Thursday, October 17, 2013


I really appreciate "empties" posts, it's an interesting way to get a blogger's views out about a collection of products tied together only by the fact that, for better or worse, they're over with.  It's a slightly arbitrary but brilliant way to define a collection of products to review for the day.  I also think the true test of whether someone really likes something is whether they repurchase it and "empties" posts are a good way for bloggers to put their money where their mouths are - the ultimate test of whether they really like the products they have showcased is whether they will repurchase.  It's like a "what I can and can't live without" post. 

Personally I like empty cosmetic and skincare containers because it means I got my money's worth.  I hate having products sit on the shelf unused - and sometimes they will sit for years because I spent a lot of money on them or they're very high-quality or popular or whatever the reason.  And then eventually those get thrown out anyway, half full (or more!).  That makes me sad.  I am particularly sad to say I have never "hit pan" in my life.  Ever.  And I bet I'm not alone.  The first lip product I ever got to the end of was my SUGAR lip treatment and I couldn't have been more happy and proud of myself.  Finally, since I am an anti-hoarder, it gives me a sense of relief to lessen the clutter in my bathroom (I'll pretend to ignore for the moment that for every empty I throw away I'm sure I purchase six more products to try). 

Incidentally, since I am "a returner" I think I might introduce a segment of the weekend's returns too.  The reasons for a return also tend to be a pretty strong signal about one's feelings about a product and can provide a good segue to a review of the product.  So stay tuned!

Here are my empties in the last couple weeks, and of course, my thoughts about them.

Dior hydra life pro youth sorbet cream:  I love this product for a mid-range, pleasant but no-frills moisturizer.  It smells clean and not overpowering, the formula is soft but rich and absorbs well.  It works under makeup.  And the range has a number of products for day, night, eyes, etc. that are equally pleasant and pretty effective at moisturizing.  They don't really claim to do anything else.  I repurchased this and the more fluid SPF version a number of times before I discovered La Mer.  Prior to La Mer, while I was using the Dior, I still noticed some flakiness to my skin and thought - well, I'm using a high-end brand, there must be nothing that can fix this problem.  But then I found La Mer and it solved my dry skin problems.  Since nothing compares to La Mer for my very dry skin (and since I am gainfully employed) I think I will stick to that regime but if you're looking in the $50-$100 price range for something simple, particularly for combo skin, I don't think it gets much better than Dior's Hydra Life line. 

Nexxus Pro-Mend Heat Protexx spray:  You may start to notice a trend here.  The only time I venture into drug store products is for my hair.  I'm not sure why that is.  I think it's because I gravitate towards the best treatments for me and, for me, the drug store hair treatments are just as effective as any of the high-end versions I've tried.  This is just not true of, for example, foundations, shadows, bronzers, and moisturizers.  I blow dry and flat iron a few times a week - and I use this stuff religiously before every heat treatment.  I adore this stuff, and I've tried quite a few heat protectants in all price ranges.  Sprays, serums, creams.  Nothing comes close to the simplicity and effectiveness of this product.  The things I like most about it are (a) it's a very light formula, not sticky or oily or cakey or drying the way others can be, and you feel that even if you sprayed the whole bottle onto your head it wouldn't change the texture or style you are otherwise trying to achieve with your hair.  It's like water in that way, only it's not water, it's magic, and (b) perhaps this is because it's so light and not trying too hard to be a complex treatment - the spray distribution is great.  The nozzle is great, the fine mist is perfect, I love the application.  It's also effective, as far as I can tell.  I use my flat iron at an abusive 410 degrees and my hair is silky soft and not too dry, no change in color or texture after years of this.   

