EMPTIES | June 2017

I skipped a month or four in empties, and now I’m very sick of containers in my bathroom.. so here we go again.

I know what you’re thinking – candles? Who do I think I am, Zoella?! Don’t worry, I’ve no such delusions. But I felt like mentioning that as of late, I’ve quite enjoyed lighting candles in my bedroom. I don’t know why I like it – ambience, or something I suppose. I picked up the one in the background from one of my workplaces – it’s a limited edition candle by Aroha Love Candles, a local company, and was sold for Matariki. It has notes of pomegranate, lemon verbena and pink grapefruit, but I can also pick up some vanilla and a touch of rose. The purple candle with the ambiguous ‘inspiring’ wording on it was a very strongly scented passionfruit candle (I think). My mama gave me it for christmas, which was lovely, as she normally hates candles.

Then we have a common sight – an empty LUSH pottle. This was for my first pot of ‘Santa FUN. I just use FUN as a shaving cream or to make some fluffy-af bubbles in my bath, but it can also be used to wash your body and/or hair, or mould things. This one smells like jasmine & ylang-ylang, which is a lovely combination and one I find very comforting, particularly in a hot bath in the middle of winter (which would be appropriate if I lived in the Northern Hemisphere).

Look, more LUSH! There’s actually two 100mL bottles of Vanilla Dee-Lite body lotion I’ve used up, but putting them both in the photo ruined the aesthetic, so live with it. As we all know, I love this lotion. It is thin, but still hydrates my lizardy skin – and it smells of vanilla. It’s truly my favourite, even though I go through quite a lot of product with each application. I also have here a wee pot of what was pink FUN – a sample I got in a Kitchen order, and popped in a cleaned-out lip scrub container. The scent would appeal to any small child, I think – sweet and candy floss-like – but it’s otherwise the same as any other kind of FUN.

A few things I’ve given up on are in this empties, including the EOS lip balm sphere in Pomegranate-Raspberry. When I was using it, I bloody loved this balm because it was delicious in scent and taste, but I don’t actually rate the balm itself as none of the ones I’ve tried do anything for my lips. I stopped using this one when I moved on to more effective lip balms, and when I found it recently I noted it’s lost any scent entirely – now it’s just a ball of waxy sadness. Also on this disappointing train is The Healthy Deodorant by Lavanila in a limited-edition Vanilla Snowberry scent. I ordered this mini-size LE on Amazon about christmastime, along with a 7-pack of the regular scents in miniature. This was completely dried out upon opening, and entirely unusable. I should’ve contacted Amazon for a refund, but I didn’t think that far ahead.

Next up is a wee brown bottle I’ll be reusing – it held Hello Tanya‘s incredible cuticle oil, a verifiably magical mix that hydrates my nail beds like nothing else. I have another bottle already, but Tanya said she could use spare bottles back so I’ll recycle this one!

One of the two mini things seen here is the HASK Argan Oil Hair Treatment. I used to love this stuff, but nowadays it’s too siliconey for my hair. I prefer the Wella SP Luxe Oil to smooth and treat my hair – when I remember to use it! The second mini is of the Goodness Every Evening Cream – I got this in my trial pack and it’s a great night cream. This mini size lasted ages and I liked it so much that I’ve bought the full size to use when I finish my current night creams.

 Aussie 3-Minute Miracle Deep Conditioner is a staple in my bathroom, no matter what kind – but I like the Beach Mate or Moisture variations best. I think I’ve mentioned it nearly as much as I have The Righteous Butter by Soap & Glory – a true gem of a body butter. Thick, creamy, sinks in fast, and smells like pink Shirley Temple drinks – it’s basically all I want in life. Sophie gave me this, and since using this up, I’ve already nabbed myself a large tub and another mini.

The final things here are face things – the Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer and the Goodness Every Morning Moisturiser. The primer is weirdly siliconey for the thin texture, and is actually not finished – it fell victim to the old “I’ll save it for a special occasion” plan, and then it began to smell overpoweringly plasticky, and started clumping up in the container – ick. The Goodness moisturiser also isn’t bad by any means; it’s a versatile formula that’s going to be suitable for virtually any skin – sensitised to oily, even dry. I didn’t finish it up because I am lucky enough to have an abundance of excellent moisturisers that are a bit more tailored to my skin type. If I didn’t have them, I’d definitely consider picking up this for a good basic formula of moisturiser.

So that’s it! What’ve you used up these last few months?

SKIN | Mini Reviews – High-End Skincare

More sample reviews! Here is a selection of trial-size sachets and tubes I’ve collected, from higher-end beauty brands. Do they live up to the hype?

Well, you’d better read on!

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules: These made my face feel a strange combination of siliconey and oily. Unpleasant. They also weren’t too beneficial for my skin, but I think they would be for older skins. Repurchase? No.

Bobbi Brown EXTRA Repair Serum: This felt lovely, but I didn’t need it – I just liked using it. It made no difference to my skin, but I’m not the target clientele for this product. Repurchase? No, perhaps in 10 years.

Clarins Multi-Active Night Cream: This smells quite herby and while at first I didn’t like that aspect, it did grow on me. It was a good night cream, perhaps a little oilier feeling than I really like though. I would advise caution for sensitive-skinned people, because of that fragrance aspect. Repurchase? If I couldn’t get my preferred products, sure.

