Empties Roundup: February 2017

Hey reader! Welcome to the Empties Roundup for February 2017! Somehow, the shortest month of the year has been the most epic month for empties. Keep reading to see what I used up!

Toni & Guy Matt Texture Dry Shampoo

This is my second Toni & Guy dry shampoo, but I think I preferred the Cleanse dry-sham to the Matt Texture. Either way, I’m still scoping out a replacement; I tried the brunette Bumble and bumble dry-sham when I was at Sephora last, and I might give that one a go.

Curology Protective Lip Balm SPF 30

This was a leftover from when I was a Curology subscriber. The balm was really smooth and creamy and lasted a pretty long time, even overnight if I applied it just before bed. I forgot to photograph the inside of the tube to show its emptiness, but believe me, I dug out every last bit of it. I replaced it with Sun Bum’s banana lip balm. It’s not as good, even if it does smell like banana Laffy Taffy.

NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray

This stuff wasn’t bad, I guess. I didn’t notice any added makeup longevity when I used it, but it didn’t make things worse, so there’s that. I did buy a bottle of Urban Decay’s All Nighter to replace it, but I’m not entirely convinced I need a setting spray at all. Maybe in the summer.

Valentia Night Revive Retinol Serum

I’m a little sad to see this stuff go. It was a pretty gentle serum and I did see some softening of fine lines and a brighter complexion when I used it regularly. For now though, I want to try some other retinol serums and see if this is one I’ll come back to; I really want to try one from The Ordinary.

CeraVe PM Moisturizing Lotion

I feel like I had this thing forever. I probably will buy this again, but not for a while yet, since I’ve got so many other ones I want to work through first. Currently I’m working with Skinfood’s Cucumber and Lettuce Watery Emulsion, Shiseido’s Benefiance Nutriperfect Night Cream, and Valentia’s Pure Glow lotion. I think the latter breaks me out, but I’m trying it again to make sure it wasn’t hormonally-related.

Boots Botanics All Bright Radiance Concentrate Serum

I liked this stuff, too. My Target recently stopped selling Boots Botanics — Soap and Glory is in its old shelf space — so I don’t know if I’ll ever get another chance with this stuff, but I did enjoy it.

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum

This particular bottle was from a GWP set, but I have a full-size bottle of it waiting for me after I finish up some other samples. I’m working on a sample bottle of Lancôme ‘s Advanced Genifique serum, and Philosophy’s When Hope is Not Enough after that.

LUSH Aqua Marina cleanser sample

Confession: this sample was like two years old. I got it when I was visiting Philadelphia. Should I have thrown it out? Absolutely. I didn’t notice any ill effects after using it up at least. I might consider a repurchase of this, or at least another sample. Clay cleansers are nice sometimes.

A’Pieu NonCo Tea Tree Spot Patches

I didn’t know what to expect from these, but I liked them. I wore them to bed whenever I noticed a pimple coming up, and in the morning, they’d be dried up. Amazing! I just wish they put more than twelve or so in the pack. Occasionally I had some fall off, but that happens.

TonyMoly Whitening Capsule Essence

I liked this. It was a clear gel that absorbed quickly and moisturized. I only had ten packets, so I probably didn’t see the intended results in the time I had with it, but I’d like to give a full-size product a shot.

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Hand Soap, Geranium

I know hand soaps aren’t beauty products in the traditional sense, but I’ve found it difficult to get a good hand soap that doesn’t irritate my hands. This is important, regardless of whether or not you’re a nail blogger. I’ll never buy another hand soap.

Proclaim Coconut and Macadamia Nut Oil Hand Lotion

This stuff was pretty nice, and the tube was only a dollar from Sally Beauty Supply. It was moisturizing and the effects lasted a good long time, but I did find myself reapplying pretty often.

Dream Polish Gem Glam scented top coat

I won this in a giveaway! Thanks again to Kristi from BeginNails, because I loved this stuff and I hope to purchase my own full-size bottle eventually. The scent was fantastic and long-lasting, even after dish washing. I know it doesn’t look empty, but I cannot get that last bit out, so I’m calling it.

