August/September Empties

Holy moly, it’s been a while, friends! Sorry about the radio silence over here. As some of you know, I started a new job in September and things have been a bit crazy on the home front. And as much I love doing empties posts (and you all seem to love reading them), they’re the most time-intensive blog posts I write. Since we’re almost done with October and I’ve got a new stash of empties piling up, it’s time to get reviewing the August/September empties!

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Per usual, I’ll break things up into categories and do reviews. Let’s start with skincare!

Skincare

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Mac Fix Plus in Coconut – I love mini Fix+ for travel because the mist part has a lock mechanism. I like the mist, but even though I like coconut, I didn’t love a coconut scented mist. I’m using the rose one now and I like it a lot. Value = $12

Youth To The People Kale + Tripeptide 5 Vitamin C Serum – Vitamin C serums are difficult for me but I enjoyed this a lot. Anything with hyaluronic acid in it is up my ally. I did not notice any irritation with this. It’s a clear liquid consistency. It paired well with other things. I’m trying to finish my Brooklyn Botany vitamin c but I might purchase this after I finish it. Value = $16.53

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser – I seem always to have minis of this cleanser around. I like it, but I tend to prefer acid exfoliation or an occasional physically-exfoliating mask over exfoliating cleansers. I did like to mix this with her mask as a “flash facial,” as suggested by the brand. I have at least one more to use eventually but I wouldn’t purchase the full size. Value = $22.87

Leahlani Champagne Serum – This is my second bottle of this and I feel like I have to backtrack to the first bottle to fully review it. I purchased my first bottle as soon as Caroline Hirons turned me onto the brand and said that this was one of her favorite products. I lived in Southern California at the time and my skin was normal to slightly oily. I loved the tropical smell of the product and enjoyed using it in conjunction with her masks, but found it took a long time to absorb and probably wasn’t the best fit for me so I used it up but did not repurchase. Fast forward to Christmas 2017, I got another bottle in the last Caroline Hirons for Cult Beauty box and since I had moved to Minnesota, I was excited to try it again. I immediately noticed that the color was a little different. Leahlani added blue tansy to the formula and I really don’t understand that choice. I know blue tansy is popular, and I love it in May Lindstrom blue cocoon, but blue tansy is not native to Hawaii and that change in scent takes away from the product for me. Otherwise, I had a very similar experience with this the second time around, and found it did not absorb quickly enough for me. I like other Leahlani products, but this one isn’t for me. Value = $38

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% – After I finished my Paula’s Choice niacinamide booster, my sweet friend Lara (@myfairskincare) sent me her barely used niacinamide from The Ordinary.  It’s not good. It caused products to pill and I did not notice any decrease in pore size (while I did when using the Paula’s Choice). I wouldn’t purchase anything affiliated with Deciem even if I loved it. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it but only if you have an hour to waste.) Clearly, I’ve gone back to the Paula’s Choice. Value = $5.90

Sunscreen

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IS Clinical Eclipse SPF 50 – These were so handy to keep in my purse! I generally prefer physical sunscreens and this is a chemical sunscreen, but it worked well. I didn’t notice any white cast or have difficulty getting it to absorb. Value = $4.40 each

Supergoop Forever Young Hand Cream – I’ve heard good things about this, but it was terrible. It left my hands chalky and dry. I love the idea of having a hand cream with SPF so you’re protecting your hands, but this is definitely not it. Value = $.76

Supergoop Everyday Sunscreen SPF 50 – I have to admit that I did not finish this before it expired. I remember thinking it was decent, for whatever that’s worth but it did not wow me. Value = $2.67

Supergoop Setting Mist SPF 50 – This is the only mini SPF mist I’m aware of so I like it for that reason. I could throw it in my purse or leave it in the car to reapply over makeup. I have another one! It’s kind of expensive, but it’s important to be able to reapply over makeup that it’s worth it to me. Value = $12

Bodycare

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Lather lemongrass bamboo body scrub – I LOVED the scent of this! It’s kind of a dry scrub but when you add water, it foams a little and gives a nice scrub. (Full disclosure: I purchased this at a discount through Join Palm.) I would definitely repurchase. Value = $39

Tatcha indigo body gommage –  This was the fanciest body scrub I’ve ever used. It was a total splurge (although I did get it 20% off) but I won’t rave too much because it was limited edition and isn’t available anymore 😦  I really like the whole indigo line from Tatcha. Value = $74

Meow Meow Tweet baking soda free grapefruit deodorant – I posted in this post about a different Meow Meow Tweet deodorant not working for me and the brand kindly offered to send me samples of some of their other deodorants. I was happy to try others and I think this one worked okay, but I just haven’t found a “natural” deo that is fully effective for me.

