If you have to buy it, get the best deal!
I love reviewing my empty products, because I usually know by the time I’ve finished something how I feel about it. Reviews based on first impressions can change, so empty product reviews are much more comprehensive. These are most of the items I finished during the summer of 2018. A few always slip through. For items that I neither love nor hate, I am always willing to try them again, but I will not seek them out. This generally means I will only try them again if they are: free, on sale, or in a set (sets are a great way to get a deal as long as the value of the items you want to try exceed the cost you are paying). Empties from my June, August, and October (since this went up later than usual) Foil Challenge are not here, because I wanted to avoid the redundancy. The pH of products I’ve tested this season are below. Visit the pH article for info on how I test and a list of everything I’ve tested.
Anything in my Love category are items I consider a deal (even if purchased at the full retail price). That does not mean I will not seek out deals if I can find them. It does not necessarily mean I would buy them, especially if they are really expensive. Most are items I will typically buy again, although I will take a break from purchasing when I have too many similar items waiting to get tested. For items I really love, I spotlight ones I’ve finished and others I have yet to finish so I can discuss them in even more detail. Items in the Not for Me category are items I say no deal to (even on sale). Occasionally, I will just toss them before they’re empty, but I try to finish items unless I can’t (allergic reactions or extreme loathing). If they are really bad, I will not even use them again if I get them for free. Thankfully, I can usually find someone to take them from me, because we all have different wants and needs in our products.
ogx nourishing coconut milk Anti-Breakage Serum – I was devastated when the ogx split end mender I used before got discontinued. It worked so well that I rarely had a spilt end, and I always assumed any that passed through were just strands that I consistently missed with the product. This works even better than the other one. There are NO split ends at the tips of my hair. I just spent a ton of time checking and cannot find one. My last haircut was months ago. Now that my hair does not split, I go longer between haircuts. pH 3.0
Ulta Beauty Peppermint Cracked Heel Treatment- This is still a FabuFind, but Ulta discontinued it. I do not have any more left, so I am on the hunt for something new. Nothing else I’ve tried compares, so I would love your suggestions, please. I use this all over my feet, not just my heels. It is so rich, and my dry feet drink it up. When used with my Egyptian Magic, my heels usually look great. pH 5.0
GlamGlow Volcasmic Matte Glow Moisturizer – My feelings are a little more mixed than they were in my winter discoveries. This moisturizes my skin well, even in the winter, which is when I started using this. It is a little thick in the summer, so I mostly used something lighter. Even when I used this in the summer, it never felt heavy. I still love the way it smells, which is like orange sherbet to me or Skittles to my son. I’ve struggled with breakouts a lot this year, but I have experienced more stress than usual. Attributing it to a specific product was something I tried to stop short of. Someone suggested this might clog pores. After I ran out of this, I noticed my breakouts reduced. Thus, it is possible this was clogging pores while making my skin feel deeply hydrated and smell like dessert. pH 4.5
h2o+ Beauty Oasis Moisture Boost Serum – This little gem works wonders for my dry skin. If I skip even one application, I notice the difference in how moisturized I felt. Though it works best in cold weather when my skin struggles to hold onto moisture, I still applied it at times in warm weather. When I use this consistently, my dry patches are almost nonexistent. pH 5.5
Paula’s Choice Mystery Product – I am not allowed to say what type of product this is, but you can join the Paula’s Choice Testing Panel if you want to sample products. They test on humans, like me, instead of animals. This worked extremely well when I started using it. The longer I used it, the less effective it was. As it only takes a little product, I would suggest selling whatever it is in a smaller tube. That way, you can use it all before it starts to go bad. pH 3.5
Paula’s Choice Mystery Product 2 – I went through this product faster, so it should come in a bigger tube. It was great and something I would purchase (if I knew what it was). pH 3.0
Babor After Sun Ampoule Concentrates – I felt this was very refreshing after a day in the sun. It is hard to say if it really does much else. Even with lathering this on my face neck and chest and my son’s face, neck, and chest, there was still leftover product. Given that they come in single use containers, I think they should be even smaller.
beautyblender – This is still a FabuFind. I’ve been working on an article comparing this to its competitors. While I have some contenders (and still have more to try), this is still the best (so far). It is the perfect shape for every nook and cranny in my face. My beautyblender never absorbs too much product as long as it is slightly damp when I apply things. I love how soft this is, which is really helpful to bounce off my skin and push in product.