Clarins Multi-Active Day Cream: This is quite a nice all-rounder cream, suitable for most skins and pretty unreactive. It’s for these reasons I keep a tube of it in my makeup artist’s kit; but I want my moisturiser to be a little more targeted for my skin’s needs. Repurchase? Only for my kit.

Clarisonic Refreshing Gel Cleanser: Terrible. Awful. WAY too harsh. Repurchase? No, no no no no.

Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Cottonseed:
This is the ‘normal’ skin version of a previous favourite, the Foaming Cleanser with Shea Butter. Despite the name ‘foaming’, the shea butter version isn’t too stripping, but this one was. A bit too much for my dry skin, but for oilier complexions it’d work. Repurchase? No.

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Night Cream:
This is really nice – thick and comforting, but not too emollient. It reminds me of my favourite, MAC Comfort Creme, but a little heavier on the dimethicone and a stranger scent. Repurchase? Maybe – but not if I can have my MAC one.

Shiseido Future Solution LX Cleansing Foam:
This is a little pot an ex-coworker gave me which had this cleanser in it. It was LOVELY, one of the only foam cleanser I’ve used that didn’t completely strip my skin. I think I preferred the Ibuki Gentle Cleanser a little more for my skin, but this is still a great product. Repurchase? No, just because I like the Ibuki one better.

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Caplet Serum:
I’ve written about this in an empties before, when I used up the full size. It feels nice and is enticingly sparkly, but I doubt it actually does anything – I certainly haven’t seen a marked difference. Repurchase? I’ll use up the other minis I have, but won’t repurchase in the full size.

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Eye Gel:
Eye gels are no replacement for creams, and this isn’t an exception. Unremarkable. Repurchase? No.

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum: Oh, the famed miracle-serum. No idea if it’s actually intended for my skin, but it made it feel bloody lovely – constructive and hydrating, but not too oily. The same way my loved Clarins Double Serum makes my skin feel. Repurchase? Not unless I discover it has some benefits beyond what my Clarins one offers me, as that one is less expensive than ANR.

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Moisture Cream SPF 30+: This was a struggle for me to finish, as I really don’t like SPF in my moisturiser. I’ll admit, I’m lazy with SPF, but I’d rather pull my socks up and use seperate SPF and moisturiser, instead of taking a lesser-quality moisturiser. This gave me a white cast, didn’t hydrate enough and felt incredibly thick. Repurchase? No – but if you have normal skin and like a moisturiser with SPF, this would be a good one.

Estée Lauder Take It Away Makeup Remover: I don’t know what it was about this, but it didn’t live up to the hype at all. As a makeup-removing lotion, it felt like it did fuck all – and I don’t wear anything near as hardcore as Double Wear, so how is this supposed to work? I am aware this was an old (4-5 years) tube of my mum’s, which may have been a factor, but yikes – I needed my standard double cleanse even after this. Repurchase? No, give me an oil/balm cleanser any day.

Lipidol Cleansing Face Oil: This was a tiny sachet I used up over a year ago so this review is relying on one use, with a dodgy-at-best memory. Bear with. I do remember being surprised; it was better than I had expected, but certainly not a huge game changer. It was too fragranced and liquidy for my liking – an oil cleanser shouldn’t be the consistency of water. Repurchase? Unlikely – I’d try it again, but I already have oil cleansers I do love.

Estée Lauder Idealist Pore Refining Serum: I first used this nearly 6 years ago in a sample size, and I loved it. My barely-ever-touched skin loved this silky, refining serum, and it inspired my first fascination with my skin. I remember washing my face, putting this on and moisturising – then admiring my face in the mirror. Ah, the seeds of my future obsession. Repurchase? If I could afford it and my pores were more of a problem (like when I don’t use A/BHAs), I would.

What sample/mini things have you tried or used lately?

SKIN | 5 Mini Reviews – Aesop

In a move borrowed directly from Evelyn over at We Were Raised By Wolves, I have decided to begin posts on the samples I use up in my wee sample drawers. I always find Evelyn’s sample reviews so interesting, and they offer a chance to discuss the first responses we have to products.

First up, I’m reviewing some Aesop samples I was given in Melbourne* a few months ago – cleanser, exfoliant, toner, moisturiser and a mask. Each sample was quite small, but with the exception of the mask, provided me with ample product to cover my face. There wasn’t actually any dud in this selection, the lovely lady who served me clearly paid excellent attention to my skin needs and selected the samples accordingly as my face felt positively wonderful after using them all. I’ve definitely got a few on my to-purchase list..

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Fabulous Face Cleanser

This is a very liquid-ey, low-foaming gel that smells fresh (bergamot & citrus) but is not stripping. Left my face supple and refreshed, but didn’t leave behind residue – a dream of a cleanser. Mildly calming, too (which God knows my skin needs!).

Repurchase? Most definitely – on the list.

B & Tea Balancing Toner

Nothing like any other toner I’ve tried – where you normally think of toner as a watery essence, B & Tea is more of a liquid-leaning gel. As I find with most regular toners, I couldn’t see an immediate difference. But it felt refreshing and most importantly, hydrating (which most toners don’t really do for me, so it can’t be a bad thing).

Repurchase? I’ll consider it, once I’ve used up my current stash.

Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream

When I first squidged this out of the packet I was rather taken aback by it’s yellowness. But it didn’t smell weird so I put it on my face, and I am so glad I did. It hydrated my notoriously dry skin wonderfully without feeling too balmy and taking an age to sink in.

