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Skin Care and Makeup Empties: January-June 2021

Hello all my buddies, this is Carmen! And it has been one hot minute since I talked about makeup or skin care on my blog!

During 2020 and 2021, my plan for beauty was to just buy things when I needed them. It wasn’t necessarily a no-buy, but it definitely curbed by palette, brush, and lipstick buying way down. So, today, I wanted to talk about all the things I’ve finished during the first half of 2021. I will talk about how the formula is, if I would repurchase, and if the company is cruelty-free and vegan. I’m trying to buy more cruelty-free items, so this last part is important, and being vegan is just a happy bonus.

I will be going in order of the skin care progress, so first is…


First, I’ll start with this little sample of Belif Aqua Bomb Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm. I really liked it, it definitely helped remove my makeup very nicely. I had enough here for about three applications, but I still feel like it was too much product. I have some other makeup remover products that I like better, so I will probably not try a full version of this. Also, Belif is not a cruelty-free company.

I used this Garnier SkinActive soothing botanical cleaning milk with rose water. I bought this in 2019, I think, and I finished this one early this year, maybe January? I used it on and off during 2020, this one I kept at my fiance’s apartment for when I spent the night. I use a milky cleanser after I take my makeup off because it’s more gentle on my skin than a gel or foaming cleanser. This smelled really nice and felt more like a lotion because it was so watery. But I think it cleansed pretty good! I would totally buy this again! Garnier is also cruelty-free, so that’s awesome!

Next is the Mario Badescu Cleansing Milk with Carnation & Rice Oil. This was a nice and milky cleanser for night cleansing as well. I finished this one in March. I bought this one in mid-2020 when I left the Garnier one at Taylor’s apartment. This one was thicker than the Garnier one, but I didn’t like the smell as much. This one would also get into my eyes more often, somehow? Not sure how… This was also a makeup remover. I don’t think I would purchase again; I didn’t hate it but I’d rather try other ones than use this one again. However, Mario Badescu is cruelty-free according to Cruelty Free Kitty, so if you’re thinking of trying this you should!

The next cleanser I finished was the Plant Apothecary Organic Aloe Face Wash. I really liked the smell of this one, it was made with lemongrass, so it was really nice. Also, because it was made with lemongrass, it really felt like it woke me up in the morning when I cleansed with it. The product itself was kind of thick, and it produced into a sort of foam. I really like this one, because it’s vegan and cruelty-free, and it’s also Black owned! It’s a little on the expensive side for me, but I would totally buy this again.

Last cleanser is this little Philosophy Purity Cleanser, that I got from Ulta as my birthday gift. The Philosophy cleanser was the April gift, but my birthday is at the end of March, so when I went to pick up my gift of the Mario Badescu Facial Spray, they were out. I really like the spray, so I was kinda disappointed, but this cleanser was also pretty nice. This was my first Philosophy product, and I liked the cleanser okay, but when I laid the bottle on the side, some cleanser leaked out from the cap??? And as you can see, the print started flaking off the bottle, which was super annoying because the letters and confetti got stuck on me all the time. The cleanser itself was very thick, much thicker than the milk, almost like a gel. It kind of foamed up. It also smelled pretty good! Unfortunately, Philosophy is likely not cruelty-free, according to Cruelty Free Kitty, so I would not try a full version of this.


Next in my skin care cycle is toners and these are the only ones I buy now: The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toning Solution, which I’m sure you already know is a popular chemical exfoliant toner. Personally, I like this toner: it’s pretty consistent in its formula, which is a little strong on the acid side, so it definitely stings. I like the smell of this too, it’s light and doesn’t stay on the skin. The Ordinary is verified cruelty-free, so I will always repurchase this!

The non-acid toner that I like is Thayers Witch Hazel; the one I’ve finished here is the Lavender scent, but I’ve tried the original, cucumber, and lemon, which they don’t seem to make anymore… It’s nice smelling and mists nicely. Unfortunately, Thayers is in the grey area when it comes to its cruelty-free status. I will repurchase this, but I am also on the lookout for another brand that is cruelty-free with witch hazel.

