Empties Vol. 10: Off to a great & satisfying start!
Last December I cleaned out all of my old stashes, and discovered to my horror many more products that I had been hoarding to death. And so I started this year on a mission to clear them out once and for all before starting on entirely new products. As you can see below, it has been a very satisfactory quarter, and I’m excited to recap for you below!
I permed my hair in January, so it is a short wavy bob now, and I had forgotten how much work permed hair requires. So, there are ALOT of hair products this time around.
- PHS Hairscience is a homegrown brand from Singapore that uses a research-driven approach towards formulating its products to support healthy hair growth. The brand started out as a hairspa, and has since branched out into an extensive range of products for every hair concern. I had the opportunity to try out their Repair range for hair that has been damaged by chemical processes (me me me!), and the Colour Care range. I love that PHS Hairscience products are formulated without parabens, benzophenone and mineral oil, and are hypoallergenic. However, much as I love to embrace and support local brands, neither of the ranges really got me in love. I found the textures to be heavy and not as fine as I’d like, and did not leave my hair soft afterwards. Over time, my scalp also started getting quite irritated and itchy.
- Philip Kingsley Elasticizer is a deluxe sample from one of the Lookfantastic Beauty Boxes and works like a booster mask. Apply it to damp hair, leave on for 2-3min, then rinse off and continue with shampoo and conditioner. It has a heavy enveloping texture, but it applies well, and after shampoo and conditioner, leaves my hair bouncy and soft! I love that it doesn’t take too much time, and is so easy to use.
- Goldwell Kerasilk [reviewed here] is a really intensive treatment hair oil, and it’s filled with wonderful ingredients for repairing damaged hair. I only apply it to my hair ends and a tiny pearl-sized drop is all I need, so this bottle has lasted me a very long time.
- Verb Sea Spray is great for defining my curls, giving that loose beach wave look. Loved it so much, I almost used it all up within weeks but then the nozzle broke which was really disappointing.
- Ouai Texturizing Hair Spray is nice for defining curls, but it left them hard and crunchy which is not ideal. Maybe I’m not using this right because there are lots of great reviews on sephora, but I don’t particularly find this holds styles well.
- Percy & Reed Wonder Treatment Oil is one that I’ve been trying to empty for a very long time. It’s less oily than the Goldwell Kerasilk, and is probably one of the best hair oil that I’ve used!
I’m generally not as particular with body products… as long as they don’t smell off-putting, and don’t cause my eczema-prone skin to flare up. So it seems like a hodge-podge mix here, with the aim of binning as many as I can.
- Regenerate Enamel Science Advanced Toothpaste is a deluxe sample that I received in one of those Lookfantastic beauty boxes and immediately put to use. It uses NR-5™ technology which forms a fresh supply of the same mineral tooth enamel is made of, restoring the high mineral content and protective function of tooth enamel with regular use. I love that it strengthens and protects teeth against cavities by restoring the enamel’s mineral content. It even claims to whiten teeth! However, when I use my usual portion and brush using my regular speed and strength, I found an intense heat sensation that permeates my gums into my jaw. Depending on how much toothpaste and how hard I brush, the heat can get so intense it actually hurts. The feeling goes away after rinsing, but there is definitely a lot of getting used to if you are intent on picking this one up. For me, it wasn’t a pleasant experience and will probably not subject my teeth to this again.
- Spa Esprit Custom-Blend Shower Gel is an old product and I don’t think they are offering it anymore on their site. The idea was rather clever – pick your choice of essential oil and mix it in an unscented shower gel for your own customized relaxing spa-like experience at home! I think I picked a geranium blend, and even after storing for more than 2 years, it still smelled good each time I used it.
- Molton Brown Jasmine & Sun Rose Bath & Shower Gel is part of a deluxe set from Christmas and it smells sooooo good! I can see why there are so many fans of Molton Brown, I want to stock them in every bathroom in my home!
- Sabon Body Scrub is one of the brand’s cult-favorites and I can see why! It is a salt-scrub that comes mixed with a luxuriously moisturizing body oil. The salt scrub can sting if you have open wounds, and the granules do feel somewhat coarse. However, they dissolve quickly on damp skin, and are very effective at exfoliating. The oil infusion softens and pampers skin, leaving my skin feeling so good afterwards! This Patchouli Lavender Vanille scent is surprisingly not lingeringly heavy, but it does lift up into a fragrant steam when washed under warm shower.
- Hysses Verbena Rose Hand Cream is a Singapore brand that changed name a couple of years ago, it used to be called Mt. Sapola. To be honest, I’m not a fan of the brand, and this hand cream is so overpoweringly scented, I had a hard time forcing myself to use it up. The texture is heavy and it does not quite soften and treat my eczema-prone dry hands.
- The Body Shop British Rose Petal-Soft Hand Cream is a lovely rose scent, not powdery grandma rose, but a light young rose. The texture is lighter than Hysses above, though not quite as moisturizing as its name implies.
The staple of my beauty arsenal… I obviously love skincare and use plenty of them on a daily basis. This has been extremely satisfying and poignant to me because I said my final goodbyes to some products that have been sitting far too long in storage half-used. I’m really glad they have not gone bad yet because I really hate to waste. Given the large number of products here, I am going to discuss them by categories in the order that I would use them.
- Shu Uemura Ultime8∞ Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil is a returning feature, I love it to bits, you can see my review here.
- Shiseido Future Solution LX Extra Rich Cleansing Foam & Concentrate Balancing Softener sat far too long in my stash mainly because there was always something newer and sexier to try, and I was worried this line would be far too rich for my skin. On hindsight Japanese skincare are designed to be used holistically, and the cleansers are typically designed to be very thorough so as to allow maximum absorption of the ensuing products. And in that regard, this cleansing foam performs perfectly on point, leaving my skin perfectly clean without over-stripping it. The softener feels crisp and helps remove dead skin cells whilst rebalancing the skin. The more I used these 2, the more I loved them and was sad to finally see them go. They are priced at a slight premium, and I recommend you use them with a richer routine of serums and moisturizers.
