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?

Autumn Empties with Mini Reviews

Another season has passed, so time for another round of empties! This time I'm doing things a bit differently - there are a couple of products I'm letting go. Mostly because they are expired, but I've started a new rule that if an opened product t a) doesn't bring me any joy b) can't be repurposed c) I would feel bad to pass them on - they'll get some Mari Kondo and recycled. Mostly these products are win for me, I'll mention if they are or will get repurchased!

Autumn Empties and Product Reviews | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Skincare

Innisfree Eco Safety SPF 50 Sunscreen

My favorite sunscreen of all time; I've even loved all of it's reformulation. The yellow tube is not very photogenic and the formula is a thicker cream, but for someone who has dry skin yet hates greasy feeling from a sunscreen, this is perfect. Mentioned in multiple posts, such as my Best Sunscreens for Summer 2018 post.

Absolution Eye Cream*

This slightly illuminating eye cream was okay, but in the end I noticed no difference in, well, anything. I would've preferred it if the illuminating properties were stronger to cancel my under eye darkness or if the formula was more hydrating. Not awful, but won't be purchasing this. Part of my Glamlin box review.

NIOD Flavanone Mud*

Speaking of awful, it remains a mystery to me what is the purpose of this mask. The smell was absolutely dreadful, like rotten olives, and usually I'm OK with funky smells (such as yeasts) if the mask performs. Didn't use this up, it's gotta go. In the future I doubt I will be reviewing any Deciem products.

January Labs Daily Brightening Tonic

One of my favorite toners of all time! This one I purchased, but January has sent me backups fyi. This tonic is gentle, both slightly hydrating and exfoliating with lactic acid, perfect for everyday use. I see all skin types would benefit from this product without irritation. Full review here.

Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelator

Josh Rosebrook makes some of my favorite skincare products and if you like mists this one is among the best. Great ingredients, the spritz is super fine, hydrating and has a slight vanilla scent (far from overly sweet). I prefer traditional toners over mists, but this one I'm planing to have in my routine.

Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 (mini)

I got this mini size from my friend and fell hard in love. I've already purchased 150ml size and I rotate it with the January Labs toner. If my skin feels bumpy, congested or my blackheads look visible - it's time for P50. Very strong, so I recommend trying a sample size or a mini first.

Pur~Lisse Blue Lotus Serum*

As much as I like Pur~lisse, this serum falls into the category of products I just don't notice any benefit from or get particularly excited to use. I'm happy I powered this through, I used a ton on my neck and chest. Perhaps an okay 'starter' serum for someone in their teens, but for me.. nope.

Diego Dalla Palma Vitamin C Radiance Serum*

Vitamin C serum that doesn't discuss the % of Vitamin C. Despite the opaque package I felt this oxidized pretty quickly, could be because of the dropper packaging. Didn't see any results, won't use again. Part of my Glamlin box review.

Max and Me Sweet Serenity Mask and Wash*

One of the most decadent and delightful masks I've used. I would never ever use this as a cleanser, but it does "wash away" dirt when you rinse it off. Magical, creamy concoction of kaolin clay, manuka honey and shea butter that draws out impurities very gently, doesn't dry out the skin and pampers both mind and skin. Will repurchase (the mini-size, as this one is pricey)!

Mahalo Vitality Elixir Serum

One of my favorite oil-based serums of all time. Nourishing, antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory and very balancing and hydrating. I love Mahalo products and I think this is one of the gems. This facial oil/serum is very luxurious but I will repurchase once I've worked through some of my other facial oils.

Mahalo The Bean Mask

Again, one of the best antioxidant and exfoliating mask. A blend of cacao, coffee and vanilla (thus, the Bean) that draws out impurities, balances yet doesn't dry out the skin. My favorite mask from this line is still the Petal (review here), but I can't wait to dig into a fresh jar of the Bean.

Mahogany Naturals The Blue Lover*

If May Lindstrom's cult favorite balm is out of your budget, but you love blue tansy - you need this balm. This under-rated balm is gorgeous: nourishing, moisturizing yet very calming and soothing for both your skin and mind. I used a decant version of this balm so unfortunately my full-size started to grow mold, so I had to discard it. Will get a new jar once I've used up some of my other balms. 

Lina Hanson Global Treasures Balm

Another balm I simply loved. This balm is softer, melts easily between your fingers and works great around the eyes. Packed with antioxidants, simply a delight to use. Again, will repurchase once I've worked through some other balms and masks.

