From the Editor’s Desk: Autumn 2016 Beauty Empties

     As with previous empties posts, this is going to be an excessively long mini-reviews collection, so let’s just go ahead and jump into it. These are the products I’ve used up since the summer, and below you’ll find my quick impressions on them. For quick reference, WNR stands for Would Not Repurchase/Recommend and WR is Would Repurchase/Recommend. Products sent to me for review consideration or gratis marked with an asterisk.

Empties Hair

© Gil Segev 2016


  • Herbal Essences Naked Moisture Shampoo ($3.98*): Still my favorite line of shampoos, they really get hair squeaky clean and smell fresh. Great for washing make up brushes as well, and fabulous value. This one unfortunately somehow mixed with water and became horribly diluted, but normally a go-to. Already repurchased, wish there were more scents to choose from. WR
  • Old Spice Spiffy Sculpting Pomade ($6.96*): This is a perfectly decent light hold pomade, it smelled nice but it had a tendency to give hair a white cast. Lasted forever! WNR
Empties Body Care

© Gil Segev 2016


  • Philosophy Vanilla Bean Nutmeg Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath ($21*): At many points during usage of this limited-edition holiday soap I thought it would simply never end. You get 480 ml, which is a ton of product, especially when it is as thick and creamy as it is. Smells delicious, foams nicely as bubble bath, all around nice EXCEPT that it NEEDS a pump. Bottle is very hard to squeeze when it is full. Would make a lovely hostess gift. WR
  • Old Spice Arctic Force High Endurance Deodorant ($3.99*): Sometimes you just can’t beat a classic. Glides on invisible, fresh scent, does the job well. Will continue to repurchase until it is inevitably discontinued. WR
  • LUSH Cosmetics Love Soap: This glittery gold soap was introduced as a limited-edition novelty for Pride 2015. It was embossed with the words “Gay is OK,” and smelled deliciously fruity. This was never the best moisturizing soap and it can be tough to get a good lather out of it, but I would buy it again if profits partially benefited a LGBTQ+ friendly cause. Full review hereWR
  • Bath & Body Works Wild Madagascar Vanilla Body Souffle: This must be the third body care product I’ve purchased in this fragrance line, because it’s so good! Yummy bubblegum-y vanilla goodness. The formula is both creamy and lightweight, and the presentation is darn cute. I’ll be looking for the EDP of WMV during the next semi-annual sale. WR
  • Yves Rocher Pop’Exotic Perfumed Shower Gel ($3.95*): I am not terribly pleased to say that I would expect to find this soap at the dollar store. The cheap pour bottle, the artificial fruity smell, and the lifeless bubbles make me think of children’s bubble solution. WNR
  • Bath & Body Works Wild Madagascar Vanilla Vanilla Bean Body Scrub: As my supply of these scrubs dwindles I begin to worry if I will be able to find it again. It has the finest exfoliating beads that melt away with water and smell delicious. I feel clean and fresh when I use this twice a week, and have just two left in my stockpile. WR
  • Bath & Body Works Twisted Peppermint Body Lotion ($5*): Whoever thought this was a good idea is out of their mind. The lotion is loaded with some kind of irritant that causes a chilling sensation on the skin, only it is so intense that it feels like your entire body has entered into an industrial freezer. I had to wrap myself in blankets each time I used this lotion, so regardless of the smell or hydrating properties it is a HELL NAH for me. WNR
  • *Mark Windswept Hand Cream ($6*): If you’re in the market for an affordable hand cream, this is a fantastic option. It smells rather sophisticated and the formula is very hydrating without being greasy. WR
  • Bath & Body Works Vampire Blood PocketBac ($2): A Halloween classic, this is a fruity floral blend that works well and doesn’t dry out skin. They’re not exactly cheap per ounce, but cute. I would pick up more if they were on sale. WR
  • *Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster ($46*): This product is a total bust. You’re supposed to add a few drops into your body lotion to increase your tan, but weeks later I noticed no difference whatsoever. Even increasing the ratio of drops to lotion didn’t work. Throwing out with just about half left. Save your cash. WNR
Empties Makeup