Seche Base ridge-filling top coat

This I didn’t love so much. I bought it by accident; I totally thought it was clear, since it was in a box with a white background. It was pretty white, streaky, and often interfered with jellies and other sheer polishes. I liked Seche Clear so I’ll probably go back to that, but right now I’m using Dream Polish’s Smooth Gem, another giveaway win from Kristi!

L’Occitane en Provence Extra-Gentle Milk Soap

So I got this from a thrift store. It’s pretty lovely stuff. I swore my loyalty to Mrs. Meyer’s a few photos ago, but I kind of lied, because I’d totally buy this soap again. I did have another bar so I was able to replace it quickly, but I may have to pay retail for one when the time comes.

Noni Papaya Pineapple Body Wash

This is from a hotel in Hawaii! You’ll notice I didn’t cut it open; it’s clear and I can see there isn’t much left in it anyway. It was nice stuff, but I’ve got other hotel minis to work though, lots of which are also from Hawaii.

Lancôme Nutrix Royal Body Creme

Another GWP product! This stuff was perfect for winter skin; it was rich and thick and lovely. I’ll definitely keep it in mind for when winter rolls around next year.

NSPA by Nirvana Spa Exotically Cream Coconut Shower Scrub

This wasn’t half-bad. It’s not the kind of scrub I usually buy; I go for the oily sugar ones. This one was very well scented, foamed easily, and wasn’t too harsh or abrasive.

The Indigenous Soap Company Tea Tree Patchouli soap bar

This was some good soap and I’m a little sad it’s gone. The fragrance was strong and earthy and the bar had poppy seeds in it for gentle exfoliation. It was very nice. Even my boyfriend liked it, and he doesn’t like anything.


Who loves samples? I do! Here are some quick notes. The Skinfood apple mask was very hydrating. The Missha BB cream was too dark for me, but I liked the coverage. The Kate Somerville sensitive skin cream was amazing; I had a cold and lost the skin between my lip and nose for a while, and had to limit myself to products that wouldn’t irritate the raw skin. That one was gentle and didn’t burn at all. I loved it. The Julep Rock Star cream was actually an empty from last month that I forgot; it’s still a winner. The Koh Gen Do gommage gel was pretty nice; I’d never used a gommage gel and I was really impressed with the results. I’d like to try it again. The COSRX BHA liquid was amazing and I’m totally getting a full-size bottle. The Origins masks were also lovely; I bought a full-size of Drink Up Intensive the last time I was at Sephora.

Sheet Masks

My favorite of these was the Snail mask. It dried up some acne that was coming up, and that was really impressive. The Creme Shop mask was really wet and I was patting the essence in for like an hour after; I see this as a plus. The Skinfood mask felt really nice and I did see some brightness after I took it off. The Welcos Jeju mask didn’t leave me feeling oily in the morning like some masks do.

And finally, there you have it, the February 2017 empties roundup. If you’ve read this far down, thank you so much for reading all this. Did you finish up anything good? Have you tried any of these products? Let me know!

I bought these products myself.
Except for the one I won in a giveaway.
And except for the Valentia serum, that was previously a press sample.

Skincare Haul: TJ Maxx

I hear you already, reader. Another haul? Yeah, I’m a full-blown skincare addict now. Someone told me they sold a lot of Asian skincare stuff there, so I went to have a look. I was actually really impressed with their selection; I found a lot of high-end stuff as well. Also, for the first time, I did not even look at nail polish. I have traded one addiction for another. I’m scared for my wallet.

The best deals I got were easily the high-end products. I didn’t really even want some of this stuff, but the discounts were so steep I couldn’t pass it up, like this Estée Lauder serum; I have a sample of this I haven’t even used yet, but check out that price tag. 29 dollars for a product that retails for $95? Of course I bought it. I bought the Shiseido stuff out of curiosity, but I do plan to use it eventually. I did open the night cream and I’ve used it a few times — it’s so rich and makes my skin feel amazing. I know it’s a skincare no-no to start using many new products at once, but I couldn’t help myself. Also, I’m afraid that I’ll like these products, I’ll begin to depend on them, and then I won’t be able to find it at a discount again and I’ll end up paying $95 for another jar of this cream. Luxuries become necessities eventually, after all.