Repurchase? Oh, fuck yes. Hello, summer moisturiser.

Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste

This was the finest grit I’ve ever felt in a physical exfoliator, and the closest I’ve ever been to a physical polish of my skin. I used this on my skin when I hadn’t exfoliated (in any form) in quite some time, and it’s a good job I did because I would be mildly concerned about stripping layers off if I used this regularly – even gently. Having said that, a full-size would last bloody ages because you don’t need much at all.

Repurchase? Probably not, I have exfoliators close to this grit already and I don’t use them enough to justify purchasing this.

Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque

A drying mask that doesn’t freak my skin out? What?! I’m sold. Especially when it left my skin visibly clearer and managed to soak up excess oil without pulling all moisture from my skin. Magical.

Repurchase? Yes, but only when I’m feeling seriously flush with cash.


For the record: I have dry and sensitive, mildly reactive skin that likes to be looked after gently (hint: just like people, most skin likes being looked after gently). If you have similar skin and you’re looking for something in these categories, I’d highly recommend giving these products a try. Or you could do what I suggest other skin types do and pop into an Aesop retailer and ask the expert, because I can’t see your skin and even if I could, they’re much less likely to fuck up a product recommendation.

Have you tried anything from Aesop before?

 

 

*Flinders Lane Store – Miranda served me and she was an absolute gem. Truly a stellar customer service experience.

SKIN | 7 Mini Reviews – Kiehl’s

I used up some more samples – this time from Kiehl’s. I’d heard so much about numerous Kiehl’s products, such as the green eye cream and the famous Midnight Recovery Oil so I headed over to a counter and had a consult. I was suggested these products – but what did I think?

Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash

This face wash was a non-event – not bad, not good. It didn’t irritate my skin, sure, but it also didn’t clean particularly deeply. Repurchase? No.

Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner – Alcohol Free

Just like the cleanser, nothing special. Good that it’s alcohol-free, but as far as I’m aware this has no actual hard-hitting skin friend ingredients. Repurchase? Nope.

Centella Skin-Calming Facial Cleanser

This was the loveliest cream cleanser I’ve ever used, hands-down. It obviously didn’t foam, but still left my skin feeling clean and soft without the residue my Trilogy one sometimes leaves. Repurchase? On the list.

Skin Rescuer

I’d heard that this was a miracle-working moisturiser; it calmed angry skin, hydrated (but not too much) and balanced the skin’s mantle. But it did the opposite, and despite washing it off as soon as the reaction was obvious, I had plenty of pimples the next day. Repurchase? No, as much as I love the idea.

Creamy Eye Treatment

This is ridiculously thick and takes an age to massage in, but it hydrates wonderfully and smooths my under-eyes. It’s average under make-up. Repurchase? Using the full-size now.

Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturising Serum Concentrate

I really needed a good boost of hydration when I used this, so I popped this on and it was awesome. I was initially worried about the silicone-y smoothness it gave to my face, but that soon went away and it didn’t have the clogging effects silicone-based serums usually have. Repurchase? Perhaps next winter.

Midnight Recovery Oil

Oh, what high hopes I had for this. It felt lovely and smelt incredible – but the next morning, my face was covered in tiny surface pustules (yet under those, very glowy). A week later I tried again and sure enough it repeated. Yet to work out which ingredient it was. Repurchase? No, god no.

So on the whole, an equal split of hits & misses from this sample batch. I’m definitely interested in trying some more Kiehl’s products – but I’ll be taking their promises with a grain of salt.

 

Have you tried any of these Kiehl’s products? What do you think of them?

 

MAKEUP | Lashes for Days

The item I hear most about stashes of in the beauty blogger/vlogger world is mascara. Mascara goes off quicker than just about any other beauty product (you should be popping that tube in the bin 6 months after opening, by the way) and I can’t personally justify having more than one on the go at once, but I did find eight – yes, count ’em, eight – hanging out in my stash of things during a huge clear out recently. I thought it’d be a good time to do a bit of a run down of them, and tell you my thoughts – there’s a repurchase in there, 90’s-esque colour, and a packaging hatred, so get amongst for some lash-by-lash breakdown..

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Line-up: Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye; Maybelline Rocket Volume Express; Maybelline Great Lash Classic in Vision in Violet and Very Berry; Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes; Revlon Photoready 3D Volume in Blackest Brown; MaxFactor 2000 Calorie in Brown Black; LA Colors mascara in brown

First up, Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara. This one is a miniature size, but oh BOY the price is not. Do you fancy dropping $57 on a mascara? Because I don’t, despite how perfect the product is. Smokey Eye Mascara is gorgeously black in pigment, lasts well and makes my lashes look long, and fluttery as fuck. I actually prefer the miniature size, because it means I can finish a mascara before it dries up and gets useless, but I don’t waste $30 when it does. Bobbi, please sell these perfect little minis. I’d drop the outrageous dollars I’m sure you’d charge on them, because I know how idyllic this stuff is – I just want a size I can finish!

Next, we set in on the half of this line up that Maybelline make. The Rocket Volume Express mascara was much-hyped in 2012-2o13, first brought to my attention by (then) Essie Button, but unavailable in NZ, as it remains to this day. It’s a pretty great one, separating lashes like no tomorrow and keeping them relatively same-looking all day, yet still easy to get off when all is said and done. It’s a plastic, mildly terrifying wand that will absolutely scrape your tightline and make you flinch several times, but if you’re happy to adjust then it does the job pretty well. Gets a little thick and spidery at the end of it’s life, but definitely one Maybelline need to bring to Antipodean shores. I hear the waterproof version is even better.

