Empties Press samples marked by a c/o. The rest were purchased by me.
Summer 2020 has been a crazy one for sure! Pandemic, wildfires, food shortages– I just can’t keep up. At the beginning of summer, I decided to use up as many “sample” size skincare products as possible to help clear out my product closet. Many of these were gifts at Sephora or in a Spring In To Beauty event at Cos Bar or counter sample when out shopping. Here are all the empties I loved and hated this summer!
Summer Empties- Hair, Body, and Skincare
Always the heftiest of the bin, I tried out a ton of cleansers this summer. A few I ended up re-buying I liked them so much and others I can live without.
Pixi Hydrating Milky Cleanser c/o — This was a LOVE! It left my skin soft but not stripped. This is a very calming and soothing range for Pixi and this cleanser is great for SENSITIVE or REACTIVE skin.
Jan Marini Bioglycolic Face Cleanser — (use code 093623 for 15% off and free shipping) I always gravitate back to this cleanser. With no foam and a bit of glycolic acid, it makes a great second or morning cleanse. The active tingle never goes away for me so I would say for sensitive skin skip it.
Tatcha Classic Rice Enzyme Powder — I like this as a morning cleanse but it can dry my skin out a little so I use it a few times a week. This little sample size lasted 2 months! I notice that my skin always looks smoother and brighter after use.
Amore Pacific Treatment Cleansing Foam c/o — This was incredible! An enzyme base full of amino acids my skin felt and looked softer. I love that it foams without drying my skin out. A great second or morning cleanse. If you have dry or combo skin this works well.
Youth to the People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser c/o– I am obsessed. I bought 3 more bottles of this. My perfect morning cleanse. I love the clean scent, luxurious texture and soft glow it gives to my skin. The only downside is how hard it is to find! The cleanser is always sold out. Great for all skin types.
Cosmedix Benefit Cleanser c/o — A super gentle cleanser perfect as a second cleanse or morning cleanse. This cleanser is soothing, hydrating, and calming. If you are using a ton of Vitamin A or have sensitive skin this one is a great cleanser.
Erno Lazslo Hydra-Therapy Foaming Cleanse c/o — I was worried about this cleanser at first. It promised a hydrated and fresh cleanse but the formula felt otherwise. I was wrong. I loved this cleanser! My skin looks so good right now after finishing it. The texture is a rich foam full of shea butter and marula oil. If you have sensitive skin I would skin it because of the shea butter but if you have dry or dehydrated skin this one is for you.
Shelley Bennett Skincare Jojoba Cleanser c/o — a fresh and gentle cleanse this one is the ultimate morning cleanser. The jojoba helps ensure a deep cleanse that left my skin fresh and hydrated. If you see it in stock grab it! The cult-favorite sells out every month.
Clarins Gentle Refiner – More of an exfoliating paste– I put this in as a cleanser. I used it in the mornings to clean my face. I liked it but probably won’t buy it again. I think there are better options out there. Bummed because Clarins is one of my go-to product lines. It looks like it has been discontinued.
Heimish All Clean Balm — I don’t know where I got this but it a GREAT first cleanse. The solid oil turns into a soft oil that removes EVERY trace of makeup, dirt, and oil on the skin. It does have shea butter so skip if that ingredient bothers your skin. I love this and bought another one!
Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser — A soft, gentle cleanser perfect for the morning or second cleanse. I love the light scent and texture. It doesn’t really foam and is more like a gel texture. My skin felt soft, hydrated, and happy every time I used this cleanser.
Sunday Riley Blue Moon — I liked this cleansing balm but the texture was a bit off. I did buy another. It sometimes burns my eyes but other than that it cleanses well. Leaves my skin without a single speck of makeup on it.
Colleen Rothschild Radiant Cleansing Balm — A dreamy and perfect nightly cleanse. I love how this feels like a spa treatment. It smells great, the texture is awesome and it leaves my skin super clean. This cleansing balm helps not just clean the skin but repair it and I always feel my skin looks better when I use it.
Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm – I always go back to this one. Not good for the eye area this cleansing balm leaves my skin so soft and happy. I prefer to use it in the morning for the aromatherapy benefits. I also love that it comes with a washcloth!
I didn’t have much time for masks lately so this empties section is a bit small.
Loved the Goddess Skin Clay Mask from Charlotte Tilbury. Talk about a serious glow. REN 1 minute flash facial is incredible but strong so skip it if you have sensitive skin and be careful what you layer after it. The Summer Fridays Overtime mask is great but I prefer the Jetlag mask after trying it.
The Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay mask was nice on my chin and nose and so was the Sonya Dakar Omega Overnight Sculpting Mask were both nice but I wouldn’t rush out to buy them again. The Elemis Papaya Enzyme Mask was my least favorite. I liked it at first but it just broke me out and kinda over stimulated my skin. It works well for those that don’t use too many other active ingredients.
Tonic and Toner Empties
Pixi Glow Tonic is and always will be my go-to morning toner. Just enough glycolic to keep my skin clear of blemishes without irritating my nightly Retin A use.
Clarins Toning Lotion with Camomile one of my summer favorites. This hydrating and soothing toner is perfect for days spent by the pool, beach, or on an airplane. I love the scent and how my skin instantly looks more hydrated after using it.
Amore Pacific Vintage Single Extract Essence c/o – I always have this one on my counter. I am pro essence IF you have it in your budget. My skin is dry and dehydrated so essence really is a great first step to glowing and hydrated skin. This one from Amore Pacific is packed full of good for the skin ingredients. It absorbs quickly and I have never had an issue with layering it with more active products. I use it right after I clean my skin then wait several minutes before applying my vitamin A product.
