Yes it’s time for another empties roundup, or what I like to call “how Jenny attempts to take nice pictures of trash“. Seriously, the struggle is real guys, and I apologize in advance for some of the bottles looking disgusting. A lot of products have piled up since my last empties post, so make yourself a cup of tea, grab some cookies, and let’s power through this!
Products I really enjoyed
- Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate – The first facial oil I’ve tried and it’s set the bar high for all subsequent oils. It’s light, absorbs instantly, and left my skin soft and smooth. Plus the lavender scent is so relaxing in the evening!
- Naruko La Creme Face Renewal Miracle Essence* – This is still my favorite first essence to date. It feels just like water and it helps smooth my skin in the long run. Just waiting to finish the toners in my stash before I repurchase this. Full review here.
- Curology – I don’t think I can ever be without this. Between the 4% azelaic acid + 0.05% tretinoin + 4% niacinamide, it covers all my skincare needs from anti-aging to brightening + smoothing + preventing breakouts. I’m on my 2nd bottle with the same prescription. Full reviews here and here.
- Odacite Sensitive Skin Discovery Kit – The product sizes are tiny, but potent, and this made me fall in love with the brand. I now use 3 of their oils, including the Camelina + Chamomile from this kit, regularly in my routine as boosters and spot treatments.
- Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer – This is my favorite heat protectant. Not only does it make my hair smell nice, it also helps smooth and control frizz. Already on my second bottle!
- I’m From Honey Mask – I didn’t realize how much I’d miss this mask until I finished it. It’s super moisturizing and does a great job at calming irritations – perfect for dry winter months or when you’ve accidentally over-exfoliated. Just repurchased!
- Skin Actives Collagen Serum – The more I used this, the more I liked it. I feel like it really did make my skin bouncier and softer, though the scent could be a lot better. Luckily there’s a lemon-scented version which I’ll be trying soon! Full review here.
Products I liked well enough
- Skin Aqua UV Super Moisture Gel – A typical Japanese sunscreen. It’s a bit heavier than the Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence and leaves a shine on the skin. Plus it’d occasionally pill depending on the moisturizer I used beforehand. Not bad, but definitely won’t repurchase.
- Dr. Wu Intensive Whitening Serum with Vitamin C – While I liked the light + hydrating texture of this serum, sadly it did very little to actually brighten my skin. I’m starting to think my skin just hates vitamin c, if that’s even possible.
- Gobdigoun Aging Corrector Eye Cream* – I actually really liked this eye cream. It was rich without being heavy and did a great job of hydrating my drier eye area, so why isn’t it in the first list? Because it’s ridiculously expensive and you can only buy it from their Facebook page.
- Gobdigoun 24K Golden Cream Placenta Power* – Same deal as the eye cream, albeit less expensive, but also a little less amazing. Still a great cream though, and you can read the full review here.
- Naruko Rose & Botanic HA Aqua Cubic Hydrating Cream EX – This was a really fun cream to use due to its water droplet effect. Plus it smelled like roses, which was always pleasant. It did leave my skin shinier than I preferred. Full review here.
- Blossom Jeju Pink Camellia Soombi Essence Serum – Beautiful bottle and smelled amazing, but I found it a bit too heavy and sticky for my skin. Plus it didn’t really do much for my skin.
- Kiehl’s Amino Acid Shampoo – Good thing I only bought a travel size because I got so bored with this towards the end. It’s actually a decent SLS and silicone-free shampoo, though it did leave my scalp on the drier side.
- Kiehl’s Sunflower Color Preserving Shampoo – I liked this better than the amino acid one, but not by much. I didn’t have colored hair when I was using this, so perhaps I’ll notice its effects more now that my hair is colored.
- Leaders First Ampoule Mask* – I really enjoyed the snail one, but the aqua ringer one was really meh. My favorite part of these masks is their packaging – great for storing extra essence for later use!
- Phyto Phytopolleine Botanical Scalp Treatment – This was my go-to scalp treatment until I discovered the more effective and affordable Flora Remedia Lavender Hair Oil Treatment.
- Fresh Soy Face Cleanser – Low pH, non-drying, gets the job done. It’s a nice cleanser, but it really doesn’t do much beyond that, and it’s not cheap either.
Um, just no
- L’herboflore sheet masks – I love my Taiwanese sheet masks, but goodness these were disappointing. Other than providing that extra hydration, I didn’t notice any improvement in my skin. Plus they’re pricey and difficult to source. No thanks.
- Clarisonic Skin Illuminating Cleanser – Yeah, this cleanser definitely didn’t brighten my skin or fade any dark spots per its claim. Luckily I got this for free when I bought my Clarisonic Mia 2, and it least it has low pH.
- Albion Skin Conditioner Essential – To get the full effect of this toner, you’ll need to use it as a lotion mask, every night. That’s a lot considering this bottle is $60, and alcohol is way up on the ingredient list. I’ll find other ways to calm my skin, thank you very much.
- Skin Actives Antioxidant Serum – Really wanted to love this but the pump design is horrendous. The serum would come out flying each time, getting all over the bottle, my bathroom counter, and mirror. Plus I didn’t notice any improvements from using this.
- Naruko All-in-One High Potency Sunscreen – Ugh I’ve already ranted about this, but let’s just say it’s a sad pilling disappointment and move on.
- Paula’s Choice Resist Triple Action Dark Spot Eraser 2% BHA Gel – For a brand that likes to belittle on other brands via their Beautypedia site, you’d expect their products to be mind-blowing fantastic. Nope, this did absolutely nothing for my dark spots, plus it contains hydroquinone, which I’m really iffy about.
- Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation – Felt nice on the skin, but that’s about it. I found it a bit drying for winter time, so perhaps I might like this more if I used it in the summer. Oh well.
- Naruko 60 Actives La Creme EX – I don’t know if there was something wrong with my sample, but I felt like I was scooping wax out of the jar. It was so thick! Of course it took forever to spread and absorb, and was just a total nightmare to apply.
- Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment – Yes it did help with breakouts, but it also felt like I was burning off my face! Pain ≠ pleasure people!
Hopefully your tea kept you awake through all my ramblings and you’ve found these mini reviews helpful. You guys deserve a big pat on the back and a hug for getting to the end, and a shoutout to Mili for the great idea of categorizing the empties. Can you imagine having to read a long list of 27 items?
Thanks as always for reading, and let me know if you’ve tried any of the above products!