July Empties!

Holy moly the summer is disappearing 😦 Where did July go!? I have a lot of empties to share with you, which is why it took me so long to get this post published!

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I’ll break things down into Skincare, Makeup, Bodycare, Haircare, and Candles.

Skincare

Clarins pure melt cleansing gel – I got two or three uses out of this tiny sample. It effectively removed makeup and did not irritate my eyes. It is fragranced, but not heavily (in my opinion). I can smell the marula oil. This is more of a natural scent than other things I’ve tried from Clarins (see the hand cream below). I didn’t fall in love with it, but I’d be happy if it crossed my path again. Value = $.97

Tata Harper purifying cleanser – This is my favorite cleanser. Ever. I have repurchased it, and I’m sure I will again when I don’t have a million open cleansers and can get it 20% off. (The price keeps going up 😦 ) It has a lemon and ginger scent to me, and a “runny clay” consistency as Caroline Hirons once described it, which melts with water into a lather. It’s just gorgeous. I’ve been enjoying the OSEA Malibu cleanser and don’t feel the need to have both, but I still prefer the Tata and will have it again someday. Value = $70

Evian facial spray – If you need quick hydration, this will do it. As you might expect, there isn’t a smell it’s basically just water. I wouldn’t seek this out, but I would be happy to use it again. I think this came in some kind of set because I’m sure I didn’t buy it separately. Value = $7.50

Fresh rose deep hydration facial toner – Don’t buy this if you’re looking for a deeply hydrating toner; this isn’t one. However, the packaging says it “removes impurities and softens,” and that is a much more accurate description of what it does. Once I came to terms with that, I liked this product a lot more. If I want a deeply hydrating toner, there’s no substitute for Jordan Samuel Skin Hydrate serum. This is nice to swipe on in lieu of a morning cleanse, or to remove any last traces of a mask. It left my skin feeling soothed and smooth, but hydrated? Not so much. Value = $44

May Lindstrom the problem solver – An Insta friend sent me a sample of the problem solver, and I mixed the proportions suggested by my friend Emily (@glow_upyourgame), which meant I only had enough for one mask and it turned out a little too watery. Powdered masks require a bit of play. This was a bit intense. It wasn’t too much to handle, but it definitely tingled. I would be interested in trying this more and mixing it with other products, but I don’t know if I liked it enough to want to spend $100 on a big jar. If I could get a smaller size, I might go for it. (Since this was a homemade sample I don’t know how to calculate the value.)

Biossance squalane gel moisturizer – This was fine. If you like gel moisturizers, I think you would like it. It didn’t wow me. Value = $10.40

Youth to the People superfood mask – I like the smooth texture of this mask, which never dried down. It had sort of a “green” smell that I liked. I liked the effect more each time I used it, but I have a lot of masks and this didn’t impress me enough to want to get the full sized jar. Value = $11

Herbivore blue tansy mask – Let’s all shed a tear for this mask that went bad and I never used 😦  I’ve heard great things about this mask, but I have too many exfoliating products and only 1 face. Value = $12

Bobbi Brown long-wear makeup remover – I don’t usually use a separate eye makeup remover unless I’m wearing waterproof mascara, but I slowly found reasons to use this up. It did the trick but I don’t feel the need to purchase. Value = $8.82

Fresh soy face cleansing milk – I picked up a sample of this after hearing a friend rave about it. I did like it, but probably not as much as their soy face cleanser. I’m using a Caudalie cleansing milk now and I found this to be pretty similar so maybe when I use up the Caudalie, I’ll go with the Fresh. I wish it came in multiple sizes like the soy face cleanser does.

Dior fresh jelly mask – I hated this. It has little bead things in it, which didn’t do anything as far as I could tell other than getting in the way. This was also heavily fragranced. No bueno.

Makeup

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Wycon sublime mascara in black – This isn’t available in the US, but don’t worry about that, because it was lousy. I needed a new mascara while on vacation in Italy in June and picked up this inexpensive one at Wycon. Other Wycon products I bought I’ve been very happy with, but I’m tossing this because it was not volumizing at all. Value = $4

Essie polish in Hip-anema – This was a nice orangy red but it’s gone bad, I think. It’s gotten a bit clumpy and the color has changed, so it’s going in the garbage. This shade isn’t available anymore and I’ve struggled to find a good orangy red. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for a replacement! Value = $9

Benefit porefessional pearl primer – Something about the name “pearl” made me think this was going to be an illuminating version of the original porefessional (which I don’t love). It isn’t; it’s just pink. I don’t know why that does anybody any good. I know some people love this and if you love the original, I suspect you would like this one because, as far as I can tell, they look the same on the skin. But I don’t care for silicone feeling primers so this is a no-go for me.

