Thursday, April 24, 2014

Empties Post Volume XX: April 2014 Edition

April ended up being a vigorous month for the production of Empties. Honestly, I didn't consciously set out to use up so many products-- and in fact would go so far as to say that I didn't give it much thought. Yet somehow I managed to use up lots and lots of things that were full-size, deluxe samples, regular samples, and sample packets. I was so busy with work that I didn't give much thought to what was getting close to empty, or the fact that traveling with sample packets was going to result in lots of Empties. I also didn't spend any time looking at the growing pile of empty products in the bag on my closet floor to realize that I was actually doing a pretty good job of using things up this month!

Skin Within Purify Cleanse + Foaming Cleanser: This was a half-used hand-me-down from my sister when she was purging stuff before she moved. I finished it up in the shower, and thought that it was a really nice cleanser. It cleaned my skin beautifully without any stripping whatsoever.

Wen Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner (reviewed here): I really loved this shampoo, and will probably eventually buy another one. However, at this point I am swimming in shampoos and conditioners so won't be buying any until I have used up a few in my current rotation. I do find that I have to rotate the Wen shampoos with others, otherwise it does tend to build up over time.

Caress Emerald Rush Body Wash (reviewed here): This is one yummy smelling gardenia and white tea scented body wash. It makes the shower, and the bathroom for that matter, smell delectable. I didn't use an entire bottle in less than a month, as you will note that my review was posted on April 9th, but instead an over-zealous shipping company tossed it on my porch making all of the bottles leak everywhere. I managed to salvage some, but thankfully the kind people at Caress sent me a new box of goodies. I will definitely pick more of these body washes up once I use up what I have.

Crest 3D White Strips Glamorous White: This did a great job removing coffee and tea stains from my teeth, and I will definitely repurchase them because I have no intention to stop drinking coffee or tea!

Bodycology Exfoliating Sugar Scrub in Enchanted Forest (reviewed here): This was a very effective and modestly priced body exfoliator that left my skin ridiculously soft, and didn't leave a oil slick on the bottom of my shower.

Rare Elements Pure Shampoo: This is a lovely shampoo that is free of sulfates, silicones, parabens and synthetic fragrances. I loved how nice my hair felt after using it, and I found it kind and gentle on my naturally curly hair.

Trader Joe's Face and Body SPF 30: This is a good staple to have on hand. I always left this bottle on a shelf near the back door as a reminder to use it, and I did!

Sponge Ladi Avokanto (reviewed here): I still love this lovely face oil! It sinks in nicely-- especially when warmed up between the hands and applied to warm damp skin-- and it leaves behind a lovely glow! I just opened another bottle!

Sunday Riley Start Over Eye Cream (reviewed here): This eye cream is very effective at eliminating under eye puffiness, but if your eyes are sensitive you will probably want to try out a sample packet first. It makes the eyes sting a bit and then they water for a while, but once that is over the puffiness is quite diminished. Some people find the stinging and watering to be too much for them, while others do not. Therefore, you might want to try it before you buy it. It is a very lightweight eye cream, and won't provide enough moisture for many people, but if you have a chronically puffy under eye area and don't need a rich eye cream-- then you might really love this one.
Of the samples shown above, I only have the Organic Pharmacy Purifying Seaweed Clay Mask (review forthcoming) and the Rituals Zensation Organic Rice Milk & Cherry Blossom Foaming Shower Gel Sensation (review forthcoming) in full sizes. Both are quite lovely, and I imagine that I will continue to use them for some time to come. Shannon's Soaps Cocoa Butter Love (reviewed here) is a delicious smelling and amazingly moisturizing thick and rich cream that is just scrumptious! I also have to note that the Serge Normant Meta Velour Conditioner was quite lovely, and that it's definitely on my list of future hair product purchases. It left my hair soft and manageable without weighing it down at all!
I'm actually rather shocked that I used up a staggering 70 sample packets-- I had to count a few times to make sure that the number was correct, and it is! I was able to achieve this feat because I used sample packets while traveling in April, and in some cases I used lotion and cream packets intended for the face on my hands and body instead. Single packets don't generally provide enough product to determine whether or not it will be a good fit because you can't use it long enough to see whether or not your skin will react adversely, or thrive. Thus unless I have many packets of a particular product, I tend not to use those intended for the face on my face. The many TATCHA products were used during my travels, and in many cases there were enough duplicates that I used them on my face with great results. I did have a few packets of their new Indigo line, and have to say that I am quite impressed by it.

