Yay! It’s finally time for an empties post — who doesn’t love looking at skincare trash?! The products I’m sharing today are all of the products I have used up since my previous empties post. A lot of Stark Skincare again, and a lot of good products I just really enjoyed and found to be effective.
We’ve got Stark empties galore! I’ve used up a couple of jars of Aurora Clease + Hydrate Balm again which is my favorite cleansing balm/oil-based cleanser of ALL time. It’s a medium-rich creamy butter that smells like blood orange and vanilla (or chocolate according to some) and it simultaneously deep cleanses my pores but keeps my skin nicely moisturized. It’s semi-rinsable but I like to wipe it down with a warm damp washcloth. I haven’t picked up a new jar in awhile since I’m attempting to use up an oil cleanser from Lepaar, but before long I’ll be crawling back to my good ole’ Aurora. It’s the best — try it!
I also used up 2 bottles each of their City Recalibrating Oil and Everlasting Calm + Smooth Infusion. City is hands-down my favorite facial oil of all time — after using up numerous little bottles of it I finally upgraded to the big girl 30ml bottle! City is a blend of some great oils like rice bran, squalane, hemp seed, broccoli seed, and it also includes their special Evergreen complex. It’s the ultimate daytime oil as it’s formulated to protect the skin from environmental aggressors and it’s also meant to work well under makeup like a primer. I personally love it day or night — my skin just soaks it up like a sponge and the result is very juicy and supple skin. Everlasting is an effective hydrating serum that includes ingredients like helichrysum and milk thistle alongside sodium PCA for soothing hydration. It’s a watery serum with a pretty blue hue that’s fully absorbent and doesn’t leave a tacky residue and it doesn’t pill under other skincare layers which I greatly appreciate. I’m working on another bottle of it and can’t wait to pick up the larger size.
I finished my first bottle of their Midnight Regenerating Oil which is now met with some bittersweet feelings. Midnight is their nighttime oil that provides deeper moisture (in comparison to City) alongside regenerative benefits. I got along well with this oil (or so I thought) for the duration of the 1+ year that I used it and enjoyed the skin-softening results, but when I finished it and had stopped using it I noticed that small blemishes I had been getting along my jaw had stopped occurring. I kind of deduced from there that the constant small breakouts probably stemmed from Midnight and its heavier oils which I haaaaaated to realize because Midnight had done wonders for my overall skin in terms of moisture and I would wake up with the softest skin in the mornings. One day I might try it again but on an occasional basis to avoid the potential pore clogging — I really miss it!
Another Stark empty I used up but is not pictured here is their Petrichor Purifying Tonic! When I was finishing up the last bottle I had bought a back up and gave the remainder of the old one to my mom to test out, conveniently forgetting I was trying to save finished products for a post. Oh well! Anyhow, Petrichor is an excellent facial mist (or tonic, because it’s so much more than a mist) that is formulated to help keep the pores clean while also calming inflamed skin and most importantly, providing antioxidant benefits. It not also contains antioxidants, but contains ingredients that will boost the antioxidant power in any product that follows it, such as their City facial oil. Like other mists it provides a great base of dewyness that allows for your other layers to absorb better and act more effectively, and the scent is an incredible earthy-vetiver-geranium smell that I quite frankly can’t live without (I crave all of the Stark scents anyway). If you’re in need of an affordable mist that doesn’t skimp on quality and really packs in the beneficial ingredients, you need to try it.
I used up my MOSS Beurre Celeste Cleansing Baume* I had received in a PR gifted Boxwalla Beauty Box from last June and I miss this cleansing balm a lot just thinking about it! It’s honey based and it has a unique texture to it that makes it act as a sort of “gommage” where it exfoliates the dead skin cells that “ball” up while massaging. It had a really attractive scent of honey and lemon that was sweet and welcoming compared to a lot of the earthy herbal scents you get with natural skincare. I’d like to repurchase it one day, but it’s over budget for me at $70 since I tend to use up cleansing balms so fast.
I also used up a bottle of their Micellar Cleansing Essence* which is sold under the Moss sister brand Ambar Beauty. This was actually my first experience with a Micellar water and it made me fall in love with the concept! It’s a fresh rose-y smelling pink water that provides a gentle cleanse whether it’s for the AM, as a make-up remover, or as the second step in a double cleanse. I preferred it for the mornings as a replacement for traditional gel hydrating cleansers, as something I could use to refresh and prep my skin for skincare. I’d love to go back to this micellar water one day, but for now I am using an inexpensive one from Garnier in its place.