Marc Jacobs highliner in Ro(Cocoa) – MJ calls this a “golden brown” but I thought it was more neutral toned. It’s a lighter color than the matte one in Earthquake, which I liked a lot too. This is supposedly shimmer finish but that doesn’t translate at all; I don’t see any shimmer at all when I apply this. I like that it’s a twist up, but the bottom of the packaging (the black tip) comes off and has a little re-shaper you can use if the end gets dull and you light more of a point to your eyeliners. There are about a billion color choices. I’ve gone through a few different shades of these and have one more that’s almost finished. I photographed them in my Beauty Products I’ve Repurchased post and then forgot to talk about them! Oops… Point being, I will repurchase these and I particularly like this Ro(Cocoa) shade. Value = $25

Anastasia Beverly Hills brow wiz – This is another product I’ve repurchased many times, but I’m done. Every single one has snapped. It used to happen while traveling so I started traveling with it inside a plastic toothbrush holder. This last one snapped in my everyday makeup bin that I literally lift in and out of the cabinet onto the bathroom sink. WTF. I’m in the market for a new eyebrow pencil! I actually have 1 more of these from the last time they were half off at Ulta but I’m going to let my anger subside a bit before I open it haha 😉 Value = $21

Tatcha the silk canvas primer – I wanted to love this. I did. I like Tatcha a lot. This looked and felt beautiful on the skin and the packaging is so pretty. The two things Tatcha always excels at: packaging and texture. But, alas, this did nothing for my makeup. I wore it on half of my face every time to see if I could tell any difference in how my foundation wore. I couldn’t. Money saved, I suppose. Value = $10.40

Pur eye polish in Silk – This was a Youtube made me buy it thing from a few years ago before liquid eyeshadows were so popular. It was pretty, but a bit glittery for everyday so I didn’t reach for it that much. I pulled it out recently and it has completely tried out. The packaging is interesting: it’s in a pot with a mesh strainer thing on top that you press down with a brush or this silicone wand it came with. That lets in lots of extra air so no wonder it dried up. Value = $26

Bodycare

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Tree Hut moisturizing shave oil – This travel sized guy was in some kind of GWP from Ulta and I had no expectations and ended up really enjoying it! I like the idea of a shave oil and this is pretty reasonably priced. It smells fruity, but neither my husband nor I could decide what kind of fruit… Value = $3.11

Beautycounter SPF 30 – I just finished out of these in my May/June empties and we quickly went through another one.  They have reformulated their sunscreens and I would eventually like to try the new one, but this older one is still available. It’s rather thick in the tube and I don’t love the finish on my face, but it works well on the body and absorbs well without leaving a white cast (on my already fair skin, at least). I like using this on my son, too. Value = $32

Per usual, I have a few hand creams:

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GYV Beauty hand cream in Dahlia* – I had no expectations about this since I had never heard of the brand and it turned out to be truly beautiful. I would repurchase right now if I didn’t have such a stockpile of hand creams and lotions. The scent was a deeper floral. The texture was moisturizing, not greasy, and left a silky feeling. Just gorgeous. I would like to try more scents 🙂 Value = $24

L’Occitane hand cream in peony – Another baby L’Occitane hand cream. You guys know I love these so I won’t repeat myself 🙂 Value = $2 (this baby size isn’t available for purchase separately)

Clarins hand and nail cream – This is sort of a cult product but I didn’t love it. The texture was nice, but I didn’t care for the smell. It was heavily fragranced and smelled like old lady. Value = $1.76

Pacifica Hawaiian ruby guava body butter – I think this is my favorite scent after the blood orange one. It’s really nice. You’ve seen these before, too, so you know I like them. Value = $5

Haircare

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I did a separate blog post on the Living Proof no frizz nourishing styling cream, Briogeo rosarco blow dry cream, and Alterna caviar anti-frizz blowout butter. Head over there for my full thoughts, but I ended up purchasing the full size of the Living Proof. Value = $4.75 Living Proof, $4.50 Briogeo, $5.78 Alterna

Living Proof PHD shampoo – I hated this. Thank goodness I got it half-off when it was a Sephora Weekly Wow. It claims to make your hair look cleaner longer, which I wasn’t expecting it to do since I only wash my hair about every four days anyway and I struggle to imagine a shampoo or other product that would extend my time between washing longer than that. However, this actually made my scalp look greasy. Sometimes I think it’s a fine line between sleek and shiny and greasy but this definitely crossed the line into greasy. Immediately upon blow drying I thought it looked dirty. No, thanks! Value = $26

Briogeo Rosarco Milk leave-in conditioner – This is really nice. I question whether I need a leave-in conditioner, and I always seem to get travel sizes of this, but I would consider repurchasing. It definitely makes my hair soft. It smells nice, and I like that it has a spray. Value = $20

Lather avocado mint hair mask – I got this little sample with my full size Lather products (see this Instagram post). It was actually an August Palm Pick and I thought about purchasing, but I have two full sized hair masks so I just don’t need. There was only enough for one use in there, but based on that one use I liked it. It was a fun green color from the (natural) ingredients and it smelled like mint (peppermint? Spearmint?). My hair was smooth and shiny after using. The full size is really reasonably priced, too, if you’re in the market for a hair mask.

Lifestyle

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I finished a bunch of candles this month, somehow. I took a poll on Instagram and most people were interested in seeing them, so here we go!

Elizabeth & James Nirvana White – I love this fragrance; I have a full sized bottle of the perfume. But I’m glad I got this candle half off at Nordstrom Rack because it underwhelmed me. It did smell nice but it tunneled. Meh. Value = $40

Bath & Body Works ocean mist & citrus – This appears to be sold out. I let my son (3 years old at the time) choose this one when we smelled all the candles in the store 😉 It was a sort of refreshing scent but also a bit artificial like an air freshener. It did look pretty when burned, though. Value = $11.95 (I only ever buy B&BW candles on sale!)

