September 2014 Empties

Exciting news from the shopping ban front: I’m now down to the last of the little shampoo and conditioner packets in my beauty stash, which means that the purchase of new shampoo and conditioner is on the horizon! Hooray! If you have some new recommendations that I simply must try, please feel free to leave them in the comments!

As you can see, I’ve been a busy beauty blogger this month! I’ve got lots of empties to report on, so let’s get right to it:
September 2014 Empties
Bumble & Bumble Surf Crème Rinse Conditioner: This conditioner is supposed to encourage the natural, beachy waves in your hair. The package recommends letting your hair air dry. When I used this product as directed, paired with its coordinating shampoo (see below), it made my hair extra wavy. When I used it as a regular conditioner and followed with my usual heat styling, it still brought a little wave to my hair, in a very pretty way. I’d say this is a useful product if wavy hair is a look you’re after!

Bumble & Bumble Surf Foam Wash Shampoo: This shampoo lathers up satisfyingly well and left my hair feeling super clean. However, in addition to bringing out the waves in my hair, it brought out the frizz. Followed by the appropriate frizz fighter this could be a real winner for days when you want to rock beachy surfer girl hair.

Bliss Vanilla & Bergamot Soapy Suds Body Wash & Bubbling Bath: I am a huge fan of this sweet scent, having fallen for it when I discovered the Bliss body scrub featuring this combo. Unfortunately, I felt like this body wash left something to be desired. I had to use a lot of it (like eight or nine pumps) to get enough of a lather to wash head to toe and it didn’t leave me feeling all that fresh and clean. I will not be repurchasing this one.

Murad Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask: This has been a staple in my skincare stockpile for years. It’s a great brightening mask that is perfect for combination skin.

JR Watkins Natural Apothecary Lavender Hand & Body Lotion: I’d call this an average body lotion. I like it best as a hand cream. It’s a little thick and takes a while to absorb, but isn’t all that moisturizing. Plus, I found it occasionally clogged pores on my body.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths: As you can see, these have made it into the regular lineup in my household. I love them. You can read more about them here.

Fekkai Salon Glaze Clear Shine Rinse: This at-home glaze is supposed to add shine and boost color. It made my locks feel extra strong and healthy, but did little to improve shine and made my hair incredibly flat. As a big Fekkai fan, I found this one quite disappointing.

Jergens Ultra Healing Extra Dry Skin Moisturizer: If you’re on the lookout for a more moisturizing body lotion now that fall is upon us, run, don’t walk, to your nearest drug store and snag a bottle of this stuff. I love it! It absorbs so fast, has a mild but delightfully clean scent, and leaves skin super soft. Winner!

Degree Motionsense Shower Clean Invisible Solid: I’ve been using this for months, and it’s still a solid deodorant, but I’m feeling like I need a change. Any suggestions for top-notch antiperspirants would be much appreciated!

Disney Resorts H2O+ Grapefruit Bergamot Conditioner: This little conditioner came home with us on a recent trip to Disney World, so it makes sense that it basically smells like vacation. It’s also a really high quality conditioner, and left my hair noticeably stronger – I lost far fewer hairs in the shower while using it!

Disney Resorts H2O+ Grapefruit Bergamot Shampoo: As with the conditioner, I loved the smell. It has a weird, almost gelatinous texture, but got my hair very clean and left it shiny.

Pantene Pro-V Fine Hair Solutions 2 in 1 Volume Shampoo & Conditioner: This is one of those bottles that has been sitting in my shower forever. It’s a perfectly decent 2 in 1 product, and it is a wonderful volumizer. It can be drying, so I would avoid it in the colder winter months. Other than that, it smells great and is perfect for days when you’re short on time.

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August 2014 Empties

It occurred to me the other night that I’m nearly done with eight months of this yearlong shopping ban. Eight months! I have to say, there have been some very tempting moments recently. Every time a new Allure Beauty Box comes out I feel a strong need to purchase it, and some of the new fall nail colors are just beautiful! But, I’ve come this far; what’s four months more? Now, a look at what I cleared from the bathroom shelves this month:
August 2014 Empties
Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment: The Fresh Sugar balms are all amazing, and this is probably my favorite. It has a nice soft rosy tint that instantly adds polish to any look. It’s also very moisturizing and gentle on sensitive skin.

Number 4 Lumiere d’hiver Clarifying Shampoo: By design, this shampoo doesn’t lather up very much, which I dislike in a shampoo. It did clean and clarify my hair and scalp, and left very clean and shiny hair in its wake. However, I found my hair got a bit greasy within a few hours of using it. It also has sort of an earthy, spicy scent that I didn’t love.

