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.
Want to know the pH of products? At the end of each season, I will conduct pH (Potential Hydrogen) tests on all empty products that still have liquid in them and compile a master list here. The pH of each product will also appear behind the review of each empty article the product appears in. Type the product name into the search bar to find the corresponding article for the review. It is possible I will occasionally test products that are not yet empty. Place your testing request in the comments. I will test it if it is a product I own, and it is already opened. Opening and/or purchasing a product just to test it is not something I will usually do, because the expiration countdown starts the moment the product opens.
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.
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.
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 September 2016 that I am not even close to finishing.
See recent Birchbox Limited Edition Boxes.
On the 15th anniversary of the worst day on US soil, I want to break the fourth wall for a second to say, “We remember.” Yes, it is September, and I am just receiving and thus reviewing the Beauty in Bloom Limited Edition Birchbox. With all the awesome things in this box, I am grateful it lasted this long. It’s a box I really wanted to buy after I received my final review points for reviewing my August 2016 Birchbox. Before I placed my order, I saw a video where Lorelei teased the new Cheers To You! box without specifying what was inside. Instead of buying this box then, I decided to wait to see what was in that box. It is their sixth anniversary box, so I assumed it would be amazing. Although spoilers from Cheers to You! did not go over well with most people, I actually think it looks like a good box. I actually would have enjoyed a lot of things in the box, because I: want to explore more Erno Laszlo, loved the Pixi eyeshadow I sampled, enjoy the Cynthia Rowley lip stains, love trying any and all candles, and I think the tray in that set is adorable. The problem is I still think the Beauty in Bloom Limited Edition Box is better.
See recent Birchbox articles.
Birchbox gives at least five beauty samples each month for $10. For every review I give, I get 10 points, which is equal to $1 in the shop. A six sample box like this one got me $6 back. I also shared my box on Facebook for an extra 10 points. That gave me a total of $7 back to redeem toward future purchases. You can read my detailed overview of the program for more information. Each month, you get a sample choice or you can select the guest editor box. For this box, I selected the stila mascara.