Huntington Homes English pear and freesia – I did an Instagram post about these so I hope you saw it in time to snag one! This smells EXACTLY like the Jo Malone scent of the same name, which I also happen to own. I loved it. It was $4 and burned evenly and had a nice throw with the scent. I have another one, thankfully 🙂 Value = $4

The blue floral one was a $3 Target find which Target may still have if you check. It didn’t have much of a scent throw, but it burned evenly. I mostly bought it to reuse the jar for something 😉  Value = $3

Origins feel good candle in neroli and lemongrass – I didn’t love the scent of this as much as I expected, and unfortunately, it did not burn very evenly. Value = $34

Commodity oolong candle* – I’ve read some really mixed reviews about Commodity candles but here’s my take on the only one I’ve tried: this smells great and the scent throw is large, particularly when not being burned, interestingly. But this tunneled and smoked. Such a shame. I’ve heard others say their full sized Oolong and Book candles had similar issues. I’ve also heard people say the smaller candles in the 3×3 Exploration set burn pretty well. I don’t know why there would be a difference in sizes, but there you are… Value = $55

*Gifted by the brand

Total value for July = $536.94!

(None of the links are affiliate links, they are merely for your convenience in finding the products.)

Thanks for reading!

 

Battle of the Rose Face Mists: Herbivore, Pixi, and Trader Joe’s

I love a good rose face mist 🙂 It seems like every brand has one these days so I thought it might be helpful to compare three in my stash from Herbivore Botanicals, Pixi Beauty, and Trader Joe’s.

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The Trader Joe’s option is clearly the best bang for your buck: $3.99 for 4 oz/118 mL! I like that this is in a plastic bottle, which is handy for travel, although too large for an airplane carry-on.

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The full ingredients are: Water, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Witch Hazel Leaf Water, Quillaja Saponaria Bark Extract, Glycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Citronellol, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Fragrance.

I like that this one includes rose flower water, rose flower oil, and witch hazel, although it does include artificial fragrance. This one smells the strongest of the three. It has a really nice, even mist that sprays enough to make you feel like something happened but not so much that it would ruin your makeup. It’s pretty hard to beat this budget option!

Next up, a new addition from Pixi Beauty: Rose Glow Mist, which retails for $15 for 2.7 oz/80 mL from Pixi or Target. So although the bottles appear to be about the same size, you’re getting considerably more product from the Trader Joe’s option.

This packaging was very difficult to photograph!

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The Pixi option has 7 oils in it to give you a “glow” so if you have oily skin, you may not love this one. You need to give it a good shake before you spray to redistribute everything.

The full ingredients are damn near impossible to read on the packaging but Pixi’s website has the full list: Water, Olive Fruit Oil, Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, 1.2-Hexanediol, Safflower Seed Oil, Betaine, Avocado Oil, Anise Fruit Extract, Trehalose, Panthenol, Eclipta Prostrata Extract, Artemisia Absinthium Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Achillea Millefollum Extract, Viola Mandshurica Flower Extract, Hibiscus Esculentus Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Gentiana Lutea Root Extract, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Cymbopogon Martini Oil, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Vegetable Oil, Cananga, Odorata Flower Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Bergamot Peel Oil, Propylene Glycol, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Tocopherol.

This one doesn’t particularly smell like rose, probably because there’s so much other stuff in it and the rose flower oil is at the bottom of the INCI list. It’s nourishing because of all the oils in it so I think I’ll reach for it more in the winter.

You may recall that I complained in this Empties post that the mister on the Pixi vitamin makeup mist was lousy. I’m pleased to report that the packaging on this mist is much improved and the mist sprays evenly. I don’t feel any residue the way I did with the vitamin wakeup mist, either.

Lastly, we have the Herbivore Botanicals rose hibiscus coconut water hydrating face mist, which is available loads of places including Herbivore and Sephora. This one retails for $32 for 4 oz/120 mL so it is, by far, the most expensive choice.

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Herbivore is a well-known “green” beauty brand, if that’s something you’re looking for. I must admit, I love the minimalistic packaging and beautiful glass bottle. This, too, has a nice, even mist and easy to use spray. This is the “wettest” of the three mists, but I would still apply it over makeup without worrying about disrupting my makeup. I don’t necessarily find this one to be more hydrating long-term; it’s more about how it feels when I first apply it since I tend to rely on mists for a quick boost.

The full INCI list: Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Rose Damascena Flower Water, Witch Hazel Flower Water, Leucidal Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Coconut Water, Melia Azadirachta Flower Extract, Coccinia Indica Fruit Extract (Neer Sikkappu Red)

The Herbivore ingredients are a lot like the Trader Joe’s list, and those two mists smell and feel much more similar than the Pixi option. Unless you’re a real purist about green beauty and do not want any fragrance in your products, I would suggest you save your pennies and head to Trader Joe’s (or find a friend to do it for you if you don’t live near one!).

As an added bonus, all three of these brands are cruelty free!

Let me know if you’ve given any of these a try, or if you have another rose face mist that you love! 🙂

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(None of the links are affiliate links; they’re simply used for your convenience. I purchased all of these products myself.)

Beauty Heroes: 3 Month Subscription Box Review

Where are my subscription box lovers? I’m fickle when it comes to sub boxes. Over the last 5 years or so, I’ve tried Ipsy, Boxycharm, Sephora Play, Birchbox, Allure Beauty Box, and now, Beauty Heroes. I lasted for over a year with Birchbox, partly because their rewards program (at that time, at least) was stellar. I still shop with them occasionally because their customer service is excellent, but that’s not the purpose of this post.

