Empties #3: Products I’ve Recently Used Up

Guess who’s back, back again… This radio silence on my part was in no way planned. I had every intention of following up my last post with a new one, but then life just… happened. Two weeks turned into a month, which then turned into me taking almost the entire first half of this year off. I don’t think it truly sank in just how much time has passed until I realised these photos were the last ones I took before we went into the first lockdown. Three coronavirus waves and multiple mental breakdowns later, it feels good to be typing away at my keyboard, sharing another batch of product empties with you. Here’s everything I tried and tested shortly before this whole mayhem started. What, if anything, would I repurchase, and what would I trade in for newly discovered favourites? Keep reading to find out…

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Empty beauty products from Soap & Glory, The Ordinary, Meaningful Beauty, L'Oreal and Maybelline on a marble desk in front of a vase with pink peonies
Empty beauty products from Soap & Glory, The Ordinary, Meaningful Beauty, L'Oreal and Maybelline on a marble desk in front of a vase with pink peonies and a makeup mirror

Soap & Glory Call of Fruity Bubble in Paradise Refreshing Shower Gel

If you’ve been following me on different platforms, you may be aware of my long-standing love affair with Soap & Glory products. As they’re extremely hard to find where I live, whenever I’m in a shop that stocks S&G, I go all out. Think a separate storage box to hold my entire collection and enough products to be able to try a new one every day for a month. So, as I was standing in front of the Soap & Glory counter in Boots Westfield, it took everything in me to narrow down my picks.

Scented with exotic mango, melon, and mandarin extracts, the Call of Fruity range was admittedly not my first choice. I typically lean towards red fruit fragrances or nutty scents enriched with warm vanilla notes. Still, after walking back and forth between the aisles, I decided to give the Bubble in Paradise shower gel a chance, and in my basket it went.

On my first try, I was pleased to discover it had the thick, creamy consistency I’ve come to know from other Soap & Glory bath products. With its long-lasting refreshing summery scent, it genuinely felt like holiday in a bottle (little did I know how much I would need one in the months to come)! I found the name somewhat misleading, though, as it barely bubbled – the texture was more lotion-like, leaving my skin feeling moisturised.

Will I repurchase it?: I wasn’t entirely sold on the scent as it lingered on my skin after getting out of the shower, so I’ll stick to the classics for the time being.

A close-up shot of empty bottles of the Soap & Glory Bubble in Paradise shower gel and Total Drama Clean make up remover placed on a stack of books on a marble desk

Soap & Glory DRAMA CLEAN 5-in-1 Micellar Cleansing Water

If there’s one skincare product that I’m fiercely loyal to, it’s makeup remover. With many products in the past leaving my skin red, irritated, or even burning, I struggled to find one that would be gentle and soothe my poor skin. Once I found my holy grail Garnier micellar water, I held on to it for dear life. I refused to try out new makeup removers for years to come, until I discovered the Evoluderm one mentioned in my previous Empties post. Emboldened by this success, I decided to pick up the Drama Clean 5-in-1 Micellar Cleansing Water.

The main selling point for me were its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties ensured by one of the key ingredients – aloe vera. With a gentle, oil- and alcohol-free formula, this product promised quick and hassle-free makeup removal while reducing the risk of flare-ups and keeping your complexion soft. While I’m generally sceptical towards any products that claim to dissolve makeup without too much rubbing, this one actually did its job. Thanks to the calming and cooling aloe and cucumber extracts, there was no stinging whatsoever, particularly around my redness-prone eye area, and it didn’t leave my skin feeling stripped or tight. I found the strong cucumber scent rather hard to work with, though, as I couldn’t get over the bizarre feeling like I was dousing my skin in the contents of a pickle jar.

Will I repurchase it?: My trusty Garnier micellar water takes the crown in this battle, but the S&G one warmed me up to the possibility of trying out new makeup removers, so I’ll take that as a win too. I currently cannot see it stocked anywhere, so it may have been discontinued. If they come out with anything new in its place, I’m definitely open to testing it out.

A bird's-eye shot of The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer and two Meaningful Beauty products against a pink background next to a bouquet of tulips

Meaningful Beauty Age Recovery Night Crème with Melon Extract & Retinol

Confession time… I purchased a set of Meaningful Beauty products in last year’s Black Friday sales without doing any prior research. I made my decision purely based on the fact that the brains behind this brand is none other than one of the biggest modelling icons, Cindy Crawford. The first product I hit the bottom on was this intensely hydrating overnight treatment. Combining the super anti-oxidant properties of French melon with the repairing power of retinol, it promises to improve the overall texture of your skin and reduce the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles… talk about getting some beauty sleep!

As I’d never used retinol before, I feared that my skin would freak out and have an adverse reaction to it. While there was a slight tingling feel after applying this product on my face, it thankfully didn’t cause any irritation. Sadly, the jar didn’t last me very long and I didn’t see much of a difference in the way my skin looked or felt other than being properly moisturised. I wasn’t big on the bland scent either, although those with allergies or strong disliking for perfumed skincare products will likely enjoy it.

Will I repurchase it?: I had no choice over the contents of this set. As wrinkles aren’t a pressing issue for me just yet, I probably wouldn’t have chosen anti-aging formula myself. It’s also hard to say definitively whether a given formula works or not when you only used it for a couple of weeks. However, considering how much product you get for the price, I’ll happily take my money elsewhere for now.

