HAPPY LATE NEW YEAR! Hope you all had a wonderful festive season and New Year! I skipped on the December favourites because I spent the month focusing on Christmas and present-buying rather than makeup and beauty products..but be assured I will have one up at the end of the month! I have also been terrible and wanted to put together a giant Lush Haul from Boxing Day; but in a rush to make space, I threw out all the excess packaging, packed everything away and used some of it in the midst of my excitement – d’oh! I’ll be sure to put together another Lush Haul in the near future though, as I’m a little bit obsessed. As you can probably tell from this post. So yeah – I used up a whole lot of stuff and hope to downsize my product stash just a little! Curious to know what I finished up and have been loving or hating? Read on!
More empties than ever before – this bag was seriously overflowing!
1. Urban Decay De-Slick Makeup Setting Spray [Travel Size] (£20 for full size via Debenhams) – I picked this smaller size setting spray up from Sephora over a year ago, but hadn’t actually used it til recently! It lasted a few months when used 2-4 times a week. Upon recommendation, I sprayed a few times before and after applying makeup. I didn’t notice a significant difference when I was just wearing makeup for a few hours, but definitely on long days when I’d have it on 12+ hours – it made a slight difference in reducing the shininess of my face as well as stopping my makeup ‘melting’ from excess oil. However if you have oily skin, you do need to use hydrating skincare products as no primer or setting spray will suddenly change your skin type! I’m also going to try out MAC Fix+ to see how they compare. Repurchase? Maybe.
2. Collection Pressed Powder (£1.99 via Superdrug) – As you can see, there is some left but I gave up as the broken pebbles got far too messy to work with! I don’t notice a massive difference between high end and low end pressed powders personally – just that they shouldn’t be too yellow/orange or look too ‘powdery’ on my skin. And in a mirrored compact, if I anticipate using it for travelling. This is a perfectly good budget option – an ideal shade for pale skin, nothing fancy, and does exactly what you want! My only complaint is that the packaging can be difficult to work with for travel, but other than that, this is excellent for the price. Repurchase? In the future.
3. MAC Prep & Prime [Sample] (£21 for full size via MAC Cosmetics) – This was available towards the end of last year as a GWP at MAC counters, or requesting one by mail via a certain online link – not sure if this is still available! I ended up with 3 or 4 of them in total – perfect for my travel bag! Despite being such a tiny size, it did last me a good few weeks. The consistency is more of a cream/lotion feel than a straight-up silicone primer, and it does smooth out the skin to make a noticeable difference in makeup application as well as slightly extending the longevity. Now to use up all my other primers! Repurchase? In the future.
4. ELF Mineral Eyeshadow Primer (£3.50 via ELF) – This took me around 2 years to use up – it just kept going and now it’s pretty much dried up! An excellent budget primer that keeps powder eyeshadow in place all day and longer – you can’t beat the price. Comparable to the much more expensive Urban Decay Primer Potion, although the UD version is a touch smoother and easier to blend shadows on top of. I’d say unless you’re really not bothered by the cost of your products, get this one! Repurchase? Maybe in future.
5. Collection Extreme Length Mascara in Black (£2.50 via Boots) – Not completely used up but I’d forgotten about it and it dried out! When new, this is an excellent affordable mascara for natural-looking length and volume with no clumps, flakes or smudging. Pretty much everything I want in a mascara! Repurchase? When I’ve used up my others!
6. Collection Extreme 24 Hour Felt Tip Liner in Black (£2.50 via Boots) – My favourite liner! Lasted for months before turning greyish, always gives the loveliest defined deep black line and is the easiest to apply with the felt tip end – I just can’t seem to do brush style liquid liner! I’m open to trying new products but this really is a fantastic foolproof budget option. Repurchase? Yes.
7. Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes (£2 via Boots) – My favourite readily-available face wipes. Ok, my ultimate favourites are the classic Neutrogena ones, but they aren’t sold in the UK, so these have to do! Always the wettest, most gentle and most effective at removing makeup before a proper cleanse; my only complaint is that I don’t like the slightly textured feel of these! They are usually £3.50 (but currently on offer at Boots) so they’re more expensive than most, though they are the best out of all the drugstore wipes I’ve tried..and I’ve tried pretty much all of them! Repurchase? Yes.
