• Skincare

    The Used Up 2023:1

    Time flies and it is already late November. I took the pictures for this post way back in July but never found the time to sit down and write the thing. But better late than never! In this post I will go through all of the makeup and skincare items that were used up by me during the first half of 2023, January through June. In those six months I managed to finish a total of 16 items and out of those only three were makeup products.

    Categories not included in this post are body care, nail care, haircare or any type of SPF unless it is a skincare/makeup item that just happens to have SPF in it. I still prefer not to track those categories in any way.

    As per usual I want to highlight some things about my skin that can be useful to know before reading my thoughts and opinions on these products. I have combination skin with a tendency towards dehydration. I’m 42 (soon anyway) and naturally I’m noticing my skin changing a lot due to ageing. So I’m slowly adjusting my routine to its ever evolving needs. The occasional breakout happens but it is more and more infrequent these days. But I still get quite shiny during the day and my makeup “melts”. My skin rarely reacts badly to products and I have no allergies.

    Let’s begin!

    Cleansers

    My current routine: I use a cream cleanser or something similar in the morning before skincare/makeup and then I use two cleansers in the evening. One oil/balm as a first step in removing makeup and/or sunscreen and then I go in with a second round with the same cleanser that I used in the morning. I usually have 2-3 cleansers in action at any given moment.

    Only recurring favourites this time around. The Golden Amber Probiotic Cleansing Balm (125 ml, 399 SEK) by M Picaut solidly made its way into my heart and I repurchase it again and again. I have nothing bad to say about it and it still feels very luxurious too use. The smooth honey-like texture and warm and comforting scent is a joy to massage onto my face. It does not sting my eyes or leave any residue after removal. I have a tube in rotation at this moment.

    The Glow Mud Cleanser by Pixi (135 ml, 279 SEK) was new to me in 2022 but I have continued to buy it regularly since then. I still mainly use it in the shower in the morning and massage it on damp skin and wait 30 seconds, as instructed, and then use a damp cloth to wipe it away. Only a small amount is needed and the tube lasted a nice while. I do not find it drying but I also never use it more than once a day. So I do not have any experience with using it twice a day, even though it does say on the packaging that you can use it morning and evening.

    Toner & mists

    My current routine: I always have a hydrating spray on hand that I use after cleansing but before serums. Sometimes I use a toner as a complement, either a hydrating one or an exfoliator. In the evenings I also like to use a more nourishing mist (with oils) as a last comforting step.

    Nothing new under the sun when it comes to mists either. The Hydrating Water by M Picaut (100 ml, 349 SEK) was what I chose to pick up when I realised I could not get my favourite hydrating mist by Josh Rosebrook anymore since the Swedish reseller at the time never did restock it. I did repurchase the Hydrating Water once more after that, and that is the empty bottle in this post, but then I found the Hydrating Accelerator again at the Swedish webshop Caeleste. I like the M Picaut mist well enough but it is just not my fave. Right now I’m buying from Josh Rosebrook again.

    Essence & serums

    My current routine: I like to use a hydrating serum 1-2 times a day and it is a core item. I also dabble with more treatment focused serums but I’m more irregular with those.

    Let’s start with the new item in this lineup, the Hyper Real Serumizer by MAC Cosmetics (30 ml, 760 SEK). I picked this up quite close to the launch since I was intrigued and I managed to get a nice discount (I also bought the accompanying cream) to ease the pain of this hefty price. MAC is not a skincare brand in my eyes so for me this was a bit too steep a cost. However the product was lovely and the packaging gorgeous. The scent was a bit more than I was used to but I quickly got used to it, I even enjoyed it. I have nothing bad to say about this serum except the big disclaimer – it is too damn expensive for 30 ml. Those 30 ml did not last me as long as I hoped for even though the serum left my skin feeling nicely hydrated it was nothing revolutionary. I would consider buying this again if it was around 450-500 SEK. But not for 760 SEK.

    The next product is a recurring favourite. Two bottles of the Hyaluronic Super Serum (30 ml, 279-495 SEK) by Acasia. I used it twice a day and I have only nice things to say about this serum. I am currently using something else, something new that intrigued me, but I’m sure I will buy the Acasia serum again in the future. It’s a nice staple for me to revert back to.

    The final serum is a recurring product as well but one that I use more and more infrequently these days. Last time I had an empty bottle of Niacimide 10% + Zinc 1% by the Ordinary (30 ml, 69 SEK) was in the first half of 2021. I still use it whenever my skin is prone to breakouts and I usually apply it over the affected area in the evenings. But since my skin is becoming less prone to breakouts with age, and even though I have another bottle in use right now (because bought two by mistake once), I do not see myself buying another one when the one I’m currently using runs out. I do have another specific spot treatment product that is sufficient for my breakout needs.

    Moisturisers & oils

    My current routine: I use a variety of creams depending on what my skin needs. In the morning after serums I like to put on a basic moisturiser before adding SPF and/or a primer. I have lighter and heavier creams (I’m using the term heavy lightly here – I have combination skin after all) and adjust the combination according to seasonal variations like the climate outdoors/indoors. For daytime the goal is to have a face base that does not pill or look patchy when I apply makeup on top. In the evening I like to use a more robust and comforting cream since I do not need to worry about the makeup bit. I use an eye cream both morning and evening and the main goal is to hydrate the skin without stinging my eyes or melting my mascara. I use oils sparingly but I like to have one on hand for facial massages or as an extra comforting layer when my skin needs it.

    The Rose Quartz Supreme Rich Cream by M Picaut (50 ml, 749 SEK) is a firm favourite at this point. I use it as mainly as a night cream but I also use it in the daytime during the autumn/winter months. I repurchase as soon as I run out or run low if I can catch it in time. My skin really loves it!

    Masks

    My current routine: I do not have one. I use masks very infrequently but usually I like to have a lineup of a hydrating one, an exfoliating one and a deep cleansing one. I like to use an overnight mask when I have one.

    The Hydra Lagoon Overnight Mask by M Picaut (50 ml, 729 SEK) was a product I thought I would adore. I had heard so many good things about it (from people I trust but who have different skin types from me) and it was even designed as an overnight mask which I love as a concept. But it never really worked well for me. I found it to be sitting on top of my skin and not really sinking in, leaving my skin feeling less than hydrated. Because of that it did not work well as an overnight mask for me – it would be a bit messy, almost sticky and dry at the same time. To add insult to injury I did not use it up within its proper shelf-life so it started to smell off. I persisted and used it up anyway but it was not a nice experience. That last bit was totally my fault, but simply put this mask is not for me. It is for someone else with other skincare needs. I’m glad I tried it but I will not be buying this again.

    Moving on to the Botanical Collagen Mask by Pixi (45 ml, 299 SEK) or Collagen Plumping Mask as it is also marketed as. This little treat has a nice scent and is designed as a leave-on mask so I gladly wore it overnight. It worked very well as a little hydrating treat and my skin loved it. I can see myself purchasing this again in the future.

    The Exfoliating Peel Mask by M Picaut (50 ml, 399 SEK) and I did not have the best relationship. The blame is mine though. I was very infrequent in my use and never really paid attention after using it until the end of its life. Then my opinion was that I liked it, but I am sure that if I had paid more attention earlier I would have enjoyed it a lot more. It was mild yet effective. So the product made no big impression on me but I will consider it in the future when I need to purchase an exfoliator. It deserves a second chance.

    Zero Zit by Pixi (10 ml, 339 SEK) was a long-lasting little trooper. That tube lasted me around 2 years. I patted this on top of blemishes and it dried them out nicely or made them develop faster. The gel was transparent and did not leave a film that was noticeable to the eye or pilled when touched. When I ran out I wanted to repurchase but it was nowhere to be found. So I currently have a similar product from another brand but I do not like it as much (it pills). The product has since then become available again and I would absolutely consider buying it in the future.

    Base makeup

    Lets round this post off with some more recurring items. You can find my thoughts on these two concealers in this The Used Up post, including swatches. It’s the HD Studio Photogenic Concealer (3 g, 109 SEK) by NYX in the shades Alabaster (CW 00) and Green (CW12). I have enjoyed using this formula for a while they were part of my everyday makeup routine. Alabaster was used under the eye as a corrector for my not-very-dark under eyes. Green was and is used as a targeted colour corrector or as a mixer for other base products to make them a shade closer to my skin tone. Both of these have been repurchased many times but nowadays I only buy Green. Alabaster was a tad too dark and peach for me so I’ve stopped buying it. I am currently enjoying trying new concealers and looking for a good replacement to use as a under-eye brightener and/or corrector. The green one is not perfect but it is a proper key item for me. It is a bit difficult to blend if I use it on its own, so I tend to mix it with other base products. I would love to try green correctors from other brands in the future but so far I’m still using the NYX one.

    There we have it! Six months worth of empty products. It is very apparent to me that I tend to stick to things (and brands) that I enjoy and play it a bit more safe with my skincare these days. I like what I like and I stray from gambling with new stuff. But here and there I manage to sneak in something new at least.

    Thank you for reading!

  • Makeup,  Skincare

    The Used Up 2022:2

    Another year has passed and it is time to do the second and last instalment of the Used Up. In this post I will go through all of the makeup and skincare items that were used up by me during the second half of 2022, July through December. In those six months I managed to finish a total of 12 items and out of those only 4 were makeup products. As per usual I’m not including all beauty consumables in this bi-annual post. Categories not included are body care, nail care, haircare or any type of SPF (unless it is a skincare/makeup item that just happens to have SPF in it). I still prefer not to track those categories in any way.

    I want to highlight some things about my skin that can be useful to know before reading my opinions on these products. I have dehydrated combination skin and I am noticing my skin changing a lot because of ageing (I’m 41) so I am slowly adjusting my routine to its evolving needs. I still get the occasional breakout and can get quite shiny during the day. My skin rarely reacts badly to products and I have no allergies.

    Let’s dive in!

    Cleansers

    My current routine: I use a cream cleanser or something similar in the morning before skincare/makeup and then I use two cleansers in the evening. One oil/balm as a first step in removing makeup and/or sunscreen and then I go in with a second round with the same cleanser that I used in the morning. I usually have 2-3 cleansers in action at any given moment.

    Let’s start with a recurring favourite. I purchased the Golden Amber Probiotic Cleansing Balm (125 ml, 399 SEK) by M Picaut shortly after it was released and this was my second tube. I love everything about this product I will for sure keep on repurchasing it.

