Beauty Challenge: One Hundred Empties.

skin care

For someone who is not a professional beauty blogger or a make-up artist, I have a lot of products. I don’t even wear make-up daily, which serves to double the ridiculousness. Dozens of shadows and lipsticks sit unused every day, collecting dust and cat fur and shame, so much shame.

(Had to add drama, sorry.)

So on a slow, quiet, delightful weekday evening I decided to do a full inventory of my stuff and institute a One Hundred Empties challenge upon these lands. It is akin to Project Pan that originated on YouTube back in the day.

There are some empties posts coming up about products I finished before I decided on the challenge, so to preserve the accuracy – as we all deeply care – only the products finished on and after April 1 will count towards the challenge.

I’d like to set a specific date for completion, but a hundred products is, well, a hundred products. I don’t want to slather myself in three layers of body lotion or put on five layers of mascara simply because I want to race to complete this before the end of new year, for example.

Which products count towards challenge? All of them, including samples. Now, I could hypothetically ‘win’ this on samples alone, but I’m not going to do that, because I’m an honest person. (You can laugh now, can’t hear you.) Two samples of the same product are going to count as one item. Other than that, one sample = one item. Soaps will count towards the challenge as well.

Which products won’t count? I’m big on dental hygiene, but I’m not sure I’m going to count toothbrushes, floss, and the likes towards the 100 Empties list. Same goes for nail and foot files and loofahs. Brushes that have seen better days will not count towards the challenge either.

When is an emptie an emptie? Ideally an emptie is an emptie when the product is fully used up and the packaging is discarded. However, there are cases where I just let go of products. Most often this applies to nail polishes, shampoos, and mascaras. If I decide to not use the shadow anymore and only keep it for sentimental value, it’s not going to count. An emptie in this case is a product that no longer takes space in my cabinets. I.e., I used it up, let go of it, or threw it out.

Am I allowed to buy things? Yes, in moderation. I can buy replacements for things I ran out of. I can also stock up on my olde favourites on sale. I’m not cancelling my Lip Monthly subscription. If it’s a colour or a product I’ve been meaning to buy for ages, then I’ll buy it within my budget. My ultimate goal is to follow the ‘two out – one in’ approach, but we’ll see how it goes.

Above you can see my skincare stash. It’s a relatively old picture, so it’s changed a bit since then, but I wouldn’t say it lessened any, especially not the soaps (on the right).


Sample Thoughts: Nivea SOS Lip Relief.

nivea lip balm sos relief

This balm has a definite tingly and cooling effect that can be easily attributed to all products containing menthol. Said to have immediate regenerative qualities, also said to protect lips in freezing temperatures.

Which is where I am a bit confused, because I cannot imagine wearing this balm in the dead of winter. The cooling properties of menthol and -16C? Minus any C, really? I think you’ll agree with me that they’re not a good match at all.

My lips were dry and a bit chapped when I tried this balm, and indeed in about 10 minutes that felt soft and smooth. I had two 1ml samples of this balm, which amounts to about 1/3 of the product size. And while I did find this balm cooling and softening, I’m not exactly sure that really cracked lips would fare well with it — once again, due to the presence of menthol. If anyone ever had anything menthol-containing interact with an even lightly scratched skin (for example, a nearly healed cat scratch that’s not too deep), they will know that the motherfucker burns. Now, imagine this on your deeply chapped lips.

This is my second (conscious) interaction with products containing panthenol – the alcohol analog of vitamin B5 – and this is the second time I’m not as impressed as I ought to be, supposedly. My first one was the use of a body lotion for very dry skin, which I didn’t find moisturising at all. Now here I am with this balm sample, and while I can’t say it’s bad, I’m not impressed enough to buy a full-size tube.


Two Oriflame Masks.

Purifying and moisturising, that’s what this duo is all about.

Do forgive the overexposed photo. My camera is still without a battery, and it’s a little bit harder for me to regulate lighting with my phone.

two oriflame masks

 Oriflame Pure Nature Purifying Clay Mask, with burdock.