8. Lush Angels On Bare Skin Cleanser (£6.75 via Lush) – One of my past favourites, but not a product I reach for as much anymore. It is a great combined cleanser/gentle exfoliant for sensitive skin, but I felt a little wasteful having to throw it out when I’d barely used half the tub after 3 months, so I stick to other products. This needs to come in a smaller pot – not sure how anyone gets through the even bigger size in time! This ultra-natural product uses kaolin to cleanse and ground almonds and lavender to gently calm and exfoliate – a must-try for sensitive skin. Repurchase? Maybe not.
9. Emu Oil Well Moisturising Eye Cream (£7.25 via Feel Unique) – After a year or so, I eventually finished this up! It is a super-gentle eye cream with hyaluronic acid and emu oil which soothes and hydrates the under-eye area without irritating in the least. Excellent for the price, as some eye creams are so expensive and burn your eyes! This is raved about by just about everyone who tries it, so I urge you to give it a go! Repurchase? Already did.
10. Lush Honey Trap Lip Balm (£5.25 via Lush) – I’ve probably had this lying around for 2 years or so – it’s long expired and I’ve recently become allergic to the peppermint oil in it anyway! I prefer stick or tube balms, as the tin or tub balms are messy and unhygienic to apply, especially whilst travelling. This did a decent job hydration-wise, but if you store the tin in a cool room it is a real struggle to get it out as it so solid! Despite having ‘honey’ in the name, it didn’t smell very honey-like to me, more like white chocolate and peppermint. A good natural balm but not the most practical. Repurchase? No.
11. Nuxe Reve de Miel (£9.50 via Feel Unique) – Another product that took me around a year to use up, but one of my favourites! This cult product is perfect for leaving on overnight and waking up with soft, hydrated lips – add a layer of Vaseline on top for even more softness. It has an unusual thick, matte texture on the lips – not one to wear during the day. Not to mention the delicious chocolate orange scent makes me crave, well, chocolate oranges. However again, the jar format means it can be unhygienic, which I don’t like! If I could have it in stick form it would be perfect. Repurchase? Already did.
12. Kleenex Shine Absorbing Sheets (discontinued) – Yet another 29p discounted pack of blotting sheets I’ve used up! These appear in my Empties posts so often you know the drill by now, so I’ll keep it short and sweet. These were kept in one of my handbags to keep my face oil-free throughout the day. Repurchase? Yes..if I find them again.
13. Lush Tea Tree Water Toner (from £4.25 via Lush) – I’d only used around half of this before I noticed it smelling less than fresh and got rid of it, but only used it during breakouts so it was already a bit expired. I don’t usually have much faith in toners, but the tea tree mixture helps heal and eliminate blemishes on oily or spot-prone skin, whilst feeling very refreshing. I learned my lesson and got a smaller bottle instead. Repurchase? Already did.
14. Mudd Original Mask (£6.99 via Amazon for larger size) – Another regular in my Empties posts! My go-to, 1-2x a week mask for sucking out dirt and impurities from my skin, without irritating it at all. It makes a real difference in keeping everything smooth and clear, especially if you suffer from blackheads. Repurchase? Yes.
15. Simple Kind To Eyes Eye Makeup Remover (£3.49 via Boots) – Despite the popularity of Simple’s cleansing wipes, this makeup remover is a bit rubbish! It doesn’t do a great job of removing mascara, but at least it doesn’t hurt the eyes. I much prefer an oil-based formula for stubborn makeup removal – I just kept this to correct my eyeliner. Repurchase? No.
16. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel (£11 via Boots) – A rare product that caters to both oily and sensitive skin! Adore that all LRP products are non-scented and wonderfully bland – what all skincare needs to be. Great for cleansing oily, spot-prone skin without drying out too much or irritating at all, but I do find this a touch drying in the winter months. Not suitable for removing eye makeup though! Repurchase? Already did.
