Beauty · Body Care · Empties · Fragrance · Hair Care · Vintage Post

May Empties and Samples Review (My First Ever!)

May Empties!
May Empties!

My first empties post! I really like reading these types as they almost always come along with a quick review of a product after it’s been used long enough to go empty, making it (presumably) a more thorough and fair assessment. By the time you finish a product, you’ve got to have something to say about it. Some of these are brand new to me, and some I’ve been using for a while.

I’ve numbered them 1-8 in the photo below for a quick write up about each.


1) Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation 100 Ivory.
This is a product that I’ve been really wanting to try for a while, as I keep seeing such rave reviews. I was lucky in that the sample shade matched me well, and I really liked the texture. The coverage was also pretty good. My only concern was that it seemed a bit thick, cakey on some areas when applied with fingers, even when blended out. As I didn’t have enough product sample to try out different application techniques, I might try this out some time in the future with a damp/dry sponge/brush  etc to see what might work better for the formula. If this foundation contained sunscreen, I’d buy it again on the merit of that and the texture/coverage alone and learn to make it work for me regardless. But it doesn’t contain sunscreen. As it stands right now I’m a bit on the fence about this one. I prefer Rimmel Lasting Finish at the moment.

2) St. Ives Green Tea Cleanser

Initially, I really liked this cleanser. It has a very light green tea scent, has the surfactant my skin agrees with most (sodium laureth sulfate), has salicylic acid and even some green tea extract. It removed makeup well. Unfortunately, I noticed that my skin seemed to get oilier faster after using this product, so I decided to find out why. Turns out this product contains a menthol derivative (menthyl lactate) which can cause mild irritation and subsequent excess oil production. It’s a real shame they added that, this would have had holy grail beauty product status for me (tough accolade to obtain) and at $3.50, twice as sad.

3) Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control 3 in 1 Hydrating Acne Treatment

This is a 2% salicylic acid treatment, and as that, it performs well. I’ve been using this for a few years now actually, and my skin is smoother. The bottle doesn’t clearly say what the 3 in 1 effect is, it might be on the box which I don’t have handy. I wouldn’t really say this is moisturizing as it is in a silicone base and dries to a silky finish (think something like a thinner, watery version of the Smashbox primer type texture). As for stress control, well I wish stress control was as easy as a skin treatment. What this product is in fact really good at is helping speed up healing and minimize redness. Apparently this is discontinued in the US. It is still available in Canada, and I’m grateful for it as there is no other afordable, widely available within Canada irritant free salicylic acid treatment. The US has another option made by Clean & Clear but I can’t find it anywhere in Canada. If Neutrogena discontinues this in Canada I’m not sure what I’ll do! I will buy this as long as they make it. If they stop making it, I may have to rethink my love of Neutrogena.

4) Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti Wrinkle Cream

This one’s not quite empty yet but close enough to add here as I’m getting to the last dregs and I’d probably throw it out before my next empty post. I did a very thorough review on this one you can find here. I will buy this one as long as Neutrogena makes it as well.

5) Aussie You Can Shine Shampoo

Had a lovely super fresh citrusy orange scent. I suppose my hair was shiny, clean. I did like it. I might buy it again if it’s on a fantastic sale. I have a lot of shampoos to get through right now though, and although this performed well it wasn’t magical, it was shampoo, so this wouldn’t be an immediate rebuy. Only concern, it’s second surfactant is sodium lauryl sulfate, which is considerably more of an irritant risk than sodium laureth sulfate (it’s first surfactant). Although it doesn’t bother me, it does bother some people, so I thought it would be worth mentioning.

6) Aussie Moist Conditioner

A somewhat iconic, well known conditioner. I liked it. Has a nice tropical coconuty scent. It performed well, as I do like a richer conditioner. My only concern is I’m suspicious it might have made my skin break out. Looking at the ingredients the only thing I think that may have done that is the jojoba oil. I guess I will know within a few weeks if it were this conditioner or not. I’d rebuy on the same stipulations as the shampoo counterpart above, on a great sale.

7) Vaseline Cocoa Butter Lip Therapy

As you can tell by the well worn label, this was with me and used often. I’m the type who always needs something on their lips. I won’t use the lip balm types that have menthol, camphor, or other irritants as I find they are the ones that cause the “addictive” rebound lip balm effect. This is basically just Vaseline in a smaller container, and I already like Vaseline for a lip protectant. Yes, I’d absolutely rebuy, but I’ve already refilled this small container with the same Vaseline Cocoa Butter scent from a larger container so there’s no need to.

8) Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Abricot from Sephora

Up last we have the end of a sample of Vanille Abricot. It was nice, a bit sugary for me. The sweetness was of an intense icing sugar variety. The apricot and other fruits (papaya and jackfruit) kept it tropical and warm. I liked it, but I didn’t $85 like it. Too bad I can’t find the Vanille Almande at all, now that might be worthwhile. If I ever did buy this, it would not be at full price and it most certainly would not be from a Sephora. Or anything else from a Sephora. At the moment I’m currently battling with them to get them to honor a new, perfectly valid $50 e-giftcard awarded to me as a prize, and so far (4 phone calls and countless emails later) they are refusing to assist me, provide any goods, or provide a refund to anyone (myself or the gifter) because I am in Canada (yes, we do have Sephora here). Essentially, they have the money paid for the gift card and are not interested in assisting me beyond that point and I do have this in writing from their most recent email.  I offered a set of six perfectly reasonable, fair solutions in a politely, carefully worded email. All were declined. I am awaiting final confirmation that they will keep the cash and refuse to provide goods or refund before I make my public write up to share on my blog, their Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media I find to be relevant to the subject. I will not purchase anything from a Sephora until this is resolved satisfactorily. I will, however, continue going in for free samples, at least until I feel I’ve received about $50 USD worth. Seems fair don’t you think?

Sorry to leave my empties post on that note, but there was no way I was going to say the word Sephora without saying what was on my mind. There will be a full write up soon on what happens. Up until today I was giving Sephora the benefit of the doubt as a large, well known company to do the right thing customer service wise and so far I’ve been greatly disappointed. Still hoping for the best as I would greatly prefer to report on a positive experience. 🙂

EDIT: Please see my new post about the products (good) and service (highly questionable) from Sephora. As this post of mine is popular, I would like to use it to help word get out.

Moving on, has anyone tried any of these products? And if so, what did you think?

Have a great weekend!