September – December Empties!

FOUR months worth of empties in one go! Okay, admittedly there isn’t quite as much as usual, due to being away for 6 weeks, and using travel products instead / buying new items to keep me covered whist gone, but this is what I’ve managed to use up since September – hope you enjoy! Let me know what you’ve recently used up in the comments! And if you’ve been using any of these products, let me know if you’re loving them or loathing them – I’d love to know 🙂

Hair

1. Batiste Dry Shampoo in Original (£2.48 via Superdrug) – Looks like Batiste packaging has changed yet again! I only wash my hair every 3-4 days so dry shampoo is a must to prevent it looking too greasy. I use this on the mid-sections and ends of my hair to give it the illusion of being soft and fresh, and use a more volumising product at the roots. I actually prefer the smell of this one to most of the others – it’s quite clean and fresh without being too strong, I can’t stand scented hair products that compete with your perfume. An essential that does the job for me, and doesn’t cost a fortune! Repurchase? Yes.

2. Batiste Dry Shampoo in XXL Volume (currently unavailable) – Slightly worried this HG essential is being discontinued, as I can no longer find it online! All I can find is an ‘improved formula’ which contains oils – why would I want extra oils on my roots?! Lots of people seem to dislike this product, as it’s easy to go overboard on first use and end up with tangled sticky hair, but just a few small sprays at the roots gives a great boost of volume whilst also absorbing excess oil. Repurchase? Yes, if possible.

3. Boots Expert Build-Up Removal Shampoo (currently unavailable) – Sigh..another discontinued hair product?! Okay, I’ve had this one a while – the packaging is practically ancient! The latest version came in a very muted, ‘classic’ looking slim cream bottle with silver and black print – really hard to spot on the shelf, even if you were looking for it. I prefer the old packaging! Although I don’t use this much, especially with coloured hair, it’s ideal for removing excess product (I’m a big dry shampoo fan as you can see) and keeping hair clean and healthy. I always follow up with a deep conditioning mask to avoid drying my hair out. This was totally affordable and did the job – any other recommendations? Repurchase? Yes, if possible.

Bodycare

4. Vaseline Spray & Go Body Moisturiser in Aloe Fresh (£2.45 via Superdrug) – I actually just finished this one up this morning! Ideal for warm days in the summer, but this doesn’t get much use for me in winter as I’m normally far too cold to mess around with lotion in the morning! Ideal for anyone who’s bad at body moisturising, as this is so fast and easy to apply, sinking in almost immediately without leaving any sticky/greasy residue at all. I find the Aloe scent is the most mild and non-offensive, as it just smells light, fresh and clean! Repurchase? Yes.

5. Lush Ocean Salt Face & Body Scrub (from £7.95 via Lush) – A tiny size from a gift set last Christmas! This was my first time trying out Ocean Salt, & I really enjoyed it. The zesty, clean smell is so refreshing, the coarse sea salt gives a good scrub without being overly abrasive, and avocado butter softens your skin at the same time. Not to mention, like everything else Lush it’s completely natural. I rarely purchase body scrubs for myself as I enjoy my Salux so much, but this was a lovely one to try out! However it’s very expensive for a scrub so not sure I’d repurchase right away! Repurchase? Maybe in the future.

6. Lush Comforter Moisturising Shower Cream (from £4.95 via Lush) – I was thrilled that Lush released a Comforter-scented shower product, since I love the bubble bar so much! Unless they’ve been reformulated since I purchased earlier in the year, I feel it does smell a little more sugary than the classic bubble bar, not to mention the shower cream formula can be a little gritty. I also find that if my skin is quite dry, these stain as they’re so pigmented! I had this issue when on holiday in the summer, as my underarms were so dry from regular shaving. I do prefer the shower gel formula I managed to snag in the Lush Kitchen, & will most likely repurchase when I’m all out of the gel too, as the smell can’t really be beaten. Repurchase? Soon!

7. Bath & Body Works Japanese Cherry Blossom PocketBac ($1.75 via Bath & Body Works) – One I’ve had around for a while – it does take me ages to finish these up! I always have a selection of different scents to throw into bags whenever I go on a trip, as they’re essentials if you’re using public transport (or just out in public in general). I did used to love the pretty floral Japanese Cherry Blossom scent but now it’s a bit strong for me. Repurchase? Yes, in another scent.

