From the Editor’s Desk: Winter 2017 Beauty Empties

     It’s time for my latest empties post, last one being autumn in November. 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 autumn, 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.


© Gil Segev 2017


    • *Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray ($31*): The only way I could make this product work for my naturally wavy/curly hair is to use it as a moistening spray prior to styling. If I use it alone it makes my hair look ridiculous. Overpriced for what is essentially saltwater. WNR
    • Herbal Essences Honey, I’m Strong Strengthening Conditioner ($3.38*): Solid conditioner, feels very silicone-y in hair and has a nice scent. Makes hair more manageable. Full review hereWR
    • Herbal Essences White Grapefruit & Mint Extracts Naked Volume Shampoo ($3.38*): Fantastic shampoo for every day use, however I don’t think it is strong enough to deal with piles of styling product. Great scent and light feel, suds up nicely, and perfect for washing makeup brushes. WR
    • WEN by Chaz Dean Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner ($28*): Firstly, this did not make my hair fall out like everyone says it does, so there’s that. Beyond that though, I’m not sure what the hype over this product is. I alternated this with a normal shampoo to avoid oil buildup, because oil on oil on oil doesn’t sound appealing to me. You do need a fairly big amount of product even for short hair, and it is so minty that it hurts my eyes. Only thing I liked was that it reminded me to pay attention to my scalp, but beyond that I wasn’t impressed enough to switch over permanently. Might as well use a normal conditioner instead. WNR

© Gil Segev 2017


    • *Butterme Body Eucalyptus Mineral Soak Salt ($14.95*): Not the best bath product I’ve ever used, but maybe not the worst. Had no scent but bath water felt good. WNR
    • LUSH Cosmetics Monster Ball Bath Bomb ($7.25*): Mine was the last in the shop, so it was a little worse for wear. It turned the water a deep purple shade and a little slick, but left a ring around the tub. Scent didn’t stand out, either. WNR
    • Bath & Body Works Merry Berry Christmas Body Lotion ($5*): From the 2015 holiday collection, this is super sweet cough syrup-scented. I like the formula but the scent is nothing amazing. WNR
    • Bath & Body Works Wild Madagascar Vanilla Vanilla Bean Body Scrub: This scrub 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 one left in my stockpile. WR
    • Philosophy Pink Frosted Animal Cracker Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath ($22*): I adore the sugary sweet smell of this shower gel, and it lasted me well over 3 months of daily use. As usual, my only complaint with these is that they really need a pump. The formula is creamy and lathers well, works great as shampoo, and even functions as a decent bubble bath. Love! WR
    • LUSH Cosmetics Pumpkin Bath Bomb: Had an okay spiced scent and turned the bath water vibrant orange. The presentation was lacking, and even though it made the water smooth and oily I am quickly growing tired of these bath bombs. Use the same money towards bubble bars, which work far better. WNR
    • Tarte Brazilliance™ PLUS+ Self-Tanner + Mitt ($47*): This delux sample lasted for several used, BUT, did not come with a glove, resulting in messy hands that were hard to clean (con). Good scent, and the product gives an even, warm tan. I would consider purchasing in the future, but a mitt is a must. WR
    • *Demeter Fragrance Library Jasmine Shower Gel ($18*): Used for hand soap. Potent scent that lingers only a little. Foams nicely, handy pump, wish the packaging was a bit more decorative. Not my favourite scent from the line. WNR
    • Bath & Body Works Sweet Pea Body Cream ($13*): This has a really pleasant sweet fruity-floral fragrance and the lotion is creamy and hydrating. Getting the last bit of product out can be a challenge. WR
    • *Mark All Bundled Up Hand Cream ($6*): This was great! The lotion is hydrating but sinks in rather quickly, even if over-applied. The scent has notes of vanilla, pear and amber, but to me just smelled like marshmellow. WR
    • *Demeter Fragrance Library Black Pepper Shower Gel ($20*): Enjoy smelling like a well-seasoned falafel ball in the shower? Or perhaps a spicy schnitzel with lemon zest? If not, maybe not the ideal scent to choose for a body wash. I will say that the formula is really good on these, and the ingredients, too. WNR

