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Collecting all the products you use up and throwing them in one huge Empties post at the end of the year always sounds like such a great idea – until you actually have to sit down with a huge bag full of trash to sort through.
Will I ever learn? Probably not. So without further ado, get yourself a drink and let me talk you through the skincare, haircare and makeup I have finished in 2023. Almost everything has a dedicated review on this channel already, so I will keep things short for the sake of your and my time.
Cleansers I finished in 2023
As it is with all products, these aren’t all the cleansers I have used this year, just the ones I have finished. I test so many, only the best stay in rotation and even those take a really long time, so just because it isn’t in here doesn’t mean I don’t like it. It probably is sitting next to my sink half-empty.
The ones I did finish are The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm (150 ml for 12,99 €, full review here), a great one for removing makeup in the winter. It is the second time I finished it and while some people claim it is too harsh on their skin due to the tiny granules it contains, I never had any issues with them.
Then we have the 107 Beauty Chaga Jelly Low pH Cleanser (120 ml for 27,99 €, full review here) that is a great morning or second cleanse and that I adore because of the scent, which reminds me of Earl Grey, the tea I have every morning.
The Dr. Sam’s Flawless Cleanser (200 ml for 21 €, full review here) on the other hand has no noticeable scent and no exciting texture. It is a solid cleanser that gets the job done, but doesn’t excite me enough to be repurchased.
And the Deciem Hylamide High-Efficiency Face Cleanser (full review here) is one I enjoyed, but that as far as I know, isn’t available any longer. Which is a shame, as the texture and way it behaved on the skin was quite unique.
Toners I finished in 2023
Toners are actually less than I thought – despite not being a necessity, I use one pretty much every day and often layer them. (More info: Toner, Tonic, Essence – What is the difference? and The benefits of the Seven Skin Method in skincare explained)
The first one, the innisfree Intensive Hydration Toner with Green Tea Seed (200 ml for 21 €, full review here), is only a travel size. I got it as part of a kit to discover the brand and enjoyed it a lot. It is nice and hydrating, but the scent is quite strong, better make sure you like it before committing to a full size bottle.
The Geek and Gorgeous Liquid Hydration Spray Bottle (110 ml for 8,40 €, full review here) is also a mini and the second bottle I finish of this product. Especially as a spray bottle it is great for in between misting and for the summer.
The only full size I have to show here is The Inkey List PHA Toner (100 ml for 12,99 €, full review here), which is against common belief not really an exfoliating toner. The Polyhydroxy Acids are acids by name, but more hydrating than exfoliating compared to your regular AHAs. (More info: The benefits of Polyhydroxy Acids in skincare explained) While I like it well, I don’t think I will repurchase though.
Serums I finished in 2023
Now onto serums, which are, like every year, the category I have the most to show you. I love serums, I use several daily and as they only contain 30 ml, it is much easier to finish those compared to a toner.
The Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum (30 ml for 59 €, full review here) is one that features every year because I love it and keep repurchasing despite the price. It is just something that makes my skin feel healthier without me being able to pinpoint exactly why it is doing that.
Earlier this year I got a set of travel sizes from Glow Recipe, and the Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Acid Serum (30 ml for 46 €, full review here) is one of the two products I managed to finish – the other one is an eye cream I will show later. While it is nice and hydrating, it certainly isn’t special enough for me to repurchase.
Already repurchased was the NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Serum 3 (30 ml for 87 €, full review here), even more expensive than the Estee Lauder one, but by far the best Copper Peptides Serum I have tried in terms of texture. The first one was PR, the two others I have used since I have purchased myself, that is how much I love it.
Now onto Geek and Gorgeous, a brand I have quite a bit to show from: First the Geek and Gorgeous Porefectly Clear Serum (30 ml for 7,80 €, full review here), their Salicylic Acid Serum that I like for spot treatment more than for all over the skin, then the Geek and Gorgeous B Bomb Serum (30 ml for 8,50 €, full review here) with 10% Niacinamide and Zinc PCA – again I like it, but it doesn’t wow me – and lastly three (!) bottles of the Geek and Gorgeous C-Glow Serum (30 ml for 12,50 €, full review here), the serum that started my love affair with the brand. It is a 15% Ascorbic Acid made fresh upon order to ensure maximum stability and no matter how many others I have tried, few come close in sensory experience and those that do can’t beat the price.
And to prove I have tried others, here are three more Vitamin C empties that I tested on my face and then finished on my neck: First the Alpha-H Advocate Vitamin C Serum (25 ml for 57 €, full review here) that uses Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, so a Vitamin C derivative, and is surely a good alternative for those that don’t get along with Ascorbic Acid sue to sensitivities, then the TIA’M My Signature C-Source Serum (30 ml for 16,95 €, full review here) that I do like with two exceptions: The texture is thicker than I prefer and it is one that easily oxidizes around my hairline, leaving me with orange patches there when I wasn’t super careful. The last one I tried, the La Roche Posay Pure Vitamin C10 Serum (30 ml for 36 €, full review here), was a disappointment given how much I like other products from the brand. I disliked the texture, it oxidized very quickly and just in general my skin didn’t really agree with it.
Given all that, you will probably see a lot more Geek and Gorgeous C-Glow in next year’s empties as well.
Face Oils I finished in 2023
Face oils is a category I don’t often have, as I don’t really use many of them, but something I have finished repeatedly over the last years are the Zelens Power D Treatment Drops (30 ml for 121 €, full review here). They aren’t marketed as face oil, so I am not even sure if they belong to this category, but due to their oily texture I put them here. They are amazing to keep your skin happy during the cold, especially when you use strong actives, and the small size lasts me through all winter, so for me they were always worth the money.