Other than Birchbox, I never last more than a few months with subscription boxes because samples get repeated or I end up with things I don’t want. Even an inexpensive $10/month box starts to feel like a waste when you aren’t excited about anything in it. I’ve always been hesitant to try a more expensive sub box with full sized products because it would seem like a serious waste if you didn’t want the contents.

There are a number of nice-looking “green beauty” sub boxes out there. The Beauty Heroes box caught my eye a while back during another Instagrammer’s giveaway, which was a Josh Rosebrook box from Beauty Heroes. I also got a Beauty Heroes t-shirt that I love because it’s super soft cotton 🙂 I didn’t take the plunge with signing up at that time, though.

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Why Beauty Heroes

When the May 2018 Beauty Heroes box was revealed, I just had to have it. I’d been seeing a lot of good things about Osea Malibu in general, and I was very interested in their cream cleanser and large jar of body scrub, which were the featured products in the May box. I also got a 1 ounce Osea body balm as a free gift for signing up over Mother’s Day. Before I talk about the products, let’s go over how Beauty Heroes works.

How Beauty Heroes Works

You have to pre-pay for a subscription of at least 3 months; you can’t buy individual boxes. I did the 3-month subscription for $128.85, which works out to $42.95/month. If you do the 6 month plan it works out to $39.95/month or the 12 month plan is $37.96/month. So you get a savings by subscribing for longer, but not so much saving that I felt compelled to sign up for the 6 or 12 month plan.

All of the subscription info is here. If you’re interested and wanted to use my referral link, I would appreciate it 🙂

May 2018 – Osea Malibu

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There were two products in the May box:

Ocean Cleanser – $44 for 5 ounces

This is my new go-to morning cleanser. I finished my second bottle of Tata Harper’s purifying cleanser last month, which was my former favorite morning cleanser. Although the two are not the same, there are some similarities. The Osea one has a lovely creamy texture and it smells like limes. (By contrast, the Tata one is kind of a runny clay that turns into an oil and it smells like lemon and ginger to me.) The Osea ocean cleanser is the closest thing I’ve ever tried to the Tata purifying cleanser and it’s much more affordable. This is probably my single most favorite item of the 3 months of Beauty Heroes products! You can get a 1 ounce bottle for $16 if you just want to try it.

Undaria Body Polish – $48 for 12 ounces

I love a good body scrub! I may be in the minority with this view, but I think it’s great that Beauty Heroes included a body product. I would rather have a skincare product and a body product or two than two skincare products. I go through body products so much faster, and if it’s not something you’re interested in for whatever reason, it’s also easier to gift body care. I will not be re-gifting this one! It has a nice amount of scrubbiness but isn’t harsh and it smells great. My only slight pet peeve is that it’s just a cheap plastic jar and the letters starting wearing off from the get-go. I don’t need a fancy container for something that’s going to live in the shower, though, so that’s a minor complaint. Almost $50 for a body scrub probably sounds like a lot, but this breaks down to $4/ounce, which is actually not so bad.

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Anti-Aging Body Balm – $16 for 1 ounce

This was a Mother’s Day promo; it wasn’t in most people’s May boxes. It’s only okay. I’ve just about used it up already and only used it a handful of times. It’s a liquid that turns to an oil on contact. I found it kind of hard to spread because it was a bit thick. It smells fine, but I didn’t find it to be anything special. I prefer my designated body oils from Leahlani, Caudalie, and Twig & Birdie.

$92 value (excluding the balm)

June 2018 – Honua Skincare

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I love Leahlani skincare and I’ve enjoyed the one thing I’ve tried from Mahalo skincare so you’d think another Hawaiian skincare brand would’ve had my name all over it, but this box missed the mark for me a bit.

There were two Honua skincare items plus a Beauty Heroes glass straw in this box. I assume they included the glass straw because plastic straws are wreaking havoc on ocean wildlife and that is a particularly sensitive issue to Hawaiians.

Malu Protecting Day Creme + SPF 30 – $42 for 1 ounce

I generally prefer moisturizers without SPF for two reasons: 1) I don’t want to wear SPF at night so a moisturizer with SPF is less versatile, and 2) I think moisturizers (or makeup) with SPF give many people a false sense of security about their level of sun protection. You need a teaspoon of sunscreen to fully protect your face. You don’t use a teaspoon of moisturizer or foundation, so you aren’t getting whatever amount of SPF your product claims it has. If you don’t have another method of sunscreen, you’re probably unknowingly doing damage to your skin.

That said, this really won me over. It has a very lightweight feel. It smells like jasmine. Although its very white in color, there is no white cast when it’s rubbed in. I will enjoy using it up.

Moana Mask – $38 for 50 ml

I was disappointed to see a mask in the box solely because I have too many masks and they take forever to use up. I imagine other people were thrilled with a mask. This is the problem of subscription boxes: you can’t please everyone!

This is a naturally exfoliating clay mask with a very lovely creamy texture that never fully dries down so you don’t get that tight, uncomfortable feeling of a lot of clay masks. The ingredients list includes Hawaiian honey and different clays. Unfortunately, I can’t get past the smell. It smells like seaweed or something to me. Yuck. A friend told me she thinks it smells like a green smoothie so, obviously, different people experience this differently.

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Glass Straw – $21 for set of 3 (which I forgot to photograph – oops!)

