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 sentenceūüėÖ

La Roche Posay Cicaplast l√®vres 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

Biov√®ne 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.

Tresemm√© 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.

Petitf√©e 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’Or√©al Volume Million Lashes Excess. I loved all L’Or√©al 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.

Petitf√©e 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.

Bior√© 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 cr√®me. 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.

Empties November 2020

Welcome back to my monthly empties. This month there is more just because I used some travel sizes as there’s no point in hoping to travel much any time soon and I hung up on some of them for too long. As I now have to wear a mask at work all the time except for my lunch break, my make up use is minimal and I actually live the opposite of pre Covid when I didn’t use make up maybe once or twice a week. Now I use make up only on weekends, even if I stay at home just because I want to so it is a bit difficult to use up make up items for me now.

It is what it is at the moment I just hope you’re making the best of it and keep healthy mentally and physically wherever in the world you are. Stay strong and take care of yourselves and your loved ones x

Skincare

Skin in Motion Cool It mist. I am not the biggest fan of face mists but I do fancy them in the summer and I did like this one – it had a nice mister that wasn’t spitty distributed the mist well in one spray and was really refreshing pick me up when hot, especially as I kept it in the fridge. Wouldn’t mind having it again.

Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads. I don’t really see much point of these as I don’t feel like they would really clean my face and I had better chemical exfoliants but I know some people used to like these pads. Not for me though.

Merumaya Mineral Cleansing Paste. Another product that’s not really for me because I don’t really use physical exfoliants anymore although this one is very fine but it still felt harsh on my face as I use retinoid (didn’t use it in the same routine) and it was too fine for my body to do anything. But I guess it could be for someone who likes very fine physical exfoliants.

Elizabeth Arden Daily Youth Restoring Eye Serum were basically ceramide capsules with oil inside. I did see a bit of difference in my under eye area and as one capsule was more than enough for both eyes. However as it is an oil I wasn’t able to use it every day with my oily skin. I might repurchase if I see it for a good price again.

Etude House Sunprise mild airy finish SPF50 PA+++. When I used it the first time in the summer, I thought “It’s okay but doesn’t feel exciting”. The reason is that even if it feels very comfortable on my skin, I felt like I had a pale face and I am a light skinned person so I am not sure how bad would someone with darker skin look like if using required amount. Another thing is that even if it says that it is a mineral sunscreen for sensitive skin, when I tried to use it around my eyes, it stang a lot. However as I started using it more and we got into the autumn, I actually started loving it so it is a possible repurchase but not immediately as I have quite a few to open and use up in my arsenal already.

The Ordinary Alpha Lipoic Acid 5% is unfortunately discontinued concentrated antioxidant. As there was no chance I would be able to use this within 6 months from opening when used only 2-3 drops 2-3 times a week, I also used it on my body and I really loved it that way. It did sting on my face a bit but it didn’t on my body. Shame I can’t repurchase anymore.

Simple Ultra Light liquid moisturiser with thyme, zinc and witch hazel. I originally bought it for my daughter who is 12 and is beginning to experience hormonal acne thus developing a bit of interest in skincare that is as oil-free as possible. It is light but I think as it is liquid and watery it was a bit fuff for her to apply and as she says it also didn’t seem hydrating enough for her. I used it up and I did like it as unlike my daughter’s 2 to 3-step routine (cleanse, moisturiser/sunscreen), I layer quite a few steps and I liked this watery consistency for when the weather was hot or my sunscreen felt a bit heavier than my liking.

Bare Minerals Skinlongevity Vital Power Infusion serum isn’t bad – it contains niacinamide so it brightens and some ingredients that smooth out skin but it is not heavy but it still doesn’t make me go “Wow, this is how I want to spend ¬£48!” 7.5 ml sample lasted quite long though.

Jurlique Radiant Skin foaming cleanser. I loved it as it is that kind of cleanser that makes my skin perfectly, almost squeaky clean in a jiffy without making it dry. I had a sample like that a few years back and wanted to purchase a full size but I think that at that time Jurlique renamed their products so I wasn’t sure if I would buy what I wanted. Now I know but despite it being a brilliant second cleanse, I don’t feel like spending ¬£23 on facial wash. On the other hand, unlike me, my 12- year old wasn’t as impressed by it as me as she asked me whether we have “some other face wash as this one doesn’t foam much”.

