Sunday, 1 September 2019

Empties - August 2019

Back in March I published my first ‘Empties’ post, where I spoke about some of the products I had used up. I really like hearing what bloggers thought about products they have completely finished, as it’s good to know they’ve given something a really good try, so I thought I would make it a regular series (well, as regularly as I can use things up anyway!) I’ll still be writing about some of my first impressions of products too, but I think talking about a product you’ve used over a longer period of time means you can really work out whether you liked it or not. It’s taken me a few months to build up another collection of empty products, but I now finally have a decent amount to talk to you about. So, here are some of the products I finished up in August!

My first empty for today is one that I’m pretty gutted about to be honest, as they no longer sell it – the Dream Time Temple Balm from Lush. I received this quite a few years ago now, but you need so little with each application that it lasted forever! The product is basically like a hard lip balm, but rather than putting this on your lips, you can rub it into your temples or other pressure points like your wrists. It is scented with lavender and chamomile, to help the user have a deep and restful sleep.

I got into a routine of applying this every night before I went to bed, and although I’ve found a different sleep balm to use now, I’m really missing this one! I often struggle with anxiety, especially at night – my brain just likes to run away with itself when the world goes quiet. But having the scent of this lingering on my skin was often enough to help me to do some controlled breathing and start to relax, so I could drift off to sleep. If you’re looking for a range of products with a similar scent, I would recommend checking out the Sleepy products, although unfortunately they don’t do a sleep balm any more.

Next up is the Dr. PAWPAW Original Balm, which I think I received in one of my beauty subscription boxes when I was still getting them. It is marketed as ‘the original balm you can’t live without!’ although, before finding it in my box, I had been living without it, as I’d never got round to trying it! It is made in the UK from a variety of natural ingredients including paw paw (not entirely sure what that is!) When these ingredients are blended together, they create a multi-purpose formula that can be used for a whole handful of things including as a skin protector, moisturiser, nappy cream and lip finisher. It also has healing properties and can be used on sunburn, skin irritations and as a hair conditioning treatment. 

I can’t claim to have used it for all of these things, but for those that I did use it for, I found it pretty magic! For example, back when the weather was colder, the inside of my nose became really sore. So I started putting a little bit of this on the sore places at night, and within a few days my nose had begun to heal! I also used it on my dry, cracked lips, and again, within a few days they were feeling so much better. I can’t believe after all the hype I’d heard, that I hadn’t got around to trying this out for so long. I really need to buy myself another tube now that this one is empty.

My next empty product was actually a free sample that my Mum received when she bought a standard sized item as a gift – the Molton Brown Ylang Ylang Body Lotion. This lotion is a relaxing blend of ylang-ylang, cardamon and sweet vanilla, and normally comes in a 300ml bottle with a pump. It’s not the type of fragrance I would ordinarily gravitate towards, which is why I love a good free sample, as it allows me to try things I wouldn’t normally go for. I actually liked the scent a lot more than I thought I would and with it being a higher-end product, the scent lingers long after you’ve applied the lotion. It’s a lovely thick product, but absorbs well and doesn’t leave you feeling greasy, which is always a bonus! If I were to buy a standard sized bottle, I’m not sure if it would be the first scent I would choose, but after trying the sample I definitely wouldn’t discount it as I used to.

Whenever I think of ESPA, I always think of luxury spa treatments and beautifully indulgent products. And the ESPA Optimal Skin ProCleanser certainly didn’t disappoint. This is a 3-in-1 skincare essential – an effective gel cleanser, exfoliator and mask that will help to nourish and visibly brighten the complexion. Moringa Seed Extract cleanses and removes all traces of make-up while gentle Jojoba Spheres buff away dull cells, revealing a radiant, youthful glow. 

I absolutely loved using this skincare product and always felt like I was giving my skin a bit of an extra treat. I particularly love the little Jojoba Spheres, which melt away as you massage the product into your skin. Because of these spheres, I would have to spend a little bit longer rubbing the product into my face, and it was nice to just take that little bit more time over my skincare routine sometimes. The full-size product is quite pricey, but if I were treating myself or asking for a gift, I would definitely go for this product again.

