Category Archives: Beauty

Empties – November 2016

Empties November 2016

Once again I haven’t updated the site in forever!  Sorry!  As part of a money-saving mission I have been avoiding purchasing new beauty products lately, and instead have been working my way through what I have around the house already.  That means I have lots of empties for you this month, though I do want to warn you that they’re not that exciting!  As always, left to right, back to front.

Schwarzkopf Bonacure Color Freeze Shampoo and Conditioner – Last spring I was having trouble keeping my hair color from fading, so I tried a salon-brand shampoo and conditioner.  I did like the way it made my hair look and feel, but I didn’t notice any improvement in the longevity of my color.  Also, as a girl with long hair I kind of hate any brand that makes the conditioner bottle smaller than the shampoo bottle!

Gilette Satin Care Extra-Sensitive Shave Cream – I use it all the time.  It works.

Softsoap Fresh Glow Body Wash – I thought I would love the “milk, almond, coconut” scent of this body wash, and it was cheap, but in the end it was just rather boring.

Nivea Harmony Time Shower Cream – Another body wash.  I like the scent of this one a bit more (it’s “Almond Milk and Scent of White Rose”) but I don’t find the formula moisturizing enough for the winter here.

Simple Moisturizing Facial Wash – I often purchase this one when it’s on sale, as it’s a nice, gentle cleanser for day and night.

Secret Anti-Perspirant – I used FOUR packages?  I think they must have been mostly empty or something.  Secret has always been my go-to deodorant, and this summer I was loving their Capri-inspired fragrance.

Garnier Charcoal Cleanser – I bought this in Russia when I had a massive breakout after swimming in the north end of Lake Baikal (even though the locals all do it, I wouldn’t recommend it!).  Not being able to read Russian, it was the only “purifying” cleanser I could find that was reasonably priced.  Within a few days of use my breakout subsided, so I kept it around for future breakouts.  I have other products I prefer for breakouts, but sometimes you’ve got to make do with what’s available…

L’Oreal Total Repair Replenishing Mask – I can’t remember why I bought this, as my hair isn’t very dry.  Regardless, though, it is a nice pick-me-up for dull-looking locks.

The Body Shop Vitamin C Microdermabrasion Scrub – Two big thumbs down for this scrub, which barely offered any exfoliation and which dissolved the second it made contact with my damp skin.  Major disappointment.

Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Hair Spray – You have to go pretty far down the ingredient list to find the argan oil in this hairspray, but I did actually prefer it to some of the others one I had around as it did add a nice touch of shine along with the hold.  I’d buy it if I saw it on sale.

St. Ives Apricot Scrub – I always carry one of these with me when I travel.  After an unusually grimy day it just makes my face and neck feel clean.  I’ll definitely buy it again before my next trip (details to come!).

Aveeno Positively Ageless Tinted Moisturizer in Light to Medium – I’d had this kicking around forever, but I so rarely wear makeup on my skin that it lasted literally years (obviously I couldn’t count on it for SPF protection anymore).  The formula was quite dark for me, so I generally mixed a drop or two with my moisturizer and only in the summer months.  It did help to even my skin tone a bit, but I couldn’t get behind that shade.

Derma-E Microdermabrasion Scrub – Now this is a scrub.  The granules in this product were super-fine and held their exfoliating power on my damp skin.  My skin always looked and felt great after using this, which reminds me that I should buy it again if I see it in the shops.

L’Occitane Vanilla Perfume Extract – I literally bought this in high school and found it in my house recently.  I’ve moved more than ten times since high school… how did it get here?  I used to love this, but now that I’m a more serious fragrance fan I prefer a more nuanced vanilla scent.

Beauty Protector Treatment Mask – Who cares if it works when it smells this good?  The best-smelling hair mask I’ve ever tried.

Lancome Visionnaire Advanced Multi-Correcting Cream – This was a great daily moisturizer. It felt light and made a good base for other skincare and beauty products.  At the moment a full jar would be out of my price range, but I would recommend it for girls with normal skin who want a department store moisturizer.

The Face Shop Myeonghan Miindo All-in-One Cream – I liked the rich, thick texture of this face cream (especially for winter) but it didn’t make my skin noticeably softer or smoother.

Jurlique Pure Bright Radiance Serum – I loved this little sample from Sephora.  Finally, a serum that delivers immediate brightening results.  Unfortunately the sample was too small to determine if the results would be long-lasting or not, but my first impression was good.