African Extracts Rooibos Misting Toner. Alcohol was the second ingredient and there were also some plant extracts so when my skin was sensitised, I definitely felt it thus this is nothing for dry or sensitive skin. I would say it’s not for oily skin either but I used to like toners like that before. Not for me now though.

Simple eye make-up remover was good but I still like my 2 phase Nivea better and it is the same price.

Nip+Fab Dragon Blood Fix plumping mask. I didn’t waste this as a 10-minute mask but rather used it 1-2 a week as a sleeping mask. Skin felt nicely plumped up in the morning and as it is oil-free, it was especially good as a bit of extra treat in the summer.

The Ordinary EUK134 0.1%. Water-free, high-potency antioxidant I used in my morning routine by mixing a couple of drops in TO Amino Acids. It has an orange-brown colour that doesn’t stain skin (unless you drop it on a fabric) and gives a light oily finish that sinks in well and doesn’t interfere with the following products. I liked it but I am now replacing it with vitamin C treatments I have and I also repurchase Pycnogenol but I might buy it again if Deciem do again 23% off in November next year.

Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for lips. I loved using this, it hydrated my lips well and cuticles, I used it especially at night time and woke up with lovely luscious lips and still felt a tiny layer of it on. And I know my 12-year old also loved it because she also kept coming for it all the time and when it was about to finish, she told me to repurchase which I might do but because 15 ml is £12, I first want to try 100% natural lanolin nipple balm that is £7 for 40 ml plus have some other lip balms I need to use up.

Body

Weleda Wild Rose pampering body oil. This was part of a beauty box I had bought. It had nice scent if you like rose but I wouldn’t buy body oil myself as daily use of body oils gives me body acne and itch.

Love Beauty and Planet Coconut Oil and Ylag Yang tropical hydration shower gel. I really like the scent of this shower gel, made me feel like being on a tropical island with fresh breeze on. Like I wrote before, will have to try more from this brand.

Yardley Lily of the Valley was one of my picks in my Latest in Beauty monthly edit and I have to say, I hated it. It smelled exactly like a cheap 80s cologne. I didn’t reach for it even to use up when at home. Luckily, my older daughter who keeps coming to use some of my stash more and more often, did use it for school days.

Laidbare Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow! Hair minimising moisturiser for legs and body. It should be used daily but I used it only on days after shaving my legs. It was very runny like water gel and I do think it slowed down the regrowth but I am not sure I would repurchase this particular product. I did however buy some hair minimising products from Deciem so I am curious how those will work.

Sanctuary Spa Foaming Bath Soak. Don’t have a bathtub so used it as a shower gel and it worked well, bubbled up nicely, cleaned up without drying up. A bit more mature kind of fragrance than I usually prefer but nice for me in winter. Don’t think I would want to buy a full-size of it though.

Sanctuary Spa body lotion. Nice relatively light lotion that hydrated well with the same fragrance as the bath soak. Again, because of the different fragrance preference, I wouldn’t buy a full-size.

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter formula bust cream with vitamin E. This is my longest ever used product that I’ve used for many years and will repurchase as long as I’ll be able to get it. Nicely firms up my chest without causing body acne. Love it.

Holika Holika Aloe 99% soothing gel. The first Aloe gel that I really loved and might repurchase. It felt very refreshing in the skin a the fragrance was very subtle.

Hair

Osmo Deep Moisture Intensive Deep Repair Mask. I bought this mask in March just before the big lockdown as it was a very big 1200 ml tub with an inexpensive price. It is very rich and moisturising mask but using didn’t excite me at all. I know it might be superficial but I want my haircare and body care to also give me a sensory pleasure but this just smelled like raw petrolatum. I’m not saying I would never buy it because it is good for dry damaged hair on budget but it is like a medicine you have to force yourself to use it.

VO5 wet look styling gel. I bought it after Wilko discontinued their wet look gel and I didn’t like it – it is heavy, sticky and makes my hair dirty that I had to wash it. Stopped using it after I found other we like and it laid unused for who knows how long.

Tresemm√© Pro Collection Sulphate Free System Colour Shineplex no foaming cleansing conditioner with camelia oil. It was gentle and smelled nice but my hair felt cleaner when I used Elvive low shampoo. I did repurchase though because it looks like L’Or√©al discontinued those low shampoos I liked from themūüė•.

