The Empties Bin: June 2020

The products I’ve used up this month

Welcome to the end of the month and a review of the empties bin.  This month I managed to clear out several items that just needed a little push to be used up.  I have makeup, skincare, and bath products this time, so it is going to be a little all over the place. There are links to the products mentioned. The links aren’t affiliate codes, but as everyone is having Fourth of July Sales starting up I added links to the relevant sites. The sale links are affiliate links and should you click on them and purchase something then I may earn a small commission which goes towards hosting this website. If that makes you uncomfortable in any way, feel free to avoid the links. Oh, and the one different link is for the Verb Hair mask. It takes you to a previous review I wrote of the product.

Thet the review of the empties begin!

We’ll start with makeup.  The first two items in this category were not so much used up as rendered useless.  The first of these is the ELF Camo Concealer, which sadly I left uncapped for too long.  It was getting low on product though so the loss wasn’t too great.  It is a good product and one that I will be purchasing again, probably in multiple shades.

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The second item that wasn’t entirely used up is my Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed powder.  I had a very thin layer of product with a lot of pan showing and I thought I could stretch it to last one more week.  Unfortunately, I knocked it into the sink where the remaining product shattered and landed in a toothpaste smear. So note to self, do not balance delicate powder on the edge of the sink after just brushing teeth.

As it has been one of the standbys in my makeup bag for a long time, I will be repurchasing it at some point.  Because it is such a go-to item for me I am refraining from purchasing a replacement right away as I want to try other products and  if I do replace it I will just end up falling back into the habit of using it again.

In this month’s empties there are two empty primers, one old familiar and one that was new to me.  The old familiar was the NYX Pore Filler.  It is one of those reliable formulas that works well under a variety of makeup.  It has a slight tint to it and has been compared to the Benefit Porefessional.

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I’ve bought it several times and I’m sure it will make a return visit to my dressing table and makeup bag at some point, but like my Rimmel powder, I am going to be holding off repurchasing it for a while.  It occurred to me when I was using the last of it that this was the only NYX primer I have ever tried. I know they have many others.  I recently tried the NYX Bare With Me Foundation and I liked it enough that I think I might try the primer from that line as well next time I make a NYX purchase, stepping away from one of my old faves to try something new from the brand.

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The second primer in my empties bin this month was a sample sized primer from Peter Thomas Roth called Skin to Die For. While I wouldn’t go that far, I really liked the way this primer felt on my skin.  It was pore filling and mattifying.  It has a slight tint to it and I found I could wear it alone with just powder on days when I didn’t feel like wearing a lot of makeup.  It gave my skin a very healthy look to it but made it look like I wasn’t wearing anything. A full size is currently sitting in my shopping cart as I try to figure out what other products I want to order with it. I know I’ll have to use up at least one more primer in my dressing table before I open it for use, but if the full size performs like the sample, then I can see it very quickly becoming a staple.

Finally, rounding out the makeup category, I have a sample sized Smashbox Liquid lip.  It is in the Shade Stepping out and it is one I would order again.  I find the Smashbox formula to be a comfortable one to wear.  It wasn’t too drying but it did dry down enough to stay on my lips without leaving lip prints everywhere. 

The only reason that I am not immediately purchasing a full size is that it is in a neutral color and at the moment I seem to be awash with neutrals. I have a couple that are already well loved so I might pick an older one and focus on using it up, but I want to clear out a few more neutrals before adding to their number.  I suspect though that when I do order this, I will order several different shades because it is a good formula.

I know thus far it sounds as though I am in love with everything I try, but I’m afraid that with the end of the makeup, the love fest is going to slow down for a while. 

The next product in my empties bin is the Tula Skin Care Purifying Face Cleanser.  It is rare that I don’t like a cleanser, but I have to say, I did not like this one.  I will say it did take off my makeup reasonably well, but the scent of it is highly perfumed and it is not a perfume I enjoy. 

It smells as though you spilled a bottle of Jean Nate on some lavender sachets and then put them in a tightly sealed bag for a month.  It is a super intense scent that I just don’t care for.  In addition it left a slightly waxy feel to my skin. 

Since I tend to use a balm or oil to first remove my makeup and then this sort of cleanser as my second cleanse, having it leave a residue was not good.  I know everyone seems to rave about Tula Skincare but this cleanser was not for me.  I do have the eye balm from this month’s Boxycharm to try so maybe I will have better luck with it. This cleanser is a hard pass for me.

Next in the empties is the 111 Skin Vitamin C Brightening Booster. This wasn’t a bad product.  It has a pleasant scent, absorbs well into the skin and did have a brightening effect.  I enjoyed using it.  However I have tried other Vitamin C serums that I like better. It is good, but not good enough to justify the price point.  It is one of those products that I would be happy to see appear in one of my subscription boxes, but I probably wouldn’t repurchase on my own.

Something I am on the fence about is the Versed Day Dissolve Cleansing Balm.  It works really well and leaves my skin super soft. 

However if I plan to use it to take off my eye make up I have to take my contacts out first.  I had a little wash into my eyes when I was washing my face and the oil clouded my contacts.  I tried cleaning them but I finally had to concede defeat, the oil wasn’t going anywhere. 

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I wear disposable contacts so it wasn’t a big deal, but when using this cleanser it was something I had to remember. That and the fact that is smells a bit like Vick’s vapor rub are the only downsides.  It was a wonderful cleanser and if you don’t wear contacts I would highly recommend it.  If you do wear contacts, then just be aware of your eyes.

One thing I have no reservations about repurchasing is the Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Facial pads. I would buy these again in a heartbeat.

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They were a very gentle exfoliate that I could use twice daily with no issues at all. The scent was fantastic and the pads were never too wet.  Sometimes to ensure the pre moistened pads don’t t dry out companies soak the pads so you practically have to wring them out before use.  These had just the right amount of serum.  When I reached the bottom, the bottom of the jar was damp but not swimming in left over product and at no point did the product dry out.  I really enjoyed using them and will be purchasing them again in the future.

This month I have two empty tubes of hand cream.  One from Skylar which was a Hydrating Body lotion in the scent Capri and the other  is from Cela and is the Crème de la Crème crème supreme. They were both good hand creams.

I prefer the Cela formula slightly over the Skylar, but neither really made my must reorder list.  They are both good, but I prefer both the Library of Flowers and the Pistache formulas for hand cream. Those two I generally keep reordering. 

The Skylar and the Cela I would use if they were there, but I probably wouldn’t reorder. While this is the only Cela product I’ve tried I have tried other Skylar products before and liked them.  I actually like Skylar perfume very much, in fact, I like the scent of the Capri hand lotion enough I will be looking to see if they have a perfume in that scent.  I’m just not a fan of the cream formula.

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I have two empty bath products this month as we finish out the broad skin care category. The first is the OGXBeauty Pure and Simple Coconut Coffee Scrub and Wash.  The scent was nice.  The coconut and coffee blended together to create a scent that was sweet and more vanilla with coffee undertones than anything else.  Still it is a nice scent. 

While the coconut oil did leave my skin super soft, the exfoliating scrub part didn’t always mix well.  Sometimes I’d squeeze the product out and get almost no exfoliation, other times it was like damp sand. 

I tried squeezing and shaking and turning it upside down to sit for a while.  Nothing really helped.  It was always hit or miss as to whether I was getting any sort of exfoliation or not.  It was a nice wash but I probably wouldn’t get this product again.