Empties – March 2016


I’ve been collecting empties for a while (my last post was in December) but it doesn’t seem like I’ve amassed too many in that time.  Maybe it’s because I took bunch of almost-empties to Spain over Christmas and to Mexico over Spring Break?  Regardless, here’s what I’m throwing away for good today!

Clean and Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser – My favorite pimple-fighting face wash.  I mainly use it on my chest, where I’m prone to breakouts along the lines of my sports bras.

Dove Pistachio Creme with Magnolia Body Wash – I love the scent of this body wash… in small doses.  It’s so distinct that I do need to mix it up with other scents on a regular basis, though.

Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Toothpaste – It was on sale, so I gave it a shot.  It worked just as well as my trusty Sensodyne.

Skintimate Skin Therapy Shave Gel – I keep giving this line a second chance, but it’s never as good as…

… Gilette Satin Care Shave Gel – It works up to a thick, creamy lather and I never get razor burn when I’m using it.

eScents Aromatherapy Body Lotion – This was a custom scent blend that I had done in an eScents store a few years ago.  I don’t adhere strictly to “best before” dates, but I knew it was time for this one to go.

Q-Tips – Couldn’t live without them!

Epice Purifying Exfoliant – I liked the texture of this microdermabrasion-inspired exfoliant, but didn’t like the strong scent.  I think it was from a beauty box.

Desert Essence Tropical Breeze Deodorant – My new favorite aluminum-free, natural deodorant.  The texture isn’t sticky, the scent is fresh and light, and it keeps me smelling lovely (but doesn’t provide any sweat-fighting power).

Nuxe Nuxellence Jeunesse Serum – I got this as part of a travel kit about two years ago.  Like most serums, it felt nice but it didn’t seem to impact the appearance of my skin.

The Treehouse Brazilian Nut Body Butter – I love the (artificial) scent of Brazil nuts, and this super-cheap body butter delivered on both fragrance and hydration.  It was almost used up so I decided to toss it as part of my “best before” binge.

Lancome La Vie Est Belle – You can barely see this tiny perfume sample.  This is part of the gourmand-floral family that includes Flowerbomb and Si.  While it’s not unique, it’s a crowd-pleaser.

Philosophy Hope in a Jar – This was from a beauty gift bag.  I quite liked the texture of this moisturizer, and it left my skin looking noticeably better the next day… but OMG did it smell terrible.  What was Philosophy thinking?

Sensodyne Brilliant Whitening Toothpaste – I’ve been using Sensodyne for years, at my dentist’s recommendation, and like all the formulas.

Sinus Relief Essential Oil – I’m not sure of the brand, but I put two drops of this into the “medicine holder” part of my humidifier (not into the water!) to infuse the air with a nose-clearing scent in the winter.

Ecru Acacia Protein BB Cream for Hair – A great beauty box treat.  This protecting, hydrating leave-in hair cream smelled wonderful and helped make my hair smooth and shiny when I was heat-styling.  I actually really liked this one.

Revlon Uniq 10-in-1 Hair Treatment – Or, In Which Revlon Attempts to Go Up-Market?  I was surprised to see Revlon might be attempting to branch out into salon-quality products; I wasn’t surprised to see that their efforts didn’t pay off.  I didn’t like the smell of this product and it didn’t do much for my hair (unlike the Ecru product!).

The Only Beauty Product You Should Spend Your Christmas Money On

baiden mitten

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart… And by “you”, I mean Baiden Mitten.  Tired of exfoliating gloves, salt scrubs, sugar scrubs, Korean towels, microbeads, apricot kernals, loofahs and whatever other “exfoliating” products were touted as the next big thing, I caved and asked for a Baiden Mitten for Christmas.  It turned out to be a life-changing beauty purchase, and it is undoubtedly the #1 way I would recommend you spend your holiday cash this year!

Unlike other exfoliating cloths, the Baiden Mitten feels very smooth on its surface, and is made of tightly-woven material.  To really get the full effect you absolutely have to start by soaking in a hot tub for upwards of twenty minutes (put a big glass of ice water and your laptop playing your favorite show beside your tub… and don’t add any bubble bath or oil to the water!), and then you simply rub the dampened glove over your skin in long, firm strokes.  You will immediately see layers of dead skin start peeling off, and when you drain your bathtub you will be horrified… and fascinated… by all of the flakes of skin left behind.  I like to moisturize with a gentle, unscented lotion afterwards, and I repeat the process once every week or two.  I wouldn’t necessarily try using the Baiden Mitten on my face (right now I’m into the cult French product A313 for exfoliating my delicate visage) but I love it for my chest, back, legs, arms and torso.  My mitten is still going strong after one year of regular use, and I don’t anticipate having to replace it in the near future either.

