March & April Empties

Spring is here, and so is a brand new Empties post! They’re probably my favourite type to read on other peoples’ blogs, so if you love doing Empties posts too, please link yours below & I’ll check it out! It’s always fun seeing what others have actually been using up, & hearing honest opinions on it since they used up the whole product. Anyway, here are my Empties gathered over the last two months! 

Skincare, Bodycare & Fragrance

1. Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes (£5.30 via Amazon UK) – Sadly these aren’t sold in the UK except from resellers via Amazon who add hefty shipping costs on top, but these typically cost $7-9 each in the US and are usually on offer somewhere – I always cram as many as possible into my suitcase! I can’t find any wipes that are as durable, super-soft, gentle and effective as these – they remove my layers of mascara and eyeliner effortlessly. Of course I always do a full cleanse afterwards, but a great quality wipe makes the job much easier. Repurchase? Yes, when possible.

2. Johnson’s Makeup Be Gone Extra Sensitive Wipes (£3.29 via Boots) – On the other hand, I don’t like these so much! I’m not sure why they’re labelled ‘extra sensitive’ – the wipes are textured which irritates my skin a little, and they’re often on the dry side and don’t do the best job of removing makeup. My family used to buy these on offer so I still have a few to use up, unfortunately! Repurchase? No.

3. L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Elixir for Face and Body (£10.66 via Tesco) – I’m the last person you’ll ever find on a tanning bed or sunbathing, so this is how I give my skin a bit of colour! Not that there’s anything wrong with being a pale girl – my skin is naturally a little pinkish, and I find a subtle golden tan shade complements my summer clothing much better. This is fairly affordable for a self tanning product and delivers excellent results – no colour transfer, a natural-looking glow and it can be applied for up to 3 days in a row so you can achieve either the most subtle shade, or a more intense tan. It applies clear, so I apply and rub in well wherever I want some colour (usually chest, arms and legs), leave on overnight and I’m ready to go the next day – my guyfriend even commented that I was getting a “nice tan from the sun” whilst on holiday! Even on super-pale skin it looks extremely natural, and lasts for up to 2 weeks (I applied every 4-5 days whilst on holiday, only using for 1-2 consecutive days at a time). My only complaint is that I’m not a fan of the smell that lingers on my skin when I go to bed, but that is easily covered up with a sweet-smelling lotion. Repurchase? Yes.

4. Lush Celebrate Body Lotion (currently unavailable) – I received this in one of the (several) Lush Christmas gift box sets I bought myself on Boxing Day! In the past I haven’t been the biggest fan of citrus scents, but some of Lush’s unique concoctions have turned that right around. Celebrate is a mixture of oranges, almond oil, lime and cognac to create a very lime-heavy festive scent. Admittedly it’s not one of my all-time favourites, but it complements their other citrus family scents, like Avobath and Fizzbanger, quite nicely. The texture is fairly thick and buttery compared to other Lush lotions and this moisturises my skin well whilst leaving behind its refreshing, zingy scent. Repurchase? Yes, when available.

5. Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Boosting Facial Serum (£24.99 via Boots) – A lifesaver for dehydrated skin; just a shame it runs out so fast & costs so much! A small amount of Hydraluron worn under moisturiser hydrates the skin perfectly, absorbs super-fast and isn’t greasy at all – it’s unscented and would be ideal for even the most sensitive skin. The hyaluronic acid hype is real! I took this on holiday with me – normally long plane journeys leave skin looking and feeling wrecked, but applying this a couple of times during my journey left it feeling and looking great afterwards. Wearing this at night also ensured my skin stayed hydrated and smooth despite changes in climate and environment during my travels – I couldn’t recommend it enough for anyone else with dehydrated skin. Repurchase? Yes.