Meaningful Beauty Youth Activating Melon Serum

You know how I just mentioned my main reason for purchasing this kit was the household name behind the brand… Well, I definitely wasn’t aware that the entire skincare line is advertised as an anti-aging system, aka Cindy’s secret for ageless, beautiful skin. As my mum has to stick to products specifically made for rosacea skin, I decided to test it myself for the blog’s sake.

This serum leverages the skin-restoring power of Meaningful Beauty’s next-generation melon technology. Enriched with encapsulated melon leaf stem cells, it is designed to make your skin more plump and radiant while protecting it from future environmental damage.

It made my skin feel soft and hydrated, but other basic products can do exactly the same for a fraction of the price. As for its youth-restoring properties? I still get ID’d when I try to purchase alcohol at the age of 27… does that count for anything?

Will I repurchase it?: I wrote the last part of my review in jest, but the truth is, I didn’t notice any visible changes that would justify paying full price for this product.

A tube of the L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes Feline Mascara and the Maybelline Hyper Precise All Day Wear Liquid Eyeliner against a pink backdrop

Maybelline Hyper Precise All Day Wear Liquid Eyeliner*

I came across this product back when it was called Master Precise. As I was looking for an eyeliner to replace my favourite Eveline one that got pulled from stores, I decided to add this one to my basket. Now, I am extremely picky when it comes to eyeliners. Not only do they need to do the job in just one stroke, they must also cater to my hypersensitive, watery eyes – nobody wants to realise they look like a panda halfway through the day! After trying out many hit-and-miss eyeliners, the Maybelline one quickly became a great addition to my makeup bag.

Thanks to the short styling tip at the end, creating the perfect wing and experimenting with different looks was a breeze, which saved me a lot of time getting ready in the morning. I recently started to have an issue with this eyeliner smudging and wearing off quickly, which might be down to the new formula. My holy grail Eveline eyeliner has since got an update and come back in stock, but the latest formula doesn’t sit right with me either. I had to resort to using them both – one to get that sharp wing in no time, plus a layer of the other to make it last throughout the day.

Will I repurchase it?: It goes without saying that using two eyeliners on a daily basis is far from ideal. Therefore, my search for the perfect one that ticks all the boxes officially resumes.

L’Oreal Paris Volume Million Lashes Feline Mascara

I bought this mascara soon after release upon recommendation from a shop assistant at my local drugstore, and it used to be a staple in my makeup routine for months to follow. The curved brush made it super easy to reach even the shortest lashes, as well as separate and coat them evenly without giving me panda eyes. Perhaps my favourite aspect was the way it would flick my lashes upwards without the need to reach for an eyelash curler. I’ve seen a lot of people complain about this product getting clumpy, but I personally didn’t experience such problems. While it’s on the higher end of the price spectrum when it comes to drugstore mascaras, it is definitely worth looking into for that purrfect feline flick.

Will I repurchase it?: Even though I repurchased this mascara a couple of times in the past, I’m the type of person that enjoys alternating between mascaras and trying out new brands. I’ve since moved on to other products, but never say never…

A tube of The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer against a pink backdrop

The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer*

I have to admit I was very apprehensive about purchasing a silicon-based primer. Silicones are responsible for the silky formula that spreads easily on the skin, reaching every crevice of your face and creating a flawless finish. Due to their super-adherent capabilities, they also ensure that whatever you apply on top of them stays in place for hours. However, as all impurities, excess oil and dead skin are stuck underneath a layer of silicones, this may in turn lead to congested skin, increased breakouts, and enlarged pores – the total opposite of what we are trying to achieve.

Every single The Ordinary product I’ve put to the test so far has passed with flying colours. Therefore, I knew if I were to put my trust in any brand for a silicon-based product, it would definitely be Deciem. This primer left my skin feeling soft and made foundation glide over it with ease, but unfortunately I can’t say much about the feature that I was most excited about. I tend to get self-conscious about my enlarged pores, particularly around the nose area, so hearing about its blurring abilities was what initially sold me on it. Truthfully, I didn’t notice much of a difference, but it also didn’t cause any clogging or breakouts. Judging by multiple online reviews, it worked wonders for other people. So, either my pores are not as bad as I thought, or it simply isn’t the product for me!

Will I repurchase it?: I’ve recently purchased another tube to re-test with my The Ordinary foundations. However, even if second time’s the charm, I probably won’t stick to this product in fear of the potential long-term effect on my skin. Better safe than sorry…

Empty beauty products from Soap & Glory, The Ordinary, Meaningful Beauty, L'Oreal and Maybelline placed on a stack of books on a marble desk in front of a vase with pink peonies and a makeup mirror

Did anything catch your eye?

Well, this is the first time I couldn’t say a definite yes to any of the products mentioned. If you’ve ever used any of these, was your experience any different, or did you get the same impression as me? I’m even more curious to know if you’re tempted to give anything from this round-up a try despite my less-than-favourable reviews… I don’t know about you, but I sometimes like to go against the grain. One of the great things about beauty (which can also be a curse at times) is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. As long as a given product doesn’t sound like a complete write-off, I’m still open to testing it for myself to give an honest review. What about you – what is your approach to testing beauty products? Do you look for rock-solid recommendations or does your curiosity get the best of you?

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