It’s kind of ironic – I tried to finish as much stuff as possible in September since I was moving and didn’t want to drug around too many almost empty tubes and bottles, but some things just wouldn’t end. So I ended up finishing them in October, after the move. In any case here are my September and October empties combined. You may want to get comfortable – it’s a long one.
Curl Keeper Original (3 oz) – one of my favorite curling products out there. Reviewed here.
Curl Keeper Gel (sample) – I really liked the original Curl Keeper (reviewed here), so I was exited to try gel version. I was sorely disappointed. Curl Keeper Gel feels and functions like your average hair gel – it produces “crunchy” curls, which later dissipate into pile of frizz, bypassing the phase of soft, but defined curls I’m aiming for.
Evolvh UltraShine Shampoo (mini) – this is a sulfate free shampoo and it’s supposed to be gentler than regular ones. It lathers better than most of sulfate free shampoos I’ve tried, but I didn’t find it particular gentle. So if you are looking to try sulfate-free routine there are better (and cheaper) options, like Shea Moisture Curl & Shine Shampoo (reviewed here) or L’Oreal Oleo Therapy Oil Infused Shampoo that I’m currently trying out. The advantage of Evolvh Shampoo over these two is that it smells divine (sweat and warm smell, I think it’s called cashmere scent, but I may be wrong). Also, Evolh Shampoo may be better at removing product build up. I probably should have saved it to use as clarifying shampoo.
Evolvh UltraShine Conditioner (mini) – very light and thin conditioner. My hair adsorbed this stuff with scary intensity. I went through the entire bottle in 3 washes. I realize that it’s a mini, but that’s way too fast. It did the job though, not complains their.
Shea Moisture Curl & Shine Shampoo (full size) – pretty decent sulfate-free shampoo. Reviewed here along with other products of this line.
Royal Apothic Cuppa Cuppa Exfoliating Firming Tea Mask – I got this little tube from Birchbox almost a year ago. I believe it’s supposed to be one use tube, if used on face, neck and chest. I used it on my face only, so I was able to get three uses out of it (few months apart). Every time it attempted to burn my face of and did nothing else. I don’t even know why I kept trying. I guess because I really wanted to like it.
Tocca Creama De Mano (aka hand cream) in Cleopatra scent (full size) – I may be biased about this one, as my skin has strong preference to light, humectant-based moisturizers that adsorb quickly. Rich and oil-heavy heavy ones seem to just sit on top of my skin without moisturizing it. Tocca hand cream definitely falls into “rich and heavy” category. In all fairness, after it finally got adsorbed my skin did feel moisturized, but it would take a while. So poor Tocca ended it’s days as foot cream. I’m much less picky about those, and I don’t care how quickly the adsorb.
L’Occitane Ultra Rich Body Lotion (mini) – thin consistency of this gave me hope that it would absorb well. And it did. Unfortunately, it always left oily film on top of my skin. It felt as if I applied some olive oil to my skin. Needless to say I did not like that very much.
Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Overnight Detox Oil (sample) – I’m a bit wary of facial oils, and even more so of anything “detox”. So chances are I’m a bit biased here, plus facial oil may not be ideal for my skin type, but I really disliked this product. My skin fluctuates between oily-ish and dry with surprising ease, so I tried to apply Caudalie Oil when I was in “dry” phase, and I would always end up as oily as I used to get during my teens. In addition I hated the smell of this. It has pine-like smell that I recently encountered in several other products (like Temple Spa Lotion reviewed here and Dr. Brandt cream mention below). I could leave with it if it was just straight up pine, but to me it smells dusty and bitter. I would’ve trashed it after first few uses, but I discovered that it makes a decent cuticle oil.
Dr. Brandt DNA Time Reversing Cream (mini) – I was very skeptical about this product, but at the same time I was really curios. So I used it on my face and on the back of one of my hands. It didn’t seem to make any difference to my face (aside from making it feel oily), but back of the hand that I used it on looked a bit more plump after about 2 weeks of nightly use (that’s how long the mini jar lasted). This leads me to believe that there is some potential in this cream. I’m not going to repurchase it. I don’t like that it makes my skin and I hate pine-like scent. See details above.
Crabtree & Evelyn Verbena and Lavender ultra-moisturizing hand therapy (full size)- the most un-moisturizing hand cream I have encountered. I think it was actually drying. It went on very smoothly and creamy, but a few minutes later I would find myself reaching for my beloved Aveeno Daily Moisturizer (reviewed here). I tried using it on my feet (the fate of all unloved moisturizers) with the same result. I suspect that one of the multiple botanical oils on the list of ingredients was irritating, and I perceived that that irritation as dryness. As soon as this occurred to me I stopped using this cream, but it was almost finished anyway. Also, I didn’t care for cologne-like smell.
Camille Beckman Platinum Gold Hand Therapy (sample) – is calling hand creams “hand therapy” a thing now? In any case, this one was OK. Unlike the previous one it was moisturizing. It was a bit oilier than I like, which is not saying much since I like really light-weight lotions, and it took some time to adsorb complexly. It smells like mixture of lemon and incense – a mature scent.
Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream (sample) – the tiniest moisturizer sample I’ve ever seen (save the high end face ones). The most remarkable thing about it is that it contains camphor and smells like it. Camphor is known irritant, and it’s use in skin care is controversial. Plus most people don’t find the smell appealing. I actually like the smell, as it evokes sweet memories – my grandmother swore by topical application of camphor as a cure for pretty anything, from a common cold to anxiety. So the smell of camphor makes me feel loved and cared for. Nonetheless, I don’t think this moisturizer is a good product.
CVS Ultra-Sheer Lotion SPF 55 (full size) – generic version of Neutrogena Ultra-Sheer Dry Touch sunscreen. It’s a tiny bit more greasy than the original, but still pretty comfortable, especially for water resistant sunscreen. I might get that again, depending on price difference between this and the Neutrogena one. On one hand I still like the original better, on the other I just moved to sunshine state and I envision going through a lot of sunscreen, price is definitely a factor.
Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 (full size) – one of my favorite sunscreens. It’s very light weight and dries matte. It makes a good base for make up. Like many other Paula’s Choice products it’s a bit runny. I used to think it’s a downside until I realized that thinner consistency makes it easer to spread the lotion without tugging on your skin.
Paula’s Choice RESIST Youth-Extending Daily Mattifying Fluid Broad Spectrum SPF 50 (full size) – that name is a mouthful! I have mixed feelings about this sunscreen. It is well formulated product, that feels surprisingly light for something with SPF 50. It dries to matte finish and makeup goes well on top of it. However, I suspect it made my forehead break out in a tiny pimples. I’m not sure though. So I currently taking a break from Paula’s Choice SPF 50 to test this theory. I will be really sad if my theory is correct. I really liked this sunscreen and I already bought a replacement bottle.
CVS Polish Remover (full size) – your average unremarkable polish remover. Works well at first, but gets weaker and weaker as acetone in it evaporates. May be I should invest into a pump container.