My favorite posts to read are always the ’empties’ posts. I’m really interested in the products people use to the end (not easy when you are a beauty/skincare addict) and I’m always fascinated to find out if they’d recommend or repurchase the product. I saved a drawer full of products I used up and thought I’d share with you more about them.
Since this post is epic, here is a list of the products I reviewed so you can skip ahead if you are only interested in a few:
Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm
NUDE Skincare Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Extra Strength
Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Vitamin C Collagen Booster
Clinique All About Eyes Rich
Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence
Tata Harper Replenishing Nutrient Complex
Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray
Maybelline Volum Express The Falsies Mascara- Waterproof- Very Black
Most of it is skincare. Take a deep breath. Here we go…
The first empty is Clinique’s Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm. This product is no stranger to this blog. I LOVE it. I cannot live without it. It’s a solid balm that melts into an oil as you massage it onto dry skin. It melts all my foundation, waterproof mascara, and eye makeup off. I remove it with a warm washcloth, but you can also splash water on your face and it will emulsify to a milk that will rinse away. I like the physical exfoliation of a wash-cloth, and it ensures I get all the product off.
Would I recommend this product: Yes. Especially to heavy makeup wearers, mineral sunscreen wearers, or anyone that must wear waterproof mascara due to eyelash non-compliance (me, cough*cough*). There is no fragrance. It’s gentle enough to use on my eyes. If you don’t properly remove your makeup before washing your face, try this product and you’ll never go back.
Value for money: It’s $28 and I use it every day. Every.single.day and it lasts me over 3 months. Well worth the cost.
Did I repurchase: YES YES YES YES YES. I get panicky if it’s less than half full. I always have a backup.
Next up is NUDE Skincare Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly. This is the cleanser I reach for after I’ve removed my makeup, and I need to make sure my skin is nice and clean before any treatments. This cleanser is about as gentle as you can find. Taken straight from the product description: This product is ophthalmologist tested, vegan, and gluten-free. It is formulated without GMO, PEGs, TEA, DEA, propylene glycol, petrolatum, synthetic color, synthetic fragrance, mineral oil, and silicones.
It’s mostly sunflower seed oil, and the texture is very thick. It loosens up after I work it on my skin and it warms up a bit. For anyone worried about acne and breakouts, let me tell you- I’ve had absolutely no issue with this product and I have terribly acne-prone skin. Turns out, proper makeup removal and skin cleansing keeps my breakouts under control. Because this product is so thick, I use a warm washcloth to remove, and rinse with water to make sure I’ve gotten it all. Most importantly, it does not dry out my skin. My skin is soft and nourished after I use this, which in the long run helps my face. If I strip my face with a face wash or other foamy soapy product, my skin reacts by over producing oil. This keeps that response in check.
Would I recommend this product: Yes. Especially to someone in need of a mild cleanser without fragrances or fillers. This is about as straightforward as cleansers get. Great gateway cleanser for anyone looking to put down the acne face washes and trying to get in to natural and oil/balm cleansers.
Value for money: It’s $38 for 3.4 oz. One of the most economical cleansers on the market (for its ingredient quality and spec). Again, used every day at least once (sometimes I use something else for my evening cleanse, but I always use it for my morning cleanse) I get about 3 months out of one tube. And you can see from the shape the container is in, the product just kept coming, long after I thought I was nearing empty. Just takes a bit of manhandling.
Did I repurchase: You know it. Currently using a new tube, and have another in a box waiting.
On to treatments. The next empty is the Facial Radiance Pads by First Aid Beauty. These babies are awesome. I use one every day after I remove makeup and cleanse. The pads are soaked in a mild lactic acid and glycolic acid solution, and really help keep my skin clear and unclogged. Most of us have used Clearasil pads or the like at one point or another in our lives, and while I still use salicylic acid for spot treatment, overall my skin responds better to lactic acid. Acid-toning (a Caroline Hirons term) or chemical exfoliation makes sure your skin is in optimal health and free of dead skin cells and other pore-clogging debris. They also prime your skin so any other active treatments you place on top have optimal absorption.
