I have a huge number of empties for the month of May (*insert happy grin*), and my tiny bin that I use to store my empties was crying due to the overload! That, and also the satisfaction I get by recycling empty bottles prompted this post. So, let’s crack on!
First up are the Hair care and Body care empties:
Andalou Naturals Brilliant Shine Sunflower & Citrus Shampoo ($9.95/11.5 oz) – This is probably my favorite”budget” shampoo so far. It does a great job of keeping my oily, thin hair in a decent condition for at least 2-3 days post hair wash. I tend to wash my hair 2-3x a week only, and with this shampoo, I’ve been able to mostly stick to 2x a week schedule. It rinses off easily and leaves my hair “squeaky” clean. Those with oily/greasy hair like mine will love this shampoo. Andalou Naturals claims that this shampoo will increase the longevity of your hair strands, and make them stronger and healthier – Sadly, I saw no special results in this department, and in fact, my hair loss remained more or less the same. Nonetheless, this product functions well as a basic shampoo and a definite repurchase once I run out of my current stock! Bonus: I bought mine for around $5 from my local Marshalls store.
Phylia [de M.] Connect Leave-In Treatment for Scalp,Follicles & Hair ($60/4 oz) – Connect is a 100% organic leave-in blend of fulvic acid, tannic acids and aloe, that is supposed to repair hair follicles, scalp and hair, with the intent to reduce hair loss and encourage new hair growth. The recommended usage is to spray onto scalp and towel dried hair. The more you use, the better it’s supposed to get. So, did it work? Sadly, it did nothing noticeable for my hair. I’ve been dealing with some hair loss due to stress and was hoping this would help, and for the price, I am extremely disappointed. One 4 oz bottle lasted me about 3 months – I used it about 2-3x a week after shampoo. You can also use it on dry hair if you wish, but since it’s so expensive, my intent was to make it last as long as I can. Phylia recommends that this treatment be used in conjunction with the rest of their hair care line, but it can also be used on its own. At one point, I considered purchasing their shampoo and conditioner, but then decided against it because I wanted to see some results from this investment before spending more. Repurchase? Needless to say, no.
Beauty Without Cruelty Rosemary Mint Tea Tree Conditioner ($6.99/2 oz) – This was acquired through one of the subscription boxes a while ago. True to its name, this conditioner is quite minty and smells of mint and tea tree. It hydrated my thin hair without weighing it down. BWC has formulated this conditioner with loads of botanicals that have a reputation for being really good for hair and scalp: semary, chamomile, sage horsetail, nettle, and lavender. Overall, a great list of nourishing ingredients, and I would love to repurchase this in the future.
Skin & Bones Moisturizer Travel Size ($20/0.5 oz) – After hoarding this luscious smelling oil for ages, I finally mustered up the courage to use it in a DIY Body Oil blend. I absolutely adore the rich fragrance that it added to the body oil, and even though it was diluted with coconut oil and grapeseed oil, the fragrance remained quite strong. If you’re like me and go through a lot of body oil, feel free to dilute this blend with a less expensive single ingredient oil. The moisturizer is multi purpose and can be used straight up as a body oil, hair oil, and even as a face oil! It’s available in a larger size too. I would definitely consider repurchasing in the future.
Strange Invisible Perfumes Hydro-Distilled Body Wash Frankincense & Coriander ($45/8 oz) – This body wash came in one of the #ANFGB Goodeboxes from last year, and as such, cost me considerably less than the retail price. Thank goodness for that because, as you know, I’m a cheapie when it comes to body care products and the retail price is a little beyond what I’m comfortable spending. The body wash has a very subtle fragrance of Frankincense and Coriander that can be smelled during the shower, but it quickly dissipates afterwards. This product doesn’t produce any suds at all, which is good news for dry skinned gals like me since it’s non drying, but it also means that I had to use a lot of product per shower. Does a fairly good job of cleaning my bits!Repurchase? No, primarily because of the price.
