June 1, 2015

Empty Empty Empty: April & May

Hey everyone- it's June! And time for another Empties post! I've saved up my beauty/ skincare garbage for the last two months just so I could review it for you!

Let's get started!


LA Fresh Eco-Beauty Good Day. Day Moisturizer
I love this moisturizer! The .5oz sample size was very generous, and the screw-on cap on the sachet was a really helpful touch. I got about 10-12 full uses out of this. This is a very light-feeling moisturizer for daytime that seems to actually deeply penetrate and rehydrate the skin. I had no problem wearing this during the day, and found that it sunk into the skin readily. It smells like cucumber- refreshing! I'd purchase the full size if it weren't so spendy: $40 for 1.7oz.

Belif The True Cream- Aqua Bomb
I liked this too! Can you tell I've been living off of moisturizer samples? Daytime moisturizer is one thing in my skincare routine I don't mind experimenting with a bit.

One application of this gel cream is supposed to provide more than 26-hours worth of moisturization via the herbal properties of Lady's Mantle. I can't say that it does all of that, but it certainly moisturizes adequately during the day.  I did find it very hydrating. For me, the scent is a little too strong for a facial cream though- it's citrusy and maybe a bit floral too. Not bad, just strong. And, I can live without fragrance in my facial products. Sephora has this one for $38/ 1.68oz.

Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream 
This is a much smaller sample size, so I don't have a well-formed opinion. But, I feel pretty positive about this one. It's fairly inoffensive and seemed to do a good job of daytime moisturizing. Like the Eco-Beauty moisturizer, this also smells like cucumber, just slightly more pungent. This is even more expensive, though, at ~$50 for 1.6oz (Amazon).

Pur-lisse  Pur-Protect SPF 30 Sunscreen/ Moisturizer
This is a .5oz sample size that came in an Ipsy bag. I can't say I love it. The problem was that it never sunk into my skin properly and left me looking greasier than I would've liked. I only ever wore it when I was kicking around on the weekend, and it wouldn't be something I'd ever try to layer makeup over. It does say for normal-dry skin on the packaging, for what it's worth. (I have combination/ dehydrated skin.)

The scent is fine. You can smell sunscreen mixed with a kind of powdery smell.
Wouldn't purchase the full size. ~$35/ 1.7 oz (Amazon)

Paula's Choice  RESIST Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30
I've reviewed this in a previous Empties post, and yep- still love it! I just love the way this sinks in, and then subtly mattifies the skin. It's very easy to layer under makeup, or just wear alone. And, I've never been burned wearing this alone on my face- even when I was hiking in Colorado. (UV intensity increases with altitude, and it's very easy to get burned at elevation.)

I've finished three of these now, and am working on a fourth! Will repurchase! $24.65/ 2oz (paulaschoice.com)


L'Oreal EverSleek Frizz Taming Creme Serum
I'm so amused that this is finally used up! This is one of the items that made me want to document my empty products! I've just had it forever- years! I probably purchased it because it was silicone-free, and it's actually kind of difficult to find silicone-free styling products in the drugstore. At least it used to be- I haven't looked in a while.

Anyway, this is just OK. The product is literally a creme-serum hybrid and is a kind of translucent gel-like cream consistency. I like the way it makes my hair look if I work it through almost-dry hair. It does seem to define waves and curls without making them look wet (which I don't like). However, it really didn't do much at all for me when I used it as directed in wet hair. Even worse, it would smooth fly-aways at first, but I'd go about my day, and discover that it really did nothing to protect against frizz, especially in heat or humidity. That was a bummer. Wouldn't repurchase. $5.99/ 1.9oz (Amazon)


Anastasia Beverly Hills Hypercolor Brow & Lash Tint- "In the Pink"
This is a pink colored mascara (or brow gel, I guess!) that I received as a freebie from Beautylish.com. I've got nothing against colored mascaras, and actually love blue and purple versions, but pink on my eyelashes just makes my eyes look sick. So, this wasn't a very practical product for me, and I only wore it once.