Late last year I received a few goodies from LILFOX that I won in a giveaway they were holding during A Night for Green Beauty and the product that I got on really well with was their Prickly Pear Illuminating Beauty Nectar (pictured in the upper right corner, it’s hiding!) This nectar is a light-medium nourishing facial oil and what I loved about it is the finish it left on my skin that is similar to Stark’s City oil — it absorbed so nicely and just left my skin super juicy and soft without any kind of oily greasy residue. It’s jasmine scented which I know is not everyone’s cup of tea depending on where the jasmine is sourced, but I thought it was pretty okay. This is another oil I’d like to go back to in the future, but for now I’m happy using my City oil in the PM.
I bought Tata Harper’s Resurfacing Mask aaaages ago but just recently decided it was time to let go of the mask since what was left of it had expired. Tata Harper’s products tend to expire quickly (their packaging says 6 mos. I believe?) so use them up quickly! I loved her Resurfacing Mask and found it quite effective at resurfacing and “toning” my skin — my pores appear cleaner and smaller and my skin feels more taught the next day after using it. Tata Harper’s products in general seem polarizing to me — some people find them effective and some people experience no results. If you can sample this mask I have to recommend to try it out for yourself!
Twelve Beauty’s Ideal Moisture Level Serum was a Boxwalla beauty box discovery for me and I enjoyed the first bottle so much that I went on to repurchase it myself. This is a standard hydrating serum that you can layer or combine with oils and moisturizers for an added boost of hydration — something that any skin type will need and appreciate, but especially dehydrated skin types like myself. What I loved most about it is that it didn’t leave a tacky finish like a lot of hydrating serums do, which I suspect is due to their glycerin content. This serum places glycerin towards the lower half of the ingredient list and instead uses saccharide isomerate and sodium hyaluronate for its main humectants. It now comes in a miron glass bottle which I think is such a pretty upgrade. For now I’m enjoying the current serum I’m using from Stark, but I will definitely buy this again in the future and highly recommend it.
I received this bottle of Amly’s ‘Beauty Sleep’ Silver Rich Facial Mist* as a PR gift in a past Boxwalla beauty box and much like the last Amly mist in my previous Empties post, I adored this one as well. I consider these to be “treat yo’self” mists because they’re pricey and not at all necessary (although they do include great ingredients), but if you like luxury mists for the sensory experience these are very, very lovely and smell incredible.
H IS FOR LOVE
Another face mist empty and this one was a beaut. H is for Love is another beloved skincare brand to me like Stark Skincare where I’m just about obsessed and love each product in the line. Their Pollen Illuminating Mist has a simple ingredients list — it has rose hydrosol, aloe vera, witch hazel, colloidal silver, glycerin, and a few essential oils. But it’s much more impactful on my skin than the ingredients list sound — it really is illuminating and provides that layer of dew you need to help your serums, oils, or balms absorb. It also had a great mister which dispersed the mist perfectly. It smells like rose-geranium, but it’s a muted lovely kind of geranium and this is coming from someone who doesn’t like geranium that much! H gave their packaging a pretty update and Pollen now comes in a miron bottle with pink lettering.
I decided to try out Sunday Riley’s Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream after sampling it and had a short-lived desire to go back to “conventional” moisturizers. This particular product from Sunday Riley is not what I would consider to be plant-based because it contains artificial fragrance, so if you don’t/can’t use products that have it you’ll want to skip this one! The added cucumber fragrance didn’t bother me and I enjoyed the results from the sample so I went ahead and bought the full size. It was nice for awhile, but over time my skin plateaued with it and it didn’t provide enough hydration/moisture even with other product layers under it, leading my skin to become dehydrated. Some creams have a way of making your skin feel like it’s sucking all life out of it and this one eventually did that, while also oxidizing and making my skin appear shades darker like foundations tend to do. As always, this is my personal experience and many seem to love this cream, so while I won’t recommend it I do recommend to check out other reviews and experiences.
Do you see any favorites here? Or perhaps something you also tried but didn’t like? Let me know in the comments below and tell me what products you have also used up lately!