2020 Empties Vol 1

Here’s one upside to being homebound: I am going through a lot of product! Perhaps it’s all the time we have to kill. Or has self-care become a healthy distraction from the reality that we’re not going anywhere anytime soon? Hopefully, when the stay at home order is lifted, I will look lifted myself. With that said, an empties post is in order. As always, if I finished it, I liked it, and hope you will, too. What follows is a quick roundup of everything I’ve finished off as of late—from oral to hair care to favorite skin care treatments. And another tube of my ride-or-die concealer joins the recyclables bin. Enjoy! 

African Botanics Fleur De Rose Cream Cleanser

Yes, this African Botanics treat is pretty spendy but hear me out. I found that the Fleur De Rose Cream Cleanser works on both dry or damp skin. Because of this adaptable performance, it made my list of favorite face washes to pack for travel (remember traveling?). In addition to the absolutely glorious floral scent (which is neither overpowering nor heady as some rose notes can be), it is also infused with some glow boosting ingredients. It swiftly removes impurities, makeup, and sunscreen in one step while its blend of Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids gently exfoliates the skin. Since the skin softening formula is also packed with Squalane, Niacinamide, and nourishing plant extracts (Arnica, Marula, Green Tea, and Dragon’s Blood, to name a few), I leave it on for a minute before rinsing. P.S. My preferred method is to apply it to dry skin as I would a cleansing balm. $100 revolve.com

Origins Mega Mushroom Skin Relief Micellar Cleanser

Two things I learned about micellar waters: I like them and they work. A micellar solution is rarely my everyday go-to cleansing option but on nights when I don’t feel like showering or getting the sinkside messy, I grab a couple of reusable cotton rounds and go to town. This Origins formula effectively removes tinted sunscreen without the need for a double cleanse. I simply follow up with an acid toner and moisturize. Reishi, Ginger, and Algae Extracts make this Origins formula a great pick. The best part: no film or residue left behind and it never stings they eyes! $35 sephora.com

Josh Rosebrook Active Enzyme Exfoliator

Masking and exfoliating are probably my favorite steps in self-care so it’s no wonder that I am so into this Josh Rosebrook formula. The Active Enzyme Exfoliant uses finely ground walnut shells and papaya enzymes to deliver physical and chemical resurfacing, which results in smooth and radiant complexion. At first, the texture seems a bit goopy but it spreads great since honey is its base ingredient. Countless botanicals such as Turmeric, Calendula, and Chamomile also soothe the skin and calm inflammation. Warning: only use when you have time to relax as the optimal application requires 45 minutes. $65 beauty-heroes.com

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum

When it comes to essences, I alternate acid with acid-free formulas. Some days, I skip my BR P50 1970 or Royal Fern, and reach either  for AMOREPACIFIC or the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum. This particular bottle was a Forest Morning limited edition with added Korean Pine and White Sandalwood. Although the scent was mild, I prefer the original. If you’re looking to boost your skincare routine with a weightless liquid that hydrates, balances, and rejuvenates the skin, this K-beauty best-seller is very much worth the hype. $105 beautylish.com

Maya Chia The Optimist

Though very diligent about my skincare, I am probably least loyal to face mists. I rarely indulge prior to applying my serum or moisturizer. What I loved about Maya Chia’s The Optimist however, is how great it turned out to be as a midday refresher. The ultra lightweight mist is choc full of antioxidants (Astaxanthin, Sake, Chia Seed, Beet Root, and more) and revives tired skin with a boost of soothing hydration. Absolutely love that the spraying nozzle dispenses a super fine mist. For this reason, I kept my bottle in the car. A fan of Neroli, I found the scent to be the highlight of my misting ritual. $58 beauty-heroes.com

Cle de Peau Firming Serum Supreme

While technically labeled a serum, this Cle de Peau miracle in a bottle served my combination skin as the most ideal lightweight moisturizer. The silky lotion-like texture delivered much needed moisture and left my skin radiant as if I had just returned from a day at Canyon Ranch. I may not have deep lines that need softening yet but I’ve noticed my complexion looking healthier and slightly firmer overall. Yes, it’s a major splurge but in the prestige beauty space, the Cle de Peau user experience stands out — eye-catching packaging and remarkable results. $315 saks.com

