Year End Empties: Mini Reviews 2017
Reading watching and writing year end empties, favorites etc. is literally my favorite thing ever in this time. I love knowing what people have used up, have loved for a while and you end up getting some great recommendations and insight on products you may want to try yourself for the next year. So that’s what we’re doing today.
Year End Empties: Haircare
We’re going to talk about two shampoos, one conditioner and two dry shampoos in this year end empties.
I didn’t buy this myself. Some of my friends were living with me for a while and they left behind this shampoo and I just ended up finishing it. This shampoo really wasn’t anything special. I usually used it maybe once a week as a kind of clarifying shampoo to give my hair a clean slate. It didn’t dry out my hair completely, but I personally wouldn’t utilize this as my regular shampoo. I must say though, all Pantene products smell really good. If you were looking for an inexpensive shampoo that is also good (good, not great) and one you can alternate in your shower, then this is a good option.
Miscellaneous: Available at most drugstores and retails for approx. $5.00.
Living Proof is a very well known high end haircare brand that is available at Sephora. But somehow what keeps happening is that no matter how many of their products I try, I just don’t seem to love most of them. This shampoo is the same. I posted about this shampoo on my Instagram and every time I do, someone always comments about how much they love this shampoo. I just don’t. I don’t see anything special in it at all, I don’t find that it gives me any volume, and it performs as any average shampoo would. In fact, I find that it dries out my hair just a touch. But to be fair, my hair has been drier than normal this season, so that may be partly this shampoo and partly just my hair. In either case, I just wouldn’t want to spend $20 something bucks on it because I don’t think it’s worth the price tag.
Miscellaneous: Retails for $25 and is available at places like Ulta, Sephora etc.
This is another product that is quite popular in the online sphere. I did like it. In fact I loved it. But, only during summer. Or I could use this during winter, but I would also need something much more potent just because like I said, my hair has been drier than normal. Anyway, so this is a deep conditioner that is supposed to work on your hair within 3 minutes. I used this almost every time I washed my hair and it did work really well. I find that it works better the longer you leave it in. My hair was always a touch more manageable every time I used this, it felt conditioned and my hair was less tangled than when I didn’t use this. And the most mind blowing fact is that this costs literally $3 and lasted me a good long while. Definitely one to have in your shower cabinet. I am using a couple other conditioners right now, but I would repurchase this in a jiffy.
Miscellaneous: This retails for $3 and is available at a variety of drugstores.
Another Pantene appearance in this year end empties. This dry shampoo gained a lot of fame when Tati (Glamlifeguru) mentioned this in her drugstore dry shampoo showdown video. Since then I had wanted to try this. One day when I ran out of my beloved Batiste, I remembered to pick this Pantene one just to try. I’ll tell you right off the bat – this is NOT as good as Batiste for me. However, it is really good. It really is completely invisible, doesn’t have a white cast. I found that this was more of a styling dry shampoo than an actual oil absorbing dry shampoo if that makes sense. Like this would juj my hair up, give it a little bit of volume, and would absorb some of the oil. However, say if I needed dry shampoo on the third day, this is not what I would use. I would only use Batiste for like true true oil absorbency; the Pantene one I would use on first and second day hair max. So it’s a good dry shampoo, but it’s just not the best. One con is that this smells strongly of alcohol when you first spray this in your hair. That does go away eventually. I have a whole dry shampoo comparison post that I’ve done in the past that you can check out if you’d like to. I do need to update that post with some of the recent dry shampoos I’ve tried.
Miscellaneous: This retails for $5.50 at most drugstores.
Year End Empties: Skincare
There’s a whole bunch of skincare in my year end empties. I’m talking about a cleanser, a mask, two toners, one serum, two moisturizers and a sheet mask.
