I’m baaaack! ūüôā After a small break, an annoying virus, way too long hours at work and life getting in the way in general, I’ve decided to wrap up 2016 with two mammoth posts. First up – Hair, Body and Essentials Empties.

Believe it or not, I was preparing for the blog way before I got to actually writing it so photos of empty bottles and tubes are appearing in my phone gallery since June last year.¬†To make it easier for myself to catch up with posts that are planned, but unfortunately not writing themselves, I’ve decided to put June to November into two long empties posts and cover December as intended with in-depth reviews for each.

You might need to stock up with some tea and cookies before sitting down to read this post. It’s really long, you might get hungry along the way…¬†Just a friendly suggestion.

Hair

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Swell Ultimate Volume Masque was a difficult one to judge. It feels as if it absorbs instantly leaving absolutely nothing behind so I was slathering it on with a very heavy hand at first. After a few uses, I realised that amount makes no difference, the result is about the same. No, it does not make your hair feel like silk, nor does it have outstanding detangling properties. But it does give a nice volume and hair feels reasonably healthy after use. If you have fine hair and top your washing routine up with a good leave-in treatment, this might be worth trying. I had a 30 ml tester from M&S 2016 Beauty Calendar, but 150 ml full size will cost you ~ £26.

At the absolute opposite end of the spectrum, you can find Spa Secret Conditioner which I bought from a pound shop, but you can also pay¬†~ ¬£7 according to Google. Not something I would race to repurchase, but honestly – it wasn’t bad either. Served me just fine when I was on a budget.

In between these (price-wise, ~ ¬£9) falls the OGX Anti-Breakage Keratin Oil Shampoo. What can I say about it – it’s a shampoo. Shampoos very rarely get me excited. It lathered fine, did not make my hair feel like hay, did not feel as if was strengthened or made hair break less either. I’d be happy to buy it again if no other shampoo on the shelf catches my attention.

Colab¬†Active Dry Shampoo is a good one that I would buy again. Does not leave a¬†white residue (although I am blonde so how would I even know) and does not smell too overwhelmingly (although I would LOVE to find a dry shampoo that does not smell at all). A great quick fix for when I just cannot be bothered to wash my hair. Truth is, it’s not the washing that is the issue – it’s the drying. It takes my hair forever to dry and it’s more often than not that if not dried properly, and then tied up, I return home after a full working day to find my hair still damp. It’s ~ ¬£4 and the closest place to get your hands on this is probably Superdrug.

 

 Body

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The Body Shop Olive Scrub is my body care staple – I’ve gone through 10+ pots¬†over the years for sure. They’ve now changed the packaging slightly, but it’s still the same content and texture. I love it because it’s a real physical scrub, not the sugary-salty mumbo-jumbo which I just do not get (if I put these on dry skin, they crumble off, on wet skin, they melt into gooey nothing – does anyone else have this problem?). I am using the olive scrub on dry skin, work all over my body twice (at first it is creamy, but then dries out to give a very good exfoliation, which I like) and then wash off with warm water. Love the silky smooth skin revealed! 250 ml is ¬£15, but I try to stock up when on sale. For some reason, it hasn’t been for a while…

L’Occitane Cherry Blossom Bath & Shower Gel was another from the M&S calendar, 75 ml tester size. As I’ve mentioned before, I love everything cherry so right down my alley. The only annoying thing about this specific tester was the bottle – although cute, the lid was tiniest of tiny and very tight so I really had to use my nails to get it open under a shower. Didn’t always work, though, so had to use teeth occasionally, which is why I can confirm that the taste of it is not as nice as the smell. 250 ml is another ¬£15.

Balance Me Super Toning Body Polish 50 ml travel size (I suspect another M&S calendar treat) was nice, but did not make me steer away from my beloved olive scrub. It had a bit of an artificial scent¬†if I remember correctly – I might be mistaken, as it was used up a¬†long time ago in June. Yet another ~ ¬£15 for 150 ml (what’s this thing with all body products being the same price range???).

Panier des Sens shower gel with thyme sounded just too exotic to pass. It had a strong thyme scent, and I was very happy with it since I do like thyme (as tea, on my roast veggies, in a casserole… which reminds me to get some dinner – writing this post has taken a really long time already). As with all shower gels, there is really very little to go wrong – as long as it smells good, I am a happy kid! Not sure where you could find this brand on a regular basis in the UK, I got it from TK Maxx for a ¬£7-ish.