Listerine Ultraclean with Everfresh Technology Antiseptic – Listerine has always been my favorite mouthwash, because it really makes everything feel and smell fresh. I do not use Mouthwash often, but I like to use it when I have swollen gums. This flushes the bacteria out better than a toothbrush, which hurts inflamed gums. pH 4.0
beautyblender blendercleanser® solid – This is such a fantastic cleanser. Not only is it the only thing I’ve tried that can remove foundation stains from beauty sponges, but it also works incredibly well on brushes. pH 9.0
Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo – I loved this, but I am unsure if I am going to name it a FabuFind yet. This sample was small. After a full use and thinking my hair looked and smelled great, my husband wanted to try it. He also loved it. There was not enough in the can for a full third use (probably varies based on the length go your hair and how much product you use), so I had to mix it with something else. My dry shampoos have to pass five tests to get FabuFind status, and I cannot remember based off a single use if this hit all five. Since I did love it enough to explore some more, I did purchase a full-size. After I finish that, I will let you know where it stands.
Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Ulta Light high performance sunscreen – This is still a FabuFind. It smells amazing, protects me from sunburns, and leaves my skin with a nice, non-greasy, glow. People who dislike the traditional sunscreen smell should try this. pH 3.0
dr. brandt PoreDermabrasion – This is similar to the microdermabrasion one. It is gentle and works well. That one just leaves my skin feeling a bit softer so it is better suited for dry skin. I do not notice any change to my pores when I use this either. pH 4.5
Rituals The Ritual of Ayurveda hand balm – This was rich and moisturizing. It smells really nice, too. I would probably purchase something a little cheaper over this though. pH 4.5
The Art of Shaving Shaving Cream – This has the type of consistency I prefer in a shave cream. It is thicker as opposed to foam. That gives me a closer shave and leaves my skin feeling softer. pH 8.0
Joico K-PAK Intense Hydrator – This is pretty moisturizing for my hair, especially given that it is not as thick as a traditional hair mask. My hair is softer and less frizzy when I use this, but it does not detangle as much as heavier masks do. pH 4.5
GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment – My face tingles when this is on. It is not uncomfortable to the point where I have to wash it off, but it is worth noting. When I remove this, my face feels a little tight (as it does with most clay masks). This mask cleans out your pores nicely. People with oily skin are more likely to love this mask, because it might not even leave them feeling dry as it does to me. For some reason, my pores have been larger than usual lately. That leads to more breakouts and places for this mask to do its work. pH 5.5
Pretty Animalz by masqueBAR Cat energizing sheet mask – I did not notice any energizing. Then again, I am not sure any beauty product has ever made me feel energized. It was fun to wear sheet mask animals with my family. This is the one I wore, and it was not the most moisturizing mask I’ve tried.
Pretty Animalz by masqueBAR Tiger moisturizing sheet mask – My oldest son wore this one and forbid me from sharing his photo. He said he liked it but could not tell me why. I have worn this one before. Though it is hydrating, it is not as hydrating as a moisturizing mask should be. It is fun and affordable at $3.99. For those reasons, I will keep buying it.
Pretty Animalz by masqueBAR Panda calming sheet mask – My youngest son was the panda and does not mind sharing his photo with you. The only thing he could tell me about it is it is cold and cute. A lot of sheet masks have a cooling effect on the skin, because you go from dry skin to wet skin and just keep it there. I highly doubt he means that there is tingly or a menthol feeling, but I will eventually review this mask myself.
Pretty Animalz by masqueBAR Puppy pore control sheet mask – My husband wore this one. You would think an adult would give the best review, but his was no better than the kids. From him, I got an, “it was okay” response. I find sheet masks so relaxing. It seems like the boys in my family just see them as a task instead of a treat.
GlamGlow Bubblesheet Oxygenating Deep Cleanse Mask – This mask is a lot of fun. It bubbles up while it deeply cleanses the skin. After a few minutes, I get to work the remnants into my skin to really cleanse it. When I rinse it off, my skin feels really clean without feeling stripped at all. It really is a great moisturizing and cleansing mask. Most two in one masks fall short in one area, but I think this is strong on both counts.
