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 spotlight ones I’ve finished and others I have yet to finish, so I can discuss them in more detail.
365 Foaming Hand Soap Citrus Grapefruit- My husband finally committed to a scent and purchased a refill. Of all the scents we’ve sampled so far, this is the least fragrant. He is not into heavy scents, so I get why he prefers this one. 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. Although I love a good deal, I am not sure the refill is practical. The pump on the original bottle broke with almost half of the refill left to go. Someone kept forgetting to buy a new pump, so we had to use it with the broken pump. Now that there is a new pump (for a different scent), I am on my own finishing what is left in the broken pump.
Suave Keratin Infusion Dry Shampoo- I received this from Influenster and gave it a lower rating at the deadline than I should have. They recently sent me another Suave Dry Shampoo to try, which I have not written about yet. This one is better than the one I am using now. It does not remove all the oil, so it is not perfect. For the price and the amount of oil it does remove, it is definitely worth it. My biggest complaint is the fragrance is a little strong, but I’d rather endure a strong perfumed scent than a bad one some dry shampoos have. I would not repurchase this unless I was at a drugstore and needed one right away. At the drugstore, this is the best I’ve tried so far.
Whish Shave Cream Blue Agave- This is still a FabuFind. It gives an ultra close shave without any nicks or cuts. I only need two pumps per leg or one pump for both underarms, so this bottle lasts a long time. My legs never feel overly dry or get a rash when I use this product. For years, I thought I was allergic to the razor, because I got a rash after shaving. As it turns out, I am allergic to some shaving creams.
Lancôme Génifique Yeux Eye- This really does everything it promises. It makes my eyes look brighter and helps de-puff my under eye bags. The roller ball attached to the lid of the product helps me with both of those issues, but it is easy to press a little too hard at times. I get some moisture I need when I apply this, but it is not thick enough to use on its own. Those without dry skin can probably use this by itself. As long as my skin is very dry, I will always use a serum and eye cream together, so I would never dock a product for that. The only reason I will not name this a FabuFind and immediately repurchase is the very ball that I love rolling on my eyes is a little messy. No matter how careful I am or how much I wipe, it dispenses too much product. This is not a cheap product, so I would want the bottle designed to conserve serum. If there was something (like shields) to catch some of the serum near the top, this would be a FabuFind and something I’d repurchase happily.
Sephora Charcoal Nose Strip- I actually did not use this, and I usually do not share things that only a family member used. My husband had a great result with this, so I will be trying it soon. Not only did this remove a lot of his blackheads, but it did so comfortably. It did not hurt him after removal or make his nose itch. When it comes to pore strips, I am hesitant to use them often. None of the masks we were using were doing much for his blackheads, so I was hoping we could use a few strips to clear him out and continue only with masks once he starts taking better care of his skin.
Ole Henriksen Power Bright- I had some user error with my first use and saw a lot of improvement when I used it correctly with my second use. This brightens my skin and leaves it extremely soft. My skin looks a lot better after I use this, and I love that I can use each packet twice by putting the leftover amount in a Ziploc. Instead of saving the second half of this one, I applied it on my husband. His skin looked a lot better after using this as well, so I am ready to promote this to FabuFind status.
BeautyBlender- This is another product I am ready to promote to FabuFind status. It gives an airbrush look that I cannot achieve with my fingers or any of the brushes I own. The BeautyBlender does not waste as much product a normal sponge, so it is somewhat economical. Although I wish it was a little more affordable, I will continue to purchase these. When the stains get difficult to remove, I toss them. The one I was using before this looks stained, so I am not even sure I will wash it to re-use it again. It is not falling apart and still works well, but the stains really bother my OCD.
Ahava Essential Day Moisturizer Normal to Dry Skin- This has a lighter version of the signature dead sea scent, but this one fades very fast. It is a moderately thick cream that penetrates deeply to intensely moisturize. I preferred this to the more expensive Beauty Before Age Day Cream, because it is not as heavy but feels as comfortable. My skin feels very soft when I use this.
Paula’s Choice Mystery Product Y- I tested this product for Paula’s Choice and am not allowed to talk about what it is, but it makes my skin feel very soft and hydrated. If I knew the name of the product, I’d purchase it.
Davines Naturaltech Energizing Shampoo- This was actually my husband’s sample, but I used it almost as much as he did. Davines shampoo and conditioners are just so good that I could not resist. I actually prefer other ones from this brand, so I would not purchase it. Like others from this brand, it left my hair smelling and looking great. It reduces frizz.
