Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Last Empties of 2014 and Capsule Collection Update

Prepare yourself for a long, looong post chock-full of my empty beauty products from the fourth quarter of 2014! I'll also update you on my progress in editing my skinare and make-up collection towards the end, so feel free to skedaddle to the bottom of the page if you don't care for my beauty trash. Right, let's pull everything out from the empties bag!
Clearly, that's not everything that was in the bag - I had so many things that they just wouldn't fit in the frame. For some reason, I think I had more empties in that last quarter of 2014 than I had in any of the previous updates, which makes me pretty happy! Anyway, what should we start with? Maybe skincare...
Products I disliked and wouldn't repurchase: Murad Essential-C Day Moisture SPF 30 (heavy, greasy, strange consistency that tended to roll under foundation), Arcona Raspberry toner (awful artificial scent, sticky on the skin), Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant (works reasonably well but leaves a greasy film).
Products I enjoyed, but I'm trying out other things: fresh LotusYouth Preserve cream (keeps skin supple and moisturized without being heavy, but weird scent and my new Andalou Naturals Probiotic + C Renewal Cream works even better), Sisley Hydra-Global Intensive Anti-Aging Hydration (also a great moisturizer, but the price! No, thank you), Dermalogica Age Smart Overnight Repair Serum (good anti-aging oil serum, a touch heavy for my combination skin), St. Ives Daily Exfoliating Pads (okay but not as good as First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads), Avene Soothing Moisture Mask (effective but still looking for my perfect hydrating mask), Vichy Eau Thermale Water Spray, Nature Republic Bee Venom Mist Essence (really enjoyed this soothing and hydrating toner but for the price, it run out quite quickly).
Products I would repurchase (but am probably trying out other things too): Bioderma Hydrabio Serum (absorbs quickly, lightweight, effective at hydrating, good for sensitive skin), Mountain Rose Herbs 100% Rose Hydrosol (I may be getting some new hydrosols under the tree - I'm excited!).
Bodycare! Lots of soaps, deodorants and bath oils/ salts, but no body lotions? Hmmm, I may have been slacking on the body moisturizing front...
Products I disliked and wouldn't repurchase: Crystal Essence Natural Deodorant in Pomegranate (didn't de-stink and the rollerball was quite drippy)
Products I enjoyed, but I'm trying out other things: Zum Tub Sandalwood Citrus Bath Salts (to be completely honest, husband used up all of these when he had a cold), Aura Cacia Rose Otto in Jojoba oil (used in the bath as well but a bit expensive for this little bottle), Purell hand sanitizer, Black Olive Oil Soap from Morocco (again, used up by husband, we both liked the cleansing power but not having to scoop it out of the tub), Prada Candy Shower Gel (an indulgent gift with purchase of Candy perfume), Rose bar soap from Bulgaria, and the Neom bath oils were covered in my last empties post, I'm not sure why I still had them in my bag :/
Products I would repurchase (but am probably trying out other things too): Mitchum Power Gel Unscented Antiperspirant
Onto haircare! Only four products here, no styling treatments this time.
Products I enjoyed, but I'm trying out other things: The Body Shop Banana Conditioner (conditions well without weighting down my hair but not a fan of the banana scent), Alterna Bamboo Abundant Volume Shampoo (enjoyed it but too pricey to purchase regularly), Dove Hair Therapy Dry Shampoo, Phyto Hydrating Hair Oil deluxe sample (didn't make it to the photo, it was nice but nothing special)
Products I would repurchase: Batiste Dry Shampoo (much better than Dove, I really, really like the results it gives me!)
Hand and nailcare - a new subcategory especially for this round of empties since I had quite a few products in the bag:
Products I disliked and wouldn't repurchase: Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel x 2 (it's a facial cleanser btw, but I disliked it on the face and used up the rest as a hand soap).
Products I enjoyed, but I'm trying out other things: OPI Original Polish Remover (works well except for glitter nail polish, I ordered Zoya's Remove + to try next), Trind Nailpolish Remover* (ditto).
Products I would repurchase (but am probably trying out other things too): Barry M Nail Paint in Raspberry (I have a China Glaze polish in Merry Berry that's extremely similar, but I love the Barry M shade and formula! My bottle is 5 years old though and unfortunately, no amount of nail polish thinner is capable of reviving it now), Neosalus Cream (prescription moisturizer, too expensive to repurchase but works very well - I still have one tube left for this winter!
Exciting times, make-up empties! Lots and lots of mascara samples - I only have a couple of those left so I can finally start using my full size mascara back-ups!
Products I disliked and wouldn't repurchase: Clinique Lash Doubling Mascara (gives no volume whatsoever), Revlon Brow Fantasy Duo (pencil side is passable, but the gel is awful! Crispy and visible on the brow hairs), Physicians Formula Eye Booster Eyeliner + Serum (felt tip is way too big, liner isn't pigmented enough and tends to feather), bareMinerals Lash Domination Mascara (scratchy brush a la benefit They're Real, smudged and flaked on me), Skindinavia No More Shine Make-up Setting Spray (did nothing to stop shine or mattify my face), Osmia Lip Luster is a repeat from last empties, sorry!
Products I enjoyed, but I'm trying out other things: benefit BADgal Lash (decent but not oustanding), YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils (I quite like it but definitely don't want to pay the full price), BECCA Dual Coverage Compact Concealer (works well but there are better products for concealing imperfections on the market), Laura Mercier Full Blown Volume Mascara (again, I'd rather not pay high-end mascara prices with so many good options at the drugstore!).
As you can see, I also used up a few fragrance samples, my stand-outs being Lubin Black Jade and Menard Eau de Kasaneka - you can find full reviews of these perfumes in this post.
And lastly a couple foil samples; no immediate loves here, but I was pleasantly surprised by The Face Shop Face It Make-up Primer.