The sheet mask getting was good. I’m stoked about the Jeju Natural masks, since I actually bought a bunch of individual ones in my second Roseroseshop order. I was so happy to see them at TJ Maxx that I bought both boxes. I don’t know much about the Celkin and Kwailnara masks, but the value was good, so I grabbed them. I think I’ve heard about The Creme Shop in passing, like that they’re fake-Korean, but I’m not bothered by that. I’m looking forward to finding out what I look like as a cartoon penguin.

I had no idea SheaMoisture had professional products, and that kind of excites me. I found this in the foodie section — likely because the box says “cocktail” — and couldn’t pass it up. I love the idea of mixing my own product, like I’m a hair scientist. This has to be fun.

Some things got left out. I found a Too Faced face palette and some of their Melted lipsticks; the lipsticks were six dollars each, and the palette was ten. They didn’t make it into the photos because I’d already put them in the vanity drawers.

I’m pleased with this haul. I spent more than I wanted to, but considering what I saved on the high-end stuff, it’s like I bought those retail and got sixty sheet masks for free.

I bought these products myself. I was not paid to mention TJ Maxx in this post.

My First K-Beauty Haul

This post was originally written for my other blog, but since it’s a relevant topic, I’ll cross-post it.

I said I was going to get a better skincare routine this year, and I meant it. As I run out of things, I am going to be replacing them with products from Asia. Recently, I found myself running out of facial cleanser and had a gift card burning a hole in my wallet, so I started browsing Korean skincare shops online to see what I could find. My goal was to buy what I needed and then spend whatever I had left on samples. I had $50 and I was going to give it all to Roseroseshop. Explore Korean skincare with me!

I started by replacing my cleanser. In accordance with the ten step Asian skincare regimen, I decided to buy both an oil cleanser and a foaming cleanser. I chose Goodal’s Double Bright Cleansing Oil and Secret Key’s Snail Repairing Foam Cleanser. I spent twelve dollars for both.

Now here’s the sucky part: shipping. Shipping costs, after all was said and done, ended up being half of my budget and roughly the same amount of my order. I had a $50 budget, as I mentioned before, but I was only able to spend about $20, because shipping was also around $20.

So I spent twelve dollars on the cleansers, and the rest was spent on samples. I’d heard samples were yet another advantage to Asian skincare, but I didn’t expect Roseroseshop to have such good deals on them. I got packs of multiples — sometimes packs of ten — for a dollar or less. These samples, of course, were likely the reason my shipping was so exorbitant, but that’s life. The samples were most of my order, and I couldn’t photograph everything. I’ll list it, though.

Etude House
AC Clean Up Toner and Gel Lotion (four bottles of each)

Timeless Ferment Snail Toner and Emulsion (two bottles of each)

Gold Caviar Emulsion (four bottles)
Premium Lettuce and Cucumber Toner and Emulsion (four bottles of each)
Premium Tomato Whitening Toner and Emulsion (four bottles of each)
Watery Berry Toner and Emulsion (four bottles of each)
Yuja Water C Toner and Emulsion (for bottles of each)
Aloe Watery Sun Water Gel (ten packets)
Black Sugar Perfect First Serum, Light (ten packets)
Fresh Apple Essence (ten packets)
Freshmade Apple Mask (ten packets)
Freshmade Pineapple Mask (ten packets)
Freshmade Watermelon Mask (ten packets)

The following were included as freebie samples:
Missha M Signature Real Complete BB Cream SPF25 PA++
COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid
COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid
The Face Shop Dr. Belmeur Daily Repair Foam Cleanser
The Face Shop Real Blend Rich Cream Soap

I haven’t tried everything yet, but I like what I have used. The Goodal cleansing oil melted waterproof Maybelline mascara off very quickly. The Secret Key snail cleanser is very foamy and I feel very clean after. The Skinfood aloe sunscreen had a lovely scent and absorbed well. The Missha BB cream was a bit dark on me, but gave me good coverage.

