From the Editor’s Desk: Spring 2017 Beauty Empties

     It’s time for my latest empties post, last one being for winter in January. 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 winter, and below you’ll find my quick, always honest, 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.

Hair

  • *Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil ($50*): This oil smells good, makes hair manageable, and protects it well from heated tools. However, I feel like I could find a good alternative for much, much less. WNR
  • American Crew Power Cleanser Style Remover ($28.93*): This was my first AC product, and I was let down. This “power” shampoo didn’t feel powerful enough to remove even the weakest hold styling product. Also, holy price tag! WNR
  • WEN by Chaz Dean Sweet Almond Mint Replenishing Treatment Mist ($29.99*): If you blindfolded me and asked me what this is, I would answer aromatherapy pillow mist. It has a fantastic relaxing aroma, but it does nothing for the hair whatsoever. Scented water, as far as I’m concerned. Would purchase if the scent came in a perfume. WNR
  • Garnier Fructis Grow Strong Fortifying Mask ($5.27*): Beyond not doing anything for me, a mysterious case of scalp acne erupted once I began using this mask, so I’m definitely not going to repurchase. It smelled good, though. WNR
  • *Skinny & Co. Skinny Coconut Oil ($15*): Smells odd and makes hair feel oily. Still have another jar to get through but I wouldn’t repurchase after that. WNR
  • American Crew Forming Cream ($19.95*): Faith in this brand restored. Flexible, shiny hold for curly hair. Thick, glue-like texture, smells nice. Can be sticky throughout the day but I still liked it very much. WR