Kicking off the skincare category in the year end empties is an oldie but a goodie. I know I know, there’s a whole skincare community who’ll come behind me with flaming torches for saying that I like this scrub. But to hell with that. I say to each their own. I love this scrub. Of course I don’t use this every single day of my life. I use this once or max two times a week. I have the kind of skin that dulls down easily and I need something to reset it once a week. Chemical exfoliants are something I use two times a week on days when I’m not physically exfoliating. So basically, in order to avoid over exfoliation, I usually exfoliate about four times a week. Which works perfectly for my skin. Anyway, back to this scrub. The St Ives Scrub is very popular, lot of us have seen and used it at one point. The apricot scrub is effective, not too harsh and does a good job of exfoliating and brightening my skin.
Miscellaneous: It retails for $3.59. So super affordable and effective.
This mask is literally my no.1 favorite mask ever. I have never used a mask quite like this. It is a clay mask but it isn’t drying, it is the MOST comfortable clay mask I have ever used. You can leave this on your face for a whole hour without your face feeling like it’s going to crack right off. It is tea tree oil based, so this mask works wonders for clarifying your skin and treating breakouts. It says on the tub that breakouts are minimized with regular use of this mask and I completely agree. I used to use this mask very religiously and it still lasted me a good chunk of time. Almost 10 months I think. You don’t need to slather on a whole lot for this mask to be effective. I have a whole blog post dedicated to this mask where I explain exactly what this has done for my skin, so please feel free to check that out. It is my most read blog post since the day I started my blog.
Miscellaneous: On it’s own, this mask is not expensive. However, The Body Shop is always doing 40% off promos, so just wait for one and get this then. In fact, at the time of writing it is currently on sale for $10. It regularly retails for $17.
The first toner in the year end empties is a product that was recommended by someone on Instagram. I saw this in CVS one day and immediately remembered that person’s recommendation and picked it up. I will start off by saying this. This is literally one of the BEST smelling products I have ever used. It smells so delicious – like a heavenly mixture of roses and lychees. It is an alcohol free toner that has some of the best ingredients. It’s free of a bunch of nasties like parabens, SLS, artificial colors etc. I used this as my morning toner every single day. And let me tell you. It was an absolute joy to use this every morning and smell the delicious aroma. Like any good toner, this helped to give my skin an extra clean feel while hydrating it and balancing the pH of my skin after cleansing. I take a little bit on a cotton pad and sweep it across the face. If I didn’t have two toners in my skincare routine currently, I would definitely repurchase this in a heartbeat. Actually I will. As soon as my morning toner runs out, this is what I’m getting again. Not enough people know about this product and I really wish they would.
Miscellaneous: It retails for $15.00 and is available at CVS.
Second toner product in the year end empties are the Nip n Fab glycolic pads. I first learned about acid exfoliation via Caroline Hirons of course. This was one of her recommendations in the acid toner category. And since this was one of the most affordable recs on her list, I tried these first of course. This is my second time trying this product. The first time I tried these, they broke me out. I had heard that a lot of people had had that experience. So then I switched to using the Dragon’s Blood Fix version of the pads from the same brand. I liked those but those were quite gentle. So I figured that maybe my skin had finally built up tolerance to acids and so I gave these ones a shot again. And voila! It worked. These were the only acid pads I was using on my skin for the last 60 days. These are quite good in that they are not too harsh. They can be used every night in your routine without the fear of you overdoing it. These are like any other acid peel in the sense that they exfoliate the dead skin on the face and leave your complexion a little brighter and smoother. They perked up my skin. Pretty standard stuff. I will say this, I didn’t find that these did much for my texture issues though. Like I had no dry flaky skin, but my bumpy skin was still bumpy. It didn’t clear up my skin from its texture. Then again, nothing has cleared my texture yet. Mostly because I have a shit diet.
Miscellaneous: This retails for $14.99 and is available at Ulta.
