Empties September 2021

Hello lovely people, welcome whether you’re new here or an old acquaintance. My only posts here are now empties which I always loved, whether reading or watching on YouTube. Although I am a busy working single mother that doesn’t have as much time for extra steps in skincare as I used to once, writing my monthly empties is an opportunity for me to reflect whether I liked a product, miss it in my routine and want it back or just want to move on from it. Now that I have a teenage daughter and my other one is also getting semi-interested in taking care of her skin, I might have more empties (especially cleansers) that were not used by me but I will mention that. Hope you have a lovely read and the rest of your day x

Skincare

The Lab by Blanc Doux Oligo Hyaluronic Acid is a very small molecular HA toner which should penetrate deeper into skin. I don’t know about that but I did like as my hydrating toner and I was happy with it.

Isn’tree TW Real Bifida Ampoule. Some call it a dupe for Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair serum or Lancôme Genefique serum because it contains bifida ferment lysate for a fraction of the price. It was pleasant but to be completely honest, I am not sure whether it really did something special as I don’t feel like I really miss it in my routine.

Bioderma Sensibio soothing micellar cleansing foaming gel. Maybe it’s because of oily skin but I found out this was foaming very little but cleansed very gently and effectively. Really liked it as my second cleanse in the evening and would be happy to have it back. As there is three of us now using cleanser, it finished in one month 😔

Dr Botanicals Co Cocoa & Coconut Superfood Reviving Hydrating Mask. Creamy mask that I liked using once a week for my face and decollete. It washed of relatively easily and didn’t cause me breakouts. It was good but I don’t feel like it is something I cannot live without or couldn’t find somewhere else.

Nivea Glow Shake it eye make up remover. I think this is the latest version of my favourite eye make-up remover and I wouldn’t mind having any back although I think the black version is probably my favourite.

Purito Snail Repair Advance serum. I liked it. I think I am one of those who like snail products because they work well for me. It was light and slightly slimy so a little spread over a lot of skin and lasted well. I think I should have unscented version as well which I am planning to use soon.

Skin + Me tretinoin 0.021%, niacinamide 4%, azelaic acid 4%. My monthly prescription that I am staying loyal to.

The Body Shop Skin Defence multi-protection lotion SPF50+. This gave some white cast and it pilled under mask or whenever I touched my skin but what it’s worse it also ruined my white T shirt that I liked wearing with denim because it staine neck and decollete area in the wash into unwashable shade of pink. (For that reason I also don’t buy Nivea children’s sunscreens because they stained my white beach towel, it took be a while to realise what caused those rusty stains that I was unable to clean. No repurchase and also a disappointment as I loved their sun essence I had before.

Eucerin Oil Control sun gel-cream SPF50 with L-carnitine. I loved it, it was like didn’t make me shiny but didn’t matt me either. I will have to buy a full size of this.

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair serum. As much as I would like not liking it because it’s not really for my budget, I really liked the texture and how it felt on my skin. Can’t judge much what effects I saw with it as was just 7 ml but I will be now eyeing those value sets with full size of this serum.

Salcura Antiac Activ gel serum. This was used by my daughter but I did use it in the past and she had a similar impression of it as me. It felt very calming and slightly cooling on spots and she would like having it again.

Oh K! Illuminating serum with hyaluronic acid and vitamin B3. This was actually quite lovely, especially for the price. It did deliver what it said, just like standard HA should and it played well with other skincare I used. It was a bit thicker though so used twice a day it got finished in a little bit over a month.

Pixi Glow Tonic. Although there is now a good choice of acid toners, I do understand the hype this had as it didn’t feel drying and was quite pleasant. Wouldn’t mind having again.

Laidbare Spot the Difference. It is supposed to be a problem skin treatment cream but I used it up as my night cream as it left a slight film and in the morning, I felt it washing off when cleansing.

Body

Harry’s Stone shower gel. In my mind this is mostly men oriented body care but I really liked this mineral and citrus shower gel. Didn’t smell like a detergent but also not too spicy to be just manly. I am intrigued to find out how their other shower gels smell.

L’Occitane Verveine shower gel. L’Occitane’s classic verbena scented gel. Fine as a sample but if I wanted to buy a full size, would choose something different.

The Essence Vault 461 is a dupe for Baccarat Rouge. I can’t compare it to the original because it’s out of my budget but this is love that grew on me. At the first moment when I sprayed it, I felt like the scent is kind of medicinal and incomplete that would need layering but as it dried, it developed some sweetness and I understood why people like it. My daughter liked it so much that she used up probably 2/3 of the 100 ml bottle herself. And when it was at its end, she took the bottle for herself so this isn’t in the picture of my empties. I have to also say that these inspired fragrances from The Essence Vault last really long so I will try to repurchase at some point.

Chilly fresh formula intimate hygiene gel. This was like “fresh air” and I really liked it although it contains menthol. I used it just for shaving so not daily and this 50 ml lasted me forever. I might repurchase either from Notino or when finally (haven’t been for 2 years now) back in Slovakia.

Dove exfoliating body scrub with pomegranate seeds and shea butter scent. Good old, non greasy and scrubby, polishing well before shaving and is cheap. Already have the kiwi one in stash.

The Chemistry Brand Inhibitif deodorant. I will start with the positive and that is I like the scent and how cooling it felt when applied. However, it stained my clothes yellow which was I found out when I wore a white blouse to work and it look like very yellow sweat stains that it was even difficult to get rid off, just horrible. Plus, it didn’t work to slow down the hair regrowth. I used it up at night time. No repurchase.

Maui Pineapple Papaya in-shower lotion. This was supposed to be used straight after the shower on wet skin. This didn’t work for me as it thinned out mixed with water into almost nothing and it worked for me better after shower and towel dry, just as a normal body lotion. It smelled nice and worked well if I wanted to apply a self-tanner as it was light but I am not sure if I repurchase.

Haircare

Grow Gorgeous Curl defining cleansing conditioner. This might be my new favourite cleansing conditioner that I can buy in Boots. A bit more expensive than my old Elvive but works great for my hair as midweek refresh and to me it smells like Coco Mademoiselle. Will repurchase.

Pantene Argan infused oil for hair. This was again used by my daughter, I used it maybe once, she’d used it on her long mixed curls almost daily and I think her hair looks well and healthy and now has the coconut one.

Make Up

Maybelline Tattoo Brow easy peel off. When newly applied, the shade is perfect cool toned dark brown but the next day, it changes in ugly orangey tone and I have to cover it with my usual brow products so doesn’t really work for more than one day. No repurchase.

August 2021 Empties

Welcome to my empties blog, all you lovely people who are still reading them. Hope you enjoyed your summer which was very English for me weatherwise. I moved houses this month so had two lots of empties as I didn’t want to carry with me anything I could get rid of. So, here’s what I have to say about the products I emptied in August.

Skincare

Dr. Botanicals Charcoal Superfood Mattifying Face Mask.  I quite liked this mask. It was like a cucumber gel mixed with charcoal powder which also acted not only to “detox” as usual but also fine scrub which I don’t use on my face anymore but didn’t mind in this instance.

Missha Time Revolution Artemisia treatment essence in mist. When I started using it, I loved when misted it over my face and I could smell the herbs. It reminded me of of my childhood when I spent a lot of time outdoors in meadows, my grandparents’ barn with hay or camomile tea my mum used to always make when I had cold or flu. Then it fell and it survived but the pipe from the mister fell off and as I couldn’t unscrew the top, I was able to get it out by spraying upside down but around 1/5 was left that I couldn’t get out. I did feel it somehow helped keeping my skin clear and moisturised but I still cannot justify the price for what it is so I enjoyed it while I had it but will not repurchase.

Dermalogica Prisma Protect SPF30. An antioxidant moisturiser with SPF is always good in my book, it didn’t break me out or cause congestion. It pilled however. I didn’t mind as much as I don’t  really use foundation since covid and masks started but I do prefer something that doesn’t do that.

Hylamide Glow radiance booster was like almost watery drops that I used every day at the end of my skincare routine but before my sunscreen. That way, it wasn’t as strong as a regular self-tanner but gave me the natural shade of sunkissed look. I will probably repurchase next summer.

Skin + Me tretinoin, niacinamide and azelaic acid treatment. My monthly prescription. Recommend and will continue.