Also in the bath time category is the Unfiltered Raw Sugar Salt Soak in the scent watermelon and pink cactus.  This was an impulse buy because I was out of my Kneipps bath salts. While it smells nice in the jar, once added to the water, it loses all scent.  It did make my skin feel nice after my bath, which I appreciated, but for me, part of the pleasure of luxuriating in a bath is scent related.

I liked that it worked well, but I wanted more scent. Or at least some.  While it was nice to try something new, in this case my old standby of Kneipps is what I’m going back to.  I’ll still try others, but I’m going to keep my classics on hand.

The last category we have is hair. I have three items in this category of empties and I saved it for last so I could end this post on a high note.  Because all three are utterly fantastic fantastic.   Two of these products are hair masks.  The first is VERB Manage+Restore Hydrating Mask.  I wrote a post about this earlier (the link will take you to it).  The short version of the post was that it was fabulous.  There was nothing I did not like about this mask.

My conundrum is that shortly after I finished this sample I started a trial with another hair mask.  It is the Naturelab Tokyo Perfect Repair Treatment mask.  It too is fantastic. 

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It smells like a high end salon in the best possible way and it gave my hair shine and body.  I had no tangles and my hair looked wonderful. The only complaint I have is with the packaging.  As it comes in a jar, it is a little messy to scoop out.  It is hard to open with wet fingers and I tended to take more than I wanted.  I still adore the product, I just wanted a container that was a little more manageable with wet hands and portion control.

So now I want both masks.  Verb and Naturelab Tokyo.

I also want to try out the shampoo and conditioner from each as well.  At the moment I have several other hair masks to try so I am putting off ordering until I’ve gone through them all.  All but one is a sample size, so it won’t be too long a wait, but it does give me more time to make my selections.  Both Verb and NatureLab Tokyo have set the bar really high though.  I suspect I will end up getting both and then rotating them because quite frankly they are both phenomenal.  

The final item in my empties is a product I have already ordered again.  It is the Klorane Dry Shampoo.  While I like the IGK for massively grungy hair, the Klorane is my standby. 

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This is the dry shampoo I use every other day and the one by which I judge dry shampoos. On the nights I don’t wash my hair, I apply it liberally before bed, go to sleep and in the morning brush my hair.  My hair looks clean and fabulous. There is a little white cast when first applied (I have dark hair) but that soon dissipated by either letting it sit overnight or running a brush through. It is a standard in my hair care arsenal and one that will be bought again and again. In fact, I already have it’s replacement sitting in my bathroom.

So there you have June’s empties. There were some good, some bad and a few mediocre. I find I really like doing this empties review.  It forces me to actually look at the products I have finished and assess my opinion of them now that they are not new and shiny, their productive life complete.   I find it a good assessment.  I hope you find it useful as well.


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Reviewing the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm

The Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm in the travel size

In last month’s Glossy Box I received  a travel size of the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm (full size retails for $65). I love cleansers and I really like Elemis so I was very happy to see it. In addition, it arrived when I had only a few days left of my Versed Cleansing balm remaining in the jar.  While I have several cleansing oils I have been trying recently, I had no spare cleansing balm around.  I pretty much resolved to finish the Versed Cleansing Balm and just use the oils until I reduced the number I had enough to feel virtuous, and then pick up a cleansing balm.  Admittedly, I hadn’t yet decided which one I wanted to pick up. 

So this worked out perfectly for me.

Enter the Elemis Pro Collagen Cleansing Balm. 

It is a travel sized product, which I have to say I don’t mind so much since I hadn’t used it before and wasn’t sure if I’d like it. While I like the brand, it is rare that I like everything a brand makes so I am always prepared for the one product I don’t like from a line.

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It is a rather large travel size (coming in at 20g/0.7 oz), especially since I found I didn’t need  to use a lot of product. I have to say I really like that even the travel size comes in a glass jar rather than a plastic one. But, packaging aside, what should you expect from this product?

This No.1 Bestselling cleansing balm deep cleanses and leaves skin supremely soft. Luxurious Rose and Mimosa waxes are infused with nourishing Elderberry, Starflower and Optimega™ oils and supercharged with anti-aging algae, Padina Pavonica.

This rich balm contains 9 essential oils that lift away dirt and leave skin soft and clean. It is also intensely nourishing and contains powerful marine actives proven to firm your skin.

Perfect to use on a daily basis as a deep cleansing balm or weekly as a nourishing facial mask.

Okay, I like cleansing balms, but I adore masks.  And if you are going to claim that it works well as a mask, I’m going to try it as a mask.  But first, I will try it as a cleansing balm.

Cause it’s a cleansing balm.

When you open the jar the rose and mimosa make their presence felt.  It is a rather more aggressively floral scent than I was expecting. It also has an odd scent I tend to associate with products that have any form of marine based compound in the, mixed it.   

I’ve found the scent with Elemis products before and I’ve also had a similar aroma from Algenist products.  Since both of them tend to use marine compounds, I’m guessing that is what that scent is, although I could be completely off base. This is just what my nose tells me.   It isn’t a bad scent, in fact I really like it, however if you are sensitive to fragrances this might be something to take into consideration. 

I will say it is a bit jarring after using the Versed Cleansing Balm. While I enjoyed usung that one, it has a scent that reminds me of Vick’s Vapor Rub. Not bad, but something I wasn’t initially expecting. This doesn’t smell medicinal in anyway, which I really like.

The cleansing balm is more creamy than I expected as well. It reminds me of the consistency of whipped honey or maybe just melted fresh beeswax. Although it is in no way waxy or sticky like those products, I’m just not quite certain what other substance to compare it to. Most other bams seem to come out of the jar as kind of a wazy solid like you scraped your nail across a candle and then melt hinto your hand. This comes out more cream like from the start. It is far softer than a lot of other balms I’ve tried and scoops out super easily. In fact, it is really easy to pick up more than you actually need.   The scent dissipates well once on the skin and isn’t as overpowering as it is in the jar. So if you don’t find the scent off putting in the jar, then you will be fine with it on the skin, fragrance-wise.

Because of its consistency the balm massages into the skin easily and really well and removes makeup while leaving the skin soft.  When I ran a damp cotton round over my skin after using it and rinsing off my face, I only had the marks from my finger’s pressure on the round, not left over makeup. I put a little dab on my finger tips and massaged it into my closed eyelids to get the shadow and mascara off and had no problem with it seeping into my eyes and making my contacts foggy. (which has happened before with cleansing balms and oils).

So I was pleased I didn’t have to take my contacts out before washing my face. I know that sounds a little strange but I am blind as a bat without my contacts so doing my skin care routine without them is a little difficult. I can either choose to stumble blindly through the routine, trusting the blur in the mirror is actually me and that I have chosen the correct products in the order I really want to use them, or I have to play the on and off game with my glasses. So I was happy I could just keep my contacts in with no problems.

The cleansing balm rinses off clean and if I didn’t want to do a double cleanse, this is the product I found myself reaching for.  It is a one and done make up remover. That was good for nights where I just wanted to shorten my routine and flop into bed rather than extended and luxuriate in skin care. Some nights I enjoy the drawn out routine, other nights, I just want to sleep.

Since my skin felt so good after using it, you know I had to try it out as a mask.  As expected from using it as a cleansing balm, the product absorbed well into the skin.  I waited fifteen minutes as I would with any mask and then I rinsed it off. My skin did feel soft, but to be honest it didn’t feel any softer than when I just used the product as a cleansing balm. I think using this as a mask, is sort of a waste of product. I would much rather just use it as a cleansing balm. 