Osea Malibu anti-aging body balm – This was in my first Beauty Heroes sub box, which I reviewed here. I went through this really quickly and it just didn’t wow me for the money. Value = $16

Twig + Birdie body oil – I tragically dropped an almost full bottle of this on the bathroom floor and it shattered 😦  I saved what I could and put in this reused bottle. It was lavender and neroli goodness and I would love to repurchase eventually. Value = $35 (most of which was, sadly, wasted…)

Rituals Indian rose hand balm – Ya’ll know I love a good hand cream! This was pretty good. Nothing super original to say about it… Value = $2.43

L’Occitane shea butter hand cream – A stand by. You can’t go wrong with L’Occitane if you like a thick but not greasy hand cream. Value = $2

Trader Joe’s rose shea butter hand cream – This is a total dupe for the L’Occitane and I love the rose scent. I haven’t seen it the last couple of times I’ve been to Trader Joe’s so I’m glad I bought a back up! I’m crossing my fingers it returns, or maybe new scents! If you see it, grab it! Value = $4

Makeup

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Mally Volumnizing Mascara – This was in an Allure beauty box. I expect volume that doesn’t smudge from my mascaras, and unfortunately, I did not find this volumnizing at all. It lengthened and it stayed put pretty well but I need more volume. Value = $20

Marc Jacobs highliner in (brown)ie – I love the Marc Jacobs eyeliners so this was no exception. I got this one free from Influenster but I would repurchase. The shade is fairly warm-toned, a little reddish brown, so it paired well with all of the warm-toned eyeshadow palettes that are so popular right now. These are creamy, easy to apply, and don’t budge. Tip: the bottom comes off to re-shape the tip (since this is a twist up). Value = $25

SkinFix Lip Repair Balm in Mint – I like a lot of lip balms, but I hated this. It was thin and not at all moisturizing so I’m throwing it away. Value = $5

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment with SPF 15 in Bloom – LOVE these. They are so smooth and moisturizing and have a decent color payoff but you can apply without a mirror. This shade was a cooler toned pink. I liked it but I probably prefer the shade Petal. Value = $24

Burt’s Bees chapstick in Coconut & Pear – Love a good chapstick 🙂 The coconut and pear flavor was delicious. Would totally repurchase. Value = $2.90

Hair & Miscellaneous

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Hunting Home candle in Gardenia – These Aldi candles are a steal! I haven’t checked out the fall scents; this was one of the spring ones. But I enjoyed it. It burned evenly and was so cheap! Value = $4

White Barn Cactus Blossom candle – I don’t know how to describe this scent, but the B&BW website says cactus flower, coconut, vanilla and lemon. I enjoyed it. I love getting these half-off when that promo comes around. Value = $24.50

Batiste dry shampoo in blush – This giant can (400 ml) was super cheap at Marshall’s but kind of a pain to store… Otherwise, I love Batiste. I will continue to repurchase. It’s the best dry shampoo I’ve found in terms of absorbing oil, although it can leave a white cast. I don’t have trouble getting that whiteness to absorb so that doesn’t bother me. Value = $10

Aerin garden rose perfume sample – I really enjoyed this. I don’t think there’s an Aerin fragrance I’ve smelled that I haven’t liked. One of these days I’ll splurge 😉

Jo Malone wild bluebell sample – My sweet friend Kristin (@lacquerandlipstick) sent me this and I really enjoyed the scent, but, sadly, it did not last very long on me.

L. Erikson ponytail holder – I realize it’s sort of weird to discuss a stretched out ponytail holder in an empties post, but they’re SO GOOD that I felt the need to share that with you! I know everybody loves Invisibobble and those are good, but these do not leave any kinks at all. I got one in a Birchbox a million years ago and bought a tube of a variety of colors that I’m still going through because they last a long time. Highly recommend! Value = $1.20

Sheet Masks and Foil Samples

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Farmacy deep moisture mask (these have been repackaged); Eclado double wired lifting mask peption 5; H. Lab black truffle aqua mask; Sephora rose face mask – I used all of the sheet masks in the shower, which was an awesome suggestion from Frankie so I felt about the same about all of them except for the double wired lifting mask, which was in two pieces and was too much hassle. Total Value = $24.10

Charlotte Tilbury matte revolution lipstick sample in Very Victoria – This was kind of a useless sample so if you order from CT, don’t bother with the lipstick samples. I love the matte revolution line but I was afraid the shade Very Victoria would be too brown for me. It didn’t appear to be from what I could tell from the sample, but there was so little product to test, I still can’t say for sure.

