2019 1st monthly beauty empties – skincare, haircare & makeup

Buxom lash mascara

I’m still on the fence about this mascara. It adds volume & length in a natural way but it dried out so quickly that I don’t think I’d repurchase it. Not sure whether it’s because mine is a travel size though.

Busom Lash Mascara Mini

Livingproof perfect hair day conditioner

Great conditioner that makes my hair end soft and smooth. Scent is not too overwhelming either.

Not sure whether I’d repurchase though due to the price point and how I now lean towards hair oil.

Livingproof Perfect Hair Day Conditioner

Tula probiotic hydrating day & night cream

I use it in the day as I’d prefer something more moisturizing at night during the winter. It is a pleasant, no fuss cream that wears well under makeup.

Will I repurchase? Not sure yet as it’s good but I’m not blown away. If I repurchase it, it probably is for the relatively clean ingredients the Tula brand uses.

Tula Hydrating Day & Night Cream

Corsx acne pimple master patch

Greatforthose swollen red breakout. You apply a pad on it overnight, and the swolleness will be relieved a bit next morning.

Will I repurchase? Probably not in the short term as I’m struggling less with acne lately and the Neutrogena acne light device is pretty effective and can replace these pads.

Corsx Acne Pimple Master Patch

The ordinary vitamin c 23% + ha 2%

I use this as a washable facial mask and need to mix this with another hydrating serum or it will burn my skin. Not a pleasant experience to use it but I do see a noticeable difference with my acne scars after I use it.

Will I repurchase? Yes for the spot lighting effect not for the experience.

The Ordinary 23% vitamin C + HA Spheres 2%

Bioderma micellar water

Still my favorite micellar water as it’s so gentle on the skin but it’s also not effective in removing Makeup on its own. I always follow up with a cleansing balm or foam cleanser or both to remove the residual makeup on my face.

Will I repurchase? Yes

Bioderma Micellar Water

Sephora candleminilychee

Got this mini jar in a 3-piece set and it’s very pleasant to use. The scent is sweet and not as artificial as some bath & body works candles are and it’s also strong enough to use for my small space. It burns evenly towards the bottom of the jar. The jar itself is of high quality and is a good decorating piece on a counter top.

I didn’t have high expectations for the Sephora brand candle but it turns out to be a delightful surprise. I probably won’t repurchase it as I always like to try new candles but I am looking forward to burning the other 2 jars in the set.

Juicy beauty anti aging booster serum

This has a thick gel texture which is different from what I generally expect from a serum as I usually layer a serum under a cream and this is too heavy for my combination skin.

Will I repurchase? No

Juicy beauty anti aging booster serum

Ahava mineral hand cream

It’s a somewhat long lasting moisturizing hand cream but the scent is old fashioned and artificial to me so I won’t be repurchasing it.

Ahava Mineral Hand Cream

December monthly beauty empties – skincare, makeup & haircare

I wanted to continue with empties posts as one of my goals for 2019 is to buy less, so that I am buying with intention and will use mostly only the products I love. I also decluttered my relatively small makeup collection and donated a few new meh type of makeup products to the Beauty Bus Foundation. The new Mari Kondo Netflix show is on my list to help live a life that’s more fulfilling and less crowded.

Here are the monthly empties.

I used these travel size products on my trip.

  • Shisedo urban sunscreen SPF40 for Face & Body: I don’t love it because of the somewhat chemical scent. The other Shisedo sunscreen SPF42 that comes in a bottle for the face is great though.
  • Dior Show mascara: it’s volumizing but can be clumpy if you are not careful.
  • Clinique eye lip makeup remover: It’s effective and non-irritating to the eyes. Will consider repurchasing. 
  • Caudalie creme sorbet: I used to love it for summer time but I think I’ve outgrown it. It’s just okay.
  • Malin + Gomez Grapefruit Cleanser: a very gentle gel cleanser for the morning. I am not a fan of the somewhat artificial grapefruit scent despite the brand’s claim to use mostly natural ingredients. Will not be repurchasing.
  • SKII RNA eye cream: it’s moisturizing but not revolutionary.
  • Kiehl’s midnight recovery eye cream: I don’t like the Kiehl’s midnight recovery serum/oil but I’m surprised that I really like the eye cream. It’s extremely moisturizing but at the same time gets absorbed easily and quickly around the eyes. Will consider repurchasing.

