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Empties from the last quarter of 2020. What I used, what I recommend, what I’d buy again.
- Vitafusion Melatonin gummies – the only form of melatonin that helps me sleep and doesn’t give me nightmares. I’ve been using these for a few years and continue to repurchase.
- NatureMade Magnesium Citrate – Citrate is supposed to be the most readily absorbable form according to research I did a while back… this one relaxes my muscles when they’re tight without making me too tired or weak. Will repurchase.
- MyKind Organic Elderberry Gummies – I started taking elderberry after having a bad flu in 2016. It’s gotten me through many a cold season, and I’ve been taking it semi-regularly since last March. It tastes good and also helps with my allergies, so might as well. (there’s plenty of research on elderberry if you search on PubMed)
- Rainbow Light Women’s Multivitamin – I switch between individual and multis based on whatever weirdness is going on in my body and/or dietary changes (ie-B12 when I’m leaning into the plant-based meals). I’ve noticed changes in my hormonal issues while taking this one. (Recommended dose is 4 caplets, but I only take 2 to supplement what I get through diet).
- Function of Beauty custom conditioner – FINALLY an empty! I was a little to extra when I customized this blend. It was WAY too rich for my hair but not moisturizing enough. It became the most expensive shave cream I’ve ever used.
- CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion travel size – My skin was a little dry this summer and I happened to have this in my stash. Not my favorite, but it did the trick.
- LaVanilla Healthy Deodorant – I love how these make my pits feel but it’s not always the most effective for stink control during the summer months.
- ACURE Brightening Facial Scrub and Seriously Soothing Cleansing Cream – frequent repurchases and two of my favorite face products, but I’ve switched these out for the Ethique plastic-free cleanser bar.
- Sappho mascara – not an empty, but it’s more than a year old at this point and it started to smell weird… trash. It looks nice but transfers terribly!
- Schmidt’s Wondermint toothpaste – I think I found this at Marshall’s in the pre-quarantimes… Anyhow, it was in my stash and I quite enjoyed it.
- Trader Joe’s Hyaluronic Acid – not the best I’ve tried, but it’s HA so it did the job.
- Bliss makeup melt cleanser – This stuff smells AWFUL! Like petroleum or something. I bought it to see if it worked as a dupe for the Glossier milky jelly, which I do actually really enjoy. It is NOT. I’m so glad it was a mini because I’m not sure I could’ve committed to the full size.
- Evan Healy Rose Geranium Toning Face Mist – A lovely mist. This is my second time receiving it in the Whole Foods annual beauty bag and it’s just as nice as the first time. Leaves my face refreshed, but gets used up pretty quickly.
- Brandless Body Scrub – this company is now defunct… their scrub was decent though.
- Overtone Coloring Conditioner in Pink for Brown sample (not pictured: green for brown, red for brown): I LOVED the pink for brown! The sample size is enough for one application on my hair (long, straight, fine textured) and adds a vibrant tone to my sun-bleached ends with a subtler color on my roots. The green didn’t really work for me, but the pinks and reds are going to be repeats going forward! It takes a few weeks to wash out of my hair and gives my grays a pastel color.
- Ethique ginger snap face scrub: not an empty but an intro! As I mentioned, I made the switch to ethique for face wash… The scrub is a little harsh, but the cleansing bar feels lush.
- Adagio tea sample – birthday wish freebie tin. A sweet surprise.
- Stabilo point 88 mini fineliner – these are some of my favorite pens, I have lots of colors to get through…
- cheeky mouthguard – Disappointing product rather than an empty… I tried cheeky to replace my last mouth guard but the whole experience was a disaster. I ordered it last February, it took more than a month and no shipment (this was before lockdown). When it did arrive, it was poorly packaged, had no instructions, and was missing the supplies to ship it back. I almost asked for a refund but decided to send it after waiting so long. when I received it, the impression barely fit my teeth and was missing half my molars. I was so tired by then that I didn’t even bother to reach out to customer service again and called it a loss. I was holding on to them, trying to make them work, but it’s hopeless.
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Quarantine empties, part 3! or, what I used up between July and September
EltaMD UV Physical SPF 41 – This used to be my favorite physical sunscreen, until I noticed that it started to dry out my skin. I came back to it this year when I was struggling to find a non-makeup based spf for daily wear… that may have been a mistake. The dryness returned and I think this may be one of the culprits behind my eye dryness/sensitivity. Will not repurchase.