Hands & Feet

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Almost half way through now, hang in there. ūüôā

CCS Foot Care Cream is another staple I cannot live without. It’s a very rich, thick cream that’s perfect layered¬†under cotton socks overnight. It is very similar to my favourite foot cream available back home, Helosan. As a matter of fact, so similar (and both Swedish) that I suspect it is the exact same cream, just packaged into a smaller tube with another name and sold 5x more expensive in the UK (~ ¬£8 at Boots, if you’re interested). I’m using foot cream every night because I feel extremely uncomfortable when my feet (or hands, now that we speak about it) feel dry and itchy – and that’s probably why I’ve never had any issues with them, nor had any need for industrial-strength sanding machines due to rough heels. This specific cream, as said, is rich so better suited for winter (although I use it all year round) or overnight. I think all foot creams work better overnight anyway because it’s literally a pain to wear shoes on bare creamy feet¬†(tried once, got massive – and I mean half-a-sole-massive – blisters under my feet).

I always have a travel sized hand cream in my handbag, and within the reporting period (ha!) I have apparently gone through two. First being L’Occitane Almond Delicious Hand Cream. I love L’Occitane hand creams – they smell delicious and are brilliant moisturisers without being too heavy or greasy. Almond smell is just divine so I’m definitely keeping this in my hand cream shortlist. 30 ml travel size is ¬£8.

Beauty Formulas Dry & Cracked Skin Cream was a random foot cream due to an¬†urgent need, another spound saver shop purchase (was it around ¬£2-3?). Wasn’t impressed at all with this and, thankfully, ran out of it quite quick as well. It just did not moisturise enough, was just laying there on top of my feet. If you’re looking for a light cream, maybe it works for you. No promises. Peppermint and menthol smell was nice, though…

Fleur de Figuier hand and nail balm by Roger & Gallet is another travel size with a¬†yummy smell and excellent moisturising properties. It was more waxy and thick compared to L’Occitane so took more work to get it rubbed in, but often when using it, an odd colleague or two asked: “What is this lovely smell here?”. Got it from M&S calendar, but Google advises it costs ¬£6.

Essentials

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Aah, the boring but necessary stuff. Are you still with me?

I bought Nivea¬†Double Effective Eye Make-up Remover when my usual L’Or√©al was¬†nowhere to be found and I really needed to get some kind of makeup remover. It does compare very well and works brilliantly on both waterproof and ordinary mascara. Happy to find an alternative remover that does its job. Anywhere between ¬£2-7 (…really, eBay?!) and widely available.

Triple Dry Anti-Perspirant Roll-on was my desperate attempt to take control over sweating during summer. Should be 72h formula – not sure, does it really work this way when showering every day? Anyways – I did not see a massive difference compared to usual perspirants so still looking for a holy grail. What I did like was it being scentless (with all my 35 years, I still haven’t figured out why would anyone put one scent under the armpits and then use an expensive fragrance on top?). A ¬£5-ish and again widely available.

L’Or√©al¬†Absolute Make-up Remover is a classic. It’s been around for decades and still as good as the first time I used it in my teens. I’ve tried others, high street and high-end, and with the exception of Nivea above, nothing has been removing waterproof makeup as well as this. So I continue buying it for the ~ ¬£4 as long as I shall live, khm, I mean use makeup.

Dove Soft Feel Aerosol Deodorant samples were handed out in Westfields the other day so I thought why not give it a try. As per rant two paragraphs above, I just do not get the scented deodorant/perspirant¬†theme. And I’ve confirmed I still do not like aerosols. Used it up, made a mental note and moved on. Should be around ¬£3-ish?

Lips

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La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Levres is a rather decent lip balm. I chose it based on glowing reviews online and had very high hopes for it to¬†compete with my all-time favourite from Biotherm, but it wasn’t as good as I expected. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good lip balm, but just not outstanding. You can find it starting from ~ ¬£4 online.

The Body Shop Hemp Lip Conditioner wasn’t my favourite in the beginning so it got demoted from handbag to bedside table. Eventually, it started working for me and kept lips well hydrated through the night. Another good balm¬†and I might – just might – buy it again. As with scrub above, TBS have changed the package, but I assume it is still the same stuff inside and you can own one for ~¬£5.

Sigh… this was a mammoth indeed. You’ve done great reading all the way down here! Next up, and maybe slightly more exciting, is Vol 2 – face products.

P.S. Check out the tags list!¬†Haha! ūüėÄ It’s really, really long…

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