Luxe Botanics Marula Oil*

Simple yet excellent facial oil that moisturizes without leaving your skin feeling too greasy or oily. I loved the scent of this. I love how well-curated line Luxe Botanics is, my favorite product is still the Camu serum, but I would recommend the Marula oil if you're looking for a high quality marula. Full review here.

Autumn Empties and Product Reviews | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Body and Hair

Ben and Anna Deodorant in Vanilla Orchid*

My favorite eco deodorant to date! I was very sceptic about this baking soda and shea butter-based formula, but it keeps me dry and odour free on most days. Vanilla Orchid is my favorite scent to date! Read my full review here.

Rituals Shower Gel in Sakura

I like Rituals, great if you're looking for a pampering gift. I prefer the shower foams though.

Mahogany Naturals Body Scrub*

Unfortunately this scrub was way too dried (or dried out?) on me.. The huge particles were kind of a messy for someone who'd prefer to use a scrub in the shower. Not my cup of tea.

Max and Me Flight to The Sun Body Oil

I adore Max and Me body oils! The Flight to The Sun was what I "needed" at the time, but at the moment I'm using Circle of Protection, which feels more like my cup of tea. Heavier than a dry oil, but doesn't make my skin feel greasy for a long time. They have several gorgeous nourishing body oils, just choose one what feels most like "you".

Makeup, Nails and Perfume

Essie Nail Polish

Unfortunately I can't find the shade name of this polish, I wonder if it was LE but judging by swatches 93 Mesmerized is pretty close

Rouge Bunny Rouge Diaphanous Powder

My favorite powder of all time. Despite the fact I used this powder daily to set my under eyes this jar lasted me for ages. This is the most smoothing, finely milled powder you can ever imagine. Will definitely repurchase. Review here.

KATE Liquid Eyeliner in Black

This might sound gross but I think I used this liner for a good year or two at least. It simply just didn't dry out and the brush tip kept its shape beautifully. Long-lasting, nice shade of black and the price is very reasonable. Will repurchase. 

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz

I think this is my second? third? Brow Wiz and sadly my last. It's an okay product, but I just don't see what's the hype when there's a lot of competition on the market. A spoolie that breaks is a total no-go and turn-off for me. I much prefer Clinique or Dior.

Wella Luxe Oil

Nice and basic hair oil. Despite my hair being dry I guess this was a bit too heavy and a bit too scented for my taste, but I can see why it's very popular. If you have more damaged, perhaps bleached hair, I think you'd really enjoy this one.

Chloe Eau de Parfum

Chloe's Eau de Parfum brings me back a lot of good memories from Japan and my friends who live there. It'll always have a place in my heart, but as the years went by I noticed the scent wasn't very "me" any longer and I had found perfumes that I prefer. I might give it a sniff if I'm needing a new scent, but not sometime soon. The bottle has little left as I didn't use it all up before it started to smell funky. 

Autumn Empties and Product Reviews | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Here's my most recent empties! Spot any favorites? What have you used up lately? x

*Products marked with an asterisk (*) were kindly gifted for consideration.
My opinions are honest and my own.

Moisturizing / Sleeping Masks Roundup

Not all moisturizing or hydrating masks are created equal. I love this type of a product - a quick-fix for thirsty skin or overnight treatment that's supposed to intensely nourish, pamper and soothe. When the season changed from Winter to Spring I experienced severe dehydration and dark circles, so I started to experiment with many masks and eye creams (theme for another post!), looking for The One. These are some of the masks I've tried that are clearly advertised as moisture/sleeping masks. Enjoy!

best-sleeping-masks-review1.jpg

How to use a moisturizing / sleeping mask?

I first encountered sleeping masks when travelling in South-Korea: they were thicker gels or creams with lots of moisturizing and emollient ingredients that "lock" in all your hydrating, treating skincare. One of the old school brands were Laneige, whose pink sleeping lip mask has now been popularized by Western bloggers.

Always follow the direction on the packaging, but 99% of moisturizing masks work in a similar manner. You can either apply them on clean skin for 15-20 minutes to instantly plump, sooth and moisturize your skin or you can apply all of your lotions and potions and leave the moisturizing mask overnight. "Locking in" all your other skincare will have the most benefit. The masks featured in this post I've tried either as a mask or as an overnight treatment with/without other skincare application.

