October, November, December Empties!

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Apparently my empties posts are becoming quarterly and I’m already half a quarter behind. Oops! Sorry for the radio silence over here. The short of it is: life got crazy. But since empties posts are some of my favorites to write and your favorites to read, I couldn’t just throw away my trash without showing you! Let’s dive in.

Cleansers

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Superfacialist cleansing oil by Una Brennan – If you see this at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s (the only places I’ve ever seen it in the U.S.), snap it up! This big container was like $7. It’s an effective makeup removing cleansing oil. It has a sweet sort of candy-like citrusy scent that I enjoyed. I would buy it again if I ran across it. Value = $7

Leahlani honey love sample – It pains me to say this, but this is just too harsh for me. I LOVE the smell so much and I really wanted to make it work. I used up a full size jar a couple of years ago and felt like it was too much physical exfoliation, but the last time I ordered from Leahlani I requested a sample so I could see if my feelings had changed. Alas, they haven’t.

Votary rose, geranium, and apricot cleansing oil – This isn’t quite empty but I think it’s gone off. I’ve had it WAY longer than the supposed 6 month expiration so I guess I can’t complain. This is a beautiful, luxurious cleansing oil if you don’t mind needing to remove with a cloth. The smell was too strong for me when I was pregnant so I set this aside for a while and just didn’t get through it all before it went bad, but I would consider repurchasing when I have fewer cleansers in my stash. Value = $72

Elemis pro-collagen cleansing balm – I actually have a full size of this cleansing balm to use, but it isn’t my favorite. It stings my eyes a bit ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I think I’ll have to remove eye makeup separately to get through the full size but I would not repurchase.

Tatcha pure one step camellia cleansing oil – Such a nice cleansing oil! Has a light scent, rinses clean, does the job. One of these days I’ll get the full size. Value = $15

Hydration and Serums

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Paula’s Choice 10% niacinamide booster – This stuff really helps with the appearance of my pores when I use several drops and apply directly to my face, instead of mixing a few drops into something else. The downside is that I go through it quickly! Value = $44

Jordan Samuel Skin hydrate serum – My one and only hydrating serum ๐Ÿ™‚ I repurchased immediately. Value = $72

Fresh black tea kombucha essence – I enjoyed this a lot. It has a very silky texture that feels high-end. Because this is high end! I went through it awfully fast but I would consider repurchasing. I’m trying out some other less expensive essences first. Value = $68

Moisturizers and Eye Creams

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Drunk Elephant c-tango eye cream – This had a gel type texture that felt nice on but I can’t say much else about it. Value = $21.33

Murad hydro-dynamic moisturizer – I’ve been through a full size of this in the past and remember really loving it, but I was less wowed this time around. Maybe my sample had gotten a little old? It seemed to have trouble absorbing when my skin was damp.

Tatcha the water cream – I won this bad boy in a giveaway and enjoyed it for 6 months. ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t say it’s anything special to warrant the price tag, but I did like it. I found that less is more with this. I think I like their silk cream better though because my skin is on the drier side. Value = $68

Belif peat eye cream – I think this is the only full sized eye cream I’ve ever gone through! It was on the thicker side, which I really liked for winter. It kept my under eyes moisturized and makeup went well on top. I can’t say it worked any miracles, but I didn’t expect it to. Value = $58

Belif the true cream moisturizing bomb – This is a great moisturizer for dry skin. It’s pretty basic so there’s not much else to say! Value = $38

Oils, Acids, & Sunscreen

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La Roche-Posay anthelios clear skin sunscreen – I liked this a lot on its own because it didn’t leave a white cast and it felt smooth and not stick on the skin, but it had a tendency to pill with certain skincare or makeup since it was oil free. I don’t think I would repurchase. Value = $19.99

Herbivore phoenix oil – I enjoyed this, and I love having the change to try with the smaller medicine dropper size. It didn’t wow me enough to purchase the full size, but I would try it again in the future when I go through other things. Value = $28

Sunday Riley good genes – This. stuff. is. life. I’m going through some samples but then I’ll repurchase the full size. It’s my favorite chemical exfoliator. Value = $105

Drunk Elephant marula oil – I’m going through another slightly larger sample of this so I’ll sort of reserve judgment until I finish that one. Stay tuned for my next empties post ๐Ÿ˜‰ Value = $7.20

