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.
Shiseido Facial Cotton- This is the best cotton I’ve ever used. It does not fall apart or leave lint on my face. Thanks to layering, it is soft and thick. That layering helps the pad from absorbing too much product. Since I started using these, I’ve noticed I do not need as much of whatever product I am using (nail polish remover, toner, micellar water, cleanser, etc). Although these are more expensive than generic wipes, they may actually save money in the long run based on product saved over the 165 uses.
365 Pumpkin Caramel Foaming Hand Soap- I love all things pumpkin, the taste, the smell, anything. It really smells incredible without being overpowering, which is something Whole Foods does well. The only thing that keeps this from being a FabuFind is the inconsistency and potential product waste. Sometimes, one pump is enough and does a thorough job foaming (as it should according to the product name) and cleansing. Other times, it takes 2-3 pumps to get the same effect. While I am unsure why this happens, I am not okay with it. Unless a soap is very cheap, it is unacceptable to use multiple pumps for one hand wash. My husband already purchased this again, so I will have to deal with the “bad deal.” He plans to keep repurchasing it, so I will at least take solace in that it smells incredible.
Dr Jart+Vital Hydra Solution Deep Hydration Sheet Mask- Getting my dry skin through winter without too much flaking has been more successful this year thanks to products like this one. The effects of sheet masks are only temporary as it is equivalent to wearing a glorified serum on your face for an extended period. When you wash it off, most of the effects go away with it. Some may last through a washing but that is all she wrote. This is another great mask that did a wonderful job hydrating my face for the rest of the day. Unlike the Patchology mask I tried recently that lasted an extra wash, the hydrating effects did go away with the wash. That is not to say this is not a wonderful mask. It just needs to supplement a great skincare routine and cannot do a lot to repair skin.
Kiko Milano Intensive Foot Socks- These are sheet masks for feet, and my feet loved every second of them. They feel soft and hydrated until I washed them again. This will not do a lot to repair damage, but it is a great added step to a nice foot care routine. As much as I loved this, I will only purchase them on sale. It is one thing to buy a serum soaked mask for my face that washes right away, but it is another thing to buy them for my feet. The lack of long-term effects make this a splurge and luxury, not a necessity.
InstaNatural Stretch Mark & Scar Cream- Review Directory gave me this in exchange for my opinion. At the three-week review deadline, I only gave this 3 out of 5 stars. It had not noticeably changed any of my stretch marks, but it did moisturize nicely and feel comfortable. I continued using it until it was gone, which took a few months. By the second month, I noticed the area I was using this on did have a slight improvement. That is when I edited my article to say I would give this 4 stars. There was no place to edit my online review, so it sits at 3 stars forever (with the disclaimer that it only applied to the three-week mark). It became even more noticeable by the time I finished it. If I were to review this now, I would give it 4.5 stars. The surrounding area I did not cover definitely looks different, and this is the only change I made during that time period. I’d show pictures of the before and after if they were not in a more sensitive area. Most of my stretch marks (white) are from pregnancy, and my youngest is 4 1/2. That means these are old marks. I imagine this would be a 5 star product on someone with newer (red) marks, because it is easier to fade darker stretch marks than lighter ones. This changing them at all is awesome.
Davines Love Shampoo- This is another great shampoo in the Davines line. It leaves my hair, soft, manageable, reduces frizz, and looks healthier overall. The only thing that prevents me from calling this a FabuFind is I do not think it is as good as the MINU line.
Lush The Olive Branch Shower Gel- I loved this, but my husband REALLY loved it. He said it made his skin a lot less itchy (from being dry) than anything he’s used recently. Considering he refuses to moisturize after showering, I imagine his skin is very dry. Since I do moisturize afterward, I cannot tell how well the soap moisturizes. It does lather wonderfully and smells great. If I had to describe the scent, I would say a soft woodsy scent. Usually woodsy is a male scent, but there is nothing about this that seems gender specific shown by the fact that we both loved it). This left my skin feeling clean.
L’Occitane Shea Hand Cream- This is an amazing hand cream. It is deeply moisturizing, not greasy, and smells decent. If the smell was a little nicer, it would probably be my favorite ever, because I love the way it feels on my hands. Loving this so much is another reason I was so disappointed the foot cream is so awful.
