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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The Long Overdue Benefit Advent Calendar Finale

Happy New Year lovely readers! I hope you are having a beautiful start to the new year. I woke up this morning feeling very optimistic about the year to come, pondering what my beauty resolution should be this year (more on that later) and realizing that my final Benefit Advent Calendar post is long overdue. As such, my first order of beauty blog business this year is to finally tell you all what treasures I received on the final three days before Christmas!
Benefit Bad Gal Lash, Cha Cha Tint and Fake Up
Day 22 held a tube of Bad Gal Lash mascara. I’ve mentioned this mascara before on the blog. I used it in college, and it was quite literally the prettiest my lashes ever looked. However, something about the formula stung and burned my sensitive eyes, so I had to give it up. I haven’t given this mini a try yet, but I’ve decided I am going to give Bad Gal another go, just in case the formula has changed. I’ll let you know how that goes in the near future.

Behind door 23 was a mini of Cha Cha Tint, which might be the only Benefit complexion enhancer that I didn’t already have! Like the others it gives a nice subtle wash of color. This one is a soft peachy shade that I think would be great for spring.

Christmas Eve revealed a mini of Fake Up, a moisturizing under eye concealer that I recently wrote about here. Since my tube is almost gone, I was delighted to add this one to my stash!

So, 2014 is officially behind us, which means the shopping ban is officially over! I’ll be posting this month about my experience with the ban and what I learned from it. In the mean time, I want to know what your beauty resolutions are! I still haven’t decided what to do this year, and I might just steal your idea. Please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments!

Thanks for a great year, readers!

Help Me Decide: Did I Break the Rules of the Shopping Ban?

Maybelline Baby LipsLast weekend I stopped into my favorite drugstore to pick up a fresh tube of Maybelline BB Cream, since I had just run out. When I got to the Maybelline display, I noticed that the store was offering a rewards deal: spend $10 on Maybelline products, get $5 back. Since I was already spending more than $8 on the BB cream, I glanced around the shelves and spotted the tube of Baby Lips pictured here. Ringing it at around $4, it brought me over the $10 mark, and the $5 I got back more than covered the cost. My sister was with me, and she said that because freebies are allowed during the shopping ban, and this product was technically free, that I am obeying the rules. My husband thinks I cheated. So, I want my readers to help me decide. Cast your vote below – whatever you decide, I’ll do!

Beauty Resolution 2014: The Shopping Ban

I know it seems a bit odd to write a resolutions post in February, but I honestly wanted to see if I could actually do it before I made a pledge to all of you. This year I have decided to try a shopping ban.

The Rules:

1. I cannot purchase any beauty or personal hygiene product, unless I have completely run out of that product. For example, I can’t buy a new bottle of shampoo until I have used up all other bottles, trial sizes and samples of shampoo currently in my home.

2. No beauty subscriptions.

3. Gifts or free items are allowed.

4. This ban is in place until December 31, 2014, or until I use up my entire beauty stash, whichever comes first.

I decided on a shopping ban after frantically searching my bathroom one morning for my favorite lipstick. I sorted through boxes, bags and baskets full of products and samples and could not find it. I did, however, discover several new products I didn’t even know I had! I realized I had backlogged Birchboxes and Ipsy bags that I’d never even opened. I was on beauty product overload.

So, a shopping ban it is. Not only will it help me use up my enormous stash and save a good deal of money, it will also help me discover new products that might otherwise sit in a drawer or basket indefinitely. At first I was afraid my willpower would crack, but a little over a month into it, I haven’t cheated and I’ve really enjoyed using up what I have. Below, a quick run down of what I’ve used up so far:
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Bath & Body Works Aruba Coconut Body Wash: A trusted standby, I find B&BW body washes to lather well without being overly perfumed, unlike some of their lotions. I’m a sucker for anything coconut scented, too.

Malin & Goetz Gentle Neroli Shampoo: I used up a couple sample packets of this delightful shampoo, and instantly added it to my post-ban must-buy list. It has a slightly spicy scent, and did a fantastic job of cleansing my hair. Plus, it left my scalp clean and moisturized, and my hair extra shiny.

Whish Deodorant Swipe: Deodorant wipes seem to be all the rage these days, but so far, I’m unimpressed. This one failed to keep my clean and dry after about four hours.
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CoverGirl CG Smoothers BB Cream: This is my go-to daytime moisturizer in the winter. It’s light enough for my fair skin and keeps my complexion nice and even. Thankfully my sister gave me another tube of it to replace the one I used up!

Dove Deodorant in Powder: A pretty basic deodorant, it had a very mild scent and did a decent job, most of the time. I wasn’t in love with it, and don’t think I’ll buy it again.

L’Occitane Hand Cream: I had a mini tube of this on my desk and used it up in a little over a week. Super moisturizing with a light, clean scent, this one is a classic for a reason.

Have you ever tried a shopping ban? Would you?