a year of empties

Last April, I decided to document my year of empty beauty products after watching a video from one of my favorite YouTubers, Stephanie of Soothing Sista. Obviously, hers was in video form, but I was intrigued by the idea of tracking something like this over such a long period. I was curious about what I went through and what I liked, but it was through actually doing it that I realized that I didn’t have a totally clear idea of what I was doing when I set out.

For example: soap. In tracking one’s “beauty products”, do you count soap? I didn’t. I use bar soap that is shared with my partner and I just didn’t even think about it until halfway through the year of doing this. (Also, they don’t have packaging, so nothing was really… empty.) Or what about razor blades? I didn’t go through many of these, but I also definitely didn’t count them because I didn’t know if they… count.

I realized that the divisions between “beauty product” and “toiletry” are confusing. Eva Chen certainly isn’t (wasn’t?) uploading photos of her floss containers when she reviews products with her empties posts. So, what I realized is, my project lies somewhere between seeing which products I enjoy and seeing how much stuff I go through. Which, while that makes this whole thing incomplete on the latter point, feels pretty appropriate for where I and this blog currently stand.

So, yeah, anyway, here’s a list of a bunch of shit I used and either liked or didn’t like.

Aveeno Moisturizing Bar

Would I repurchase? Maybe. It was fine, but, as seen below, I’ve been using another cleanser since I had this and I like it better.

Bag of Ulta Cotton Balls

Would I repurchase? I have repurchased cotton balls since this, yes. I don’t use as many cotton balls as some people do, but I am interested in looking further into washable cotton pads. I’ve just been unsure since I don’t have my own washing machine. (P.S. Clearly, I forgot to take my own photos of these first two.)

Aussie Miraculously Smooth Conditioner

Would I repurchase? Maybe. I used Aussie brand shampoo and conditioner since high school and was unwavering on it. Last year — yes, it took this very curly-haired person until the age of 29 — to be sure to use sulfate-free shampoo and Aussie shampoo has sulfates, so I just stopped getting the conditioner along with it, too.

Aussie Mega Moist Shampoo

Would I repurchase? No. See above

OGX Coconut Curls Shampoo

Would I repurchase? Yes! And I have. This is currently “my shampoo”.

Crystal Essence Vanilla Jasmine Deodorant

Would I repurchase? Maybe not this scent. My natural deodorant journey is still very much a journey.

Crystal Essence Chamomile & Green Tea Deodorant

Would I repurchase? I did repurchase this, but I also have been trying Schmidt’s and can’t tell if it gave me a rash so… Yeah, I want to know the answer to whether I’ll end up repurchasing this again, too.

OGX Coconut Curls Conditioner 

Would I repurchase? Yes, and have.

Maybelline Great Lash Big Mascara in Blackest Black

Would I repurchase? Yes. And I have. Many times. I have used this since I started using mascara and only this year did I decide to try a fancier one — Lancôme Monsieur Big — and I really feel like it’s not the same. Not as in it’s bad, but as in the brush doesn’t feel the same in my hand and, apparently, I have a fully formed sense memory for Great Lash.

Burt’s Bees Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream

Would I repurchase? No. It made my face feel sweaty at times when it wasn’t sweaty, and the packaging was inconvenient as far as being able to get all of the cream out and being able to tell how much is left.

La Roche-Posay Toleraine Hydrating Gentle Cleanser

Would I repurchase? Yes, and have. It does what the name says and doesn’t make my skin red and irritated, which is something I’d had a problem with.

Maybelline The Blushed Nudes Palette

Would I repurchase? Yes, but don’t plan to right now. As you can see, there is still a lot left in this, which means it’s not “an empty”. But the thing is, I had this what felt like… too long to keep something that goes on a sensitive part of your body. While I think this is a really great palette, I decided to try this Rimmel one out in Blush, just because I’d never tried Rimmel stuff before and it had comparable colors. I like it, but I liked this Maybelline one better.

OGX Coconut Water Conditioner

Would I repurchase? No. It was like if the Coconut Curls one was trying less hard.

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion

Would I repurchase? Yes, this is great for my dry ass skin — unscented and soothing.

Pacifica Indian Coconut Nectar Body Cream

Would I repurchase? Well, I didn’t purchase this in the first place. Got it from the beauty closet at my old work and just used it for my dry hands at night. But no, I would not spend my money on this. It kind of smells like Play-Doh, and also I have recently started using the Lush Sleepy lotion on my hands at night and it’s actually helps me sleep.

Kat Von D Ink Liner

I took a photo of both of these together because they both needed to go, but the Revlon one was another beauty closet find and I never used it and it totally dried up, so no need to even talk about that. As for the Kat Von D liner…

Would I repurchase? No. But, I did happen to be given a free sample of it at Sephora recently and have been using it… I didn’t feel like I wanted to give money to this brand after the vaccine stuff, so this is definitely, like, a convenient situation Iv’e found myself in, and it is a very good liner, as everyone and their grandma knows. But, there are also lots of other very good liners, and I’ll be interested in looking into them once my sample runs out.

Garnier Whole Blends Smoothing Oil

Would I repurchase? Maybe. I did like this, but also there are soooo many products like this, so I’d probably just try out a different one. Need to do that soon. My hair is thirsty and doesn’t like what I’ve been using in the meantime.

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB

I never purposely made Maybelline my drugstore brand of choice, but clearly, it happened.

Would I repurchase? Probably not. I was really into this for a while and this was my second bottle, but I have other things I like now.


OGX Coconut Miracle Oil Shampoo

Would I repurchase? Probably not, just because I like the Coconut Curls one better. And can I just say, OGX might have too many coconut shampoos/conditioners. I’ve listed three varieties here and I know for certain there is at least one more.

So I have to say, this is really less than I thought it was going to be. As I was taking these pictures throughout the year, I felt like there was so much, so I’m pretty relieved at that. It’s clear that I go through shampoo/conditioner more than the other stuff and that I basically never get to the end of makeup. I think there were a couple lipsticks I tossed, but they weren’t empty and, clearly, I didn’t have clear rules for this because I took a pic of the non-empty eyeshadow palette. I think I’ll try this whole thing again for this year, just to see if there are any changes or anything I’m more consistent with.

Also, I am interested in trying shampoo bars to save on plastic. Lush has a bunch of them, but they all have sulfates. But also, Lush really emphasizes that sulfates aren’t that bad in this case because you’re only using the foam on your hair and not directly putting the product? My issue with not wanting sulfates is because I have curly hair, which means they make it more frizzy and dry. Anyone ever use the Lush shampoo bars or anything else similar? 

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