Colgate Cavity Protection Flouride Toothpaste: Plain ol’ Colgate. What can I say? It’s a quality toothpaste that always leaves my mouth feeling clean.

Clarisonic Refreshing Gel Cleanser: I was impressed with this fresh-smelling cleanser right away. Though it’s formatted for normal to oily skin, I didn’t find it to be drying, and it left my skin soft and clear, whether or not I used it with my Clarisonic brush.

Crest 3D White Multi-Care Whitening Rinse: If you’re into whitening your teeth – and really, who isn’t? – I find that using a whitening rinse really helps improve the effectiveness of your overall plan. I really like this rinse – it works well and has a great flavor, leaving you with nice fresh breath and no burning mouthwash sensation!

Boscia Super-Cool De-Puffing Eye Balm: I buy this again and again. I don’t know how I would get by without it, especially on hot summer days and whenever I don’t get enough sleep. It feels amazing and de-puffs quickly. Get it!

L’Oreal EverCreme Deep Nourishing Masque: I’m so glad I tried this sample! Such a winner. This deep conditioning masque left my hair so soft I couldn’t stop playing with it. It also has a rich, cocoa-buttery scent that I adore. I will definitely be repurchasing this!

Jergens Daily Moisture Dry Skin Moisturizer: I’ve been trying to use up this jumbo bottle of lotion for the entire year! Don’t get me wrong, this is a solid moisturizer that I would highly recommend. It doesn’t have much of a scent, absorbs quickly and doesn’t clog pores. It’s lightweight enough to use in the summer but moisturizing enough to use in the winter. An overall winner; I’ll just get a smaller bottle next time!

July 2014 Empties

Another month has come and gone, and other than last week’s Baby Lips slip, I’m chugging right along with my shopping ban. My shower is starting to look rather empty, which is not something I’ve been able to say in a long, long time. Here’s what I used up during the month of July:
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Oscar Blandi Balsamo di Jasmine Smoothing Conditioner: If you like the smell of jasmine, which I definitely do, there are few conditioners on earth that smell as amazing as this one. It also leaves hair shiny and soft, and really helps keep frizz at bay. My husband also really liked using it as a shaving cream – it’s apparently very easy on the skin!

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths: Since I just wrote about these, I won’t go into much detail here. Suffice it to say that they work well and did not last long!

Clarins Water Purify One-Step Cleanser: This is another quick and easy cleanser – just pour some on a cotton pad and swipe it across your face. I’ve returned to this refreshing waterless cleanser again and again over the years. It can be a little drying, so I’d recommend it to those with oily skin, or as a summertime cleanser for those with normal or combination skin.

Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Moisturizing Conditioner: This is a decent conditioner that smells like vacation. I often use this conditioner as a shaving cream.

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB: I’ve written about this BB cream before. It’s my spring/summer favorite. It contains SPF 30, covers blemishes and withstands high heat and humidity. The tint is not quite light enough for my basically translucent skin during the winter months, which is the only reason I don’t use it year-round!

Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips: This teeny .1 ounce tube of balm was my surprise favorite this month. This itty bitty tube lasted me months of daily use. Not only that, but a tiny dab on my lips every night kept my lips soft and supple. I’ve found that other thick lip balms can make the skin around my mouth break out, but that hasn’t been a problem at all with this one. A new favorite, for sure!

June 2014 Empties

Happy summer readers! Another month has come and gone, and with it, a big pile of empties – I’ve been busy testing and trying a variety of products. I’m also learning some important beauty shopping lessons. The most important one so far? If, like me, you are a beauty blogger or product enthusiast who enjoys buying and trying lots of different products, do not under any circumstances buy a jumbo-sized bottle of anything. Deluxe samples and travel sized version are perfect for girls like us, and give us a chance at actually finishing a bottle of something in a reasonable amount of time. Which brings me to my first empty:
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Pantene Pro-V Fine Hair Solutions Volume Shampoo: This has been my go-to shampoo for many years, which is probably why I purchased a giant bottle of it in the first place. Now, sure, I’ve tried other little bottles of shampoo here and there, but I’m pretty sure it took me a year to finish this one! It’s a great volumizer, although it can be a little drying. I love the fresh clean scent. This is certainly a solid drugstore buy – just make sure you pick up a smaller bottle.