Beauty Pie Japanfusion cleanser. Loved it, it emulsified well, dissolves sunscreen and foundation but I would use something else for eye makeup, especially if you used waterproof mascara. I have to admit though that I prefer Jeju cleansing milk a bit more because it spreads and melts into skin even better than this. This is the second time I had it and if I had an active Beauty Pie membership, I would repurchase. At the moment though, I really want to work on what I already have.

Simple hydrating light moisturiser. Nice simple refreshing lotion like moisturiser, especially favourite with my daughters. Will repurchase.

The Inkey List Q10. Lovely moisturising serum with consistency of a lotion. Would repurchase.

Simple eye make-up remover. Cheap and effective, perhaps not as much for waterproof mascara but if I only top it up at the end to make my mascara last, it works well. Will repurchase.

The Inkey List Salicylic Acid cleanser. Really good cleanser, especially in summer. Might repurchase for next summer.

Body

Eveline Cosmetics Slim Extreme 4D Scalpel turbo cellulite reductor. This has a very dramatic name but of course, it won’t eliminate cellulite however, when used daily, skin on my thighs and bum definitely felt firmer and more elastic. It felt thicker on the skit but wasn’t greasy and didn’t cause body acne either, however what I didn’t like was that it had something like shimmer in it and that’s something I don’t really like in my skincare.

The Abbey Perfumery Oriental Rose. I heard someone compare it to Coco Mademoiselle. It is nice but not exactly my style of fragrance. However, at price £25 for 50 ml, I would more willing to buy this than Chanel (maybe if I earned at least three times more, I wouldn’t mind buying but for fragrances that are not 100% my style, I find them overpriced for what they are).

Maui Pineapple Papaya body jelly. The scent of it reminded me of children’s toothpaste which I kind of liked (I think I probably like everything that reminds me of my childhood). Not sure about this jelly. I would say it is good for oily, combination skin as it claims as it isn’t greasy at all but if feels a bit sticky and takes some minute to sink in. I liked using it before self-tanner as it didn’t feel like I overload my body skin. I might repurchase for summer.

Soap & Glory Call of Fruity hand food. Great everyday indulgent hand cream with delicious fruity fragrance I adore. However, I had collection of these products twice in a year I think, so I fee like I need something different. But will repurchase at some point in future unless S&G decide to get rid of it.

Bioderma Atoderm ultra-gentle shower gel. This was like a babywash for the whole family (which it was) and I also used it as an occasional face wash when I had shower after exercise.

Superdrug Foot Nourishing sock pack. I bought them when just to try and to be honest, to me they are not worth much to me. I moisturise my feet almost every night at bedtime (doesn’t have to be a foot cream, a hand cream or a body butter will do) so I didn’t see much of a difference when I used this mask but it might work well for someone who doesn’t do that.

Original Source tingly mint & tea tree shower gel. Nice refreshing and cooling summer shower gel. Might get again next summer (if there is any here in the UK, considering there was barely ever a day above 23°C since the school holidays started.

Mitchum Invisible clear fresh antiperspirant & deodorant. To me nothing special but it kept BO at bay and no white marks which are the two things I expect the most from my deodorant, especially in summer (although what summer? this year).

The Inkey List Retinol. I know this isn’t a body product but I use it a couple of times a week on some parts of it. I’ll be honest, in my experience retinol can’t really compare with tretinoin but I am not rich enough to be able to use it all over and I noticed a slight difference where I apply it on my body so intend to continue. This one was lovely hydrating thanks to squalane as well.

The Epsom Salts Company Epsom Salts with eucalyptus. As I have a bathtub now and weather is getting colder, I will be having a bath instead of shower once a week and Epsom salt will be occurring regularly, I think. I was happy with this one.

Soraya Push It Up bust cream. It was okay as break in between my favourite Palmer’s but can’t compare with it.

The Chemistry Brand Inhibitif Body Serum. This was supposed to keep me hair-free for longer. Lasted me over two months spraying daily on my legs but didn’t see much of a difference.

Organik Botanik Manuka Honey body butter. Lovely nourishing enough to use for my hands and feet at bedtime. Got it as a present in gift set but it could be a purchase at some point as it was really good for my hands.

The Solution Hyaluronic Acid hydrating body lotion. This was a brilliant body lotion, my skin felt hydrated and smooth after it, I could really feel the difference when I used it and my teenage daughter loved it too. It is a higher drugstore price for 200 ml but I would repurchase again.

Hair

Boots Essentials curl creme. Nice creamy curl cream but need to be careful how much to apply or dilute it with water as it tends to flake a bit once dried. Otherwise great value for £2 and I would repurchase.

Tresemmé Pro Collection thickening balm. I used this to give my curls some definition while still keeping volume of my thin fine hair. I liked using this after washing, while my hair was still wet, I applied a coin (£1) size from mid length and brushed through with a plastic detangling brush or Denmann styling brush. I will repurchase when I see it again but first want to use up some other hair products I have.

Anovia Head on 3 in 1 conditioning spray. It was rather watery but served it purpose and allegedly repells head lice which is a bonus when having school children and working in school myself.

Make Up

To be honest, I did declutter some when I was moving but didn’t bother to take pictures or make a list of them.

July 2021 Empties

Welcome back to my monthly empties. This month I have a big one. Or at least that’s how it looks like when I look at my empties bag. Enjoy.

Skincare

L’Oréal Revitalift Filler 1.5% pure hyaluronic acid serum. I haven’t got anything from L’Oréal skincare in ages mainly because of it being heavily fragranced. This also has a fragrance although it is not like a heavy perfume but I really loved it and filler in the name really is how this made me feel when I used it twice daily. It was a bit sticky but played well with my other skincare and sunk in well. Great hyaluronic serum for very dehydrated skin. I would repurchase, if I saw it on an offer.

La Roche Posay Anthelios anti-shine invisible fresh mist SPF50. This is my SPF face refresh. I don’t like that it feels like I sprayed myself with a dust and also not sure how much of it actually ended on my face as even a small breeze makes go all around.

Dr Botanicals Turmeric Superfood Restoring Treatment Mask. Antioxidant moisturising mask, felt like a day moisturiser when applied. Liked it although when I used it once after I’d spent a day at the beach, it stung even though my skin didn’t look or feel burnt.

Avène Cleanance mattifying sunscreen SPF50. This balled up horribly, especially the first week of use. When I put on mask and then took it off, my face had a lot of white bits all around the area where the mask touched my skin. I had to use it up on my hands and legs. The only positive is that if I used around eyes on no make up days, it didn’t sting.

The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics is a lightweight watery hydrating serum, great for oily skin in summer. Will repurchase.

REN Ready Steady Glow daily AHA tonic. Lovely gentle acid toner. Liked having it but not sure I would run immediately to purchase a full size. To some degree I am rather over overusing acids.

Dr. Botanicals Grapefruit & Watermelon refreshing cleanser. It smelled lovely, refreshing and wasn’t stripping. I am guessing though that this 60 ml tub was like a tester packaging because having a runny facial wash cleanser in a tub is definitely not ideal and I did transfer it into a pump bottle from Cerave SA cleanser.

La Roche Posay Cicaplast soothing repairing balm. Really the best thing I had at home when I suffered sensitivity on my neck from wearing woolly jumpers in winter or when my arms got a bit sunburnt after I spent the whole day outside this summer (I had no peeling skin or rash that usually happen when I spend too much time in the sun). Already repurchased.

Acnecide Daily Moisturiser SPF30 for sensitive spot prone skin. I bought it for my teenage daughter but she gave it back to me saying she doesn’t like the feeling of it on her skin.  I didn’t find a problem with it as it is more like a lotion but I know it is individual although I did feel that it doesn’t sink in fully and I think that’s what she meant. It was good for every day for me but I did find the cons. I had it on a day when I went swimming at work. Admittedly, most of the chemical sunscreens sting when they leak into your eyes but this was on another level. All my coworkers were commenting how red my eyes are and I was beginning to think I would have to go home from work. I had to wash my eyes with cold water 4-5 times, till the burning and tearing of my eyes stopped. So I definitely don’t recommend this when you go swimming or will be doing exercise so could risk sweat mixed with this moisturiser leak into your eyes.

Skin + Me tretinoin 0.021%, azelaic acid 4%, niacinamide 4%. My monthly tretinoin treatment, happy with it, will continue.

Simple micellar cleansing water. Good old standard, works well for standard make up removal, doesn’t budge the waterproof.

CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser. I loved this. Not sure whether this was really smoothing, I actually found it a lovely gentle facial wash. Would repurchase but have quite a stash at home at the moment that I want to use up and I have other cleansers to try as well.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion. This is good for big cystic, inflamed acne as an overnight treatment to dry out. When I started using it, I would say a definite repurchase, especially as I have a teenager now. But now, I haven’t used it probably for a year and my daughter not as much, it laid forgotten on my shelf. There is still some of it left but it’s been for very long now, definitely longer than two years it says it can be used after opening.

Body

Bvlgari Omnia Paraiba EdT. Omnia range has gorgeous bottles and usually also gorgeous fruity smell by Alberto Morillas who  is probably my favourite perfumer . Paraiba is a discontinued passion fruit and bitter orange fragrance. It is not my favourite from the range but it is still beautiful summer scent if you like fruity. As an EdT, it doesn’t last long but this 40 ml plastic bottle doesn’t weigh much and you can easily pop it into a medium sized handbag to top up throughout the day.

Zara Indigo Mohair EdP. I bought it in an online Zara sale for half price which was £7.99 for 100 ml so a great bargain. This is an aquatic fragrance with a bit of rose, juicy pear and cedar wood (I like both of the latter notes). The sprayer on Zara is great as well as it doesn’t look cheap and the bottle was a thick teal blue glass although their EdP perform like EdT but I can’t really complain for the price and I could smell it on me for a couple of hours when overapraying. Great for work day as well as casual as it wasn’t an offensive one.

Burberry Weekend for women EdP. I blind bought it in January sales because it was half price. When I initially smelled it, I was disappointed but then I pulled it out in the spring just to try how I’d feel about it again and the mix of the spring bouquet with peach felt like it was made for the season. It’s nothing impressive and in the course of time I even got quite bored with the peach but it is again a nice everyday fragrance, good for work, non offensive fruity floral that makes you smell and feel clean. No repurchase.

Abbey Perfumery Amber Skies. I ordered a sample kit from them when I saw an advert pop up somewhere. When I smelled them, I realised they were actually inspired fragrances but I would say inspired with a class, they’re vegan and cruelty free, packaging doesn’t look that cheap as some other inspired ones and they also smell more refined. Amber skies is to me Alien by Thierry Mugler inspired, just a bit mor ambery. Not exactly my kind of fragrance but I used the sample.

Garnier Ambre Solaire Protection Lotion 24h Hydration SPF50. Finally a drugstore body sunscreen that is easily absorbed, doesn’t feel like my skin is choking thus made easy to reapply (if you remember). Liked it and would repurchase next year.

Soap & Glory Call of Fruity Summer Scrubbing. Beautiful summer fragrance, just the right scrubbiness, not oily or greasy, kind of jammy consistency (still traumatised from the Beauty Pie body scrub). Loved it and at some point will repurchase.

Zara A Book Liaison in Lisbon. I bought 4 fragrances from Zara during the winter lockdown and this was my favourite and I would say most complimented at work too, although I gave the French Pastry in Paris (too scratchy vanilla for my taste) and Mochi Atelier in Tokyo (to sugary for my taste) to my daughters (luckily, they even asked me whether they can have them). I would say together with the French Pastry one, it was also longer lasting than the others. Beautiful mix of plum, fressia and patchouli and the only one from them that I would repurchase.

Haircare

Syoss Air Dry Curl foam spray was a low strength foam which worked well for my thin fine curls. The one negative though is that there was still quite a lot of product left that I couldn’t get out anymore. I might repurchase at some point.

Happy Naturals 2-in-1 heat protection spray. I can’t really say whether it is a good heat protectant as I usually air dry my hair and occasional use of hairdryer is all heat styling I do but it did feel just like a water when I sprayed it in my hair.

Løre Legend treatment was a thick hair mask  used on dry hair for at least 15 minutes and washed of with a shampoo. The sachet wasn’t quite enough for my shoulder length hair so can’t say whether it is as good for scalp as it is for hair.

Garnier Hairfood Papaya & Amla 3-in-1 hair mask. Great universal use, especially for my girls’ hair where I use it as  a leave-in conditioner and detangling. Would repurchase any time and actually already have the banana one in my stash, though want to use up some other one in between.

For Your Curls shampoo. Non stripping shampoo, really good for curly hair. Have nothing to complain about but doesn’t make me singing odes about either. Maybe repurchase.

Make Up

GOSH Volume Serum mascara. At first I thought this mascara would be terrible because it doesn’t have a brush but rather a two sided comb where one side has wider teeth and the other one smaller. Granted, the first two times I applied, together with the freshly open wet formula were not what I’d call a success but it got only better from there and I actually really liked it for my every day looks. I felt like it gave me better control over which direction I wanted eyelashes to go. Maybe repurchase.

L’Oréal Paradise Extatic waterproof mascara. As a waterproof version, this was a bit drier and created less impressive effect than non waterproof version but it worked well as a top coat for my everyday mascara.

June 2021 Empties

Skincare

Beauty Pie Multi-Phase Purifying Cleansing Milk with Jeju bamboo grass, pine extract and soothing cherry blossom. I never liked cleansing milk but I loved, loved this one. It spread on very easily, and once in contact with water, emulsified perfectly.

Olay Regenerist Retinol24. I bought different retinol serums before I started tretinoin treatment last year so now used them for my body. Worked really well and I liked it but I think would be bougie to repurchase just to use in body care.

Geek & Gorgeous 15% Vitamin C serum. Nice watery serum at good concentration. Don’t buy if you don’t plan to use it up immediately as it is freshly made and then should be used within 3 months. Once you receive it, you need to keep it in the fridge as it starts oxidising rather quickly, once you start using.

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA. I am never quite sure about efficacy of lightening serums since I use tretinoin treatment and never saw much of a result before but like d that it was watery, good for layering and it seemed to work well with everything else I had in my morning routine.

Purito Galacto Niacin 97 Power Essence. Maybe it worked and has a list of good ingredients like galactomyces, niacinamide, bifida ferment lysate etc., but I didn’t feel like it is something I really miss or can’t be without.

Greek & Gorgeous Liquid Hydration 5% Panthenol + NMF toner. Lovely soothing and hydrating toner. Loved it and it is worth a repurchase when I order from G&G again.

The Revolution Copper Peptide serum. It was okay for the price of £8 if I remember correctly, but cannot compare with copper peptides from The Ordinary where I clearly could see and feel the results.

Murad Essential-C cleanser. Don’t see much of a point in putting vitamin C in a cleanser but as face washes go, this one felt lovely and not stripping. However, I don’t need to even check the price of it knowing that this one is expensive so probably would buy only when on offer.

Skin + Me tretinoin 0.021%, niacinamide 4%, azelaic acid 4%. Like my tretinoin, will continue.

Hylamide SubQ Eyes. Watery eye serum. Great for layering under eye cream. Plan to repurchase at some point.

Missha Essence Sun SPF45+++. It seemed a bit thicker but is spread and sunked in well.

Dr Botanicals Po Pomegranate Superfood Regenerating Sleeping Mask. Thicker but when used twice a week, didn’t cause me any breakouts, just made me wake up with lovely well fed skin.

Rabot 1745 Almond Chocolate lip balm. Lovely texture and scent. Plus the wooden packaging. I used it only when at home though as lip balms you have to use your fingers are a no go for on the go for me.

Body


Soap & Glory Call of Fruity Bubble in Paradise body wash and The Way She Smoothes body lotion. I am a sucker for the fruity and this was amazing scent for me. The body wash was lovely creamy, non drying. The lotion was a bit thicker but it did leave my skin lovely smooth and my 13- year old loved using it too.

Dr Carver’s easy shave butter from Dollar Shave Club. Gave nice smooth shave but I don’t feel like I can’t get any other nor live without it.

Dove Invisible anti-perspirant. I don’t think it prevented me from sweating pits but I didn’t smell my BO with it and really didn’t leave the marks so I would repurchase.

O’Keefe’s foot cream. It did keep my feet moisturised but not sure it would keep it soft, if I wore sandals every day for two weeks, especially with the amount recommended.

The Library of Fragrance Cherry Blossom. It is described as simple, subtle, singular for each day and everywhere and that’s exactly how I would describe it. Just a simple authentic cherry blossom that you can wear for work and won’t bother anyone. The only thing is that I am a heavy sprayer so went through this 30 ml bottle quickly.

