Mega Empties Post (Spring 2019): Makeup, Skincare and Fragrance

I’ve been accumulating empties in my closet since last Fall I think.. Sorting and photographing them seemed such a drag and I kept putting off the tedious peace of work - which I found quite fun in the end! Cara was helping me out, curating and sniffing the piles. I decided to do these empties in more discussing style vs listing products and their good/bad points. I hope you like this format, feel free to leave any product specific questions in the comments!

Gifted items are marked with *.
Contains affiliate links.

 Copyright Laura Loukola
 Copyright Laura Loukola
 Copyright Laura Loukola
 Copyright Laura Loukola

Skincare EmptieS: Products I Enjoyed

By the way, I tried to affiliate link most of the products - if you decide to click and purchase, thank you for your support! I love Ben&Anna Deodorant Sticks*. I have one in my bathroom, in my partner’s closet, travel pouch.. Still loving the product and how you can recycle the cardboard packaging. I run out of these too quickly though, so I might purchase a similar deodorant in a jar form next.

My other favorites are pretty clear: anything from January Labs, Innisfree Perfect UV Protection Cream Triple Care sunscreen and Mádara’s SPF30 for face and body*. Innisfree and Mádara I’ve already repurchased because I run out of sunscreen so quickly and I always need a couple of them on hand. The January Labs Daily Brightening Tonic and Revitalizing Day Cream I’m going to repurchase asap, but in the meantime I’m testing a couple of other toners and creams for review. January Labs creams, toner and cleanser are still my die-hard, holy grail, best of the best favorites. The Restorative Tonic Mist* was an older one, I have a small backup and I hope the mister is better. I could live without this, but if you’re a mist fanatic I recommend keeping and eye on the mist.

I also loved the THREE Balancing Cleansing Oil, my beloved Kypris Antioxidant Dew and Esse R6 serum*. The Esse R6 is one of the very few serums I’ve enjoyed as much as I’ve liked Kypris - except the price per/ml is pretty high with Esse. Nuxe Rêve de miel lip balm is something I always have on hand. I’m already 2/3 done with my next pot. The de Mamiel lip balm was also lovely, but it started to smell odd before I had finished it. The texture is more oily than balmy and for my chapped lips I think I prefer the cheaper Nuxe Rêve de miel.

 Copyright Laura Loukola

Cure Natural Aqua Gel is a classic and I’ve gone through several bottles. I’m now testing the V10+ version of this peeling gel and it’s just as nice, more pricey but in a convenient small tube. NUORI mist went off too soon, but otherwise I’d love to get another one. May Lindstrom the Honey Mud, Exuviance Eye Cream, ATOCLASSIC Real Tonic Essence* I might get another one if I’m in the mood. BYBI’s Supercharge Serum* is a product I still recommend (full review here), but personally I prefer more luxury, complex facial oils. CCS Foot cream hasn’t heard of any luxury, but is excellent for chapped feet. I’ve seen my Mother using this for years and my foot therapist has recommended me to use a foot cream regularly, so this has been my go-to. Lush Fairly Traded Honey shampoo smells awful to my nose, but I’ve noticed it makes my hair silky soft, so.. might repurchase for travel or my bf’s apartment.

 Copyright Laura Loukola

Skincare And Hair The “Mehh” Pile

These products were not bad, but disappointing in a way that I wouldn’t run/jog/walk to repurchase. I had especially high hopes for the African Botanics Cell Recovery serum, but despite using the whole bottle I found little to no effect on my skin. The ingredients list is very lovely and some of my Instagram friends swear by African Botanics, but if the bottle is £132 for 30ml (I did get it cheaper by subscribing to the Boxwalla) I expect more results or even something.

I do think most of you who don’t need a heavy moisturizer might enjoy the Whamisa Organic Flowers Nourishing Cream* (review here) - I did too, but in the end I just wanted to use it up. The same happened with the NUORI oil*, but overall I enjoy the brand. Patyka* or Clarins didn’t do anything to me and as per usual I couldn’t stand the smell of the Aurelia cream. Bravura London is a brand that offers simple skincare solutions and affordable chemical exfoliants. I felt this toner was going bad, I never touched it since discovering the Biologique Recherche P50 toner.

