Empties Vol. 08: Staples, travel-samples, luxury blahs

October 4, 2018

Hello October!  Another quarter has passed, and I feel immensely accomplished to be able to empty out yet another bumper crop of products.  Personally I look forward to writing these post the most nowadays, because it truly reflects how I feel about each of the items.  Through July – September, I managed to finish up not only my usual range of products, but also a good amount of things that have taken far too long.  Let’s take a closer look after the jump!

Empties Vol. 08


As always, skincare make up the bulk of my empties post.  What made this round most satisfying is that I am finally done with some samples that have been residing in my travel pouch for more than a year.  Some went more quickly whilst others were just good enough to keep around but didn’t knock my socks off.  There were also a number that are near expiry and I managed to “rescue” from the depths of my hoards in time.  I classified them by product types for ease of comparison, and numbered in the picture below.

Empties 08 - skincare

Makeup removers:

  1. Neutrogena Deep Clean Oil to Foam* is the 3rd bottle that I’ve emptied [see here and here].  As before, I use it mainly to remove swatches from my arm, but if I didn’t have such an extensive reserve I would gladly use it on my face as well.
  2. Fancl Mild Cleansing Oil* has attained cult status on social media, but frankly I am not a fan.  The smell isn’t pleasant, and it broke me out.  On the positive side, it cleanses really well, and does not leave a greasy after-feel.  Funny story, I recently stained a pastel blouse with chilli oil and no amount of washing detergent put a dent on the stain.  In the end I figured nothing removes oil better than oil itself, so I applied this MCO to the stain.  Right away the stain lightened!  It still took several rounds of MCO + detergent and soaking overnight to completely remove the stain, but it worked.  So the next time you have the same encounter you know what to do!
  3. Caudalie Make-up Removing Cleansing Oil* is a sample from one of my Lookfantastic beauty boxes, and it is SO GOOD!  Lightweight, cleanses beautifully, and leaves my skin looking better and better every day.  It is formulated from natural plant oils (sunflower seed, sweet almond and grape seed) and filled with antioxidant vitamin E.  Go ahead and shop here [affiliated link]!
  4. Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil* [reviewed here] is one of my staples and I have a couple more backups in my stash.  Skin-loving yet cleanses thoroughly without breaking me out.  If you’ve not tried this best-seller from Shu Uemura, you need to do so now!

Facial cleansers:

  1. The Body Shop Drops of Youth Gentle Foamwash* is self-foaming which I like for a pampering morning routine. It is enriched with 3 plant stem cells: edelweiss from the Italian alps, criste marine and sea holly from the Brittany coast and Community Trade organic babassu oil from Brazil; all to boost skin renewal. For all its benefits though, my skin didn’t really respond well to it. It didn’t break me out nor dry out my skin either, so I forced myself to use it up.
  2. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Caring Wash* was part of my spring-summer transitional line-up, and I had promised the PR to feature it on my social channels.  In the end, I just found the range so blah I kept postponing it.  This cleanser is the only item from the 3-piece set they sent me that I finished, and I can only say that if your skin is highly reactive and sensitized, this will baby your skin like no other.  It doesn’t clean particularly well, and if you use heavy night creams or have oily skin, then this is insufficient on its own.  I used it as the 2nd part of my double cleanse routine, and only after long trips when my skin is feeling stressed out.
  3. Elemis Superfood Facial Wash* is another gem from my Lookfantastic beauty box.  It is the first green facial cleanser I’ve ever used, and it even smells green.  All thanks to a cocktail of wheatgrass, kale and nettle; all intended to feed essential nutrients back to the skin.  I actually fell in love with this cleanser because it is so good!  It cleanses thoroughly in the most gentle way, leaving my skin feeling plump and healthy.  I started using it whilst on a work trip, and couldn’t put it down after I returned that it was completely used up in 2 weeks.  This is now on my list for the next time I need to purchase a cleanser!  You can get yours here with free shipping now [unaffiliated link].

