September 2015 Empties

I can’t believe we’re already more than a week into October! You’ll have to forgive me for being a bit behind with reviewing last month’s empties – between a road trip to visit some good friends in their new home, several nights out to celebrate various happy occasions with friends, and a jam-packed work schedule, I’ve had a very busy couple of weeks! Luckily, the long hours and short weekends have not kept me from testing and finishing up a whole bunch of things. Let’s take a look at September’s empties:
September 2015 empties
Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Refreshingly Clean Cleansing Cloths: These gentle daily cleansing cloths are formulated to remove makeup and oil without over-drying or irritating sensitive skin. They combine the natural toning properties of witch hazel with soothing aloe, a blend the package says gives the cloths their “signature botanical scent.” Here is what I have to say about these face wipes: they are very effective at removing makeup and oil, and when I used them they kept my skin quite clear and even. However, I found that signature scent to be almost stomach-turning. The scent was so strong and so unpleasant that it took me months to finish up this pack of 25 cleansing cloths. I would not recommend them to anyone who is the least bit sensitive to strong smells.

Boscia Pore Purifying Black Strips: As with Boscia’s classic black mask (and pretty much every other Boscia product I’ve tested), I was very excited to give this pore strip a try. As a person whose past experiences with drugstore pore strips have been quite painful and ineffective, I was cautiously optimistic that this one would work for me. Happily, it did! I decided to test this strip one afternoon after noticing that my pores looked unusually large and grimy. Not only did this strip remove the grime and make my pores instantly less prominent, I was actually able to peel the strip from my face without crying or taking any skin with it. This is definitely the Cadillac of pore strips.

Malin + Goetz Geranium Body Wash: I’ve sampled a couple of Malin + Goetz products over the years, and I’ve really liked all of them. This body wash was no different. Though I don’t typically love floral scents, this one was mild and left a pleasant fragrance on my skin that lasted through most of the day. It also made my skin insanely soft, even without lotion. I think this would make a great gift.

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB: I’ve written about this so many times, there’s not much left to say! I finally used up my summer BB cream, and not a moment too soon; my tan has definitely abandoned me, making this beauty balm just a touch too dark for my complexion. Other than that, it’s an all-around great BB cream that provides moisture and nice light coverage for a super reasonable price.

Colgate MaxFresh with Whitening Flouride Toothpaste: A pretty basic toothpaste. I can’t say I noticed a difference in whiteness, but it did a great job of keeping my mouth feeling fresh.

Philosophy Purity Made Simple: This facial cleanser is an old favorite for good reason – it’s gentle, effective, and even smells pure and simple. I often turn to it when another product has caused irritation or the changing seasons has turned my skin into a red blotchy mess. It’s always a safe bet.

Benefit They’re Real! Remover: This waterproof eye makeup remover has a unique creamy gel formula that is designed to prevent pulling or tugging of the delicate skin around the eyes. I have to confess, I was completely caught off guard by the odd texture. It was goopy and unpleasant, and I got a ton of it in my eyes. This makeup remover is formulated to be safe for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers, and I’ll admit that my highly sensitive eyes did not sting or burn after using it. Still, it felt gross. And with all the wonderfully effective eye makeup removers out there (like this one from MAKE), I don’t see a reason to use one that feels this bad.

Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo: I wrote about this a little while back after receiving it in a Birchbox. It’s a nice, fresh-smelling dry shampoo that’s great for giving second day hair a little oomph. That oomph doesn’t last very long, but it’s really clean and natural looking while it lasts. A great product to throw in your purse for on-the-go touchups.

Advertisements

August 2015 Empties

Happy Labor Day beauties! The end of summer is painfully close, but today is a beautiful day and I intend to spend it soaking up some delicious late summer rays. Before we say hello to fall, let’s celebrate the holiday with a look back at some of the products that helped me through this season:
August 2015 Empties
Caudalie Make-Up Remover Cleansing Water: I wrote about this new skincare favorite here. I still love it. A perfect summer cleanser.

Gillette Fusion Hydra Gel: This technically belonged to my husband, but I’m pretty sure I used more of this shave gel than he did. With aloe and cocoa butter, it left my skin super soft and allowed for a really close shave.

R & Co Atlantis Moisturizing Shampoo & Conditioner: I took this little duo on a road trip to a beach wedding on a hot summer day. It left my hair feeling clean, smelling fresh, and miraculously free of frizz. I was very impressed.