 Copyright Laura Loukola

Finally, the Josh Rosebrook Vital Balm Cream which was the biggest disappointment for me.. I love Josh’s skincare philosophy and his line, Vital Balm Cream sounds divine but in the end it was a more solid cream with an odd smell. I find that his oilier Advanced Hydration Mask works better for me as an overnight treatment - and is cheaper too!

 Copyright Laura Loukola
 Copyright Laura Loukola

Empty Makeup and Fragrance: What I loved

I’m partly proud and partly sad I finished my Jo Malone English Pear and Freesia perfume. Proud: a perfume takes some time to finish (and it was on the older side), yet sad: it’s a gorgeous scent, especially for Summer and the last days I wore it I kept getting compliments. Sigh, might need to repurchase.

ADDICTION Tinted Moisturizer and Skin Care Foundation - I did a full review about the renewed version of the foundation, which I sadly disliked. While I loved the original Tinted Moisturizer I think ADDICTION has also repackaged and possibly re-formulated this as well, so not repurchasing for now. My THREE Shimmering Glow Duo was going strong but searching my archives I found out it was 3 years old. That’s too long for a cream product - I decluttered this and purchased a new one. The Shimmering Glow Duo is still my favorite cream highlighter (talk about dedication!).

SUQQU Brow Mascara in Khaki I already repurchased, the Clinique brow pencil* lacked a spoolie but I will restock on this as well as the Lily Lolo Mascara*. Love, love love. As well as the Rouge Bunny Rouge Genesis Original Skin primer (great if you struggle with pores) and Rouge Bunny Rouge Pristine Light Light Corrective Eye Primer (tacky, heavy, but very good). I’m waiting for my bank account to allow me and restock on some Rouge Bunny Rouge items (this primer, eye primer, Diaphanous powder)… I know I have a lot of makeup to use up, but these items are irreplaceable!

Also: this Maybelline nailpolish remover (Acetone Free formula) is the bomb. Cheap, easily available in Finland, takes what it says on the tin: takes off nail polish gently and quickly. Doesn’t damage my nails. Will repurchase again and again.

 Copyright Laura Loukola
 Copyright Laura Loukola

Empties: Mascaras

I think with mascaras were going the old fashioned way and giving them some number ratings, which I’ve checked from my spread sheets. Left to right:

MAC Extended Play Gigablack Mascara – Worth all the hype, very nicely separating and curl keeping mascara that doesn’t smudge on me. Easy to remove with hot water. 4.5/5

Heroine Make Volume and Curl mascara – My cheap and chic Japanese version for MAC Extended Play, except that Heroine Make’s non-waterproof formula is still more waterproof than many Western competitors. The wand is my liking, easy to apply, but not much volume. 5/5

dejavu Lash Knockout Mascara – This brush was humongous which made mascara hard to apply. No much volume, an okay “no makeup” makeup style mascara. 3/5

Estée Lauder Sumptuous Extreme mascara – I purchased this mascara after enjoying the Multi Effects by EL, but again the large wand was not for my liking. The formula was also very wet, which made the mascara smudge easily. 3.5/5

Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Lash Multi Effects mascara* – Excellent mascara for building up some volume or length depending which side of the wand are you use. Lasts well, but easy to take off. 4/5

Lily Lolo Mascara* – My surprise love from the green beauty scene! Nice wand, formula medium dryness, good for building up some volume. Will get a new one. 4.5/5

 Copyright Laura Loukola

Makeup Empties. The ‘Mehh’ Pile and Dislikes

A couple of these items were a purge. That Lancome Juicy Shaker was simply old, grimy and I think the Gressa lip balm had expired as I purchased it from a sale (this shop no longer carried the brand). Too bad, Lavish was a beautiful metallic pink and I would’ve loved to wear it more. The RMS Buriti Bronzer was also getting funky - I rarely wear a shimmery bronzer so this didn’t get the love it deserved.

