June Empties

A bit later than usual this month as my partner and I spent a very long weekend in Leeds/Manchester -- I booked him a border collie experience day for his birthday in November and we finally managed to find time to have a fun filled day with the furry friends!

Those five days away mean that blogging went on a bit of a pause, so my regular empties post is coming a week later than usual!  But better late than never, right??

I spent most of June trying to get through loads of samples that have been piling up -- these came from subscription boxes, shop orders, and kind gestures from online friends.  My stockpile has actually decreased, and I am so happy to have made a dent in it as I was getting worried that some might end up going off and have to be wasted.  Not ideal!!

Overall, I used up eight full size products, ten deluxe size samples, and twelve sachets -- sadly many of the sachets were not recyclable (or not marked as recyclable) as they contained a plastic lining inside the foil case.  I wish more brands would opt for fully recyclable packaging, or even better, NO plastic.  Wishful thinking? 

My favourites by far had to be the Trilogy Mineral Radiance Mask, Esse Refining Cleanser, Organii SPF 50 sun milk, Esse Gel Cleanser, Bella Aura cleanser, and my forever staple Balance Me Congested Skin Serum.  I really enjoyed most of the other products as well, but these six were above and beyond in quality, scent, and results.

There were not any items I properly disliked in June (lucky me!), but the Andalou Naturals Instant Brighten & Tighten sheet mask and the Burts Bees Coconut & Pear lip balm were probably my least 'wow' goodies I finished.  The mask was just a little too much for my skin (I had to take it off after a few minutes as my skin felt a little uncomfortable -- the serum itself was lovely on its own though) and the lip balm did not do much for my lips and smelled strange.

Madara Micellar Water (100ml): Okay, so maybe I am just not clued in enough to totally get the benefits of micellar water, but I honestly felt like this did nothing for me.  I like the idea of an all in one for mornings that are really rushed, but I just wasn't that keen on this in particular.  It left an odd feeling on my skin, not quite sticky but almost, and I did not find my skin feeling as clean as it does with a proper cleanser.  For evening use I liked it a little more, as it was great at taking off any powder/highlight/bronzer/etc -- one or two sweeps and it would all be pretty much gone.  However, it wasn't great at removing eye makeup and I ended up still reaching for my MOA Green Balm.  Overall I found this okay, but I honestly would just rather skip the micellar water entirely.

Balance Me Hint of Glamour Lip Balm (10ml): This is an odd one, as I do really like it, but not as a lip balm.  It is NOT a lip balm.  It is a tinted lip gloss.  It does eventually dry down a little, but even then it is not rich enough to be considered a balm.  The formula is slightly nourishing, but nothing like a good chapstick or proper lip balm, and I found I still wanted to apply something else before layering this tint on.  The colour is lovely though - it starts out like a bright berry, but quickly settles into a more natural shade that makes your lips pop just enough.  I really do like this, but felt tricked by the labeling.  I would repurchase (though this exact item is no longer sold -- the closest thing is the new Tinted Lip Salve), but only as a lip tint type of product rather than something to heal or soothe my lips.

Andalou Naturals Instant Brighten & Tighten sheet mask: Pros about this mask: it smells great, is GMO free, is made from natural cellulose fibers so it is compostable, and it fits well on the face.  Cons about this mask: it burned.  I blame the alcohols, but it might have been something else -- it is really hard to tell when using a product what causes a reaction.  I did like the serum itself, but when using the mask there was just so much of it I think it just made my slightly sensitive skin call it a day.  I ended up using the remnants of the liquid the next day and had no reaction at all, and I did genuinely find my face feeling hydrated and looking a little brighter.  Maybe I should just opt for a Vitamin-C serum next time instead of this mask.

Konjac Facial Puff Sponge with Green Tea: I have to admit I do not use this for my face at all.  I only exfoliate my face using my Foreo Luna 2 and muslin cloths generally, as otherwise I risk over-exfoliation which is bad for several reasons.  I do love this on my upper arms, chest area, and back though.  It is fantastic for making sure any build up is sorted out, and leaves me feeling clean and smooth.  My major complaint is the packaging -- plastic, and not recyclable that I could tell.

Trilogy Mineral Radiance Mask (60ml): This is one of my favourite masks of all time.  It doesn't leave your face feeling dried out and tight after use, and it does not make you have a massive break out the next day.  It detoxes the skin, but it does so gently.  Plus, it has one of the smoothest textures of anything I have ever used -- it seriously feels silky when you are applying, and it spreads so easily.  If you want my full review, you can find it here.

