Guess who was lazy and put off doing her empties reviews for 3 months?
Yes, that’s right, me. I would 100% not recommend it.
Now I’ll admit, I use more products than the average jane – especially since I decided to absorb some project panning principles into my approach to buying/using products – but I ended up with 80 products in my empties box. EIGHTY. I had to stand on a chair to fit them all in this photo.
Good news for you though – if you were looking for reviews of a shit ton of products all in one place, you’ve landed on the right blog page. Please, get yourself a cup of tea and settle in before continuing – hydration is important. And so is being comfy.
So I’m a crazy person and managed to use up 4 concealers. The Maybelline Better Skin Concealer in Light (£5.99) is my holy grail – creamy, high coverage, easy to blend, and long lasting – I just wish it wasn’t in a stupid lipgloss squeezy tube, as it makes it very difficult to get it all out. The Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in Light 10 (£5.99) was my next favourite – not as high coverage, so if you prefer something lighter you’d probably like it more than I did. The New Look Pure Colour Liquid Concealer in Ivory is a great bargain option, coming in at £3.99 – although it’s currently out of stock on the website, and I know they’re revamping their beauty line, so you may no longer be able to get hold of it. The LA Girl Pro Conceal (£2-5 depending on where you buy it) is a cult favourite, but after using this one up, I’m not sure I’m a big fan – while it’s long lasting, I find it dries my face out too much, and I’ve tried others that have better coverage.
My Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge (£5.99) served me well, but it developed dark blotches that wouldn’t clean off – I decided these were probably mould and binned it. For now, I’ve replaced it with a couple of the blue Latex-Free Flat Edge Blender sponges (£2) from Primark, which are just as good.
A fantastic discovery is the Essence Prettifying Lip Oil in I Care For You, Honey (£2) – I’ve honestly never used a lip product up so quickly. It’s a smooth, non-sticky, hydrating gloss-like formula which really makes a difference to the condition of your lips. I’ve already started on another tube (this time in pink) – and I’m convinced they’re a dupe for the Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oils (£19).
Bringing up the rear is the Makeup Revolution Amazing Makeup Fixing Spray (£5) – at £5 for 100ml, you’ll be hard pushed to find a better value fixing spray. As a regular accidental over-powderer, I’ve used several bottles of this and will always go back to it.
I’m obsessed with the B. Makeup Brush Cleanser – I buy it in the gift set from the Superdrug website, where it’s only £2.99 for 250ml (and you get a free muslin cloth, yay). It’s a great cleanser that will get even foundation out of your brush, and it’s also antibacterial. I’m surprised they still have any left, as it was a gift set from last Christmas! Bizarrely, the 125ml version is £4.99 – though the gift set is not available in store. If you have a Superdrug Health & Beauty Card, you get free home delivery on their website though.
For cleaning my makeup sponges, or giving my brushes a deep clean, I loved the Freedom Pro Studio Brush Bath (£7). It’s a solid soap in a pot which makes short work of those pesky foundation stains! I replaced it with the Makeup Revolution version, which at £5 is slightly cheaper, but I honestly think the Freedom one works better.
Your girl got through a lot of skincare!
The Body Shop Elderflower Unperfumed Eye Gel (£7.50) gained holy grail, I-need-this-in-my-backup-drawer status, and I went and purchased another (plus one for my mum) as soon as it ran out. It’s fantastic if you have sensitive eyes as it doesn’t irritate – I get it in my eyeball all the time. It’s fantastically refreshing and really helps to keep your eyes hydrated throughout the day.
On the other hand, the Skin Blossom Reviving Eye Cream (£5.95) was okay, but nothing to rave about. It didn’t sting my eyes, but didn’t work wonders either – I picked this up for £3.99 in TK Maxx so wouldn’t go out of my way to seek it out again.
Probably my favourite product I’ve discovered this year is the Too Cool For School Pumpkin Sleeping Pack (£6-15)- I use this almost every night before bed, and the texture and moisture levels of my skin have improved dramatically. After use, I wake up with plumped, moisturised skin! This is a 30ml sample size I got on eBay for around £6, but I have the 100ml full size now – you can find them on eBay for under £10 if you’re prepared to wait a while for delivery (it comes from Korea).