My skin is oily with a varying, but perpetual, amount of blemishes, so clay masks are one of my favourite things on earth. This one is no exception. It’s gentle enough to leave on your face until it’s fully dry or to use on the decolletage. I wouldn’t say that it gives a dramatic kind of effect, but after using it my skin felt smooth and wasn’t as congested, with an exception of maybe some particular stubborn spots and dots. Since it works subtly, it can be used in the mornings as well, though I still prefer to use all masks in the evening. And since the skin takes it so well, it’s possible to use another mask right after. Like the one below, for example.

Oriflame Essentials Hydrating Face Mask, with watermelon.

Yep, I’ve pretty much been using these in tandem. Part of the reason for this is, although this hydrating mask is indeed hydrating, it needs a bit of an exfoliating preparation to act properly. Otherwise it would, for the most part, fail to bring moisture to the skin.

The watermelon scent and I have a love/ hate relationship. I love it in masks and in chewing gum, and I could probably use it in a shower gel once or twice a week. But when subjected to it constantly, like with a spray or a body lotion, its artificial sweetness makes me want to puke. At least it’s not headache inducing.

I’m scratching my head as I’m writing this post, because I believe both of the products mentioned have already been discontinued by Oriflame. Man, these people are fast. The Pure Nature series was rebranded as Love Naturals. There’s a clay mask in there, but I’ve yet to try it, so I’m not sure how much of the formula was changed. No burdock extract, though, that’s for sure, which is a shame, because this plant has some really great properties when it comes to the skin. The Essentials sometimes pop up on sales and in mini-catalogues. I believe I’ve seen the watermelon series in particular some… three-four catalogues ago? It might appear again soon, now that spring is here and summer is closing up on us.

Regardless, the price of these masks is agreeable, and for that price they deliver nicely. Can’t tell you the exact amount, as it varies country by country. Your best bet is to get to the Oriflame site, and pick your region. I’m not sure if I would’ve repurchased the Essentials Hydrating Face Mask, but I would’ve certainly bought another tube or two of the Pure Nature Purifying Clay Mask. Better watch them sales and specials.

(I’m an Oriflame consultant, meaning that I buy Oriflame products with a special discount. All opinions mine. This is not a sponsored post.)


Products I’ve Used Up: AVON, Dove, Oriflame, etc.

products i've used up

AVON Naturals Hair Care Essential Balance Mango & Ginger 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner

Can I just say… Tone it down, brands. All y’all name your products in a way that’s not at all Twitter-friendly.

I bought this product for its scent alone. Previously I had a shea butter and apricot one from the same series, and it smelt so good, I never wanted to do anything but wash my hair over and over again so I could just bathe in the scent. That’s saying a lot, because washing hair is one of my least favourite beauty procedures. This scent doesn’t disappoint either, but somewhere in the middle it became tiring. Not sure why I buy these ten-gallon packages, because commitment to one particular scent or formula is totes not my thing when it comes to bath products.

Shampoo-wise, it’s a good product, but didn’t match my scalp and hair exactly. It’s a hard thing to do, though, so I hold no grudge against it. It’s a 2-in-1, and if you’ve got short hair, or maybe even well-behaved mid-length hair, then I dare say the 2-in-1 will work, at least occasionally. Everyone else would need to use a conditioner with it.

Maybe I will repurchase it, but in a smaller size.

P.S. How many convincing words can one fit unto one label? Natural, science, technology, essential, care, balance… It’s either natural or tech, tho, but whatever.

Dove Hair Therapy Nutritive Solutions Daily Moisture Shampoo

I love Dove hair gels, deodorants, and body lotions — in fact, I’m going to do dedicated posts about each of these things soon enough — but their shampoos are horrible for me. The scent is harsh. The product foams up a whole lot. It’s not ‘moisturising’ in the slightest, rather, it stripped my poor scalp off of all oils, sending it into an overdrive each time, leaving me with greasy roots in something like 12 hours. The formula is thick and feels soft during the application, but it was very harsh afterwards. This is one of the worst shampoos I’ve tried in a long while. Will not repurchase, will not recommend.