Would I recommend this product: Absolutely. Anyone who feels their skin is dull and flat should incorporate a chemical exfoliant into their routine asap. These are easy to use and mild enough that sensitive skins like mine are fine with it. Great intro into acid-toning.
Value for money: Ish. For $30 you get 60 pads, so for me, that’s 2 months worth. Again, the convenience of pre-soaked pads cannot be overstated. It’s $30 I’m willing to pay, and I’m happy with the result, but there may be more economical options out there that will deliver a similar result if you are willing to soak your own cotton pad… (one I’ve not tried, but heard is great is Pixi Glow Tonic)
Did I repurchase: Again and again. This is my 4th or 5th container of these pads, and I’m unlikely to ever let them go from my collection. I have another acid-toner on my wish list that I’d like to compare them against, but that hasn’t happened yet, so I have nothing to report as of now.
Speaking of acid-toning, these pads from Dr. Dennis Gross are a much more aggressive form of chemical exfoliation than the First Aid Beauty pads. These pads come in individual packages with a step-1 pad and a step-2 pad. Step one is a concentration of glycolic and mandelic acids and step two is a retinol. On my skin, this is not a daily treatment. I used this twice a week to give myself a proper chemical exfoliation, and I loved how soft and clear my skin was after each use. Again, acne sufferers like me have to work extra hard to keep skin clear. I had no issues with sensitivity or exacerbated redness.
Would I recommend this product: Sure. I think Dr. Dennis Gross as a brand has a good reputation for producing quality and focused skin-care. If you really feel like your skin needs to look and feel fresher, this is a great product to try.
Value for money: These babies are $88 for 35 treatments (on Sephora, when you buy 30, you get 5 additional). That equals $2.50 per packet. Considering I would only use 2 or 3 packs a week, you are looking at 3-4 months of use. Still a bit steep, but believe it or not, not as terrible as some other equally-purposed products on the market.
Did I repurchase: No. Not yet anyway. I have my eyes and heart set on Sunday Riley’s Good Genes after sampling it and having my mind blown (told you I love me some lactic acid), so this one goes on the back burner for a while.
This serum by Ole Henriksen was one of the first skincare treatment items I purchased wayyyyyy long ago. I’m so in the habit of using it that I had to go to the website to get a purpose and description. This is to nourish the skin, and give it a topical dose of vitamins. It smells so citrusy and orangey and I love that part about it. I used to use it every morning under moisturizer, but now I put it on at night as a treatment step. This one is what I call a ‘good faith’ product. Unlike the acid treatments which can show immediate results, this one doesn’t really change the surface of my skin. I use it because it’s a dose of goodness.
Would I recommend this product: Yes and I have. It’s a great starter product for someone looking to give skin TLC and start an anti-aging (or preventative aging) regimen.
Value for money: I always buy the big one. It’s $72 for 1.7oz which sounds like a lot until I realized that I got one year out of this bottle. Of damn near daily use. That’s awesome value.
Did I repurchase: You betcha. This is my 4th big bottle, and I’m likely to continue to use it forevs because, you know, nostalgia.
This eye cream, Clinique’s All About Eyes Rich, is super emollient, which I love. I use it every morning and every evening. For me, it sits brilliantly under makeup. I have a significant amount of creasing under my left eye because I love to sleep face down in a pillow, and this eye cream helps the makeup sit beautifully over an area that tends to gather and crease otherwise. It’s just as it’s says- rich. I tend to be a bit more heavy handed with it in the evenings.
Would I recommend this product: Yes. Especially to face sleepers like me who need a bit more rich moisturization in the under eye area. This isn’t the most active of eye creams, so if all you need is to cushion and buffer your under eye area- this one’s for you.
Value for money: One of the best so far. I buy the 0.5 oz at $31.00 and I got nearly 8 months out of this small pot. Again, used twice daily, so that’s incredibly great value for money in my opinion.
Did I repurchase: Yep. Since I take my acid toning and other topical treatments all the way up to my outer corners, I don’t really need a targeted treatment eye cream yet. This one keeps my under eye area smooth, so it’s a love affair that’s going strong.