Caudalie Divine Oil ($49/3.4 oz) – This multi purpose dry oil needs no introduction, and is probably Caudalie’s most popular product, if I were to guess correctly. Grapeseed Oil, Sesame Oil, Shea Butter, Sunflower Seed Oil, Hibiscus Oil are blended with Caudalie’s proprietary anti-oxidant Polyphenols, and a boat load of other additives. The fragrance is sophisticated, and chances are high that most Paris trains heavily smell of this perfume. The fragrance is probably my favorite feature of this body oil. It’s not completely natural, but I like it. As a body oil, this isn’t moisturizing enough for my dry skin, and only after a couple of minutes post application, I have to hurriedly slather on some thick body lotion. The bottle looks huge, but I burned through this stuff VERY fast (in a months’ time). Repurchase? Probably not.
Gardeners Herbal Mint Foaming Bath Grains – I was gifted a sample of these bath grains by my Instagram BFF, Fizzylemonade (You’re not following him? Whut!). This is a Canadian brand and I couldn’t find the exact product on their website, and is probably hard to get hold of in the US. The sachet had sufficient product for one luxurious bath. I loved the fragrance and the temporary grittiness that the grains added to my bath was very relaxing! I’d love to purchase, but availability is an issue.
That’s it for body care and hair care. Let’s move on to my favorite category, skincare!
SpaLife Forever Luminous Facial Mask ($9.99 for 3 pcs) – Marshalls is my absolute favorite place to shop for sheet masks, and that’s exactly where I picked this up. This sheet mask promises anti-aging, anti-wrinkle, hydrating, skin cellular turnover and stimulating benefits. It’s hard to judge whether it delivers on these promises or not, but that’s the case with all sheet masks that I’ve tested so far. What attracted me to this is the addition of Bee Venom and Manuka Honey, and while these ingredients didn’t seem to add an extra punch to the performance, they certainly didn’t cause any bad effects. I give it about 45 mins to work its magic, and upon removal, find my face to be perfectly plumped up, moisturized, and existing inflammations substantially calmed down. These effects are temporary at best, but I love using sheet masks once or twice a week because of the relaxing effects. Repurchase? No, due to the addition of parabens.
Province Apothecary Invigorating + Balancing Toner ($14/1 oz) – Another gift from Fizzylemonade. This is my first product from the hugely popular Province Apothecary brand, that’s based in Toronto, Canada. The toner is formulated with Rose Water, Witch Hazel, Lavender Water, and a formidable brigade of anti-inflammatory EOs, such as, Geranium, Clary Sage, Rose Otto, and Frankincense. The fragrance is dominated by Lavender, which I find to be very soothing. While I enjoyed using this hydrating facial mist, it didn’t seem to do much to calm my breakouts or balance my skin. My regular readers will know that I use toners like there’s no tomorrow, and sadly, I ran through this small 1 oz bottle fairly quickly (in less than 2 weeks). For the price, I wasn’t expecting Water to be the main base. Repurchase? No.
May Lindstrom Skin The Jasmine Garden ($60/3.3 oz) – If there’s one facial mist that’s probably on almost every green beauty blogger’s “Wish List”, then it’s this. Similar to the rest of the line, May has nailed the luxury experience here as well. The carefully curated list of essential oils (Rose, Jasmine, Cocoa, Vanilla, among others) adds a very unique fragrance to this facial mist. However, the facial mist falls short on its tall list of claims – similar to the toning mist from Province Apothecary, I didn’t see any noticeable results in the departments of antioxidant protection, increase in elasticity, microcirculation et al. If you’re looking for a simple facial mist to use before the application of a face oil (which is the type of mist I usually look for), there are many others that you could purchase for a fraction of the cost. I’m pretty stumped, again, why such an expensive, high end facial mist wouldn’t use one or more readily available floral waters as its main base, instead of plain water. Repurchase? No. To find out why, read my detailed review here.
Tatcha Pure Camellia One Step Cleansing Oil ($48/5.1 oz) – I’ve tried cleansing oils and balms from DHC, Omorovicza, One Love Organics, Nude, and I’ve also used plain single ingredients oils and balms, but nothing comes close to the ease of usage and high performance that’s characteristic of Tatcha’s One Step Cleansing Oil. I’d written about this about two years ago, and I’m delighted that it still continues to remain an indispensable part of my PM skincare routine. The oil easily washes off with lukewarm water and is truly a “one step cleansing oil” in that it removes all traces of sunscreen and makeup easily from my congested, combination, acne prone skin. I usually follow with a second cleanse, but it’s not entirely necessary – I’m just a little hyper because of my particular skin concerns. No washcloths required, thanks very much. I never used washcloths in my growing up years, and don’t intend to, if I can get away without it. Repurchase? Yes. Yes. Yes! (Can you hear me squeaking in absolute delight?)
