Lily Lolo Shimmer Strips in Rose Glow

My last purchase before diving headfirst into #NoBuyJanuary was Lily Lolo's Rose Glow Shimmer Strips.  I'd had my eye on them since they first launched and when I saw they were discounted in Lily Lolo's Boxing Day sale, I couldn't resist any longer.

The Shimmer Strips, reminiscent of conventional favorites like Bobbi Brown's shimmer bricks, are sheer, shimmery powders with a multitude of uses.  You can use the colours individually as eye shadow or swirl them all together and apply as either a light blush or highlight.

I'll admit, I was first sold more by the appearance/packaging than the actual product.  Luxe and beautiful pressed products like this are still pretty rare in green makeup and I'm silly enough that just looking at this on my vanity makes me a bit happy.  

As it turns out, beyond just how it looks in the pan, Rose Glow does indeed make a gorgeous peachy-pink highlight.  It's shimmery but not sparkly and applies sheerly, giving you the option to wear it lightly as a subtle highlight or build it up to a more obvious one.  I do find it has more shimmer than I prefer in a blush, but if you like a shimmery blush (and have perfect, poreless skin), it might be your cup of tea that way too.

Individual colors and all swirled together
The Bottom Line
LOVE!  Rose Glow is a unique product in my collection and I'm glad I decided to pick it up.  It's a versatile highlighter that, depending on application, works equally well for day and night looks.

The best part?  Rose Glow (and its bronzey counterpart, Honey Glow) are still on sale for £13.  These are limited edition product though, so if you're interested in picking one up, I recommend doing it soon, before they're gone!

Ingredients: Mica, Octyldodecanol, Zea Mays Starch/ Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Candelilla Cera / Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Magnesium Stearate, Ricinus Communis Oil/Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Polyglyceryl-2 Isostearate/Dimer Dilinoleate Copolymer, Glyceryl Caprylate, P-Anisic Acid, Cinnamic Acid May Contain: CI 77891(Titanium Dioxide), CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 75470 (Carmine)

#NoBuyJanuary Wishlist

Something you might not know about me?  Whether I'm on a spending ban or not, I'm pretty much always keeping a product wishlist.  Sure, the specifics change, but there's pretty well always something I'm eyeing on the horizon.  I've even dedicated an entire pinterest board to the subject!  

Here's what's topped my list through this month without shopping....

SoapGirl and Meow Meow Tweet
I try to minimize my use of palm oil and one product that I won't compromise on is bar soap. Both SoapGirl and Meow Meow Tweet fit the bill and their scents have fast tracked these to the top of my to-try list.  Pictured here: Soap Girl Grapefruit + Sea Salt and Vanilla + Cedarwood and Meow Meow Tweet Fennel Orange and Grapefruit Mint.  (I like citrus scents, okay?)

Stark Skincare
I've had my eye on Stark pretty much since they first launched, so it's kind of crazy that I still haven't tried anything from the line!   The new Neroli Midnight Oil sounds incredible and just might be the product that makes me take that plunge.  Among other great oils, it features evening primrose, camellia (green tea) seed, oat, raspberry, and pomegranate seed oils, as well as cocoa and mango butters.  Sounds pretty dreamy, no?

I've also got a slight obsession with argan oil, so the Argan Lip Treatment sounds pretty perfect to me.  I'm loving the simple luxury of a lip balm made only with argan oil, cocoa butter, candelila wax, vitamin E, and essential oils.

Saje Natural Wellness
Saje is a Canadian company that sells a whole host of products - everything from skincare and bodycare to essential oils and natural health products.  I've got my eye on the Sunshine Smoothie Exfoliating Tamarind Body Scrub, which combines exotic tamarind with apricot seed powder, shea butter and sweet almond, jojoba, and safflower oils.  The King & I Body Wash sounds pretty amazing too: lemongrass, lime, frankincense, bergamot, ginger, and grapefruit essential oils housed in a castile soap base made from coconut, olive, and jojoba oils. 