Hair

Bouclème curl cleanser. I remember I liked it when I tried it before but this time around not so much.

Sea Magik 3-Seaweed Scalp Mud daily conditioning treatment. I used it only once a week when I washed my hair with a shampoo and it felt lovely and soothing on my scalp so I would agree with its claims.

Biovène Moroccan Goddess oil replacement hair wrap treatment. It did nourish and left my hair soft but find single use hair sheet masks very wasteful.

Empties May 2021

Welcome back reading me, with another month finished, I am bringing you another set of monthly empties. I admittedly don’t spend much time writing blogs anymore but my empties is something I just feel I have to do. Thank you for finding time to read me now that everything is opening up again (hopefully somehow permanently now).

Skincare


The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1%. This serum is my love. When I use it daily (in my night routine), I can see my skin soften and smooth and I like the slightly liquid gel consistency that is easy to apply and not oily nor sticky, not the mention the beautiful blue colour that doesn’t stain. I have another one in my stash already and will be repurchasing after that.

No7 Advanced Retinol 1.5% complex. This has a bit deceiving name as the actual percentage of retinol is 0.3% but should be the optimal amount for efficacy and skin comfort. It also has retinol optimiser that should slow-release retinol throughout the night and Matrixyl 3000 Plus which is a great slow-aging/anti-aging ingredient. As I use tretinoin on my face, just like with all the other actives, I used this  on some targeted areas on my body and I do feel rather happy with it.

Simple moisturising facial wash. The last time I had this, I felt it would be the last time I repurchased but I felt like I liked using it now again so I don’t know whether it as some differences between the batches.

Balance Me balancing face moisturiser. It is described as a gel-cream and I am not sure I would describe it like that but it was lightweight and a nice final layer of my skincare day and night. Not sure I would got out of my way to repurchase but I saw it on promotion when looking for an everyday moisturiser, I might.

Cerave Eye Repair Cream. Agreeable day eye cream, if you feel like you need it. Moisturised enough and wasn’t too sticky or causing congestion around my eyes. Maybe repurchase.

Mum&You Bright Eyes gel. Clear gel with a roller ball applicator. I used it up as I got it in a beauty box but didn’t really see a point of it to be honest. No repurchase.

Urban Veda Soothing Day Cream actually didn’t feel bad nor heavy so I was able to use it as a final layer in my skincare without getting breakouts, the only problem I had with it is that all Urban Veda products are heavy in essential oils so don’t really feel like I need a full size of it.

Skin+Me tretinoin 0.018%, niacinamide 4% and azelaic acid 4%. I am now using this as the only tretinoin treatment for my face as it is summer and this is kind of milder treatment than the one from Dermatica, to which I might got back to after the summer, depending how my pigmentation will show up.

REN Ready Steady Glow daily AHA tonic. Lovely gentle acid toner I used on my body and my body thanked me for it by skin that is soft to touch. I would recommend this to anyone who would want to introduce a gentle acid into their daily routine.

Simple Water Boost hydrating gel cream. This was my daughter’s empty. She said she liked it because it felt refreshing and didn’t feel sticky or heavy.

Body


Boots Live+Be body scrub. I bought it in Boots sale and I was a bit worried as it contains almond oil because I still feel traumatized by the Beautypie very oily body scrub that caused me terrible body acne, but luckily, this wasn’t that oily. It was a sugar based scrub so it gradually melted as I massaged it in. It was nice but I do prefer something more scrubby for my body that doesn’t melt in so quickly.

Nice Rêve de Miel deliciously nourishing body scrub. I haven’t used anything from Nice for a very long time but the scent of this is heaven and once I finish some of my stash I will have to place an order for body products with them.

Harry’s shave gel with aloe. Made a nice thick and creamy lather. Maybe repurchase.

The Body Shop strawberry lip butter. I used this at bedtime because it was thick and looked white on my lips. Especially when I started using it, the product seemed to be too thick and waxy but it subsided as the top layer of the product got used. It was okay but nothing to write home about.

RapidLash. This was a good serum when I started using it but after a while, I didn’t see any difference anymore so this opened tube laid forgotten in my stash for ages. I might revisit some day.

Haircare


Show Riche leave in conditioner. Luxuriously packaged rich conditioner, one pump was enough for my hair but I noticed my daughter who has thick curly mixed race hair, loved it.

Garnier Ultimate Blends Smoothing Hair Food Coconut and Macadamia 3-in-1 hair mask. Who doesn’t like these hair masks, especially for the price? Still have some in my stash and a definite repurchase in any of those “flavours”.

Colab Dreamer dry shampoo had a nice cotton and musk fragrance. It looked as a usual white powder when I sprayed it in my hair but it when away easily when massaged and brushed out and my hair didn’t look as matte as with Batiste. That being said though, I don’t feel like I have any particular opinion about it so that is that.

FYC For Your Curls refresh and detangle spray. I did like it as a refresher for my third day curls. I basically sprayed it into my hair at bedtime with a bit of water, brushed my hair through and put it in a high bun to sleep in and in the morning was another good hair day with defined but not weighed down hair. The only thing that discourages me from repurchasing is its limited availability. I would prefer if it was available in a local supermarket or a drugstore.

Philip Kingsley body building weightless shampoo Mayan vanilla & orange blossom. It was an okay shampoo, cleansed my hair well (it has SLS) but I don’t think I would go out of my way to look for it again unless maybe I would buy another TSV set on QVC like this one was part of.

Make Up

Empties April 2021

Welcome back to my blog and I hope you are doing well waking up to life after Covid now. Self-care was one of the words of the year and I hope you did well with it as well. I know beauty products might seem to be something for vanity but in my case, taking care of myself helped me love myself more which started way beyond the pandemic. I know there might have been days when you “couldn’t be arsed” as not going anywhere and seeing no-one outside my household but I did go to work throughout the last year, so I kind of still was “arsed”, although using way less make up, basically going off foundation so there’s been very little make up in my empties. Still, hope you’ll enjoy it if you read and have a great and sunny May x

Skincare

Facetheory Porebright N20 serum 20% niacinamide and azelaic acid serum. Light, almost watery consistency sinks in in seconds, depending what you applied before. I did find both N10 and N20 helpful at keeping me clear from breakouts but I didn’t see much difference for my daughter who is 13.

Whamisa Deep Rich toner. I didn’t like the light version but I actually did like this one despite the pond water smell. It moisturised well and I could see myself being willing to have it again.

The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA. I have it to my 12-year old daughter as it is gentle and I saw many reviews about it helping with acne, but she returned it back and I am not surprised because I forgot it is actually like a dry oil. So, as all the acids I used up since the last summer, I used on my body where prone to acne (chest, back and bum). Didn’t see much of a result, but I think this actually seemed to work quite well for my back as some acids are a bit drying and as I don’t use moisturiser in that area because of sweater and being covered with clothed it is rather easily congested but then produced more sebum and it seems that this regulated the sebum production on my back. Hope you were able to understand what I wrote in that long sentence😅

La Roche Posay Cicaplast lèvres barrier repairing balm. This was lovely but as I have a daughter that seems to finish one lip balm in a month, once she got her hands on it, I only saw an almost empty tube next so didn’t have much opportunity to play with it. She must have liked it though because she cut that tube and scraped every little leftover bit from it. Might repurchase.

The Body Shop Pollution Clearing mask with matcha tea. When I got this mask, I didn’t realise that it is basically a face scrub so it was kind of difficult to use it up and at the end, I used it once weekly for my chest and back. It smelled of green tea which I loved, just the shame about it being a scrub so no repurchase.

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%. This was a stable vitamin C derivate and during the months I was using it, it barely changed the colour. It was slightly sticky water gel can consistency that made skin appear brighter and glowy after use. As a basic vitamin c derivate it was okay but I am not sure I would repurchase.

Garnier Micellar Rose Water. This micellar water was good, although it didn’t work for waterproof mascara and it has rose fragrance but it is a really good value for money.

COSRX Galactomyces 95 tone balancing essence. This essence says it “helps nourish and hydrate the skin and over time making it appear more radiant and clear”. I am not sure it was only because of this essence but I would describe my current situation with skin as more radiant and clear. I liked most of the products I tried from COSRX and I wouldn’t mind repurchasing this one.

Lumene Sisu deep clean purifying cleansing oil. Plus of this cleansing oil is that it emulsifies well and I looove the scent of forest berries and conifers it has. The con is that it couldn’t go anywhere near my eyes because it burnt as hell.

