It is a shameful fact that the last time I published a blog post was in July of last year, which was also an empties post. I envisioned myself starting a tradition of doing one massive empties post per year, but I am moving into a new apartment with my boyfriend in a matter of days and I couldn't stand the idea of bringing my empties with me. And I'm not sure he fully realizes that I hoard my beauty trash, so I'll ease him into that realization slowly by getting rid of my existing empties...
Even though it has been only around 7 months since my last empties, I think I've accumulated a good amount. I really wanted to focus on using up samples, which has been a reasonable success. It has led to me neglecting some of my full size products, but at least I feel closer to the day when I won't have literally boxes full of samples filling up my closets.
Up first are the makeup empties. This is always the hardest category to use up, but definitely the most rewarding. Here I mostly used up some tried and true favorites, like the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation (I've now started a new bottle, my fourth or fifth). I used up the Anastasia Brow Wiz in Dark Brown (I've since switched to Granite) and the NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base. I've never found anything nearly as good as the NARS eyeshadow primer and I would never be without it. After years of usage, I finished my Le Metier de Beauté Creme Fresh Tint in Ginger Lily. It is such an amazing everyday color, and the formula blends into skin like a dream. I would repurchase but I'm trying to work through some other amazing cream blushes (and I have my eye on buying one of the new Tom Ford cream blush duos). I replaced the pad on my Surrat Relevée Eyelash Curler, and I sadly smashed my Ofra Highlighter in You Dew You before I could even try it.
These skincare empties are another pride and joy (please excuse the terrible photo). I used up so many stellar items I almost don't know where to start! Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser gives me life and I refuse to be without it (I've got two bottles at home right now and will stockpile more during the April Sephora VIB Sale). The same goes for Sunday Riley Good Genes. I've also already bought more of the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Pads. These ones were all Sephora Point Perks or codes, but I finally broke down and ordered a pack with my own money. They're great when a) I'm too lazy to put on my normal layers of skincare at night; or b) my skin is have a bit of a freakout and needs to be sorted out quickly. Make Up Artist's Choice 30% Glycolic Peel (the tiny plastic bottle on the left of the photo) is a potent peel. My skin is super resilient, but if yours is more reactive, try their Mandelic Peel instead. The Too Cool for School Egg Cream Mask was fun, but not earth shattering. I enjoyed the small Drunken Elephant C-Firma Day Serum and recently ordered a full size. The Sephora Eye Makeup Remover Wipes are handy, but I probably would never buy them. The other real winner was the Ole Henriksen Truth Sugar Glow Polishing Mask. This little sachet was enough to convine me to get the full size.
Next up are hair items. I used up some shampoo and conditioner samples, along with a couple of full size ones. I tried out the Rahua Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner, but didn't notice any dramatic results and I probably wouldn't spend the money on a full size. I went through yet another Bumble & Bumble Dry Spun Finish, which is my favorite hair texturizer. I've also gone through a few tubes of the Living Proof Prime Style Extender, which does help my hair hold curl and volume. The Christophe Robin Regenerating Hair Mask with Prickly Pear was underwhelming, as was the Dry Bar Mai Tai Spritzer Sea Salt Spray. These were both deluxe samples and I won't waste my money on the full size items.
Using up perfume samples was a huge goal of mine in 2016. I still have a couple of boxes full of samples, but I'm happy with my progress. Some of the samples reminded me of my love for fragrances I used to have in full size (like Gucci Guilty and YSL Black Opium). I also always love using samples of Thierry Mugler Alien, Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gioia and Lancôme La Vie Est Belle, but I never take the plunge and get a full size. Using samples also reminded me that I have a significant disdain for samples that don't have a spritzer. You know, the ones that have a plastic stick that you are just supposed to rub onto your skin. These are terrible and should be avoided. I'm looking at you La Vanilla and TokyoMilk.
Body-wise, I finally used up my Palmer's Shea Butter. I've been using the Nivea In-Shower Body Milk for Dry Skin and I've been slathering on lotion in an attempt to keep my skin moisturized as the cold air and heating turns me into a lizard person. The Dove Nourishing Body Wash in Sweet Cream and Peony smelled terrible but I forced myself to use it up. I was much happier to use the Too Cool for School Egg Mellow Body Butter (super hydrating and not greasy). I even bought a full size of this! Another highlight was the Body Shop Body Wash in Piñita Colada, which was a sadly limited edition scent. I still have the body butter, but that's almost gone so keep an eye out for it in the next empties post! The Lollia Hand Creme in Wish is a longtime favorite and I go through them oh so quickly. At one point in time Nordstrom sold this brand and even had a bubble bath that I was going to buy, but it has since disappeared from the site. Sad times, but that's what I get for trying to not impulse buy.
This assortment is a general hodgepodge of items I used up, many of which are long time faves. The Bath & Body Works 3-Wick Candles are always a staple (even though I have to stockpile them when I'm back visiting the U.S., since I can't access them here). Secret Clinical Strength Deodorant has been my go-to for years. I suspect I no longer need such a strong antiperspirant, but if it ain't broke... The Formula X Top Coat got too gloopy to use and was never anything special to begin with in my opinion. The Beauty Blender Blotterazzi did n.o.t.h.i.n.g. whatsoever, so I threw it in my empties so it wasn't wasting space in my drawers for the next 10 years. A revelation has been the Tinkle Razors for shaving my face (aka dermaplaning for those prone to embarrassment over admitting they shave their face). I am not a super hairy person, but I have peach fuzz like everyone, especially near my hairline. I don't find that shaving makes the hair grow back thicker or darker, and I often go weeks between touch ups. I do notice it makes my skin feel baby soft and makeup applies oh-so-well after using these razors, though.
Last but not least are a bunch of face cottons and face lotions. I love the Shiseido Cottons, but since I can't buy them where I live, I stick to whatever I can find. For face lotions, the Belif True Cream Aqua Bomb does the trick and I normally stock up whenever Sephora offers them as 100 point samples. Sunday Riley Tidal was a deluxe sample and it truly made my skin appear more radiant. Needless to say, I've bought it in full size. When I'm low on face cream again I think I will splurge and get the Tatcha Indigo Soothing Triple Recovery Cream. At $135, I will certainly be waiting for a sale, but this face cream is truly lovely and does actually soothe the skin!
After I snapped all of these photos, but before writing this post I did also use up another Bath & Body Works Candle in Joy (aka Peppermint Marshmallow) and I used some eye cream samples that got thrown away before I could photograph them.
What items have you used up lately and what would you recommend I try out? I'm always looking for suggestions! Let me know in the comments below. You can also find me on my other social media channels here: