I hope you have recovered from reading through part 1 of the 2016 Empties post and are now ready for more exciting stuff, face products! Another long post coming up so please do at least have a banana nearby to get you through this. 😉

Face Masks

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St. Ives Apricot Scrub has stirred up some controversy in the US at the moment – apparently, there is a lawsuit filed against it for causing excessive damage to the skin. Honestly speaking, I kinda agree. It is a very scrubby scrub, only suitable for seasoned skin. Although it is THE scrub I grew up on, one of the first ‘modern’ and ‘western’ beauty products that became available in the Eastern Block after gaining independence, I was careful when using it now rubbing really gently to avoid damage. Suppose I (and the beauty industry) have covered some mileage since the 90s… This specific specimen was a decent sized tester, got it as part of a goodie bag from a fitness event. Not an expensive product, £4-5 full size if you’d like to give it a try.

My Little Beauty Rosée Du Matin detoxifying mask was sent as part of the My Little Box (a subscription box that I just adore – for some reason, it ticks all the right boxes for me with its tone of voice, beauty and goodie products). The main ingredient making the difference here is vitamin C. The mask is white to start with, but rubbing releases vitC and it turns light terracotta colour (or pink, in case you are not a colour-name-nerd like me). Leave it on for 5 minutes and wash off – creamy texture ensures it does not dry out (unless you leave it on for longer, happens…). As with other vitC products, it brightens the skin and evens out the skin colour, and I truly enjoyed using it, although cannot speak of any magical, overnight results (not really expecting this from masks anyway). It was a nice addition to my masks routine, available for €14 (50 ml) on their French website.

Garancia Pschitt Magique Nouvelle Peau enzyme peeling mousse was also from My Little Beauty box and I was instantly intrigued by it. It comes out as a very airy and light foam – spread it over your face, leave for 30 seconds or so and wash off. It’s very gentle so don’t expect an instant glow or massive difference, but over time and regular use I started to notice how my skin was just… better. Smoother, more even, generally nicer to live with. I had sporadically used enzyme peels before, but this really got me back into the acid/enzyme/chemical peel business, which has made an unbelievable difference to my skin. It’s an exotic product you need to search for, but if you have good relations with Sephora, you can get 30 ml for €20.

Eye Creams

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Liz Earle Superskin Eye Cream was lovely to use. It has just the right balance – nourishing enough so the skin feels well moisturised, but not greasy. Works well under the makeup with no rolling or too much sliding. My smile lines were smoothed out a bit and area around the eyes was generally happy and satisfied. Definitely considering if I should get another one as it seems to be spot on for my current 35-ish age and concerns (smile lines, tiny bit of spiderweb on orbital bone, dry but no major wrinkles to speak of). It’s a great all-rounder that is suitable for both AM and PM so I would highly recommend it if you are looking to buy just one eye cream. £35 for 15 ml in a chunky but very sophisticated looking pump bottle.

Sanctuary Spa Reverse Youth Awakening Eye Serum is a light well-absorbing milky liquid. It is moisturising enough for mornings, in the evenings I followed it up with another, creamier product. It’s otherwise a decent product, but I do have one major issue with it – the shimmer. I just don’t understand why a skincare, especially an eye care product would need mica in it. It’s like cheating – “Look how glowy the skin looks!… Ah, it’s just added glitter.”. I do wonder if the product makes any difference when looking at the results minus the shimmer. Mica content is the main reason I would not buy it again as I prefer to keep my skin care and makeup separate. In case you like some sparkle in your eye cream, it’s available for £16 and you’ll get a standard 15 ml.

Neal’s Yard Rose Formula Hydrating Eye Cream is a light, white, and rather liquid cream. It is wonderful in the mornings when you need some moisture under the makeup. I felt that it is not enough on its own, but it does work very well on top of a serum and that’s how I used it in the evenings. I do consider repurchasing it for AM to be paired with something nice and rich for the PM routine. Worth mentioning that the packaging is absolutely perfect for travelling – it’s tiny! Loved it! Although, while we’re at it – the pump spits out a bit too much product since the cream is very fluid and you don’t need as much to cover both eyes. The cream would cost you £24 for 10 ml.

