If you have to buy it, get the best deal!
When the new month starts, I toss everything I finished the previous month. I give a mini review of each item. Items I love are usually repurchased, so some of them appear in the Empties Series a lot. If I like or am indifferent to an item, I will not rush out to repurchase, but I would be willing to use or try it again. Items that are not for me may not always be empty. Generally, I finish them but do not use them again in the future. If they’re really awful and new samples find their way to me, I give them to someone else unopened. For items I really love, I do a separate product spotlight to discuss them in more detail.
SoftSoap Kitchen Fresh Hands- The citrus scent in this is light and refreshing. It rinses very clean. My only issue is the mess it makes on the sink when my kids spill it.
Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Lotion- I obviously bought this for my boys, but I use it often as well. The formula, which is medium density, is gentle. It is not too thick, so it works into the skin relatively quickly. There is only a faint smell, which I really like when I am wearing perfume.
Lush Sexy Peel- This bar soap left less of a film on my skin than any bar soap I’ve tried so far, which is the only reason it is in this category. It still left a film, so I doubt I will purchase it. The smell is incredible. I love anything with a citrus scent. There are items in it that help with exfoliation as well making it a great smelling, gentle exfoliator.
h2o+ Targeted Care Hand Wash- I could soak in this scent. My husband is not a fan of most h2o+ scents, but even he likes this one. The lather is great, and I cannot think of anything not wonderful about this. It seems it’s discontinued, because I cannot find it for sale anywhere, even on the h2o+ direct site, which is where I got it. We actually opened and finished both bottles I recently purchased, but I cannot find the second bottle. My husband either threw it away (he throws aways soaps before I can stash them all the time) or one of my son’s took off with the empty bottle. If it pops up, I will present it later.
DERMAdoctor KP Duty Lotion- I have very dry skin and eczema. Because I do not have KP, I am unsure how it does there. As a dry skin moisturizer, it works extremely well. After using this all the way up my right leg and First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream all the way up my left leg (neither had enough to do both legs and I compare them this way), I think this works better.
Le Couvent Des Minimes Gardener’s Hand Healer- This smells like fresh lemons plucked right out of the garden. It is wonderful that the gardener’s hands get the formula. The thick cream penetrates deeply to moisturize a long time. While I never skip applications between hand washes, I would feel less inclined to reapply when using this than when using something else. I feel like it goes deep enough to withstand some of the washing.
Marula Omega Rich Pure Marula Cleansing Lotion- I was pleasantly surprised with how clean my skin felt after using this and would love to get a bigger sample to see how it does long-term. My skin did not feel as dry afterward as it does with most washes.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder- Even though this sample was too dark for me, I wanted to see if the powders in this line are as good as the other items. The answer is yes. Despite the off-color, I loved the look and wear the powder created. It looked natural and the powder lasted a long time with or without brow gel.
Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Sulfate Free Shampoo- A Sulfate free shampoo that lathers seems like a match made in heaven. You can build the lather (a little too well). If you put a lot in and scrub vigorously, the lather will tangle your hair really badly. Fight the urge to over lather. My hair felt very clean afterward proving sulfates are not needed for the clean feeling. The only thing that keeps this from Wen’s FabuFind status is it did not do as much for my frizzy hair. When I used this, my hair still seemed as frizzy as it does with most shampoos. If it was not stripping the natural oils, why was I so frizzy?
Pacifica Coconut Crushed Pearl Bronzing Body Butter- This provides a subtle glow that is very natural. My husband and others insisted they could not tell the difference in color on my arms when I asked. I noticed it though. One day as I was applying it, my husband asked why I decided to give myself “Iron Man” arms. That was his attempt at a joke that I looked too bronze. Later that day, I asked him if I still looked too bronze. He said no. That is because it settles into a beautiful, natural looking bronze. There is a slight touch of glitter in this that only appears in direct sunlight, so from certain angles, you will be evoking “Twilight” vampires, but again, in a more natural way. Sorry for two movie references in one review. Only one was technically mine though.