17. St Ives Gentle Apricot Scrub (£3.99 via Tesco) – I used this all the time as a young teen, but now there are much better exfoliants on the market in my opinion. This does a fair job when you’re in need of some scrubby action, but I prefer other brands (Una Brennan!) that do a better job with less irritation. Repurchase? No.
18. The Body Shop Aloe Gentle Exfoliator (£10 via The Body Shop) – Another scrub placed firmly in the ‘meh’ category. This doesn’t irritate as it’s non-scented and very gentle on the skin, but then doesn’t do the best job at exfoliating as other products could do. Better than nothing if you’re without, but not something I’d go out to buy specifically again. However this might be ideal for anyone with ultra-sensitive skin who finds that most scrubs are too abrasive. And The Body Shop usually have some great offer on, so forget paying full price for this! Repurchase? No.
19. Mitchell and Peach Kentish Cobnut Scrub (£36 via Mitchell and Peach) – Let me just say I didn’t purchase this myself – I don’t think any scrub is worth spending £36 on personally! My mum received this as a gift (can I have friends who gift me crazy expensive beauty products please) but said the smell reminded her of “furniture polish” so I used it up instead. I can see where she was coming from – the smell upon opening is really overwhelming! It’s a sugar scrub in oil with tiny nut pieces to exfoliate. It does do a decent job of exfoliating with the sugar/nut combo and the oil leaves skin lovely and soft, but the smell is just too much! Definitely more for someone who’s into more mature floral scents, as it was too strong for me. And even if I liked the product, it’s an easy DIY. Also the name sounds like the most English phrase ever..”Kentish Cobnut”..heh. Repurchase? No.
20. Lush Fair Trade Foot Lotion (£9.75 via Lush) – I managed to pick this up from the car boot sale for either 50p or £1 – something cheap like that! I’d tried it before years ago but wasn’t too impressed, & thought I’d give it another go. Surprise – still not impressed! Although the peppermint scent is good for making your feet smell fresh, it’s not thick and buttery enough to be that moisturising compared to my Body Shop Hemp favourite – this formula is much runnier and doesn’t do much at all to soothe and hydrate genuinely sore, dried-out feet (lovely visual for you there). And it’s a bit expensive for what it is! If I end up with another I’ll probably end up passing it on to someone else. Repurchase? No.
21. Lush Ultrabalm (£8.95 via Lush) – A product I really have had for ages! Ultrabalm is a great natural alternative to Vaseline – use on dry noses, lips, elbows and knees. Unfortunately it had long expired and the consistency had gone a bit weird. A very useful little tin if you’re strict about using all-natural products and need an all-purpose balm. For me, I prefer natural when available but rarely need it anymore, since most of my super-dry skin issues are non-existent these days. Repurchase? No.
22. Victoria’s Secret PINK Sweet & Fruity Hand & Body Cream ($8 via Victoria’s Secret USA) – An impulse buy whilst in the USA last year! I really liked the scent of this but didn’t use it much until this winter, since it’s fairly strongly scented and strong body scents in warmer weather give me a headache. The scent is described as ‘sugar berry and pink grapefruit’ – pretty much what it smells like to be! Definitely more of a young, fun scent. One of my favourite VS scents – I don’t use it much but when I feel like using a scented lotion it’s one I tend to go for. Repurchase? Already did.
23. Johnson’s Baby Powder (£1.42 via Boots) – My dry shampoo of choice! I prefer rubbing in powder to absorb excess oil at the roots rather than a spray – it’s more effective for me. If needed, I then spray Batiste through the lengths if I have critically oily hair. And yes, I always ensure it’s thoroughly rubbed in – white patches flatter no one! Repurchase? Yes.
24. Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Tri-Wheat Treatment (£12.70 via Feel Unique) – My previous favourite deep conditioning treatment, but the famous Macadamia one has really won me over lately! Although this one is still excellent. The consistency is really runny and I always find myself having to use a lot to cover all my hair so it’s not the most economical choice, but it really does make hair wonderfully soft after leaving in for 10 minutes and then rinsing out. However as mentioned, the Macadamia is my new go-to, so I’ll be using that for now! Repurchase? No.