Face Creams

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Pure Super Grape Day Cream is from M&S own beauty range and (of course!) that’s how I came upon it, as part of M&S 2015 Beauty Calendar. It is a perfectly fine day cream that left my face greasy as every single other cream so no surprise there. No wow effect but nothing bad to say about it either. If you’re looking for an affordable and decent day cream, do give it a try. £15 for 50 ml.

Rodial Dragon’s Blood Sculpting Gel was a slight disappointment as I read the reviews before trying it out and expected magic. Or at least a wow! Neither happened. Not sure how the sculpting is supposed to look on my face, or how long it takes to make a noticeable change, but 15 ml tester from the calendar did not get me there. I only used it at night as it left me greasy (it’s starting to sound like a broken record…) and I had other day creams to try out anyways. I appreciate I got a chance to try it out and honestly think this beauty calendar business is just brilliant as I would be sorely disappointed to pay £80 (50 ml) for the results achieved (not).

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Fluide was an attempt to find a no-fuss, basic but effective moisturiser that would not be too greasy (yeah, I know, I know…). Another failed attempt on the latter, but I did like this moisturiser a lot as the last layer on top of serums, oils and treatments. It has a short ingredients list that kept my skin happy without breakouts and it’s very liquid so spreads well keeping me from layering too much on my face. It’s back on my shopping list now because it would be absolutely perfect as the last step after all the retinoids, hyaluronic acid and whatnot I am using PM because I got scared of getting old and wrinkly. Luckily, LRP is a reasonably priced quality brand and occasionally on sale so £10-15 for 40 ml is all I need to budget for.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ is my holiest of holy grails for troubled skin. I learned about it from A Model Recommends a few years ago and it has been my saviour since then. Until just recently I thought it’s magic that works so well with my skin, but I’ve done some homework on ingredients (btw, Vogue’s Skincare Alphabet is a really nice place to start) and connected some dots after my The Ordinary haul so I can now say that most likely the magic is called niacinamide. Effaclar Duo never fails to reduce the redness of spots and helps to heal them much faster. It also helps to clear dark marks left from scarring whenever I have decided to pick on a pimple. I always have at least one Effaclar Duo in my beauty cabinet and although I am currently using Ordinary’s Ni+Zn solution on my face instead Effaclar Duo, but adding it on top of those two spots I’ve come upon in recent weeks has magically healed them in 2 days to skin colour. I could go on forever, but the long story short: it’s magic. And it only costs you £10-15, same as previous, for 40 ml.

Men’s

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I don’t normally buy men’s beauty products, but when my other half got these from a goodie bag (he works in publishing) and decided they are too much for his delicate man’s skin, I could not bear to watch these being tossed in the bin (it’s Kiehl’s, for Christ’s sake!) and gave them a new home on my shelf in the beauty cabinet.

Kiehl’s Age Defender Power Serum is a gel-like serum that smells of alcohol and got me suspicious from the beginning. Indeed, alcohol is high up in the ingredients list and that’s probably why my other half felt it was too harsh on his skin that is only used to mild moisturisers and occasional beard trimming. I try to steer away from alcohol in face products so thought it’s too much for my face as well and used it up on my neck and decollete. No major breakthrough to report, but it definitely did not hurt to give areas below the face some serum love. £48 for a massive 75 ml (it took me some time to go through it), make sure you get a tester before going full size.

Kiehl’s Age Defender Moisturizer is an average moisturiser, feels more suitable for dry skin as it’s on the thick side. Not sure why my Mister did not like it, I suspect because he has decided to only use natural products and this one is definitely not one of them. Alcohol again high up in the ingredients list. As all moisturisers that are too much for my face, it got demoted to my neck area and did a reasonable work moisturising the delicate skin. Not sure I’d pay £38 for it (50 ml), though.

… and this concludes the second part of the empties. Next up in the Balance Sheet: plenty of new stuff that has not made it to the books yet as well as a few that are to be signed out.

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