    This tube of the Glow Mud Cleanser by Pixi (135 ml, 279 SEK) is the first time I tried it but I do have another one in use now. I enjoy using this specific cleanser in the shower. I massage it in on damp skin and wait 30 seconds, as instructed, and then use a cloth to wipe it away. I find it effective yet never drying. I am really bad at exfoliating my skin as frequent as I could/should (i.e would benefit from) and this cleanser somewhat picks up some slack in that department. The tube lasts me a good while and I see this as a staple product at this point.

    Then we have one bottle of Bioderma Sensibio Make-up removing micelle solution (250 ml, around 100 SEK). This was a staple product for a while, last mentioned in The Used Up 2020:2, and it took me two years to use the last bottle up. I practically stopped using it on my face on a regular basis and only used it to remove the odd pigmented lipstick or arm swatches of the more stubborn kind. I might repurchase someday for that purpose but I am not sure at this point.

    Toner & mists

    My current routine: I always have a hydrating spray that I use after cleansing but before serums. Sometimes I use a toner as a complement, either a hydrating one or an exfoliator. In the evenings I also like to use a more nourishing spray (with oils) as a last comforting step.

    The Hydrating Water (100 ml, 349 SEK) by M Picaut was what I chose to pick up when I realised I could not get my favourite hydrating mist by Josh Rosebrook anymore. The Swedish reseller at the time never did restock it. I do like this M Picaut product, it does its job well, but not as much as the Hydrating Accelerator by Josh Rosebrook. The glass bottle does make me a bit nervous as well. It is quite heavy and I’m always a bit wary about dropping it in the bathroom and ruining the sink or the tiled floor. The bottle can be repurposed as a vase though and will save this bottle for that purpose. I have bought another bottle of the Hydrating Water and it is currently in use but when I run out I will pick up the Hydrating Accelerator again since I just found it at a new (to me anyway) Swedish webshop – Caeleste.

    The Collagen Tonic by Pixi (100 ml, 179 SEK) was a spontaneous purchase in 2021. But I did enjoy using it a lot more than anticipated and swiftly purchased a new bottle when I ran out. The tonic smells lovely and make my skin feel nicely hydrated. I use it as an essence, applied and patted in with my hands and then I layer serums on top. A hydration sandwich! I have another bottle in use currently. I have continued buying the smaller bottles but the product is available in a 250 ml bottle as well.

    Essence & serums

    My current routine: I like to use a hydrating serum 1-2 times a day and it is a core item. I also dabble with more treatment focused serums but I’m more irregular with those.

    This is no surprise. Another bottle of the Hyaluronic Super Serum (30 ml, 359-495 SEK) by Acasia. This is my third empty bottle this year, see my initial post The Used Up 2022:1, and I nearly finished a fourth one before 2022 was over. I still use it morning and night and I have nothing bad to say about it. I will buy a new one soon.

    Moisturisers & oils

    My current routine: I use a variety of creams depending on what my skin needs. In the morning after serums I like to put on a basic moisturiser before adding SPF and/or a primer. I have lighter and heavier creams (I’m using the term heavy lightly here – I have combination skin after all) and adjust the combination according to seasonal variations like the climate outdoors/indoors. For daytime the goal is to have a face base that does not pill or look patchy when I apply makeup on top. In the evening I like to use a more robust and comforting cream since I do not need to worry about the makeup bit. I use an eye cream both morning and evening and the main goal is to hydrate the skin without stinging my eyes or melting my mascara. I use oils sparingly but I like to have one on hand for facial massages or as an extra comforting layer when my skin needs it.

    Let’s start with a rather new favourite. I initially purchased the Rose Quartz Supreme Rich Cream by M Picaut (50 ml, 749 SEK) to use as a night cream but I also use it in the daytime during the autumn/winter months. You can read a bit more about my thoughts after finishing my first bottle here. I have another one in use right now and I will repurchase when I run out. I really really like it.

    The Lait-Crème Concentré (75 ml, 269 SEK) by Embryolisse is a newer acquaintance as well. I say newer since this is my first tube but I did buy it as far back as December 2020. It lasted me two years and during those years I used it in two different ways. Initially I picked it up to be used as a moisturiser during the colder months. So that first winter I did use it for that purpose. Then I started wearing the Rose Quartz cream by M Picaut during the day the following winter and have continued on with that ever since. So I tried using the Embryolisse cream more like a hydrating primer and my skin loved it. I apply it over whatever skincare I am wearing as an extra priming step before makeup. It does contain perfume and it has a distinct scent, but oh how I adore that scent. For anyone interested the product can be found in a perfume-free version as well but in a 100 ml tube.

    Base makeup

    I wrote at length about these in my last The Used Up post, including swatches. It’s the HD Studio Photogenic Concealer (3 g, 109 SEK) by NYX in the shades Alabaster (CW 00) and Green (CW12). I like working with this formula and use them every time I do my makeup. Alabaster under the eye and Green as a targeted colour corrector or as a mixer for other base products to make them a shade closer to my skin tone. I have repurchased both shades and consider them as staples. But I must say I am a bit keen on trying similar products from other brands during 2023, just for fun. It is always fun to try new things and compare them to old favourites.

    Mascara & brows

    No one is surprised to see the Relevée Mascara (6 g, 320 SEK) by Surratt Beauty in this post. I switched to this in mid 2020 and have used it ever since. As mentioned in previous posts I do not think it’s the perfect tubing mascara since it does smudge a bit on me. A bit more than I enjoy. But I’m still not overly keen on searching for a new one just yet. I have another tube of Relevée in use at the moment and after that, who knows?

    Moving on to another product by Surratt, the Expressioniste Brow Pomade (5 g, 350 SEK) in Clear. I love this brow product. It does exactly what I want it to do, keep my brows in place without leaving them feeling stiff and looking crusty. The pomade is undetectable once it is dry and this is the only brow product that has managed to put my brows in their place so to speak. The packaging was previously the same colour and design, albeit a slight difference in size, as the Relevée mascara. But when I repurchased the brow pomade last time I noticed that Surratt had made the wise decision to differentiate them. The brow pomade is now in an oil spill coloured tube and it is so much easier to tell them apart.

    2022 empties wrap-up

    As I now wrap up the year of 2022 in numbers I also want to take the opportunity to look even further back and compare those numbers with the previous three years. I did the same thing at the end of 2021. Below you can see the numbers from 2021, 2020 and 2019 in brackets where applicable.

    To summarise this year I managed to use up:

    • 5 cleansers (9, 11, 8)
    • 1 toner (1, 1, 0)
    • 1 face mist (3, 3, 5)
    • 3 essences/serums (8, 8, 11)
    • 0 eye creams (1, 2, 1)
    • 4 face creams (2, 5, 4)
    • 1 oil (1, 1, 0)
    • 0 masks (2, 1, 2)
    • 0 spot treatments (1, 0, 0)
    • 4 concealers (1, 4, 1)
    • 2 colour correctors (1, 0, 0)
    • 1 foundation (2, 2, 3)
    • 2 powders (1, 2, 3)
    • 2 mascaras (3, 4, 2)
    • 2 brow tamers (1, 4, 1)
    • 2 eye primers (1, 1, 1)
    • 1 lipstick (2, 1, 0)
    • 1 eye liner (0)

    That is a total of 32 skincare and makeup products compared to 40 in 2021, 55 in 2020 and 49 in 2019. The value of these products (if they were to be purchased at full price) is around 10 000 SEK (the same as 2021 and compared to 13 500 SEK in 2020 and 2019). So 2022 consisted of fewer yet more expensive items on a whole. All of these specific items were not purchased in one year and some were gifts from friends/family and many were bought with a discount. Obviously I have loads of items, mainly makeup, that I will never use up and that will never end up in a post like this. I’m not doing these round-ups to track how much I spend but rather to highlight to myself the “worth” of the products I actually use up in one year. It shows how I spend my money on certain consumables and it gives food for thought. The average cost per item is 250 SEK and spread out over 12 months it lands at approximately 835 SEK per month compared to 1100 SEK per month in 2020.

    I’m glad that I’ve found so many core favourites over the years. Products from varying price points that do their job so well that I buy them again and again. It is also very satisfying to know that I use up most of the skincare items that I buy before they go bad. The only area where I could improve my usage is masks. I own some lovely masks but I am not in the habit of using them very often. In 2023 we will see an accumulated heap of empty masks I think, several years in the making.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Makeup,  Skincare

    The Used Up 2022:1

    In this post I will go through all of the makeup and skincare items that were used up by me during the first half of 2022, January through June. This post have been in the making for several months but somehow time always slips away from me. But better late than never as they say. In those six months I managed to finish a total of 20 items and out of those 13 were makeup products. I’m not including all beauty consumables in this bi-annual post. Categories not included are body care, nail care, haircare or any type of SPF (unless it is a skincare/makeup item that just happens to have SPF in it). I still prefer not to track those categories in any way.

    As per usual I want to highlight some things about my skin that can be useful to know before reading my opinions on these products. I have dehydrated combination skin and I am noticing my skin changing a lot because of ageing (I’m 41) so I am slowly adjusting my routine to its evolving needs. I still get the occasional breakout and can get quite shiny during the day. My skin rarely reacts badly to products and I have no allergies. Let’s begin!

    All of the empty items

    Cleansers

    My current routine: I use a cream cleanser or something similar in the morning before skincare/makeup and then I use two cleansers in the evening. One oil/balm as a first step in removing makeup and/or sunscreen and then I go in with a second round with the same cleanser that I used in the morning. I usually have 2-3 cleansers in action at any given moment.

    Let’s start with a new favourite. I purchased the Golden Amber Probiotic Cleansing Balm (125 ml, 399 SEK) by M Picaut shortly after it was released. Since I am always on the lookout for a good cleansing balm and I generally like products by M Picaut it was an easy purchase. Hello new favourite cleanser! I love the smooth honey texture, the soft smell and the beautiful tube that makes it easy to squeeze out the right amount. There is nothing I do not love about this balm. I’m even ok with the price since I think it is a very luxurious product that lasted me a good while. I have already repurchased this one.