Lotions & Essences:

  1. Cosme Decorte AQ Lotion* is from the prestigious brand’s recently revamped line, and it not only hydrates the skin but also contains birch water to tighten pores and refine skin’s texture.  White mucuna extract banishes dullness and improves skin clarity.  The Decorte routine actually puts a moisturizing emulsion ahead of the lotion, which is the opposite of most other Western-style routine.  When I tried to incorporate the Decorte AQ Lotion into my existing routine I found it to be too stripping.  But when I applied a layer of emulsion right after cleansing before patting on the lotion, it leaves my skin refreshed and plumped.
  2. YSL Or Rouge Lotion* is from YSL’s luxurious anti-aging Or Rouge line.  The key component is the Or Rouge Complex formulated using glycan from the pistil of saffron which has regenerative properties and returns a youthful glow to the skin.  The Lotion is the cheapest and easiest way to experience the line, although I personally think there are better lotions out there at this price point.
  3. Cle de Peau Beaute Essential Correcting Refiner is one of those products that I ran out to purchase immediately upon its release, but promptly forgot about until months before expiration.  It has a colloidal texture that needs a good shake before saturating a cotton pad and patting to the skin.  Illuminating Complex evens out skin tone; Surface Refining Complex smoothens out rough patches; and sebum absorption powder keeps skin matte.  On my sensitive skin, I found this to be really irritating – my breakouts worsened and I developed sensitive red patches on my cheeks.  After trying to live with this for the past 3 months, I gave up on the final drops and decided to bin this.  Probably best suited for oily, acne-prone skin.

Serums & others:

  1. Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum* is HG for me, and a staple in my morning routine [reviewed here].  I travel with it, and simply cannot live without it.
  2. SUQQU Moisture Repair Essence is technically designed to be used before lotion, but it has a milky rich texture that I prefer to apply after lotion, before moisturizer.  It is supposed to soften the layers of the skin, promote skin metabolism and restore resiliency and suppleness.  For a hydrating serum/essence, I find it inferior to the Chanel Hydra Beauty, and definitely insufficient on its own for travels / dry climates.  On the other hand, the texture is too rich for hot, humid climates in Singapore.
  3. Skin Inc My Daily Dose of Vitamins ABC+* contains encapsulated Vitamin B3 and pro-Vitamin B5 to nourish, protect, and diminish the appearance of spots and blemishes.  Antioxidant Vitamin C fights free radicals and prevents aging.  As with every other bottle of Skin Inc serum, this layers incredibly well and provides hydrating benefits to my skin.  Everything else is minimal.
  4. Origins Dr Weil Mega-Defense SPF45/PA++++* is a lovely light-weight texture that layers beautifully with makeup.  I like the high sun protection factor, and will happily restock this if ever I run out of sunscreens.  Check out the full review here.
  5. Lancôme Absolue Nourishing Lip Balm* is soooo good I’m actually really upset that I finished this!  It is lightweight and yet so soothing and nourishing on my chapped lips.  Some lip balms are just too balmy, leaving a greasy after-feel that I can’t go and kiss my little one goodnight.  Others are too light they don’t do a thing for my lips.  Lancôme got this perfectly nailed, and a tiny bit is all you need.  This tube lasted me for 2 years even though I use it every single night.  I’m going through the rest of my extensive stash right now, but already I know I need to replace this asap.

Hair & Bodycare

Empties 08 - hair & bodycare

It takes me much longer to complete bodycare items than skincare, so it is with lots of pride that I am able to show you these today.