TULA Dual-Phase Skin Reviving Pads – I got 5 of these in a FabFitFun Editor’s Box. My plan was to only test one to see if it was worth keeping all 5. This is a chemical and physical exfoliator in one, and I liked both sides. Neither were too rough for my skin. When it was over, my skin looked and felt smoother. It also looked brighter, so I am keeping the other four.
Spongelle Papaya Yuzu Boxed Flower Body Wash Infused Buffer – I debated on which category to place this on. On the one hand, this is more rough than I prefer. It does soften a little with each use, but the first few uses are scratchy. Some people like that and a lot of FabFitFun members rave about these. The buffer itself is really easy to grip. It also makes showers go so fast, because I just grab the sponge and go. Everything is already ready, because the soap activates with water as soon as you start rubbing your body. This scent is lovely and I really enjoy that it lasts a while. My skin rinses clean, and the soap inside lathers beautifully. In order to really rate this properly, I would say I like it for the first 5 or so uses. After it softens, I love it. There is a sponge that I prefer over this, so I would probably purchase that over this every time. I wanted to test how many uses I got from this, but I forgot to count. When I open the next one, I will make sure I include the count in the review. pH 6.2
Ulta Beauty Coconut Cream Moisture Gel Hand Soap – This lathers well, rinses clean, and smells great. pH 5.0
Ulta Beauty Berry Cooler moisture cleanse hand soap – This lathers well, rinses clean, and smells great. pH 4.5
Ulta Beauty Sangria Twist moisture cleanse hand soap – This lathers well, rinses clean, and smells great. pH 5.5
Bolero Liquid Hand Wash Italian Pear – Of all the $1 soaps I’ve tried, this is my favorite. They are not at the Dollar Tree often, but I will stock up next time I see them. As you can see above, the main thing I want in a hand soap is something that lathers well, rinses clean, and smells great. This checks all those boxes. While I do prefer the Ulta soaps over this, they are six times the price. Granted, I never buy them at $6, but I have never purchased them for less than $3 either. This does not add moisture, but I apply moisturizer after every hand wash anyway. pH 5.5
Members Mark Coconut and Monoi scented hand soap – This lathers well, rinses clean, and smells great. I do prefer the Ulta soaps to this one, but this costs less for more product. As such, it is worth it. pH 4.0
Yves Rocher Nutrition Nourishing Body Lotion Almond – I would have given this FabuFind status if I could purchase it. This is an extremely lightweight moisturizer, which is perfect for warmer weather. It spreads quickly and allows my skin to breathe. In no time at all and without a lot of product, my skin feels deeply hydrated. The hydration lasts from one shower to the next so my skin is never tight, dry, or itchy after applying this. Of all the lightweight body moisturizers I’ve ever tried, this is one of the best. pH 5.0
Suave Visible Glow Self-Tanning Body Lotion Fair to Medium – This is a somewhat lightweight lotion that is pretty foolproof with color distribution. When I use this on my regular skin, it adds a ver slight hint of color. Those who want to tan gradually or want just a little color will probably enjoy this. It is never streaky and provides moisture, unlike most tanning creams. I prefer using this in the days succeeding adding self tanner. It helps keep the color longer. pH 3.0
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream – This is still a FabuFind. It moisturizes well, is relatively easy to work into the skin (so even my seven-year-old can use this), and has a great price. pH 4.5
Wet Brush – This is still a FabuFind. I love this product so much that I have multiples all over the house and my car. It brushes through wet hair without too much pulling. My hair does not look overly frizzy after drying as it does with some other brushes. Because it pulls less, my hair breaks less. That results in less flyaways. A lot of the balls have fallen off over the years, so it scratches my head when I use this one. That is not the case with new brushes, so it is time to toss it.