Hang Ten Classic Sport SPF50- I really loved this sunscreen. It is relatively thin, so it spreads easily and works into skin nicely. My skin did not look overly shiny or tinted. The most important thing I look for in sunscreen is actual protection, and my skin did not burn. There is a sunscreen I prefer (because while thicker it works in as easily), so I would not make this a FabuFind. If I saw this in a store I shop at, I’d buy it thought. This is not something I’d search for if it is hard to find.
Molton Brown Heavenly Gingerly Caressing Body Polisher- I am usually not a fan of anything with a ginger scent (except Gingerbread cookies), but this was an exception. It smells great and light. This actually cleanses while it scrubs, so it a great time saver. Part of the reason I do not exfoliate more often is because it adds so much time to my shower. The beads are somewhat gentle, but it still leaves my skin soft and smooth.
Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream- This is a really thick cream that is extremely moisturizing. It is probably a little too thick for summer, so I would use it again (only in the winter). The only drawback is my skin sometimes feels like it cannot breathe as well when I use this.
h2o+ Face Oasis Ultra Hydrator- This actually hydrated a lot better than I expected, because I have not had a lot of luck with gel moisturizers. It has Nutri-spheres that deliver a surge of antioxidant vitamins to help protect against aging, but mostly, they are just fun. When I first apply this, it almost feels like I am applying an exfoliant, because I can feel the spheres. They feel like exfoliation beads. My skin does glow with this, so it is a lot of fun.
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair- I actually liked that this was thicker than my usual night-time serum. Thicker products at night are great for me, because I want my skin to soak up as much moisture as possible. The sample was too small to see if there are any long-term effects, so I cannot call this a FabuFind yet. It definitely makes my skin look brighter and feel softer each time I apply it.
Benefit GimmeBrow Light/Medium- I really love this product, because it is so easy. When I am in a hurry, I use only this to darken my eyebrows and make them look full. It improves the overall appearance greatly on its own. For a really full look, I like to add this over a brow pencil or another brow product. Even when used with other products, it mixes well. If I had to pick one brow product for life, it would be this.
Go Smile Double Action Whitening System- This is still a FabuFind and the only whitener I’ve used that actually works on tooth colored fillings and relatively pain-free. It does not hurt my gums or my overly sensitive teeth. The actual whitening is mild, but noticeable.
Ole Henriksen Protect the Truth CC Cream- I was actually nervous when I applied this, because it goes on very dark for a light CC cream. Thankfully, it settles into a color that is very close to my skin tone. It has a somewhat luminous look and has a little more coverage than the average CC cream. The SPF protects my skin, too, so I am happy they can pack so many great things into this product. My skin looks very dewy and dry patches are completely hidden.
LA FRESH Waterproof Makeup Remover- This removed all of my makeup, and I made a point to notice other things about it after failing to do so on our June trip. When traveling, I usually do not pack a separate eye makeup remover, so I used this on my eyes. It did not burn. One of the main reasons I use a separate product on my eyes is because a lot of these products burn. The wipe itself is not my favorite, but it gets the job done without falling apart and is wet enough to remove it all with the first wipe.
Bvlgari Green Tea Refreshing Towels- This is as refreshing as it claims. I used this to cool down after a day at Disneyland when I did not have time to shower again before dinner. The scent is light and not overpowering at all. My only complaint is it leaves a slight sticky film. The film is better than sweat though, so I would definitely use this again. Price prevents it from being a FabuFind. For this price, I would not want any film left-behind.
Ahava Mineral Body Lotion Sea Kissed- This reminds me of the Dead Sea Body lotion I already know and love, but this is better. It has all the moisturizing properties and a similar consistency, but it also smells incredible. Sea kissed is a great way to describe the scent, because it is somewhat beauty and fresh. I use a lot of body lotion, and this 0.2oz sample was not even enough to cover my whole body for a single treatment. As much as I loved it, I need a bigger sample before I can consider this for FabuFind status. For now, I will just say that I loved it. My skin that did not get treated with this felt the same since I used the regular lotion. Like the main lotion, this fades over time.
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion- I already love what Paula’s Chocie BHA does for my skin, but I prefer this in liquid form. In lotion form, it changes the order I apply it, because I always apply products from thinnest to thickest. It’s possible the lotion is more ideal for dry skin, which I definitely have. When I am already using this with an essence, serum, and moisturizer, adding another thick product is a little too much for my skin. For those stopping after this step, they could prefer this.
