Monday, October 10, 2016

September 2016 Empties: Hits & Misses


I didn't finish ANY makeup in September, but I did finish some haircare, skincare and a fragrance! So in an effort to continue my empties posts (due to your requests), let's take a look at my September hits and misses.

Shiseido Tsubaki Volume Touch Conditioner - around $12, 16.9 oz.
Whenever I'm at my local Japanese markets (Mitsuwa, Tokyo Central & Main, Marukai Living or Nijiya) I always look at the wall of haircare and I just feel it in my bones: I am going to come home with one of those pretty, shiny bottles. Earlier this year, I bought this conditioner on a whim after seeing it at Mitsuwa. I LOVE the Shiseido Tsubuki Shining Conditioner (red bottle), but I was wondering how this new-to-me Volume Touch formula would work on my hair, which is oily, fine in texture, and needs volume. I like it, but I don't love it. I do LOVE the scent. It's a sweet, clean, floral scent that also has a juicy, tart fruit note to it. It's totally addicting and it lingers in my hair all day. But as for the formula, I found it kind of "meh". It didn't do a good enough job with detangling (not nearly as good as the Shining formula) and I didn't feel like my hair was particularly hydrated after use. Just not enough slip and moisturization for me, but then again it's a "volume" formula so I don't know what I was expecting. I don't think I'll repurchase, but if you prefer a lighter conditioner, this might be a nice fit for you. That scent is so, so lovely. If Shiseido ever made it in a body mist I would buy it ASAP.

Givenchy Ange ou Demon Le Secret - $63, 1.0 oz.
This is my fourth bottle of this fragrance and I will most definitely repurchase again and again. I lost the cap (it's a huge, pointy lid) because I have taken this fragrance with me on many a weekend adventure. It's just one of those scents that works for me at any time, any place. I love it in summer, fall, winter and spring (but mostly in fall and winter). I am most definitely going to buy it the next time Sephora or Ulta have a multiplier promo for fragrance (or a really good GWP/freebie). And if that doesn't happen soon, I'll buy it during the 20% off Sephora VIB event in November, bringing the price down to about $50 (I'm sure there will be some nice deluxe freebies at that time as well, so it will be a win-win).

Dessange Purifying Clay Balancing Shampoo - $9.99, 8.5 oz.
This was in the July 2016 Target Beauty Box, which is how I acquired it (I'm sure a lot of you have it, too!). Well, after using the entire bottle, I can safely say that I really like this shampoo. I feel like the formula itself was made for me, since it's supposed to "minimize oily roots while moisturizing ends". I have oily roots and dry ends, and I can tell you that this formula played nicely with both. It did not make my roots any more oily than usual, nor did it make my ends feels any drier than usual. Basically, it did a nice job at cleansing my scalp without drying out my ends. And the fragrance is gorgeous, with notes of violet, cherry, and vanilla. It's sweet and powdery, yet oddly invigorating in the shower. I would totally repurchase, BUT I think that the size of the bottle is too small for the price. So I will buy again, but only when there's a good sale at Target.

Matrix Total Results Miracle Creator Multi-Tasking Treatment - travel size freebie from Ulta
This is one of the rare haircare freebies I have received from Ulta over the past year that turned into a full-size purchase. It's on sale right now at Ulta for $12 (reg $16, 6.5 oz.) but this Saturday (10/15) it will be a Beauty Steal for $7.99 and I will for sure be buying two bottles. I am in LOVE with this stuff and, more importantly, my long, naturally-wavy, fine hair loves it. My hair is so prone to tangling and frizz, and this knocks those both out with just a few spritzes after my shower. My hair looks so healthy and bouncy and frizz-free when I use this stuff, and it feels so soft. Also, I find that it doesn't weigh down my waves as much as It's A 10 does (but that's probably the most comparable product, if I had to compare it to something). Also, I love the scent. It smells like coconut-berry candy (is that even a thing?).

