I've been AWOL from here due to newer, busier jobs; interest in skincare, which has gradual, non-swatch-able effects; and, most of all, realisation that I need to be a smarter cosmetics consumer. (Don't get me wrong--I'm still spending abundant amounts of my limited time and money on this earth on looking at and purchasing make-up and other excesses. I just haven't been taking the time out to write about them lately.)
I've been putting up monthly empties posts with lots of mini-reviews over at the MakeupRehab subreddit. After seeing how satisfying it is to see other bloggers' empties, I'll be posting my photos and small reviews here--where it's much easier to find content--as well from now on.
Below is a backlog of my empties from July through September, with truncated reviews. Here's the full album where I've been uploading regularly since last July. See you all around more often!
- Aritaum Fresh Essence Mask in Collagen
- Dabo Essence Mask Pack in Collagen
Thoughts: Amount of serum is less generous than other brands - I can stretch other mask packs to three uses each, but this one definitely doesn't last more than two, if that.
- The Ylang Gallery Filltox Wrinkle Intensive Essence Serum
Rebuy? Probably not.
- Philosophy shampoo/shower gel in Peppermint Bark
Thoughts: Smelled pretty good, and the shimmery red colour was pretty. I'd never pay full price for this or any Philosophy product again, though.
- Complete Multi-Purpose solution - Ignore this. This was my first real MakeupRehab empties post, and I was following the convention there of posting things that don't really count as beauty/body empties.
- Pure & Basic Lavender Rosemary Bath & Body Lotion foil sample
Buy? Maybe. Smells good, but a lot of things smell like lavender, including bathroom sprays.
- Trader Joe's Enrich Moisturizing Face Lotion
- Crazy Rumors lip balm in Hibiscus
Thoughts: Tasted pretty tangy and good. This brand's balms are really soft, so I finished this in two weeks or less.
- Neutrogena Shine Control Makeup foil sample card
Thoughts:Not enough in the sample to make a judgement on this.
Buy? Probably not.
- NYX The Makeup foundation in 06 Natural
Thoughts: This was actually my first foundation, ever. Not sure if the texture changed with age (4.5 years!), or if my standards have just gone up, but I noticed that this would easily become cakey and sweat/rub off.
- Urban Decay Naked BB deluxe sample
Thoughts: This accomplished little more than turning me orange. But not orange enough for a chance with Bromeo on the Jersey Shore, so I guess I can't win on either end of this very limited spectrum. I'm surprised that they're still trying to sell this stuff. I used this as a primer under other foundations/BB creams.
- Milani Liquif'eye eyeliner pencil in Brown
Thoughts: This was still called 'Liquif'eye' when I bought it. Good for smudging out on the upper lashline, though not for tightlining - this kind of pencil will leave blurry residue on contact lenses.
Rebuy? Yeah, but I'll take the cheaper Jordana equivalent (exact same product and parent company).
- e.l.f. Essential blush in Innocence
Thoughts: No pigmentation, but this made it harder to do my Ronald McDonald cosplay as my daily look.
Rebuy? Nope. Blushes already take long enough to get through. No need for a crappy one, at that.
- e.l.f. Mineral Lip Tint in Blush (not shown)
Thoughts: I depotted the remainder under the reachable part of the bullet into a separate container. This was an unflattering light cool pink on me that used to look more acceptable when I was less tan.
- Neutrogena Shine Control Makeup sample card, again
- Gud Body Butter in Vanilla Flame
Thoughts: Got three of these in Burt's Bees grab bags. Initial smell is wayyyy too strong and sweet. I have never hired a cheap hooker before, but I imagine this is what one would smell like. Thankfully, it fades on the skin--unlike the hand soap in this scent, which I have also had the misfortune of trying through these grab bags.
- Kiss My Face Sunscreen Clear Spray, 50 Sport
Thoughts: Second one finished out of a pack of six I got off Groupon Goods. The product is fine, and smells nice (coconuts), but the pump is terrible. Doesn't spray continuously (why?!), and breaks so maddeningly easily. The first bottle of this that I opened actually started out broken, and I ended up just pouring and spreading the product instead of trying to spray it.
Rebuy? No. The packaging makes this nearly unusable.
- Eclos Super Concentrate Night Booster Fluid
Thoughts: Got this in a Freeman grab bag. I have no idea what topical application of plant stem cells is supposed to do for me, as I am not a plant, as far as I know. Perhaps this has secretly started turning me into a Swamp Thing, which will ultimately make me dependent on this product. Might be worth it if I ended up as a sexy kind of half-human hybrid, like a mermaid or a centaur (but that’s easy to mess up, like a mermaid with an upper fish half).
Buy? No. Dumb branding is dumb.
- Aquafina FlavorSplash balm in Raspberry
Thoughts: Mediocre balm, terrible fake flavour. I don't know what capitalistic demons compelled me to buy something with such terrible branding, either.
- Noyah lip balm in Classic
Thoughts: Finished this one in under two weeks. Soft texture made that easy. Got this in one of the worst subscription boxes I've tried, Lip Monthly. No flavour, just kind of sweet. Only four ingredients, which didn't do anything special for my lips, and from which I could easily reproduce this product myself, if I wanted a really boring lip balm. I liked their cherry one, but neither are worth $4 retail.