This was a bit of a peculiar moisturizer for me. I started off really liking it, but towards the end I realized that I was using it mainly as a heavy primer. So the thing with this moisturizer is that it tends to be heavy and not really sink in. The reason that I like that sometimes is that with my dry skin and the winter, sometimes I do really like the feeling of having product sit on my skin. It makes my skin feel soothed and protected. Of course during the warmer months, this was definitely way too heavy and then I just ended up using this as my primer. Because whenever I wear makeup, if I don’t have heavily moisturized skin, my makeup starts to make my skin drier and drier over the course of the day and then my skin looks crappy my makeup looks crappy and all hell breaks loose. In any case, when it comes to repurchasing it, I don’t think I will. I have a ton of other moisturizers anyway and I don’t want to have to buy this just as a primer because I have all kinds of primers also. So no repurchasing this product in the foreseeable future at least.
Miscellaneous: Retails for $19.99 and is available at Ulta.
I think most everyone is familiar with this product because this has been raved about time and time again. And I finally got to try it this year. And I have to say. This is one of those products that not only deserves the hype it gets but it needs to get an Oscar award equivalent for beauty. Like, an Allure Best Of award is not enough for this product. This the ONLY product that will ever save your skin in the winter say if you lived in the Scandinavian mountains. I was on vacation for the better part of December in Utah and from the moment I stepped into Utah, my skin, hair, nails everything flipped a switch. It’s like all the moisture had been sucked right out from my body. So believe me when I say, this was the only product that was able to actually moisturize and literally quench my skin in the harsh winter. And I am so in love with this product that I don’t care what season it is, I’m going to keep using it. I only emptied a sample size of this right now, but I already am using a deluxe sample right now and also bought a full size during Black Friday. I am not going to put myself in a position where I don’t have this product. Oh and you know what? Another time where this has saved my skin is when I’ve been out and been drinking a little. When you get home, you’re so tired, you don’t wanna do a whole big skincare routine. So anytime I’m in that situation, I’ve been removing my makeup quickly and slathering this on. It’s literally just two steps and the next day my skin doesn’t feel dehydrated and gross from all the drinking. I could rave on and on but you get the gist. This might be my favorite product in all of my year end empties. Please believe the hype and try this if you haven’t already.
Miscellaneous: This retails for $27.00 for 3.4 oz. Anytime Ulta gives you a 20% off prestige coupon, try and get this if you want. It’s definitely worth 27 bucks, but if you’re like me and are going to repurchase this over and over, you wanna be able to save some moolah.
Took me exactly a year to finish this serum and that was with good and consistent use. So you really only need little at a time. This serum is a very good ‘all-round’ serum.
A highly active concentrate of advanced hyaluronic complexes, next-generation peptides and biotechnological technologies to target rehydration, while improving the look of lines, wrinkles, sagging skin and textural damage. – Deciem
Every time in my routine if I have used some sort of intense exfoliators before and need a simple , hydrating serum, this has been it. I don’t know that it does much for lines, wrinkles and texture. I don’t notice my lines and wrinkles (if any) closely enough and I don’t think it did anything for my texture. Again like I said, that is also in part to my diet. What this serum did do is do wonders for my dryness and dehydrated dull looking skin. However, I now have a couple other hydrating serums that I’ve collected in the past year, so at this moment I’m not looking to run out and get it. I will, eventually.
Miscellaneous: This is a good serum for a good price. It retails for $38.00 which really is peanuts as far as the cost of serums goes these days. And a quick tip. Hylamide is available at CVS, so you can always mix and match your coupons and rewards and stuff to get this for cheaper. I remember when I bought it, Hylamide was 25% off at CVS that week plus I bundled my rewards.
The last skincare item in the year end empties is my favorite sheet mask discovery ever. If you are an avid sheet mask user, you know that most sheet masks are really just for temporary hydration purposes and nothing more. This is one of the only sheet masks I’ve found that had any actual visible and semi-lasting effect on my skin. Mainly, what this sheet mask does is brighten my skin like no sheet mask has been able to. I’ve tried several sheet masks from this brand, none have done what this does. And I think the reason is the ingredient – resveratrol. There have been several studies on resveratrol over the years and it’s gained popularity due to its anti aging and heart healthy benefits. When it comes to skin though. While resveratrol is definitely good, if you apply it to the skin like in the case of this sheet mask – the effects are of course not going to be long lasting. In a study where participants took resveratrol supplements for 60 days, the participants noticed a significant improvement in their skin. But that’s an internal intake and over a period of 60 days. With this sheet mask, I found that my skin looked good and brighter for a day. Then of course it went back to normal. But still, if you have an event coming up or if you use this mask as a consistent part of your skincare routine, your skin should greatly benefit from it.