Body

  • *Demeter Fragrance Library Gingerbread Shower Gel ($20*): If you enjoy Bath & Body Works’ “foody” type scents, then you’ll like this. For me it was unbearable, but the formula is good. WNR
  • Bath & Body Works Wild Madagascar Vanilla Bean Body Scrub: This scrub is the bomb, but the packaging sucks. It flakes off onto the hands and body and is gross, so I highly recommend scooping the contents into a resealable tub instead. Smells amazing, nice and thorough exfoliant. WR
  • Degree Men Time Released Intense Sport Deodorant Stick ($3.47*): No complaints about this deodorant, it felt as good as the Old Spice ones I love and smelled just as nice. They’re interchangeable as far as I’m concerned. WR
  • Yves Rocher Apple Delight Shower Gel ($2*): Sugary apple fragrance and lightweight but foamy formula. Decent, but the ingredients aren’t great. Would appreciate in an EDT. WNR
  • LUSH Cosmetics Great Bear Bath Bomb ($7*): The profits from this bath bomb went to a good cause, but otherwise it wasn’t worth it. Turned the water milky white/grey, had a strong clean sandalwood scent, but didn’t make the water soft or release beneficial oils at all, and it was only two months old. I was also surprised that for the size it fizzled out so fast. WNR
  • *Demeter Fragrance Library Gin & Tonic Shower Gel ($20*): This fragrance was right down the line between fruity and cologne-y. Could be good for a shared bathroom? Not a repurchase for me, although again this formula is very hydrating and smooth. WNR
  • *Old Spice Lasting Legend Hardest Working Collection Odor Blocker Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant ($5.99*): It’s a good thing this travel-size was free, because if I had paid for it I would be mad. This stuff reacts with water to cause severe irritation and a burning sensation – no, thanks! Also leaves white residue everywhere and blocks pores. Never again. WNR
  • The Body Shop Vanilla Chai Exfoliating Sugar Body Scrub ($22*): A new scent for the 2016 holidays, VC was a sort of vaguely sweet thing that didn’t leave a terribly strong impression. I liked the large grains for exfoliating my body, and the wide tub made it easy to scoop every last bit out. I would purchase again in a different fragrance. WNR
  • *Demeter Fragrance Library Pistachio Ice Cream Shower Gel ($20*): Finally I found the Demeter shower gel for me! I loved the decadent, rich scent of this one. WR
  • Bath & Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar Body Cream ($13*): Smells and feels like rubbing vanilla cream cheese frosting across your skin. Glides dreamily, absorbs easily, and smells heavenly. This holiday packaging was also to die for. Will be looking for other products in this line at the next SAS. WR
  • *Avon Moisture Therapy Ultra Hydration Shea Butter Body Scrub ($10*): This feels more like a body lotion with tiny scrubbing bits than a traditional scrub. It’s hard to wash off, sticks to the shower floor, and I wasn’t crazy about the scent. Fills none of my criteria. WNR
  • *Mark Windswept Body Wash ($12*): This scent reminded me of aloe vera gel, and not in a pleasant way. WNR
  • Arm & Hammer Extra Whitening Advance White™ Stain Protection Toothpaste ($2.27*): I think this toothpaste did a little to help brighten my teeth, but not that much. The minty flavor doesn’t last and needs to be followed up with mouthwash. WNR
  • *Avon Skin So Soft Wintersoft +Hydroseal Complex Nourishing Hand Cream ($6*): I hated this. Not only does it do nothing for hydration, it forms a gross film on the skin and smells like dirty diapers. So glad to be rid of it. WNR
  • LUSH Cosmetics Roses All The Way soap ($7.95*): From Valentine’s Day 2016. The gentle floral scent only came out once I was halfway through the bar, so that was mildly disappointing. Not too drying, but definitely not hydrating. The colour was too faded for me. Didn’t care so much for this scent, wish they brought back Cupid’s Love instead. WNR
  • *Demeter Fragrance Library Pumpkin Pie Shower Gel ($20*): Used for handsoap, didn’t leave an impression. WNR
  • *Tory Burch Bath Soap ($64*): Okay, why is this sold out everywhere?! Such a luxurious lather, and I adore the packaging and scent even though it is drying. Expensive, but would make a wonderful gift. WR
  • Life Brand Hand Sanitizer with Vitamin E: If you’re a working makeup artist, you know how much hand sanitizer you go through, and that those travel-sized Purell’s simply don’t make economic sense. I buy small containers and refill them from this massive bottle, and it works fabulously. Has a light, watery texture that absorbs nicely, a fresh scent, and doesn’t strip the skin. Handy spout for pouring, as well. WR
  • *Vichy Ideal Body Hand & Nail Cream ($9.95*): I’m picky with hand creams, because I want them to do so much without any drawbacks. This lived up to my hydrating, nail and cuticle healing, good-smelling expectations, and was only slightly oily to the touch (really minor). I like that it features their thermal water and 10 oils to hydrate and nourish the skin, but I wouldn’t say it was anti-aging as they claim. Look for this in sets of two for the price of one, I’ve seen them at Shoppers Drug Mart and they’re a great deal. WR
  • The Body Shop Hemp Soap on a Rope ($10*): The Body Shop thought they were onto something by capitalizing on the marijuana media hype with a witty “soap on a rope” in the shape of a hemp leaf, supposedly with all the moiturizing benefits of hemp oil from France. I admit I fell for it, but looking back I should have known better. For one, the rope is not only useless, it’s a pain in the butt to hold and maneuver. At one point I ripped the dang thing apart to pry the rope out and be done with it. Second, there’s almost no scent to the soap itself, which feels oily when lathered (and makes the tub super slippery) but leaves a drying residue behind, which cancels out any benefits immidiately. Thoroughly let down by this product. WNR
  • Ahava Cactus & Pink Pepper Mineral Hand Cream ($30*): I ought to love anything from this Israeli brand, but I’m not a fan of the formula of this hand cream. It felt waxy and messy at first, then too oily as it melted into my skin. Didn’t mind the scent. WNR