Now for my overall progress in editing down my beauty stash this year: I'm really proud of my progress, you guys! I know many of you have been rooting for me and thank you for that, it has definitely given me a boost of motivation. Between my empties posts, general decluttering and purging of the stash, including both products I've given away to family and friends as well as products I threw in the trash (latest round-up here), and my Project Make A Dent (the finale is coming!!!), my attempts at the capsule collection have been a big success. I have not only downsized my back-up drawer tremendously and managed to finish older products lingering in my collection, but I now also feel that my stash is more edited and contains only products I enjoy reaching for on a regular basis. I no longer feel a twinge of anxiety when I think about products I've kept for years that are probably already expired or nearing expiry, and I'm more ruthless in getting rid of products that don't work for me.

I have also gotten better at controlling my lemmings and those sudden urges to immediately go online beauty shopping because I spotted something I'm really interested in trying. I've found that when a desire to shop RIGHT NOW makes your mouth go dry and you feel your willpower crumbling, it's best to step away from the online checkout, maybe go make yourself a cup of tea and re-evaluate why you feel the need to buy right this instant (there's usually no good reason and even significant discounts are not always the best excuse to shop). I personally make a deal with myself where I'll put my latest obsessions on a wishlist, and if I feel like I still really need the new goodies in a month or so, I can get them within my 2 products per month allowance.

Now, speaking of my beauty allowance - I've also been generally doing well with it and although I cheated quite a bit in the month of November with all the sales and discounts going on, there were also months where I purchased less than 2 beauty products, or nothing. I've now also come to the point where I do need to repurchase certain skincare items because I have no back-ups left to use, and I think those necessary purchases should be exempt from my limit. I will be talking about these new caveats and updating some of my goals early next year, so stay tuned for that!

Extra brownie points if you got this far! Thank you so much for reading and please let me know in the comments how you're doing in trying to edit down your beauty stash - let's all motivate each other for even more downsizing progress next year! And... Merry Christmas!!!