Then a couple of concealers: YSL Touche Éclat.. yeah I dunno, I guess the shade 2 was too dark for me highlighting. Rouge Bunny Rouge Luminous Skin Wand was a good, light and hydrating under eye concealer, but the clicker kept dispensing too much. Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage in SC-2 never really worked for me, I kept mixing the two colors without ever getting the shades just right. I love the concept, but not a product for me as I can pinpoint conceal quicker with other products.

And finally the setting spray and makeup mist I both disliked. Urban Decay All Nighter did nothing for me and the MAC Fix+ bottle leaked on me again and again. Wouldn’t repurchase these two, I far prefer my KICKS Matte Setting Spray* and Beauty Blender Makeup Mist*.

 Copyright Laura Loukola

Final Word and What Would I Repurchase First

What I would repurchase right away would be the Kypris Antioxidant Dew (again), January Labs Toner and Cream, Esse Serum R6, Rouge Bunny Rouge Eye Primer, Lily Lolo Mascara, CCS Foot Cream and Jo Malone Perfume. Other must-haves such as NUXE Rêve de Miel, THREE highlighter duo and THREE Cleansing Oil plus both sunscreens (Innisfree and Mádara) I already have repurchased and in my stash. Oh, and same with Ben&Anna deodorants!

Total count of used up products: 50. Fifty! And as I’m typing this I’ve already added 5 new products to my empties paper bag… more about those next time! What have you last used up?

My Winter Morning Skincare Routine

I was watching some Youtubers sharing their skincare routines and thought it’d be fun to share my current go-to routine. Part of the fun is looking back my older routines and what products I’ve been reaching for. My routines are always a mix of “must-haves” and products I’m testing for a review - some of them will end up on the blog again and again while some might be left forgotten.. I recommend using the search and tag tools if you’re looking for a particular product review. Gifted products are marked with an asterisk (*). Also, say hi to Cara, my ~15-week-old maine coon kitten. <3

Winter AM Skincare Routine | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Current skincare goals / Concerns

My skin did pretty good before November, but as the month changed I swear to you my skin turned a) dry as a parchment paper b) my under eyes darker than darkness. Winters in Helsinki are partly freezing cold, windy and partly just annoyingly rainy, while there’s central heating indoors. Right now my biggest concerns are dehydration and evening out my complexion. I had a grand zit after the holidays and it left noticeable redness behind. Lightening my old acne scaring is always an on-going process, but sometimes I pay less attention on it. My final concerns are some blackheads on my nose (which this routine doesn’t target as much, I do opt for stronger acids from time to time).

Winter AM Skincare Routine | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Winter AM Skincare Routine | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

My AM Routine

My “beauty sin” is to wash my face in the shower. Fortunately I dislike long and hot showers, so I’m out of there pretty quickly before my skin turns into a worse raisin than it already is. In the shower I have a couple of cleanser options, but lately I’ve been liking the Glope Hope Cosmetics Cleansing Gel* (33.1€ / 150ml). It feels mild and gentle, perfect for AM routine. The INCI list is short and simple: packed with cornflower water, aloe and hydrating glycerine. In the evenings I tend to reach for more heavy duty cleansers.

Next is the one and only - Januarylabs Daily Brightening Tonic (Cult Beauty* 29.7€ / 150ml) (review here). I think I was sent one back when this launched, then I purchased another, then another.. I can’t begin to imagine my life without it. Because of the packaging I feel the easiest application method is to pour some on a cotton pad and gently swipe face and neck. This multi-purpose toner both retains moisture and gently resurfaces the skin with lactic acid. I can highly recommend this to everyone!

After the Tonic I apply an essence. I had a small break with essences, only to notice how much I miss it. My friend Marinka was kind enough to shop for me during her travels and top 1. in my wish list was the Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence (69.53€ / 150ml). I had seen some positive reviews on Fresh and not gonna lie, the kombucha trend did encourage me to pick this one up. The essence is just as I like it - light but thicker than plain water, hydrates, plumps and treats. I have noticed my skin is glowing after I started using this, but I won’t make any claims just yet.