Thayer’s Witch Hazel, Rose Petal – A travel size from last year’s Whole Foods beauty bag. My favorite is the cucumber, but the rose is ok. I dislike rose scents in general, but I dislike waste more, so I poured this in a spray bottle and used it like a face mist. I have one more to use up (from this year’s bag and hope they replace it with a different scent in future bags).
Andalou Naturals, Meyer Lemon C Creamy Cleanser – Not my favorite, but not the worst. I won’t repurchase, but it met the need for a cream cleanser when I couldn’t find my ACURE cleanser.
LaRoche-Posay, Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser – I really liked this but couldn’t find a replacement when I ran out, so I’m going back to the CeraVe hydrating cleanser, which is similar but not as soothing IMO.
Dr. Bronner’s Almond Pure-Castile Soap – an old standard. I use this to make a foaming hand wash and as a travel all-over wash (when travel was a thing that actually happened).
Vitafusion Melatonin gummies – Basically can’t sleep without these. They’re the only type of melatonin that does not leave me groggy the next morning.
Farmacy Cheer Up brightening eye cream – I picked this up soon after it released and the texture was lovely, but it does NOT like the Florida heat because it went from mousse to weird gloopy gel long before the 6 month use by date. Also, 6 months is too short for such a large jar. They need to find better packaging to stop this product from going off so quickly.
Bath & Body Works, Vanilla Coconut & Fashionably Latte antibacterial gel – When covid was starting to become a real thing, I took a last minute, random trip to BBW and stocked up right before they ran out. When antibacterial disappeared from all stores, I still had a nice stock of these.
Andalou Naturals, CannaCell Happy Day Cream – My favorite day cream. Tried it as a sample and bought the full size because it worked so well on my skin. Not too oily and just a little dewy.
Arnica Montana 200ck tabs – do these work? is it a placebo? I don’t know, but it’s worth a shot when all else fails.
Twinkle * Apothecary Orange Blossom perfume – One of Twinkle’s monthly scents, a perfect blend of orange blossom and vanilla that gives me nostalgic, Cuban baby perfume vibes.
2 random pens!!!! – always a success 🙂
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I haven’t worn makeup more than 2 or 3 times since March 17th. March 16th was the last day I went to the office, and I probably didn’t wear makeup then, but let’s call it the 17th. Regardless, quarantine has taught me that I really don’t need any of this stuff for the foreseeable future, if at all. Part of me was tempted to toss everything or only keep a hand-full of products, but I know myself—I’ll end up repurchasing the shades I tossed as soon as I get bored, so I kept a decent amount of variety.
A lot of my beauty products are “natural” or small-batch, which means expiry dates are short (6-12 months on average). The first round of cuts included everything that had started to turn/smell/separate/or looked wrong – which meant all my sapphos, fitglow, and two of my twinkle * apothecary lip to cheeks. The rest are products I: a) don’t use, b) was forcing myself to empty for the sense of accomplishment (I’m over it), or c) don’t work for my skin or skin tone.
The result is a curated collection of lip products in my preferred shades/brands, and a small batch of cheek and eye options. Not pictured is my small collection of palettes (and by small, I mean 3 palettes and 1 on the way because how could I resist the Colourpop Sailor Moon?) and a couple of basic shades that are part of my WFH rotation when I need a lift.
I’m satisfied for now.
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Not going out is definitely having a positive effect on the number of things going out vs. coming in.
What I used up in June and July.
- ACURE seriously soothing cleansing cream: hands down, my favorite cream cleanser my evening cleanse. It leaves my skin soft and smooth, and is a constant repurchase.
- Rainbow Light Women’s Multivitamin: Rainbow Light is my favorite multivitamin brand. I used to take their Once Daily, iron-free blend but something about the formulation changed and started to make me nauseous. The Women’s Multi is a capsule and easy to swallow. It also includes several of the herbs and supplements I take for PCOS/hormone balance, so I don’t need to take a handful of pills.
- Solgar B Complex 50: I’m a flexitarian and take B vitamins when I lean more heavily in a plant-based diet. I’ve since switched to a spray-based b12 (when needed) because I get my Bs in the multi.
