Twelve Days of Empties: DAY 1

Hello all –

It’s been a while. 2017 has been a turbulent year for me, both mentally and physically. I am looking forward to starting a new year come January 1st, but I figured I would take the upcoming days to post about the empties I’ve gone through over the last six months. I have kept track of them, and I want to share them as a badge of accomplishment.

There will be 10 posts of empties, each featuring mini reviews of the products I have finished up, and the last two posts will be items I have chosen to target specifically for project pan for 2018.


First off, some of my summer skincare products:


I used up two sunscreens this summer. The Neutrogena UltraSheer Water-Light face sunscreen was not great for me. It has a thin consistency, as the name would indicate, but it felt oily going on, and seemed like it was causing my makeup to slide off my face in the summer heat. It also went on with a bit of a white cast, and the smell was the very typical sunscreen smell that I personally am not a fan of. Would not repurchase; I actually ended up using this up on my neck by the end of it just to finish it up.

The Biore UV AQUA Rich Watery Gel was more enjoyable to use compared to the Neutrogena one, but I think I actually prefer Biore’s UV AQUA Rich Watery Essence. Both are SPF 50+ PA++++, but I find their names a little misleading because the “gel” was more of a watery essence consistency and the “essence” comes out more of a firm gel consistency. Both sit great under my makeup, but the “gel” has a bit of an alcohol-y smell that the “essence” doesn’t have, and I find that the “essence” helps to mattify my oily face a bit better. Both are available from Japan – I bought the essence the first time I went, and then purchased the gel from Ebay, but I have since repurchased a few tubes of the essence.


Next up, two products from The Ordinary. I feel like the Deciem brand is the most hyped up skincare brand of 2017, and I mean, who doesn’t want affordable skincare that actually works? The Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA felt great going on, and I do feel like it did well to lighten up my dark spots. I actually did notice a visible difference while using it; however, I ran out in September and since then I have noticed that my hyperpigmentation has darkened back to its original colour. I have recently repurchased this, so I look forward to re-trying it to confirm that it works for me.

The Buffet is on the higher end of The Ordinary’s line, at $14.80 CAD. In comparison to a lot of the high end skincare products, this could be considered super cheap, especially since they appear to have a lot of anti-aging  ingredients in it. I really did enjoy the feel of this going on, however my problem is… I don’t have a lot of wrinkles right now, as an almost-30 year old, so I am not really seeing any visible effects from using this serum. At this point in my life, I am choosing to prioritize other benefits over this one, so this may be something I repurchase in the future when I start seeing more signs of aging, but for now I will just stick to sunscreen as my main anti-aging potion.


Now for the minis – the Kate Somerville Wrinkle Warrior Eye Dark Circle Eraser is a deluxe sample I received when I placed a Sephora order. I was really excited to try this new product, because if you know me, you’ll know my dark circles are fierce. The sample lasted me about 2 weeks of daily use and unfortunately I saw no difference in my dark circles, so this is a miss.

I received the NeoStrata Glycolic Renewal samples in a kit with their salicylic acid product as well, which I am still using. The kit came with the 5% glycolic acid Smoothing Cream and the 10% glycolic acid Smoothing Lotion, and you were supposed to apply the salicylic acid first, then the glycolic acid, starting with the 5% and working your way to the 10%. As an AHA, it did a fine job, but as a product, the smell of it really put me off. I have other AHA options that will do the same thing for me without the odor, so this is also a pass.

That concludes DAY 1 of the Twelve Days of Empties. See you tomorrow for more empties!


June Empties

Hello friends! I’ve had a busy few weeks, filled with birthdays (mine, my dad’s and my mom’s) and Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations, but I have managed to use up a lot of products this month.


Starting off with skincare, I finished the Olay Regenerist Luminous Dark Circle Correcting HydraSwirl, which I reviewed a few months back. It did help brighten my undereye circles, but was not hydrating enough for my liking.

I finished my second sample size of the Neostrata Acne Clear Clarifying Gel Cleanser, which contains 2% salicylic acid. I actually enjoyed using this cleanser in terms of the texture and feel of it, but I am currently using the corresponding 2% salicylic acid leave on treatment, I don’t really feel that a cleanser containing the same ingredient is necessary at this point.

