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  • Melissa

Empty Product Reviews - April 2022


In case I didn't mention this yet, I love finishing products.


I used to love buying, collecting, owning more and more and more. I could get into the deeper explanation of how I was seeking fulfillment in material possessions, but I think you're probably here for something a little more lighthearted. Just so I can explain why I love finishing products, let me scratch the surface:


When I was in college, one of the ways I coped with stress was buying makeup. Eventually, I had a lot of it. I mean a lot. When I woke up to the reality of my unhealthy coping mechanism, I nearly did a 180 - I felt suffocated by the amount of makeup I had. Every glance into my overflowing vanity drawers was a constant reminder of the futile ways I had tried to bring joy into my life (and the hundreds of dollars I spent in the process).


Slowly, I began the process of minimizing my makeup stash. I vowed not to buy more of any type of product unless I truly ran out of it and had no other options. I gave some products to friends, sold some online, and threw some out. The rest could only be reduced by being used up. And that's why it's exciting for me to finish products. It's downright therapeutic at this point.


This month I finished a lot of skincare products which have become almost more fun for me than makeup. I love getting to try new formulas and seeing how they can benefit my skin. After all, your makeup is only going to look as good as the canvas you apply it to!


Here are my thoughts on this month's empties:


The Naked Bee Everyday Facial Moisturizer SPF 30, Orange Blossom Honey ($11.99): I liked this moisturizer a lot. The smell was a little strong, but I liked it. It seems to be a pretty clean formula, has SPF, claims to have anti-wrinkle properties and is enriched with Vitamin C. It applied smoothly, absorbed quickly and made my skin super dewy. For that reason, I wouldn't recommend for oily skin but I enjoyed it, especially in the winter.

Rating: 8/10

Would I repurchase? Yes


Derma E Vitamin C Renewing Moisturizer ($23.95): Another great moisturizer! This was my everyday moisturizer and then I had the Naked Bee one as a backup (it was almost empty) and that's how I finished 2 moisturizers in the same month, just to clarify. I was surprised how a little bit of product went a long way here. It didn't seem super emollient, but a pea-sized amount really spread over my whole face. I'm pretty sure I was only using one pump most of the time. It didn't make me overly dewy so I feel like it would be great for any skin type. It was lightweight and had a light scent to it which I found pleasant. It claims to boost radiance and improve the appearance of uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles. I honestly never see a huge improvement in my skin no matter what I use but overall I liked this. It's also vegan, cruelty free, and free of gluten, soy and GMOs.

Rating: 8/10

Would I repurchase? Yes


Olaplex No 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo & No 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner ($14 each for travel size): If you follow any beauty accounts on social media, you've probably heard of Olaplex and all the hype around it. It's a brand that's getting a lot of attention for repairing damaged hair. I purchased a bunch of their products and am trying them out one at a time to see which ones truly make a difference in my hair. The shampoo and conditioner claim to repair, strengthen and hydrate all hair types, but I don't really see a difference. I did like how the shampoo lathered though (more than Briogeo which I'm currently using). Oh, and I also enjoyed the fragrance which was a plus but for the price, I wanted to be wowed a little more by the results. I hear that cheaper brands are bad for your hair, so I might consider repurchasing these if I don't find any high-quality shampoos I like better. I think these travel size ones lasted me about 3 months (washing my hair 2-3 times a week) so that's not too terrible to afford.

Rating: 5/10

Would I repurchase? Maybe


O'Keefe's Working Hands ($5.99): The. Best. Hand. Cream. I tried the version that's in the tub/jar last year for the first time and it was such a game-changer! My hands get dry, cracked and bleed every winter since I was a kid, and I tried everything to prevent it but nothing ever worked. This stuff keeps my hands soft all winter - such a miracle! I opted for the squeeze tube version this year and it was just as good! It's unscented, absorbs quickly and is not greasy at all.

Rating: 10/10

Would I repurchase? Yes, I already did.


Tarte Lights Camera Lashes Mascara ($24): This was the birthday edition from Ulta and I was hanging onto it because the packaging is cute but truthfully, I don't use mascaras anymore unless they're tubing mascaras. I hadn't touched this in a long time so I figured it's probably expired anyway. It was a good mascara with a pretty wet formula considering it didn't dry out after having it for over a year. I wouldn't say it's the best I've used, plus I'm a big believer in drugstore brand mascaras. They're just so good and so much more affordable.

