I am ecstatic to say that over the course of the summer, I’ve finished 38 more beauty products!! If you’re interested to know what I finished and what my thoughts are on these products, then please keep reading:
Bite Beauty – High Pigment Lip Pencil in Rhubarb | Price: $24.00
Bite Beauty’s High Pigment Lip Pencil is a twist-up, matte lip pencil in Rhubarb claims to be a long-lasting, matte lip pencil. However, the pencil is either matte more long-lasting. While the color is a beautiful, opaque shade of berry, the formula is not matte. Instead, the color has a satin finish (which I prefer).
I enjoyed using this lip pencil because it added a subtle boldness to my everyday makeup looks in a more impactful way than my nude lipsticks. The Bite Beauty High Pigment Lip Pencil was discontinued and replaced with the Matte Creme Lip Crayon ($24.00). I plan to try this lip crayon when I pick up my Sephora Birthday Gift this year, so I am quite excited to compare the two formulations.
Dior – Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara Travel Size | Price: $14.75
Although on the pricier side, the Diorshow Iconic Overcurl is easily one of the best mascaras that I have ever used. This mascara lifts the lashes and volumizes the lashes in a noticeable, but believable way. Although not a product promise, the Iconic Overcurl somehow managed to lengthen the look of my lashes, too. Nearly every day I wore this mascara I was complimented on my lashes and asked if my lashes were real.
The Iconic Overcurl applicator is a curved, natural bristle brush which fit the contour of the eye. I found the applicator helped me to lift my lashes at the base, to add lasting length and volume.
Despite the above benefits, the Iconic Overcurl applicator is not perfect. This mascara will smudge when wet – whether your eyes are wet from the rain, from sweat, or from setting spray. Regardless of this minor flaw, I do intend to purchase this mascara in the future once I’ve worked through more of my mascaras.
Maybelline – Age Rewind Concealer (120N) | Price: $9.99
Maybelline’s iconic Age Rewind Concealer is the top-selling concealer in the United States for a reason. It provides a beautiful wash of medium-to-full coverage, blends easily and is ridiculously cheap.
This is my most repurchased concealer… so I’ve already purchased my shade! Also, since CVS was having a sale on Maybelline products (buy two, get one 50% off), I decided to pick up the brightening shade that I’ve been itching to try. My intention is to blend the two colors together to lighten and brighten my face.
Although Maybelline has been slowly expanding the shade range within this line, the selection is still pitiful. Given how well-loved this product is by beauty lovers of all ages and income levels, I hope Maybelline will continue to expand the shade range so that more people can find the correct color match.
Generic Lip Balm | Price: Free
I received a generic lip balm, similar to an EOS lip balm, earlier this year while attending a work event. Obviously, I cannot purchase this again or recommend this product, but I did include this within this month’s empties tally.
RELATED: Mid-Year Makeup Empties
Face Wash & Cleansing Wipes:
Kiehl’s – Ultra Facial Cleanser | Price: $20.00
I received the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser from a friend earlier this year. Prior to trying this product, I had not tried a cleanser from the long-running brand.
The Ultra Facial Cleanser promises to thoroughly cleanse the skin to remove dirt, oils, and makeup, with a formula that is gentle and won’t strip the skin. After using up my entire tube of cleanser, I can confidently say that this does do a good job at removing excess oils and dirt without drying out my skin. However, I do not feel that this product delivers on the promise to thoroughly remove makeup. I still needed to remove my makeup with makeup remover prior to washing my face, so if you are interested in trying this product, I still recommend taking off your makeup prior to washing your face.
The texture of the Ultra Facial Cleanser fascinated me because of its thick, gel-like consistency. I’ve never used any cleanser with a similar formulation, so that made this very interesting to try.
Will I purchase this in the future? I am unlikely to purchase this with my own money – not because I disliked the product, but because I want to transition my skincare to being entirely “clean.”
Origins – Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash Mini (Travel Size) | Price: $11.75
Normally Origins’ is one of my favorite skincare brands because they make high-quality skincare that is relatively inexpensive. The brand’s famous GinZing Refreshing Scrub Cleanser is one of my most repurchased face washes of all time, so I am sad to say that the Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash Mini was one of the worst cleansers I’ve ever used.