I don’t know what it is about me and this mist. I have a problem. I need an intervention. This is Tata Harper’s Hydrating Floral Essence and I’ve become convinced I can’t live without it. Which is ridiculous, because it’s floral water. Like, water. Really really really expensive water. I love this spritz, despite the cost, because my skin feels really and truly pampered by it. I use it after the acid-toning/chemical exfoliation stage and it serves to soothe my skin and help it retain moisture. It contains hyaluronic acid, rose water, and aloe, and it smells like heaven. This helps my moisturizing products go on much more smoothly (like my eye cream, for example) and I use less product to achieve the same level of moisturization. Mostly, I think it helps keep my skin calm and happy after aggressive chemical treatments. I have to do those in order to keep my complexion clear and smooth, so this is the reward my skin gets for tolerating those treatments.
Would I recommend this product: If luxury skin care is your thing, and you use chem exfoliants like I do, then get on it. If you don’t need moisturizer, but just need a bit of something to keep your skin nourished and happy- get on it. For its purpose, this product is amazing.
Value for money: Ehhh. The first bottle I bought was $65 for 50 ml and it lasted almost 3 months of use in the evenings. I took advantage of a Tata Harper sale and bought 150ml for $85 so I felt that was a steal, but still, YIKES. By far the hardest to justify, and if I’m honest, it will be the first to go if I have to cut something. But I LOVE IT SO MUCH IT JUST CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT IT. *Breathes*
Did I repurchase: I think this post says it all. It’s also why the bottle above isn’t truly empty. I kept the first spritz bottle and have been using it instead of the larger one, because the misting quality of the smaller bottle is superior.
Yep. The photo is blurry. And terrible. I thought it was fine, but when I imported the photos it was shit. And I was too lazy to fix it. Here is a product shot for extra clarification:
This is Tata Harper’s Replenishing Nutrient Complex. This is a face oil chock-full of good things for your skin. A few rolls on cleansed skin in the morning, my makeup sits beautifully all day, and I don’t get weird patches on my skin. A few more rolls in the evening after all my treatments, and when I wake up, my skin is so hydrated and soft. If I can confess something- I don’t use moisturizer any more. I think using an oil like this one has helped reduce surface redness in my skin, and I have better texture than ever. That’s not to say I won’t ever use moisturizer again, but until I can save up enough for something from Tata Harper, this oil is all I need. If you have dehydrated skin, or even oily, acne prone skin like me, this oil is a lifesaver. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d write about using oils on my face, but they behave so much better on my skin than a lot of moisturizing products full of fillers. And for anyone else wondering, I put this on in a light layer before my mineral sunscreen. No issues with it at all!
Would I recommend this product: To anyone and everyone. I firmly believe that a chem exfoliant and an oil will change a person’s face overnight. It did for me. And bonus- this oil smells DIVINE.
Value for money: I think so. $45 for 10ml. I get 10-12 weeks of twice daily-use. If you use moisturizer in the mornings, and only this oil in the evenings (which I did for a while) you’ll easily get 3 months out of a little vial.
Did I repurchase: Yep. Holy grail product.
This Bumble and bumble Thickening Hairspray saved my life before I went platinum. My natural hair texture is fine and smooth, so when I cut off all my hair, I needed something that would give it a bit of structure, without being sticky or tacky. I HATE using hair products that leave a gloppy or sticky finish, but this stuff does NONE of that. I’d spray it in damp hair and blow dry and my hair would be fuller, volumized, and have some body to it with -again- no residue or stickiness.
Would I recommend this product: Yes- especially to my fine-haired pals. If you need your hair to have some presence but it doesn’t tolerate a lot of product without falling absolutely flat, then this is a good product for you. I used styling cream with it occasionally for the perfect combo on my short, fine hair.
Value for money: Certainly. $30 for 8oz and this lasted me months and months and months.
Did I repurchase: Yes. This was probably my 5th bottle. I have one in my bathroom cabinet right now that is sadly going unused because my bleached hair doesn’t need any additional thickening or oomph. It will be waiting on the day I go back to brown…
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