 

  • 3 hair products: I won’t be repurchasing any of these though. The Loreal Ever Strong Shampoo is a let down as I thought it will be something that can help with texture and volume, but it didn’t and it might have caused some itchiness with my scalp.
  • First aid beauty radiance pads are not a favorite either. They are a bit irritating while not effective.
  • Paula’s choice 2% AHA lotion is very strong and might make your skin flake if you use it consistently for a few days, but it’s effective at treating breakouts.
  • The Charlotte Tilbury magic cream sample is moisturizing but nothing amazing.
  • I’m still on the fence with the Hourglass mineral primer. As an expensive cult favorite primer, I like it but I don’t know if I love it.
  • The ordinary caffeine eye serum is my favorite Ordinary item as it’s effective at treating puffiness with my upper eyelids in the morning.
  • Supergoop lip balm with SPF is nice and I’ve already repurchased it.
  • The Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer is a delightful surprise. I loved how lightweight yet hydrating the cream feels and its clean ingredients are a plus. I will consider repurchasing it and use it as a day cream.
  • Shisedo ultimune power infusing concentrate serum is a staple in my collection and I have one more back-up bottle in my collection. It’s nothing magical but a pleasant lightweight serum that wears nicely under any cream and makeup during the day. I also like its light green tea scent. I probably will always keep one bottle in my collection if I don’t know what to use during the day.
  • Lamer regenerating serum has a nice texture but I didn’t see dramatic results from the small sample so not sure yet how I feel about it.

 

Two more hair products that are both from the brand Not Your Mother’s.

I have another 1 or 2 bottles of the Not Your Mother’s blow dry accelerator. They are effective and I will continue repurchasing it but also wanted to try some new alternatives. The Dove blow dry spray I’m trying out now leaves traces in my hair and I don’t like it.

The Not Your Mother’s dry shampoo is only effective for maybe a few hours and then the hair will fall flat and I am getting rid of it after trying to make it work for a few weeks.

The vanilla shower oil is nice but I won’t be loyal to this brand. It’s the first shower oil I tried though and I will repurchase more shower oil for cold weather as it is more hydrating than a regular body wash gel.

I also included some new opens of makeup and skincare.

  • The Charlotte Tilbury pillowtalk lipstick color is a bit too light for me.
  • The Benefit Porefessional primer is still an old reliable goodie.
  • The micro brow pencil rekindles my love for these type of brow products and I’ve purchased a few Ulta ones and a few from Sephora and Anastasia. They are better at shaping my brows than a brow definer type of thicker pencils.
  • I also opened a lighter shade of the Too Faced peach perfect matte foundation. It’s a great matte oil control type of foundation for combination to oil skin. I will consider repurchasing it but I’m not close in using up even the first tube as I don’t apply a thick layer of foundation.
  • Tatcha one-step cleansing oil is an old favorite and I’m rediscovering it and falling in love with it again. It’s not too thick but also potent enough to remove all makeup while not leaving a film on the skin. I will consider repurchasing it. 
  • I’ve also opened the Tatcha mist but the pretty packaging is the main draw for me.
  • I’ve also opened a Paula’s Choice Niacinamide booster. It’s like a water/lotion and you can add it to your moisturizer but I just apply it directly to my face. Not yet sure how I feel about it.
  • Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial is a holy grail oil. It contains vitamin A so is anti-aging and my face is glowy the next morning whenever I use it at night. I will repurchase it for cold weather.
  • Origins check & balances cleanser & the Estee Lauder foam cleanser are similar in terms of how they leave your skin feel clean & non-drying afterwards, and are great second-cleanse night cleanser to use with Foreo. I will consider repurchasing these but I’m leaning towards the Estee Lauder one.
  • Timeless Q10 serum is just okay. I’ve only used this and the CEF serum from Timeless and the CEF one is much more effective.
  • Tata Harper resurfacing mask is another staple in my collection as it’s a quick 10-minute morning wash-off mask and will leave your skin radiant for the entire day. At the moment, I’m alternating between this and the REN radiance renewal mask which also has a similar result on the skin.
  • Fresh Black Tea cream is just okay. I’m interested in trying out the Black Tea mask though.
  • The No.7 serum feels a bit too heavy on my skin and the Palladio concealer came dry and unusable.

Beauty Empties – Skincare, Makeup & Hair products

Bobbi Brown eye lip makeup remover

Bobbi Brown eye lip makeup remover

I forgot how amazing this eye lip makeup remover is until I rediscovered it recently. It dissolves waterproof mascara, eyeliner and eyeshadows quickly and easily without irritating the eyes (I have sensitive eyes).

Will I repurchase? Yes!

