A Year of Empties {Part #2: Skincare}

Chugging right along to skincare!

I stocked up on the old versions of some Andalou Naturals favorites as soon as I heard they were reformulated, so several of these will be versions you can no longer get your hands on.  The Citrus Kombucha Cleansing Gel, Apricot Probiotic Cleansing Milk, and Chia + Omega Radiant Skin Polish have been longtime favorites, but I can't speak to them in their current, updated forms.  The Osea Ocean Cleanser was my favorite Goodbeing Box discovery and is something I’ll be buying in full size sometime soon.  It’s a gentle non-foaming gel that smells fresh and lovely and leaves skin clean but not squeaky.  The POLYN Invigorating Face Wash is a multi-functional foaming castile-based cleanser that works equally well for face and body, and as a shaving foam.  I also used samples of the Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash -- a longtime favorite, I have a full bottle in my bathroom right now -- and the Pure Anada Refreshing Cleanser, which I really don't remember much about at all.

I fell hard for the Clean Kiss Organics Kiss Me Clean Cleansing Oil, a phenomenal oil cleanser that takes off every last speck of makeup and leaves my skin happy.  Definitely something I’ll re-buying at some point.  The Province Apothecary Moisturizing Cleanser + Make-Up Remover is also lovely, although I’m not sure I'd spend the extra money when I love the more affordable Clean Kiss (and Holiskin) cleansing oils so much.  I’m also a big fan of DIY Cleansing Oils and, blended with castor, rosehip, and essential oils, that's how I used this bottle of Aura Cacia Organic Sweet Almond Oil.

It's a little horrifying to see how many wipes a person can get through in a year! I used five packs of my current favorite Everyone Chamomile + Aloe Baby Wipes, two travel packs of the Honest Co. Honest Baby Wipes, which I tend to pick up when I need something more compact or at the last minute, and one pack of the Avalon Organics Brilliant Balance Purifying Towelettes, which were pretty terrible. People complain about wipes being too dry, but these are on the complete other end of the spectrum -- ultra-saturated and almost soapy.  They smell strongly of (cheap/bad) lavender and leave a weird film on the skin. I used them purely for cleaning off swatches and dusting around the house.

I also used a pack of the Boo Bamboo Skin Balancing Makeup Remover Wipes, which used to be my favorite but seem to have very inconsistent quality of late.  I think I have another pack tucked away somewhere, but since they've started to vary a lot pack-to-pack -- in feel, smell and efficacy -- I won't be buying anymore.   Lastly, I used two travel packs of the Boo Bamboo Baby Boo Wipes.  I don't love these ones either, but they don't irritate my skin, so I’ll pick them up in a pinch.

To the best of my knowledge, all of these brands are biodegradable, but I do still ultimately want to move away from using so many disposables like wipes.

Not a big year for toner! I have a couple teetering on their last legs now, plus I made my own witch hazel concoctions for much of the year, but the only non-DIY I finished completely was the Niora Naturals Alpha Clear Exfoliant, a very gentle AHA product that's good for those with ultra-sensitive skin. I liked it at the time, but it's not something I'd go out of my way to use again as I've since found more effective acid products that I prefer.

The Sola Skincare Balancing Face Oil is one of my all-time favorite oils and was almost immediately repurchased when this bottle ran out.  It’s light textured and moisturizing, and is especially ideal for anyone looking to target acne, oil production or irritation. I also really enjoyed a sample of the Province Apothecary Rejuvenating + Hydrating Face Serum, which I'd consider buying in the future.

I used a sample of the Pure Anada Smooth Priming Serum early in the year and ended up scooping up a full size bottle.  It’s a basic hyaluronic acid serum made of just hyaluronic acid and chamomile floral water that's gentle and inexpensive enough that I have no gripes about adding a few drops into my body lotion or foot cream when things are looking especially dry.  Another great sample was the Dr. Alkaitis Organic Soothing Gel, which I like to use as a targeted/spot treatment on blemishes and other small irritations.

The Andalou Naturals Probiotic + C Renewal Cream used to be my favorite moisturizer from Andalou. I recently bought a trial pod of the updated version to see how it compares, but I haven't broken into it yet.  The Andalou Naturals Night Repair Cream was nice too, but again, this was the old version.  

I loved the Rocky Mountain Soap Pomegranate Day Cream, a rich moisturizer that sinks in nicely and thoroughly moisturizes without feeling heavy or greasy.  Rocky Mountain recently sent me a few of their bestsellers, including a new jar of this guy, and I'm excited to have it back in rotation.  The Huna Skin Nutrition Balm is also a lovely product, if a little too heavy for my skin as a moisturizer.  I adored using it as a balm cleanser though!  

I was not a big fan of the Pure Anada Green Tea & Grapeseed or Scentless Moisturizers.  Both were a little too heavy for me and seemed to just sit on top of the skin.  The Green Tea & Grapeseed also smelled way too strongly of a strangely pungent neroli for my liking.

I have a lot of love for the POLYN Cooling Under Eye Serum, a beautiful aloe-based eye gel that feels ultra cooling and works wonders on under eye puffiness.  I even used it as an all-over face serum a few times during the summer and it was lovely for that too!  The Pure Anada Awake Eye Gel, on the other hand, was just okay and didn't seem to do a lot for me.

No regular masks used up, which I think tells you something about both the state of my life (busy) and that of my mask stash (unreasonably large). I'm not a huge sheet mask user, but I did try out two: the Andalou Naturals Lift & Firm Hydro Serum Facial Mask, which I found cold, sticky, and ultimately unimpressive, and the Boo Bamboo Pore Refining Bamboo Fiber Charcoal Sheet Mask, which I quite enjoyed. It’s not pore refining in the same way as a clay or other detox mask, but it felt nice and left my skin plump and hydrated, which, really, is about all I think you can reasonably expect from a sheet mask.   I did end up buying a few more of this one to keep on hand.

And that's a wrap for skincare! Body care and makeup are still to come...

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  1. I loved learning about your tried-and-true favorites! You highlight some tempting options; I'm very curious about the Sola Oil now!

    The Beauty Librarian

  2. Thanks Melissa! The Sola oil is amazing :)