purposes, and the little tin of the Herbacin Lavender Hand Cream was one of the best and most travel friendly hand creams I used. I bought mine from Anthropologie a few years back, though it looks like Amazon is the best place to get them now. The formula is ultra rich and hydrating, and was thick but didn’t leave a greasy feeling. I definitely want to stock up on these.
I finished two travel-sized deodorants these past couple months. The Native Coconut and Vanilla Deodorant (not pictured) was an emergency deodorant I kept in my bag, and I really liked it! It controlled wetness a lot better than some other natural deodorants I used, and it didn’t irritate my skin. I would repurchase a full size, but I think I like the Kopari Coconut Deodorant better, which controlled wetness just a little better, and lasted longer on my skin as well. I purchased a set of minis to replace this one.
I only have one fragrance empty this time – my beloved discontinued DKNY Pure Perfume. I’ve used this for years and have hoarded backups. It’s the best and most comforting scent that I don’t even know how to describe. It smells like a very soft vanilla with some delicate florals and a very subtle hint of jasmine. It smells clean without smelling like laundry detergent, and makes me feel like I’m wearing a comfortable sweater. I will continue hoarding backups as I come across them because I wear this nearly every day…
Perhaps my most random empty this time around is the Marvis Whitening Mint Toothpaste. These seem to be a beloved toothpaste in the beauty community, so I wanted to try it out to myself. Was it nice? Yes, definitely. But is it nice enough to justify $6 (for a mini) or $10+ for a full size? Definitely not. I’m happy with my standard old drugstore toothpastes.
Finally, I’m rounding out this post with 2 nail polishes – one from Catrice, a German drugstore brand that used to have (not sure if they do?) a large range of very affordable nail polishes. I bought a whole bunch of them when I did my study abroad in Germany (nearly 7 years ago…yeesh), and am slowly using them up. I’m trying to use up all of my nail polishes, since I have far too many to justify my somewhat lackluster enthusiasm for doing my nails, so I’m also glad to finish the Clinique A Different Nail Enamel in Pinkini. It was a really lovely nail polish in a bright, but not neon pink. These nail polishes weren’t around for a long time, which is a shame, because they had a nice formula.
Wooooosh, that was quite a roundup! And as I’m writing this I already have some more empties that are starting to pile up. I may do a quick post on IG since I’m working off a very small edited collection at the moment and using them all up quickly as I wait for all my things to arrive.
If there’s anything in here you’ve tired or are curious about, let me know below! What have you finished up recently?
As always, thanks for reading.