Rather than traditional empties posts, these days I like to talk about the products I’ve used up, as well as the new ones I’ve bought to replace them. These days, particularly when it comes to skincare, the majority of what I buy is a repurchase/restock of something I’ve finished up, because I have a pretty strategic routine, ingredients-wise, that I like to stick with. Aside from skincare I’ve also managed to finish up a few makeup items, which we all know takes forever, as well as some body and nail-care too.
A couple of months ago I posted about my skincare routine in detail (Part 1 & Part 2), and since then I’ve finished up and replaced a couple of products. As I was running low on the Ordinary’s Ascorbyl Glucoside 12% I’d planned to replace it with Hylamide’s C25 Booster as it’s more effective and I prefer it to the vitamin C options available in The Ordinary’s current line-up. However, it was out of stock for a while so I picked up the Ordinary’s Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3% to tide me over in between. I like to always have a vitamin C serum in my routine, and although the Resveratrol + Ferulic product is also an effective antioxidant, I still picked up the C25 Booster when it was back in stock. Vitamin C combined with Ferulic offers an even greater level of protection against free-radicals, so I knew that once I got a vitamin C product back in my routine that I’d just use the two in combination with each other. Speaking of the Hylamide C25 Booster, the founder of Deciem recently sent out an email saying they were able to source an ingredient used in that product at a reduced price, so he passed the savings straight onto the consumer and dropped the price globally, which is definitely something I can respect.
Using something in a protective way doesn’t necessarily show you instant results, so I can’t really tell you if the extra step of using Resveratrol + Ferulic has made a difference in my skin, nor can I say for sure that I’d repurchase it when I run out, but for now I’m happy using it in combination with the C25 Booster, which I think is probably one of the most effective vitamin C products on the market in its price range - especially now that it's even more affordable than ever!
Staying within the Deciem family, I also finished up my bottle of The Ordinary’s Buffet, and was tossing up whether to repurchase it or go back to the more expensive Hylamide SubQ Serum, which I've used before and prefer the texture of. So when I saw Deciem’s Black Friday deals and they were offering the SubQ Serum with the SubQ Eyes Serum (which I’ve also used and enjoyed in the past) as well as two other products for $5 more than the normal retail price of SubQ alone, I thought that was too good of a deal to pass up. One thing I did repurchase from The Ordinary, however, is their Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, which made it into my 2017 Skincare Favourites because I love what it does for my skin and I’m completely happy with it, so those are the 3 serum replacements I've made in my routine lately.
I know it’s so late to be talking about Black Friday deals, but when I saw that Glossier had 20% off I knew it would be silly to miss out since there were a few things I was planning on buying from them already. The first thing I knew I was going to repurchase was their Milky Jelly Cleanser, which also made it into my 2017 Favourites. I'm just coming to the end of my existing bottle now, so this was definitely a premature repurchase in Nov/Dec, but I knew I wanted to keep on using this so I was happy to have a backup for the future. Although it’s not a replacement for anything, I also picked up the Coconut Balm Dot Com to go along with the Rose and Birthday flavours I already own, and I love it just as much as the other two.
The last thing I bought from Glossier was the Mega Greens Galaxy Pack. In a way it was a replacement for my mini of the Tata Harper Clarifying Mask (AU) which I spoke about in my All About Face Masks post recently as I don’t have any other clay masks aside from the Glossier one now. Clay/mud masks can range from comfortable to extremely drying, but given Glossier’s overall vibe I had a good feeling about this one and I wasn’t disappointed. I find it to be extremely gentle, but not to the point where it doesn’t seem to be doing anything. It’s very comfortable on the skin even when it dries down, and it’s the easiest clay mask to remove out of all the ones I’ve ever tried. It’s affordable, you get 80ml of product, and it does exactly what a clay mask is supposed to do, so as with the other two Glossier items I chose, I love it!
I have to admit, eyeshadow primer isn’t something that particularly excites me, plus it lasts for absolutely forever so there’s really no need to have too many of them on hand. As I was coming to the end of my mini of the Too Faced Shadow Insurance (AU), there was only one eye primer that I wanted to buy to replace it, which is the NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base (AU).
This is really the only eye primer I’ve heard people raving about for the last couple of years, and because I’ve tried the Urban Decay Primer Potion (AU) (via samples that came with palettes) and the Too Faced one via a Mecca Beauty Loop Box, NARS was the natural next step for me. I can’t say that it’s revolutionised the way I do my eyeshadow, because it’s just an eye primer, and I’ve never really had trouble with the performance of any of the ones I’ve used before, but I do like it more than the rest.