Another brand that automatically makes me think of luxury is Aromatherapy Associates, and I was lucky enough to try a sample size of their Hydrating Renewing Rose Cleanser recently. This is a rick and velvety cleanser, which is ultra-gentle yet really effective. Infused with an essential oil blend of radiance-boosting finest Damask Rose and complexion-balancing Geranium, it brightens and hydrates. Alongside that, silky Jojoba oil melts away impurities and make-up to leave skin dewy, freshened and petal-soft.

This was another product that I absolutely loved using as part of my skincare routine – I only wish it hadn’t been so small and run out so quickly! Rose is one of my favourite scents and always makes me feel quite nostalgic, reminding me of the Turkish Delight that my Grandad used to love. So I’m always excited to try any product scented with it. This felt comforting and gentle to use on my face, and left my skin feeling nourished and glowing without being too drying. 

Since my hairdresser started using hair oils on my hair, I have got quite into trying out different types and different brands. I recently finished using this Pantene Smooth & Sleek Dry Argan Oil, which is actually recommended for dry hair (although I wouldn’t necessarily say that mine is particularly dry). It helps to make the difference between straggly, dry ends and a luxurious glossy mane, and even with my fairly ‘normal’ hair, it left it feeling shiny and hydrated. The blend of Moroccan Argan oil and lightweight Pro-V complex ensures you get the benefits of Morocco’s famed beauty elixir, without the greasiness associated with the 100% pure oil. 

Proven to add moisture for 24 hours, the Argan Dry Oil is the ideal treat for thirsty strands and is particularly good for fine hair.  I have very fine hair, and find it can be really difficult to find an oil that doesn’t weigh my hair down. But thankfully, this one didn’t leave my hair feeling heavy or greasy. Plus the bottle lasts ages, as you don’t need a lot per use.

Unfortunately, there are always going to be products that I don’t get on so well with, and this time round one of those was the Garnier Pure Active Sensitive Anti Blemish Clarifying Tonic. I’m a huge fan of the Garnier Micellar Water, so when I saw this I thought I would give it a try. It is meant to help tighten pores and soothe skin. With Witch Hazel extract, it is formulated for sensitive skin with imperfections and combines effectiveness with a gentle, hydrating formula. It is also hypoallergenic and ph neutral for optimal tolerance.

I will say that it felt quite cooling and soothing when I applied it to my skin, but I really just wasn’t that keen on the gel-like formula. I found it quite messy, as it would drip off my cotton pad and be difficult to apply if I put even a little too much on. I don’t by any means think it’s a bad product, and like I said, I love a lot of other Garnier items, but I just don’t think this particular formulation was for me. I think I’ll probably stick to liquid toners in future.

This next product is one of my all-time favourites, and I’ve lost count of how many bottles of the Simple Kind To Eyes Make-up Remover I’ve bought now! It cleanses effectively yet is gentle around the delicate eye area. It is also an oil-free formulation and even removes waterproof mascara, as well as soothing the area around the eyes. This contains no artificial perfume or colour and no harsh chemicals that can upset sensitive skin. It is also dermatologically tested and approved.

As I said, I’ve been buying this for quite a while now – I’ve tried other eye make-up removers, but this is the only one I’ve tried so far that doesn’t irritate my eyes. I’ve used some that have literally had me crying in pain, despite saying they’re sensitive, while others haven’t particularly hurt, but they also haven’t removed my make-up. Whereas this one ticks both boxes for me – it doesn’t hurt my eyes and it removes my make-up really well. Plus, it is really inexpensive – what’s not to like?!

I’m pretty sure this next item came in some sort of Christmas gift set or something, so I’m struggling to find a link to the Baylis & Harding Wild Rose & Raspberry Leaf Hand & Body Lotion unfortunately. It has a lovely soft floral scent, which is perfect for a hand lotion that you don’t necessarily want to linger too long. The actual product is quite a thin lotion, a bit more on the watery side, rather than being very thick. However, this didn’t stop it from moisturising my hands well, especially over the summer months. I’m not sure how effective it would be during the colder wintertime, as I’m not sure it would be thick enough, but certainly for everyday moisturising when the weather is good, it definitely did the job.

