Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Empties, empties, empties

I'm keeping track of what I've finished so I can remember whether it's worth ever using again. Plus, posts like this give me more motivation to use what I have instead of buying anything new - though I haven't bought much of anything in the last few months, other than the couple of things I've written about. That must mean it's working (?).

These particular photos were taken in mid-June, so I'm a bit behind in posting them, I guess. That's really besides the point, in my opinion. It's not meant to be a real-time diary.

I've been collecting all these bottles for months now, and since not all of this stuff can be recycled by my municipal program, my plan is to request a label from TerraCycle and send it in there (other than the foil packets, of course). Has anyone else done that?

As always, foils and shampoo/conditioner don't get comments unless there's something remarkable about them.


Paula's Choice foundation samples: I wasn't super impressed with any of these. Swatched and reviewed here.

Milani Brow Tint Pen: It finally dried up. Decent product, especially for tinting light brow hairs (rather than filling in sparse patches). Swatched and reviewed here.

Joe Fresh Lip Stain in Tangerine: I'm pretty sure that these have been discontinued. I bought it on sale at Superstore when I was visiting my family in Canada a couple of years ago. I was planning to include it in my original quest for coral post, but I found that it had dried up. No big loss - it barely showed up on my lips anyway.

Revlon Bold Lacquer Mascara: This was a serviceable mascara, but I don't know that there was anything particularly bold about it. It made my eyelashes darker, a little thicker, and a little longer. It didn't smear or flake too badly. That's about the minimum I can ask in a mascara. The main problem I had with it was that when I pulled the brush out of the tube, it always had huge globs of mascara all over it, so to use it I had to wipe it off on a kleenex every time. That's too much of a hassle (and a waste). I've never been wowed by a Revlon mascara, and generally people don't seem to talk much about their mascaras. Not the strong suit of the brand, I think.

Make Up Forever Smoky Lash Mascara: This was part of last year's Sephora birthday gift (I'm really looking forward to picking up this year's next month: Nars lip crayons!). I actually really liked the formula of the mascara. It made my lashes look great. But the brush was not a good fit for my eyes. It's shaped like a pine tree: pointy on the end and huge at the bottom. I couldn't get the lashes at the corners of my eyes with either end of the brush without making a mess. I think you have to have big eyes and lashes to make this work properly.

(Cut in case you're not into the empties thing and want to scroll on past - this is going to get long.)

Skin Care

Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes: These are the best wipes I've found. I don't know how I used so many in a short period. I usually use them only a couple of times a week, so it may be that I just forgot to include one of the packages last time I posted empties. I know that disposable wipes aren't the most environmentally friendly thing, so I try to use them sparingly. My sister uses them twice, but that just seems like inviting bacteria to grow in the package, and I'm not sure it solves much of the waste problem.

Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Cleanser: Basic and effective, but expensive. Reviewed here.

Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid: A great exfoliant. Reviewed here (same as previous link).

derma-e Evenly Radiant Brightening Day Crème SPF 15: Garbage. I didn't use it all. Mini-review here.

Paula's Choice C15 Super Booster: I tried a sample of this vitamin C serum once before and didn't notice any results. And then for some reason I decided I must be mistaken, because it gets such good reviews, so I got a full size one and used it all . . . and didn't notice any results. I don't know, man. They recommend mixing it with moisturizer, but I read some where that mixing vitamin C with watery products decreases its potency. Should I get another one and try again without moisturizer? (Kidding, kidding.)

Paula's Choice Resist Retinol Serum: I got this from Birchbox. I had also used it before without noticing any results, and this time I once again did not notice any results. But it was there, so I used it up.

Key West Aloe Gentle Aloe Cleanser: Another Birchbox sample. It was a fine cleanser, though it need seem to require more rinsing than most.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser: I haven't compared the ingredients, but in look/feel/smell/performance, this seemed identical to Cetaphil. It was fine.

Blistex Moisture Melt Lip Balm: This is an effective lip balm, especially if you like them on the lighter side. It has a mild lemony fragrance. I don't love these tubes for lip balm, because you are always left with a lot of product that you can't get out without a fight (but I don't care enough to cut the tube open or anything).

Freeman Feeling Beautiful Dead Sea Minerals Anti-Stress Mask: Reviewed here. I just didn't think it did anything, and yet I held on to it for two years for some reason (?). And used it maybe twice more in that time. I usually try to repurpose lackluster shit, but I don't know what else I could have done with this stuff.

