January & February Empties

Hope your month has been wonderful so far! I’m currently fighting a really nasty bug from food poisoning (just don’t eat shellfish no matter how fancy you may feel) but really happy I’ve finally felt well enough to share my Empties with you! Spoiler alert: if you like discovering new skincare goodies, you’re in for a treat. This is a pretty huge one, so feel free to buckle in and grab some snacks…

Bath & Body

1. Radox Muscle Soak Bath Therapy (£1 via Tesco) –  My go-to bath product for when I’m either sick or achey (or both)! I sprinkle a handful in running water and pair with other favourite relaxing bath bits. I know some people also love Epsom salts for a similar effect – I don’t know the exact science behind it, but they’re so affordable and really help me feel relaxed when I’m feeling rubbish! My boyfriend enjoyed stealing some when visiting this month, since we were so sore from an 8-mile trek around London and these helped a lot! Repurchase? Yes.

2. Along Came Betty Bath Soak in So Much Bubble (£4 via Tesco) – Another bath product I quite enjoyed mixing and matching with others – it paired great with super-sweet Lush bath bombs. It lasted me ages, as a small amount produces a ton of bubbles. The scent is described as ‘lemon and mallow’ – very sweet and fruity with a slight hint of citrus. £4 is decent value considering it lasts numerous baths, but not incredible enough to be something I’d rush out to buy again. Repurchase? No.

3. Lush Calacas Shower Gel (currently unavailable) – Another of my Lush Kitchen favourites! Calacas is one of their most popular shower gels – a zesty but sweet lime citrus scent, ideal for waking you up and feeling fresh early in the morning. Normally I’m really not a fan of lemon or lime scents as they remind me of bathroom cleaner, but this one has a sweetness to it that makes it smell so gorgeous (not at all like toilet bleach). As a bonus, when it’s freshly made it often has an orange/yellow-green duochrome effect to it, which is kind of amazing. This was my go-to gel for the shower for a couple of months and I really loved it! Repurchase? Already did.

4. Lush Gold Fun (£5 via Lush Cosmetics) – If you’re not yet acquainted with the squishy scented playdough-style goodness that is Fun from Lush, why not?! It’s literally playdough you can wash yourself with. The Gold one has the same scent as the It’s Raining Men shower gel, a delicious honey-toffee scent. If you’re not into playing in the bath, no worries – I squish mine into a sieve and run under water for tons of bubbles. I really enjoy the scent, especially as there are no bubble bars in this scent, but already have one in the fridge to use up before I go out and buy another. Note: be sure to keep these refrigerated, as the remains melted (even in my cold, arctic-like bedroom) and made a mess of my Empties bag! Repurchase? In the future

5. Mitchum Advanced 48 Hour Deodorant in Shower Fresh (£2.89 via Boots) – My everyday deodorant! As much as I’d love to make the switch to natural deodorants full-time as I’m becoming more aware of the ingredients used in our everyday products, unfortunately I’m too much of a sweaty person to commit to a ‘healthier’ alternative. Mitchum is the only deodorant that seems to work for me and doesn’t give that horrible sweat-and-flowers stink after a few hours that most of the others seem to do. The scents are okay, ‘Shower Fresh’ smells exactly as you’d expect, I’d prefer unscented but their version smells of plastic. The most effective roll-on out there, I’m trying others but so far this is the only one that works for me! Repurchase? Yes.

6. Bath and Body Works Japanese Cherry Blossom Shower Gel ($12.50 for full size via Bath and Body Works) – One of those products I was glad to use up! Japanese Cherry Blossom is a somewhat powdery floral scent that I enjoy as a home scent, but don’t get on with at all used on my body. Although this was only a tiny travel size bottle, it took so long to use up just as I dislike the scent on my skin! I eventually finished it off by using as bubble bath (their shower gels foam up really well for this). I find many of their body products a little overpowering for me these days, so I stick to Lush and other favourites instead – just as well, as it’s quite expensive and hard to get hold of here! Repurchase? No.