Genfiore Cosmetics
Genfiore is a pretty new company that I first stumbled across on Twitter.  The whole range looks gorgeous, but I've particularly got my eye on the pressed bronzers and eye shadows.  I get so excited to see natural companies making pressed makeup products and these look fantastic.  They're made with buriti fruit oil and herbal extracts and don't contain any of the usual silicones or other nasties.  

Hand Cream
Polar Vortex temperatures have wreaked havoc on my hands over the last couple weeks, which has left me searching for the Goldilocks of handcreams: something that nourishes like a balm but rubs in well and won't leave my hands too greasy.  The current contenders: John Masters Organics Cacao & Cupuacu Hand & Body Butter and Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Hand Cream

Have you tried any of these?  What's on your wishlist right now?

Disclosure: Contains affiliate links.

Sample Stash #3: One Love Organics

One Love Organics has been on my radar for quite some time, so when I ordered some samples from Fresh Faced back in November, several One Love Organics products were, not surprisingly, some of the first items to make it into my cart.  After trying them out for the last several weeks, here are my thoughts...

Vitamin B Active Moisture Cleansing  Oil and Makeup Remover
This cleanser has gotten a lot of hype in the green beauty world and I can understand why!  It deep cleans your skin and removes makeup like an oil, but add a little water and it emulsifies into a milky cleanser that rinses off easily.  It also contains papain, a fruit enzyme, that gently exfoliates and softens the skin and has a yummy tropical (coconut-pineapple?) scent.   

Morning Glory Brightening Complexion Booster
Hands down, my favorite of the four products, Morning Glory is an incredibly light serum that my skin just loves.  Made with raspberry leaf, lemon balm and peppermint, it's high in anti-inflammatory ingredients and antioxidants that work to both tone the skin and reduce redness and puffiness.  The serum is a cheery green color, smells fresh, and leaves my skin looking glowy, healthy, and visibly more radiant.  It isn't near enough moisture for my skin by itself, but I've been enjoying mixing a couple drops with other face oils.  

Vitamin E Active Moisture Eye Balm
The Vitamin E Eye Balm is a thick balm that smells like a mix of lavender and fennel.  I loved it - both on my eyes and other dry patches on my face - during the insane cold spell (-40°C!) a few weeks ago, but I find it too heavy for everyday use since the weather has gotten somewhat warmer.  I also started noticing milia under my eyes, but I've since switched to using it just a couple night a week and they've gone away.  Alternating between the eye balm and another, much lighter eye cream has been working well.  

Supercritical Chia Oil
I'm a little neutral on this one.  Like the seeds themselves, chia oil is full of omega-3s, antioxidants and vitamins, but I haven't noticed any change in my skin since incorporating this single-ingredient oil into my routine.  It is, of course, entirely possible that I just haven't used the oil long enough to see results.  It's quite light, which is great in terms of absorption, but I have to mix it with heavier oils for my skin to feel sufficiently hydrated.  I'll use up the sample, but it's unlikely I'll be buying the full size.  

So, a bit of a mixed bag!  I loved Morning Glory and the Vitamin B Cleanser, am a little mixed on the Vitamin E Eye Balm, and wasn't wowed by the Supercritical Chia Oil.  That said, all of them were more than worth the $0.75 I paid from Fresh Faced!  And, now that I've started, there are a couple other One Love Organics products I've got my eye on as well...

Have you used any of these?  What are your favorites from One Love Organics?

#NoBuyJanuary Update + DIY Face Oils / Serums

January's spending ban is already more than half done!  I've really started to get into it this week.  I've re-homed a couple products and identified others that I want to finish up quickly. I've also gone through a good number of samples, although I'll probably hold off on writing about most of those until they can be featured in various Sample Stash posts.  

As for spending, I still have yet to buy anything beauty-related this month.  My inbox has been inundated with emails about January sales and while I've given several of them a browse, I'm still holding strong.  It's been a busy month, so I also haven't just reallocated that money into other spending, which is what I half expected to happen. 

