February/March 2016 Empties

It has been far too long since my last post and for that I must apologize. It has been a very hectic couple of months and I simply have not had as much time as I would like for fun stuff (like sampling and writing). However, I have managed to try some new products and even finished a few in the past several weeks. Here’s a look at my empties for February and March:
February & March 2016 Empties
Dove Purely Pampering Sweet Cream Beauty Bar: I picked up a duo of these beauty bars after trying a body wash that left me broken out and very unhappy. I chose the sweet cream version because of it’s light, sweet scent – very feminine but also very mild. Nothing earth shattering here but it gets me clean without the addition of pimples and it smells nice. I’d buy them again.

Dr. Jart Water Replenishment Cotton Sheet Mask: This has got to be my favorite new beauty thing; it’s certainly the best sheet mask I’ve ever tried. It’s drenched in a super-moisturizing formula that soothes the skin and left me looking and feeling fresh and glowy for the rest of the day. Bonus: you can freak out your pets by looking like a serial killer when you put it on.

Make Dual-Phase Eye Makeup Remover: This is my all-time favorite eye makeup remover. It’s gentle and effective, lasts for a ridiculously long time, is a pretty pink color and comes in a cool square bottle.

Lady Speed Stick Invisible Dry Powder Fresh Antiperspirant/Deodorant: I bought this for 99 cents one day when I was feeling nostalgic for the days when I used to swear by powder fresh deodorant. It’s a solid deodorant (see what I did there?) and kept me fresh and sweat-free.

Covergirl CG Smoothers BB Cream: This is not new to my blog or to my empties. My classic winter BB cream, it’s still moisturizing, easy to use and light enough for my ghost-like winter complexion. Still a winner.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths: Another empties MVP, these wipes are great for those days when you just cannot be bothered to properly wash your face.

Eyeko Black Magic Mascara: This mascara is quickly becoming one of my favorites. It’s dark and dramatic and lasts all day without flaking or smudging. Plus I love the unique packaging and curled wand. If you haven’t tried this mascara yet, do yourself a favor and buy some right now.

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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.

November 2014 Empties

Happy December my friends! November is now behind us and you know what that means, don’t you? I’m officially in the final month of my beauty shopping ban. Hooray! Making the countdown to the end even more exciting is the surprise early Christmas gift that my family presented after our Thanksgiving feast: the Benefit Cosmetics Advent Calendar! Stay tuned for extra special posts about the goodies inside over the next few weeks. Merry Christmas to me!

November was a fairly uneventful month in terms of empties, with several old favorites in the mix. Let’s take a look:
November 2014 Empties
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths: Okay, I know I’ve written about these several times, but I have to praise them again. As the weather turned wintery here over the past few weeks, my skin has gone a little crazy. That is, until I started using these wipes as my nightly cleanser, followed by my favorite winter moisturizer (Philosophy Miracle Worker). My skin is looking great these days!

Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes: Back in the day these were a favorite face wipe of mine. Now, not so much. I don’t know if it has to do with my age or the season or what, but these made me break out horribly this time around. They didn’t do my husband’s skin any favors, either. Sadly, I will not be purchasing these again.

Melaleuca Sun Valley White Amber Jasmine Body Crème: I found this cream a bit too heavy for all-over use – it clogged the pores on my arms – but it’s a great hand cream and it smells amazing. It reminds me of a slightly more mysterious version of Victoria’s Secret’s Strawberries & Champagne scent.

Korres Guava Body Butter: This body butter can be a little bit oily, but in the super dry winter months it can’t be beat in terms of deeply moisturizing skin, especially hands and elbows.

Osmia Organics Best Lip Balm: My new favorite lip balm. You can read more about it here.

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Original Formula: A longtime skincare favorite, and one of my top picks for #skincaresunday. You can read more here.

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.

Cetaphil Cleansing Cloths: Gentle Skincare To Go

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing ClothsI know lots of ladies who count on Cetaphil to keep their sensitive skin looking clean and fresh. It’s a name you often see in top-ten lists of drugstore standbys and lifetime favorites. As a result, though I’ve never been a Cetaphil user, it’s a brand that I trust when it comes to quality skincare.

Several weeks ago while watching some crap television on a lazy Saturday afternoon, I saw a commercial for Cetaphil’s new Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths, and I was instantly intrigued. I love a good cleansing cloth and I think having some sort of quick-and-easy cleanser is an absolute necessity. Let’s face it – we all have days when we are too tired/lazy/busy to wash our faces properly, but I have never been too busy to grab a cleansing cloth and swipe it over my face.

Having recently run out of my old quick cleanser, I picked up a package of the Cetaphil cleansing cloths a few weeks ago. I’ve been using these gentle wipes for almost two weeks now, and so far I give them a solid A. They clean skin without drying and keep oil in check for hours. And after a week of daily use I noticed that my skin was positively glowing. My husband has even started using them, with great results. Bottom line: sensitive skin or not, these new cleansing cloths make effective, gentle skincare quick and easy, anytime, anywhere.