BioEffect EGF Essence Recently, I switched to this sample when my last essence ran out. It is lighter and even faster absorbing than the AP one. The texture is like water. I love that it works so well with serums and I notice my skin stayed hydrated much longer into the day. I ended up buying another when I saw it was on sale at Cos Bar.
DermaE Blue Light Shield Spray c/o — I really didn’t like this. Not only did it leave a residue in my opinion but I just don’t think “blue light” protection is a real thing. This was hard for me not to love because DermaE is a consistent staple in my skincare routine.
DermaE UpLift Moods Spray c/o– As much as I hated the other spray I LOVED this one. The scent is refreshing and the spray leaves my skin feeling hydrated and happy.
AmorePacific Moisture Bond — Amazing. Fabulous. One of my favorite face sprays on the market. I like the fine mist and the formula is light but super hydrating. I will say that AP does “hydration” better than anyone else. The mist, essence, and hydrating fluid are all incredible for dehydrated skin.
Omorovicza Magic Moisture Mist — This really locks in water leaving my skin plump and hydrated. Sweet almond oil and rosehip oil make this refreshing, soothing, and calming mist a must have to start the day.
Face Oil Empties
I loved all of these empties.
AmorePacific Youth Revolution Radiance Concentrator c/o– Incredible. My skin felt and looked better on day 1. It will be on my Christmas list for sure!
akar skin soothe face oil — I was so surprised by this face oil. I’ve never tried the brand before this and ended up buying a ton of their products. This soothes my skin after a bad idea of layering several AHA, BHA and Vitamin A!
Clarins Plant Gold c/o – A serum and oil this one layers well with others and left my skin glowing. The texture is great for mornings. I still layered a cream over it some days. But it played nicely with SPF and makeup.
Herbivore Lapis and Orchid oils I use the lapis when I am breaking out or congested and the orchid for regular warm sunny summer days. I like both scents. The textures are nice with the orchid a little thicker feeling. Both gave my skin an incredible glow and neither broke me out!
Sunday Riley Luna – A great oil for warm summer days, I love how light it feels and the incredible it smells. If you have combo skin or normal skin that gets a bit oil or reactive in the summer this one is for you.
Curology Nighttime Serum c/o – When Curology reached out I was really skeptical. But, now 6 months later I can’t live without it. After a simple tel consult, they created a custom serum that I use every night on fresh clean skin. The results have been amazing! My acne is gone! My skin is brighter and the texture is almost where I want it to be. Use this link for a special Curology discount code of a one-month free trial. You just have to pay for shipping!
Skinceuticals C E Ferulic c/o – WOW! I didn’t think I could love vitamin c anymore that I already do but this serum did that. The formula is power-packed, absorbs quickly, is non-irritating and I saw improvements within the first two weeks. I used it every morning so it wouldn’t conflict with the Curology.
PCA Skin Rejuvenating Serum – This power serum is great for 30+ skin. It smoothes, tones, and boosts the skin.
Inkey List Hyaluronic acid – Simple, clean, and no BS this hyaluronic acid serum is the ultimate no-nonsense hydration boost.
Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift – Honestly, I bought this because it looked fun to use. I kept using it because the results were unreal! The first week I used it I kept getting compliments asking what I was doing. It takes years off instantly. Best item for right before a party or event.
Alpha Retinol Vitamin Serum – One of the best retinol serums I’ve ever used. Best for 30+ skin that is sensitive and dry.
Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial – A super boost! I call this a lazy girl serum. It really does all in one. This and eye cream is all you need on a lazy night. I wake up with glowing skin. Contains Vitamin A and C so if you are super reactive I would skip it.
Sarah Chapman Morning Facial – I can take or leave this one. It leaves the skin glowing. Great for older skin.
Murad Hydro-Dynamic® Quenching Essence – This was so good I bought a full size! Agave, glycolic acid, and glycerin! My skin loves this.
Pixi Vitamin C Serum – I like this as a budget-friendly, effective vitamin C. Contains vitamin C, ferulic, mandarin, neroli and lemon.
Erno Laszlo Hydra-Therapy – Light and hydrating for warm nights. Great for combo, aging and dry skin.
Alpha Intensive Recovery Cream – This cream is awesome if you are doing some strong Vitamin A. It keeps your face on, soothes, and isn’t heavy feeling.
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Night Cream – Hated it. Too heavy for me. Maybe in the winter but I have a feeling I won’t like it then either. Bummer because I usually love their products.
Elemis Pro-Collagen Night Cream – Hated it. Again too thick. It pooled on my neck and chin and just made me hot. It also broke my skin out.
Kate Somerville Peptide K8 Power Cream – LOVED it. This instantly takes years and lines off my face. If I travel this goes with me.
Colleen Rothschild Extreme Recovery Cream – A thicker version of their cult cream. I liked it because it didn’t feel thick. I like this in the morning before SPF.
Elemis Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm – Hate the smell love the cream. A great day cream that leaves my skin not sticky, but glowing.
Tata Harper Creme Rich – I bought two of these after this sample. IT was that good. A rich but not heavy cream this works well for dry, mature or dehydrated skin. I like it at night.
Agustinus Bader The Rich Cream – Worth the hype if you can afford it. I really love the texture and how this cream makes my skin soft, hydrated, and plump.
Sisley Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream – I liked this but didn’t love it. I think it is great for a younger skin that doesn’t need a thick cream as I do.
Orlane B21 Extraordinaire Absolute Youth Cream Incredible. Loved the texture and results. The technology on it makes this incredible. I bought a full size! I like that it left my skin super hydrated but not heavy. It is perfect for summer. Dry, sensitive, combo, mature skins will all like this one.
What are your favorite product empties? Let me know in a comment below!