The Aussie Deep Treatment 3 Minute Miracle Shine is another product that I continue to re-buy. This treatment deeply nourishes and revives tired locks into full beam shine in just 3 minutes. It gives dull hair a shine super boost adding gloss to every strand, with Australian Ginseng extract and Pearl powder. The Aussie products always smell absolutely delicious, and this one is no exception! I would definitely say my hair routinely looks tired and dull, but one use of this just peps it back up again and leaves it feeling hydrated and happy. I keep meaning to try some of the other Aussie products when I get the chance – if they’re as good as this one then I can’t see my bank balance being very happy!

I wasn’t quite sure whether to include the Colgate Plax Gentle Care Extra Mild Mouthwash, as it’s a bit different to hair and skincare products. But I use it so much I thought I might as well add it in, in case you’re looking for a new mouthwash to try! This alcohol-free mild formula has been specially developed for people with sensitive teeth and gums. It’s clinically proven to provide 24/7 bad breath control and fight over 99% of bacteria, leaving your mouth feeling fresh and healthy. 

I use this in the morning and the evening, as the instructions suggest, and like it so much that I’ve continued to buy it for at least a year now. I’m not a big fan of alcohol in mouthwash, as I tend to find it too strong and it leaves my mouth with a funny taste. So when I found this Colgate one without alcohol, I thought I would try it out. It feels gentle on my mouth, which for someone with sensitive teeth and gums is always good. And it never leaves me with a funny after-taste, but instead makes my mouth feel fresh and clean. Plus it’s pink (although of course, that’s not what initially drew me to it!)

I’m pretty terrible when it comes to moisturising my body, so I try and improve my chances of doing it by finding products that smell and feel nice on my skin. The Garnier Body Tonic Hydrating Lotion is enriched with Phyto-caffeine and seaweed extract, for skin that feels firmer and more toned. It has an ultra-fresh and hydrating formula, and promises smoother skin from just 7 days. I really love the smell of this lotion – it’s fresh and uplifting and always lifts my mood when I use it. The lotion isn’t particularly thick, which means it absorbs relatively quickly, so no sticky skin for ages afterwards. With regular use, I definitely started to see a change in the appearance of my skin, with it becoming smoother and firmer. 

I hadn’t used Herbal Essences for years before I decided to try this Herbal Essences Bio:Renew Shampoo in Grapefruit and Mint. It is crafted with a blend of essential antioxidants, aloe and sea kelp, as well as having 0% parabens, silicones, gluten and colourants. It promises to help bring your hair back to life, and this particular fragrance also helps to boost hair volume (which, as someone with ridiculously fine, flat hair, I am always looking for!) It smells incredible, as does most of the Herbal Essences range, and left my hair feeling bouncy and soft. It was nice to find a shampoo that doesn’t weigh my hair down, so I will definitely be trying some other products from the range to see what they can do for my hair. 

The last product that I’ve finished up recently is the Vo5 Nourish My Shine Oil Heat Protect Spray. Vo5 believe that hair shouldn’t be dull, life shouldn’t be boring and that you should never restrict your self-expression. They recommend using Vo5 spray for a silky smooth and shiny finish to your hair. It also features heat defence to help protect against damage caused by heat styling tools. I use this on wet hair before I start to blow-dry it by spritzing a few sprays across my hair both underneath and on top. It’s difficult to tell if a heat protection spray is working, but I definitely notice my hair feeling more dry when I don’t use this. I also think it helps my hair to look more glossy and healthy after every wash, and I like the thought that my hair is being protected from the heat of my hairdryer. 

And that brings me to the end of another selection of empty products that I’ve finished using recently. I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about some of the things I’ve been using recently and find my reviews helpful if you’re looking to buy some new products yourself. I would be really interested to hear if you’ve tried any of these things and what you thought of them! Or, if you have any recommendations for things I might like to try based on what I’ve spoken about today.

What do you think of the products I’ve reviewed in today’s post? Are there any products you’ve been enjoying recently that you think I should try?

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