Consumption, Cosmetics

May Empties : Skincare Samples!

Things are progressing much faster than I expected, and I’m thrilled.

My April Empties post, inspired by Renee at Bad Outfit Great Lipstick, focused on saying goodbye to some staple products. This month, I’ve finished up a lot of skincare, body care, and samples. I haven’t had any issues with my skin yet, although I did have what was likely a hormonal breakout, and a little spot on my cheek from not washing all my sunscreen off.

I’m becoming increasingly nervous about my skin as more and more products fall off of my rotation. I am almost completely out of moisturiser tubes, and I feel like I’m on the precipice: will I start using coconut oil as a moisturiser? Will I start using my tinted Laura Mercier moisturiser?

I wrote about purchasing it last year and said that I would not repurchase it, but I didn’t include why…

I brought the LM tinted moisturiser, in Blush, to New Orleans with me for a wedding earlier this year. I wanted to wear it to the rehearsal dinner, and when I put it on, I was horrified; it was an orange mess. I thought the product had oxidised, and my aesthetician-sister quickly reminded me than an oxidised product needs to be thrown away.

Well, dear reader, I did not throw it away, and I gave it one last try two weeks ago, just to see. Voilà! No orange cast! I did exactly what it was supposed to do. After a quick text to my sister, we determined that I had probably applied a product underneath the moisturiser that caused the orange reaction.


I didn’t use up my LM moisturiser this month but I did make my way through a whole lot of skincare! Most of the used up products were samples, as previously stated, but I’ll start with the one full-size product I finished this month.

  1. Avène’s Cleanance Expert emulsion : despite recommending this to a friend last week, I’m very ambivalent about this moisturiser. It’s designed for acne prone skin, it *seems* to be helping (i.e. I didn’t break out while using it) I checked the ingredients (here!) and they just… They don’t seem terribly special; some conditioning agents, some dry-finish ingredients for a matte effect that is swiftly defeated by my greasy, greasy forehead… Given that this was recommended to me by my dermatologist, I’m keeping the name in my back pocket for summer in the event that I am craving a moisturiser to keep any warm weather acne at bay. For now, I’m not repurchasing it.
  2. Korre’s Black Pine “Firming, Lifting & Antiwrinkle Night Cream” : this product had such an overwhelming fragrance that E would complain when I used it. The top 3 ingredients are water, glycerine, and a skin-softening agent. There’s a bunch of natural extracts in here (including pine needles) and some unspecified but likely tiny amount of lactic acid. Considering the full size product is $68 for 40ml, and in a screw-top jar and incredibly fragrant… I’m going to have to hard pass on purchasing a full size. Generally speaking, water and glycerin are widely available in other products for much cheaper, and any product you have to stick your fingers into every day is not your friend (thanks, microbiology!)
  3. Fresh’s Rose Face Mask : like many a rose face mask, this looked like snot but smelled like heaven. It was a sample I got at Sephora when I visited the State’s over Christmas, and I used it every few days on wash days so that if I got any in my hairline, I could just rinse it away. I honestly think this mask made me break out, but I was such a sucker for the rose scent that I never stopped using it. Again, it’s  a screw-top pot, and anything you stick your fingers into is not your friend! Sterile technique, everyone! I will not purchase the full size of this mask.
  4. Lancome’s Advanced Génerifique Youth Activating Concentrate : if this mysterious little sample serum came with an ingredients list, then I recycled it weeks ago… A quick Google revealed that the second main ingredient is a probiotic (yes, a distant cousin of our butt bacteria!), and there are variations on hyaluronic acid (aka, sodium hyaluronate) in the serum. There’s also dimethicone, which is a silicone oil that gives the impression of smoothing your skin while it’s on your face, and makes some people break out. I didn’t have a problem with it, but I was more impressed with the effects of the hyaluronic acid serum I finished last month, so I won’t purchase the full size of this ‘concentrate.’
  5. Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Repair Serum foil : I have a few of these serum foils that I’m using every other day. This serum was, again, essentially water and glycerin, with some butylene glycol which is a conditioning agent. It does have some citrus derivatives way down the line, which may be responsible for ‘brightening’ effects. This serum is unremarkable… I’m happy to have the feeling of using another serum, it’s only because I’m used to having it in my routine. Still, I am trying to avoid topical vitamin C usage, while realising that these expensive serums are pretty weak when it comes to active ingredients. I will not purchase a full size of this serum. 
  6. Eucerin’s UltraSensible Soin Apaisant moisturiser foil : this was pretty old, but I’m running out of moisturiser so I used it anyway… Again, unremarkable, but thick enough that my neck felt very nice after I used it. I’m not interested in this formula for summer, but the fact that it doesn’t use very many ingredients past water and glycerin means that it’s likely not to irritate my face. It’s an inexpensive moisturiser, and I’ll keep it in mind if my skin becomes irritated in the future. For now, I will not purchase the full size of this product.


I’m down these six products in the month of May, and I’m blowing through some more foils in June. I hope to be ready to research purchases for my skincare routine by the end of the month, based on what my skin actually seems to need as opposed to what skincare and cosmetic companies are marketing to me.


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