I received the Checks and Balances face wash in a gift set for Christmas last year. Due to the tiny bottle size, this cleanser quickly became my go-to travel face wash, but I hated packing this for travel because I didn’t like the formula.
Although the Frothy Face Wash delivers on its promise to gently cleanse the skin, it didn’t leave my skin feeling totally refreshed. The face wash literally made my face squeaky clean… in other words, if I ran my fingers across my face after washing with this cleanser, my skin literally made squeaking noises. As a result, I felt like this face wash stripped my skin and left a weird film.
Not only will I not purchase this face wash with my own money, but I will not recommend this to anyone else.
Nature Republic – Jeju Sparkling Cleansing Tissue (5 pack) |Price: $0.97 (value of the 5 pack)
Like so many other products included in this summer’s empties, I received the Nature Republic Jeju Sparkling Cleansing Tissue in my Beauty Con Haul Bag. To cut to the chase, I will not repurchase these wipes because I’m trying to move away from single-use items like this. However, if you do like facial towelettes to remove makeup, these are inexpensive and leave the skin feeling refreshed.
Neutrogena – Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes | Price: $12.49
The Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes are a cult favorite for a reason – they are the best makeup remover wipes at the drug store. Makeup melts off the face with these wipes. I may repurchase these for upcoming travel, but I don’t plan to use these wipes on a daily basis because I want to move away from these types of single-use items.
Simple – Cleansing Micellar Water | Price: $9.99
At the time I purchased this Simple cleanser, micellar waters were still very new and overly hyped in the US marketplace. Having disliked the Garnier micellar water due to the film it left on the skin, I wanted to try another brand before deciding that micellar waters weren’t for me.
The Simple Micellar Water became an instant must-have because it seemingly wiped away my makeup with minimal effort. I didn’t have to tug at my skin to remove waterproof eye makeup; I didn’t wince in pain if some micellar water got in my eye; I didn’t feel a film on my face after wiping away my makeup.
However, after two and a half years of repurchasing this product, I’ve grown tired of it and am less wowed by its ability to remove my makeup. Towards the end of this particular bottle, I noticed that makeup didn’t slide off my skin anymore. Instead of a gentle swipe across the face, I had to tug at my eyes to remove eyeliner and mascara. In the mornings, I woke up with a smudge of black residue around my eyes from the products that weren’t effectively removed from the eye area.
I will not swear off micellar waters forever, but I’m ready for a break. Since September, I’ve been using another drugstore makeup remover which is cheaper, but more effective at removing makeup.
Say Yes To – Cucumber Hypoallergenic Facial Wipes | Price: $4.29
Similarly to the Simple Micellar Water, the Say Yes to Cucumber Wipes are a former love that I am unlikely to repurchase. As previously mentioned, I’m trying to move away from single-use products, so I only plan to buy makeup remover wipes for travel purposes moving forward.
My struggle with the Cucumber Wipes is that they become less effective as they age. Compared to Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipes, the Cumber Wipes have a very short shelf life. They dry out much quicker and become less effective at removing makeup. By the time I used the last makeup wipe in this pack, I had to tug at my skin to take my makeup off.
7th Heaven – Pink Guava, Dead Sea, and Coconut Clay Peel-Off Face Masks
The 7th Heaven Masks, sold at retailers like Walmart and CVS, are extremely affordable, but not particularly effective. As a whole, I do not like single-use masks because I generally find them useless. Additionally, these masks took forever to dry down. even when standing directly in front of a fan for ten minutes straight.
That being said, I was thoroughly impressed that I could pull each mask off in one piece. I’ve used high-end masks that cannot be removed as easily as these masks.
When I was in middle school, I used to love the 7th Heaven masks for sleepovers because they were super cheap and fun to use with friends, but I would not have bought (or used) these masks, had they not come in my Beauty Con Bag.
Sheet Masks (and one cream mask)
Avatara – Light Up Face Mask ($3.00)
Clabiane – PGA Aqua-Mask ($2.50)
I received each of the above mix of masks in my Beauty Con bag. I would not purchase any of the above products because I do not like single-use masks. I find them to be ineffective and generally wasteful.