Sunday Riley UFO – As you can see, this is largely full. Sigh. I just don’t reach for this and I’ve had it for a long time so it’s probably bad anyway. I did find it effective when I used it, but I don’t think I need much salicylic acid in my life, and I don’t exfoliate enough to want a clarifying facial oil. I’m also using my Jordan Samuel etoile with retinol oil every other night. So for all of these reasons, its time to let this go. Value = $80

Samples and Sheet Masks

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I used up several samples as well as a sheet mask. Since my experience with most of these was pretty limited, I’ll keep things short:

Loved: Jordan Samuel Skin matinee cleanser, Fresh soy face cleanser

Liked: Clinique TTDO balm (x2), Beautycounter pure calm cleansing milk, Fresh soy cleansing milk, Knours one perfect cream

Okay: Paula’s Choice body treatment 2% AHA, Beautycounter intense moisture serum, Bliss hangover fix sheet mask*

Haircare & Nails

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Hempz sweet pineapple and honey melon shampoo – I did not care for this. The shampoo itself was only okay. The smell was awfully sweet for my taste. I didn’t find it volumizing, although I don’t necessarily need a volumizing shampoo. The packaging leaked. Meh. Value = $5

Essie polish in bahama mama – Such a classic shade! I think mine is just too old because the last time I wore it, it performed terribly. No one has time for that! Value = $9

Dove dry shampoo in volume and fullness and fresh and floral – I liked the volume and fullness one and have repurchased that one. It isn’t the best ever at absorbing oil, but it does add volume, which is nice, and does a decent job with oil. It also doesn’t leave such a strong white cast that I have to rub in compared with Batiste. The fresh and floral smelled nice but just didn’t do much. I wouldn’t repurchase that one. Value = $5.98

Ouai rose hair and body oil – This was fine, but it’s so overpriced for what it is. I truly believe it’s popular because it’s pink and Ouai is a popular brand. This mini packaging also leaked. Value = $9.06

Glisten & Glow quick drying top coat – Excellent! This is just like seche vite, but I got more use out of it before it got gloopy in comparison to seche vite. I would repurchase for sure. Value = $6.99

Body care and Hand care

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L’Occitane shea, rose, and almond hand creams – My sweet friend Kristin (@lacquerandlipstick) sent me the shea hand cream, and I picked up the rose one in the airport in Europe this summer. I was so excited to be able to get a full sized tube of the rose since you can’t buy that in the U.S. I should’ve bought two! L’Occitane hand creams are a staple, especially those minis. Value = $70 total

Lush rose jam shower gel – God, this smells amazing. I’m so glad they made it permanent instead of seasonal. I will definitely repurchase when I use up some other things. Value = $19.95

Trader Joe’s grapefruit ginger body scrub – I loved this! I doubt it’s still available because their body care tends to be limited run, but if you see it, pick it up! It smelled nice, was just the right amount of scrubby, and I loved the tube packaging. Value = $4

Aerin rose hand cream – I like the Aerin rose scented perfumes, but their rose scented body care/skincare is very powdery smelling and I don’t much care for it. This smells a lot like their rose cream cleanser, which I reviewed in my very first blog post here! I threw this away before noting how big it was so I can’t calculate the value… oops!

Beautycounter citrus mimosa hand cream – I love this scent, but this isn’t so much a hand cream as a lotion. I was hoping for a thicker texture. This would work better as a body lotion for me. My hands are constantly dry in the winter so I need more, but if you don’t need that, this would probably work well for you. I know a couple of Beautycounter reps that I can hook you up with if you need one and you’re interested ๐Ÿ™‚ Value = $18

Korres Japanese rose body butter – I like Korres body butters a lot, but they aren’t as good as the L’Occitane ones in my mind. They have a very silky texture, which feels nice, but isn’t quite as moisturizing as those thick shea butter ones. Value = $6.59

Makeup

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BKR paris water balm – Isn’t this such a cute sample? This was in an Allure beauty box. I used it up quickly because the sample was tiny. I liked it, but it wasn’t anything special.