Drunk Elephant protini moisturizer sample – I LOVED this. It was hydrating and reasonably thick but definitely not heavy and absorbed nicely. If I didn’t have a million mini moisturizers to get through, I would buy the full size right now.

Giorgio Armani luminous silk foundation sample in shade 4 – This was a decent formula, but it didn’t blow me away. Maybe my expectations were too high because I’ve heard people rave about this foundation. It was a good color match. I would definitely want to test further before considering a purchase.

Tatcha silken pore perfecting SPF 35 – I have a full size of this. It’s so expensive but it’s SO nice. I’m sure when I finish my current bottle I will look again for something cheaper but I keep coming back to this because the finish is so beautiful.

Real Techniques brush cleansing gel – I hated this. I didn’t find it very effective and I didn’t like the smell.

Total value for these two months = $432.66! (As always, this is my calculation of value, not necessarily what I spent.)

Thanks for sticking with me during the break, and I sincerely hope to have another new post up soon!

 

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!

 

 

April Empties

Here are my very belated April empties! I didn’t use up too much last month, but I have a good feeling about May and June 😉

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Skincare

1.  Tatcha luminous dewy sheet mask – I did a separate review of this mask. It didn’t wow me, especially for $12. Then again, I’m not a die-hard fan of the luminous dewy skin mist, and I’m also not that into sheet masks so I may not be the best person to review it. Value =  $12.

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2.  Tatcha water cream sample – I have a full size of this that I won in a giveaway recently. It’s beautiful and I’m enjoying it in the warmer weather.

3.  Since Farmacy deep moisture sheet masks were in my S.O.S. Skincare post, you can imagine that I like them 🙂 Value = $9

4.  Origins mega mushroom treatment lotion sample – A number of my Instagram friends love this lotion so I picked up a sample at Sephora. Calling it a “lotion” is not a great name; it is more of a toner with a watery consistency like an essence. I enjoyed it and would consider getting the full size in the future, maybe after I finish my Fresh rose deep hydration toner.

5.  Tata Harper resurfacing mask – I have had several little samples of this and every time I enjoy it more and more. I recently started using it, per the brand’s suggestion, mixed with the regenerating cleanser as “flash facial.” I picked up a kit from Sephora during the VIB sale that includes the full size, but I don’t see it online. Value = $15.50

6.  Paula’s Choice 10% niacinamide booster – With regular use I could see diminished pores so I would have repurchased but my friend Lara (@myfairskincare) kindly sent me her 10% niacinamide from The Ordinary so I’m using that for now. Value = $42

Bodycare

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7.  Korres whipped body butter in Japanese rose – I love the regular Japanese rose body butter and every other Korres body butter I’ve tried, but this was a miss. I picked it up at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s (where I usually buy Korres products) a while back. I liked it at first. The texture is a little lighter than their standard body butters, but not a “whipped” texture so the name isn’t really accurate. Part way through the tube, the product started separating so there would be oil and lotion separately each time you squeezed. I’m not sure if it was getting old or if that’s a flaw with this formula. I can’t even find it online to link it (except on eBay) so it may be discontinued and mine had just gotten old. Value = $12

8.  Tree Hut shea sugar scrub in Hawiian kukui – This is a great budget scrub. There are lots of scents to choose from, many of which are pretty sweet. I liked this more floral one when I sniffed them at my local Ulta. The sugar granules are larger. You get a good scrub without it being too abrasive. The only downside was I wasted some product because the consistency was sort of jelly-like and inevitably when I scooped some scrub out and went to apply to my body, it would get sorta stuck to my hand and then fall on the bottom of the shower instead of my skin. Maybe it’s just me? I would repurchase but there are plenty of other scrubs I like as well or better. Value = $8

9.  Trader Joe’s shea hand cream – This is obviously trying to be a dupe for the L’occitane shea hand cream, and it’s a pretty good effort at being one. Although it says it has 20% shea butter, it didn’t feel quite as thick as the L’occitane version. It has a similar texture, smell, and packaging. I don’t recall the exact price as I won this one in a different giveaway (thanks @glow_upyourgame!) but I’m sure it’s under $10. Most of Trader Joe’s beauty products don’t stick around for long so if you’re near a store, pick this up soon! Value = $8

