June 19, 2019: Skincare Sample Empties Review

@belifcanada is a brand that is new to me, but so far, I haven’t had problems with it. The True Cream Aqua Bomb has a gel-cream formulation and feels silky smooth on my skin. It had a pleasant, gentle scent and didn’t break out my oily, acne-prone skin. I only used this at night as it was on the thicker side, so I can’t vouch for how well it sits under makeup.

The @belifusa Aqua Bomb Sleeping Mask is the thicker, mask equivalent of the Aqua Bomb Cream. Not my cup of tea as my skin type doesn’t really need hydrating masks most days, but again, very pleasant, and leaves you with a glowy sheen when you wake up. —
@drunkelephant ‘s Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser got the job done. It has a nice lather, removed a fair portion of my makeup, and felt nice on the skin. While not life changing for myself personally, if this is a product that appeals to you, I don’t think you’ll have any regrets in picking it up. For myself though, the cleanser is where I spend the smallest portion of my skincare budget unless it’s packed with AHAs and BHAs, so I’ll probably be sticking to more affordable options for my first cleanse. Drunk Elephant always kills it with their bright, happy packaging though!

NO BUY 2019: Success in May!

Drumroll, please!

I made it through the entire month of May without purchasing any beauty products. None! Whatsoever!

May went entirely the opposite of how April went, and unfortunately I can’t contribute my no buy success to my willpower alone. I came down with pneumonia in the first half of the month and had quite the time with it. It took about a week until I was diagnosed and prescribed antibiotics, and throughout the entire illness I was still having to work partial days at work because of short staffing issues. I was so exhausted from being sick and feeling like crap from working while so sick, that by the time I came home I just slept and had no time to even contemplate online shopping. On the few days that I was able to take off to recover, I still was so wiped out that I did not buy anything. As well, there was also the pressure of missing out on so much pay from taking time off work, making it easier to stick to my budget and prioritize paying for the bare essentials.

Here’s what I used up and purchased in May:

May purchases: None!

Total dollar value of products purchased as replacements or otherwise: $0.

May empties:

  1. Essence Instant Matte Setting Spray ($6)
  2. Glo Skin Beauty Daily Power C ($126)
  3. Drunk Elephant Protini Peptide Deluxe Sample
  4. Laroche Posay Toleriane Ultra Fluide ($34)
  5. Nude by Nature Flawless Foundation Powder ($32)
  6. Laroche Posay Effaclar Purifying Cleansing Gel ($25)
  7. NuFace Gel Primer ($17)

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Total dollar value of products used up: $240

Definitely my best month yet! As for replacements for cleansers and Vitamin C, I have a number of samples and trial sizes that I plan on using up and clearing out first, and then have some very low cost options I plan on purchasing eventually. We’re heading into summer, so I’ve been transitioning into my summer shades for powder and foundation, and have plenty to use up from last summer. For setting spray, I have plenty of facial mists to use up and a number of setting powders to substitute as well. I’m really hoping I can keep this frugal momentum going as we head into June!

NO BUY 2019: Products I finished and replaced in March, no buy update

I have become very aware of my moments of weakness, and what triggers the mindless Sephora app browsing for myself.ย  Usually it stems from the idea that “*something has happened* so, I deserve *blank*”. For example, “A patient verbally abused me on the phone at work today, so I deserve a pick-me-up”, “I’ve been doing so great at my no-buy that I deserve a treat”, “It’s my birthday in April, so I deserve a gift”, etc. My default thought process basically goes about self-care and emotion-regulating entirely wrong.

I’ve been trying to rethink these sorts of enabling thoughts. “I work hard so I deserve to be debt-free”, for example. I still mindlessly scroll through the Sephora app, but for shorter periods of time, and I unload my cart more quickly rather than letting these items pile up there for another day. Spending money on things I don’t need or even necessarily want when I know I have debt and upcoming expenses is no longer something I can pretend is okay, and even “window shopping” online isn’t as satisfying as it used to be, which is good! This lowers temptation significantly.