  1. How in the world did you get through so many products??
    I'm thinking about doing my own beauty allowance, my stash isn't that large, but i've run out of storage space and the though of buying more muji's has given me pause - time to declutter. Would love to see a pic of what your stash looks like now.

    1. Hahah, Neo, I don't know either! They just... accumulated, I guess? I also went through this phenomenon where all of your skincare runs out at the same time. I included some pics of my make-up stash in the Make-up Addict Tag post, but skincare is harder to photograph because I keep it in many different drawers. I'll think about how to show it better in the future!

  2. Congratulations on all your progress this year! Out of curiosity, what's your definition of a "capsule collection"? Is it a certain number of products, or does the collection all have to fit into a certain space, or...?

    1. Thank you!!! I guess my definition of a capsule collection is quite loose - I definitely prefer for it to fit in the storage I already have, so that's the size limitation, but mostly I'd like to have a well-edited, functional and manageable collection where every piece serves a purpose and is loved enough to be pulled out reasonably often. If I don't like something anymore, it needs to go! I'm trying not to put a number on it though because I'm a make-up addict and I'll always be buying new pieces to try. Hope that makes sense!

  3. Holy cow on the amount of empties you have here D: This is an insane stash that you got through! I need to get my hands on the Batiste dry shampoo once I finish up my Bed Head one!
    <3 Pauline, ­­Addicted to Makeup

  4. Great empties today! I have also tried the Batiste Dry Shampoo and I so love it than other shampoos out there for now. I will def repurchase this too.

  5. EPIC EMPTIES POST! I scheduled mine for next week. It's so satisfying to throw the whole bag of used goodies into the bin finally. I've been using up all my skincare samples which I thought I'd keep for travels. Heck, I won't be travelling much with the newborn now. LOL! So a lot of them are gone. It's just easier to use up skincare, IMO. For makeup, I went through all of them a couple of months back, and gave away those that I never touched for the past year. It was painful, but liberating. I had to be ruthless especially with cream products.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Monika! Happy holidays :-)

    1. Belated Merry Christmas to you too, Lily!!! Lol, I'm so slow in replying to comments that I'm sure your empties post is already up - I'll go check it out. I'm using up some skincare and haircare samples currently too while I'm traveling, but I have to agree with you, I don't travel very often either so sometimes it's a good idea to use up your samples on a regular basis and refresh the stash. Cream products are so hard to part with, but they do definitely expire much faster!

  6. You are an inspiration! This month has been awful in terms of curbing spending for me too. :(


    1. Thank you Shruti! I know what you mean, it's hard to curb one's spending in November and December - I picked up a couple new products to try too while I'm in Poland. But we can make up for it in the new year, right? :)

  7. I've been working on purging for months!! Have brought ziplocks full of samples and drugstore stuff to work... Did OK on empties, but not nearly as well as you have! I'm such a shopper but honestly in the last few months, I've just been overwhelmed by all the stuff I have and coupled with the fact that I don't use things much (too lazy to wake up) gave me anxiety that sounds quite similar to yours!

    I'm doing a post tomorrow about how i curb my spending... Anyway. I think I slacked on the body moisturizing too :((

  8. I also slacked on body moisturizing, lol. I don't think that my empties has seen a moisturizer in months if not over a year.

    Fabulous job, Monika! I knew from your determined posts throughout the year that you'd smash through the extras and meet your goals. I've relaxed mine and allowed myself free reign to check things off the wish list because the last couple of years have been so tight, but I think that again it's time to balance things out and reassess. Happy new year!

  9. I've definitely gotten a lot better at controlling the shopping urges, both by setting myself a strict budget and by thinking over purchases for longer. I put things on a wishlist, and if I can't remember exactly what they are or why I wanted them when I look back a week or two later, they get crossed off the list.

    But I still struggle with purging. It's been hard to give stuff away, but I am making progress. I brought a box of giveaways to Christmas and found happy new homes for everything. I'm also trying to do a one-in-one-out policy for clothes shopping, and that's been going pretty well. Maybe I can apply the same thing to makeup this year.