Davines Anti-Aging Hand Cream- I wish the price on this was more reasonable, because it smells lovely. The formula is great, too. It is deeply moisturizing and not at all greasy. Rarely does my husband love my hand cream, but he loves this one. He loves it so much that he claimed my second tube.
Marc Jacobs Decadence- This uses: Italian Plum, Iris Flower, Saffron, Bulgarian Rose, Jasmine Sambac, Orris, Vetiver, Papyrus Woods, and Liquid Amber. They blend together wonderfully to create a beautiful, clean, lasting scent. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d rate this a nine.
Philips Sonicare Toothbrush Head- I almost always toss these when they’re done, because I forget they’re technically beauty products, too. Nothing, other than my hygienist herself, cleans my teeth as well as my Philips Sonicare toothbrush, so I will always buy these.
Gilchrist and Soames Bee Kind Body Lotion- I originally opened this in the winter and immediately loved it. Usually, I dislike honey smells. It could be a side effect of my bee allergy. This is such a soft, lovely, honey smell, that I actually love it. The formula is too thin for winter even though it is a deeply moisturizing formula. I figured it was best for fall, so I saved the rest for then.
h2o+ Targeted Care Hand and Nail Cream- It is creamy, has a smell I enjoy that is not overpowering, and I like the $5 price tag. Lately, I only purchase them when I get a discount or in a bundle, so I get them even cheaper.
Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Aloe- Moisturizing for a medium density formula. The slight greasiness prevents this from being a FabuFind, but the price helps it be something I love and will purchase. This was given to me courtesy of PINCHme.
Curel Rough Skin Rescue- I remember years ago when Curel was the only lotion I purchased. It is somewhat moisturizing and not very greasy. The price is also incredible. Although it works better on my body, it did work on my hands (a huge cost saver over hand creams). This is a different formula than one I’ve tried in the past, so I tried it on my hands and body. All of the same notes from before apply to this formula as well.
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream- This is a moisturizing cream that penetrates deeply and rubs in smoothly since it is not as thick as some others. If I am looking for intense moisture, I will stick with Eucerin, but I will use this when I want something that moisturizes very well and works into the skin quickly. This was a Facebook freebie.
Rituals Organic White Lotus & Yi Yi Ren Body Lotion- I love this offering from the Radisson. This smells incredible. It reminds me of a softer, cleaner baby powder scent. The lotion is on the thin side, so it will not moisturize enough in the winter time.
Willing to Try Again
Wen Six Thirteen- This deep conditioning treatment cleanses the hair and scalp while moisturizing it. I’ve never noticed a difference when I used it though. My scalp never felt more moisturized and my hair never looked different from the wash preceding or succeeding that I cannot justify purchasing this on its own. If there was a great priced kit that included this with my beloved cleansing conditioner, I would use it again. It did not do any harm.
Bliss multi-‘face’-eted all-in-one anti-aging clay mask- I got a 3 pack of these inside a kit. One was ripped when I opened the package, so I used it right away. That one was a little rough, so it is possible the rip extended to the foil. This one definitely was not ripped. The mask itself is great (albeit a little rough for sensitive skin on my face), but my issue is with the size of the foil itself. There is way too much product in the foil to use it as a spot treatment (this is not great for my dry parts of skin). It would be too difficult to save the foil for a second use, because it dries up quickly when exposed to air. If I get more foils, I will gladly slather a thick layer on my oily skin, but I would not purchase these foils at $5 each when so much would be wasted. Although I like it on my oily skin, I do not like it enough to buy a jar and rick it drying up before I finish it.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream- This is a relatively thick cream (nowhere near the thickest but thicker than your average moderate cream) that does a nice job of moisturizing. It falls short of Eucerin Original Healing Soothing Repair Cream, which is much cheaper, so I cannot see myself buying this.
h2o+ grapefruit bergamot body lotion- The best thing about this lotion is it reminds me of my happy place every time I use it. This is Disney’s most common scent. I like the scent, and the lotion is respectable. It is a little thin, so I cannot use this on my hands, but it works well on my body during warmer months.
