Empty Products!

I love Empties videos on YouTube, because if someone is showing you a product they’ve totally used up, you know you’re getting a fully formed opinion on it. I always wanted to do one myself, but couldn’t justify holding onto trash, waiting to accumulate enough stuff for a video. But when I recently finished up several products at the same time, I realized my blog could be a good venue for this sort of thing, because I can take pictures of the empty containers before I dispose of them, and compile them into a post when I have a good amount.

Today I have five empty products to share with you!


1. Folle de Joie Perfume: I found out about this perfume in 2014, during the brief period of time I was subscribed to Birchbox. They sent me a sample of this, and I fell so deeply in love that I treated myself to a proper bottle. To me, it’s kind of flowery, but not in a full on girly way — it’s got a bit of an undertone to it that I associate more with masculine scents. To be more precise, according to the website, it’s got top notes of sweet citrus, woodsy floral, and cognac, mid notes of jasmine and rose, and base notes of spicy wood and leather. In my experience, it sticks around the whole day. I still like this perfume a lot, although not as much as I first did. I won’t be repurchasing it, because I really only have room for one fancy perfume in my budget (and several cheap ones, lol) and I’ve since fallen way more in love with another.


2. Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads: I talked about these in my full skincare routine post, and I’m still digging them. In fact, I’ve already bought another tub (which was probably my 4th or 5th one)! To reiterate what I’ve written over there, I use these as a nighttime toner. There’s a lot of nice skincare acids in them that weaken the bonds between my skin cells to kind of chemically exfoliate the skin and aid in the renewal of my complexion.


3. Soap and Glory Heel Genius Foot Cream: I’m not gonna lie to you, the bottoms of my feet are not the prettiest in the world, especially in the winter. I remember that I saw a YouTuber (I forget which one) recommend this in an Empties video, so I thought I’d try it out. This helped a lot, but I think I’m just going to go back to slathering tons of regular body lotion onto my feet because there are a few things I wasn’t crazy about.

Firstly, the scent — I’m very picky about scents, and I find that I usually do not like Soap and Glory’s scents. This one wasn’t as bad as some of the others, and I did get used to it, but still am not interested in smelling it again anytime soon.

Secondly, it’s hard to get it to absorb — When dispensing this cream I found there was a very thin line between “not enough to cover my foot” and “whoops, way too much lotion.” I’d put my socks on and go about my business for the few hours between shower and bedtime. Then when I’d take off my socks to go to bed (I can’t sleep with them on), I’d find my feet felt kind of sticky, even on the days where I got the amount of product right. It wasn’t a major discomfort, but I wasn’t fond of it. Also, I couldn’t rub the leftover cream into my hands after coating my feet, it didn’t work. It left a weird residue that made me feel like I couldn’t touch anything, and had to immediately wash my hands.


4. Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask: I mentioned this in my post about the face masks I own. I’ll be honest — technically this isn’t fully empty, but it’s past its expiration date (always look for the little jar icon the back of cosmetics/skincare!). The last few times I’ve tried to use it, I’ve found that it’s hard to remove from the pot because it’s dried out a bit. So I figured it was time to pitch it, since I’m paranoid about fucking up my skin. I’ve described this as kind of a poor man’s version of the famous Glamglow mask, and I’d buy it again in the future once I use up other face masks I have.


5. Noxzema Classic Clean: This is another one from my big skincare masterpost. This cleanser is my basic, twice a day go-to. It makes my skin feel clean, but not dried out. Like it says on the tub, it tingles, which is super refreshing and helps me wake up in the morning, lol.  I’ve gone through maybe four or five of these, but haven’t bought a new one yet because around the time this was running out, I was also prepping for my trip to Boston and bought a stick based cleanser (partly from curiosity, partly for ease of travel). But once I use that up, I’m going straight back to this!

That’s it for this Empties post! Let me know what you think of this format. I think I’d like to do more of these — it’s a nice way to share a bunch of recommendations at once, instead of doing a lot of little review posts.

Have you guys been using anything interesting recently?

I hope you’ve been having the best week you can.


My Face Scrubs and Masks!

Welcome to the face scrubs and masks follow up I promised in my skincare routine post from the end of November! My whole skin history doesn’t really need to be explained here. If you want that, take a look at my previous post.


I’m really bad at remembering to use physical exfoliators on my face, but when I do, I pick from one of these as the mood strikes. The Simple Smoothing Facial Scrub is nice, but it’s not got as many gritty bits in it as I’d like, so I won’t be repurchasing it. It could be nice for someone who likes more of a gentle scrubbing. The St. Ives Apricot Scrub is an old favorite of mine, and this blemish control version is definitely more helpful for my oily, acne-prone skin than the regular version. It definitely scrubs very strongly. My skin feels very soft and nice once I rinse if off. The apricot makes it smell quite nice too! Sometimes I’ll use this as a body scrub as well, and it’s fairly good at that.

