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?

3 Best Hydrating Serums to Date

When November came, I swear my lips turned parched, under eyes darker than darkness and skin rough and dry - all in a blink of an eye. I’ve been layering my skin with hydrating serums/ampoules, Max and Me facial oil (review here) and January Labs face cream (review here). But hydration is key! Today I’ll be chatting about three different hydrating serums from 3 different price points. There’s a mix of eco and K-beauty, so I’m sure there’s something for everyone!

3 Best Hydrating Serums | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
3 Best Hydrating Serums | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Esse Serum R6*

15ml for 47€

This Esse serum came to me “out of the blue”; I’ve read favorable reviews of this line, but don’t remember specific products mentioned. I fell quickly in love and hard. I love that this bottle has a pump and not a pipette. I take about two pumps and the serum spreads on the skin evenly, absorbing quickly and diminishing any feeling of tightness. While the price is cheaper than Kypris - the bottle is significantly smaller: only 15ml! I got through this serum pretty quickly, but I can’t wait to purchase a new one when there’s a sale.

This almost water-free formula (water is the 4th to last ingredient) is based in rooibos leaf extract and rose water, followed by inulin (humectant) and glycerin. After a couple of binding agents the formula is packed with sodium hyaluronate, several fruit and plant extracts. I think the color must be from rooibos leaf and the light sweet scent from vanilla extract. There’s a little bit of exfoliating salicylic acid in this formula, but it’s not very high up in the INCI list, so I think it’s safe to use even if you have other exfoliating products in your routine. If you’re very sensitive, there’s fragrant limonene and linalool in the formula, so I’d ask a sample first.

Ingredients

Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos) Leaf Extract*, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Water, Inulin, Glycerin, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Xanthan Gum, Tragacanth Gum, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract*, Sodium Hyaluronate, Kigelia Africana Fruit Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Vanilla Planifolia Extract, Cyclopia Genistoides (Honeybush) Leaf Extract*, Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Flower Oil*, Salicylic Acid, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Levulinic Acid, Sodium Levulinate, Water (Aqua), Tocopherol, Limonene***, Linalool***
*ingredients from organic farming **made from organic ingredients ***component of natural essential oils, 99% of the total ingredients are from natural origin. 48% of the total ingredients are from Organic Farming

3 Best Hydrating Serums | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Kypris Antioxidant Dew

47ml for £69 / €77

Kypris’ serum is an old favorite mine: quench and glow text in the bottle is quite accurate for this serum. When my skin is seriously ‘thirsty’ and dry, this serum is like giving it a big drink. The texture is light and milky, non-sticky and absorbs to the skin instantly. There is a very slight scent, but to my understanding it is from the plant extracts and not fragrance. The price is quite steep, but you get a very generous amount of the serum.

One thing I’m not too keen about is that this serum is water based - I’d far prefer aloe vera base or something else than plain water. The second ingredient is moisturizing glycerin, but again very inexpensive ingredient. However the next ingredients are moisturizing oils (sunflower and camellia), amino acid and moisturizing sugar, followed by a variety of plant extracts such as reed, comfrey leaf, nettle, damascus rose and so forth. I’d prefer the sodium hyaluronate and ferulic acid to be higher in the ingredient list, but still the results are very nice.

Ingredients

Water/Aqua, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Xylitylglucoside, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Algae, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Phospholipids, Phragmites Communis (Reed) Extract, Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey) Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, Poria Cocos Extract, Xylitol, Anhydroxylitol, Waltheria Indica Leaf Extract, Panthenol, Rosa Damascena Flower Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Calophyllum Inophylum (Tamanu) Seed Oil, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Superoxide Dismutase, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Mannitol, Dextrin, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Sodium Anisate, Sodium Levulinate, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Gluconate, Xanthan Gum 

3 Best Hydrating Serums | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Leegeehaam Grow Hyal B5 Ampoule*

30ml for €32.9

Leegeehaam is Korean cosmetics brand that is famous for it’s propolis ampoule. I’ve given both the Propolis and Hyal B5 ampoules a go and I do prefer the hydrating Hyal B5 one. Compared to Esse and Kypris this serum is much more gloopy, almost sticky feeling. I think it’s a good addition to a routine if you enjoy using many steps, but I’d recommend this serum more to normal to oily skin types. For my very thirsty, dry and dehydrated skin Leegeehaam alone isn’t hydrating enough.

While Kypris and Esse are eco beauty brands, Leegeehaam has some synthetic ingredients - this is not necessarily a bad thing, but a preference. Panthenol aka B5 is high in the ingredient list as promised, after a couple of other skincare ingredients that I love: niacinamide and sodium hyaluronate. Niacinamide is also known as Vitamin B3, which is also very versatile and beneficial skincare ingredient against uneven skin tone, dullness and wrinkles. I also love that this formula has some Korean herbal ingredients, such as Panax Ginseng Berry Extract!

Ingredients

Water, Glycerin, Methylpropanediol, 1,2-Hexanedio, Niacinamide, Dioscorea Japonica Root Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Piper Methysticum Leaf/Root/Stem Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Panax Ginseng Berry Extract, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Michelia Alba Leaf Oil, Elettaria Cardamomum Seed Oil, Michelia Alba Flower Oil, Tagetes Minuta Flower Oil, Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, Octyldodeceth-16, Polyquaternium-51, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Glycosyl Trehalose, Glyceryl Glucoside, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Raffinose, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Adenosine, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Tromethamine, Lecithin, Beta-Glucan, Butylene Glycol, Acetyl Glucosamine, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Ascorbyl Propyl Hyaluronate, Ascorbic Acid, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol 

Which one should I buy?

Very dry, dehydrated skin: Esse or Kypris
Normal to oily skins: Leegeeham
Luxury eco skincare lover: Esse or Kypris
Layering addict (K-beauty style): Leegeeham
Hydration on a budget: Leegeeham

You might have noticed, I don’t have much bad to say about any of these serums. I like to match them according to my skin needs on a particular day, but I understand that a ‘regular’ consumer might not want to purchase (over) three hydrating serums. As much as I like many ingredients in the Leegeehaam INCI list, I wish the texture was a bit runnier and lighter, so it would absorb faster. Perhaps that’s why it’s my least favorite, but I would still recommend it. The Esse serum is my recent addiction, but the price is quite high for repurchasing it on regular price. Most likely I will be repurchasing my 3rd bottle of the Kypris serum.

What’s your favorite hydrating serum? Let me know!

*Products marked with asterisk were kindly gifted for consideration.
All thoughts 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).