Dermatica tretinoin 0.05%, hydroquinone 4%. Although I liked it and it lasted me longer than a month with daily use, I decided to take a break from this, at least till the end of summer and will be now using lower concentration from Skin+Me.

The Lab by Blanc Doux Oligo Hyaluronic Acid Calming+ Cream. This is supposed to be for sensitive dry skin, but I was using it in the morning and evening, had no problems or breakout. It was great for my post winter dehydrated acne prone skin as it locked in my skincare, provided great additional hydration and kept my skin nicely plumped up.

Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium is beautiful hydrating toner. I was keeping it for use in winter and I still remember that feeling when I started using it again like my skin was telling me “you make me happy”. This was still old formulation, I think new one is fermented. Will definitely purchase for winter again.

Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic acid booster. As much as I hate to admit it because this is expensive for my budget, it was really good, especially as it also contained licorice and salicylic acid, it worked well as a spot treatment for mild acne and this 5 ml mini lasted surprisingly long. Maybe purchase a full size.

Body

Ezitan Overnight Tan Body mask. Now this is the proper case of when you love the juice inside but hate the packaging. The mask was like moisturising gel that absorbed easily, didn’t stain my bed linen if I really waited for it to absorb fully and some more and if spread properly the finish was streak free. I also didn’t smell much of the biscuit on me. I also really liked the mitt that went with it as it really allowed spreading the self-tan everywhere equally. But the pump on this was completely defunct. Don’t want to be vulgar but it was like doing a full hand job for a one tiny squirt. That was also the reason this was in my stash forever as I needed to transfer it to some other empty container with a pump. Really shame, I don’t know whether they are still in business as I found it only on discount eshops now.

Eveline Night Lipo Shock Therapy slim extreme 4D. Of course, I don’t believe a cream could make me slim and cellulite free but I could feel how it heats up where I applied and my skin felt nice and firm the next morning. It is thicker but not greasy and it didn’t cause any body acne for me either, price was also under £7, so have nothing to complain about.

Yardley English Bluebell deodorising body fragrance. Sharp flower scent that, just like the most spray deodorants, didn’t last long. It was okay, but wouldn’t repurchase.

Dove shower mousse with argan oil. I like the scent of argan oil generally plus this mouse felt rich and lovely and I was actually quite surprised that it lasted for the three of us for three weeks.

The Essence Vault 140 is supposed to be a clone for Thierry Mugler Angel. Of course it is not as elegant as the original but I did love it the first two weeks when I would have said it is a beautiful multifaceted fragrance with cocoa done right. I might have overdone it because after those weeks, all I could smell was a ratched dirty patchouli. It was like falling into a big nest of old nettle spilling some cocoa powder. While I can still smell the multifaceted beauty in original (although I don’t want to risk buying it anymore), this one doesn’t do it for me anymore, even more I hate it with a passion now. I don’t like wasting product and I tried to use it up by using it as a base for other patchouli base fragrances layered over it but I just realised I am forcing something that doesn’t bring me joy and fragrances are about joy for me and my senses so I am throwing it away with around 1/5 left.

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula bust cream with vitamin E. My good old “always repurchase”. Always see and feel results with this with regular use.

Aveeno moisturising lotion with active colloidal oatmeal. This was a beautiful nourishing body lotion that wasn’t greasy or sticky and kept my skin nice and smooth. I also used it on my hands and feet before bedtime. My daughter also loved it because she kept using it. So for how much it was used, it also lasted rather long (2-3 months). I will repurchase around autumn/winter time again.

Haircare

Regaine scalp foam 5% minoxidil. Don’t believe this could help me anymore but as I have, I tried to use it up. I have one more left.

Grow Gorgeous hair growth serum. I wasn’t using it daily and I am not sure about thickness of hair but I do think regular massage with it helped my scalp and hair grew a bit quicker.

Make Up

B. Beauty eye concealer in light/medium. I liked it although I don’t use concealer every day. It brightened my undereye and didn’t melt into wrinkles around my eyes. I had it too long though and it oxidised.

Essence The Velvets in 04 You’re the Greytest. This was a grey matte  crease colour for my every day. It was rather crumbly with some fallout and didn’t last that much on my eyes but for the price it was okay.

Empties March 2021

Skincare

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA. As I say almost every month now, as I use tretinoin every day, I am using up all the acids I have in my arsenal for body. This was lovely gentle and hydrating lactic acid. This in my opinion, could be used every day and the price tag is amazing. I would repurchase this and probably will when I do my yearly Deciem shop in November.

Skin+Me  tretinoin 0.015%, niacinamide 4% and azelaic acid 4% daily doser. Like I said before, starting tretinoin was the best skincare decision of 2020. Love it, still subscribed.

Patchology Breakout Box. Didn’t actually have a chance to use anything from the box as I gave it to my daughter who is now suffering from hormonal teenage breakouts. He favourite were Detoxifying Charcoal Nose strips and from the dots preferred the blemish shrinking ones.

Jiinju Beauty Ginseng & Eucalyptus under eye mask. Nice cooling under eye patches. Sat well and didn’t slide. I would use them again but also wouldn’t go out of my way to get them as they also have a lot of packaging for 2 small eye patches.

Secret Key starting treatment essence. One of those YouTube made me buy it products. I do like a neutral hydrating starting essence/toner but I just find it overhyped and overpriced for what it is. And as I mentioned, buying from the UK, the price is comparable to Missha first treatment essence which feels better and has a definitely better plug on the bottle as well.

COSRX Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence. Classic in my skincare, probably one of the most repurchased now. It is supposed to be mainly moisturising but I also find it healing and soothing, good for my ageing breakout prone skin.

Patchology Moodpatch Chill Mode with soothing cannabis seed oil, reishi extract and rhodiola extract. Love Patchology patches and I loved these as well although they were sliding a bit. They feel nice, fit well under my eyes shape, moisturise and I like the light aromatherapy scent.

Patchology Moodpatch Keep Smiling soothing tea-infused lip gel with sweet violet, lavender and coconut extract. This is probably only the second or third lip gel I’ve ever used and it isn’t something I would usually look for if I didn’t have it in a beauty box but again, love the aromatherapy accent of Patchology products and once in a while it is a lovely treat for my lips.

Too Cool for School Pumpkin sleeping pack. Just a sample that lasted me 2 uses. I liked it as it was light and sank into the skin. Unfortunately, the brand cancelled themselves when bullying small YouTubers about their sunscreen.

Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Probio Ampoule with bifida ferment lysate and 10 lactic acid ingredients. I liked it but because it contains lactic acid and I use tretinoin, I couldn’t use it every day, although have to admit, at the beginning I forgot about and I did use it every day with tretinoin and after around two weeks my skin became very sensitised. Besides those two it is packed full of great ingredients but there also essential oils so not sure about using it on sensitive skin. My skin however felt and looked lovely and smooth this winter after I reduced the frequency of use. I might repurchase but not in very near future as I have a lot of products I have in my stash already. The ampoule is also 50 ml so using 3 times a week, it lasted me a very good time (7-8 months). For now, I am replacing it with Isntree bifida ampoule.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA. Again, I used it on my body and it made it lovely and smooth while feeling gentle. It was light, non greasy and felt moisturising. This was amazing and I will repurchase for sure.

The Ordinary Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%. Not sure about how I know antioxidant works but at the age of 40, I am definitely better safe than sorry. Despite feeling like a dry oils, it should be oil free and it made my skin looking radiant with healthy glow.

Purito Centella Green Level Unscented Sun. I didn’t mind using it despite its much lower than advertised SPF and emptied the tube just before the warm weather arrived in the UK. Won’t repurchase for obvious reasons.

Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference moisturising eye cream. As much as most of the eye creams are redundant, as my age goes up, I am more willing to be looking for a better eye care. I found it better than most eye creams I’d tried before so I might repurchase it in the future.

The Lab by Blanc Doux Oligo Hyaluronic acid foam cleanser made a fluffy, creamy and rich lather that gently but effectively cleansed my face, perfect for the second cleanse. I loved it. The price is also not horrible even if it is a little bit over £10 that is usually my top price willing to spend on the cleanser. Possible repurchase.

