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 teasample – 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.
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.
Candleminis – 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).
Another month of empties. Some supplements (if you’re a repeat reader, you’ll know I’ve been experimenting with supplements to alleviate PCOS and thyroid symptoms. if you’re new, hi!), beauty, hair, and coffee related things.
OLLY Restful Sleep – after weeks of sleeplessness, restlessness, and insomnia, I was desperate. I heard that L-theanine could help, so I decided to try these gummies; they have melatonin, L-theanine, and herbs. And they WORK! I never liked the idea of gummy supplements, but there’s something about this particular medium that my body likes when it comes to melatonin. I’m currently using the VitaFusion gummies and separate L-theanine capsules, and I’m sleeping at last.
Solgar Vitamin E – I was taking these in conjunction with Selenium for my thyroid. I am currently taking a multivitamin that includes Selenium, but I may try vitamin E again (noticed that my skin looked great and my migraines seemed to improve – need another try).
Jarrow Formulas Milk Thistle – liver support for PCOS.
AuraCacia Sweet Orange essential oil – I love citrus scents. One of my favorites.
ACURE day cream – so I use ACURE a lot… this is an old standard whenever I need a bit of extra moisture.
ACURE radically rejuvenating cleansing cream – probably my favorite evening cleanser. Very gentle. I use it as my first cleanse to get things off.
Juice Beauty Mineral Moisturizer, sheer – I prefer the tinted version of this, but the sheer is clear enough that I can get away with wearing it without makeup.
giovanni 2chic Ultra-revive conditioner – My ends became extra dry when I had some ombré put in, so I went back to using conditioner. I liked this one, but I’m currently trying the purple Repairing conditioner from the same line and find that I prefer that one.
Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee mix, Create with Lion’s Mane & Chaga – so I decided to try mushroom coffee. I can’t say I noticed a difference in my energy, but it was nice to try. I did, however, taste the mushroom. Maybe it’s just me—I am hyper sensitive to tastes and smells. Not unpleasant, just weird.
Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer, coconut – I really wanted to love this, but the coconut milk just doesn’t dissolve very well. Still find that I prefer the basic collagen peptides mix.
Kicking it off with the supplements… my doctor is in awe of my self-experimenting and documentation.
Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Water: Watermelon Mint – Have to admit, this tastes pretty awful until you get used to the flavor. I’d much rather use the Collagen Peptides, but I decided to try this to flavor my water during the summer. I used it up, but it took some time. After trying a different flavor (and finding it just as bad), I’ll be sticking to the Peptides in future. I take collagen for my joints and find that it does ease my aches. Also, an extra source of protein since I tend to have a carb heavy diet on most days (especially after going mostly plant-based).
Florastor – I had a nasty bout of tonsillitis in July (still not over it), and had to take a round of antibiotics. Once upon an infection, a doctor recommended this brand and I turn to it whenever I need to take antibiotics.
Nature’s Way DIM-Plus – My first bottle and not my last. I started taking DIM because it works to balance estrogen in the body. I’ve been taking it for three months and have seen a significant change in my charts, as well as my overall mood and health. I’ve had fewer migraines since taking this and I am convinced this is due to the estrogen that it helps metabolize (I take it with milk thistle to detox my liver – where excess estrogen is stored).
VitacostSelenium – Selenium is important for thyroid health and *newsflash* I’m hypothyroid. I recently started a multi that includes selenium, so I’m not supplementing for the moment. I took it in conjunction with Vitamin E and noticed some improvement in my nails (there is a kind of nail splitting that happens when thyroid hormones are not being produced or taken up by the body).
Solgar B-complex 50 – Not supplementing at the moment because of the multi noted above, but I used to take it for energy and metabolism. Sometimes, it made me a little too hungry.
On to the products…
Suntegrity 5-in-1 in Fair – I’ve tried the Suntegrity Light, which is too warm on me, and decided to give Fair a chance. It’s nice, but still not my favorite. I’m currently using their moisturizing primer, which has a different texture and no tint, but smells very strongly of orange jellies.
Kiss My Face Triple Action – My favorite brand of SLS, Fluoride-Free toothpaste 🙂
Andalou Naturals A Path of Light hand cream in Lavender – At first, I hated the smell. I don’t love lavender (I meant to buy the citrus one and grabbed this one by mistake), but I grew used to the smell and I really enjoyed the moisture.
ACURE Brilliantly Brightening scrub (trial size) – My BF recently noticed the number of ACURE products in my bathroom… they work well and are an affordable eco option if you’re trying to switch to a more natural skincare routine. I like this scrub, but the full size tends to go bad in my shower if I don’t use it quickly, because it’s so hot in my apartment. This trial was just right.
Honest Beauty cleanser (trial size) – This was part of a Target beauty box. I always wanted to try the Honest cleanser and I’m glad I got to use a trial because it’s not a keeper. I used it while traveling and had to wash my face two or three times to get the makeup off. I ended up using it as a second cleanse to finish it up. Not buying a full size.
Ulta Luxurious Cleansing Body Wash in Coconut + Almond Milk – Have to admit, this was an impulse buy that was on clearance, but I like a bit of bubble in my bath. Nice scent.
The red and green ones are actually declutters. I gave up on trying to use them because they were always scratchy and dry. They were part of a set that I plan to give away at work (where pens walk away on a regular basis). I used up the yoobi and the Faber-Castell was a mediocre brush pen for calligraphy that didn’t quite work out.