It is pigmented, and coated lashes just fine, although would have been brighter over a white base. I didn't care for the formula though. It was thick and a little gluey, while still being dry or "chalky." Just was difficult to get a nice application. The wand is pretty good, but I found the flange that cleans excess mascara from the wand to be a little slack. $22

Model Co. VolumeEyes Mascara
This also came in an Ipsy bag, and I have no strong feelings about it. It didn't horrify me or "wow" me.  But, it didn't do great things for my lashes. It was just thicker and clumpier than I prefer, and the combination of the oversized bristle brush and thick formula probably had something to do with that. Also it does have a strong paint smell that some mascaras can have. $22

Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara- 02 Black/Brown
I wanted to love this product. Alas, I don't. (And I love Clinique in general.) In concept, this is great, but the formula was dry and crumbly on me, and it was hard to get even wispy coverage on my bottom lashes without dry clumps. Clumping on the bottom lashes is like the last thing I need, thank you! The brush is tiny, as you can see from the photo, but I didn't love the taper on it. I would have preferred it to be even narrower without the tapering. Glad I tried, but wouldn't repurchase. $10

Everyday Minerals Intensive Base in "Sandy Fair"
This is just a sample size mineral base that I've used up since I'm out of all of my full-size ones! This color, Sandy Fair, is pretty good on me. I think the Intensive Bases (now discontinued) were supposed to be fuller coverage than some of the other base finishes, but I can't say that I noticed much of a difference, to be honest.

Jersey Shore Sun MONGONGO Nutrient Dense Anti-aging Lip Conditioner
I've reviewed this before!  The only thing that would make me love this more is if it contained SPF! But, that might mess with its glorious formula! (Actually the website describes Mongongo oil as having unique protection against UV, but I don't know whether that's true or not.) Either way,  I really like this balm- it seems to keep my lips in the best condition they can be, and this is the second full size tube I've used up! Will repurchase! $10 ($7.95 on Amazon)

-Hand/ Cuticle Care-

Triple Lanolin Aloe Vera with Lavender Hand and Body Lotion
I'm trying to mostly stay away from water-based lotions and hand creams in favor of balms and oils since my cuticles have been acting up, but I did manage to finish this off this month. I've lost count of how many times I've reviewed it, but I still think it's a great basic lotion! It's very rich, but suitable for daytime use, and is full of beneficial ingredients like Aloe and Lanolin. $5.09/ 20oz (nailsupplies.us)  $10.50 (Amazon)

BCL Spa Massage Cream- Mandarin + Mango
This came as one of three free samples from Sephora, I think. Ooooh, it's very nice! The scent is ridiculous- I really love it! It smells just like fragrant mandarin oranges with a mango twist. A very punchy but natural citrus profile. If you don't like citrus scents, it's probably not for you, but man I love it!

The cream itself is thick and slightly yellow in color, and feels very rich applied to the skin. The moisture seems to last and protect the skin at least until the next hand-wash. (I only tried this on my hands.) $12/ 8oz

Lansinoh HPA Lanolin
Behold, my secret night time weapon against dry cuticles: nipple cream! This is marketed for nursing mothers, but it's just pure lanolin, which is like the skin moisturizing ingredient, in my opinion. An oil derived from sheep's wool, lanolin's molecular structure closely resembles our own natural lipids. It can penetrate to deeper layers of skin and prevent moisture loss.

This tube technically has about two-three applications left, but I wanted to go ahead and show it since it was so low. The texture of the lanolin is thick and very sticky, although when warmed up, it does thin out a bit. Still, this is not very suitable for daytime moisturizing (unless in tiny amounts). I use it at night on my fingers and cuticles to protect against moisture loss to the air and also hopefully to heal dry/ cracked skin. I really think I'd be lost without lanolin! Will repurchase! ~$10/ 1.41oz (Amazon)

Paula's Choice Lip & Body Treatment Balm
This is fantastic! Are you surprised? Probably not- Paula's Choice makes excellent skincare! I used this balm mostly as a cuticle balm at night (sometimes in place of the lanolin), and it really made a difference in how my skin and cuticles looked in the morning!