There is one thing I noticed though. A few days before using this  product, I sliced my finger open in a kitchen accident.  (I was putting away dishes and someone put a knife into the drying wrack upside down. No stitches were needed but it was not pleasant. 

Anyway, the cut reached the point where it was scabbed over in a thin line of hard tissue and I had to remind myself not to pick at it because it was sort of ridge like and annoying, but still healing.  Just to see what would happen, when I used the cleansing balm as a mask, I rubbed a little onto the hard tissue and let it sit for the fifteen minutes I wore the mask.  When I rinsed off the mask, I washed my hand.  The hard tissue was significantly softer and remained so.  While I wouldn’t recommend using this as any form of medical thing, I can say it does have a softening effect on rough and hard skin. I think if I had any rough patches on my face I would rub it in and let it sit as more of a spot treatment than a mask.

I really enjoyed using this product and I expect that at some point it will make a reappearance.  At the moment I am using what remains sparingly as I really don’t want to reach the bottom of the jar. I’m also eagerly anticipating the other new products that might come in my next subscription box.


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Sunday Riley Skincare Review

The Line up: Good Genes, Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream Martian Matifying Toner, CEO cleansing Oil and CEO Vitamin C Brightening Serum

Quite a while ago I picked up a jar of the Sunday Riley CEO Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream to try out.  I believe it might have been one of the first moisturizer reviews I posted on this site.  While there were pros and cons (as with any product) I liked it enough to purchase a backup to have on hand.  In fact, I liked it enough to start speculating about other Sunday Riley Products. 

A couple of them I tried really small samples sized of, but there wasn’t enough product to let me get a good feel for them  Plus, it was long enough ago that I couldn’t actually remember much about them. So I started to acquire a few of the products and I decided that I would test them with the CEO Cream to see not only how the products worked alone but as part of a skin care regime.

For this trial there are five products I chose to work with.  The first is the CEO Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream that I previously tried and purchased a second time.  To go with it, I added two other items from the CEO Vitamin C line (because I really like Vitamin C and they were add ons for Ipsy so the cost was less prohibitive).  These are the C+E Micro-dissolve cleansing oil and the brightening serum. To this trio I added the Good Genes All in one Lactic Acid Treatment and the Martian Matifying Melting Water-Gel Toner.

Start of the trial skin

I eased into this skin care trial with the moisturizer.  I started with it partially because I already knew how my skin reacted to it and I like to phase in products so my skin doesn’t completely freak out with an entirely new regime every time I do a new trial.

I finished the moisturizer I was using before but was still using three products from Elemis (the Foaming Face Wash, the cleansing Balm makeup remover and the resurfacing pads, I already posted a review of the Face Wash and reviews of the other products will be coming soon). 

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After a few days of adjusting to the moisturizer, I put my Elemis cleansing Balm away and rotated in the CEO Micro-dissolve Cleansing oil. I kept the foaming face wash from Elemis because I like to double cleanse and I didn’t pick up a second Sunday Riley Cleanser.  (I thought I ordered one and it turns out I got distracted and didn’t check to see if it was in the cart, oops). 

I finished up the 111Skin Vitamin C Brightening Booster that I was testing a few days later and rotated in the Sunday Riley one.  A few days later I set aside the Elemis resurfacing pads and brought in the Good Genes and Martian toner.  There was no freak out skin-wise (other than external stress) and my trial began. 

Since I already tested the moisturizer, I made notes on this trial and then went over my previous review.  I am going to link the CEO Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream here rather than going over it too much a second time as there really was no change.  I like the cream and will more than likely pick it up again at some point. I adjusted the use with some of the other products, but I’ll cover that when I reach that point.

So first to rotate in was the cleansing oil.  What are the claims of the Cleansing oil?  As you would expect, it is pretty straight forward.

A wet or dry cleansing oil that dissolves pore-clogging debris, excess oil, and micro-pollution particles, revealing a fresh, bright, and calm complexion. Instantly dissolve and remove makeup (even water-resistant eye makeup), pore-clogging debris, excess oil, and micro-pollution for a perfectly, thoroughly cleansed complexion. With gentle white willow bark and lime pearl extracts—rich in beta hydroxy acid (BHA) and alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) —C.E.O. C + E Micro-Dissolve Cleansing Oil gently refreshes the skin, while turmeric and vitamin C provide antioxidant-rich, calming skin support, for a clean, healthy-looking, and smooth complexion.

I’m pretty sure most cleansing oils have similar blurbs on their product pages.  My only concern was that to get the info about the product, I had to go to the Lovely Skin site. In general that isn’t a problem, because I really like the Lovely Skin site and tend to visit a lot. An extra excuse is not a problem.  The problem is that I couldn’t find the information on the Sunday Riley official site. In my experience that usually doesn’t bode well.  Typically it means a discontinuation of a product.  I could be wrong though.

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The cleansing oil is a decent cleansing oil.  It melted even water proof mascara off with no harsh rubbing required.  With mascara I had to do a second swipe under the eyes to remove the last raccoon like markings, but again there was no harsh rubbing.  The oil didn’t break me out and it wasn’t too heavy on the skin.  However, it is not a standalone product, at least not for me.  When using this I had to double cleanse. Rinsing off the product with just water left an oily film covering my face. 

With this oil I found that I could apply it and then jump into the shower.  Once I was finished with my shower I would be completely sans make up, but still feel the need of a quick face wash.  In fact after a few days of using this product, I just started keeping it in the shower. It has a pump that kept the water out so it was actually the perfect solution. 

It is a decent cleansing oil, but I don’t know if I would repurchase it.  It does its job well, but I didn’t notice anything extra enough to draw me back to it instead of another product. I will continue to use it until I use it up, but there are other cleansing oils I actually like better.

Next we move on to the CEO Vitamin C Brightening serum. This one was not only listed on the Sunday Riley Site, but it is listed among their best sellers.  It is…

C.E.O. Brightening Serum, powered by 15% advanced Vitamin C, is targeted to quickly fight the look of dullness, dark spots, and discolorations at the source, while diminishing the signs of aging. Skin looks and feels firmer and plumper, as youthful skin bounce and even-tone are restored.

C.E.O. Brightening Serum uses a sophisticated, ultra-powerful form of Vitamin C called THD Ascorbate. Both highly stable and oil-soluble, THD Ascorbate rapidly absorbs into the skin for visible anti-aging benefits, including visual improvement in loss of firmness, the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and dark spots and dullness.

This hydrating antioxidant formula instantly illuminates the complexion with bright radiance, while phytosterols help to reduce the look of skin sensitivity. Saccharide Isomerate extract diminishes the appearance of pores and reinforces the skin’s moisture barrier for a skin-smoothing glow. Rapidly brighten the appearance of the skin and boost vital skin bounce, in a flash!

I have to say, I can easily see why it is a favorite.  Personally, I really liked it.  Instead of being liquid like most serums it is a cream formula.  The recommended amount is two to three pumps of product, but I found that one pump’s worth was plenty for my face in the morning with maybe a little more at night.  And I was happy that the pump is the sort that allows you to only depress it half way so you can more easily regulate how much product being used.  I find it less wasteful that way.  Now my skin does really well with most vitamin C products, but I have to say I was a big fan of this one.  It absorbed really well and although this may be wishful thinking, I did notice the fine lines appearing around my eyes weren’t as prominent after the first week of use (I used this for thirty days for the trial). 