Suave Tropical Coconut Shampoo: I seem to return to this cheapo shampoo every summer. The light coconut scent is just what I’m looking for in the warmer months, and it’s great cleanser.

Dove Go Fresh Cool Moisture Body Bar: I wrote about this last month, too. Still a fine choice for a summer soap. In other news, I’ve finally used up my soap stash! Hooray!

Whish Three Whishes Almond Body Butter: This thick body lotion left my skin feeling soft, but I don’t think it’s moisturizing enough for the cooler, dryer months. The almond scent was a bit too strong at first but became much more pleasant as the day wore on. It makes a really nice hand cream.

Benefit Bad Gal Lash: When this mascara was first released, I tried it, loved it, and then promptly swore it off because it burned my eyes in the most painful way. Years later, I received this mini and decided to give it another go. I’m so glad that I did! Benefit must have tweaked their formula; it didn’t bother my eyes at all! It did make my lashes look full and gorgeous, though. Bad Gal Lash for the win!

Dr. Jart Dermaclear Micro Water: Another waterless cleanser, this product claims to remove makeup and impurities while toning and brightening skin. While I don’t think it worked as well as the Caudalie cleanser, it did help remove makeup and keep oil in check.

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil: If you’ve ever used products from this brand, you’ve probably noticed the sugary sweet scent they usually have. I’m happy to report that this hair oil had a very mild, hardly noticeable scent. It also kept frizz at bay and protected my hair from being fried this summer, without any greasiness. A great summer hair product.

Inside Influenster’s #SunshineVoxBox

voxbox-blogimageThis has been a lovely summer, filled with all the things that make this season so wonderful: weddings, barbecues, days at the beach, nights out with friends and lots of time spent outside, soaking up as much sun and beautiful scenery as I can before the summer comes to a close. The fun continued when I learned I was selected to receive Influenster’s summer-themed Sunshine VoxBox, filled with tasty treats and warm weather beauty essentials. I’ve spent the last few weeks tasting and testing to my heart’s content. Here’s the scoop:
SunshineVoxBox
Infusium 23 Moisture Replenisher Leave-in Smoothing Crème Enhanced with Avocado and Olive Oil (#Infusium23Smooth): This is definitely one of my favorite products in the Sunshine box, and it has quickly become a beach bag staple. This leave-in conditioner works best if you air dry your hair. It keeps frizz at bay and leaves your hair smelling amazing. I tried using it as part of my everyday styling routine and wasn’t blown away, but when I brought it with me for a day at my favorite swimming spot, everything changed. I applied it generously to my wet, gnarly strands and used my fingers to comb it through. My hair instantly looked and felt better, and within minutes it started to dry in the prettiest, beachiest waves – with no frizz to be found!

Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Refreshingly Clean Cleansing Cloths (#SelfieReadySkin): I’m usually a big fan of cleansing cloths, and from what I can tell these were non-drying and did a fine job of removing makeup and oil without irritating my skin. However, I could barely stomach the smell of them. I’m not sure what it is, but it made me a little queasy. I was only able to use them a couple of times. If you’re sensitive to scents of any kind, I would avoid these.

Blue Diamond Sriracha Almonds (#BlueDiamondAlmonds): I was worried that these spicy almonds might be too hot for me, but I was happily mistaken! The chili-garlic flavor combo is addictively delicious with just the right amount of kick. I’d recommend them as a tasty and healthy way to satisfy a chip craving.

barkTHINS (#breakupwithboring): The Sunshine box came with a coupon for a free bag of another tasty treat, barkTHINS snacking chocolate. I chose the dark chocolate, almond and sea salt variety, and thought it was really good. The bark was filled with crunchy almond bits and the chocolate was good and dark, not too sweet. My only complaint? I wish there was just a little more salt – I could barely taste it.

Beach bag beauty essentials from Influenster's #SunshineVoxBox

Beach bag beauty essentials from Influenster’s #SunshineVoxBox


SinfulColors Nail Polish (#ColorOutsideTheLines): I received a bottle of polish from the SinfulColors Silk collection, a sheer turquoise called Real Teal. Unfortunately, it was a real dud. The polish seemed cheap from the get-go; the brush deposited color unevenly, making the sheer shade almost imperceptible in some spots and dark and blobby in others. Also, the combination of it being a super sheer, matte blue polish left me looking less like I’d just given myself a manicure and more like I’d just been pulled from the deep freeze. The whole experience was a mess.