#NoBuyJanuary also seemed like a great time for another DIY post.  It's been a while since my last one!  Let's talk about mixing your own face oils and serums...

As much as I love the many gorgeous oil blends being made by green skincare companies, I also love the both the creative element and flexibility of mixing up my own.  Face oils are probably one of the easiest things you can DIY and the results can be pretty phenomenal.  It's also a great way to use up oils that individually might not do everything you want them to.  

Sometimes I combine oils in a bottle, but more often I just mix a few different oils in the palm of my hand before each application.  

Just stir together and apply to your face!
Most recently, I've been combining equal parts of:

Pai's Rosehip Bioregenerate Oil - contains both rosehip seed and fruit oils and is one of the most concentrated rosehip oils on the market.  High levels of Trans Retinoic Acid act as a "natural retinol" and converts to Vitamin A without causing irritation.  Rosehip has been proven to improve the appearance of scars, stretch marks, sun damage, and fine lines.

Goji Seed Oil - is high in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, which protect and repair the skin.  It also contains large amounts of vitamin E that helps neutralize free radicals and improves skin elasticity and firmness.  

Jojoba Oil - is a liquid wax that closely resembles your skin's own sebum.  It's both moisturizing and good for helping regulate oil production.

The combination of the three has been keeping my skin happy and healthy for about two months now.  It hydrates well and also absorbs quickly without leaving any greasy residue.  

And the best part of making your own face oils/serums? 
You can use almost any oils you like!  I recommend using oils that are organic, when possible, as well as cold-pressed and unrefined, since these retain the most nutrients and are extracted without chemical additives.  

Some other basics to keep in mind:

Individual Qualities of Each Oil
If there's a specific skin concern you're trying to address (ie. acne, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, etc.), what oils are best for it?  Also consider the 'feel' of the oils - are they light in texture or heavy?  How quickly do they absorb into the skin?    

Do you want to include essential oils and/or herbs?  
Both can be used for fragrance and/or their individual properties.  If you don't mind taking the time, it's simple to infuse your oils with dried herbs.  When selecting essential oils, I recommend avoiding citrus oils (and others) that increase sun sensitivity.

Will you need to include a preservative?  
If your blend is just oils, then the answer is probably no, although you may want to include antioxidants like Vitamin E or rosemary extract to prolong shelf life. 

Now, go forth and blend your own face oils!  Super easy and you just might be surprised by how great it turns out...

Best Smelling Products of 2013

There's no getting around it: I'm pretty picky about scents.  There are a lot of times that I find myself loving everything about a product EXCEPT how it smells.  Inspired by that, plus the "Best of 2013" lists that are popping up everywhere, I want to talk about some products that I think smell amazing.  And, while the scents may be what got these products featured in today's post, the best part is that every single one of them is also fantastic beyond just how they smell!

Deep Steep Candy Mint Foot Cream
A combination of refreshing peppermint and sweet cocoa butter have this cream smelling like delicious candy canes.  It's rich but rubs in easily, so although it's marketed as a foot cream, I find it equally good on my hands.  

Ella's Botanicals Lemon Meringue Hydrating Lotion
Another dessert-y scent, Ella's Lemon Meringue Lotion blends together lemon and vanilla and smells like delicious lemon cake.  It's also completely non-greasy and moisturizes like a dream.

Young Living Stress Away
I can't imagine doing a list of smells without including some kind of essential oil.  Stress Away is a blend of vanilla, lime, copaiba, cedarwood, ocotea, and lavender that smells pretty phenomenal.  It's sweet but also a little woodsy from the cedarwood and is great for destressing and relaxation.  

Kahina Giving Beauty Facial Cleanser   [Full Review]
I've raved about this cleanser several times now, but I'm not sure I've fully expressed just how much I love the scent!  It's a hard one to describe - soft, sweet and a little floral, but also fresh and kind of herbal.  The main scent notes are neroli and blue tansy.  