25. Bed Head Masterpiece Hairspray (£10.19 via Amazon) – Favourite hairspray! I used to love the Tresemme Freeze Hold spray when I had shorter hair, but found it was too crunchy for longer hair, so I use this instead. It feels like you never even used hairspray – a great light to medium weightless hold. It also smells amazing – fruity and not chokingly gross like many others do! Just wish they did this in a travel size. Repurchase? Yes.
26. Tresemme Thermal Creations Volumising Mousse (£4 via Boots) – Love this mousse! A great volume boost post-blow-dry without feeling heavy or sticky, with bonus heat protection. I’m currently using up a Bed Head one which is okay but feels a bit sticky, and will definitely be going back to this. Excellent product, especially for the price. Repurchase? Yes.
27. Oribe Dry Texturising Spray (£38 via Space NK) – Much as I enjoy this product, I cannot get over the price – no can of hair product is worth £38! I bought this less than a year ago in a money off promotion so didn’t pay full price, but it is still ridiculously expensive nonetheless. It is excellent – sexy, lightweight texture and boost in a can for fluffy fresh hair. But there are other texturising sprays which are similar enough and won’t take a significant chunk out of your bank account. Repurchase? Maybe when I’m rich.
Lush Bath Bits – so many they deserve their own section this time!
28. Reindeer Rock Soap (currently unavailable) – After shunning soap bars for a long time, I’m finally embracing Lush’s ones and realising how great they are! Reindeer Rock was a special Christmas edition, a glossy cranberry shade imprinted with reindeers and silver glitter, with the divine blackcurrant Comforter scent. Dreamy! I use the bar soaps on my hands instead of in the shower, and find they are gentle and non-drying – ideal for winter. Repurchase? Yes, when possible.
29. Cinders Bath Bomb (currently unavailable) – Another Christmas exclusive! Dropped into the bath, this smell simulates Christmas to me – warming spices, cinnamon and orange, with novelty popping candy! A must-have for Christmas, but still pleasant to use post-holdiday season. I still have a couple from gift sets as well as some sale bargains. Repurchase? Yes, when possible.
30. Candy Mountain Bubble Bar (currently unavailable) – Fruity Snow Fairy scented goodness. If you don’t like super-sweet, girly fruity scents, you won’t like this. I’m the fan for the name alone, being slightly obsessed with Charlie the Unicorn as a young’un. I cut this pink and white, glittery conical bar in half and crumble under a tap for a pink, fruity bubble bath experience. Though I’m not sure why this one is strictly limited to Christmas, as it’s not super-festive and would be a hit throughout the year! Repurchase? Yes, when available.
31. Granny Takes A Dip Bath Bomb (£3.35 via Lush) – Received as a cheeky freebie from one of my favourite Lush staff members! I wish I’d taken photos as this bath bomb is a true experience. Prepare for divine rainbow psychadelic water with a spicy citrus scent – it feels like you’re bathing in rainbows! Maybe more of a special occasion one, since you really do have to use the whole thing at once and it is a little pricey for one bath. Repurchase? Maybe.
32. Wizard Bubble Bar (currently unavailable) – Still kicking myself for not stocking up on the Halloween exclusives while they were out, and going on holiday instead! To be fair I didn’t realise this one was strictly Halloween, as Christmas and magic kind of go together, so why not keep it around?! Devastated I only got the one! I felt a bit mean slicing his head in half, but it did make the bath smell lovely – described as “juniperberry and fennel”. Repurchase? Yes, when available.
33. Dorothy Bubble Bar [x2] (£3.25 via Lush) – One of my all-time favourites from the permanent collection, but seemingly not a hit for everyone – you either love or hate it! Ylang ylang and orange flower make this bubble bath relaxing and instantly mood-boosting, with pretty blue-green water. One I always save for a bad day! Repurchase? Yes.