*Note: The Joah Peel Off Black Mask actually comes in a tube when you purchase the full size, as does the Masque Bar mask, but I still am unlikely to purchase either item this since I have other masks I’m working through at the moment.
Origins – Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask (Travel Size) | Price: $12.50
The Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask is one of my most repurchased beauty staples because it does a great job at deep cleaning my pores without being overly harsh on my skin. When experiencing a bad breakout, I even use this mask as a spot treatment to reduce the size and redness of my acne. When used as a spot treatment for several days, my breakout is noticeably diminished.
I will likely buy this mask again in the future, but I am unlikely to buy another mask in 2018 unless I work through the bulk of the remaining masks in my collection.
Origins – Drink Up Intensive Mask (Travel Size) | Price: $13.50
The Drink Up Intensive Mask was surprisingly awesome. I typically hate hydrating, creamy face products because my sensitive skin can’t handle the heaviness of those products. Nevertheless, once I ran out of my nighttime facial oils, I turned to this mask for my nighttime hydration.
Unlike my facial oils, I used this product three times a week to provide my skin lasting hydration without clogged pores. To minimize any potential for a breakout, I gently pat the mask onto my face and neck. As a whole, Drink Up Mask provided maximum hydration, but with a light formula.
If I buy another moisturizing mask, I am likely to pick this up again. However, I would rather return to using facial oils at night.
Yes to – Tomatoes Anti-Pollution Detoxifying Charcoal Bubbling Paper Mask |Price: $3.59
As mentioned in several of the above reviews, I do not like sheet masks. I find them to be wasteful and ineffective. This mask is no different, however, given the unique experience while using, I wanted to write a separate mini review. The Anti-Pollution Detoxifying mask produces an interesting sensation was the mask starts to bubble up on the skin. If you’re interested in the experience of face masks rather than the actual results of a face mask, then the Tomatoes Anti-Pollution Detoxifying Charcoal Bubbling Paper Mask could be for you.
I do not plan to purchase this, nor would I have tried this had it not come in my BeautyCon Bag.
Moisturizers & Sunscreens:
Cerave – Daily Moisturizing Cream | Price: $16.99
This is THE holy grail moisturizer for Accutane users for a reason – it is exceptionally hydrating and scent free. (Note: I am not on Accutane.) In my experience, this is the best moisturizing cream at the drug store. However, I do not like using this product during the summer because it is too heavy for the hot, humid New England air.
The cream comes in a thick jar, which makes application easy. I prefer jars over pumps but can admit that the packaging does not make it ideal to share this cream with someone else, nor is this very conducive to travel. Furthermore, this is one of the pricier creams at the drugstore – but given how frequently stores like CVS and Target offer coupons, the price is not a deterrent.
Once I finish my current Burt’s Bees moisturizer, I will likely purchase another Cerave Moisturizer.
Mamonde – Floral Hydro Gel Cream | Price: $7.53
The Mamonde Floral Hydro Gel Cream promises to smoothen the under eye area to make skin supple. Honestly, I didn’t find this eye cream any better than any other eye cream that I’ve used over the years. In fact, this eye cream stung when I got it in the eye and the floral scent was overpowering.
Mamonde is a new brand under the Amore Pacific umbrella of brands sold exclusively at Ulta. I received this sample for free at Beauty Con. I would not purchase this in the future.
Neutrogena – Sheer Zinc Dry Touch Mineral Sunscreen (SPF 50) | Price: $10.99
I hated this Neutrogena sunscreen with a fiery passion. To cut to the chase: it was thick, sticky, and hard to spread over the skin. It stained my dark clothing, left a white caste wherever it was applied, and yet, was ineffective at the beach. I will never buy this again.
Related: Mid-Year Skincare Empties
Aveda – Cherry Almond Softening Shampoo & Conditioner (Deluxe Sample) | Price: $17.00 (each, full size)
Prior to trying Cherry Almond Softening Shampoo and Conditioner, I never tried anything from Aveda. Although they are known for high-quality products, I never felt compelled to go out of my way to shop at an Aveda store, because their products seem to be catered to an older demographic. But like so many of the aforementioned empties from this summer, I received these samples during Beauty Con. Therefore, I was eager to try these products.