The Argan Oil Night Repair Serum (£2-5) was a long-time favourite, but I’ve started dabbling in more expensive serums now. It’s quite a watery formula and smells pleasant, and I would recommend if you’re looking to try out using a serum for the first time – try Savers or B&M Bargains to find it under £3.
The Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions All Over Clearing Treatment (£21 for the full size) didn’t impress me – it had a strong chemical scent and I’m not sure it did a whole lot for my (quite bad) adult acne. Saying that, I did have a very small bottle of it so maybe I didn’t test it for long enough – I did enjoy the toner it came with!
I wanted to try The Body Shop Vitamin E Aqua Boost Sorbet (£13) because it’s pink – is that enough reason to try something? Apparently yes, because I bought it. It’s a watery, quite runny moisturiser that smells refreshing – I did enjoy it while I was using it, but in truth, I expected it to do more for my skin at that price point! I felt like it irritated my skin slightly too, at times.
On the other hand, the Garnier Moisture Bomb Super-Recharging Antioxidant Gel-Cream Night (£5.29-7.99) really blew me away. It’s a true gel formula – which are my favourite kinds of moisturisers – and really provides long-lasting moisture. I used this in the morning too, as it absorbs really quickly. Thanks to Kate for telling me to try this!
The Pixi Glow Tonic (£18) was my life for a little bit… It’s meant to help remove dead skin cells and help your skin achieve a natural glow, and by god does it do this! I’ve replaced it with the Freedom Radiance Tonic (£6) – while it’s similar, I do think the Pixi one works better. Keep an eye out for a comparison review!
If you’re looking for a light, refreshing toning mist, you could do a lot worse than the Superdrug Vitamin E Refreshing Toning Mist (£2.99). I enjoyed using this as a morning toner, and it has a refreshing, light scent. This whole line is cruelty free and vegan too, which I think is awesome, especially at that price point!
I finally got into facial SPF when I tried The Body Shop Skin Defence Multi-Protection Essence with SPF 50 PA++++ (£16). This provides fantastic protection from harmful UV rays, in a comfortable, light, watery formula that melts into your skin. The only downside is the price – I’ve replaced it with this £8 Biore one instead.
I’ve finally started to learn about different types of cleansers… I’m not sure my boyfriend is impressed I have 7 different cleansers open in our bathroom, but hey ho!
The B Clean Melting Gel Cleanser (£6.99) is fantastic – it’s a three phase cleanser, which means it starts as a gel, breaks down into an oil on your skin, and turns foamy when you add water. I really loved this and am looking forward to finishing some other cleansers so I have an excuse to buy it again!
The L’Oreal Extraordinary Oil Facial Cleansing Oil (£7.99) was my first foray into oil cleansing – and I have to say, it was a good choice. It does a great job of breaking up your makeup – or just the daily grime that collects on your skin. I will say it’s kind of expensive: I bought mine when it was around half price, so I’d suggest waiting to see it on sale!
I received a load of samples of the Garnier PureActive 3 in 1 Wash-Scrub-Mask (£5.99), so thought I’d give it a whirl – I actually quite enjoyed it. I can see it working as all three products, and I’d use it on days my skin was feeling more congested.
The Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Blackhead Out Balm is actually a magical product. No, I’m not exaggerating. It actually softens and helps to draw out blackheads and impurities. For a product that’s available on eBay for £4 – that really is magical…
The black thing is a Konjac sponge – I buy mine on eBay or Aliexpress for under £1 each. If you’ve never tried one, you should – they’re a fantastic tool to use alone or with a cleanser for a gentle physical exfoliation. Just make sure it’s wet before you use it!
So, I finally jumped on the bandwagon that is sheet masks, and fell head over heads for them! Not even my boyfriend calling me ‘bagface’ (l0l) can put me off my newfound love for sheetmasking. No siree!
A snail mask? What?! When I saw this Snail Regenerating Facial Mask in Savers I had to try it! Hear me out – snail juice is a hot ingredient in Asian skincare right now, and it’s meant to be fantastic for all kinds of skin – and even help acne heal faster. This mask has a serum and a mask, which is great for a cheap mask! It wasn’t the best mask I tried, but it was £1, so I’ll forgive it. And no – it didn’t smell like snails…
The Orange Oil & Vitamin C Peel-Off Masque was a little disappointing though – the smell made my eyes water, and it didn’t seem to do very much for my skin.