Superdrug Argan Hair Therapy pre-shampoo elasticising hair treatment. This was supposed to be a dupe for Philip Kingsley Elasticizer but I just didn’t get very excited about it and kept forgetting using it so it took literally a year to use up this small 200 ml tub on three curly heads.

Sport FX Body Build dry shampoo. I liked it – didn’t leave my hair full of white cast and my hair had a nice volume. Possible repurchase.

Make up

No make up this month.

Empties October 2020

Skincare

LU√Č by Jean Seo Balance is a 4 ingredients serum: aqua, sodium hyaluronate, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate. At ¬£14.50 for 30 ml it is a bit pricier for an ordinary hyaluronic serum but still manageable and good to try if you’re sensitive or prefer simple formulations.

Simple Micellar Cleansing Water was one of the better ones as far as micellar waters go and it also had a great price as I bought it on half price promotion in Superdrug. I might repurchase but I don’t consider micellar water something I cannot live without although prefer it as my first cleanse in the summer because using oil to cleanse every day usually causes breakouts for me.

Skin&Me is my second doser of prescription tretinoin 0.009%, niacinamide 4% and azelaic acid 4%. My purging or maybe maskne finally started clearing in October and I started seeing positive results in my skin like smoother and more elastic skin, better than I ever had before except from any active ingredient. I also tried Dermatica besides this which start with higher percentage of tretinoin.

Dermatica tretinoin 0.025%, hydroquinone 4%. I also took advantage of free trial month with Dermatica prescription and started using it after 2 months on Skin&Me. What I did was I used Skin&Me 4 times a week and Dermatica in between. I have to admit I started seeing quicker results in smoothing skin but I also gradually started seeing the negative effects of tretinoin that I didn’t have before like at first peeling of skin on my nose. I am still unsure which one of these I will stay with although I know that hydroquinone shouldn’t be used longer than 4-5 months. I am thinking about writing a blog comparing these two but who knows whether I’ll really get to it.

Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads. I know these  were quite popular a few years back but I don’t think they really are a product for me, as they are a cleansing pad if I use them before washing my face (I have the need to wash my face but also get breakouts if I don’t, no matter what some people might advise), I will wash off glycolic acid so it won’t have much time to work and if I use it to tone, I feel like I am maybe leaving on my face something that shouldn’t stay there. And now that I use tretinoin in the evening and vitamin C in the morning, don’t really have much space for acid in my routine as I want to avoid getting my skin sensitised so I used this on my body.

Merumaya melting cleansing balm. To be honest I am not the biggest fan of Merumaya’s fragrance but I don’t mind it that much in this balm. It melts make up well but it stings my eyes as hell so it isn’t good as all over cleansing balm which I consider as a minus even though it emulsifies well.

Whamisa Organic Flower Original toner. I really hated the smell of this toner so I’m glad I had only travel size. It was like pond water mixed with solvent. It was hydrating but so are many other toners that don’t pong.

We Are Kind Natured Shea&Aloe calm&soothe face wash. This was like a baby wash for my face – gentle with chamomile scent. Maybe repurchase.

Harry’s face wash with peppermint was a creamy wash with fine exfoliating particles. As I don’t use physical exfoliants on my face anymore, I started using it on my body before shaving but then I noticed my 12-year old likes using it once or twice a week on her face so I left it for her.

Yves Rocher Elixir Jeunesse repair + anti-pollution + restructuring care. I liked this cream even though YR skincare is fragranced. When I first used it I thought “oh oh, this is feels a bit heavy” but when I woke up in the morning, my skin didn’t have any greasiness and was smooth and plump like it had a nice drink and food.

Body

Radox Feel Uplifted shower gel with pink fruit and basil. Lovely scent, nice shower gel and 500 ml at around ¬£2, what’s not to love.

Soap&Glory Call of Fruity Summer scrubbing. I love Call of Fruity range, every time I am using something from it, I keep sniffing. I also loved the consistency of this body scrub which was a bit like a sorbet with exfoliating particles. I already ordered another one.