8. Lush Golden Handshake (£2.95 via Lush) – I’d bought this to use for both my hands and feet before going on holiday. After following the instructions, it was nothing like the creamy paste pictured on the website – the product barely melted & just remained as chunks floating around. I’d definitely recommend using in boiling water and just leaving to cool, as hot tap water as mentioned in the instructions isn’t quite adequate (at least where I live). It was a bit frustrating (and messy) & I would have got the same result just using a hand & foot cream! Repurchase? Probably not.

9. Dr Bronner’s Organic Rose Castile Liquid Soap 59ml (£1.99 via Dr Bronner’s UK) – I used this one for washing my brushes! I’d heard a lot of good things about it, so decided to try it out. However I’m not sure I’m a fan –  although the rose smell was lovely, the soap felt drying on my skin and still felt like it left a slight film on my brushes. Think I’ll go back to using baby shampoo! Repurchase? No.

Makeup

10. MAC Prep & Prime Lash (£13.50 via MAC Cosmetics) – Unfortunately this didn’t really seem to do anything for me! Whilst good lash primers give the look of length and definition, this didn’t seem to do anything. Also it didn’t dry properly at all – a shame when MAC products are so expensive! Repurchase? No.

11. MAC Pen in Lingering (£14 via MAC Cosmetics) – ..Wait, has this always been £14?! I swear it used to be less! Though I can’t complain too much when it keeps my brows nicely filled whilst still looking natural due to its super-fine tip and lovely taupe shade – no ugly orange-brown brows over here! My only complaint is that I do go through them very fast! Repurchase? Yes.

12. Tarte Opening Act Lash Primer  [Deluxe Sample] ($22 for full size via Sephora) – I wish it was easier to get such great samples & mini sizes for free over here – god I love Sephora! I probably wouldn’t have even considered this product otherwise. It really does give great length and definition under regular mascara and I definitely see a difference whenever I use it. I made sure to pick up the full size on my last visit!  Repurchase? Already did!

13. ELF Cream Eyeliner in Black (£4.50 via ELF UK) – I didn’t quite finish this one up – it’d dried out so I had to get rid of it sadly! Though I just stick to felt tip style eyeliners these days, as they’re just easier and less messy. If you do use cream or gel eyeliners, this is so similar in formula to the MAC Fluidline liner and works just as well – a great product for the price, but just one I don’t use anymore! Repurchase? No.

 

14. Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes (£3.79 via Amazon UK) – My favourite makeup wipes! It makes me sad that these aren’t so easily available in the UK. They’re thick, super-soft, extra-moist and remove makeup so easily, even on sensitive eyes. Using anything else is always frustrating! I’ll always use these as long as I have some stashed away. Repurchase? Yes (when I can!)

15. Indeed Labs Eysilix Instant Eye Rescue (£24.99 via Boots) –  My favourite eye cream! I don’t enjoy the idea of paying £25 for an eye cream, so I always purchase when they’re on sale in Boots, or search for a new one on Ebay. This is probably the only one I’ve used where I’ve actually noticed a difference in smoothing out fine lines under my eyes, which means both my skin and my makeup look better. It doesn’t give me those horrible milia spots either, which are often caused when creams are too rich for your skin type. I’ll keep repurchasing if it keeps up such great results! Repurchase? Yes.

16. Lancome Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover [Deluxe Mini] (£17.95 for full size via Amazon UK) – I used to use this regularly and loved it, but I’ve had this one such a long time so thought it best to get rid of it! The oil-based formula is ideal for quickly breaking down tough waterproof mascara, but now that I use an oil-based cleanser I rarely need to use a separate eye makeup remover. I also found this leaves an oily film behind, so I tend not to reach for it anymore. Repurchase? No.

17. Mudd Original Mask [5 application pack] (£3.06 via Amazon UK) – My HG face mask! I’ve been using this for a few years now & it’s still just as effective as ever. It does a brilliant job of drawing dirt out of pores, leaving the skin smooth, soft and clear without being overly drying or irritating sensitive skin at all. And it’s great value – a decent face mask doesn’t need to cost a small fortune. Repurchase? Yes.

18. Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick (£11.69 via Amazon UK) – The first time I’ve ever finished a lip balm! *cue confetti* A new HG for me – many lip balms just seem to make my lips even drier; this is one of the few that actually seem to help and ensure my lips don’t feel dry during the day, especially in the chilly winter weather. The only con is that the RRP price of £20 is a bit crazy for a lip balm, and that it’s quite a soft formula so seems to get used up very quickly!  Repurchase? Yes.