Asprey Body Lotion- This smells nice and is moisturizing for a thin lotion. I would not purchase it, but I would gladly use it after another stay at the Ritz.
Sephora Ginseng Mask- I love sampling sheet masks, because they feel so refreshing. Putting one on and going about my business is the norm. My only issue with this one and every other one I’ve tried is I’ve never noticed a difference in my skin afterward. Sheet masks are more expensive than most multi use products, so I need to see a difference to justify purchasing more. Of course, I will keep buying sheet masks in general for that magical one that helps me relax and shows a noticeable difference in my skin after one use. That’s possible, right?
Julep Don’t Leave Your Brows at Home– This is a product I loved and hated. There is a definite learning curve (as shown in the progression in the pictures). Despite being the lightest color (Taupe), it was too dark unless I used a very light hand. The problem is using a light hand kept me from getting the full, but natural look I was after. Once I got the hang of the product, I found a way to wear it and still have full looking brows that appeared somewhat natural. It took a long time to apply in the beginning buy got easier toward the end. If you messed up, it was almost impossible to fix. When it went well, the look was incredible. The only thing that keeps me from buying it again is not the slightly dark color or at times temperamental application but rather that it dries out too fast. If I wore makeup everyday, I would buy this again. Using it once or twice a week is not fast enough. I opened it in June and by September it was drying up a bit to where it balled up and fell as I tried to apply it. My last two applications at the end of October were messy, so I decided to toss it over half full.
Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels- The concept of these are great, and I love them for that. They are cooling, and I want to believe my eyes look less puffy after using them. I would not purchase a full set again after finding this set somewhat dry. There was no expiration listed on the package and while it is possible they were older when I purchased them, I want my gels fresh at all times.
Crabtree & Evelyn Citron Body Lotion- This moisturizes well for a thin moisturizer. I like the smell. It is a nice offering from Embassy Suites that I will gladly use when I return.
Peter Thomas Roth Mega-Rich Conditioner- This conditioner, courtesy of the Hilton, is nothing special. It is a little thin as conditioners go.
Marcelle BB Cream Golden Glow– This was not as bad as I thought it would be. I pictured some serious orange face action. It never quite settles into my color, but it is only slightly darker and warmer than my natural color making it wearable. The formula itself is decent and feels great on. While I would never purchase this, I may use the current samples I have in my stash and would consider using future ones that make it to me.
drybar Bay Breeze- I tried this before while sunburned and hoped it would give hydration and relief. It did neither. Long after the sunburn healed, I tried it again to see if I would notice a difference. Once again, I noticed nothing. I am unsure if this does anything at all, but I have two more to go. If I ever see a result, I will let you know.
dr Brandt BB Matte- Despite not expiring until April of 2016, this formula seemed runny. It did not look actually separated and it was my first time working with it, so I was unsure whether it was starting to go bad or if it is just a runny BB cream (most BB creams are thicker). I did not like the way it sat on my nose. Every pore seemed accentuated and highlighted. The formula almost balled up around the pores. If you see the spots on my nose below, you should get what I mean. It also sat on top of the skin for a long time and had a hard time working in. If I sweated at all within 30 minutes of applying it (hard not to do over summer when I started it), it melted off. Assuming the formula was going bad, I’d be willing to try this again.
Harvey Prince hello body cream- Like the perfume, the lotion has a similar scent. It is a little more faint, but unlike most scented body creams, I still smelled it on my skin hours later. After four hours (the same point the perfume seems to fade), I could still smell it. This medium density cream feels like a lotion when you start to rub it in but thickens like a cream as you rub. It is not the most moisturizing body cream I’ve used by far, but it moisturized well enough. If you’re a fan of the scent without overly dry skin or want to use this in warmer months, you will probably like it. The sample is an odd size. There is not enough cream for two uses but more than enough for one. You can either do a thick application, two thin applications, or one regular application mixing it with a different cream (not a great idea when using scented creams) on the second application. I opted for the one thick application, and used the entire tube after one shower.
h2o+ Aqualibrium Sea Mineral Mud Mask- This is okay. I mostly used it exclusively on my oily skin and wish it did a little more to clear pores or at least lift impurities.
