Category Archives: Reviews

FabuFinds: The Best Finished Products Winter 2019

After I review my Empty Products, I take extra time to go over the standouts. It is a round-up for the best of the best. Only products that seem like they’re made for me make FabuFind status, so there are a lot of items I love that never make it. These are items I would repurchase, even without a deal. Items I am loving but cannot finish any time soon make it into my Core Collection. To eventually spotlight all FabuFinds, I will never repeat items already mentioned in a past article. That does not mean they lost their magic. An item not spotlighted in a past Empties article may get promoted as I try it more and fall deeper in love. If something gets demoted from FabuFind status (formula changes, skin changes, finding something better, etc), I will note the change in the original article I mentioned it in. There are three products I consider FabuFinds in my Winter 2019 Empties that I have not discussed yet.

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Empties: Finished Product Reviews Winter 2019

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.

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Core Collection: My Winter 2019 Favorites

Spring is officially here, so it is time to go over my favorites from the 2019 winter season. I like to call these my core collection items, because I find myself reaching for them over similar products in my stockpiles. These are items I am still working on, so they will not make the Empties article for this season. Each is still worthy of discussion, so this is the place I like to do that. Items I am still in love with once I empty them become FabuFinds. While I cannot promise I will ever finish these (some products expire before I can empty them) and I cannot promise I will still love them enough to label them as FabuFinds upon completion, I loved them throughout this season. Many of these items are serious contenders for my Best of the Year article. There were seven items I really enjoyed this winter.

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beautyblender the original beauty blender vs the L’Oreal Infallible Blend Artist Foundation Blender vs the Flower Beauty Ultimate 3-in-1 Blending Sponge: A Comparison Review to Find Dupes

When I first noticed the original beauty blender by beautyblender, I was reluctant to even try it. I told myself there was no way I would spend $20 every few months for a sponge, so I continued using brushes to apply my foundation. After getting a free one through a Birchbox order, it was finally time to try it. Even then, I tried to convince myself it was nothing special. It took more foundation than I used with a brush, so it would add even more to my expenses over time. Then, it hit me. My skin looked better when I applied my foundation with a beautyblender. The brush usually left streaks when I used a paint brush style or accentuated dry patches on my skin when used a buffing style.

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First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream vs CeraVe Moisturizing Cream: Are They Dupes?

After realizing the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream and the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream looked similar, felt similar, and performed similar, I knew I needed to review them together. Are they dupes? Everyday, I applied the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream to the right side of my body, and the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream to the left side of my body. I got this idea from my foil challenge, because the foils do not always have enough product to cover the area I am testing. Whenever that happens, I use my regular product to finish the job.

It is always easier to spot direct differences when you are using the products at the same time. After one week of wearing them both at the same time, I knew I was ready to compare them. This review is a comparison for how they perform on my body. If you are looking for a comparison of how they perform on the face, I found this video. Though the skin on my face is very dry, the pores get clogged easily leading to acne. Unless a product claims it is a facial moisturizer, I do not want to place it on my face. Everyone has different skin, so only you can decide if you want to risk trying CeraVe on your face.

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Best in Beauty 2018 – Top 10 Products

It’s time for the Best in Beauty for 2018! Part of the reason we try new things is the thrill of the hunt. We all want to discover a holy grail or made for me product and are willing to gamble on the unknown. At times, the risk pays off, and we find things worth talking about. Those are the items we want to shout about from the rooftops. Deal shoppers do not always try things the moment they release, because we like to read reviews and wait for sales. The items on this list were not necessarily released in 2018. I did not discover their greatness until 2018 though. This is a list of the 10 best products I tried for the first time this year and for good measure I have two bonus products. While it is amazing when we find drugstore items that perform as well as high-end ones, and I sample products from low-end to luxury with that goal in mind, this list is only indicative of the best products (not the best in their price range).

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Worst in Beauty 2018 – Bottom 10 Products

It’s time for the worst in Beauty for 2018. Few things suck worse than spending hard-earned money on an awful product. Whether low-end, mid-range, high-end, or luxury, any money spent is a bad deal when the product is terrible. I really could call this article the 10 Worst Beauty Deals of 2018. The more you spend the more disappointed you are when there is no return on your investment. It is also the reason we are more forgiving when drugstore products let us down but feel more disappointed when a high-end product is a bust. This is why high-end and luxury products make these lists more than drugstore items. Some are just not a fit, but others are universally bad. Okay, nothing is universally good or bad, but some products come close. Of all the products I tried this year, I selected my ten least favorite. I limited the list to products I tried for the first time this year. Deal shoppers do not always try things the moment they release, so these things did not all launch in 2018.