19. Sunday Riley Good Genes Serum [Sample] (£85 for full size via Space NK) – One of the many little samples of this wonder I picked up from Sephora. I know I went on about it in my Sephora haul so I’ll keep it short and sweet – an absolute wonder serum for keeping skin smooth and youthful-looking without irritation, seeming to solve a wealth of problems for me. Just a shame about the crazy price tag! Why must some expensive products be so amazing?! Repurchase? Yes (when I can afford it).

20. Fresh Rose Hydrating Eye Gel Cream [Sample] ($40 for full size via Sephora) – A little sample sachet that lasted quite a few days! This thick cooling gel product felt so soothing on the skin and left my undereye area quite moisturised; however it didn’t do anything incredible, especially for the price. I’d try others first! Repurchase? No.

21. Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil (£29 via Escentual) – My go-to oil for when my skin’s feeling particularly dehydrated (which is all too often). Quite a pricey option but absolutely worth it – mine lasted me a few months, and never breaks me out or makes my skin appear overly greasy. I use this under my REN Frankincense night cream, a brilliant nighttime combination for sensitive/dehydrated skin in the cold weather. Repurchase? Yes.

22. La Roche-Posay Hydreane Legere (£9 via Escentual) – I’ve lost count of how many of these I’ve used up! My favourite daytime moisturiser for my sensitive dehydrated skin. Free of oil, fragrance and colouring, it never irritates my skin or looks greasy. Just lightly hydrating & very effective for troubled skin in the daytime. Repurchase? Yes.

23. GrandeBrow Brow Enhancing Serum (£39.50 via StrawberryNet) – Extremely expensive, but a must-try for anyone else who has sparse brows because of over-plucking, accidents or genetics. I used this one up until it was completely dry – it’s the first growth serum I’ve tried that actually works. I started seeing results within a couple of weeks and my brows really improved, though I wasn’t able to get hold of one for a while and I believe you’re supposed to apply weekly or so once you’ve achieved the brows you want. My brows are very sparse partly due to an unfortunate accident as a child on one side, and partly due to overplucking. I’m trying again with a brand new tube and hopefully I can get them to grow nice and full again! Repurchase? Yes.

Holiday Empties

24. Bumble & Bumble Thickening Dryspun Finish 40ml (£9.50 via Feel Unique) – A useful little texturising spray for travel – I used it up over my last couple of trips. I found it only gives light texture to the hair, not much more than a dry shampoo would. It was just okay, & in the meantime I’ll try something else! Repurchase? No.

25-26. More Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes and Batiste Original Dry Shampoo – see above!

27. Elizabeth & James Nirvana White Perfume [Sample] (from $25 for full size via Sephora) – A tiny sample size which lasted several uses! Nirvana White is one of my all-time favourite scents, a gorgeous peony and musk which is gorgeous to wear in warmer weather (or any weather really). It always reminds me of holidays, so very appropriate to take with me! I love the White version & have recently become a fan of the Black, a new favourite of mine for winter and evenings. Repurchase? Yes.

28. Kleenex Shine Absorbing Sheets (currently unavailable) – I use up SO many of these! Very similar to the Clean & Clear blotting sheets – an essential for me as my skin gets very oily through the day. I’d recommend them to anyone else looking for decent, effective blotting sheets which don’t take off half your makeup with them! Repurchase? Yes (if possible).

29. Lush The Olive Branch Shower Gel (from £4.95 via Lush) – My last empty of 2015! Olive Branch is an old favourite of mine but I hadn’t used any in ages. The gorgeous smell and ultra-moisturising formula makes it a pleasure to use in the shower – skin feels silky soft afterwards, even without lotion. My boyfriend mentioned it smelled amazing too (slowly converting him to Lush). Anyone who’s never used it needs to try it!

 

So those are my last Empties for 2015 – I hope you enjoyed seeing what I used up! Remember to let me know what you’ve used up below, & if you have any favourites from my list! 

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A Container Store Travel Beauty Haul!

