Empties #2: Spring 2016

Since Summer is almost over, I guess it’s time to post my Spring 2016 Empties! If you would like to check out my last empties post, it’s available HERE. I doubled up a bit more on this post to make it a bit less photo heavy, so hopefully it’s a bit easier to read.

My biggest beauty discovery for 2016 was Franks Body Scrub. If you’ve read any of my skincare posts you’ll know I love exfoliating/ scrubbing. I just feel so much cleaner and my skin feels amazing afterwards. I had been using Lush’s Ocean Salt but for almost $40 I wasn’t getting many uses out of the tub. I had been on the hunt for a perfect body scrub when I received Franks Original Coffee Scrub  (the package with the pink label) for Christmas. I didn’t start using it until February but holy cow is it a game changer. It is HELLA messy (my shower looks like I vanquished some sort of demon á la Charmed or Supernatural when I’m done) but it cleans off pretty easily. When I started Accutane a lot of the research I’d done said NO EXFOLIATING so I postponed replacing the scrub when I ran out (you can see what I used instead, HERE). I didn’t find that my skin was overly sensitive so I figured I could start exfoliating again. I follow Franks Body Scrub on Instagram so when I saw they had a contest, I caved and restocked. I ended up ordering two of the more specialty ones, the peppermint (pictured) and coconut (I’m making my way through it now!). Both are nice, but you do pay more for the different ingredients. The original is CAD $15.95, peppermint is CAD $16.95 and coconut is CAD $18.95. There’s also a cacao one for CAD $17.95, but it didn’t interest me like the other two. While I really like all three that I’ve tried, I get the same results so when I reorder them, I’m gonna stick to the Plain Jane original. I like that they use natural ingredients, don’t test on animals, and you can use it on your face as a mask. They market the product as being great for getting rid of everything from acne to stretch marks. I can’t vouch for those claims since I only use it once a week instead of the recommended three, but once I’m off Accutane I will give it a shot. For less than half of what Ocean Salt costs, you get a ton of product that lasts months. In my opinion it is great quality, affordable, and their marketing game is A+. Not to mention, it’s free shipping in Canada (that NEVER happens) and it arrived relatively fast with adorable packaging. I’m a huge fan and will continue to be a customer. They also have a skincare line with cleansers and moisturizers that I want to try after I’m done Accutane to try and fade the scarring.

I didn’t start wearing full face makeup until I was in my 20’s. I think the first time I did was for my graduation (I borrowed my moms because I didn’t have any), and that was a rare event. Last year I decided I needed some big girl makeup and since my mom uses Mac, I followed suit. Mac’s Pro Longer Concealer is my favourite thing that I picked up from them and I am already almost done the second container of it. I’m not crazy about the packaging (that pump is brutal to get off) and it’s very difficult to get out the last bit of product. I have two foundations going from them since my skin has changed so much on Accutane, but I usually mix a combination of the three products when I’m going all out. When I get enough empty Mac products to trade in for a free lipstick I think I’m going to change brands to something available at Sephora… because ya girl is VIB Rouge and likes collecting those points. And I want to avoid products tested on animals whenever possible. But anyway, I really like this concealer and often wore it as foundation because it’s that good.

AND THIS IS WHAT YOU CAME FOR. Actually I don’t know what you came for but my Lush posts get more visitors than almost anything else so I’m assuming. Sorry. Anyway, these are my two non-black pot Lush empties. Prince Charming was a shower gel circa February 2015 and they brought back a shower cream variation this year. It is a limited edition product for Valentines Day so it isn’t presently available, but it was a nice sugary pomegranate scent that I found quite different from a lot of their other products. I have way too much shower gel so I probably won’t be repurchasing it, but it was nice. Not gonna lie, 85% of the reason I bought it was for the name. Happy Happy Joy Joy is a bit on the lighter side but has a gorgeous scent. It was the first Lush conditioner I purchased and I’ve done the rounds and tried almost every Lush conditioner since then (I’ve written a post about them HERE) but HHJJ is the one I keep going back to and the biggest bottle here attests to my love for it. I also adore how amazing it smells when used with R&B hair moisturizer. Big fan.