Andalou Naturals Clementine + C Illuminating Toner ($12.95/6 oz) – Another Marshalls find. A huge bottle of toner to satisfy my inner monster, and it does not use water as its main base, and is still perfectly priced! I didn’t notice any special brightening powers, but even then, I love using Andalou toners because of the high quality of ingredients and an extremely attractive price point. Check out my detailed review here. Repurchase? A solid yes.
That’s it for full and/or deluxe sized products. Next, some sample reviews:
Kahina Giving Beauty Night Cream ($105/50 ml) – For the past year, I’ve diligently requested mini samples of this Night Cream whenever I placed an order at Spirit Beauty Lounge, because I wanted to have 4-5 at my disposal before getting down to testing it. Now that I have four, I thought it’s time to pop one open. This cream boasts of anti-aging and nourishing properties, without being too heavy, thanks to the addition of Resveratrol and polyphenols, as well as Blue Tansy Oil. I used up one of the mini samples, but I’m unable to make up my mind if I like it or not. The fragrance is very light, almost undetectable. It’s not particularly heavy, but not very light in texture either. I noticed some new breakouts the next morning – I see the description mentions this cream is suited for dry and mature skin; so maybe it’s not the best product for combination/acne prone skin, such as mine. I’ll need to revisit the remaining samples before forming a firm opinion. Repurchase? Maybe. Need to test some more.
Wonderland Organics Indulge Lotion* ($29.99/100 ml) – This small pot of lotion sample was such a delight to use. First off, it smells luscious, thanks to a heady mix of Rose, Lavender, Geranium, and Vanilla Bourbon. Secondly, it boasts of roobois extracts, which are a proven source of high % of antioxidants. While I used this as a body lotion, I believe it’s quite multi functional and can be used on your face too, especially if you have dry or mature skin. As a body lotion, I tried to stretch the usage as much as I could, and restricted the application to my arms only – I was able to get two uses out of it, before having to bid a sad farewell. The texture is neither too thick nor too thin, and is perfect for my dry, body skin, that’s always crying for moisture, even after the application of a body oil. Repurchase? This was generously gifted to me, but I’d love to purchase sometime in the future, although as a body lotion, I can see myself going through the entire bottle in about two – three weeks’ time, because of my heavy handedness.
100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Tinted Moisturizer in “Toffee” ($42/1.7 oz) – I requested a sample of this with one of my orders on Integrity Botanicals. This tinted moisturizer provides SPF 20 broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB. Although the pricing is a little steep, I’ve observed that 100% Pure runs many promos, which should substantially make this product much more reachable, in case you’re looking to purchase. I’d suggest subscribing to their Newsletter. I loved how “light” this product felt on my skin – it has a lovely mousse like, airy consistency, that people with combination/oily skin will love. For my skin tone, the shade “Toffee” was a tad dark during the winters, but would probably be a closer match now that it’s summer. I am used to the glowy finish that I get from BB creams, and in comparison to those, this product made my face look dull and flat. Repurchase? Not unless it’s reformulated to give a glowy effect.
W3ll People Narcissist Stick Foundation Shade 7 ($29.75) – Another sample acquired during a purchase from Integrity Botanicals. I was super excited to test this out, after reading countless rave reviews by green beauty bloggers. I tested this as an under eye concealer only, because I found the texture to be a little too hard (maybe I got a bad sample?). The shade was an exact match, since I tend to go a shade darker for my eye area. However, it was tough working in this product with my fingers. It tends to settle in my fine lines, and requires hourly touch ups, even with the addition of a setting powder on top. The application is much smoother with a Beauty Blender, but not the best. Repurchase? No, I am not a fan of the hard texture.
Have you tried any of these products? How many products have you emptied recently?