Saturday, January 24, 2015

Empties: Starting Fresh for a New Year

2015! I'm not always this invigorated by the prospect of a new year, but this one has got me rearing and ready to go. There is so much I want to accomplish, both on the blog and off, and I can't wait to get started. One of the things I'm hoping to do in the coming months is to make a huge dent in my beauty stash by using up half finished and neglected products, while writing up reviews and tutorials about them along the way. Some time last year I realized that I've never written an empties post (despite the fact that I love reading and watching that kind of stuff from other bloggers) and decided it was about time that I start hoarding away my unused products. In the spirit of the new year (and also hoping to make this a more regular thing) I'm emptying out the bag and starting fresh for 2015! So join me as I say adieu to the products of 2014 with a few final thoughts on my end of the year empties.

Haircare. 2014 was a big year for me when it came to hair. I've been growing it out quite long and have been experimenting more than ever with different shampoo and conditioner duos as well as styling products. There are a TON that are in various states of use, but these few were used down to the last drop. I was a huge fan of the L'Oréal EverCréme Nourishing Shampoo & Conditioner. They made my hair feel very soft and healthy without being weighed down. I often used it interchangably with the Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Texturizing Shampoo & Conditioner, which gave my hair a bit more texture to work. The shampoo worked great and smelled like a tropical paradise, while the conditioner I wasn't as impressed with. The texture was strangely liquidy, and the smell was kind of off. I also made my way through a few samples. The Number 4 Volumizing Shampoo & Conditioner was sent to me from Birchbox, and while it did smell lovely and leave my hair feeling light and clean, was way too expensive for me to want to buy full-sized. The Marrakesh Endz Split End Mender & Preventer, which came my way from Ipsy, was much, much loved. I was really into its exotic, amber sort of scent, and it left my hair feeling oh-so-sleek and smooth.

Bath and Body. I feel like it takes me FOREVER to use up bath and body products. I have so many that I like to rotate through that it seems like an eon before I get to the bottom of the bottle. The Body Shop Coconut Body Scrub is a summertime staple of mine. The smell is glorious, and it does a fantastic job of prepping your legs for the smoothest shave you'll ever have. The Body Shop Shea Shower Cream was, while not the most amazing body wash I've laid my hands on, got the job done right. The smell is very subtle and unisex friendly, and the creamy formula didn't strip skin of essential moisture.

Skincare. I used up so many amazing skincare products in the last couple of months! I finally splurged on my first LUSH Cleanser Roll, Angels on Bare Skin. I've never used anything like this clay infused solid cleanser, which provides gentle exfoliation while calming and soothing the skin. I will say, though, considering its shelf life (which is only a few months) the smaller size was the way to go. I also made my way through another Cupcake Fresh Face Mask, which combats oily skin and is the most delicious smelling non-edible thing I think I've ever put on my person. As a side note to those of you who aren't as familiar with LUSH, you can trade in 5 empty black pots for a free Fresh Face Mask, so make sure to save them up to bring back to the store instead of throwing them away!

I've gone through countless bottles of Mary Kay Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover (and I'm already halfway through another one) over the years. I was a consultant once long ago, and this product is probably my favorite thing they make. It breaks down heavy eye makeup like a dream. Another amazing makeup melter is the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. I've already got the full size at home, having made my way through this generous travel size. I'm amazed at how clean and soft this stuff leaves my skin. Another cleanser sample I finished recently was of the Vasanti Nutrient Rich Purifying Facial Cleanser. It did a good job of leaving your skin clean, but I did feel that it left it feeling a little dry, especially around my cheeks (which are naturally a lot less oily than my t-zone). The last cleanser I'm saying goodbye to from 2014 was one of my first full-sized Birchbox points purchases ever - the Sukí Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser. I was OBSESSED with this cleanser and its lemony scented glory for the first half of last year. However, after finding some slightly more gentle alternatives I started to see how abrasive this was on my skin comparatively. As excited as I was about owning it at one point, ultimately I don't think I'll repurchase.

The last of my skincare empties were two more deluxe samples (both from Ipsy) - the Pur-Liss Pur-Moist Hydra Balance Moisturizer and the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster. I really liked using Pur-Moist every morning under my makeup. It was a nice, light moisturizer without any kind of heavy fragrance that kept my skin supple without making it feel greasy. And of course I've already got another bigger bottle of the Truth Serum in my cabinet, which I've been using religiously (I also just wrote a more in-depth review of it here).

Makeup & Nails. Makeup is by far the hardest thing to use up in my opinion. Blush and eyeshadow pans last FOREVER. I do go through quite a bit of Mascara, though, because I try not to hold on to it for too long. I'm chucking 4 mascaras that I've sampled from the last half of 2014. Pür Minerals Big Look Waterproof, Rimmel ScandalEyes Rockin' Curves, Urban Decay Perversion, and Model Co VolumEyes. Sadly, I must confess...I wasn't really wowed by any of them. The Pür Minerals Mascara had a super natural finish that didn't really even look like I was wearing mascara at all. The Model Co and Rimmel Mascaras were decent, but each had their flaws, and the Urban Decay, while probably being my favorite of the bunch, was a little clumpy and the brush kind of meh. I'm hoping this year will bring more amazing mascaras my way! I'm also saying goodbye to my much-loved IT Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil. It's unfortunately dried up and kind of useless, but when it was new it did a great job of naturally filling in brows, while also allowing you to comb them into place with a handy spooly brush. Last but certainly not least are the Nails Inc Kensington Caviar Base Coat and Top Coat. This stuff revolutionized my manicures by giving me a smooth even base and making my polish touch dry in less than a minute. I've already got another bottle of each that I've been using since these ones started to get gloopy and old.

So there you have it! The bag is empty and I'm totally ready to get to trying, testing, and using up my current stash of beauty products. Hopefully I'll have another empties post to share with you all soon. I'd also love to hear about what products you've been using and finishing up lately. Share with me in the comments!

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