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Urban Decay Allnighter Makeup Setting Spray

My 5th or 6th bottle. Best long lasting makeup setting spray I’ve tried.

Will I repurchase? Yes! I have 2 back-ups although I just opened a Morphe setting spray to try it out.

Sunday Riley Good Genes

Skincare misc. empties

  • Sunday Riley Good Genes: visible results to improve my skin texture.

Will I repurchase? Yes! I already used up 2 full size bottles and have purchased two back-ups.

  • Caudalie vinopure skin perfecting serum: helps improve skin texture but flakes under makeup so can only be used at night.

Will I repurchase? Maybe.

  • Clinique moisture surge hydrating supercharge concentrate: very hydrating but flakes under makeup so can only be used at night.

Will I repurchase? Unlikely as I don’t need a product that can only provide hydration.

  • Origins Megamushroom lotion: I don’t think it did much to my skin despite the fact that I heard it helped with some people’s acne-prone skin.

Will I repurchase? Unlikely. I don’t like spending money on products that don’t have visible results on my skin.

  • Exuviance peel pads: feels rough on the skin.

Will I repurchase? No.

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Psssst! Dry Shampoo

Will I repurchase? No. It doesn’t do much to help with excessive oil. I am tired of using it so throwing it away after 2-3 months,

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Tom’s Deodorant & Elf lip makeup remover

I should have got rid of Tom’s deodorant a long time ago as it is not effective. I don’t sweat much but still found this product to be just meh. I don’t think it works for people who are prone to sweat and smell.

Elf lip makeup remover is okay. I don’t think it removes lip stains or long lasting liquid lipsticks but it’s not a bad experience using it. I used it up just for the sake of using it up.

Will I repurchase? No to both.

100 empties challenge part 4 – massive 25+ empties 

So I cheated a little as I started to count body and personal care items in the empties but I still went through a lot in a 2-3 month period. 28 more empties, 50 to go!

Here is an overview of everything I used up that ranges from skincare to makeup to body & personal care. As it’s a ton of products I will just review 2 sets in detail, those I love and will repurchase and those that didn’t work for you.


Below are all the products I like.

  • The first two ordinary skincare products I tried are the 2% retinoid & 10% Niacinamide and I like both, not loving or obsessed but like these enough that I have repurchased both. I only use these at night as I’ve heard the Niacinamide lotion tends to peel under makeup and retinoid is supposed to be only used at night.

The 2% retinoid is very mild and didn’t cause any sting or irritation on my skin but I didn’t notice obvious effects on my fine lines either. It’s an okay anti aging moisturizer for my combination skin and I had no problem layering it over the niacinamide serum.

Niacinamide is an ingredient that exists in many of my favorite serum products. It helps treat skin inflammation from acne and excessive oil, and also helps brighten skin tone. It helps with oilyness around my tzone, and is something I can use even when I have breakouts. I didn’t notice any brightening results.

  • The Olay pro x spot treatment serum is also a niacinamide based serum but has very subtle shimmer built in so I mostly use it in the morning to balance out my matte foundations.
  • Murad line is something I only recently started trying and I like the vitamin c moisturizer as it’s not too heavy but also helps make my skin glow a bit in the morning.
  • The Peter Thomas Roth cucumber mask isn’t anything special but the gel like texture makes it great to use with my nuface equipment.
  • Paula’s choice aha bha liquid is great for swollen acne spots.
  • Caudalie eye cream – only from this collection works well on testing fine lines and dry lines under the eyes.
  • BareMinerals serum is very hydrating yet lightweight and I was surprised that I didn’t hate it as BareMinerals face makeup products  don’t usually work for me.

Next are all the products that I didn’t like.

  • The Nars creamy concealer has good coverage but it’s too dry.
  • The Sunday Riley blue moon cleansing balm has big particles for exfoliation and it irritates my skin. I don’t understand this product as exfoliators are not in the same category as cleansing balm.
  • The Balm cleaning balm is too oily and leaves a film on the face.
  •  The ordinary azelaic acid is supposed to treat acne but it stings so bad on my skin that I had to take it off after applying.
  • The NYX concealer in a jar is a bit dry and doesn’t stay in its place. For some reason, none of NYX products I’ve tried are my favorites although a lot of these seem to work for others. I think I will stop trying NYX products.
  •  I bought the Sephora brush cleanser solid as I heard it’s a dupe for the beauty blender solid and it’s not. It’s not as effective and the mini size was a mistake as I usually use it to clean beauty blenders and it’s too small.
  • Bioderma micellar water is my favorite micellar water but I like the pink cap bottle for sensitive skin and this one with blue cap which is supposed to be the hydrating version turns out to feel too harsh on my skin.

