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In empties, review, skincare on
December 24, 2016

Skincare Empties ::Empties Week Day 5::

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
Cons: Price
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.
Repurchase? Yes

 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.
Repurchase? No

 

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.
Repurchase? No

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.
Repurchase? No

 

Foreo Night Cleanser

Pros: ?
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.
Repurchase? No

 

 Foreo Day Cleanser

Pros: Very gentle, smells like yogurt and clementines
Cons: Price
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.
Repurchase? No

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
Cons: Price
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
Cons: Price
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.
Repurchase? Maybe

 

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.
Repurchase? Yes

 

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.
Repurchase? No

 

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.
Repurchase? No

 

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.
Repurchase? Maybe

 

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.
Repurchase? No

 

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

Pros: ??
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.
Repurchase? No

 

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.
Repurchase? No

 

Equitance Brightening Serum

Pros: ??
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.
Repurchase? No

 

MAC Cleanse Off Oil

Pros: Effective
Cons: Price
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.
Repurchase? Maybe

 

CosRX Acne Pimple Master Patch

Pros: Effective, price
Cons: None
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!
Repurchase? Yes

 

Julep Charcoal Konjac Sponge

Pros: Well-designed, comes with hook
Cons: Price
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.
Repurchase? Yes
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!

-Cristine

In empties, hair care, review on
December 23, 2016

Hair Care Empties ::Empties Week Day 4::

Empties Week is almost over! If you’ve missed any of the other days, you can check them out here:
Day 1 Mascara
Day 2 Makeup
Day 3 Body & Fragrance

 

Joico K-Pak Color Therapy Luster Lock

Pros: Hydrating, smoothing
Cons: Price
I won this from a giveaway Joico was doing, and ended up really liking it. Not only did it make my hair smoother, softer, and more manageable, it remained so for a few days afterwards. I’d totally use this again.
Repurchase? Yes

 

Lador Hydro LPP Treatment

Pros: Hydrating, smoothing, strengthens hair
Cons: Formula has been changed
I really loved this while it lasted, but the formula has been changed according to several bloggers, and it’s just not the same. This would have definitely been a repurchase if they hadn’t changed the formula since it did do a great job of hydrating my hair and making it feel healthier. The results of the original formula are actually very comparable to the Joico K-Pak Luster Lock, so if you’re looking for an alternative, try that.
Repurchase? No.

 Lador Before Care Keratin PPT

Pros: Convenient spray bottle, price
Cons: Didn’t give me the desired results
As much as I loved the Hydro LPP Treatment, this just didn’t do anything for me.
Repurchase? No

 Lador Perfect Fill Up Ampoule

Pros: Price, hydrating
Cons: A bit of a hassle
I was surprised by how much I liked this, I didn’t expect much. The process is a bit finicky because you have to mix equal ratios of water and ampoule in a bowl to form a cream before you can apply it to your hair. I would prefer it to just come already mixed in a regular conditioner bottle, but this is a great hair treatment, so I’m willing to deal with the hassle.
Repurchase? Yes

Alchemic Muse Hair Mist Bad Wolf

Pros: Great way to add scent to hair without dehydrating it
Cons: Scent
If you read yesterday’s empties post, you’ll recognize this brand as they also make my favorite body butter. I picked up one of their hair mists to try, hoping it would act as a good leave-in conditioner. Unfortunately, it wasn’t strong enough to tame my hair, but it did leave behind a great amount of scent behind that lasted until I washed my hair again. I didn’t like this particular scent because it was a bit too outdoorsy/rustic for my taste, but I love the formula of this product as a hair perfume since it lasts such a long time.
Repurchase? Not this scent, but I would buy others from the brand

Nth Degree Smoothing Moroccan Argan Oil & Keratin Hair Serum

Pros: Scent
Cons: Mediocre results
I loved the scent of this oil so, so much since it reminded me of my favorite Bath & Body Works candle, Black Tea & Lemon AKA London. Unfortunately, the results were just ok. Other than the scent there was nothing about it that stood out to me. It wasn’t a bad product by any means, it just didn’t live up to my expectations. I much prefer the Verb Ghost Oil.
Repurchase? No

Somang Keratin Silkprotein Hair Essence

Pros: Price, made my hair shiny and improved my hair texture
Cons: Didn’t tame or hydrate my hair enough
I have a full review of this product here, but suffice to say it was yet another hair product that failed me. It did make my hair softer and shinier, but it didn’t do much for hydration or make my hair more manageable, which are two things that are very important to me in a hair product. I think this would probably work better for thinner hair as it’s lightweight, but for my thick, unruly hair, it wasn’t enough.
Repurchase? No

 

Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Shampoo

Pros: Smells nice, sulfate free
Cons: Expensive
I feel like this post is becoming a total bummer because it’s basically a list of products that failed me, but at least it might prevent you from feeling the same disappointment if your hair type is similar to mine. I picked up a travel size of this shampoo after hearing Casey Holmes rave about how well it helped to detangle her hair. Unfortunately for me, this didn’t do a damn thing to help my hair. It’s nice that it’s sulfate free as sulfates can be drying and irritating, and it does smell pleasant, but other than that, this is a total flop for me.
Repurchase? No

 

Beaver Hydro Shampoo

Pros: Are there any?
Cons: everything.
I hated this shampoo. However, I know other people love it and felt it made their hair soft. For me this made my hair feel greasy and stringy. I didn’t like the scent of it, the brand can only be found at Birchbox as far as I know, and while I would normally appreciate a brand putting the pH of their product on the label (pH is important for healthy hair too!), the fact that they gave such an enormous window of 5.5-6.5 has me giving them hella side-eye. This shampoo marked the beginning of the end of my love for Birchbox, and with good reason. I feel like this is a sub-par product that shouldn’t have been in a Birchbox to begin with considering it doesn’t really fit with their brand, but like I said, some people seem to like it, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, as always.
Repurchase? No

Sorry to end the post with such a shitty disappointing product, but at least they weren’t all bad. If you have thick, damaged, unruly hair, there are some great recommendations here, so hopefully you don’t have to deal with the same long list of disappointments that I have. Only one day of Empties Week left, and I think I’ve saved the best for last! Until then, thanks for reading 🙂

-Cristine

In empties, review on
December 21, 2016

Body and Fragrance Empties ::Empties Week Day 3::

Hello friends and welcome back for day 3 of Empties Week! Today is all about fragrance and body products, one of my favorite categories!

 Bath & Body Works Rain Kissed Leaves Shower Gel

Pros: Calming, clean scent
Cons: Price
I love Rainkissed Leaves, it’s one of my all-time favorite scents from Bath & Body Works. It’s such a calming, fresh scent. It’s what I always reach for when I’m in a bad mood or feeling sick. It’s earthy without being a dirty hippy smell, it’s like grass but more sophisticated. Bath & Body Works shower gels are totally overpriced, so I always buy them on sale.
Repurchase? Hell yes

 

Bath & Body Works 3-Wick Candle Twisted Peppermint

Pros: Festive, sweet scent
Cons: Polarizing scent
I absolutely love Twisted Peppermint in all if its forms, but my sister hates it, so this is definitely a polarizing scent. She says it’s too minty, whereas I feel the opposite is true, for me there’s too much vanilla and not enough mint. This year I picked up Peppermint Marshmallow instead, and she likes that one much better. To be honest, I kind of do too because I like marshmallow better than peppermint, but I’m totally picking up a smaller size of Twisted Peppermint during the semi-annual sale and burning it when she’s not home!
Repurchase? Yes

 

Bath & Body Works 3-Wick Candle Pomegranate Prosecco Punch

Pros: Fruity, not too sweet
Cons: kind of lackluster
I bought this one last year when they ran out of Champagne Toast, which I love for its bubbly scent. I was hoping this would have the same effervescent quality, but with a fruity twist. Unfortunately, it lacks the bubbly scent of Champagne Toast, but it is a nice pomegranate scent, just not something particularly unique.
Repurchase? No

 Bath & Body Works 3-Wick Candle Autumn Sky

Pros: Fresh, clean scent without any sharp notes
Cons: none
If you want something fresh, but you don’t like the typical lemon cleaner or fresh linen scents, try this. It makes your home smell clean in a nice soft, subtle way that I think a lot of people would like. It’s very much a “clean air” type of candle that doesn’t really smell of anything specific, just a general freshness.
Repurchase? Yes

 Bath & Body Works Shower Gel Georgia Peach & Sweet Tea

Pros: TEA!!
Cons: Currently MIA
This was a seasonal peach scent that I haven’t seen them bring back. The other peach scents from Bath and Body Works are ok, but this one was something special because of the tea note. Often tea notes barely make an appearance in a scent, even when they’re listed, they just tend to fade into the background. In this scent, there’s a perfect balance of peach and tea, which keeps it from smelling too sweet and gives me that tea note that I just love. I have another one of these stashed under the sink right now, I hope they bring this back before I run out!
Repurchase? Yessssss

 

Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant Chamomile and Cucumber Scents