Eye Cream

Next in my skin care routine is eye cream. I’ve used up this Inkey Caffeine Eye Cream; I bought this late last year around November, and finished it around March this year. I liked the formula for this, but I don’t think it woke my eyes up any more than other eye creams. There is a suggestion to refrigerate up to 30 minutes prior to application to reduce puffiness. I didn’t need to do this, but I would’ve tried it. The Inkey List is cruelty-free, so I would repurchase this.

Here’s a sample of an eye cream I tried; this is the belif moisturizing eye bomb. It’s interesting that this one says to use after serum, but I usually use eye cream before serum. I also had about 3 uses from this little sample, which was nice. This one was kind of more thick than all of my previous eye creams have been, which I really liked. It was almost gel-like. I would not try a full version of this, since the full version is $50! And again, belif is not cruelty-free.


Next up in my routine is serum! And boy do I have a bunch here for you.

I had three little samples of The Body Shop Yehwadam Revitalizing serum. I got this while I was in China! This was a thicker liquid, but it was a liquid for sure. When applied, it wasn’t sticky and dried pretty well, but it was a little perfume-y for my taste. I would totally repurchase this if it wasn’t $69 for a full version! Wow, this was nice, but not that nice. However, The Body Shop is cruelty-free, so if you wanted to try it, I’d go for it.

The next samples here are Clinique Fresh Pressed Boosters. They came with this little popper to activate the powder. It’s a little clunky, the application process. The samples didn’t mix well, even though I shook it a lot and mushed it around in the little package, and I felt like I didn’t mix either very well. The other thing I didn’t like was that I had to use the whole sample, even though it was way too much for one use. I don’t think I would get this; it’s a whole system to have to adapt, you have to buy one of these little syringes each week, plus one orange one for AM and one purple one for PM, and you have to buy the powder separately. It’s just too much. Also, Clinique is not cruelty-free.

The last of the samples here is the Ole Henriksen 3 Little Wonders Set, which includes the Truth Serum Collagen Booster and the Invigorating Night Treatment. The Truth Serum booster smells pretty good, very citrusy, which makes sense because it’s got Vitamin C in it. I think I remember it drying a little tacky and sticky which I didn’t like. I got 2 uses from this. For the invigorating night treatment, it says it was a little AHA solution, but I didn’t feel any stinging from it, so it was nice, but then I don’t know if it’s doing it’s job! It’s a conundrum for sure. I also got 2 uses from this as well. I don’t remember anything else about this one unfortunately. The last part of the set is a moisturizer, called Sheer Transformation. The moisturizer also has some vitamin C in this, and it think it smelled pretty good. I wish there was a little bit more in this moisturizer because you had to use this after both serums, and I stretched this out to 3 uses, but I didn’t get it all the way to all four uses. Ole Henriksen is cruelty-free, so I would totally buy this set but I think they should expand the moisturizer to double the size in the set since you have to use it after both serums.

Facial Oils

After serums, I use an oil, and I’ve got two oil samples here. The first one is the Nude Progenius Omega Treatment Rescue Oil. I don’t see it for sale anywhere anymore. It smelled okay, and it was very moisturizing. Compared to the size of the sample, I thought I was going to have a week of use from this sample, but I only got a day or two of use from it, which was kind of disappointing. Nude Skincare is cruelty-free, however, I don’t think you can purchase this anywhere because Nude Skincare looks like it’s not around anymore.

The next oil sample is SKIN&CO’s Truffle Therapy Ultra-Pure Facial Oil. I really liked this one! It smelled like almond which was especially nice. This was also really water-y compared to the other oils I’ve used, so I needed less per use. I think I got 4 or so uses from this little sample. I felt like it was really silky and light on the skin. I would totally repurchase it, but it is so expensive! However, SKIN&CO Roma is a cruelty-free company, according to Free The Bunnies, so maybe in the future…

I’ve also got a full size finished oil product here: Pixi Jasmine Oil Blend. I really liked the smell, but then again, I love lavender. I felt like I got a lot of uses from this little bottle, it lasted about 10 or so months. I love Pixi, they are cruelty-free, and I would totally repurchase this again!