Boscia Clear Complexion Willow Bark Spot Treatment: I’ve written about this skincare savior a couple times before, so I’ll be brief. It takes care of blemishes, quickly, and it comes in a convenient little pen. It’s awesome.

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Extra Strength Alpha Beta Face Peel: I accidentally purchased a box of the extra strength peels instead of the regular ones, which I swear by. These are also amazing for smoothing your skin and getting you glowy in minutes. I have somewhat sensitive skin and I found these only very mildly irritating. If you have highly sensitive skin, I’d avoid this strength.

Secret Invisible Solid: I took this tiny deodorant with me on vacation and finished it up when I returned. It keeps sweat and odors at bay, but I’m not crazy about the scent, and it rubbed off on some of my clothing.

Freeman Facial Brightening Paper Mask in Rose: What a little gem! This serum-infused paper mask brightens skin in 3 to 5 minutes. I left it on for 4, and woke up to noticeably fresher looking skin the next day. I found it easy to use and very pleasant. I’ll definitely buy these again.

Bath & Body Works White Citrus Shower Gel: This super sudsy body wash has a light, clean fresh scent that’s just right for summer. A quality cleanser for sure.

Nuxe Multi-Usage Dry Oil: This hair, face and body oil smells absolutely heavenly, but my praise for it ends there. I used this sample on my hair, and the results were disastrous. The first time I tried it, I used a very small amount, and it left my hair both flat and frizzy. The second time I decided to use a bit more, and my hair was so greasy that I had to slick it back and pretend I was going for the oily look. Perhaps my hair is just too fine for this type of oil.

Crest 3D White Flouride Anticavity Toothpaste: I just wrote about the full-sized version of this, so there’s not much more to say. A standby whitening toothpaste!

Nick Chavez Beverly Hills Advanced Volume Shampoo: I think I may have found my new favorite volumizing shampoo! This stuff has a scent that I can only describe as a cross between bubblegum and sour apple. It made my hair so bouncy and soft, and really helped keep frizz at a minimum. I definitely recommend it for fine-haired ladies.

May 2014 Empties

Happy Memorial Day beauties! As May draws to a close I’m happy to report that I’m still successfully sticking to my shopping ban! I’ll admit, I’ve felt a little temptation, and I’m really missing my Birchbox subscription, but I’ve tried some great products, and I’m committed to continuing through the end of the year. Here’s what I used up this month:
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Softsoap Body Butter Strawberry Smoother: This thick and creamy body wash uses strawberry seeds to exfoliate and jojoba butter to moisturize all in one go. It did soften my skin considerably, allowing me to skip my normal post-shower lotion, but acne-prone girls beware – I found little blemishes occasionally popped up on my arms and legs while using this product.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment: Sad to see this one go! This whole line of lip balms, from this original version to the many tinted ones, is fantastic. A must have for smooth lips in one swipe.

Benefit They’re Real! Mascara: This is hands down one of the best mascaras on the market today. It really does amp up lashes to a surprising degree. Use this if you want thicker, longer, darker, fuller lashes. You can even get away with skipping your eyelash curler if you’ve got this on!

Clinique High Impact Mascara: This is a perfect day-to-day mascara. It looks natural, with a touch of polish. It also won’t clump, flake, or hurt sensitive eyes.

Naked Princess Naked Shine in Barely Coco: I used up this tiny sample in a matter of days. If you’re looking for a new workday lip gloss, this is it. It’s light and smooth, and Barely Coco is a lovely pinky brown shade that looks natural but better. I will absolutely be buying this when my ban is up!

Covergirl CGSmoothers BB Cream: This is not the first time this has showed up in my empties list. Again, this is my favorite wintertime daily moisturizer, as it is a perfect match for my fair complexion and evens out imperfections in a flash.

Crest 3D White Flouride Anticavity Toothpaste in Radiant Mint: I’m always trying different whitening toothpastes, and I always seem to come back to this one. It has a nice flavor, it brightens my smile and it leaves my mouth feeling fresh.

Degree Motionsense in Shower Clean: Lately I’ve found it increasingly difficult to find a decent antiperspirant. This one is a wonderful exception. I am obsessed with the fresh scent, it keeps me clean and fresh all day, and it doesn’t rub off or stain my clothes. This one is definitely a winner.