Vaseline Intensive Care Aloe Soothe Spray Moisturizer (#VaselineSprays): I’ve been wanting to try one of these spray lotions for a while, and I was not disappointed when I did. This aloe spray is perfect for summer, leaving skin cool and refreshed, especially after a day spent in the sun. Plus, it allows you to moisturize your entire body in ten seconds – so convenient. It’s very lightweight, surprisingly hydrating, and smells fresh and clean. It’s a perfect daily lotion for summer.

I received these products free for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

July 2015 Empties

July was filled with lots of fresh-smelling summer beauty products. I used up a lot of drugstore staples and found a couple of new favorites. Here’s what I finished last month:
July 2015 Empties
Not Your Mother’s Deja Vu ‘Do Style Extender: Thanks to Influenster, I received this little tube in a VoxBox. I already wrote about it here, but to recap: it smells magnificent and adds nice, lightweight volume, but I can’t say that it extended my style any.

Dove Go Fresh Cool Moisture Beauty Bar with Cucumber and Green Tea Scent: Believe it or not, I am still using up bars of soap that were in my stash when I started my beauty ban back in January 2014. This is one of them. It’s a decent cleanser, featuring the classic Dove hydrating lotion, and the cucumber/green tea scent feels fresh on a hot summer day.

Colgate MaxClean SmartFoam Toothpaste: I really like the way this toothpaste foams up and leaves my mouth feeling extra clean. It claims to be a whitening toothpaste, but I wish it was more effective in that regard. Although, to be fair, I do drink a lot of coffee.

Suave Naturals Juicy Green Apple Shampoo: I can’t say enough good things about this shampoo, which cost me 97 cents. It smells amazingly good – a lot like old school Herbal Essences shampoo – and it left my hair and scalp clean and moisturized. I will definitely buy this again. A summer favorite for sure.

Rite Aid Renewal Aloe Vera Body Lotion: I purchased this after I got way too much sun early in the summer. As far as aloe is concerned, I don’t think it has much, because it didn’t do much to soothe my burned skin. As a daily body lotion, however, it’s a great summer pick. It’s lightly moisturizing, non-greasy, and has a mild, clean scent.

Dove Go Fresh Cool Essentials Cucumber & Green Tea Scent Anti-Perspirant Deodorant: Apparently I was drawn to cucumber and green tea last month! Again, it has a fresh, clean scent that really works this time of year. However, I wasn’t wowed by it as an anti-perspirant. I didn’t feel like it really lasted all day, particularly on warmer or more active days. I don’t know that I’d repurchase this.

Supergoop Everyday Face & Body Lotion and Everyday Sunscreen: I received the tube of SPF 50 sunscreen in a Birchbox and fell in love with it, which prompted me to dig out the packet of SPF 30 lotion for a subsequent beach day. They are both fabulous. This sunscreen is very effective and doesn’t feel sticky or greasy on the skin. It lasts through hours of sweating and swimming, and didn’t make me break out. It’s pricey, but totally worth it.

Birchbox Best: Supergoop Everyday Sunscreen

Supergoop Everyday SunscreenI’m just going to say it. The name “Supergoop” does nothing for me. In fact, in the past I’ve been so put off by the name that I simply did not want to try the sunscreen. That all changed last weekend. Having been quite literally burned by an ineffective sunscreen earlier this summer, I turned to this little tube in hopes of making it through the holiday weekend without being scorched by the sun. I slathered it on and headed out for a weekend of sunning and swimming.

First things first: it felt good. It absorbed quickly, wasn’t greasy and left my skin feeling nice and smooth. It also had a mild, citrusy scent that I liked a lot. Other than those two initial observations, I didn’t think about this product at all until I realized, after two sunny days spent largely outside, that I didn’t have the faintest hint of a sunburn and my skin looked and felt great. It’s a fantastic sunscreen, and I only wish there was more in my sample – this stuff is expensive!
Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo
Runner Up: Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo. I’m a real tough customer when it comes to dry shampoos, but I was instantly impressed by this one. I really love the scent, which is feminine and clean, and it’s super easy to use. You simply spray at your roots and then massage it in; within seconds it adds volume and removes oil, leaving clean, weightless hair. My one complaint is that these results only last a couple of hours – you’ll want to bring it with you for touchups!