Willing to Try Again
Benefit Refined Finish Facial Polish- I used to love this, so I even repurchased it. As I tried more products, I realized I prefer physical exfoliants with really fine exfoliation ingredients. The exfoliant beads in this are not as fine as I like. My skin does feel soft and smooth after I use this, so it still works well. It is just that products with smaller beads seem to leave my skin as soft and smooth with less redness. If you like a thicker bead, you may want to try this.
Lancome Tonique Douceur- I actually liked this, but I prefer Lancome Tonique Confort. The funny thing is I always assumed I used more of the other one than I needed, because it is a lot more dense. Since this one went a lot faster, I assume the density of the other one prevents me from dispensing too much at once. This one comes out of the container so easily that I use more of it than I need with almost every application. My skin does feel somewhat replenished and moisturized, so it does what it needs to do. If I got samples of this, I would use it again. If I was selecting one to buy for my dry skin, I am going with Confort.
Schick Quattro Razor- This razor gives a close shave and rarely cuts me. I prefer the Hydro Silk from the same brand, so I will not purchase this again. If it makes it to me another way, I’d use it. The handle was getting kind of old, and I did not feel like buying any replacement blades.
Schick Quattro Disposable Razor Blade- This razor gives a close shave and rarely cuts me. I prefer the Hydro Silk from the same brand, so I will not purchase this again. If it makes it to me another way, I’d use it.
Ahava Purifying Mud Mask- I am not certain this does a lot for my skin, so I would not purchase. It does not harm my skin, so I would use it again. This is one of the few mud masks where my skin actually feels softer after I remove it. That is likely because it never dries in the two minutes recommend to leave it on.
boscia Luminizing Black Mask- I did not notice much difference in my skin after removing this, but I find peel off masks oddly appealing. This one is actually painful to remove though. Even though I was really careful and removed this from hair and brows, it attaches to the peach fuzz on my face. The only way I’d use this again is if I receive another one in a set, because other peel off masks work better.
Origins Active Charcoal Mask- I wanted to try this for so long, but I did not notice much of a difference. My skin did feel a little softer, but I’ve felt softer skin after removing other masks. There was only enough in this sample to use once on me and once on my husband, so I am not giving up yet. If I receive another sample, I will try this for longer.
Goldfaden MD Skincare Wake Up Call- This was my second time trying this mini sample. It does penetrate deeply to leave my skin feeling soft, but I’ve tried others that work better. I’ve never used a big enough sample to see if there are any long-term effects.
Dr Dennis Gross dark spot sun defense- I finished a sample of this after our June trip and was very disappointed. My skin burned, and the one thing I expect from sunscreen is to prevent my skin from burning. Reluctantly, I gave it another chance with our August trip. After walking away with skin that did not burn, it is possible the burning from our June trip was a fluke. Thankfully, I have a third sample of this to break the tie and give me a chance to make the final decision on whether I love this. It goes on thin and spreads easily. There is not an overwhelming sunscreen scent, which I like. I have not used it enough to say it defends against dark spots, but short of using this for a long time and getting dark spots, I cannot decide how I would even test this product.
Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo- This is an okay product courtesy of the Double Tree Hilton. It does not do much for my frizz, and I prefer more lather.
Dr. Brandt Skincare MAGNETIGHT Age-Defier™- After seeing this mask in action on Youtube, I really wanted to try it. The magnet really does lift this mask right off the skin if the magnet gets close enough. It has a really strong bond. You have to replace the tissue at least 4-5 times, because the magnet stops pulling if it gets too full. Removing the tissue is difficult, because the product wants to hang on tightly to the magnet (even through the tissue). Some of the product seems to break through the tissue and attracts to the magnet anyway and removing the product from the magnet is extremely hard. My favorite part is there is no rinsing to remove this. Once you remove the mask with the magnet, you work the leftover oils into the skin. My husband did not need any extra moisture and still reported having really soft skin after his came off. I needed to add a moisturizer on top of the oils, because my skin started to feel dry and tight around the 30 minute mark. It was really fun to play with, and the magnet removed the product easier from my skin than my husband’s for some reason. Neither of us are sure we noticed a difference in our skin, so I am not sure if this removes any deep down dirt and gunk as it should.
Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips- After my husband had such luck with the Sephora strip, I wanted to try the Deep Cleansing Charcoal Pore Strips. I purchased those in store. Well, I thought I purchased those in store. When I opened them to try them out, the box was empty. When I went to actually retrieve the strips I paid for, they were all out of stock. We’ve used these in the past, and I remembered they worked. Instead of walking out empty-handed, I decided to get these again. They still work, but my husband and I both experienced itching after removing them. His itching was worse than mine, so we both washed our faces again after five minutes of itching. After washing what I assume was the residue off, his face stopped itching completely. My face still itched a little, but it was greatly reduced. We will finish the box I purchased (washing before and after using them), but I will not purchase them again. If they make it to me another way, I’d use them again though.