Skin Essence Organics Chocolate Mandarin Hand & Body Balm
Made with cocoa butter, mandarin, and sweet orange, Skin Essence's balm smells exactly like a Terry's Chocolate Orange.  It's also intensely hydrating and great for sealing in moisture.  It can be a little greasy when you first apply it, so it's great for right before bed, when you can let it soak in and work its magic without having to immediately touch a million and one things.

Nourish Organic Almond Vanilla Body Wash   [Full Review]
Nourish's body washes are creamy and quite moisturizing and the almond vanilla scent is so yummy!  It's sweet but not sickly and makes me feel like I'm washing myself with cake batter.

KYI Lavender Chamomile Sweet Almond Softening Oil   [Full Review]
KYI's Softening Oils are fantastic body oils and the lavender chamomile scent is hard to top.  I mostly smell chamomile, with just a hint of lavender.  It's soft, relaxing and soothing - especially perfect at night.

Lina Hanson Global Body Serum   [Full Review]
Another citrus and vanilla scent - although this time it's yuzu, grapefruit, and vanilla - Lina's Global Body Serum smells like the grown up version of Ella's lotion. It's still decadent, but less of a foodie scent.  The serum is also packed with oils that heal and nourish the skin and is one of the quickest absorbing body oils I've used, making it a great time saver too!

Weleda Sea Buckthorn
I've mentioned multiple times how much I adore Weleda's Sea Buckthorn products.  The scent is bright, fresh and citrusy, and always reminds me of The Body Shop's Satsuma, which I loved as a teen.  (Keep in mind that I haven't actually smelled Satsuma in years, so I could be completely wrong about the resemblance.)  I like the whole line, but my top picks are the body wash and hand cream.  

Somewhat ironically, compiling this list ended up being kind of eyeopening for me.  Before this, if you were to ask me what kinds of scents I gravitate towards, I'd have been quick to identify fresh, citrusy, or minty ones.  So, it surprised me how many of my favorite smells are pretty sweet.  Nothing too sugary or candy-like, but sweet nonetheless.  Funny how that turned out!

What kinds of scents do you enjoy most?  Any standouts?

Contains affiliate links

#NoBuyJanuary Update + Repurposed Products

So much for getting these posts up every Friday!  In my defense, I've been exhausted fighting off a cold this week, which is the reason why it's going up late.  I'm hoping I'm pretty well over the cold now, so I should be able to do better the rest of the month.  

I actually don't have a lot to update on.  #NoBuyJanuary is still going strong, and to be honest, I haven't found it all that challenging so far.  I already tend to do a lot of online window shopping - browsing without buying anything - so the spending ban hasn't felt out of the ordinary yet.  We'll see how that holds up through the end of the month!

In the same vein, I want to talk about using up products that end up not being as well liked as we anticipate.  Sure, it makes sense to set something aside when it's not working for you, but that can get pretty wasteful.  When at all possible, I try to find alternate ways to make things work.  Here are four recent examples:

Bath Petals Sicilian Blood Orange Shower Gel

The Bad: Back in October or November, I started getting dry, itchy skin, which I eventually traced back to this shower gel.  It did work well for about the first half of the bottle, but at some point it started drying my skin out.
The Good: I've been using the end of the bottle to clean my makeup brushes!  It's essentially just a castile soap, so it works about the same as the Dr. Bronner's I usually use.  

Blissoma Bright Eye Vitalizing Nutrient Serum

The Bad: This has an impressive list of ingredients and the effect I noticed on both dark circles and under eye puffiness was pretty amazing, but sadly something in it irritates my eyes and leaves them feeling tired and sore.    
The Good: In addition to the eye area, Blissoma suggests using the serum on areas with sun damage or anywhere you might want an extra anti-aging boost, so I've started using it as an all over face serum underneath my oils or moisturizer.  I've also started applying it on the backs of my hands, since that's an area that can start to show age or sun damage.  I haven't noticed a huge difference in either yet, but it's early days yet.  