    Moving on to the Clean Cleanser by Acasia (100 ml, 199 SEK), another brand that I have repurchased from recently. This was my third tube of this specific product and possibly my last. It is a good cleanser but my critique is as mentioned in my last post “This milky cream cleanser has a mild scent and does the job very well but the consistency was a little too runny for my taste and I felt like I needed quite a bit of product to cleanse my face. So one tube did not last as long as I would like it to. I do not think I will repurchase this any time soon but I might try it again in the future since it does have a preferable price point.”

    Essence & serums

    My current routine: I like to use a hydrating serum 1-2 times a day and it is a core item. I also dabble with more treatment focused serums but I’m more irregular with those.

    Let me present to you another new favourite – two whole empty bottles of the Hyaluronic Super Serum (30 ml, 359-495 SEK) by Acasia. The serum contains hyaluronic acid (duh!), niacinamide, Vitamin C and E. Three drops is enough for the whole face and it is a dream to apply. One bottle lasted me longer than I had anticipated and these two bottles lasted longer than six months. I use the serum both morning and night and my skin loves it. One thing to note about this product is that the price varies quite a bit depending on which reseller you pick it up from. Something I will definitely focus on since this is a product I have and will continue to repurchase.

    Moisturisers & oils

    My current routine: I use a variety of creams depending on what my skin needs. In the morning after serums I like to put on a basic moisturiser before adding SPF and/or a primer. I have lighter and heavier creams (I’m using the term heavy lightly here – I have combination skin after all) and adjust the combination according to seasonal variations like the climate outdoors/indoors. For daytime the goal is to have a face base that does not pill or look patchy when I apply makeup on top. In the evening I like to use a more robust and comforting cream since I do not need to worry about the makeup bit. I use an eye cream both morning and evening and the main goal is to hydrate the skin without stinging my eyes or melting my mascara. I use oils sparingly but I like to have one on hand for facial massages or as an extra comforting layer when my skin needs it.

    Another recurring product is the Natural Moisturizing  Factors + HA by The Ordinary (30 ml, 79 SEK). I use this as a basic surface hydrator and usually layer it under my sunscreen. I have repurchased this and will most likely continue to do so. It is reliable, nicely priced and works well under other products without pilling.

    Here we have yet another new favourite. I purchased the Rose Quartz Supreme Rich Cream by M Picaut (50 ml, 749 SEK) to use as a night cream but I have also worn it in the daytime during the autumn/winter months. It is a creamy dream with a comforting scent that reminds me of vanilla pods. The pump distributes product with great control and it “pops” in the end when all of the product is distributed. The bottle is easy to close, you simply twist the top to secure it and it has a little lid on top of that. A little goes a long way and I felt like this 50 ml bottle lasted me long enough to warrant repurchasing it at this more hefty price point. My skin feels soft and nourished but never greasy after applying this cream. I have no issues with applying makeup on top in the winter-time, but I have not yet tried using it that way during the warmer months.

    The Overnight Retinol Oil by Pixi (30 ml, 399 SEK) is a repurchase. I gave it a favourable opinion when I used up my first bottle in 2020 (read The Used Up 2020:2 here). However I did not enjoy using the oil as much the second time around. It was merely ok and I often omitted using it in the evenings. I was simply not drawn to it and it was forgettable. Since the product has a shelf-life of 6 months it started to smell rancid before I had finished the bottle. I persevered and used it up but it was not the best experience. I will most likely not buy this product again.

    Base makeup

    The Blur 16 H Longwear Foundation (30 ml, 209 SEK), here in the shade 00 Ultra Light, used to be a favourite until Lumene changed the formulation and no shades matched me anymore. They did this more than once. From a trusty staple product to an inconsistent mess and ultimately failed purchase. Not a good arc. As previously stated I would use the tubes I had already purchased and then stop trying. You can see in the swatch picture that the lightest shade is not a good match for me.

    Next we have one concealer in two different shades that have quickly become new staples for me. It’s the HD Studio Photogenic Concealer (3 g, 109 SEK) by NYX in the shades Alabaster (CW 00) and Green (CW12). The formula is easy to work with, pigmented yet light and blendable, and the price point is great. I use Alabaster as my under eye corrector. The shade might be a smidge too dark but I get away with it most days. If I need a little brightness I just tap another concealer on top where needed. The shade works very well to neutralise the colour under my eyes and make me look more awake. The Green version is used as a neutraliser for the redness on my face but also to bring any other base product in a direction that better matches my undertone. My perfect shade is a fair neutral with a hint of green in it. Most base products are too pink och peach for me so the NYX concealer is a great mix-in. I repurchased both of these as soon as I ran out.

    Moving on to the Milk Makeup Flex Concealer (5,9 ml, 349 SEK) in Porcelain. First of all, I did buy a shade that is way too light for me. So it does not work on its own as a concealer, the job I intended it for when I bought it. But I have been using it in combination with other base products that are also not quite right on their own. I used it primarily to lighten foundations that were too dark. But I did notice that the concealer was not as easy to work with as I had anticipated by the name Flex. It was thick and not as blendable as I would like. So after trying this one I do not feel the need to try another shade of the same product.

    The Pat Away Concealing Base by Pixi (3,8 g, 249 SEK) had a good shade match for me from the start. I picked up the shade Cream and the undertone works very well. It could be a little lighter but it is one of the best shades I have found in a long time. I used this concealer all over the face where needed and it was pigmented and blendable. However it felt like I used it up very quickly and always in conjunction with other products I was trying to use up so I did not focus too much on what it was capable of. I am considering buying it again in the near future to give it a proper run.

    The MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation (15 g, 395 SEK) is an old hero product for me. I’ve used this product for nearly half of my life. I used to buy NC20 for years and later picked up this specific one in NC10 when that lighter shade became available. I would for sure be interested to pick up another one of these but I think I would like to try them in store before choosing what shade to get. On the MAC Scandinavia website they list an NC15 as well, but I want to see them next to each other before deciding. Last time I was in store these products were out of stock, otherwise I would have bought a new one already. The Studio Fix powder for me is the best product to add on more coverage during the day. I have combination skin that gets shiny easily and melts my makeup. Since I have a lot of redness I want a product that adds suitable coverage as well when touching up my makeup. Only blotting away the oils does not do it for me. I can apply Studio Fix straight on top of my makeup and it saves the look. If I am very oily I blot first, but it is not always necessary with this powder.

    This is my second compact of the Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder (10 g, 55€) by Charlotte Tilbury in 1 Fair. I got this one for my birthday last year and my first purchase was in London in 2017. I must say this is so far my favourite powder and any attempt to find another one I like as much has failed. The product has since been updated to a refillable version and I got one of those compacts for my birthday this December. I also wished for, and received, the new Airbrush Brightening Flawless Finish Powder by CT. It will be fun to use them side by side and see how they compare. Both are refillable which is great.

    Mascara & brows

    Milk Makeup Kush Fiber Brow Gel in Grind

    Milk Makeup Kush Fiber Brow Gel (4,5 g, 259 SEK) had a great colour for me in Grind – a lovely cool dark brown. That, and the size of the brush, was my favourite aspect about this product. The formula was very wet and got everywhere where I did not want it. I could not notice any build up by the fibers and the overall appearance was messy. Another thing is that it started to smell “off” quite quickly. The white packaging did not do it for me either, but that is a smaller complaint. On the whole, this was not a good product for me.

    Relevée Mascara (6 g, 320 SEK) by Surratt is a staple at this point (you can find my previous thoughts on this product in The Used Up 2021:1 and 2021:2) and I still enjoy the formula and I very much like the brand as a whole. BUT. As I have mentioned before the mascara does tend to create some fall-out smudge, especially from my bottom lashes. It did not bother me too much in the beginning of our relationship but it’s starting to get on my nerves a bit. I do not want to check my face regularly to see if my under-eyes are smudgy. Of course I wish it did not have any fall-out of any sort but until I hear about another great tubing mascara that I would like to try I am stickning with this one.

    Miscellaneous makeup

    The Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Caffeine is my secret weapon when I want to do a quick yet impactful eye look. This mustard brown primer works as a cream eyeshadow and primer in one on my skin tone. I apply it all over the lid and a bit up in the crease and then blend and shape with a stiff synthetic brush. It is very easy to blend and when I’m happy with the shape I just pat a shiny metallic shadow on the lid, all over or just in the center depending on what I’m going for, with a flat brush or my finger and it is more or less done. I already have a new tube of this in rotation.

    The 24 H Photo Finish Shadow Primer (12 ml, 215 SEK) by Smashbox was a fail for me. It was quite thick in formula and it dried very quickly. I like to start working with shadows when the primer is still somewhat tacky in order for it to intensify the shadows and the longevity on my lids. I found it hard to blend shadows on top of this primer and it did not boost the look of the shadows as I’m used to. It might be down to pure preference but I will not buy this shadow primer again.

    Rouge Coco Shine in “128 Noir Moderne” by Chanel Beauty

    How I wish this product was not limited edition. The Rouge Coco Shine in Noir Moderne by Chanel has been a firm favourite for many years now. I do not remember when I bought it but the internet suggests it was released around 2016 and it sounds about right. The Rouge Coco Shine formula is not even around anymore. It was replaced, I presume, by Rouge Coco Flash. This dark yet transparent lipstick was a good moody yet wearable lip for me. I’m trying to find a dupe for Noir Moderne but no such luck yet.

    To finalise this post we have got another Chanel product. It is the Stylo Yeux Waterproof (310 SEK) in Agapé (929). This shade was also limited edition and part of the Le Rouge Collection No.1 for fall in 2016. It was creamy and easy to work with. Lasted well as an eyeliner but not in the waterline. I do not own that many liners nowadays so it was fun to use this one up. I’m not immediately drawn to picking up new shades of this liner (I had two from the same collection) but you never know.

    That was all of the products from the first half of 2022. Since I was a bit late with this post I think the next instalment of The Used Up might come in the near future, since 2023 is nearly here. These post takes some time to write, but they are always way easier to conjure up when not too much time has passed since I used the mentioned products. I wish you all a great New Year and I hope you wear some fabulous makeup!

    Thank you for reading!

  • Makeup,  Skincare

    The Used Up 2021:2

    Time flies and the years come and go. I started writing this post in January and now, several months later it is finally completed. Not much has changed except for the weather. I’m still working from home, with limited movements outside my home, and every month takes on a similar hue in my memory. For that reason I highly enjoy any type of post where I get to reminisce about the past a bit, to linger on what I did or felt.

