I can’t believe we are only eight days into winter, because it has been so cold here for a while. Either this year was one of the coldest fall seasons ever or it just affected me more than it usually does. It could also be this sickness that is jading me.
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 fall 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 October and December 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.
Original Sprout Hair & Body Babywash- Spoiler alert, I am promoting this to FabuFind status. I used it a little more than I usually do this season and really think it is great. This lathers well, smells great (so light and fresh), rinses clean, and leaves some natural oils behind on the skin. My boys get great results with this, and I do use it when my sensitive skin needs a break from harsher products. It is a product I dedicated an article to. pH 5.5
LE PETIT MARSEILIAIS Orange Blossom Extra Gentle Shower Creme- I really liked the fragrance on this even though it did not have the typical citrus fragrance I expected when I purchased it. It smelled almost like sweet oranges mixed with a subtle floral. From someone who does not really like floral scents, I did not find it overpowering at all. The cleanser is thick and milky. This does not lather as well as similarly priced cleansers, but it does a good enough job without using too much product. My skin feels moisturized (although I always apply body moisturizer so I can never tell if a body alone provides enough moisture). While it does not give me a squeaky clean feeling, my skin does not feel stripped either. That is an okay trade-off. At $0.25 an ounce, this is very affordable. It also lasts a really long time due to its size and how little product you need. pH 3.0
Gold Bond Ultimate healing aloe- This is still a FabuFind. It is the only drugstore lotion I’ve bought for my hands lately. Most lotions are not moisturizing enough for my hands so I usually prefer hand creams. One pump keeps my hands feeling moisturized until the next wash. I apply lotion or hand cream after every hand washing, because even the best creams usually cannot withstand a hand washing. My skin is changing, because this cream never even feels greasy to me anymore. It melts beautifully into my skin. The more I use this the more I love it. pH 5.5
Member’s Mark Fresh Pear and Aloe 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 4.5
Member’s Mark Vanilla and Necatarine 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 4.5
SweetSpot LABS Vanilla Blossom Gentle Wash- I prefer these washes without fragrance, but the fragrance on this is not bad. The wash cleanses without leaving my skin feeling stripped. It does not mess with my pH, which I have a hard time keeping in balance. There is a product I love more than this that costs about the same price, so I would probably purchase that instead. pH 4.0
GLAMGLOW® BUBBLESHEET™ Oxygenating Deep Cleanse Mask- This is still a FabuFind. My son and husband finally used the masks I gave them and had the same results and love of the mask I have. They both found it fun, and both of their skin looked much brighter and cleaner afterward. If this mask was not so expensive, I would repurchase it often.
Lancome Hydra-Intense Masque- It disappoints me that Lancome decided to discontinue this product. If it did not get discontinued, I would have named it a FabuFind. This is such a quick and convenient way to add moisture into my skin when it is feeling really dry and tight. I use it alone or under a more stripping mask, and it worked without fail every time. My skin felt soft and more moisturized. There is a strong fragrance, as there is with most Lancome skincare, but I did not really mind it. The only other masks I’ve tried that come close to this one are more expensive, so I really want to explore similar products from the drugstore. pH 5.5
3M Clinpro 5000 1.1% Sodium Fluoride Anti-Cavity Toothpaste- My teeth are very sensitive to cold, and they also get cavities very easily. This strengthens my enamel and helps protect my teeth from cold temperatures. It is a prescription, so I cannot go out and buy another. I will ask for a new script the next time I see my dentist though. pH 5.5
Delectable ultra nourishing Hand Cream in vanilla & cream- This is a really rich hand cream that smells nice. While its vanilla smell is a little artificial, it is still pleasing. I gave the lemon & cream scent to my husband and think that one smells better. He generally hides his hand creams from me (says I use too much), so I have not used that scent in a while. Both leave my hands feeling deeply moisturized. My hands never feel greasy, because this product is almost fully absorbed. My preference is usually for the ones where I can still feel the hand cream, because I like the the silky feeling. Unlike hand creams that fully absorb, I can still feel the softness on my skin with this. It is a beautiful hybrid. Those who hate the feeling of lotion will probably love this, and those who love the feeling of lotion will probably love it as well. pH 4.5
dr. brandt microdermabrasion age defying exfoliator- This is still a FabuFind. It is a beautiful exfoliant. The product is so gentle that my skin never gets irritated. My skin feels soft and smooth after each use. When I regularly use this with a nice moisturizer, my dry patches go away. pH 3.5
PORASO Shaving Cream- This is another great shaving cream from a man’s line. While it does have a masculine scent, it is not too bad. I feel a slight cooling effect when I apply it, but it is not overbearing at all. My skin feels smooth and refreshed afterward, so this gives a close shave with no irritation. pH 9.0
Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil vanilla pine- I liked the scent. This was not the same formula as most whipped argan oils from this brand. If this was not my first experience with the product, I would not love it as much as I do. A 2oz container of the sister product usually gives me about six uses, which means 0.33oz is enough to cover my entire body. That is because it is thinner and spreads easily over the body. Vanilla pine only gave me 3 uses, because it is a lot thicker and closer to a body butter. Though it is thicker and harder to work in, I still end with deeply moisturized skin. While it is still a great product, it is not a FabuFind like some sister products. If I can get the same moisturized feeling with less rubbing and less product, I would buy the thinner formula over this thicker one. pH 4.5