Celtic Complexion Creme

The Bad: With so many people raving about Celtic Complexion, and this creme in particular, I was excited to get my hands on this mini and expected to love it.  It does go on nicely and leaves my skin feeling silky, hydrated and soft, but the problem comes a few hours later.  Every single time I've used this on my face, within two to three hours my pores look huge and just awful.  I'm guessing it's the coconut oil, which I generally steer clear of in face products.
The Good: With shea butter, coconut oil, and jojoba oil as the first three ingredients, it's no surprise that this cream makes a fantastic lip treatment.  I also like it as a body moisturizer.  

Desert Essence Fragrance Free Conditioner

The Bad: I don't like this at all for my hair!
The Good: In my shower, unloved conditioners regularly end up being repurposed as shaving cream, but where that's usually just as a way to use them up, Desert Essence's conditioner has stood out.  It's as good as, if not better than, any actual shaving cream I've used.  Proof: my tube is just starting to feel empty and my first thought was, "I need to pick up another one before this runs out!"

If you're participating, how's #NoBuyJanuary going for you?  What do you do when products don't work as well as expected?  If you're looking for more ideas, Cori from Well Beauty Blog did a great post with tons of ways to repurpose your products - check it out here.

Sample Stash #2: Body Lotion

The problem with ordering necessities like body lotion online is that sometimes you miscalculate how much you have left and end up running around in a slight panic searching for something to tide you over until said necessity arrives at your door.  Luckily I had these samples to get me through...

Sibu Beauty Sea Buckthorn Nourishing Body Cream
I really like the idea of a body cream made with a powerhouse ingredient like sea buckthorn, and Sibu's cream makes the most of it by including not just the seed oil, but also the fruit oil and even whole pureed berries.  The cream has a light scent and is what I'd consider a medium weight moisturizer.  It does a good job overall, but I did feel like I needed something more on particularly dry spots like elbows.  

Weleda Sea Buckthorn Body Lotion
I hadn't tried the body lotions before, but Sea Buckthorn is my favorite scent from Weleda, so I was excited to give this sachet a whirl.  The lotion is light and non-sticky and while it's a little on the runnier side, I still found it did a good job hydrating my skin.  As expected, it also smells delicious - bright and citrusy - like the rest of the Sea Buckthorn line.

Nourish Organic Lavender Mint Body Lotion
I usually love Nourish's products, but this one was a pretty big disappointment.  Alcohol is high up in the ingredients and the lotion has an alcohol smell that easily overpowers any lavender or mint.  On the plus side, it dries incredibly fast, again, probably due to the high alcohol content.  Definitely not the most moisturizing of lotions, it wasn't enough for my skin this time of year.  (Nourish's Body Butter, on the other hand, is a complete win.  Review coming soon.)

Desert Essence Coconut Hand and Body Lotion
For me, the main downfall of this lotion was the scent.  Desert Essence's Coconut products are favorites for a lot of people, but I find the scent is way too sweet and verges on fake, suncreen-y coconut.  I put it on before work and was catching whiffs of it all day.  When I came home from work, I could still smell it in my bedroom, and I smelled it again, strong as anything, the second the water hit me in the shower TWO DAYS LATER.  

The lotion itself I liked and was considering purchasing either in unscented or another scent, but for some strange reason, while the coconut uses potassium sorbate as a preservative, all the other varieties are made with Japanese honeysuckle.  I guess I won't be buying it after all!  

AromaCrystal Gardener's Dream Cream
This is an interesting cream that claims to do a bit of everything.  It contains arnica, essential oils, and a bunch of herbal extracts and is purported to help with dry and itchy skin, rashes, cuts, muscle pain, eczema, fibromyalgia, tendonitis, arthritis, acne, bug bites, sinus issues, and probably much more!  I used the sample all over, as a body lotion, but I bet it would make a great hand cream.  It has a thicker texture that takes a bit of effort to rub in, but it does absorb well and doesn't leave you feeling greasy.  The scent, which smelled to me like a mix of mint and pepper, wasn't my favorite, but it wasn't offensive and it dissipated pretty quickly too.  

