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.
Freeman Bare Foot Creamy Pumice Foot Scrub Invigorating Peppermint & Plum- This is the first scrub in a while that I can actually feel scrubbing. So many formulas are not thick enough to penetrate layers of skin on my feet. It is not too rough either, and I like the slight tingling feeling when I use it on the top of my feet. It is somewhat relaxing.
Caolion Premium Pore Original Pack- This has an extreme cooling effect. It actually makes my eyes water, because it is so strong. I do not think it is an allergy, because my skin always looks smooth when I remove it. There is more than enough in a single pod for two uses. My husband used this with me, so I did not have to put the rest in a Ziploc. This really opens my pores. When I follow this with the Steam Pore Pack, my pores seem to return to normal though. The time I used this without the Steam Pore Pack, it took almost 24 hours before my pores returned to their normal state. Yes, I kept checking the mirror all day.
Caolion Premium Blackhead Steam Pore Pack- This has a slight warming effect when used after using the original Pore Pack. It feels soothing. There is more than enough in a single pod for two uses. My husband used this with me, so I did not have to put the rest in a Ziploc. I know this did a great job closing my pores, because my pores looked a lot more open the time I used the first mask but did not have any of this to follow-up with.
Tree Hut Shea Butter Coconut Lime- This really smells like limes and coconuts, so it is impossible to apply this without singing Put the Lime in The Coconut. Limes and coconuts compliment each other surprisingly well. The cream is thick but rubs in easily and moisturizes nicely. My boys really love this, and it is one product we actually agree upon.
Egyptian Magic- This is still a FabuFind and the product I loved enough to dedicate an article to. This magical cream has so many uses, and it multi-tasks for every one I’ve tried extremely well. My favorite uses are the heels of my feet and eczema patches.
Pantene Pro V Expert Intense Repair Conditioner- It detangles my hair nicely for a moderately thick conditioner. This helps reduce frizz, because there is less pulling when I comb my wet hair. Frizz is my biggest issue, because my wavy/curly hair gets very frizzy when it gets tangled. My hair looks smooth (mostly) and feels soft when I use this. It smells nice without being overbearing, too. I received this from Influenster.
Ahava Mineral Botanic Velvet Cream Wash Hibiscus & Fig- My skin is very dry (so I always moisturize after showering whether I use a moisturizing wash like this or not). This leaves my skin feeling great during the 10 minutes it takes before I apply a body moisturizer. Really drying soaps make my skin feel terrible instantly, so I can feel a difference. It has a beautiful scent that is somewhat floral with a hint of fig (that smells like tobacco but not it is not at all overpowering). When my husband wears his Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille, I think of this wash. I love that scent on him. The scents compliment each other beautifully. This also has a great lather and rinses clean.
Ahava Deadsea Water Mineral Shower Gel- This has a very light, refreshing scent. The scent reminds me of rain water. It lathers nicely and rinses clean. My skin does not feel tight or dry after using this, even on my back where I do not always moisturize the parts I cannot easily reach. If I did not absolutely fall in love with the other Ahava body wash, I would have said this was amazing. Since the price per ounce on the one I prefer better is cheaper, I would not purchase this. I would happily use any samples of this I receive or any that come in sets.
dpHue Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse- I used this in place of shampoo, and thought it cleaned beautifully. My hair did not look dirty or oily at all, and I was able to use this sample 3-4 times. That is more than I expected from this 1oz sample, so a little product goes a long way. My only real complaint that keeps this from FabuFind status is I do not like the way it smells. None of my other hair products, including a hair fragrance that I thought I would never use, did much to reduce the scent.
Julep Tada Quick Dry Drops- These drops work extremely well. When I apply these drops a minute after adding my top coat, my nails always dry faster than when I leave them to dry on their own. This also has vitamin E and sweet almond oil that hydrate and condition. It is so refreshing. My hands and nails always feel so dry, because I do not apply lotion once I start a manicure until my nails dry. As someone who has very dry skin and hates to skip a single lotion application after a hand washing, my skin and cuticles feel uncomfortable until this step.
Ulta Moisture Cleanse Hand Soap Pink Grapefruit- This is my favorite scent from this line so far. It is refreshing and smells like a subtle, sweet grapefruit. The soap rinses clean and feels great. I want to explore more scents, but I will defiantly repurchase this scent if I do not find a better one.