Willing to Try Again
Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bod Buff – I go over this in great detail in the original article, my Sephora gratis, I reviewed it in. For those who want a quick recap, I will say it is more rough than I like. It temporarily leaves my skin yellow, but it also leaves it really soft. If I can get this at a big discount, I would purchase it. Otherwise, I would not. pH 5.0
Degree Dry Protection Shower Clean Invisible Solid – I took a weekend trip and forgot to pack my deodorant. This was the only one the gas station had, so I decided to give it a try. Using this after a clinical strength one is a bit of an adjustment. You will find slightly more odor and wetness. After a slight break to try some natural deodorants, I returned to this. Odor and wetness were never a problem at all after that. My guess is this will work great for people who use natural or regular deodorants. Those who use clinical strength deodorants will find it takes a while for this to “be enough.” pH 3.5
Clairol nice n’ easy CC+ Colorseal Conditioner- This is step 3 that comes inside the hair color set. This is for immediate use after rinsing the hair color out of the hair and one application one week after. There is easily enough for 3-4 applications. Every time I used this my hair felt softer. It is hard to say if it does anything to lock in the color, but it does not seem to hurt the color at all. pH 3.5
Nubian Heritage Coconut & Papaya Bath Bombs- These are small so I used both of them. I’ve used 2 each of these for 2 baths, and I do not notice much difference in the water. My skin does not feel softer after either. While I would not necessarily scoff at these if more made it my way, I would not purchase them either.
Dollar Tree Owl Lotion- The lotion in here was acceptable. It was not the worst I’ve ever used so I was able to finish it. I liked the blueberry scent. pH 3.5
Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt – I have a love/hate relationship with this. Unlike another product I also finished this summer, it is very easy to use. It cleanses my hair while it scrubs it. Everything smells and feels great when I use this. My main goal is to deeply cleanse the scalp when I use a product like this, and this does it without being overly abrasive. Whenever I used this, I noticed a lot more of my hair fell out than usually does with anything else though. While it could be a coincidence, it is nothing I would buy only to find out I do lose more hair with this. If another sample makes it my way, I will see if I still lose a lot of hair or if this experience was a fluke. There were four uses in this sample, and I experienced more hair loss than usual all four times. pH 5.0
Crest 3D White Brilliance Advanced Whitening Experience Multi-Care Whitening Mouth Wash – It is not my favorite mouthwash, but it was the only one I had when my gums were bleeding the last time. I do not use Mouthwash often, but I like to use it when I have swollen gums. This flushes the bacteria out better than a toothbrush, which hurts inflamed gums. Almost any mouthwash is better than nothing when your gums need some care. pH 4.5
Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream + Broad Spectrum SPF 50+- This sunscreen prevents me from burning, does not react on my skin, or make me look greasy. The only thing that keeps it out of the love group is the white cast it leaves on my skin. If I am spending that much on sunscreen, I want perfection. While I like this sunscreen and will gladly use it from any kits it arrives in, I would not purchase this on its own. pH 5.0
Ouai Rose Hair & Body Oil – This is a lightweight oil, so I expected it to provide foolproof de-frizzing. Though it is not as heavy as thicker oils, it is possible to apply too much and end up with a greasy feeling. Trial and error is needed to perfect the amount. I prefer this oil on my body to my hair. It seeps right into the skin quickly, which is great for days when you are on-the-go. Despite the fast absorption, the moisture lasts until the next wash. As this is too expensive for my body (I’ve mentioned many times that I am cheaper with body products), I would not repurchase it. There are products I like better in my hair, so I would purchase them over this. However, this is nice enough to use on my hair or body when samples make it to me. pH 3.0
DERMAL Gold Collagen Essence Mask – This added moisture to my face, but I am not sure it did much else. Moisture is all I really care about from these cheaper masks, so I would be willing to use this again.
Starskin Detoxing Sea Kelp Leaf Face Mask – I accidentally placed this in my empties bin, but it was from the August foil challenge. View that article to see the review.