Pros: No white marks on clothing, doesn’t ball up or feel gross, hydrating
Cons: Price
These are a bit more expensive than a regular stick of deodorant (but cheaper than the “clinical” ones), but so, so worth it. I’ve loved Dove deodorant for years because it’s one of the few brands that makes a scent I can stand (I hate powdery scents!) and it works great for me. I was skeptical of the “dry spray” type deodorants but got a free can of men’s Degree from Walmart. I decided to try it out, and after loving that, I picked up a can of the Dove dry spay. I’ll never use anything else. It’s quick and easy to use, keeps me smelling fresh all day, works well as an antiperspirant (I know some people have health concerns about antiperspirant, I personally don’t), and doesn’t leave white marks on my clothes. The soothing chamomile is a really soft, fresh scent that pairs well with all of my perfumes, and the cool essentials scent is mix of cucumber and green tea. Neither are powdery or floral (I was expecting the chamomile to be too floral, but it’s actually not, just a really subtle, clean herbal) so I just buy whichever happens to be in stock. I love this stuff and can’t recommend it highly enough.
Repurchase? Yes to both.

 

Bath & Body Works Lilac Blossom Room Spray

Pros: Strong scent, a small can lasts a really long time
Cons: Too herbal for my liking
I hate the regular air fresheners from the grocery store, something in them just smells off to me and I’m usually not that interested in any of the scents. I use Bath & Body Works room sprays instead. I picked up a bunch on sale and tossed this one in to round out my total even though I’m not that into lavender. Mistake. This one is a really strong lavender to the point of almost being headache inducing. I finished it off, but I would definitely never buy this scent or any variation of it ever again. If you love lavender though, you’ll almost certainly love this.
Repurchase? Not this scent. but this product, yes.

 

Alchemic Muse Body Whip Nevermore

Pros: Very hydrating, non-greasy, supports small business
Cons: Have to buy it online without being able to smell it in person
I found out about Alchemic Muse through a beauty forum a while ago, and after seeing everyone there so obsessed with it, I decided to make an order myself so I could see what all the fuss was about. I get it now. The scents are creative and the formulas are outstanding. This is the best body butter I’ve ever used. It’s nice and thick, but doesn’t feel heavy or greasy. It made my skin feel soft and hydrated in a way that most body butters don’t. I didn’t really like this scent because it had too much of a spice note for my liking, which is why I didn’t completely finish it before it expired. The fact that I was still reaching for it even though I didn’t like the scent really says something because I actually hate putting lotion on, the scent is usually the only thing that motivates me to do it. I’ll continue to purchase body butters from Alchemic Muse, I just wouldn’t purchase this particular scent again.
Repurchase? Not this scent, but yes to this formula.

 

Giorgio Armani Si (Scentbird)

Pros: Very feminine scent without being too immature, most people like it
Cons: Price
Si is one of those scents that most people just love, I get complimented on it all the time. It’s a fresh, juicy floral with a bit of sweetness that gives it a very feminine and romantic feel. Like most designer perfumes, it’s expensive, so I purchased a vial from Scentbird to give it a long test drive before deciding whether or not I wanted to purchase a full size. I’m still kind of on the fence about it even though I love this perfume because I switch fragrances so frequently depending on my mood, the weather, where I’m going, etc. that I’m worried it would go bad before I got through a whole bottle. I’m thinking I might just buy another vial of it from Scentbird, especially since I love to travel with this scent. If you wanna learn more about Scentbird, check out the link in the sidebar, which will get you your first month free.
Repurchase? Yes
Another batch of empties down, woohoo! Only two more days left of Empties Week. What are you looking forward to more, skincare or haircare? Let me know in the comments down below.
Thanks for reading!

-Cristine

In empties, review on
December 20, 2016

Makeup Empties ::Empties Week Day 2::

Welcome back for day 2 of Empties Week! Today we’ll be talking about makeup. If you missed day 1 (mascara) you can check it out here. On to the fun stuff!

L’Oreal Infallible Makeup Extender Setting Spray

Pros: price, good spray, works well
Cons: scent, packaging
As you can probably tell, the packaging gets dirty really easily, but that might not bother most people. What’s more important is that it sprays in a nice even mist and works as well as the Urban Decay All Nighter. With the exception of scent and packaging, I think they’re pretty interchangeable, which is great since this L’Oreal mist is so much cheaper. My favorite setting spray is actually the Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix, which I’ll talk about more below, but if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option or just want to test out a setting spray to see if it’s something you’d like to incorporate into your routine, this would be a good option. The biggest downside to this is the scent. Whereas the Urban Decay and MUFE are basically scentless, this has a perfumey scent that might be a problem for some people.
Repurchase? No, I like the MUFE Mix & Fix better.

Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray

Pros: Works well, even spray
Cons: Expensive
Like I said, this is very comparable to the L’Oreal setting spray. The trade off here is that it’s more expensive, but it’s also less likely to bother people with sensitivities to scent. Otherwise, they’re nearly the same.
Repurchase? No, I like the MUFE Mix & Fix better.