Lord Jones Royal Oil

The Royal Oil from Lord Jones may be the only product in my oversize product arsenal that delivers the same impressive results whether applied topically or orally. On mornings on which I wake up puffier than usual, I begin the day with a dropper-full of this CBD infused potion under my tongue and follow by pressing half a dropper full into my face. Then, I put my gua-sha tools to work and successfully de-puff my facial contours while feeling extra chill. The rich oil blend also does great cocktailed with most night time serums. $100 sephora.com

Tom Ford Illuminating Highlighting Pen

At this point, I should be writing sonnets about this undereye brightener. Or haiku. Any poem, really. Everything about the Illuminating Highlighting Pen in shade Dusk Bisque is perfect as it erases all signs of fatigue under my eyes. The shade is a perfect blend of peachy salmon without even a hint of yellow, which delivers an incredibly natural looking result: having me appear wide awake. For reference, I consider my skin tone medium with neutral undertones. The silver lining of the hefty price tag is how long the pen lasts. $56 saks.com

Harry’s Shave Gel

I have yet to successfully walk out of Target without Harry’s Shiso soap bar and yet another can of the brand’s Shave Gel. The latter, is in my opinion, the best men’s grooming drugstore find. It’s a basic done well and it’s both effective and affordable. The gel base contains soothing Aloe Vera and cooling Cucumber Extract, which ensure a close shave without irritation. I’ve only used it on my face, but I am confident it would work just as well on other parts of the body. Love the travel-size option. $2.99 (pictured in travel-size) target.com

Oribe Signature Shampoo

Yes, it’s expensive. But the Oribe Signature Shampoo works incredibly well on my thick hair. It’s nutritious, smells amazing, and leaves my mane feeling clean and looking full. Touted as the little black dress of shampoos (not that I would know  about little black dresses), I can say that it was definitely a splurge worthy addition to my hair care wardrobe. As someone who washes his hair daily, I appreciate its hydrating properties. Tip: you need very little to generate copious amounts of rich lather. $46 nordstrom.com

L’Oreal Lock It Weather Control Hairspray

I’ve learned that the drugstore is always a good idea for hairspray. That’s where you’ll find countless options that won’t break the bank. This L’Oreal formula is a great last step in my hair styling routine and sets the lewk without leaving my hair crunchy or flaking off midday. Does it provide the advertised 48 hour hold? Not sure because I haven’t done a bender this long since college. I may prefer this one over the globally worshipped Elnett. You can find it under $5 in local drugstores or grab it at Target.com. 

Dove DermaSeries Dry Skin Relief Body Wash

While I love the scent of the traditional Dove soap bar, I find their various scented body washes a bit too fragrant, which can trigger dryness. The Dry Skin Relief Body Wash is non-foaming and fragrance-free, something that usually doesn’t excite me all that much. Over the last month however, this creamy body wash has been my daily go-to. It cleanses without stripping the skin’s moisture barrier and is excellent for frequent use. The worst thing about this Dove DermaSeries find? It’s borderline impossible to pin down at any drugstore. Luckily, it’s available for $10 on amazon.com.

Dove Dry Spray Deodorant

Confession time: my move to cleaner antiperspirants and deodorants (some great options available at Target, by the way) is not fully complete. I just can’t seem to quit my Dove spray deodorant habit. During emergencies, nothing keeps my underarms more dry and fresh than this tried and true classic. While not a fan of the cream deodorants from Dove, I find the spray to be unbeatable. I’ve also noticed that their European formulas are more effective than that available to us Stateside. My recent find: the cotton variation in an affordable six-pack bundle for $15.99 on amazon.com

Hello CBD Fluoride Free Toothpaste

Getting excited over toothpaste is not usually my speed but I can’t get enough of all the latest oral care launches from hello. This CBD formula with Cannabis Sativa and Tea Tree Oils was all-around perfect. The froth wasn’t overwhelming and the fresh mint flavor couldn’t have been more spot on. Most importantly, it left my teeth feeling clean and my breath stayed fresh for hours. The hello family of products has recently been acquired by Colgate so my hopes for upcoming innovations are sky high. Can’t wait. $12.99 ulta.com

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