    In this post I will do just that by going through all of the makeup and skincare items that were used up by me during the second half of 2021, July to December. We will also take a look at the full year and end with some statistics. In this second part of last year, a total of 18 items were finished and out of those seven were makeup products. Categories not included in this post are body care, nail care, haircare or any type of SPF (unless it is a skincare/makeup item that just happens to have SPF in it). I just do not care to track those categories in any way at the moment.

    Some things about my skin that can be useful to know before reading my opinions on these products – I have dehydrated combination skin. I am noticing my skin changing a lot because of ageing (I’m 40) so I am slowly adjusting my routine to its evolving needs. I still get the occasional breakout and can get quite shiny during the day. My skin rarely reacts badly to products and I have no allergies.

    Cleansers

    My current routine: I use a cream cleanser or something similar in the morning before skincare/makeup and then I use two cleansers in the evening. One oil/balm as a first step in removing makeup and/or sunscreen and then I go in with a second round with the same cleanser that I used in the morning. I usually have 2-3 cleansers in action at any given moment.

    During this six-month period I have used up four cleansers and all of them were new to me. I wanted to try a new oil cleanser as my first cleanse in the evening and chose Organic Flowers Cleansing Oil by Whamisa (150 ml, 359 SEK). I had no previous experience with the brand and just chose it at random. It worked just fine but the scent was not my favourite. The oil was on the thinner side and it did sting my eyes slightly. I will not repurchase.

    Moving on to cream cleansers (second cleanser at night or only cleanser in the morning) and we have three bottles/tubes. First I used up the Nourishing Cleanser by M Picaut (100 ml, 329 SEK). I enjoyed the formulation of this pale yellow cleanser and it worked well in cleansing my skin. But a few pointers will keep me from buying again soon. It did not last very long and I’m weary of the glass bottle. Let me explain. The bottle is very heavy and I was always a bit scared that I would drop it and damage my sink, the glass shelves in my cabinet or my tiled floor. I also like to cleanse my face in the shower and this is not a bottle I would take with me in there for the fear of dropping it. Another fact worth noting is that one pump distributes very little product. That is not a definitive negative because I would rather pump more than once and get a good amount for a cleanse rather than to have a single pump distribute too much product in one go. But I needed 8-10 pumps to get enough cleanser to distribute and cleanse my face each time. It felt a bit odd to use that many pumps and then go through the bottle quite quickly. I prefer the opposite.

    Moving on to the Clean Cleanser by Acasia (100 ml, 199 SEK), another brand that I have recently tried for the first time. I did repurchase this cleanser once as you can see by the double empty tube action. This milky cream cleanser has a mild scent and does the job very well but the consistency was a little too runny for my taste and I felt like I needed quite a bit of product to cleanse my face. So one tube did not last as long as I would like it to. I do not think I will repurchase this any time soon but I might try it again in the future since it does have a preferable price point.

    Toner & mists

    My current routine: I always have a hydrating spray that I use after cleansing but before serums. Sometimes I use a toner as a complement, either a hydrating one or an exfoliator. In the evenings I also like to use a more nourishing spray (with oils) as a last comforting step.

    This was my second bottle of the the Hydrating Accelerator by Josh Rosebrook (120 ml, 399 SEK) but the first time I’ve bought it in the larger bottle. The 120 ml bottle was much better value than the 60 ml (289 SEK) and I would love to buy it again but it has been out of stock at the Swedish reseller for ages. At the moment I’m writing this they do not have any Josh Rosebrook products in stock at all. The mister is lovely and I enjoy the scent and the hydrated feeling it leaves on my face after using it. If it does come back in stock I will repurchase for sure.

    The Collagen Tonic by Pixi (100 ml, 179 SEK) was a spontaneous purchase. I wanted to try something other than serums and I used this tonic as an essence, applied and patted in with my hands. It smells lovely and left my skin feeling hydrated and nice. A little skin treat. When I first bought it I had no feelings for it and regarded it almost like a completely unnecessary step. But after frequent use and finishing the bottle I started to miss it. So I have since repurchased and still enjoy applying it every other day before serums.

    Essence & serums

    My current routine: I like to use a hydrating serum 1-2 times a day and that is my core item. I also tinker with more treatment focused serums but I’m more irregular with those.

    A previously recurring product is the Nordic-C Glow Boost Essence by Lumene (30 ml, 299 SEK). This was my go-to serum for many years and this was my final bottle. I have not repurchased since and I’m currently loving the Hyaluronic Super Serum serum by Acasia that is very hydrating and also contains some vitamin C.

    Buffet” Multi-Technology Peptide Serum by The Ordinary (30 ml, 200 SEK) is not a new product for me. I’ve used and liked it in the past. Right now I have another serum that I like (the above mentioned from Acasia) but I can see myself picking up Buffet again in the future.

    Moisturisers & oils

    My current routine: I use a variety of creams depending on what my skin needs. In the morning after serums I like to put on a basic moisturiser before adding SPF and/or a primer. I have lighter and heavier creams (I’m using the term heavy lightly here – I have combination skin after all) and adjust the combination according to seasonal variations like the climate outdoors/indoors. For daytime the goal is to have a face base that does not pill or look patchy when I apply makeup on top. In the evening I like to use a more robust and comforting cream since I do not need to worry about the makeup bit. I use an eye cream both morning and evening and the main goal is to hydrate the skin without stinging my eyes or melting my mascara. I use oils sparingly but I like to have one on hand for facial massages or as an extra comforting layer when my skin needs it.

    Another recurring product is the Natural Moisturizing  Factors + HA by The Ordinary (30 ml, 79 SEK). I use this as a basic surface hydrator and usually layer it under my sunscreen. I have repurchased this and will most likely continue to do so. It is reliable, nicely priced and works well under other products without pilling.

    The Age Repair Eye Cream by Grown Alchemist (15 ml, 620 SEK) is another recurring product and I would have repurchased this if I had not been impossible to get a hold of. My usual retailer stopped carrying the brand and I cannot find this specific product anywhere else. And at that point they lost me. I cannot be bothered to spend a lot of time searching to find a product, it is not that special. If it was readily available I would have bought another one but instead I tried something new from another brand.

    Base makeup

    Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick in “Birch 1,5” (10 g, 455 SEK) had a lovely creamy formula that I preferred to blend out with a medium stiff brush – my preferred one is the Expert Face Brush by Real Techniques. The coverage was very nice and I liked the finish. It did not feel too slippery after application nor did it set or dry down on my skin. It felt somewhat tacky to touch and I needed to set it with powder. BUT the shade was sadly leaning too pink on me and there is no other great shade match in the range. The only way I managed to wear and use up this product was to apply a green colour corrector underneath. The green sort of balanced out the worst of the pink in the foundation and it looked acceptable (but not great). I would be interested to buy this foundation again if Bare Minerals did a shade extension that included something closer to my undertone.

    I am not sure I used the Sephora Green Colour Corrector (3,4 ml, 169 SEK) in the best way. I applied it over my bare skin like a primer. And it did not work very well on me. The formula was a bit hard to spread evenly and I never managed to tone down the red without looking too green. The tube was used up a bit too quickly in this manner. However I do not think it is the fault of the product but rather user error. My current colour corrector, from Nyx, works best when I blend it into my liquid foundation. I mix them before applying to get a slightly more green-leaning shade. One reason for this discovery was that I realised that my undertone has some green in it. All thanks to Fatima @anotherbeautyjunky over at Instagram. I was complaining that I had a hard time finding base shades that work for me and she mentioned that she noticed that I had a little green in my undertone. BAM!!! I had never thought about that before. I’ve just assumed that the lightness of my skin, my more neutral undertone and the redness in my face made it hard to shade match me. But know that I think about the green it all makes sense. It is a very slight green tinge but now that I think about it I cannot understand how I had never identified it before. So blending in a green corrector in my foundation fills both the role of correcting the redness in my face but also adjusting the shade of the base product to better match my neck. Genius!

    Macara & brows

    Relevée Mascara (6 g, 320 SEK) by Surratt is a repurchase. I still enjoy the formula, brush and the sleek packaging and have already repurchased yet again. The mascara is a bit more wet in the beginning when first opened, as with most mascaras, but after a few uses it dries down a bit and becomes even easier to work with. I do like how it make my lashes look, albeit very basic, and Relevée is buildable if I wait a little bit before applying more. Since I cannot wear anything other than tubing mascaras I am used to the lack of “wow” lashes. The mascara does tend to create a little fall-out smudge, especially from my bottom lashes, but nothing that bothers me too much. If I know I will be wearing a very emollient face product, like sunscreen, I just skip putting mascara on my lower lashes to avoid the “smudge”.

    This was my first time trying Control Freak Eyebrow Gel in Clear (9 g, 99 SEK) by Nyx and I can sadly report that I will not be buying it again. The large brush made a mess since the product ended up beside my browns as well when I applied it. I found it to have a very watery formula that did little to control my brows.

    Miscellaneous makeup

    Then we have three other makeup products, one eye shadow primer and two lipsticks. The primer is the Eyeshadow Primer Potion in the Anti-aging version by Urban Decay (10 ml, 280 SEK). I have used this a lot over the years and it is my go-to eye primer at this point. I’m still trying other brands from time to time but this is the one a keep going back to. I like that I can easily blend eyeshadow on top of this before before it has completely dried down but it never comes out patchy. It it very user friendly and a tube last me a long time. I also enjoy that is comes with an applicator which makes it very easy to apply the desired amount to the lid or wherever you would like the primer to go.

    The Fantastick lipstick in Pink Opal (2 g, 199 SEK) by LH Cosmetics was used both as a lip and cheek shade, mainly in the summer. I’m not much for cream cheek but when it is warmer outside I sometimes prefer it. The shade is a bit too light for my taste but the formula worked well and felt nice on the lips. I will not be repurchasing this one but is was nice to use while it lasted.

    Dolce Vita lipstick (3,4 g, price unknown) from Nars is in the old formulation that has been long discontinued. This was my second bullet of this colour that I have used up. I would love to find a colour dupe for this shade from another brand though. Its is a perfect MLBB shade with just enough pink and enough brown to look very neutral yet add a little something something. If you look at the below swatches Pink Opal look darker than Dolce Vita, but the formula of the Nars lipstick was more sheer and intensified my natural lip colour rather than covering it. Pink Opal did more of the latter and I think that was shy I did not enjoy the shade as much.