Incidentally, I did look up THD Ascorbate (Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate ) in case you are wondering.  It is just a slightly modified version of Vitamin C that has been tweaked so that the skin absorbs it more easily. And absorb it did.  Not only will I be using this ti the last creamy drop, but I will be repurchasing it at some point. Truthefully this was the highlight of the skincare test. Other products are good, this was excellent. So for the CEO line, at least the products I’ve tried, two out of three are things I would repurchase.  Not a bad average.  But how do you feel about Martians?

I found the Martian Mattifying melting Water-gel toner to be very interesting. Unfortunately, I have no official product information because it has been discontinued.  I find this to be a shame as I liked it for my oily days.  If I knew I was going to be sweating outside or having hormonal break outs, then using this in the morning really helped my skin. 

It is also a fun green slime texture. It worked well on the days I needed it, but it wasn’t an everyday sort of product for me.  I suspect it was too much for most people to use every days.  If you are looking to dry out oily skin for a bit and happen to come across this, it isn’t a bad thing to try.  I’ll keep using it until it is gone, but alas it is discontinued and no more.

This finally brings us to the Good Genes All in one Lactic Acid Treatment. I doubt this will ever be discontinued as everyone I’ve talked to seems to find this a skin care holy grail.  It made me very eager to try it. So first what does this best seller do?

Clean, purified glycolic acid deeply exfoliates and repairs the look of dull, congested, and sun damaged skin for a visibly radiant, healthier-looking complexion.

Containing clean, ultra-pure, formaldehyde-free glycolic acid, to revitalize the appearance of dull, congested, and sun damaged skin, without compromising on what matters to you most: safety, quality, and fast results. Good Genes Glycolic penetrates the surface of the skin with tiny glycolic acid molecules, sinking deeper into the skin than other forms of AHA, to break apart pore-clogging debris and repair the look of sun-damaged, congested, wrinkled, or dull skin. With just one use, instant radiance and skin clarity are visibly boosted. Balanced with fermented prickly pear extract, perfect for sensitive skin, to soothe and calm the complexion, along with skin-purifying lemongrass extract.

After my recent sunburn episode, I was happy to try some repair work.  And I love exfoliators in general. So I was all in.  Again two to three pumps are recommended and you are only supposed to use this once a day.  The above picture shows one pump, which is all I ended up needing tocover my face.

For me, this replaced my night cream during the trial. 

Sort of.

It took me a few days to sort things out.  First, I want to address the one day claim.  I will say that the sun damaged parts of my face did show almost immediate improvement.  My face took less damage than my legs, but it still spent too much time accidentally baking. So I will have to give them that. 

The scent took a little getting used to as well.  For me it has the exact same scent as some of the cleaning products used in a building I once worked in.  It was an old building with wooden floors and the scent is a cross between floor polish and an herbal based disinfectant.  It’s not a negative as it is actually a nicely astringent scent, but to me that is what it smelled like. It is heavy on the lemongrass and I think that paired with the astringency was what triggered the memory.  Luckily the scent dissipated so I didn’t have dreams about my old office.

But again, that’s just me. Certainly no one else mentioned it smelling like a cleaning product.

It took me a while to adjust to using this product because it is not quite a night cream, but it is really hard to apply a moisturizer over it.  Things get very greasy quickly and I felt like I over did it.  The problem was that if I didn’t apply moisturizer, my skin felt a little too dry the next morning.

The best way I found to deal with this product was to wash my face and apply the Good Genes to my skin an hour or two prior to actually getting ready for bed.  (I like to read before going to sleep as a means to quiet my brain, so I did all of my pre bed routine (sans moisturizer) before reading, leaving the Good Genes on top of the skin and then just before bed, I went into the bathroom and did a quick moisturizer application before actually going to sleep. 

For me this worked really well.

end of trial skin

I will say that because my skin was sun damaged, I saw more of an effect than I might have otherwise seen.  It worked well, and I am glad I used it at the time I did, however I am not terribly familiar with chemical exfoliates.  I tend to go for the more physical variety.  I am starting to try out the chemical ones more though so I might be switching camps. 

So while I liked the product, I think I want to try a few more products, specifically Lactic Acid based before I commit to repurchasing it. 

In other words it was good, but it wasn’t so over the top good that I feel I must keep it on hand at all times.  Which, from the reviews I’ve read and seen, tends to be the reaction.  Perhaps when trying others I will find they fall far short of this and I will realize everyone else was right about the Good Genes.

I am very glad I did try this though as it is so beloved by so many people and it is nice to know the standard. For now though, I am sticking with, a good product, but I want to try others as my personal assessment.

So that was my Sunday Riley trial. Two items that I will repurchase repeatedly, one that isn’t really worth bothering with, one discontinued and one still to be determined. All in all an interesting mix.  I’m actually rather surprised to see the split. Everyone I talked to either loved or hated Sunday Riley products. There were very few inbetween. As there were many other products they offer that I find interesting, I am sure it will not be my last Sunday Riley test.  I suspect I will go to reorder the serum and find something I want to try.  But that is for another day.  For now, there is still a world of skin care out there for me to try. There are so many excellent brands I can’t wait to get my hands on.

Now I just have to figure out what I want to try next.


Below I’m posting three of my favorite skin care sites should anyone be looking to expand their skin care boundaries.

Give dad a gift he'll remember this Father's Day with the LovelySkin Father's Day Gift Guide.





A face full of foaming fun

Elemis Superfood Cica Calm Cleansing foam

There is something just plain fun about using a foaming face wash.  Dispensing a plethora of foamy white into your palm and smearing it all over the face is just kind of an amusing thing to contemplate.  Well for me anyway.  Recently I have been using the Elemis Superfood Cica Calm Cleansing foam calming micellar cleanser and I have to say, I have been loving it.

dispenser

The scent is fresh and clean, the foam is fun and my skin feels fantastic. I know I shouldn’t be surprised.  I always seem to have good luck with Elemis products. They are just really well made. I think it is the fact that it is a foaming face wash that makes me think ‘Fun’ instead of functional.  But it is quite functional. 

According to the product page…

Cleanses, Soothes, Balances Packed with fermented Superfoods and formulated with Micellar Technology, this soothing foaming cleanser easily removes all traces of makeup and impurities, leaving the complexion looking calm, balanced and fresh. Infused with soothing Biotransformed Cica and nourishing Fermented Green Tea Seed Oil. Leaves the skin feeling purified and refreshed. Vegan-friendly and 100% sulfate-free formula won’t leave skin feeling dry or tight

Receive a DELUXE SAMPLE with $30+ purchases.

I have to say I agree with all of that.  Even waterproof makeup came off easily and cleanly with little left on the toner pad to pick up.  There were as always a few traces of mascara under the eyes but  they were light smears that were gone with one extra pass of the wash cloth.  While I loved the fun of the foam, I also liked that I didn’t have to rub really hard at the sun.  I just lightly massaged the foam into my face and the makeup came off. 

Now I have to say, I looked up Cica because I wasn’t sure what it was and  to be honest I thought it sounded a bit like a shortened form of cicada.  I knew it wasn’t because the product is listed as vegan. So putting something not vegan on the label would seem really odd.  So I looked it up.  Cica is short for Centella Asiatica.  It’s an Asian medicinal herb that looks a bit like a clover.  Its main uses seem to be calming inflammation, being an antioxidant and enhancing wound healing.

I’m not entirely certain what the biotransformed part is and I couldn’t find any details on that.  But I will say, I am a big fan of this cleanser.   While I find the cleanser great and the foam fun, I have to say the practical side of me really likes the fact that you can lock the pump down. So if you decide to travel with it, Elemes will not befoaming all over your travel bag and its contents. It will be locked down tight and remain in the bottle until use. I love that feature. Disturbingly, not all pump products come with it. Personally I think they should.