This is actually the first season I haven’t purchased a new bottle as I have so many other barrier supporting products on the go for testing that I wanted to see if I still need it – back in the day when I discovered it, it was pretty unique.
Moisturizers I finished in 2023
The moisturizer category is pretty small this year, not because I don’t use any, but because I have too many open that I am testing to finish them.
The only one I have to show is The Inkey List Omega Water Cream (50 ml for 10,99 €, full review here) that I love a lot. It is super lightweight, not tacky at all and, depending on the season, doubles up as a hydrating serum with something heavier on top, great for combination skin types.
An honorable mention goes to the Geek and Gorgeous Hydration Station (50 ml for 8,90 €, full review here) that I would have finished, had not someone on Instagram contacted me when Geek and Gorgeous didn’t have it in stock and offered to buy my tube because he didn’t want to be without. Of course I sent it over – for free, I don’t sell used skincare that I got via PR! – so there you have another testimonial about how good it actually is.
Eye Creams I finished in 2023
After going a full year without any eye cream finished in 2022, I do have quite a few to show you, some of which were already on their last leg last December.
First off two from The Inkey List, The Inkey List Retinol Eye Cream (15 ml for 13,99 €, full review here) and The Inkey List Caffeine Eye Cream (15 ml for 10,99 €, full review here). The first one is a decent retinol eye cream, especially when you are on a budget, but I have another favorite, so I won’t repurchase. The second one has already been repurchased for the I don’t know how many-est time, it is just perfect for depuffing my eyes after a late night crying session. And we all know they do happen for the silliest of reasons, but with this one, they stay our secret.
Another Retinol eye cream I tested last year is the Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Cream (15 ml for 47 €, full review here), again a nice one, but out of the two I would get the one from The Inkey List, price-wise.
And the last one is the Biossance Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream (15 ml for 49 €, full review here) that I enjoyed a lot despite the fact that it has no actives. It is really nourishing, but not heavy, so perfect for more mature eye during the day.
Sunscreens I finished in 2023
Sunscreen is the second category that is always large, so thank you if you are still with me. I wear sunscreen daily, and you will see that reflected in the many products I cal “office sunscreen”: not waterproof, but cosmetically very elegant, perfect for daily wear, but not for outdoor activities.
And, quite frankly, while they do differ in richness and texture, there are only three that stand out to me, the rest will just be listed under nice:
We have the Bellflower Avocado Moisture Sunscreen SPF 50+ (50 ml for 10,99 €, apparently I haven’t published a review yet?), the Some by MI True Cica Aqua Calming Suncream SPF 50 (50 ml for 9,99 €, no review yet), the Abib Heartleaf Sun Essence Calming Drops SPF 50 (50 ml for 19,99 €, full review here) and the Thank you Farmer Sun Project Skin-Relief SunCream SPF 50+ (50 ml for 15,99 €, no review yet).
The ones that get mentioned extra are the La Roche Posay Anthelios UVMune 400 SPF 50+ (50 ml for 16,99 €, full review here) that is the one I rely on for beach and outdoors, and then the isntree Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel SPF 50 (50 ml for 18,99 €, full review here) I finished twice, the SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Hyalu-Cica Water-Fit Sun Serum (50 ml for 8,99 €, full review here) I finished twice and the Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun Rice + Probiotics SPF 50 (50 ml for 13,99 €, full review here) I finished one of and am currently using a second tube – these four are the ones I would repurchase.
Conductive Gels I finished in 2023
Filed under random are the conductive gels I am using for my devices, one is the prorelax Conductive Gel (100 ml for 14,99 €) that I get from Amazon and then the ZIIP Golden Gel (80 ml for 139 €) that I got via PR. The Golden Gel is so much nicer in terms of texture, but I completely understand that it being ten times the price might put people off buying it.
Makeup I finished in 2023
While I do almost exclusively talk about skincare, I do love makeup as well, and finished one foundation, the L’Oréal Perfect Match Nude Foundation Serum (30 ml for 13,99 €) in 0.5 – 2 Very Light – I already repurchased and might get around to film a review this time. It has light coverage and is easy to put on without getting streaky or flaky, so quite low maintenance. Then I finished one tube of L’Oréal Volume Million Lashes So Couture (10 ml for 9,99 €) that was my favorite in 2022, but got replaced by the L’Oréal Air Volume Mega Mascara (10 ml for 11,95 €) in 2023. I also tried the L’Oréal Air Volume Mega Mascara waterproof (10 ml for 11,95 €), but that one is absolutely vile, so only the regular one got repurchased.
Then I finished the L’Oréal Precision Liner (2 ml for 13,99 €) that I liked and am currently using in waterproof, and to show that I am not exclusively using L’Oréal (I didn’t realize I had so many of their products until I looked through my trash), I also finished the pixi H2O Skin Veil Translucent Powder (5g for 24 €, full review here). It is really lovely, never cakey and gives a velvet finish to the skin as well as the MaxFactor Cream Blush in Soft Cardinal (2,5 g for 5,99 €).
Hair Care I finished in 2023
For hair care I have three things to show, the Gliss Kur Daily Oil Elixir (75 ml for 5,99 €) that I use every day before brushing, the Le Petite Marseillaise Shampoo with honey and Shea Butter for dry hair (250 ml for 2,93 €) and the L’Oréal Smartbond Conditioner (150 ml for 5,99 €) still in the old packaging. I purchased the conditioner shortly before it was pulled from the shelves two or three years ago, planning to compare it to Olaplex, and already have a bottle of the new version in my stash to see that plan through.
And that sums up everything! If you made it this far, thank you so much for sticking with me through this video and through the year – I will see you on the other side.
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