July 17, 2013

Empty Empty Empty: May & June

It's time for another round-up of empty products!  These are all the things I happened to finish off in the months of May and June- and, be prepared: there just so happens to be a lot this time!  (So maybe get a sandwich or some tea or a Scotch on the rocks?  Whatever floats your boat!)

Here goes:

DermOrganic Daily Conditioning Shampoo

It's sulfate-free and made with Argan oil, so those things make me happy.  While I do like this shampoo (this is my second bottle of it), it's probably too moisturizing for my baby-fine hair, unfortunately.  My second day hair just isn't very nice- a little too weighed down.  One thing I do appreciate is that it's non-irritating to my scalp, which is something I struggle with regarding shampoos.  DermOrganic is not cheap, but it might be a holy grail shampoo for someone with thicker or more textured hair!

One gripe I have is the pump bottle; when I was down to about 1/3 of remaining product, I found myself having to remove the pump to smack the bottle against my palm.  There was still a lot left in the bottle, so that amounted to a few weeks of inconvenience! 

Neutrogena Oil-free Eye Makeup Remover

Many people consider this to be the among the best drugstore eye makeup removers, and it is quite effective.  However, I have stupidly sensitive eyes, and it does tend cause irritation, for me.  My eyes are just redder than they normally would be the next morning. I've found I like using oil-based removers anyway, so I probably won't be repurchasing this!

Nature's Way Organic Pure Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Until this year, coconut oil was a mystery to me, but not anymore!  It's absolutely incredible for dry skin- and about a million other uses!  I mostly add it to a bath, and emerge with super soft, moisturized skin.  I also use it as a scalp mask in the Winter, when my scalp is feeling dry.  You can leave it in for a few hours or overnight, and the difference is very noticeable.  Some people even add small amounts to their shampoo to make it more hydrating. It also smells delightful! I've already got a new tub going.

CeraVe SPF 30 AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

This moisturizer has been my go-to for a couple of years now! However, this year, for the Summertime, I'm switching to a separate facial sunscreen and moisturizer in an effort to forestall fine lines as long as possible.  I've heard that a separate sunscreen really offers the best protection, so I probably won't use my backup bottle of CeraVe AM until Winter.

I like that this is gentle on sensitive skin, and hydrates just enough for daytime.  And, it has a very subtle scent: not very sunscreeny at all.  I also like the CeraVe PM moisturizer, for what it's worth.

Avon Holiday Edition Hand Lotion- 1.5 oz tube

Yep, I have used two more tubes of this just by carrying it in my bag!  It's far from my favorite hand lotion, but it works in a pinch, and I'm on a mission to deplete my backlog of random hand lotions.  I have one tube left of this, I think.

Aquafresh Extreme Clean Whitening Action

Just a .8 oz sample tube, so I used it up quickly.  I didn't notice any whitening results, and I don't think any toothpastes actually do that, to be honest.  I believe that some can prevent further yellowing, however. This tastes okay though.  The active ingredient is Sodium Fluoride.

EOS Lip Balm Sphere in Passion Fruit

I managed to destroy another EOS! Well, sort of.  You see, I won't even open this bad boy to show you because it grew some sort of...mildew around the edges? Mold?  I'm not sure!  But, it's utterly revolting, and as soon as I noticed, I stopped using it.  I'd gotten the product down to just about level, too.  (Here you can see the inside of the other EOS I finished.) So, I feel satisfied with using this one; most of it was gone, before it went all funky.

I will say that this flavor? scent? was not my favorite.  To me, it tasted way too floral, like potpourri.  Won't buy this particular version again.

I'm gung-ho about the Oil Cleansing Method, and so have burned through a few little sample bottles of carrier oils from Garden Of Wisdom
Unrefined Almond Oil- .5 oz
After Argan oil, almond oil is my favorite that I've tried.  It seems to cleanse well, and moisturize just enough, while soothing irritation.  I also like the way it smells! Might repurchase!

Cold-Pressed Argan Oil- .25oz
Most people have heard of Argan oil, and Garden of Wisdom has very competitive prices on it, FYI.  I use this at the end of my oil cleansing routine as a leave-on, overnight moisturizer (not as a carrier oil). A little goes a very long way, and I'm finding that it also might be a little too rich for Summer, but I do love it in the drier months. 

