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.
Summer’s Eve Cleansing Wash Simply Sensitive- I really have no scent preference, but I love using a PH balance cleanser in delicate areas.
Lancome Tonique Confort- This moisturizing toner is dense. It is a hydrating toner that also purifies. When I use this and immediately follow-up with my skin care routine, my skin feels more moisturized than any other toner I’ve tried so far.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen- I almost never burn as long as I reapply this in a reasonable amount of time. It feels great on my skin, because it does not feel thick or sticky. There is almost zero shine added with this, too.
Julep Glycolic Hand Scrub- This makes my hands feel soft. It does a great job keeping them smooth and is gentle enough for me to use it multiple times a week.
Ole Henriksen Protect the Truth SPF- My skin never burns. I love the way this feels on my skin. It always applies matte and without a white cast. This was hiding in my husband’s hiking backpack, so it expired before I could finish it.
Real Chemistry 3 Minute Peel- I adore this. It peels my skin quickly and efficiently. You can see and feel the skin coming off, so it is not at all like a peel where you’re unsure. After using this, I do not see dry patches at least for a few days.
Not Soap, Radio The Stuff That Cupid Dips His Arrows In (because sometimes fate needs an assist) body wash- There is no better way to describe this scent than romance in a bottle. It says it has pheromone activation and while I think that is in jest, it could be true. The blackberry and fresh vanilla cream smell like they were made for each other. This quote is on the website for this product: “infused with: powerfully blended Ginseng extracts to kick up pheromones – the natural chemical scents that the body produces to attract others. Chinese Emperors believed Ginseng had the power to increase sex drive and vitality, energy level and sexual confidence.”
Davines Minu Shampoo- Holy gorgeous hair, Batman! This is the best shampoo I’ve used to date. Before this, I thought I had to use Wen forever to get shiny, soft hair with little frizz. Now, I know a real, lathering shampoo can do it. It takes a lot less time than Wen and gives me the squeaky clean feeling I love.
Davines Minu Conditioner- This pairs extremely well with the best shampoo I’ve ever used. It smells wonderful, too.
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta® Universal Daily Peel- I used the three pack I got from Sephora recently with one I had left in my stash and used these every other day for 8 days. They are gentle, so I think they work best when used every day or every other day. My skin looked and felt great during that short-lived period, especially near the end of it. That means you really start seeing the effects around the third peel. If they were not so pricey, I would use these regularly. The cost keeps them from being a FabuFind, but I would promote them ASAP if they suddenly became about 50% cheaper. A girl can dream, right.
Sephora Honey Sheet Mask- The smell on this is not my favorite, but it is not a deal breaker either. This is not my favorite Sephora sheet mask, but they all do what they should, which is impart a lot of moisture. My skin always feels revitalized and moisturized when I use these. It claims to nourish and balance both of which it does well.
Tony Moly I’m Real Mask Sheet Pore Care Red Wine- The pores around my nose can seem large at times, so I really wanted to see if this would help. While it definitely does, the effect is not immediate. I wore this a few hours before bed, and my pores looked the same when I fell asleep. They looked a lot smaller in the morning though. It also did a great job at moisturizing my skin, which is all I really care about when it comes to sheet masks.
It Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Brow Pencil- This was my favorite brow pencil for the longest time, and I would have even given it FabuFind status if I reviewed it earlier this year. I love that it is easy to work with and the spoolie blends effortlessly for a natural look. Pencils can be too harsh, but I found this one lovely with slight bending. First, the spoolie gave out on me. It is possible I was too rough with it, so I forgave my beloved. A few months later, it snapped in half wasting a large amount of product. Less than three weeks after that, the remaining amount fell off. Why? Most of this pencil was wasted. Reviewing pictures, I also noticed this is not as universal as it claims. There is a lot of red tint in my brows when I use this pencil that does not appear in my other brow products geared specifically toward blondes. I still love it, but I do not think I will purchase it again after I use up my backup stash.