The Sunday Riley Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner was a product that I really wanted to try out when it first launched, so when it came out as a 100-point perk at Sephora, I snatched it up. Unfortunately it didn’t live up to its hype; it was an interesting consistency going on, but I don’t feel like it did anything for my pores or keeping my face matte.

This is my second sample of the Tarte Maracuja Oil, and I didn’t like it as much as I remembered. I had used this oil a few summers back and I remember it feeling great on my skin at night, but this time around I felt like it left my skin feeling greasy, with the oil sitting on top of my skin instead of absorbing into it.

The Olay Touch of Concealer Eye Regenerating Cream is a tinted eye cream. To be honest, I have had this sample for maybe 5+ years? I haven’t even used it in the last few years, so it’s more of a toss than an empty.


I finished two micellar waters, a travel size of the Bioderma Sebium Micellar Water (for oily skin) and the Garnier Micellar Water. I did a comparison between the Garnier and Bioderma micellar waters a few posts back, and in a head to head comparison, the Bioderma won, but I’m not averse to repurchasing the Garnier option because of the price difference. I didn’t find much of a difference between the Sebium and the Sensibio versions of the Biodermas either; both worked great in cleansing my skin.

I picked up the Dior Hydra Life Pro-Youth Sorbet Essence on a whim a while back, and I really liked it. I’m not sure what it really did for my skin, but it felt really good applied to the face, and worked great as a base under my sunscreen. I think this product was recently replaced by the Dior Hydra Life Deep Hydration Sorbet Water Essence, but I probably wouldn’t have repurchased it anyway, since that it didn’t work any miracles on my skin that I would have expected given the price tag.


I also finished the Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream, which I reviewed a few months ago. I felt like it did brighten my skin quite a bit, but the fact that it leaves a slight white cast and takes a few minutes to absorb into my skin throws me off from repurchasing it immediately. I have also picked up another niacinamide product that I have been testing, so I’m not in any rush to repurchase immediately.

The CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is very hydrating. I used it mostly on my legs, which were super dry during the winter months. It did a good job, but I didn’t like the fact that I had to dip my hands into the huge pot. I think I will purchase the lotion formulation instead, which comes in a pump bottle.


The L’Oreal Color Riche Lipstick in 339 Stone Crystal is actually a product I received in a grab bag. I have barely used it, but it’s getting tossed because 1) the colour makes my lips look dead, and 2) the texture of the product feels like sand on my lips. It is a light pink metallic shade that is terribly unflattering on my skin tone, and when applied on the lips, it feels very gritty. I have tried to make this work, but it is a lost cause. It also smells like old lipstick, which doesn’t make me want to purchase any other colours from this line.


The Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint in tbt was part of a set that I bought with the Tartelette Tease Palette and the Tarteist Lash Paint Mascara. I think I have used this product less than 5 times since I got it. The colour was very unflattering on my lips, and made my lips look dried out and cracked. I actually took this product out to swatch it to compare it to the one I got as part of my Sephora birthday gift this year, and found that it was dried out, which honestly is no loss for me.

The Benefit Roller Lash and the Maybelline Lash Sensational mascaras are supposed to be dupes for each other, and I did a comparison of the two here. I liked the Maybelline one better, but I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite drugstore mascara, and I probably won’t repurchase either.

The NYC Big Bold Curl Mascara is actually a repurchase. I received my first tube in an Ipsy bag and loved the effect on my lashes, mostly because of how wet the formulation is. This time around, I did still enjoy the formula, and as you can see in the picture below, it hasn’t dried out any. I have had this tube for too long though, but I will consider repurchasing this in the future again.


The Essence SuperFine Waterproof Eyeliner was a terrible purchase. I have heard great things about the Essence eyeliners, but this particular one flopped hard. The whole selling point is the felt tip that’s supposed to draw a super fine line right? Well, that would be great if the product actually would get to the tip of the liner. The tip is super long, and the liquid would get stuck in the middle of the tip, so when you try to draw a line, nothing comes out. It was such a frustrating experience, and I don’t think I even go a single use out of this liner. Don’t waste your money on this, folks. Get the dip liner if you want to try an Essence eyeliner.


Last but not least, I finished another box of the Shiseido Cotton Pads. These are the Japanese ones that I picked up during my trip, and they are 100% worth it. They go for $3-4 CDN in Japan, which is a lot cheaper than the $11 CDN that they sell for here. If you have a chance, stock up in Japan.