© Gil Segev 2017


    • *Marc Jacobs 320 Getting Warmer Cover(t) Stick Color Corrector ($52*): When I first got this in gratis I was dismayed, because I was led to believe this is only for darker skin shades than my own. However, I found the dark orange color and the wide applicator perfect for neutralizing the blueness of my beard. The texture is smooth and creamy, it won’t settle awkwardly, it doesn’t mix with the foundation and it truly hides blue tones. I’m sold on everything but the cheap plastic packaging, which looks like a stick of deodorant. WR
    • *Maison Jacynthe 03 Concealer ($33*): When I photographed and swatched this redness-correcting concealer at home, I was impressed by the texture and its effectiveness. However, two minutes on set with a client and it was broken in half. The bullet fell right out of the tube before I even touched it to the skin, and though I could try to melt it into another container, I am disappointed that I even have to consider that. Fail. WNR
    • *Avon Pro Contour Brush ($8.99*): This is a good brush to use with cream contouring products, however it became extremely frayed after only several washes. I can’t bring it with me to work, so I’m throwing it out. WNR
    • *Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray ($39*): I tentatively say that this product works in extending makeup wear time, but the problem is, of course, as with any invisible product that works in combination with other products, is that it depends on many variables. For example, are you setting your makeup with a powder first? Using a primer? Is the foundation good for your skin? Etc. The spray is good and I like that it is paraben free, but won’t be repurchasing in the near future due to the exuberant price (but I wouldn’t mind having it gifted again). WR
    • *Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Brown Brow Wiz ($27*): This is classic, it gives really precise but natural looking brows. The only negative is the spooly brush end of mine broke off early on. WR
    • *Laura Mercier Radiance Foundation Primer ($43*): If you love a strongly glowly complexion, this primer is perfect. It gives skin a sheen without any sparkle, and can be seen through foundation. However, as a primer it is a tad sticky and not very hydrating, so drier skins might not love it. It mostly helped my makeup last the day, but not without a long-wearing foundation and setting powder. WR

© Gil Segev 2017


    • *For Beloved One Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Cleansing Milk ($55*): This was a really good gentle foaming cleanser. It smelled sweet and never left my skin feeling dry. Pricey, and not the biggest fan of the cheap plastic packaging. Full review here. WR
    • *THEFACESHOP HWANSAENGGO ESCARGOT Golden Firming Cream ($69*): Not going to lie to you, this is probably my favorite cream to date. Flawless creamy consistency. Beautiful golden flakes. Stunning presentation (that includes that handy spoon). It hydrates AND firms, and you can tell your friends you’re using snail secretion on your face. I actually looked forward to using this every day! Will definitely repurchase, only wish it had a stronger perfume. Full review hereWR
    • THEFACESHOP Smim Fermentation Hydro Gel Mask COLLAGEN: Two-part sheet mask, generously sized, a little dry in terms of serum content. Light citrus fragrance. 20-40 minutes. Meant to firm, and while it was on it did have a lifting feel. Indeed upon removal it seemed to have a tightening effect, like my skin hugged my bones better. Still not crazy about the dryness. WNR
    • *THEFACESHOP Seaweed Moisture Pack ($15*): This is a super affordable moisturizer great for all skin types. It has a thin texture, light citrus scent, and it feels hydrating day or night. WR
    • *Ole Henriksen POWER Peel™ PRO-strength Microdermabrasion/AHA Peel System ($22*): Step 1: exfoliate with a drying clay-based scrub that’s way too harsh. Step 2: apply peel, which feels tingly and warm. Step 3: apply what is meant to be a soothing mask and wait for Hell-fire to erupt across face. Seriously, this system HURTS! I washed it off and was horrified to find my face a hot red color underneath. The only thing I liked was the included sponge to wipe off the mask. Had I paid for this with my own money I would be furious, but for now all I can say is stay away if you value your skin. Reviewers with oily, acne-prone skin seem to like it, but this dry-skinned blogger does not. WNR
    • THEFACESHOP SSeal Escargot Mask Sheet: This, perhaps more than any other sheet mask before it, made me look like a serial killer. The two pieces are cut rather tight, especially the eye area which seems designed for closer-set eyes than my own. The fabric of the mask was thick enough to feel heavy on the skin, and the fragrance was light and pleasant, a little reminiscent of a certain THEFACESHOP snail cream I adore. After 20 minutes my skin felt hydrated and rejuvenated, but I wasn’t blown away by the whole experience to buy again. WNR
    • *Caryl Baker Visage Sugar Kiss Lip Polish ($24*): This scrub has a yummy vanilla scent and fine grains of sugar mixed with some kind of butters to hold it together. While it felt nice on the lips, it tended to leave an oily residue and my lips felt dry again by the next day. It also separated a little in the jar so I had to ‘drain’ the excess oil each use. WNR
    • *Origins Modern Friction™ Nature’s Gentle Dermabrasion ($50*): If this is what the rest of EL’s “natural” department is like, I need to get myself to an Origins counter ASAP. I love how creamy this facial scrub is, and that it left my skin clean but never dry. The rice grains polish gently but effectively, and I looked forward to my biweekly massage with this product. Supposed to have a citrus scent, but I didn’t pick up on that. Pricey, but great. WR
    • *For Beloved One Hyaluronic Acid Tri-Molecules GHK-Cu Moisturizing Serum ($53*): It took about two months of once-a-day use to finish this serum, which is only 17 ml in volume compared to the traditional 30. The texture feels like an oil but absorbs alright, the problem was I didn’t notice a difference before and after. Full review hereWNR
    • *Murad Renewing Eye Cream ($106*): For what it costs, this isn’t worth it. The product is very creamy and leaves a white-cast on the skin, however even an hour after application my eye area feels dry. It also has a terrible scent. Supposedly it contains retinol, but honestly speaking it probably aged my skin more than it helped. WNR