However, my favorite texture for a scrub is what I’ve seen called a “microdermabrasion” scrub. The texture is not supposed to be as damaging as a scrub with big chunky bits, but the thick texture has so many teeny tiny bits in it that I feel like my skin feels even softer and more exfoliated than using a scrub that’s technically more exfoliating / has bigger chunkier bits. These little samples here (from Lancer and Kate Somerville) that I got in a couple of Sephora Play boxes are ones that I’ve been carefully rationing out in between using other scrubs because they’re pricey. A more budget option that I really like is the Pink Lemon & Mandarin scrub from St. Ives, and I’ll probably purchase that one once I use up all of the scrubs I already have.


And now, a personal favorite thing of mine, face masks!

The Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask is one of my favorite things, for a few reasons. Firstly, it feels tingly and cooling and wonderful — definitely a nice mask to use on a hot summer night. Secondly, it only has to sit on your face for five minutes to get the job done. There’s been plenty of times I’ve used this in a rushed panic right before a date when I’ve felt like my skin isn’t exactly up to par, lol. Thirdly, it’s loaded with benzoyl peroxide, a known acne killer. However, benzoyl does stain/bleach fabrics (I’ve damaged a couple of pillowcases using a benzoyl-based spot treatment), so I’ll only use it before I take a shower, or in the shower if I’m using it as a face wash instead. It’s good stuff.

Next in line is Innisfree’s Super Volcanic Pure Clay Mask, which I bought after YouTuber heyitsfeii recommended it. It’s almost like a poor man’s version of the famous Glamglow Supermud mask, which I bought as a birthday gift for myself earlier this year and loved, but can’t justify re-purchasing because of the price. The Innisfree mask is just about as good as the Glamglow was at clearing my pores. I really like it a lot! Sometimes it can be a little overly drying for my skin, but I just moisturize extra afterwards if my skin is feeling tight.

I don’t know why I included that Sephora Play sample of Boscia’s Pore Pudding in this picture, except that it looks kind of cool. It’s alright, but I like other masks better. And it’s got that same herbal scent that a lot of Boscia’s products do, that I’m not too crazy about. Another mask that I’ve got here that I think is just okay is that Birth of Venus jelly mask from Lush. It smells nice, and makes my skin feel nice, but using the jelly mask has turned out to be a huge fucking pain in the ass. It’s so fussy to apply, and difficult to get an even coat on my face.

Peter Thomas Roth’s Irish Moor Mud is an all time favorite mask of mine. It’s pricey, but it takes me a year or more to go through a tub of it, so I can justify it (unlike the Glamglow, which is pricey, but disappears seemingly instantly, lol). The Irish Moor Mud has lots of good clearing stuff in it, like clay and charcoal, but the mask is a super soft whipped sort of texture and doesn’t dry down completely, so it’s not too drying for the skin.

And finally, this Suction Black Mask I found on Amazon. It’s sort of like one of those Biore strips for your nose that pulls out all the gunk, but you can easily apply it anywhere on your face. My big gross pores are not just on my nose, but stretch across most of the upper part of my cheeks, and pore strips don’t cover all that real estate, and also just don’t always fit my nose very well in general. I’ll put this on after a shower, so that my pores are extra open from all the steam. It’s kind of grossly satisfying to peel this mask of and check out all the gunk that comes out of your pores. I’ve tried a few different masks like this, but this one is my favorite so far, and the first one of its type that I’d actually buy again.

So that’s it! I hope you’ve found all this skincare babble interesting. What face masks and scrubs do you guys like? My general daily skincare is pretty pinned down, but I’m always looking for new things to try when it comes to scrubs and masks!


My Skincare Routine

A few weeks ago my buddy Sam over at the blog Pretty Thoughtful posted her skincare routine and I was shocked. Somehow she really only uses 4 or 5 products to keep her skin nice! But I’m sure it could go both ways, and she’ll wind up shocked by the extensive list I’m about to detail below. But first, let’s have a little chat about my skin and its history.

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This is my skin, plain and clean. It’s not perfect (check out that red mark on my cheek from where I picked at a zit!) but lately I’ve honestly been having the best skin I’ve had since I hit puberty. Ever since my lovely female hormones first kicked into gear when I was in middle school, I’ve struggled with oily skin and breakouts. For contrast/reference, here’s a photo of me from summer 2009, just after graduating high school. It’s pretty representative of my most common acne locations over my life, although now the breakouts mostly just hangout around my chin.