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After I finished using up Happy Happy Joy Joy I was back in the market for shampoo/ conditioner. By this time I was on Accutane and only washing my hair about once a week, and could go well over two weeks before it got greasy. I had tried the almond/mint version from a Sephora Favorites set and liked it, but disliked how you are supposed to use the enter container in one go. I figured since I wasn’t washing my hair all that often, I could get away with justifying this set. I picked it up at Sephora (it comes with six but I lost the lavender scented one haha). My favourite scent out of all of them was definitely the original, and my least favourite was the fig. That being said, they all smelled quite similar with a light undertone of the advertised fragrance. A lot of people say that they experience significant hair loss while using these products (there was even a lawsuit over it!) but I never did, even with the additional side effect of hair loss with Accutane. I did really like these products, felt my hair was getting a good amount of moisture and looked continually healthy. I don’t think I would purchase another set like this or any full size Wen products, but it similar tubes showed up in Sephora Favourite sets I would definitely be happy to use them up! You can find this sampler set on Sephora’s website, HERE.

First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream (available at Sephora, HERE) is a product I have never individually purchased. Whenever one has found its way into my collection, it’s been from a set or a Sephora point perk reward. But this is a GREAT lotion. As my skin has dried out from Accutane, this has been an ideal daytime facial moisturizer but even when my skin was more on the oily side it made a great nighttime moisturizer. Its heavy enough where you feel like your skin is really getting that hydration, but without feeling overwhelmed or greasy. I am trying to use up all the lotions I have right now so I’m not presently in the market for a new moisturizer, but when I am this guy is at the top of my list.

Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins is my favourite nighttime moisturizer that I have used. It smells amazing and lasts a really long time even in the smaller tube. I liked the sample sizes so much that I bought a larger size in a duo pack with the Origins GinZing Energy-Boosting Moisturizer. They aren’t presently available in that set, but as I got it around the holidays last year, maybe it will return this year as well. While I adored Night-A-Mins, I wasn’t crazy about GinZing. It was alright, I mean it had a nice citrusy smell and my skin felt hydrated but I felt like it was a bit sticky afterwards and I really dislike that in a daytime cream. As I said, my current moisturizer stash is still fully stocked so I won’t be purchasing either of these in the near future but I definitely will look for Night-A-Mins samples or in sets. 

I used a few hair products up over Springtime. The first is Drybar’s 3-in-1 texturizing, volumizer, and dry shampoo spray called Triple Sec. There’s a Drybar in Vancouver’s Nordstrom that opened up last fall (I went on opening day and vlogged it HERE) and I’ve been totally lusting over the chance to get my hair done but until that happens I will just spend my dollars on their products at Sephora (I got the round brush too). Triple Sec did what it promised and gave me extra volume and functioned well as a dry shampoo. However, I’m not crazy about aerosol products in general so I don’t think I would purchase the full size. The next product is Bumble and bumble’s Surf Spray.  Bb is my favourite haircare brand, full stop. As much as I love Lush and their hair products… my heart belongs to Bumble and bumble. I have thick hair so I don’t get a whole lot of extra texture from seasalt sprays but this one did a relatively good job. I had to go a bit overboard whenever I wanted that windswept beachy look, but it worked okay. I would recommend picking these up in value sets like THIS one or THIS one as you do save a bit of money and get to try some other products as well.  The third pictured product is another Bb product, Hair Preserving Booster Spray from the Full Potential range.  I’m gonna start by saying I am a total snob when it comes to my hair. When Bb came out with a new collection I immediately purchased the Full Potential Regimen which comes with the shampoo, conditioner, and the spray. I received a bunch of samples as well, including extras of the spray. I have tried so many Bb products it’s ridiculous, and I have never disliked any as much as I disliked Full Potential. I know I don’t have the “right” hair type (fine, thin, prone to breakage) but I wanted to use them with the intention of helping my hair grow longer by preventing breakage and otherwise just keeping things healthy. The smell is supposed to be unisex but I just found it overpowering and chemical-ly. The spray is supposed to be used all over your hair twice a day. I’m sorry but that is just way too high maintenance for me. I don’t even brush my hair twice a day. I felt like it did nothing (except make my hair smell weird and scalp dry). Would not repurchase and would not recommend at this price point. 

