Friday, June 15, 2018

Why am I looking at garbage? (Or: Empties)

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I think empties posts are a little divisive (boring or voyeuristically fascinating?), but I like that they provide mini reviews for products that someone has tested really thoroughly. Plus, for selfish reasons, I like to keep my own record of what I've used in case I want to try/avoid those things in the future.

Makeup empties (photo above) are the rarest of empties, so I don't usually have this many in a single batch. Then again, it's not like I finished a blush or a lipstick or an eyeshadow palette. Mascaras and concealers are much more frequently used up and tossed out.

Left to right above:

L'Oréal Lineur Intense Felt Tip in Earthen Rock Brown: Reviewed briefly here. This was my favorite liquid eyeliner for years and years until it was unfortunately discontinued. I love a brown liquid liner for a more subtle everyday look than black. Right now I'm using Lancôme Artliner in Brown, which is very similar, but much more expensive, of course. I also have the brown version of the Physician's Formula liquid liner (reviewed here in black) waiting in the wings.

YSL Touche Éclat in 2 Luminous Ivory: I got this in a marked-down, now sold-out, Sephora Favorites kit, and I wouldn't have bought it on its own. It makes a decent sheer/casual under-eye concealer and non-shimmery highlight. I just think you can get similar products for a lower price, like Maybelline's. Also, it has a faint lavender scent that might not appeal to everyone.

Sephora Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer in Fondant: Reviewed here. This is the third tube of Gel Serum Concealer I've finished. I used a Swoon wand to scrape out what the doe foot couldn't reach (even after removing the stopper), which gave me at least another good month of use. I recently (stupidly) decided I'd try something new and bought a tube of the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye concealer. Big mistake. Huge. It must only work for very dry skinned people, because it disappeared from my face in a couple of hours. I've already ordered a new tube of Gel Serum from Sephora. Why mess with perfection?

Wet N Wild Lash Primer: Reviewed here. Not an actual empty, but it had started to smell funky, so I tossed it. Lash primer just doesn't do much for me, so I didn't get through it.

Essence Eyebrow Designer Pencil in Soft Blonde (above): This isn't a true taupe (nor does it claim to be) but it's cooler/taupier than most affordable eyebrow pencils that are actually called "taupe." It's a good texture (i.e. hardness) and color for my brows at the moment, and for $2 I'd forgive a lot (though luckily I don't have to). I'm on my second pencil now. I have a bunch of brow products to review--I should get on that.

Tarte Tarteist Lash Paint mascara (mini): This was a perfectly serviceable mascara. Provided volume and length. Didn't wow me so much that I'd buy it, but it was just fine.

Black Radiance Eyeshadow Primer: Reviewed here. This is a great primer. I didn't completely finish it, but I find that most primers last me so long that they get to the point where they don't perform quite as well as they once did before I finish them. I'm talking well over a year, though, so I'm cool with it.

Look at all this skin care! Let me direct you to previous reviews and be as brief as possible to save all of our sanity.

Starting at the top left:

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Swivel Stick: Reviewed here. I don't even know how many tubes of this I've used up so far! I have another one going now.

CosRx Acne Pimple Master Patches: Reviewed here. I've gone through many of these too.

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid: Reviewed here. A new staple. I'm on my second tube.

Simple Micellar Water: Not the best I've ever used, but usually the cheapest, so I'm using my second bottle of it now.

Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Gel (packet): A decent light moisturizer.

The Ordinary Matrixyl 1-% + HA: I will review this soon, but there's not much more to say than that it was a good hydrating serum. Nothing mind-blowing.

Paula's Choice Calm Redness Relief Serum: Another good hydrating serum, but it didn't help my redness a whole lot. I won't buy it again.

Acure Organics Rosehip Oil: This is kind of cheating, because it was getting old so I dumped it into a bottle of body oil. I've finally come to terms with the fact that even though rosehip oil is nice, it always causes milia around my eyes, so I need to let it go.