Body

Bioderma Atoderm ultra-nourishing anti-irritation cleansing oil. This was a beautiful, lightly foaming cleansing oil that I used in the shower and as my morning face cleanser. Really gentle, washed off well, felt lovely. I first bought a small 250 ml bottle and then this big 1 litre that lasted for the three of us for around 3-4 months of daily use. This will be a repurchase the next winter.

The Solution Retinol smoothing body lotion. This should be a body lotion for skin showing signs of aging, age spots and dullness as it contains retinol, arbutin complex and shea butter. I liked that it absorbed quickly but I didn’t notice it would hydrate more that other body moisturisers I used nor my age spot vanishing but maybe if I used it constantly over a longer period of time. I would repurchase for that placebo effect but only if on offer again.

The Solution Collagen perfecting body cream. I liked this one as it was a very light, fast absorbing lotion that still kept my skin smooth but I can imagine it would be too light for someone with dry skin. I would repurchase, if I saw it on good offer.

Balea facial wax strips. I have pale skin and dark hair so always need to keep up with a bit of facial hair in the lip and chin area. These were nice as they seemed a bit gentler than what I usually used. Might repurchase one day after corona, when I go to visit my family again and pop into DM drogerie markt.

Wilko men’s shaving foam. I bought a few of it for my children to add when they make slime during the year of lockdown but they gradually got bored with it so this one just stayed behind until I decided to use it for its original purpose. Nothing special, definitely prefer shaving gel bit still usable and better than just to waste it.

Hair

Biovène hydrate protect hair wrap treatment. It was interesting to try this mask as it is like a sheet mask for hair but I don’t find that kind of delivery system the best for long hair as I couldn’t properly control how much which part of my hair would get plus there is too much rubbish so I prefer the traditional way to mask my hair.

Philip Kingsley Moisture Balancing Conditioner. I did like it as it gave me the right amount of moisture and I didn’t overload my hair either. The subtle vanilla and orange blossom scent didn’t last long although I like fragrance in hair products. Philip Kingsley is on pricey side for me to repurchase but I might do so maybe repurchase.

Batiste De-frizz dry shampoo. I just really didn’t like this shampoo as it had a heavy white cast and despite the claim, I actually found my hair frizzier. I found the way to use it though for my curly hair and that was use it at night, brush it out, spray my hair with water and use a bit of curly cream and then make a bun up for sleeping and my hair had curls refreshed and looked okay in the morning (better than usual on the third day after washing). Don’t intend to repurchase.

Tresemmé Colour Shineplex no foaming cleansing conditioner. I use it in the middle of the week and found it a bit heavier for my fine hair, will have to look for something else although still don’t know what after my beloved Elvive low shampoo got discontinued and there are only alternatives for African hair in drugstores which I find rather heavy for me.

Make up

It is difficult to use up make up for the obvious reasons as the only thing I make up for the most of the last year were my eyes and brows.

Empties February 2021

Skincare

Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Liquid Gold Extreme 6%. Although glycolic acid isn’t for everyone, I wouldn’t call 6% extreme although it is Nip+Fab’s more potent formula toner. It is also fragranced as probably all N+F products so I definitely wouldn’t recommend to sensitive skin. As usual, now using tretinoin nightly, I used it 3 times a week on my body as a chemical peel and it did keep my arms KP free and kept my body acne away.

Purito Centella Green Level Safe Sun. The infamous one. I bought all three Purito sunscreens last summer and then the scandal about it not been SPF50 came out. So I decided to use them up in winter, especially now with lockdown (although I still had to go to work). Although it sinks in well and feels lovely once it does that, initially when I applied, it just slides over my face so I felt like that hype about was a bit unfounded (when I ignore the SPF, just the feeling on my skin). I found it enough to use as my moisturiser and low SPF in one. But I have oily skin.

The Ordinary Argireline Solution 10%. I had a bottle of it last year and I thought I wouldn’t repurchase but sometimes you miss products unexpectedly and if they have a price tag like TO, it’s easy to repurchase and I put 2 in my shopping bag when I did a big order with Deciem in November and this is the first one of them. It softens dynamic facial lines and I use it around my eyes, lips and forehead straight after cleansing before putting anything else because this is literally like water.

Real Barrier Extreme Cream should strengthen skin barrier. I found it too much for my face but it worked well for my neck. However, when combination of scratchy woolly jumpers, retinol and corona made skin on my neck burnt, the only cream that didn’t sting from what I had in my stash was La Roche Posay Cicaplast.

A.T. Snail Extract Intelligent Mask. I used it as my past step in night routine. It had that snail product moisturiser texture. It wasn’t greasy which I liked but it pulled and I often woke up in the morning with rolled bits of it in my face and neck.

Petitfée Gold EGF eye patch. I liked these and even if they were fragranced, not as much as the ones I had before. I wouldn’t mind repurchasing and I probably will.

Nivea MicellAir waterproof make-up remover. Good old favourite and a definite repurchase.

Body

The Essence Vault 142 is supposed to be a dupe for Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir which I never smelled so can’t really compare but I was surprised how well it lasted on me. I have to admit, first time I sprayed it, I thought “This is not a woman’s fragrance!” as it has a very strong smoky, slightly leathery opening (probably guaiac wood) and it felt like I had a cigarette and tried to cover it up with a fruity scent. At first I used it only at home as I wanted to use it up and the drydown was still likeable to me but it grew on me and my nose got more accustomed or less sensitive to the smokiness of it and I wore it as my day fragrance as well, I kind of felt feminine but with an edge. However, I did purchase some new fragrances in January sales and this one didn’t give me such feeling of happiness as smelling my new ones so I don’t plan to repurchase. However, 100 ml for around £12 with a code I used, it was a good purchase and it lasted really well, if I sprayed it in the morning, I could still smell it on me on some points of my body and  on my clothes still the next day.

Thisworks Deep Sleep Pillow spray. I really liked spraying this before sleep and so did my daughter, although I am pathologically such bad sleeper, so all I could say is that it helped me maybe sometimes.

Thierry Mugler Alien. I got this sample to compare it with the “inspired” fragrance from The Essence Vault. This is really strong jasmine and the strength and sillage of this perfume is really reminiscent of the 90s that is difficult to find nowadays. It is rather strong for me, I am still not sure whether I like it.

Borotalco Invisible no aluminium salts anti-white marks and yellow stains. I liked it because it had no particular smell so no clashing with a perfume and it really didn’t leave any marks. Would I purchase it? Maybe but I think I would prefer something like a roll-on or gel than stick besides the fact that it is only available on Notino in the UK.

Nursem hand cream. Moisturised hands nicely, absorbing quickly but still leaving kind of protective film. I kind of liked the mix of the essential oils in it as well. It would be maybe repurchase.

Champneys Spa A Little Pick Me Up citrus blush enlivening daily scrub. I loved how this smelled of warm spicy lemon. It would be good as a daily body scrub but as I use a physical once a week, it wasn’t enough for me. However, I would be still willing to repurchase is I saw it on good offer.

Prismologie Indigo Interlude foot cream with oud an sapphire. It was an okay moisturiser for my feet, I am not sure that our in it was my jam as it really smelled like a rotting wood in the forest to me.

Hair

Make Up

Seventeen Stay Time in Natural. I bought a few things when Seventeen was discontinued in Boots. I loved it as lit really lasted well with semimatte finish close to natural on me, depending on how much coverage I did. Really shame it’s not available anymore.

L’Oréal Volume Million Lashes Excess. I loved all L’Oréal mascaras I’ve had and this one was no different – it added volume without sticking lashes together. At first, I thought the rubber brush is giant and I did smudge my eyelid a bit on first use but it was great after that. Would repurchase, if I wasn’t a cosmetic slut and also, while this corona situation and wearing facemasks lasts, I use ordinary mascaras as my first layer and then it is waterproof for me.

ModelCo Instant Radiance concealer. I liked using this concealer for undereye area in colder months only as it melted on my oily skin quickly in the summer. Also used only a tiny amount just to brighten up the area a bit otherwise it would melt into my fine lines. It had lighter coverage which was fine for me but not really for someone with really darks circles. It was okay but nothing I would run to repurchase.

Empties January 2021

Another month in lockdown, another empties post. Hope you are all doing well, despite this year starting different to what we would prefer. Don’t want to give any advice as I know everyone is different as well as their circumstances in life, I just hope for the light at the end of this tunnel soon.