I hope it helps. Thanks for stopping by:)

100 empties challenge part 3 – all about regret purchases 

If you are like me who like to venture out and try different beauty products, you are bound to run into things that might work great for someone else but simply become an disappointing dud for you. In today’s post I will share 7 recent empties that did not work for me and I can probably only count these as 4 empties given that I didn’t really use up all (yep that tells you how much I dislike some of these) and some ae deluxe samples. 

  • 100 empties challenge update: so far 11 are gone, 88 to go! 

About the challenge: in order to motivate myself to prioritize using up beauty products that I already have instead of purchasing new things to try out, I need to be on a low-buy/(no-buy already failed…) mode until I finish up 100 empties. 

Caveat: travel size products count as either half or 1/3 depending on the size. 

  • Hair 

Schwarzkopf dry shampoo – oh my the smell is so overwhelmingly strong and artificial that I had to simply get rid of it after 2 uses and I’m not even extremely sensitive to smell. Definitely a regret buy.

John Frieda 7 day volume treatment 

This is not a bad product. I just have issues with its too-good-to-be-true claim to give your hair volume 7 days in a row. Please can you not treat us as believe-it-all stupid consumers? Plus I am too lazy to always reach for an additional hair treatment product when showering. I can see some results from using this so for those who doesn’t mind some extra work, I think you can get some use out of it. Simply a regret purchase for myself. 

  • Skin treatment 

Liz Earle brightening treatment mask It’s a UK brand that’s on the affordable size that has great reviews in general. However this mask simply doesn’t agree with my skin type. It irritated my skin and even caused some breakouts yikes and it also smelled so artificial! Please no cheap fragrance smell in skincare products! Definitely a dud for me.


First aid beauty radiance pads

I liked this at first but then maybe because there are travel packs and are not fully sealed, the pads are drier and feel a bit harsh on the skin and I didn’t really see an obvious result from using these. Do not like them. 

  • Cleansers

Second Sunday Riley cleansing type of product I’ve tried and I am disappointed by both (the other being the blue moon cleansing balm).  The texture is a bit odd and yes I did shake it before using as instructed. I started to fall in love with gel cleansers in the summer time and had high hopes for this cleanser. But it’s not a pleasant experience using it and the smell is overwhelming (this time not fragrance just some artificial herbal smell). I also don’t feel this cleansed my face well at night as a second cleanse.

Caudalie micellar water

I think I have less of an issue with the water itself but more with the packaging. Due to the big opening, I used up half of a bottle at one use as I was used to thoughtful packaging opening from my favorite micellar water brand Bioderma. So I only used half of a bottle and it’s just okay anyways. 


Grande primer Eyelash primer 

White eyelash primers are just a hassle for me. I don’t wear too dramatic of a look and a good volumizing and lengthening mascara is usually good enough for me. This also dried out quite fast.  


Hope you enjoyed reading this post and I had helped you dodge a few duds 🙂

100 empties part 2 – travel skincare & makeup empties 

I think I’m probably the last person on earth to know that the 100 ml restriction with travel liquid is applicable to a SINGLE item, not the total volume of all one’s items. For the longest time, I only dared bringing foil packet samples when I travel as I just couldn’t get everything adding up to below 100 ml!….

This is the first international trip I had after I learned about the actual truth with travel liquid and I was beyond excited to bring so many travel size products. I wanted to share with you what I brought on my trip and my reviews on these.

This is also my part 2 of 100 empties post series. I am on low/no buy of beauty products until I hit 100 empties. For travel size products, 3-5 count as 1 depending on size. I’ve used up 3 more items. Total as of 8/19: 8 done, 92 to go!


Serums
:

  • Bareminerals vital power infusion

I was pleasantly surprised by this serum as BareMinerals has only recently launched its skincare line. This serum comes out very watery and lightweight. But somehow it provides intense hydration that you can feel immediately upon application. I used it at night after the Shiseido serum below and I don’t need to use a cream afterwards.

Repurchase? Not in the near future as this is probably better suited in colder weather for my combination skin.

  • Shiseido power infusion concentrate

I’ve heard a lot of good reviews on this concentrate and I was very impressed. This is an extremely lightweight concentrate that is recommended to use prior to other treatment as more of a base serum. It gets instantly absorbed into the skin that I tend to overuse it a lot! It has a pleasant GreenTea like refreshing smell that I miss after using mostly scent free skincare products. It helped keep my sometime problematic skin at bay.