The texture of this balm is very rich: thick and a bit sticky, to be honest. I didn't use this much during the day for that reason, but I think if it were less sticky, it'd have less staying power at night, so I don't mind. Does that make sense? At any rate, I think this is wonderful, and I'm pretty sad it's gone! I'll be picking up another next time I need to order from Paula's Choice! $10.20/ .5oz

Indigo Bananas Cuticle Balm- Coconut Banana (lip safe)
My favorite Indigo Bananas balm scent so far! To be fair, I love anything coconut scented, but you get the hint of banana too, and it's very unusual, but somehow goes together! Tropical! Indigo Bananas balms are fantastic, and unlike the Paula's Choice balm, they are very good for daytime use since they have a very non-greasy finish once they are massaged into the skin. Love! $8/ .67oz

Bliss Kiss Simply Pure Hydrating Oil Pen
Babby's first cuticle oil pen! What took me so long? I honestly couldn't tell you, but I get it now! This is pretty great! It's very convenient, which does help make it easier to apply more frequently. The brush tip is so soft, and very nice to swipe under the nail and on/in the cuticle area. The actual oil is jojoba wax ester as well as grapeseed oil, olive oil, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Tea Tree oil (anti-microbial properties- yay!). This particular pen was the "Crisp" scent, and basically smells pleasantly fruity with a citrus twist.

On the negative side, I think this is not the most economical oil blend at $5.99/ .068oz. There's really not that much oil in there, and it only took me a little over a week to deplete, just applying sporadically a few times per day. I'm already working on a second one, though, and in addition I do have the .5oz refill bottle.


Beauty Secrets Pure Acetone
This acetone works just as any acetone should- what can I say? I've been using this to clean up the edges of manicures with the E.L.F. concealer brush (as well as to clean stamping plates, ect.). While I was vehemently opposed to that in the past, once you start doing it, you really can't stop. I just got addicted to those clean cuticle lines! This is probably a contributing factor to my current cuticle issues, though. $2.19/ 8oz (sallybeauty.com)

Essie 'Matte About You' Matte Top Coat
This is one of the best mattifying top coats I've tried! I think it really does reduce shine more than others I've tried. This bottle is probably about three years old though, and you can see that the remainder is basically GLUE. Just unusable at this point. Some people describe white flake particles developing in older bottles of Matte About You, but I never encountered that. Would repurchase! $10 (Ulta)

NYC In a New York Color Minute (Grand Central Station) Quick Dry Top Coat
An excellent cheap, drugstore quick dry option! This isn't as fast as Seche Vite or Glisten & Glow HK Girl, but it's fast enough, and it's also pretty shiny. I can't say whether or not it wears well, since I don't tend to keep manicures for longer than a couple days. (Also, that tends to be fairly dependent on variables like base coat, polish formula, application, and body chemistry.) Might repurchase if I'm in a bind! $1.99/ .33oz (CVS)

Poshe Super Fast-Drying Topcoat
Poshe can't claim the beloved cult status that Seche Vite can, but it has its dedicated fans! It does dry very quickly, and it is very shiny. On me though, it still causes shrinkage with certain polishes, despite taking all precautions and wrapping my nail tips. It just seems kind of random, so I have to assume that it's not playing nicely with certain formulas (like Seche Vite). At any rate, I haven't even used this one in quite a long time, and it sort of languished in my nail supplies drawer until it was too goopy to use. I think this bottle could be two years old- I don't know!

Personally, I won't repurchase Poshe, but some people swear by it, so if you're looking for your holy grail quick dry top coat, I'd give it a try! $4.91/ .5oz (Amazon)

That's it! As always, it's such a nice feeling to throw all these empty products out now!

Have you tried any of these products?


  1. You were able to finish quite a few things the last two months.

  2. I think I need to try that Paula's Choice SPF. I have a few that I'm rotating through and I use them for different weather climates. I just want a forever SPF regardless of where I'm at.

  3. That nail oil really *is* the best! Love my bliss kiss. Their lotion stick is great as a nighttime moisture treatment and then during the winter I top with lanolin to seal it in and that's when the magic happens!

  4. You are welcome! I always admire your work! :)

  5. Yes! I'd be interested to know if you end up liking it as much as I do! It's really the first SPF that has been comfortable for long periods of time on my skin...

  6. Oh boy, that cuticle recipe sounds WONDERFUL! I will have to look into the lotion stick...

  7. I feel you on that. I end up feeling like a greaseball. lol