Julep Nail Polish in Saaya

Pros: Color range, Great for people that like the easy storage of these bottles
Cons: Expensive (I only ever buy these polishes on sale though), inconsistent formula
I like this color, but it got goopy pretty fast.
Repurchase? Brand, yes. Color, no.

Julep Nail Polish in Percy

Pros: Color range, Great for people that like the easy storage of these bottles
Cons: Expensive (I only ever buy these polishes on sale though), inconsistent formula
I tried using this one a bunch of different ways, but it always seemed to give my polish a grey tint. It’s meant to be a flaky polish that looks like shards of ice on the nails, but because of the grey tint, it just never looked the way I wanted it to.
Repurchase? No.

Julep Nail Polish in Love

Pros: Color range, Great for people that like the easy storage of these bottles
Cons: Expensive (I only ever buy these polishes on sale though), inconsistent formula
This is one of my all-time favorite nail polishes. It dries quickly, looks beautiful and unique, and applies easily. I wear this all the time, especially when I need to do my nails quickly or when I just need my nails to look nice without having to put too much thought into it.
Repurchase? Hell yes.

NYX Soft Matter Lip Cream in Transylvania

Pros: Price, non-drying
Cons: Doesn’t dry down, strong scent
There was a time when I loved the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams, but that time has passed. This color in particular is very patchy, but overall my problem with these is that they don’t dry down enough for my liking. I prefer the Ofra and Ciate liquid lipsticks, or just a regular bullet lipstick with a matte finish like the Urban Decay Matte Vice lipsticks. The NYX SMLC transfer too easily and don’t give me the longevity I’m looking for. I’m probably in the minority here, but I hate the scent of these. They’re a sickly sweet vanilla cupcake scent that I’m just not a fan of.
Repurchase? No.

 

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Prague

Pros: Price, non-drying
Cons: Doesn’t dry down, strong scent
I love this color, but I’m just not feeling the SMLC anymore.
Repurchase? No.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Istanbul

Pros: Price, non-drying
Cons: Doesn’t dry down, strong scent
This color looks terrible on me, so I’m not sad to see it go. I just wish I had realized this looked terrible on me before I took my ID photo in it.
Repurchase? No.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen

Pros: Price, non-drying
Cons: Doesn’t dry down, strong scent
Same story as Prague: love the color, not the formula.
Repurchase? No.

ColourPop Lippie Stix Primer

Pros: Price, works well
Cons: Breaks easily
I love this lip primer, especially under liquid lipsticks. It’s a clear balm that keeps my lips hydrated while also helping my lipstick to last longer. If you use this, just be sure to let it dry for a few second so it becomes tacky, then apply your lipstick. If you apply lipstick before the primer has set, it’s basically useless. As much as I loved this, I didn’t get to finish it. The stick of balm broke down about half way down and fell out of the tube and onto the floor.
Repurchase? Yes.

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Smoothing Primer

Pros: Good for pore-filling, skin smoothing. Not too slippery.
Cons: Price
This is a great smoothing/pore-filling primer (not as dramatic as Porefessional, but still good) for people who hate the slippery, silicone feel of most primers. This one feels much more dry by comparison, but still functions much the same. Unfortunately, at $37 it’s pretty pricey. There are smaller, travel-sized versions, but it’s still an expensive primer.
Repurchase? Maybe, I prefer the redness canceling version of this primer, so I would choose that over this, but I would consider buying this too.

CoverFX Mattifying Primer

Pros: Plays well with a variety of foundations, lightweight
Cons: Price, not very mattifying
I like this primer, but I don’t love it. I was expecting it to do a better job of making my skin look matte, but it’s still quite shiny. It has some slip to it, but it doesn’t feel as heavy as most silicone primers do. It’s a nice primer overall, but if I’m wanting to use a matte primer, I want it to be more matte than this.
Repurchase? No.

L’Oreal Magic Lumi Primer

Pros: Price, luminous, hydrating
Cons: leaves a white cast, even on pale skin
This primer is hydrating and gives a nice luminosity to the skin, but it also leaves a noticeable white cast, even on pale skin. This gets compared to MAC Strobe Cream a lot, and while they’re a similar texture and level of glow, Strobe Cream has more of a iridescent effect without anything over top of it, whereas this is just a white glow. The upside to the white cast of this product is that it can be used to lighten foundation by a shade or two, which is how I used it most often.
Repurchase? No.

Urban Decay Primer Potion in Sin

Pros: Great cream eyeshadow option for people with oily lids
Cons: discontinued
I loved this as an eyeshadow, especially when I was in a hurry. It was great for adding a bit of color and shine without having to do primer + eyeshadow. Urban Decay has discontinued this shade, switching it for a lighter version called Minor Sin. I believe this was done because it was difficult to layer powder eyeshadows over this shade. It seemed like it took a lot of work to completely cover the primer without it peeking through. I haven’t tried Minor Sin yet, so I can’t compare. As an eyeshadow on its own though, I loved Sin.
Repurchase? Discontinued, but I would if they still made it.