As previously mentioned I purchased the Full Potential Regimen when it was released. While the spray was pointless, I did feel my hair was cleaned by the shampoo but the conditioner wasn’t moisturizing enough for me. I’m not a fan of the smell in general and to be honest I felt like I was having a lot more fallout with these products than with any other. Perhaps if your hair is more fine and thin, you may have better luck but based on the reviews I’ve seen, I’d save your money and pass on this collection.

Now, let’s do a complete 180. Bumble and bumble’s Invisible Oil collection is my favourite haircare line ever. EVER. Everything smells amazing, works incredibly well and makes my hair look and smell wonderful. The only downside is that it is expensive. Because of the high price point I only purchase the travel size sets (seen here on the right) and the full size conditioner every once in awhile as a treat. They don’t have a set out right now but they usually release one around the holidays. My life (and hair) has been a little sadder ever since I ran out of these so I’m really excited to stock up when I can. They recently released a couple more products to the line that I haven’t tried but am definitely intrigued by. These will definitely be in my cart when the Sephora VIB sale hits!

Caviar’s Anti-Aging Haircare line is something you can get quite easily at Sephora in little starter sets. I got the shampoo and conditioner in the Hair Essentials Sephora Favourite set last year and also scooped up the full collection as a 500 point perk. A similar set is available HERE. This shampoo is the last of it (aside from the primer which I don’t really use) and I don’t think I will be repurchasing (or re-redeming) it. I found it made my already dry scalp EXTREMELY dry, itchy and flaky and the scent was just okay. It does have a lot of positive reviews, however… so it may be worth a try, but it wasn’t for me. 

Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask saved me. When I started Accutane, I had an overnight moisturizing mask on my list of stuff to pick up. I researched quite a bit and it came down to this Origins one and Glamglow ThirstyMud. I had tried ThirstyMud before curtesy of a mask-based Sephora Favorites set and ADORED it, but as it is a bit pricier I decided to go with the Origins option (you can watch the haul of those products HERE). I loved it. I used it as a overnight moisturizer and on Accutane it was perfect. It’s probably a bit much if you don’t have medicinally induced super dry skin, but I woke up without a gross residue and my skin never felt overly dry with this on my team. It lasted a really long time even though I was using it quite liberally and I ended up buying another Sephora Favorites set (Hydration To Go) because it had one of these in it (the smaller one on the left). Overall I loved it and will definitely repurchase. I wholeheartedly recommend this as my #1 product recommendation if you are on (or planning to start) Accutane. Game changer and life changer all in one. I still want to pick up the ThirstyMud but will wait until the VIB sale.

The next products are face oils. Well, that’s what they’re advertised as. If you read these kinds of posts on my blog often you’ll get sick of me saying that I don’t really like face/ hair oil in general. Nude Rescue Oil is the exception and since I have received a couple of these amongst my Sephora Favorites sets, I have used and enjoy them. I find that it is light enough to use especially after something particularly drying like a face mask. Caudalie Divine Oil smells beautiful but is much too thick to be used on my face. I ended up using both as cuticle oils and for that they worked amazingly. I wouldn’t repurchase them but if they make an appearance in future skincare sets, I know what I’ll be using them as!