Willing to Try Again
up&up nail polish remover nourishing- I am not a huge fan of these up&up polish removers, because they can really strip moisture from the nail. They do remove the nail polish, which is the main task. This one does leave my nails looking less white than some others, so I would repurchase this over the others I’ve tried. Even if it costs a little more, I am on a mission to find one that does not leave my nails feeling parched. pH 5.5
Macadamia Professional Ultra Riche Moisture Masque- This is a nice mask when I am wearing my hair curly. It adds a lot of moisture, so it reduces my frizz and makes my hair soft. When I apply this near my scalp and wear my hair wavy, it makes my hair look greasy. That happens no matter how long I spend rinsing it out, because the oil in this product just bonds with the hair. I can use it when I wear my hair wavy as long as I only apply it from mid shaft to tips. If I am wearing my hair curly, I will apply this to my roots, because the oily look blends in with the curl cream to look like I did it on purpose. Since I do not wear my hair curly that often, I probably would not repurchase this. I would use it again if I were to get it in a kit or a sample. pH 5.0
Zoella Wondrous Whip Lightly Whipped Body Cream- I am not particularly a fan of Zoella’s. She seems alright. A whipped body cream sounded amazing and the price was not too high. At the time, Ulta had not really offered any discounts, so I paid the full $12. Of course, the brand is having a buy one, get one 50% off sale now. Go figure. The texture was not as whipped as I would have liked, but the cream did provide ample moisture even in colder weather. At almost $2 an ounce, the in the fragrance. It smells like really cheap perfume. There are Dollar Tree items that do not smell as cheap. If this came in another fragrance or the fragrance ever improved, I would purchase it again. pH 5.5
Callyssee Buffing Beans Coffee Scrub – I never got a chance to use this, because mold grew in it sometime between when it arrived in May and I went to use it for the first time in December. The company offered to send a replacement, and that replacement is actually scheduled to arrive later today. If you are reading this far in the future, search this product name to see if I ever review it again. Assuming it arrives intact, I will. Testing the pH on this will be difficult, but I will try if the replacement does not have mold. There is no way I am testing the pH of a moldy product.
OUAI Dry Shampoo- I prefer dry shampoos that leave my hair soft. Some people really like ones like this that add a lot of texture. It does have the other four qualities I look for in dry shampoo. The scent is okay, it adds volume, it removes oil, and it does not leave a white cast. If I got another sample, I would probably use it. Based on the sticky and heavy texture, I would not purchase it. pH 5.5
Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Brightening Solution- I just did not notice a difference when I was using this in the short or long-term. It did not do anything bad, so I would use another sample. Considering this was a generous 0.5oz sample, I would not expect to see anything different even if I tried it again. pH 5.0
drybar Detox Dry Shampoo- There is way too much white cast in this product. My hair does look fuller, softer, and less oily, but it also takes on a gray tone. I cannot seem to shake the gray tone no matter how much I work the product into my hair. When your 12-year-old sees you rubbing and asks if you are having a seizure, that is not a good sign. While I would never purchase this, I would use future samples. pH 4.0
Sephora Collection Seamless Hair Tie- It took too long to break this in. I prefer hair ties that are not too tight on my wrist when they’re new. It was fine in my hair, but it does cause more indentation that the ones with seams.
Ulta Beauty Collection Sparkling Lemon Hand Soap- I bought 3 of these for Christmas this year (one at full price and two at half price) before and after Christmas last year. The one I placed by the main sink just after Thanksgiving did not even last until Christmas. We do seem to go through a lot of soap. I do not like this soap as much as I like the regular Ulta Collection soaps. They do not lather as well, rinse as clean, or smell as great. While the container is cute, it gets stained too easily. It is not as sturdy as the regular Ulta soap bottles either. If Ulta sells these again, I might grab some on sale. They are definitely not worth $8 though. They do look really cute and very festive on the sink. pH 4.0
PETERTHOMASROTH UN-WRINKLE PEEL PADS- My skin does not react to them, but there is a slight burn when it crosses open skin (usually from picked acne). It is nothing too uncomfortable. I did not really notice much difference in my skin on days I used them versus days I did not. In fairness to the product, I was experiencing a lot of stress and picking at my acne when I was using it. That makes it hard to say if it delivers the clear and radiant skin it promises. Frankly, it might. If I could get this on sale again, I may consider giving it another chance. pH 5.5
Not For Me
Member’s Mark Blue Poppy and Peony scented hand soap- My husband really hated the fragrance on this one. Since Sam’s Club only sells them in a 4-pack that includes this, I cannot buy them anymore. The soap lathers well and rinses clean, so those who do not mind the fragrance can still grab it. pH 4.0
Schmidt’s Rose + Vanilla Natural Deodorant- This actually does not make me smell bad the way other natural deodorants have. Between giving me a wicked rash, clogging my pores leading to underarm acne I never had before this, and growing mold within months of arriving, I am 100% positive this product is not for me. I have an article where I go into more detail if you’d like to read more. There is no way I am testing the pH of a moldy product.