At this point in my life I had at least some vague concept of skincare — I do recall using an actual acne facewash from the drugstore and not just plain soap, but I didn’t moisturize yet, and when I did start doing that, I just used body lotion, which surely did not help either the acne or oil situations. But even once I started to get my head on straight when it came to my skin, it was still often a battle (although I know there are people with waaay bigger acne struggles than me).

However, this past year my skin has been SO well behaved (although still oilier than I’d like). I know this is partly because of some good habits I’ve developed, like drinking more water or washing my pillowcase when I wash clothes every week since I only change my sheets about once a month. But I know those two little things probably can’t have done it on their own, so I have a few other ideas how this might have happened:

  1. I’ll be 27 in January so maybe I’m finally aging out? (Please, please, please.)
  2. I take a hormonal birth control pill, and this spring I switched to a new one because the one I was on had been giving me problems. After my doctor put me on Apri, I looked up reviews, and saw people saying it had really helped their skin, so maybe that’s happened here?
  3. Or have I finally put together a skincare routine that actually works?

So now after that very long preamble, let’s actually get into the nitty gritty of what I’ve been doing for my skin!


Let’s start with washing! I wash my face twice a day — once when I first get up, and again at some point in the evening. If I’ve been wearing makeup, I do a two step cleanse, first with the Dissolve Gel to Oil Cleanser from Sonia Kashuk. It comes out of the tube as a gel,  then when you rub it onto your skin it turns into an oil, and then when you add water, it emulsifies and washes everything away. I can hear you all now saying, “But Krys, you just said you have oily skin? And yet you put an oil on it?” Yes, but I also put a lot of waterproof makeup on my eyes, and heavy powder to keep my makeup matte, and this stuff breaks it down way more gently than makeup wipes do. Although try not to open your eyes if you’re using it, because it will sting a bit. (Clinique’s Take the Day Off Balm is also just as nice for makeup removal, and doesn’t sting the eyes, but it’s twice as expensive as this Sonia Kashuk gel. So.)

My general cleanser is the Noxzema Classic Clean (and this is also the second step of my two step makeup removal cleanse). Whenever I’d complained about my acne over the years my aunt said, “Well have you tried Noxzema?” and I kind of brushed her off. But finally last October I said fuck it, and gave it a try, and I quite like it! It doesn’t make my skin feel tight afterwards like other cleansers I’ve tried, and it’s got menthol so it feels refreshing and tingly. I like that you can apply it to a wet or dry face — I’ll usually start rubbing it into my face while I’m waiting for the sink water to get warm. And it’s kind of solid, so it’s easy to put into a little travel pot and bring on a trip without worrying about it spilling everywhere. I found out this summer that it does kind of break down and get more liquid-y in the heat, but it doesn’t ruin the cleansing power.

Garnier’s Micellar Water is my “lazy” cleanser (and also great on a q-tip for fixing little makeup mistakes). I most frequently use this if I come home very late on a no makeup day, and know that I should wash my face before going to bed, but don’t have the energy. I’ll put some on a cotton pad and apply it to my face. It’s amazing how much stuff it picks up off of a bare face! Also, make sure you shake this before you use it or only the oil on top will come out. When I first bought it, I didn’t like it because I thought it was more oily than the only other micellar water I’d tried, but it grew on me once I realized it needed to be shaken.


Behold! My morning skincare! First up, we have toner — I’m not actually using Lush’s Tea Tree Toner right now (although I do like it a lot). That bottle’s actually filled with Thayer’s Witch Hazel toner in the Rose variety. I don’t have the actual bottle for it anymore, because I like using it better with this spray bottle. I just spray it on a cotton pad and swipe it over my skin. I haven’t tried too many toners, because the ones I had tried were really drying and I just assumed that’s how they all were (but it’s probably because I’d somehow only tried ones with alcohol in them, which is a big no-no for happy skin). But years ago Joseph Birdsong did a video about his skincare routine, and Thayer’s toner was in it. Joe has killer skin, so I figured it was worth a try, and even though I keep trying other things, I always come back to this. Witch Hazel is good for keeping skin clear, and Rose is soothing, so it’s a no brainer why this works. I definitely find my skin isn’t as good if I stop using toner.