Sephora melting lip click in shade 04 cotton candy – An easy, every day pink lippie. There isn’t much product in here so I went through it quickly. You have to click a lot of times to get it to come up enough to use it, which was kind of annoying. I would consider repurchasing because of the reasonable price, but it isn’t a must-have. Value = $14

L’Oreal voluminous lash paradise mascara in black – This was a favorite! I’ve repurchased and surely will again. It gives good volume, a little clumpy, but not too much. Most importantly, it doesn’t budge! I have to admit I like the pink tube too ๐Ÿ™‚ Value = $9.99

Fresh sugar lip treatment in dream – I was hoping to get a little more color from this, but there was hardly any. In that sense, you’re just as well to buy the original. But I love the feel of these sugar lip treatments. Value = $26

 

Total value for the quarter: $908.08!

Total value for all 2018 empties: $3,796.42. Yowza. Remember, this is value not necessarily what I spent, but still. It certainly puts things in perspective.

That said, I don’t think I’m going to calculate value for my 2019 empties posts unless you all protest! These posts take a lot of time to prepare and adding the value is one more step. If I was better at tracking what I actually spent on products, that would probably be more interesting to me.

*Gifted

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.ย  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 –ย  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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆย  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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆย  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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 Frankieย 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!

 

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

I love a good rose face mist ๐Ÿ™‚ 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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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.)

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 asย 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) ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.ย  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: 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 atย  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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 areย 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?

Beauty Products I’ve Repurchased

This much-requested post is finally here! I apologize for the delay; I just couldn’t get it done before our trip to Italy last week. Since I try new things all the time, I wouldn’t have guessed that I repurchase that many products, but when I started making a list of repurchased beauty products I realized it was quite a lot! The first photo doesn’t even contain them all!

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Skincare

There are three cleansers I’ve repurchased: The Body Shop camomile cleansing butter, which is super affordable and destroys makeup and doesn’t contain microplastic; The Good Things manuka honey cream cleanser, which I’ve raved about before. It’s also super affordable but, sadly, hard to get in the US unless you run across it at TJ Maxx/Marshall’s; and the Tata Harper purifying cleanser. My second one is almost empty and there will certainly be a third. It’s my favorite morning cleanse ๐Ÿ™‚

For hydration, I’ve played the field but have come back toย Jordan Samuel Skin Hydrate, now in mega size! It’s fantastic for dehydrated skin. I love mixing up my mists, but I’ve gone through multiple Caudalie beauty elixirs. I loved this limited edition packaging.

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Pixi Glow Tonic was the original #CarolineHironsMadeMeDoIt purchase. I’ve gone through several full sizes, although all I have right now is this wee baby one. I keep this, even though it’s empty, so I can refill it when I eventually repurchase glow tonic.

I seem to get a lot of samples of moisturizers, but I liked the Clinique overnight moisture surge mask so much I bought the full size. Although it claims to be a mask, I just apply like a moisturizer in the evening and find my skin is plump and happy in the mornings.

My second The Body Shop Himalayan purifying mask is waiting patiently to be opened. This is the only face mask I’ve ever repurchased – it’s that good.

Lastly, I’ve waxed lyrical about the Skincando Combat Ready Balm before. It’s a great multi-tasker that the whole family uses so we upgraded to the jumbo size!

Makeup

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There is only one eyeshadow primer for me: the NARS primer. I’ve tried several and the NARS one is the best. I will always repurchase even though it’s kind of expensive and I don’t love the packaging.

I don’t buy mascara very often because I seem to always get samples, but when I got a sample of the YSL The Shock mascara, I loved it so much I bought the full size (which I have yet to open because I’ve gotten a couple more minis since then). It volumizes and doesn’t smudge, which are my main requirements.

I’m super low maintenance with my eyebrows; they really need more attention than I care to give them. ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  I’ve been happy with the Anastasia Beverly Hills brow wiz, so I’ve bought it many times. Ulta often has it half off one day of their 21 Days of Beauty event twice a year.

It takes a long time to use up an eyeshadow so the only one I’ve repurchased is the Maybelline color tattoo in Bad to the Bronze. I love a good cream shadow! This one has a stiffer texture that is similar to the MAC paint pots, but I was still able to use my last one for over two years before it dried up. I had hit major pan by that point. It layers well, goes with everything, and doesn’t crease. Two thumbs up!

I usually only have one concealer open at once and the Maybelline Fit Me concealer has been my one-and-only at least twice. The shade Light is better suited to me in the summer so I’m using it now.