The cherry scent of the products hit you as soon as you begin to work the products on your scalp and into your hair. Personally, I found the fragrance to be too strong, but I did feel that the products made my hair feel smooth and soft.
I wouldn’t buy this particular shampoo or conditioner in the future, but I’ll get into that (most likely) in my Fall Empties when I finish the full-size bottles I received for free.
L’OREAL – EverSleek Sulfate-Free Keratin Caring Conditioner | Price: $7.99
The L’OREAL Everlseek Sulfate Free Keratin Caring Conditioner is one of the best conditioners I’ve tried at the drugstore. Not only did this conditioner smell great, but it made my hair feel smooth and soft without stripping the color from it. Also, it was great for my thin hair and it added moisture without weighing the hair down or making it look greasy.
Despite my love for this conditioner, I did not love the packaging it came in. From an aesthetic standpoint, the holographic packaging is quite beautiful, but the bottle itself was difficult to use as more and more product was used up. By the end, it was extremely difficult to squeeze out the product. However, packaging flaws aside, I would definitely repurchase this conditioner. I am also intrigued to try the shampoo.
Lush – Karma Komba Bar Shampoo | Price: $11.95
I lucked into receiving the Karma Komba Bar Shampoo – I got it because my sister bought it and hated it. Karma Komba is supposed to help keep your hair smooth and your scalp soothed. As someone who religiously uses the Jumping Juniper (which is fantastic for the scalp, albeit very drying), I really loved this product because I felt like it made my scalp happy without drying out my hair.
Sadly, this shampoo bar met a bad end. I left the shampoo bar in my regular Lush tin, uncovered, not realizing that one of my roommates was going to use my shower that day. As a result, the shampoo bar was left soaking in water for 12 hours, so it completely dissolved.
One con with this shampoo (and in many of Lush’s hair products) is that they use harsh sulfates that are known to make the hair and scalp dry and strip out hair coloring. Although I wish this shampoo were free of sulfates, I am happy with the way it made my scalp feel. I will definitely buy this again in the future.
The Mane Choice – Green Tea & Carrot Deep Strengthening & Restore Mask | Price: $1.12
Unlike my beloved Lush haircare, the Mane Choice Green Tea & Carrot Deep Strengthening & Restore Mask set my scalp on fire. No, it didn’t burn, but after using this mask my scalp became badly inflamed. It itched for days. Had I not received this at Beauty Con, I would have never purchased it and I will NEVER purchase this again.
Paul Mitchell – The Shampoo & Conditioner (Hotel Shampoo) | Price: Free
I would never go out of my way to buy Paul Mitchell haircare. I find that the products are expensive and irritating to the scalp – even the Tea Tree line, which was formulated specifically for sensitive scalps.
Sexy Hair – Tri-Wheat Leave-In Conditioner | Price: $17.95
The Sexy Hair Tri-Wheat Leave-In Conditioner does exactly what it promises – it adds lightweight moisture and detangles. I cherished using this conditioner because it made a positive difference in terms of hair fall out when I brushed through my wet, tangled hair. My preferred method for using this conditioner was to spray my brush and then work the brush through my hair.
I would be interested in buying this product again, but not before I work through other leave-in products that I was gifted.
RELATED: Mid-Year Haircare Empties
Overall, what the above list of empties shows me is that while Haul Bags are meant to “wow” and while beauty-related gifts are nice, I’d much rather purchase my own items than be gifted things I don’t want. Also, don’t get me wrong – I am so grateful to have people gift me these items, but working through them is proving to be overwhelming.
More than any of the gift I’ve received, the Beauty Con bag has been particularly troubling to me. The sheer volume of items in the Hauler Bag that I received while in L.A. nearly negated all of my 2018 downsizing progress, but the makeup hoarder in me couldn’t resist the urge to keep many of the items that came in my bag. So far, I’ve worked through the majority of the skincare products I received, but I still have so much makeup. As a result, I took a look through my collection again and gave even more items away to friends or family.
2019 better be the year that I finish products that I actually love!
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about your tastes and preferences based on the items you finish or declutter? Please share with me in the comments below.