Mega Empties Post Part 1: Acne Skincare, Lotions, Cleansers, Oil Makeup Removers

Saturday, May 27, 2017

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It's been a while since my last empties post in October last year, and since them, I've accumulated a loooot of empties to show you guys! To be clear though, not alll of these are my empties, there are a few bits and bobs in there that are contributed by my mother and sister, because they do help themselves to some of my skincare products from time to time! I'm happy to let them indulge though, because to be honest, I obviously have way more skincare than I can ever use up!

Oh yes, look at all the empties I've accumulated!

The products I (with a little help from mum and sis) have used up really run the gamut - every step of the skincare and makeup routine is covered here! But because this would be too long of a post, I've split it up into two. For today, we'll just cover the acne skicare (unfortunately this is all mine, my mum and sis have way better skin than me, sigh), lotions and toners, as well as cleansers and makeup removers.

Who's been a good girl and using up all her skincare before opening a new one? Yours truly!

So, without further ado, let's get started! I'm officially going to cram a bunch of mini-reviews together into this blogpost, so let's hope this doesn't end up being too long!

Empties Lotion First Essence Micellar Water Hada Labo Curel Creme Simone
Lotions and toners: Hada Labo, Curel, Creme Simone, and Fancl

Let's start with lotions and toners. First, we have the Fancl Moisturizing Lotion I, which I've previously reviewed. It's a pretty good lotion - you can read my full thoughts in the blogpost (which explores some really interesting topics like whether preservative-free skincare is really viable), and generally my thoughts on the lotion haven't changed. In my original review, I mentioned that the bottle of lotion was small (it is only 30ml, after all), and man, it really is very small - this was used up and all gone within a few weeks. It's a little bit pricey, so it would be a bit of a budget strain for me to rebuy and use this consistently given how quick it's used up, but it's a nice product, and a good solid basic to add to a skinare routine.

I also have yet another bottle of Hada Labo Arbutin Lotion - this is something I've used up multiple bottles of, and if you browse the "empties" blogpost tag, you'll see it show up multiple times, haha. I reviewed this a long time ago in 2013 and I liked it then, and I still like it now. I like a good hydrating lotion, and I like arbutin, and I'm a sucker for whitening/brightening products, so what's not to like? I still have a couple more bottles of this somewhere in my stash, waiting to be used.

Now, we also have the Curel Sebum Care Lotion. This is also a win in my book, and is definitely the right combination of good formula and affordable price point for me to consider repurchasing on a routine basis. This was a fairly watery lotion, and absorbs well, but unlike some other lotions for oily or pimply skin, doesn't have alcohol. I also like the pump packaging, it's easy to travel around with and hygienic.

Also, the Creme Simon Brightening Detox Dermo-Hydrating Toner Mist is an empty. I've not really blogged about Creme Simon products, but Creme Simon is a French brand, with products that generally have really solid formulas, and also - like quite a few European brands these days - has an emphasis on natural and plant-derived ingredients. Some of their products have won beauty awards from local beauty magazines, so the brand has some street cred, although it's a little niche, and the price points are a little high. This product was "borrowed" by my mum, who really really loved it, because she found it hydrating but not too oily or sticky.

Empties Acne Vichy DHC
Acne products: Vichy and DHC

Next, we have acne skincare! Don't ask me why I'm still using up tubes and tubes of acne skincare when I'm no longer in my 20s, but that's just how life is. I've used up 3 tubes of DHC Pimple Spot (yes, I was indeed going through a period of particularly bad outbreaks, what clued you in? Haha.), and I've officially used up all of my DHC Pimple Spot. This has made an appearance in a previous empties post, and I actually bought a bunch of the Pimple Spot when I went to Japan in 2011. And yes, all tubes of Pimple Spot were actually just as good as new - nothing went bad or "off" or anything. The Pimple Spot essentially functions as a disinfectant to kill bacteria, which is always useful for pimples. I would totally rebuy this, but unfortunately DHC seems to have discontinued it - OMG the horror! As a skincare junkie, I do have a bunch more pimple products to use, but I really did like this and will miss it. Fortunately I did manage to translate the (very short) ingredients list from Japanese to English, and even tweeted about it for reference, so I can hunt down a dupe if it exists!