So if Santa sent you cash, or an Amazon gift card, and if you want your skin to be smoother than a baby’s bottom, you’ve got to get a Baiden Mitten!

Empties – December 2015

Empties December 2015

Another year comes to a close, another haul of empties goes into the garbage bin.  So, what will I re-purchase in 2016?

Carefree Aloe Intimate Wash – I bought this in Romania a few years ago.  Unlike some other products with strong perfumes that are designed to mask your vagina’s natural scent, this was a gentle, unscented, pH-balanced intimate wash that kept things comfortable when I was using foreign laundry detergent.  For the sake of your sexual health it’s a good idea to have an unscented, non-irritating product like this to wash “down there”.

Nivea Harmony Time Body Wash – It washed my body and smelled nice.  It didn’t do any favors for my skin.

Live Clean Argan Oil Body Wash – Again, I liked the scent of this one but didn’t find it especially moisturizing.

L’Oreal EverCreme Intense Nourishing Shampoo – I used up the conditioner long ago, and this mostly-empty bottle was sitting in my shower for too long.  This winter, I made a point of using it up.  I love this formula’s rich hydration, and while it can be a bit heavy on fine hair it’s great in dry climates.

Nair for Sensitive Skin – I’m still not convinced that hair removal creams keep me smooth longer than shaving, but I like the smell of this stuff so I buy it when it’s on sale.

Septona Facial Wipes – I bought these (with Greek writing on them!) at the State Department Store in Mongolia, for my Gobi Desert excursion.  They kept my face (and armpits!) clean, but I’d stick with brands I know better in the future.

Secret Antiperspirant – One that keeps popping up in my empties, I know! I was so committed to using the last little bit (because I forgot to buy more…) that it fell out.

L’Oreal Pro-Keratin Refill Shampoo and Conditioner – I received these in a beauty box last year.  I really liked this pairing, from L’Oreal’s salon line, and would repurchase at a lower price point.

Beauty Protector Leave-In Conditioner – Obviously everyone loves the smell of this one, which is a Birchbox exclusive.  It didn’t do much to improve the look or feel of my hair, but again, it smelled amazing.

Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentree – I already had my friend from Franch repurchase this ultra-rich, ultra-hydrating moisturizer for me.  I’ll never get away with using it in the summer, but in the winter it’s kept my skin soft and supple.

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara – I liked this one, but no more than a good drugstore mascara.

Benefit Bad Gal LashI’ll never run out, so I’ll never repurchase.

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Powered by Ceramide Caplet Serum – I definitely enjoyed typing that more than I enjoyed using this!  The caplets felt like they were full of shimmer, and most of them didn’t actually make it up the pump (you can see they’re all stuck in the bottom of the “empty” sample bottle).  Besides the problems with dispensing this product, there were no noticeable improvements to my skin tone or texture (other than the initial blast of shimmer).

Brazen Eyeshadow (or Lipgloss?) – I think I got this in a Beauty Box 5 a few years ago and just forgot to throw it out.  Never opened, not interested in this coppery color.

Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation – I’m always kind of scared of trying out drugstore foundations, but this sample made me think that maybe my fear is unfounded.  I liked the soft, easy-to-apply texture of this foundation.

Eucerin Hyal-Urea Day and Night Cream – I kind of love the idea of skin creams that feature urea.  Both of these offered a good, thick layer of moisture to my skin, but didn’t go beyond basic skincare to offer anything special.

Annemarie Borlind Cleansing Gel and Toner – Samples from my local health food shop; nothing interesting.

MDCI Parfums Peche Cardinal – I finally used up a perfume sample!  One down, ninety-nine to go!  I loved this peach and white floral combination from MDCI Parfums; I wish there was a place nearby where I could check out more of their line.

Empties – October 2015


Preface – I made some quick updates to Feminine Hygiene Around the World today!  This list of pad and tampon availability around the world has been getting more and more press lately, which is great!  If you would like to share information please use the official form, as it is difficult to make updates based on the comments.  To date, the form has been submitted more than 125 times!

Before I went to Russia this summer I had a small collection of empty beauty products that I’d meant to review, and then when I came back the collection kept getting larger and larger!  Now that we’ve had our first snowfall and it’s clear that winter isn’t that far off, I thought I’d clear out all my summer empties and start the new season fresh.  Here’s what I’ve used up since May!