Part 2 of my very lovely haul from the sunny USA! I’m not sure how familiar you are with the Container Store, but it’s like Muji and Ikea put together but 10x better, in my opinion! I never thought I’d get so excited about containers and storage, but here we are…

 
1. 40 Blinks Travel Sleep Mask ($12.99) – A very expensive eye mask but I was in need of a decent quality one! This eye mask is very lightweight and comfortable to wear; however due to the shape of my nose it doesn’t keep all the light out! Not to mention velcro straps require care so as to not get hair stuck in them. Despite these little flaws it was very comfortable to wear on my longer return flight from JFK full of thoroughly miserable people and I did get several hours of sleep!

2. Every Drop Beauty & Lip Spatulas ($3.99 – $4.99) – Perfect for anyone else who loves using things up as much as I do! How many times have you yelled in frustration at struggling to scrape out the last little bits of an expensive foundation when the product is stuck to the sides of the container? I bought the standard size as well as the mini lip size and one with a longer curved edge for bottle necks – I’m sure they will be extremely useful in my Empties quests!

3. 2oz Striped Jar in Pink ($1.29) – Purchased specifically for my hair mask when travelling, as my larger Superdrug pots crack and break so easily, not to mention I need 2 of them for a longer trip, which can be annoying. This cute striped jar is the perfect size and feels much sturdier!

4. Hinged Cotton Round Holder ($0.99) – One of those items you never knew you needed. On short trips or for hand luggage, cotton pads inevitably get dirty when thrown in with everything else in your bag – this is perfect for keeping them clean, dry and hygienic for using on your skin. My only complaint is that the hinge broke as soon as I got it out for this photo; maybe I got a dud as the other reviews seem positive. At least the lid still stays on & I can still use it!

5. Neon Luggage Tag ($1.99) – Not really a beauty item, but ideal for making your bag full of all your very important things stand out on the luggage carousel. I usually have my address on my bag in 3 different places as well as a flight itinerary on the inside, just to make sure none of my important, expensive makeup and clothes ever go missing!

6. Cotton Swab Holder ($0.99) – Much like the cotton round holder, this is one of those travel items you never knew you needed. I normally throw my cotton buds in with my makeup brushes or makeup bag; inevitably something leaks or they get dirty, so I have to throw them away! This keeps them all dry, clean and in one place for whenever you need one.

7. Translucent Cylinder Mister 1oz ($0.99) – Lastly, I picked up 4 of these tiny spray bottles – I can never find spray bottles small enough but these are perfect! I use them for decanting various hair products to take on my travels – these ones seem sturdy and will no doubt see a lot of use.

 

That’s all I picked up from the Container Store this time! I spent almost an hour just browsing – they really do have everything you never knew you needed, both for your home or your luggage. I can’t wait to go back for another visit!

A Sephora USA Haul!

Oh hey – I’m still alive! How have you been? After a wonderful few weeks away I’m back in cloudy England all ready for the impending Christmas season.

Last time I visited the sunny USA I didn’t post a haul, but thought I’d do one this time around, especially so close to the festive season – if you’re near a Sephora yourself or flying over for the holidays, I hope my purchases will be helpful & inspiring. Not that I truly needed any of these products, especially whilst valiantly working through old products for my Empties posts, but with the 20% off VIB discount last month I really couldn’t say no! (And can we appreciate how great the lighting is in my boyfriend’s apartment?!)

1. Kat Von D Mi Vida Loca Remix Studded Kiss Lip Set ($42) – Incredible value for $42! This set includes 7 mini sizes of the creamy, pigment-loaded lipsticks by Kat Von D as well as an exclusive full size lipstick. An ideal gift for yourself or any bold lip lover. Considering a single full size KVD lipstick is $21, this is the perfect way to try 8 new shades without spending a small fortune. Gotta love Sephora gift sets!

2. Tarte Opening Act Lash Primer ($22) – After trying a deluxe mini size of this primer that I’d received as a freebie and stashed in my travel bag, I was amazed at the extra length and definition this product gave under my Maybelline mascara, so I’ve been using it every day since! Not to mention Tarte is one of my favourite brands (but sadly hard to obtain in the UK) due to its ethics and good-for-your-skin approach in all its products.

3. Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black Dry Shampoo ($28) – A lesson in never leaving yourself in Sephora unattended! My Batiste is a perfectly good, affordable dry shampoo that really does the job to combat greasy roots, but after trying this out in store I couldn’t walk out with such soft, sweet-scented hair and not buy it. I initially fell in love with the Nirvana White fragrance a year ago, but suddenly I’m very much into the more sensual, sultry Black scent. A very extravagant & unnecessary purchase I know, but I can’t imagine anyone not wanting their hair to smell this good.