After prepping my skin it’s time for serums. This is a bit tricky category as serums take a while to make a difference in the skin - especially if it’s lightening pigmentation. Globe Hope Cosmetics Lumi Strong* (54.90€ / 30ml) is packed with blueberry extract and arbutin from bilberry extract, which is a melanin inhibitor. If you’re HC about eco skincare and want to lighten pigmentation, Lumi Strong is worth looking into, but I unfortunately haven’t seen any change in my pigmentation issues during the good 4 weeks I’ve been using it. Clinique’s Hydrating Jelly* (61.50€ / 125ml) is also a slight disappointment for me. As much as I like hydrating serums and ampoules, I haven’t found one that would beat Kypris Antioxidant Dew or Esse Serum (reviews here) in that deep hydration my thirsty skin craves. If Clinique launches its Vitamin C and Retinol Boosters in Finland (which you can mix in the jelly) in Finland I’m willing to try again.

Eye cream is something I don’t use 100% of the time. Lately I’ve tried various eco beauty roll-ons, but this Tata Harper Restorative Eye Cream*.. it’s a winner. Needless to say, as it’s very expensive (Cult Beauty* ~100€ / 15ml). Is it worth it? Is any eye cream (or skincare product)? If yes.. then Tata’s close. This eye cream is rich, moisturizing, but doesn’t give me any puffiness around the eye area or milia. Finally I feel my dark circles have improved and I hope the good INCI list can strengthen my eye area as it promises.

Another luxurious eco skincare treat in my routine is the Henua Organics Recharging Moisturizer* (129€ / 30ml), but it is a treat.. Not only Henua Organics is made in Finland, packed in the most exquisite bottles with birch wood caps, 85% organic farming and eco cert, but also this cream is packed with birch sap, pine park extract, sea buckthorn oil - just to name a few. It leaves my skin feeling so soft and supple, packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. I want to write a whole dedicated article about Henua Organics, keep your eyes peeled!

Finally the must have I keep on preaching about: SPF!! This Mádara Plant Stem Cell Antioxidant Sunscreen SPF30 (~15.2€ / 100ml, available at House of Organic (FI)*) was one of my Best SPF for Summer 2018. Don’t let the package fool you, some sites might even list this sunscreen on the ‘body’ section, but I use it for my face, neck, décolleté, hands, you name it.. This sunscreen is on the heavier, a bit greasier side texture-wise and does leave a bit of white cast, which does disappear when you massage it in. I was sent one tube to test, went through it and purchased a new one. In the Spring and Summer I might go back to my beloved Innisfree sunscreen, but Mádara is easy to purchase here in Helsinki, inexpensive and my dry skin simply loves it. Rain or shine, Winter or Summer - always remember the SPF!

Winter AM Skincare Routine | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Did you spot any favorites in my routine or something you’d love to read more about? Leave questions, comments and your routine favorites in the comments below!

*Products marked with an asterisk(*) were kindly gifted me for consideration, with no obligation to write about them. My thoughts and opinions are my honest and my own.

If I Lost All My Skincare - 10 Things I Would First Buy

Good, old school tags have a place in my heart; the kinds that share easy, interesting information you didn’t even know you’re dying to know. Not a big fan of the craziest, mindless entertainment tags on YouTube, but when I saw Michelle’s and Natalie’s videos I got excited and started to think about my own picks: If I lost ALL my skincare - what would I run and buy? I think ten is a good number that covers most of the essential skincare steps and maybe a good mask or a pamper product. I’ve listed the products in the order of application, so let’s see!

10 Skincare Items I Would First Buy Tag | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

THREE Balancing Cleansing Oil

I’ve tried many cleansing oils: FANCL, DHC, Whamisa, Josh Rosebrook, Max and Me, but the number one for me would be THREE Balancing Cleansing Oil. I love how gentle, luxurious and fragrant with essential oils it is, but takes off all makeup without stripping the skin. It’s a great workhorse that I look forward using every night, so it’s a must on my list.

de Mamiel Brightening Cleanse and Exfoliate

I should pick a second cleanser here, but my heart says de Mamiel.. I’m absolutely smitten with this powder-to-paste exfoliant that I can leave on as a mask for ~5 minutes. It’s strong with purifying clays, botanical powders and brightening Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C). I can’t wait for every use as my complexion feels so fresh and bright afterwards. I shop de Mamiel at Cult Beauty*.