6. Ten Digit Creations Wax Melt in Sex Bomb ($1.25 each via Ten Digit Creations) – There was no doubt my Lush obsession would eventually move on to home fragrance! I’d seen a lot of positive comments on Instagram regarding Ten Digit Creations and their perfumes and homemade fragrance products, some of which are great dupes for favourite Lush scents, so I was keen to try some out! Although they do ship to the UK, international shipping prices tend to be hefty, and as I was heading transatlantically anyway, I bought a few sweet-sounding things to have shipped to my aunt’s US address, including a selection of their wax tarts. I can’t fault their customer service – all my wax tarts arrived safely and promptly with a few freebies thrown in! Using my Yankee Candle tart burner, the scent throw is amazing and lasts at least a couple of full evenings. Sex Bomb is a gorgeous floral and musk scent, not one of my typical picks for Lush bath bombs but works beautifully as a home fragrance! Since purchasing in early March, the company has already added even more Lush dupes to their Lush Types wax melt selection, and I’m sure I’ll repurchase a bunch when I’m next in the US! Northern Lights and Twilight?! I need them! Repurchase? Yes, in the near future.

7. Lush Enchanted Eye Cream [Sample] (£12.50 for full size– I received this rather generous sample with one of my (many) Lush Kitchen orders – this tiny tub lasted me a good few weeks! Rather than being a powerful, scientific eye cream, it gently hydrates with almond oil, jojoba oil and lavender honey water. The super-light texture means it absorbs quickly and can comfortably be worn under makeup. I wouldn’t recommend it if you need something heavy-duty, but if you’re after something natural to gently hydrate then this is definitely worth trying. Repurchase? Maybe, after using up others.

Hair & Makeup

8. Batiste XXL Volume Dry Shampoo (£3.99 via Superdrug) – One of my everyday essentials! This dry shampoo is ideal for giving a little texture and volume boost to day-old, fine hair. Like other Batiste products, it does leave a white cast at first, but blends easily. My go-to product when I’m lazy and need to get ready super-fast (sshh) – my hair doesn’t look or feel the same without it! Repurchase? Yes.

9. Batiste Original Dry Shampoo Mini (£1.50 via Superdrug) – Is it bad that I get through more dry shampoo than actual shampoo? And that I used up two of these in total?! I left the other at my aunt’s after using it up! I use the above XXL Volume version on my roots, and this on the mid lengths to ends when my hair is particularly in need of washing; though in my defence my hair is coloured and often on the dry side, so I can justify only washing every few days. These little Batistes in the fresh Original scent are perfectly handbag and travel bag sized, and perfect for every event from work to music festivals to your summer holiday – I never go on a long journey without one. Repurchase? Yes.

10. Urban Decay Subversion Lash Primer Mini (£15.50 for full size via Beauty Bay) – Apologies that this seems to be sold out everywhere in the UK lately – wish I’d known this ahead of time, as I’m completely out! I received this mini Subversion alongside a purchase of the full size Perversion mascara by Urban Decay. I’d never used a lash primer before and was amazed at what a difference it made – my lashes looked longer, fuller and more defined, and mascara which would usually smudge or flake stayed put throughout the entire day. I’m currently using MAC’s lash primer and sadly it’s not quite doing the same job that this one did for me! Repurchase? Yes, when available.

11. MAC Brow Definer in Lingering (£13.50 via MAC Cosmetics UK) – My go-to brow pencil! I’d used a nicely taupey yet affordable one from Collection 2000 for a few years, but since realising what a difference the ultra-fine point of this one makes, I haven’t turned back. It’s wonderfully taupe and natural-looking, in a super-skinny soft retractable pencil which is ideal for drawing in individual fine hairs. The only issue is that you don’t realise you’ve run out until twisting it up and nothing else is there! Lucky I always have a backup on hand these days. Repurchase? Yes.

12. L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes Waterproof Mascara (£10.99 via Feel Unique) – Normally I go for cheaper options when it comes to mascara, but this one was a gift! Choosing a waterproof mascara is somewhat of a different game from choosing regular mascara – some of the formulas are just horrendous! However this one is truly waterproof, lengthening and volumising lashes without smudging or flaking. I’d happily used it on holiday in September last year, but felt it was time to give it up recently when tidying up my dresser, as it had mostly dried up. I’d strayed to others recently and been disappointed, so I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to this. Repurchase? Yes.