Next we have my one single nod to the overly elaborate Korean skincare trend: Origins’ Original Skin Essence Lotion with Dual Ferment Complex. I’m pretty sure the whole essence lotion thing started with K-beauty and then migrated to Western brands. This product from Origins is supposed to hydrate the skin and help with pores and uneven texture. I think that this is one of the things that’s behind my acne clearing up faster than it used to once it’s appears. I’m not sure how much it’s actually doing all of the things it says it should be, but I like the way my skin is when I use this, versus when I use something else, or use nothing for this step, so you know, that’s good enough for me.

And then for my moisturizer — Garnier’s Moisture Bomb from their SkinActive range. I tend to stick to gel cream / water based moisturizers because using an oil based facial moisturizer is just asking for trouble with my oily skin. My go-to is the Ginzing moisturizer from Origins, but the last time I ran low, I picked this up because YouTuber Laura Lee suggested it. I’ve only been using it for a few weeks, but I’m not sure I’d repurchase it once I finish it because yes, it does make my skin feel nice and soft and isn’t overly moisturizing, but it’s got a fragrance I’m not too crazy about.

Also, if I apply too much by accident or rub too hard when I put it on, it kind of pills up like some silicone based makeup primers I’ve tried (Dr. Brandt’s Pores No More or Benefit’s Porefessional, for instance). I’ve just looked it up, because I was curious and had a hunch, and dimethicone (which is in the silicone family) is the third ingredient in it! So that explains why it does almost feel like I’ve applied one of those primers when I put it on, and why it acts like them. (Although for the record, I did just check on the ingredients of the Ginzing as well, and it’s got one of those pesky “-cone”s in it, but it doesn’t feel like it when I use it, and that’s what matters to me.)

At this point I can hear the record scratch to a halt in your head — “Again, I thought you had oily skin? Why are you going on about all this moisturizing stuff?” Well, there’s this weird thing with skin where if it thinks it’s not receiving enough moisture, it will produce more oil to kind of compensate for its dryness. So even if you have oily skin, you still have to moisturize! Very important thing to know and do!


And finally for this post, my evening skincare. At night instead of the rose toner, I use one of these Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads. I just swipe one of these bad boys over my face after I wash it at night. I’m awful at remembering to use physical exfoliators, so using a chemical/acidic one like this is very helpful to my skin. These pads have Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids in them (and salicylic, lactic, hyaluronic, and glycolic acids as well [Or are those the AHAs and BHAs? Not fully sure.]). Basically the acids weaken the bonds between your skin cells to speed up the natural exfoliation / renewal of the skin. I’m pretty sure these bad boys have been instrumental in my acne not sticking around as long as it used to, and also for the marks clearing up more quickly after I pick at them (which I know you shouldn’t do, but I often can’t help myself).

Since the pads are pretty well-saturated with product, when I use one I also swipe it over my upper chest area (aka, the decolletage) and also the backs of my arms (because I’ve got those pesky little bumps known as keratosis pilaris) to get the same benefits there. I’m not sure I should be using these every night, but nothing really bad has happened and I’ve been using them for months. So. These are kind of a pain for me to get my hands on — in my area I basically have to go out of my way to stop CVS or Ulta, neither of which are stores I go to often. So if I’m running low, and I’m making my weekly-ish trip to Target I’ll pick up a bottle of the Pixi Glow Tonic to use instead. But I don’t like it as much, mainly because of the scent. (I’m very particular about scents).

Anyway, so after I use a Nip + Fab pad, I use the Origins Essence Lotion from my morning routine. And then instead of my moisturizer, we have the pièce de résistance, my one item of truly luxury skincare, the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask. I spotted this one day in the K-beauty section of Sephora, and what drew me to it at first was the scent — it straight up smells like watermelon candy. And the gel texture was kind of cool and fun. But it’s $45 so instead of buying it right off the bat, I went home and did research and when I still wanted it, I splurged. I knew I’d made a good pick / felt super validated in my life choices when one of the Sephora employees spotted me picking it off the shelf to buy it and told me how much she loved it.

Its main ingredients are watermelon extract, hyaluronic acid, and AHAs, so it gently chemically exfoliates the skin while you sleep and also provide hydration. And yes, it is a little pricey, but they give you a tiny little spoon in the box it comes in, and you’re only supposed to use one or two scoops at a time, so one jar really lasts quite awhile. I bought my first jar sometime in late spring and only bought my second jar in October. This is another one that I’m not sure I’m meant to be using every night but that, again, hasn’t hurt me yet.

So that’s the end of this post! Thanks for sticking along to the end! I was going to include face scrubs as well, but then this post got quite out of control because I felt the need to explain each item in such detail, so I’ll do another post of scrubs (and also masks!) at some point in the future.

Tell me about your skincare routines in the comments! I always get super curious and nosy about that kind of stuff. I’d love to hear what you do.