 

Skincare

7. Orgaid Organic Sheet Mask (via Amazon; currently unavailable)* – I was sent this sheet mask for free via an Amazon reviews site in exchange for a completely honest Amazon review, and I thought I’d feature it here too! I’m new to the world of sheet masks but really enjoyed this one – it left my skin feeling so much more smooth and hydrated the next day after leaving on for 15-20 minutes the night before. The only issue is that I suppose I have a big face, as it didn’t fit my features too well – tall girl problems I guess! I’d be tempted to purchase again, though I believe the full price was £6-7 per single use mask (!) so I’ll definitely be trying out plenty of other cheaper ones first! Repurchase? If cheaper!

8. Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel (£28 via Space NK) – A blogger favourite, though I swear this was £2 cheaper before! At least you can take £5 or more off if you have points on your Space NK card, although it doesn’t quite excuse this cleanser from being so expensive. I do have to say this is my favourite everyday cleanser – no discernable fragrance or essential oils that irritate, just a gorgeously silky jelly-like texture that melts off dirt and cleanses so gently, even on sensitive eyes, without feeling greasy in the least. You may need an extra product to remove heavy eye makeup. This suits my skin perfectly and lasts at least 3 months of daily use so I’m willing to pay the price! Although I wish they made a travel size and a method for telling when the bottle’s nearly empty – it’s a bit of an expensive habit but to me a necessary one! Repurchase? Yes.

9. Una Brennan Superfacialist Vitamin C Cleansing Oil (£10.99 via Boots) –  My second step in cleansing when I’ve been wearing mascara! After removing as much as possible with a face wipe, I use several drops of this oil to melt away tough mascara and lip products if I’ve been wearing a full face of makeup. Quite affordable considering it can last months and months even if you’re an everyday mascara wearer, since you only need a small amount each time to remove everything. It has a gorgeous citrus orange scent to it and doesn’t irritate sensitive skin or eyes in the slightest. I even decant some into a travel bottle to use on holiday. The only issue is that as it’s an oil product that lasts so long, the bottle gets quite dirty, oily and gross-looking – sorry about that! Repurchase? Yes.

10. Lush Sweet Lips Lip Scrub (£5.95 via Lush Cosmetics– This one is currently discontinued from the main collection, but happens to be still available in the Lush Kitchen, so if you’re after some be quick! Mine ‘expired’ quite a while ago, but they’re still perfectly good to use after expiry and mine still smelled as sweet and chocolatey when I finished it off as the day I bought it. These little jars last for so long and are packed with so much product I feel the price is completely justified – no need to spend more money on ingredients to make your own. After brushing my teeth in the morning, I rub a small amount into my lips and it does wonders to soften them and remove any dead skin, perfect for giving a smooth base before applying lipstick. Natural, delicious and so effective – now to work on my special Valentine’s edition from last year! Repurchase? Yes!

11. Bioderma Hydrabio Micelle Solution 250ml (£10.50 via Escentual) – Previously my go-to micellar water and that of so many bloggers and Youtubers, but I’ve been trying out others lately. This particular one claims to be more hydrating on the skin – I didn’t notice a huge difference, but it felt soothing, non-drying and didn’t irritate my eyes at all. Nothing earth-shattering, but effective nonetheless! My only complaint with Bioderma is that they make it impossible to decant the product or to re-use their containers, even when using a narrow funnel, which I feel is a little sneaky! Repurchase? Maybe in the future.

 12. The Body Shop Aloe Calming Toner (£9.50 via The Body Shop) – I’d never been a toner fan but found this one really effective for my sensitive skin! I use it following my micellar water in the mornings, it really helps tighten pores and reduce redness a little whilst removing any extra dirt or makeup. As a bonus, it’s pretty much unscented and doesn’t strip or dry out the skin, or contain any harsh essential oils. I’m trying out another product at the moment but this is one I’d definitely come back to! Repurchase? Possibly soon!