My first haul isn’t perfect, but I’m happy with it. I feel very satisfied with my choices, and I can’t wait to really get into using the toners and emulsions. I’ve also placed a second order from Roseroseshop because I’m running low on eye cream. I can’t wait to brag about that, too!

So, have you used any of these products? Are you a K-beauty addict with advice? Let me know!

I bought these products myself.

Skincare Review: RevivSerums’s HA7X Multi-Molecular Hydrator Serum

Hello reader! It’s another skincare review! The product we’re talking about today is the HA7X Multi-Molecular Hydrator Serum from RevivSerums. I used the serum with the rest of my skincare regimen for ten days and, believe it or not, I saw some interesting results.

I was given this product by Brandbacker and RevivSerums. My opinions are my own and are not swayed by free stuff.

The HA7X serum is a multi-purpose serum aimed at treating a wide variety of skincare woes, including dryness, wrinkles, and dullness. It comes in a plastic bottle with a pump delivery. The product has a pleasant scent and a lightweight gel consistency. I used two pumps to cover my whole face, neck, and decolletage. The bottle also recommends using it on your hands, which I only did when I remembered to. Here’s the Cosdna entry for the ingredients.

Ingredients list, from the box


Product info, from the box


Instructions for use, on the bottle

I have to tell you, I really loved using this. I used it twice a day, morning and night, and since the instructions I was given said I could keep using my other serums and treatments with it, I kept using those too. The first thing I noticed is that it’s instantly moisturizing; I did not feel dry at all after applying, and even skipped my regular moisturizer most of the time I used it. Of course, I have very oily skin, and the hydration from this product exacerbated it. Those of you with normal to dry skin will like this.

Here’s a before and after comparison. Of course, ten days isn’t nearly enough time to judge a skincare product’s long-term results, but I will tell you this: I have a wrinkle. It’s on my forehead over my right eye, and it’s about an inch long. I found it on my 25th birthday. It’s a pretty fine line, and whenever I try to show it to people, they just say “I don’t see anything, are you sure you’re not imagining it?” Well, it’s definitely there, because I can feel it. It feels deeper than it looks. Since I’ve been using this serum, I don’t notice it anymore. I can barely see it in the mirror, and I have to really poke around with my fingertip to find it. It doesn’t feel like a deep crease anymore, but just smooth. It’s kind of alarming, actually. My skin also seems brighter. Apart from that, I still have a lot of discoloration and hyperpigmentation from acne, I don’t see any improvements there yet.

Just so we’re clear, I hate posting photos of myself without makeup. I feel so naked!

Here is my skincare routine, just so you can see what else I used and how it fits in:
Origins Checks and Balances Cleanser (AM), Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser (PM)
Nameraka Sana Honpo Soy Milk Isoflavone Lotion Toner
Burt’s Bees Sensitive Eye Cream (AM)
Up and Up 2% Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment (AM)
Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Control Moisturizer (AM)
Valentia Night Revive Retinol Serum (PM)
CeraVe Moisturizing Facial Lotion PM (PM)

The HA7X was developed as an affordable alternative to Skinmedica’s HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator, using 29 of the same ingredients and ultimately adding in two new and different actives. However, it’s nearly a hundred dollars cheaper, a mere $89 compared to $178. Of course, I don’t have the Skinmedica product to test simultaneously, but I find that this one works very well indeed. My one gripe is with the packaging; for $89, I would like something better than a plastic bottle.

The HA7X Multi-Molecular Hydrator Serum is available from RevivSerums.com.

I was given this product by Brandbacker and RevivSerums. My opinions are my own and are not swayed by free stuff.

Empties Roundup: October 2016

It’s here, the Empties Roundup for October 2016! I used up a lot of fun things this month, and I’m pretty proud of the sheer number of them. Let’s get started!