There we have it, folks. Another month of beauty trash. Hopefully the trend of working through my stash will continue, though I have picked up several new skincare products recently…

Talk to y’all soon!

Love, B

Comparison: Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Solution vs Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water


I was first introduced to micellar water through YouTube – more specifically, the Bioderma Senisibio H2O Micellar Solution, a cult classic. It was touted as a skin cleanser that removes makeup without having to use water, and I have to agree with all of that. It is gentle on my skin, and does a decent job at removing make up without leaving an oily residue, which makes the nighttime cleanse a lot more enjoyable. It has never irritated my eyes when I use it to remove eye makeup, though if I am wearing waterproof liner or mascara I usually need a second round with an actual eye makeup remover. I use micellar water as either my initial makeup removal step, followed by a cleanser, or as a second step after a makeup wipe if I am wearing a full face of makeup, before cleanser.

When Garnier released their own version of micellar water several months ago, the online beauty community blew up, calling it a dupe for the Bioderma, so of course I had to try for myself. The Bioderma retails for $24.90 for the 500 mL bottle or $18.90 for the 250 mL bottle at Shoppers Drug Mart, whereas the Garnier one retails for $7.97 for 400 mL at Walmart. Price per mL, the Garnier is a lot cheaper, but in terms of effectiveness, how does it compare?


Here are some swatches of the ELF Molten Liquid Eyeshadow, the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil, the Essence Waterproof Dip Eyeliner (excuse my crooked line), and the Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Crayon. Using the Garnier micellar water on the left and the Bioderma on the right, the below images show the results after a single swipe of micellar water on a cotton pad, and then after 5 seconds of rubbing with the cotton pad.



I was actually surprised to see that the Bioderma was better at removing the makeup than the Garnier. When you use a product individually, it’s hard to tell that there’s a difference since you’re not comparing them directly, and it’s been a while since I’ve used the Bioderma, as you can tell by the fact that my Garnier bottle is almost empty and the Bioderma bottle is freshly opened. Neither product did much to remove the Marc Jacobs Highliner, but both removed the other three products with a bit more rubbing.

The conclusion from this little experiment is that the Garnier is not quite as effective as the Bioderma, but can result in the same end result with a little bit more work. It’s a good drugstore alternative, but doesn’t quite hit the mark as a dupe.

Review: Sephora Mud Mask Purifying and Mattifying


I initially picked this product up after hearing that it was a dupe for the GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment, which I adore, but cannot justify dishing $79 on every few months. The Sephora Mud Mask retails for $25 CAN for 60 mL, containing 10 mL more for less than a third of the price. I figured, why not give it a go?

jar cropped

The mask is made in France, and comes in a hefty jar with an inner stopper to help maintain the integrity of the product. In the jar, it looks very similar to the GlamGlow product, right down to the chunks in the product itself. However, I believe the chunks in the GlamGlow mask are leaf chunks, whereas I am not really sure what exactly the chunks in the Sephora mask are.

jar open cropped

The package suggests using this once or twice weekly, massaging for one minute into the skin and allowing it to sit until it dries. You can definitely tell when it’s dry; it changes into a lighter gray colour and starts to crust around the areas around the mouth where my muscles have been moving. It doesn’t have that same effect with the GlamGlow mask, where you can see darker spots where the oil has been sucked out, but that just may be a gimmick anyway.

swatched on arm

Going on the skin, it does tingle a little, though not enough to cause my skin irritation. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to dry completely, depending on how thick of a layer I slather on. After washing it off with warm water, my skin feels very soft and cleansed without being stripped. It doesn’t make my face red, and my pores do look smaller. My makeup also goes on a lot smoother post-application, though the effect only lasts a day or two.

All in all, I think this product gives good results for the short-term, and is good value for money. Would I consider it a dupe for the GlamGlow mask? Not really, but I think it’s a good stand-alone product that doesn’t break the bank.

May Empties


I have been making a real effort to finish up a lot of my minis over the last few months, and I think I did well in that aspect. I tend to enjoy switching up products on a day-to-day basis, so I am pretty proud of what I have accomplished this month.