    Nars ‘Dolce Vita’ and LH Cosmetics ‘Pink Opal’

    2021 empties wrap-up

    As I now wrap up the year of 2021 in numbers I also want to take the opportunity to look even further back and compare those numbers with the previous two years. Below you can see the numbers from 2020 and 2019 in brackets where applicable.

    To summarise this year I managed to use up:

    • 9 cleansers where one was a mini (11, 8)
    • 1 toner (1, 0)
    • 3 face mists (3, 5)
    • 8 essences/serums (8, 11)
    • 1 eye cream (2, 1)
    • 2 face creams (5, 4)
    • 1 oil (1, 0)
    • 2 masks (1, 2)
    • 1 eye primer (1, 1)
    • 1 powder (2, 3)
    • 1 concealer (4, 1)
    • 2 foundations (2, 3)
    • 3 mascaras (4, 2)
    • 1 brow gel (4, 1)
    • 2 lipsticks (1, 0)
    • 1 colour corrector
    • 1 spot treatment.

    That is a total of 40 skincare and makeup products compared to 55 in 2020 and 49 in 2019. The value of these products (if they were to be purchased at full price) is around 10 000 SEK (compared to 13 500 SEK the two previous years). All of these specific items were not purchased in one year and some were gifts from friends/family and many were bought with a discount. I’m not doing these round-ups to track how much I spend but rather to highlight to myself the “worth” of the products I actually use up in one year. It shows how I spend my money on certain consumables and it gives food for thought. The average cost per item is now at around 250 SEK and spread out over 12 months it lands at approximately 835 SEK per month compared to 1100 SEK per month in 2020.

    I will continue to do these bi-annual instalments of the Used Up. It is a nice way for me to gather my thoughts on products I try but also a fantastic way to chronicle what I use and spend my money on.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Makeup,  Skincare

    The Used Up 2021:1

    Time to go through all of the makeup and skincare items that were used up by me during the first half of 2021, January-June. A total of 22 items, whereas five of them are makeup items. I do not include body care, haircare or any SPF in this roundup post, since I do not care to have a follow up for those categories.

    Some notes about my skin – I have dehydrated combination skin. I am noticing my skin changing a lot because of ageing (I’m 39) so I am slowly adjusting my routine to its evolving needs. I still get the occasional breakout and can get quite shiny during the day. My skin rarely reacts badly to products and I have no allergies.

    Cleansers

    I managed to use up a total of five cleansing products during this period and one is a mini. The Rose Cream Cleanser by Pixi (135 ml, 279 SEK) has been a steady part of mosts instalments of The Used Up and I used it as my only cleanser in the morning and as my second cleanser in the evening. I still think it is a lovely product – I love the texture, the scent and the effect. But I have noticed previously, as mentioned in earlier posts, that one tube does not last me as long as I want it to and I wish to find a replacement that lasts longer for the price.

    The Olive Cleansing cleanser by Maria Åkerberg is such a replacement purchase. I used up a mini, that I bought as part of a spa kit, and enjoyed the texture and the smell enough to buy the large bottle (250 ml, 229 SEK). However after a while I noticed that the smell started to bother me so I think I might refrain from buying it again. For now at least.

    The Rehydrating Rosepetal Cleanser by Elemis (200 ml, 365 SEK) was also purchased as an effort to replace the one from Pixi. The pump dispenser worked well and on a normal day I would use 2-3 pumps for my entire face. The rose smell was a bit too much for my taste but it is i no way off-putting. It is an ok product but I do not feel enticed enough to repurchase.

    Nourishing Omega-Rich Cleansing Oil by Elemis (195 ml, 465 SEK) is a product that I used up back in 2019 and decided to try again. It is lovely and smooth oil that effectively removes makeup. I could use it on my eyes without any big problems. The big plus with this product is that it lasts for a long time, more than six months, which would warrant the price. I’ve not experimented with many cleansing oils previously, since I used to prefer balms, but I will try and see if I can find another oil that is a little less expensive or one from a brand that I have more feelings for, you know.

    Toner & mists

    One type of mist that I use quite seldom is a more hydrating and nourishing mist, like the Glow Mist (80 ml, 249 SEK) by Pixi. It contains oils and this I would use during the day when I want some hydration on top of makeup or in the evening as a last skincare step. I do not use this as a “glow getter” since I have combination skin and my natural glow, or shine if you will, will come naturally anyway. I use it more like a comforting and calming hug for the face when it feels in need. I have repurchased this specific product but in the Rose version.

    I continue to mist my face after cleansing before I apply serums etc, both in the morning and evening. I have enjoyed the Nordic Hydra Facial Mist (50 ml, 99 SEK) from Lumene just fine. It is hydrating, has a nice scent and the mister works well. This and the Vitamin-C version have been in my previous iterations of The Used Up numerous times. However I am a bit out of love with Lumene as a brand and will phase out all of my recurring favourites from them. When I finished this last bottle I switched back to the Hydrating Accelerator from Josh Rosebrook again. I found it in the larger bottle (120 ml) and I currently enjoy using it a lot more than I did the first time around.

    Essence & serums

    A recurring product is the Nordic-C Glow Boost Essence by Lumene (30 ml, 289 SEK). I go through these quite quickly and have another bottle in use right now. But after that I will break the habit and find other hydrators.

    The theme continues – two tubes of the Rose Caviar Essence by Pixi (45 ml, 399 SEK) emptied in six months yet again. I have continued to use this product twice daily to layer hydration but I’m not really comfortable with the fact that I go through four tubes in a year. That is a bit much since I combine it with the Lumene essence and those seem to go in a similar rate. That is a lot of money for my hydrating sandwich. I will probably buy the Caviar Essence again in the future but for now I’m going to try some other serums and see if I can get my hydration boost for a little less money.

    Niacimide 10% + Zinc 1% by the Ordinary (30 ml, 69 SEK) is what I use whenever my skin is prone to breakouts and I usually apply it over the affected area or the t-zone. I have another bottle in use right now. It feels like it calms everything down a bit.

    Moisturisers & oils

    This is my second jar of Hydration Recharge Overnight Cream (50 ml, 209 SEK) by Lumene from their Nordic Hydra series. I used it as a night cream on top of serums and/or oils. I’m not repurchasing because – Lumene.

    I purchased the 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil (30 ml, 134 SEK) by The Ordinary primarily to use when doing face massage on myself (I have a tendency to tense my jaw and a massage really helps). Then I also started to use it in the evenings whenever I felt like my skin needed a “blanket”. I rarely use oils but this one works very well with my combination skin. It smells a bit interesting, like hay or something, but I’ve grown so accustomed to the smell that now I find it comforting. It did start to go off when I was a the end of the bottle so the shelf-life of 12 months after opening is about right. I have repurchased this product and I find it to be very useful.

    Masks

    The Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque (125 ml, 330 SEK) was a spontaneous purchase when I still lived in Gothenburg and had a Kiehl’s counter readily available. On paper it looked like a great product for me since I really enjoy moisturising overnight masks and it was a huge jar for a reasonable price. I’ve had previous positive encounters with the Ultra Facial series as well. But this product is really not for me. It’s a clear jelly-like product that smells very little but still has a slight chemical scent that is hard to describe. It does not sink into the skin at all but rather leaves a thick sticky surface that gets everywhere including my pillow. I hate sleeping in it and that totally defeats the purpose. I’ve been doing masks really infrequently since I dislike this one so much and that is a shame. I’m so glad it is finally empty so that I could purchase a replacement for that category. I have done that and it’s by M Picaut.

    I used the Blue Herbal Spot Treatment (15 ml, 200 SEK) by Kiehl’s on any blemishes to stop them in their track. It worked just fine but when dried down it did leave a film on the skin. Even if that was just a small area it did have a tendency to pill whenever I touched the skin. This tiny tube lasted me a very long time since a little goes a long way and that is a pro for sure but I do not feel inclined to buy it again. I would prefer something that does not form such a prominent film. I’ve purchased a replacement from Pixi.

    I really hated the Lumene Deeply Purifying Birch Charcoal Mask (75 ml, 129 SEK) from day one. The consistency felt like applying liquid plastic on my face and the mask did nothing for my skin. The scent did nothing for me either, it was a pain to remove and every time I used it felt like a chore. But I did it, I finished the damned thing! And I will never ever consider buying this product again. I am yet to find/buy a replacement for its position.

    Base makeup

    My last pressed powder by Soap and Glory, One Heck of a Blot Mattifying Powder (9 g, £12), is now used up. I stocked up on this lovely product when I was in London many years ago and now I have used all of them up. I can highly recommend it if you like a translucent pressed setting powder and can get your hands on it.

    Following with two Lumene base items, one being the Under Eye Concealer (5 ml, 149 SEK). This exact packaging does not seem to be available anymore but they have a similar product in their line. It worked well for me but it is not available in any other shades. It’s an apricot corrector type shade but I have a hard time thinking this would work for everyone. I will not repurchase.

    The Blur Foundation (30 ml, 199 SEK) in “0 Light Ivory” has been repurchased over the years but Lumene has changed the shades, the formula and even the artwork for this product so many times over the past years that I have lost count. Every time I repurchase there seems to be a new version of the same product/shade. This version of Light Ivory was way too pink for me and I have another one in rotation and surprise surprise, it’s different. I currently have both “0” and “00” and this time around the formula seems to be thicker. The shade match is better now but neither of them are the perfect match. I am a bit over trusting Lumene with this foundation since it is so inconsistent in shade and formulation. I will use up the two tubes that I have and that’s it.

    Mascara & brows

    After trying to find an option for the Lash Power mascara by Clinique I found out that Surratt made tubing mascaras and wanted to try them out for myself. First i bought the Pointilliste Mascara (2 g, 300 SEK) by mistake, not realising it was such a small tube and therefore also a small amount. It is aimed to be used for the lower lashes and has a tiny brush, but I could use on the top lashes as well. But the price point is ridiculous for such a tiny amount of product. When the Relevée Mascara (6 g, 320 SEK) cam in stock I bought it and used them both simultaneously. Now that I have finished both I will only repurchase the Relevée but I will clean and save the brush for Pointilliste. As with most tubing mascaras the result is quite basic but I do find that Relevée is buildable if I wait a little bit before applying more. Not too long so that the mascara dries, but just going back and forth between both eyes a bit allows it to build somewhat. Not a fat lash by any means, but thicker and a bit more definition. I did suffer a tiny bit of fallout “smudge” on some days but nothing that bothers me at this point. I enjoy this product and as mentioned I have repurchased. The packaging is sleek and the brush is nice and slim, just how I like it. The big draw-back is the price tag. I am not too happy with 320 SEK for a consumable like this but it will do for now.