Laneige Water Bank Soothing Gel Mask- This definitely adds a lot of moisture to my skin. My skin still felt incredibly soft when I woke up the next morning. I had nowhere to go until mid-afternoon, so I did not wash my face that morning. It still felt great until the moment I washed it off. Technically, my skin still felt soft after I washed it off.
Kaplan Lip 20 Balm Ultra Hydrating Treatment + SPF- This has the consistency of a Carmex and Vaseline offspring, so I did not expect much. It was actually more comfortable on my lips than either of “its parents” ever were. My lips feel moisturized long after it wears off, which is not too quickly. The formula does not have much of a taste either, so it is better than Carmex and Vaseline on that front as well.
Lumene Bright Now Vitamin C Night Cream- This is not very thick for night cream, so I did not have high hopes when I opened this. My skin is dry, so I prefer very thick night creams for added moisture. It was summer time when I opened this. During the summer, it was refreshing to take a step back from thick products. My skin could really breathe and did not feel weighed down. I loved the fresh citrus scent. When the weather started to get cold, I noticed this did not moisturize as well as it did over the summer. For fall nights when I needed more moisture, I added an oil. It is not uncommon for me to add an oil over thick creams when I want added moisture though.
Lancome Flash Bronzer Self Tanning Leg Gel- I always wondered why this is a tanning gel for legs. Because I’m a rebel, I applied this all over my body starting with my face. It has a bit of a sheen to it, but I did not notice until my second face coat that the sheen is glitter. The glitter is subtle and almost unnoticeable indoors. Even outdoors, it does not have Edward Cullen levels of glitter, but it is noticeable. This was definitely not great on my face. Oops. It looked beautiful on the rest of my body, not just my legs. The color is actually bronze, so it is not orange at all. I was able to get an even distribution with two coats in some places and three in others. It was not streaky at first and settled beautifully into my skin. When I left the house, it did streak a little where I sweated. Next time, I will only use this when I have no plans for the rest of the day.
Biore Deep Cleansing Charcoal Pore Strip- This strip tingles a lot more than the regular version from this brand. I’m not sure if that is good or bad, but it seems like this removes stuff from my pores a little better. My skin is sensitive, so I need to wash my face before and after using this strip.
SKII Essential Power Rich Cream- I wanted to hate this, because the price is more than I’d pay for a face cream. It is actually quite lovely though. This cream moisturizes incredibly well for a cream that lies somewhere between thin and moderately thick. A little goes a long way, too. The sample was only 0.08oz, but I got 6 uses out of it. Four of those uses includes neck and chest, too. It was too small to see if it has a firming effect, but I’d definitely try this again to see.
Make Up For Ever Sens’Eyes Waterproof Sensitive Eye Cleanser- I used this to remove some swatches at a Sephora event. It worked incredibly well on the swatches. The SA who was helping me insisted I take a sample home to test it other ways. This actually does an incredible job of removing eye makeup without hurting my eyes. I cannot see myself buying it, because I still prefer Lancome BiFacil. Those with an aversion to oil may find this as a great alternative.
Reverie Milk Anti-Frizz Leave-In Nourishing Treatment- I have really frizzy hair. This makes my hair look way less frizzy. As soon as I use up some items in my stash, I will purchase this. It was really hard to get my hands on a sample, because Sephora would not send it to me when I ordered it. After I picked this up in-store, Sephora sent me this sample on an order I did not ask for it on. That was pretty funny.
Willing to Try Again
Whish Body Butter Lavender- This actually smells incredible and does a nice job moisturizing. The problem is there are cheaper formulas that moisturize better. I actually had the pump clog on me three times, and this was a small bottle. It did eventually start working again, but that was a bit of a hassle given that you cannot open the bottle. As such, I would not purchase this. Once the bottle does get going, I love that the design allows you to pump everything out with no waste. That is my favorite thing about Whish products. Other companies could learn a lot about giving us hygienic products that get every last drop out. If more samples make it my way, I will happily use them.
Goody® SlideProof™ Secure Fit Elastics- This was a little stiff. It took a long time to fit it to my wrist, and it did not keep its shape long once it got there. It does work extremely well in my hair. Even though it was loose and pieces of the band were snapping, it still held my hair nicely until the end. It just needed four wraps instead of three.
Lush Honey I Washed the Kids Soap- Lush does leave less of a residue behind than most bar soaps do, but I can still feel it with this soap. It lathers beautifully, smells incredible, and does not dry out my skin the way most bars soaps do. I will keep exploring Lush soaps, but the Fun soaps definitely do not leave a film on my skin.