The Elemis Cica Superfood cleanser is definitely in my top three cleansers at the moment.  The other two in that top tier are the Fresh Soy face Cleanser and the Malin+Goetz Grapefruit Face Cleanser.  I like all three for different reasons, but if I had to rank them I would say the Elemis beats the Fresh Soy Face cleanser by just a smidge and is running about even with the Malin+Goetz (that citrus scent is hard to beat in the mornings – I think my ideal would be to use the Malin+Goetz in the morning and the Elemis at night.) Not that it’s actually a competition, but if it were all three would need a photographer and a stop watch to call the race.  I would happily use any of these three on any given day.  I think it goes without saying that I will definitely be repurchasing this cleanser again.


Enjoy a FREE Mini & FREE Shipping with $50+ Orders at Elemis!

Reviewing Blueberry Bounce from Glow Recipe

Nope my hand is not massive, its another of the travel sizes I’m using in my collection

I picked this up as one of my add-ons for IPSY thinking it would be the perfect size for a short trip and take up much less space in my bag than my regular sized cleanser. Plus I had never tried a Glow Recipe cleanser before and I like to use the travel sized versions to get a feel for a product before I commit to an entire full sized bottle. I find it helps me waste less product. I can try things out on my skin and decide if it is right for me as travel sized products generally have enough inside them to allow me to do just that.

I have a mixed reaction to many Glow recipe products. While they all work well, sometimes the scent gets in the way.  I’ve loved all of the watermelon scented items I’ve tried (both scent wise and product wise) but with the Pineapple serum it was another story.  While that one worked really well and I loved the way it made my skin feel, I just couldn’t get past the scent.  Every sniff told me I was smearing sticky sweet syrup on my face and I just couldn’t take it. So when I picked up the Blueberry Bounce, I was more worried about the scent than how it performed.  So I opened and sniffed.

Would it be sweet as pie or subtle and clean?

The scent was oddly familiar, yet I couldn’t place it. I took a second sniff.  After a moment of thought, I knew exactly what it smelled like. Does anyone remember those Strawberry Shortcake dolls from the 1980s that had a scent to their plastic bodies?  I think it was somehow impressed into the plastic so it had an odd fruity, plastic smell? Well Strawberry Shortcake had a friend named Blueberry Muffin.  This Cleanser smells exactly like that doll, although I think the plastic scent comes from the bottle not the product.

The Skin Store
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I have to admit, I find the scent oddly appealing.  More importantly it isn’t too sweet for me.  I don’t feel bad about using it to get clean. So, now that I know the scent doesn’t bother me, what claims does it make?

This 3-in-1 cleanser functions as a makeup eraser, daily face wash, and a deep clarifying mask too. It’s got a totally unique texture—a light, bouncy gel that builds into hydrating, micro-foaming bubbles that deeply cleanse without over-drying your skin. Once you rinse, your face will feel supple, not stripped of moisture. It’s loaded with antioxidant-rich blueberry extract to protect skin and soothe inflammation. A mix of gentle exfoliating acids get rid of dead skin cells for clearer skin and smaller pores. This clean formula is free from parabens, mineral oil, sulfates, silicones, phthalates, and synthetic dyes.

Skincare RX
https://www.skincarerx.com/offer/all.list

I can say right away, it does have an odd gel like texture. The gel sort of melts a little in your hand, but never really becomes a liquid. I suppose it might if you hold it a long time, but I don’t know why you would hold it that long.

On the face, it became more soapy than foamy which I guess is what they are calling mirco foaming. It washed my face well and rinsed off without leaving a residue on the skin.  When I used it after removing my makeup, it was a nice gentle cleanser.  It performed well.

When I tried using the cleanser with make-up on however, the cleanser did well with face make up, leaving only a little behind, but it was not very good with mascara or darker red lipstick. To get those off I had to go back in with my cleansing balm. It is a very good gentle cleanser and I think if you wanted to wash your face after the gym before applying makeup just to get the sweat off without stripping the skin, it would be a good product to use. 

Since I am at the gym a lot these days, that does make it quite useful to me. Well I was at the gym a lot. Now I am sweating while walking outside, so it will still be used post workout, just in a slightly different way.

As a primary cleanser, I have to say it leaves too much makeup behind for me to use unless I am double cleansing. While I’m always happy to find another product that can be added to my gym bag, for when the gym reopens, I’m afraid that this probably won’t be joining my daily skin care team.


Sunny citrus morning cleanse? Yes Please.

Malin+Goetz Grapefruit face cleanser

I have always associated citrus with clean.  Growing up there was orange oil polish, lemon scented pledge and I still use the homemade citrus all-purpose household cleaner I grew up with.  In case you are wondering, when you are finished squeezing your citrus, whether they are lemons, limes, oranges or anything else of that variety, you take the squeezed out fruit, place it in a glass jar and cover it with vinegar so the fruit oils can soak in.  Once it does, you have a cleaner.

Don’t worry at the moment due to pandemic protocols my jar is remaining under the cabinet in favor of the more industrial variety.

Regardless I associate citrus with clean.

So when Malin+Goetz sent over a bottle of their Grapefruit face cleanser (retail $36) for me to review, I was very excited.  I really like Malin+ Goetz.  Personally I don’t think you see enough of their products being talked about.  Everything I have ever tried of theirs has been top notch.  I really liked the fig scented perfume I received as one of my Scentbird perfumes a few months back and so I had high hopes for this cleanser. I know a lot of folks worry about citrus juice in skin care as it can be acidic, but a cleanser is the perfect place for it as it doesn’t sit on your skin long enough to be a concern. So I personally enjoy it.

According to their product page…

Our gentle foaming cleansing gel balances skin with natural grapefruit extract and amino acid-based cleansing agents. This hydrating formula gently but thoroughly cleanses skin of dirt, oil and makeup. Rinses free of residue, eliminating the need for a toner. Suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive. Natural fragrance and color.

Shop now! Grapefruit Face Cleanser

While I do adore my Dr. Thayer’s Rose Petal toner, I set it aside while I put this product to the test. While it does claim to thoroughly cleanse the skin of makeup, it isn’t really a set makeup remover.  Still, as with all cleanser tests I tried it with a full face of makeup first. 

cleanser in hand

I have to say it did really well.  I ended up with only a small smudge of eyeliner and the rest of my makeup was pretty well dissolved.  I did notice to get the full face of makeup off, I had to use a bit more product than I normally would when doing a double cleanse.  I really think this product shines in a double cleanse routine though. 

A lot of makeup removing balms leave a greasy residue on the skin.  This cleanser took that off and eliminated any make up the initial remover left behind. while I didn’t use my toner, I did the cotton round test and it came away clean. There was no harsh scrubbing with this product (especially in a double cleanse) and I needed only a little product.  My skin felt soft and not stripped and there was that great grapefruit-y scent that made my brain think I was extra clean. I found it a very nice product in the morning where citrus is also a wake up and get moving scent. 

enjoy 10% off your first order + free shipping with code MGWELCOME at MALIN+GOETZ.

cleanser on face

When on the face it is slightly sudsy. I applied it to damp skin in the photo . However after applying it I splashed more water and it lathered up nicely. The suds foamed and rinsed away taking all of the remaining dirt, sweat and makeup with them. I am extra appreciative of the sweat removal as I have started doing my workouts again, this time at home. Once again I am sweating so I do find I need a mid day rinse of the face as well as the full morning and night cleanse. This product works well in that capacity. I only used a thumbnail sized portion of product mid day when I was just too sweaty not to wash my face and it worked really well without stipping the skin or making me overly cleansed. My skin had absolutely no problems with this cleanser. I’m fairly certain that when I start going back to the gym, I will be picking up a travel sized bottle of the Malin+Goetz Grapefruit Face Cleanser to go with me. I think it will be a wonderful addition to my gym bag.