Repurchase? Yes! I will definitely be buying the full size bottle. It’s good to use as the only serum in the morning and layer with other serums at night for my combination skin.

Cleanser:

  • Peter Thomas Roth anti-aging gel cleanser

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Let’s forget about the anti-aging claim. I don’t buy it for a second that any cleanser that stays on your skin for the shortest amount of time can help with your aging concern (beauty brands can we just not try that gimmicky name again?). However, ingredients do matter so you don’t irritate your skin and the cleansing experience matters as well as it’s the first and probably one of the most enjoyable steps in one’s skincare routine. This cleanser has good ingredients, a very pleasant non-overwhelming fruity smell, is of medium weight and turns into liquid nicely upon mixing with water, so it sort of hits all the good points with a cleanser. However, I find it just a tiny bit too thick for my combination skin in summer time. I think those with normal to dry skin will like it a lot.

Repurchase? No. It’s a good product but just not the best for my skin type.

Body:

  • The Body Shop almond milk & honey shower cream

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I bought this during my trip and I don’t like it. If you read my reviews above and think that I just have a low bar for scent as I like both the scent of the Shiseido serum and the PTR cleanser, you’re wrong. This scent seems to be popular judging from people’s reviews. However, this is too sweet and overwhelming for my taste. It almost feels artificial to me. As a shower cream, it’s hydrating enough, but I also don’t feel as if it helps clean my body thoroughly.

Repurchase? No and I don’t think I will buy any Body Shop shower products based on this experience.

Lips:

  • Supergoop lip balm with SPF 35
  • Akar lip tint

I used the Supergoop lip balm during the day as it has SPF (yes your lips need SPF too) and the Akar lip tint at night. I like both. The Supergoop lip balm has a sunscreen like note of scent, which is sort of inevitable if you want the protection. It is a thicker gel, so it provides a decent level of hydration while it wears nicely under a liquid lipstick.

The Akar lip tint has a nice fruity scent and is insanely hydrating that lasts a few hours on your lips. It also adds a subtle healthy tint to your lips.

Repurchase? They are both good products but I don’t think I will buy any new lip products before I use up my current stash of products.

Eyes

  • Olay pro retinol eye treatment

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Based on my recent experience, Olay has quickly become probably the only drugstore skincare brands that doesn’t disappoint. I’ve used so many eye products including those with hefty price tags. While I still love and use these in my collection, I was very happy with adding this Olay eye cream to my morning skincare routine. This is not too heavy and layers nicely with eye makeup, and does help with treating dry, fine lines under the eyes.

Repurchase? Maybe in the future. I still need to go through my other eye creams first.

Makeup

  • Nars creamy concealer in Vanilla

This is the travel size tube and I was surprised how dry this has become as I probably opened this about 5 months ago. I guess that means the shelf life of this concealer is only around 6 months as I used to like it when I first tried it.

Repurchase? No. I have other concealers and if I have to try another one from Nars, it will be the round jar matte one that everyone was raving about.

Sunscreens

  • Shiseido urban environment sun protection cream SPF 40 for face & body

Shiseido is one of my favorites brands and it makes reliable sunscreens. This one is relatively new and is not my favorite sunsccreens from the brand. It has an overwhleming typical sunscreen scent and it will leave a white cast over your face. I use this on my arms and it offers solid sun protection.

Repurchase? No.

  • Coola classic sunscreen white tea moisturizer SPF 50

Unlike the Shiseido sunscreen, this one has a much nicer scent and feels light weight and non-greasy on the face despite its claim of SPF 50. It leaves a quite unnoticeable white cast over the face, and is one of the better sunscreens I’ve tried this year. The coola brand also uses organic ingredients that are mostly extracted from plants, which is another plus.

Repurchase? Not in the near future as I have a lot of suncreens to go through in my collection and I also have found a holy grail sunscreen from Elta MD that I plan to repurchase again and again 🙂

Thanks for stopping by! Let me know what’s your favorite beauty item you usually bring with you when you travel.

100 empties challenge part 1

To combat my never ending desire to purchase and try out new beauty products including skincare, makeup, hair & body etc, I wanted to start participatinb in the 100 empties challenge which means that I’m on low/no buy mode effective immediately unless I use up 100 items. 

Today I wanted to kick off the challenge by posting my first 5 empties (travel size items need to count towards 1/4 or 1/3 depending on the size). Among these empties, I actually will only be repurchasing the beauty blender solid cleanser only after the challenge ends 🙂 None of the rest are irreplaceable. 

5 done, 95 to go!