Empties: January and February 2016

It's the first Wednesday of the month again so that means it's empties roundup time! If this month's post had a theme, it would definitely be 'skincare and samples'; I've set myself a goal to try and use up all those bits of things that are hanging around and taking up space this year, and so far it seems to be going quite well. This is a bit of a bumper post as well as I didn't manage to do a January empties post, so grab yourself a cuppa and get settled in. Here's what I finished off so far this year...

Soap & Glory The Ultimelt
I really, really loved this cleanser. It's got a nice rich creamy texture, feels lovely and soft on the skin, and is great for removing makeup and clearing out pores. For best results you do need to take it off with a hot flannel but I found it worked well just as a wash-off cleanser too. I also felt it made a considerable difference to my skin; I had a really terrible breakout in early December and this has helped to reduce the spot scars and improve my skin texture. I've got a mountain of cleanser to work through at the moment but would definitely repurchase this one once I'm done.

Origins Super Spot Remover
Although I haven't had as many breakouts since getting back into a proper evening skincare routine, I still like having a spot treatment in my kit. This one has definitely been helpful both in terms of making spots go down quicker and in reducing scarring, and doesn't sting too much when applied - rather a tingle to let you know it's working. I do find it works better once the spots have come to a head though rather than for those ones that lurk under the skin for ages (the Estee Lauder Clear Difference Targeted Blemish Treatment - which I reviewed here - is better for that). Also it does have a tendency to feel a bit 'crusty' on the skin once it dries so it's probably more of an evening treatment

Liz Earle Botanical Shine Shampoo
This was in a Birchbox a few months ago and was a feature of my travel beauty bag for a while as it's a good size for taking on trips away. I will say my favourite thing about it is the smell - it's like orange sweets and kept making me want to shake my hair like a shampoo advert just so I could catch a whiff of it! I also liked the fact that it lathered up really nicely, which is unusual in an SLS-free product. It also gave my hair a really nice shine and made it feel clean but without weighing it down. The only thing putting me off is that it's a little more than I'd normally pay for a hair product, but if you want something to treat your hair I'd suggest giving this a go.

Sainsbury's Little Ones Baby Shampoo
As well as for cleaning my make-up brushes, I've been using this  to wash my fringe and make sure it doesn't go stringy. It's really good for that as whilst it gets the hair really clean it also isn't too harsh or stripping, which is what you want when you're using it every day. I also really like the smell - it's light and fresh but still with a little bit of warmth to it rather than being overly sharp - and the fact the bottle is so big means it lasts for ages (in my case over six months as I've had it since before we moved). Plus how cute is that whale? Overall, definitely worth purchasing if you need a new brush cleaner.

Lush Lord Of Misrule Shower Cream
It's not often I say this but I am completely, utterly in love with this product. For me its woody, fresh, green fragrance really reminiscent of Tramp, my favourite Lush scent of all time (and now sadly discontinued), but with a slightly sweeter note from the inclusion of vanilla. It also lathers up really nicely and isn't too drying on the skin; I still found I had to use a body lotion afterwards but if you don't have dry skin you might be OK. A word of warning though: there will be blobs of green stuff all over your shower after using this so I'd strongly advise you give it a wipe down in case it stains! I'll definitely be stocking up on a big bottle of this when it comes back in the autumn.

Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face Wash
Another Birchbox product and another one from the travel beauty bag. I'm not normally keen on cleansers with beads in them as they can be quite scratchy - I'd rather exfoliate with a hot muslin cloth or flannel - but I found that this did the job whilst still being very gentle and not overly drying. It had a nice fresh scent too which I really liked. Overall, a good little travel extra and a nice occasional morning cleanser which I'm pleased to have tried, but not necessarily one I'd buy again.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream
I wrote about this in my December Birchbox post and, having now tried it further, I really rather like it. It's rich enough to cope with the battering my skin gets in winter but without being too heavy and causing me to break out. Plus it has worked wonders on the lines on my forehead, wiping out a smaller one and considerably reducing a second that was much deeper. And it smells nice, in a sort of 'expensive older lady' way. The only thing putting me off reinvesting is the frankly ridiculous price tag.

L'Oreal Skin Perfection Purifying Cleansing Wipes
I know there are people who hate wipes with a passion, but I see them as the skincare equivalent of fast food - sometimes you're too tired to make a proper meal/take your make-up off and you know it's bad for you, but you need something quick and it's better than nothing. These ones are pretty good as wipes go; they don't dry my skin out too much but don't leave that horrible film some wipes do, and are pretty good at removing make-up (though I did have to scrub my eyelashes a little bit to get all the mascara off). I've got another couple of packs of wipes in my stash so won't need to restock for a while, but if you need some in a pinch these do the jobs

Benefit Puff Off!
Another December Birchbox sample! I must admit I really loved the iron-themed packaging on this; I'm a sucker for anything with retro styling and as usual Benefit delivered that in spades. However I wasn't enormously wowed by the product. Although it sank in quickly and was nicely cooling on the skin, I didn't feel it necessarily did a lot for me. I should caveat that by saying I don't tend to puffy eyes anyway, so if you do it might work better. Unfortunately this isn't a repurchase for me and I think I'll stick with my It's Potent!

Dove Original Anti Perspirant
Not the most exciting product to finish on I'm afraid - it serves its purpose, in that it smells OK in a neutral clean way and keeps sweat at bay, but other than that it's not much to write home about. That said, given that I don't necessarily want my deodorant to do more other than what it says on the can, it's perfectly acceptable. I like the blue and white design of the can as well - it looks clean but without being overly girly. I'd alternate between this and the Vaseline one depending which is on offer as I don't really prefer one over the other.

So that's everything I've used up in the first two months of the year - pretty good going I think!

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