From the Editor’s Desk: Winter 2018 Beauty Empties

     Below you’ll find my quick, always honest impressions on items I’ve entirely used up or decluttered this winter. 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 before the brand name.


Body Care Empties Spring 2018

© Gil Segev 2018

  • Mike’s Homemade Sweetgrass Scent Bear Soap ($5): I wish I could tell you where to buy this, but even I don’t know! I bought it at a crafts fair in York University last winter and wish I had stocked up at the time. It is made from real bear tallow, and I was apprehensive to see lye on the ingredient list but I assure you I am unscarred by the experience. This soap was exceptionally long lasting and very lightly scented. WR
  • *Avon Skin So Soft Original Oil-Infused Foaming Body Wash ($11*): This body wash was a true delight, it foams up into most delicate mousse with an almost imperceptible, soft scent. I’m known for my excessive body wash usage and it lasted me about 2 weeks of generous application (30+ pumps per shower). WR
  • Calgon Ageless Bath Exfoliating Mineral Scrub ($6.97*): This is probably the best drugstore body scrub I’ve tried to date. Strongly scented, abrasive, doesn’t leave a mess or a greasy residue, and the scent even grew on me. It has collagen and pearl powder, making for a very luxurious bathing experience minus the expense. WR
  • Colgate Optic White Icy Fresh Toothpaste ($2.77*): Just a toothpaste, no whitening that I noticed. Not that fresh, either. WNR
  • Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub ($20*): From the two S&G scrubs I’ve tried, I liked this one more and enough to repurchase. It has a strong, invigorating sweet citrus fragrance and a nice balance of oils to scrub. Leaves skin soft. WR
  • *Avon Skin So Soft Supreme Nourishment Oil-Infused Foaming Body Wash ($11*): I didn’t like this one as much the the Original scent, it didn’t feel as moisturizing and had a less pleasant scent. WNR
  • Clarins Tonic Body Polisher ($50*): For the price, I was really expecting more from this product. This is an average gentle body scrub that is HEAVILY scented with mint (like, make-your-eyes-water scented). While the ingredients are nice, and the formula is satisfactory, there’s just nothing that special about this scrub that makes it worth $50. Furthermore, you actually don’t get much in this giant tub, only 250 mL (compare to the $20/300 mL option above). While I could see this being a nice gift to give or receive, I can’t see myself purchasing it again. WNR
  • *Avon Skin So Soft Radiant Moisture Oil-Infused Foaming Body Wash ($11*): Equal to the original, lovely. WR
  • LUSH Cosmetics Cherryish Body Scrub ($12.95*): I am absolutely a sucker for LUSH’s limited edition holiday collections and body scrubs respectively, so combine the two and I’m in trouble. Add that this is cherry scented and I was sold! This solid scrub has a good balance of butters to exfoliating particles, leaving skin smooth and soft. It does have an artificial cherry scent, and the cherries on top are made of some kind of waxy material that doesn’t really melt on the skin. I went through it in exactly four uses, so it’s not exactly cost effective. Too bad it’s limited edition and not larger, it would make an EXCELLENT shared shower treat for V-Day, but is perhaps too indulgent for casual use. WNR
  • *Roger & Gallet Fleur D’Osmanthus Perfumed Soap ($10*): If you love bar soaps, this is a good one. Soft, gentle scent, nice lather, and doesn’t dry out skin. Could make an excellent guest bathroom piece or a hostess gift. WR