Cien shower gel with eucalyptus and citrus oil. At first, when I started using it, it seemed underwhelming in comparison with shower gels I ever used, I even told myself like a snob that this is probably that “no thrill supermarket value shower gel” but it did grew on me and I began liking its fragrance although I had different expectations from it when I was buying it, seeing eucalyptus on the bottle.

Yves Rocher Raspberry EdT. I loved having these 20 ml bottles in my handbag not only to smell better when I was out of the house the whole day but also the fresh fruity fragrance was great, if we had to use a public toilet and the smell there wasn’t very appealing, if you know what I mean.

Senses by Navia Glamorous natural deodorant was the last I had from the brand and another disappointment. It had a lovely smell but after just 2 hours of moderate physical activity, it just wasn’t anywhere. I was using it on days when I was at home.

Mum&You Anytime Anywhere hand cream was slightly richer but still absorbed relatively quickly and had just a subtle touch of fragrance. I would rate it well but I don’t think it made me excited enough to repurchase.

Nivea Q10 Firming + Good-bye Cellulite gel-cream didn’t make my cellulite disappear but like I had said before, I like using it on mornings when I have time to do dry brushing my body.

Palmer’s Coconut Oil anti-oxidant firming lotion with marine seaweed. I really liked this thick gel-cream as it kept my skin firm and wasn’t greasy or heavy.

SenSpa relaxing bath soak with organic lavender and essential oils was alright although I am not a big fan of how essential oils smell but this was a lavender that was alright. My daughter loved the scent though.

Hair

Dr Organic Hemp Oil 2in1 shampoo and conditioner wasn’t drying and I wouldn’t rate it badly but it just didn’t make me excited enough to talk about it much or want it back.

Garnier Ultimate Blends Nourishing Hair Food Banana and Shea 3-in-1 hair mask. I love the versatility of this mask and I did use it all three ways, love the smell also and already repurchased this and other from Hair Food masks.

Love Beauty and Planet muru muru butter and rose conditioner. I loved both the shampoo and conditioner from this range. It was thick and nourishing without weighing my hair down and I liked the rose fragrance it had that could smell in my hair for days after using it. Would like to try more from this brand.

Make Up

Empties September 2020

Skincare

Amie Naturally Kind Spring Clean Deep Cleansing Mask. I would say this was a basic clay mask that was drying to that cracking your face tight point and it had also mint extract in it which I could theoretically loved in the summer but it’s definitely nothing you would want to put on your face if you’re sensitive or sensitised. It could be something a teenager would love but I already expect my clay mask to be a bit more sofisticated.

Sukin Super Greens cleansing oil. It’s that kind of oil that doesn’t emulsify so you have to remove it with a wet warm washcloth. Plus, I had to make sure it wouldn’t stay on my face longer than 2 minutes because it would cause me breakouts. I tried to use it also for cupping massage for my cellulite and I provide you with TMI when I say it caused pimples on my bum (luckily sorted with daily use of salicylic acid). It wasn’t easy for me to use it up and have no intention to repurchase.

Patchology Aquaflash daily gel moisturiser was like a drink of water moisturiser for me when it was unbearably hot and my 12 years old loved it too. I didn’t find it enough for my dehydrated skin now at the end of September though. It had fragrance also and I could definitely feel it when my skin got sensitised from tretinoin.

Pyunkang Yul essence toner. At first I felt like it was great, especially for a toner that doesn’t contain hyaluronics or other things but I noticed that after a few weeks, my skin began feeling a bit rougher until I started using hyaluronics so I definitely prefer the Klairs toner I had before this one.

The Ordinary “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1% was my absolute love. I am cheap so almost ¬£29 was a bit lot for me but absolutely worth it. I like the consistency that was like viscous gel water so I just used a drop for each part of the face I wanted to put it on. For now though, I have other night serums I need to use.

CeraVe facial moisturising lotion was great, I especially used it around my eyes and neck, not so much on the face in the summer as it is for dry skin, although it wasn’t heavy, I didn’t want to risk more breakouts with daily use and it did feel a bit heavy in the summer.

RapidLash eyelash enhancing serum. I liked it as it made a difference in the length of my lashes but didn’t make it thicker. I did use nightly but after getting back to work keep forgetting. I have another one.

COSRX Centella Blemish Cream. This was really good spot treatment that worked in a gentle way to soothe my breakouts. I used it at night as it was a bit like sudocrem leaving white film on the skin. I might repurchase but would like to try some other alternatives as well.