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FabuFinds: The Best Finished Products Fall 2018

After I review my Empty Products, I take extra time to go over the standouts. It is a round-up for the best of the best. Only products that seem like they’re made for me make FabuFind status, so there are a lot of items I love that never make it. These are items I would repurchase, even without a deal. Items I am loving but cannot finish any time soon make it into my Core Collection. To eventually spotlight all FabuFinds, I will never repeat items already mentioned in a past article. That does not mean they lost their magic. An item not spotlighted in a past Empties article may get promoted as I try it more and fall deeper in love. If something gets demoted from FabuFind status (formula changes, skin changes, finding something better, etc), I will note the change in the original article I mentioned it in. There are two products I consider FabuFinds in my Fall 2018 Empties that I have not discussed yet.

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Empties: Finished Product Reviews Fall 2018

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.

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Core Collection Fall 2018 Deal Discoveries

Welcome to the place where I like to discuss my favorites from each season that I did not finish. Anything I’ve finished this season made it into my Empties article. Items I am still in love with as I empty them become FabuFinds. While I cannot promise I will ever finish these (some products expire before I can empty them) and I cannot promise I will still love them enough to label them as FabuFinds upon completion, I loved them throughout this season. These are items I reached for many times even though I have plenty of similar items in my stash collecting dust. Many of these items are serious contenders for my Top 10 of the Year. There were six items I reached for constantly this fall.

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Makeup Wasteland – Fall 2018 Declutter

When I run out of space to store things, I typically buy more storage solutions. I’ve decided I do not want to do that anymore. Spending money to store things I will never use is not something a proud deal shopper would typically agree with. As my current storage solutions fill up, I will go through each drawer that refuses to close and remove anything that I have not touched in years and have no desire to touch in the near future. If I have removed everything that fits into those categories and the drawers still won’t close, then I can buy some more storage. This is not a regular series, so it will not come on a certain schedule. My plan is to write an article anytime I have drawers that need decluttering. It gives me an opportunity to write a mini review on the products I am getting rid of instead of tossing them without a peep.

Other than reviews on empties, these are my favorite types of reviews. While my experience is different from yours, I like knowing why someone did not finish something, especially if it is something she purchased. Why was it so bad that she could not finish it? Did it expire really fast? Is it something that did not inspire the person? Could the person dislike it because something similar is a lot better. I could go on writing all the reasons I enjoy reading things like this, but you can see the reason beside each product I toss.

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FabuFinds: Product Spotlight Summer 2018

After I review my Empty Products, I like to take a little extra time to go over the standouts. These FabuFinds are products I love so much they seem like they’re made for me. They are items I would repurchase, even without a deal. Items I am loving but cannot finish any time soon make it into Deal Discoveries. To eventually spotlight all of my FabuFinds, I will never repeat items already mentioned in a past article. That does not mean they lost their magic. It is also possible an item not spotlighted in a past Empties article may get promoted as I try it more and fall deeper in love. Over time, past FabuFinds may get demoted as I find things I love even more. There are four products I consider FabuFinds in my Summer 2018 Empties that I have not discussed yet.

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Empties: Finished Product Reviews Summer 2018

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.

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Core Collection Summer 2018 Deal Discoveries

Welcome to the place where I like to discuss my favorites from each season that I did not finish. Anything I’ve finished this season made it into my Empties article. Items I am still in love with as I empty them become FabuFinds. While I cannot promise I will ever finish these (some products expire before I can empty them) and I cannot promise I will still love them enough to label them as FabuFinds upon completion, I loved them throughout this season. These are items I reached for many times even though I have plenty of similar items in my stash collecting dust. Many of these items are serious contenders for my Top 10 of the Year. There were seven items I reached for constantly this summer.

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Fake and Dishonest Reviews, Undeclared Sponsorships, and Bias – How Do You Know Who to Trust?

One of the things I am always saying is you need multiple sources of information for those who want to make informed purchase decisions. As a huge source for products that have already launched, I like to read reviews. We all know some of them are fake. The overtly fake ones are easy to spot. Brands will usually encourage their employees or people they pay to write thoughtful, detailed, relatable reviews. That makes them harder to spot. I strive for all the same things when I review anything, but my goal is simple. Give people the information and let them do with it what they may. If someone intentionally reviews something other than the exact way it performed, or worse, writes a review on something they have not even tried, they have failed at their only task. You had one job! Write a helpful review. Unless all information is correct, you are intentionally misleading someone who could buy based on your recommendation. That is beyond uncool.

