The Empties | Early Spring

Mark my words, I know that it’s been well over a month since spring officially started. However, until somewhat recently it’s been blizzard-ing, so forgive me if I consider it still pretty early(ish) in the spring season. I used to worry these posts were boring to read, as I rarely used to finish up much of anything and there was little variety of what I did finish up, always trying out new things, rather than finishing what I had on the go. However, in the last couple of years, I have become a more savvy and restrained shopper, buying less and finishing more:

Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Cleansing Balm ($28 US | 103 mL)

After disliking the Paula’s Choice Perfect Cleansing Oil, I’m happy to report that I loved this balm cleanser for nourishing the skin and breaking down makeup and sunscreen. It broke down waterproof eyeliner, mascara and tenacious face products easily enough — but it wasn’t an annihilator in the way that some of these super-oily balms are — with easy-to-use tube packaging and nourishing non-irritating ingredients. It’s fragrance free, doesn’t contain any irritants and actually features lots of fatty acids and some nourishing plant oils to offset any sort of barrier disruption while cleansing. It doesn’t leave a film or anything afterwards. I would buy again, with some sort of sale.

Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cleanser ($57 CDN | 120 mL)

This is my expensive treatment cleanser of choice and I went onto another back-up that I purchased on sale shortly, after emptying the tube. It’s an oil-rich cream cleanser that removes makeup, soothes the skin without being drying in the slightest. It has a subtle fragrance that doesn’t bother my skin because it doesn’t come from essential oils and is enriched with honey, lactic acid and goat’s milk, along with the grapeseed oil, avocado oil and coconut oil. My favourite part is that my skin is left calmer and moisturized after rinsing.

Kate Somerville Delikate Soothing Cleanser ($57 CDN | 120 mL)

This was a fine gentle fragrance-free milk cleanser but was nowhere near special enough to justify the cost for me. It wasn’t irritating or drying whatsoever and removed easily but it didn’t deliver long-lasting soothing or hydration like the former. It contains fatty acids, ceramides, cholesterol, aloe and miscellaneous other soothing and barrier-repairing ingredients. It kind of reminded me of Cerave’s cleansers with slightly less of a tendency to sting on an impaired barrier. 

Drunk Elephant Protini Powerpeptide Resurfacing Serum ($108 CDN | 30 mL)

Last year, I picked up a half-sized sample of this lactic-acid based serum and I’ve happily been using it around 3-4 times per week as a chemical exfoliant and serum in one. It contains 10% lactic acid which helps with overall clarity, brightness and smooths texture, along with amino acids and peptides for hydration and barrier-reinforcement. It’s lighter in texture but contains squalane and some nice rich plant oils along with the myriad of humectants it has. I repurchased a full-size; it’s expensive but lasts a while and is special.

Cosrx Advanced Snail Radiance Dual Essence ($40.99 CDN | 80 mL)

I did love using this plumping brightening humectant serum, however, going for the niacinamide-enriched version of the essence was completely unnecessary for me, as I have multiple other niacinamide-rich brightening serums on the go. I do love me some niacinamide… This is a dual chamber version of their cult favourite fragrance-free essence, with snail secretion in the one chamber and 5% niacinamide in the other. It also contained panthenol, medowfoam seed oil, sunflower seed oil, allantoin, macadamia oil, sodium hyaluronate and argan oil. I found my skin looked bouncy, plumped and soothed while using this serum but I sometimes had to watch to make sure I wasn’t overdoing it on the niacinamide. I will be repurchasing the original version of the essence that is even more economical.

Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Firming Moisturizer ($89 CDN | 50 mL)

I ended up trying this pricy moisturizer because it was sold in the set with the serum, and while I ended up liking it, I’m really not sure it’s special enough for the price for me. It has a lovely comforting plumping texture that’s moisturizing and hydrating without feeling occlusive in the slightest. I enjoyed the myriad of peptides and amino acids it contains to help support the skin barrier and help to bind moisture into the skin and the plumping cushion-y texture, but I didn’t find it concentrated enough or special enough to warrant repurchasing at this price. I did enjoy the airless pump packaging and the lack of fragrance or other irritants.