13. Bee Good 3-in-1 Honey and Wild Water Mint Cleansing Water (£10 via Waitrose– At £10 for just 100ml (small enough to carry in hand luggage) I probably wouldn’t have picked this up on my own, but I did really enjoy using it after receiving it in a beauty box a while ago! It has a very gentle, pleasant honey and mint scent and doesn’t irritate or dry the skin at all, nor does it interfere with sensitive eyes. I’m trying out other products at the moment and may come back to it in the future, as I did really enjoy it! Repurchase? Possibly in the future!

14. Lush Dark Angels Cleanser (£6.95 via Lush Cosmetics) – I didn’t finish up the whole thing but this was long expired – a tiny amount goes such a long way, the small size is more than enough for anyone! This black scrubby cleanser works so well to exfoliate all skin types (and stain your towels), especially good for combination skin and blackheads. I’ve since switched to a different routine so no longer buy this, but I did really enjoy the results on my skin. Just be sure to use old towels and washcloths to avoid staining! Repurchase? Maybe in the future.

15. La Roche-Posay Hydreane Legere Moisturiser (£13.50 via Escentual) – One that seems to make an appearance every single post! My absolute favourite daytime moisturiser which is perfect for sensitive dehydrated skin – the mildest and blandest of formulas and yet so effective, non-greasy and so hydrating. I’ve been using it for a couple of years now and not sure how I’d carry on without it. Absolutely worth the money, so little else seems to work for me. My only slight complaint is that there is at least another couple of weeks worth of product hiding inside the tube once you cut it open, so I slice it up and decant the rest into a small plastic tub. Repurchase? Yes.

16. Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm [Sample] (£22 for full size via Feel Unique) – I received a few of these little sample pods as freebies during the Sephora VIB sale in November while I was away – I’d heard so much about the product, but was reluctant to purchase due to the price. The balm feels very similar in consistency to coconut oil – it melts on your skin in the same way but doesn’t feel greasy, nor does it have any kind of scent. I was impressed at how well it seems to melt away makeup, including mascara, without leaving a residue. I definitely need to try it out a few more times – it could well be worth the investment! Purchase? Maybe.

17. NYX Green Tea Blotting Paper (£5 via Boots) – I’d bought these on a whim on an Ulta visit in the US a while ago, but only recently finished up all 100 sheets. The claims are interesting and the papers are definitely quite pretty, but I didn’t notice any notable differences from any other blotting papers. My Kleenex and Clean & Clear ones definitely seem to absorb more oil than these. Repurchase? No.

18. Lush Enchanted Eye Cream [Sample] (£12.95 for full size via Lush Cosmetics) – I’m always the cheekiest and ask for samples of this whenever I can, just to help make my mind up! This eye cream is super-light and hydrating, made with simple and safe ingredients, a tiny amount goes a very long way, it’s pretty affordable and packaged in a handy and very practical mini pump bottle. After much deliberation I think I’ll be purchasing it as soon as I’ve used up all my other eye creams – I don’t need anything too heavy just yet and I’ve been quite enjoying it! And do I really need any encouragement to take a trip to Lush? Purchase? Yes (eventually).

Hair

19. OGX Thick & Full Biotin & Collagen Shampoo (£6.99 via Boots) – I got very excited for this shampoo but ended up a little disappointed! It has a very unusual stringy, jelly-like consistency and a pleasant candy-like smell which I just can’t put my finger on. Initially it did seem to give a small boost of volume to my fine, flat hair, but towards the end of the bottle I noticed my hair shedding more than usual when I used this shampoo. Which definitely isn’t what I want from a shampoo! A shame, as it seemed like a good one initially. Repurchase? No.