    That was it, six months of used up products. I’m currently very uninspired by skincare and there are few brands that pique my interest nowadays. I’m looking to try some more items from Josh Rosebrook, M Picaut and Pixi. I’m also looking at Swedish brand Acasia since I’ve not tried any of their products but heard good things about them. But what I really long for is to not have to experiment and try new skincare products a lot, but rather to find my core basics from brands that I like. And with a little luck those products will last me a long time so that I do not have to repurchase all the frakking time. Until then..

    Thanks for reading!

  • Makeup,  Skincare

    The Used Up 2020:2

    The time has come to to go through all of the makeup and skincare items that were used up by me during the second half of 2020, July-December, and to summarise the year. A total of 25 items and many of them old favourites and repeat purchases.

    For reference I am 39 years old with a dehydrated combination skin. I get the occasional breakout and can get quite shiny during the day. My skin rarely reacts badly to products and I have no allergies.

    Cleansers

    The Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion by Weleda (75 ml, 149 SEK) was originally purchased as a mild option to use to cleanse my daughters face when needed. But we rarely used it and I felt that we were running the risk of it going bad before we used it up, so I started using it myself. It is a rich cleansing lotion and I loved the consistency. Easy to spread all over the face and I did not need much for a full cleanse. But despite that fact the tube is way too small to last me a longer period of time. The almond smell is not a favourite either but it was not a defining issue for me. I can see me buying this again for my kid but not for myself.

    The Moisturising Cleansing Cream by Lumene (150 ml, 99 SEK) is their option for dry skin and this was my first time trying this specific cleanser. It is a thicker cream, lovely to the touch, with a creamy and fresh yet mild scent that did a fine job as my only cleanser in the morning or as a second cleanser in the evening. The cream was quite thick and albeit that in-itself is not a problem I did find that it was not as easy to spread all over the face as I would like. I had to use more product than I prefer each time and the tube was used up fairly quickly. The low price point is of course appealing and compensates a bit. This was my first time using this specific cleanser from Lumene and I might repurchase sometime in the future, but until then my search for a new favourite cleanser continues.

    We have one bottle of Bioderma Sensibio Make-up removing micelle solution (250 ml, around 100 SEK), still a nice product to have for a quick cleansing solution or when I have stubborn makeup that need an extra round of cleansing before dissolving completely. I use this product more rarely these days but I rely on always having a bottle at hand.

    The Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm by Farmacy (90 ml, around 400 SEK) is an established favourite and I shared my thoughts on it in this post from 2019. Apparently it is sold in an 100 ml jar nowadays and I would definitely buy this again. It is a dream to use and smells divine, but I still wish it would last me a little bit longer for that price tag.

    The Nordic-C Pure Glow Cleansing Balm by Lumene (125 ml, 179 SEK) was a new product for me and it was merely ok. I prefer to be able to use my cleansing balms around the eyes since I use them only as a first cleanser when wearing makeup and this balm is not suitable around the eyes (it also says so on the tube). This limits the product’s use for me so I will not be repurchasing.

    Toner & mists

    I usually mist my face after cleansing before I apply serums etc, both in the morning and evening. I must say I do enjoy the Nordic-C Glow Refresh Hydrating Mist (50 ml, 99 – 129 SEK) and the Nordic Hydra Facial Mist (50 ml, 99 SEK) from Lumene. They have a fresh smell and there has never been an issue with the mister function, a big plus in my book. This smaller bottle size is convenient when travelling, but Lumene also do both mists in a 100 ml bottle. These mists do the job and I have repurchased the Nordic Hydra one. But when that is finished I think I will switch to the Hydrating Accelerator from Josh Rosebrook again. I want to give it another go in the larger bottle.

    Essence & serums

    There seems to be a theme – two tubes of the Rose Caviar Essence by Pixi (45 ml, 399 SEK) emptied in six months yet again. I continue to use this product twice daily to layer hydration and this year I have used up a total of four tubes of this essence. I still make a point to only purchase it when I have a discount to lower the cost a bit, since I am not really interested in letting this baby go. I love the packaging, the texture, the scent and the effect. So I deem it worthwhile for now.

    Another recurring star is the Nordic-C Glow Boost Essence by Lumene (30 ml, 289 SEK). Nothing has changed with this one either, I go through these quite quickly and try to buy and even stock up when there is a discount. I have used up only two bottles this year but I think the truth could be closer to three bottles a year. As with the Rose Caviar Essence, I like everything about this product except the price. Despite that I have no intention to stop using it.

    Then we have more of a treatment serum – Salicylic Acid 2% Solution by the Ordinary (30 ml, 69 SEK I think but it is not currently available) is an BHA exfoliating product aimed at breakout prone skin and that is not really me. I have sporadic spots and the occasional large inflamed one but it’s not really a problem. I used this serum in the evenings on days when I had some break-outs, but I can not really attest to how effective this serum is since I ended up being a very infrequent user. I also think I prefer using a thicker spot treatment to heal an angry on one occasion so this will most likely not be a repurchase.

    Moisturisers & oils

    It took me a while to use up this tube of Natural Moisturizing  Factors + HA by The Ordinary (30 ml, 69 SEK) because I use it quite infrequently. For example I might wear it as a surface hydration layer it I use an SPF without any skincare benefits and want something layered under it. I might wear it as a last moisturising step when other finishing products do not seem appropriate (because they are too heavy or contain SPF for example), usually in the daytime. This is the third tube I have used up and I have another tube in line to take this one’s place. But I will most likely wait until spring before I feel the need to open and start using it.

    The Age Repair Eye Cream by Grown Alchemist (15 ml, 620 SEK) is another recurring product and albeit being expensive it lasts at least six months, maybe more. The pump makes it really easy to dispense the tiny amount needed for both eyes and it wears beautifully under makeup. It makes my eye area feel hydrated but never greasy. I have another bottle in use right now and as per usual I only purchase this when I have a 20% discount code to get the cost down a bit.

    I wanted to try the Nordic Hydra Day Fluid SPF 30 UVB/UVA PA+++ (50 ml, 219 SEK) by Lumene when it was first launched but only got down to business this past year. And I am so glad I finally tried it. I have combination skin and even as I get more dehydrated with age, I still have an issue with makeup melting off my face. So in the sunnier part of the year I have an issue with sunscreen under makeup, since it tends to make the melting issue worse. This day cream worked well for me in the daytime on most days since I spend so little time outside when the sun shines its brightest. Makeup layered beautiful over it and I felt that it did not leave a greasy film or a white cast or anything I normally expect from a sunscreen. The texture more creamy than fluid, the smell was fresh and I appreciated that is was in a tube. I will definitely purchase this again in the coming months when the sun makes a proper appearance again.

    The Overnight Retinol Oil by Pixi (30 ml, 399 SEK) is another new acquaintance. I have not used many retinol products so I cannot compare at all but as a night time treat is was very nice. The oil easily sinks into the skin and some nights I felt the need to add a cream on top and some nights I used it as my last or only layer. It leaves my skin feeling nice and healthy and I have had no adverse reactions. This oil smells amazing, like a sour candy, but it did begin to turn rancid when I was beginning to near the end of the bottle. So the 6 month shelf-life indicated on the bottle is about right. I used this product a few nights a week and when this bottle was empty I did purchase another one, currently in use.

    I’ve used the Hydration Rescue 24H Replenishing Balm by Lumene before and this time I bough the Hydration Recharge Overnight Cream (50 ml, 209 SEK) by the same brand and the same series, Nordic Hydra. A lovely cream for my hydrated combination skin. Perfect in the evening as a last step, over serums or over an oil. I have repurchased another one of these and use it daily,

    Masks

    The Active Enzyme Exfoliator by Josh Rosebrook (45 ml, full price unknown but I purchased it at a sale for 499 SEK) is a dark brown mask with particles that is massaged onto skin and then left for 10 minutes up to one hour. The smell makes me think of liquorice and I found that the application easily got messy. I must admit when purchasing this I did not realize that it had a mechanical exfoliation element to it. I normally prefer my exfoliants to be fully chemical so I have been a sporadic user of this product. Sad but true. It was a splurge purchase with money I received for my birthday and it did fill the purpose of a luxury treat. I’m glad I tried the product but I’m not going to purchase it again.

    Base makeup

    The Nabla Close-Up Smoothing Pressed Powder (11,5 g, € 22) has been getting rave reviews online and I was so keen to try it that I almost deemed it as a favourite beforehand. And I understand why a lot of people enjoy this powder but it’s not the one for me. I do enjoy the sleek rose gold compact, it is very beautiful and has a lovely sized mirror. I like Nabla as a brand and the price-point is nice. The gist for me is the finish this powder gives my skin. After using it for a while I started noticing that it ever so slightly changed the shade of my foundation after application. It made my skin look slightly darker and “flat” in a strange way. I have never experienced anything like it with a powder. The shade of the powder is not the issue but rather the appearance the finish gave, not my fave. I really wish I liked it more but this is sadly not the new favourite as I was hoping for.

    The Lumene Blur Foundation (30 ml, 199 SEK) in “00 Ultra Light” is way too pink for me to be a perfect match. I have previously used up the shade “0 Light Ivory” and repurchased and I love the formulation in general. But Lumene has changed the shades for this product (and the artwork) many times over these past years. Every time I repurchase there seems to be a new version of the same shade. I’m currently using a way too pink version of Light Ivory and it will soon be finished, so I recently purchased both shades again. The shades seems to be altered again so we shall see if they match me better this time around or if they are a bit off still.

    The Hydra Veil by Illamasqua (mini sample, gift with purchase) is a lovely hydrating primer, the type of primer I think really improves the application of foundation on my skin. This was my last sample size and I do not think I will repurchase since I still prefer my primers to be in a tube or something similar.

    The Viva La Diva conclealer in “2 Naked” (3 ml, 89 SEK) was an attempt to find a replacement for my old favourite, the Lasting Perfection Ultimate Wear Concealer in “Fair 1” by Collection, that I sadly cannot get a hold of in Sweden. I’ve tried the shade “1 Pure Light” as well but neither work for me. They turn up way too pink and a tad too dark. I also did not get along with the scent of this concealer. A no-go for me.