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Why Do Foaming Body Washes Always Feel So Luxurious?

I live a constant battle between pampering myself and finding the best deal. Finding a balance between the two is my number one goal as a consumer. When I find cheap items that work as well or better than high-end items, I feel a sense of accomplishment. Spending more than necessary is pointless, but I also don’t like to settle. If the cheaper item is not as good as the high-priced item, I will continue to buy the high-priced item when I am in the mood to splurge. How many times have you purchased something expensive only to get disappointed with its performance? On the contrary, how many times have you grabbed something cheaper than what you usually buy only to discover you barely notice a difference between it and your beloved, expensive product? Price is not always king when it comes to getting the best deal. It is the number one reason I never stop experimenting with new products, even when I find something I love. There are so many products that are wonderful in every price range. Duds also exist in every price range, and dollar store items have disappointed me.

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The Time I Got Orange Hair Courtesy of PINCHme and Clairol nice ‘n easy

Maybe I should have titled this article, The Two Times I Got Orange Hair Courtesy of PINCHme and Clairol nice n’ easy. I am the type of person who will sometimes give things (and people) a second chance even when they’ve proven they do not deserve it. That happened with this hair color. After the one I mentioned in my free samples article failed, I convinced myself that I owed it to the brand to try it again before writing my review. That one was a different color, Medium Ash Blonde 8A, and maybe this color would not be as bad. It could have been user error, I told myself. Yes, I victim blamed. My Spring 2018 Walmart Beauty Box had a coupon for another free box of nice ‘n easy. Thankfully, I forgot about it, and the coupon expired before I could redeem it.

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The Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask Review Versus the Mamonde Lip Sleeping Mask Review – Are They Dupes?

I’ve decided to review the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask and directly compare it to the Mamonde Sleeping Mask. For those of you waiting on my comprehensive lip balm comparison article, it is still coming. Every time I buy a new lip balm, I have to test it exclusively for a while to give a proper review. Since I’ve purchased another large round of lip balms (9) recently, it will get pushed back again. The good news is I have to eventually stop buying lip balms, so the article will inevitably come. As I move through the journey of testing as many lip balms as I can, I want to write articles when I find two or more that are very similar. Yes, I will ultimately mention the similarities in the massive article, but I feel like the message will get lost for those who simply want to read an article with advice on which one to buy when they’ve already narrowed it down to the options I want to discuss.

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Core Collection Spring 2018 Deal Discoveries

Welcome to the place where I like to discuss my favorites from each season that I did not finish. Anything I’ve finished this season made it into my Empties article. Items I am still in love with as I empty them become FabuFinds. While I cannot promise I will ever finish these (some products expire before I can empty them) and I cannot promise I will still love them enough to label them as FabuFinds upon completion, I loved them throughout this season. These are items I reached for many times even though I have plenty of similar items in my stash collecting dust. Many of these items are serious contenders for my Top 10 of the Year. There were six items I reached for constantly this spring.

Like my FabuFinds, these are items I consider great deals. The deal discoveries do not need a discount to earn their value (although I will always try to find one if I can). Most of the time they are new to my collection. That is mostly due to the large amount of new products I try each year. Sometimes, they are items I’ve tried in the past but love more upon rediscovery. While I try to edit mini reviews into any article I mentioned these items in, I like to dedicate more time and attention to items I feel are worth the extra effort. They are core items to my collection.

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FabuFinds: Product Spotlight Spring 2018

After I review my Empty Products, I like to take a little extra time to go over the standouts. These FabuFinds are products I love so much they seem like they’re made for me. They are items I would repurchase, even without a deal. Items I am loving but cannot finish any time soon make it into Deal Discoveries. To eventually spotlight all of my FabuFinds, I will never repeat items already mentioned in a past article. That does not mean they lost their magic. It is also possible an item not spotlighted in a past Empties article may get promoted as I try it more and fall deeper in love. Over time, past FabuFinds may get demoted as I find things I love even more. There are 6 products I consider FabuFinds in my Spring 2018 Empties that I have not discussed yet.

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Empties: Finished Product Reviews Spring 2018

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 spring 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 I receive them 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 April and June 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 compete 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.