Makeup Empties Spring 2018

© Gil Segev 2018

  • *Christian Dior 001 Universal Brown Diorshow Brow Styler ($36*): I’ve gone through three or four of these in the past year, and now using anything else feels silly since I’ve already had the best. Exceptionally thin point that is hard yet glides on smoothly, and gives brows the most natural yet structured look, AND is a perfect color match. Love. WR
  • *Wet n Wild 366C Buff Bisque Photofocus Foundation ($15.99*): Not going to lie, I was a bit baffled that this drugstore foundation – from WnW, one of the most lower-end lines there are, no less – is $16. I think that maybe halved the priced could be justified, but at $16 there is no excuse for its fatal flaws. These include: strong, unpleasant chemical scent, lack of pump and an annoying spatula applicator, the immense amount of product needed to build coverage, and the lack of sunscreen (or really any skincare conscious ingredients). The whole premise of the range is that it looks good in photos, but the reality is most of us don’t get our photo taken that much, and if we are, we probably won’t be reaching for WnW in the first place. For all its problems, I will say that this foundation wears exceptionally well, looking as good at the end of the day as when applied. I just think there are better foundations out there, and probably for the same price or less, too. WNR
  • MAC Cosmetics Mineralize Charged Water ($28*): This has been discontinued since I bought it. It’s a decent setting spray by all accounts, but I think I prefer the original Fix+ more. WNR
  • *Wet n Wild 842B Medium Tawny Photofocus Concealer ($11.99*): Steep price for a drugstore concealer that was just alright. Good coverage, doesn’t crease, lasts pretty well. Not exactly my colour (too yellow, or too dark, or both). WNR
  • Quo Blending Sponge ($8*): This Shoppers Drug Mart house brand sponge is as good as any I’ve tried. It’s soft enough to blend yet firm enough to hold comfortably. The bottom is very convenient for laying down and blending foundation on large areas, while the top fits the eye area well. WR
  • *Vichy Pureté Thermale Makeup Removing Micellar Cleansing Wipes ($14.95*): I like including wipes under the makeup section because I don’t consider any wipes to be a sufficient replacement for a cleanser. That said, these are very good, clean, gentle, and efficient at removing heavy makeup. IF I had to, I could probably go to bed after only using these and rinsing with water, although again, I still recommend a second cleanse. WR
  • *Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder ($41*): Fantastic setting powder, doesn’t add any color to the face, simply absorbs excess moisture from complexion products to set them in place. Imparts the skin a flawless, velvety texture. Lasts all day. I wish it came in a bigger container, because I did go through it very quickly. Also, I would advise depotting the powder into a different container as the sifter is rather frustrating at time. WR
  • MAC Cosmetics Nice ‘N’ Spicy Pro Longwear Lip Pencil ($25*): Beautiful color, but I am disappointed that the entire product simply fell out of the pencil casing randomly. The product was not dry or old, nor was it dropped, it simply broke. For $25, that’s pretty upsetting. The formula itself is quite good, it is long wearing and precise, but quite drying on the lips. I am afraid that if I were to repurchase this type of pencil from MAC it would break again. WNR
  • *Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Medium/Deep Matte Bronzer ($38*): This cult-classic bronzer is worth the hype. It is the perfect shade to give skin a sunkissed glow without being orange and grey. It would actually be an excellent contour shade for lighter skins. What I will say is that it doesn’t last as long as I would like, fading considerably throughout the day. It does have cocoa butter in it (giving it the iconic scent), which may be what scales back performance. If you don’t need makeup that lasts 16+ hours, this is more than a good option. Personally, I need my makeup to last as long as I do, so while I enjoyed it, I will not be repurchasing. WNR
  • *Urban Decay Perversion Mascara ($30*): I do my best to toss mascara tubes three months after opening, and it was time for this guy to go bye-bye. I’m not good at describing what mascaras do, but I think this one gave more of a dramatic effect. It does have a tendency to stick together several lashes, which I neither like nor dislike. The brush is big, which sometimes led to small dots of product ending up on my skin. It is not clumpy, but near the last week of use I noticed it was transferring to my eyelid area, which is not acceptable. Further, it is downright impossible to remove properly, and I always woke up with raccoon eyes after removing it the night before. In addition to all of this, I think there is no real reason to spend so much money on mascara when the drugstore has so many good options, so I will not be recommending this. WNR
  • *Clarins Beauty Flash Balm ($50*): This multi-tasking product can be used as a mask or a primer. I loved it underneath makeup in the drier winter months, it has a thick creamy texture like a cream and it provides a true hydrating barrier between skin and makeup. It leaves a slightly tacky finish on the skin which is perfect for making your makeup last, and imparts it a glowing finish. It does have a strong powdery scent, which I grew to enjoy. Wish it came in a pump! WR