I was the most excited about this! Coincidentally, I had recently been reading about how damaging plastic straws are to wildlife, including marine life. I watched this video of a person trying to pull a plastic straw out of the nostril of a sea turtle that was absolutely heartbreaking. (I love sea turtles!) I had been debating about the best way to reduce my use of plastic straws when this arrived! I was nervous about it being glass. But shortly after I opened the subscription box, my cat knocked it off the kitchen counter onto the tile floor. I cringed, expecting to find broken glass, but everything was safe! Just to be safe, I bought a plastic toothbrush holder from Target for $1 to hold the straw. (It actually holds 2.) I subsequently bought more so I could have one for everyone in my family 🙂

$90 value (excluding the straw)

July 2018 – True Botanics

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My last Beauty Heroes box contained three full sized products: a shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. I was really in the market for any of those things, but I’m enjoying all of them. The scents are all different, but all three transport be to a botanical garden. The shampoo has an interesting gel-like texture, whereas the body wash has a creamier texture, more like I would ordinarily expect from a shampoo. The conditioner is lightweight; you’d need more if you have very dry hair. My hair is shiny and sleek when I use the shampoo and conditioner. However, they don’t give volume, so if you would need another product for that, if you’re looking for volume. I love that all three came with pumps. Overall, these are winners!

The shampoo and conditioner are $34 each for 8 ounces. The nourishing wash is $28 for 8 ounces.

$96 value

Overall Review

Beauty Heroes has a well-curated green beauty shop on their site that anyone can use. If you’re a subscription box member you get a standing 15% discount on anything they sell. They ship internationally, too!

Beauty Heroes’ customer service is great. I initially cancelled my subscription after the June box because I wasn’t thrilled with it and, while I knew I would get a July one anyway, I had never intended to subscribe for more than 3 months and didn’t want to forget to cancel before it auto-renewed. I immediately got a personalized email from BH about my reasons for cancellation and asking for feedback. It was genuine and not at all pushy. I exchanged several emails with the customer service rep about my feedback on the two months of boxes thus far and things that I would enjoy seeing in the future. I ended up reactivating my subscription to use my 15% discount to order some more glass straws, which was a very nice suggestion from the CS woman 😉

Although I was pleased with the majority of the products over the 3 month period, I really don’t need anything else right now so I did ultimately cancel. However, if I go through some products and want to expand, or if there is a future box that I just can’t resist, I would definitely sign up again. If you’re a green beauty fanatic, just getting started with green beauty, or in the market for a really nice gift for someone else, I highly recommend Beauty Heroes.

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(None of the links are affiliate links, except the referral link as noted.)

May/June Empties, Part 2: Makeup, Hair Care & Body Care

In Part 2 of my May/June empties, we have makeup, hair care, and body care (and a couple of miscellaneous items). If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.

Let’s start with body care, hair care and the extra bits, then finish with makeup:

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Shower Items:

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L’Occitane almond shower oil – This won’t be empty for long; I have a refill bag 🙂 Needless to say, I love it. It smells delicious and feels so luxurious on. I usually use like a body wash, but I know people who shave with it. Value = $25

Tata Harper revitalizing body oil – This has a nice “green” Tata scent and it did feel moisturizing, but it wasn’t anything special to justify Tata prices. Value = $13.41

L’Occitane citrus verbena shower gel – Lovely smell and it got the job done. This is pretty affordable (by L’Occitane standards) so I would consider repurchasing. Value = $2.38

Hempz coconut and watermelon body scrub – LOVE the scent and texture of this. It smells like watermelon (I don’t really smell coconut) and has larger sugar granules that are scrubby but not abrasive. The packaging is kind of clunky and unnecessarily large. It also wasn’t nearly filled so when I first opened it, I was disappointed. I wouldn’t pay full price for it, but I just ordered a second jar on a good promo at Ulta. Value = $19.99

Pacifica coconut milk shave whip – This was second tube of Pacifica shave whip, but it’s apparently been discontinued so I won’t go on about it. I did like it, but I’ll have to find something to replace it with. Value = $8

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If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I always go through hand creams and body lotions. This month was no exception!

Good Things manuka honey body butter – I loved this. It was very much like The Body Shop body butters in the same type of packaging. It smells like the manuka honey cream cleanser from this brand, which I also love. If I ever see another one at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s, I will repurchase. Value = $5

L’Occitane hand cream in almond and lavender scents – It’s no secret I love L’Occitane hand creams. Almond is one of my favorite scents. I like the lavender, but it isn’t one of my favorites. I have loads more of these little guys. Total value = $16.15

Josie Maran whipped argan oil in vanilla pear – The texture of the Josie Maran whipped argan oils isn’t my favorite; I find it kind of greasy. But, this vanilla pear scent was delicious. It doesn’t appear to be regularly available, though. I got this little one in a duo set over Christmas that I don’t see on Sephora’s website anymore. Value = $8.75

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Just a couple of hair care things:

Pacifica coconut super power deep conditioning mask – This was really nice. My hair isn’t “damaged” but I found this really nourishing and not too heavy. Smells delicious. Value = $16

Bumble & Bumble don’t blow it styling creme – I think I only got one use out of this sample so it’s hard to give it a solid review, but I didn’t find it did much when I let my hair air dry. Value = $3.10

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Finished up a few sunscreens!