The bottle is a plain squeeze bottle with very simple and direct instructions.  On a shelf I can see why some people pass it by for flashier packaging.  But this is one time you need to look past the cover to see the book inside.   It isn’t the flashiest package on the shelf, but it is a great product that does exactly what it claims to do and then just a little bit more. If I were to change anything, I would give it a pump instead of leaving it as a squeeze bottle so that it is easier to dispense with wet and possibly oil slick hands.  But that is a minor tweak and I am happy to use it as it is.  In fact now, given the surrounding gloom and doom fo multiple waves of thunderstorms and news reports, I enjoy the sunshiny brightness of the grapefruit scent just a little bit more in my mornings. I am definitely going to have to look into more of the Malin+Goetz product line.  They are well worth talking about.

Malin+Goetz

Branching out with Rose and Kombucha in a face wash

Pacifica Rose Kombucha Flower Powered Face Wash

I’ll be honest the thought of Rose and Kombucha wasn’t all that appealing to me when thinking of a face wash.  While I like the scent of rose, it is often over powering and I was hesitant about the fermented tea. However when I placed my order with Pacifica, using a gift certificate I was gifted by the company, a travel sized (1.4 fl oz) of the Rose Kombucha Flower Powered Face Wash was one of the gifts with purchase that came with a $50 order.  I figured it was the perfect way to try something new and so I picked it up with my order.

10% off sitewide at Pacifica Beauty. Valid 3/16-3/31. Shop Now!

 My thinking was that it was a trial sized tube so even if I didn’t like it, there wouldn’t be much waste to the product. Incidentally, the full sized version of this product is 5.0 ounces and retails for $10. As I am always looking for good , affordable products, especially in face wash as I go through so much of it, I was very interested to try it.

But first, we look at the claims.

Disobey time with the power of flowers and fermented tea in Pacifica’s Rose Kombucha Flower Powered Face Wash. One of the best defenses against aging is clean skin, it gently removes makeup, oil and impurities. This light-foaming, sulfate-free cleanser balances and refreshes skin – helping to achieve an absolutely luminous complexion at any age.

100 percent vegan and cruelty free. Shop now at PacificaBeauty.com!

For those that are unfamiliar with Pacifica, they are 100% Vegan and Cruelty Free.  Their products are formulated without  Animal testing, Animal ingredients, Parabens, Phthalates,  Mineral oil, Sulfates, Synthetic fragrances, and Petroleum.

Given that there is rose listed on the ingredients and it is usually the synthetic rose scent that becomes overpowering, I was more relieved than usual to see there were no synthetic fragrances in this face wash.  Oh and the face wash is designated for all skin types so I didn’t have to figure out if I was in the target range for the product, which I kind of like.

My skin typically falls into the normal/combination area with more oil in the T-zone, but I am dryer in the winter and oilier in the summer.  The curse of so called “normal” skin is that it’s like standing in the center of a moving teeter totter while temperature and humidity play. If the weather is perfectly balanced so is my skin. At this time of year, it seems to change daily so I have products for  both shifts, oily and dry, in my bathroom.  For all skin types is generally a relief to see on a label when the weather hasn’t actually committed to a season.

So to the testing.  Because this face wash claims to remove makeup I put it to the test and tried it once on its own on a full face of makeup, then I tried it as the second act in a double cleanse routine.  Now usually I have issues with mascara coming off, but I have to say this worked really well in taking off more mascara than most.  There was a slight smudge under the eyes but not as much as usual.  A quick single wipe with the Makeup eraser took care of it with no rubbing.  In case you are wondering, I am currently oscillating between two mascaras at the moment.  One is the Pretty Vulgar Feathers Mascara and the other is the Rimmel London Scandal Eyes Wow Wings.  I like both and will be posting a mascara review soon. I just mention it here so you know the products the Pacifica Rose and Kombutcha Flower Powered Face Wash was able to take down.

not a lot of product is needed

I suppose I rather jumped to the use in that.  To back track a little, it is a creamy pearly face wash and the scent is interesting.  There is the hint of rose but it only really serves to mitigate the scent of the kombucha.  It smells like tea more than anything else but it is not a heavy fragrance.  Personally I found it a pleasant one, especially in the mornings.

The cleanser did foam on the face but it wasn’t massive foaming, just enough suds to let you know it was working.  It rinsed off clean, and as mentioned above, took off most of my makeup. My skin felt clean but not stripped and it worked for me no matter which way the weather shifted my skin.

Over all it was very positive experience.  I know I sound a little surprised but this was not a cleanser I would have picked up on my own.  I am really glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried something I thought I would more than likely not like.  It turns out I liked it a lot.  I also like the fact that while I can order it on line, I can also pick it up at Target if I run out of cleanser and need to pick something up.  I really like having a list of products I can simply pick up if I forget to reorder.  This is certainly going on that list.

If you are interested I have a code you can use to get a bit of a discount.  It is MIMSY15 and I get nothing if you use it so feel free to use it to your heart’s content. It is just for you. They are also having a bit of a sale at the moment so you can add the discounts together.  It is currently 10% off with no code if you want to check it out.

Pacifica Beauty

Cleaning up with Versed Cleansing Balm

The jar of Versed Day Dissolve Cleansing Balm

I’ll admit, it took me a little while to warm to this cleansing balm. The scent is slightly reminiscent of Vicks Vapor rub which made me feel as though I was misusing the balm at first. It is a light scent and quickly dissipates. So I opened the jar and then waited a moment and the scent was faded enough not to be a concern.

I picked it up because I really enjoy a double cleanse and I had several friends who were raving about it. When I was perusing the shelves at Target, I saw it and thought , ‘I’m almost out of cleansing balm,’ so I bought it.

I know, I can feel your jealousy of my shopping prowess and foresite.

So home I went.

Then I looked up the product while using the last of my Farmacy Cleansing Balm. (That jar is now a gold DIY planter, if you remember an earlier post). According to the Versed Website product page…

From the moment you twist open the cap, this cleansing balm smells like a spa. That’s the eucalyptus and clove leaf oil—not artificial fragrance. This face wash in balm form melts away makeup and impurities without stripping moisture from your skin (thank you, vitamin E). As you massage it into your skin with wet fingertips, the oil-based formula softens to create a light, gentle milk that rinses clean with no oily residue (the kind that may have turned you off from cleansing balms in the past). Don’t forget to wash into your hairline and along your jawline. Those often-overlooked areas are prone to breakouts. It’s the perfect start to your PM wind-down ritual and especially useful as a first cleanse for you double-cleansers out there.

Okay as I’ve said before, I love a double cleanse. I love knowing that by the time I get to my toner, the cotton round is merely adding toner to my face and not taking away the last of my makeup residue. When I am testing out regular cleansers, I test them first without any other products, then only with my Makeup Eraser and then in conjunction with a cleansing balm. Just in case you were wondering.

As I already mentioned, my first whiff of this cleanser reminded me of Vicks Vapor Rub, which I’m blaming on the eucalyptus. It’s not a bad scent, but not my favorite. It does however go away quickly and is easily forgotten. If you love the scent you can stick your nose in and inhale. My mom loves the scent of Vicks and will use any opportunity to smear it on the throat, chest and under her nose. I always put together a Birthday Beauty Bag for her with fun Beauty products she might not have picked up on her own, but that I think she might have fun playing with and come September I will be picking up a jar of this Versed Day Dissolve to put in her bag.