Merumaya treatment toner was what I would call a “neutral” toner without actives, nice as a preparation step between cleanse and serum. Not that keen on its fragrance but I wouldn’t mind having a full size.

Body

Aldi Ocean Activ 48 HR anti-perspirant deodorant. Aldi’s spray hybrid that I was given. Not my favourite fragrance, made me choke when sprayed but it doesn’t fight with a perfume. Average supermarket deodorant, no repurchase.

Aldi True Activ 48 hr. I actually liked the scent of this deodorant, like fruity blossoms although besides the fact that there is no Aldi near my house that I would be doing regular shop, I don’t feel tempted to go and repurchase this.

Police To Be EdP was rather generic fragrance that was light and good for everyday use in the summer but I don’t think I would want to repurchase as it didn’t seem exceptional but I can imagine I would love it in my late teens or early twenties.

Little Butterfly London Dewdrops at Dawn body lotion for babies with cucumber seed oil, cocoa butter and oat kernel extract was a luxurious thick body lotion that luckily didn’t cause me any body acne despite being a bit difficult to spread evenly on my skin because of its thickness. I don’t think I would repurchase as its normal price is ¬£23.50 and I am not really willing to spend more than ¬£15-20.

Senses by Navia Fruity. Finally their deodorant with a working mechanism so I digress my saying their sticks don’t come out. It was also a lovely summer fruit with powder scent, unfortunately it didn’t last that long so also wouldn’t repurchase.

St Tropez Self Tan Classic bronzing mist is the classic selftanner with colour guide so not only do I recommend for you to wait for it to dry before you get dressed but also don’t use light coloured clothes or bed linen. It looks relatively natural on me, unless I used too much, then it gave me deeper yellow/gold tone that doesn’t look well on me. Also it looked occasionally slightly patchy when fading but I usually use selftan only in the summer for my legs so it wasn’t that horrible but still don’t feel tempted to repurchase.

Radox Feel Revived lemongrass & mandarin shower gel. I love everything mandarin in body care or fragrance and loved this one.

Kamill hand&nail cream. Classic handcream, a bit thicker and richer than an average handcream so worked nicely in the time of countless handwashing and hand sanitiser applications.

Oriflame Masquarade EdT. I loved this scent which to me smelled like woody blackberry. I might repurchase at some point but at the moment have lots of others to use.

Superdrug Deep Action spot clearing body spritz was kind of my holy grail for body acne unfortunately, I found out when I wanted to repurchase that Superdrug don’t sell it anymore.

Soap & Glory Heel Genius foot cream. This was not only moisturising but it also had fruit acid and it kept my feet nice and smooth, not a crack all through the summer.

Nivea Men Sensitive shaving gel. It was goodl old classic for shaving, creating a nice rich lather for shaving.

Hair

Klorane dry shampoo with oatmilk, gentle formula. Can’t say it was my favourite, rather powdery with heavy white cast and fragrance reminded me of the 80s hair products.

L’Or√©al Paris Elvive Colour Protect 3-in-1 low shampoo no foam cleansing cream. I like L’Or√©al low shampoos as they are gentle but don’t leave my hair greasy and my hair smell lovely. Any of them is a repurchase for me.

XHC styling hair gel wet look. I like using this gel on my daughters’ thick curls because I like the formula that isn’t sticky and doesn’t make the hair crunchy. I find it heavy for my fine thin hair though although I do occasionally use it very lightly to control the frizz.

Make Up

Eyeko Sport catch and curl waterproof mascara did exactly what it promises – it did curl my lashes up and although it didn’t create mega volume, it grabbed each of my lashes and I tested it hundred times in the swimming pool. I had three in a row now so want to try some other waterproof mascara now but might return to it in the future.

L’Or√©al Volume Million extra black. Loved this mascara, especially after I started using RapidLash. Not only gave my thin eyelashes extra volume but lengthened them as well. There are many more mascaras I want to try but might come back to this one at some point again.

Yves Rocher Volume Elixir mascara. I found it more lengthening than volumising. It was okay but nothing that would make me want to repurchase it.