I am bringing another empties and as usual, my daughters helped me use up some of it, especially my older 12-year old who’s getting into skincare because of those hormonal changes on her skin. I also included some products that still have a couple of uses in them as I don’t want to hold onto them for another month, if I finish them within the first week. Enjoy x

Skincare

Superdrug Foot Pampering sock pack with hemp seed oil. This one was similar to the honey one from the last empties but it seemed to me my heels felt a bit softer after this one.

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Daily 2%. I could say this has a lovely scent but don’t think that’s a very good thing especially for an acid toner, even though allegedly gentle. As I use tretinoin daily and avoid exfoliants on my face, I used it up mostly on my body. However, as I try to use as little cotton wool as it is convenient for me, I applied it with my hands and when I tried using it nightly, my body skin was fine but skin between my fingers where it gathered when I applied, was getting red and irritated. When I went back to using it every other night, my hands were okay. I suspect the combination of acid and the fragrance might have been the culprit.

Guinot Masque Dynamisant Anti-Fatigue or instant refreshing mask was a creamy mask containing lactic acid. I used it on my face once, around 2 months after I started tretinoin and then I was punished by lesson why tretinoin and acids shouldn’t be used on my face on the same day although initially it felt like a hydrating mask that lightly refined irregularities on my skin. I used the leftover as a body mask before shower.

Too Cool For School Five-in-One Egg Mellow Cream collagen infused firming moisturiser was a bit too rich for my liking although OK for occasional winter day. It was just a sachet sample that lasted me two uses.

Urban Veda Turmeric + Botanics radiance day cream. This was a sachet sample but because it is a cream for dry skin, I used it sparingly on winter mornings so it lasted me three days and luckily, didn’t cause breakouts. Urban Veda products are usually heavily fragranced but I can’t comment on this one as I had corona when I was using it and couldn’t smell anything.

Petitfée Black Pearl & Gold hydrogel eye patch. These kinds of eye patches help me sort out my under eye area but works the best when used consistently. I had Q10, gold and now the black pearl. Don’t see much difference in effect except for the colour and fragrance. Gold one was my least favourite as it’s fragrance was quite strong for eye area but I would repurchase Q10 and black pearl. Also, these should be used within 2 months of opening so you should really try to use them at least every other day.

Time Bomb Youthful Juice secret oil was supposed to mimic natural sebum to help keep skin dewy and wrinkle free. I don’t know about that because I didn’t use it for my face once as it takes ages for me to use up a face oil and I honestly hate skincare open more than a year even though this one should be okay for 36 months. I used it on my body and quite honestly, didn’t see any difference.

The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%. It is not the strongest vitamin C serum and I don’t think it does much to brighten my pigmentation but I surprisingly love it even if it is in a light oil formulation. I mix it with a couple of drops or TO Resveratrol which is of similar formulation and use it in my morning routine after essence before sunscreen. I love how radiant but not greasy skin looks throughout the day and I already repurchased in TO November sale.

Facetheory Porebright N10 serum with 10% niacinamide and azelaic acid. This is brilliant for keeping my skin relatively breakout free (still had one or two during my monthly cycle). This is my second bottle and after I finished it started using the N20 version which should be 20% concentration to compare so will see which one looks better. If you want to purchase, make sure you use it, not hoard because it Facetheory products have expiry of 1 year from the date they were made, advantage is though that they always send a freshly made badge when you order (or at least I always got when I ordered) so it’s a year from your purchase.

COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch. Something for “juicy” buggers. I didn’t use it much anymore but I have a twelve year old with crazy hormones now so I gave a few left over patches to her. Seemed to help her from touching a volcano on her face and prevented another one that wanted to come out from growing. At the moment have acne rescue pack from Patchology where there are some pimple patches so we’ll see how that will work.

CLE Oxygen Foam Cleanser was very lovely and fun product. You pumped out gel that you spread over dry face and it changed into very fine foam you washed off. It cleansed well but gently. My daughter also loved it. 120 ml finished quickly within a month with me using it once a day while my daughter used it twice a day. I got it for a very good price through Latest in Beauty and we really liked it however full price of £23 is too steep for a cleanser for me.

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG. This is a good product to slightly reduce puffiness around the eyes. Not sure about the pigmentation as that’s not what I used it for. Already repurchased.

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution. I managed to get this just before it went permanently out of stock but I mostly used other products for my acne until I showed this to my daughter who used it daily so I could see she liked it. It was nice as it wasn’t drying and it did help with breakouts to some degree.

Ashanti 15 Shades of Pink pomegranate face cream. I don’t know why I got this cream as it is for dry skin, I think it might have been in a beauty box. The way this shea butter based cream is whipped makes an illusion of lightness but once on skin, it is just grease. Also, it has a degree of grains like it happens with shea butter. It had a lovely fragrance though and I used it up on my hands and feet at bedtime.

Bioré Blue Agave + Baking Soda whipped nourishing detox mask. I did like this as it isn’t drying and in the summer felt very cooling but I noticed since I use tretinoin, it made my skin a bit sensitised, if I used it more than once a week, so just once a week for 5 minutes and it worked well when I had some breakouts plus cheap as chips.

Dermatica tretinoin 0.05%, hydroquinone 4%. One of my monthly tretinoin treatments. Felt a bit up and down about both of them, especially at the beginning, at the moment I am at the point where I love them. To me, it seems like this 15 ml lasts longer than month as well.

Body

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula massage lotion for stretch marks. Good old Palmer’s. Really good although I like the firming lotion more. I noticed though, that my 12 year old liked using it after her shower.

Avon Perceive Soul for her EdP. Just a tiny sample of an Avon flanker. Very fresh with white flower tones. Actually a really nice everyday fragrance, more for spring or summer. Lasting power isn’t the best but considering, all Avon fragrances I’ve had cost between £6-£10, around 4-5 hours isn’t bad. I liked it but I used to buy a lot of Avon fragrance as my sister was an Avon lady but it got to the point that I got tired of the brand.

Chanel Coco Mademoiselles. Sample of the perfume. I know my taste in perfume is probably too boring and mainstream but for me this is probably the only Chanel perfume from those that I smelled I would be willing to buy. It still feels heavy for me when sprayed initially but it dries nicely and you don’t need a lot to last long so the price tag kind of justifies.

Queen of Shaves sensitive shave gel. I am not sure whether I would call this a gel as it was more like a cream or a hair conditioner which means that it gave good slip and didn’t dry my skin nor made it feel tight or stingy. I bought it for £2 or £3 in Savers and I would be willing to repurchase for that price although have other products to use up at the moment.

Super Facialist Vitamin C Skin Renew cleansing oil. I quite like this oil as it emulsified and washed off easily, it worked for removing make up, although waterproof mascara or heavier make up needed dedicated eye makeup remover. If I removed it over the sink, it gave me a bit blurry eyes, if I washed it off in the shower before the water got hot at the beginning (why waste water), my eyes were fine. It had that fake citrusy fragrance some vitamin C products have but I quite liked it here and didn’t bother me. For the price point, I would say really good cleansing oil.

Haircare

Cantu Complete Conditioning co-wash. I really miss Elvive low shampoos that seem to be discontinued (there is only one and I was never able to get it in shops around me), even more so after using this one. This didn’t seemed to get rid of build-up nor make my hair refreshed, quite the opposite, I sometimes felt itchy, with dirty scalp and slightly greasy hair. I was just happy my daughter has a lot of hair so it was done relatively quickly and I don’t plan to repurchase.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day dry shampoo. I heard a lot of good reviews of this shampoo and for once, they were all right – this was brilliant, it removed oil from my hair perfectly even without using a brush which is great when you have wavy/curly hair and want to prevent frizz on your third/fourth day. Just massaging got rid of all white residue on my dark hair and created also good lift in my roots. Plus the fragrance is perfect. It is more expensive dry shampoo for my taste but I am really tempted to buy a full size of it.

Garnier Hair Food Aloe Vera and Coconut 3-in-1 hair mask. It is a thinner mask that can be used as a conditioner, mask and leave-in conditioner which I used it for most of the time for my daughters. Wouldn’t mind using again but at the moment have other from the Hair Food range.

Tigi Bedhead Ego Boost split end mender leave-in conditioner. Light leave-in conditioner I liked using for my thin fine hair. Wouldn’t mind using again although have other ones I need to use up. Also, shame this doesn’t have the beautiful sunny fragrance other products I used from Tigi had.