20. Johnson’s Baby Powder (£1.05 via Boots) –  A bit of a controversial one at the moment – a woman in the US has sued Johnson & Johnson claiming that their baby powder causes cancer. Side note: I didn’t realise ladies use this as a feminine hygiene product? You learn something new every day! Talc is used in so many powder-based cosmetics, scientifically shown to be just as safe if not safer than many other cosmetic products, and in the UK at least, there are such stringent cosmetic safety regulations I think we’ll all be okay to keep using our favourite powder products a bit longer. I use this as dry shampoo to massage into my roots when they’re particularly greasy – it works just as well if not better than many dry shampoos for me! Repurchase? Yes.

Makeup

21. Revlon Colorstay Whipped Foundation in 150 Buff ($11.19 via Drugstore.com) – Unfortunately this brilliant formula isn’t available in the UK, but keep an eye out for it on Amazon or Ebay as it occasionally pops up! This is my absolute favourite all-day long-wear foundation – a natural looking matte finish that’s comfortable to wear and doesn’t budge on even the busiest days out. It’s so easy to blend and apply, and Buff matches my light, cool-toned skin perfectly. My one complaint is that the packaging is ridiculous – the huge glass jar is chunky, heavy and a little unnecessary. Repurchase? Yes.

22. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion (£16 via Feel Unique) – My mini primer potion dried up so I had to get rid of it unfortunately – just as well, as it’s a pretty old one! This cult favourite is possibly the best out there for keeping powder eyeshadow in place, although powder shadows crease every time on me, so I usually stick to cream formulas instead. A great investment if you regularly wear powder eyeshadows! Repurchase? In the future.

23. Collection Extreme 24 Hour Felt Tip Liner in Black (£2.99 via Superdrug) – One of my makeup essentials! I wear this liner every single time I wear full eye makeup – it’s one of the cheapest out there as well as the most effective and easiest to apply. Personally I just can’t get on with gel, pencil or brush tip liners, so this is my one and only. It always looks great and wears so well – I hope they never discontinue this! Repurchase? Yes.

24. Maybelline Full ‘n’ Soft Waterproof Mascara (£8.16 via Amazon) – Another one of those great products that sadly isn’t easily available in the UK for some reason, but at least Amazon has them (if a bit overpriced once shipping is added). The best waterproof formula I’ve found – if it can survive the Florida summer, it can quite literally do anything. Lashes look naturally defined and lengthened, no clumps or spidery business here. I stock up from Target or Walmart when I’m in the US where it’s a little more affordable. Repurchase? Yes.

25. Maybelline The Rocket Volum’ Express Mascara / Waterproof Mascara (£7.99 via Superdrug– I’d purchased both versions expecting great things but unfortunately felt a little disappointed, not to mention like I’d wasted my money. Both versions seemed very similar to me – average, spidery lashes that stuck together and smudged on my lower lids, even the waterproof version. A shame, as they’re not the cheapest out there and I was expecting good things considering their popularity. Repurchase? No.

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Thanks for checking out my last 2 months worth of Empties – what a journey! Let me know below what you’ve been using up lately, or even link me to your own Empties post, I’d love to see! 

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January Favourites

Happy early February – I hope your January has been amazing! I’ve been keeping myself busy and have a really exciting next couple of weeks planned, but thought I’d stop by and keep you updated with what I’ve been falling in love with over the last month! 

1. Lush Creamed Almond and Coconut Smoothie (currently unavailable) – A product I didn’t think about too much previously, but now in the depths of the chilly winter months it makes a huge difference to my skin, as well as smelling truly wonderful! Unfortunately it is only available rarely in the Lush Kitchen, so I’ve had to scout the internet to find a couple of backups. I use my regular shower gel (a strawberry one goes really well with the creamy nuttiness of this!) and then apply this all-over before washing off under the shower. No need to use lotion afterwards, such a bonus when in the cold weather it’s a race to throw clothes on just to stay warm!

2. Lush Snow Fairy Shower Gel (currently unavailable) – Lush’s iconic Christmas shower gel! If you haven’t smelled the unique mix that is Snow Fairy, it’s a real love/hate one – a super-sweet, fruity bubblegum / candyfloss scent. It pairs perfectly with Lush’s sweeter bath products, but if used too often (as I did several years ago) it gets a little much. However I’m currently really enjoying using it in my baths to add a burst of glittery pink sweetness to gloomy winter evenings..but just a little, don’t overdo it! I also tried adding a capful into my washing machine when cleaning my bedsheets – it doesn’t come out super-strong but enough to give wafts of the lovely cult scent!