I also used up two products from the Vichy Normaderm skincare range, the Normaderm Tri-Active Anti-Imperfection Active Care, and the Normaderm Hyaluspot. I've actually reviewed these products from the Vichy Normaderm range way back in 2014, and I've probably used up a couple of tubes each of the Anti-Imperfection Active Care and Hyaluspot (you can find the Active Care in this empties post). I generally use the Anti-Imperfection Active Care as a moisturizer - its lightweight cream texture dries down matte and layers well under other makeup, and it generally feels more like a lightweight moisturizer than an actual pimple cream. The Hyaluspot I use as a spot treatment product, and I find this to be pretty decent at combating acne without being drying, although it's not a miracle worker. There is alcohol in both products though, so if your skin is particularly sensitive to alcohol, I wouldn't recommend these products.

Empties Cleanser Makeup Remover Neutrogena
Cleansers and makeup removers: Fancl, Akinicare, Hada Labo, Neutrogena, Creme Simon, and Bifesta

Lastly, let's take a look at cleansers and makeup removers. There are quite a few here, including foaming cleansers, oil cleansers and almost everything in between.

First we have the Hada Labo Gokujyun Face Wash, which I actually quite liked. This was a product I first blogged and mini-reviewed in a haul post from 2015. Back then I was using my then brand-spanking-new pH strips to test the pH of the Gokujyun Face Wash, which turned out to be optimal at pH5.5. So that's great! Since then, I've been using this alongside a variety of face washes, and I liked it enough to use up all of it. It's a good face wash, although if I wore makeup, I prefer to use one of my makeup removers before using this.

Next, we have the Akinicare Cleanser. Akinicare is a skincare brand from the UK, and can be pretty hard to find here because it's a little niche. That said, I don't know how I feel about the Akinicare Cleanser. The ingredients seemed fine, but the first time I tried it during my course of oral retinoids for my acne, the cleanser was a bit too harsh for me, and so I stopped using it for awhile. But after I finished my course of oral retinoids, I tried it again, and this time, I actually found the cleanser to be fine! So I figured my skin was probably just that much more sensitive during the acne treatment. So I guess if you have very sensitive skin, this might be a bit harsh, but if not, this is going to be fine.

I also have the Creme Simon Brightening Detox Micellar Water Makeup Remover For Eyes and Face. I did like this product, and use it for a bit, and then it got kidnapped by my mother, who ended up loving it. (And yes, as a result, she is now a fan of the brand.) It does remove makeup well, and doesn't feel too stripping or anything. I do like micellar waters myself and use them pretty regularly, so this is a pretty good option to try out if you've the budget for it.

We also have yet another bottle of Fancl Mild Cleansing Oil. If you're a regular reader of my blog, then this bottle will look familiar, because this is the second bottle I've used - the first bottle appeared in a previous empties post. In my previous empties post, I said I liked this as an oil cleanser that really does remove makeup without leaving any oily residue on skin. The Fancl Mild Cleansing Oil has a very lightweight, fluid texture, and as a bonus, doesn't have any scents or perfume, so it's great for people whose skin is a bit more sensitive.

And, a bottle of Neutrogena Brightening Cleansing Oil to Foam. This is advertised as a hybrid oil cleanser/foam cleanser, where it first applies like an oil cleanser and dissolves makeup like one, but then foams and rinses off cleanly like a foam cleanser. It doesn't really feel too much like oil to me (it feels like a gel makeup remover that then foams and rinses), but it does a really good job of removing makeup and dirt. It does leave skin feeling a bit on the "squeaky clean" side, although not overly so, so it's perhaps geared towards a younger demographic. There are a few varieties of these - the "original" Cleansing Oil to Foam (in a blue bottle), and the Hydrating Cleansing Oil to Foam, and from what I can tell, they all have the same basic formulas and very similar ingredients list, just slightly customized with some extra ingredients. It's a good and cheap cleanser/makeup remover, and definitely one worth buying again.

Lastly, we have the Bifesta Cleansing Gel Liquid. For those who aren't familiar with the brand, Bifesta is a Japanese brand that is most popular for its range of cleanser and makeup remover products, and they do have tons of them. The selling point of this particular product, the Cleansing Gel Liquid, is that it has a "jelly"-like texture that has the cleansing power of oil, but washes off cleanly like water. It also claims to have konnyaku fibers to adsorb to makeup and dirt on the face for a better cleanse. During use though, this felt like a "normal" gel-type cleanser, in that the konnyaku fibers weren't really visible or felt on the face. But it does remove makeup really well, and rinse of pretty well too. This is one I'd consider rebuying if I ever needed another makeup remover, since it's pretty affordable too.

So that's it for Part 1! We'll go through the rest of the products in Part 2, which will include more skincare, including things like sunscreens, masks, serums and essences, as well as makeup!

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