I Tried Shaving Subscriptions

There are numerous options for hair removal. I can’t afford expensive laser treatments in salons and find waxing painful and also I am prone for ingrown hair after waxing so I find regular shaving still the best option for my body hair removal. Shaving subscription services started popping up more and more recently so when I started seeing them offering trial kits at good prices, I decided to give some of them a go. I paid for all of them with my own money and judged them by my own needs and experience.

Harry’s

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Harry’s trial package cost me ¬£8.95 and contained a pouch with razor handle and a razor head, 60 ml travel size of shave gel with aloe, 60 ml travel size of shower gel with scent Stone and a bonus full size face wash with peppermint. It was delivered in bulkier package by Hermes so you would need someone at home to get the parcel for you.

You can choose from three colour options for your razor handle which are blue, green and orange. As this club is more men oriented, these colours are not the Bright shades and I would call the blue shade navy and Green khaki or olive but they probably kept the names simple for their main target group. The razor handle has a good weight and sits well in my hand and it probably also helps sitting better on the skin getting a close shave. Razor has 6 blades that slide on the skin easily enabling smooth shave, no hair left behind. The razor hand is bendy, flexible over all the different places where I can shave as a woman.

The face wash contains scrub so it is not something I would really use on my face but I would recommend to use it on body prior shaving, especially now in the summer as it is with peppermint. Shave gel gel s nice creamy lather and I am yet to try the shower gel which again is more masculine spicy citrus scent. I can use it on me perhaps having a cheeky thought about men in the shower but you can give it to a man in your lifeūüėĄ

When buying, you fill in a questionnaire about the frequency you shave and they can recommend you monthly or bi monthly but you can choose how you decide, you can also postpone your delivery or cancel any time and if you change your mind, you can resume your plan any time you want. They have also wide range of products in their shop, not only for shaving but for personal hygiene but as I mentioned, they are men oriented fragrances and regime.

It was also easy to cancel my subscription by clicking through my membership and I could also easily delete my bank card from the system. It’s also easy to rejoin by a click of the button so really no strings attached.

Subscription is also a bit expensive one as it cost £19.

I couldn’t find out whether their products are cruelty free so I am guessing they might not be.
Despite it being a men’s shaving club, I was really happy with the handle and razors and how close my shave was leaving very smooth skin so, plus I really like how easy it was to manage my subscription in comparison with others so for those reasons I might consider repurchasing razors in the future.

FFS Beauty

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This is a definitely a shaving club that’s targeted to women because both design on the shaving handle and the products you can buy with your razors which not only a pre-shave exfoliant, shaving cream and post-shave balm but also natural deodorant in aluminium packaging. Again, you fill in a questionnaire about frequency of shaving and you can add other products to your order. I just wish it was easier to get into their shop if I just decided to shop for their other products.

For ¬£7.95 I received a beautiful rose gold handle with my name engraved on it, 2 razor heads and a cover for the razors. The heads have 6 diamond-coated blades. The handle is smaller, it did give a smooth shave but didn’t glide as easily as Harry’s razors and I even nipped myself lightly on my knee. It says that it is a bikini blade and would confirm that because it fitted and worked in that area well if you know what I mean.

I like also ethics of the company as it is cruelty free, the cream tubes are made from sugar cane polyethylene that is more sustainable and you can even recycle the blades. They recommend to save at least 12, put them in the FFS box and send them back to their address. And, to reduce the carbon footprint, the handles are made 500 yards from their fulfilment warehouse.

Although I didn’t find the blades and handle as good as Harry’s (maybe have men’s hands), the esthetics and ethics of this brand really impressed me. Plus their delivery was quick (2 days from placing my order) and box is flat and long so it can easily fit through the letter box hole so you don’t have to be available for the delivery which is a big plus for me. The cost of the subscription is ¬£9.

However, when I wanted to cancel my subscription, I had to send a cancellation email and had to email back and forth until that was done so it was a rather faff and wasn’t able to delete my bank card from their system.

Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave club is another men focused subscription and they offer a wide range of men’s toiletries. The company supports charitable projects like It was also a generous one as for ¬£5 I received a handle and 4 razors however, subscription costs ¬£21.85. The design is nice and sleek and again, it fitted well into my hand (does that mean I have manly hands?).

6-razor blade head gave nice close and smooth shaving although I do think that I liked the Harry’s one just a little bit more.