Josie Maran BearNaked Nail Wipes- This is not the worst wipe I’ve ever used (another entry this month has that distinction), but it is far from the best. The circular shape, while awkward, is not a deal breaker. Between the circle and thin pad itself, it folds over and not remaining flat as I try to remove polish. It is not a super wet pad either, so it dries quickly. I can add more nail polish remover to extend the life since the pad is large enough but I cannot add enough remover to get everything clean. The pad is not thick enough and starts to break down a bit the more it’s used.
Essential Elements Wake up Rosemary- I originally opened this in the winter and found it a little too thin for my winter skin, which is very dry requiring a very thick cream. It has a very medicated smell and reminded me of a mild version of Vick’s Vapor Rub. If you’re sick, this will probably open your sinuses up. Knowing sinuses close in fall just before my skin gets to dry, I put this away until then. Surprisingly, it was a lot thicker than I remembered. Odds are it thickens a bit when exposed to air. I probably could have saved it until winter with its newfound thickness, but I decided to polish it off. Fortunately I was not sick this fall, so I never got a chance to try this with closed sinuses.
Benefit Roller Lash Mascara- There were things I loved and things I hated about this conflicting formula. It holds a curl in my lashes longer than any other mascara I’ve ever tried. As someone who struggles with nearly straight lashes, I really appreciate that. The curl still falls, but it lasts for hours. There was also serious lengthening happening. My lashes looked longer when I used this. In the picture below, I am not even using a lash primer. That is all mascara at work. This is also the last picture I took with this mascara, so you can see the formula goes clumpy over time. I opened it at the end of July, and it was clumpy around September. It was a manageable clumsiness that I could control a bit if I applied it carefully and used a lash comb (worth it for the curl). Like its sister mascara, They’re Real, I also had transfer to my face at times. Unlike its sister, there were times it did not transfer.
Not For Me
Julep One Step-Polish Remover Pad- This is terrible. One side of each pad does not really work at all. They’re small. If you’re wearing a dark color, you will need at least 3 to remove your polish. Even then, you will need a Q-Tip to clean up. I’ve used nail wipes where one or two cleans everything with no Q-Tips needed. I will never buy these again, but I will use them if they come in one of Julep’s awesome kits. While I use up those remaining in my stash, I am only using them to remove swatched polishes only applied to my tips. Even then, I am still having a lot of trouble.
h2o+ Natural Sea Sponge- There is nothing wrong with this per se. It is very soft and does a good job assisting lather. Due to the softness, I doubt it did much to aid with exfoliation. I could never get used to the idea of using a living thing. It felt weird and wrong. Even though I did not use this a lot (resorted to bar soap a lot during its short life), it shrunk rapidly.
L’Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream- This is too thin for foot cream. My feet are very dry, and this poor cream did not penetrate deeply enough to nourish them. Within a week or two of using this, my feet started to crack. I had to mix it Egyptian Magic to get through the tube. Most of my hand creams (with much thinner skin) are thicker than this, so I really do not know what L’Occitane was thinking. If you’ve never tried this, I promise it is nowhere as thick as their hand cream, which I love. The hand cream boasts an extra 5% shea butter and a lot more thickness.
Shine Body Lotion- The only reason I even took this from the Sheraton on our recent stay is I did not pack enough lotion. I keep saying I will stop staying there based on how much I hate Shine products. The only hotels worth staying at near Universal Hollywood are the Sheraton or the Hilton. Sadly, the Hilton did not have vacancies. This lotion is so thin and lacks moisture that I cannot even make it to the next hand wash before I have to apply more lotion. I can only use it once a day or so, because there was a time I used this all day and my hands were a wreck by the end. On my body, I can tolerate this, but only in warmer months.