Sunday, November 27, 2016

Empties Post Volume XLIX: November 2016

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As I noted a few months ago, I have been feeling overwhelmed by the number of half-used beauty products filling the drawers, cabinets and shelves in my house. In order to get a handle on this growing problem, I decided to roundup the mostly used up products and place them in a central location so that they are in the line of sight. My idea was that seeing them would encourage me to finish them up, and it also helps to clear the growing clutter. This method has worked so well that I feel less overwhelmed by all of the bottles, tubes and jars, and I always feel exceedingly satisfied when I toss all of my empty containers into my recycle bin! 

Here is what I finished up in November:

Accént Cleansing Wash (Reviewed here. $15.49 for 12 oz. from Amazon): I have to confess that testing the claims as to whether or not the accént Cleansing Wash was gentle enough to use on the face left me somewhat concerned. In the past all-in-one cleansers have seldom worked for my skin, and I thought that this would prove to be a similar experience. However, I was very surprised by just how gentle accént proved to be. This fragrance-free formula left my skin feeling thoroughly cleansed, soft and supple-- but not at all stripped. I tried it head-to-toe (save for my hair), and it is really just as gentle as accént claims. I even tried it for shaving, and it was perfect for my sensitive underarms!

You Are Amazing Smooth It Out Exfoliating Body Scrub & Wash in Vanilla Bean (Reviewed here. $3.99 for 8 oz. from Target): If you love the scent of Vanilla Bean, this warm and richly scented body wash and scrub will definitely appeal to you. The micro-bead free exfoliating particles are suspended in a clear gel-based cleanser that effectively and gently exfoliates and cleanses the skin without stripping the skin. At the expense of being rather obvious, I would not use this product anywhere that you would not use an exfoliator!

Feel My Hair Smoothing Shampoo: I really liked this shampoo a lot, but travel sized seldom give me enough time with a product to determine its longterm suitability and efficacy for my hair.

Abba Moisture Shampoo (Reviewed here. $17.00–$34.00 for 8 oz. and 33.8 oz from Abba and Ulta): The key moisturizing botanical ingredients in this shampoo and conditioner are Olive Oil, Peppermint Oil, and Abba's special ProQuinoa complex, and even when my hair is extremely dry it looks and feels better after I use this shampoo and conditioner.  The minty aroma smells delectable, and is very refreshing.

Abba Moisture Conditioner (Reviewed here. $18.00–$36.00 for 8 oz. and 33.8 oz from Abba and Ulta): This conditioner leaves my hair so soft and hydrated, and it leaves my hair frizz and tangle-free. I love Abba haircare, and already have replacement bottles!

Trader Joe's French Liquid Soap in Orange Blossom Honey: I have repurchased this so many times that I have lost count. I will continue buying this as long as Trader Joe's makes it! If you love the aroma of Orange Blossoms, then this is a definite must-have hand soap! I already have replacement bottles.
California Naturel Gentle Cleansing Gel (Reviewed here): California Naturel Gentle Cleansing Gel is one of my favorite and most reached for cleansers because it is gentle, as the name suggests, and yet it thoroughly cleanses the skin without stripping it. It has a light lather that makes it an exquisite cleanser to use in conjunction with a cleansing device like the FOREO LUNA or Clarisonic, or to be used alone. It leaves my skin silky smooth, soft, supple and hydrated instead of feeling over-cleansed or stripped. It was formulated for all skin types including the most sensitive skin. It has the pleasant and faint smell of lavender, but it is quite subtle.

Manuka Secrets Cleanse (Reviewed here. $19.99 for 3.38 oz. from): is a non-lathering daily cream cleanser that leaves skin thoroughly cleansed and ultra moisturized. It contains nourishing ingredients like Almond Oil, Manuka Honey and Shea Butter that moisturize and protect the skin, and it removes every bit of makeup without stripping the skin. If you have dry skin, or if the colder weather is wreaking havoc on your skin, then this is a great cleanser to try.  It has a warm and earthy scent that I find delightful. If you need a foaming or lathering cleanser, then this is definitely not for you.

Surya Brasil Sapien Women Facial Scrub (Reviewed here. $16.99 for 3.38 oz. from Surya Brasil and Amazon): This gentle, all natural, exfoliator effectively removes dead skin cells while nourishing the skin. Skin is left soft, smooth, hydrated, and without any irritation. The tropical scent is refreshing and utterly delightful.

Good Earth Lip Scrubs (Reviewed here. $8.00 for 1 oz. jar from Good Earth Beauty): Good Earth Beauty Lip Scrubs leave lips soft, smooth, supple, and ready for your favorite lipsticks. I tested the strawberry, chocolate and vanilla flavors, and they smell delectable! I simply dampen my lips and very gently massage them. If I need extra exfoliation, then I massage until the sugar dissolves, but if I only need light exfoliation, then I rinse it off before all of the sugar dissolves. 

Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes (Featured here. Deluxe Sample. Full Size $5.99): I love facial wipes, and use them all of the time. They are so handy for removing makeup, and this deluxe sample packet was perfect for travel. 
Mira-Skin Hyaluronic Serum (Reviewed here. $129.00 from the mira-skin Amazon Store): Mira-Skin Hyaluronic Serum is a lightweight gel that sinks into the skin immediately leaving behind no residue whatsoever. Skin immediately feels comfortably hydrated, and the hyaluronic acid plumps fine lines and improves the overall texture of the skin. It leaves skin soft, supple, lifted, glowing and deeply moisturized. It has has the faint scent of roses, from the Rosa Damascena Distillate, but it fades as soon as it is absorbed into the skin.

Arbonne RE9 Advanced Regenerating Toner (Reviewed here. $35.00 for 1.7 oz. from Arbonne): If you have been seeking to add a toner into your skincare routine, that is gentle enough to be used daily, then Arbonne RE9 Advanced Regenerating Toner is worth your consideration. I don't use toners all of the time, but when I do I tend to gravitate to the alcohol-free variety. This particular toner feels far from ordinary as it boasts an antioxidant rich formula that is pH-balanced and comes in a convenient spray bottle. The mist-stream isn't fine enough to lightly mist the whole face, but instead is more effective when spritzed into a cotton ball or pad.  It leaves skin feeling refreshed, cleansed, lightly hydrated and lifted. It has a very mild scent that seems to evaporate immediately.

Painted Earth 15% Vitamin C Face Lotion (Reviewed here. $55.00 1.7 oz. from Painted Earth):  What I immediately noticed was a healthy glow emerging after I began using this Vitamin C lotion. My skin seemed more vibrant, stimulated, and healthy. This formula boasts tremendous antioxidant protection, and when used in concert with a high SPF sunscreen it offers the skin a very high level of protection against the the ravages of the environment. It delivers the perfect amount of moisture to my normal/combination skin, and it remains moist and hydrated throughout the day. 

B. Kamins Nia-Stem Moisturizer Kx (Reviewed here. $125.00 for 1.7 oz. from Dermstore): This is lightweight anti-aging daily moisturizer for all skin types and ages. It is thick and creamy, yet lightweight and fast absorbing. It leaves skin comfortably hydrated, protected, and thankfully never makes the skin feel greasy or oily. My complexion is brightened and glowing after use, and it is left with a greater appearance of clarity. While my skin is not slack, I did definitely notice a lifting effect. 

Manuka  Secrets Serum (Reviewed here. Price $41.27 for 1.01 oz. from Amazon): This antioxidant-rich facial serum is loaded with nourishing oils and Manuka Honey without any unwanted filler ingredients. Like most serums, it is very lightweight in texture and fast absorbing, and therefore it provides deep hydration instantaneously. Skin is left soft, supple and luminous, and over time, it works to even skin tone. I had two mostly finished bottles that I used up in November. While I do not need to purchase any serums right now, I would definitely use this again.

Rodin Olio Lusso Luxury Face Oil (Reviewed here. $170.00 1 fl. oz. Available from NordstromBarneys New York Beautyhabit): When I first began using Olio Lusso, years ago, I wasn't sure how I would feel about putting the gloriously scented blend of 11 natural oils all over my face because I was unaccustomed to the notion of using natural Jasmine oil as anything other than a fragrance for my body, rather than as a treatment for my face. I feared that it might wreak havoc on my combination skin because Jasmine Oil is the first ingredient on the list. However, not only was I wrong about that, but I actually found the scent to be calming, intoxicatingly delicious, and unmistakably luxurious. In fact, among the properties of Jasmine Oil it is purported to reduce scarring, tone the skin, lift the spirits, and effectively treat dry skin. This liquid gold elixir sinks in faster than any oil that I have used to date, and it not only imparts the skin with an unprecedented healthy glow, but it likewise hydrates and moisturizes the skin better than I have ever imagined possible. When I apply this at night I wake up with a glow that I have to date never experienced. It also sinks in so quickly that there is no need to sit and wait for it to be absorbed before applying makeup. Additionally, a drop of this in your foundation or tinted moisturizer will give you the most amazing finish imaginable. This is still one of my very favorite beauty oils! A+++

Mario Badescu Vitamin A-D-E Neck Cream (Reviewed here. $20.00 for 1 oz. from Ulta): I am particularly smitten with the Mario Badescu Vitamin A-D-E Neck Cream for a number of reasons. First, it has the texture of a balm, rather than a typical cream, and I find it to be far more emollient, but without being greasy. Second, it is an ultra hydrating blend of nourishing ingredients that deeply moisturize the skin. Finally, it includes Hyaluronic Acid among its ingredients, and therefore attracts and retains hydration. Skin is left ultra moisturized, soft and supple. Incidentally, this cream also works wonders on dry cuticles.