Loved

Original Sprout Hair & Body Babywash- This lathers well, smells great (so light and fresh), rinses clean, and leaves some natural oils behind on the skin. I did not name this a FabuFind, because I do not use it very often. 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 entire article to, because I feel strongly about it. 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

Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo- I had not purchased this since my kids were smaller, but they ran out of the Original Sprout I usually buy before our next scheduled trip for their haircuts. Their hair salon is where I buy the product. It sells on Amazon, but I always worry about getting fakes when purchasing from an unauthorized retailer. My kids get eczema, and this does a nice job of keeping it at bay. While they were using this, I did not notice any increases in eczema patches. This is a lot thicker and harder to spread than the one they’re used to. As long as this rests in my top three choices for their sensitive, eczema prone skin, I will purchase it when it is not convenient to grab their usual wash. pH 4.5

Rituals The Ritual of Sakura zensational foaming shower gel- I love this more than I can express. Other than the time when an entire bottle dispensed itself in my soap container, I have no complaints. That is also the only thing that keeps this from being a FabuFind. This particular one smells like cherry blossoms so it is my new favorite scent. It is a little expensive for how fast it goes (a bottle lasts less than a month), but it is such a luxurious feeling that I will keep buying it (when it goes on sale, of course). Because this keeps expanding after you dispense it, you could use a lot less than I do and get it to stretch further. I could not get anything out of the old bottle to test the ph, so I had to open a new one. That means I am about to enjoy this all over again. pH 2.5

Wella Elements Renewing Shampoo- I always knew I had dry, frizzy hair, but I had never really found a regular shampoo that combatted either problem really well. That caused me to rely on external products and still not get the results I desired. When I used this, my hair looked silky. It looked hydrated and nearly frizz-free. As soon as I finished this and started using my next product, my dryness and frizz returned. It is products like these that make me want to throw out everything else I’ve bought and keep using this. Alas, I spent good money on the other products and enjoy trying and reviewing new things. This will make a return to my product line-up once I’ve used up some items in my stash. pH 4.5

Wella Elements Lightweight Renewing Conditioner- I did not love this as much as I like the shampoo, because I typically prefer a thicker conditioner to soften and detangle. Though my hair is fine, I have a lot of it. There are times when I want more volume in my hair though. Whenever I used this, I noticed I did not need any assistance with volumizing my hair. It really complimented the shampoo, too. They both have a lovely scent that is not overbearing at all. Hair smells clean without smelling overly perfumed. pH 4.5

Clarisonic pedi Pedi-Buff- This is a really nice foot scrub. It is a chemical and physical exfoliant that does a nice job of keeping my feet smooth as long as I pair it with a nice foot cream and occasionally use deeper exfoliation. I would never pay $27 for it, because it is only slightly superior to the drugstore versions that are strictly physical. When I tried to price check this, I noticed that it is either out-of-stock everywhere or full-price. pH 3.0

Raw Sugar Natural Hand Wash Vanilla Bean + Sugar- This is a really nice hand wash. I will definitely purchase this when it is on sale. It does cleanse, hydrate, and brighten as promised, but I still use a hand cream after every single wash anyway. The antioxidants that protect the skin from free radicals make it worth the occasional $4.99 splurge. It is also twice the size of the Ulta and Softsoap ones I usually purchase. That actually makes it more like $2.50. pH 4.5

Softsoap Warm Spiced Tea Liquid Hand Soap- This is not my favorite scent, but my ex really liked it. The soap lathers well and rinses clean. pH 5.5

Pretty Animalz By Look Beauty Tiger Moisturizing Sheet Mask- This was not the most hydrating mask I’ve ever tried, but it was fun. It does hydrate enough to justify the purchase. At 38, I still enjoy looking in the mirror and seeing something silly, like a tiger. There are many other animals I can still try in the future.

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate- While I am unsure if it recovers as it claims, I love the way it feels. It hydrates beautifully without feeling greasy. Once it sinks all the way in my skin, there is no sticky feeling a lot of oils leave behind. This also has a beautiful, almost sleep-inducing scent that makes me wait until right before bed to wash my face and apply it. pH 3.5

Babor Perfect Glow- This provides a beautiful glow, but it also adds an extra boost of hydration to my dry skin. My skin looked so amazing after using this that I decided to go makeup free. At $40 for 7 one-time use capsules, this is something I cannot see myself purchasing. Hopefully, I continue to get these and other variations of these in kits that make them much more affordable.

Philips Sonicare Toothbrush Head- This is still a FabuFind. It cleans my teeth so much better than a manual toothbrush. My teeth only feel cleaner when they are freshly cleaned by a hygienist. I’ve noticed that I have less to floss when I use this, too.