    The Hello Fab Bendy Avocado Concealer by First Aid Beauty (4,8 g, 240 SEK) was a better colour match and it is a nice and creamy concealer. However it started to go off quite quickly and before I could really finish it. I persisted despite the smell for a while and there was very little left in the tube when I gave up, but I consider it “done”. In all fairness I did have several concealers in use at the same time and might have had it open for longer than recommended, I do not really know or care. I do not see this product as one that go bad quickly and I might even repurchase in the future, but for now I’m trying other brands.

    Mascara & brows

    Two more empty Lash Power mascara in Black Onyx (6 ml, 245 SEK) by Clinique is standard for me. It’s been my go-to for a while now. It’s the one mascara that I’ve found that smudges the least and I really love the small brush applicator. But as I mentioned in my last empties post I feel like it has become more prone to smudging in recent years and I’m not sure if it has changed formulation or if there is another explanation. However this fact has led me to start the hunt for a replacement go-to mascara, a quest I’m not too keen to embark on. Mascara for me is a boring basic product that should work well but I do not want to spend any effort on it. One reason for that is the fact that tubing mascaras are the only ones that work on my lashes and tubing mascaras are generally very basic and unexciting. So here I am, looking to replace Lash Power but knowing it is a tough role to fill since I want something that does not smudge, has a lovely small brush AND I wish the price was less than the Clinique one. Tough indeed! We shall see how it goes but you can expect to see some new mascaras in coming instalments of The Used Up.

    Then finally, we have a sad story. I had just deemed this brow gel my favourite budget find and then it was discontinued! As mentioned in my last empties post, the Brow Perfector in “Espresso” by H&M (4 ml, approximately 80 SEK) is no longer available. It was a lovely affordable brow gel with an ok hold, a nice cool dark brown colour and a small brush. Generally a great product for me. As with mascara, I just want something nice and basic. Does not have to be all that but I just want something I can rely on. So as well as having to spend time and effort to find a new mascara I also have to try and find a new brow gel. Sad times for me (not really!). It’s just so boring to try new brow products and I’m really not looking forward to it.

    2020 empties wrap-up

    Now it’s time for my favourite part, the yearly statistics. This year we can compare the numbers with 2019 so I am including the numbers from last year in brackets.

    To summarise 2020 I managed to finish up 11 cleansers (8), 1 toner (0), 3 face mists (5), 8 essences/serums (11), 2 eye creams (1), 5 face creams (4) where one contained SPF, 1 oil (0), 1 mask (2), 3 face primers but two were minis (2), 1 eye primer (1), 2 powders (3), 4 concealers (1), 2 foundations (3), 4 mascaras (2), 4 brow gels (1), one lipstick, one lip primer and one cream eye shadow. 55 products in total for skincare and makeup compared to 49 in 2019. The categories are not exactly the same between the two years, for example one category I had last year that was missing this year was primers with SPF (3 in 2019) due to having the Lumene Day Fluid and other SPF’s.

    The above numbers are things that I consider to be skincare or makeup but it’s worth noting that I am excluding sunscreens for the face from this summary. Of course I use other sunscreens but unless it is a face cream with SPF and skincare benefits I’m not going to include them in the Used Up posts. The main reasoning for that is that I share my sunscreens with my family and I cannot be bothered to keep track of that in any way shape or form. Also, I have previously included the soap I’m using to clean my brushes with but I’m not going to do that anymore. It’s not something I’m interested in tracking.

    The value of the products used up this year (if purchased at full price) is around 13 500 SEK, and that is basically the same amount as last year. Of course all of these items were not purchased in one year and some were gifts from friends/family and many were bought with a discount. The point is not to conclude how much I have spent but rather to highlight the “worth” of the products I actually use up in one year. The average per item is still around 260 SEK so the average on consumables is unchanged at approximately 1100 SEK per month.

    I will continue to do these bi-annual instalments of the Used Up so that I can keep track on how many products I go trough, how long they last me and my opinions on them. I find it to be a fantastic way to chronicle what I use and spend my money on. I will keep on focusing on skincare for the face and makeup and exclude other SPF’s and products for body, hair and nails.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Makeup,  Skincare

    The Used Up 2020:1

    Time to go through all of the makeup and skincare items that were used up by me during the first half of 2020, January-June. A whopping total of 30 items, whereas half of them are makeup items. I’ve been making a conscious effort to use up basic makeup items before buying a replacement and I must say it is very satisfying to see them actually empty.

    For reference I am 38 years old with a combination skin that is dehydrated. I get the occasional breakout and can get quite shiny during the day. My skin rarely reacts badly to products and I have no allergies.

    Cleansers

    I managed to use up a total of six cleansing products during this period. The Rose Cream Cleanser by Pixi (135 ml, 279 SEK) has been a favourite for a while as my first cleanse in the morning and second cleanse in the evening. It has been a continuous repeat repurchase for me and even though I still love it I have not bought another one since finishing my last tube. I’m trying to find a cheaper option since I go through them a bit too quickly for my liking.

    I’ve always been interested to try the Renaissance Cleanser by Oskia (100 ml, 410 SEK) since it’s been held in high regard by many content creators in the beauty realm. So I finally bit the bullet. It’s a more pricey item but I did enjoy using it a lot. It had a lovely formula and my skin felt nice after using it. But the product did not last as long as I wanted it to do to justify the price. I might repurchase in the future but it will probably not be a recurring product in my cabinet.

    Then we have my usual micellar water – Sensibio H20 by Bioderma (500 ml, 179 SEK) – in a larger bottle this time. I still use this very infrequently but I like to always have a bottle at hand.

    The Squalane Cleanser by the Ordinary (50 ml, 99 SEK) was an attempt to replace the Pixi cleanser. I enjoyed this product well enough but it ran out really quickly. It’s cheaper by the ml but I felt I needed more product to cleanse the whole face than with the Rose Cream Cleanser.

    The purchase of the Gentle Cleansing Melt by Evolve (120 ml, 299 SEK) was an attempt to find an option for my favourite cleansing balm, the Green Clean Cleansing Balm by Farmacy (you can read my thoughts on it here). I’m trying to find an option that lasts longer and has a lower cost per use. No luck with the Evolve one sadly. It had a honey-like texture and was not as easy to spread over the face as the balms I’ve tried before. Also it was not as efficient in removing my eye makeup as I would like and the jar was used up rather quickly. It is not a bad cleanser by any means, but is not what I want or need. I would not repurchase.

    Toner & mists

    I’ve written about how I’ve been using the Glow Tonic by Pixi (250 ml, 299 SEK) as staple almost on automatic due to it being marketed so well. I have nothing bad to say about the product but I felt it was time to try something new. So after finishing this bottle I did purchase a glycolic acid toner from The Ordinary instead.

    The Hydrating Accelerator by Josh Rosebrook (60 ml, 289 SEK) has also been fronted as an amazing product in the beauty community for a while. So naturally I was intrigued. I put the product on my wish list for Christmas and my wish was heard by my husband. I do like the product, it smells nice and felt hydrating. The mister was lovely as well. But I did feel like I went trough the bottle way too quickly compared to the cost. The bottle is quite small so naturally it is used up more quickly, but the price for that small bottle is the deal breaker. However, when looking at the Alice & White website (where I purchase Josh Rosebrook products) whilst writing this post I notice that they do not carry the 60 ml bottle anymore. There is a 120 ml bottle though and it is priced at 399 SEK. That is better value for money and since this is a more luxury brand with an focus on ethically sourced ingredients and sustainable packaging I think the price is warranted. But what I’m not sure of is if I need it in my routine. Right now I’m using a mist from Lumene that I like and I’m unsure if I will buy the Hydrating Accelerator again. We shall see..

    Essence & serums

    I am not surprised to see two Rose Caviar Essence by Pixi (45 ml, 399 SEK) in this post but since I use this product twice daily as a hydrating layer. But this is specifically one of those products I’m keeping my eye on to see how many I use in a year. At least four I suspect but it could be more. We shall see when the year is over and THE TRUTH WILL BE REVEALED!. Since I replace this so frequently I try to buy at at discount but I’m unsure if it is worth it all in all. Maybe.

    Another staple is the Nordic-C Glow Boost Essence by Lumene (30 ml, 289 SEK). The situation is the same with this one, I go through these quite quickly and try to buy and even stock up when there is a discount. I still enjoy it immensely and use it every morning under the Rose Caviar Essence.

    The Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion by The Ordinary (30 ml, 129 SEK) was my first attempt at adding a vitamin A product to my skincare routine. This specific formula did not wow me in any way and I was a very inconsistent user due to not enjoying the consistency too much. So I can’t speak on its actual function due to that. I will most likely try other vitamin A products moving forward and who knows, I might try this again in the future.

    Moisturizers

    The 24K Eye Elixir by Pixi (9,3 ml, 349 SEK) was an attempt to replace my favourite (and pricey) eye cream from Grown Alchemist. It was fun to try something new but it is in no way a replacement. The formula is completely different, the Pixi one being a serum in a roller dispenser and the GA one is a light cream in a pump bottle. 24K Eye Elexir feels cooling as I roll it under my eyes and leaves the area feeling hydrated. But the product does not give me the moisturized and comforted feeling that I enjoy. It might be more suited to someone who gets puffy under-eyes and can get more benefits from this formulation and applicator.

    Vital Balm Cream by Josh Rosebrook (45 ml, 889 SEK) made its first appearance in my life in the winter of 2018 when my skin acutely needed something heavier to survive the harsh weather. The cream saved me and was a joy to use. So the following year, last winter, I made the decision to repurchase again but I did so a bit prematurely. The weather never got to the same harsh point and I think my skin could have managed with something less “powerful”. I do enjoy this cream and it can last quite a while if one is mindful when using it, but it is so very expensive. Again, I think the Josh Rosebrook products warrants the price set but I do not think my skin needed all that expensive goodness this time around. The coming winter months might require a heaver cream again, but this year I think I will try another brand and see how I fare.

    Another recurring product, one that I took a break from and then went back to, is the Hydration Rescue 24H Replenishing Balm by Lumene (50 ml, varying between 149-199 SEK). I stopped enjoying it suddenly and suspected they had reformulated it. After using other products for a while I purchased it yet again and somehow went on to enjoy using this cream once more. I use it as my nighttime last layer and I love the consistency, the smell and how it makes my skin feel. A good basic light yet moisturizing cream that is just enough for me. The price is great and a jar lasts quite a while.

