Hello, loves… welcome to March! It is my birthday month, almost at the very end, so I have been preparing for newly acquired goodies by really concentrating on finishing some products. In case you are new around here, or have just never heard, I have a deep-seated Personal Product Philosophy: Outside of amazing, life changing, holy grail items, products tend to fall into one of three categories:
- Just Plain Bad: I save receipts. And I have no shame when it comes to using them. So if a product breaks me out, smells in an unbearable way, or is any other type of awful, said product will be promptly returned. Over on my Instagram, you won’t see me talk about bad products too often because of this. Now that I’m taking to more in-depth blogging, I’m sure you can expect me to dive a little deeper into cautionary tales… but I digress…
- Not For Me: If a product is good but not for my skin type, I will gift these away to friends and family. This practice keeps me very popular.
- Good Not Great: If a product is better than average but maybe not the most fun to use or pretty to look at, I commit myself to finishing it off. To. The. Bitter. End. No giving up, no pawning it off. I like to think this practice helps me be more thoughtful in my purchases… Oooh! A sale!!
With all this in mind, I bring you February ’17 Empties! Everything below will be somewhere on the spectrum from Like to Never Living Without. Comment if you would like to see something along the lines of “What’s Getting Returned” for future bad product reviews!
I discovered cleansing balms before I entered the realm of Kbeauty. Since joining the AB Community, I have tried some of the cult classics (Banila Co Clean It Zero, Nooni Snowflake Cleansing Balm), but never liked anything more than the Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm. The AB balms I’ve tried have worked well in removing all traces of makeup, however, they both severely lack in one crucial area. While the Clinique balm rinses completely clean, the others do not- or at least require a substantial amount more time rinsing them away. Since I double cleanse, I am always reaching for a second cleanser and with the Kbeauty balms I’ve tried, there’s so much residue in my eyes I’m left fumbling around, getting water everywhere.
As of now, this balm is so holy Grail status, I’ve stopped even thinking about looking around and trying others- even with a $29 price tag. One tub gets me three months of 5x/week use. If you have any balms you love for less, let me hear about it! Less money on cleansing balm means more dollars for the fun stuff!
4.5/5 (-.5 pt for price)
I have been loving this Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Toner, and was pretty sad to see it go. The toner features volcanic ash to mattify, antioxidant camellia japonica leaf extract, opuntia coccinellifera fruit extract as an anti-infammatory, Orchid extract to repair and prtotect the skin, lactic acid which is a great AHA for acne reduction and butylene glycol for hydration.Now, this toner also features alcohol as it’s second ingredient. I know most of us seem to be ditching alcohol in general, and especially in our toners. When I got my hands on an ingredient list, I was fairly certain I would ditch this toner because of that fact, but I have to say that my experience with the product was never overly drying. Yes, I feel it helped with daily oil control, but I never experienced tightness or any increase in breakouts.
About halfway through this bottle, I was certain I would never need another AM toner as long as I lived (or as long as I was categorically oily), now though, this things has some stiff competition from the Naruko Bitter Melon Anti-Shine Purifying Lotion. I will need a bit more time before I can declare a winner… in the mean time, if you’re unafraid of some alcohol in your toner, I absolutely recommend this for those in need of a matte face!
This runs about $16 on Amazon.
Oh Sunday Riley… your packaging is perfection, your brand is insanely inticing… still, I have yet to find anything you sell that warrants the price you ask. I went through a delixe sample of the Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner, and besides the cool mint color- I don’t get it. I experimented with this product off and on for three weeks, keeping my routine the same except for toner, and I swear to you, my skin was super oily on any day I used this. Had this been a full-size purchase, we would be looking at a prompt return situation.
If you’re just dying to throw your money away, you can get this for $55 at Sephora.
May Coop Raw Sauce was the first Essence I ever used. I remember really seeing a change in my skin after about two weeks of using this. When I emptied that first bottle, I moved on to all kinds of other essences, and after it had been out of my routine for a while, I remember thinking that my skin just didn’t look as over-the-top amazing as it had when this was in my life. Enter bottle #2. After emptying the second, I still think it’s good. I live for the smell of this stuff. But what I really think happened all that time ago, was the general beautifying effect of my new Kbeauty routine, that for some reason I attributed to this essence. I still may pick up a mini bottle from time to time, but I no longer attribute any heavy lifting in routine to this essence.