Lorac Behind the Scenes Eye Primer- Of the cream based eye shadow primers, this is my favorite. It is very close to the color of my skin so it blends in nicely and leaves everything looking matte. As I age and my eyes continue to get more hooded, primers that once worked to prevent creasing altogether only reduce it. This is one of the better ones. Creasing is drastically reduced and my shadows stay vibrant (outside the crease). pH 4.5

Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Be Spirited Sweet Citrus- This is my all-time favorite body butter. It is not too thick, but it moisturizes better than anything else I’ve ever tried. Spoiler alert, this is finally getting FabuFind status. I had not named any to this status before, because I had not found a scent worthy even though I adore the formula. The scent on this is beautifully sweet and wonderfully citrusy. pH 3.5

Laneige Multiberry Yogurt Repairing Mask- This is a rich overnight cream. Other than how deeply it moisturizes, my favorite thing about it is the scent. It smells like really fresh yogurt. My skin still feels nice in the morning when I wake up, but it can still breathe when I use this. With some really rich creams, my skin has a hard time breathing. That can clog pores and cause acne. pH 5.5

Manefit Beauty Planner Mask Cucumber Soothing + Moisturizing- This mask moisturizes and soothes as promised. My skin even looked a little brighter after I removed it, which is not an advertised benefit. I used the excess serum on my neck and chest. They felt great as well.

Lalicious Sugar Reef Extraordinary Whipped Sugar Scrub- I usually prefer an oil based salt scrub. These whipped sugar scrubs give those oil based salt scrubs some real competition though. The airy texture allows me to use a small amount of product for a large surface area. It glides on gently and never feels rough, yet I can feel it working. My skin always feels soft and smooth. My only complaint and the only thing that keeps this from being a FabuFind is it dries out a little too fast. If you let it sit too long (sealed but after opening), it will change the consistency. While it is still nice even when that happens, it is nowhere near as soft and airy. That causes more product usage and slightly rougher exfoliation. pH 4.0

OUAI Leave In Conditioner- This is a multi-tasker. I only used it with thermal heat once so I am not comfortable reviewing it that way. As a leave-in for wet hair, it does a great job of detangling. Because I never used it without an extra product for frizz reduction, I cannot offer a review for that either. When I try this again (I have another sample), I will make sure I try it all ways. pH 5.0

skin fix Ultra Rich Hand Cream- This is a really rich hand cream. It is so deeply moisturizing and leaves my hands with a nice slip. I almost finished two of these, but I lost the first one before it was gone. pH 4.5

Schick Hydro Silk Razor Head- This is still a FabuFind. Nothing has ever given me a closer shave with less nicks than this razor.

Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara- My lashes look longer and more defined when I use this mascara. There is no clumping. pH 5.0

philosophy shimmering snowlace shampoo, shower gel & bubble bath- I have not tried this as a shampoo or a bubble bath so I cannot review it that way. As a body wash, it is lovely. It has a nice lather that rinses clean. My skin does not feel stripped, and I really enjoy this scent. It is a scent I’ve already repurchased for this Christmas. This lasted me until April, because I was using other soaps along with it. Even though it lasted past the winter, I did not mind the scent in the spring. The fresh scent almost has no season. pH 4.5

Ulta Beauty Peppermint Cracked Heel Treatment- This is still a FabuFind. 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. Though I purchased the clearance section out of these, I only have the one I am using now left. Nothing else has ever come close to this so I need tips on what to try next. Please help. pH 5.0

Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad Self-Tanner for Face- This works extremely well. My face looked darker for about a week. It did not cause my face to breakout as some self-tanners do. I think it feels like the regular peel pads. The only caveat is if you use a regular peel pad after using this, it will start to strip the color faster. That means you either have to use these as long as you want the color or temporarily avoid regular peels.

Biore Nose Strip- I am actually promoting these to a love and have repurchased them since my last review. So many of my nieces and nephews were asking me for these in the gift boxes I was putting together for them. Since I purchased the strips anyway and a some brown heads (mine are never black because I have dry skin and regularly exfoliate), I decided to try them again. It is possible the formula changed slightly because I no longer itch when I use this. To combat this, I always wash my face before and after applying it. Yes, I know that is overkill, but it helps prevent my skin from itching. They literally rip the blackheads out of your nose so the pores look a little larger afterward. I prefer larger looker pores to brown or blackheads though. Some people are thoroughly against these and products like them so do a little research before you decide to try them.

Biore Face Strip- I had never tried the face strips before. They are large so I can cut one strip to treat my chin and my forehead. If there is a place where a clogged pore exists, I can cut and apply one of these to unclog it. There is no itching at all with this. They literally rip the blackheads out of your face so the pores look a little larger afterward. I prefer larger looker pores to brown or blackheads though. Some people are thoroughly against these and products like them so do a little research before you decide to try them.