No4 Clarifying Shampoo- This is my only experience with clarifying shampoo, so I have nothing to compare it to. I can say that it left my hair and head feeling very clean. It says it clarifies without stripping, which is the main reason I ignored my usual ban of clarifying shampoos. My scalp is very dry and my hair produces a lot of oil to combat that. Anything that can help cleanse my dry scalp without stripping oils probably gives my overproductive oil glands a much-needed break.
Essentielle Beauty Gingerbread Cream- This smells incredible. It really smells like Gingerbread, so it reminds me of Christmas. It is a light weight cream that moisturizes deeply. I need something a little thicker for winter, so I am happily sampling a thicker cream now.
AHAVA Dea Sea Osmoter Eye Concentrate- This is a thin eye serum, so I apply it under a traditional eye cream. Using both is the only way my under eyes feel moisturized and I like applying serum only to the lids when I apply eye shadow. It imparts some moisture without being heavy. I definitely feel the boost in moisture when I used this with the eye cream and noticed the difference when I skipped it. This 0.06oz foil was very generous. It lasted a long time, because a little of this goes a very long way.
Willing to Try Again
Paul Mitchell Kid’s Taming Spray- I bought my boys kits that included this leave-in, a shampoo, and a little brush. They exclusively use the shampoo and brush, but neither of them have long enough hair to really use detangler. It surprised me this is for kids, because it does not do a great job as a detangler. This is a lot better than nothing, so I will use the second one once I use the not one, not two, but three detanglers that arrived spilled to my house this year.
DryBar Bay Breeze Hydrating Shot- I used all four free samples Sephora sent me. Each time after I used it, I could not really see or feel a difference. It cannot be harming me, so I would use free samples again. There is no way I would buy this though.
Asprey London Purple Water Shower Gel- I wish this had a little more lather, but I know lather is not always the best for skin. The smell is nice, and I like the clean feeling. This came courtesy of a Ritz Carlton stay. I’d never purchase these, because the price and value do not align in my eyes.
bliss 24-Heaven Healing Body Balm- This penetrates deeply and moisturizes very well. It feels great on my skin and does not leave it greasy at all. I also think this would be the perfect body balm for a preschool teacher. Why? It smells like Play-Doh. The smell is not a deal breaker to me. I’d use this product again (from a kit or gift), but unless I start teaching preschool, I’d rather not purchase a product that smells like Play-Doh.
Korres Greek Yoghurt Advanced Nourishing Sleeping Facial- This was the first sleeping facial I ever sampled, and I was immediately in love. It was thick and relaxing and moisturizing without feeling too heavy. Though I’ve used several sleeping facials since then, I still love this one. Sadly it is not thick enough for winter, so I did not overly love it this time. If any more samples make it my way, I will put them away until summer. That was probably the season I originally sampled this.
Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm- I loved the scrubbing action with the cloth to remove the balm must have provided great cleansing and exfoliation, because my skin felt so soft and smooth. Whenever I do not have the squeaky clean feeling I get with foaming cleansers, I fully expect dirty toning pads. The toning pad came up clean though. Where did it go wrong? I had a slight allergic reaction to it. Before using it, I sent an email to a customer service rep at the brand to see if it was safe. Despite receiving it in May 2015, it had a 2014 date printed on it. She assured me it was the manufacturing date, and the product is good through January 2017. After using it, I sent her a follow-up email thanking her but telling her I was allergic. Her response was to send me an additional sample of this plus three more items to see if I really am allergic or if the sample went bad. Yes, I will be checking the date printed on it to see if it lines up to what she told me about this one before I try it.
Nivea In Shower Body Lotion- If you’re the type of person who skips body moisturizers but feels your skin is a little tight and itchy afterward, this could be the product for you. For someone, like myself, who never skips body moisturizers post shower, this does not impart enough moisture. It does impart more than the extremely rare times where I skip, so I could see using this in a pinch. My skin feels better with a traditional moisturizer. It is really dry though, so I can also see this working for someone who is only slightly dry. I also think this will be great for self tanners, because some moisture is better than none.