Jo Malone Basil & Neroli- I really do love this scent, but it did not last long on me. Within a few hours, I could no longer smell it. It is possible I got used to it. While I realize it is still possible others smelled it, I want to smell it or I would not consider buying it.
TonyMoly I’m Real Tea Tree Mask Sheet Skin Soothing- My husband used this one, so I still need to try it at some point. He refused to give me a proper review, because he took it off the moment he realized it had soy in it. I am not great at checking ingredients, but it is very important to him. He’s not allergic, but he does not like products with soy.
TonyMoly I’m Real Broccoli Mask Sheet Vitality- This is another one my husband used, so I still need to try it at some point. He liked this one, but he said he did not notice much difference afterward. His skin is not as dry as mine, and he does not use a serum. I think I am going to stop asking him to use my sheet masks after this, except for the ones I am allergic to.
TonyMoly I’m Real Rice Mask Sheet Clear Skin- This is another one my husband used, so I still need to try it at some point. He liked this one, but he said he did not notice much difference afterward. His skin is not as dry as mine, and he does not use a serum. I think I am going to stop asking him to use my sheet masks after this, except for the ones I am allergic to.
Eyeko Hydrogel Eye Patch- I woke up with really puffy eyes, so I decided to give this eye patch set a try. This was the first eye patch that ever reduced my puffy eyes, and I’ve tried a few. There are still some other brands in my stash I want to try first, but I am definitely considering purchasing these.
CrazyMonkey Monkey Snail Quick Mask- This was not as slimy as I expected, but it was still a little more slimy than I prefer in my sheet masks. It moisturizes my skin extremely well, as most sheet masks do. My skin is a little sticky to the touch after applying eye and face cream on top of this.
pur-lisse Prevent Blue Lotus + White Tea Treatment Sheet Mask- The filaments in this mask are odd. I had to look it up to make sure that was normal and was glad to see it was. There was nothing overly special about this mask. It did add moisture to my skin, which is what I expect from a sheet mask, but it was not as wet as I generally prefer. When I removed it, I did not feel like I just had a mask on for 20 minutes.
Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips- I took a long break from using these when I read that they could do more harm than good. Since then, there was more research stating they are probably okay. These clean out my pores nicely. The only thing that keeps me from loving them is they make my skin itch for a while afterward. Washing my face before and after treatment helps though.
exederm flare control cream- This actually expired in October, so I had to use it on skin that did not have any eczema flare-ups. It did moisturize nicely, but I want to try it again during an eczema flare to give it a proper review. When my boys have eczema flare-ups, I’d rather not use an expired product.
Not For Me
SKII Facial Treatment Essence- I actually really love the real essence as I’ve mentioned before in a past empties and my essence comparison series. This was not real. It came in an original bottle, so I believe it got filled with tap water after the original owner used the essence. For this reason, I will never trade for this product again. SKII should really consider a safety seal on these. If SKII adds a seal, I will consider trading for this again. The first few times I used it, I got a rash. That does not happen with the real formula. When I travel, I usually get a rash from the hotel water the first few showers. After a few showers, my skin gets accustomed to the water. By the 4th time I used this, my skin stopped getting a rash. I must have gotten used to the tap water in this. Because it was either all water or mostly water, it did not do anything special. The actual formula, which is yellow-tinted with a scent helps everything I apply afterward absorb better.
Tom Ford Orchid Soleil- This definitely smells like orchids, which is not always a bad thing. The scent stays incredibly strong though. It never mellows, and I am sensitive to overly floral scents.
Tom Ford Soleil Blanc- This had the opposite problem from the Tom Ford scent above. I could not smell it anymore shortly after applying it. There is a slight beachy smell while it lasts, but it is not my favorite. Between the scent not lasting long and preferring other beach scents to this one, I would never consider purchasing at this price.
Coola Makeup Setting Spray- This had potential for greatness. A setting spray that adds SPF seems perfect for days where I brave wearing makeup in the heat. Like sunscreen, this burns my eyes when it gets inside. I can block my eyes, but then none of the areas that need setting spray most get it. It is important my setting spray can go over my eyes, so I may have to avoid ones with SPF. When this sample was mostly full, it stopped spraying. The last one did this as well, so I am not willing to give this a third try. This sample has a faulty nozzle.