Beautycounter SPF 30 – I really enjoy this one. Our second tube will be in my July empties, in fact. It has a thicker texture, but spreads and absorbs pretty well. But it’s pretty pricey so I’m not sure if/when I would repurchase. They reformulated after I purchased, as well, so the current sunscreen may be a little different. Value = $26

La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 melt in sunscreen milk – I reviewed and other La Roche-Posay sunscreens in this post so I won’t repeat myself. We liked it. I would repurchase. Value = $35.99

La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 ultra light sunscreen – Interestingly, this had a different texture than the full sized bottle I have. This was a traditional-feeling sunscreen and was in a squeeze tube, whereas the full sized bottle I have you have to shake and it squirts out and it has a gritty texture. I’m starting to think the full sized one I have was just a bad batch. Value = $1.80

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Lastly, a few random things:

Schmidt’s geranium flower sensitive skin deodorant – I need the sensitive skin (baking soda free) formula in Schmidt’s deodorants. My first one was the Bergamot Lime from their regular line and it would give me a rash if I had recently shaved my underarms. I switched to the sensitive skin version and haven’t had any irritation issues. This smells nice, and the tube lasted a reasonably long time. I’ve subsequently repurchased in a different scent just to try something new. Value = $10.99

It Brushes for Ulta brush bath makeup brush cleaner – I hated this. It smells strongly of the lavender and citrus oils in it. It wasn’t the most effective at cleaning my brushes. I didn’t love that it’s in a spray, and it’s awfully expensive for the amount of product you get. It did dry quickly, but I must prefer the MAC brush cleaner. Value = $18

Huntington Homes soy candle in spring leaves – These were like $4 at Aldi earlier this year. They burn evenly (if you find one with 3 evenly-spaced wicks) and this smelled very fresh. I actually have a second in this scent. Aldi candles are a hidden gem! Value = $4

Now onto makeup! (Sorry, I know this post is getting long, but splitting into 3 posts seemed excessive!)

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Bobbi Brown bronzer in Golden Light – I think this was my first bronzer. It’s really nice, but it had gotten pretty old (3-4 years). I was going to hit pan any day, and actually it broke apart after I photographed when I swirled my finger in it to get the swatch photo below. So it was just time to let it go. I’m not sure if I would repurchase because I always like trying new things, but I’ve recommended it to others. Value = $44

Hourglass ambient lighting palette – As you can see, I didn’t finish the third shade in the palette but I think it’s just too dark for me, even using it where I would apply bronzer. I love dim light (left most shade) and I have it in my Hourglass ambient lighting edit volume 3. I liked the middle shade, but not enough to seek it out again. I like the larger pans in this one versus the edit (which has 6 smaller pans). Some day I think I would build my own 3-pan palette on Hourglass’ website with a bronzer, blush, and dim light. Value = $62

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Fiona Stiles peach corrector – This is another one that just got old. It didn’t smell weird, but it’s over 2 years old and in a cream product, that seemed kind of gross to put under my eyes. It worked pretty well but I don’t need it most days so it was just sitting around. I don’t think you can find Fiona Stiles’ line anymore anyway. Value = $24

Burberry eye colour contour smoke and sculpt pen in Rosewood – This is Burberry’s cream shadow stick, which has a long and strange name. Rosewood is a popular shade in their wet/dry shadow, but I never hear anyone talk about the cream shadows. This was great and I would repurchase it. It didn’t crease, and had a beautiful sheen that was interesting but daytime appropriate. My only complaint is that the product fell out of the packaging. My first one that happened immediately so I replaced it. It happened with the second one eventually too and I was stuck with it. There was about an inch of product left, actually, but it fell out onto the bathroom floor and I didn’t think I could adequately clean it (not to mention be able to use it) so, alas, it’s in the trash. Value = $29.50

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(L to R: Bite Beauty lush lip tint in Watermelon; Burberry shadow stick in Rosewood; Bobbi Brown bronzer in Golden Light)

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Bite Beauty lush lip tint in Watermelon – It kills me that this were discontinued. They’re so good! I have a backup of this that I found at Marshall’s. If you ever see these at TJ Maxx or Marhsall’s, snap them up! (Juice is my favorite shade.) Value = $24

Lush rose lollipop lip balm – I have hit major pan on this, but I don’t like it so I decided enough is enough. It has sort of a gritty texture. No matter what I do, I get too much and have to wipe some off of my lips and finger. It doesn’t smell bad, but it doesn’t really smell like rose, either. And I prefer lip balms that aren’t in pots (although the Fresh ones are an exception to this rule). Clearly, I wouldn’t repurchase. Value = $10.95

Julep strawberry mint lip balm – This smells delicious but it is SO old, like probably 6 or 7 years old. I just can’t. haha. Value = $3

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Three mascaras for you, then we’re done!

Maybelline total temptation – This was a totally fine mascara – decent volume and length, no smudging, etc. But my expectations were high because people were RAVING about it when it was released. It’s a drier formula but I still got 3 months use out of it, which is pretty typical for me with mascaras. If you like a more natural look, you would probably like this, but I prefer more volume. Value = $9.49

I had to say goodbye to two mascaras prematurely this month because my eyelid got infected and I think one of my mascaras somehow got bacteria in it 😦

YSL the shock mascara – This is one of my absolute favorites. I always snap up the sample sizes when I can. (I have at least 2 more.) I had only been using this a couple of weeks so it killed me to toss it, but my health is obviously more important. This gives me mega volume but it’s damn near bullet proof. My eyelids are oily so smudging is a real problem for me, and this doesn’t smudge at all. The flip side is that it can be difficult to remove. I don’t usually do a separate eye makeup remover, but sometimes I do when I’m wearing this just to avoid any tugging. Value = $7.07

Tarte tarteist lash paint mascara – I’ve heard good things about this but I was really underwhelmed. It gave good length but no volume. It did smudge a little. It has kind of a spiky plastic wand that wasn’t the most comfortable. A fail for me. Value = $6.48