June 2015 Empties

Can you believe we’re halfway through the year? I hope you are all busy living up these glorious summer days. Last month I used up a truly pitiful number of products – just three! – but they were all great and are definitely worth adding to your summer routine. Let’s check them out:

   

  

Bath & Body Works Apple Blossom & Lavender Shea Butter Milled Soap: Not only is this the freshest, best-smelling soap I’ve encountered in ages, this bar left my skin both clean and moisturized. Last I checked Bath & Body Works was no longer offering this scent or this soap, but I would suggest that you look for it in stores during any of their epic sales – they often feature discontinued items. 

Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Masque: I have to admit, I was underwhelmed the first time I tried this hair masque. My frugal self only used a small amount of the conditioning treatment, and I didn’t really see any reason to keep using it. The next time around I slathered a whole handful through my locks, and wouldn’t you know, I was rewarded with smooth, shiny hair. It takes a bit more product than I’d expect, but this masque is the real deal. 

Nivea A Kiss Of Moisture Essential Lip Care: I turned to this untinted, unscented balm a couple months back after another lip product caused breakouts and dry spots. This super smooth clear balm was soothing, plumped up my pout and didn’t do any damage, which seemed miraculous at the time. This balm is perfect day or night, and makes a great base for lipstick. I definitely recommend it as a basic balm. 

May 2015 Empties

May tends to be a pretty exciting month, product-wise, because it’s the time of year when we use up our winter beauty staples and get to move on to lighter, more fun summer products. There will be plenty of those to discuss in the coming weeks, but for now let’s take a look at last month’s winners and losers:

  
Aqua Spa Relax Body Creme: I really loved this rich cream. Despite its thick texture it absorbed quickly, left no greasy residue, and kept my skin soft all day. Its lavender and chamomile aroma was quite perfumey when first applied, but it quickly diffused into a much more subtle scent that I really liked. 

Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream: This tiny jar – from my Benefit Advent Calendar – saved my face during the last dry days of spring. When my tinted moisturizer just couldn’t provide enough moisture, I paired it with this thick-but-not-too-thick cream. It kept both dry patches and blemishes away while providing a perfect base for makeup. 

L’Oreal Volume Filler Thickening Shampoo: I found this shampoo incredibly disappointing. Since the ads for it featured Blake Lively, the queen of enviable hair, I was really hoping this shampoo would leave me with luscious locks. Instead it left my hair looking dry and dull, with no shine and a straw-like texture. 

Bliss Grapefruit & Aloe Body Butter: With its fresh citrus scent and rich texture, this body butter became my go-to hand cream throughout the winter and spring. It absorbs quickly and protects hands and cuticles for hours, even through the excessive hand washing of flu season. 

Aussie Moist 3 Minute Miracle: This deep conditioner isn’t new to this blog, and neither is my opinion of it. This is a high quality conditioner that can be used daily or as a weekly treatment. It repairs hair and leaves it silky and shiny without weighing it down. I still swear by it. 

Bliss Multi-‘face’-eted All-in-one Anti-aging Clay Mask: I decided to try this multi-tasking mask last weekend and almost instantly regretted it. It contains 10% glycolic acid, which was so harsh I had to wash it off after four minutes and still ended up with a chemical burn near my lip! Then my skin promptly broke out with several small pimples. Definitely not a fan. 

Whish Shave Cream: I recently wrote about this Birchbox find. I liked it more with every use. It really moisturized my skin and softened hair, leading to a closer-than-usual shave, less irritated skin and smooth legs that stayed that way for almost a week. 

Bath & Body Works Dark Kiss Body Lotion: This medium weight lotion featured a sort of sweet, sort of sultry scent and kept my dry patches in check through the spring. It didn’t clog pores and it gave my skin super soft all day. A perfect lotion for spring and/or fall. 

Beauty Protector Beauty Wash: This shower gel featured a sickeningly sweet scent and though it lathered up richly, it didn’t leave my skin feeling particularly clean. I’m a big fan of Beauty Protector’s hair products, but this body wash is definitely not for me. 

In other news, I finally came to the end of my body lotion stash last month! For those keeping track at home, it took me one year and five months to clean out that collection. So, now that I’m in the market for new lotions, please feel free to leave some recommendations in the comments below!