Unrefined Avocado Oil- .5 oz
I liked it, but it's very thick, and maybe too rich for the Summer.  It is green, so don't let that freak you out.  Would be great for super dry skin, as a moisturizer, but I don't think it works well as a carrier oil, because it doesn't seem to penetrate into pores well.

As far as I can tell, the oils from Garden of Wisdom are very high quality at a very competitive price point.  The downfall is the packaging.  As you can see above, the labels are un-coated, and definitely saw some abuse since I handled them with wet hands. However, those are all sample sizes, so I have no idea what the full-size packaging is like. Garden of Wisdom offers bundle sample packages of carrier oils aimed at various skin types- perfect for experimenting and finding what works best for your skin.


Soap & Glory The Righteous Body Butter

I'm not sure why the Sachet says 'Naked,' since I don't think that actually appears in the product name, but I loved this!  It's got shea butter and aloe vera, and just feels super rich and soothing.  I'm probably just going to use it as a heavy duty hand cream, to be honest! I also loved the way it smelled, which is so rare for me.  The scent is citrus-y and refreshing.

I'm definitely planning to purchase the full size, which is $20 for a 10.1 oz tub. 

Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant

This is a small, .75 oz, deluxe sample size tube that I got with Sephora points about a year ago.  This little guy probably lasted me about 12-15 applications. You use it like a mask, leaving it on for 10-30 minutes, whatever works for you, and then rinsing and moisturizing as usual.  I really like it!

However, the full size is prohibitively expensive ($39 for 2.5 oz! though I think you can get it on Amazon for less), in my opinion, so I've since sought out alternatives.  I do prefer chemical exfoliants to physical ones though, and this one is both effective and gentle, if you don't mind using it as you would a mask. It's a combination BHA and AHA exfoliant, containing both Salicylic Acid and Lactic Acid. It does have a smell that I find hard to describe, but it's not unpleasant- just sort of medicinal?

And, in the aforementioned quest to find slightly cheaper alternatives to my beloved Dermalogica exfoliant, I burned through several Paula's Choice sample satchets^

Paula's Choice Resist Weekly Resurfacing Treatment 10% AHA

My skin liked this, but I was looking for something I could use daily, so the 10% is probably too strong. I got about two or three applications out of the satchet, and the product is on the liquidy side. Didn't irritate my skin= success.

Paula's Choice Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment 5% AHA

I used up two of these, but didn't notice much difference between this and the 10%, to be honest.  Maybe this one would be okay to use daily, though? Also liquidy. Didn't irritate my skin= also success.

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel

BHA is Salicylic Acid, and is supposedly gentler on skin, if I'm correct.  I really like the way my skin looked in the morning after using this at night.  It's a gel; and is tacky at first when you apply it, but then sort of dries down/ absorbs.  In the end, this is the exfoliant that I enjoyed the most, and have ordered the full size!  I think I've seen a lot of skin improvement using it- in terms of brightness and overall texture, and I believe it is slowly fading some dark spots that I have!

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion

Basically same as the gel above, but in liquidy lotion form.  It also did not irritate my skin, but I just didn't prefer the texture.

Now for some makeup^ stuff! I'm not totally sure if these first few items count because I didn't technically use them up.  They are products that I'm letting go because they're either old or completely ineffective.  It's always good to purge stuff you don't use!

E.L.F. Cream Eyeliner in Midnight & Copper

I've had both of these for about a year, and they are both completely dried up to the point of being unusable.  Both were pretty colors, especially Copper, but neither were as pigmented as I would have liked, and both tended to fade and flake off.  Would not repurchase.

E.L.F. Shimmering Facial Whip in Lilac Petal

I liked this as a highlighter, but it has completely separated inside the tube:

Can you see that? I've tried to recombine it, but to no avail.  Anyway, I think it was a little irritating to my skin.  It didn't make me break out, but sometimes there were little allergic bumps? the next day.  Not worth it!  I think these only retail for about $1, so no real loss there.

CoverGirl Perfect Blend Eyeliner (in unknown brown color)

I don't use this anymore, and it's more than a few years old, so out it goes!  It's not very creamy, and tends to rub off easily.

N.Y.C. Eye Liner Pencil in White

I'd originally purchased this to use in the water line, but the formula is way too hard, and impossible to apply there.  Also, it's a really stark white, and I think I prefer something more natural in the water line, if I'm putting color there.  Horrible quality, chalky, do not buy.