Make Up

Collection lasting gel nail colour in Blackjack 2. I don’t usually wear much nail polish because it makes my already weak nail weaker so it’s been a while since I used this but I remember that despite its name it always chipped on me very quickly, often even on the same day which is a shame as I loved the beautiful rich black finish it had.

Empties December 2020

Skincare

Skin+Me 0.012% tretinoin, 4% niacinamide, 4% azelaic acid. I like this concoction and still also use Dermatica as I cannot decide which one I prefer more. Skin+Me starts with lower dose of tretinoin so I’d probably recommend it to people who never used retinol treatment before. Whichever, so far I feel like starting tretinoin treatment was the best skincare decision of 2020.

The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid is a very pleasant and light watery serum that sinks in easily and doesn’t leave sticky residue. I already have replacement but want to use up some other hyaluronic treatments I have in my stash before I got back to this one.

The Ordinary Amino Acids + B5. One of my favourite products from the Ordinary which I used this year less than in 2019 but is still a firm favourite as it makes my skin healthy looking and feeling. Already have another one in my stash.

A313. Before I started tretinoin, I wanted to try some other available alternative and as you do, when you spend too much time on YouTube and Amazon, I came across this pomade. The moment I opened it, I knew I would never used something like that on my face. As it has a consistency of an old fashioned thick, sticky ointment that smells of vinegar. As I didn’t want to completely waste my £14 I paid for it, I used it occasionally 1-2 times a week on my body as the weather got colder. Even though it says it contains synthetic vitamin A, I feel like I was duped and my skin felt smooth after using it only due to how occlusive the pomade is. Definitely no repurchase.

Merumaya Gentle Exfoliating Toner. It is a gentler lactic acid toner but probably because of the combination with fragrance (which I don’t like), my skin felt just a little sensitised even if I didn’t use it in the same routine as tretinoin. I used it up on my body.  Although it isn’t bad as a daily acid toner if I forget that fragrance, I think you can now easily find cheaper alternatives.

Botanical Lab Indian Clay non-foaming cleanser was my morning cleanse for the last 2-3 months. It works well because it’s creamy but rinses well with water even without using a wet cloth. I didn’t try to remove my make up with it but I don’t think it would be possible without a cloth and you need to spread it over the face rather quick as the Indian clay and kaolin cause it to start drying rather quickly so you wouldn’t want to drag your face and that’s also the reason I wouldn’t use it on eyes to remove make up either. Otherwise it cleansed well without drying the skin but also washed off well without causing me breakouts (I tried to use some cream cleansers in the morning and some of them clogged my pores). It is sold in Superdrug for a reasonable price so it could be a possible repurchase.

Missha Time Revolution the first treatment essence RX. How disappointed I was with the Secret Key first treatment essence being just a glorified water for face, I didn’t have the big expectations for this one, however I liked it much more from the first use. The glass bottle and the delivery system was much better for controlling how much essence I’d dispense. It softened my skin and added a bit of much needed moisture. I really loved it although it isn’t something that is necessary and I couldn’t live without. Unfortunately, I have another Secret Key, as I had bought one regular and one with rose but I wanted any of these again, it would be definitely Missha, especially as here in the UK, the price for the both is comparable.

Simple Protecting Light moisturiser SPF15. This was simple but really everything that my skin needs in a day moisturiser (although if this had SPF30+, would be ideal). It is cheap (again often on half price offer for £4), worked for me well in the summer as well as now in the winter, sits well on top of my layered skincare. I can see myself repurchase at some point in the future.

Indeed Retinol Reface was a mix of retinol, bakuchiol and peptides. It had consistency of a light moisturiser that I used nightly on my neck and decolletage and really liked it for that. It is something I would definitely repurchase but at the moment will be replaced by the similar product from No7.

Indeed 10balm soothing cream. The word balm usually doesn’t make me feel like it is something I want to use on my face but this was nice relatively simple cream with ingredients like honey extract, propolis, royal jelly and arnica extract etc., no fragrance. I loved using it at night after my tretinoin cream especially now in winter. My skin always felt smooth and nourished and not at all greasy or congested in the morning. Again one I will repurchase at some point although at the moment have other night creams and got myself La Roche Posay Cicaplast.

Simple Moisturising Facial Wash is one of those I liked the most as far as SLS based cleansers go. I have another one in my stash but after that it is maybe repurchase as there are so many cleanser I want to try that don’t have SLS. While I still might like it, especially in the summer, as I age, I feel I need something less dehydrating but still cleansing well so I wouldn’t get breakouts.

Body

Sanctuary Spa body wash. The scent of this body wash didn’t seem as musky as in bath milk or body lotion but it still isn’t a something I would purchase for myself.

Yves Rocher Oui a l’Amour is a lovely mix of flowers, sweet spices and woody scent and it lasted very well even for an eau de toilette.

Neal’s Yard Remedies lavender & aloe vera natural deodorant for sensitive skin. To be honest I didn’t think much of this fragrance as I am not that keen on lavender as a fragrance and didn’t feel like it did much for me as a deodorant but my daughter liked it so if I ever repurchase, it would be for her. I will keep the beautiful blue glass bottle though.

Soaper Duper hand cream with coconut water and kukui oil. Lovely handcream that moisturises well without being heavy and greasy with a pleasant gentle fragrance. Wouldn’t mind repurchasing.

Prai Ageless throat & decolletage crème. I heard a lot of good things about this but I found it was always pilling when I applied it on my neck but it didn’t pill when I used it as a body moisturiser and it felt nice and firming in that case. Still don’t intend to repurchase.

Oriflame 5-in-1 nail serum was a runny gel to apply on my notoriously week and thin nails. Not sure it did much for me and I gradually stopped using it and now although there is a bit of it left, it is old and thick, probably dried out. To be honest, I kind of gave up hope, I used different nail supplements, stopped using nail varnish and started wearing gloves all the time when washing up which helped a bit but I think my nails will simply always be rather weak and brittle.

Superdrug Honey & Almond foot nourishing sock pack. I don’t believe much in those nourishing socks and this one wasn’t different but I had a moment waiting for the checkout in a Superdrug so I grabbed three with different ingredients. I left it on longer than 20 and yes, it did moisturise my heels to a certain degree but I think consistent care is better at preventing hard skin on your heels than trying to make it softer by an occasional mask.

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter formula body scrub was lovely and delicious just as the other products from the line. It was thick but it did spread well over wet skin and washed off well as well while being scrubby enough for the body use. Possible repurchase.

Byre Semi Skimmed body wash. This technically isn’t an empty as I still have 3/4 of the bottle but had to put it in a different container as this bottle fell down and the lid broke. This feels lovely and conditioning but it isn’t a big sensory experience and the scent is like a mix of an old-fashioned soap and milk that went sour which might not be to everyone’s taste. I did like it though and wouldn’t mind trying other two milk body washes.

Bioderma Atoderm shower oil. I loved this. It went quickly because I used more to get the cleaning I wanted but my skin felt amazing and I sometimes used it as my second or morning cleanse as well. It has a gentle flowery scent that I didn’t mind. I already repurchased 1l bottle.

Sanctuary Spa hand cream. This was well moisturising, slightly richer than most hand creams I use but still good absorption but then again, I didn’t like the scent of it.

Hair

Beauty Pie Super Healthy Hair shampoo and conditioner. I liked these both. The shampoo didn’t strip my hair but washed well and the conditioner was rich and nourishing almost like a mask. And the fragrance was amazing, made my hair smell lovely and fresh for days. I would repurchase but at the moment, I don’t have Beauty Pie membership.

Make up

Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm in Rose was a perfect everyday lip balm giving a touch of colour to my lips especially this year when my lipsticks didn’t get much used because of the facemasks. I already have another one in slightly different shade.

Sport FX Game Changing waterproof mascara. The mascara itself seemed quite thick and gloopy but as most waterproof mascaras it dried rather quickly as I started using it daily (I had to start wearing waterproof mascara because in this cold weather, wearing a mask caused my eyes steam up and by the time I got to work, my ordinary mascara melted and bled down) so at first it tended to stick my lashes into spider legs, then made good lashes for 2-3 weeks and then it was too dry to make any visible effect. What was brilliant though is that it was double ended and the other end had what was called Game Changing Miracle Remover which to me seemed to be an oil make up remover that you applied with the provided spoolie and it melted the waterproof mascara really well (I also tried it on a different waterproof mascara). I also liked the 3D waterdrops design. Despite the thick formula and short bristles, I would say maybe repurchase here.