Total value = $435.05

Total May/June empties value = $641.36

If you made to the end of this post, I’m seriously impressed. As always, thank you so much for reading! 🙂

May/June Empties, Part 1: Skincare

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I know we’re a week into July, but here are my May and June empties! I took a vote on Instagram and most people preferred that I break this into two posts since it was so many products. I’ll do skincare today and Part 2 with makeup, body care, etc. next week. Let’s go in the order in which I would apply:

Cleansers

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Caudalie micellar water – I don’t care much for micellar waters, but they do come in handy with air travel. We went to Italy at the beginning of June and, although I didn’t need to remove makeup on our overnight flight, I was happy to have the micellar water to cleanse my skin at the end of the flight. As far as I can tell, this is a good micellar water and I actually have another sample of it, but I don’t use them enough to want to buy the full size. Value = $4.20

Philosophy purity cleanser – This was nice for travel, too, because it effectively removes makeup and cleans skin without stripping. However, this stung my eyes a little and I didn’t find it to be anything enjoyable to use. The mini also leaked a bit toward the end. Value = $3

Farmacy green clean – This is such a good makeup remover. It smells and looks like lime sherbet, destroys makeup without stinging your eyes, has a clever notched inner lid with spatula, and is reasonably priced. It would be a no brainer repurchase except that it has micro-plastic in it (polyethylene). It doesn’t have micro-beads in it, but since those are also made of polyethylene I’m having a hard time researching the environmental impact of polyethylene in general. Regardless, it seems like quite a stretch to call this “green” since Farmacy markets themselves as a green beauty brand. Value = $34

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Fresh soy face cleanser – I’m always happy to get samples of this cleanser. It has a light cucumber scent that I find very refreshing. It’s a gel texture that lathers with water. It doesn’t strip and removes makeup pretty well. It didn’t sting my eyes but it wasn’t exactly gentle on the eyes. I have another small size. I seem to always have this one with me when I travel. Value = $5

Masks

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Tata Harper clarifying mask – I really enjoyed this. It had a somewhat watery texture with some small granules of exfoliation. It had a pleasant “green” smell as Tata products always do. I would be happy to get another sample but I won’t run out and purchase when there are other less expensive clarifying masks I like…. Value = $17

Such as The Body Shop Himalayan charcoal purifying glow mask – I LOVE this one. I actually have a new one; it’s the only mask I’ve ever re-purchased. It has a slight cool/tingly sensation that I enjoy. It’s a very effective purifying mask for me. The only slight con is it has some larger chunks in it so it’s kind of messy to use. Value = $28

Pacifica vital immersion deep hydration mask – I got this in some friend mail and used it once and wasn’t impressed. I have plenty of other things that I like so I’m not going to hold on to samples that don’t impress me. I think this has been discontinued. Value = $2

Hydration

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The Pixi vitamin wakeup mist was in the same friend mail from Lara (@myfairskincare) 🙂 I loved the orangey scent, but the mister was lousy. It sort of spit at you. It also left a bit of a film. Definitely not a re-purchase. Value = $15

Kypris antioxidant dew – This claims to “quench & glow.” I found it to be more effective at giving glow than in deeply hydrating. It felt nice on, don’t get me wrong, but I had high expectations because people rave about this stuff. It’s quite pricy though so I would much rather stick with my Jordan Samuel Skin Hydrate serum, or even the First Aid Beauty hydrating serum. I also hated the packaging. The design is beautiful, but the dropper is not the right design for this product. There was always product stuck on the outside of the dropper that I would have to wipe off or else it would drip on the top when I tried to screw the lid back on. I can’t waste product that’s this expensive, and it isn’t exactly sanitary to touch the dropper. The other problem was that about halfway through the bottle, it stopped screwing on properly. I would twist it tight and it would sort of twist back part way so it wouldn’t be totally closed. Definitely not travel friendly (and also because it’s glass). So the product is nice, but the price and packaging flaws will keep me from repurchasing. Value = $72

Neogen micro-essence – I haven’t really gotten into essences and this was a small sample so I can’t say much about it… Value = $7.50

Moisturizers

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Drunk Elephant B-Hydra – A great, lightweight gel moisturizer for summer. If you have oily and/or dehydrated skin, give this a try. The full sized packaging with the air-tight pump is fantastic. I’ve gone through a full size before and I would re-purchase. If you are dehydrated but have drier skins, you can always mix it with an oil or a thicker cream for a hydration boost. Value = $8.32

Clinique moisture surge overnight mask – I just used this as a moisturizer and I loved it.  My mom has an extremely simple skincare routine (mostly Clinique) and she gave me a sample of this because she had gotten a sample and been impressed. She was right! My skin always looked plump and well-balanced in the mornings. I bought the full size. Value = $10.29

Total value for part 1: $206.31!

Stay tuned for part 2!

 

 

Review: 3 Hair Blow-Out Styling Creams from Living Proof, Briogeo, and Alterna

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I’m pretty low-maintenance when it comes to hair products. I have long, thick, naturally wavy, not color-treated hair that I wash every 4 days or so. I blow dry it straight and, if necessary, touch up with a straightener. In the following days I use a straightener and/or dry shampoo as needed. Here is my hair immediately post-shower without product:

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I want my hair products to smooth my hair, provide heat protection, and help straighten the wave, which is particularly stubborn in the back. I just re-purchased the Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer for heat protection, but I was in the market for a styling product to tame the frizz and help straighten. I had three minis in my stash that I’ve been testing extensively against each other – Briogeo Rosarco Blow Dry Perfection & Heat Protection Creme, Alterna Caviar Anti-Frizz Blowout Butter, and Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Styling Cream. Keep reading to find out which product I purchased the full size of!