Revlon Beyond Natural Defining Eye Pencil in Charcoal, Plumberry, & Brown

I used to love these!  They are very soft, creamy, and pigmented, but don't last very long. I'm getting a little nostalgic thinking of throwing these away, but I have so much other eyeliner I need to use, and these are a few years old, so I think it's time to say "au revoir."

Conversely, here are a few cosmetic items that I have legitimately used up!

Everyday Minerals Semi Matte Base in Sunkissed Fair

I love using mineral bases, especially in the Summer, and Everyday Minerals really hits that sweet spot of Price x Quality for me.  I have found that since I've begun using the Oil-Cleansing Method (about a year now), I tend to prefer matte finish bases in the Summer, as my skin is now less dry.

The sunkissed fair shade is such a great match for my skin, though, that I'll continue to buy the matte version for a long time, I think. Everyday Minerals has a wide selection of mineral bases in a few different finishes- I would highly suggest them!

Anastasia Brow Wiz in Caramel

This brow pencil is expensive, but revolutionary!  I'm someone who has completely transparent brows, and I absolutely have to fill them in every day, or I don't feel like a person. Even if it's the one thing (other than moisturizer and sunscreen) that I apply, I always do my brows before heading out the door!

That said, I've tried a ton of brow products, and the brow wiz is probably the best pencil-type out there.  On one end is a spoolie brush, very helpful, and on the other is a mechanical, twist-up, brow pencil that is super-fine.  It's just the right texture too: hard enough to get a good line, but creamy enough to be blend-able.  It also stayed on my face all day.  The tip is fine enough that you could even sketch in individual hairs if you wanted to. You get .003 oz, which doesn't sound like a lot, but it last a few months for me, with daily use.  I can't rave about this enough!

Can you tell how fine that point is?!

The caramel color was very red-toned, which is actually hard to find in a brow pencil (and I prefer that to match my complexion).  I wish Brow Wiz came in a darker red/ burgundy color, though!

Lastly, and unsurprisingly to all, probably:

OPI Original Nail Envy Nail Strengthener*

*(Unfortunately, I have no photo for "proof," so you'll have to take my word for it.  I did take a photo of the empty bottle, but subsequently accidentally marked it for deletion...and then deleted it!  Oh well!)

I've talked about this stuff before, but it has been life-changing for my nails! This is probably my third or fourth bottle I've gone through, and I'll keep buying more!  My only complaint is that when you get to the very end, it does get a little goopy and stringy.  I tried to thin this one out, but it didn't work.  Anyway, it's only when you get to the last little bit, so I don't mind.

That's it!

I apologize for this marathon of products, and applaud you if you've made it all the way to the end!  I'm glad to be finishing so many things; some of these I've worked on for months or years, and it's just coincidental that they all sort of ran out at the same time!


  1. Try using the coconut oil as eye makeup remover - works great and is soothing and wrinkle fighting!

    1. That works pretty well, except I always have to get the coconut oil a little melted first, so it's just easier to use another oil that's liquid at room temp. :)

  2. I like empty posts :) Especially when they are a sum up of a longer period, not like "Look what I finished in a week".
    Coconut Oil: I swear by it, even though I really don't like the coconut smell. I get my supplies whenever I'm in India, they have other smells there too, so that makes me happy.
    And the eyebrow thing sounds amazing! I have zero eyebrows, but I really haven't found the right thing for me yet.

    1. It's taken me a lot of experimentation with my brows. I currently prefer using powder and an angled brush, and then an Anastasia pen to define the bottom edge a bit. But, if I'm too lazy for all of those steps, the Brow Wiz works super well. Just keep experimenting!

  3. I found the same problem with the DermOrganic shampoo. It's just not as cleansing as sulfate-based shampoos, unfortunately. It took a few weeks for the effect to "build up," so to speak, so I've been alternating with traditional shampoos and will not likely purchase again. It's a shame because I appreciate the sulfate-free being better for my scalp and I love that it doesn't leave a strong scent in my hair, but I want clean hair, dang it!

    1. Also, I'd love to see pics of that brow pencil in action!

    2. I would show the brow pencil, but there wasn't enough left to even swatch it! That's how much I loved it! I probably won't repurchase that specific shade since my hair is a darker red now...