SmartLash Eyelash Enhancer- This works on both my lashes and my brows to make them grow faster. The effects only seem to last a short time after I stop using the product. That is not a deal breaker, because this brand is regularly sold at a discount (not that I would ever pay the $125 retail). I’d get Latisse before doing that. At $20-$30 a tube, I love this. The only thing that keeps it from being a FabuFind is the applicator. Its brush frays quickly and easily. Product also spills easily if it tips a little. I hold it when I am applying it to prevent someone from accidentally knocking it over and spilling everything. Once in a while, it spills a little when I inadvertently tip it. Eventually, the frayed brush breaks off preventing the bottle from closing. That is what happened again with this tube, so I was not able to properly finish it.
Philosophy The Microdelivery Peel- I cannot recall a time when my face has ever felt more soft than immediately after using this. The product is a little expensive for something that gives a temporary softness. It technically does more, but according to Beautypedia, it does not do a lot more. If I can get my hands on another sample to try this out longer, I’d see if it were worth purchasing. Assuming it does have long-term effects, I would love to see what they are.
First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser- This is a typical, gentle cleaner. It foams, so it leaves me with the squeaky clean feeling I desire. The added moisturizers do not make me feel like my face is cracking in those few minutes between getting out of the shower and applying my face products.
Oral B Glide Pro Health Comfort Plus Gloss- Like the name indicates, it glides through teeth. It has never gotten stuck in my teeth like cheaper glosses do. Some glosses taste like you’re feasting on a candle or a bad mint candy. This one has almost no taste at all.
Davines Love Conditioner- This is another great conditioner in the Davines line. It leaves my hair, soft, manageable, reduces frizz, and looks healthier overall. The only thing that prevents me from calling this a FabuFind is I do not think it is as good as the MINU line.
Marc Jacobs Mod Noir- I’d say I love this. It is a little edgy without being over-powering. This is nothing I’d buy, because I am extremely particular about scents I purchase. Thanks to picking up a 100 point perk from Sephora over the summer of 2015, I am probably set on this scent for a while.
Willing to Try Again
Eucerin Daily Protection Moisturizing Lotion- This has SPF but is also moisturizing, so I thought it would be the perfect after shower application for my boys’ bodies on school days. They go out for recess, so they could use the SPF. The added moisturizer could save me a step, which is ideal for early school mornings. I still apply lotion to my four-year-old, and I do the sunblock (when used) on both boys. My four-year-old had eczema flare-ups after using this a few times, so I could not use it on him. While my nine-year-old never told me exactly what he disliked about it, he just did not care for it. That meant I had to finish the product purchased for them. It does moisturize, but it does not feel anywhere near as moisturizing as a regular lotion. If I am going in the sun, I prefer to use moisturizer and sunblock separately to get the best of both worlds. I finished this in Winter, because it expires in April. It is not something I would likely repurchase, but I would not rule out using it again (on myself only) in spring or summer.
Ojon Full Detox Rub-Out Dry Cleansing Spray- This actually had moments of greatness. It works to remove oil and residue from my hair better than anything else I’ve tried. Some dry shampoos leave a white cast or weird, almost sticky feeling in my hair. This did neither. I could not get over the smell though. Like most dry shampoos, the smell is strong. It has an almost musty smell. When I used this, I could not handle how bad my hair smelled. My biggest complaint is with the bottle malfunctioning. For the price of this dry shampoo, that is not acceptable. With at least a third or so left in the bottle, it stopped spraying. After trying all the suggestions (other than WD-40) on how to unclog the nozzle, I had to toss it. None of them worked, so it was either clogged beyond repair or something else caused this to stop working. Due to the two issues (either of which would be deal breakers on their own), I will never repurchase this. I would use it if it came in a kit or as a GWP (as long as I find something to mask the awful smell).
