The beauty empties series is back with a colourful mix of haircare, skincare and makeup. Every month or so I tip out my bag of empties to review what I’ve used up before breaking down the packaging for recycling – most of which satisfyingly does end up in the household recycling. Without intending to I’ve managed to work my way through many recent favourites, from my vitamin C skincare staples to the best concealer I’ve found to date.
Solid shampoo seems to bring out a marmite response from most beauty enthusiasts I discuss it with, ranging from ‘I just don’t enjoy using this format’ and ‘It doesn’t work as well’ to ‘It’s extra compact’ and ‘My hair feels so healthy’. Since moving to solid shampoo over a year ago, I’m now solidly – ha – in camp shampoo bar. Not only is it compact, easy to transport (doesn’t count as a liquid for those venturing on planes again), economical and sustainable (minimal or no packaging, lower carbon footprint), I also find it doesn’t irritate my scalp like some of the liquid alternatives do – what’s not to love? The one thing I was struggling with was finding a conditioning bar, then along came Naturtint’s 2-in-1 shampoo & conditioner bar: certified natural by Ecocert, this hydrating formula feels creamy and produces a rich lather when in contact with water, effectively washing hair without stripping it. A bit on the pricey side, it does however combine two haircare products. I can still occasionally be swayed by liquid shampoos, but this is my favourite solid bar to date. 75g RRP £12.99
I don’t know what happened to this shampoo: I found it stashed under my bed in a half used state. Having claimed to be fully converted to solid shampoo, if there’s one thing I disapprove of it’s waste. So this vegan and cruelty-free sweet scented low foam shampoo made its way back into the bathroom to be used up. Luckily the sugary smell doesn’t linger on hair and the product performs well, but doesn’t convince me to move back to liquid shampoo. 295ml RRP £6.00
When I reviewed this cleanser I raved about Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant, a rice-based ultra-fine powder that you mix with water to create one of the gentlest exfoliants I’ve used, resulting in incredibly smoothed and cleansed skin. This C-Berrica Face Powder delivers the same fantastic result, with the added benefit of brightening vitamin C – my favourite skincare ingredient. I’m not a fan of the odd fake orange sweets scent, but I’m willing to put up with it for the sake of the deeply cleansed yet hydrated skin I’m left with. Gentle, effective and brightening, this powder format is set to become my favourite method of cleansing. 35g RRP £8.49
Looking back at the review I posted on the full Boots Glow range, I was predicting I’d use this essence up nearly as quickly as the Tonic, but as with Cake’s Posh Wash shampoo, I found this half used bottle languishing at the back of my bathroom cabinet, having moved on to other shiny new treatment products – no doubt featuring vitamin C. This super light, hydrating and refreshing essence (to be applied between the cleanser and serum) contains multi-tasking niacinamide which helps tackle environmental damage, uneven skin tone, fine lines and even mild acne – not bad for one ingredient! I’m still a big fan of niacinamide, but not fully won over by the Boots Glow offering which I found a little sticky with an odd bubblegum scent. This month’s empties certainly bring out a collection of distinctive fragrances! 28ml RRP £4.00
Aaaaah vitamin C – always present in at least one step in my skincare routine, this month I’ve managed to work my way through not one but three vitamin C-rich products. This award-winning serum promises to reduce pigmentation, so naturally with this being my number one skincare concern, I’m sold. The pleasant spa-like neroli scent makes a welcome change from the bubblegum, sweet cake and fake orange aromas of some of the other products here. 30ml RRP £32.00
My favourite brightening booster. Just a couple of drops added to your daily moisturiser and skin is visibly more radiant. Vitamin C naturally degrades when exposed to air so the formula is packed in individual vials lasting one to two weeks each in order to preserve the vitamin’s freshness and potency. Anytime I feel in need of a brightening boost – if I’m not using Caudalie’s Vinoperfect Radiance Serum – I’ll reach for one of these little vials. I’ve finally come to the end of my stash though so it may be time to go on the hunt for a natural alternative. 4x 8.5ml RRP £58.00
Speaking of Caudalie, although I’ve yet to come across a product that disappoints from this French pharmacy brand, there are two ranges I come back to time and again and rank as my Caudalie favourites: the radiance-inducing Vinoperfect range and the brand’s suncare collection. This Milky Sun Spray SPF50 is light in texture but high in UVA and UVB protection, and offers a fantastic all-in-one top-to-toe approach as it’s suitable for face and body. 150ml RRP £21.00
Keeping on the theme of scent, I find nothing more pleasant in skincare than the rose fragrance. If I take Cake Beauty as a reference I would expect this ultra-pink packaged face mist to bring a young sickly sweet scent, but on spritzing I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful rose petal scent with a hint of raspberry. Not a sickly sweet note in sight. Suitable for all skin types, the vegan formula contains reflective particles and anti-inflammatory aloe vera to leave skin fresh and hydrated. I’ve been keeping this fine mist on my desk for hydration top ups throughout the day. 60ml RRP £6.00
I was not expecting this matte clay to become my favourite makeup base. I always apply foundation with a light hand, and much prefer tinted moisturisers to avoid looking overdone. So I wasn’t expecting a full coverage clay format to replace all my light, liquid makeup. But although it effectively covers pigmentation and blemishes, it does so without caking or drying skin. I apply it with Clinique’s Buff Brush (is there anything this brush can’t do?) for a featherlight approach to application. It’s near impossible to overdo it and easy to build up coverage without the need to be too perfect or precise. 10g RRP £8.00
OK so the Matte Clay may be my favourite makeup base, but for my dark undereye circles I still reach for the lighter formula which comes in a pen format. Twist and dot around the eye and nose to brighten dark areas of the face.
When I purchased this eyebrow pencil a while back I didn’t expect it to become my favourite tool to add definition to my face, but really I should expect nothing less from the brow specialists. Truly goof proof, it’s so easy to use even I would struggle to overdo it. The retractable pencil is easy to use, the shape allowing you to softly fill in brows as well as add definition with the sharper angle.
This Burberry lipstick has been my trusty winter lipstick shade for the last few years, and considering how often I wore it I’m amazed the mini lasted this long. Unhelpfully I have no idea what this shade is called, the best way I can describe it is a dark brick colour, a cross between a burnt orange and a deep red, flattering my sallow skin tone and bringing out my blue eyes. Although the finish is matte and the coverage full, I never suffered from dry lips with this on and the colour lasted throughout the day, with more staying power than the creamier lipsticks.
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