Origins Smarty Plants™ CC SPF 20 Skin Complexion Corrector- This light to medium color matches my coloring nicely. It felt great and set nicely. The formula did not event highlight my pores as much as it did the last time I wore it. I like the very natural look it gave.
Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel for Body- I really thought I would love this based on how much I love the face version. This lacks the magic of the face version. It takes a lot more product to get a similar result. That is really frustrating when the product is already expensive. The sample was only half an ounce, and it was not even enough to exfoliate my whole body. There is also not a lot of room for error, because I had to apply it twice to my left arm to get it to work. My arm was either too wet or too dry the first time I applied it.
Ponds Cleansing Towelettes- I definitely liked these better than the Ponds Original Fresh Wipes, but I did not like those at all. These have the same weird cutouts. They are probably there for a reason, but they just keep the product from picking up makeup in places with the gaps. That means I am rubbing more and harder than I should to make sure I cover every part of my face. After using these, the micellar water still removed more makeup. Although I always use micellar water at home after a makeup removing wipe, I expect the pad to come up clean. If it does not, I will not consider repurcashing those wipes.
Ahava Beauty Before Age Uplift Night Cream is very rich. It is a thick, moisturizing cream, which I love in my night creams. There was enough in this 0.1oz foil for two uses. This has a strong fragrance, but I find it slightly more pleasant than the signature fragrance of the items in the dead sea line. I also think the fragrance in the night cream is not as strong as the day cream. The sample was too small for me to notice any real benefits, but I know my skin likes it and absorbs the moisture in the cream. My skin feels extremely soft and comfortable with this.
Ahava Beauty Before Age Uplift Day Cream is very rich. It is a thick, moisturizing cream, so I think this would make a great winter treatment when my skin thirsts for a really thick cream. I use a lot of face cream per use, because I always work it into my neck and decollete (unless I happen to have a separate neck cream open at the time). This 0.1oz sample was not enough for two uses. It gave me enough coverage for everywhere I apply it the first time, but I was only able to apply it directly to my face the second time. There is a strong fragrance in this, but I find it slightly more pleasant than the signature fragrance of the items in the dead sea line. The sample was too small for me to notice any real benefits, but I know my skin likes it and absorbs the moisture in the cream. My skin feels extremely soft and comfortable with this.
Not For Me
Ole Henriksen Total Truth Eye Cream- I love so many products from the Truth line, but this was my exception. It provided the moisture I need for my under eyes and did so in a lovely matte way. The problem is the SPF in this product makes my eyes burn and water. Before giving up on it, I tried to change the way I applied it by moving it down a little farther, keeping it completely off my brow bone and more. Somehow, it always found a way back into my eyes. It is summer, so it is possible it could work in winter when I am not sweating outside. If your eyes are sensitive to sunscreen, you should probably not try this. I am still on the search for a great eye cream or sunscreen I can put near my eyes, because they need protection, too.
Paula’s Choice Mystery Product X- I tested this product for Paula’s Choice and am not allowed to talk about what it is, but it makes my skin burn. It is one of the most painful things I’ve ever tried. If I knew the name of the product, I’d avoid it. My husband finished this, and it did not burn his skin at all. That obviously means I am allergic to it. His skin is not as sensitive as mine, so I knew it was safe to try this on him.
Giovanni Bathe Moisturizing Body Bar Cucumber Song- I never expect much from hotel soaps. This was one of the worst ones I’ve ever tried though. It left a really thick film on my skin. Most hotels have a water softening system, and although I am unsure the Double Tree we stayed at did, I know that soaps that do not leave a film on my skin at the hotel do at my house. The film was so thick that I did not even take the extra ones housekeeping gave us. Someone else can have them.
Giovanni Gently Cleanse Facial Bar Cucumber Song- I never expect much from hotel soaps. This was one of the worst ones I’ve ever tried though. It left a really thick film on my skin. Most hotels have a water softening system, and although I am unsure the Double Tree we stayed at did, I know that soaps that do not leave a film on my skin at the hotel do at my house. The film was so thick that I did not even take the extra ones housekeeping gave us. Someone else can have them.
Julep Nail Wipes- This is terrible. I went to a Julep event and messed up my swatches, so I reluctantly used this. One side of each pad does not really work at all. It is 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.