Now, I’m moving on to moisturizers! Here’s a mini size, it’s the Pixi Rose Flash Balm. If you put it on thick, it doubles as a mask. I just used it as moisturizer, but I’m sure it would also be nice as a mask. It smells really nice, a light, rose scent. It’s pretty thick, it’s definitely a balm. I only used this at night, as a double moisturizer, but the website says it’s supposed to be a good primer. Again, Pixi is cruelty-free. In the future, I would like to purchase this again and try it as a moisturizer and primer.

And more samples: Here’s the Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb, I thought this was pretty good. This didn’t smell like anything, and it moisturized pretty well. It was a gel cream, and pretty light at that. I think I got 3 or so uses from this sample. This one isn’t available on Ulta anymore, but I would try the Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream. I’m usually oily, so this would be the one I’d try. Again, Garnier is cruelty-free.

Here’s a sample from First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream. I think I got about 2 or so uses from this sample. This one had a really clean smell, it was definitely moisturizing. I don’t need “ultra repair cream” as I’m usually really oily, so maybe I should’ve used this as moisturizer on my elbows or heels of my feet instead as those are always dry. First Aid Beauty is in a grey area in terms of its cruelty-free status, because they claim they are cruelty-free, but they are also sold in countries where testing on animals is required.

Here’s another sample, this one is from bliss fabulous drench n quench. This one also had a really clean smell, it was also kind of gel like, and it said it was a cream-to-water lock-in moisturizer. I also got about 2 uses from this sample. It was pretty moisturizing, I think I would buy this and try a full version, I just don’t need a “drenching” moisturizer right now. On the plus side, bliss is cruelty-free, so if you want a super moisturizer, I’d go with this one!

And here’s my last sample, this is the It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream. It supposedly has anti-aging properties because it moisturizes so much that wrinkles will smooth away. I’ve always wanted to try this, so I was excited to get a sample. It smells a little citrusy, which is a really nice smell. I don’t know if it smoothed anything out for me, but it felt really good on the skin. I would love to try this out in a full version; it’s a little expensive for me, so this is one I usually look for on sale during the Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty. Also, It Cosmetics is cruelty-free, so that’s awesome!

And here are some full-sized moisturizers that I finished the first one being the Shea Moisture Bright Days Ahead Night Cream. This one didn’t smell bad per se, but I didn’t love it. It wasn’t super heavy or super light, it was kind of in the middle. I think it moisturized pretty well, and lasted quite a long time. I would buy this again, and Shea Moisture is cruelty-free, so that’s great.

Here is another night cream, Mario Badescu Chamomile Night Cream. The smell was really nice, and this was very, very thick. It was definitely moisturizing, but maybe a little too heavy for me. The texture was kind of… plasticky? I don’t think I’d purchase this again, it just wasn’t for me. However, again, Mario Badescu is cruelty-free, so if you’re interested, I’d try this one.

Here’s my last moisturizer, the Pacifica Kale Luxe Oil-Free Multi Cream. I love Pacifica because it’s vegan and cruelty-free. The smell is really light and nice, this texture was also kind of plastick-y? But this one is really light, and felt great on the skin. I would totally repurchase this again!


Next in my routine is usually sunscreen, but I haven’t finished my sunscreen yet, so we’re moving onto primer! During the pandemic, I didn’t use primer, and just used my sunscreen as a primer. However, I did finish these two samples of Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer when doing a full face for fun, or for a date night. I love this primer, I’ve used the full version before. It’s very silky and feels great on the skin. I stopped using it because I wanted to try other, more oil-controlling primers, and it’s a little expensive for me. However, it’s cruelty-free, so I would totally repurchase this in the future.


Finally, some makeup. So, this is the Maybelline Tattoo Eyebrow Gel, this is in Medium Brown, I believe. There’s probably still product in here, this stuff lasted forever! I think I got this early 2019, and I just had to stop using it earlier this year because I’ve had it so long. I liked this product a lot, I used a brush first to outline my brow, and then filled in my brow with the applicator. Unfortunately, Maybelline isn’t cruelty-free, so I probably would not buy this again.

Next in my makeup was this eyeko Black Magic Mascara. I used this on and off over the last year; I just finally put this in the done pile because I have had it open so long. Mascara for me is difficult, it just transfers to my undereye area and makes me look like a raccoon. I haven’t bought myself mascara in years because I don’t like wearing it, so I wouldn’t buy this for myself. However, eyeko is cruelty- free, so maybe I’ll try something else of theirs.