Paula's Choice Ultra Light Super Antioxidant Serum: Reviewed here. The tube is full size--I cut it in half to get the last drops out. This hydrating serum is my favorite, but I'm looking at alternatives, because it's too expensive. The e.l.f. essence I reviewed here is serving as a workable replacement at the moment, despite the fact that it's not actually a serum.

Farmacy Honey Savior Salve (packet): If you're into that #sluglife, where you coat your face with a heavy occlusive layer at night to lock in the moisture, this is an excellent option--except that it's very expensive, so you could just get some Vaseline or Aquaphor or CeraVe ointment to serve the same purpose. I like the packets for traveling, though.

Korres Golden Krocus Elixir (mini): An ok hydrating serum, though it has strong fragrance and shimmer in it. I'm way more excited about having a tiny dropper bottle to use for travel than I was about the actual product, to be honest.

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel (mini): Looking for a more affordable replacement for my old favorite Paula's Choice Moisture Gel, but this wasn't quite it, although it did what it said it would do.

Avène Eau Thermal spray (mini): I feel a bit ridiculous for liking this. It's water in a can. Sorry, mineral water in a can. It is awfully refreshing on a hot and sweaty day, though. But like, you could just buy some mineral water and put it in your own spray bottle.

Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Hydrating Treatment Mask: Reviewed here. A great product that I did not finish, because it's huge, and I only needed to use it once every week or two. It was getting old, even for my extremely lax standards, so I decided to let it go. I don't know if I would buy it again, though the price isn't bad compared to other Paula's products.

Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Cloud Cream: A very nice, light, moisturizing gel that would be a great replacement for Paula's Choice Moisture Gel, except that the full size comes in a jar and is even more expensive than Paula's.

Glamglow Glowstarter: Shimmery pink lotion that smells extremely strongly of creamsicle. I used it on my legs.

Origins Gin-Zing Gel Moisturizer: Got this one for free from Influenster. Again, it's fine, except for the jar and the very strong GoJo industrial orange soap smell. And the price.

Paula's Choice Moisture Boost Cleanser: I really like this cleanser for being effective but not drying, but there are equally good cleansers out there for less money.

Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid: I've been using this for over a decade now! My skin is always clearer and happier when I use it. But I recently decided to try the CosRx BHA Liquid instead, because Paula's Choice prices are rising faster than inflation.

That's really the theme here: finishing up the Paula's Choice products that I've relied on for years and trying to find more affordable replacements. When I first started using Paula's Choice, the prices weren't bad at all, even though I had to pay in Canadian dollars. Then I posted my referral link on this blog a few years ago, which tons of people used, so I had enough credits to continue using the brand even while prices crept up. I tried to point out in reviews whether I thought I would still buy something even without a credit. After their referral program ended and prices continued to climb, I'm now at the stage where it's just not feasible for me to buy multiple $30-50 basics each year when there are cheaper options out there. The one thing I haven't yet found a good replacement for, as you can see from the above, is the Moisture Gel. I'm currently using Marcelle's Lumipower moisturizer, which is a gel in a pump, but it's only worth it because I got it in a value set. At full price, it's about the same as Paula's.

Just a few staple hair and body products to finish off the list, and I can conveniently link to this post for reviews of all of them but the perfume! I've used multiple bottles/cans/tubes/jars of each of these. The Chloe and Replica Beach Walk fragrance samples weren't favorites, so I used them as room/closet sprays.

Let me know if you have questions about any of these things! It's always gratifying for me to use things up instead of just hoarding them. But I probably shouldn't pat myself on the back too much until the day you see an empty lipstick in one of these posts.


  1. I guess I'm a fascinated voyeur, because I love empties posts!

    I had a mini of the Tarteist mascara and found that even though the formula was only fine, I love that brush style so much I used the whole thing.

    And I too have been using PC 2% BHA for many, many years (after Neutrogena discontinued their Acne Stress Relief BHA gel) so if you find a good, economical alternative, I'd be very happy to hear about it!

    1. I will definitely review the CosRx BHA once I've been using it long enough to know it better. It's not super cheap, but about half the price of the PC, which makes a real difference.


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