Makeup

  • NYX Black Retractable Eye Liner ($7*): I’ve had this liner since Target opened in Canada, if that tells you anything. I got it because I wanted to look like Captain Hook from “Once Upon a Time”… Anyways, this was decent, but it had zero lasting power. Any time I put it in the waterline it transferred to the lash line within an hour (that said, it stayed there – hard to remove and always results in raccoon eyes). WNR
  • *BareMinerals 07 BareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation ($36*): Great everyday foundation with low SPF. Watery formula, needs a stippling brush for a light to medium coverage. Colour matched me well for winter, and actually surprisingly affordable. WR
  • *Avon magiX SPF 20 Sunscreen Face Perfector ($15*): Fabulous blurring primer with a non-slippery silicone feeling. A bit of SPF as well. Can pill up if overused, but I loved it! WR
  • Rimmel London 290 Precious Gold Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer: Amazing. Creamy, pigmented, long-wearing, and positively gorgeous. Glides on like a dream, never bunches or flakes. I was inspired to begin using this product by Cinna from “The Hunger Games,” and I’m so happy that my nerdy self did. Discontinued unfortunately, but Marc Jacobs offers a similar colour. WR
  • MAC Cosmetics Prep + Prime Fix + ($28*): The company and employees come short of actually calling this a setting spray, but that’s how I used it. It has a relatively clean ingredient list, pleasant fragrance, and great misting nozzle. When sprayed on as a setting spray it melts the layers of makeup together and instantly rehydrates. Great for dry skin! I will be looking into the scented ones when they launch, and this bottle is going Back To MAC. WR
  • *Avon Medium Extra Lasting Concealer ($12*): This is a good affordable under eye concealer. It had medium to full coverage, a creamy texture, and it lasted all day when set with powder. The shade was a tad too yellow for me, so I may go lighter if I repurchase. It also potentially irritated my eyes when applied, but it was minor if this was indeed the culprit. I would love to see colour correctors in this formula! WR
  • Rimmel London Popcorn for 2 Stay Glossy 3D Lip Gloss ($6.98*): I adore this gloss, it outlines the lips with a wet blue sheen that is super hydrating but never sticky. It doesn’t have much of a scent or flavour, and the packaging reminds me of the new Juicy Shakers. WR
  • *Benefit They’re Real! Tinted Lash Primer ($31*): At its prime it gives a natural, innocent look. The brush is good for separation and the bottom lashes. I didn’t like layering it with other mascaras, better as a standalone. WR
  • *Make Up For Ever Step 1 Hydrating Skin Equalizer Primer ($20*): Really liked this primer for my dry skin, it almost replaces a lightweight lotion when you’re running late. It also smells good. Not sure how it actually did as a primer, but I liked it enough to get it again. WR
  • *Benefit They’re Real! Lengthening & Volumizing Mascara ($31*): I don’t understand all the hype about this product. It was finicky to apply, but taking it off (or trying to) was an outright disaster. My cleansing milk couldn’t do it; my cleansing wipes couldn’t do it; my waterproof eye makeup remover couldn’t do it. At a loss for options I tried washing it with good ol’ water, and it formed a terrible gunk that stuck to my skin and removed tons of lashes. No amount of compliments about my lashes is worth the fuss. WNR
  • *Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix Setting Spray ($17*): While I enjoyed beautiful makeup days when I used this setting spray, I cannot with 100% certainty say that this was the sole reason. While it does hydrate and seal makeup well, I didn’t care for the smell and would not repurchase it for that reason. WNR
  • e.l.f. Studio Makeup Remover Cleaning Cloths ($3.97*): I was quite satisfied with these for the price. WR
  • *MAC Cosmetics Radiant Pink Prep + Prime Natural Radiance ($49*): Doesn’t give a glow or even a rosy tint, but forms a nice tacky, hydrating base for makeup. Extends wear for sure. WR
  • Bonne Bell Coca Cola Lip Refresh ($9.98*): Decluttered. I’ve had this for probably over three years, and it is only supposed to keep fresh for two months after opening. It smells pretty darn close to the real thing, but no such luck on the flavor. Goopy, sticky consistency, and the red is simply not my color. WNR
  • NYC City Proof Twistable Perfecting Lip Primer ($3.97*): I was intrigued by the concept of a lip primer, but I’m sad to report that this is nothing more than a metallic tinted lip balm with low intensity coverage. I’d rather use a clear balm over this, and the packaging forces the product against the plastic in a way that ensures it will inevitably break at some point. Decluttering. WNR
  • *Caryl Baker Visage Eye Prime Perfection ($22*): This is another super old product, so it may have changed over time, but it really doesn’t do anything for me. My lids will still crease when I use this, and the texture is gritty and unpleasant. Decluttering. WNR
  • *The Estée Edit Pore Vanishing Stick ($34*): This solid stick of clear primer has a satisfying blurring effect when applied over the cheeks, but it doesn’t help with the longevity of makeup at all. WNR
  • *Avon Ideal Flawless Cream Concealer: Possibly discontinued? I can’t find it on the official site. Full coverage, really creamy and blendable enough for underneath the eyes, as well as building coverage over foundation, hiding blemishes, and refining the lip line. Shade was good for winter. WR