Skincare Empties Spring 2018

© Gil Segev 2018

  • Lab Series Max LS Age-Less Face Cream ($99*): This was my first foray into Estee Lauder’s men’s line, and I was pleasantly surprised. Even though incredibly expensive, this cream delivers no-frills hydration with a lovely airy balm texture. I do wish there was some fragrance to it, but otherwise I am happy with it. This was a mini size from a sampler that I have since redeemed for a full size. WR
  • Avene Tolerance Extreme Emulsion ($36*): This trial size came in a sampler I paid for, yet the packaging says “free sample” – not cool, L’Oreal. Anyways, this is an extremely clean, uncomplicated moisturizer for drier skin. It has no fragrance and features Avene’s signature water and lots of squalane. If you’re seeking the most basic of moisturizers, this will do fine. I would buy it again. WR
  • Bareminerals SkinLongevity Vital Power Infusion ($60*): This trial size came with an order so I’m counting it as a paid item, sorry if you disagree. It has a really fancy name for what is essentially just a serum, but a very decent one at that. It has a lovely refreshing scent, light gel texture, and I like the packaging very much. It is more of a preventative item than reparative, which is just fine for me at this point in my life. It has some antioxidants and hydrating ingredients, as well as some sort of herb that supposedly does something. Once more, a very nice product at an attractive price. WR
  • MAC Cosmetics Summer Berry Lip Scrubtious ($19*): For the price I think these are excellent, they are highly scented, brightly colored, exfoliate well and last a long time. I did find myself using a relatively large amount with each application, and to be honest I probably need to use this more than the twice a week I do, but that’s the way things are. I’ll be picking up other flavors at the next Select sale. WR
  • Avene Lipid-Replenishing Balm ($27*): This thick balm was not emollient enough to spread evenly and easily on the skin, and I don’t like that it has so much mineral oil. WNR
  • La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Light ($38.50*): This is a drugstore brand that is marketed for sensitive skin, but the ingredients listed on the site don’t exactly reinforce that image. There are absolutely no skin repairing or protecting ingredients as far as I can tell. It has an extremely light, almost watery texture, and hydrates well. However, for the price there are better options out there (or pair with an exceptional serum?). WNR
  • *Odacite Try Me Kit ($29*): It doesn’t seem like they sell this particular kit anymore, although I’ve linked their other samplers which are similar. What’s important to note about Odacite’s so-called “Serum Concentrates” is that they aren’t serums at all, rather oils. Go down their ingredients lists one by one and you will discover they are made from 100% organic oils, all wild-grown away from pollution to limit toxins and ensure freshness. I love that! My favorite “serums” from this kit were Gt+L Radiance Effect and Ac+R Youthful Glow, both of which hydrate well, don’t feel greasy, and most importantly SMELL INCREDIBLE! I also thought the Ba+S Eye Contour was an interesting concept, and the Oleosomes Time Release Delivery Crème wasn’t bad, either. My only complaint is the size of these products, because at $55 a pop they’re not cheap for the minuscule 5mL amount you get. Everyone knows I love to slather my face in oil, so I’d go through one of these in about a week. They do recommend mixing 2-3 drops of the oils into the cream, but as a dry-skin fella I can tell you that’s not enough for my parched skin. What they need is to come up with bigger bottles, like 30mL. At the current going rate that would add to about $330 a bottle, so they seriously need to do some re-thinking before I can commit to adding these to my rotation. Otherwise, highly recommended. WR
  • Bioderma Hydrabio Moisturizing Serum ($34.90*): Again, the drugstore is surprising me. This serum has a thicker gel consistency, reminiscent of a smoothing primer. The ingredients are good but not excellent. It goes on smoothly and hydrates like a DREAM, all day and all night. I think the price is fair for 40 mL. WR