© Gil Segev 2016


  • Essence All About Matt! Fixing Compact Powder ($3.99*): This has got to be my favorite pressed powder from the drugstore. It is so affordable, and really makes a huge difference! It gives foundation a very noticeably matte finish, and is perfect for on the go touch-ups. Only complaint is, once I hit deep pan it cracked into hundreds of tiny pieces and became unusable. Still going to repurchase! WR
  • *Avon Anew Clean Facial Cleansing Wipes ($10*): My clients and I were both impressed with how saturated and gentle these wipes are. It’s a big package of 24 and will definitely be making its way back into my kit. WR
  • *Clinique Take the Day Off Micellar Cleansing Towelettes ($17*): These are garbage, it took four wipes to remove a full face of makeup and even then it wasn’t complete. Heck, one wipe couldn’t take off some powder foundation and bronzer! The smell is obnoxious, too. WNR
  • Simple Kind To Skin Cleansing Facial Wipes ($8.27): These were good but not my favorite. WNR
  • *Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel ($29*): Gives brows a matte finish and can be crunchy at times. Wand became disgusting after a few uses as it mixed with concealer/foundation, double-dipping a concern. WNR
  • *Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara ($25*): I got compliments on my lashes every single time I wore this mascara. It gives a very natural lifted look that’s effortless and pretty. Throwing out because it started smelling weird. WR
  • *Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara ($35*): I used this in my kit, and while I never got complaints I never particularly loved the results. Brush is strange, also disposing because of scent. WNR
  • *Fresh Nude Sugar Lip Treatment ($29*): These have a lot of hype, and while they’re nice as a luxury on-the-go “lubricating” lip balm with a hint of color, I can’t justify the price for the everyday consumer. It smells lemony but can be odd on the skin. WNR
Empties Skincare

© Gil Segev 2016


    • *Bliv Drench Me Moisturizing Cleansing Gel ($25*): I wasn’t a fan of this cleanser at first, but once I figured out the right water to product ratio I changed my mind. Three pumps foam up nicely with an invigorating citrus fragrance, and I love the handy pump. Also, little brother approved. Full review hereWR
    • *Lancome Génifique Youth Activating Second Skin Mask ($96*): The first thing to note about this mask is that it is clearly intended for those with smaller faces. On my man-sized head it stretched uncomfortably and ripped a bit. The mask comes wedged between two mesh sheets which are a nightmare to remove from the slimy core layer and quite extra. Smells heavily floral. Even though I’m only 19 I have to say my skin looked somehow younger, like it had been airbrushed after use. I don’t think it’s worth the price, but if you get it for free somehow then it’s worth trying on your elvish features. WNR
    • *Tarte Maracuja Oil ($60*): Not horrible, but something about it wasn’t my favorite. I think it had a grainy texture somehow, and it never seemed to truly hydrate. Absorbed quickly, though, and I appreciate the packaging. WNR
    • *Bliv Quench Me Moisturizing Gel ($38*): This is the worst smelling moisturizer I have used to date, I think. It smells like burnt chemicals. I had to hold my breath each time I applied it, it’s that bad. As a formula it’s good, it’s light and hydrating at the same time. If you rub it between your hands for a few moments it turns even lighter. But that smell! It’s hard to get past. WNR
    • *Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydrating Firming Serum ($114*): I’m not convinced that it firmed at all, but the glow up is real here! It gives skin a very radiant finish, and smells and feels very nice. The price is extremely high for a niche brand, but if radiance is your thing then this is as good a choice as any. WR
    • THEFACESHOP Rudolph Character Mask: This was a gift-with-purchase from the holiday season last year, and all I can say is I hope they bring it back for 2016. The mask is absolutely adorable, it has a red-nosed reindeer design that is not nearly as creepy as it sounds. It has a light lemongrass fragrance. It also clarifies skin well and would make for an excellent gift or holiday tradition. WR
    • *Clarisonic Sonic Radiance™ Brightening Solution Skin Renewing Peel Wash ($25*): The first thing to note about this cleanser is that you MUST use a cleansing device to enjoy it, it simply does not work with just your hands. I used it with the Foreo Luna Mini and it was fine, you do not need a Clarisonic. The cleanser has a very oily texture, it goes on clear and begins to froth from the motions of the device. God help you if you get this in your mouth (which you will), it is incredibly heavily perfumed and tastes horrible. The pros are that it feels very soothing and gentle, and never strips skin. I am on the fence if this outweighs the negatives, so for now I will not be rushing out to replace. WNR
    • *For Beloved One Hyaluronic Acid GHK-Cu Moisturizing Bio-Cellulose Mask ($49*): Enjoyed this, but I don’t think the results were impressive enough to justify the price. Full review here. WNR
Empties Sheet Masks