- Rosehip oil (blue bottle): Just a generic rosehip oil that I use as part of my nighttime skincare routine. Rosehip brightens my skin (it has vitamin C) and offers light moisture.
- Adagio teas, Alexander Hamilton tea blend: Not a Hamilton thing, just a random sample I received with an order :). It was an unexpected treat; just the right amount of light coconut flavor in a mild green tea blend.
- Candle minis – Currently Reading by Novelly Yours, Old Books and Reading at the Cafe by Frostbeard: I’m systematically working my way through the candles I purchased in the last year. Novelly Yours was part of a self-care book box and smelled like a sweet coffee latte, while Old Books is an old favorite that smells like fresh grass (to me, at least) and Reading smells like a thick chocolate drink (better for winter, but I only had a little sliver left).
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In which I continue to use up my stash…
Eden’s Garden, Fighting Five Synergy Blend essential oil
I don’t believe essential oils have the power prevent disease, but there is something to be said for their healing properties… I’ve used this essential oil for sinus infections and colds, and have found it helpful in opening up my nasal passages and clearing things up. Will it clear the air of contagion? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, I’m willing to try it.
Eden’s Garden is a non-MLM essential oil brand and their prices are just right for my budget.
Have since repurchased in the larger size (but not the largest, because I’m not made of money).
Humble brand natural deodorant, Palo Santo, Frankincense & Vanilla scent
In my quest for the best natural deodorant, I came across this. It’s not perfect, but the scent is nice and woodsy. I would consider repurchasing, but need to get through the rest of my stash.
ACURE, Ultra Hydrating Green Juice Cleanser (sample)
ACURE is a regular part of my empties. I like their products and find them reasonably priced (for the eco-beauty sphere). This one did the job, but it’s not as hydrating as the Seriously Soothing or Anti-aging cleansers that I regularly use.
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Friends, I’m doing it… I’m hopping on the #projectpan train.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’ve made some serious strides towards adopting a more conscious, minimal lifestyle (note: my minimalism may not look like your minimalism and that’s ok). I’ve been posting regular empties and “project use it up” updates, but this is the first time that I will be committing to a Project Pan.
I recently posted a makeup capsule where I shared all the products I currently own (give or take a couple of products that were in my bag at the time), and I’ve selected 4 items to use up, or make a serious dent in by the end of the year.
- Besame’s 1946 red velvet lipstick (aka the Agent Carter lipstick): This is a perfect shade of deep red on me, but it’s starting to go off and I want to use it before I lose it. I’ve been saving it like it’s a rare, precious thing. No more!
- Kosas Rosewater: I love this lipstick. It is the best “your lips but better” shade. Unlike red velvet, I’ve been wearing on a regular basis from day 1. I’ve never used up an entire tube of lipstick *gasp*, so this will be an easy victory.
- Tarte’s tartelette tease eyeshadow palette: So far, so good on the eyelid dermatitis issue… If all goes well, I see myself hitting pan on first kiss, wink, and bff in a few months.
- Nest Fragrances Midnight Fleur: Yes, I’m including fragrances in this pan. Scent is an essential part of my beauty routine (I was spoiled by parents who love wearing fragrances), and this is a lovely floral that doesn’t make me want to gag. Originally part of a duo, I used up the other scent last year. While I have several other fragrances to work my way through, I can see myself returning to Nest in the future.
I believe in SMART goals and this seems doable. Want a glimpse at the other products in my collection? Check out the video below.
Are you a recovering makeup junkie? Working on your own #projectpan?
Let me know in the comments 🙂
Another round of empties… and it’s a total mixed bag!
If you’ve been following the recent debate, you’ll know that Marie Kondo has sparked some feelings regarding books… I wanted to jump in and share my thoughts on the debacle.
Spoiler alert: I’m on the “it’s okay to get rid of books” camp.
I did a thing… because (obviously) I don’t have enough projects *snark*.
I mulled the idea of a capsule closet “gram” for a while, but I didn’t want to flood my IG with outfit posts. Then the #10x10representationmatters tag became a thing and I really wanted to join in (ICYMI – I’m a Cuban-American girl with hips that don’t always fit). I held off, but with the holidays, the yearning returned and I gave in. My settings are not picture perfect, nor are my outfits the latest in ethical/minimalist couture, but I look forward to documenting the journey as I learn to love my closet and continue to explore minimalism as a form of self-expression.
You can follow me @lifeingminor