Eveline Lip Gloss

This thing is old. It’s so old, I can’t even tell you the colour and the correct product name. I bought it on a sale long, long time ago, used it as long as it was usable, and then I just kinda forgot to discard it. It had a lovely vanilla-ish scent, and it was one of the less stickier glosses. They have since then discontinued this particular product, I think.

Oriflame All-Over Makeup Remover

(FYI, that’s not a piece of gum holding it. It’s an unfortunate bunch of sticky tack.)

Needed a make-up remover, and this was on some epic offer. I was a little hesitant, because the previous variation of Oriflame makeup remover (green rectangular bottles) was not good. It wasn’t particularly offensive, it just… didn’t remove much. This one is a certain upgrade of the formula, but if you need a heavy-duty remover, then this is still not your guy. I want to check out their waterproof makeup remover, see if it’s any better. Will probably repurchase if on offer.

Oriflame Volare Perfume

Very rose-scented, a little too much for me. The bottle was redesigned, however, and I’m going to buy that thing just for the bottle alone, because it’s in a shape of a crystal rose, and who doesn’t want a crystal rose on their vanity?! No one, that’s who.

Chistaya Liniya 48 hr Phyto-Deodorant in Calendula

Rather on the wet side, and a little bit harsh smelling, but overall I was pleased with it. What I loved most perhaps was the packaging. It is upside-down. How brilliant is that?! No weird balancing acts required to use up all of the product. I wish it were in a bit of a less… cone-like shape, though, because at times I found it hard to grip. Might try other scents, but I think calendula is the lightest of them all.

Pur-Lisse face cream sample

This came with my Lip Monthly bag. I hesitated using it at first, because it’s for normal to dry skin, and I’m as oily skinned as they come. However, this was a very nice cream. It moisturised well enough and didn’t leave any greasy residue. It smelt pretty much like nothing — an odd trace of non-offensive dust, maybe?.. Don’t know how to describe it. Anyway, these non-smells are a huge plus in my book, and I rather more prefer them to any kind of artificial or natural fragrance. No irritation, no break-outs, no rough patches. I cannot say this was an ideal match for my skin, though.


Today’s Scent: Escada Especially.

escada especially (2)

(Just a bit of a heads up: I’m not a ‘nose’, nor even a domestic fragrance connoisseur. I know buggre alle how to talk about scents, and can’t even use them most days because of my headache spells. I just love how pretty they are on my vanity.)

At random, my father gave me a bottle of Escada Especially about a month ago. Couldn’t even try it for the first few days, because I was felling headachey. Those who suffer from migraines and trigeminal neuralgia will understand that trying out new perfumes — or wearing old, for that matter — when there’s even the slightest chance of a headache is no go. There’s always a probability of ‘pain association’ developing even with the nicest and most favourite of scents.

escada especially (3)

So my father kept asking, and I kept saying that I haven’t tried it yet. Then I opened the box, and got a tentative whiff without even spraying, and put the box away, and decided that I’m just going to call my father and say how I love it, but then never, ever, ever wear it, and maybe spritz a bit of it in the kitchen before his visits or something.

Then I decided to at least give it a proper chance.

I sprayed it on my wrists and on the back of my neck. Then I closed my eyes.

escada especially (4)

Olfactory triggers are one of the deepest one, as far as memory goes.

This one transported me right back into childhood. I could clearly see being picked up by my mother in my bedroom in our old flat. I could see spring outside the window and sunlight patterns on the carpet and myself in the mirror trying to plait my hair for the very first time tying it up with clumsy blue and pink polka dot bows. I could hear grandmother calling after my very first pair of kittens.

I never wanted to stop smelling my wrists ever again in hopes that it would just keep me enveloped in that perfect childhood memory forever.

escada especially (5)

I wish I could end this post by saying that I’ve worn this perfume ever since all day, every day, and even to bed, but that would be a lie. There’s something in it (its aquatic notes, I think) that are too much for me on most days, and I have to be really careful with my headache predictions to be able to wear this one. But I enjoy it. Love, it even. It paints that golden-lit perfect childhood afternoon in my head with such precision, it’s almost scary.

I gave my father a reserved ‘thank you’ and a promise to wear the scent. I’m kinda pants at expressing genuine gratitude.

escada especially (6)