Rating: 6/10

Would I repurchase? No


e.l.f. Camo CC Cream, Light 240 W ($15): I've been living off of IT Cosmetics and Thrive Causmetics CC creams as my everyday "foundations" for the past couple of years, but this e.l.f. one is a fraction of the price and really great. It claims to be color-correcting and have full coverage, a natural finish, collagen, peptides, niacinamide, and SPF 30. I agree that it is a natural finish since I found it was less dewy than the IT and Thrive ones but not completely matte either. I think it would be good for any skin type. I found it to be slightly less emollient than the others so I wasn't as successful at spreading a little bit over my entire face for a sheerer finish. For this reason, it feels a little more like a foundation than a CC cream to me, which I personally don't mind too much. One nit-picky note is that I wish the cap wasn't clear because it gets so gross and messy-looking. If price weren't a factor, I might prefer the IT Cosmetics one, but this product suits my needs and my wallet.

Rating: 8/10

Would I repurchase? Yes


The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque ($12): This contains 2% Salicylic Acid, Vegetable Charcoal, Amazonian Clays and Squalene. I didn't realize there was charcoal in this and therefore wasn't expecting it to be black, but that made it easy to notice any spots I missed when rinsing it off. It got tight and was ready to rinse off in 5-10 minutes. It didn't sting or anything, just got tight which occasionally felt uncomfortable for my dry skin, but I just rinsed it off when that happened. Now...did I notice a difference? Not really. My skin did feel softer, but I also applied it after exfoliating which helps it feel softer too. My skin has been pretty good while using it twice a week, but I've also been fasting from sugar so it's so hard to know what's really working here. Side note, I highly recommend minimizing or eliminating your refined sugar intake - my skin (and my energy) have really improved! I'm not a big mask girl to begin with, so I don't see myself repurchasing this.

Rating: 6/10

Would I repurchase? No


The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 ($7.50): I've been using this for a few years now and really like it. Admittedly, I've never tried any other brands but the price is super reasonable for this one and it seems to help my skin retain moisture. I use it as the first step in my morning routine after rinsing my face and before moisturizer.

Rating: 8/10

Would I repurchase? Yes


The Ordinary Buffet ($16.80): I've also been using this for a few years, and I've reviewed it before. I use it as the first step in my night routine after cleansing, but it says to use morning and night. I often compare it to taking a multivitamin - it's one of those products where I don't really see or feel it doing anything but just trust that it's doing what it says it does. It claims to target surface hydration, fine lines, wrinkles, dynamic lines and textural irregularities. It's called a "Signs of Aging Serum" so I'm hoping it's preventing signs of aging. I guess only time will tell!

Rating: 6/10

Would I repurchase? Yes


The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalene ($14.50): Apparently retinoids are more highly concentrated than retinols but this never irritates me since it's in squalene which is very oily. I started with the 2% one but then couldn't find it so bought the 5% and didn't notice a difference. I used it 4-5 days a week because I skipped nights that I exfoliated. This is another product where I don't really see a difference but just hope it's doing what it says it's doing. I mean honestly, my skin probably looks a lot better than it did a couple years ago but it's such a slow change that I still just focus on the dark marks and uneven tone that remain.

Rating: 7/10

Would I repurchase? Yes


NYX The Brow Glue ($9): I've been HOOKED on this stuff for about a year now. I always thought, "I'll never get into this trendy fluffy brow look" but then I tried it and really liked it. And here's why: I like to tweeze my brows so they don't start so low near my eyes (this might not make sense but I just found my brows were overpowering my face in pictures and wanted to shape them to be higher up on my face). Slicking them up with brow glue allows me to do that without them looking super thin. It also helps me not use so much product to fill them in. I just glue them up and then add a couple hairlike strokes with a brow pen where the hairs are sparse. Important tip: brush the hairs in the opposite direction with the glue (from tail to head) and then comb them up the way you want them to lay. This gets the glue on all sides of the brow hairs and helps them stay put longer. They look super laminated when I first apply it but they start loosening up throughout the day.

Rating: 8/10

Would I repurchase? Yes


Dr. Bronner's Naked Organic Lip Balm ($3.49): I just love this lip balm! So smooth and soft and it's clean, organic, cruelty-free...the whole package. It's getting harder for me to find in stores which worries me though! I always get the unscented one but I think they make a peppermint one too.

Rating: 10/10

Would I repurchase? Yes


Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, Berry ($22 for full size): So let me address the elephant in the room first - Laneige is not completely cruelty-free and I try not to buy from companies who allow animal testing. For that reason alone, I wouldn't purchase this but I received it as part of the Sephora birthday gift last year. I'm not one to enforce my opinions or preferences on others, so here's what I thought about the product itself: it was really good! It was a smooth, hydrating and super yummy-smelling lip mask that I used nightly as more of a balm instead of a mask. It wasn't thick enough where I felt I had to wipe it off in the morning. For comparison, Bite's Agave+ Intensive Lip Mask is thicker and stickier. I don't know if I'd splurge on a lip mask/balm but I guess it would last a while since the $22 full size is about 7x the size of this small size I had, which lasted longer than I thought it would anyway.

Rating: 9/10

Would I repurchase? No


As always, feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions about any of these products or any products you've finished!

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