It’s time to review my empty products from Winter 2019. By the time I’ve finished something, I know exactly how I feel about it, so I prefer reviews of empties to first impressions. These are the items I finished during the winter of 2019. For items 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 December and February Foil Challenge are not here, because I wanted to avoid 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 (FabuFinds) and others I have yet to finish (Core Collection: Favorites) 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.
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. My sons’ hygienist recently told me this is not a great mouthwash, so I will try another one once I finish the ones I already have here. pH 4.0
Original Sprout Hair & Body Babywash- This is still a FabuFind. I used it a little more than I usually do this season and really think it is great. It 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
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
ogx Nourishing Coconut Milk Conditioner – This helped my hair feel softer and less tangled. That resulted in less frizz. It was not heavy either, so it does not weigh my hero down. I already have another one. pH 4.0
SheaMoisture 100% Tsamma Melon Oil & Organic Shea Butter Rough Skin Body Lotion w/ Kefir Probiotics – This smells amazing. For that reason alone, I love it. With pumps, I like to use them on my hands. It is just really easy to pump and go. On my hands, this is not moisturizing enough. I cannot fault it for that because it is not a hand cream. This moisturizes my body extremely well for a formula that is only moderately thick. That helps me rub it in quickly and helps it absorb faster. While it never completely absorbs (a plus for me), it does not feel sticky either. The only drawback is it stops pumping when there is a lot of product left in the tube. There is clearly a design flaw. pH 4.5
Yves Rocher Gommage Scrub – This smells so fresh that I always feel like I am relaxing when I use it. That is not usual with a scrub. It probably has a lot to do with how gently this exfoliates. The botanical seeds never irritate my sensitive skin (harsh exfoliants suck). My skin feels super soft afterward. pH 4.5
Sol de Janeiro Samba Foot Fetish Cream – I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. Since the body cream is not super moisturizing, I assumed the foot cream would not provide enough hydration. While I still believe I need something richer in winter, this did great. It has the sugar cookie scent I love, too. pH 5.0
Sensodyne Rapid Relief Mint Toothpaste – I’ve never tried a Sensodyne toothpaste I did not enjoy. Since I dedicated an article to this review, I will just ay that it works wonders on my sensitive teeth. When I ran out of this and started testing other things, some of my sensitivity returned. pH 5.5
Japonesque Solid Brush Cleaner – It lathers and cleanses well. I’ve noticed my natural hair brushes are getting a little more coarse when I use this, but I will keep using it on sponges and synthetic brushes. Those keep their shape pretty well and smell great when I use this. pH 6.0
Shea Brand Raw Organic Rose Shea Butter – This is really thick and kept the heels of my feet super moisturized this winter. I think this might even work better than my beloved Egyptian Magic. pH 3.5
IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream Transforming Moisturizing Super Cream – I dedicated an article to this review, so I will keep this short. It is a very hydrating cream that feels great on my dry skin. pH 5.0
Juara Radiance Enzyme Scrub – This is a great multi-tasker. It lathers nicely, smells great, and gently exfoliates. My skin feels soft and clean without feeling stripped. pH 4.5
GLAMGLOW Glowstarter Mega Illuminating Moisturizer Nude Glow – I dedicated an article to this review, so I will keep this short. It is a nice hydrating moisturizer that adds a glow to my skin. The glow eventually absorbs, but it looks nice until it does. pH 3.5
It Cosmetics CC Cream – The only flaw I can really think of on this is the fragrance. It covers everything beautifully, which makes it closer to a medium coverage foundation than a CC cream. You can even build it to get it closer to full coverage with a buffing brush, and it does that without looking thick or cakey. I like the way it sits on my skin, because it does not emphasize pores or dry patches. If I apply a light layer with a sponge, I can get a natural look, so it really is the only complexion product you really need for light to full coverage. When I repurchase, I will probably get a lighter color. This light shade (which I already have another of) is a little dark for me. pH 5.5
hey honey Walk the Walk Propolis Foot and Heel Cream – This is a moderately thick foot cream that moisturizes nicely without feeling thick or greasy. It does absorb but not to the point where you can no longer feel it. Though I still want something thicker in winter, it did a great job. pH 4.5
Sephora Quick-Fix Hair Tie- These never leave much indent in my hair (although it has happened). I like that they fit my wrist nicely (other than the ones with prints that are a little tight and never really loosen). They look as nice on my wrist as they do in my hair.
