December/January Empties & The End of the Shopping Ban

Well here we are, a month into 2015, which means the great shopping ban has ended. For the record, I made it approximately 17 hours into the new year before purchasing this. I’ve also purchased a few necessities, such as shampoo, conditioner and a fresh tube of Dior Lip Glow.

I’m really glad I participated in the shopping ban; I learned a lot. There are some products I will always think are worth the splurge (see Lip Glow, above), but there are many I can easily go without. Over the course of the year I managed to use up all of my shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste. I still have too many skincare products to count and a basket full of body washes and bar soap. This year, I will continue to whittle down my stockpile and track my empties – I really enjoy writing empties posts – while allowing myself to make the occasional extra cosmetic purchase. Also, I really missed my beauty subscriptions last year, which is why I’m delighted to report that my husband reactivated my Birchbox subscription as a birthday gift – I’ll be getting my first one any day now!

So, before I dive back into the world of Birchbox and start reviewing my new purchases, let’s take a look at what I used up over the past two months:
January 2015 Empties
Avon Naturals Nourishing Banana & Coconut Milk Shower Gel: I continue to be impressed with Avon shower gels. They lather up delightfully and leave my skin feeling clean and fresh, not dry. The scents are mild, and this one had a nice tropical feel, which is a great escape this time of year! Plus, they really conveniently hang upside down so you can get every last drop out of the bottle.

Osmia Organics Spot Treatment: We’ve seen this one before, the holy grail of blemish treatments. This gets used all the time in my household. It clears up blemishes pretty much overnight. I’ll be repurchasing ASAP.

Suave Professionals Volumizing Shampoo: This was the last bottle of shampoo in my stockpile. I had forgotten how high-quality Suave Professionals shampoos are. I had many good hair days thanks to this product. If you’re looking at cutting back your beauty product costs, this is an area I’d suggest you try – Suave Professional shampoos cover a range of hair concerns and really work well.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths: This product might win the prize for most appearances in an empties post. Part of that is because there are only 25 cloths per package, so they don’t last long. Part of it is because it’s a great product – gentle, effective, and perfect for nights when I’m too tired to wash my face properly.

Ayres Body Butter in Midnight Tango: I loved the packaging and the light orange blossom and vanilla scent, but this body butter was kind of a dud. It had a thick texture but failed to really soften my skin, and it caused body breakouts.

Melaleuca Sun Valley White Amber Jasmine Body Wash: I used up its mate, a body lotion, in November. Like the lotion, I really enjoyed the scent, but this body wash left something to be desired. I didn’t feel overly fresh after using it. I would not repurchase.

Herbal Essences Honey, I’m Strong Strengthening Conditioner: I liked the clean, honey-infused scent of this conditioner, and it was a really good detangler, but I’m not sure how much stronger my hair was after using it. Still, it’s a quality conditioner.

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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.