Paris Hilton Perfume.  I didn’t use it up, but I’ve had it for ages, I don’t like it, and I’m not going to wear it.  Into the garbage it goes!

Roc Micellar Cleansing Water.  I love using this stuff to clean my face like a French girl.  I’ve already replaced this bottle with one twice as large!

Sebastian Volupt Shampoo.  I got this in a beauty box (remember when beauty boxes used to give out full-sized products?).  It did volumize my hair, but I would have preferred to be able to try it with the matching conditioner.

Gilette Shaving Cream and a very old Bath and Body Works “Holiday” Soap.

The Body Shop Brazil Nut Shower Creme.  I like this body wash when paired with gourmand perfumes.

Simple Moisturizing Facial Wash.  I often keep a tube of this facial cleanser around, and this was replaced after being used up.  I think this is a great one for travel, as it cleans thoroughly without stripping your skin.

Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray.  This came as part of a set of favorite beauty products from Sephora.  It didn’t do much for my hair, which is surprising as my hair is naturally wavy and I thought this was designed to enhance that kind of natural texture.  Definitely would never repurchase.

Laura Mercier Facial Scrub.  It has the microdermabrasion-y texture that I like, but it was nothing special.  I prefer Exfolikate.

St. Ives Apricot Scrub.  I always travel with a little tube of this, because sometimes my face just needs a scrub.

Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Shampoo.  I also like to travel with a little bottle of this shampoo and the matching conditioner; it’s heavy but it smells amazing!

The Body Shop White Musk White Hot Summer Perfume.  This is one of my favorite scents of all time.  It was discontinued years ago, but I stocked up on eBay (after using up this bottle I cracked open another, and I still have two more in storage).  This is the perfect summer scent.

Lancome Genifique Serum.  I didn’t notice any improvements after using up this entire serum sample.

A bottle of “designer imitation” perfume.  It was a gift, and it’s the thought that counts (actually, Paris Hilton was also a gift…).

Two bottles of Secret Deodorant.

Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Serum.  This was a very large sample, which was nice (in theory).  I didn’t see any improvement to the look or feel of my skin while using this, and actually found that it caused some unpleasant peeling on the coldest, driest winter days here.  Definitely will not repurchase.

Benefit Dr. Feelgood.  This is a mattifying balm that I bought a long time ago, when I was still in the post-pubescent shiny skin phase.  It did provide temporary mattifying, but I didn’t use it often, and now it’s old, so I’m throwing it away.  In the future I’d stick with blotting papers.

Nuxe Bio Beaute Body Exfoliant.  I loved the scent of this body scrub, but don’t need or want any more body scrubs.

Missha Super Aqua Refreshing Cleanser.  I loved this sample face wash and tried to repurchase at a Missha store in Russia, but was too overwhelmed by the choices to remember which one I’d liked!

Cover Girl Clump Crusher Mascara.  Cover Girl products remind me of being in the seventh grade, so I wasn’t initially excited by this mascara (which was a free sample).  Of course, it turned out to be awesome, and I’ll definitely repurchase if I ever run out of mascara samples!

Cailyn Lip Gloss.  From a beauty box.  This one arrived with red and white streaks inside the tube; it looks like the pigments haven’t been mixed properly.  I have enough nude glosses not to worry about tossing this straight into the trash.

Avon Lip Gloss.  A discontinued shade from one of the last Glossybox Canada beauty boxes before they went out of business (it’s been a year or two and now Glossybox USA serves Canadian customers).  This tube had Polish and Arabic writing on it, and Avon reported that they were not associated with Glossybox in any way.  Into the garbage it (finally!) goes!

Rania J. Perfume in Rose Ishtar.  I’m into rose scents at the moment.  Sadly, this perfume sample arrived damaged, and I never had a chance to smell this one.  The other samples in the order arrived in good condition, though, so hopefully I’ll have more Rania J. empties soon.

This Works Plus Pillow Spray.  From a UK beauty box, this natural linen spray included a blend of essential oils designed to make me sleepier.  Regardless of whether or not it worked, it smelled amazing, and if I win the lottery I will repurchase in a heartbeat!

Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Cleansing Face Wash.  A perfectly acceptable face wash, but nothing to write home about.

Missha Super Aqua Marine Stem Cell Intensive Facial Serum. I like typing that.  It didn’t do anything, but maybe I just don’t have the kind of skin that is problematic enough to warrant using a serum yet.