Algenist Firming & Lifting Eye Gel - $70, 0.5 oz.
I bought this during the Ulta 21 Days of Beauty Spring 2016 event back in March, when it was a Hot Buy for $34. I went back and checked my blog post from that time to confirm the sale price and noticed that this product was $68 then, so it increased to $70 at some point between March and October. Anyway, I finally finished it and my verdict? I will not repurchase--especially at the new price. If it were $34 again, I might repurchase, but I really didn't end up loving this as much as I thought I loved it when I first started using it. For the first few months of use, I REALLY loved it. I loved how quickly it absorbed into the skin, while also delivering some nice hydration. I also loved that it didn't sting or irritate my eyes in any way, and it also played nicely with my eye makeup. But now that I'm finished with the bottle, I feel like it just didn't do much for my undereye area...aside from delivering temporary hydration. It promises to "visibly firm, lift and smooth eye contours" and I didn't notice any of those things after using it regularly, several times a week. It's a nice, light eye cream that's gives my skin some temporary hydration, but I just don't feel that it's worth $70.

CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion for Normal to Dry Skin - $14.99 12.0 oz.
Let me tell you a little story. Several months ago, my brother had a mishap with some acne medication and his neck was very dry and irritated. He begged me to find him something that was gentle, non-irritating and deeply hydrating, but he also didn't want something heavy that might break him out. After lots and lots of research, I told him to go to the drugstore and buy this lotion. Two days later, he called me and told me that his dry, irritated skin was GONE. Completely back to normal. He bought this lotion and it worked like magic for him. In fact, he loved it so much that he bought ME a bottle. I was so happy to get that gift from him because, during my research, I discovered that many people love this product as both facial moisturizer and body lotion (I love multi-use products!). And WOW. Where have I been all these years? I've used and loved and reviewed several CeraVe products over the years, but never this product. I freaking LOVE THIS STUFF. I've been using it on my face and body nightly and I just love how quickly it absorbs, but how it also manages to deeply hydrate my skin. It's a fragrance-free formula and it plays nicely with all of my serums (I've been using it nightly on my face). It doesn't feel heavy or greasy, yet it delivers lasting moisture. I love it on my face, arms, legs...I just love it, period. I will absolutely repurchase--especially since you only need a little bit per use and it's huge bottle. Great value, great product.

That's it for this month's empties. Have you tried any of the products above? As always, I would LOVE to hear from you!

The products featured in this post were purchased with personal funds. For more information, click here.
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33 comments

  1. The CeraVe lotion is a godsend. I've been struggling with dehydrated skin which gets oily and gross by noon, and someone at the skincare sub Reddit recommended it. I've been using it for two weeks now and my skin is healing and getting less greasy.

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    1. Yay!! I'm SO happy it's working for you, too! I have oily skin as well, and I love that it doesn't turn my skin into an oil slick, yet it hydrates so deeply. :)

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  2. Getting the Cerave and I put it down on my calendar to get the Matrix this Saturday :) Thank you!

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    1. Oh please do let me know how you like both!! :)

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  3. Cereve is great if you have eczema or sensitive skin. Also luv the way it quickly absorbs into your skin. They just came out w/an eczema line that is a life saver when you have a break out b

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    1. Great to know! Thank you! :)

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    2. Oh the eczema one is good to know about since I occasionally get a breakout on my arm.

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  4. Great read, G! As far as the Algenist is concerned does any eye product actually lift??? I haven't found one and if you know of one that really works, I would love to try it. :) Anyway I am going to remember CeraVe for my next purchase!

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    1. Lol I haven't either, Robin! I was hoping this would "smooth" though, because my under eye area can get a little rough. No such luck. :(

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    2. I use the algenist serums on my face. Firming and lifting and another one I can't remember the name of. I got a tsv from QVC months ago. I LOVE THEM.

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  5. I also got that Matrix Miracle Creator as a freebie but haven't tried it yet. I'll have to get it out and use it next time I do my hair. I love It's a 10 so I'm curious if this is similar. Thanks for the review, G.