Lancome Creme Radiance Clarifying Cream-to-Foam Cleanser- This gives me a squeaky clean feeling, but it does not make my skin feel stripped. It has a beautiful lather that rinses clean. A little product goes a long way so this 2oz wash lasted a while. I probably would not repurchase, because it is for oily skin. Those with dry skin can comfortably use this though. pH 8.0

Crabtree & Evelyn Rosewater ultra-moisturizing hand therapy- This hand cream is almost immediately absorbed into the skin. That is usually something I do not like. I like the feeling of lotion on my skin. What is great about this is I can apply it right before eating finger foods without feeling like I am eating lotion. Since I wash my hands right before I eat and like to apply lotion after every wash, I want a lotion that absorbs before eating with my fingers. After I finish eating (if necessary), I wash my hands again and apply a cream that does not fully absorb. The scent on this one is a little strong so I will keep experimenting with scents I like better. pH 6.0

Lancome CILS Booster- This is still a FabuFind. It improves any mascara available, but it is an extra step I do not usually take in my routine. When I do, it is worth it. My lashes look thicker, longer, and more enhanced overall. I can even push a single sample to almost six months of use, because it does not clump much. pH 6.8

Lancer Eye Contour Lifting Cream- This does moisturize nicely. I do not notice any lifting per se, but it does make my eyes look brighter after I apply it. My eyes do look more plump making the lines around my eyes look reduced. For $95, I would not purchase it. The Olay one I finished earlier this year works about the same or maybe even slightly better. It is a shame that Olay no longer makes it though. pH 5.0

Willing to Try Again

Greenbrier International Owl Hand Soap Cherry Blossom- This adorable little guy came from the Dollar Tree. It is a generous size and has a beautiful cherry blossom 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 so after we finish the 3 we have left, I could see myself buying more if I saw them for sale again. Initially, I thought I would refill these with other soaps. While I still could, they are thinner and more flimsy than I thought. After we finish them, I will just recycle them instead of refilling them. pH 5.0

Dial Iced Berries Moisturizing Hand Soap- For $1, this soap is okay. There are so many soaps that are barely more than $1 that perform better so I would not purchase this again. The lather is inconsistent. At times, one pump is enough to get a nice lather. Other times, it takes 2-3 pumps. I cannot speak to how well it moisturizes, because I always apply hand cream after every wash. It does seem thicker than a lot of soaps so it probably adds moisture. This scent is sightly nicer than the vanilla honey one. pH 5.5

111 Skin Space Defence Bright Eye Lift Gel- It does moisturize better than other eye gels I’ve tried, but it stops short of providing as much moisture as a cream. The pump never worked so I had to bust the container open and use a Q-tip every time I wanted to apply this. Yes, that was a pain and it wasted a lot of eye gel. This is a very expensive eye gel so I figured wasting some with a Q-tip was better than wasting it all by tossing it. There is a slightly soothing feeling as advertised when this is first applied. I do notice a difference in my lines and firmness when using this over nothing at all, but every cream I’ve used in the past few years has done better. Eye gels just aren’t for me so someone with less dry under eyes may love this. pH 5.8

h2o+ Spa Sea Salt Bath Soap- This soap, I got from a recent Disney cruise, smells nice. It leaves a slight film on my skin as most bar soaps do.

h2o+ Spa Sea Marine Revitalizing Shampoo- It lathers nicely and smells great. I am not certain it does a lot for my frizzy hair, but it does not seem to make it worse either. pH 4.5

h2o+ Spa Sea Marine Collagen Conditioner- It spreads nicely and smells great. I am not certain it does a lot for my frizzy hair, but it does not seem to make it worse either. pH 4.5

Dial Antibacterial Bar Soap- I decided to try some natural deodorants for the first time this spring. Expect to see an article on that journey soon. One of the deodorants I tried left me smelling bad. On a grocery trip, I decided to grab an antibacterial soap to see if killing the bacteria would prevent the smell. There were no liquid antibacterial soaps. As more people realize good bacteria are actually good for us, these soaps are less available than they were before. Yes, this soap leaves a film on my skin as other bar soaps do. It also completely takes the funky smell away so it washes away all the bad (and good, unfortunately) bacteria. Soaps without bacteria could not wash away the smell no matter how many times I washed. The problem is when I used the same deodorant, the bacteria would return within 12 hours. After switching back to a regular deodorant, I no longer need this soap. The smallest size available was a two-pack so I still have most of this one and a brand new one I am unsure I will use. For the sake of the article, I will probably give the natural deodorants another go. Wish me luck. pH 9.0