Too Faced Shadow Insurance

Pros: Long-lasting, easier to blend eyeshadow over it than Urban Decay Primer Potion
Cons: not as intense as UD PP
I can attest to the fact that this does in fact last for 24 hours since I fell asleep in it once and my eyeshadow was still intact in the morning. This is a bit less intense and easy to blend over than UD PP, so if you
Repurchase? I’m pretty loyal to my Urban Decay primer, but if for whatever reason I couldn’t get it or there was a really good deal on Shadow Insurance, yeah, I’d buy it.

Urban Decay Primer Potion Original

Pros: Eyeshadow will survive just about anything
Cons: Tacky texture can make it difficult to blend eyeshadow
I’ve used UD Primer Potion for about 10 years. I’ve always had super oily eyelids that eat through pretty much everything, but this primer makes it so that I can wear eyeshadow all day, whereas without it, I’m lucky if my eyeshadow lasts an hour. Only in the past couple of years have I started testing out different eye primers, but so far this is still my favorite. I usually don’t have an issue blending eyeshadow over this primer, but I do sometimes put a bit of face powder or an eyeshadow that’s close to my skin tone over top of it to make things blend more smoothly.
Repurchase? Yes (currently using the shade Enigma, which I think I like even more!)

Julep Blank Canvas Eye Primer

Pros: Tinted to conceal veins, works pretty well
Cons: Dries up quickly, packaging
I liked this primer since it did a pretty good job of covering up my veins in my eyelids. It did help my eyeshadow to last longer, but nowhere near as long as UD PP or Too Faced Shadow Insurance. However, I seemed to go through it way more quickly than any of my other primers, and the shape of the packaging and length of the wand made it nearly impossible to get to the product on the sides and bottom, meaning a lot of it went to waste. It was a decent primer, but definitely flawed.
Repurchase? No, I like Urban Decay Enigma better.

ColourPop Super Shock Shadow in Hanky Panky and Selfie

Pros: Pigmented, long-wearing
Cons: Can be difficult to blend
Photo is just of Hanky Panky because I can’t find my photo of Selfie. They both dried up before I could finish them off completely, but I had them for over a year, so not too bad. I really liked both of these shades, and the ColourPop formula in general. They can be a bit of a chore to work with, but they last longer on my skin than any other eyeshadow does without primer. For that reason, I tend to reach for them when I’m in a hurry, and just use one or two colors. I feel like these were both easily dupable shades in formulas that require less work (I just have specific brushes I use with them that make it pretty easy, but still) so I probably wouldn’t buy these exact shades again. ColourPop really excels with their metallic shades, so I’ll probably stick mostly to those in the future.
Repurchase? Not these shades, but other ColourPop shadows, yes.

Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Branded

Pros: Price, performance
Cons: Not long-wearing if you have really oily eyelids
These shadows will probably work better for you if you don’t have oily eyelids, but to make them work for me I have to apply them over primer, which is more than I was hoping to have to do with these. I like everything else about these, though. The blend nicely, they’re smooth, pigmented, pretty much everything you would want in a cream eyeshadow. They’re just not everything I wish they were, so for me these are a pass. (these ones are too dried up to use anymore, btw)
Repurchase? No.

Maybelline Color Tattoo in Pomegranate Punk

Pros: Price, performance
Cons: Not long-wearing if you have really oily eyelids
The color of this one is a little too bruise-like. Otherwise, same as above.
Repurchase? No. I think this shade might be discontinued anyway.

Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Gel in Power Ballad

Pros: Super glittery and fun
Cons: Itchy, flaky
I had a love/hate relationship with this. The color is gorgeous and the glitter is super reflective, but it was also itchy and flaked off. The itchiness might just be my sensitive eyes (it’s been over a year since I’ve used this, I don’t think it was expired at that point), but it definitely did flake off.
Repurchase? Pretty sure these are discontinued, but even if they weren’t, no.

Garnier Roller Ball Dark Circle Concealer

Pros: Lasts forever, doesn’t make makeup cakey
Cons: limited shade choices (only 1 or 2), can’t tell when you’re about to run out
I used this for a really long time, way longer than I thought it would last. It’s a peachy color corrector that worked pretty well for my dark circles, but didn’t quite cover them. My dark circles are more brown/red than blue (they turn blue when I put concealer over them though), so I think I need to try a different color than the typical peach/apricot/salmon. The formula of this is very thin, but quite pigment, so it’s great for layering underneath concealer without making things cakey. Overall, it’s a great product and I do recommend it, I just don’t think it’s the right color for me.
Repurchase? I might go back to it someday, but for now I’d rather experiment with different colors.