You can find this at Sephora for $14/travel and $43/full size.
*Distributor Disclosure: I sell Rodan and Fields, below are links that lead to my consultant website. If you buy things from that site, I make money.
I have been trying to combat a super tricky under eye situation for years now. While the rest of me is oily af, my under eyes are the literal Sahara. And while, I’m pretty wrinkle-free everywhere else, I have weirdly aggressive crow’s feet. I started using the Rodan and Fields Multi Function Eye Cream about eight months ago, emptying two tubs in that time. It was about halfway into the first tub that I really noticed my under eye area being much less dry, and looking far better in concealer. Half way into the second tub, I noticed in pictures that I no longer cringed at the way my eyes looked when I smiled. Sure, there are still subtle lines, but I am nowhere near as self-conscious as I was before. And subtle lines are probably necessary, say, if you’d like your human face to actually move.
You can purchase this here for $62.
Somewhere around late October, I brought the Hylamide SubQ Eyes home with me from CVS since it was 50% off and not purchasing it would have been the real crime. I was already really happy with my under eyes when I bought it, but again… sale. When you apply this serum, you can actually feel it tingle and having a tightening effect. I would say this is probably being used in a more preventative nature since I’m only 32, but I can’t stand the idea of stopping. I swear, that tightening feeling has worked on me on a very psychological level… I feel like with this, my eyes may never age. I’ll be 95 with weird 30-year-old’s eyes.
You can find this at Deciem for $35.
I love hyaluronic acid. It was one of the major components in getting rid of my issues with hormonal acne (you can read the combo that my kicked lady-time breakouts to the curb). I also love Elizavecca. Decent products with cute packaging and affordable… I’m in. But this Aqua Hyaluronic Acid Water Drop Cream is just too hard to work with. The texture is amazing for oily skin, and super refreshing. But once you get past the first 1/2″ of product in the tub, it becomes impossible to get out. The cream just turns into water at your touch and slides around like a slippery little chicken. Get on to my face, damnit! After awhile, I just gave in and dumped this all over my skin after a shower- which incidentally felt amazing. So, Elizavecca if you;re reading this- hurry up and put this in a pump bottle and market it as a body lotion, I’ll buy all of it!
If you’re feeling in the mood to wrestle around the slippery ghost of a water drop cream, you can find it at Memebox for $12.
I feel like it is super rare to see actual makeup in an Empties post… but when you offer the most bomb.com contour kit for under $5, I’mma pan that sucker real fast (and repurchase it even quicker). I am completely in love with the Wet n Wild Megaglo Contouring Palette in Dulce de Leche . Color, formula, price… it’s all excellent. I am fairly pale (21 in asian base products, NC15 in MAC), and both the contour and matte highlight in this duo are perfect for my skin tone. Also these powders blend like a damn dream. I’ve never bought a highloght/contour kit before because when does anyone actually use all of the shades included? I’m not trying to spend big money and waste product. But with this kit, at least for me, there’s a ton of product in the two colors that work best.
You can get this at most drug stores for around $5.
I’m usually not one to be super into hair care products, but over the last few months I have absolutely fallen in love with the Orlano Pita Play The Great Inflate Air Whipped Styling Foam- it has seriously changed my styling game. For a bit of background, I have thick but fine hair, that never holds a style, oily roots with dry ends due to color. This foam gives get light texture, crazy good volume and manages to never leave buildup.
I get mine at Ulta for $28.
4/5 (-1 for price)
Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak and Plump for Joy Dry Shampoos have been my soul mate dry shampoos for awhile now. I can easily get 4th day hair with them, they are under $6 (though I do B1G1 1/2 off at Ulta with their $3.50 off $10- I get 4 for $14.50 that way). The original formula smells awful, so please steer clear. However, the actual dry shampoo is good enough that I suffered through it before the new unscented/warm sugar scent. Now that they smell yummy too… I think I never need to look for anything better.
Well, if you made it this far- congrats and thank you! That wraps up my first full review blog form empties. Hope it was helpful and helps you spend/save your money more wisely! Please feel free to engage in the comments with any suggestions you might have for products I might love! Until next time…