As a beauty blogger and lover, I’m constantly trying out new cosmetics, skincare and hair care products. However, over the past 2-3 years, I’ve been attempting to reign in my shopping and work through what I own through a comprehensive inventory system, periodic No-Buys, and yearlong Project Pans.
The below products are beauty items that I am happy to have finished over the past 3 months. Although the total number of products finished is not greater than the number of new items that entered my collection, I still view these finished products as a small victory. Please keep reading to see what I used up this Summer!
Bobbi Brown – Primer Radiance Plus SPF35 Deluxe Mini | $5.00 USD
Although Bobbi Brown is an OG beauty brand and renowned makeup artist, I’ve tried very little from the brand so I was excited to try this Deluxe Sample of the Primer Radiance Plus SPF35. All in all, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this primer because of the way it provided my skin with such a luminous glow without looking too shiny or feeling greasy. This primer worked well under foundation or on its own.
L’Oreal True Match Foundation (N3 Natural Buff) | $6.99 USD
The L’Oreal True Match Foundation has stood the test of time for many reasons: it is affordable, it has an expansive shade range, and it is flattering on so many skin types. This medium coverage foundation makes skin look like skin in the most radiant, natural way. I am not planning to repurchase at this time because I have too many foundations, but I’d consider in the future. Check out my full review here.
Maybelline – Age Rewind Concealer (120N & Brightener) | $9.99 USD
The Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer is a cult classic for many reasons. This affordable concealer brightens and conceals the under eye without sinking into fine lines, caking up, or creasing throughout the day. Although these have been my staples for many years, I haven’t repurchased these concealers yet because I’ve been on a concealer kick… testing out tons of drugstore and high-end formulas.
Milani – Prime Shield Face Primer – Mattifying & Pore Minimizing | $8.97 USD (CF)
Although Milani is one of my favorite brands at the drug store, I had mixed feelings about the Prime Shield Face Primer because I didn’t find it very magnifying. The Primer did minimize the appearance of my pores and played well under foundations or worn overtop a moisturizer, but I wasn’t wowed like I normally am by Milani.
Milani -Make It Last Setting Spray Prime + Correct + SE | $9.99 USD (CF)
I purchased the Milani Make It Last Setting Spray at Ulta after trying a free travel size version of the spray that I received at Beautycon L.A. 2018. While I do enjoy this setting spray and think that it isn’t bad for the price, I don’t find that it melts makeup quite as nicely as my MAC Fix-Plus or that it sets makeup as well as my Urban Decay All-Nighter setting sprays. For this reason, I’m not in a rush to repurchase this spray.
Milk Makeup – KUSH High Volume Mascara Mini | $12.00 USD (CF)
The Milk Makeup KUSH High Volume Mascara is my current holy grail mascara. I love how this mascara lifts, volumizes, and lengthens my lashes. Although this mascara is not waterproof, it lasts all day without smudging or crumbling. I’ve already repurchased a full-size of this mascara.
Ofra – Micro Makeup Fixer (Travel Size) | $7.33 USD (CF)
I purchased the Ofra Makeup Fixer as a part of a mini travel set that contained a mini of the Pillow Talk Highlighter, Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in the shade Treasure, and the Micro Fixer Setting Spray. Although I only purchased the set because I wanted the Pillow Talk Highlighter, I was pleasantly surprised by the Ofra Setting Spray’s ability to hold my makeup in place. However, I still prefer my Urban Decay All Nighter, Mac Fix-Plus, and Smashbox Long Lasting Setting Sprays.
Physician’s Formula – Butter Bronzer | $17.00 USD (CF)
The Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer is my ultimate favorite bronzer out of all the high end and drugstore bronzers I’ve ever tried. I am SO excited to finish the Butter Bronzer because this is the first Bronzer I’ve completely used up! I will 100% repurchase this in the future because I do miss it!
POP Beauty – Kajal Pen (Sooty Black) | $6.00 USD (CF)
POP Beauty is a sister brand to the beloved, Pixi Beauty. I received several free Kajal pens at Beautycon LA 2018 and Beautycon NYC 2019, but would not repurchase these liners due to the extremely limited retail distribution.
Sephora – Brow Enhancer Matte Brow Highlighter | $12.75 USD
The Sephora Brow Enhancer Matte Brow Highlighter Pencil has been one of the most steadfast beauty buys in my collection given that I purchased this product in 2017 and have used it nearly every day for the past 2 years. At $12.75 USD, this was well worth the price tag. That being said, I’m not planning to repurchase because I received a free matte brow bone highlighter from The GrowGal in my Beautycon NYC 2019 Makegood package.
Urban Decay – Mini Quick Fix Hydra Charged Complexion Prep Priming Spray | $4.00 USD (CF)
At Beautycon LA, I received a mini of the Urban Decay Quick Fix Hydra Charged Complexion Prep Priming Spray. Although this felt pleasant on the skin, I didn’t notice a huge difference when using this prior to applying my foundation so I will not repurchase.
