All the Empties
Happy August everyone! I cannot believe how fast this summer has flown by; it seems like ages ago that I was just starting my beauty no-spend month in June! And guess what?! I did it! That's right - I went a full 30 days without buying a single new beauty product. No new skincare, makeup, haircare, wellness goodies...nada. Not only did I not buy anything new, but I also tried to finish as many open products as possible, ending the month with a full basket of empties. Here are mini-reviews of everything I used up, along with a review of the challenge as a whole. Keep reading to find out more...
Phylia de M. Clean, Condition & Reconnect I've used Phylia de M.'s haircare line on and off for the last several years now and I really do like them. The line, made up of shampoo, conditioner and two scalp sprays - Clean, Condition, Connect and Reconnect - is meant to renew hair follicles, bringing them back to optimal health and encouraging thicker hair growth through star ingredient fulvic acid. Now, I'm a total sucker for anything that promises thicker hair...#thinhairproblems...but these products do seem to work, and using all four products consistently left me with lots of new growth at the roots and silky ends. Sadly, this hair magic comes with a hefty price tag ($205 for the set of four) and consistency is a must to see results. Is it worth it? It depends. If we're talking about just the formulas then yes - the ingredients are good and the products do what they claim, but after using them for so long my hair is craving something new, and let's be honest, less expensive. Try them if you're willing to spend a little more, but I think there are some equally great less expensive alternatives.
Klorane Dry Shampoo with Nettle Let me preface this by saying I strongly dislike dry shampoo. I don't like how it feels in my hair and would rather just take the extra 20 minutes to shower than use it. With that said, I do keep a bottle on hand just in case of emergencies and that bottle always comes from Klorane. Klorane's rice powder-based dry shampoo doesn't feel as chalky in my hair and isn't heavily fragranced like other brands. I've used the original formula and this version with nettle and both get the job done. The added nettle gives this formula more astringent properties, so it's good for oily and fine hair because it isn't as moisturizing and will feel lighter on the hair. Unfortunately, I found it irritated my scalp, so while my hair felt clean enough, my scalp felt like it was on fire. Would I recommend it? Not for sensitive skin/scalp types, but give it a shot if you have really oily hair. Personally, I'm going back to the more gentle original with oat milk.
Ouai Thin Supplements and Clean Conditioner They got me again with products promising thicker hair. Ouai's Thin Supplement is a multivitamin with vitamins B, C, D &, iron, biotin, omegas, horsetail extract, ashwagandha and amino acids all combined for the promise of slowing hair loss and improving growth for thicker hair. Delusional me thought that a 90-day supply would leave me with Daenerys Targaryen hair. Did it? Of course not. I want to love Ouai's products so much, but I haven't seen any difference in my hair. While I am not convinced right now, it's worth considering that it may take more than three months to see results, so I am going to at least finish my last box and see where I end up. When I purchased the supplements, I also got a sample of the Ouai's Clean Conditioner, which I tried, finished and won't purchase. The formula is fine and it left my hair feeling alright, but, like I mentioned here, Ouai's products are too heavily scented for me.
Garnier Ultra Dolce Shampoos & Conditioners Apparently I washed my hair a lot during this challenge....but seriously, I probably had 2-3 uses left in each of these so I was happy to clear out the space in my shower. You might remember seeing these in my Italian beauty haul last summer (read it here). I LOVE these products and every time I'm in Italy I stock up on Garnier Ultra Dolce sets in Chamomile & Honey shampoo and conditioner for light colored hair and Vanilla Milk & Papaya shampoo and conditioner for long, fragile hair. The formulas are paraben and silicone-free (great), but do contain sulfates (not so great), so I only use them sporadically. The chamomile version is my favorite for summertime because it really brightens highlights and gold tones in my hair, and the vanilla is my winter favorite for it's rich scent. Either way, both formulas leave my hair feeling clean and silky. I've used these products since I was a kid and will never give them up. I will absolutely buy more the next time I'm in Italy and recommend you do too!
Mustela Gentle Cleansing Gel & Hydra Bébé While these Mustela products are technically formulated for babies, there's no reason why adults can't use them too. The formulas are so gentle on skin and they smell heavenly, like clean soap with just a touch of florals. Both the body wash and lotion contain hydrating avocado oil and are free of soap, mineral oil, parabens, pthalates and phenoxyethanol, making them perfect for any skin type. Plus they're hypoallergenic and almost 100% natural (the body wash is 90% natural while the lotion is 97% natural). I also love how these feel on my skin - the body wash is never drying and the lotion absorbs quickly so it never feels slick or oily. Overall, these are staples I highly recommend and will continue to repurchase in the future.
Nivea Natural Oil Olio Doccia Another Italian favorite, this Nivea oil-to-foam body wash lives on my repurchase list. The formula is 55% hydrating oils, so not only does it leave skin super soft, but it is also great for the summer months when you really need an oil-based body cleanser to remove sunscreen and excess oil from sweaty skin. I won't go to in-depth on this (you can read more about it here) but I will say it smells amazing - the warm, soapy scent is good for guys and girls alike - and the formula leaves my skin feeling great. Try it if you haven't, repurchase it if you have.
Ren Guérande Salt Exfoliating Body Balm You might remember this body scrub from this post where I called it my "all-time favorite body product" and not much has changed. I had three backups on hand before I even finished this jar - that's how much I love it. The formula's blend of sea salt and almond, olive, peppermint, basil and rosemary oils make this the ultimate at-home spa treatment. It's intensely exfoliating and supremely moisturizing all at once. You can use this on wet or dry skin, but I find it works best when applied pre-shower - just scrub gently on dry skin, add a little water to turn the hydrating oils into a milk, scrub a little more and rinse. It's no longer on Ren's website, so I'm praying it hasn't been discontinued, but in case it has, I'm trying to stock up and suggest you do too. Seriously, I dare you to find a better body scrub.
Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil This oil cleanser has been my ride-or-die since college. Yup...it's been about seven years of me and my argan oil cleanser. I love the combination of hydrating argan, safflower, sunflower and grape seed oils with the brightening Vitamin C power of grapefruit oil because it deeply cleanses to remove every trace of dirt and makeup, while still leaving my skin soft and moisturized. Unlike other oil-based cleansers I've tried, this one always rinses away cleanly and doesn't leave any residue on the skin. Now all that being said, I've used this cleanser for a very long time (you might also remember it from this post) so, while it makes me a little sad, I have not repurchase it...yet. In an effort to branch out, I bought De Mamiel's Pure Calm Cleansing Dew (how dreamy does that sound?!) and am loving it, but it's safe to say my Josie Maran and I will be reunited in the future. Overall, it has a permanent place on my list of skincare favorites and I can't recommend it enough.
Kypris Antioxidant Dew You probably saw this in my Autumn Skincare Edit a few months ago, so it was about time I finished this bottle. I started using this serum a little over a year ago and, up until recently, really loved it. Right off the bat, it left my skin calm, hydrated and was lessening the appearance of some visible capillaries, but four bottles later, it was starting to make my skin a little congested, a "side effect" I've heard from other reviews as well. Maybe it was too much serum or not enough exfoliation, but since stopping the product my skin has cleared up. I did love using this it and I love the brand, so I might bring this back for winter, but for now it's on hiatus. I do recommend it, but would suggest trying it once a day versus twice a day.
Glossier Milky Jelly & Super Bounce Serum Another Milky Jelly bites the dust, but don't worry I already bought a replacement. You've heard me rave about Glossier more than enough already, so you can read about it here and here if you want to know more. Long story short: try it, love it, buy it on repeat. I'm off to start bottle #6. As for Super Bounce, I also loved it and will definitely repurchase it. It felt light on my skin, didn't break my out and, as the name suggests, left my skin looking plump and bouncy. I decided to try Super Pure for the summer, but this one will definitely rejoin my rotation when the weather cools down.
Ren ClearCalm 3 Replenishing Gel Cream I finished this bottle during my challenge and bought another as soon as it hit July 1st because this product is a summer staple. This makes the perfect night cream during the warmer months; it feels extremely light but is surprisingly hydrating, and it simultaneously calms redness and prevents breakouts. I tend to get UV-induced inflammation (i.e. heat and sun make my face red), so the fact that this encourages cellular repair and fights free radical and UV damage is absolutely perfect. It also contains licorice extract which gently treats blemishes and prevents others from forming. And can we talk about the scent? Chamomile, rosemary, sage and lavender make this a dream to put on before bed; it's a complete aromatherapy experience. All in all, two thumbs up.
The Beauty Chef Probiotic Skin Refiner Another one from the Fall Skincare Edit. This 100% natural bio-fermented toner with lactic acid is meant to gently exfoliate the skin, moisturize and encourage collagen production the skin. I started off using this product once a day on a damp cotton pad then began using it full strength, twice a day after a few weeks, and saw a good difference in my skin. It's a very gentle product, so it takes time and consistency to see results, but it helped decongest my complexion and reduced my sun spots. My only complaint is that it made me breakout for the first 2 - 3 weeks, I'm talking under the skin blemishes that hurt. The breakouts went away as I continued to use the product, and although the decongestion process was a unpleasant, it was worth the clear and glowing skin I had after. The verdict: loved it and will repurchase.
Thayer's Original Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera This is my favorite brand of witch hazel and the aloe vera version is the best! It cleanses, hydrates and soothes my skin all at once. I use this daily as a post-cleanse toner to get any last bits of residue off my skin, but it's also a miracle treatment for calming sunburn and taking the itch out of bug bites. Thayer's formulas are free of parabens and pthalates; some are astringents (meaning they contain alcohol) but I only use the alcohol-free ones. Like I said, the aloe vera formula is my favorite, but there are a few others including rose, lavender and cucumber that are great as well!
Wedderspoon Manuka Honey Night Cream with Bee Venom This cream was wonderful to use and after finishing the jar, I would definitely recommend it. It was the perfect winter night cream - ultra hydrating and comforting - and it completely got rid of dry patches. It has an extremely rich texture and was a little heavy for my combination skin to use nightly, but it made the perfect twice weekly overnight treatment. This was just featured in my bee beauty post, so definitely check that out for more info on the cream and it's amazing ingredients. I will absolutely repurchase this for the winter and would recommend it for anyone that suffers from dry patches (use it to spot treat!) or for very dry or aging skin types.
I also finished...a few Karuna sheet masks - Renewal + Eye Mask and Clarifying+ - both were great. Garnier Micellar Makeup Removing Towlettes - love these, always have them on hand. Some Biologique Recherche samples - love me some P50, but the creams weren't for me. An SK II sample - fine but I'm not a fan of the ingredients.
Ooof, that's a lot of stuff! I think it's pretty obvious that this no-spend challenge was a big success for me. Not only did I clear out a ton of space in my medicine cabinet, but I saved money (always great!) and it gave me a new perspective on product purchases. I have always been afraid to run out of products I love - what if it sells out, what if they discontinue it, what if, what if - but, realistically, having a stockpile of products really isn't necessary. Sure, I might buy two of everyday staples if I have a discount or if it's a product I can only find abroad, but from now on I am going to make a much bigger effort to keep my beauty wardrobe minimal and more streamlined. You can only use so many products in a day! Did you guys complete the challenge? Let me know how your no-spend month went in the comments below!
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