Firstly, it’s packaged in a tube with a doe-foot applicator which is slightly more convenient than a squeeze-tube (like the Too Faced) because you can just dot it on and get going, and I also find that the formula isn’t too wet or greasy feeling (also Too Faced), so it doesn’t take ages to evenly distribute it over your eyelids. I didn’t realise that the others I’ve tried before had that issue until I tried the NARS one, which doesn’t, so that’s what makes it stand out to me.
I don’t often talk about mascara because it’s not a makeup product that I really “get”. Some people are obsessed with trying every single mascara ever made and finding the perfect one for them, but because I wear liquid liner so often, I don’t really find that different mascaras have a huge impact on how I look, so I’m not too fussy with them. In fact, when people talk about one mascara being thickening and another being volumising, I don’t even really know what they mean.
In saying that, I’ve been having a lot more liner-free days recently and, as much as I hate to admit it, the Chanel Le Volume De Chanel Mascara (AU) is actually incredible. I don’t know that I would pay $50ish for a full size, but after hearing Tenneil rave about it, and knowing that it’s all she’s been using for years, I was excited to try the sample I had. There’s no getting around the fact that this is expensive, particularly for a mascara, which typically has a lifespan of 3-6 months. But this mascara does everything I need it to – it makes my lashes look super long and full and thick without ever being clumpy, and it doesn’t smudge or flake throughout the day, but it’s not waterproof so it’s easy to remove. It’s definitely not in everyone’s price range, and neither is what I’ve replaced it with, but I wanted to mention this mascara because it really is one of the best I’ve ever tried.
Unfortunately all good things come to an end, and as it started to dry out I lined up my mini of the Chantecaille Faux Cils Mascara (AU) to replace it, which believe it or not, is even more expensive. I'd heard a few people talk about this one too and although it's quite lengthening I don't find it made my lashes look quite as thick, fluffy and amazing as the Chanel one, so I definitely wouldn't pay the money for a full size of this. I rarely wear mascara on my lower lashes but I wore this the other day and it flaked everywhere which is never a good look, and interestingly it also smells like roses! I feel like scent in a mascara is deeply unnecessary, and if you have sensitive or easily irritated eyes I probably wouldn't buy this, but I guess the scent is nice enough if your eyes are fine with it like mine are.
After that hit of luxury, let’s talk about something budget-friendly in the form of a couple of brow products. I’ve been using the Anastasia Brow Powder Duo (AU) for a while now and didn’t strictly need another brow-filling product, but I missed having a brow pencil around because having everything (colour + spoolie) in the one place is so convenient, especially for travel. After hearing the NYX Micro Brow Pencil (AU) was a dupe for the Anastasia Brow Wiz (AU), which I’ve used in the past, I picked up the shade Espresso and I’m really glad I did because it's filled that gap in my collection perfectly. The colour works great for me, and it’s super thin and easy to control and like I said, it's all in the one place. Brow powders and pomades are infinitely better value for money as they last so much longer than pencils, but it’s still great to have one back in my stash again and I really do like this one.
As with eyeshadow primer, I don’t think brow gels are very exciting products, but my L’Oreal Brow Artist Plumper (AU) had started to smell weird, and I’d heard a bit of buzz about Essence Make Me Brow (AU), so I picked it up. I do prefer the smaller brush head to the L’Oreal one, and with a tube that big, honestly the product is likely to go bad before you can ever finish it up, which is what happened to me. The Essence brow gel gets compared to the Benefit Gimme Brow a lot, and having used that in the past, my memory is telling me the Benefit formula is a bit drier, which I prefer because it means you’re less likely to get product in places you don’t want it. I’m not very likely to spend big bucks on an eyebrow gel as I don’t really get that much joy out of using it, so right now the Essence one is definitely doing the job and I’m happy with it, but I don’t think it’s anything to write home about. In saying that, I have pretty full brows naturally, and never really find them a struggle to work with, so maybe I'm just #blessed.
I never know whether to put lip balms in the skincare or makeup section, so even though the Glossier Balm Dot Com was in the makeup section, you’re getting this one here. The Nuxe Reve de Miel (AU) has been one of my favourite lip balms for years now, ever since I first tried it. It’s got a really thick, luxurious formula that is perfect for night time use, or for putting over/under matte lipsticks because it also has a matte finish. I’ve actually finished up a whole pot of it in the past, and got about halfway through my last pot before it started to smell funny. Although I own other lip balms, I didn’t want to be without this one, so I made a point of picking it up again as this is my fail-safe option that I will probably always have on my bedside table. Now that I've started using the fresh one I've fallen in love with the super creamy, hydrating formula all over again and I wanted to sat that I totally stand by this lip balm.