Through all the temptations and tribulations, here is what I actually purchased in March:

  1. Glo Skin Beauty Foundation, Pressed Base, and Brush ($74). I will fully admit, this technically breaks my no-buy rules. I was not entirely out of foundation or powder foundation, and probably could have made do with what I’ve got at home for brushes. I broke my rules as we were placing a retail order at work, and when ordering for the clinic staff is able to get a discount. I stocked up on things I know I’ll use. I go through pressed powder like water, and wanted a dewy foundation in a more suitable shade for my skin tone. The shade I purchased, Tahini, is light enough that I can wear it now with a lighter powder if really blended out, but dark enough that I’ll still be able to wear it throughout most of the summer. Still though, I did break the rules, I cannot deny that!
  2. Essence Instant Matte Setting Spray ($6). I had entirely used up my last Essence Instant Matte and had no other matte setting sprays, so this was a rule-abiding replacement.
  3. Pixi 24K Eye Roller Serum ($28). I was entirely out of eye cream, so this is a rule-abiding replacement.
  4. Laroche Posay Cicaplast Hands ($12). This as well, technically breaks my no-buy. However I was stuck in Toronto with no hand lotion in the middle of winter, so I am justifying this purchase. I keep this in my purse and it will be used and appreciated quickly.
  5. SkinCeuticals Metacell Renewal B3 ($125). This replaces the daytime moisturizer I finished.
  6. Laroche Posay Cicaplast Lips ($10). I was in need of a lip balm. I’m 90% sure I’ve already lost this in the depths of my car.
  7. Laroche Posay Lipikar 400ml ($33). I finished alllllll of my back up Celazome body lotions and purchased this as a replacement for my bathroom, and to refill all my little portable lotion tubes.

Total dollar value of products purchased: $288

What I used up in March:

  1. Essence Instant Matte Setting Spray ($6)
  2. Glo Skin Beauty Oil Control Emulsion ($56)
  3. Physicians Formula Killer Curves Mascara ($15)

Total dollar value of products used up: $76

Not my best month, according to the numbers! And definitely not great compared to last year’s numbers. In 2018, on average, I spent $197.83 per month at Sephora. Mind you, this didn’t include work purchases, and I certainly did a fair amount of shopping at work, so the numbers may not be that far off. Still, I would like to get to a point where I am spending significantly less than I did at this time last year, so that I can save significantly more money towards things that actually matter.

Because I am sitting pretty comfy with my makeup and skincare stash right now, I’m going to challenge myself more for the month of April within my no buy. I will buy absolutely nothing for my entire birthday month with my own money. I don’t foresee myself running out of anything, so I will need no replacements.

 

EMPTIES: Glo Skin Beauty Oil Control Emulsion and Physicians’ Formula Killer Curves Mascara

Recreating the goldfish cracker meme but with empty products and this is the look I got ๐Ÿ˜‚ In all honesty I’m mad because my cat’s hair is the softest thing in the world, and no matter how many bougie hair masks I use mine will simply never compare.

Anyways,

E M P T I E S
@physiciansformula Killer Curves Mascara: A bit clumpy when you first start using it, but what mascara isn’t? I think this made my lashes look quite nice and I have no complaints! I liked the metallic packaging because it’s easy to find on my dark dresser counter when I’m doing my makeup while visually impaired in the mornings.

@gloskinbeauty Oil Control Emulsion: A very light-weight, hydrating product perfect for excessively oily skin. It did mattify me a little in the mornings and gave me a bit of hydration. I liked to use this during the day when I wanted to be a little less shiny, and then used heavier hydrators and moisturizers at night when I don’t give a damn what I look like. 60mL lasted me quite a long time, and I would use again.

Makeup Empties: January 14, 2019

Makeup emptiessss!

๐Ÿ’œ@wetnwildbeauty Matte Finish Setting Spray: An okay setting spray for five or six dollars. Not my most favourite, not the worst I’ve ever tried. I really liked the compact, cute packaging, but had problems with the spray pump when I got closer to empty.

๐Ÿ’œ@marcjacobsbeauty Eau de Parfum in Honey and Daisy minis: I know nothing about perfume so I am definitely not the person to consult when purchasing perfume, but I enjoyed these two scents. Not obnoxiously sweet, but nice, happy scents.

๐Ÿ’œGiorgio Armani Beauty Power Fabric Foundation Shade 5: This foundation is super soft and comfortable while offering medium coverage. My powerfully oily skin usually melted through this in the t-zone by 1pm. Very classy packaging in my opinion. Won’t be repurchasing as it is $72 CAD and in the words of Kathleen Lights, “Das Expensive!”

Finished Five

No reviews today, but I just wanted to share a quick little update about some products I’ve used up! I’ve done really well this past month or so I’m not purchasing new skincare products until I’m completely out of that item, so my massive hoard is slowly diminishing. I’ve been trying to use once-in-awhile products like masks more often, too. I find that they end up just sitting in my drawer because I don’t think I have time, or I feel the need to almost ration my fancy masks for a special occasion, even though if I wait for an occasion I’ll never use them and they will go bad. Sundays are my day off each weekend, so I usually mask Sunday nights while I’m cleaning or taking it easy at home.