- Shiseido The Skincare Purifying Mask is a recurring feature in my skincare line-up so I will not go into details anymore. It is a reliable, affordable and fast weekly deep-cleanse that respects sensitive dry skin; and can be used overnight as a spot treatment as well!
- Lancôme Bi-facil Eye Makeup Remover was past of a Christmas trove from eons ago that I uncovered. As you all know, my HG is Chanel, but I hate to waste, so for the past 3 months I had dedicated myself to this Lancôme. I’m not usually fussy about makeup removers and cleansers, but everytime I stray from Chanel, I remember why it is my HG. To its merits, this Lancôme removes all traces of eye makeup and my triple layers of mascara perfectly. However, it also stings my eyes and causes the skin around my lids to itch. It is priced the same as the Chanel, so I will not be repurchasing.
- Albion Skin Conditioner is one of the brand’s hero products and it functions as an exfoliating toner. I started using it years ago and put it aside as I found it too strong for my liking back then. Surprisingly after resuming it now, I found it a gentler alternative to the Pixi Glow Tonic, albeit much pricier. If you like exfoliating toners, and have a pretty dime to spare, you should check this one out. You can also put it in a small purse spray and use it to refresh throughout the day.
- Pixi Rose Tonic has emerged as 1 of my favourite soothing hydrating toners this spring. It smells beautiful, and feels so comforting on the skin… this is a must-try for budget babes and luxury lovers alike!
- Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner on the other hand is pricey and not altogether what its name implies. At first try, I found it stung my skin. As I progress with the bottle, it becomes increasingly difficult to get the lotion out as the (very dead looking) petals clog up the tiny hole at the top. There is still a little bit left but it has become impossible to get any lotion out so I am ditching this. Not my favourite piece of this otherwise lovely line.
Serums & Moisturizers:
- Albion Excia Whitening Brilliancy Serum is a recent addition to my skincare routine, and I LOVE IT! Just as with most other Japanese skincare, you don’t expect to see overnight transformation because they don’t use harsh acids to achieve brightening results. Instead Albion uses a stable form of kojic acid which goes deeper and blocks formation of tyrosine which in turn prevents melanin (aka dark spots). This serum has a lovely milky texture that is quite light and yet hydrating, and since I have stopped going for my regular laser treatments for almost half a year now, this Albion Excia Whitening Brilliancy Serum has helped me maintain a spot-free complexion. Prevention is always better than cure, so I highly recommend you try this out!
- Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Face Serum is quite unlike its sister above, and I found this a pleasing, fuss-free product to use. It has a crisp, light texture that gets absorbed immediately and allows me to layer on other serums and moisturizers at will.
- Clarins Multi-Active Day Moisturizer [reviewed here] is an old friend and I’ve always enjoyed using it. Easy, fuss-free is the best way to go!
Sunscreens & others:
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra-Light is indeed ultra light. I love the fragrance-free formulation that packs a comprehensive SPF50+ sun protection. The slim bottle is easy to carry around for travels, and it is equally pleasant to use on face as well as on body (I apply it on my arms actually where I have been developing sun spots from driving!).
- Clarins UV Plus Anti-Pollution Day Screen is another old friend, you can read the review here. The high SPF 50 and broad spectrum UVA-UVB protection makes this one a force to contend with, and it also works well as a makeup base by smoothening out the skin. The bottle lasts a very long time (if you are only applying it to the face), as you can see the letterings have all fallen off!
- NIA Tech Neck is one of those things that sound really good conceptually. A lightweight serum in a roller-massaging applicator, and a formula that aims to reduce those dreaded neck lines. Unfortunately the skin on my neck is so sensitive that the serum makes me itch so I couldn’t use this daily. In any case, other than providing some moisturizing boost, I didn’t really see any improvements in lines. There is a twist mechanism that locks the tube and prevents product from leaking out, which is crucial if you are standing this up on the vanity or carrying it around in a crowded purse. I was too lazy, and whilst I did not have to clean up a mess on my vanity, it did dispense way too much product when used.
- Estee Lauder Set + Refresh Perfecting Makeup Mist should really be in the next category, but since it is pictured here… I use these sorts of makeup mists to dampen my brushes and sponges for makeup application. I’ve tried misting this directly on my face, and I personally find that it sprays far too much for makeup to remain intact, which is the farthest thing from setting my makeup. It is mainly water, and priced at $39, I can’t really see a good reason for indulging.
And that dovetails nicely into the final group of products.
- La Mer The Perfecting Treatment [reviewed here] is a luxurious treatment primer, I’ve enjoyed every single use of this from start to finish. It is better suited for dry seasons and dry skin, and keeps makeup looking fresh by protecting skin’s moisture level throughout the day. I’m sad to see this one go, because there is nothing quite like it in my arsenal.
- Guerlain Cils D’Enfer Maxi Lash [reviewed here] is another returning favorites. This one is the improved waterproof version, though I still need a primer to prevent smudges. It is a sleek beauty to behold, and it thickens and lengthens those lashes beautifully.
- Chanel Crayon de Couleur [reviewed here] is my favourite lip formula EVER. I have so many of these nifty jumbo lip pencils and I still can’t get enough of them. Rose Violine is such a pretty everyday wearable shade that it has become the first lipstick that I’ve finished in decades. I need a replacement asap.
Aright folks, that’s it for this volume of Empties. Let me know in the comment section below if you have any new faves to share!
This post featured plenty of products that were sponsored, but all thoughts shared above are mine and mine alone.