Skincare

  • *Make Up For Ever Sens’Eyes Waterproof Sensitive Eye Cleanser ($13*): The name of this makeup remover is a straight up lie. It can’t remove regular eye makeup, let alone waterproof makeup, and is best suited for the general skin except for the eyes. Test it for yourself; try using it to remove eye makeup, then run a toner pad over the eye to see what comes off. The results speak for themselves. WNR
  • *Shiseido White Lucent Luminizing Surge ($75*): Has really great reviews, but in truth I didn’t see any difference whatsoever for brightening/lightening. Not as a whole, and certainly not on specific dark spots. Overrated, overpriced, smells bad, but cute packaging. WNR
  • *Fresh Rose Face Mask ($75*): I understand the attraction to a luxury face mask, but I have to say, save the money and spend it on something that sits on your skin longer than 5-10 minutes (AKA this mask). Yes, it smells great, has real rose petals, makes skin feel good during and after use, and the packaging is cute. But is it worth the price? I have to say no, especially when The Body Shop is offering a very similar product for only $28*. WNR
  • *Kypris Beauty Elixir I – 1,000 Roses ($225*): I’ll say it right out of the gate, the price is ridiculous. A Christian Dior oil is “only” $205 by comparison! That said, I am in complete mourning about finishing the bottle. This oil smells heavenly, feels like a dream, and hydrates so well without making skin greasy. I would one hundred percent buy in the future, but would love if it came in a pump instead as the dropper on my bottle wouldn’t close tightly enough to travel with. Holy grail status. WR
  • *Avon Anew Firming Sheet Mask ($30*): Fine, but not anything to write home about. WNR
  • *Boscia Thermal Black Cleanser ($40*): One word: gimmicky. A cleanser that comes out black and heats upon contact with water? Why, though? Very little lathering action and a gentle scent. I’d rather something simple and straightforward that gets the job done. WNR
  • Avene Tolerance Extreme Cleansing Lotion ($28*): I paid for a kit that contained this deluxe sample (marked “not for sale”), so I’m already pissed. Scentless, doesn’t foam, and barely works with Foreo’s Luna Mini. WNR
  • *Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream with Super 7 Complex ($56*): Loved this moisturizer, it had a creamy texture that hydrates all day and smells good. Packaging and price were also right! WR
  • MAC Cosmetics Cleanse Off Oil ($38*): While this did what it claimed and removed makeup easily and quickly (it also smells good!), I found that when it got in my eyes while wearing contacts it made my vision blurrier than I’m comfortable with. Not recommended to those with sensitive eyes. WNR
  • *Boscia Tsubaki™ Cleansing Oil-Gel ($37*): I didn’t care at all for the peculiar scent of this gel cleanser, and I wish it foamed more. WNR
  • *Shiseido Ibuki Refining Moisturizer ($55*): I was apprehensive about this guy because I’m admittedly not a huge fan of Shiseido, but it ended up being a favorite. It does a great job at hydrating the skin with a super light lotion formula and a gentle fragrance. Will be great for the summer months! WR
  • *Philosophy Time in a Bottle Daily Age-Defying Serum ($85*): Please note that this is the now discontinued version of the product by the same name. The new version is supposedly the same formula but slightly upgraded. Both have an innovative fresh pour system to keep the main component, vitamin C, fresh until you’re ready to use the serum (which then lasts for 3 months). It has a lightweight consistency and no fragrance, but truth be told I didn’t see anything special with my skin while I used this serum. It doesn’t do much for hydration or to reduce my acne scarring. I have the new version to test, so I will report back on whether it performs any better. WNR
  • *Christian Dior One Essential Intense Skin Detoxifying Booster Serum ($162*): Another product I can’t live without, and this was my third bottle. This serum uses red hibiscus from the Dior Gardens to naturally stimulate the cell’s detox process and rid impurities through the bloodstream. By doing so it boosts all subsequent skincare, making it a booster as well as a detox serum! I love its smooth, cooling consistency and amazing scent. I’ve heard a nasty rumor that this is getting reformulated, so I hope we’ll also see a moisturizer in the line! Worth purchasing in the largest 75 ml size. WR
  • *Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask ($64*): Besides looking like green toxic waste in the tub and making you look like Shrek when applied, this mask doesn’t do much. It claims to be soothing and calming, yet two of the main ingredients are papaya and pineapple extracts, both known to exfoliate the skin (and therefore irritate it). It felt truly unpleasant after shaving, and I am glad to be finished with it. Not crazy on the scent, either. WNR
  • *Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel ($37*): I liked this cleanser although it’s probably not my favorite. It has a light scent, foams gently, and makes the skin feel clean but not tight. Good for removing traces of makeup. Liked the pump and that it has some antioxidants, but the price is steep for about a month’s worth of product. Would tentatively repurchase. WR