I am forever torn between makeup minimalism and wanting a never-ending collection. I think I need to come to the compromise of having a minimalist for certain items (primer, setting spray, mascara, setting powder, and other necessities) and allowing myself to have a collection of certain items I genuinely enjoy being creative with and collecting (eyeshadows, for example). It’s taking me awhile to find the right balance, though!

Finished Five: My Impression of First Impressions, Glo-Minerals, Saje, ZO by Zein Obagi, Hylamide, and Kat Von D, and questionable ethics of skincare companies

I want to give a genuine opinion of a product once I know how it works on my skin type through and through, and that is why I’ve started waiting until I entirely finish a product before discussing it. Of course this doesn’t work for items like eyeshadow palettes or powder bronzers, because I don’t think I know anyone who has ever entirely hit pan on every single shade in an eyeshadow palette, but for just about everything else, it does. Particularly for items like skincare and foundation, it’s really essential to see how the product performs over time, especially when you’ve got oily, acne-prone skin like mine.

I understand that many bloggers and Youtubers like to do “First Impressions” because it lets their viewers and readers know that they’ve purchased a product and will be testing it out further, and also because it is easy and quick content to throw out there. I used to watch First Impressions videos back when they first became popular, but I never really understood the purpose of them. Having someone use a product once, or not even use it, but just swatch it, does nothing for me. I can do that online or in a store by simply looking at a product or poking it. If I really want an influencer’s opinion I want a hearty, meaty review. I want them to have used the product for weeks and know all of its strong-sides and weaknesses, I want them to know exactly how to utilize the product, I want wear-tests with different primers, I want before and afters when applicable. I want, well, actual content and an actual review. So while I understand why folks do create “First Impressions” content and can’t really blame them for doing so, First Impressions are of no use to me, so I will continue to review fully-finished and mostly-finished products when possible from here on out.

For myself as well, I’ve found that only reviewing (most) products after fully finishing them has been good for my own product consumption and my skin. If I know I can’t post a review until a product is fully finished, I’m more likely to focus in on that cleanser or toner or foundation and use it consistently until it is all gone. This is way better for my skin than jumping from product to product within a week, and confusing and stressing my skin. I still have a slightly excessive collection of skincare, but in using up products one at a time I’ve been able to rein in this hoard a fair bit.

Finally, here are my most recent Finished Five!

Recap of my skin type:
-Olive, oily, hormonal acne-prone (PCOS), mid-20’s
-White heads and blackheads, rarely have cystic acne
-Redness in T-zone
-Dry hands and legs

  1. Name: Saje carrot nourishing mango & shea body butter
    Price: CAD $24.95
    Size: 200mL/6.8 fl oz
    Cruelty-Free and “Natural”