Of the packets shown, I only have full sized versions of:

Radical Skincare Age Defying Exfoliating Pads (reviewed here): This is an ingenious product, and so highly effective. The pads themselves boast two different textures: one side boasts large raised concentric circles that offer added abrasion while the other side is smooth. This allows for an enhanced level of exfoliation-- it's a bit like a gentle version of coarse grit and fine grit sandpaper. It is a kind and gentle exfoliator loaded with anti-aging properties. I love this product!

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Extra Strength (discussed here): This two part peel is a fantastic maintenance program between professional peels, but also is highly effective if you never seek out professional peels. I am very impressed by the efficacy of this product, but the Alpha Beta Peel Extra Strength will not be suitable for sensitive skin. They also offer the Alpha Beta Original Formula which is a far more gentle variant.

TATCHA Polished Classic Rice Enzyme Powder (reviewed here): This powder cleanser leaves skin indescribably soft and supple. It cleans without stripping, and I'm pretty well convinced that it contains magical fairy dust because it's hard to believe that a cleanser could ever leave skin that soft! It comes in three different formulas: Classic (normal to combination skin), Gentle (sensitive skin) and Deep (oily skin).

TATCHA Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil (reviewed here): An amazing cleansing oil that can be used to pre-cleanse or as a cleanser by itself. It effectively removes every trace of makeup!

Aesop Damascan Rose Facial Treatment (review forthcoming, but shown here): I fell so in love with this luxury face oil after using up a few sample packets that I knew almost immediately that I had to have it. While it is supposed to be for drier skin types, I have found that it does an outstanding job with my decidedly combination skin.

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer (reviewed here): I have been reaching for this tinted moisturizer with greater frequency these days because the weather has been heating up here in LA. I love the light to medium buildable coverage and the lovely natural effect. I imagine that I will be reaching for this very often during the summer months.
What did you finish, toss, return, or give away in April?

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  1. another impressive month, helen! other than the sample packets, what conditioner did you pair with the rare elements shampoo? or did you use the wen as a conditioner? i picked up full size of the plantscription back in fall and it was just the hydration boost i needed during winter. while i generally feel origins products are overrated, plantscriptions is quite nice. it shares a key ingredient with your beloved african botanicals resurrection eye cream, anogeissus, the resurrection plant.

    1. Thanks, Chia-Yi! I'm very pleased that I used up as much as I did! Wow, your guess was spot on!!!!!! I was using the Wen as a conditioner with the Rare Elements Shampoo when I was getting close to emptying both!!!! I also used the Serge Normant condtioner with it, and then anything else that happened to be in the shower at a time! I don't have many Origins products-- except on full size eye cream that I got as a free perk during some Sephora promotion some time ago. While I rarely even look at their products the plantscription sounds like it might be a good fit for my hair! Interesting that it also uses the resurrection plant! Thank you for bringing it to my attention! BTW, yesterday on my way to work I made a quick trip to Sephora and grabbed the Algenist Oil! I will definitely keep you posted!

  2. sorry. i didn't meant to confuse you. i meant the plantscription serum was a serum for the face. i look forward to hearing what you think of the oil! the brand rep recommended about 2 drops for my face so you really don't need that much.

    1. No worries!!!!! I might have to try to find a sample packet or two! I used the oil this morning for the first time, and definitely like the feeling and smell-- we'll see how well my skin gets along with it-- hopefully it will be a good fit. I used two drops and warmed it in my hands and applied it to warm damp skin. It sunk in beautifully!

  3. yes! the definitely the fastest sinking oil i've experienced!

    1. It's really nice! I have found Colbert MD Illumino Face Oil to sink in faster than any other face oil that I have tried-- the texture is water thin and disappears immediately! It is a fabulous oil that contains retinol!

  4. You finished up a lot. Wow!

    I didn't finish very many items this month:
    - Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Economic Recovery perfume
    - BeautyBarBaby Soft Focus Microperfecting Mineral Face Powder
    - Black Bear Laboratory Candy Cane Cheesecake Lip Balm
    - Lush Creme Anglais lotion

    1. I surprised myself this month, Iris! I think that you did a great job this month-- especially since you finished a face powder, a perfume and a lip balm! You do such a great job with hard to finish makeup products every month without fail! :)

  5. i saw serge normant hair products at costco today! not sure if they're bringing them in permenantly or just as a holiday item

    1. Me too on my last couple of trips there. The first time I didn't buy because I have so many hair products to get through, but the last time that I went I figured at $14.99 (I think that was the cost) that I should pick up the conditioner I had been eyeing, but they were out of stock. They had plenty of shampoos, but I just didn't need it! Did you get any? I hope that they keep it in stock, but I don't think that it was specifically for holiday since I saw it there a couple of months ago. Did you go to the Costco in Los Feliz or Alhambra?


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