h2o+ Targeted Care softening mint Foot Rub- This is still a FabuFind. It is very soothing on tired feet. When your feet are not overly tired, you may not notice the mint at work. I prefer something a little thicker for moisturizing, but this is my go to (within foot creams) for relaxation. pH 5.0
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream- This is still a FabuFind. I haven’t tried this on my face yet, but I love it on my body. It is pricy, and I am notoriously cheap with body products. My skin feels so hydrated, and it really lasts. Although this is better than its drugstore dupe, I will usually purchase that over this when there are no kits or sales on this. pH 5.5
Willing To Try Again
Ulta Beauty Red Velvet Cupcake 3-in-1 Smoothie Body Wash, Bubble Bath & Shampoo – I love the formula of this product. It lathers well and rinses clean. The scent on this was off. While it did smell like red velvet, it was a very artificial fragrance that my oldest son loved, my husband hated, and I tolerated. If I could get a great deal, I would tolerate the fragrance again. Otherwise, I’d prefer to buy any of the others from this line (as none disappointed me the way this one did). pH 4.5
Degree Women Fresh Energy Dry Spray – This works better than the natural deodorants I’ve been testing, but it does not work as well as other aluminum based deodorants. At least I never smell bad with this, so I would use it again. I would not purchase it though. pH 3.0
Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Oil Treatment – I like that this is foolproof. Even when I mess up and apply too much or apply it too close to my scalp, it does not make my hair look oily. Whether I apply it to wet or dry hair, it does help with shine and moisture. It does not give me a big enough difference to justify the price though. Cheaper products work better, so I would only buy it on sale. pH 3.5
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
Clinique moisture surge 72-hour auto-replenishing hydrator – For a 72 hour hydration claim, it disappointed me that this could not even make it to 24 hours before my skin felt tight. This also feels a little sticky, so it does not layer the best under makeup. If your skin is not dry like mine, this could work. For me, I would only even consider it on a non-makeup day in the summer. Even though it is sticky, it is lightweight. Thus, my skin breathes. pH 5.0
Erno Laszlo FIRMARINE Cleansing Bar – I love the way this smells. The scent makes me think of the ocean. It lathers really well, so I only need a small amount to wash my face. This is a hydrating soap. My skin never feels tight when there are minutes between washing and skincare. Like every bar soap I’ve ever tried, I can feel a film on my skin. That film keeps it from feeling super clean. Even though the squeaky clean feeling is bad for my dry skin, my prefect cleanser would give the squeaky clean feeling without stripping moisture. pH 5.0
SONYA DAKAR NutraSphere Flash Facial Exfoliating Treatment – This is a nice exfoliator that peels gently and leaves my skin very soft. I do like to wash my face before and after, although it leaves less remnants on my face than most of its competitors. There are similar products that do the same thing for a lot less, so there is no way I would buy this. The ingredients (Water, Alcohol SD 40, Sodium Chloride, Carbomer, Sodium PCA, Lactic Acid, Resveratrol, Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Polyquaternium 7, Fragrance) do not justify the $95 an ounce price tag either. You can smell the alcohol the second you open the tube, which is a common ingredient for this type of exfoliator. pH 2.5
Colgate Total Daily Repair Anticavity Fluoride and Antigingivitis Toothpaste – It does work better than a toothpaste without fluoride but it does not work as well for my sensitivity as any of the Sensodyne options. I would not purchase it over those. pH 5.5
Callyssee Buffing Beans Coffee Scrub – Callyssee sent me a replacement (my original was moldy). I was able to use all of it before it went moldy. Though I enjoyed the scrub and the scent, I would not purchase this again. My fear is it could go moldy before I get the chance to use or while I am in the process of using it (since this small size gives multiple uses). For those who use products as soon as they arrive without having them sit in stockpiles, they might enjoy this. If I ever got it again, I would use it right away. The pH test did not work.
Jergens Ultra Healing Extra Dry Skin Moisturizer – This is a pretty thin formula. I bought this for my hands (I like small ones in my purse), but I had to finish it on my body. It felt like almost nothing on my hands and was barely better than nothing at all on my hands. pH 5.0
Not For Me
hush Prism Airbrush Spray in Malibu Pink – I go into detail in the article I reviewed this in, so I will keep this short. It smells awful and makes my hair look like pubes. Since I have a friend whose daughter wants to try it, I am not going to finish this. My guess is there is only enough for 1-3 uses anyway (depending on how long your hair is or how concentrated you want the color). Cheaper products give the same results. pH 4.0
Swisspers 100% Cotton Rounds- I bought a six-pack of these from Sam’s Club without ever trying them. That was a huge mistake, because they stink. They’re rough, fall apart, and leave lint behind. Whenever I make a bad investment, I try to see it through, but there is no way I will purchase these again. Future reviews will be from the same bad investment this came from. The cheap rounds from Target are slightly better if you want a cheap option.
Lush Santa’s Christmas Shower Cream – I love the way this smells. If Christmas and Cola had a kid, it would smell like this. After purchasing this giant for $32.95 just before Thanksgiving of 2017 (so it was the opposite of a deal), I quickly realized I did not want to smell like Christmas in January. So, I put it away until December of 2018. It expired at the end of 2018, so it made sense to save it for the right season. When I grabbed it again in December, it was even thicker than before. Granted, I did stop using it for 11 months, but it was really thick for the packaging when I first used it at the end of November in 2017. Both of my boys refused to use it after trying it once because they had a hard time getting to come out. By December of 2018, it hurt my wrists to dispense product. Even if it did not expire, I knew I had to finish it to spare my poor hands. From November 2017 through January 2019, I only used it on average less than 3 months. December of 2017 and 2018 were complete, but November of 2017 and January of 2019 were partial. The price is way too expensive for how little time you get with it. It does not lather, so I need more than I do with traditional cleanser. On top of everything else, the essential oils were giving me acne on my back that went away shortly after I stopped using it both times. Even though I would not use this again, I know it made my skin feel softer. pH 5.8
davines OI Hand Balm – I loved a hand cream from this brand, so I thought I was going to love this. How did it get one so right and the other so wrong? This has a very strong, perfumed fragrance that I could barely tolerate. The smell lingered until I washed it away. What’s funny about that is it is a hand cream that completely absorbs. Long after I could no longer feel it on my hands I could still smell it. Way to add insult to injury. While some love a moisturizer that completely absorbs, this one absorbs and feels like you did not apply anything once its in. Given its price, it is a true shame. pH 5.5
Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Shampoo – I dedicated an article to reviewing this. A quick recap is this dries out my hair and leaves it super frizzy. pH 4.5
Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Conditioner – I dedicated an article to reviewing this. A quick recap is this dries out my hair and leaves it super frizzy. pH 3.5