Mahalo the Petal Mask

I’ve had my ups and downs with this mask. Initially in my review I wasn’t crazy about this mask, but after meeting the founder of Mahalo, Maryna, I learned the Petal is not a moisturizing mask, but has a potency to pamper when “your skin doesn’t know what it needs”. Annoying tagline, but it’s true: the Petal evens out the skin, balances oil production, hydrates and pampers. I feel it’s a great all-rounder mask for anyone’s stash!

January Labs Daily Brightening Tonic

This gentle lactic acid and which hazel toner is a multitasker and a firm favorite in my daily routine. The Daily Brightening Tonic gently peels the uppermost layer of the skin while balancing the pH and hydrates with aloe and glycerin. The ingredients also include calming oat kernel extract, which can also be found in the day cream. Simple, light and lovely for daily hydration and glow. Full review here. Available at Cult Beauty*.

Biologique Recherche Lotion P50

I’m kinda cheating here and choosing two toners so I can rotate AM/PM. Lotion P50 is a classic, more “hardcore” exfoliating toner. It tingles, some say it stinks like vinegar, but the ingredients in this toner promise to diminish the look of fine lines, smooth texture, even out pigmentation and take care of clogged pores over time. I’m still struggling with minor acne scaring and I want to prevent premature pigmentation or signs of ageing, so this product is a must.

10 Skincare Items I Would First Buy Tag | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Kypris Antioxidant Dew

This serum is a saviour for a ‘prune’-like skin like mine.. The Kypris Antioxidant Dew is non-greasy, non-residue serum that provides an immense amount of hydration while packing the skin with plant extracts, oils and antioxidants. This serum quenched my skin’s thirst when I was feeling the dry due to seasonal changes. On my second bottle and will definitely repurchase again.

Max and Me I Am The Light oil

I’ve done a full review on the Enchanted oil/serum, which also appeared in my Best of Skincare 2017 post, but after I went through Enchanted and a mini of I Am The Light, I’m settled on the latter. Enchanted is more repairing while I Am The Light is for skin that’s more healed, I’d say. For dull or congested skin to give you the most beautiful illuminating glow. I love the calming scent of its essential oils and vibrant golden color. A must-have oil-serum in my ritual, but Mahalo’s the Vitality Elixir is a close second!

January Labs Revitalizing Day Cream

I can firmly say this is my “Holy Grail” daytime moisturizer. This lightweight lotion-like cream feels and leaves your skin silky. Packed with Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid, botanical extracts, peptides and Beta Glucan to strengthen, soothe and plump the skin. My dry skin simply feels nourished every time I use this. The packaging is also excellent and one bottle lasts a good while as you only need to apply ~1/2 pump for your face and neck. Full review here. Available at Cult Beauty*.

Lina Hanson Global Treasures Balm

Balms are difficult because I love so many, but I chose Lina Hanson Global Treasures balm (not pictured) as it’s very emollient, not too “heavy” and doubles as a face and an eye balm. Also, I miss having this in my routine as I’ve run out of my current jar. Luxurious and lush, but I equally love the Max and Me and Mahalo balms.

Innisfree Sunscreen SPF50

Oldie but a goodie. I’ve used up well over 10 of these tubes over the years. The current formulation is called triple care for dry skin or something similar, I just go for the yellow tube (not pictured) and slather my face with its physical sunscreen that doesn’t leave me a bad white cast or a greasy feel. Read more in my sunscreen roundups or empties posts.

10 Skincare Items I Would First Buy Tag | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Final notes

As you may have noticed this routine didn’t cover a proper 2nd cleanse or other serums (Vitamin C, Retinol) simply because I had “no room” for them in my routine and/or a favorite product at the moment. These are some products I simply can’t live without although I have many other favorites as well. Thank you for Michelle and Natalie for this tag! Finally, I’m tagging YOU! Please share your 10 products you’d first buy in the comments, Instagram or your blog! x

Btw if you love this Globe Hope makeup pouch as much as I do, with the code laura10 you can can get -10% off all purchases from their webstore! (non-affiliate code, valid until the end of November).