L’Oreal Consumer Testing Mascara- I never wrote an article about this mascara, because I received it shortly before my blogging break. It sat in my makeup drawer for over a year without being touched so I decided it was safer to toss it than try to use it again. Since I did use it on an off for almost two months, I can offer a decent review. There was almost no clumping at all when I first opened it or when I last used it nearly two months later. The brush was nice and flexible. That made application easier, but it was a little long causing me to poke myself in the eye once. Even if I loved this mascara, I do not know what it is to buy it. Thankfully, I thought it was just okay. It was allegedly waterproof, but it still transferred to my hooded eyes. Most mascaras do though. 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

Beautiful Nutrition Lemon Rinse- This product, which promises to maintain a healthy scalp, may actually work. Another claim is it seals the cuticle, and I struggle with split ends. The benefits go on and on, but it also promises to add shine, reduce frizz, and seal in moisture. It is hard to say if it does any of these things because I already have all these types of products in my routine. I guess I could have only used this in place of all the products to test its claims. If I get another sample, I will try it that way. pH 3.5

Sephora + Pantone Universe Flash Dew Luminizer Golden Orchid- This is something I purchased on clearance long after it was originally on sale. When it arrived, the product was almost half gone. That lead me to believe it was either used or is a product that evaporates. Unless someone was sneaking into my beauty room and using this without my knowledge, I assume it is the latter. Thankfully, I was able to use this a few times in 2015. In fairness, it did take over two years before it fully evaporated. Since it has been almost three years since I’ve used this, the review could be slightly askew. I remember there being a slight hint of glitter, but it looked more like a shimmer in natural light. Before super blingy highlighters were a thing, a lot of the more powerful ones had glitter for the glow. Applying this before foundation lessened the look of the glitter and gave more of a natural glow. When I wore this over foundation, it looked more light a glitter highlighter. pH 6.8

Ritz Carlton Refreshing Mint Mouthwash- I do not use mouthwash often, because I do not want to kill the goof bacteria with the bad. When I get an infection near my gums, I am happy to rinse away all the bacteria to soothe my gums. This did the job. pH 3.5

Colgate Total Daily Repair Anticavity Fluoride Mouthwash Fresh Mint- I do not use mouthwash often, because I do not want to kill the good bacteria with the bad. When I get an infection near my gums, I am happy to rinse away all the bacteria to soothe my gums. This did the job. pH 4.5

Not For Me

giovanni Hydrate Body Lotion- This is just way too thin and barely provides any added moisture. It is better than nothing at all so I was happy to discover this in my purse when a skinfix I placed inside disappeared. I would never buy this, but I would use it in an emergency. Yes, having no lotion after washing my hands is an emergency. Between extremely dry skin and OCD, I cannot stand the feeling of my hands after washing and am unable to focus on other things until they are moisturized. pH 5.0

Clairol nice n’ easy Color Creme- I usually will not give things a second chance when I hate them. It is possible this was user error so I will try it once more to confirm. This medium Ash blonde shade turned my hair brassy orange. The other shade I have is slightly different, and I will keep it in a little longer this time. If my hair still comes out orange, I will let you know in an article I plan on writing for this product. My hair still had every gray hair it had before coloring, which was the main reason I colored it.

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. I am going to try both again when I test a different color for a longer time to see if it is the product or user error. It is also hard to say which product failed to color my gray hairs.

See all Finished Products articles. View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration.

Core Collection Winter 2018 Deal Discoveries

I know it has been a long time since I’ve shared my favorites. When you’re going through the motions, it is hard to get excited about anything. There were six products that stood out ahead of the others. So, I decided it was time to bring my favorites out of semi-retirement to talk about them. My plan is to have 5 articles a year, one for each season and one for my overall favorites from the year.

Welcome to the place where I like to discuss my favorites from each season that I did not finish. Anything I’ve finished this season made it into my Empties article. Items I am still in love with as I empty them become FabuFinds. While I cannot promise I will ever finish these (some products expire before I can empty them) and I cannot promise I will still love them enough to label them as FabuFinds upon completion, I loved them throughout this season. These are items I reached for many times even though I have plenty of similar items in my stash collecting dust. Many of these items are serious contenders for my Top 10 of the Year. Like my FabuFinds, these are items I consider great deals. The deal discoveries do not need a discount to earn their value (although I will always try to find one if I can). Most of the time they are new to my collection. That is mostly due to the large amount of new products I try each year. Sometimes, they are items I’ve tried in the past but love more upon rediscovery. While I try to edit mini reviews into any article I mentioned these items in, I like to dedicate more time and attention to items I feel are worth the extra effort. They are core items to my collection.