The Maybelline Great Lash formula is pretty damn iconic – around since the 70’s, the pink-and-green tube has several different incarnations – big/little wand, super-dark formula, blah blah blah.. and then, colour formulas! I picked up two from Amazon a while ago – ‘Vision in Violet‘, a playdough-purple monstrosity, and ‘Very Berry‘, a red mascara with the world’s most unimaginative name. These were technically fine – Violet was a bit thicker than Berry in my experience, but they both had a thin wand and average wear. On the whole, I have two words to say about Violet – never & again. It was a terrible colour and dried up far too quickly. Berry was actually pretty cool – being a burgundy it enhanced my blue eyes and really made them pop in a way a bit more obvious than the usual brown trick. However, trying to remove it was a horror film – despite thinking I had properly removed it all, I woke up to a terrified ex-boyfriend thinking there was something very wrong with my eyes. A lot of fun to own, but I’m sure the other few plum/burgundy mascaras out there will have formulas that outrank this.

The Maybelline Great Lash Brush Gimmick I chose to buy into was the Lots of Lashes brush – a tiny cone/heart-shaped brush that’s designed to get to every corner. I bought it because I’d been intrigued by it for a while and it was $11, but I bloody loved it – easy to get off, separates my lashes nicely, gets ’em all, and isn’t soul-rippingly expensive ($28 for a mascara that costs US$6 is a fucking rip, and you know it Maybelline).

Back when Kmart redid their makeup section, they sold stuff really cheap. I was well into brown/black mascaras at this time, and that’s when I picked up the Revlon Photoready 3D and the MaxFactor 2000 Calorie mascaras. Revlon’s offering stayed unopened for a while, and fell in love with Max Factor’s, which made my lashes look long and fluffy with it’s thicker, drier formula. I noticed as time went on that it flaked off onto my cheeks at the end of the day, and left my lashes looking pretty shite. I thought it was down to it needing to be chucked, so I picked up another one. Straight out of the shop, same deal. Gave it 7 tries and got fed up. No thanks, Max.

Revlon, had the opposite problem – as it got older it became wetter, and left lash imprints everywhere. I also found the name misleading – it did give a brilliant result (especially with that brush on there – long soft plastic bristles everywhere that got all my lashes and made them stand out of my face like nobody’s business) but I promise you there was no volumising going on there whatsoever. The final complaint I have about this one is packaging. It’s a good mascara, but a makeup bag space hog. Not my favourite mascara of them all, but I didn’t despise it. Not like..

LA Colors brown mascara – a nightmare I should’ve seen coming, given it cost me $3. It did fuck all, and was way to warm for anyone. It was cruelty-free though, so props for that. I ended up desperately trying it in my brows for a week, and then it got gloopy. Not a good time.

There you go – some thoughts on mascara. A post you didn’t know you’d want to read. Or maybe you didn’t – I don’t know. Now go forth, and don’t buy an LA Colors mascara.

EMPTIES | January 2017

And again, here we are – but this time, with a new year to incorrectly write on forms for a few months.

Look at my trash, I guess?

Caudalie Beauty Elixir: I bought this on a whim from Sephora, after seeing long-time faves Sali Hughes and Caroline Hirons raving about it – I had no idea it had so much menthol in it, but I’m still a fan. Where most brands push their spritzes as “pore-tightening” or something equally as impossible for a fancy water to do, Beauty Elixir lives up to it’s claims and more. It really DOES speed skin healing, and feels incredible. The packaging is pretty luxe regularly, but my special edition Jason Wu design is one I’ll be keeping to reuse. I can see why it’s a classic. Repurchase? Yes, when I can afford to.

LUSH Curly Wurly coconut shampoo: This was a sample I received with one of my kitchen orders – I’d wanted to try it for ages, but was apprehensive about the chunks of coconut in it getting tangled in my hair. I was right to be – it made my hair washing process fairly harder than normal. Despite how much I liked the results of the rest of the shampoo, the coconut pieces just weren’t worth it. Repurchase? Not unless the formula is changed, sadly.

LUSH Angels On Bare Skin fresh cleanser: Another sample that came – I had it once before a few years ago and didn’t like it because of the oily layer it left. My skin is drier now, and I my skincare tastes have matured so I can appreciate the hydrating layer it leaves. I do like it, but I wish I could buy smaller sizes – due to the other LUSH cleanser in this empties, I never even finished this sample before it’s use-by*. Repurchase? I’m definitely considering it, but I’ll have to ensure I’m only using that one while I have it.

Seventeen Phwoarr Paint under-eye concealer in Fair: As you can see, this isn’t used up – but it’s so old, it really needs to go. I mentioned it a few months ago in a Favourites post and those feelings haven’t changed, if I’m honest. I’ve just had this far too long.. coming up 3 years now! Repurchase? When my Bobbi Brown corrector is used up, I think I will. An excellent dupe at a much more reasonable price.