13. Maybelline Anti-Age Eraser Eye Concealer (£7.99 via Boots) – One of those products which made the rounds a while ago and everyone seemed to love except me! Firstly, I couldn’t stand the sponge applicator – it just seemed to tug at my under-eye area and not deposit enough product. It was more useable once removed and the formula was agreeable enough, but no matter how much I blended it just appeared too yellow-toned for my skin. I haven’t completely used it up, but close enough! Repurchase? No.

Lush Bath Ballistics & Bubble Bars

14. Lush The Comforter Bubble Bar (£4.75 via Lush) – My favourite go-to when I need a cheerful, sweet-smelling bath! I also have the accompanying shower gel in the same scent (okay, two of them) as well as the Comforter perfume! A little pricey but when considering you get 4-5 generous baths out of a single bar, it’s not too bad! Gorgeous cassis (blackcurrant) and bergamot make this a truly unique, fruity & comforting classic. Repurchase? Yes.

15. Lush Tisty Tosty Bath Bomb (£3.35 via Lush) – One for the romantic lovers, this contains real rosebuds and rose petals as well as floral geranium, rose and jasmine scents to create the ultimate lovelorn bath bomb. Not to mention, it’s also shaped like a heart. I really enjoyed the rose buds and light floral scent of the bath water – I’d buy as a once-in-a-while treat but for the price I prefer my bath products to do more for me. Repurchase? Maybe.

16. Lush Twilight Bath Bomb (£3.35 via Lush) – One of my favourites – Twilight is the most dreamy, calming bedtime scent for those who hate lavender! The addition of tonka absolute makes the scent sweeter and creamier than your typical lavender – I’d love to have a stockpile of these so I could use one every night! Aside from smelling amazing, this turns the water a captivating pink, blue and purple with plenty of fine glitter to imitate a shimmering night sky. Beautiful! Repurchase? Yes.

17. Lush Floating Island Bath Melt (£4.35 via Lush) – A more recent discovery for me, but I’m so glad I found it! I add half a Floating Island melt to my bath when my skin is feeling particularly dry, and as it’s packed with cocoa butter and almond oil it moisturises wonderfully. Even a quarter of a melt would give some extra moisture, and its gentle sandalwood fragrance is so relaxing. Repurchase? Yes.

18. Lush Karma Bubble Bar (£3.25 via Lush) – One of Lush’s signature fragrances, and yet another favourite of mine! Half of this little bubble bar fills the bath with sweet orange oil and patchouli bubbles. I can’t get enough of Karma in the summer months, and having the Lush Kitchen Karma shower gel, Karma Kream lotion and Karma solid perfume in my possession, I’m more than happy to layer that fragrance up and smell like Karma all the time! Repurchase? Yes.

19. Lush Avobath Bath Bomb (£3.35 via Lush) – I actually received this as a kind freebie from my local store’s manager after receiving a dud product – gotta love Lush’s customer service! I’d never tried Avobath before, and after the unbelievable hype over the Lush Kitchen Avoshower shower gel recently, I felt I had to try it. As mentioned earlier, I’m not typically a fan of citrus scents, but the lemongrass and bergamot was wonderfully refreshing, and the avocado and olive oil left my skin feeling soft and lovely. Even if this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, it’s worth a try! Repurchase? Yes.

20. Lush Kitchen Ne Worry Pas Bath Bomb (currently unavailable) – I added this to a recent Kitchen order to try out and wasn’t sure what to expect, but now I’m converted to violet scents! The plain white spherical bath bomb with the small purple hole is nothing incredible to look at, but the sweet violet scent is strong & not overwhelming, and the soy milk leaves the water milky and nicely moisturising. Repurchase? Yes, if more readily available.

21. Lush Kitchen Happy Bubble Bar (currently unavailable) – Another Kitchen exclusive, & one I bought last year! Happy Bubble Bar was my second ever Kitchen purchase, just because I was so intrigued by it – it’s quite strongly sandalwood scented, and I’m a definite fan of sandalwood. And who doesn’t love cheerful bath products?! These chunky bubble bars are ideal for being cut up and used for 4 baths, giving a lovely scent, although not as moisturising as other Lush bubble bars and bubbleroons. Repurchase? Maybe in the future, if available.

