We made it to the end of Empties Week! Today’s post is all about skincare. If you’ve missed any of days 1-4, you can check them out here:
Day 1 Mascara
Day 2 Makeup
Day 3 Body & Fragrance
Day 4 Haircare
Julep Bare Face Cleansing Oil
Pros: Works well, mild scent
Cons: Price, bottle leaks sometimes
I did a comparison review of this vs. the Sephora Collection Cleansing Oil almost a year ago. I like both, but the Sephora Cleansing Oil is usually cheaper depending on whether or not I have a discount code, so it’s probably what I would repurchase over this. The bottle does leak a little bit if it’s stored on its side, which is a problem if you plan to travel with it. It does a good job of taking most of my makeup off (I follow up with a 2nd cleanser to remove anything leftover) and it rinses cleanly. I like it, it gets the job done, but it’s not my favorite thing in the world.
Repurchase? I would if it was on sale, but I also want to try other things, so not right now
Sunday Riley Good Genes
Pros: Fast results, does everything it promises
I have a full review of this (and Luna!) here if you’d like more info. The synopsis is I love Good Genes and plan to repurchase it eventually because I miss having it in my routine. Good Genes is one of the very few products I’ve ever seen overnight results from, and I don’t feel like there’s anything else like it, which is unfortunate considering the price.
Garnier Blackhead Eliminating Scrub
Pros: Price, good alternative to St. Ives Apricot Scrub
Cons: Wouldn’t be on your face long enough for the salicylic acid to do any good
I’m not usually one for physical exfoliators as they tend to irritate my skin, but I received this one as compensation for a product test from L’Oreal, so I decided to give it a try. Surprisingly, I liked it enough to finish the whole bottle, though it did take me a while since I don’t use scrubs often. I think this would be a good option if you love scrubs or are trying to find a more skin-friendly alternative to the St. Ives Apricot Scrub (the Freeman Black Charcoal Sugar scrub is also a good alternative). This didn’t irritate my skin as long as I used it sparingly, but it has enough of a gritty feel that I think it would be satisfying for those who like a good scrub. It’s just not my jam, so I’ll give this one a pass.
May Coop Raw Sauce
Pros: Dewy skin, hydration
Cons: Price, contains a controversial ingredient, mostly superficial results
I like the way this makes my skin look and feel, but the results are very temporary. Rather than improving the health of my skin to the point that it looks dewy and luminous on its own, it just adds luminosity to the skin superficially. I’d prefer a product that does more to improve skin health, but Raw Sauce does have a good use. I do think it’s overpriced, and I wish it didn’t contain the controversial ingredient Octinoxate, which has been shown to cause disruptions in the endocrine system at high levels of exposure (not at the amounts in this product, but it’s still something worth noting). I like the way it looks underneath foundation, so it’s something I’d consider buying again, I’m just not in a hurry to do so. I have a full review here if you want to know more about this product, including the presence of Octinoxate.
Repurchase? Maybe, eventually
Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift Retinol
Pros: Cool method of delivery
Cons: Expensive, lackluster results
I picked this up with a code from Sephora because I was immediately fascinated by the delivery method, and I was looking to give retinol another try. The product sprays out as a foam through the nozzle at the top that makes it look like a dalek. The foam collapses pretty quickly as you rub the product into your skin, but it’s still a fairly unique way to get the product onto your skin. As fun as it was, I didn’t see any results from the product, so I definitely don’t think it’s worth the price, and have no plans to repurchase.
Vasanti Brighten Up Face Scrub
Pros: Small exfoliating crystals
Cons: Can still be quite abrasive
This was a sample I received with a Birchbox order, but I’ve had other samples of this in the past. I like it enough to use it up if I have it, but it’s something I would never purchase on my own since my skin doesn’t really like physical exfoliators. I think the Garnier scrub is more gentle than this since the exfoliating bits are less condensed, but it’s still nowhere near as aggressive as the St. Ives scrub of death. I don’t think this is a bad product, it’s just a “not for me” product.
Foreo Night Cleanser
Cons: Price, Scent, a little drying
I received samples of the Day & Night cleansers from Foreo in an Allure Beauty Box along with a Foreo Luna Mini. I didn’t really like the Night cleanser. For one thing, it has a strong herbal smell that I wasn’t that into. It also had microbeads that would get stuck between the silicone bristles of the Foreo, which is kind of dumb since they’re formulated to be used together. I didn’t hate this, but I’m struggling to find any pros because it’s something I just didn’t enjoy using.
Foreo Day Cleanser
Pros: Very gentle, smells like yogurt and clementines
I actually liked this cleanser quite a bit, but I don’t think it’s worth the price. It’s a very gentle cleanser, with a light pleasant scent. It did a good job of cleansing my skin without stripping it, and I liked the milky, creamy texture. Overpriced, but I would happily use another sample.
Ole Henriksen Truth Serum
Pros: Scent, effective
Cons: Sticky, Price
This is the only vitamin C serum I’ve used so far, so I don’t really have anything to compare it to. I thought it worked well for fading pigmentation, and I liked the orange/tangerine scent. However, it was also quite sticky (which most vitamin C serums are from my understanding), and it’s expensive. I want to try other vitamin C serums so I can compare them, then I’ll decide whether or not to repurchase this, though it’s unlikely because of the price.
Repurchase? Probably not
Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask
Pros: Effective, scent, not too heavy
I love this especially in the winter. It’s great for hydrating the skin without having to layer on several creams, and without feeling too heavy. I personally love the apricot scent of this, but other people might not. A little bit goes a long way, and it absorbs into the skin nicely. I’m working on another (larger) sample of this at the moment, with no chance of running out soon, but in the event that I did, I would repurchase it. This has become a winter staple for me.