Bath and Bodyworks – AT THE BEACH Ultra Shea Body Cream | $13.00 USD
I finally finished the Bath and Bodyworks At The Beach Ultra Shea Body Cream after receiving this as a Christmas gift earlier this year. The moisturizer was fine – it didn’t provide the most long-lasting hydration nor did I love the scent. Although this is quite affordable, I wouldn’t repurchase because I am unsure how I feel about Bath and Bodyworks’ parent company, L Brands.
Beauty Blender – Blendercleanser Solid Trial Size | $8.00 USD (CF)
The Beauty Blender Blendercleanser Solid sponge cleanser is ridiculously expensive… but it is worth the price tag. Although the cleanser may look like a normal bar of soap, it melts away soaked in and caked-on makeup with the utmost ease. It makes cleaning my makeup sponges easy and quick. I am planning to purchase again in the future.
Bioderma – Sensibio H20 Micellar Water | $9.90 USD
The Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water made me remember how much I love micellar waters and how well they work for removing makeup on my oily skin. This left me feeling refreshed and clean, but I will not repurchase because it is not Cruelty-Free. P.S. although I am not Cruelty-Free, I am trying to make CF options where possible.
Boscia – Cactus Water Moisturizer Sample | $11.98 USD
I received a free deluxe sample of the Boscia Cactus Water Moisturizer this past Spring. Compared to other gel-cream moisturizers I’ve used from brands like Belif, Dr. Jart, Peter Thomas Roth, and Neutrogena, Boscia’s Cactus Water Moisturizer is much thicker in consistency. I was pleased with how the Cactus Water Moisturizer left my skin feeling plump and hydrated without making me break out.
Dove – Body Wash Mousse with Rose Oil | $5.99 USD
I received the Dove Body Wash Mousse with Rose Oil in my Beautycon NYC ’19 Haul Bag. The Dove Mousse felt hydrating and smelled beautifully of rose. I wouldn’t buy this on my own, because I don’t typically buy body mousses or gels like this.
First Aid Beauty – Ultra Repair Cannabis & Oat Dry Oil | $4.80 USD
I received he First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cannabis & Oat Dry Oil Mini as part of a skincare sampler at Sephora. While I did enjoy this oil, I did not reach for it enough to feel inspired to repurchase it.
Ren – Mini Evercalm Anti-Redness Serum | $16.00 USD (CF)
I purchased a mini of the Ren Evercalm Anti-Redness Serum as part of a value set at Sephora early in 2019 because I heard great things about the brand. I’m glad to say that the Anti-Redness Serum lived up to the hype. While I don’t have Rosacea, I do have sensitive skin that is prone to irritation and has redness from old acne marks. The Anti-Redness Serum worked to give my skin an overall more even skin tone.
Ren – Mini Evercalm Gentile Cleansing Milk | $7.00 USD (CF)
I was hoping to love the Red Evercalm Gentile Cleansing Milk, but ultimately felt unsure about this ultra-gentile cleanser. Based on my skin needs and makeup habits, the Evercalm Gentile Cleansing Milk did not do enough to thoroughly clean my skin and remove impurities and makeup residue. I still prefer the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser.
Ren – Mini Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream | $13.50 USD (CF)
The Mini Global Protection Day Cream was a surprise hit. Normally my skin does not respond well to cream-based moisturizers (especially for daily wear), but this lightweight cream moisturizer worked well to lock in moisture without clogging my pores or causing acne.
Ren – Mini Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask | $5.00 USD (CF)
Ren is a clean beauty brand I’ve been excited to explore this past year. The Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask was a lifesaver for my skin when I was badly broken out and my face looked blotchy and inflamed in areas. Would certainly consider purchasing a full-size.
Mario Badescu – Lavender Facial Spray | $7.00 USD (CF)
After years of reading and watching rave reviews about Mario Badescu, I jumped at the chance to try one of the brand’s famous facial sprays when I saw minis on sale at Nordstrom Rack. Unfortunately, I didn’t love this spray because the nozzle squirts out the spray in an uneven and inconsistent way.
Neutrogena – Hydro Boost Hydrating Overnight Gel Mask | $3.49 USD
Like so many things I’ve finished or decluttered, I received the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Overnight Gel Mask at Beautycon, specifically from CVS Health at Beautycon L.A. To-date, I’ve enjoyed and been impressed with everything I’ve tried from the Neutrogena Hydro Boost line and wholeheartedly believe that this line is one of the BEST affordable options at the drugstore. The Overnight Gel Mask feels like a thick gel moisturizer that is left on overnight to lock in hydration and leave the skin feeling supple…and it does! Would certainly purchase.
sheaMoisture – African Black Soap Problem Skin Face Mask | $5.99 USD (CF)
I purchased the African Black Soap Face Mask from sheaMoisture at nearly a year ago at Marshalls. This affordable, cruelty-free brand offered a mask that seemed like it could be a dupe for the Origin’s Black Charcoal Mask. While this mask does work to clarify the skin, it is by no means a dupe for the Origin’s Black Charcoal Mask.