The Seaweed Bath Co. Lavender Wildly Natural Seaweed Body Cream
I liked this one a lot!  It took a few minutes to fully absorb, but once it did, heavy hitters like argan and kukui oils left my skin incredibly soft and hydrated.  Presumably because of the seaweed content, a lot of The Seaweed Bath Co.'s products have warnings about consulting a doctor prior to use if you have a thyroid disorder, are pregnant, or have any other medical conditions, and while I'm not overly concerned, it does give me pause.  I've had thyroid imbalances in the past and I'm not sure about the effects of topical seaweed application on a regular basis, so more research would be needed before I'd commit to the full size.  

Green Beaver Boreal Body Lotion
I've gone through a couple of these samples in my day.  The tiny tubes are perfect for carrying in even the smallest handbag, and the lotion itself is pretty fantastic too.  It has a very subtle scent, which is perfect if you're ever stuck on a crowded subway and have a desperate need for hand cream (not that that's ever happened to me, of course) and it moisturizes really well.     

Have you used any of these?  What's your favorite body lotion?  

Contains affiliate links

Dr. Sponge Skin Cleansing Sponges

These little sponges really took the green beauty world by storm last year!  Using my hands or a washcloth has always done me well enough, but when Dr. Sponge kindly offered me the chance to try their konjac sponges, I was eager to see if they'd live up to all the hype.  (Spoiler: they did.)

What are konjac sponges?
Eco-friendly, biodegradable cleansing sponges made out of food-grade konjac plant fiber.  Konjac is a plant native to Eastern Asia that's naturally rich in vitamins and minerals.  Dr. Sponge incorporates natural additives like green tea, charcoal, lycopene, lavender, aloe, and pearl powder in their seven different sponge varieties, each suited to different skin types and/or concerns.

How do they work?
The sponges are excellent for cleansing your skin and providing gentle exfoliation.  Each sponge comes dry and quite hard, but after soaking in water, softens up and transforms into a lovely, squishy sponge that can be used either by itself or with a cleanser. 

My Experience
I tried the original, pure konjac sponge first.  It's incredibly soft and gentle, but still provides the slightest exfoliation.  After about a week of using the original, I switched to the charcoal.  This one, which contains activated bamboo charcoal is recommended for combination, oily, and acne-prone skin, but also for normal and even dry skin as a weekly treatment.  It leaves my skin feeling a little more dry than the original, presumably because of how good charcoal is at pulling oil, toxins, and other junk out of your pores.  I also experienced a mild detox period when I first started using the charcoal sponge, with patches of tiny breakouts on my forehead.  By about the third or fourth use, my skin was completely back to normal and I haven't had any issues since.

I especially enjoy using the sponges for a morning cleanse, although you can also use them to remove light makeup.  Both varieties leave my skin feeling clean, soft, and smooth, and my overall skin texture seems more even.  My nose area, which is prone to blackheads/clogged pores, also looks much better since incorporating Dr. Sponge into my skincare routine.  

Face vs. Body
Dr. Sponge makes both face and body sponges, but as far as I can tell, the only difference is size/shape.  I've used the Original Body Sponge on both my face and body and it works great for both!  For the face, the sponges are a gentler alternative to regular washcloths, and for the body, they're a much more eco-friendly alternative to plastic loofahs and poufs.

The Bottom Line
I'm sold!  The results speak for themselves, and the overall appearance of my skin seems healthier and more even since using Dr. Sponge.  For my skin, the charcoal is a little much for everyday use, but I enjoy using it one or two times a week.  The original, on the other hand, has been completely fine for daily (or twice daily) use.  I kind of want to work my way through all the kinds now, just to see how they compare to each other.  It might take a while though, since, with proper care, each sponge can last up to seven months!

