As the fall got into full swing and I got married, traveled, and then later as the holidays set in, I let my monthly empties reviews get away from me. At this point, instead of just a January empties I have several months’ worth of finished products to talk about. It makes for a full bag of trash, but this post won’t take years to get through. It does mean that there’s a fairly wide variety of products to chat about, though!
Boots No. 7 Beautiful Skin Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover ($8.99): I can switch up what I use to remove makeup day by day, so I’ve had this bottle for a pretty long time. But I liked this one. It’s not great for waterproof mascara, but for normal days this was a nice, simple, non-stinging, scent-free, dye-free remover. Most liquids like this tend to bother my eyes, so this one might be my favorite from the drugstore that I’ve found so far.
L’Oreal Telescopic mascara ($9.99): I liked the brush on this one and it made my lashes look really nice, but it definitely smudged on me so I’d need to try out the waterproof version in the future. I didn’t completely finish using the tube, as it smudged to the point of being impractical for daily life.
L’Oreal Superstar waterproof mascara ($10.99): This made it to my yearly favorites, so I definitely enjoyed it. This waterproof formula was extremely long-lasting, and the primer and mascara combination looks fantastic, too. I wore this to all of my wedding events.
Revlon ColorStay Under Eye concealer ($9.99): I don’t hear a lot of people talk about this, but I liked it a lot. It provides medium coverage without looking heavy or getting creasy throughout the day. I used it both under my eyes and around my face.
Sonia Kashuk Core Tools Small Blush/Powder brush ($8.99): I’ve had this brush for at least a year and a half, and while I really like the shape of it, it has shed on me since day 1. I’m generally trying to clear out brushes from my collection that aren’t awesome, and this one’s day has come.
Skincare: Cleansers and Acne Treatments
Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes ($5.99): Ok, these should have gone in the last section, as I just use them as makeup remover and always follow up with a cleanser afterwards. But I like these, I’ve bought them several times and will probably do so again in the future. I used this pack when I was traveling in the fall.
Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Cream Cleanser ($7.49): This really surprised me, and I thought it was fantastic. I’ve tried a couple of other cream cleansers before and in this one is my favorite I’ve found. Really gentle, hydrating, and fragrance-free, but totally nice as a cleanser.
Paula’s Choice Clear Regular Strength Daily Skin Clearing Treatment ($17): This is a light lotion with 2.5% benzoyl peroxide meant for daily use to treat and prevent breakouts. I have a full review documenting how it treated my skin over 60 days. It was helpful for me, but also kind of harsh (as benzoyl peroxide tends to be), and so while I’m definitely not sorry I bought and used it, I’m also grateful that my skin seems to be in a better place these days and hopeful that I won’t need it again. Cruelty-free.
Stridex Maximum Strength Daily Care Acne Pads ($3-5): Super cheap, super awesome, surprisingly gentle. They have 2% salicylic acid, and I use them twice a day every day. I always buy a backup when they’re on sale at my local drugstore. They were featured in my yearly favorites.
Yes to Tomatoes Acne Rollerball ($8.99): I tried this before finding the Stridex pads. It’s another 2% salicylic acid treatment and also includes things like tea tree oil, witch hazel, and willow bark extract. I liked it alright, but also found that it noticeably dried my skin out so I wouldn’t necessarily buy it again. Cruelty-free.
Skincare: Essences and Serums
Nature Republic Collagen Dream 70 essence (sample): I got one use out of this sample, and I liked it. It has a light lotion texture and is hydrating, which is something my skin can use.
Maple Holistics Vitamin C Anti-Aging serum ($11.77): Affordable and nice, light texture and lightly hydrating. Sent to me by the brand, but would definitely consider purchasing in the future. Full review here. PR sample. Cruelty-free.
Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Absolute serum ($19.96): This one is super lightweight and I wasn’t positive it did anything for my skin. It isn’t bad, but I’m not sure how good it is, if that makes sense. Full review along with several other 1000 Roses products here. Cruelty-free.
Muji All in One essence gel – high moisture ($5?): I bought this in Japan and don’t see this particular product on the US website, though they do have other products from the high moisture / aging care line (the label seems to vary between the US and EU websites). This was nice, though. Gel texture, hydrating, cheap. Would buy again.
The Face Shop Real Nature Mask in Pomegranate ($1.50): Has a milky essence and is nicely hydrating. I’m not terribly picky among sheet masks as long as they aren’t super sticky and hydrate my skin, but I do really like this one.
Simple Replenishing Rich Moisturizer ($9.49): I was surprised that this wasn’t much heavier than the “light” version (review of that one here), and so I flew through it because I needed to use a lot of moisturizer (and then layer other products over it). It wasn’t enough for me, but for normal-combination folks it might be great. And at 4.2 oz., you certainly get a lot for the price.
Innisfree Olive Real Serum ($23): I thought this was incredible. It comes out of a pump bottle and is fairly thin in texture but has good oils and stuff in there and is really nicely hydrating. They call it a serum but it’s essentially a slippery lotion. It also comes in a nice bottle that pumps from the bottom and effortlessly empties itself out without requiring any digging to get the last bits.
Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Heavenly Night Cream ($19.69): When I wanted to try several 1000 Roses products, I bought the night cream figuring it would be the most hydrating. I still needed to layer this up with lotions, serums, and oils underneath in order to stay hydrated, though. For those with normal-ish sensitive skin, this is lovely. For me, it’s not enough. Review of this and other 1000 Roses products here. Cruelty-free.
Derma MD Diminish Lightening & Brightening Creme ($64.95): This is a treatment product for hyper-pigmentation rather than a regular daily moisturizer, but it really works and has a great moisturizing texture, as well. I have a thorough review as well as a spot on my yearly favorites for it. Because I didn’t use it constantly and the jar contains a good 2 oz., it lasted me a nice long time – just about a year.
Sibu Beauty Sea Buckthorn Nourishing Facial Cream ($16.76): Although it appears to be thick and substantial, it really does a nice job of quickly and completely sinking into skin. This is another case where most people will probably like this, but for me it just didn’t do the job and I was grateful to have the Innisfree serum to layer underneath. Note – this is only 1 oz., rather than a more common 1.7 (the other moisturizers mentioned here are all at least 1.7 oz.), so it disappears pretty quickly if you use it twice a day. Cruelty-free.
Giovanni 2Chic Ultra-Sleek shampoo ($8.99): This is affordable and fabulous. I still have the conditioner because I always use up shampoo first. Would repurchase in the future, but am trying something new at the moment. Full review of the Ultra-Sleek shampoo and conditioner here, and review of the Ultra-Volume duo here. PR Sample. Cruelty-free.
Henna powders ($4.50/ea): I have 2 packs of henna that I used up to color my hair. The first on the left is a generic store brand bag of plain old henna powder, and the one on the right is Godrej Nupur henna, which doesn’t have any other colorants but does include 9 herbs to condition the hair and scalp and help the color take. Both were good (and cost the exact same, purchased from the same store), but the Nupur was noticeably stronger and I would happily repurchase it again. I got a rich red with a cooler tone (less golden/orange) and even root coverage. My husband noticed the cooler tone, too, and mentioned that the shine in my wet hair when I get out of the shower looks kind of purple. It also was slightly more stubborn when it came to staining my fingers and shower, but I managed fine. I was just impressed that the difference was so noticeable.
Bath and Body
Giovanni Moisturizing Body Wash in Grapefruit Sky ($9.95): This is another great product from Giovanni, which I reviewed here along with a couple of other body products. Of all of the hydrating SLS-free body washes I’ve tried, I think this one feels the most like a “normal” gel body wash, yet it truly doesn’t sap any moisture from skin. Smells great, too. PR sample. Cruelty-free.
SheaMoisture Superfruit Complex Body Wash ($9.99): SheaMoisture now seems to call this as a 2-in-1 bubble bath and body wash and puts it under the bubble bath category on their website, but I guess I bought this before they made the label change. SheaMoisture makes some of the best and most hydrating body washes that I’ve found. This particular version with mango butter has a creamier and even goopy sort of texture with less lather, so from a superficial standpoint it wasn’t my favorite – I prefer the texture of their raw shea butter formula with frankincense and myrrh (review). Would love to keep trying some of their other versions, too. Cruelty-free.
Nourish Organic deodorant ($9.99): I never finished this stick of deodorant. In fact, I really didnt get very far. It smells a little like a cleaning product and I know my husband wasn’t a fan. It also has a heavy, oily texture and I found that it migrated. My shirts and bras would accumulate some of that oil under my arms, and that was too much for me to handle. Cruelty-free.
Herbal Magic Roll-On deodorant ($7.99): I didn’t finish this one either. The really nice thing about the rollerball formula is that it dries down completely on skin and feels like absolutely nothing. The “herbal scent” that I purchased also smelled quite nice, and it seemed to do its job throughout the day. However, being the delicate flower that I am, it was too drying for me to use it all the time. Eventually after keeping it around in my bathroom for long enough, I decided I didn’t need to hoard deodorants anymore and could just get rid of it. I’m betting it’d be fine for most people, but unfortunately a lot of deodorants end up irritating my skin. Cruelty-free.
Nature’s Stream Organic Neem Soap – Tea Tree ($2.95): My husband used this kept the package for me for an empties post! He thought it was fairly average, but he wished it had more tea tree in it (which is his scent of choice).
Other Body Care
South of France hand soaps ($4.99): Of the natural hand soaps we’ve tried, the South of France offerings have been our favorite. These are made with natural vegetable oils, vegetable glycerin, coconut oil and aloe vera. Cote d’Azur is a very subtle fragrance and for that reason I’m not super interested in repurchasing it. Lavender Fields has a lovely spa-like scent (there’s a little extra something in there besides just straight-up lavender), and I’d buy that one again for sure. We’re now trying out Lemon Verbena, which is also nice. Cruelty-free.
Desert Essence toothpaste ($4.87): Natural toothpastes can get expensive, but this one isn’t. I wouldn’t say it’s spectacular, necessarily, but it’s good and I’d be willing to get it again in the future. Desert Essence offers 7 different toothpastes, which I’d say is a lot, but I see this Tea Tree/Mint version in stores most often. My biggest criticism is that I didn’t really notice the mint flavor, and it really doesn’t taste like much of anything at all. It’s free of fluoride, SLS, and gluten, in case that stuff matters to you. Cruelty-free.
Whew! Have you tried any of these? Did you finish any great products up recently?