  • *Avon Anew Clean Micellar Cleansing Water ($12*): I used this to remove some my makeup before going in with a true cleanser. I would use two soaked cotton rounds for my entire face, eyes, and neck. While it does a good job of taking most makeup off, it is certainly not as thorough as an oil-based remover that one massages onto the skin. If you were to use this exclusively (without cleansing afterwards) your skin would in no way be sufficiently clean. It would probably be better suited for the person that wears very little makeup, and someone that doesn’t have facial hair that shreds the cotton rounds (see: me). WNR
  • Lancome Men Genific HD Youth Activating Concentrate ($65*): You’d have to do a lot of sleuthing to figure out what the “youth activating” technology in this serum is, because God forbid Lancome spell it out for you on their site. Basically they claim that this serum targets your genes by stimulating them to produce certain proteins that they propose strengthen, hydrate, and birth new cells. I did study a bit of biology in university, and I don’t remember learning anything about topically applied skincare having this sort of effect on your very DNA. If this could actually work, you would essentially be able to alter your body’s very functions with a store-bought cream. The reality is that this serum did nothing for my skin, and their claim that this also soothes shaved skin is false. I didn’t like anything about this serum other than the lightweight texture and fresh fragrance. WNR
  • Nuxe Crème Prodigieuse Anti-Fatigue Moisturizing Cream ($37*): There’s scented skincare, and then there’s this cream. It is LOADED with fragrance, so strong it overpowers everything beneath or above it, actual perfume included. I’m usually a champion of everything scented, but this is simply too much. Other than that, I like that this antioxidant cream is of 88% natural origin, and I think it retails for a good price for what you get. The thick texture absorbs much more readily than expected, and does not leave skin oily or “tight.” All in all it’s a very decent product, but the highly concentrated scent it a complete turnoff. WNR
  • *Avon Anew Clean Illuminating Rich Cleansing Foam ($12*): Smells nice and does a good job cleansing the skin with a (surprise) rich foam, but I feel this is better for oilier complexions than my own. WNR
  • *Fresh Rose Face Mask ($75*): This was my second tub of this mask, and I liked it even more this time. I don’t think it “does” anything, per say, but it smells and feels good while it’s on and I like the packaging. Probably ideal for those with decent skin (or an extensive routine) who just want to indulge and relax. WR
  • *Avon Anew Clean Cream Cleanser & Mask ($12*): I’m somebody that likes a foaming cleanser because it makes me feel cleaner, but if you have exceptionally dry or mature skin and a lather isn’t important to you, this could be an option. WNR
  • Marcelle New Age 8 in 1 Power Serum ($33.95*): the Beautypedia review on this said it well; this serum has a lot of alcohol and not much in the way of antioxidants. In terms of application it is a thicker gel texture, but I didn’t see or feel a difference. WNR
  • *Shu Uemura Ultime8 Cleansing Oil ($49*): I have NO IDEA why Shu goes out of their way to hide their ingredient list from their site and Sephora’s for many products, including this one. Otherwise this was a good oil, I’m just afraid of what they’re hiding. For now, not a repurchase. WNR
  • *First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Gentle Cleansing Bar ($17*): This was far better as a body soap than a facial wash. It is completely scentless and colorless, a totally no frills bar of soap that failed to impress. WNR
  • Marcelle New Age Precision Anti-Wrinkle and Firming Moisturizing Lotion ($33.95*): I just have to say, what a strange price, like why not just round it up or something? This moisturizer was a true displeasure, it felt GRAINY on the skin, like I was rubbing sunscreen mixed with sand on. Gross. WNR
  • *Avon Anew Clean Gel Cleanser ($12*): For a gel cleanser this does very little in the way of foaming and feeling like it’s actually doing anything. My skin didn’t feel clean after using it. WNR
  • *Christian Dior One Essential Booster Serum ($162*): This has got to be my fifth bottle in three years, and I already have a replacement. Will never be without this detoxifying, boosting, soothing, refreshing serum. Important to note that you don’t use this in place of a hydrating/treating/whatever kind of serum, but in addition to. The red hibiscus inside forces out the toxins from the cell and turns up the rest of your skincare by 4 times! WR