Miscellaneous: I always buy my Crème shop sheet masks from TJ Maxx because they’re much much cheaper there. However, the downside to that is that you never know which version will be available in the store. However, these are also available at The Crème Shop’s website as well (which I’ve linked in the product title). These retail for $3 per mask on their website or $5 for 5 masks at TJ Maxx.
Year End Empties: Bodycare
You obviously saw this coming. You know my year end empties post would be a sham if it didn’t have at least one of the BBW lotions. Honestly I think I empty at least one of these in a month. Sadly, because I’ve been moving around a little I haven’t managed to restock my supply. I usually buy these when they have their $3.50 body lotion sales. Anyway, so you already know I’m a fan of the lotion. But this particular scent was incredible. It was literally like my perfect winter scent. No matter what season, I don’t like overly warm scents for the most part. This one literally smelled like a crisp winter morning. I loved this scent. There’s no way I could describe it accurately so I won’t even try to.
Miscellaneous: It retails for $12.50, but at the time of writing it is on sale for half off.
This scent, while not my holy grail, is still one of my favorite scents to get in the fall. I love using this in the months of September-October. I don’t know what it is, but it smells like fall in the air in those months and this scent represents that perfectly. Again, I’m a fan of the BBW shower gels, I always have one of them in the shower on constant rotation.
Miscellaneous: These also retail for $12.50, but again, at the time of writing, these are on sale for $5.00. I’m telling you, never pay full price at BBW.
Another staple in my daily routine. I go through one of these boxes every two months. I mainly use this for the face. My stache and beard are always in need of grooming and these are my wax strips of choice. They are super easy to use, you don’t even have to rub them to warm them or anything. Although I will say this. I am trying to cut down and go longer between waxes because my facial skin is somehow sensitive and I break out a lot of times I wax. Sometimes I am okay with breaking out because I obviously cannot walk around with a full stache and beard. And it’s not these strips that break me out. The same thing happens to me with a couple different brands as well, so it is just the act of waxing that takes a toll on my facial skin. This is a common problem with a lot of people, so just be careful when you do it yourself. Maybe I should find some that are appropriate for sensitive skins. To clarify, my skin type isn’t sensitive. It’s just when it comes to waxing.
Miscellaneous: A box of these with 40 strips in it retails for $6 in most drugstores.
Year End Empties: Fragrance
CK2 has been my absolutely favorite and the only perfume I’ve worn for the past year and a half. I’ve been so good at not hoarding too many perfumes. This fragrance is me in a bottle I think. It is fresh, clean, with the slightest touch of sweetness, unisex and non seasonal perfume. And one of the best things about this is that it is one of the most long lasting fragrances I’ve ever come across. I can literally smell this on my clothes after two days. Some people don’t like that, I absolutely do. And this is not all that expensive as far as perfumes go these days. Will I repurchase? Yes absolutely! I am working on a Bulgari perfume right now, but maybe halfway through the year, I’m gonna repurchase this.
Miscellaneous: Retails for $55 for 1.7 oz and is available at Sephora, Ulta etc.
Last fragrance in the year end empties is Gucci Guilty. This was actually my roommate’s empty. But I loved it when he wore it. It is not a very unique scent I will say. It is the typical manly perfume scent. Not musky, but more on the ever so slightly spicy but mostly sweet plus fresh side. So all in all, this one is not very unique I think, but fantastic smelling nonetheless. It also has fabulous staying power.
Miscellaneous: It retails for $90 for 3 oz.
Year End Empties: Hand Cream
I have gone through so many hand creams this year it’s insane. Technically they’d be included in bodycare, but I decided to just make a section out of it. And the ones I’m talking about in this year end empties are just the ones I’ve finished since September or so. The rest of them I’ve talked about in previous empties.