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper

Pros: Fine brush tip, dark, long-wearing
Cons: Price
I do wish this was a bit cheaper, but other than that I love it. It holds up well (not perfect, but well) against my watery eyes, it’s nice and dark, and the brush tip makes it easy to work with. I hate felt tip liners and always go for a brush tip if I have the option because I feel like I have more control and precision. Plus, felt tips tend to bleed and flatten out over time. There’s a reason this eyeliner is such a cult favorite.
Repurchase? Yes.

SocialEyes Lash Glue

Pros: Price, latex free, holds lashes on really well
Cons: Brush
The brush on this isn’t as fine as I would like it to be, but this holds my lashes on so well I can look past that. I really like this lash glue and the House of Lashes glue. This doesn’t have much of scent either, so if you’re tired of the gross-smelling Duo glue, give this a try.
Repurchase? Maybe the next time I buy lashes.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel

Pros: Great hold, completely clear, doesn’t flake
Cons: Price
I love this stuff. It has just the right amount of hold, keeps brow hairs in place without feeling like hair gel. It doesn’t have any sort of white cast and it doesn’t flake off. I just wish it wasn’t so expensive, who wants to spend that much money on brow gel?? Not me!
Repurchase? Yes. I want to try a few other things before I go back to this just to make sure there are no cheaper dupes, but so far this is the only clear brow gel that I truly love.

Benefit Gimme Brow

Pros: Good color, right amount of color, adds fibers to make brows look thicker, brush
Cons: Price
The color of this is perfect for cool-toned blonds and light brown hair, most “blonde” eyebrow products are way too warm. It adds just enough color  and fibers to make brows look darker and fuller without much effort. The brush is a good size, not so big it’s difficult to use on thinner brows, but not so thin that it would be tedious on thicker brows. It’s a good product, but it’s been duped by Essence, so no need to spend the $20 on a full size of this, yay!
Repurchase? Nope. I use Essence Make Me Brow, which is a $3 dupe.

 

Vasanti Blush in Himalayas

Pros: Good color, buildable, blendable
Cons: hardpan
This isn’t empty (obviously), but it’s got hardpan so it’s gotta go. It was a great neutral pink, buildable and blendable. I really liked it while it lasted, but I prefer bronzer over blush, so I probably won’t repurchase this.
Repurchase? No.

E.L.F. Color Correcting Face Powder

Pros: Sets foundation and concealer nicely without looking cakey
Cons: Doesn’t color correct anything
I liked this as a setting powder, but it didn’t do much of anything for color correction. In general, I think most of the time powders just aren’t a good option for color correction. It did do a nice job of setting my foundation and concealer, but I have other powders (Laura Mercier, Rimmel, Too Faced) I like better.
Repurchase? No.

Benefit The Porefessional

Pros: Fills in pores
Cons: Can get a little greasy, especially on the nose, Price
I think pretty much everyone has tried this at this point, so I don’t need to say much. It does a great job of filling in pores, but has a tendency to make my foundation look weird on my nose. To counteract this, I apply Porefessional, a very light layer of powder on my nose, then my foundation. Solves the problem perfectly!
Repurchase? No need to, these things are inescapable in subscription boxes and gifts with purchase. If (when) I end up with another one, I’ll use it, but I won’t go out of my way to get more.

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NW15

Pros: Longwearing, hold up well in humidity
Cons: Packaging
The packaging of this product is super frustrating because it’s impossible to get everything out, the pump is stupid hard to control, and it’s glass, so if you drop it, you’re pretty much screwed. Despite this, I still love this concealer, especially in the summer. It can be a little dry for my liking in the winter, but in the summer, I often use it as foundation because it holds up so well to heat and humidity. NW15 is actually too pink for me, but I can make it work. NC20 is straight up orange on me, so when I repurchase this, I think I’ll try NC15 and see how that works.
Repurchase? Yes

 

Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix

Pros: Helps makeup last longer, takes away some of the powdery look, makes highlight pop
Cons: Price
This is my new favorite setting spray. I feel like it makes my makeup last a little bit longer than Urban Decay or L’Oreal, plus it helps to take away some of the powdery look if I go a bit overboard, and it makes my highlight pop in a way that the other two setting sprays don’t. I’m ’bout that life.
Repurchase? Yes even though I’m totally gonna be wincing when I repurchase it. Why the hell is this so expensive MUFE?