  • THEFACESHOP Honey & Black Sugar Scrub ($17*): Smells good and does a decent job at scrubbing the skin, just be careful not to get it too wet or you’ll waste the sugar grains. Would do in a pinch, but not my favourite. WNR
  • *Farmacy Eye Dew Total Eye Cream with Echinacea GreenEnvy ($49*): My worries for this product from the full review proved true. The packaging makes it necessarily difficult to scoop product, and the cream itself doesn’t hydrate, reduce puffiness, or eliminate darkness. Honestly, I don’t think it did anything at all. Furthermore, it forms a sticky film on the skin that mixe with tears (leaky eyes, anyone?) to form a nasty goop. Get it away from me, so glad to be done. WNR
  • *Farmacy Honey Savior All-In-One Skin Repair Salve ($44*): Another gut instinct proven correct, this was a home run. Used as a nightly moisturizer, you have to warm it up between your palms or else it is too thick and sticky. Gives a shiny, healthy glow to the skin, deepy nourishes with natural ingridients and great as an aftershave. Will repurchase for next winter, only negative is I wish it came with one of those metal keys for squeezing out the thick tube, which also has a tendency to flake onto the hand during handling. WR
  • *Perricone MD Blue Plasma Cleansing Treatment ($55*): I’ve never understood the point of a toner until this guy came along. Besides the gorgeous frosted glass packaging and bright blue liquid within, the toner does a wonderful job at removing traces of makeup after cleansing, as well as gently exfoliating using salmon roe enzymes. Pricey but not terribly so, will definitely repurchase. WR
  • *Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil ($57*): The price of this item went up by a dollar in the three months it took me to get through the bottle, and that’s annoying. I found this to be a great oil for my beard area, it helped to take away irritation and hydrated well without being greasy. Not anti-aging in my books, but the ingridients couldn’t get cleaner if they tried. BUT, and this is a big one, it smells so incredibly strong of patchouli that I wouldn’t repurchase it for that reason alone. When I had it on it was all I could smell, and it doesn’t fade much. I am willing to look into their other face oils, but this is a pass for me. If you can get past the smell, do it! WNR
  • *Avon Anew Men 2-in-1 Gel Cleanser: I think this has been discontinued, and I’m not mad about it. I’m confused as to how exactly this is an exfoliating cleanser, as the packaging claims, because the small beads the gel contained had absolutely zero abrasiveness to them. Other than that it was decent, minus the old barbershop smell I didn’t care for. WNR
  • *Clarisonic Radiance Brightening Activator Serum ($65*): This product is not available in Canada, so don’t even ask why I received it in gratis. It claims to help with acne scars, but I noticed absolutely zero difference in my skin when used. I also went through it surprisingly quickly, so for a month and a half’s use I wouldn’t shell out the cash. Not a fan of the scent, either. And while I’m ranting, in a recent interview the Clarisonic founder said that cleansing devices are all they’re good at, so why in the world are they expanding into skincare? I don’t get it.
  • *Avon Clean Revitalizing Toner ($12*): Not my favourite toner, doesn’t do much, and certainly no help in removing residue of eye makeup. WNR
  • Brut Alcohol Free After Shave Balm & Facial Moisturizer: Decluttered because I’m embarrased to even imagine how old this really is (copyright is from 2006!!!). I think it smells good enough, but I’m honestly not comfortable putting this on my skin anymore. Looking back through my notes, I seem to have not been satisfied with the level of hydration it provides (especially for its 2-in-1 claims), so I would not repurchase. WNR

Fragrance

  • *Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb ($90*): This is Sephora Canada’s best-selling women’s fragrance, and I can appreciate the reason. It is a sweet, clean patchouli that gives a sort of warm caramel vibe and receives a ton of compliments. I don’t think it lasts too long, that’s the only negative. Beautiful bottle! Perfect for teenagers. Would repurchase once I go through more similar bottles. WR
  • *Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine ($30*): I do like the bright, fun orange scent of this AC. However, I feel that it relies too heavily on the alcohol as a note rather than an ingredient. That’s to say, I feel like all the freshness is coming from the alcohol as opposed to a clever note pyramid. I have a full size, but after really understanding its longevity (or lack thereof) I don’t think I would purchase a third bottle. WNR
  • *Theirry Mugler Angel ($12.99*): I’ve waxed poetic about Angel before, because there is truly nothing like it. Spicy, yummy, deliciously sinful. Caramel, chocolate, and warm spices. One of these days I’m going to need to actually place an order for a full bottle. WR

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


*Prices true at time of writing.


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