Estrid

Estrid is a Swedish shaving subscription for women and their trial kit also costs ¬£7.95 and subscription cost ¬£9.95. The kit contains a handle with a rubber slip for better hold (you can choose from 4 pastel colours), a shower holder and two 5-blade razors. The handle looks like plastic but it’s actually sturdy steel. The razor head has aloe vera and shea butter lining and this gave me such a great lubrication that I couldn’t believe, especially when going around my intimate area. The handle was also a better fit in my hand that the one from FFS.

It came in beautiful box that fitted through a mailbox as well so it’s not something you have to wait for the delivery guy. It came with a lot of messages about body positivity and it’s also something the brand promotes. The proceeds support women’s charities. Besides the razors, they sell shave butter, body lotion and shower oil.

Unlike FFS, you can can easily cancel it online as well as resume your subscription just by clicking through.

The only problem I had was that 3 weeks after my shipment mail, my trial kit still didn’t come so I had to contact them via email. After three days, they replied that looks like the first one got lost but they were shipping another one for me so it took a month from my purchase till it finally got to me. However, overall impressions are good and this would be my choice for female shaving subscription.

Empties August 2020

Hello everybody reading my empties, hope you enjoyed your summer as much as it was possible in the current situation. This month I found myself with a bigger pile of empties than I expected and my bag was full a few days before the end of the month so I am a bit earlier than usually.

Skincare

Nivea Double Effect eye make-up remover has been in my empties numerous times. Reliable, good value. For me the best eye make up remover that I always buy under £2.
The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics. I love it. On first sight doesn’t look like much and it’s basically like water but it makes my skin beautifully plump without leaving any residue at all. I didn’t have any dedicated hyaluronics because I had serum which was a mix of vitamin C and hyaluronic acid and niacinamide with hyaluronic acid but my skin still felt a bit rough and once I added this to my routine, it got plump the way I like it. Will definitely get it for next summer.
Rodial White Brightening Mask multi-acid mask for uneven tone. It was a medium strength acid mask. It made my skin brighter and smooth but as Rodial products go, unless you buy on offer, you can always find much cheaper alternatives that work the same if not better.
Holland & Barrett Vitamin C + Hyaluronic Acid brighten and restore serum was a typical slightly slimy hyaluronic acid serum with added sodium ascorbyl phosphate. My experience with vitamin C is that it does brighten the tone of my skin but doesn’t do much for my hyperpigmentation so I use it more as an antioxidant. I Also didn’t find it to be enough hydrating for me as my skin still felt a bit rough and only after adding TO Marine Hyaluronics to my routine, I felt the plumpiness and smoothness I expect from using hydrating serums or toners.
Bior√© UV Aqua Rich watery essence SPF50+ PA++++. I could say that this was a good SPF, especially in comparison with all those sticky, white cast leaving sunscreens that are basically not really good for face but there is BUT. It contains so much alcohol which I can imagine helps all those chemical sunscreens penetrate the skin quickly and admittedly it also made it a sunscreen that’s easy to reapply in the afternoon but it also made me feel like those alcohol laden toners that I used to like when I was a teenager, sensitive, slightly burning and after a while oils coming out more. Even though I layer a lot of light skincare products underneath, I needed a light moisturiser as a buffer before this sunscreen except for the very hot days when my skin is very greasy anyway. I not saying I would never buy it again but I do think there are some better out there.
Secret Key starting treatment essence rose edition. If I am honest, this is a product that I don’t think does anything for me other than it serves like watery toner after cleansing. I used it every day morning and evening but didn’t really see any changes after I started using it. I don’t intend to repurchase as I don’t consider ¬£20 justifiable for its effect. Also have an ordinary version that I am yet to open but for now I intend to replace it with Missha to see whether that one will have any effect.
Botanical Lab Neem Leaf gentle wash. It has salicylic acid in the middle as the 10th ingredient. It has sodium lauroyl sarcosinate instead of sulfate so it is not that drying although I don’t think it would be suitable for dry skin as well as sensitive skin as there are some essential oils. It wasn’t bad but it didn’t make me feel like “wow, I need it back in my life”.
Bior√© baking soda cleansing micellar water. Finally finished this one. It was ok, remover the face make up and a light eye make up but not so good for removing mascara or eyeliner thoroughly. To be honest, I don’t know why I bother buying micellar waters because I struggle to use them up as I prefer other make up removers that I don’t use with cotton wool. Although it did work well with my fluffy microfiber make up removing cloths. I don’t intend to repurchase. I have one more micellar water in my stash I really need to use up and then will see whether I’ll ever buy any other.Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Sensitive gentle pads. I didn’t feel like these did much for my skin and I had a bit difficulty to find a place for them in my routine but my 12-year old used it occasionally as she has emerging acne and she said it did help her with it. I don’t see myself repurchasing though plus I have a version of it in a bottle that needs to be used.
Skin + Me is customised skincare prescription that I started in July as they had a free trial, I just had to pay ¬£3.50 for prescription. My first month prescription contains tretinoin 0.006%, niacinamide 4% and azelaic acid 4% in non-greasy, non-comedogenic cream that is supposed to be applied every day. It is a low concentrations so I didn’t see it a problem to start with in the summer and I liked that it has niacinamide and azelaic acid as those are both ingredients I wanted to incorporate in my skincare, just was searching for AA that wouldn’t be as expensive as Paula’s Choice nor as thick as The Ordinary’s one. So far the only effect I see is my purging jawline and once when I used it with brightening mask in one routine, I got sensitised. I will review again next month and want to wait three months of use to fully make my opinion about it.