© Gil Segev 2017

    • *Avon Anew Clinical Line Eraser with Retinol Targeted Treatment ($30*): I am often made fun of by beauty enthusiasts for finishing the products I open before beginning new ones, but this proves why keeping proper inventory is important. It would seem that while I got distracted with testing other treatments, this little guy expired on me (despite customer service claiming it’s fine – it’s clearly not). The product has turned orange, and I think I would have remembered it being like that originally. Anyways, there is a lot of criticism of this product line online, saying that it doesn’t do anything and isn’t backed by any real evidence. I agree that more evidence is required, but the science behind it is both interesting and promising (read about it here). Personally I didn’t see any results on my smile lines, but maybe you will. WNR
    • THEFACESHOP Myeonghan Miindo Yul Sibigyeongrak Lifting Mask Sheet: The smell is both offensive and overwhelming. The cut of the mask is too tight for the eyes and too wide for the jaw. I was happy with how my face looked afterwards, but I don’t think it had anything to do with the mask. WNR
    • The Body Shop Oils Of Life Intensely Revitalizing Essence Lotion ($22*): Used as a toner, but wasn’t too impressed. Not a fan of the scent, having to shake it before use, or the oily feeling left afterwards. Pass. WNR
    • *Sephora Collection Pearl Sleeping Mask ($5*): This is cheaper than most single use sheet masks, so I’ll give it that. One pod was enough for a single application, and it felt similar to the Peter Thomas Roth cucumber gel mask. Felt a bit tacky on the pillow, and when I woke up I didn’t notice anything. WNR
    • *First Aid Beauty Milk Oil Conditioning Cleanser ($32*): This product isn’t sure if it wants to be a makeup remover or a cleanser, so it fails at both. Forget the recommended 3-4 pumps usage, you need at least 10 to get any sort of glide on the skin. It doesn’t remove even minimal makeup effectively, it definitely does not clean the skin in any way, and it smells rough. What a disappointment, wouldn’t recommend for anybody for any reason. WNR
    • *For Beloved One Hyaluronic Acid GHK-Cu Moisturizing Bio-Cellulose Mask ($49*): This has such a unique texture, like a solid jelly that’s both skin-hugging and lightwieght. It did a good job at evening my complexion and brightening the skin, but I still have trouble with that price. Also dripped a lot. WNR
    • *Christian Dior One Essential Booster Serum ($162*): A must-have for anybody who suffers from blackheads around the nose area – it banished mine in 3 days flat. This serum goes on after toner but BEFORE treatment, meaning you still need to use a regular serum in addition to this booster as it has no hydrating properties. It detoxifies the cells as part of the cleansing ritual and makes whatever you put on top of it four times as effective. Smells amazing, great packaging, all around love. Onto my third bottle. WR
    • *Christian Dior Capture Totale DreamSkin Perfect Skin Creator ($140*): I’ll preface by saying that even though this product doesn’t do anything for me, I know for a fact from personal experience that it does wonders for those with visible signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines. It is also an ideal makeup primer for those skin types, but for me it won’t be worth a repurchase until many, many years later. WNR
    • *Boscia Makeup-Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil ($38*): Fabulous makeup remover for drier skin. Two pumps effectively remove all makeup except for mascara and waterline eyeliner. Especially effective on complexion makeup, it breaks it up and washes away with water. Should follow up with stronger cleanser, and I caution contact-wearers to be extra careful as this has a tendency to get in the eyes. WR
    • LUSH Cosmetics Bûche de Noël Face and Body Cleanser ($12.95*): I finally decided to give this Christmas classic a go, and I’m glad I did. I loved mixing this clay-based cleanser with a bit of water to form an exfoliating, fruity-smelling cleanser. The ingridients are good and I loved the gold-covered seaweed in the tub. Looking forward to getting this again next year. WR

© Gil Segev 2017


  • *Lancome La Vie Est Belle ($99*): The quest to go through my mini bottles continues. This was sad to say goodbye to, because I grew to like it so much. A true gourmand, very sweet and rich chocolate, praline and fruity scent. Positively addicting! Will invest in a full bottle. WR
  • *Christian Dior Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet ($64*): This is actually not that expensive for a Dior fragrance. It smells really casual, a cheerful fruity-floral that’s youthful and springy. I’ve had this mini for a year and a half, so glad to get rid of it. WR

Home Fragrance

  • Bath & Body Works Marshmallow Fireside candle: A B&BW classic, it has a little bit of a synthetic sweetness that’s not too strong and slightly evocative of smoky sweets. Medium 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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