SocialEyes Lashes Butterfly

Pros: Price, excellent style for smaller eyes or a more natural look
Cons: Have to order online
These are my all-time favorite lashes! They fit my eyes perfectly without having to trim them at all, and they look natural in a “I was born looking like a Disney princess” sort of way. They’re only $5.95, and SocialEyes has 20% off sales throughout the year making them even cheaper, so they’re a great value. The only downside is having to order them online, I always feel like I have to order in batches to make the shipping worth it (or get free shipping).
Repurchase? Yes

 

Jouer Liquid Eye Liner in Stone Fox

Pros: Unique color
Cons: Brush gets messy, matte(ish) finish
The color is this is gorgeous and not something I’ve seen other brands do. It’s a deep smokey navy, somewhere between gray and blue that makes it an awesome color, especially for blue eyes. I personally don’t like my liquid eyeliners to dry matte, I like a satin or glossy finish, but if you like a matte finish with some glitter, you’ll like this. I also have issues with the brush, the way the wand is shaped leads to me getting liner on the tips of my lashes. I wish they’d put this in a pen-type packaging or even a gel format with this color.
Repurchase? Not unless they change the packaging, but they have some other colors I want to try, so I might cave and pick up 1 or 2 of those.

Yaaay, all done! Are you guys enjoying Empties Week so far?

Thanks for reading!

-Cristine

In empties, mascara, review on
December 19, 2016

Mascara Empties ::Empties Week Day 1::

Welcome to Empties Week!

So… you see what happened was, I went through my makeup stash and was trying to use up a bunch of products so I could streamline my collection before we moved back in October. I was also close to finishing several products, so I ended up with a whooole lot of empties. The plan was to do empties week back in October, so I wouldn’t have to move all of my trash to the new house. I even took all of the photos, but then I got sick and whatever free time I had before the chaos of moving overtook my life, went poof! So much for that plan. Now that things have settled down and I’ve got a bit of time off from school, I can finally get back to writing these posts. I’ve broken them down into categories to make things easier to digest. Today we’ll be talking about all of my mascara empties.

Tuesday will be the rest of my makeup.
Wednesday will be body and fragrance products.
Thursday will be haircare.
Friday will be skincare.

Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill

 

Pros: lightweight, separated lashes, didn’t flake
Cons: not very dramatic
This is a cult favorite for many, but it wasn’t a hit for me. I like bold, dramatic lashes and this was too much on the natural side for me. If that’s what you look for in a mascara, you might like this. I liked how separated and clean it made my lashes look, but it didn’t add enough volume or length for me, it was mostly just a bit of color.
Repurchase? No.

 

 MAC False Lashes

Pros: dark, dramatic lashes
Cons: kind of irritated my sensitive eyes, style of brush
This irritated my eyes a bit, it was kind of perfumey. I also hate the brush on this mascara. I felt like I couldn’t really get it to wrap around my lashes the way I like my wands to. It wouldn’t comb through my lashes, just sort of brushed across the front part of my lashes, which made it more difficult to build up and to add length.
Repurchase? No.

 Benefit Roller Lash

Pros: Great separation, dark, great balance of length and volume
Cons: doesn’t actually curl lashes
I liked this one. While it didn’t curl my lashes the way it claimed to, it did hold a curl pretty well after I curled them with an eyelash curler. It gave me enough volume and length for my liking, didn’t irritate my eyes, and was dark enough for my liking. It also did a good job of separating my lashes.
Repurchase? Maybe. I definitely wouldn’t pass up on another sample size.

Urban Decay Perversion

Pros: Super dark, great volume
Cons: messy, not very lengthening
This mascara can get a little bit goopy on the brush because it’s such a wet formula, which also makes it more likely to transfer. This coated my lashes well and made them super dark. It didn’t add much length, but was great for dark, bold, voluminous lashes. This isn’t a favorite for everyday, but I do really like it for darkening up my lashes when I’m wearing falsies. It also combines well with other mascaras.
Repurchase? Yes, but only in a sample size. Since it’s not an everyday mascara for me, I wouldn’t be able to use up a full size before it went bad, so why waste the money?

Maybelline Pumped Up Volume Colossal

 

Pros: It makes your lashes a little bit darker?
Cons: Brush sucks, not enough volume, not enough length, flaky
I hate this mascara. The brush doesn’t have fiber bristles or plastic bristles, it has these weird little plasticy bristles that bend way too easily. They remind me of a really crappy fake Christmas tree. The brush just doesn’t do anything at all for me. The formula isn’t particularly good either, it’s not dark enough, doesn’t add length or volume. Normally  I can see a redeeming quality or a reason why someone else might like a product even if I didn’t, but this one I just don’t get.
Repurchase? Hell no.

L’Oreal Voluminous Extra Volume Collagen Mascara

 

Pros: Dark, good amount of volume
Cons: Flaky, doesn’t hold a curl
This one was pretty lackluster. Very average all around, it would be a decent option if it just held a curl and didn’t flake.
Repurchase? Nah.