Borghese Fango Body Refining Polish- This polish is very gentle and has a light lather, so it is closer to a wash than an exfoliant. It seems like it wants to do both, but it does not do either as well as a product designed for a single use. I really like the smell, so I used this for light exfoliation and followed up with a traditional wash to cleanse. If another sample made its way to me, I would use it. This is not something I would purchase though.
Erno Laszlo Phelityl Night Cream- I sampled an incredible night cream from this brand a while back, but I cannot remember the name of it. This is not it. While this penetrates my skin a lot better than the one I sampled in November, it does not penetrate as well as the one I fell in love with long ago. It is a lovely night cream though, and I would gladly use it again if a sample made it my way, I would not purchase this. There are cheaper night creams I’d purchase before this.
Supergoop! Forever Young Hand Cream- I love that this has SPF. For that reason alone, I will gladly use samples I receive of this in the future. The skin on the back of my hands is something I often forget to apply sunscreen to. This formula is not moisturizing enough for me though. I also did not really care for the smell. It has a lovely mattifying effect though, probably thanks to the sunscreen. This does not irritate my eyes when I rub them wearing it as most sunscreens do.
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. Someone recently suggested sticking them in the fridge before I use them, so I will try that next time.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser- I bought this for my son when his beloved CeraVe was not in stock. It was small enough that I was not throwing away a bunch of money if he hated it. He also snuck it in the cart after we settled on something else. This is something I’ve always wanted to try anyway. Shortly after purchasing it, I tried to use it. My son used it all and very quickly. The only reason I am even posting a review of an item I never tried is because my son wants people to know CeraVe is better. That is something I have sampled, so I will review that myself once we empty it. Based on how fast the kid uses products, it will be very soon.
Crabtree & Evelyn LA Source Hand Cream- I originally opened this over the summer and threw it in a purse. While cleaning out said purse recently, I rediscovered it. This was amazing during the summer. The smell is lovely and it goes on without a greasy feeling at all. In the winter, it is not thick enough. Unless it is warm, I would not use this again.
Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black- I really like this scent, although I’d stop short of saying I love it. There is a slight edge without an overpowering feeling at all.
Tory Burch Abslolu- I forgot to make notes, so the only thing I remember is I did not love or hate it. If I got another sample, I could give a better review.
Therapeutics Calm Hair and Body Bath Soap- Some of you may have read about the soap explosion in November. Long story short is I had to open a lot of bar soaps when their containers got damaged. I put all of them in a bucket in the shower. After noticing they were getting moist in there, I moved the bucket and forgot to tell my husband where I put it. He opened this in the mean time. It leaves a slight film on my skin as most bar soaps do.
Not For Me
Crest Pro Health Advanced Extra Deep Clean Mouthwash- This tasted great and did not burn at all. The reason I would not use it again is it distorts the taste of food, which completely prohibits me from using it in the morning. If I used it before bed, it did not affect the taste of my breakfast most days. Once in a while, it did. Buying something that I can only use at certain times and still having it occasionally affect me is not ideal.
Shine Conditioner- I am almost tempted to stop staying at the Sheraton based on how much I dislike this line of products. This conditioner does nothing for my hair, but I am trying to use all of my stash. When paired with a really great shampoo, this does not completely suck. At least I can use the rest of my current stash.
Prada Candy- I tried this in the past and was not fond of the overly sweet and strong smell. After trying this one-time use sample to see if I changed my mind, I definitely have not.
Etude House Cherry Lip Gel Patch- I tried this, because it looked fun. It really was fun, too, until I woke up with acne on the underside of my lip on both sides less than two days later. They even matched. Thanks to picking, the right one keeps recurring. Before using this, that area was clear. Although I cannot prove this did it, I will not take any more chances on lip patches for a while unless they perfectly cover only my lips. This gel is too thick and goopy for my face.