29 Jun 2017

beauty empties for the first four months of 2017 & mini reviews

At the end of 2016, I decided to set a box aside for beauty things I finish throughout 2017. This will enable me to see just how much I go through with the intention of preventing hoarding and excessive impulse buys. Here are the first four months and some mini reviews on each finished item.


Baby Foot 
I had high hopes for this foot mask but it disappointed me. I'd read reviews that said they had peeling feet for a good few weeks after but mine didn't even flake! Feet were no different afterwards and I soaked them for the recommended time. 0/10

The Body Shop Blueberry Body Butter
Performance-wise, I'm a huge fan of The Body Shop body butters but not the price. I usually wait until they have a sale and a 40% discount code as you can usually combine the two. They are a luxury and so I try and only use them during the cooler months where my skin is dryer. Smells lovely and keeps my skin soft and moisturised. 7/10

Tony Moly I'm Real Radiance Sheet Mask
I reviewed this mask earlier this month, please see here :)

Liole Super Gold Snail BB Cream sample
I found this was the right shade for me but it didn't seem to go on as smoothly as my Missha Perfect Cover BB cream (my current go-to base). It made my skin look dry and flaky and just wasn't impressive. Disappointing as I do love products with snail in! 1/10

Holy Snails Shark Sauce sample
Holy Snails have some well loved products on the Asian Beauty Reddit subforum and so I found myself eager to try their offerings. I bought the sample pack and gradually made my way through each product. Shark Sauce has Niacinamide in, an ingredient that brightens and evens complexion while fading scars. This product didn't do anything (negatively or positively) so for that, 2/10. There are many who say that Shark Sauce has improved their skin beyond expectations though so you may think differently.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Zero Smudge Lengthening Mascara
Smudgeproof mascaras are a holy grail item for me and this one is perfect in that respect. The price is on the higher end though and though I did replace it (but with the volume version), I don't think there'll be another replacement after that one! 6/10

& Garnier Ultimate Blends Shampoo for Coloured Hair and a Dove Beauty Blossom Body Cream.


Tony Moly I'm Real Skin Soothing, Elasticity and Moisturising Sheet Masks
I reviewed these masks earlier this month, please see here :)

Emma Hardie Vit C Intense Daily Serum sample
Sometimes, when you use a sample, you don't expect much and that's the expectation I had with this one. However, by the end, I was gutted that I ended up loving the effect it had. It brightened my skin and evened out my complexion, seemingly overnight! With the main active ingredient being vitamin C though, I'm hopefully there'll be a product just as good for a fraction of the price. 8/10

Berrisom My Lip Patch
Very disappointing product. Tastes foul and no visible difference after. Fun to use and only good if you want to spend half an hour or so in silence. 0/10

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+]
This was one of those products where you don't notice much of an effect when you use it but once you stop, you then see the difference it made. Just that. I'm too scared to stop using it for that reason. 9/10

Mizon All In One Snail Repair Cream
I'm going to lay this down straight: I love snails. Snails have done wonders for my skin - from preventing break outs to decreasing redness - and this is the product that started it all. It lasted forever (ok, maybe more like eight months) and was great as part of a multi-step routine. I'm currently trying out the Black Snail version and it's not given me the same results unfortunately. 9/10 for this version.

& Arm and Hammer Enamel Pro Repair Toothpaste


Rilakkuma x A'pieu Sheet Mask Patches
This was a weird sheet mask - it came in patches shaped as the two bears: Rilakkuma and Korilakkuma. It was good at moisturising and had an instant brightening effect but the weird sheet mask style wasn't for me. 6/10

Fix & Tox S.Pore Unit Programming Sheet Mask
A steady sheet mask that didn't do anything special for me. 5/10

A'pieu Facial Cleansing Tissue
Good for removing make up and even the most stubborn eyeliner. 8/10!

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
This is a wonder product for my skin and I've mentioned it previously here in this post and here too! Not a bad word from me but others have reported pilling when using this serum under other layers.  9/10

Holy Snails Snowbang sample
The key product in this sample were ceramides and Snowbang did wonders for my skin. When I started using it, I did wonder why I hadn't thought of adding in this key ingredient sooner. It was the product that confirmed just how dehydrated I suspected my skin to be. Due to the price and lack of availability in the UK, I won't be repurchasing but have since found an adequate replacement. 9/10

Caudalie Reservatrol Lift Night Infusion Cream
A bit of a 'meh' product. Didn't do anything for me. 1/10

Benefit Professional sample
On the days where I don't feel like wearing a base layer, I sometimes just use a primer. Porefessional did a decent job of blurring my pores but was awful under my Missha Perfect Cover BB cream. It also didn't make my make-up last for longer but I did purchase the full size for those days where I don't feel like wearing make up. 7/10

Missha Time Revolution Borabit Ampoule
Again, one of those products that didn't make a difference. 1/10

Banila Co White Wedding Night Cream (two samples)
Another that made no impact. 2/10 (because I liked the consistency!)

& Garnier Ultimate Blends Shampoo for Coloured Hair and The Body Shop's Passionfruit Body Butter.

A P R I L - a month of samples!

Banila Co Miss Water and Mr Oil SLM Gel Cream (two samples)
No visible difference but I did like the texture and smell. 2/10

Tony Moly Cherry Blossom Whitening Cream (four samples)
Again, no impact. 1/10

Soap and Glory Scrub Your Nose In It
Ended up using this as a gentle body scrub instead. It has a refreshing minty smell to it... and that's as much as my review goes. It doesn't really do anything (at least not for me). 2/10

Fix and Tox Derma Clear System Mask x 2
A middle of the road sheet mask (not dissimilar to the other Fix and Tox sheet mask mentioned in the previous month. 5/10

Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Ultimate Diamond Eye Cream (three samples)
This cream seemed to brighten my skin (I used it all over my face instead of just under my eyes). I did end up liking it but I don't purchase eye creams as (in my opinion) they are overpriced for what they are. 6/10

Neutrogena Hydro Boost sample
I loved this sample! It was the last step to my evening routine and when I woke up the next morning, my skin was so much plumper and fresher. It is on my wishlist for once I finish my other sleeping packs! I hope they don't reformulate or discontinue by the time that comes around. 9/10

Tony Moly Intense Care Dual Effect Sleeping Pack sample
Meh. No difference. 1/10

Cosrx Ultimate Moisturising Honey Overnight Mask sample
Seemed to have a good effect overnight but not as good as the Neutrogena Hydro Boost. 6/10

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% and Zinc 1%
This was my second finished bottle and I know the first one is in the month of March so it looks like it doesn't last long! However, it didn't take me a month to get through this; I was using both bottles pretty much simultaneously since October so it probably takes me closer to three months to finish a bottle.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
Used as spot treatment, one bottle of this can take me months or even years in this case to finish. Because it has alcohol in it, I'm not too worried about keeping it for years. I talk more about it here. 9/10

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water for sensitive skin
Pretty good as a first step to take off make up. I follow it up with Banila Co's Clean It Zero (up next!) and then a foam cleanser. 8/10

Banila Co Clean It Zero
An excellent sherbet oil cleanser for dissolving make-up. I love the faint soapy smell and how it just melts on my skin. The tub lasted me for a good six months of near daily use and though it is on the pricier side, I'm too scared to try other oil cleansers in case they break me out. 8/10

& Jergens Daily Moisture Body Cream and Garnier Ultimate Blends Shampoo for fragile hair prone to breakage

* * *

My goal this year was to use up things before buying replacements and so far so good! I usually have one, maximum two, samples open at any time. I'm lucky that a bad reaction to something new is quite rare for me (touch wood this continues!) and using up my samples are a good way to add things to my wishlist. Saying that though, I still patch test each sample before slathering it all over my face. This gives me time to see if it really assess if it's something I want to try next or if it was a transient lust.

So far, I've noted that one bottle of shampoo and one tube of toothpaste lasts me for a month or so, sheet masks make an appearance once or twice a month and that buying back ups is something I need to stop because I just don't go through things as quickly as initially thought. I'm already excited to see what the next four months of empties will look like!


  1. This was really interesting. I'm just amazed you're able to get so many samples. I know here (in the US), samples aren't usually given out so freely, and if they are, you usually have to ask outright for them, which most people don't do (mostly because they're unaware, I think).

    Gemma | https://activelygemma.com

    1. The samples are mainly Korean beauty ones! :) Though I have found Estee Lauder can be quite generous if you go to their counter :) x