  • *Philosophy Take A Deep Breath Oil-Free Oxygenating Gel Cream Mini ($20*): This cream forms a sort of moisture cocoon on the skin, but manages to feel light and fresh. I love the minty colour and the smell was okay, too. The technology behind this range is all about providing the skin with oxygen and protecting it with anti-oxidants. Interestingly, in the States this formula is available with SPF 30 (not currently carried in Canada). WR
  • Biotherm Homme Aquapower Oligo-Thermal Care Dynamic Hydration($37*): This is a really nice feeling gel moisturizer that hydrates while remaining super light. Heavily scented with a typical men’s cologne, this formula claims to give your skin 5,000 liters of spa water in a 75 ml bottle… not sure how that works, but it also contains “life plankton” (huh?), vitamins (which ones?), and no parabens. I did have to dig a bit for the ingredient list, and it’s far from stellar. It’s crowded with all sorts of questionable things, but if texture, hydration, and a “manly” scent are important to you, this will deliver. I will need some serious explanations of what’s in this before I commit to a bottle. WNR
  • *Caudalie Moisturizing Mask ($47*): This mask performs very similarly to Charlotte Tilbury’s Goddess Skin Clay Mask for a fraction of the cost. However, this is a glycerin-based mask rather than clay, which may make it more dry-skin friendly. I didn’t find that it gave me significant results, wasn’t that impressed by what’s inside, and I didn’t love the smell and feel of the mask itself. WNR
  • *Christian Dior One Essential Eye Serum ($90*): A staple in my routine just like the face version. Works to detox, which in turns helps with brightness and tone. Would definitely still recommend a hydrating cream to pair with the serum, but this is an excellent addition to everyone’s routine. WR
  • Avene XeraCalm A.D Replenishing Cleansing Oil ($27*): I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I accidentally used this as a facial cleanser, when apparently this is intended for body use. My main critique stands, though, and that is that this product smells like VOMIT. I held my breath with each application. So disappointing. WNR
  • Marcelle Oil Free eye Make Up Remover Lotion ($13.95*): As hyped up as this is among Canadian beauty bloggers, it’s exceptionally bad at removing eye makeup. In fact, it does a far better job removing face makeup than eyes! It always left foundation, concealer, liner and mascara on my eye lids when I used it, and it stung when I tried to use it for the waterline. There are far better options out there. WNR
  • Clarins Men Super Moisture Balm ($38*): Whilst this smells nice and feels thick and creamy like a balm, it doesn’t provide enough moisture for my skin. It’s like I could tell it’s on, but my skin wanted more. In terms of formula, there’s nothing impressive about it, even though I appreciate the pump packaging. WNR
  • Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask ($112*): In general I like anything from Fresh’s Black Tea range, but this mask didn’t live up to the claims. It doesn’t (and probably can’t) “immediately reveal softer, firmer, and healthier-looking skin.” It smells sort of strange, too. The texture is like a thick butter with a tingly, minty cooling effect that is refreshing but pointless. For the price I would expect better, especially from this brand that I love. WNR
  • *Boscia Exfoliating Peel Gel ($45*): This is one of those peels that pills up on the skin, claiming to remove dead skin. In reality, the ingredients in the product itself cause the pilling action, so don’t be fooled into thinking you are literally peeling off layers of skin – no such beast! Besides being ineffective as a chemical exfoliant, this peel smells pretty bad, and is extremely bothersome to remove. You must ensure your face and hands are 100% dry before using or it will stick to you relentlessly. Finally, the pump on my bottle did a poor job at getting the last half inch of product out. All in all, I wouldn’t even give it a single star out of five. WNR