Shop Versed’s Cleansing Balm online starting at $7.99! Free Shipping on all orders $35+!

You know until I started writing these posts, I really didn’t realize how scent oriented I actually was.

Weird huh?

But moving on, because even I know scent isn’t everything.

I first tried this product as directed. I used wet fingertips to massage it into my skin. I was fine until I got to the eye area. Face products, gone, lipstick melted into a red haze that made me look like I’d been making out with a circus clown after far too much to drink, yup. It worked super well on all of it. And I will say that it took off eye makeup in a snap as well.

The problem was the wet fingers.

Let me explain. I wear contacts. In fact I am blind as a bat without them. Typically I put my contacts in before applying makeup and take them out after I’ve removed my makeup. My general habit it to remove my makeup at the end of the day, wash my face and then spend an hour or two doing wind down things, checking the following day’s schedule, figuring out if I actually have clean socks or if I will be wearing sandals in the snow, that sort of thing. Then I take out my contacts and apply the serums, oils and night creams I wear before bed.

With the wet fingers, small, nay miniscule, bits of the cleansing balm were sliding into the corners of my eyes as I was removing mascara and I ended up with small blurry spots on my contacts. It took a surprising amount of effort to get the cleansing balm off the contacts. I think because while an excellent product, saline solution isn’t really designed for removing oil. My contacts are disposable so it was actually easier to replace them rather than scrub them.

But since I really liked the cleansing balm for its cleansing ability and the soft skin it left behind post cleanse, I had a good think about it and decided to try something out. I used dry fingers and started by removing my eye make-up. I rubbed and the makeup melted, even the mascara. then to make sure it was just the balm removing the makeup and not the Makeup Eraser, I used a plain dry washcloth to wipe off the oil from around the eye area. It went off super easily and took all the eye makeup with it.

One eye on, one eye off using the dry method

Then I wet my fingers and took down the rest of my face.

Makeup all gone

That was really my only complaint with the product and really, it was insanely easy to solve. I would suggest using something like a Makeup Eraser or a Halo pad or something to wipe off the oil and melted makeup rather than a washcloth. Unless you keep a washcloth that you don’t mind getting stained with eye makeup. While most makeup washes out pretty easily, once you get eyeshadow glitter in the washcloth fibers it sticks around through multiple washes and months of use, returning when you least expect it. The other day my babydoll heaved a heavy sigh and asked why there was now glitter in his beard from a washcloth he took from the linen cupboard. So I’m trying to get better about keeping things seperate.

Makeup Eraser:

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So would I recommend this product?

Yes, I would. My only real issue was with my contacts and that was solved by starting with eye make up removal and dry fingers. Also using a dry cloth to wipe the oil away so when you wash off the rest, nothing flows in. I should also point out there was absolutely no pain or discomfort when it did wash into my eye, just a little blurry spot on my contact lens. If you don’t wear contacts, you will have no problem. And if you keep the eyes dry, again no problem. It melts makeup away, leaves your skin super soft from the Vitamin E, and doesn’t require any harsh scrubbing. I picked up my 2.3 oz / 67 g jar at Target for $17.99 which considering the cost of many other cleansing balms and the amount of product you get in this jar, makes it a really good deal. Very little product is used each night so it will last a really long time. I used less than a thumbnail’s size of product to take down all of my makeup. While I will be repurchasing this sometime in the future for myself, I feel really good about adding it to my Mother’s Birthday Beauty Bag as well. not only will she really love the scent, but I know she will like the way it works as well.


Toners 728x90

Annmarie SkinCare Review

The line up for the the two week Annmarie Skincare Trial

For the past two weeks I’ve been testing out various Annmarie Skincare Products.  They very kindly sent over samples for me to review.  I have to say it was very interesting to test out not one, but an entire series of products from the same company at the same time.  In case you haven’t heard of Annmarie Skincare, according to their website

We carefully select organic and wildcrafted ingredients — including herbs and plant extracts — to meet the highest standards of quality and effectiveness for your skin and body. We carefully audit our sources to ensure that they continue to meet our standards of purity and sustainability. 

I’m a big fan of their commitment to sustainability and was thrilled to be able to try out their products. Before I get into the individual products, let me go over the regime I’ve been following during the trial.

First up was the Aloe Herb Cleanser which I used twice daily, once in the morning and once at night. There was also the Anti-Aging Serum which I also used twice daily after cleansing. As AnnMarie Skincare provided me with two types of facial oil, I used the Herbal Facial Oil for the first week and the Anti-Aging oil for the second week.  The oil I applied twice daily as well, applying it to my skin after the serum was given a little time to sink in. 

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I used the Ayurvedic Facial Scrub.  The final element to this skin care trial were the face masks.  Two masks were provided.  The first week I used the Illuminating Pearl Mask Monday , Wednesday and Friday and the second week I used the Purifying Mud Mask for the same three day system.

The only item I didn’t have with this line was a moisturizer so I used the Purlisse Blue Lotus Moisturizer since I knew how it performed from an earlier trial of the product.

Over all, I really enjoyed these products and I think they worked really well together.  Individually there are some that I liked better than others. So let’s get into the individual products .

First up is the Aloe Herb Cleanser. It is an herb infused facial cream cleanser that smells of lemon verbena.  Seriously, the scent alone is worth buying the product.  It is a wonderful aroma to wake up to and equally pleasant to take off the day.  But a cleanser isn’t just about scent, no matter how scent oriented I am.  According to the product page…

The cleanser is creamy but doesn’t really foam up. It does however work well and smell amazing.

Cleanse and lift excess oil with this pH-balanced, aloe vera-based cream cleanser. Infused with beautifying herbs and a light blend of natural oils containing essential fatty acids, to keep your skin naturally hydrated. Gently removes makeup and impurities without drying or leaving any residue. Leaves your skin feeling nourished, soft and beautiful.

I have to say, my skin felt nourished and soft with no residue left behind.  It isn’t the greatest at removing mascara, but it took down all other makeup with no problems.  And then I did a quick clean-up of the raccoon eyes with the Makeup Eraser easy peasy. Since most cleansers have some issues with mascara, I’m willing to give it a pass on that, especially because of the scent.

Next up, was the Anti-aging Serum.  Again this is a product I really liked. The sample vial had just enough product to last for the two week test.  I took the eye dropper from an empty bottle of serum and used three drops of the serum for each application.  It covered my face well, absorbed quickly and smelled deliciously herbal.  I couldn’t identify any particular herbal scent but it is very herbal-ly smelling. I was very sad when the bottle was empty. I actually upended the bottle and tapped it on my hand to get the very last drops out of it befire I finally had to admit that it was empty.  On the product page…

This versatile, aloe vera-based serum provides active nutrients for all skin types, firming and tightening the appearance of aging skin. Hyaluronic acid hydrates, while the herbal extracts buddleja davidii and edelweiss protect skin from environmental stressors. Life everlasting flowers soothe and refresh.

Perhaps I couldn’t identify the herbs by scent because I am unfamiliar with how most of the ones listed actually smell on their own.  Either way I did see an improvement in my skin’s texture and while my fine lines weren’t magically erased, they didn’t get any larger and my skin had a healthy glow to it.