Shea Moisture Hand and Body Scrub in Lavender and Wild Orchid


The Shea Moisture sugar scrubs are my favorite thing. The sugar is coarse and abrasive (in the best way), the oil soaks into my skin quickly, and it’s pretty affordable at $9.99 for 12 ounces. Scrubs like these tend to be pretty expensive and come in small quantities at this price point; that’s what drew me to these in the first place. I’ll continue to buy these, but for now, I bought some scrubs from a local-ish maker in St. Augustine. One is almost nearly gone; I can’t wait to share those with you in next month’s post.

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Hand Soap in Lilac


Last month I made it through the Peony soap, and now this one is gone, too. I’ve replaced it with the Honeysuckle scent that is very nice. These are the best liquid hand soaps.

Lush’s Snow Fairy Shower Gel


I found this in the back of the bathroom cabinet. I must have had it for a few years. I opened it to sniff it, and then broke the cap as I was screwing it back on. Good job, Hulk. I liked this shower gel; I wasn’t big on the bubblegum scent but having glitter in it was enough to make me want to use it. Maybe I’ll buy it again if Boyfriend ever lets me step foot inside a Lush store again.

Le Couvent des Minimes Soothing Night Hand Cream in Lavender and Acacia


This hand cream is the best. It’s so creamy and rich, and that’s nice, but the scent is my favorite thing. I love lavender-scented products, and sometimes the scents vary; this one has the lavender that smells right. I want to buy this again, but I remember it being kind of pricey, so we’ll see. I think this was already my second tube.

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser


Is there such a thing as a cleanser being too gentle? I like that this doesn’t make my skin feel completely stripped and dried out, but that makes me wonder if it’s doing the job, because I still feel oily after. I used up a couple of these over the summer and replaced them with Cetaphil cleansers, and I definitely prefer this one to those. I’ll probably buy this again; it’s good for the price and it must be working if my face doesn’t look like pizza anymore.

Smashbox Photo Finish Blemish Control Primer


I had this hanging around in the makeup drawer, and there wasn’t much left in it, so I used it as an interim primer, between running out and buying more. I don’t know how well this worked as a blemish treatment, because I used the majority of this product in the past, but it wasn’t bad for a primer. When this ran out, I bought the regular Smashbox Photo Finish primer.

Softlips Cube Lip Balm


You guys, this is the thing I’m happiest about using up. I’ve probably had this for years. I’ve had it so long, I don’t even remember what the scent/flavor is. I did a search and they have two that come in pink containers, so your guess is as good as mine. I’m so happy to have used this thing up. It was lovely stuff, but I was ready to move on. I’m now using a lip balm from Curology, back when I was getting stuff from them.

LA Girl Nail Polish in Black


This is another good one. It’s not often I actually use up a nail polish. It was something I used to do routinely, when I only had a few bottles. It never happens now that I have like 1,400. Of course, it’s only a black creme in a small bottle, but it’s progress. I’m now working on a Sally Hansen black creme I’ve had in the drawer.

And there you have it, the empties of October 2016! I cannot believe it’s already November. This year is so ridiculous! Did you use up anything this month? Tell me in the comments! Also, if you’ve done your own empties post, consider joining the linkup, courtesy of Cosmetopia Digest!

I bought these products myself.
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Skincare Review: Valentia’s Night Revive Retinol Serum

It’s another skincare review! This time it’s another product from Valentia; it’s their Night Revive Retinol Serum. I’ve never used a retinol product on my face, but I’m giving it shot. For science. I’ve been using it since last Thursday.


I was given these products by Brandbacker and Valentia. My opinons are my own and are not swayed by free stuff.

You’ll remember I reviewed Valentia’s Pure Glow Moisturizer some time ago, and after sustaining a breakout caused by it, I had some reservations about the retinol treatment. I thought a retinol treatment wouldn’t be for me, that it would be better suited for someone with anti-aging needs. The box says it helps curb breakouts and premature aging, though, so it sounds like there’s something for everyone in this bottle. Valentia products contain natural and organic ingredients, are vegan, and cruelty-free. The Cosdna entry for the Night Revive Retinol Serum is here.