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I own a LOT of lipstick, but there are a few that I’ve repurchased: Too Faced la creme lipstick in Spice Spice Baby and YSL rouge volupte shine in No. 9 – both pinky brown nudes. NARS Tolede falls into this category, too, and I’m sure I will repurchase it when mine is empty. I’ve also repurchased the Bite Beauty amuse bouche lipstick in Fig, a cool-toned pink. I’ve repurchased the shades Watermelon and Juice in the Bite Beauty lush lip tint but they’re sadly discontinued. Snap them up if you see them at TJ Maxx/Marshall’s.

Speaking of lip products, I’ve gone through a number of Burt’s Bees chapsticks. Loving this coconut and pear flavored one right now. The Fresh potted lip balms are excellent, too. I finished a Caramel one earlier this year and instead of repurchasing it, I got the newly released flavors of Coconut and Lemon. I’ve been disappointed in the Lemon, but I would repurchase the Coconut or Caramel again.

Makeup Brushes

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When I find a makeup brush I like, I buy multiples. Anyone else? Some favorites are the Real Techniques multi-tasker brush, which only comes in a set. PLEASE sell it individually RT! I have two but I’ve seriously thought about getting a third set even though I’m not interested in the two other brushes in the set. This brush isย that good.

My favorite eye brushes are by It Cosmetics for Ulta, specifically the number 112 (precision shadow) and number 105 (blending). I have three MAC 217s – probably the most famous makeup brush out there. (However I only find a synthetic brush on their website and mine are definitely natural hair so it seems they’ve discontinued the ones I have and I can’t speak for the synthetic version.) Lastly, I have two Sephora Collection dual ended brush number 205s (shadow and crease).

For makeup brush cleaner, I always come back to the MAC one. I use baby shampoo for a deep clean, but for regular cleaning, this quick-drying stuff with a spout is excellent.

Haircare

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I don’t use a lot of hair products, so there’s not much to repurchase. I always choose new shampoos/conditioners because I find that my hair looks dull when I repeat too long. I’ve tried a number of samples of heat protectants, leave in conditioners, de-tanglers, etc. The only one I’ve liked enough to repurchase is the Bumble & Bumble hairdressers invisible oil primer.

I’ve gone through numerous bottles of Batiste dry shampoo. It leaves a white cast initially but absorbs easily and I don’t feel it in my hair after it’s rubbed in. This giant can was under $10 at Marshall’s. It’s a keeper!

Hand Creams

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I have aย lot of hand creams ๐Ÿ™‚ I use them constantly and love trying new ones. That said, I have tried-and-true favorites that I’ve repurchased and always have on hand (pun not intended). Caudalie and L’Occitane make beautiful hand creams. I love that L’Occitane ones come in a million scents and you can always find minis in GWPs. I have several from their advent calendar last year.

Old school favorites are Soap & Glory hand food (original and sugar crush scents) and Pacifica Tuscan blood orange body butter. They smell delicious!

Shower Products

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I never repurchase shampoos and conditioners because I find that my hair gets dull when I use the same ones repeatedly. I love mixing up shower gels, too, but ones that have repeatedly made their way into my shower are the Lush Rose Jam (seasonal) and L’Occitane almond shower oil. (Wish mine had a pump!) I have a refill bag of the almond oil at the ready. I love that L’Occitane has those for some products.

I love a good body oil for locking in moisture out of the shower. I haven’t had the Trader Joe’s lemongrass coconut body oil all that long. I won it in a giveaway on Instagram a few months ago. But I loved it so much from the first use that I already bought a backup in case it was a limited run, as Trader Joe’s beauty products tend to be. The last I checked it was still available and less than $5. I can’t recommend it enough!

Lastly, I’ve purchased these little Caudalie divine oils multiple times and I gladly would again.

 

What products do you repurchase? Spot any favorites?

(None of these links are affiliate; I purchased all of these products myself – repeatedly!)

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Skincare

1.ย ย 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 =ย  $12.

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2.ย  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.ย  Since Farmacy deep moisture sheet masks were in my S.O.S. Skincare post, you can imagine that I like them ๐Ÿ™‚ Value = $9

4.ย  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.ย  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.ย  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.ย  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.ย  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.ย  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.ย  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.ย  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.ย  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.ย  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.ย  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.ย  Velamints blood orange mints – I’m sensing a theme this month haha ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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.ย  That is the lowest value thus far this year, but still brings the value of my 2018 empties to $1,277.38!