Bath and Body Works Vanilla Bean Noel Gentle Foaming Hand Soap- I remember shopping at Bath and Body Works a lot during my late teens and early twenties. All of the smells were fun and fruity without the overly floral scents I avoid. As I got older, I realized they were a little strong for my liking. Most hand washes carry a light scent or even the ones with strong scents fade after a while. Bath and Body Works products linger for way longer than they should, which is not a great combination when the smell is strong. This is another example of a scent I love that was just produced wrong. Vanilla Bean is lovely when its subtle. This was a Christmas gift, and I would use it again. There is no way I would purchase this though.
Yves Rocher Candied Orange & Almond Hand Cream- This smelled as incredible as I imagined it would when I ordered it. The problem is it was nowhere near hydrating enough for my hands (especially in the winter). It was really thin, too. Hand Creams are better when they’re thicker. At least, the hand creams I buy need are. I thought the scent was perfect for winter. Rather than putting it away and using it on my hands in the summer, I used it on my body in the winter. Normally, I would never consider using a hand cream on my body and typically only do that the other way around. With the deal I got in this, I figured it was okay. If I ever purchased this again, it would be on sale and used once again on my body.
Tocca Bianca Hand Cream- Tocca hand creams are not the most moisturizing, and they not completely grease free. They’re not overly thick or thin. As long as the scent is not overpowering (some are), I will gladly use any of these that come in sets or gifts. There is nothing special enough about any of the scents I’ve sampled so far to get me to purchase them. This one was okay. It was not strong, but it did not knock my socks off either.
Yves Rocher Organic Lavender Polishing Foot Scrub- This is one of the better smelling foot scrubs I’ve tried. The lavender really is lovely. Even with my incredible sense of smell, it is very hard to smell anything applied to my feet. Thus, a scent will never make or break a foot product alone. I prefer a foot scrub that is a little more harsh. With really rough foot skin, this gentle formula did not seem to make much of a difference. I’d use it again if it was in a kit or GWP, but I would not purchase it. It would also be repurposed into a body scrub, because I think it is a better fit there.
amika Nourishing Mask- I know I need to use a weekly hair mask and even understand why I should. There are so many that do not seem to do anything. My hair looks the same on days I use them versus days I do not. Writing them off completely could be a mistake, because they could be doing what they should even though I cannot see the immediate effects. As such, I am almost always willing to try them again if they make it to me as a sample or in a kit. I would never purchase this though, because there is a hair mask where I notice an immediate and drastic improvement.
Molton Brown Samphire Body Wash- When my husband brought this home from the Miami FontaineBleau, I could not wait to try it. It was nothing overly special. I’d use it again, but I would not purchase it.
Sysco Guest Supply Face and Body Soap- I’ve stayed at a lot of hotels, and I never remember seeing such generic products as I saw at this recent Holiday Inn Stay. We attended an event there, so it just seemed easiest to stay where the event was. Even though the soap is generic, it still seems like a run of the mill bar soap. Almost all of them seem the same. If I ever stayed there again, I would use this soap.
Number 4 Reconstructing Mask- Like the mask above, I did not notice a difference after using it. In fairness to this one, the sample was only 0.25oz. I like to use a lot and coat my hair well. Based on other masks, I think I use closer to 0.5oz per application. That means this only had about 50% of what I needed to compare it to other masks. They pick the sample sizes though, so they must assume this is big enough for one treatment. Hopefully, I can get a bigger sample to judge this a little better.
Chloe Chloe- I am still deciding what I think of this. When it comes to scents, I usually know immediately if I love or hate them. Those that fall somewhere in the middle are more forgettable.
Not For Me
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 decided to finish my stash. When paired with a really great shampoo, this does not completely suck. Now that I’ve used it all, I will not take my leftovers when we stay the Sheraton again.
Gilchrist and Soames Shampoo and Conditioner Combo- Seriously. This is the first time in my life that I recall a hotel chain (Harrah’s Reno) offering a shampoo/conditoner combo. It reminds me that the one step was popular in the early 90s, but I cannot remember the brand that was all the rage. At least offer a cleansing conditioner next time. My hair is way too frizzy and overly tangled with this even when I add a separate conditioner. I think this is the last of this as well, and I will not take my leftovers home next time we stay at Harrah’s.
Yves Rocher So Elixir- This scented wipe reeked of alcohol. The scent was not the best or the worst, but the alcohol itself never really died down. I smelled it the entire time I smelled the scent. That is unusual.