Le Mieux Icy Revitalizing Mask (Reviewed here. $15.00 for 2 oz. from Le Mieux): This is a wonderfully refreshing clay mask that makes the skin tingle in the most pleasant way. It draws out impurities, helps to clear clogged pores, and it is neither drying nor irritating on the skin.
Pure Smile Milk Mask Pack: (Full size product $1.00): This mask offered my skin hydration, but that was really the only thing that I noticed.

Purlisse Blue Lotus-Seaweed Mask (Featured here. Retail $8.00): This natural fiber mask is infused with Blue Lotus and restorative Asian botanicals that deliver antioxidants to nourish skin and improve its texture. It definitely offered my skin nice hydration.

MaskerAide Detox Diva Face Mask (Featured here): I didn't notice any "detoxing" from this mask, but it did offer my normal/combination skin hydration.

Assorted Sibu and Virgin Farms sample packets: Not enough product in the sample packets to form a meaningful opinion.
TOM FORD Beauty Lip Color Shine in Bare (Reviewed here. $53.00 from Nordstrom, Saks Fifth AvenueNeiman MarcusBloomingdale's and Bergdorf Goodman): Bare is one of those hybrid lip products that has the comfort and moisturizing properties of a fabulous lip balm, but combines the wear of a lipstick with that of a lip gloss. It glides on the lips effortlessly and offers gorgeous color and twinkling pearl suspended in a luminous shiny formula. I avoided buying this for a very long time because I found it to be rather cost prohibitive given that there are so many high quality luxury hybrid lip products on the market for a fraction of the price, and I regret to inform you that this one ended up being my very favorite! I had hoped not to love it, but as you can see– I scraped every last bit from this tube! I will definitely purchase this again!

Lancôme Trésor Eau de Parfum: I know that this is a wildly popular fragrance, but is simply doesn't get along with my body chemistry.

What did you use up, toss out, give away or return in November? Any real winners or losers to share?

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  1. Good heavens, you actually used up a Tom Ford lipstick! Congratulations, now that is an achievement to finish an entire tube of lipstick! and your trick to help yourself finish up the half used bottles and tubes really worked! I am most intrigued by your mini-review of the Mario Badescu Neck Cream. Although I currently have quite a few neck products that I like, I am going to see this out next trip to Ulta. MB products give such bang for the buck, and I was paying much more for neck cream than this! Great empties post as always, Helen!

    1. Thank you, Allison! Yes, the TF Lipstick was definitely my biggest accomplishment since I almost never finish up lipsticks! I am actually almost finished with a second Tom Ford Lipstick (Nude Vanille)– which is my all-time favorite nude lipstick!

      Rounding up the mostly used products is really working for me in a big way. Each month when I finish up a pile, I dig through my stash and pull the next pile to use up, and I feel a sense of relief decluttering!

      I really liked the Mario Badescu Neck Cream, and definitely think that you should take a look at it when you go to Ulta next time. You definitely get great bang for your buck with MB products. <3

  2. I LOVE minty smelling shampoos! I can't believe you went through the whole TF lippie.. I only rarely get through ones I love so that one must definitely be special!

    1. I do too! I know, I was pretty amazed that I finished an ENTIRE TF lippie! I have almost finished a full tube of TF Nude Vanille!

  3. My mouth dropped open when I saw the TF lipstick. I can't believe you used it up. I'm impressed with all these items. I used up less on October and November than usual because I stopped doing my full routine.

    1. Mine did too! It is so seldom that I ever finish a lipstick, but I loved that one so much that I just had to use every last bit. I have nearly completely finished a tube of Tom Ford Nude Vanille as well! I'm telling you, Marcia, my new method of rounding up well-used products and placing them in clear view is proving to be an especially effective method for using up all of those products. One of the most effective places to do this is the shower since you use what is right in front of you, and don't really think about all of the other things in your stash.

  4. Twinsy, I am in awe that you have finished that TF lippy. I have never ever, despite my addiction to TF lippies, reached that level you achieved!!!! Great job!!!

    1. That was DEFINITELY my biggest accomplishment here, no question! I almost never finish lipsticks, but I really loved this one so much that I used it all of the time! I have almost finished up a tube of TF Nude Vanille that you will be seeing in an empties post soon.

  5. My goodness, you got through A LOT of stuff! I don't know how you do it!

    1. Rounding up a pile of mostly used products each month and placing them in plain view has really worked well for me. This way, when I see them I use them!

  6. Wow!! I've never finished a tube of lipstick ever! haha

  7. These posts still amaze me. I don't think I've emptied anything except deodorant and shampoos and conditioners for the last month

    1. In my quest to clear the clutter I have made a concerted effort to round up a pile of mostly used products each month, and then I place them in plain view so that I am inspired to finish them up and recycle the empty containers. It is the only way that I have found to stay on top of finishing things off– otherwise they sit in the cabinet and collect dust!


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