Greenbrier International Owl Hand Soap Blueberry- This adorable little guy came from the Dollar Tree. It is a generous size and has a nice blueberry scent. The soap itself is weak. To get a decent lather, it takes multiple pumps. With a lot of soap, it gets the job done. Because it is cheap and cute, I do not mind the waste. If it was more expensive or ugly, there is no way I would ever buy this again. My son loves the container. I could see myself buying more if I saw them for sale again. pH 5.0
Greenbrier International Owl Hand Soap Strawberry- This adorable little guy came from the Dollar Tree. It is a generous size and has a strange strawberry scent. The soap itself is weak. To get a decent lather, it takes multiple pumps. With a lot of soap, it gets the job done. Because it is cheap and cute, I do not mind the waste. If it was more expensive or ugly, there is no way I would ever buy this again. My son loves the container. I could see myself buying more if I saw them for sale again. pH 5.0
Greenbrier International Owl Hand Soap Pear- This adorable little guy came from the Dollar Tree. It is a generous size and has a lovely pear scent. The soap itself is weak. To get a decent lather, it takes multiple pumps. With a lot of soap, it gets the job done. Because it is cheap and cute, I do not mind the waste. If it was more expensive or ugly, there is no way I would ever buy this again. My son loves the container. I could see myself buying more if I saw them for sale again. pH 5.0
Aquation Daily Moisturizing Lotion – This does an okay job of moisturizing my body. I like pumps, because it is so easy to apply to my hands. Sadly, this does not provide enough moisture for my hands. It is a lightweight lotion. My biggest issue with this and the reason I would never purchase it is the scent. There is a scent that almost smells like mildew. At first, I thought it had gone bad even though I had not owned it that long. Then, I Googled it and multiple people have a problem with the scent. The scent is not so awful that I could never use it again. I really like a lightweight body lotion in the summer, so I would consider this again if I got it in sample form. pH 4.0
Julep rethink your shower Hydrating Body Cleansing Oil – I love the way this smells and it does have a nice lather. This is not the best body cleansing oil ever and the price is a little expensive for what it is. If I can get it at a great discount inside a kit or Maven box, I would purchase it again. Around full price, I would rather buy the L’Occitane Amande Oil. pH 5.5
SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Shampoo – This does leave my hair feeling really clean, which is all I really ask of a clarifying shampoo. It takes a lot of product compared to the one I love from this brand, and I am not overly fond of the texture. While I would use this again, I would buy the other one over this. pH 5.8
Alterna Caviar Clinical Exfoliating Scalp Facial – There were benefits and drawbacks to this. It did help my scalp feel really clean and helped with other products in my regimen to keep it flake free. I hated the applicator though. Dispensing the product was painful for my wrists and no matter how gentle I was the massager felt too rough on my head. Toward the end, I would just dispense the product into my hand (still hurt my wrist but let me work it into my head myself). Sealing the lid was also difficult and it resulted in some product getting wasted. In short, the product itself is nice. With three major packaging issues, I would not purchase this again. That does not mean I would not use it if one made it to me. pH 5.5
Nioxin Scalp & Hair Treatment fine hair 4 – I do not have thinning hair, so that is not what I use this for. As such, I cannot review it that way. The product does make my fine hair appear more full, but I am unsure it does anything to regrow hair, at least on me. My scalp gets itchy and flaky whenever I do not use a special scalp treatment. This keeps the itching and flaking completely at bay and has some SPF, which I always enjoy in a scalp treatment. If I had to name one negative on this product, it is not matter how much I work it in my roots are always a little crunchy after my hair dries. It is not a deal breaker, but I have to comb through it again once it dries to get the crunchiness to go away. No other scalp treatment leaves me with crunchy hair, so I do not have to comb my hair after it dries with anything else. pH 5.5
Not for Me
Clairol nice n’ easy Color Creme- I gave this a second chance after the first bottle turned my hair orange. Despite following the directions to a T and doing everything right, my hair turned orange again. Once again, all my gray hairs stayed gray. This is a definite pass moving forward.
Clairol nice n’ easy Color Activator- Granted, my issue is really with the color not really the activator. The thing is mixing the two together gave me brassy orange hair so I blame both.
TONYMOLY Panda’s Dream White Hand Cream – I bought this because I think the Panda is adorable, and because I’ve enjoyed other TONYMOLY products. This one fell short. It feels rich and moisturizing when I apply it. My skin even feels soft afterward. However, they still feel strangely dry from within, and I feel the need to apply more. Whenever I wash my hands, I always apply a moisturizer. Applying moisturizer to freshly washed hands is usually the only way I roll, but this does not even last from one hand wash to the next. As someone who pees a lot, I wash my hands a lot. Yet, this still cannot make it. The little Panda is adorable, but this is way too expensive to not last from one hand wash to the next when I wash my hands all day long. pH 4.5
Vagisil Daily Initimate Wash – This is way too drying. I had to use this on my body to finish it, because I cannot moisturize the area I purchased this for. pH 3.5