The anti-aging oil

Next up we come to the oil and I have to admit, I had a little bit of a problem with the oils. The scent of both the Herbal Facial Oil and the Anti Aging oil are sharply herbal, but despite the two oils smelling different from each other they both have a slight medicinal scent to their aromas that I didn’t find all that appealing.  Perhaps it is the willow bark. In addition, they both have a slightly thick texture to them that I didn’t particularly care for. It is purely a textural issue as both products performed well. 

The Herbal Facial Oil is…Specially formulated with cleansing botanicals, white willow bark and neem, this delicate herbal blend helps unclog pores and balances natural oils. Lightly moisturizing with a fast-absorbing grapeseed oil base. Leaves skin soft and smooth for a bright and beautiful complexion.

While the Anti Aging Oil is described as… This luxurious, herb-infused formula delivers intense moisture to keep dry and mature skin supple and dewy. Antioxidant-rich seed oils — chia, goji berry, and broccoli — firm and tighten, while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Jojoba oil resembles your skin’s natural oil, softening and conditioning mature skin. Your skin vibrates in perfect harmony.

When applying them I had to think ’this is good for me’ before I applied them. And they were good for my skin, even if I wasn’t the biggest fan of the scent or texture.  My complexion is smooth and bright, my skin clear and kind of glowy. They really work well, but that scent and texture really threw me.

The scrub comes as a powder, which I like but it is a little too gentle a scrub for me.

The Ayurvedic Facial Scrub is designed for sensitive skin and is a very mild exfoliate.  The product page describes it as…

This fragrant Indian herbal treatment with horsetail and fenugreek seeds exfoliates and softens. Mineral-rich Rhassoul clay from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco absorbs excess oil. This gentle but powerful treatment leaves skin revitalized, fresh and alive.

It has a similar scent to the Purifying Mud Mask, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since it has some of the same ingredients.  Like the mud mask, it comes as a dry powder that you mix with a little bit of water to turn into a paste. The process made me feel like a mad scientist when I used it.  It is a decent exfoliator and if you have sensitive skin, I can see this being perfect for you.  It left my skin feeling fresh, but I personally prefer a slightly more exfoliating exfoliator. It was fun to mix though and I enjoyed playing around with the consistency.

I reviewed both the Illuminating Pearl Mask and the Purifying Mud Mask in separate posts so I’ll just link those reviews instead of going into great depth here ( Previous in depth reviews: PEARL and MUD), but to sum up both posts; I loved the face masks. The Illuminating Pearl Mask left my skin glowing and the Purifying Mud Mask left me feeling deep down clean.  Personally, I prefer the Purifying Mud Mask, but I tend to lean towards more pore cleansing masks in general.  Both are good and well worth trying out.

Of the products I used during this trial I have to say the Aloe Herb Cleanse, the Anti-aging Serum and the two masks were the absolute best and they are products I will be adding to my list of products to purchase. I loved how they performed and how they made my skin feel.

While the Ayurvedic Facial Scrub is not my absolute favorite, I have a couple of friends with sensitive skin who I will definitely recommend it to as I think it would be more up their alley than mine. 

I think I would have to pass on the facial oils.  Although they did lovely things for my skin, I just don’t think I could take the texture of them long term. I think if I purchased them, I would look for reasons not to use the oil.  In all fairness though, my mother actually uses the Herbal Facial Oil for oily skin and she absolutely loves it. It is one of the few facial oils she can use that doesn’t leave her feeling greasy. Since a little goes a long way, and I was using two separate oils, I have some left over.  She has already staked a claim on them and they will be leaving my bathroom and going straight to hers where they will be used and well loved.

Over all I really liked this trial and I loved the way my skin looked and felt.  I found some products that I really liked and will be ordering and some that just weren’t for me. It’s always good when a brand that has such a good ethos also has good products and I was very pleased with Annmarie Skincare.

In the Garden: Using the Empties for more than just review and trash

In the past year or so, I’ve seen a lot of YouTube videos regarding ’empties’. For those unfamiliar with this, an empties video is essentially a person keeping all of the empty containers from the products (skincare, bath, makeup, and so forth) that they use and then once they have collected enough, they make a video going back over the containers to talk over their experience with the product and if they would buy it again.

For some it seems to be a final review of the product because they only made a first impressions video and for others it seems to be a way for them to commit to emptying a container rather than allowing product to go bad.

I like both of these ideas actually as at the end of a product’s use a person can really get a sense of if that product is worth repurchasing and I hate letting products go to waste. Incidentally, that is why I haven’t posted a moisturizer review in a little while. I had a couple of open products I liked and wanted to use up before I opened any more. There will be more skin care reviews coming soon as my last open jar is almost empty.

So I started collecting my empties thinking that I would challenge myself to finish some products before greedily opening new ones and thus give myself a more in depth feeling for many of them.

The problem is that I am a gardener.

And at this time of year, my thoughts start to slide in that direction automatically as I order seeds and begin to grow them into plants capable of surviving outside after the last frost.

I don’t know what people typically do with their empties once their video is uploaded. I suspect the trash or recycling bin. I put my empties in a small bin under my sink while collecting them. Well, technically to the side of my sink as it is a pedestal. So I see it every day. And I kept looking at them and various ideas started to circle in my head. As I get ready to start my early seeds in my green house a couple of ideas solidified.

And so today you get more of a DIY project than anything else. While I pulled both the Dermelect and the Farmacy containers from my empties bin, both products I would happily repurchase bu the way, my project concentrated on the Farmacy jar.

The jar is plastic and has a double walled bottom and a screw on lid. Simply put, I peeled off the label and washed the container really well so that no product remained inside and no glue remained from the label. Then I turned it upside down and used a dremel to drill a few holes in the bottom of the jar.

As a warning if you are doing this, the double bottom means there is a slight jerk in the drill between the first and second layers of bottom. There is just enough space between the two layers that you feel the drill bit drop. It isn’t a big deal just something to keep in mind so you don’t drop the drill.

Once I had drainage holes in the bottom I took the lid and drilled a hole in either side of the jar lid so that excess moisture could drain instead of sitting and becoming stagnant.

I then glued the lid to the bottom of the jar, open side facing the bottom of the container so the flat surface is against the wood of the window sill when I set the small planter out in the sun. The holes in the bottom of the jar allow for drainage and the lid on the bottom makes sure that any over watering doesn’t hit the window sill. It is like one of those plastic shields that you put under house plants.

The lid glued to the bottom of the jar. It is perfect because the lid is smaller than the bottom of the container and so makes a pleasing shape when glued together.

Then as I had a can of gold spray paint in the shed, I spray painted the whole thing gold and let it dry. Once dry, I planted a slow growing succulent inside. When it flowers, the flowers are a bright almost fuschia pink with yellow gold centers so I think it will look good in the gold painted pot.

I’m fairly certain this isn’t where most empties videos lead and I’m pretty sure this isn’t what Farmacy intended for their containers, but it did turn out fairly well. The product inside was excellent and one I will definitely repurchase. I will probably also empty that container and turn it into another planter. Maybe black next time to contrast with the gold. And possibly with something long and slender growing in it rather than a short and wide variety of succulent.

While the container served its original purpose well, it is sturdy enough to have a new life and I personally feel better about not just chucking it in the recycling bin when it is empty. And yes, I have a plan for the empty tubes as well. I just need to wait until there are enough of them to pull it off.

But that is a project for somewhere down the road.


Quick reminder, the Annual Smashwords Read an E-book Week Sale is still going on (March 1-7). My books are 50% off with some even being free. You can find them buy clicking this link or go to the main page to look for other new authors here.