Body Shop Tea Tree Oil is my favourite blemish spot treatment. They have redesigned their packaging since I bought mine (it looked like THIS when I stocked up) but I’m sure it works the same. As someone who has always had problematic skin, everyone and their mother has been recommending products to try. A lot of people recommend spot treatments but they are all very visible and noticeable so I can only use them at night. This Tea Tree Oil however, is just an oil so I can put it on and go out and nobody sees blotches of dried up product sitting on my face. It is definitely not a smell that everyone likes (I personally adore it) so beware of that. This was my last little container left from my stash and I actually used it when I started Accutane on my scalp. My already dry flaky scalp was so exponentially worsened by the medication that I was wearing hats all the time. I googled how best to remedy this and one of the recommendations was tea tree oil. I used up the last on this little container on my scalp and even after a few months, have not had a problem since. It clarified and cleansed and tingled and fixed everything right up. It also made me miss Lush’s Hair Doctor but that’s another story. The other oil pictured is Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Night Oil. I got this deluxe sample size in a Sephora Favorites set (are we surprised?) and was drawn to it because of how much I liked the Good Genes product from that brand. To be honest I didn’t notice too much of a difference with this oil. I feel like you would need to have a bigger size to really see a difference and be using it with pretty basic products you use on a regular basis in order to truly gauge the difference Luna is making. I do have a total brand crush on Sunday Riley and would definitely be up for repurchasing Luna (among a little lust list I have of some of their other products) but the presence of Retinol in this oil makes it something not totally Accutane friendly. 

And of course, my empty Lush black pots of the season. Big is a sea salt based shampoo that smells AMAZING.  I love it and love the scrub you get on your scalp with the chunks of sea salt. I definitely recommend giving it a try. It’s a bit too drying for me to use right now, but when my Accutane course is over it will definitely find its way back into my shower! You can check out my blog post on Lush Shampoo/ Conditioners HERE if you’d like more information on Big! Ultrabland is one of my favourites and one of the most repurchased products at Lush for me.  It is a oil/ wax based cleanser that you put on dry skin and it will dissolve your makeup, which you then wipe off with a damp cloth. Its magical and moisturizing and I adore it. I’ve already restocked! Ocean Salt is a cult favourite at Lush and was a part of my first ever Lush haul. Since it is quite expensive I wasn’t using it very often, and mostly only on my face. Since discovering Franks Body Scrub I don’t plan on repurchasing Ocean Salt in the near future but I do like it and do recommend trying it. The Sacred Truth is one of Lush’s fresh face masks. I wanted a more moisturizing one but as I don’t like Oatifix, I felt this was a good alternative. It’s a bit of a different smell but I do like it and feel like the mask does a good job in cleansing and tightening your skin, but still leaves it moisturized. I actually tried all of Lush’s fresh face masks and you can read about that HERE, if you like! Last is Lemony Flutter. Lush’s cuticle butter was amongst my first Lush purchases. And when I say that, I mean this exact container. It lasted me two years! I did like it and I recommend it if you can get it in a smaller container. I personally like cuticle oils better as the consistency is a bit more friendly and this was more on the thick side (hence “butter”) but it was nice. I don’t think I’d repurchase it, but if it ever found its way to me through a gift set or whatever I would definitely use it. 

All three of these products came from the Sephora Favourite set, Skin Wonderland. I loved it so much that I actually bought the set twice! I still have full versions of the Clarins mask and ExfoliKate, but sadly am all done the Ren product. Clarins Shaping Facial Lift Wrap is a white creamy mask that is pretty unique to all the masks I’ve tried. It is a thick formula that is best described as almost being whipped but very dense. It’s hard to explain I guess haha. I did like it and my skin felt nice afterwards but it’s not in the top ten of all the masks I’ve tried. I’d say if you’re able to get your hands on a sample (I think it’s been a 100 point perk at Sephora a few times), go for it! Ren Keep Young and Beautiful Instant Firming Shot is an acidic gel treatment. It’s meant to tighten pores and improve the overall appearance of your skin. I finished this pretty early in the spring but used it in conjunction with Sunday Riley Good Genes and I really liked the results. If I had to choose between Ren and the Sunday Riley, I’d definitely pick up Good Genes again but the Ren is a more affordable option. Last is Kate Somerville’s ExfoliKate Intense Exfoliator. I mentioned this in a previous post but this product reminds me so much of like… flower arrangement foam. Random right? It’s a gritty, olive green exfoliant that you leave on like a mask for a few minutes. It does give a pretty significant tingling/ burning sensation so it’s probably one to avoid for sensitive skin. I used it once on Accutane and it was fine but made my skin SO red. I still have the full tube of the second one and probably won’t touch it again until I’m done my treatment. It leaves your skin insanely soft though, so if you aren’t super sensitive to more abrasive products, I would give it a shot!