34. Butterbear [x2] (currently unavailable) – Pretty much the same as Butterball, another permanent favourite of mine, but smaller and in teddy bear form – so cute! The cocoa butter melts for a gorgeously decadent bathtime fragrance whilst softening and soothing dried-out winter skin. I picked up a small bag full in the Boxing Day sale as they were around £1 each and really help my skin stay moisturised in the winter! Repurchase? Yes, when available.
35. Christmas Penguin Bubble Bar (currently unavailable) – Love this adorable guy – especially when some of them turn out a bit deformed in the manufacturing process! A similar format to the Wizard bar, again I feel cruel slicing it up. A citrus-floral scent very much like that of the Olive Branch shower gel, again rather uplifting, unisex and a good suit-all scent with mountains of bubbles! Repurchase? Yes, when available.
36. Comforter Bubble Bar (£4.75 via Lush) – Anyone who knows me at all knows how much I adore the Comforter scent! Delectable fruity blackcurrant with pretty pink water and mountains of bubbles, plus one of the more economical options from Lush as you can get up to 5-6 uses from just one bar. I even purchased the Comforter perfume and shower gel from the Lush Kitchen recently, along with the freebie Comforter Fun. Obsessed? Me? Never.. Repurchase? Yes.
37. Northern Lights Bath Bomb (currently unavailable) – Again, another which got me a bit confused about season-specific products. I thought this was meant to be a Halloween/Fireworks Night release only, yet more appeared towards Christmas. Not that I’m complaining – I loved this so much I ended up also filling a little Lush carrier bag full of these on Boxing Day. I normally avoid bath bombs as they can be a little wasteful, but this can easily be broken or chopped in half without affecting the product. The scent of jasmine and ylang ylang gives a truly relaxing bathing experience, along with stunning purple waters fizzing into rainbow foam and tiny little dissolvable stars throughout – the closest you’ll get to a fireworks display in your bathroom without becoming seriously injured. Pretty and a great scent – glad I stocked up! Repurchase? Yes.
38. 13 Rabbits Bath Melt (currently unavailable) – Is it awful that I only purchased this because it had ‘rabbits’ in the name?! This was my second order from the Lush Kitchen..most likely with many more to come in future. I’d order all the time, but annoyingly it costs nearly £4 to deliver any package from Lush, even though I could technically pick it up from the Poole factory or shop, both pretty much down the road from me, but they don’t allow it! How annoying! I purchased a few of these very limited edition melts along with a Nutts massage bar, yet to try it out (but secretly waiting for someone to try it out with me haha!). A seriously unusual scent – dark chocolate and ginger! Decadent and unique. This smells delicious in the packet, but in the bath mixed with the warm water I found the ginger fragrance was a little strong for my liking and gave me a headache. However despite the overly strong fragrance and dodgy-looking brown bath water, it did moisturise my skin nicely. I’d recommend to anyone who was a fan of Lush Sonic Death Monkey shower gel. Repurchase? Probably not.
39. Bath & Body Works Dark Kiss Medium Candle (currently unavailable) – A favourite of mine – very upset this isn’t available anymore! I even tried to source it on Ebay whilst in the US, but the only one I found was $50! I’d spotted this on Ebay UK a while ago and got it for around £6 – really glad I did. This is my favourite scent to burn in the bedroom (but not like that!)- a very girly fruity-floral musk which I adore, this was very popular as a body scent when it was out as well. If anyone has another I’ll happily buy it off you! ;) My only issue is that these old-style medium candles don’t burn evenly as the wick is much too small for the jar, so a DIY foil sleeve around the outside is a must if you want to make the most of your candle. Repurchase? Yes, if possible.