Of the three eye creams that I used up this month, the Clinique All About Eyes is my favourite. This is actually a repurchase; I have probably finished 3 or 4 of these over the years. I think it’s a great, light moisturizing cream that works well for day and night use, and it’s the one I default to when I don’t want to try a new product.

The Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye is a sample size that I got in a gift with purchase. The consistency is almost like an ointment, but without the greasy feel to it. I liked it, but the gripe I have with it is the price. I know that it’s meant to be an anti-aging product, but I didn’t see any difference in my eye area while using it, so I don’t think I would dish out the $74 CDN to repurchase it.

The Body Shop Drops of Youth Eye Concentrate Serum was more of a spontaneous purchase when I was putting in an order, and I probably won’t repurchase it. The rollerball felt great on the eyes, and the actual formulation felt more like a gel compared to a normal serum. It didn’t, however, have any visible effects on my eye area, and I didn’t feel like it was moisturizing enough for my liking. Also, there were little specks of glimmer in the product that I didn’t care for.


The Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair was another product that came in that gift with purchase. It was such a hyped up product that I expected a visible difference while using it, but again, it failed to deliver. I know that anti-aging products are meant for long term benefits, but I think this product is targeted towards an older skin type, and I don’t feel that I need this product right now in my skincare regimen.

The Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask is one of my favourite Clinique products. I have gone through multiple samples of it, and I find that even though its intended use is for overnight, it works great during the day as well, underneath my makeup (see my previous post on the Covergirl Clean Matte BB Cream). I probably will purchase the full size at some point, once I’ve whittled down some of current stash.

The Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb is a product that my friend recommended to me. She considers this her holy grail, and sent me a sample of it, along with the Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb. It was indeed very moisturizing, but I couldn’t stand the herbal smell, so it’s a pass for me.


The Equate Oil-Free Facial Cleansing Wipes are meant to be a dupe for the Clean & Clear ones. I haven’t tried the Clean & Clear ones, but the Equate ones did a good job at removing the makeup from my skin at the end of the day. I still had to go in with a waterproof eye makeup remover, but this worked as a good first cleanse. It did leave my skin red and a little irritated afterwards though, so I may or may not repurchase.

The La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel is actually a pretty enjoyable cleanser to use. It’s a soap-free facial cleanser that doesn’t strip my skin, and it’s meant to be for people who are oily and acne-prone, so it’s right up my alley. I might purchase this in the future.

The Estee Lauder Advanced Night Micro Cleansing Foam was again, part of the gift with purchase. It was not memorable; I didn’t like or dislike it, it was just a product that was there to be used up. It was actually used up quite quickly though, and it did foam pretty well as per its name.


The Avene Thermal Spring Water was something I received as a sample for purchasing a different item. It feels really nice and cool coming out of the can. I enjoyed using it after I had cleansed my face at night, before applying my night time skincare. It was nice to have, but not something I would go out and purchase for myself.

The Dove Clinical Protection deodorant worked well as an antiperspirant, but I feel like I finished it really quickly compared to most others. I probably will repurchase this though, especially with the upcoming summer heat.

The Sephora Mini Blush Cleanser was my first venture into using solid soap cleansers for my brushes. It definitely made cleaning my brushes a lot easier compared to use liquid soaps, especially with the mat to work the makeup out of the brush head. I have already repurchased this in the full size.

The classic Beauty Blender was something that I hesitated over buying for the longest time. However, it is definitely worth the hype! The texture is so much softer than the Quo ones that I have been using, and now that it’s time to toss this and I’ve gone back to a Quo one, I can definitely notice the difference. I will be repurchasing this ASAP.

The Essence Waterproof Eyeliner Pen is not technically dried up, but the tip on this is so horrible that I can never get a clean line with it. I’ve just given up on it, won’t be repurchasing.

Well that’s a wrap! I am pretty proud of myself this month. Gotta keep working on my stash!

March and April Empties


I have used up a lot of sample-sized products the last two months, mostly because I was travelling in March and brought mostly sample sizes of everything. Here’s my mini reviews and thoughts on whether I would purchase the full size.

The Face Shop Charcoal Cleansing Foam: This was a good face wash. It cleansed without stripping my skin completely, and I felt like it did a good job in balancing my oil production. It was fairly inexpensive too, now that the Face Shop has opened a bunch of stores in Canada. Repurchase? Maybe, when I use it up my stockpile of cleansers.