The product comes with an eyedropper, as the serum is pretty liquidy. It’s milky in color, and runs when dropped onto the back of a hand. I found that one dropper-ful was enough to cover my face, neck and décolletage. It goes on nicely and absorbs quickly. There’s no added fragrance, and the product has a creamy mild scent. With the first few applications, I noticed a slightly irritating feeling, but it didn’t last long and went away after absorbing. I don’t notice it anymore. I haven’t been using it every night, so I’m not seeing the redness or peeling the box warns me about.


I’ve read that it generally takes a few weeks to see the results of a retinol serum, so I may need to do a follow-up post to this one in order to really review its efficacy. That said, I’m probably going to keep using this. I had an epiphany halfway through writing this that my 31st birthday is upon me and I really need to get on the anti-aging bandwagon. This seems like a good product to start with. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

The Night Revive Retinol Serum retails for $35 on Amazon and on Valentia’s website. Follow Valentia on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about this and other products.

I was given these products by Brandbacker and Valentia. My opinons are my own and are not swayed by free stuff.

Skincare Review: Derma E’s Hydrating Day and Night Creams + New Packaging Preview

Who loves skincare products? I do! I love trying new things as well. I was given the chance to review Derma E’s Hydrating Day and Night Creams, as well as showcase their new package design. I’ve heard so many good things about Derma E, and I’m excited for this chance to try them out. For six days, I replaced my regular moisturizers with these, and so far, I like what I’m seeing.


I was given these products by Brandbacker and Derma E. My opinons are my own and are not swayed by free stuff.

Let’s talk first about the brand and their products. I’m excited to see these creams are free of parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, petrolatum, mineral oil, artificial colors, gluten, soy, and GMOs. They are also cruelty-free and 100% vegan. I love seeing long lists of what’s not in the product (even when some of them are givens). The products were not reformulated during the package redesign. Derma E’s hydrating products are for normal to dry skin. Here are the Cosdna entries for the day and night creams.

The Hydrating Day Creme is up first. The product consistency is pretty light for a cream, just a bit heavier than a lotion. I’m definitely more on the oily side, so I was pretty hesitant to try this on my actual face. I’m happy to report, though, that I didn’t have any adverse reactions. It doesn’t leave me any more oily through the day as my regular moisturizer. It also has a lovely scent; the box says plumeria flower, I just know it smells like Hawaii.




One thing, though, is I’m not sure this product contains any sun protection. It doesn’t explicitly say it on the box, and it wasn’t until I was examining the ingredients list that I noticed it does contain some titanium dioxide, which is used in most physical sunscreens. Of course, this is also used for pigmentation, and as it’s also in the night cream, it’s likely being used for that purpose instead. Additional sun protection is recommended.

Here’s the night cream in all its newly redesigned glory! The formula here is a bit richer than that of the day cream, but doesn’t feel thick or goopy. Like with the day cream, I didn’t experience oilier-than-normal conditions in the morning. The scent is different from the day cream, but it’s still pleasant.




What do you guys think about the new packaging? I really like it. I thought the old one was nice, but this new one is really sophisticated-looking. I like being able to see the product through the label, and I like the look of the matte label. It’s a really nice jar to have displayed on my vanity table.

Overall, I like these creams, they’ve performed very well in the past six days I’ve used them. However, I do not feel like they’re for me. They’re definitely perfect for someone with normal to dry skin, they deliver a lot of moisture and softness. As someone who’s still trying to master the art of oil control, I’m sorry to say it, they’re just not what I need. However, I am very likely to try any oily skin products Derma E offer, because I have loved using these two creams. I’ll probably also use these on the regular when I run out of my usual products.

Both the day and night creams sell for $29.50 each. While the newly redesigned packaging did officially launch in September, it will be rolling out with all products in March 2017. You can find Derma E products in Ulta, Target, CVS, and Walgreens, among others.

I was given these products by Brandbacker and Derma E. My opinons are my own and are not swayed by free stuff.