Ilcsi Stonecrop Whip Moisturizer (30ml): One of my favourite things about this moisturizer is how unique it is in every way -- I have never seen a green cream like this, I have never smelled a cream like this, and I am so happy I got to try it out.  I got a jar of this through the #LLABP a few months back, and it lasted ages.  I only used it on my forehead a few times as the other areas of my face were a bit too sensitive, but my partner's skin drank the stuff up.  The moisturizer is ideal for dry or hyperpigmented skin, for use after shaving, and any uneven complexions.  The brand has gone through a redesign, so the new formula has new branding as well as a new size (50ml) and bottle shape.  Glancing at the ingredients list it looks like nothing has changed about the formula though.

Burts Bees Coconut & Pear Lip Balm: I've expressed my concerns with BB in the past, so I won't keep harping on about it, but I will say I liked the sentiment behind this product.  This was initially launched to fund the #BringBackTheBees campaign where 5,000 wildflowers were planted for each tube sold.  However, I do not think that is still the case, and besides that even this balm disappointed me.  The smell did not really work for me and was almost sickly, and the results... well, there weren't really any.  It wasn't drying, it wasn't hydrating, it just sort of sat there.  I think my lips would have been the same without me using anything at all.  I won't be repurchasing.

AloeDent Whitening Aloe Vera Toothpaste (100ml): This toothpaste was alright, but I did not find it whitened my teeth at all.  The taste is minty in a pleasant way, and the formula is smooth and similar to traditional toothpastes.  I won't be buying this particular one again, but might give some of the others a go at some point.

John Masters Organics Scalp Spearmint & Meadowsweet Stimulating Shampoo (10ml): I really love this shampoo, and I am still a little confused as to whether or not the formula has actually changed -- I have heard mixed things, so I am erring on the side of caution and only using the ones I purchased prior to the 'changes.'  I find this shampoo works perfectly for my hair, leaving it clean, refreshed, and not dried out at all.  I tend to wash my hair about twice a week (sometimes three if it really looks like it needs it), and the formula for this means I don't look oily or gross in between washes.  Plus, I find my hair has been growing a bit more quickly since starting using this and the rosemary one -- coincidence?  Possibly, but I have not been doing much else different.  The best thing about this one for me is the smell - it is so uplifting and minty!  Love love love.

John Masters Organics Citrus & Neroli Detangler (10ml): See below!

Antipodes Vanilla Pod Hydrating Day Cream (5ml): This is the perfect example of why I do not love sachets -- I have no idea if I like this day cream or not after using it just a few times!  It takes a long time for your skin to a) adjust to a new product and b) show results!  I will say the smell was much stronger than I expected, and was a little overpowering.  Plus, the formula felt very rich on my skin despite the product information saying it "feels lusciously light" when applied.  I would give this another go, but as it stands I have no idea whether or not this is suited to my skin let alone if it works well.  Once my stash has gotten smaller I might see if I can nab a bottle in the sales, but until then I will refrain from full judgement.

Madara SOS Hydra Repair Intensive Serum (1.5ml): This is one I took on our mini-break, as I like a deeply nourishing treatment to use at night after being exposed to environmental stresses all day -- especially when walking about a city for ages!  The smell is very similar to the mask which I received in the December Love Lula Beauty Box, and the texture is surprisingly similar as well.  This was not super light or thin like most serums, but more of a cream consistency.  I liked how it applied, as it sunk in quickly and did not leave my face feeling oily like the Esse Serum, and it did not make me break out.  I would definitely consider buying the full size of this, as it worked great and helped sort my skin overnight, though I have to admit I am not so keen on the generic 'face cream' scent -- I would much rather something more calming or memorable.

Kimberley Sayer Restore Anti-Aging Cream (1.5ml x2): I cannot comment for myself on these, as my partner used them up.  However, he didn't fuss about having them applied and his skin seemed to really like it.  His forehead especially gets quite dry, and this cream helped nourish the whole area.  Again, since the sample is so small I can't say I saw massive differences, but he did look a bit more smoothed out and refreshed.  We'll have to look into getting a jar!

Organii Sun Milk SPF 50 (3ml x3): Love! This works sooo well.  I am a redhead, and I have incredibly fair skin, and this protected me and got me through the entire 5 day trip (most of which was outdoors in direct sunlight) without any sunburn.  I really liked the smell, and it did not feel too oily or greasy when applied.  Plus, I did not have the streaky white marks that some sunscreens can leave.  That might be because I am so pale, but whatever the reason I am pleased.  I just wish the full size was not packaged in plastic.

Esse Refining Cleanser (5ml x2): This is another product I have raved about in prior empties posts, so I won't spend too much time repeating myself.  All in all I find it works fantastically, smells great, and leaves my skin clean and clear (and under control?).  Will buy.

AA Skincare Lavender & Tea Tree Cleansing Face Gel (4ml): I liked this quite a lot, especially the smell which was soothing and a bit antiseptic.  I was worried the essential oils would not get on well with my face, but it was really gentle and didn't cause any problems.  The gel spreads easily and feels cooling on the skin, and when I rinsed it off my face felt super refreshed and clean.  One of the best things about this product?  Price -- the full 100ml size is under a tenner!