Where to Buy: $8.50 (Face) / $11.50 (Body) from Dr. Sponge

Disclosure: Product provided for review.  I was under no obligation to write a positive review in return for free product, nor was I compensated for this post.  All opinions are my own.

#NoBuyJanuary + A Makeup Declutter

A couple of weeks ago, Paula from Naturally Paula proposed a January no buy and a bunch of us were quick to jump on board.  If you aren't familiar with the concept, basically, we're committing to not buying anything beauty or cosmetic-related for the whole month of January.  Saving money is always good and I've never attempted a full-on spending ban, so I figured, why not?  I'm good at keeping to a budget and while I'm not in ridiculous hoarder territory yet, I do have a decent number of products, so I don't anticipate having too much stress over using what I already have.  (Famous last words?)  

Look for #NoBuyJanuary-themed posts every Friday this month.

Along the same lines, I took the time over the holidays to do a bit of reorganization and give the ol' makeup collection a declutter.  I ended up with three distinct piles:

        1. Products to get rid of 
        2. Forgotten products I need to re-try and decide what do with
        3. Products I want to focus on using up

Yes, those are The All Natural Face cream blushes.  I was sent almost the entire range to photograph and it's just way too much cream blush for one person to ever reasonably get through, so I've weeded out colours I don't use.  My mom already took a couple (I think there were 10 to start with) and I'm hoping to re-home the rest too.  The Zuzu Luxe glosses are super old and just need to go.  The Honeybee Gardens and Silk Naturals glosses are both quite lovely, but I never reach for them because of how they smell (like super sweet watermelon and strawberry, respectively), so there's no point hanging onto them any longer.  The Figs & Rouge balm has started to smell funny and the Silk Naturals concealer sample is completely dried up, so they're both heading for the bin.  Does anyone else remember the Burt's Bees lip shimmers in these silver pots?  They were some of my first natural makeup purchases and favorites as, ironically, cream eye shadows, but they're ridiculously old now and pretty dried out.  I'm a little sad to see them go, but it's for the best.

The two squeeze tubes are Simplicity Cosmetics lip glosses.  They're pretty enough, but a little on the slick, thinner side if I recall correctly.  The first pink tube is The All Natural Face Peppermint Stick Lip Gloss, which, as you can see in the photo, has completely separated.  I need to see if I can remix it to make it usable again, as it's a nice pink.  Also from The All Natural Face is their Magic Eye Shadow Primer.  I wasn't a big fan when I first tried it, but I'm going to give it another shot this month.  Lastly, Sobe Botanicals Cream Puff Lip Gloss and Just Pure Minerals Romance Lip Gloss, which both made it into this pile because of how they smell.  The Just Pure Minerals is a weirdly strong peppermint and the Sobe Botanicals is some kind of vanilla/mint combo.  Not sure if the scents are enough reason to give these the boot, but I'll be deciding either way by the end of the month.

In the top left, are a few homemade lip products.  Next, a whole bunch of lipstick samples from Honeybee Gardens, Gabriel Color, and Zuzu Luxe.  I love being able to try samples before committing to colors, but lip products in tubes are that much more convenient, so after I've tried them once, the samples tend to just sit here.  The two Burt's Bees Lip Shimmers are both nearly empty, as is the Zosimos Raspberry Mini Lipstick, so it shouldn't take too much effort to finish them off completely.  I was excited when Shiro Cosmetics' Default Intertube was released, without any colour, but I find the texture a little too hard for a pot.  I bought two of these and I've been saying I should melt them down and switch them into tubes for months now.  Last up is the remnants of a Yes to Carrots Rosy Bloom Tinted Colorbalm.  I liked it so much that I scraped out every last bit...and then promptly forgot about it.  Without a conscious effort, lip products in pots just don't get a lot of love around here.  Hopefully you'll be seeing a bunch of these in my next empties post!