These Beauty Formulas Masks are impressive for being £1 or less each – sheet masks are still not that readily available on the UK high street so I was pleased to find these hanging around in Savers. You can also buy them on Beauty Formulas’ online shop – both the Collagen Essence Facial Masks and Radiate and Glow Facial Masks are £3.99 for a pack of two.
Some of my favourite hydrating masks were the Lanocreme Manuka Honey Face Masks – I wore one on the way home from visiting my boyfriend’s family, and it stayed damp the entire 2 hour motorway journey (no, I wasn’t driving). Looking at the ingredients list, I’m not surprised I loved it – they’re packed with great ingredients like Manuka Honey, Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Vera and Argan Oil. I’m hoping I’ll be able to find them again – in TK Maxx they were only £4.99 for 5, but I haven’t seen them again since!
I also enjoyed The Face Shop Coconut Oil Face Masks – these seemed to have more essence in the packet, but didn’t fit my face quite as snugly. I managed though!
The Garnier Moisture Bomb Tissue Mask (99p-£1.49) really does what it says on the packet – it stays wet for much longer than 15 minutes too. The only thing I do find is that it’s rather large for my face!
Both the Nature Republic Bamboo Charcoal Mask Sheet and the Dermactin-TS Pore Refining Facial Sheet Mask impressed me – I saw a HUGE difference in my pore size when I took them off. I couldn’t quite believe my eyes! I’m very skeptical of products that claim to change your pore size, but these really closed them up. Obviously it’s not permanent – you’d need to use these regularly, but I’m impressed all the same, and would recommend them both!
After finishing these Biore Charcoal Nose Pore Strips (£6-9) I won’t be buying them again – While they really do pull a lot of the gunk out of your nose (ew), I’ve read they are very bad for your pores in the long run. I’d much rather use the Blackhead Out Balm from Innisfree mentioned earlier.
The Primark Face Time Dark Circle Reducer Eye Patches (£1) were interesting – I’m not sure they did very much apart from feel very strange under my eyes. I’d definitely try under eye patches again, but probably some of those gel ones that come in a tub of 60!
I always go through some of these (although only 3 in 3 months seems unlikely!) – I pick them up in Savers or Poundworld for £1 each. The Macadamia is my favourite and seems to work the best, but for some reason I always get the Argan Oil one too!
The Sure Motion Sense Ultra Dry Cotton 48h is great – I’ve been using their roll-ons for a while and they literally last for months on end, and keep you dry and sweat-free all day long (unless you are going to the gym obviously). I’ve been using this ancient box of cotton buds to clean up mascara mistakes – of which there are several on a daily basis…
These are my two go-to packs of cotton pads – I use them for makeup remover, micellar water and toner. The Primark Oval Cosmetic Pads are 90p for 100, and the Wilko Maxi Oval Dual-Faced Cotton Pads are 50p for 50 – so the only difference is the price!
I’ve been trying hard to use up my insane stash of hand creams! The Body Shop Absinthe Purifying Hand Cream (£5 for 30ml) was a GWP and became a huge hit in my office – my boss liked it so much I bought her a huge 100ml tube for her birthday. It’s got a super refreshing, slightly addictive, unisex scent so it’d be a great gift for anyone. The Soap & Glory Hand Food in Sugar Crush (£2.50 for a travel size) came in a Christmas gift set from years ago – it’s nice, it smells like limes and sugar.
I used up a body lotion – Celebrate from Lush, which came in a gift box from last Christmas so it’s sadly not currently available. I never use body lotions so I had to make myself use this, but it was honestly very nice. It’s a Christmassy scent which reminds me of clementines and the scent throw is amazing – after application, my entire house smelled of it! It melted into the skin and was very luxurious. I’d buy it again for definite – once I use up those 5 million other body lotions I’ve accumulated…
Shower gels get breezed through in our house! In a way that’s good, because I get to try lots of different ones – I generally buy whatever’s on offer, or trek down to Savers, where everything’s £1 or less, and stock up.