These are both super random but they are still empties, so I thought I’d include them anyway. On the left is a random acne product my doctor gave me to hold me over until I got my first dermatologist appointment. Like most similar products (God knows I’ve tried more than my fair share) it has a strong sulphur smell. It did nothing fantastic but I didn’t expect it to and it was free. The other is a tester size of the Elizabeth and James Nirvana perfume. I had testers of both the Black and White, as well as rollerballs of both. I really like both versions of the fragrance (and have heard good things about combining them but haven’t yet) and actually ended up buying the full size of Nirvana Black. They have recently come out with Nirvana Rose and Nirvana Bourbon that definitely intrigue me but maybe like a rollerball level of intrigue since I am still making my way through the full size of Nirvana Black. Plus Mary-Kate and Ashley were literally the only celebrities I was a fan of growing up and I feel like having the perfume just makes the perfect addition to my collection of VHS tapes and mystery books. I’m only party kidding.

I am constantly putting on hand lotion. I just dislike the feeling of dry hands moreso than anything else, so I’m that weirdo who is pulling out little tubes of strong smelling moisturizers and massaging it into my hands every forty minutes. These are the bottles I’ve gone through since the last instalment of empties. The first and last pictured above is L’occitane’s Shea Butter Hand Cream. I’ve tried a lot of L’occitane products but my favourite is their hand cream and of all the scents I’ve tried, my favourite is definitely the Shea Butter. It’s clean, fresh, and strong enough without being overpowering. Their hand creams in general are really nice and an ideal formulation of thick without being too greasy. The brown tube pictured is from Saje, which is a Canadian natural essential oil based product company mostly known for diffusers and incense-type products. For Christmas I got a little gift set with this lotion in it, THIS was the closest I found on the website but I don’t think it’s the same scent as the one I used. Overall it was nice, but smelled very strongly of essential oil mixtures which isn’t for everyone. Lastly is the Peter Thomas Roth mega-rich body lotion. I actually got this in a hotel room which was really surprising because I associate PTR with fancy Sephora face masks. It was quite thick so I used it as a hand lotion instead of a body lotion and it worked well. 

Lastly I have some moisturizing products. First is Ole Henriksen’s Sheer Transformation facial moisturizer. I have gotten quite a few of these throughout my addiction to Sephora Favorites sets and it’s nice, I’ll use them, but I don’t plan on purchasing one. I find it leaves my skin a bit too tacky for my liking. I think it’s a good one for more oily skin because it is so light, but I prefer a more creamy texture when it comes to moisturizing my face. Next is this giant tub of Retinol Cream. I think I’ve had one of these in each of my empties so far, but this fella was the last one. My mom REALLY likes these and since Vitamin World usually has them for buy-one-get-one for a penny she stocks up. I like it because it’s so thick and for a Retinol product it’s a really good price (about $20 for the big tub… and you essentially get two for that price after the BOGO). I’m hesitant to use it (even though I really want more thick moisturizers in my life) on Accutane because it has so much Retinol/ Vitamin A so I think I’m going to wait until I’m done my course. It has a strange… sour milk scent to it which is special haha. Next is this Korres Wild Rose Cream. I reeeeeeeeeally liked this. It smelled beautiful and was the perfect thickness where I could use it day or night and felt like my skin was getting the ideal moisture levels. I can never find this brand on Sephora’s website though, so that is kind of frustrating. Lastly is Murad’s eye cream. My mom bought the whole Murad skincare line and this little sample of the eye cream was in it as well as a full size of the same product, so my mom gave me the sample size. I have a really hard time going through eye creams but I’ve tried to be more vigilant since my skin is so much thinner and drier now. I liked the consistency of this one but I think it’s too small of a size to notice any significant results.

So that is all my empty products for spring 2016! I hope you enjoyed this post and as always, I’d love to hear from you!

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