4. Sephora Favorites Extend Your Style Set ($32; currently out of stock) – I debated on picking this up but decided to just purchase it anyway..and I’m glad I did! $32 gets you 7 travel size high end dry shampoos, all perfect for throwing in your handbag or suitcase. Just over $4 per product is very reasonable, especially when this set contains coveted favourites from Bumble & Bumble and Dry Bar. I can’t wait to try these out for myself.

5. Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment ($105) – Ridiculously expensive, but not quite so much with my 20% off code. I’d been trying a couple of samples before my trip and really didn’t want to enjoy something so pricey, but unfortunately it worked some brilliant magic! My skin is temperamental at the best of times and this lactic acid serum drastically improved my uneven skin texture and pigmentation within just a few days. I’m taking a break from it temporarily and being very gentle with my skin since it’s having something of a freakout after returning home to drier weather, but will absolutely be returning to it very soon. I just dread ever having to repurchase it without some kind of heavy discount!

6. Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation in Fair Honey ($36) – The only powder foundation that’s ever provided any kind of decent coverage for my pigmented skin. I use a fluffy kabuki brush to apply – Tarte’s own Airbuki brush is far too dense and stiff for my liking. This is my absolute favourite easy foundation – no mess, looks good and feels perfectly comfortable on the skin. I use other formulas for longer wear and days out, but this is my go-to for errands and lazy days that makes me look like I actually made some effort.

7. Benefit Roller Lash Mascara ($12) – One mascara I’ve heard so much hype about and absolutely have to try for myself! I didn’t want to drop money on a full size without knowing if it would work for me first, so this mini size is perfect. I still have quite a few mascaras to work through, but can’t wait to try this one next!

8. Urban Decay Subversion Lash Primer ($20) – Very similar to the above Tarte mascara primer, though this one was sold out everywhere for months! I’m curious to try these two primers side-by-side, especially as I know both really do make a difference to your mascara. Not to mention I’m not the biggest fan of the Urban Decay Perversion mascara – maybe this will help it work for me while I finish it up.

9. Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black Hand Cream ($15) – Living in a cold climate in the winter means a hand cream is always a necessity. After picking up the Nirvana Black dry shampoo, I spotted this and had to try it out too, especially as the scent is so lovely – I’m sure I’ll feel very luxurious every time I sniff this on my hands. And the slim, mini size is perfect for your handbag.

10. TokyoMilk Dark Femme Fatale Fragrance Wardrobe Discovery Set ($42) – After thoroughly enjoying a mini rollerball set by TokyoMilk last year, I decided to pick up this beautiful set of miniature bottled perfumes by the brand this time around. I already have a full size of the darker, more mysterious citrus-scented Everything & Nothing and can’t wait to try out the rest. An ideal gift for anyone who likes more unusual, non-mainstream scents but don’t want to buy a specific one for. A fragrance brand I feel is a little underrated – there really is something for everyone to fall in love with.

11. Sephora Beauty on the Fly Travel Bag ($4.95) – A traveller’s essential! My flimsy little ziplock bag broke on my way over there, so I decided to invest in a more sturdy replacement. I believe this is the American TSA’s regulation size, but according to reviews it may not be acceptable for passing through UK and European airports, which is a shame. Otherwise it’s surprisingly large and fits plenty of travel size liquids for your flight. I may just carry an extra plain ziplock for UK security and use this during the rest of my journey in future, as it seems to stand up much better to repeated use on a long trip.

I also received mini sizes of the D&G Light Blue fragrance as well as 2 of the Nest Indigo fragrances as 250 point and 100 point perks – I’ve yet to try these out but can’t say no to a good fragrance freebie.

My only complaints would be that there was an issue placing my initial VIB order where it didn’t seem to go through and I had to re-order later in the day after realising (luckily everything I wanted was still in stock!), and also I didn’t receive any samples at all in my package after requesting them. I did have some issues with USPS immediately returning my packages because of a ridiculous ‘undeliverable as addressed error’ that was an absolute nightmare to sort out; at least this arrived fine, as I’d be very upset if it was returned!

I hope you enjoyed checking out what I grabbed in the Sephora VIB sale! Please let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and what you thought of them!