February Empties

Another month another bunch of minis! Let’s get those out of the way.


L’Occitane Conditioner with 5 essential oils (35ml) – Made in France
This is for dry and damaged hair. Love this and the shampoo in this range. If I buy anything from L’Occitane I’d definitely buy these. Leaves my hair silky and smooth and has a nice inoffensive scent. This one has angelica, ylang ylang, lavender, geranium and sweet orange. ‘Helps nourish and restore capillary fiber’. ‘Cones heavy though! (second and third ingredient).

L’Occitane shower gel with 3 essential oils (35ml) – Made in France
Nice invigorating scent! Mint, pine and rosemary essential oils. It’s supposed to ‘leave a fresh sensation to the skin’ but I can’t remember if it had a particularly cooling effect.

L’Occitane Body Lotion with 3 essential oils (35ml) – Made in France
With lavender, tea tree and geranium oils (I start seeing them in the middle of the ingredients list, whereas they appear much higher on the list for the conditioner and shower gel). Being a lotion this doesn’t really satisfy my drier skin at the moment. I have used it in hotter months and enjoyed it more then. It’s very lightweight and quite thin in consistency. A light lotion. This smells similar to the shampoo/conditioner. First three ingreidents: water, grape seed oil, glycerin.

These samples from L’Occitane has a nice texture and consistency, nothing that comes out in big blobs (for shower and hair stuff) like some other samples I’ve tried.

Elemis ap@home Revitalise-me Hand & Body Lotion (50ml) – Made in the Czech Republic
It has almond oil to hydrate and ‘aromatic oils of thyme, basil and neroli to revitalise and invigorate the senses.’ This lotion is slightly thicker than the one from l’Occitane. Water is the first ingredient for both, but Elemis has Cetearyl alcohol as second ingredient followed by isopropryl palmitate; whereas l’Occitane has grape seed oil and glycerin as second and third.

Elemis ap@home Revitalise-me Conditioner (50ml) – Made in the Czech Republic
With camelia leaf and rosemary extracts. For hair products without SLS, SLES and silicones these ones from Elemis are rather well done.

I forgot to mention last time that the Elemis products (at least this sp@home range) are all paraben, SLS, SLES, DEA, mineral oils, artificial colours and silicones free.

thisworks reviving shower gel (30ml) – Made in China
The natural blend of energizing essential oils in these are bergamot and bitter orange. Nothing really special about these shower gels, very run of the mill. Scent is rather sharp, inoffensive but forgettable. The l’Occitane one smells a lot better.


Last bunch of the month

Asprey Purple Water Shower Gel (35ml) – Made in China
Despite the prestigious looking packaging this is a very average and boring typical hotel supplied type of product. First three ingredients are water, SLS, cocamidopropyl betaine. Sharp lemony-smell, quite invigorating but perhaps best suited for summer.

thisworks balancing body lotion (30ml) – Made in China
I think with the thisworks stuff you really need to like the scent. First three ingredients are water, sweet almond oil and caprylic/capric triglyceride. Alcohol follows. Anyway. Forgettable.

Elemis sp@home Revitalise-me Shampoo (50ml) – Made in the Czech Republic
Wrote about this in last month’s empties.

Random note:
As it happened I got curious and from google found out that Asprey and Elemis have the same manufacturer – Pacific Direct, a huge company that licenses many brands and produce hotel amenities. It’s a one-stop shop, you can choose the packaging and so on. They have factories all over the world and stuff Asprey happened to be made in China while Elemis’ are made in the Czech Rep. The Elemis brand gets more care as you can see, but I suppose it’s normal because it’s also one of the few brands that really makes their business in skincare. Asprey makes jewelry.

Onto the full sized stuff! Lots to go through this month (this is not everything, there are more pictures below).


Kose Medicated Sekkisei (360ml) – Made in Japan
A staple in my skincare. I started the bottle in October 2015 so this size lasted me 4.5 months with twice daily use. Not bad!
Repurchase? I have a bit of stock left, which when used in rotation with other lotions should see me until the end of the year.

Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment (30ml) – Made in the USA
It took me a long time to finish this bottle. I only used this at night and mostly alternated with another moisturizer. But there were times when I did use this consecutively. I believe all PC’s products are fragrance free and this product has a strong smell that’s not very pleasant but bearable. Nothing particularly special about the texture, it’s rather light and easy to spread. As with most retinol products they advise you to slowly ease the product into your routine. It stung a little in the beginning but that went away. I learned not to use this in conjunction with the PTR Glycolic toner, a little too much for my comfort.

Claims pulled from the website:
Smooths deep wrinkles and fine lines
Firms skin
Reduces dark spots and uneven skin tone
Refines pore size and skin texture
Helps reduce breakouts
Helps fade red marks from past breakouts
Formulated to minimize irritation
100% fragrance- and colorant-free

On the bottle it says:
– Improves skin’s firmness & elasticity
– Smooths deep wrinkles & fine lines
– Reduces dark spots; refines pores

Well unfortunately this didn’t deliver the promises. I didn’t miss this when I wasn’t using it and don’t think it added anything to my routine except making my face smell funky. Dark spots and lines are still here, skin is not particularly firmer. I think the toners are the ones who helped with pores and skin tone. For almost 60 euros I think I could do better elsewhere.
This is the second product I’ve tried from PC and so far the range hasn’t really impressed me. I have two more products to try from the Resist range and we’ll see what happens.
Repurchase? No.

Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser (177ml) – Made in USA
Brief description of the cleanser on the Neutrogena website:

This face wash contains natural salicylic acid found in Willowbark bionutrients to penetrate deep into pores to detoxify and help remove dirt, oil and makeup, while rinsing clean without pore-clogging residue.

I used this either first thing in the morning or as a second step after removing makeup with a cleansing oil, so I can’t attest to its makeup removal efficiency. But my guess would be you’d be happier with a separate remover. It took me ages to use this up as well, I was using this only in the morning for a while, and I think I only used half a pump of product each time.
It has a clear gel consistency, minimal foam. It didn’t break me out but didn’t really stop them from happening either – I was still getting spots related to my cycle. Perhaps teenagers would see more results?
It’s a good no-frills cleanser. It won’t detoxify anything but it’s gentle and the skin feels clean without dryness afterwards (unlike the old classic orange/amber coloured one).
Repurchase? No

Bouclier Bio Concentré Détox de jour (50ml) – Made in France
Went through this really quickly this time with twice daily use (the last time I only used this at night). This lasted around two months. It says on the back (rough translation) it’s a ‘gentle and balancing aloe vera gelee moisturizer that provides a detoxifying hydration to the skin’. Forget about ‘detox’, this is a nice, solid no-frills moisturizer.
Repurchase? Yes.

Ahava Deadsea Water Mineral Hand Cream (100ml) – Made in [see wikipedia article]
I never thought I’d link to Wikipedia on this blog but I guess there’s always a first. On my tube, where you usually find a simple country name there is instead printed the entire address of the factory, the country being Israel. Except you’ll find out that the West-Bank is actually an occupied area. You can read about this and more behind the brand (which is now owned in majority by a Chinese investor) in the article. Perhaps I should skip the deadsea water and go with the deadsea mud range for Ahava.

Anyway back to my hand cream. On the back of the tube:

Mineral Hand Cream Powered by Osmoter
This luxuriously rich hand cream drenches your skin in velvety smoothness. Enriched with refreshing Witch Hazel, it calms and softens environmentally-stressed hands. Apply liberally anytime.
Approved for sensitive skin, allergy tested and paraben free.

Ingredients found on website:

Aqua (Mineral Spring Water), Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Ceteareth-30 & Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, Oleyl Erucate, Dehydroacetic Acid & Benzoic Acid & Phenoxyethanol, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Flower Water, Maris Sal (Dead Sea Water), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Dimethicone, Parfum (Fragrance), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Triticum Vulgare(Wheat) Germ Oil, Allantoin, Salicylic Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Menthol, Arginine, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Linalool, Citronnellol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Amyl Cinnamal, Coumarin, Alpha- Isomethyl Ionone, Limonene, Isoeugenol.

What is Osmoter? According to Ahava, it is their exclusive ingredient and is “a perfectly balanced concentrate of Dead Sea minerals that effective replenishes, rehydrates and recharges the skin”. Make of it what you will.

I bought this hand cream because of a small trial pack I purchased years ago and remember liking it. It’s very light in texture but provides a decent amount of moisture for my skin. Leaves a kind of film behind on the hands that’s not greasy or clingly but you will feel that it’s there. Eventually (5 mins?) it fades away and your hands are silky smooth. It has an aqua type of scent. It’s one of the nicer lightweight hand creams out there. To be really picky I don’t like these type of material for tube packaging, makes it really hard to get everything out. But yes I’ll get the scissors out.
Repurchase? No. I admit I prefer heavier ones.


sorry black on black

Kate Black Feather Lash mascara in BK-1 (6.8g) – Made in Japan
Reviewed here.
Repurchase? Probably not.

Guerlain Maxi Lash So Volume! in 01 Noir (1.5ml, sample size) – Made in France
I believe there’s a regular version and this one that emphasizes volume – this really delivers on that front, and the black is very intense. As mentioned on the tube it’s a deep dark black. You know when you buy individual fake lashes in tidy little bunches and they look like little triangles? That’s what this mascara does for me. I would have preferred that it holds the curl better (my constant complain) but nothing except Japanese mascaras do that for me.
Smells like roses and has a silicone type of brush. It’s not oversized and quite easy to wield and control.
Repurchase? Will definitely consider. I think this is better than (from my fading memory of) YSL faux cils. That brush is too big.


Onagrine Gommage Douceur (75ml) – Made in France
I came across this brand at Citypharma and thought I’d give it a go. This is the brand philosophy (in French, official website). Briefly, the brand has been established 30 years now and uses a nature + science approach to their skincare without forgetting sustainability. They are formulated without the usual baddies (parabens, mineral oil, phlates, animal derivatives, GMO and so on). I bought two products to try, this and a moisturizer (which will be in next month’s empties). Here are the ingredients:

This is a gentle exfoliant for the face and decollete. It’s probably too gentle for my taste. Says that it’s formulateed with pomegranate and apricot kernels but the kernel to cream base proportion is too low for my liking. You get a few here and there and it just didn’t feel like it was doing anything. This exfoliant has pretty much the same smell as the moisturizer so perhaps they put the same fragrance in their skincare range. It took me ages to finish this tube and boy am I glad I did.
Repurchase? No.


Nature Republic CC Cushion (12g) – Made in Korea
Reviewed here. I didn’t really use this up, that would be amazing. It just dried up actually. I think that’s why they usually throw in a ‘free’ refill whenever you buy one.
Repurchase? I’ve still got another pack (of 2). It’ll be a while before I buy any cushions, unless I stop being reasonable.

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