  • *Philosophy The Microdelivery Exfoliating Facial Wash ($35*): I want to specify that this is the reformulated Microdelivery, not the older formula. This one is more fluid and fresher smelling. It does a good job at cleaning dry, itchy skin. However, I prefer a cleanser I can use on my eyes and with my Foreo Luna Mini, so this is not one that fits the bill. WNR
  • *Cover FX C+Lemongrass Custom Infusion Drops: It would appear these have been discontinued. This is more of a dry oil than the advertised serum, it absorbs quickly but does little for the skin. It is designed to be mixed into other products, but I never find that trick to do much for me so I used it separately before moisturizer. Not impressed, and I didn’t enjoy the dropper which stopped working near the end. WNR
  • Shiseido Men Cleansing Foam ($30*): This would be an excellent option for someone with oilier skin, it was too stripping for my dry complexion. Otherwise a really nice lather, felt creamy, and well-priced. WNR
  • *Avon Anew Clean Revitalizing Toner ($12*): This is a decent inexpensive toner if you don’t want to splurge. It has a refreshing effect on the skin, and papaya extract to help exfoliate. It would do in a pinch, and the bottle is massive. Not something I see myself buying again, but still recommended. WR
  • *Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II ($80*): I really wanted to love this, because all the beauty journalists over the years have raved about it. People still swear by this serum, so I can’t emphasize enough that I went into it expecting to be wowed… but I wasn’t. While I recognize that I am not the target demographic (this is predominantly meant to be anti-aging), I still wanted some results. I didn’t love the smell (think beer), but I found the texture pleasing and fast absorbing. When I looked into the technology behind the claims, it would appear that although the serum has some good antioxidants, it doesn’t have much else. It isn’t hydrating enough for me, which is perhaps the biggest drawback. All in all, I intend to use up at least one of the bottles I have in my collection after this, but I don’t see myself buying any more. WNR
  • *Algenist Power Advanced Wrinkle Fighter 360 Eye Serum ($90*): This was like the eye serum that kept giving! Because you need so little product a small bottle lasts ages. I did enjoy it as a daytime eye cream, it has a light texture that feels hydrating. It is expensive, but at least it doesn’t smell bad the way all other Algenist products do. WR
  • *La Roche Posay Ultra Micellar Water Sensitive ($19.95*): I used this as a toner and thought it did a good job at removing leftover makeup and refreshing my skin prior to deeper penetrating products. WR
  • *Filorga ISO-Structure Absolute Firming Cream ($119.95*): This was my first foray into this brand and I was impressed. This cream works to firm on the basis of collagen and hyaluronic acid. It has a very complicated ingridient list that I couldn’t really figure out, but the creamy, rich texture, light and pleasant fragrance, and deeply hydrating results won me over. I also think the packaging is super chic! WR
  • Nuxe Face Cleansing and Make-Up Removing Gel ($21*): Ever wondered what washing your face with perfume would be like? This comes pretty close. I don’t know why, but Nuxe repeatedly overloads their products with fragrance. I held my breath each time I used this, and that’s not a good sign! The cleanser is supposed to foam but it doesn’t, and it felt about as effective at cleaning my skin as plain water would have been. A total letdown, no benefits at all. WNR
  • *Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Refreshing and Refining Moisturizer ($62*): I cannot believe I’ve slept on this product for so long! This cult-favourite is worth the hype. This lightweight creamy moisturizer provides a refreshing layer of long-lasting hydration to the skin with no discernible scent. It lasts all day and night, and works on skin texture with AHA’s and vitamin C. I have several full size tubs of this to get through, and I’m looking forward to it now! WR

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

*Prices true at time of writing.

Enjoyed this article? Love fragrance & beauty? Make sure to subscribe to by email so you don’t miss the hottest reviews, latest news, and awesome giveaways. Find us on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, too!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s