My skincare empties posts have become a quarterly feature now, not on purpose, but rather I just seem to use up a whole bin’s worth of products every 3 months. Surprisingly this quarter’s empties actually contains some makeup, which happen about as often as solar eclipses, though we did have one just this last month, so there you go. Anyways, time to judge these empties for what they are: amazing, a-ok, or just plain awful.
Amazing products worth repurchasing
…If I haven’t repurchased them already. You’ve probably seen some of these in my past empties post, that’s how repurchase-worthy they are.
- Odacite Aloe + Imortelle Hydra-Repair Treatment Mist – Just a lovely mist that was great for soothing the skin. My only issue was that I finished the bottle so quickly, but I enjoyed using thid so much that I’m willing to overlook it. Full review here.
- Klairs Midnight Blue Youth Activating Drops* – I know, I literally just reviewed it and I’ve finished it already (to be fair I’ve been using it for weeks prior to the review). I love how lightweight this was and how effortless it was to incorporate this into my routine. Already repurchased!
- Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Kôhl Liner – As much as I love my Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon, I prefer the super fine line this eyeliner gives. It’s super easy to apply (hello auto-sharpening feature!) and wears fairly well with the Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer so I can’t complain. I pick this up during every Sephora sale and am on my 3rd one already.
- Naruko Miracle Renewal Essence – One of my favorite affordable first essences. It’s not quite as potent as the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, but it smells nicer and is gentler on the skin. I may switch back to this after the SK-II just to give my wallet a break. Full review here.
- Curology (Azelaic Acid 4% + Tretinoin 0.05% + Niacinamide 4%) – At this point I’m starting to sound like a broken record when it comes to Curology: So amazing, always repurchase. Full reviews here and here.
- Skin Actives Cranberry Moisture Serum* – Just a lovely hydrating serum that smelled pleasantly of cranberries. It’s one of my favorite Skin Actives products and a must-have when I traveled, not to mention super affordable. I do wish the packaging was prettier though (what can I say, I like my pretty bottles).
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF50+ Fluid Ultra-Light – My favorite outdoors sunscreen, hands down. It’s not heavy, layers well under makeup, got amazing UVA protection, and has passed the spritz test. Damn the FDA for not approving its active ingredients, so I have to buy this from overseas.
- Naruko AMPM RX 10 Peptide Total Defense Sunscreen SPF50* – My favorite indoors/everyday sunscreen so far. It’s very light and dries down to a natural, non-shiny finish. The peptides are a nice touch, but I do wish that this had higher UVA protection (it’s PA+++). Will repurchase once I finish my current sunscreen stash. Full review here.
A-ok products that almost made it
Products in this category are neither amazing nor awful, but rather they’re scattered all across the spectrum between the two extremes. So in the order of almost amazing to almost awful, we have:
- Bioderma Hydrabio H2O* – This one is specifically for dehydrated skin and contains a few moisturizing ingredients, which were great for my skin during the winter but no so much when it warmed up. I prefer the Sensibio (pink version), but would recommend this version to those with dry skin. Full review here.
- Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder – I actually really enjoyed this low-pH powdered face wash. It cleansed well, didn’t strip my skin, and the individual packaging made it perfect for traveling. It’s also ridiculously overpriced here in the US, hence why it’s not in the amazing category.
- Skin Actives Firming Collagen Serum* – The less stinky version of their Collagen Serum, and surprisingly, I actually liked the smelly version more. Still a great product with excellent ingredients though, albeit a bit sticky.
- Skin Actives Pore Refreshing Mask* – A fun peel-off mask that clarifies and refreshes the skin. In the end I still prefer the Sulwhasoo Clarifying Mask as this one has a runnier texture and can gets quite messy. It was almost amazing. Almost.
- Origins Original Skin Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay – So I totally bought this because it was pink, but it turned out to be a pretty nice clay mask that doubles as an exfoliant when you wash it off. I do think there are better clay masks though, including their Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask, so I won’t be repurchasing this.
- Kiss Me Heroine Make Smooth Liquid Eye Liner – An affordable eyeliner that’s easy to use and works well, but it was still prone to fading after a few hours. A lot of people seem to like this though.
- Biotherm Life Plankton Essence – This was a lovely product scent-wise, texture-wise, and even ingredient-wise. It just didn’t do much for my skin considering the high price. I do think dry skin folks would enjoy this though. Full review here.
- Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Foundation Compact – Honestly I don’t know how to feel about this cushion. Some days it’d look amazing on my skin, and other times it’d look dry and cakey. No rhyme or reason, though I do suspect it’s correlated to the condition of my skin that day. Either way, it’s too expensive and unpredictable for my liking.
- Yadah Anti Trouble Bubble Cleanser* – A nice low-pH self-foaming cleanser with some promising ingredients. I was still getting the occasional closed comedones though, and the foam was flaccid. Plus this was kind of boring to use. Full review here.
- Odacite Ac + R Acai-Rose Youthful Glow Facial Serum – I had really high hopes for this, but goodness was this disappointing. It wasn’t bad by any means, and it smelled really nice, but it just didn’t do anything for my skin. Plus this was expensive af, so I’m just like why?? The Bl + J Blueberry-Jasmine Cell Energy Serum blows this one out of the water and it’s cheaper.
Awful products that’s got me like “why???”
I thought I’d have more fun ridiculing these products but I didn’t! Am I starting to lose my edge??
- Soap & Glory Heel Genius – This is actually a decent foot cream except for the scent. I hate it. Not that it smells bad, but rather it smells confused. Like it’s trying to smell fresh and then a bit minty but not quite? It’s even more upsetting because Soap & Glory’s body creams smell incredible, and then you have this.
- NuFace Gel Primer – I love my NuFace, but this stupid gel is overpriced, considering it offers no skincare benefits whatsoever. It’s just a run-of-the-mill conductivity gel! You can get the same effect using an aloe vera gel or the Spectra 360 Electrode Gel, both which are a fraction of the price of the NuFace one.
- IOPE Air Cushion Moisture Lasting W23 – This cushion oxidized like crazy. Literally by the end of the day my face would be a shade darker than my neck. That and the cushion itself wasn’t anything special, so thanks but no thanks.
- Skin Actives Anti-Aging Cream* – This has amazing ingredients, but that’s where the good news ends. It smells horrible and has this weird goopy texture that just sits on top of the skin. It literally frustrated me every time I used it, to the point where I just stopped because ain’t nobody got time for frustrating products.
- Skin Actives Antioxidant Day Cream* – Again, amazing ingredients, and this one actually smelled pleasant…like fruit yogurt! Sadly it pilled like crazy. No matter what serum I used with this, it pilled. Literally the only way for this to not pill was for it to be the only product I use. Not happening.
- Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid – I never actually finished this because it was just awful. It had this weird oily texture and I didn’t notice any improvements in my skin. The CosRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, despite its ridiculous name, is 100x better.
- Papa Recipe White Flower Clear Up 8% AHA Gel – It’s very gentle, I’ll give it that, but honestly this did nothing for my skin other then make it sticky. There are a million other AHA options out there, and they’re all better than this one.
- Missha Super Aqua Double Enzyme Oxygen Mask – It’s so bad that even Missha discontinued it! Seriously, I used the whole jar and was still clueless about its purpose. It didn’t clean or brighten or moisturize or even do the bare minimum of bubbling. What a waste of my time (and money).
Have you guys tried any of these products before? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment below, or if you have any other products you recommend from these brands!