Kate Somerville Delikate Recovery Cream ($99 CDN | 50 mL)

This is another pricy moisturizer I finished, but on the other hand, it’s special enough to warrant repurchasing, especially when we’re lucky enough to be able to find it on significant sale. It’s a whipped balm that sinks into the skin without stinging in the slightest, soothing the skin and supporting the skin’s barrier — especially a damaged one, like mine certainly tends to be. The texture spreads really far, only requiring a little bit of product, even on my drier and tighter skin, and it offers moisture, comfort and repair without leaving a shiny finish. It features shea butter, ceramides, honey, peptides, plant oils and other soothing ingredients. It’s also beautiful under makeup, helping to minimize the appearance of dry patches and any sort of texture. It also doubles as a wonderful eye cream for those with a sensitive eye area and is wonderful for calming the skin after an allergic reaction. It’s been that kind of spring thus far.

Cosrx Advanced Snail Peptide Eye Cream ($32.57 CDN | 25 mL)

I loved this gentle, fragrance-free eye cream for my delicate and sensitive eye area so much so that I went through it more quickly than I could have, occasionally using on my face in addition to the eye area. I will be repurchasing for sure. It contains snail mucin, niacinamide, sunflower seed oil, sodium hyaluronate and a few peptides. It’s good for plumping up and hydrating the eye area without irritation and wears great under makeup — and I have dry sensitive under eyes that tend to get eczema and allergy-induced irritation.

Sunday Riley Juno Antioxidant + Superfood Face Oil ($95 CDN | 35 mL)

This was one of the first good essential-oil-free oil blends on the market and it remains to be a longtime favourite of mine. Sunday Riley used ‘superfood’ in its actual meaning — as in harvested from fruits and cold-pressed with a variety of antioxidants — and not as a wellness culture bullshit hype-word, which I appreciate. I’ve long-term appreciated the omega rich blend of oils for soothing, antioxidant protection, locking in moisture and helping to eradicate dry patches. I do not tolerate essential oils well so I’ve always appreciated that this was blended without, without skimping on the benefits of these fruit oils. I’d buy again, especially if I found it on for another deal but I might explore more affordable options, even though the bottle does last for ages. I quite like smelling like a salad dressing, which is precisely the scent the natural oils have without essential oils in the mix.

Paula’s Choice Resist Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 ($35 US | 60 mL)

I was really slacking on the sunscreen front over the winter, mainly due to laziness. Once I got myself in gear this season, I found myself finishing a tube of the semi-matte finish tinted sunscreen that I had on the go. Because of the slightly mattifying semi-matte finish of the sunscreen, I tend to need to moisturizer underneath. However, the slightly blurring and smoothing finish coupled with the sheer light beige tint, is really flattering on naked skin. I have a backup and I’ll happily enjoy using as it gets hot and humid over the warmer months. It contains a bunch of antioxidants as well, which I enjoy seeing in a sunscreen.

Cerave Moisturizing Cream ($27.99 CDN | 539 mL)

This cream is probably the closest thing I’ve found to an eczema cure with consistent use. It helps to keep the dry and itchy skin at bay that I scratch and turn into a hot mess. The formula is bland, with fatty alcohols, three kinds of ceramides, cholesterol, hyaluronic acid, dimethicone and petrolatum. It stings less than most creams on the market — I’m prone to stinging — and contains ingredients to help rebuild and reinforce the skin barrier. It’s probably a forever repurchase from me. I also love the jar with a pump on it packaging; the pump is super easy to use and it’s practical to be able to screw off the lid to get the remnants out of the container.

Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter Body Butter ($18 CDN | 300 mL)

If I’m not using a fragrance-free barrier-repairing kind of body moisturizer, I’m using one of the Soap and Glory options as a treat because I can actually tolerate them on my eczema prone body, as they have a rich emollient texture and contain fragrance that I love, that isn’t essential oil based, which poses the greatest problem for me personally. My skin can be a bit of a diva, evidently. It’s a warm citrusy floral scent that I find super comforting and the formula has shea butter, coconut oil, cocoa seed butter, glycerin and rosehip oil to help prevent trans epidermal waterloss and the itchy feeling from returning to my body skin. It’s a favourite for a reason. I also enjoy that it’s rich enough to actually make a difference and for me not to go through the tub so quickly.

Curlsmith Wash & Scrub Detox Pro-Biotic ($37.99 CDN | 250 mL)

Another one bites the dust; I’ve finished another tube of my favourite clarifying shampoo. It doesn’t contain traditional sulfates so it’s not overly drying or stripping but it does enough to keep my scalp from getting itchy and flaky and keeps my waves and loose curls looking great. Another bonus is that it doesn’t turn my hair into tangle city, as most clarifying shampoos do. It contains perlite to gently exfoliate the scalp (without real traditional scrub particles that can be irritating), probiotic ingredients to help strengthen the skin barrier — which is obviously a priority of mine after reading this post –, apple cider vinegar and gentler clarifying agents with the ability to remove silicones and heavy oils. It will be another repurchase for sure.

Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Hydrating & Defining Hair Mask ($49 CDN | 236 mL)

Another long-term favourite of mine are these Briogeo masks and deep conditioners. This one was a primarily hydrating mask (that packed a punch despite being lightweight), with some protein, in the form of amino acids in the mix. Interestingly enough, it’s actually advertised as being protein free, despite the fact that there are amino acids high on the ingredient list, and scattered throughout; regardless, I don’t think it’s protein-rich enough to trigger alarm in those with a protein sensitivity. It’s moisturizing and hydrating, with wonderful slip that glides through the knottiest of strands (I can confirm this from experience) while being lightweight yet concentrated. It features sodium PCA, rice amino acids, avocado oil, castor seed oil, sweet almond oil, shea butter, linseed oil, chia seed oil, keratin amino acids, rice extract and hydrolyzed quinoa. I found after using that my curls had a bit of a boost, clumping nicely together. I’m currently using their original mask, but I would definitely consider picking up this one again.

Curlsmith Feather-Light Protein Cream ($35.99 CDN | 237 mL)

This was my second or third tube of what I would have to describe as my holy-grail curl cream. Despite its name, it’s a medium moisture but fairly lightweight curl cream with a hefty dose of protein. I’m onto another tube of this curl cream, as it’s reached backup status in my collection. It simultaneously enhances curls with some bounce, adds control and keep clumps defined and intact. It offers light buildable hold on its own, which makes it great for refreshes, using on its own or layering under a gel, as I do in my humid climate on my high porosity strands. It can give a bit of a fluffier look when used on it’s own, which I’ve grown to enjoy the texture and volume from at this point in my hair journey; this is less of a factor when paired with a harder hold gel. It uses sweet almond oil, hydrolyzed rice protein, hydrolyzed hemp seed extract and shea butter for a good protein-moisture balance on my fine, high porosity but abundant strands.

Curlsmith Curl Defining Styling Souffle ($55.99 CDN | 473 mL)

My go-to combination of stylers on any wash day that I know will give me great results is the previously mentioned cream in combination with this gel-souffle. It’s more of a medium weight gel, offering medium moisture, curl enhancement, humidity-resistance, medium-strong hold and good control. It’s a super concentrated product so this jumbo size squeeze-bottle lasts for months even on my thirsty high porosity waves and curls and it helps encourage my waves and loose curls into a more defined spiral-y shape and it helps my hair to last 3-4 days with minimal refreshing. It uses glycerin, babassu, irish moss, linseed extract, andiroba seed oil and avocado oil and is the most moisturizing gel that I’ve ever tried, without weighing down my fine waves and curls. Seeing as this is my most repurchased hair product of all time, it’s not shocking that I just opened another one of these jumbo-sized bottles for the warmer weather months…

What products have you finished up?
Maggie, x.

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