  1. Percy & Reed Wonder Wash Shampoo & Conditioner* are not only adorable to look at, they are also every bit as perfect as claimed.  These are not filled with silicones like so many other hair products out there, and still they leave my hair soft and smooth.  They smell great too which is always a nice bonus.
  2. Christophe Robin Cleansing Volumizing Paste* is my first encounter with the brand, and I was really excited because I’ve heard nothing but great things about Christophe Robin.  I love that it is 85% natural, which is really rare in haircare products.  The paste texture is surprising, what is even more interesting is that it transforms quickly into a light foam once mixed with water.  It deep cleanses my hair and leaves it feeling crisp and cool.  Unfortunately this Cleansing Volumizing Paste is designed for fine hair, on mine it made my hair stiff and unyielding.  I couldn’t even get through this mini sample, though I’d love to try other items fro the brand.


  1. Lush Yuzu and Cocoa Shower Cream* is not only refreshing in the shower, it is also moisturizing on my skin.
  2. Molton Brown Pink Pepper Bath & Shower Gel* is a unisex scent and an invigorating way to start the morning.
  3. La Roche-Posay Lipikar Syndat AP+* is a very lush shower cream designed for eczema-sufferers.  I put this aside specially for my 5-year old son, and it is truly beneficial for him.  It prevents his skin from drying out and now that we emptied this, his skin seems to be worse than before.  For everybody else, this can take some getting used to because it leaves a sort of film on the skin.  However if you have a propensity for dermatitis, you should check this one out.
  4. The Body Shop British Rose Exfoliating Gel Body Scrub* is very fine for a body scrub, and it smells amazing.  The British Rose is one of my favourite lines from The Body Shop, and this is no exception.
  5. The Body Shop Spa of the World Atlantic Seaweed Cream* is a light gel-like moisturizer that is a real pleasure to use when the weather is hot.  It also soothes irritated skin, I’ve tried using it on my son and it not only doesn’t sting his eczema skin, it also stops the itchiness.
  6. Malin + Goetz Eucalyptus Deodorant is the most expensive deodorant I’ve ever used, but it also lasts forever.  I use this every day and it took me a year to empty.  For those natural product buffs, the lack of aluminium, alcohol and parabens put this one top of the list.  More importantly it works well at keeping away the sweaties.
  7. L’Occitane Almond Velvet Hands* is lovely for dry hands, and I especially appreciate the SPF15 sun protection.  The texture is silky and it does not leave a greasy film.
  8. Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Hand Cream* is a very rich and reparative hand cream.  It is heavily fragranced though and the scent lingers for quite a while afterwards.


Empties 08 - makeup

There were a number of other items that I was hoping would make it into this round of empties, but then I was away for most of September so I was using stuff from my travel pouch instead.  The 3 makeup items that I cleared were:

  1. Chanel Les Beige Healthy Glow Gel Touch Foundation is the first cushion from Chanel and it is the lightest across my collection.  This is really lovely for mid-day touch-ups as it does not erase all the blusher and highlighter, yet still blots and evens out the skin nicely.  Take a look at my full review here.
  2. Lancôme Sourcils Styler* is a brow gel that holds strands in place without turning them crispy and thick.  This is the tinted brown version which gives my brows a fuller look.  I like the small brush applicator tip of this one, it grabs the hairs effectively without being so large it stains the skin outside of the brows.
  3. YSL The Shock Mascara* is frankly not one of my favourite mascaras.  The formula is clumpy and I found it hard to work with the brush.  I’m glad to be done with this, and have already moved onto others.

And that concludes yet another volume of #Empties post.  It has been a marathon of a read, so I’m really touched that you made it this far.  There are a lot of uncovered treasures in this quarter’s crop of products, and some that are just meh.  I tried to give a fair assessment regardless of their price points, and whether they are sponsored (indicated with *) or purchased by me.  If I had to pick my top 3 from these to replenish, they would be – Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum, Lancôme Absolue Nourishing Lip Balm, and Elemis Superfood Facial Wash!

Have you tried anything and/or have an opinion on any of the products discussed today?

This post featured many items that were generously provided by various brands for my consideration.  Each of them are indicated by an (*) next to their names.  Regardless, all opinions expressed here are my own honest, unbiased views.

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