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    1. I would love to know what you think of it after you try it, Carol! And you're so very welcome. :)

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  6. New coupons come out for Cerave the week of October 23rd. For those of you that don't buy a sunday paper, check out one of the coupon clipping services to purchase a couple. Right now, there are $4 off cerave cleanser coupons and the new ones coming out this month should be $4 off a moisturizer. I get a couple of coupons and wait until a drugstore has a deal and cash in.

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  7. I also loved the Dessange shampoo. My hair is colored, dry, and can be very frizzy. I like to save it for when I have waited one-too-many days between shampooing :/ Cleans well without being to hard on my hair

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    1. So glad to hear it's working for you, too! The scent is so lovely, right? :)

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  8. I love the Cerave lotion, and they also make some amazing face washes.

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    1. Yes! Glad to hear you like it as well! :)

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  9. I may have to get that Cerave. I get really dry skin in the winter, and unscented, etc., sounds good. I'm also curious about the Matrix stuff.

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  10. I had a very terrible reaction to the murad oily skin care line right before I went on vacation. I bought the cvs off brand of the cerave and even that was a blessing. I now use it everyday as a moisturizer and it does miracles to my skin! I love the matrix miracle spray and plan on buying some this weekend! Love your reviews G! Keep up th good work!

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  11. Hey G! Do you order from fragrancex.com? What do you think about it?

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  12. Hey G! Do you order from fragrancex.com? What do you think about it?

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  13. Definitely gonna get the Cerave moisturizer. My dermatologist recommended it, but I HATED the cleanser, so I didn't think I'd like it. That was like 3 months ago and am still searching for the best face lotion for my skin, so I'm gonna give it a go! So, long story short, I trust your judgement over my dermatologist :D hahahahaha

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  14. The Cerave actually irritated my facial skin. I was really surprised, I have no idea what is doing it. As soon as I put it on, my skin starts stinging, and gets red, irritated, and inflamed. I've been using the new Seaweed Bath Co body cream in unscented, I love it. I plan on purchasing it as long as they sell it.

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  15. I typically hate haircare samples because very few actually do anything good to my hair but the matrix is awesome! I like It's a 10 too but ahree this doesn't weigh my hair down as much. Or as I joked with my friend, I clearly need the extra 10 things in matrix!

    I actually had another hair product rebuy this month and that was the beautiful nutritiin lemon rinse that came (I think) in Glossybox a few months ago. It's been sitting arou nd but in an effort to use stuff up I gave it a try and fell in love. Seriously out of dozens of hair products I've tried from subs and freebies, these two are the only ones I've repurchased.

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  16. Absolutely love the Cerave Lotion! I have oily, acne prone skin, and this moisturizer works so well for me! I don't feel greasy, just hydrated. Works amazing all over. Hard to find that in a moisturizer.

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  17. I love the Cerave AM and PM lotions. I have used them for a long time and would always go back to them after trying other brands. But I have not actually tried the Moisturizing Lotion! I really want to try it now thanks to you, G!

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  18. If you get the chance try CeraVe intensive stretch marks cream. I don't know if it works for stretch marks but it is my holy grail moisturizer for my eczema and chapped hands, and it can also be used as a facial moisturizer. It is so good my mom and my 15 year old have swiped my stash because they it works so well for all our sensitive skin concerns. Love your blog btw. My husband even likes it because I save money on my girly stuff as he calls it. Thanks a bunch.

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  19. I like my CeraVé face wash, very mild and none irritating. I been applying the moisturizer one under my foundation and it plumps my skin nicely living the results. Others I have used that are great too have been Ceraphyl and the Eucerin face wash is awesome too. Those three recommended by my dermatologist always gives me samples. I'd like to try the Ceravé aha treatment (firgot exactly what is called with blue letters also) has aha or retinal should be great. Would like to find coupons for it.

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  20. Your Givenchy 3.3oz is on sale on Zulily for 47.99+$7ish shipping today

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  21. FYI, there are often Cera Ve coupons in the Sunday coupon section. I use the forming face was for oily skin per my dermatologist, and the SE lotion for my kids' keratosis pilaris.

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  22. How does the Ulta freebie spray compare to the L'Oreal color safe leave in (8-in-1 EverPure)?

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