- Burt’s Bees Medicated Balm with Eucalyptus Oil
Thoughts: I probably killed this one in a week. I had really bad lip eczema or something for a week or two, and frequent application of this helped a lot more than any amount of the Noyah balm. Got this in a Burt's Bees grab bag, which apparently included this product that was after its sell-by date (2011); product was gritty, but melted down on lips.
Buy? This has been replaced with a non-eucalyptus-oil one. I might try that some day.
- Burt's Bees Pink Grapefruit balm
Thoughts: Tastes really nice and citrus-y. Lovers of blood orange scents will like this as well.
- Wet n Wild Megalast polish mini in Club Havana
Thoughts: Bead of Victory shown underneath bottle; it came out when I had the bottle up-side down to try to get out the last few drops. The formula was really thick and slow to dry, so I mostly used this on my toes, which I am less likely to bump into things.
My secret to panning this? Using a peel-off glue base underneath. Since this formula was crap, instead of trying to 'fix' any issues, I'd just peel off the entire nail's polish if it streaked/dented/bubbled. It would also just detach by itself after a few days. Since I hate polish removal, this made it easy to do new polish jobs. As for panning boredom, it helped that this was a fitting seasonal shade at the time.
Buy? Not this shade due to formula issues, but I do like other polishes from the line.
- Dabo Collagen Essence Mask Pack again
- My Beauty Diary Arbutin Whitening Mask
- Starlooks Lip Sugar (not shown)
Thoughts: Tiny lip scrub that came dried up in aforementioned, terrible Lip Monthly. Seemed to just be brown sugar.
Buy? No, I can make this myself.
- c.Booth Milk Bath & Shower Cleanser
Thoughts: Freeman grab bag item. Milk baths are weird, and this smells weird. I’d rather have a fruity or herbal body wash that makes me smell fresh.
Buy? Probably not.
- Garnier Moisture Rescue Lightweight UV Lotion
Thoughts: An old roommate’s left-overs. Smells nice and feels okay, but SPF15 is nothing. Plus, it wasn’t actually moisturising.
Buy? Discontinued. I actually do have the new version of this, but haven't opened it yet.
- Freeman Beauty Acai Purifying Clay Mask
Thoughts: Freeman grab bag item. Smelled bad and did nothing.
Buy? Definitely no.
- Clean&Clear Morning Burst scrub
Thoughts: Bought this four years ago, before I knew that microbeads are bad and useless. The description (papaya! caffeine!) sounded delicious at the time, but I have no need for sodium lauryl sulfate on my precious baby-harvested face-skin.
- Petal Fresh Aloe & Pomegranate Facial Scrub
Thoughts: Used it as a body scrub, because walnut bits are harsh on the face (which I didn’t know back when I bought this). Smelled nice. Squeeze tube made little speckled lumps of it fly out and land on the shower curtain and walls; my roommates probably thought it was some weird alien growth.
Rebuy? No, no need.
- Giovanni Raspberry Winter body wash foil sample
Thoughts: It’s body wash. It smells nice. It’s NOT worth $10 for a narrow bottle.
Rebuy? Not for anywhere near the retail price.
- Philosophy Miracle Worker foil sample
Thoughts: Does anyone actually use Philosophy skin care? It supposedly has some dermatology background, but everything I’ve tried sucks. This smelled bad (like other stuff from the brand I’ve tried), and stung my face (that was new).
Buy? Nope. Never.
- Gud Body Butter in Vanilla Flame again. I probably killed off a bunch of olfactory receptors by using up so much of this stuff.
- Leanni Eco 3 In 1 Revolution Light sample
Thoughts: Ipsy item. Lightweight moisturiser. Fine, but nothing worth paying $30 a bottle for.
- Wet n Wild Ultimate Match Foundation in Ivory
Thoughts: Offers very little coverage, and doesn’t blend out well after the first layer. If applied correctly, it looks natural and kinda nice, but it has no staying power at all.
Rebuy? No, this sucked.
- NYX Sweet Pie Gloss in crap strawberry
Thoughts: Not moisturising. Ugly container. Had clumpy bits. At least it wasn’t super shiny, which would normally be a bad thing--but I hate the drool-lips look.
Rebuy? No. Why did I in the first place?
- Burt’s Bees Medicated with Eucalyptus Oil balm again
- Olive Natural Beauty Refreshing Rosemary Lip BalmThoughts:
Lip Monthly item. One of those soft balms that I plow through in no time. Only .07oz (less than half your typical tube lip balm), for $6 retail? Fuck off.
Buy? Only if they re-think their pricing strategy.
- Carmex Moisture Plus balm (untinted)
Thoughts: Leftover from an old roommate. It smells a lot better than original Carmex, but isn't worth the money for a half-sized tube. I did, however, buy a pack of six of the tinted ones (which I like, but are no longer sold in the US) off of eBay the same night I finished this clear one.
Buy? If they start selling it for less.
- Eco Lips Vanilla Hemp Balm
Thoughts: Lip Monthly item, again. Felt fine, but didn’t really like the smell/taste. No essential oils or anything - just an undetectable amount of vanilla. Tasted like shortening.
Buy? Nah, I like my lip balms to not taste weird.
- Carmex click stick (original)
Thoughts: This was my daily balm for basic SPF protection.
Rebuy? Yes, but I prefer the cherry/strawberry one in the squeeze tube with SPF.