Usually the difference with a moisturizing mask and a regular night cream is only slight. Do you need both? Not in my opinion. Masks are often lighter cream or gel textures with little other benefits except moisture and hydration. Masks are also less expensive, so they make a great night-time treat if you're on a budget! They also work wonderfully in airplanes where the recycled air tends to dry out your skin.

best-sleeping-masks-review4.jpg
Sleeping Masks Reviews | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

CaudAlie Masque-Crème Hydratant / Moisturizing Mask*

€32.5 / $39 for 75ml / 2.5 fl.oz.

This mask is advertised as a 15 min treatment or as an overnight mask with grape oil, Caudelie's signature wine yeast and hyaluronic acid. There's also glycerine, squalane and fatty alcohols for retaining moisture. The fragrance and dimethicone (silicone to improve "silky" texture) I find as unnecessary ingredients and very high up in the INCI, but fortunately the mask smells very mildly. The texture of the Caudelie Masque-Crème Hydratant is light silky cream that sits on the top of the skin like a veil instead of getting absorbed. I very much enjoy this mask as a 15 minute pick-me-up when my skin feels dry or tight.

Madara SOS HYDRA MASK*

€34.60 / $40.25 for 75ml / 2.5 fl.oz.

The Madara mask could be like an eco-sister to the Caudelie as it's also a lightweight cream in a tube packaging. The cream similarly doesn't absorb but sits on the skin but sits on the top. The suggested wear time is 15-20 minutes but my skin starts to feel uncomfortably tight on the 5 minute mark and I just want to take it off. It does leave my skin silky feeling, but not moisturized or hydrated. I think I will pass this on to someone with more combo-oily skin type and see if they like it.

January Labs Moisture Renew Mask*

€29.25 / $34 for 75ml / 2.5 fl.oz. available at Cult Beauty*

January Labs is one of my favorite skincare brands and I was ecstatic about this launch. I use Moisture Renew Mask mainly as a sleeping mask on the top of my other skincare or alone if I'm feeling very tired. In the morning all tightness feels gone and my skin is left feeling bouncy and hydrated. I like this mask as it sinks into the skin and doesn't feel thick or tacky, I imagine this would be wonderful on airplanes as it's virtually invisible yet very moisturizing. 

Clarins Masque Crème "Anti Soif"

New version is called SOS Hydra Refreshing Hydration Mask €29.25 / $34 for 75ml / 2.5 fl.oz. available at Kicks.fi

Clarins masks recently got relaunched, I think this mask is discontinued as it is. While the texture of this mask is light and milky, I don't find it made any difference on my skin. Convenient to use, but not hydrating or moisturizing enough for my skin type. I'm not sure why I've hold onto this. I might ask a sample of the new mask as I've seen some positive reviews, but I'm not in any rush.

V10 Plus+ Okinawa Deep Sea Water Mask*

€43.5 / $50.60 for 100ml / 3.38 fl.oz.

V10 Plus+ is a Japan inspired line with extensive range of serums targeted every possible cause. I was the most interested in the other products from the line, especially the Okinawa Deep Sea Water Mask. It has a simple INCI including hydrating glycerine, algae extract, antioxidant-rich natto gum and sodium hyaluronate. The gel texture is light, almost watery and doesn't feel like much on the skin, but after sleeping with this mask on my skin feels hydrated and plump. I like this a lot!

Josh Rosebrook Advanced Hydration Mask

€84 / $65 for 45ml / 1.5 fl.oz. available at Jolie.fi*

This mask is like a grainy balm that melts between your fingers to oil-like consistency. This mask is packed with plant oils, butters and herbs, mostly certified organic. The scent is very calming (has lavender) and I feel the same way about the product. I like to use this if my skin is aggravated; I've done a lot of exfoliating or maybe a retinol. What I don't like is the steep price tag for the amount of product you're getting. Little goes a long way and Josh's products are top-notch quality, but sometimes my wallet leaves a little cry. I do prefer this to the Vital Cream Balm, which is even more expensive.

best-sleeping-masks-review3.jpg

Which mask should I choose?

  • Moisturizing mask on an airplane: January Labs, Caudelie, V10 Plus

  • A big drink to the skin overnight: January Labs, Josh Rosebrook, V10 Plus

  • To seal in other products (serums, toners) overnight: Josh Rosebrook

  • Quick morning mask: Caudelie

  • Hydration for combination to oily skin: V10 Plus, Clarins

  • Eco beauty: January Labs, Josh Rosebrook

I hope this post is helpful! What's your favorite night time product? Do you use moisturizing or sleeping mask? x

*Products marked with an asterisk (*) were kindly gifted for consideration.
My thoughts are honest and my own.