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FabuFinds: Product Spotlight Winter 2018

After I review my Empty Products, I like to take a little extra time to go over the standouts. These FabuFinds are products I love so much they seem like they’re made for me. They are items I would repurchase, even without a deal. Items I am loving but cannot finish any time soon make it into Deal Discoveries. To eventually spotlight all of my FabuFinds, I will never repeat items already mentioned in a past article. That does not mean they lost their magic. It is also possible an item not spotlighted in a past Empties article may get promoted as I try it more and fall deeper in love. Over time, past FabuFinds may get demoted as I find things I love even more. There are 2 products I consider FabuFinds in my Winter 2018 Empties that I have not discussed yet.

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Empties: Finished Product Reviews Winter 2018

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. 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 I receive them 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). Because I already shared my empties from December and January, this article will really only have empties from February and March. Empties from my February Foil Challenge are not here either, because I wanted to avoid the redundancy. My Spring Empties will be the first time I have a single season in one article. It will also be the first time where I test and share the ph of most products.

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Get Samples or Read Extensive Reviews Before You Buy The Product

If you are someone who buys what you want and never worries about cost, this article is not for you. There is actually not a lot of content on this blog for you, unless you like detailed reviews. Those who do not mind returning products and try all the products they purchase before the return period lapses will want to skip to the second half of the article. I will use a line to help guide you there. A lot of people with sensitive skin are weary to try new products. Unless you have products you already love, you exploring with a little research can help you find ones worthy of repurchasing. My skin is sensitive, but I still love trying new things. As a deal shopper who loves kits, GWP, and subscription boxes, that is probably a given.

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FabuFinds: Product Spotlight November 2016 Through January 2018

After I review my Empty Products, I like to take a little extra time to go over the standouts. These FabuFinds are products I love so much they seem like they’re made for me. They are items I would repurchase, even without a deal. Items I am loving but cannot finish any time soon make it into Deal Discoveries. To eventually spotlight all of my FabuFinds, I will never repeat items already mentioned in a past article. That does not mean they lost their magic. It is also possible an item not spotlighted in a past Empties article may get promoted as I try it more and fall deeper in love. There are 22 products I consider FabuFinds in my November 2016 – January 2018 Empties that I have not discussed yet.

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Over A Year of Empties: Finished Product Reviews from November 2016 through January 2018

I cannot believe how quickly time has passed since I last reviewed my empty products. This has been hard time with a lot of loss so my mindset was not focused on beauty as much as it usually is. During 2017, I barely ever wore makeup, although I continued to collect some for the day I once again had the desire to spend quality time getting ready. Since this was a year of bare minimum pampering (other than moisturizers, which I consider a necessity), I have a lot less than I usually would. It is still important that I tell you what I thought of the items I finished and saved (as I spent a lot of time between two houses and hotels this year so I did not save all of my empties). My ex also started throwing things away after we separated when he used to save the items we both used when we were still together.

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FabuFinds October 2016: Product Spotlight

Every month, I review my Empty Products. Some products are not worth thinking about once the month is over. Others are wonderful and seem like they’re made for me. Those are FabuFinds, and I generally devote a little more time to discussing them. They are items I have repurchased and will continue to repurchase even at full price if I could not find a good promo code. Items I am loving but cannot finish any time soon make it into Deal Discoveries.

To eventually spotlight all of my FabuFinds, I will never repeat items already mentioned in a past article. That does not mean they lost their magic. It is also possible an item not spotlighted in a past Empties article may get promoted as I try it more and fall deeper in love. Other times, it is because I had a lot of FabuFinds in a previous month and decided to condense the article. There are five products I consider FabuFinds in my October Empties that I have not discussed yet.

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Finished Products Review October 2016

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.

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Core Collection October 2016 Deal Discoveries

There are so many products I fall in love with but will take a while to finish. Instead of waiting until I can mention them in a FabuFinds article or waiting to see if they make the Top 10 of the Year, I want to go over items from my Core Collection. These are items I consider great deals (even at full-price, although I will still try to get them with a deal). If I ever finish them, I will probably name them FabuFinds and replace ones that do not already have back-ups. Sometimes, they are items I’ve had for a while and just tried or items I tried in the past but love more upon rediscovery. Occasionally, I purchase items I love that do not fit into an article other than this one. When I try something from a recent acquisition where I wrote an article, I will always edit a mini review into the original article (love, hate, or anything in between) or mention it in an Empties article (if I finish it quickly). A single product review in the original article will not always depict how much I love it compared with other items I tried that month. This lists my Deal Discoveries from October 2016 that I am not even close to finishing.

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