PHB Brightening Body Lotion (50ml): I found this lotion very runny and thin, and it had a faint smell of alcohol which might explain why I did not find it super moisturizing.  It was cooling which was nice for tired legs, but otherwise I found it didn't do too much for my skin.  I would probably pass on this in the future and just go for something more hydrating like a body butter or oil that contain brightening essential oils.

Esse Probiotic Serum (~1ml): Esse is a brand I adore, so I was really thankful when Renata from Green Life in Dublin offered to do a sample swap with me.  I sent a pot of Dafna's Moisture+Light and two Herbivore vials, and she sent me this serum, Ocean Bloom face cream, Bella Aura cleanser, and Flying Wild Body Butter.  I started using the serum as soon as it arrived, and very quickly realized it is much too heavy for use during the day.  The formula looks light in the pot, but it is actually very slick and took ages to start sinking into my skin.  It never actually fully set, so my face felt a bit.... slimy.  I will say that it worked fantastic as an overnight treatment, and I loved that you only needed to use the tiniest amount which means a full size bottle of this would last absolutely ages.  Would I buy a full size?  I am not sure, as it is very expensive.  Maybe I will try the regular serum first.

Ocean Bloom Face Cream (~3ml): I loved this face cream!  It was perfect for my forehead especially, as the cream is a little thicker than I am used to (though still very light once applied) and did a great job at moisturizing the drier areas of my face.  It smelled lovely, with a faint fruitiness to it, and I later found out it also contains an SPF -- perfect for this sunny weather!  I would definitely be happy to buy a full size of this seaweed and stem cell moisturizer.  The only thing that makes me pause (other than my massive stockpile of face products I have to make my way through) is the shipping price -- 15 to ship to the UK is a bit much for me to rationalize at the moment, so I will probably wait until our trip to Dublin next year and then sort something out.

Bella Aura Cleanser (~3ml): Again, this was another hit for me in June.  The cleanser was very thin, almost like a cleansing lotion, and smelled absolutely amazing.  It felt really moisturizing and my face felt so soft after use.  The formula is so velvety and nourishing, and I will definitely be looking into getting a full size bottle of this.

Naturally Tribal Family Body Food Unscented (20ml): This body food is actually from the kid's range, but I was excited to try it as there is no essential oils or other fragrance allergens included -- just pure shea and coconut.  I liked the texture, but it almost had a smoky scent that I have not experienced with other products like this.  That being said, my partner loved it because his favourite whiskies are peaty ones -- true to himself, right?  This worked really well on his eczema, so I think I would consider getting a full size as his legs really need the TLC.

Esse Gel Cleanser (10ml): I have talked about this so many times, so I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say I adore this cleanser and will definitely be buying a full size bottle of either this or the Refining Cleanser soon.  And I think this was actually my final sample, so I will have to jump on it soon!!

Balance Me Congested Skin Serum (7ml): Again, I have had one of these sample tubes in almost all of my empties posts so far, and it is one of my staple products.  I use it every morning and evening, and find it really helps keep my hormonal spots at bay and keeps my skin clear and healthy.  It is very gentle and not at all drying, so I will continue to use this for the foreseeable future.

Greenfrog Botanic Soapberry Handwash (100ml):  This soap lasted ages, and I really really liked it!  It is super gentle, smells fab, leaves no weird residue, and does just what a handwash needs to do -- it cleans.  Plus, it is so affordable.  I definitely recommend this to anyone wanting a natural hand soap that leaves your hands feeling fresh.

Balance Me Radiance Face Mask (30ml): I didn't hate this, but I also did not love it.  The mask did not do much for my skin, and almost felt like more of an exfoliation treatment than a proper clay mask.  As an exfoliatior, it is pretty gentle, though the grains of the walnut shells are larger than I would expect.  As long as you scrub very gently, it is fine and not too harsh.  I did find my face felt clean and fresh afterwards, but not necessarily detoxed like I want with a clay mask.  I probably will not purchase again, but this is a decent option for the price.

John Masters Organics Citrus & Neroli Detangler (30ml): Not quite a conditioner, not quite a leave in product, I was not entirely sure what to make of this detangler.  It smelled quite a bit of alcohol which is the last thing I want in a hydrating hair product.  I didn't find it very nourishing, and while it seemed to do a decent job detangling, I do think there are better options out there. Probably won't buy this in the future, but was happy to test it out for a few weeks.

Are there any products I finished up that you have been trying or have been eyeing up?

I would love to read what your empties were for last month -- let me know in the comments!


  1. Such a great idea to use up samples etc rather than rushing out to buy new products

  2. You have managed to get through so much products , it looks like your skin care regime is excellent. The products you have featured all sound good, some I am aware of others I am glad to discover.


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