Goodness Skincare Chia Seed Oil: Another recent favourites mention, I am well and truly on the Goodness bandwagon. A no-nonsense, quality skincare brand that doesn’t cost the earth. Inspired. This chia seed oil hydrates my face excellently, and its now a staple in my routine before my moisturiser. On days that are particular write-offs, I like to use twice as much as normal in place of my moisturiser for a big boost of nourishment. Repurchase? Currently using another mini I got with my full-size purchase, but when that’s up, I definitely will.

Trilogy Very Gentle Cleansing Cream: It’s been 18 months since I escaped left Farmers, and I’ve finally finished my last tube of this cleanser. It’s been my go-to gentle cleanser for the longest time, and there’s not much more I can say about it that I haven’t already. It leaves slight residue, but cleanses thoroughly without irritating the skin – one of the few cleansers I don’t have to immediately moisturise after using. Repurchase? I’m on a new cream cleanser buzz now due to budget, but if I can handle the price, I’d love to use this again.

LUSH Bûche de Noël fresh cleanser: Because I was just getting in to my sample of Angels on Bare Skin around Christmas, I thought I’d pick up the festive cleanser LUSH put out annually, as they were apparently quite similar. They were, but I didn’t like this. The smell is fine (though a little strange in summer), but large pieces of cranberry are really annoying to put on your skin and to fish out of your plughole. Also, didn’t last well. Repurchase? No, as I only got a third of the way through this before I needed to chuck it out.

Goodness Every Day Cream Cleanser: Another mini from my Goodness sample box, and boy is it a goodie. It’s now replaced my Trilogy Very Gentle as my favourite cleansing cream, not least because it’s less than half the price and works just as well. Not quite as soothing, I’ll admit, but still amazing – I use so little that my full-size will go very far. Repurchase? Already have!

Evolu Purifying Mask: Just like the Trilogy one, this is one of my final tubes from my days at Farmers. It’s a hard-core clay mask that will pull oil from your skin like nothing else. Incredible for when my skin feels congested and unbalanced. I also like to mix it with a cream mask such as my Antipodes Aura mask, and it does a beautiful job of rebalancing my complexion without sapping moisture from my mantle. Repurchase? It’ll be rough, but yes. It’s worth the dollars.

LUSH Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair shower gel: I bought this when the latest lot of new permanent products came into NZ LUSH Stores, and only in 100mL in case I hated it (reviews are pretty split across the blogosphere). Turns out I really like it – it’s a lavender/jasmine/rose/guava/fig scent, and I’m pretty sure it’s the first time I’ve experienced lavender in a more bracing format as opposed to the usual ‘relaxation’ vibe. It’s awesome – bright and refreshing. Also makes an excellent clarifying shampoo. Repurchase? Yes, definitely.

What did you use up in January? Anything you really loved/hated?

EMPTIES | October 2016

This month I’ve made a huge effort to clear out the things I have doubles and samples of and get them used up, so it’s a packaging-heavy month.

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Dr. Hauschka Melissa Day Cream
This was my last tube I had stocked up from my time with Dr Hauschka, and I was both sad and excited to see it go, in all it’s summery, lemony yellow glory.
Repurchase? I want to try other moisturisers, but I can always come back to this.

LUSH Miranda Soap
Every month or so I chop off a chunk of one of my soaps to work my way through. This was my second chunk of Miranda, and I like it. Clean, fruity and inoffensive.
Repurchase? Quite possibly.

Clinique All About Eyes Cream – Rich
In my quest to find my perfect eye cream, I got this sample from a Clinique counter in town. A good eye cream, sank in nicely and kept my undereyes hydrated.
Repurchase? Definitley over my current Kiehl’s one.

YSL Fusion Ink in B10
This sample is nearing 2 years old – I used it up much much earlier than now obviously, so it was well over due date.
Repurchase? Already did a month after this sample!

Clarins Eye Contour Gel
I was given this sample quite a while ago, and I never used it up because it was not for me. It didn’t do anything, and I don’t think a gel for eyes has much of a point anyway if I’m honest..
Repurchase? No.

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in 2
I loved the texture of this upon application and the way it made my skin glow, but it never stopped feeling tacky, which I abhorre, and it oxidised.
Repurchase? Sadly, no.

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Bobbi Brown EXTRA Repair Moisture Cream
This is my favourite winter moisturiser, as talked about in this post. This is my second pot, and I came to the end of it just in time to switch over to summer moisturiser, which I’m currently hunting for.
Repurchase? Yes, even at the price tag ($150.. ouch)

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Estée Lauder Double Wear foundation in 1N1
Another foundation I quite like – but perhaps a little too heavy for me to use too often.
Repurchase? I’ll consider it when I’ve used up my YSL Fusion Ink.

YSL Youth Liberator Serum Foundation in BR20
This was a lovely light-medium foundation that was very dewy. Could be a concern in summer months.
Repurchase? No – I love my Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation too much.

Bobbi Brown EXTRA Repair Eye Cream
The thickest and most expensive eye cream I’ve ever used, and unfortunately I adore it.
Repurchase? Currently searching desperately for something as good (or close to) that doesn’t carry a $146 price tag.

Clarins Instant Light Brush-On Perfector
This is the closest thing I’ve found to the YSL Touche Eclat, in texture and colour. This one is just a tad more yellow-tone, but I’m not complaining.
Repurchase? Maybe when I’ve used some more things up.

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Tonymoly Egg Pore Tightening Pack
Shit man, this stuff really sucks the oil out of the face, and has the most unwieldy packaging. But it eventually dried up.
Repurchase? Probably not, as the need for nose packs has diminished quite a lot since using more acids in my routine.

