Beauty Empties: November-December 2018

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve retired my Beauty Box Battle series for now. (I also cut back on my beauty box habit and only have an Ipsy subscription now, so there’s no one for my monthly pink bubble wrapped envelope to battle with, anyway.)

But that doesn’t mean I’m not still reviewing things! Using samples for a month is one thing, but you don’t know how you really feel about something until you finish it up and are faced with the decision of replacing it or moving on.


Some makeup is hard to use up. Lipsticks, most powder products, that sort of thing. Most of these items are everyday staples.

Nudestix Lip & Cheek Pencil in Mystic

I got this pencil in an Ipsy bag so long ago that I don’t even remember which month. It was definitely not in 2018, though. Let this little pencil be a testament to how long it takes to finish a mini lip product, let alone one that’s full sized.

While this is meant for lips and cheeks, it was way too creamy and pigmented for my face. However, it was a very nice lip color. You know, something you could keep in your purse and use to touch up without fussing with a mirror.

But will I rebuy it? No. I own more than enough lip products, including minis. This was nice but nothing unique enough to make me want a full size.

Glossier Boy Brow in Brown

A little over a year ago, I never used brow products and got my brows waxed every month. Then, Boy Brow came into my life. Now I use brow pomade/gel/mascara/stuff that comes on a spoolie and get my brows done only once or twice a year. As you can see, this little tube has been very well loved.

But will I rebuy it? Already have. It’s not the only brow product I use anymore, but it is my favorite for when I want my unruly eyebrow caterpillars to be tidy and stay put all day.

Benefit Gimme Brow+ 3

After Boy Brow introduced me to the world of brow products, I began to wonder. Do I really like Boy Brow, or just this sort of product in general?

Enter this sample of Benefit’s Gimme Brow+ that arrived in one of my Sephora Play! boxes. Shade 3 is a solid match for my brows. My Boy Brow was running low anyway, so it was nice to try something new.

But will I rebuy it? No. It’s almost as good as Boy Brow, but costs a few dollars more. However, if you’re not in the mood to make a Glossier order, this is a solid dupe.

Pixi Lash Booster in Blackest Blue

You’re supposed to replace your mascaras every three months… but for me, it’s closer to six to nine months. I picked this up hoping it would be subtly blue, but maybe it was a little too subtle. It thickened my lashes without clumping and didn’t smear until recently. Even then, it was only when I applied it. Once it was dry, it didn’t flake.

But will I rebuy it? No. it’s not that this was a bad mascara. I quite liked it and used it pretty regularly. It just wasn’t particularly blue. Instead, I picked up the L’Oreal Voluminous Cobalt Blue, and it is blue.

Glossier Lash Slick

Yes hi hello, my name is Elizabeth Barcelos and I am an admitted Glossier fangirl. (As a reminder, here is my referral link which gets me store credit and 10% off your first order when you use it. No pressure, just a gentle reminder.)

I immediately bought a tube of Lash Slick when it launched back in May because it sounded like my platonic ideal of a mascara: lengthening, curling, defining. I have relatively thick and curly eyelashes, so definition and separation are what I look for in a mascara and this delivered on its promises. It also does. not. budge, making it the perfect tournament day mascara.

But will I rebuy it? I already did. Twice. In this year’s Glossier Black Friday sale. I have never repurchased a mascara before, let alone twice, but 20% off was too good not to take advantage of. Considering that it took me about six months to use this up, It looks like I’m stocked up until next year’s sale.

NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base

I was excited to get this in one of my Sephora Play! boxes because The Anna Edit, my favorite beauty/lifestyle/aspirational nonsense YouTuber/blogger, loves this stuff. She doesn’t do crazy over the top eye looks — I’m more adventurous with color than she is — but her eyeshadow always looks good without being something impossible for a normal person to replicate.

I wear eyeshadow pretty often, but primer is a step that I skip semi-regularly because I’ve been using a lot of cream/liquid eyeshadows lately. But whenever I reached for a palette, I used this first. It applies sheer, so it doesn’t cancel out any discoloration you might have on your eyelids. However, there are tinted versions now.

But will I rebuy it? Alas, I wasn’t impressed. When I’m wearing bolder colors and I want my color to stay true though the day, I much prefer my Essence I Love Colour Intensifying Eyeshadow Base which costs a whopping $3.49 at Ulta. It does a better job of cancelling out the veins on my eyes and making my eyeshadow stick and stay vibrant for an unbeatable price.

Pixi Lash Nourish Makeup Remover Pads

I put this in the makeup category instead of skincare because… reasons? I don’t know, it just felt right. Anyway, this was a Target impulse buy because it was on clearance. In addition to taking your eye makeup off, it’s supposed to “clean the delicate eye area while treating lashes,” which… happened, I guess? I don’t know, for some reason I felt like it would help my lashes grow. Blame the word Nourish in the name, I guess.