Caudalie Vinoperfect Serum and Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet: As I have a review on these two products, I won’t say too much here, but I didn’t really like them enough to repurchase.

Eucerin Skin Calming Daily Moisturizing Cream: I picked this up while in LA last year because my hands were ghastly dry. The product does do a good job at moisturizing the skin without irritating it, but it didn’t sink in very quickly, and left my hands feeling tacky for a while after applying. I’ve tried better hand creams, so I won’t be repurchasing this.

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream: Cetaphil is a great brand for sensitive skin. I’ve used this cream on my elbows, hands, and even on my face during the driest winter months. It doesn’t break me out, doesn’t feel greasy, and absorbs quite quickly into the skin. I probably will pick this product up again in the future, most likely next winter when it gets cold and dry again.

Mac Prep + Prime Skin Base: I received this sample with a MAC order I made a few months ago. I actually quite liked this primer; it reminded me of the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer that I used to own (I used the oil-free version). It helped to prolong the wear time of my make up, and felt like it was adding moisture to my skin as well. Repurchase? Maybe next winter, it’s a bit too heavy for the summer.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation: This foundation is amazing for my oily skin; it stays on and looks fresh throughout the day. The only downside is that the shade selection is a little limited. I already own the full size, and will definitely repurchase once I run out.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloth: I had a random sample packet that I used at night one day. It did a decent job at removing makeup without irritating my skin. Since I only used it once, I don’t really have a solid opinion on this product, but if I was in a pinch and needed some wipes, I would consider picking this product up.

NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien: This was from the Sephora birthday gift from 2015. This shade was right up my alley; I have way too many rose lip products. It wore pretty well, and left a nice glossy, almost metallic sheen on the lips when applied. I did enjoy using it but probably wouldn’t repurchase in this particular shade, just because I have so many others that look similar.


Tarte Tartiest Lash Paint Mascara: When I first opened this tube and tried out the mascara, I was so impressed. My lashes looked darker and fuller (I have short stubby lashes) with it, and I was pretty excited. However, it flaked on me as most mascaras tend to do. Four hours in, I would have panda eyes. Unfortunately, this is another formula I will have to pass on.


Marcelle Pressed Powder in Translucent: I picked this powder up several years ago; it’s way past the time for a toss. I kept this in my purse for touch ups, and it does a decent job at keeping the oil at bay for 4-5 hours before a touch up was needed. It was a pretty fine consistency as well, as far as drugstore powders go. I would pick up another one of these, except I think it may be discontinued.


Batiste Dry Shampoo in Dark and Deep Brown: This is my holy grail dry shampoo. I go through one of these every two months or so. 100% repurchase.

Review: Olay Regenerist Luminous Dark Circle Correcting Hydraswirl

2017-04-26 22.15.12

Following my last post on the Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream, today I will be reviewing the Olay Regenerist Luminous Dark Circle Correcting Hydraswirl Eye Treatment. I started using this around the same time as the moisturizer, so I have had a few months to develop an opinion on it.

2017-04-26 22.15.55

This product claims to “quickly reduce the appearance of dark circles and under eye darkness”.  It has a pump applicator, which is my preferred method of dispensing. It comes out as a swirl containing a clear half and a white half, which the Olay website says is “a gel to hydrate and a cream to instantly reduce the appearance of dark circles”. Once it is mixed on the skin, it feels more like a gel than a cream, which I massage it into the undereye area, on the eyelid, and around my crow’s feet area using my ring fingers (supposedly the gentlest of the fingers). It usually takes a few seconds of gentle tapping to work the product into the area.

2017-04-26 22.16.18

I usually have dark bags under my eyes, which is partially due to poor sleeping habits, but also due to my allergies causing congested sinuses year-round. This product does a good job at temporarily brightening the undereye area; I do notice a difference putting it on in the morning. However, I don’t feel that the gel-like formulation is enough to hydrate my undereye area. I have really oily lids, but a relatively dry undereye area, and it just doesn’t feel as good as, for example, the Clinique All About Eyes, which is a really good undereye moisturizer.

Would I repurchase? Probably not. It’s not moisturizing enough for me, and even though it does a good job at brightening the undereye area, it doesn’t eliminate the need to use undereye concealer, so I would rather move on to a different product once I use this one up.