I kept the rest of my haircare routine the same to avoid confusing my experiment 🙂 I’ve been using the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day shampoo, a Pacifica deep conditioning mask that’s been discontinued and then towel drying with my Aquis hair towel. Then I applied 10-12 spritzes of the Briogeo Rosarco Milk Leave-In Conditioner and 2 pumps of the Ouai Rose Hair and Body Oil. I then used about a quarter-sized dollop of the styling product being tested and blowed dry with my old blow dryer.

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I had high hopes for the Briogeo styling creme because I have had generally good experiences with the brand. The creme was not bad by any means, and I did find it helped straighten my hair, but it was still a bit frizzy after blow drying:

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The description of the Alterna blowout butter sounded perfect for me as I have thick hair I was hoping to de-frizz. Alas, this did not de-frizz or straighten:

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Lastly, the Living Proof, which did de-frizz and helped straighten:

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To me, it was pretty clear which product was the winner:

(I cut 3 inches off my hair after these photos were taken, but I had the same results.)

I would have purchased whichever product performed the best, but it’s an added bonus that Living Proof is available at a variety of retailers and, therefore, more likely to find a good promo to purchase. I picked up the full sized Living Proof no frizz nourishing styling cream during a hair products points multiplier at Ulta and couldn’t be happier!

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Review: Four La Roche-Posay Sunscreens

I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect facial sunscreen for quite a while. I prefer a mineral sunscreen over a chemical one, but I will use whichever as long as it feels nice on the skin and works well under makeup. I had heard good things about La Roche-Posay’s sunscreen offerings so I have four to share with you today. I purchased mine at  Ulta, but Target is also carrying some LRP items now, or you can orderly directly from the brand.

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Two of these sunscreens are mineral and two are chemical. Three are clearly intended as facial sunscreens and are only 1.7 ounces. The fourth is intended for face and body and is larger at 5.0 ounces.

First up, Anthelios 50 mineral in tinted and untinted versions, both of which retail for $33.50 (although Ulta is currently doing a B1G1 half off promo and coupons do work on LRP).

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The active ingredient is 11% Titanium dioxide on the tinted version and 6% Titanium dioxide and 5% Zinc oxide on the untinted version.

Directions state to shake these before use and with the untinted version in particular, I find that to be necessary. This is actually my second tube of the untinted mineral Anthelios 50. The first one I finished and liked enough to re-purchase (and then I decided to explore more options and ended up with these 3 others!). It left more of a matte finish so it was nice during the summer when I was feeling a little more oily. I remember it having a bit of a rough texture that took some getting used to, but I did acclimate to it. However, this tube is so rough that it’s basically un-useable. I feel like I’m getting rough exfoliation every time I try to apply. I’m not sure why this one feels so much harsher than the first one I used, but I don’t think I’ll be buying a third to see if its a fluke.

I don’t have a lot of experience with tinted sunscreens, but I do like this one. I find myself reaching for it when I’m not going to be wearing makeup to add just a hint of color and bring some life to my face. Unlike the untinted version, the tinted version has a smooth texture with no roughness at all. I would definitely repurchase this one.

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There’s certainly no such thing as a universal tint, but I think light to medium skin tones could use the tinted version.

Next up is the Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk. This one originally caught my attention because Consumer Reports rated it very highly. It retails for $35.99. Ours will be in my next empties post.

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Active ingredients are 3% Avobenzone, 10.72% Homosalate, 3.21% Octisalate, 6% Octocrylene, and 3.86% Oxybenzone.

This one is intended for face and body. Both my husband and I used it on our faces and body while on vacation and we both enjoyed it. I think this one feels the most like a “traditional” sunscreen that I grew up using. It leaves a slightly oily sensation behind so I wouldn’t recommend for your face if you have oily skin. It would probably be ok on your body, though. It wasn’t my favorite choice for my face, but I liked it enough to use it on my face too sometimes to simplify things.

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You can see that this one is less liquidy than the Anthelios 50 mineral options, but it wasn’t thick by any means. I didn’t rub it in completely because then you wouldn’t have been able to see it. 😉

Lastly, we have the Anthelios 60 Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen, which is oil-free and retails for $19.99.

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Active ingredients are 3% Avobenzone, 15% Homosalate, 5% Octisalate, and 7% Octocrylene.

I’m enjoying this one most of all as a facial sunscreen under makeup. If you have oily skin or fear that sunscreen will leave you congested, give this one a try! It comes out of the tube as thicker than the others, but it glides on the skin and absorbs easily, leaving a fairly matte finish.

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All of these have expiration dates, which I greatly appreciate! They all also have excellent reviews on the sites I checked so I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them, except the possible textural issue with the mineral Anthelios 50 untinted. I have not noticed any pilling with makeup after any of these. I didn’t have issues with a white cast on any of the untinted sunscreens, but in fairness, my skin is pretty fair so that’s not generally a problem for me.

 

Have you tried any La Roche-Posay sunscreens? These aren’t all of them! I recently got a flyer from Ulta showing eight sunscreens in the Anthelios range. Are there others I should try? What’s your favorite facial sunscreen?