Last in my makeup empties is this old contour kit sample from Cover FX. I used this for a full face for an at home date night, and I think it wore okay. We didn’t go out or do anything, we just stayed home and watched movies or played games, and obviously it was fine for that. I didn’t use all four at the same time, I used 1 and 3 together, and then used 2 and 4 together on the next date night. I don’t use cream bronzers or highlighter too much, but I just applied this with my fingers or a sponge, I put it under my foundation. I like contour kits, so I would’ve liked to try this, however, the Cover FX contour kits have been discontinued. Cover FX is cruelty-free, though, so maybe I’ll try something else of theirs.

Bath & Shower

Finally, some non-makeup stuff. Let’s start with bath and shower items. First, I have this Eos Shave Cream, this scent is pomegranate and raspberry, and this is a travel size. I love this smell so much, it’s really nice. And I really liked the formula, it was really smooth to shave with, and felt really nice. Eos is cruelty-free, so I’ll probably try other scents of this shave cream.

Here’s a body wash I finished from Ulta Beauty, this scent is Lilac Breeze. This scent is very floral, obviously, to me it kinda smells like Moonlight Sonata from Bath and Body Works. If you know, you know. I bought a whole bunch of these body washes right during a sale, right before the pandemic. I think some of the Ulta Beauty collection is cruelty- free, when I search the website now, it says their bath items are cruelty-free. I like their scents, so I will continue to repurchase!

And here’s a shampoo I finished, the conditioner version of this is almost done as well. I have dandruff so I usually a shampoo and conditioner that are supposed to help with that. My hair also gets used to shampoo very quickly, so I find I have to alternate between two shampoos at the same time so it doesn’t get used to one too much. Unfortunately, Dove is not exclusively cruelty-free, as they claim they are, but they also sell in countries that require animal testing. I liked the formula, but I’m also looking for shampoo that is cruelty-free and works well with dandruff.


And here are all of the random empties I finished.

Here is a hair treatment oil from Avon, called Advance Techniques Leave-In Treatment. I bought this because I wanted to add more strength and fullness to my hair, and I hoped that this would help it. I don’t know if it did that so much, but I liked the smell and the consistency. Also, Avon is not cruelty-free. So, even though I liked the smell, I would not repurchase this.

Here’s a deodorant, by Native, the scent is Lavender and Rose. I really like the smell, it wasn’t too strong and overbearing. With deodorant, I just use it once or twice a day, so I feel like this lasted quite a while for me, a little over a year. Native is cruelty-free, which is awesome, and this deodorant is also aluminum-free and vegan so I would definitely repurchase this!

Here’s a hand cream by Trader Joe’s that I finished! I really liked this hand cream, it was given to me as a gift, in a gift pack of three. Each one had a different oil in it, this one is olive oil! They all had the same, very slight scent, it’s not really there, which is good because I put this on at work and on the train with no one complaining about the strength of the smell. The formula is made with shea butter also, and it feels so good to apply, not oily at all, and I feel like my hands stayed moisurized for a while. Trader Joe’s is cruelty-free, so if I see this on sale again, I would definitely repurchase! I know Trader Joe’s has another type of hand cream, so I might try that next.

And here’s another hand cream! This one is by Herbacin. It was given to me as a gift, and I had never heard of them before, but this scent was really nice! The formula felt really smooth on the hands, and I used it usually at night, right before bed, as part of my night routine. Herbacin’s website says they are cruelty-free, but they also sell in countries that require animal testing, so… I don’t know if I would repurchase this knowing that fact, especially since Trader Joe’s is confirmed to be cruelty-free.

And lastly, I used up this sample of the Beautyblender cleanser. I used this on my brushes instead of my beauty blender, because I don’t honestly know where that is, and I didn’t notice a difference between this formula and any other soap formula on my brushes. Maybe it works better on sponges and Beautyblenders? I can’t say. I don’t know if I would buy a full version of this, only because I have other soaps that work just as well, without being $13 for 3oz of product. However, Beautyblender is cruelty-free.

For my Youtube channel, I am going to recorded a video of all the full products that I listed, so please check it out if you can!

Thanks for reading everyone! Please let me know what you thought of the video and of the post! What did you guys use up this year so far?

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