Dior Instant Eye Makeup Remover:  I like this remover.  I don't know if it's the best as I have only ever used a few others (Clinique's and Bobbi Brown's bi-phase removers) but it is the best that I've tried as far as getting makeup off without having to use too much effort.  It doesn't sting eyes or skin and it claims to condition eyelashes.  I don't know if that's true but at least my eyelashes haven't deteriorated from everyday use of this product.  I also love LOVE that it's a twist off top, my pet peeve for all of the cosmetics industry is this obsession with child-proof caps on eye makeup remover.  I HATE it, with my Clinique remover I thought I was going to get carpal tunnel.  I have young children and I still hate it.  There are certain products that one must keep away from children if one has them.  If eye-makeup remover falls into that category then so be it, I'll keep it away from them.  Also, how arbitrary is it that eyemakeup remover comes with child-proof  caps but nail polish remover (probably more hazardous), and for that matter nail polish, come with normal screw caps.  Stop the madness.  You might be surprised to hear that I am not repurchasing this right now.  I'm phasing out eye makeup remover from my routine.  I am going to try to rely instead on just a pre-wash with cleansing oil before my normal face wash with my Mia2.  I do the cleansing oil pre-wash anyway and it does a pretty good job with eye makup so why not eliminate a step? We'll see how that goes.

Anastasia tinted brow gel - I have used this for years and I think I'm on my 3rd or 4th tube.  It lasts for a long time.  Not only is this a repurchase, it's one of those things I make sure to buy a backup of when I'm getting low on the current one so I am never without it.  I love it.  It sets brow powder and adds a touch of color (which I need for my light-colored brows) and it's so easy.  I don't intend to ever stop buying this. 

Pantene conditioner:  More drugstore hair products.  Actually I buy this one at Costco.  This is probably the longest-standing product in all of my arsenal.  And talk about generic, I don't even know which variety I use because I just buy whatever is on the shelf at costco.  I will update when I figure that one out.  But I love it. (UPDATE: Itss "Classic."  Of course.  Completely no frills) I got to Aveda salons to get my hair cut (pitifully infrequently, btw) and I have tried some of their super fancy conditioners.  I have also tried the cheapest of the drugstore brands thinking - well if pantene works, why not suave?  But I haven't found anything that works as well on either end of the spending spectrum.  This. just. works.  It makes your hair silky smooth, the texture is nice and easy to distribute, and it sticks on your hair in the shower while you're letting it soak in. 

Laura Mercier Full Blown Volume lash-building mascara:  I like it, it is lash building, I don't know about it's staying power because I use Dior's lash primer under it and that stuff makes everything stay put all day.  I don't love it.  It's nice when it's brand new but it gets 'old' fast, sticky and clumpy.  I'm not going to repurchase.  I think there are better cheaper options.  Like clinique's mascaras.

Smashbox High Definition Concealer:  Not only do I always repurchase this, I have THREE current tubes because one or two is not enough.  One in my purse, one at work, and one in my morning stash.  With any concealer, you need to find the perfect storm...of texture, shade, ease of application for the purpose you're using it for, consistency, buildability.  This is the perfect storm for me.  It works for blemishes and redness.  I don't use it for undereyes but I hear it's great for that too.   So this is a favorite, but concealer is such a personal thing that I can't assume it will be the best for anyone else.  Some people love the concealer that comes in pans and you have to blend two shades - tried it, hated it.  So there you go.

La mer moisturizing lotion: The ultrarich cream is my holy grail for night cream right now.   I bought it for the first time in mid-july and I'm hitting the end of the 2oz jar right about next week. If used in conjunction with the even more ridiculously priced concentrate there is just no equal for a night treatment.  I will be repurchasing this.  As I mentioned above, it wasn't until this stuff that I finally said goodbye to flaky dryness during the day forever.  It's a little rich for day so currently I mix it with the La Mer sunscreen and that combination works well under makeup.  I am debating whether to substitute the La Mer Soft Cream for my daytime regimen and save the rich stuff for night.  The soft cream is a lot more mixable and spreadable.  The rich stuff you have to emulsify really really well and then still it really drags if you try to "spread" it on.  It's meant to be patted on but then you are left with a thicker layer of really rich moisturizer - thus its perfection for night.   

Clinique Lid Smoothie: Last but not least, another repurchase.  I use it as a base.  It works well for that and comes in great neutrals.  I have Bit O' Honey (for shimmery days) and Cashew Later (for more neutral days) and plan to repurchase both.  Goes on easily, sheer enough to use as a base (some people complain about the sheerness but I am all about subtlety and natural looks), holds makeup and doesn't crease too badly.  It definitely stays on all day, even if you do notice a line in there - which I don't always.  This rivals the Chanel pots of cream eyeshadow for longevity and performance as a base. 

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