This was my favorite hand cream discovery of the year. It smelled absolutely heavenly. It was the most intoxicating concoction that smelled like grape bubblegum. The texture was lovely – almost whipped in a sense. And it felt extremely nourishing but then sunk into the skin within the first few minutes. I don’t like hand creams that sink in too easily. So I need them to hang around for a few minutes for my dry skin to feel moisturized. But you of course don’t want one that feels like it’s greasy all the time. This one walked the perfect line. As far as mainstream hand creams go, I did find this to be a little bit expensive. Although all Tony Moly products are a little on the mid end side of things.
Miscellaneous: This retails for $12 for 1.5 0z. I went through this in 1.5 months.
Love these EOS hand creams. They’re perfect to throw in the hand bag and take everywhere or for travel. While I really adore the packaging, sometimes it’s not practical because when the cream starts to run out, you can’t get the last vestiges of the product. I usually end up cutting my tubes anyway because I absolutely despise product wastage. This scent is gorgeous. It’s literally like berry blossom if that makes sense. Texture wise, I would use this as my summer hand cream. It’s light enough for summer use for my dry hands, but for winter I’d switch it up.
Miscellaneous: Retails for $1.99 for 1.5 oz. So that Tony Moly one is 6 times more expensive than this.
Last hand cream of the year end empties was this Benton one that I won in an Instagram giveaway. Consistency wise, it is an amazing hand cream. It makes your hands look so healthy and almost glossy from all the rich moisture. I would use this in winter, it’s perfect in the cold months. The packaging is a dream. It’s a gorgeous golden foil type squeezy tube that is very insta-worthy. The only thing I didn’t like is the scent. I am not a huge fan of shea or coconut scents and this has both. I wish they made this same hand cream in a different scent. I’d be all over that.
Miscellaneous: This is available at a lot of Korean skincare retailers. The one I’ve linked is from Crystal Cove Beauty. It retails for $11 for 1.76 0z. In this case, I think the $11 is very well justified.
Year End Empties: Miscellaneous
I technically don’t have makeup per se in my year end empties. I have two makeup sponges that I have decided to toss out as empties.
Everyone knows about the original Beauty Blender so it obviously needs no introduction or review really. What I will say though, I haven’t bought a BB since over a year now. I don’t find it necessary to spend 20 bucks on it anymore. Not when there are excellent and more affordable options out there. My favorite blender of life is the Flower Beauty Sponge. Imo, nothing beats just how soft fluffy and incredible that one is. Even more so perhaps than this original BB. So will I repurchase? Nope. I may try the black BB though. I’ve heard from people that that one is really exceptionally good.
Miscellaneous: Retails for $20 and can be found at Sephora.
Even though this RT sponge is cheaper and is good, it is not great. It tears easily, isn’t as soft as the Flower beauty one I just mentioned. In fact, from RT, the sponge I do prefer more is their Diamond one. Will I repurchase? Nope.
Miscellaneous: Retails for $5.99 and is available at Ulta.
And finally, last product of the year end empties!
Even though I am not a dentist and don’t know jack about toothpastes, I do know I really liked this one. The main reason for that is that it always left my teeth feeling squeaky clean. Like you could literally rub your finger over your teeth and hear them squeak. I love having that clean feeling in my teeth and this gave that to me. And it kept my teeth in their usual white state. So for me, it’s a winner. Ingredients wise, I have no idea if this is good for your teeth or gums or health or whatever.
Miscellaneous: A twin pack of this retails for $2.96. Prices will be different in different stores.
Wheww! Okay loves! If you made it to the end of my year end empties, you da real MVP. If you dozed off in the middle I don’t blame you! If you guys have any similar empties or have thoughts on any of these products, let me know. And if you have empties posts of your own, please leave a link down below and I’ll make sure to read up. Like I said, I love reading people’s year end empties. With that, I think this is the last post of 2017, so I’ll see you in the New Year my loves. Thank you for sticking with me.