3. Lush Twilight Perfume (currently unavailable) – Three Lush products in a row.. and three that can’t currently be purchased online or in stores! But what kind of Favourites post would it be if I didn’t tell exactly what I’ve been loving?! The Twilight perfume was available for all of a few minutes when it was released in the Lush Kitchen, as it’s enormously popular amongst Lush fans and was well overdue for a re-release. I’ve never been a lavender fan but Twilight has turned that around for me – now I want my entire life to smell of lavender-tonka scented Twilight goodness. I wasn’t even sure I’d be keen on the perfume as surely it would send me to sleep, but it’s the ideal scent for low-key, lazy winter days and evenings. I love wearing this if I’m just having a chill evening with a friend for example – it’s a delightfully cosy scent which makes a change from the typical ‘cosy’ perfumes of amber and vanilla. I can’t get enough of it and I’m so glad I managed to pick up two bottles while it was around!

4. Maybelline Superstay Better Skin Foundation (£8.99 via Boots) – My new everyday foundation! A surprising new favourite for me, I picked it up on a whim just to try out something new and I’ve ended up loving it. I prefer to use a blending sponge to fully blend it out to avoid a streaky finish, but it doesn’t oxidise on the skin and gives my face a truly natural, satin look finish without being at all oily or drying. I’d recommend it for all skin types. As the name suggests, it’s truly your skin but better. The only flaw is that I was exactly between the two lightest shades (Ivory and Light Beige) and it does lean a little dark/warm for fairer skin, so I decided to buy both and mix them together for a custom shade. A great decision, my base is looking so much better and more natural-looking, and it doesn’t cost a fortune either!

5. Paula’s Choice Clear Extra Strength 2% BHA (£19.98 via Paula’s Choice UK) – January has been the month I decided to up my skincare game and this is the number one product that’s really turned my problem skin around! This BHA exfoliant claims to do it all – reduce redness, unclog pores and keep stray spots at bay. I’d suggest it to anyone with problem combination to oily skin, sensitive or not. Especially if you feel like you’re using All The Products to tame troubled skin! Since using this in place of my old liquid exfoliator, I haven’t touched a face scrub or mask at all this month. Really! Using every other day, it keeps my skin both looking and feeling smooth, free of most blackheads or spots, whilst helping to keep it looking clear all over. I’d highly recommend checking out Paula’s Choice skincare if you haven’t already – everything is free of fragrance and essential oils that can easily irritate skin, only featuring the necessary ingredients to keep all skin types looking and feeling wonderful! I also love that they never test on animals and are not too expensive, just a little pricier than Boots favourites but 100% worth it. You can also order trial and sample sizes of any products, which is fantastic – no wasting all your money on a product that doesn’t work for you! I’m also trialling their anti-redness serum and can’t wait to pick up one or two more things when I next order!

6. MAC Lustre Lipstick in Cut A Caper (currently unavailable) – Apologies for mostly discontinued bits this month – why do they always get rid of the best products?! Cut A Caper is a shade I often hear raved about by bloggers and I was never able to get hold of one of my own until recently. This is a slight sheer, slightly glossy-looking pinkish-salmon shade that’s so flattering and wearable for pale, cool-toned skin. I do like some orange shades in the summer such as MAC’s Ravishing and Vegas Volt, but this is ideal for everyday in that it’s not too ‘WOAH, orange lipstick?!’ and a bit more subtle, perfect for swiping on every day. Why is this limited edition, and can we get it back please?!

 

Those are all the wonderful things I’ve been loving this January – do let me know if you’ve tried them before, or if you decide to pick them up yourself! What have YOU been loving this month? Link me your Favourites posts below!