Thank you all for the kind and supportive comments in my last post. Cooper has been doing a little better each day, so I figured it’s time to get back into blogging, starting with a cleanup of my empties bin. It’s has been piling up so you know what that means – a review of the good, bad, and uglies I’ve used up since my last empties post 3 months ago. Alright let’s get started!
The good and worth repurchasing
While I won’t immediately repurchase everything in this category, these are products I would whole heartedly recommend and would consider repurchasing in the future.
- Curology (Azelaic Acid 4% + Tretinoin 0.05% + Niacinamide 4%) – Always repurchase, no questions asked. You can read my full reviews here and here to see why this is a must-have in my routine.
- SK-II Facial Treatment Essence – I first tried this 2 years ago and didn’t care for it, but this time around I definitely noticed a difference. My pores were smaller and my skin felt more refined. I’ve already purchased a full-sized product and will use that once I finish my Naruko Miracle Renewal Essence.
- Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment – Smells like Shelly’s butt but works extremely well, and doesn’t dry out your skin. Just dab on angry pimples the night before and it’ll be flat the next morning. If you typical salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide products don’t work for you this one is worth a try.
- Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist – Still my favorite mist that I’ve used by far. The mist itself is very fine and contains oils lock the hydration in your skin. Plus the bottle is just gorgeous.
- CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser – If you can get over the boring packaging, this is actually a fantastic + affordable cleanser for dry skin. I will probably buy this again in the winter. Full review here.
- Odacite Camelina + Chamomile Serum – This remains my favorite Odacite serum I’ve tried to date, and I’ll probably buy this again when the weather gets cooler and my skin gets drier + more sensitive. Full review here.
- Kose Sekkisei Lotion – This is one of the few brightening products that gives me long-term results, and it’s water-like texture is perfect for my combo skin. The best way to use this is via a lotion mask, though alcohol is the second ingredient so keep that in mind if you’re sensitive to the ingredient. I’m already on my second bottle of this.
- La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water – Paying for a bottle of water for my skin seems silly, but I love using this to add hydration between each layer of my skincare routine. This being just thermal spring water (which is full of priobiotics and minerals) means that there are no risks of ingredient or texture conflicts.
The not-so-bad but not that great either
These products are definitely not horrible by any means, and some of them I enjoyed using, but for one reason or another I would not repurchase them myself. I’ve listed them below in order of how much I liked them:
- Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant – I actually really like the fine exfoliant texture and think this is a great physical scrub, but goodness the price. You can definitely find comparable products at a much lower cost, hence why I will not purchase a full-sized product.
- NYX Doll Eye Mascara (Volume) – This was my second tube, and I find it works best for my lashes after I’ve waited for the mascara to dry out a bit otherwise I get those nasty spider-leg clumps. However once dried it makes my lashes fuller while still looking natural. I still prefer the Maybelline Full & Soft over this though.
- Hylamide SubQ Anti-Age – You can read the full review here, and it’s a shame that this provided no significant results in the long run as the texture is truly lovely. If you can get this during CVS’ 30% off sale it still might be worth a try, especially if you have oily skin.
- Naruko Rose & Botanic HA Aqua Cubic Jelly Lotion Ex – This is a nice hydrating toner with a jelly like texture, though don’t expect it to blow your mind in any way. The rose fragrance is lovely though! Full review here.
- Dear By Emprani Tone Up Booskin – I love the pink color, the bottle and the texture, but I really didn’t notice any effects other than the standard hydration that 99% of toners offer. Given the difficulty of sourcing this I just don’t think it’s worth it.
- Skinvill Hot Cleansing Gel – I actually enjoyed using this, though I’d like it more if it actually warmed up. Unfortunately this product isn’t readily available outside of Japan, hence it’s in this category. Full review here.
- Naruko 60 Actives Bright Perfecting Enhancer – This is a thicker first essence (think Hada Labo Gokujyun texture) that contains their proprietary blend of 60 different plant extracts and lots of brightening + hydrating ingredients. Sounds great on paper, but unfortunately I didn’t notice any brightening effects. Still a nice hydrating toner/first essence, but I think there are better options out there.
- Hylamide Low-Molecular HA – Contains multiple forms of hyaluronic acid and has a pleasant non-sticky texture. Can’t say it did much for my skin though, and it’s expensive considering the size. IMO the Klairs Supple Preparation Toner does a much better job of hydrating my skin than this.
- Nature Republic Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream – Really wanted to love this, as it has a light gel-like texture, but at best it didn’t do much for my skin, and at worst it would give me a few pimples here and there.
- Esthe Dew Moist Up Lotion – As a facial toner this one borders between the bad and ugly line because it’s just so blah. I ended up using this on my body and eh, it’s not so bad then but still. At least it wasn’t expensive.
The so-ugly-I-just-want-to-punt-them products
I don’t enjoy using these one bit, but it’s kind of fun to write about how awful they are :P
- Hannes Dottir Seamasque – This was so painful to use I couldn’t even finish it. What in the world does this contain, razor blade shrapnels? And it’s $95!! Seriously, this might be one of the most infuriating products I’ve tried to date, thank goodness this was only a sample.
- Etude House Nymph Aura Volumer #3 – As someone with combo skin, all this did was make my face look oily. Maybe I would’ve liked this if I had super dry skin, but otherwise no. Just no.
- Meishoku Del Clear Bright & Peel Fruits Peeling Jelly – Smells absolutely yummy, but so awful to use. It takes way too much product and rubbing to notice any “peeling” effect. Just get the Cure Natural Aqua Gel instead (full review here), which is 100x better.
- It’s Skin Collagen Nutrition Mist – This is the opposite of the Tatcha mist in every way – doesn’t hydrate, boring bottle, and feels like a bird just shat on my face. They shouldn’t even allow this to be called a mist, that’s deceptive marketing.
And now I can finally throw all these empty bottles away, woohoo! Have you tried any of these products before? Let me know in the comments below!