Benefit They’re Real

Pros: Combs through lashes, dark, good balance of length and volume, holds a curl
Cons: Spiky ball of death, super difficult to remove even though it’s not waterproof
I actually didn’t like this mascara at first, but I think this is one of the rare instances where the full size is better than the sample. The sample size tends to get dried out and clumpy pretty fast, but for whatever reason, that doesn’t happen with the full size. I really like the way this one combs through my lashes, it holds a curl well, it gives me enough length and volume, and I don’t feel the need to use a second mascara when I use this. The are only two downsides to this mascara. One, it’s super difficult to remove even though it’s not waterproof. Even after oil cleansing, I still end up having to use an eye makeup remover (or just deal with raccoon eyes, it’s whatevs). This is also pretty much the most painful mascara ever if you happen to poke yourself in the eye with it. Ask me how I know -_- I definitely wouldn’t recommend this one for people who like to wiggle their mascara along their lash line.
Repurchase? Yes. (at some point)

L’Oreal Voluminous False Fiber Lashes

 

Pros: Waterproof (kinda), dark, decent/average overall, easy to remove as far as waterproof mascaras go
Cons: Only waterproof from water hitting your face, doesn’t hold up against watery eyes, doesn’t hold a curl very well, can be irritating to sensitive eyes
I have super watery eyes and I live in a place where it’s hot about 80% of the year, so I tend to go for waterproof mascaras. This one fails the waterproof test for my needs, but might be ok for someone else. It does ok in rain and hot weather, but if my eyes start to water, it’s game over. It just slides right off. I don’t think this is a tubing mascara, but it does have fibers that make it act like a tubing mascara, especially when it comes to removal. It slides off pretty easily with warm water and a bit of cleanser. Appearance-wise, it’s pretty average. Decent length and volume, dark enough.
Repurchase? No.

 

Yves St. Laurent Volume Effet Faux Cils

Pros: Very, very dark. Lots of volume.
Cons: does nothing at all for length, volume can look clumpy, transfers easily, really heavy formula, weighs lashes down
I was super excited when I received this mascara from Influenster, but it turned out to be a total bust for me. It’s heavily perfumed, which will be a problem for many people. I actually happen to like the scent, and it didn’t irritate my eyes, but other people may not have the same experience. This is probably the darkest mascara I’ve ever used. The only thing that comes close is Urban Decay Perversion. The mascara has a really heavy formula that is awesome for creating volume, but it also weighs down lashes. Won’t be a problem if your lashes are naturally perky, but for me it led to downturned lashes, which made my eyelashes look super short. It also transfers easily, and walks the very fine line between clumpy and voluminous. Also, $$$.
Repurchase? No.

Urban Decay Super Curl

Pros: Shape of the brush helps to lift and curl lashes, good separation, doesn’t flake or smudge
Cons: kinda spiky, hurts if you stab yourself but not as much as Benefit They’re Real

There was a point when I was obsessed with this mascara because I felt it really helped to curl my lashes. This was prior to me purchasing a lash curler, which, no surprise here, works better to curl lashes than a curling mascara does. I do still like this mascara though, which is good because I have another travel size tube in my backup stash. If you have trouble getting a bit of lift in your lashes, try this mascara. The brush is a bit needy, but if you take your time and use a few tricks, it can really do a great job. My first tip is to twirl the brush as comb upwards, starting with the side that curves away and twisting so that by the time you get to the tips of your lashes, the side that curves out is now the side that’s touching your lashes. My second tip is go slow with this mascara, holding the brush right along the lash line for a few seconds before pushing up and combing through the rest of the lashes. This is what really helps to create the lift. Finally, use the side of the brush that is curved out to get to the tips of the lashes, works well for bottom lashes too!

Repurchase? Maybe.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

Pros: Crazy volume, super dark
Cons: can get clumpy, doesn’t do much for length
I love this for days when I just want a really thick, dark lash line and I don’t want to have to build up my mascara. The downside to this is that it can get clumpy fast. It also doesn’t add the length I’d like it to, so for me this isn’t a perfect mascara, but I can see why others love it.
Repurchase? No, but I might start hoarding sample sizes.

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes

Pros: volume
Cons: flakey
I liked this the first two times I used this, but it was all downhill from there. It adds a nice amount of volume and a little length, but it flakes off throughout the day. I’d definitely recommend TF Better Than Sex over this. The brush also gets kind of goopy as time goes on, like the mascara builds up on the brush and doesn’t want to come off, making it difficult to brush through lashes.
Repurchase? No.

That’s it for day one! What do you guys think about Empties Week? Do you guys want me to do empties posts more frequently, or do you prefer longer posts like this? Let me know in the comments down below!

Thanks for reading!

-Cristine