Repurchase? Yes (if I ever run out of samples lol)
Boscia Sake Treatment Water
Pros: Excellent lightweight hydrator
This is one of the few sake skincare products I actually like. I tend to be disappointed by them (including the infamous SKII!), but this one surprised me. I think it did a great job of hydrating my skin and it gave me a nice glow. I especially liked it under makeup as an alternative to a cream moisturizer. The only downside to this is that it’s absurdly expensive.
Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb
Pros: Gel texture, light weight, doesn’t leave a film
Cons: Price, scent?
I was completely surprised by how much I liked this because I usually hate gel moisturizers since they feel sticky to me. This didn’t feel sticky at all, but it did do an awesome job of keeping my skin hydrated without feeling heavy or leaving a film. It felt more like water than anything, and absorbed just as quickly. This is quite possibly one of my favorite moisturizers ever, but it is a bit expensive. It also has an herbal scent that not everyone will love, but I think it’s mild enough to be pleasant.
Tarte Maracuja Oil
Pros: Spreads well
Cons: Went bad quickly, overpriced
I barely got to use this since it went bad so quickly (maybe it was on the shelf for a while before I bought it?), but I thought it was just ok while I was using it. I prefer the Fresh Seaberry Oil, NUDE Skincare ProGenius Rescue Oil, and Sunday Riley Luna over this because I feel like they all do more. The Tarte maracuja oil is very simple, which can be a good thing, but you can find pure maracuja oil such as this for much cheaper if that’s what you’re looking for. The texture was nice, it spread well, and it did what it was supposed to, but I wouldn’t use it again.
NOTS 28 Remedy Balancing Toner
Pros: None for me
Cons: Did nothing for me, price
I’d never heard of this brand before receiving it in an Ipsy bag, but I gave it a try. Unfortunately, it just did nothing for me. It absorbed well, but it didn’t seem to improve my skin in any way. Overall, it just felt like a waste of time to use it.
Belif The True Cream Moisture Bomb
Pros: hydrating, good for dry skin, not too heavy
Cons: price, scent?
I prefer the Aqua Bomb over this, but I think this is also an excellent moisturizer. I’d recommend this for drier skin and Aqua Bomb for normal/combo skin. This also has an herbal scent that could be polarizing, but it hydrates well, absorbs well, and is all-around everything you want a moisturizer to be. I’d repurchase it if my skin became dry again, but for the moment I prefer the Aqua Bomb for my skin.
COTZ Flawless Complexion Tinted Sunscreen
Pros: tinted, spf 50
Cons: greasy, white cast
Despite the tint, I still felt like this left me with a white cast. It was also kind of greasy, though nowhere near as bad as a lot of other sunscreens I’ve tried. I prefer the CosmoMonster sunscreen I mentioned in my recent favorites, and the Radical Skin Perfecting Screen.
Banila Co Clean It Zero
Pros: Does a good job of removing makeup, price
Cons: Broke me out, texture
This broke me out and I didn’t really like the texture so this is a definite no for me even though it’s a cult classic. I’d be willing to try out the other varieties to see if they worked better for me, but I’m more likely to purchase the Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm as I really liked the texture of that when I had a sample.
Repurchase? Hell no
Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation
Pros: AHA + moisturizer in one
Cons: price, not as effective as an AHA
I liked this, but didn’t love it. However, I think someone that needs a gentle AHA would like this more. I felt like it wasn’t as effective as I would like it to be since I used it towards the end of my routine as a moisturizer, which is how it’s intended to be used. I prefer a standard AHA serum used earlier in the routine, but I would consider using this again as a way to add a little something extra.
Repurchase? Maybe, if it was on sale
Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Treatment
Cons: Sticky af, price, pills
I actually can’t believe I finished this because it drove me crazy. It was super sticky, it pilled when I tried to layer other products over top of it, and its benefits certainly didn’t outweigh its flaws.
Etude House Pink Vital Water
Pros: Price, lightweight
Cons: Ineffective, scent
It’s lightweight and absorbs well, but it didn’t do anything for me and I didn’t like the scent because it was too floral.
Equitance Brightening Serum
Cons: price, ineffective
This did absolutely nothing for me. The texture was ok and it absorbed well, but that’s all I have to say about it.
MAC Cleanse Off Oil
I think this might actually be my favorite cleansing oil at the moment, though I feel like there’s not too big of a difference between this, the Sephora cleansing oil, and the Julep cleansing oil. I think this takes off my makeup a bit faster, maybe because it seems to be a tiny bit thicker. However, at $32 it’s pretty pricey and I don’t know that it’s so much better than the others that I could justify the price. I have other things I want to try first, but I might purchase a full size at some point, especially if I could get it on sale.
CosRX Acne Pimple Master Patch
Pros: Effective, price
These are a staple in my skincare routine, and I’ve got my sister hooked on them as well. They really are amazing for helping to get the gunk out of a pimple and allowing it to heal faster. I keep these on hand pretty much all the time, especially if I’ve got anything important coming up. I definitely recommend these if you have acne!
Julep Charcoal Konjac Sponge
Pros: Well-designed, comes with hook
I think at regular price, these are overpriced, so I always buy them on sale. I’ve gone through several of these Julep konjac sponges and have been using them since before I even knew about Korean skincare. I love that this has a string attached and that it comes with a hook on a suction cup that can be attached to a shower wall or mirror. I’ve never had one of these fall apart on me, so I’m happy with the quality. I also think konjac sponges in general are a great tool for removing makeup more effectively, and gently exfoliating without irritating the skin. I prefer this over my Foreo Luna Mini.
That’s a wrap on Empties Week! What did you guys think of it? Should I do more theme weeks like this? Let me know in the comments down below!
Thanks for reading!