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10.  As much as I liked the Trader Joe’s hand cream, there’s just no substitute for the L’Occitane ones to me. I prefer the scented ones, but the original shea is great too. These tiny ones aren’t available for purchase separately (I’ve linked the next largest size) but they’re in GWPs all the time so I always have one in my bag. Value = $2

11.  Pacifica blood orange body butter – I LOVE this scent. I’ve been using it for years. I like a lot of the Pacifica body butters, which have a nice mid-weight feel to them, but the blood orange scent is, by far, my favorite. Value = $5

Haircare & Makeup

12.  Living Proof night cap overnight protector – This feels like a summer product to me because I apply to wet hair, French braid, and let it air dry. My hair is naturally wavy but it needs product to air dry and look decent. If I use this at night and sleep with wet hair (hence why this is a summer product to me), my hair may not be completely dry in the morning but I can take it out of the braid with nice, loose waves. I can even re-braid at the end of the day and get a second day out of the style. Even if I don’t re-braid, the product helps keep the style from looking frizzy. The only downside is that I can only get 2 days out of a style when I’ll get 4-5 days out of a blow dry, but this is great for days when it’s just too darn hot to blow dry. I have an other mini and the full size so I need to experiment more with this. If you’ve tried, how does it work best for you? Value = $7.25

13.  Maybelline lash sensational mascara in black waterproof – I had high hopes for this because I’d heard good things and I generally like Maybelline mascaras, but it disappointed me. I didn’t get a lot of volume, which is a main requirement for me with mascaras. Maybe the waterproof version isn’t as good? Value = $9

Other

14.  Voluspa petite candle in Goji Tarocco Orange – This cute little guy was part of a set that I was given for Christmas. It’s my first Voluspa candle and I would like to try more. I LOVE the scent of this. It didn’t have the widest throw, but it did burn pretty evenly. Value = $9

15.  Velamints blood orange mints – I’m sensing a theme this month haha 😉 I realize this is rather random but I enjoyed them so I thought I’d throw them in. I got mine at Trader Joe’s but I recently spotted them at Staples of all places so I expect they are available elsewhere. The packaging was a little annoying and the mints themselves are pretty hard, but it’s nice to have something other than mint for a change. Value = $3

The total value of my April empties is $141.75.  That is the lowest value thus far this year, but still brings the value of my 2018 empties to $1,277.38!

March Empties!

It’s that time again – March empties! Sorry I’m a little behind this month 😉 One of the reasons I started this blog was to have space to review my monthly empties, so tuck in!

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I will review by category. And as you know if you follow along on Instagram, this year I’ve also been tracking the value of my monthly empties. This does not mean what I paid for a specific item. Some things are part of a set, gifts with purchase, etc. which would make it very hard to determine what I actually paid. But I like having this idea of value, even if the totals can get embarrassingly high…

First up, skincare and a lone haircare product:

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— Good Things manuka honey cream cleanser – I raved about this recently in a #oneemptyonenewbie post. Someone on Instagram introduced me to this and I found it for about $6 at TJ Maxx. It was undervalued in my stash when we lived in southern California, but I learned the value of a soothing cream cleanser over the last several months. Between pregnancy and a Minnesota winter, my skin was dry and sensitive. This cleanser was so soothing on irritated skin. Thankfully I have two backups thanks to a kind friend 🙂 Did I mention this is $6? If you see it at TJ Maxx/Marshall’s, grab it! It’s available on Amazon but since it isn’t sold by Amazon, I, personally, wouldn’t trust it.

— Leahlani citrus + citrine toner – Both of Leah’s toners are absolutely lovely. They will transport you to a tropical paradise. Actually, all of her products do that 😉 I think I prefer the scent of the Bohemian Ruby toner, which I finished quite a while ago and, if memory serves, smelled more fruity and less floral than this one (although the names would indicate the opposite). I’ve finished a few Leahlani treats recently so I think an order is forthcoming. Value = $46

— Dr. Jart ceramidin cream – I think I tried this sample during the wrong time of year.  I had just finished a rich Zelens moisturizer, which I was mixing with a pump of marula oil, and this didn’t feel like enough. I think I would like it during warmer months, though. Maybe I’ll be able to get another sample and try again since I know a lot of people who love it. Value = $4.80

— Amika nourishing mask* – I used this in place of a regular conditioner and really enjoyed it. My hair felt silky smooth after I got out of the shower. I have several similar products to get through or I would repurchase. Value = $12

— Fresh lotus youth preserve face cream – This has a nice mid-weight and silky texture. It has the same lovely cucumber smell as the soy face cleanser. Value = $17

Next up, body care:

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— Lush Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner – I love this stuff. It smells incredible and feels luxuriously rich on the skin. It isn’t sufficient to protect my skin in the winter, but it helps, and I feel fancy when I use it 😉 I’m using a Hempz in-shower body conditioner at the moment and it is not the same…. Sigh. Value = $6.83

— Kiehl’s creme de corps whipped body butter in grapefruit – They aren’t kidding when they call this stuff whipped butter. It had both the color and texture of butter, which kind of weirded me out. It didn’t smell too much like grapefruit, either. I know the regular creme de corps is a cult Kiehl’s product but I didn’t much care for this. (The grapefruit scent in Disney packaging was a holiday limited edition product but I’ve linked the currently available version.) Value = $39

— L’Occitane shea foot cream – I get minis of these from time to time. They’re nice for dry winter feet, but I don’t personally believe you need a separate foot cream. Value = $2

— Caudalie divine oil – A nice, multi-purpose dry oil. It has a “more mature” scent, shall we say? But I like it. It isn’t the most moisturizing oil ever, but it’s hard to find one that is moisturizing enough alone for MN winter. Value = $7.35

— Caudalie hand and nail cream – One of my all-time fav hand creams. It’s not as thick as the L’Occitane shea butter ones (which I also love) but still moisturizing and not greasy, and it absorbs quickly. It has a refreshing slightly fruity, slightly floral scent. I don’t know what grapes smell like, but if this is it, they smell great! 😉 I wish they sold larger sizes! Value = $15

— Jo Malone blackberry and bay shower oil packet – Blackberry and bay isn’t my favorite Jo Malone scent, but the consistency of the shower oil was very luxurious. It reminded me of the L’Occitane almond shower oil – a shower staple for me. I would consider purchasing in a different scent.

Lastly, makeup:

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— Stila huge extreme lash mascara – One of my favorite mega volumizing mascaras. It’s hard for me to find a volumizing mascara that doesn’t smudge on my oily eye area and this is one of the few that doesn’t. I always jump at a chance to pick up a mini. This one seemed to dry out a little quickly, though. Value = $12

— Vapour Beauty illusionist concealer – The consistency was too firm to be used under the eyes, which is the primary purpose of a concealer for me. You would have to warm up the product first with your finger or else it would pull and tug when I tried to apply it. I only tried that a few times before deciding the delicate skin under my eyes was more important. It worked just fine for blemishes so I kept it in my purse in case I needed to touch up during the day, but I rarely used it. I’ll stick with non “green” concealers in the future. Value = $24

— Farmacy lip bloom in citrus lemongrass – These have been discontinued, but since they’re still available on Farmacy’s website I will warn you against them. This dried out my lips so badly. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like it. After about two weeks of trying to make it work, I decided to throw in the towel. The citrus lemongrass smelled nice, though. Value = $16

— Skincando Combat Ready lip balm –  I LOVE combat ready balm. The lip balm, not so much. It was a stiffer texture and I didn’t find it very moisturizing. Value = $10

— Fresh sugar lip treatment in Rose (mini) –  I love the Fresh lip balms. They’re very soft and feel so nice on. They have lots of colors, including several everyday ones that provide just enough color. This rose shade falls into that category and seems to be the most common in gifts with purchases, gift sets, etc. I have others. I will repurchase. Value = $12

— Kevin Aucoin the celestial skin liquid illuminator sample packet in Candlelight – This gave off a nice effect as an illuminating makeup primer, but the shade Candlelight was too dark for my fair/light complexion and I believe it’s the lightest shade he makes.

— Fiona Stiles eyebrow pencil – I got this super cheap when Ulta stopped carrying Fiona Stiles’ line and I don’t believe you can buy her makeup anymore. It was pretty Meh anyway. Value = $16

— Marc Jacobs hi-shine lip lacquer (mini) in Allow Me – I’m not a big lip gloss girl, but I enjoyed this formula. It wasn’t sticky or tacky. I didn’t think it was “high shine,” despite the name. This shade had some shimmer in it, but it didn’t translate to the lips. I would explore other shades since there are lots in the range. Value = $10

— Jouer liquid highlighter – I honestly can’t really review this. It’s very old and I pulled it out recently to see if it still worked and it didn’t; it has dried up. I don’t love the click stick type packaging so I wouldn’t repurchase for that reason alone. Value = $24

 

Total value of March empties = $278.98!

Well, there we are! Thanks for getting all the way to the bottom 🙂 Have you used any of these products? If so, I’d love to know your thoughts!

*Gifted by Influenster