Simple – Facial Cleansing Wipes (7 Pack) | $2.99 USD (CF)
Like many of the products on this list, the Simple Facial Cleansing Wipes were a freebie that I received from Beautycon. These wipes were gentle, but effective at removing makeup. However, given that I try not to purchase single-use makeup wipes, I would not repurchase.
SkinThesis by Dermstore – Daily Cleanser
Like so many other items on this empties list, I received the SkinThesis Daily Cleanser in my Beautycon LA ’18 Haul Bag. Weirdly enough, I can’t find this product anywhere online so I’m not sure if this wash is still sold or whether it is cruelty-free. This wash lasted me months and was gentle, but effective at cleansing the skin.
Sol de Janeiro – Bum Bum Cream Deluxe Sample | $6.67 USD (CF)
Once again, I hate that I love Sol de Janeiro due to the brand’s expensive price point. The Bum Bum Cream is a lightweight moisturizer that packs a punch. The cream locks in lasting hydration and gives the appearance of more radiant, firm looking skin. Additionally, the cream has a deliciously warm, sweet, coconut smell that lingers on the skin. I would certainly repurchase a full size of this cream.
My forever disclaimer: due to my scalp issues, I wash my hair nearly every day and am constantly switching between shampoos so that my scalp doesn’t suffer from excessive product buildup. Some of these finished hair products have been in use since last year, and I’m finally finishing them now. I didn’t fly through all of the below in a 3-month period.
Amica – Triple Rx Shampoo | $9.99 USD (CF)
Amica’s Triple Rx Shampoo was an amazing find at Marshalls (for my European friends, the sister company to T.J. Maxx/T.K. Maxx). To my knowledge, it appears that this shampoo has been discontinued or repackaged, so I cannot repurchase this exact product. However, I will happily try more from Amica. P.S. this was the BEST smelling Shampoo I’ve ever used.
Briogeo – Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Micro-exfoliating Shampoo | $42.00 USD (CF)
I purchased the Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Micro-exfoliating Shampoo at the start of 2019 because I have an incredibly sensitive scalp. This shampoo worked wonders for my scalp by cleaning it without stripping it. However, I will caution that potential users should only use this shampoo 1-2X a week so that your hair doesn’t become dried out.. and because of how expensive this is. I wish the shampoo came in more traditional packaging, but I will still repurchase.
P.S. This brand is not only Cruelty-Free, but it is a certified clean brand at Sephora.
DNA Hair Tools – Argan Shampoo & Conditioner | $45.00 USD (each)
I received the DNA Hair Tools Argan Shampoo & Conditioner as freebies with a purchase of a straightening brush at Beautycon NYC this past year. Surprisingly, this shampoo and conditioner worked well on my hair but I would not repurchase given the steep price tag.
Love Beauty and Planet – Coconut Milk & White Jasmine Shampoo | $6.89 USD (CF)
When I first received the Love Beauty and Planet Coconut Milk & White Jasmine Shampoo at Beautycon NYC 2019, I was super salty given that my hair isn’t exactly curly. That being said, this Shampoo is wavy hair-friendly and made my hair look thick and luscious with defined waves with the body. Definitely planning to repurchase.
sheaMoisture – 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Leave-In Treatment | $12.99 USD (CF)
Like so many other items on this list, I received the sheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Leave-In Treatment at Beautycon L.A. in 2018. This is an amazing, lightweight moisturizer that is super affordable and Cruelty-Free. Would certainly repurchase in the future.
System Professional – Volumize Shampoo | $37.99 USD
I received the System Professional Volumize Shampoo for testing via Influenster. Let me tell you: this shampoo is a thin-haired gal’s best friend! This shampoo really does add mega volume to the hair and cleans it without stripping it or irritating my scalp.
Summer Empties Total
Products Used Up: 39
Product Value: $483.69 USD
Final Thoughts on My Summer Empties
Per usual, I finished way more skincare and haircare than color cosmetics… simply because personal hygiene products like shampoo or moisturizer are used much more liberally and frequently than color cosmetics.
Similarly to previous empties round ups, the biggest overall issue that I’m having is that I’m bringing in products way quicker than I’m finishing up products. Therefore, while I finished 13 products per month, on average, I am bringing in a far larger quantity.
Moreover, I find it telling that much of what is included in this week’s roundup is a product that I wouldn’t repurchase right away OR that I wouldn’t buy at all. In fact, so much of what I used up was either a free mini or sample or something I received as part of a haul bag/gift bag. This begs the question: are hauler bags for beauty events really worth it, if I don’t love enough of the products?
Have you tried any of these products before? What products did you use up this Summer? Please let me know in the comments below.