Body

Altruist Sunscreen SPF50 is a chemical sunscreen that doesn’t feel sticky, that’s why I like it for my body but it’s still heavy for my face.
Nivea Intimo wash lotion with aloe vera and lactic acid. 50 ml lasted me a year just because I didn’t really use it for washing my intimate part but for shaving it. It was nice and gentle, giving a nice slip.
MOR Snow Gardenia soapette was a soap with beautiful fragrance however, I used it up for cleaning my make up brushes.
Original Source tingly mint and tea tree shower gel, I bought it at the beginning of the summer remebering it always being in Caroline Hirons empties as a cooling shower gel and oh my god I was glad I had bought this big 500 ml bottle! This gave my body that mint cooling tingle! Not something I would enjoy in winter but I will have to have again next summer.
DDD Chafing Care cream. Barely used. All I can say I found it useless unless you reapply it regularly throughout the day, which I am not really into especially as I like walking a lot outside in the summer and it is impractical and nuisance to me, I rather put shorts underwear on under my skirt.
Urban Veda Rose + Botanics Reviving Exfoliating Facial Polish. As I don’t use physical polishes on face anymore, I used this travel size for my body. As all Urban Veda products, it was highly fragrances but as I used it on my body, I didn’t mind it.
Imperial Leather Fijian Waterfall & Zesty Bergamot Revitalising shower gel had a beautiful scent, I think Fijian Waterfall was really great name for it as it did make me feel like I am on an exotic island holiday.

Hair

Nexxus Encapsulate serum caviar had a caviar beads in oil gel that mixed all together when pumped out of the bottle. I didn’t find it sufficient for my nor my daughters’ hair.
Love Beauty and Planet Muru Muru Butter and Rose blooming colour shampoo. I liked the rose fragrance in it that lingers even though the rose fragrance isn’t something I would be looking for. It contains SLS so it does wash some colour from my hair despite it being for colour treated hair. I didn’t find it stripping though and would be interested in trying more from this brand.
Charles Worthington Salon at Home Volume & Bounce body booster mousse did add volume when I styled with it but my hair also got very frizzy after an hours or two outside. However, it looked quite good on second day so it is 50-50 product for me.

Make Up

MUA Glitter Eyeliner in City of Gold and Sequin Queen are old and dry and don’t think MUA still make them but it lasted well although it needed to top up colour for opaque glitter line. Still good value for money.
MUA liquid eyeliner in shade 3 which was medium metallic brown. Again an antique from MUA (happens when you have makeup in multiple locations). Not really a shade that would suit me but cheap eyeliner and great longevity even through the heat and sweat.
Marc Jacobs highliner gel crayons. Warm brown shades that don’t suit me well. They are great long kasting eye pencils but as most gel liners dried out within a few months of opening.
Avon Glimmerstick Diamonds Eyeliner in Brown Sugar was a good eye pencils but the lid fell of it in my bag and it dried.