Freeman Feeling Beautiful Avocado and Oatmeal Clay Mask: This is still one of my favorite skin care products of all time. Reviewed here. There was a bit left in the tube, but since it was two years old and only costs <$5, I figured it was time to move on to a new tube instead of trying to squeeze the all the remnants out of this one.

Epionce Milky Lotion Cleanser: It made my face clean. I don't know what else to say about cleansers when they do the job.

Misc. Foils (let me know if you have any questions about these): Kate Somerville Exfolikate, Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum, Dr. Lin Acne Cleansing Wipes

Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Hydrating Treatment Mask: I don't know if using this as a mask is really much different from using a heavy moisturizer overnight, but it did feel really nice. If you have dry skin (or even combination skin like me), you might life this.

Aquaphor Lip Repair: It had a strong, bitter sunscreen taste, so I didn't use the whole sample. Something to keep in mind if you're picky about that sort of thing like I am. It's hard to get SPF in a lip balm without bitterness, so you might have to suck it up if that's important to you.

Hair Care, Bath, and Body

Shea Moisturizing Shower Wash in Almond and Honey: One of my favorite body washes. Super moisturizing. Reviewed here.

Softsoap Juicy Apple Body Wash: I don't like fake apple scents, so I wasn't a big fan.

U Shampoo and U Condition minis

Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask: "Hair mask." Okay, whatever. Just a thick conditioner.

L'Occitane Amande Milk Concentrate: Doesn't smell as good as their almond hand cream, which has a fragrance I love.

Beaver Shampoo and Conditioner: From the Birchbox of rage.

Caldrea Body Wash in Tea Olive Lime: Smelled nice, but very drying.

SeaRx Microdermabrasion Face and Body Scrub: Emphasis on the abrasion. It's very scrubby, so I wouldn't recommend it for the face. It doesn't contain polyethylene beads, though, so you can use it with a clear conscience - if you want to spend $30 on a scrub. (Don't. Just use some damned sugar.)

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream: Finally used up the last of these samples from BzzAgent! It's okay. Reviewed here.

Beauty Protector Protect & Treat Hair Mask: See comments on Eva NYC above.

Camille Beckmann Tuscan Honey Body Butter: I strongly dislike sweet, cloying amber/vanilla scents, so this wasn't for me.

Dove Oxygen Moisture Shampoo

John Frieda 7-Day Volume In-Shower Treatment: This stuff works well for me. Reviewed here.

And then there are 14 foils of shampoo and conditioner that I used up. The only one worth commenting on is the L'Oreal Total Repair Extreme Conditioner, which I would definitely buy. Made my hair softer and shinier and all the other hair commercial buzzwords. I'd been saving these for travel, but I rarely travel these days, so I decided to work my way through them. I have many, many more in my hoard. It makes for some variety in the shower at least.

If you made it to the end of this, you deserve a cookie. Or a nap. I'm not even going to proofread this post - sorry. Let's call it a meta-commentary on garbage. A style choice.


  1. I still have one of those Neutrogena hand cream samples from BzzAgent - they last AGES!!

  2. Re. Bitterness in spf balms, I had vanilla lip balm with spf 15 and it tasted and smelled so good. I never noticed any bitterness whatsoever. Time for some flavour?

  3. I really like your Empties posts. I'm going to start doing them too :-) They are great way to keep track of what you have used up and weather you liked it or not. Also, they are great way to post mini reviews. And it it will encourage me to work though my hoard of skin care/hair care/make up, that would be an additional bonus.
    Paula's Choice C15 Super Booster - I'm working my way through sample of this right now with similar results (or luck of thereof)
    Revlon Bold Lacquer Mascara - i'm really not impressed with it. My lashes are pretty dark, it makes them a bit darker, but it doesn't do much in terms of length/volume. Plus, on me it tends to smudge a lot. Probably because I touch my face more often then I need to, but still, Maybeline Mascaras and They're Real usually stay put.
    Last, but not least - SPF lip balms, I used Yes to Pomegranates SPF 15 and Ocean Potion SPF 45, and never noticed bitterness. Although the former tends to leave white cast. Not to mention, I'm not a fan of Yes To brand in general.


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