    The carrot and patchouli scent of this product seems strange at first, but it changes once applied to the body and ends up smelling really great. I always seem to get compliments on how I smell when I wear this! It’s super thick, hydrating, and isn’t irritating unless you’re applying it over razor burn. I LOVE the product itself (and a decent portion of Saje’s other products as well), but I’ve got beef with the packaging of this product. You’ll notice in the picture above that my lid (shiny brown in colour) is different than the matte black lid displayed on the website. This is not only because Saje finally revamped the packaging of their body line (Great move, imo!), but because the original shiny lids were actually cutting people’s hands. I can vouch for this, as I got a lovely cut right along my palm from opening this, even though I knew about the dangers of the lid as I worked at a Saje at the time. I’m happy that Saje would give refunds for people who had been cut by the lid with no questions asked, but very unhappy that they continued to sell this product that was literally slicing open people’s palms instead of recalling it. Even after receiving the new, re-branded carrot body butters, stores were still told to sell through the old ones first. Not impressed by that! If you do decide to purchase this product make sure you go in-store and pick up one with the matte-black lid. I doubt that many stores still have the shiny-lidded versions in stock as it has been a few months since the rebranded products appeared online, but just in case, avoid the shiny-lidded ones at all costs.
    Will I repurchase?ย I’ve purchased two of these in the past, but there are other body moisturizers out there, and I’m on the fence about whether or not I will continue to purchase from Saje as I’m a little rattled by the company’s ethics and how they treat their employees (pressure to maintain a specific diet when working in the store, company culture tools and products that appropriate other cultures, etc.) Saje does a lot of great things, but in my my mind I’m grappling over whether or not these good things outweigh the bad things, for myself personally.
  2. Name: Deciemย Hyladmide High-Efficiency Face Cleaner Balancing Face Cleaner and Makeup Remover
    Price: CAD $21.00
    Size: 120mL/4 fl oz
    This is about the fourth or fifth bottle of this cleanser I’ve gone through. It’s a strange gel consistency that gets somewhat milky as you lather it up, and it leaves a slight residue after you wash it off. I found with this cleanser that it didn’t strip my skin, and the residue can easily be wiped off with a towel. It’s an excellent makeup remover and can be used on eye makeup as well. HOWEVER, I do not support Brandon Truaxe (founder of Deciem) and what he has been publicly doing on Deciem’s Instagram accounts these past few months. I don’t want to go into detail about it here as I am not the best authority on this situation, but Truaxe fired a number of important members of the Deciem team who genuinely loved the company and were doing incredible things for the company and its social media. Truaxe then took over their Instagram account and has been posting painfully transparent and often aggressive content. Not only has he been tastelessly roasting customers in the comments section (which I am fine with regular people joking around and clapping back when people target them, but not with brand’s attacking their consumers, as it is unprofessional imo) but he has posted Anti-Semitic jokes and other harmful comments. I ethically do not feel okay supporting Deciem and its umbrella of brands (The Ordinary, NIOD, Hylamide, etc.) anymore. I’m not okay with Anti-Semitism, targeting customers, or taking over a company Instagram for your own personal, unprofessional joyride. This is unfortunate, because The Ordinary produces many affordable, incredible skincare products that are widely recommended in online skincare communities. I just don’t feel comfortable supporting Brandon Truaxe anymore though, and will not be repurchasing any products from Deciem as I use them up. We as consumers have the power to voice our concerns of ethics and what sort of behaviour we endorse with how and where we spend our money, and I think it is ever-so-incredibly important to remember that and practice that when we are able to.
    Will I repurchase? No.
  3. Name: Glo Minerals Pressed Base in Beige Dark
    Price: CAD $63.00
    Cruelty-Free
    Size: 9.9g/0.35 oz
    I have so much love for this pressed base. It’s the only powder foundation since high school that I’ve actually entirely hit pan on. It feels great, you can build it up to be foundation on its own or use it on your oily spots after liquid foundation. It just looks really smooth. If there is one thing you ever buy from Glo, buy the pressed base! It works well on my oily skin but also works well on the dry clients at my workplace.
    Will I repurchase? I already have! But in a shade more suitable for summer.
  4. Name: Zo Skin Health by Zein Obagi Oclipse Sunscreen + Primer SPF 30
    Price: CAD $75.00
    Cruelty-Free (non-prescription ZO products are not tested on animals, apparently!)
    Size: 30mL/1 fl oz.
    Honestly it’s not a bad primer! While it’s not super mattifying or pore filling, it does a good job as a general primer and I like the added SPF 30 aspect (but keep in mind you would need to apply some sort of sunscreen over your makeup every 90 minutes after initial application to keep your skin genuinely protected). The one I used was not full-sized as it came in one of their older kits, it was half sized (15mL). The packaging is really sleek, especially with how the pump pops up when you twist the cap. However, the way the pump is positioned in relation to the cap makes getting product out a little difficult closer to the end. The product itself isn’t clear, it does appear to have a bit of a tint, but this tint did not show up on my olive toned skin. Overall I think the product is great, but the packaging could use a bit of improvement.
    Would I repurchase? At the moment I have a lot of other primer and sunscreen options I’d like to use up, but I could definitely see myself using this again in the future.
  5. Name: Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita II
    Price: CAD $24.00
    Size: 6.6mL/0.22 oz
    Cruelty-Free and Vegan
    I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with the Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks. They’re not the most drying as liquid lipsticks come, but they are still a liquid lipstick at the end of the day and are still a fair bit drying. Lolita II is a lovely little terra cotta nude, and this was a favourite summer work shade for me for awhile. I only had a travel sized one (about half of the full size) and despite using it several times a week for a number of months I was not able to use it all up before it expired. If you do want this, I recommend getting the smaller Lolita duo rather than the full-sized full-priced Lolita II.
    Would I repurchase again? I’m not really feeling liquid lipsticks as of late, but I may eventually purchase it in lipstick bullet form when I reduce my lipstick hoard a bit.

Thanks for reading through this lengthier than normal Finished Five! Have you finished any products lately that you genuinely love or despise? I’m curious to hear what everyone is using.