And just for fun, I took a photo of my beauty cabinet too.  I have a few skincare products in the bathroom and a tray with my everyday makeup on the dresser, but this holds pretty much everything else.  It's not the most glamorous setup, nor is it perfectly organized, but it's functional and I'm pretty happy with it.  

Have you ever done a No Buy?  #NoBuyJanuary is open to anyone, so feel free to join us!  More info, plus a list of participating bloggers, can be found here.

December Empties / Products I've Used Up

Happy 2014!  Starting off the year by getting rid of old garbage seems pretty fitting, so here are my final empties for 2013:

Kahina Giving Beauty Facial Cleanser*   [Review]
I love this cleanser so much! It gets my face clean without any irritation, leaves my skin feeling great, and smells incredible to boot!  Total win in my book.   The mini was kindly sent to me, but I was quick to restock with the full size as soon as it ran out.
Repurchase? Yes, I already have.

Weleda Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion
Two cleanser loves in the same month!  I started using Weleda's Cleansing Lotion when my skin was acting up over the summer and even though it's pretty well back to normal now, the cleanser has stayed a part of my regular rotation.  This is my second tube of the stuff, and while I don't think I'll be buying another immediately, I'll likely rebuy it at some point in the future.  With only six or seven ingredients, it's a great product for sensitive skin or anyone looking for a good, gentle, no frills cleanser.  
Repurchase? Yes, just not right away.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Non-Scents Shampoo & Baby Wash   [Review]
I've gone through a few of these body washes and while the actual product is great, I haven't loved any of the scents I've tried.  I thought I'd circumvent the issue by buying the Non-Scents (unscented) and adding my own essential oils, but that didn't work as well as I'd hoped either.  Without any scent, this wash has a decently strong smell from the base ingredients, and it ended up overpowering any essential oils I mixed in.  
Repurchase? Maybe.  I haven't tried the Orange Vanilla yet, so I may give that one a try before I write these off entirely.  

Acure Unscented Cocoa Butter + CoQ10 Body Lotion   [Review]
I've gone through a few different lotions this year, but Acure's is the one I keep coming back to.  It rubs in without a lot of effort, but it also hydrates very well, so you aren't left sacrificing hydration for ease of absorption.  It's also free of emulsifying wax, which you'll notice pops up in a lot of lotion ingredient lists.
Repurchase? Definitely!  This has become a staple in my routine.

Intelligent Nutrients Destress Express Dry Skin Therapy
One of the great things about Intelligent Nutrients is that they regularly give out samples of new products before they're released, asking only for honest feedback in return (follow them on Twitter to catch the next time they do this.)  The unmarked tube in my photo is, I believe, an earlier incarnation of the Destress Express Dry Skin Therapy.  It's seriously magic on dry feet, especially in the winter.  The price ($29 for 3.75 oz) and my current stash of products are the only things holding me back from immediately restocking.  Intelligent Nutrients products are also not the easiest to get my hands on here.
Repurchase? Possibly.

Zuzu Luxe The Mascara in Onyx   [Review]
I don't even bother trying new mascaras very often anymore since I inevitably end up coming back to this one.  The two main selling points for me?  It never irritates my eyes and once it's on,  it doesn't budge (until you take it off that is - removing it is not a problem either.)
Repurchase? Yes!  I have many times before, and I just stocked up on a couple more tubes in December.

Madre Bees Organic Cocoa Butter Lip Balm
I've been getting one of the Madre Bees (now Sierra Bees) lip balms free in every iherb order for the last several months and I was especially excited to try the cocoa butter one.  Badger's Creamy Cocoa Cocoa Butter Lip Balm is one of my all-time favorites, but sadly the Madre Bees didn't come close to the high standard set by that one.  It's a lot lighter in consistency than Badger's and the cocoa butter smell seemed a little fake (even though it isn't.)
Repurchase? Madre/Sierra Bees lip balms, yes.  The cocoa butter one, probably not.

* Indicates press sample.  Post contains affiliate links.