Aussie 3-Minute Miracle Frizz Remedy Hair Treatment
This is the second Aussie hair treatment I’ve used up, and just like the last I enjoyed it. Made my hair soft but not weighed down.
Repurchase? Yes!

Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask
Like most of the beauty blogging world, I love this stuff. I have found in recent months that I can’t really use it directly on my face, but it makes a wonderful hybrid mask when mixed with clay. Also a wonderful calming spot treatment or overnight mask.
Repurchase? Yes – and so will the friends I’ve referred to this stuff.

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LUSH Turkish Delight Shower Smoothie
I used up one of these not so long ago, and only got through this one so fast because I depotted half of it into the top of my large size of this.
Repurchase? Yes, as long as the Lush Kitchen bring it back!

LUSH Twilight Shower Gel
Ah the cult classic, hard to find Twilight. Deliciously sweet and calming. I prefer it in this scent to the bath bomb, but I think I like the heavy malty element of the jelly over the gel.
Repurchase? Not soon – I have a full 250g bottle in my cupboard at the moment.

LUSH Flying Fox Shower Gel
This is legitimately my all-time favourite shower gel. It calms me down when I’m anxious, yet makes me feel powerful and confident when I need a boost. Of course, it’s discontinued.
Repurchase? Yes, when I’m down to one bottle left (currently 2.5).

LUSH Vanilla Dee-Lite Body Lotion
Another often-talked about thing here, and another discontinued item. Luckily it’s been back in the Lush Kitchen a few times, so I’m hoping it’ll be back again soon.
Repurchase? Yes, when I don’t have a few back-ups.

What interesting things did you use up in October?

EMPTIES | December 2016

Over November and December, I used up a huge collection of products and barely even had to try for it – the empties blogger’s dream. Here they are!

Dr Hauschka Revitalising Mask:
Of all the products I grew to love when I was with Dr. Hauschka, this is my number one; my can’t-go-without-it product. Whenever something is a bit off with my skin (or the night/day before a big event) I slather this on and let it do it’s magic. It gently revitalises skin, with a result similar to that of harsher ‘revitalising’ products, but without harming my wussy skin.
Repurchase? It’s a little steep at $87 a pop, but this is definitely worth it.

LUSH Celebrate Lotion:
I first tried this when it came in a Christmas gift I received last year, and I tried to stretch it out as long as possible, but eventually gave in to the scent and used it all up. Definitely a favourite scent in the LUSH ranges.
Repurchase? I was hoping it’d be released in this year’s Christmas range, but alas. Come on, LUSH Kitchen!

Meiskin Mandarin Face Scrub:
This one has been in the cupboard a while – given to me by my friend Steph when we worked at Farmers. It is quite lovely though, it gives me an excellent scrub, on the level of a self-microderm kit! Unsure of the kind of beads in it, though.
Repurchase? I have just ordered another in their Boxing Day Sale!

Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara (mini):
A regular feature in my empties – nothing fluffs my lashes as beautifully as this magic formula.
Repurchase? As I always say when I use up one of these; Bobbi Brown – let me purchase minis of this, and I’ll buy them until I die.

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads:
I bought these in order to incorporate an AHA/BHA product back into my daily routine. I do love them (a great low-level acid product), but I have to say I feel strange about using a pad a day and having to throw them out. Feels unnecessarily wasteful.
Repurchase? I’m looking a these as an option, but until I choose a product I’m using something else.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick:
This stuff is good. An offshoot of the Eight Hour Cream line, this is a hugely hydrating lip balm with SPF 15, in a stick form. Very handy and great during summer (especially as my skin gets drier).
Repurchase? Not any time soon – I was given (a tinted) one as a GWP recently.

Clarisonic Sensitive Facial Brush Head (not pictured):
Just like with toothbrushes, you’re recommended to change your Clarisonic brush head every 3 months. Also like with toothbrushes, I don’t – in fact, I think I change my toothbrush more often! In my defense, I rarely use my Clarisonic these days, and when it’s not in use I keep the brush head off the device, dry and tucked away in a sanitary place. This one is alright (it came with the body), but still a little harsh for my liking.
Repurchase? Not so long as I can get a gentler one.

Goodness Every Week Scrub:
I was super impressed with this, especially as I wasn’t a fan of Trilogy’s facial scrub (Goodness’s parent company). This gives me similar results as the Meiskin scrub, but is much easier to get and cheaper – winner! I also like that the scrubby bits are jojoba beads which are degradable and environmentally safe, but not jagged enough to ruin my skin.
Repurchase? It’s looking very likely!

Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion:
This came in a Black Box I was sent a few months ago, and I’m glad cause I’d been wanting to try it. Quite slippery, as it warns, but hydrating and protective on a budget.
Repurchase? Maybe in the future.

Bobbi Brown Radiance Boost Mask (mini):
I only used this up just the other night, and it was a lot finer than I’d expected for an exfoliating mask. Like the other two scrubs I’ve mentioned, it was a microderm-style scrub and I was very happy with it!
Repurchase? Probably not, as the other ones I’ve mentioned are significantly cheaper with similar results.

Trilogy Hydrating Mist Toner:
I really, really love this. I wouldn’t call it a toner at all, rather just a hydrating mist, but it’s beautiful and the scent reminds me of  on of my favourite places in the world. Excellent for hydrating my skin and cooling it down, as well as calming my mind.
Repurchase? Yes!