And those are my empties for March and April – hope you enjoyed! What do you think of these products? Any you’d consider purchasing? And if you’ve written your own Empties post, don’t forget to leave the link below!

April Favourites

It’s Favourites time again! I ended up having to skip last month’s due to unexpectedly ending up on a transatlantic flight towards the end of the month (oh, and completely falling for someone lovely whilst over there..), so here’s an April Favourites stuffed with my completely up-to-date beauty obsessions! 

 

1. Lush Roots Hair Treatment (£10.25 via Lush) – As anyone else who is worryingly attached to their longer hair knows, the mandatory ‘maintenance haircut’ to trim those looming split ends never fails to fill you with (slightly) irrational fear. As brilliant and talented as my hairdresser is, my trimmed hair always feels a little uncomfortably short and I’m counting down the weeks until my hair (hopefully) returns to its former glory; I doubt anyone else even notices but it definitely bugs me for a while! I’d tried Roots a couple of times before and wasn’t quite sure what to think, but have decided I actually quite like it! Applying an egg-sized dollop (rather than the entire half tub which Lush recommend!), I attempt to massage it into the roots of dry hair before washing (harder than it sounds, it’s much more tricky to apply it to the roots of longer hair), some coconut oil on the ends, and put in a big lobster clip to leave for half an hour or so, after which the peppermint & spearmint oils make it start tingling a little. After washing out and blow-drying thoroughly, the roots of my hair feel so soft, clean, volumised and healthy – the olive oil and honey condition and give shine to even fine hair. On top of leaving roots clean and healthy, the tingly minty oils are meant to stimulate the scalp for new hair growth, and of course the conditioning ingredients ensure the new hair is in top form. Pricey for a hair treatment, but I think the tub should last me 5-6 uses in total, possibly more for those with shorter hair. I’ll keep using this once a week in preparation for my next hair colouring in mid-May!

2. Lush Kitchen Twilight Shower Gel (currently unavailable) –  Two Lush favourite products in a row? You should be surprised it’s only two – I have a serious obsession, and my hoard of bubble bars, shower gels and lotions from the limited edition Lush Kitchen is getting wildly out of control – another reason to stick to a budget! But there was no way I could possibly turn down Twilight when Lush announced their first batch recently. More than just your grandma’s lavender shower gel, and aside from being beautifully glittery, the Twilight scent has the wonderful tonka bean note, which makes it sweeter and much more tolerable and beautiful than your regular lavender – everyone needs to try it. Twilight is also my top pick for pre-bedtime baths since the scent is so relaxing & helps me sleep!

3. Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara (£19 via Debenhams) – As much as I completely disagree with the name, you can’t dispute that this is a great mascara! I received this in a British Beauty Blogger box a while ago when the product was first released and have had it in my stash for a while – I doubt you’d see me paying almost £20 for a mascara myself! As much of a devotee of the cheaper ‘drugstore’ mascara I am, this one gives seriously impressive length and volume in a single swipe, without flaking or smudging. The only problem is, if you get it in your eye by accident it stings badly (learning from experience as always) and will make your eye water everywhere – so stay away if you have ultra-sensitive eyes! Fortunately it’s only happened to me once. On top of its great performance, the packaging feels heavy and luxe in your hand, and the shaped bristle brush allows the product to be applied flawlessly in all the right places. Still think they could have chosen a better name though!

4. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Fluide (£12.75 via Escentual) –  My new favourite go-to daily moisturiser, not to mention La Roche-Posay is one of those rare brands you can always rely on to do good for your skin, and won’t bankrupt you in the process. Toleriane Fluide is a super-lightweight moisturiser ideal for wearing under makeup and/or in the warmer weather, since it absorbs quickly and leaves the skin matte rather than shiny, whilst still hydrating the skin – everything oily and combination skin needs. And personally I love pump bottles, making the product so easy to use Perfect for holidays and summer – I can see myself needing to repurchase this soon!

5. Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Eye Cream in Ivory (£7.99 via Boots) – After picking this up as an afterthought in a 3 for 2 deal, I’d forgotten about it until I realised how much I dislike the yellow tones of so many budget concealers – that stuff doesn’t cut it on my cool-toned skin! The click-pen packaging is a bit of a novelty, and not to mention a bit tricky when you have foundation and/or primer on your hands, but it manages to seamlessly neutralise redness and discolouration without looking like you’re wearing makeup at all. This is a perfect easy product to quickly swipe on under my eyes when I’m in a rush or don’t feel like wearing much makeup, and is also a great product for travelling as it’s so slim and small. The only issue is it’ll be hard to tell when this is almost gone until I’ve used the whole thing up..

6. Grande Brow Eyebrow Formula (£52.42 via Overstock.com) – Firstly I didn’t pay quite so much for this product! A family friend in Orlando owns her own beauty salon, and after doing a fantastic job of shaping and tinting my brows during my visit, she recommended this for growing back the more sparse areas and sold it to me for the reduced price of $45 (around £29). I’ve always had issues with my brows being sparse thanks to an incident involving cutting them off as a child, as well as some slight over-plucking in the past. I’d been using MAC’s lash growth formula and after 3 months found it didn’t really do much. I’ve been using this for just under two weeks and have noticed far more growth than months of using the MAC one ever did! It is the same formula as Grande Lash MD eyelash growth serum, but with a thicker brush more suitable for applying to brows. I brush a small amount onto the front of each brow as well as just under the arch and tails (the thinnest/most sparse areas) every morning and evening. It is recommended to use this regularly for 6-8 weeks before using just a couple of times a week to maintain healthy growth. The brow version is fairly new and seems to be US-only for now, but if you can get hold of it for a reduced price I’d recommend it to anyone (£50+ is more than I can afford on one of anything, even if it’s excellent).

7. Sephora Collection Universal Atomiser ($16 via Sephora) – One of my new travel essentials! I originally bought mine off Ebay for a little less, but hadn’t had the opportunity to use it until my most recent trip. With air travel, every bit of weight really counts and so I’m very strict with what I pack. I really didn’t want to take my chunky glass bottle of Escentric Molecules 01 due to weight and potential leakage, but then again really didn’t want to be without it..what to do?! This was the perfect solution – this tiny atomiser was so easy and fuss-free to fill up, fit in my little clear makeup bag perfectly and didn’t leak at all despite lugging it around deep inside my suitcase and handbag numerous times. I took a couple of other spray perfume samples (one of which leaked), a rollerball and a solid, and despite using this one almost daily for 3 weeks, this tiny size lasted me perfectly. I’ll happily be filling it up again for my next trip and would recommend it for anyone, whether you’re travelling to Australia or travelling to work down the road.

8. Kat Von D Shade & Light Contour Palette ($46 via Sephora) – Contouring is undeniably a huge trend right now, & this is the palette everyone and their grandma seem to be lusting after (grandmas need hot cheekbones too). I’d previously been using Benefit Hoola bronzer for contouring, but needed something a bit more taupe and light for me. The lightest brown shade is perfect for using under my natural cheekbones applied and blended out with my Make Up For Ever 158 Double Ended Contour Brush, and a dusting of the middle brown shade is ideal for bronzer on my temples and around the outside of my face. The formula is so much more pigmented than cheaper contouring products I’ve tried, and applies beautifully onto the skin. My only complaints is that I wish the shades were sold separately, or at least in a smaller travel palette, as the palette is quite large and chunky, the highlight shades don’t really show up on my pale skin, and I can’t see myself using the darkest shade. Despite these minor issues, this has been ideal to keep on my dressing table and use for some everyday contouring.

Those are my current favourites for April! Hope you enjoyed reading, and would love to know if you’ve tried any of these out yourself! What are your favourite products this month? Feel free to link me to your monthly favourites post below!