© Gil Segev 2016

  • *Farmacy Hydrating Coconut Gel Mask ($24*): Talk about skin hugging! This is the tightest mask I’ve worn to date and I love it, it feels firming and lifting. Very similar jelly texture to the For Beloved One mask, possibly even thinner. Doesn’t have much of a scent, but the experience of having it on is supreme. Like a 25 minute facial in a pouch. Will definitely be checking the other varieties out. WR
  • THEFACESHOP Real Nature Honey Face Mask ($2*): It doesn’t get much cheaper than this for sheet masks, but you truly get the bare-bones version in comparison to the more expensive options. It had a pleasing scent, but was ill-fitting and lacks a clear selling point. It made my skin feel good, but not more so than a good moisturizer. Save your money and get something nice. WNR
  • *Kypris Antioxident Dew ($67*): The first point about this serum is that the packaging is one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen. It somehow reminds me of The Little Prince, and I will be washing the bottle out for display. The serum itself is okay, I can’t say I adored it especially but I can say that I sincerely didn’t care for the scent. It reminds me of flour mixed with water, or white glue. Full review hereWNR
  • *Bliv Glow & Glory Skin Reviving Biological Mask ($25*): I never thought I’d say this, but there is too much serum in this mask! Seriously, it just goes to waste since you can’t possibly absorb all of it in 15 minutes. Full review hereWNR
  • *Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Eye Treatment ($61*): This product claims to help with whatever issues you might have around your eyes, but the reality is I didn’t notice it doing anything. Certainly didn’t hydrate, which was my main concern. WNR
  • *Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Toning Complex Clarifying Toner ($40*): I’m one of those annoying people who are still not convinced that a toner does anything for them. I could go without, but since I have these in my stash I try to go through them. This 250ml bottle was a nightmare to finish. The product has a tendency to burn when applied over shaved skin, so I wouldn’t recommend it for the man in your life. Other than that, it doesn’t do much. WNR
  • Yes To Tomatoes Acne Daily Repair Treatment ($13.99*): Only after throwing this out did I discover I had been sold an expired product (I’m furious – Shoppers Drug Mart, I’m looking at you). Needless to say, this does nothing for clearing or preventing acne. If I stopped using it there was no difference in how many breakouts I had. Smelled bad. WNR
  • THEFACESHOP HWANSAENGGO ESCARGOT Golden Firming Gel Mask ($8*): I adore this line’s face cream, so I’m a little disappointed not to love the mask, too. The mask itself is a beautiful gold color and smelled pretty, but even after 40 minutes on the skin I didn’t feel like it did anything worth the price. It might have firmed a little, but not enough to make me want to go out and buy it again. WNR
Empties Fragrance

© Gil Segev 2016


  • *Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris Aqua Vitae Forte (165 €*): When I first reviewed it I thought I liked it, but it turns out I sincerely don’t care for it. Herbal, bitter citrus, not my thing at all. Full review hereWNR
  • *Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 ($195 €*): Ditto about this one, and I eventually had to retire it because it reminds my parents of an industrial-grade cleaner that’s popular where they grew up. Full review hereWNR
  • *Thierry Mugler Angel ($138*): One of these days I will actually break down and buy a full bottle of Angel, but the price is so steep for a small bottle that I find it hard to justify. It smells wonderful and has monstrous longevity and projection. Full review hereWR
Empties Home Fragrance

© Gil Segev 2016

Home Fragrance

  • Bath & Body Works Flannel Concentrated Room Spray ($7.50*): I’ve had this product for years and only now finished it, which really goes to show how far you can stretch it. The fragrance comes in concentrated bursts, and one pump is usually enough to fill an entire floor for about an hour, anything more is too much. The scent was very “fall cologne,” and I wouldn’t mind rotating a couple of these with the seasons. Full review hereWR
  • Bath & Body Works Black Cherry Merlot Scented Candle ($4.50*): These tiny mason jars are mighty when it comes to throwing fragrance. This particular one gave a general fruity perfume aroma when lit, and it always made me very sleepy (reminds me of Sybill Trelawney’s Divination room from Harry Potter). I would definitely like to buy again for the right price. WR
  • Bath & Body Works Cinnamon Sugared Doughnut Scented Candle ($4.50*): Somehow reminds me of a chocolate scented bakery candle I used a long time ago, although I can’t remember the name. It was nice but didn’t have much throw. WNR


     Have you tried any of these products? What have you been loving this season?

*Prices true at time of writing.

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2 responses to “From the Editor’s Desk: Autumn 2016 Beauty Empties

  1. I love some of your picks like the Herbal Essences shampoo. That stuff is amazing! I love how you are so honest about each product. That is so important to me while shopping for a new item to try. Thanks for your honest opinions here!!

    • Yes to Herbal Essences! Which is your favorite? My honesty is my only weapon, although some PR people aren’t too happy about it. 😉 I’m so glad these long reviews help you to choose new products!

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