The Imperial Leather Uplifting Sherbert Lemon Shower Cream (£1.80) has a zesty lemony scent and is a creamier formula – the Foamy Banana Shower Cream (£1.80) did actually smell just like foamy bananas, but both were lacking in the bubble-making department (which for some reason is my boyfriend’s only standard for judging all types of shower products). The Palmolive Chocolate Passion Shower Cream (£2.49) also scored low on the bubblometer, and smelt too much like artificial chocolate for me to buy it again, although it did feel nice and creamy. I enjoyed the formula of the Original Source Cherry and Almond Milk Moisturising Shower Milk (£2.29) – although the scent was too strong for me! It’s a scent that conjures up nostalgia as my shampoo smelt of it as a kid, but using a whole bottle made me sick of the scent… Hopefully I’ll enjoy the Apple and Vanilla version more.
I used up minis of both the Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Shower Gel (£6.50 for a full size) and Body Scrub (£8 for a full size) – both have a great sweet lime scent and were very pleasant but didn’t do anything life-changing. The little Feel Good Formulas Bergamot and Ginger Cleansing Bath and Shower Gels were from a holiday cottage we stayed in earlier this year (I can’t bear to leave freebies behind honestly) and smelt very pleasant. Personally my favourite thing about them is the packaging!
We used up one of my all time favourite hand soaps – Carex Fun Edition in Chocolate Orange (£1-2.49). Honestly if you haven’t tried anything from this range, you should – they also do Cola Bottles, Love Hearts, Bubblegum and Strawberry Laces versions, and they smell exactly like the real thing! The Superdrug Manuka Honey Antibacterial Hand Wash (£1.39) was a 68p bargain added onto an order I placed via their website, and I don’t regret it – it was moisturising and had a pleasant scent.
On to hair stuff – I finished up my usual huge bottle of the TRESemme Luxurious Moisture Conditioner (£4.99), which I used to love, but I read somewhere this brand is bad for your hair. It turns out I’m fickle – I’ve been using it religiously for 5 years, and I’ve just realised I’m not brand loyal at all. I tried out the L’Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Clay Re-Balancing Shampoo (£3.99), which was very nice – designed for oily roots and dry ends, it does a great job of cleansing your hair without overly drying it out. I think my boyfriend liked it too, because it seemed to disappear rather quickly. I preferred it to the Smooth Intense Anti-Frizz Shampoo (£3.99), which honestly didn’t seem to make a difference to my insanely frizzy hair. The Garnier Ultimate Blends Shampoo in The Silky Smoother with Vanilla Milk and Papaya (£3.89) was a huge hit though – even my boyfriend commented that it “makes lots of bubbles and smells nice”. Well done Garnier, you just hit the top of the bubbleometer.
I finished a bottle of my favourite dry shampoo – Herbal Essences Clearly Naked Dry Shampoo. I love all the scents and always have a bottle of this on hand to tackle second-day fringe! The Mercure Conditioning Shampoo was a standard hotel freebie, and I did like the TRESemme Expert Selection Youth Boost Shampoo and Conditioners – I just picked up these minis for 2 for £1 because they’re always handy for travelling.
So apparently my boyfriend has had some kind of obsession with mouthwash recently? In other news, I found my favourite toothpaste.
The Tesco Pro Formula Keep White Mouthwash in Ice Mint (£2.50) did not go down well – I think half the bottle was poured away down the sink. I was assertively informed that we must have “proper brands of mouthwash and toothpaste” from now on, so I duly went on to buy all the different flavours of Listerine (in attractive mini-size bottles). Turns out I hate mouthwash, so I didn’t enjoy any of them. Cool Citrus was probably the least offensive, but they all had really strong tastes. Yuck.
I decided to try the Arm & Hammer brand of toothpastes, and actually liked the taste! I’ve always disliked mint, and these don’t have that strong minty taste, so I was over the moon.. Also, my mouth feels cleaner for longer, and I’m sure my teeth are whiter since I started using them – impressive for someone who often drinks several litres of strong tea in a day. My boyfriend doesn’t like them though, so I still have to buy him Colgate, but they’re all the same price in Savers – everything is 95p – so I don’t really care!
We finished this pack of Dentalux toothbrushes too from Lidl – they’re toothbrushes, so I don’t have a lot to say about those, other than speculate why they come in a pack of 3…
Bloody ‘eck. Congratulations if you made it this far! We’ve been through 80 products. I hope you enjoyed my empties – let’s do it again soon, eh? Not in 3 months time…
Thanks for reading. Until next time!