Clarins Double Serum:
Another frequent flyer on this blog, I’m a big fan of Double Serum. I swear it’s a good chunk of why my skin is behaving better these days.
Repurchase? Yep – though I’ve just started on a 50mL size.

Apples & Pears Beeswax Lip Balm:
It only took me two years, but I’ve finally finished one of the best lip balms I’ve ever used. It transforms into an almost oil-like texture that nourishes my lips significantly better than most products.
Repurchase? If only – Apples & Pears no longer exists. I have one more, though.

LUSH The Comforter Shower Cream:
The scent of LUSH’s famous Comforter bubble bar is beautiful – blackcurrants and clouds. They’ve replicated it in a shower cream format, and it’s only a touch less amazing than the original bar.
Repurchase? No need right now, but yes.

Bionsen Sensitive Stick Deodorant:
I prefer a stick formula to roll-on or (heaven forbid) spray deodorants, and the unisex scent of this one is pleasant but not strong. It’s not an antiperspirant, but still keeps me fresh all day. It also happens to be one of the only deodorants that doesn’t irritate my eczema. Thank heaven for it’s existence.
Repurchase? Yes! Almost due for another Boots order actually.

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Caplet Serum:
I’m not sure why this serum is in the Elizabeth Arden Ceramide range, because it’s not particularly hydrating. It is, however, VERY sparkly and alluring to look at. Not sure it did too much in terms of brightening my skin, though.
Repurchase? No.

Anatomicals Be Good With Your Hands In Bed Night-Time Hand Cream:
This was quite cheap and I used it up very quickly, but I tell you what – it’s great. Very hydrating, sinks in well and doesn’t leave a film on your hands. Not as good as my EA 8-Hour Treatment, but with a name like this (and a price point like that – $8), I’m not complaining.
Repurchase? Yes, if I can find it again!

Nivea Refreshing Facial Wash Gel:
I was expecting this gel cleanser to be very stripping and harsh, but it was surprisingly gentle and hydrating. Felt lovely on the skin, and was only $2.90.
Repurchase? Quite possibly, yes.

Thanks for reading! What about you? What have you used up from your stash lately?

EMPTIES | September 2016

This month I’ve done a strange flatlay, but I kind of love it. Despite being shot on a very rainy Sunday, it’s very season-appropriate – as Sophie would quote, “Plants Florals for Spring? Groundbreaking”. Let’s get to it.

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Dr Hauschka Night Serum
This is not actually empty, but it breaks me out and I’ve had it far too long. I was given it when I worked for Dr. Hauschka 18 months ago and as it’s not a product with traditional preservatives in it, it really needs to be chucked.
Repurchase? No – though the apple-blossom scent is nice.

Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream
I like a light eye cream in the mornings to sit nicely under my makeup, and this is the best I’ve tried for that. I’ve written about it here previously.
Repurchase? Yes, unless my current one grows on me.

LUSH Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner
Magical stuff that you use like a wash-out hair conditioner, but on your body. This gives my skin heaps of moisture and an excellent scent.
Repurchase? Yes, when I have room.

Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Mascara – Transparent
As far as brow gels go, this is not a good one. It comes out of the tube with a weird film on the brush that leaves horrific globs on your eyebrows; the brush is a bobbly monstrosity and is difficult to manouver. No.
Repurchase? Definitely not.

Clarins Double Serum (not pictured)
I like this because it strengthens my skin and helps it heal, as well as working amazingly in conjunction with AHA/BHAs to improve skin texture.
Repurchase? Already halfway through another.

LUSH Honey I Washed the Kids Soap, approx 25g (not pictured)
I love the sweet and comforting scent of this, despite the exceptionally drying effect it has on my hands.
Repurchase? At some point.

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation in 0 – Porcelain
This is my favourite everyday foundation – light but not too sheer, an excellent colour match and nicely blendable. There’s still some left in here, but it started smelling weird and was nearly done anyway.
Repurchase? On another bottle now!

Formula 10.06 So Totally Clean (Sensitive) (not pictured)
I’ve written about this and my affection for it numerous times here and here.
Repurchase? No – it’s near-impossible to find in NZ right now, so I’m trying a heavier acid toning product.

LUSH Layer Cake Soap, approx 15g (not pictured)
I got a sample of this with a LUSH Kitchen order and loved it – it was the red & purple colours, which have raspberry & blackcurranty scents (two of my favourite scent families). Not as drying as other soaps!
Repurchase? Quite possibly, but only if I got the same colours.

Dr. Hauschka Blackthorn Toning Body Oil
One of my favourite luxurious-as-fuck bathroom items – my skin never feels as smooth as when I’ve put this on. I don’t know if it tones, but then I try not to think about what is or isn’t toned on my body..
Repurchase? I have so many body moisturisers right now, but the second I can spare the cash, I will.

Ethique Oaty Delicious Shampoo/Body Wash Bar (not pictured)
This little mini came in my second sampler box, and I ended up loving it. Review due soon!
Repurchase? Yes – this will be my new shampoo soon, I expect.

LUSH Pink Peppermint Foot Lotion
Another not-quite finished product – I’m not a fan of anything to do with feet at the best of times, but the scent of this is that of a horribly medicinal, sweet milky-peppermint. Despite the arnica content, I just couldn’t get past the scent and the grease it left on me.
Repurchase? No.

Bionsen Sensitive Stick Deodorant
My favourite deodorant. It’s aluminium-free so it’s gentle and doesn’t hurt my armpits, even when I’ve been rude enough to shave them. My eczema patch doesn’t object to it and it has a clean, unisex scent.
Repurchase? Yep. This is one I have multiple backups of.

Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream Intensive Moisturising Hand Treatment
This is the thickest and silkiest hand cream in the world, that hydrates my hands and repairs them when they get dry and scaly (more often than I’d care to admit).
Repurchase? I’m holding off until the christmas sets with more of these cute tiny sizes come out, but yes.

EMPTIES | The Body/Hair Stuff

I haven’t done an empties post in quite some time, and I’ve built up quite the excess of useless packaging. Just like last time there’s a lot, so I’ll split it up into 2 posts. This one is the body/hair stuff part, and it’s where my fascination with LUSH products from the last year really surfaces, along with a few other cool things.

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LUSH Rub Rub Rub Shower Scrub, 130g
My skin loves and needs a good scrub, but apparently not a scrub made from fine sea salt and lemon juice.. ouch. This is not a friend for sensitive skin, or I imagine for people on a budget – I only got two uses of this pot because its a blue gloop that doesn’t go far before dissolving down the drain.
Repurchase? If I did use this again, I’d think this consistency would be far better suited to a bottle.

Bionsen Spa Minerals Stick Deodorant, 40g
In all the unseen empties hauls I’ve taken previously, there’s a stick of this. That’s because I go through one every few months, and have no plans to change that. I love these sticks so much that I’m going to write a whole article on them.
Repurchase? It’s magical and hard to get, but yes. I’ll pay the YouShop fees as long as I live.

LUSH Turkish Delight Shower Smoothie, 45g
I got this little pot in a gift box of wonderful (mostly discontinued) products I bought myself in the Wellington LUSH store. This lasts a fair while when I smoosh my shower puff into the pot and grab a little bit to fluff it up. At first I wasn’t such a fan of the scent, but then I used it and next thing I knew, I’d bought a full size and another 45g pot.
Repurchase? Always.

Wella SP Luxe Oil Keratin Restore Hair Mask, 150 mL
This came in a pack I bought with a full size Luxe Oil, and it took a long while to use up. It was pretty good, but I had to really choose my moments with it as it had a tendency to weigh my hair down, likely because my hair isn’t in need of too much restoring or repairing.
Repurchase? If the need arose, sure, but  don’t think it will.

LUSH Santa’s Belly Shower Jelly, 100g
I haven’t yet made up my mind on the scent of apple in cosmetics, but this incarnation was certainly fun. It was sour rather than sweet (thanks to the ‘vegan wine infusion’ in there.. what?), and at some points a little too strong for me. Still interesting though.
Repurchase? I’ll have to give it a few sniffs next time it comes out, because I’m still undecided.

LUSH Red FUN, 100g (not pictured)
It turns out that by adding water to FUN and shaking it up, the cornflour settles at the bottom and it becomes a horrific mess. This is what I did, but I did find the red version is bright and uplifting without being brash, so I bought more of it.
Repurchase? Already have!

Origins Modern Friction Exfoliator, 125mL
Origins’ cult-favourite exfoliator is expensive, and not all it’s cracked up to be. Using ground rice, this is quite abrasive, and the gloop it’s contained in is deceptively astringent. I found this way too harsh for my face, so wound up using it to scrub my body just to get rid of it.
Repurchase? I’d rather not.

LUSH Christingle Body Conditioner, 45g
I am a big fan of LUSH’s body conditioners – they’re a lazy-person-with-dry-skin’s dream. This one was probably my least favourite of all I’ve tried, as it left me feeling almost greasy rather than supple. However I’m thinking this could be user error, as I recall using this a lot quicker than I do the other body conditioners I’ve had of the same size.
Repurchase? Depending on price I might.

LUSH Respect Your Elders Soap, approx. 50g (not pictured)
I went to LUSH on my birthday (had you noticed I’d been using a lot of their stuff?) and was given a huge sample of this soap. It smells very much like my favourite Comforter bubble bar, and it’s squidgy and purple. It dries my skin out and doesn’t last very long but I don’t care because it makes me happy.
Repurchase? I intend to.

Wella SP Luxe Oil Shampoo, 150mL
This came in the aforementioned pack. It made my hair so goddamn soft it’s not even funny, and I was a fan. It took forever to get through, too.
Repurchase? I told myself no, but I’m beginning to miss it now..

Dr. Hauschka Lemon Lemongrass Vitalising Bath Essence, 100mL
I bought this when it was near it’s expiry date and heavily reduced when I worked at Dr. Hauschka. It smelled like melted lemonade popsicles and I’m not convinced it actually did anything but I appreciated it.
Repurchase? Not unless it’s as reduced as it was when I got it – it’s not worth $50.

LUSH Jersey Bounce Shampoo, approx. 60mL (not pictured)
This was another very generous sample I was given on my birthday. Pros: smells like lemon sherbet sweets, makes hair defy gravity. Cons: I had to use quite a bit, and the large salt chunks were mildly frightening.
Repurchase? I’m thinking about it. It wouldn’t be used often, and I’m concerned about expiry dates.

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What body/hair products have you used up lately?