Hands & Body
Starting off with body products, I’d finished up the Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Butter (AU) and wanted something really hydrating to replace it with since the winter + indoor heating in Canada has been so harsh that my skin is dry in places I didn’t even know could get dry. I picked up a few things in the Boxing Day sales, since I live around the corner from a Lush and a Body Shop and they both had really great deals on and I didn’t have to battle with any crowds to get what I wanted.
Not pictured are two small tubs of the Lush Once Upon A Time Body Lotion which was buy one get one free, but I knew they wouldn’t last particularly long since they're small (I'm already on the second one) so I also picked up The Body Shop Body Butter in their Vanilla Chai scent. The whole Vanilla Chai range was half price and I absolutely love the scent, so I got one of their Christmas gift sets with a bubble bath, body scrub and hand cream in it, which I was very happy about because I know I'll use everything in there. Since it’s a Christmas scent it’s probably not available anymore, but if this sounds like your sort of thing then definitely check it out if it’s back next Christmas because it smells incredible, and the Body Shop Body Butters are a total classic.
Back to Black Friday sales again, along with the Hylamide skincare I mentioned earlier, I got a few things from The Chemistry Brand, which is also under Deciem. I’d been curious about their Retin-Oil product for a while now, and in the sale they had Retin-Oil along with the Hand Chemistry Pro-Repair Hand Cream, both full size, for $15 when Retin-Oil normally retails for $20 on its own.
Retin-Oil is a dry body oil that contains a 1% retinoid complex, as well as vitamins C and E, and it’s meant either for everyday use or to help fade scars, stretch marks and the like. I’d tripped over about a month before and had a red scar on my knee (and have since slipped on ice and got another big graze on the same knee... yay!) so I wanted to use this to help it fade, and I also thought it might be good for my aforementioned winter + heating general dryness. It has a bit of an artificial citrus fragrance which I’m not particularly into, but it’s a really interesting product and one that I think will really work based on the ingredients list, so if you also have any body scarring you’d like to fade then this is something to look into. It’s a bit too early for me to say it’s been working since I got that second graze on the same knee, but if I think this product is a miracle worker I’ll be sure to mention it again down the line.
As for the hand cream, I wanted a new one for my work desk after finishing up the Mecca Cosmetica Transforming Hand Cream (which looks like it’s not available anymore?). I feel like my life is never-ending cycle of applying hand cream and washing it off again, so my hands are perpetually dry and it drives me absolutely nuts. I wanted something fairly heavy duty to try and combat that, because the Mecca one, although lovely, had more of a lotion-y texture that just wasn’t cutting it in the colder months. The Chemistry Brand hand cream has a fairly strong fruity scent, and although it sinks in pretty quickly, the initial texture is quite thick and greasy, so both of those things mean that it’s not really my favourite. In saying that, I do find it to be pretty hydrating, and it seems to be doing the trick for my hands right now. I don’t think I would repurchase it because it’s not perfect, but if you just need something to work for the winter then this is a decent affordable option.
Another thing I’ve tried from The Chemistry Brand is their Heel Chemistry, which I bought to replace the Soap & Glory Heel Genius Foot Cream (AU). The thing I didn’t love about the S&G one was the texture, which was a thick gel-cream that takes a bit to sink in, which always made me want to wash my hands after applying it. But when you’ve just put on foot cream you have to then put on socks if you want to walk around – it’s a very small problem, I know, but it made me want to try something new. Unfortunately it would seem that there aren’t many foot creams to choose from, and when I tried the Chemistry Brand one I found that it had the exact same texture but with a peppermint scent. So there's nothing much to report, they're at a similar price point and they do a similar job, but I'll probably try something new again next time so if you have any hot tips please let me know!
Last up is the Nails Inc Grow Treatment (AU) which I got to replace the Essie Care Grow Stronger Base Coat. For some horrifying and personally offensive reason, Essie nail polishes in Canada have a thin brush instead of a thick one, so I’m not buying anything from Essie while I live here because I hate thin brushes. I typically only wear coloured nail polish on my toes and will use a clear strengthening treatment for my fingernails, so that’s how I was using the Essie base coat. I decided to replace it with the Nails Inc one, which I bought online not realising that it’s not actually a nail polish but a treatment you apply with a doe-foot applicator and then rub into your nails. So although it’s not what I thought it would be, I’m going to keep using it while keeping my eye out for an actual base coat/treatment as well.