But will I rebuy it? No. I already double cleanse at night, so this added a superfluous step. My evening routine is complicated enough as it is.


I foresee there being far more empties in this category. I’m coasting into my mid-thirties with a face that still gets confused for a college student every once in a while, so I’d like to extend that Barcelos glow (my father doesn’t look his age and his chain smoking father didn’t, either) for as long as I can. Though really, I’m less about anti-aging and more about self-care and maintenance.

Pixi Double Cleanse

I use this every night if I’ve worn makeup that day. The first half is a solid oil that melts into your face and gets allllllllll my makeup off. The second half is a gentle cream cleanser that leaves my face feeling clean without being dried out.

But will I rebuy it? Yep! I’m onto my third tub of this stuff. The only con is that I can’t travel with it because it’s huge, but I don’t wear as much makeup when I’m on the road, anyway.

Juice Beauty Cleansing Milk

I don’t even remember how I got this thing. I want to say Ipsy, but is pretty big for a sample. Maybe it was part of a bundle in an Ipsy offer? Anyway, thoughtless moments like these are why I’m on a replacement only no-buy until my birthday.

ANYWAY, this was a very acceptable morning cleanser. In fact, using this in the morning and the Pixi Double Cleanse at night was my first foray into using different cleansers based on the time of day.

But will I rebuy it? The full-size is $25 at Ulta, which feels like a bit much. I much prefer the Glossier Milky Jelly in the morning, anyway.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid

I bought this during the brief window that The Ordinary was sold at Sephora as a possible replacement for Sunday Riley’s Good Genes. This serum was around $10. A full-sized Good Genes, on the other hand, costs over $100. Yikes.

I loved how Good Genes made my skin feel smoothed out after using it, so I hoped that finding another chemical exfoliant that used lactic acid would give me a comparable outcome without wreaking havoc on my budget.

But will I rebuy it? If The Ordinary ever returns to Sephora or gets stocked at Ulta, possibly. But in spite of sharing the same active ingredient, it wasn’t a real replacement for Good Genes. I doubt anything is, but I’m not spending triple digits on a single product ever. Pixi’s Glow Tonic does a better job of doing essentially the same thing (chemical exfoliants > physical exfoliants, no contest) while being easier to find since it’s sold at Target.

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate

As I mentioned back in my Beauty Boxes Made Me Buy It post, I found this in a Birchbox and never looked back. I love the lavender smell, I love how it plays nice with the things that go in and out of my evening routine, and I love how it makes my face feel soft and juicy. I use it most nights, though I do stray and try out other samples whenever I have them. Because of that, it took me about a year to finish up a one ounce bottle. Good thing, too. It cost $47.

But will I rebuy it? Yep! I picked it up during the Sephora sale for 20% off, so I’m good for another year. On the other hand, I’m feeling a little bit of buyer’s regret, since this Pacifica oil I picked up on a stroll through the Target beauty aisle has some overlap in ingredients and advertised effects, but with a much lower $7.59 price tag. I’ll use both and see how they truly compare.

No. 7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Day Cream SPF 30

Phew, what a mouthful of a product name. I prefer SPF in moisturizer rather than as a separate step because mornings are hard and fewer steps make them less so. I wear sunscreen every damn day because it is the easiest and most effective thing you can do to protect your face. I picked this up at Target and used it through the summer and fall.

But will I rebuy it? Not for now. More on its replacement in a minute, but I wanted something that didn’t feel… sunscreeny? You know that slightly tight feeling you get when you slap some Banana Boat on your face? No? Is it just me?

However, I may return to it because the $25 price tag is pretty affordable for a combo product like this.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream

After making my way through a couple of samples of this, I pulled the trigger and bought the full-size last year. However, it took me so long to finish because I’m pretty mercenary when it comes to moisturizer and I’m always getting samples in subscription boxes. However, I loved how this felt on my face. Not too heavy in the summer (though I only used it at night), but thick enough to keep my face from feeling dry in the cold months.

But will I rebuy it? I did, sort of. I bought the SPF version during the Sephora sale to replace the No. 7. Here’s to hoping it feels just as good as the original, because I’m banking on this being my winter moisturizer + SPF.

Pixi Glow Mist

Why yes, there is a lot of Pixi on this list. What can I say? They’re one of my favorite beauty brands and they’re readily available at Target. Score.

This was my first ever facial mist. I was skeptical about how much I could get out of something I sprayed on my face, but I grew to love this stuff. It’s not a makeup setting spray, but it is a nice finishing step if you want a bit of a glow. I also mixed it into my skincare routine sometimes, which is why it’s living in this category.

But will I rebuy it? This is another case of “Yep, I already did.” While I do have a few other mists in my rotation now because they make me feel fancy, this is the original and the standard I hold all others to.

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