40. Bath & Body Works Marshmallow Fireside 3-wick Candle ($11.25 via Bath and Body Works US) – It makes me so envious when I see how dirt cheap these candles are in the US, and then how extortionately expensive they are on Ebay UK and US import sites! Why must candles be so heavy?! But the reason why this is half-used and in a ziplock bag is because I bought it on Ebay; it arrived smashed and the seller never responded, so I got my money back and decanted what I rescued into another 3-wick candle jar! However this wasn’t a perfect solution, as near the bottom two of the wicks came loose and my candle was rendered useless, so I froze the jar, scooped the wax out with a knife and saved it to use in my new Yankee Candle large oil burner I got in the sales last week. Onto the actual scent: this is one of my essential Winter candles, instantly adding a sense of cosiness to any room. I was so put off for ages as it was described as a ‘smoky’ scent and I can’t stand cigarette smoke or too much smoke due to my asthma, but this is actually lovely with only the slightest hint – a cosy smoky vanilla that is the closest you’ll get to roasting marshmallows round a campfire without leaving the house. Repurchase? Yes, when possible.
41. Bath & Body Works Renew & Refresh Mini Candle (currently unavailable) – Despite only buying in October, this is somehow sold out/unavailable online?! As soon as I sniffed it I knew I had to get a couple of these minis, as well as a 3-wick whilst I was in the heaven that is Bath & Body Works in the US only a few months ago. Described as “jasmine, fresh air and mint”, this is the perfect candle for relaxation that isn’t too overwhelming – some scents get a bit heady for me after a while and I have to put them out, but I could have one of these burning all day and really enjoy it. Light, beautiful and genuinely refreshing! Repurchase? Yes, when possible.
42. Philosophy Amazing Grace Body Lotion (£29 for full size via Boots) – Still not a fan of the Philosophy cleanser or the lotion – it just smells like plastic to me! Nothing special and definitely not worth the price tag. Purchase? No.
43. Algenist Advanced Anti-Aging Repairing Oil (£65 for full size via Space NK) – Only a couple of uses in this sample so hard to gauge the long-term results of this face oil, but it felt lightweight, hydrating and left my skin feeling lovely and soft the next morning. However I couldn’t justify that price tag at the moment! Purchase? When I’m rich.
44. Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector (£30 for full size via Boots) – I initially thought this was an eye cream, oops! However it’s a correcting cream for the under-eye area which looks very similar to Benefit Porefessional straight out of the sachet. This was the perfect lightweight product for neutralising my dark under-eye circles on a lazy makeup day without having to cover up with heavy concealer – I was quite impressed. However £30 for a tiny tube of this is a little steep! Purchase? Maybe when I have more money.
45. Origins Modern Friction Scrub (£33 for full size via Boots) – A pricey one for a face scrub! This was way too abrasive for my sensitive skin – even with the most gentle of rubbing, it still made my face feel sore and red. Purchase? No.
46. Hourglass Illusion Tinted Moisturiser in Ivory (£45 for full size via Space NK) – More like a foundation than your typical tinted moisturiser, this provides decent coverage whilst still being lightweight. However Ivory (the 2nd lightest shade) looked a bit orange on me! Repurchase? In a different shade, when I have more money.
47. Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation in Shell (£50 for full size via Space NK) – Great coverage, lightweight and made my skin look pretty much flawless! The shade was a good match for me, but there are plenty available. Ideal for oily skin – it definitely held off the shine for as long as possible. Repurchase? Yes, when I have more money.
48. Origins Plantscription Youth-Renewing Face Oil (£39 for full size via Origins) – I got a couple of uses out of this, and despite the strong botanical smell, it made my skin feel so soft and hydrated the next day when worn under my night cream. Like all these samples, this is a little on the pricey side, but something I might consider after using up my current Clarins face oil as I really enjoyed it! Purchase? Maybe.
49. Origins Plantscription Youth-Renewing Night Cream (£48 for full size via Origins) – The same scent as the oil, this was a wonderful combination to wear at night to make my skin look well-rested and hydrated the next morning. However this is nothing unique and I’d probably stick with my cheaper Ren night cream which is a pretty similar consistency! Purchase? No.
Fairly sure this is my biggest Empties post yet – phew! I’m really pleased I managed to use up so much and am being more selective about what I purchase, rather than impulse buying. Fingers crossed for a more organised, selective beauty stash in 2015!
What have you used up this month? Let me know below!