April 2014 Empties

I know it’s a bit early in the month for an empties post, but considering the pace at which I’ve been using up products these past few weeks, it just makes sense. This month I’m saying goodbye to a couple of old standbys and discovering some new favorites:
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Aussie Moist 3 Minute Miracle: Even if you’ve never read this blog you’ve probably heard of this drugstore dynamo. It is hands down the best conditioner I have ever used. It’s ultra nourishing, leaves hair shiny and detangled but never greasy or limp, smells great and has a drugstore price tag.

Caldrea Coconut Fig Leaf Body Lotion: A nice lightweight body lotion that absorbs quickly and with absolutely no stickiness. I recommend this lotion for warmer weather as it isn’t very heavy and leaves skin feeling smooth and soft, even on humid days.

Clinique All About Eyes Rich: This has been my go-to eye cream and I’ve recommended it to many friends and family members who are now devoted fans as well. The cream improves just about any eye issue you might be trying to fix – puffiness, dark circles, wrinkles, you name it.

???????????????????????????????Thymes Lavender Body Lotion: I slathered this deliciously scented body lotion on my hands and arms before bed. Not only did I sleep like a baby every night I did this, but I awoke with soft skin and a light lavender scent still lingering on my arms and pillow. A definite winner – adding to the “must buy” list!

Bath & Body Works Coconut Lime Verbena Volumizing Shampoo: My only complaint about this shampoo was that I wish I had a bigger bottle! It has an exotic scent that brightened my whole day, cleaned both hair and scalp exceptionally well, and left my hair so soft and light that I couldn’t stop touching it all day.

Bath & Body Works Coconut Lime Verbena Volumizing Conditioner: A decent conditioner, it shares the delightful scent of its shampoo sister and worked wonderfully as a stand-in shaving cream.

Osmia Organics Spot Treatment: This organic blemish fighter is my skincare secret weapon and I am very sad to see it go. It is made up of a blend of oils that zap blemishes, pimples and random skin bumps in a matter of days, sometimes hours. If you have any lingering spots that you can’t seem to shake, buy this now. You won’t regret it!

March 2014 Empties

Okay, so, nearly three months into my self-imposed shopping ban and I have successfully stuck to my guns! The only beauty product I have purchased has been deodorant (after using up all my samples) and I did get a free birthday gift from Sephora last month, but no purchase was necessary for that. Well done me! However, I will say that I feel like I’ve been coasting through these first several weeks, as I was well-stocked with many of my everyday favorites. As April approaches I find that I’m using up a lot of my go-tos, and so this little experiment should start to get pretty interesting in the weeks ahead.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the rundown on my latest batch of empties; it will be very hard to say goodbye to some of these products, but I have to admit, it’s really nice to see a little extra space on my bathroom counter!???????????????????????????????

Aussie Aussome Volume 2 in 1 Shampoo: I’m not sure how many times I’ve written about this product, but I really can’t say enough good things about it. It’s a great timesaver as it truly is moisturizing enough on its own to skip conditioner, and pretty much every good hair day I’ve had since discovering it can be attributed to this shampoo. It smells great, and I miss it already.

Avon Naturals Body Sugar Plum & Vanilla Shower Gel: I’m going to call this gem of a body wash the first “win” of my shopping ban experiment – I threw it in the shower after using up my previous one and have been in love with it ever since. The smell is a little exotic and totally lovely, it gets nice and sudsy, leaves skin clean and fresh, isn’t overly drying, and doesn’t leave you smelling overly perfumed, which can be a hazard of scented shower gels. This is my favorite new body wash, and the next time an Avon lady comes my way I’m going to purchase a dozen of them. After the ban is over, obviously.

La Fresh Travel Lite Antiperspirant Wipe for Women: I really wanted these deodorant wipes to work better than the last ones I tried, but they did not. Once again, by mid-morning I was wondering who had the B.O. until I realized it was me.

Philosophy Miracle Worker Miraculous Anti-Aging Moisturizer: Thankfully I have another full jar of this waiting in the wings because this is my favorite nighttime moisturizer of all time. It softens, brightens, and feels delightful. Plus, it’s great to slather on post-chemical peel.

Dior Lip Glow Color Reviver Balm: Another old favorite that has made the blog several times, this is my favorite lip product ever. It feels great, plumps lips, and magically turns the perfect shade of pink for each wearer. Everyone at my wedding wore this, including me.

Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange Body Butter: This tube of delightfully citrus-scented cream lasted me an incredibly long time. I used it as a hand cream and it was perfect – not greasy, not too perfumed, and very moisturizing. I’m a huge Pacifica fan and think you get so much for your money. If you’re looking for a nice hand cream, try this one.