    Base makeup

    Two face primers were used up and I have not repurchased any substitutes. Not due to me not liking them, but rather me wanting to use up all the primers that I own and evaluate what functions I actually want to have in my stash at all. This tube of Makeup Forever Step 1 Redness Correcting Primer (30 ml, 420 SEK) is not the first I’ve used up but rather my second or even third. I love this hydrating and colour correcting primer. I have quite a lot of redness in my face that I like to subdue so a green corrector definitely fills a purpose in my daily routine and it feels good to know that this one works well for me. I might purchase again in the future but I wish to explore some cheaper options first.

    The Hydra Veil by Illamasqua (mini sample, gift with purchase) is a lovely primer. I have bought this in a full size previously and it’s a nice hydrating product. Adding something hydrating right before applying my foundation really improves the end result for me. But I must admit I prefer a tube to a jar.

    The Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation in “Y215” by Make Up Forever (30 ml, 475 SEK) used to be my favourite “skin like” foundation until I repurchased it and the colour was reformulated. It was suddenly a lot more pink than yellow and did not suit me anymore. I need a neutral shade or one that leans yellow to combat my redness and this sadly does not do the job anymore. I do like the formula still, it really looks amazing on the skin.

    Loose Mineral Foundation in “Suede” by Cailyn (425 SEK) is another old staple. This is my second jar and the colour is lovely on me. However I do not really use loose mineral foundation on a regular basis anymore so I will not repurchase anytime soon.

    The Viva La Diva conclealer in “1 Pure Light” (3 ml, 89 SEK) was an attempt to find a replacement for the other empty concealer in this post, the Lasting Perfection Ultimate Wear Concealer in “Fair 1” by Collection (price and amount unknown) that I used to buy in bulk when in London. Both are very cheap concealers and sadly I prefer the one I can not get a hold of anymore. The Viva La Diva is not my favourite. It has a smell that puts me off and the colour is not a good match for me, too dark and pink. The one from Collection is a great shade that really does the job of brightening my under eyes and adds extra coverage wherever needed. A creamy product where a little goes a long way.

    Mascara & brows

    Yet another empty staple product is my go-to mascara – Lash Power mascara in Black Onyx (6 ml, 235 SEK) by Clinique. It’s the one I’ve found that smudges the least and it has a lovely small brush. This past year I feel that is has started to smudge more but I do not know if it is an illusion or if they have done something to the formula. I’ve also tried the Flutter-to-Full version of Lash Power (9 ml, 280 SEK) and it does nothing for me. I have very straight and long lashes. There is no point in any fancy mascara effects. Nothing lasts on my lashes anyway.

    The Brow Perfector in “Espresso” by H&M (4 ml, approximately 80 SEK) is a quite new favourite that I have repurchased and use daily. However, just last week I learned that it has been discontinued. It really makes me sad because it was a lovely affordable option with an ok hold, a nice cool dark brown colour and a small brush. A great product all in all. I’m a bit bummed that I will not be able to buy another one when I run out of the one in use.

    The Sigma Tint + Tame Brow Gel in “Dark” (about 150 SEK) was another attempt at finding the perfect tinted brow gel and sadly not a product for me. Bulky packaging and the product itself was too watery. It smeared everywhere way too easily.

    Finally we have the Blueberry Eyebrow Fixing Gel in “Transparent” by Lumene (5 ml, price unknown) that I purchased at a sale and that has since been discontinued. The brand has a similar product but I do not know if it’s the same formula in new packaging or a new formula altogether. It was an ok product, nothing amazing. I am keen to try another brow gel from Lumene if they have a coloured option that would suit me.

    Miscellaneous makeup

    Kiko makes some great eye shadow sticks. This is my second shade that I have used up, the Long Lasting Stick 8 Hour No-Transfer Eyeshadow in “05 Rosy Brown” (1,6 g, 69 SEK). My favourite shade of the two was not this one but “38 Golden Taupe”, a similar but slightly different shade. That gem was used up two years ago. But both shades were great all over the lid and up in the crease, no primer needed, and serving as a base that was perfect to tap a shimmering shadow on top of. Creamy enough to be easy to blend but set down well enough to not crease extensively. And that is a great feat since I have very, very oily eyelids. I really want to repurchase “38” in the future, I miss having this type of product at hand.

    Eyeshadow Primer Potion “Anti-Aging” by Urban Decay (10 ml, 270 SEK) is ok but I do not think it’s my perfect one. As mentioned, I have seriously oily eyelids and most things crease on me at some point. This is my second tube I’ve used up and I have since tried another brand (Spoiler – it sucks!). I might purchase the UD one again in the future because I did enjoy how easy it it was to blend shadows over it, before it was completely set and therefore really popping the pigment.

    Most of my lip liners are by MAC and they really benefit from being used together with this lip primer, the Prep + Prime Lip by MAC (14 g, 185 SEK). It gives a smooth and hydrated base that I’ve also found beneficial when using a matte lipstick for a lighter application. The primer has a more balmy finish and I do prefer that over using a more glossy product. I have actually repurchased this since running out, but I did wait a while to be sure that I really missed having a lip primer at all. And I did.

    The last item of this post is actually a lipstick – the Fantastick lipstick by Linda Hallberg (26 g, 199 SEK) in “Goldstone”. Not every day one finishes a lipstick! This is an easy to throw on shade of warm pink that doubles as a cream blush. The formula is glossy in finish, a bit balmy in texture with lots of pigment. I did repurchase this specific shade and use it almost every week, but I do wish the shade was a bit more rosy, a bit more brown. A bit more like my lips but intensified. Not sure I will repurchase again.

    Wow, that was a lot of products. I’m really enjoying summarizing my consumption in this way. Highlighting what items I really use, what I actually like and why. Skincare items are naturally what I go trough most often and I love keeping track. For me, skincare is more a means to an end, unlike makeup that is a life-long passion. My skin is my canvas, the base for my makeup, so naturally I want to take good care of it. And I cant deny that I enjoy using nice skincare and trying new products, but it is not one of my interests so to speak. So spending just enough on skincare is a goal. Just enough luxury, with a little newness and pretty packaging from time to time, combined with a focus on establishing a core of values adapted to my skincare needs and preferences.

    I look forward to summarize the yearly stats after the New Year, but until then..

    Thank you for reading!

  • Makeup,  Skincare

    The used up 2019:3

    This post has been a long time coming but I’m glad to complete it. It’s a great way for me to keep track of what I use over time, how long frequent use items last and my opinions on them. I’m trying to build a staple skincare wardrobe with some core functions and therefore I’ve been actively using up what I have and evaluating what functions I would like to replace.

    I’m going to go through skincare and makeup products that were used up by me between October and December 2019. Naturally this means I started using most of these before October, they just reached their final destination during this period. Twenty products in total.

    For reference I am 38 years old with a dehydrated combination skin. My skin rarely reacts badly to products and I have no allergies.

    Skincare

    Cleansers

    Two cleansing products were finished during this period. I use the Rose Cream Cleanser by Pixi (135 ml, 279 SEK) as a first cleanse in the mornings and as a second cleanse in the evenings. It has become a bit of a staple and I keep on repurchasing. I had two tubes in my last empties post and I’ve probably used up a few during 2020. However, I’m evaluating how quickly I go through a tube compared to the price. I have a feeling it is used up fairly quickly.

    Then we have a micellar water – Sensibio H20 by Bioderma (250 ml, 100 SEK), another staple. I’ve been using it less frequently lately but still for the same purpose – a quick removal of eye makeup when I’m tired or when I have a lot to remove that my other cleansers did not completely take care of. It works well for me and does not feel drying or irritating to the eyes or immediate eye area, but worth noting is that I do not use it every day. I keep repurchasing since it is a safe bet for me. I have not felt a need to try and replace it.

    Mists

    The Hydrating Milky Mist by Pixi (80 ml, 279 SEK) is another recurring favourite and I still like the product itself but sadly not the packaging. I’ve had consecutive mister issues with this one. They usually start out fine and then after a while instead of a fine mist it just start squirting. So I’m a bit fed up with this product now. This specific bottle took some time to use up due to me disliking spraying it on my face. I will most likely never repurchase this product again.

    Nordic-C Glow Refresh Hydrating Mist by Lumene (50 ml, 129 SEK) is another fave. I use it in the mornings after cleansing, before I apply the Glow Boost Essence you will se further down in this post. Since finishing this bottle I have repurchased and I’m in the midst of finishing that new bottle.

    Serums and creams

    Niacimide 10% + Zinc 1% by the Ordinary (30 ml, 69 SEK) is what I prefer to use to make my larger pores look nicer and make them less prone to congestion. If it works that is. I used too feel like it did make a visible difference but I’ve been such a irregular user that it is hard to tell to be honest. I have repurchased this serum and will continue to evaluate its role in my skincare routine.

    This was my first try using the Marine Hyaluronics by the Ordinary (30 ml, 129 SEK) and it felt a bit meh as a hydrator. Also it’s a bit too watery for my preference, which makes it way to easy to use more product than needed. I enjoyed trying this product out but I doubt I’ll buy it again.

    A firm favourite hydrator however is still the Nordic-C Glow Boost Essence by Lumene (30 ml, 289 SEK). As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I wish the price point was lower since I go through these quite quickly but I have yet to find another hydrating essence/serum that I like as much. So I keep on buying it when there is a discount. I use it in the mornings and often layer another hydrating serum on top before finishing off with a cream. This kind of hydration sandwich have done wonders for my skin, hence why I’m so fond of this product.

    Rose Caviar Essence by Pixi (45 ml, 399 SEK) is on par with the Lumene essence. A favourite that I wish was less expensive per use. I am working through another tube as we speak and try to use as small an amount as I possibly can to make it last longer. I use this over more watery serums/essences both in the mornings and evenings.

    Age-Repair Eye Cream “Tetra-peptide & Centella” by Grown Alchemist (15 ml, 620 SEK) is another repurchase. It’s quite expensive but the tiny bottle lasts at least 6 months for me so I am justifying it for now. I also make sure to repurchase when I have a 20% or more discount code or something similar. I hydrates the eye area in a lovely way and it does not disrupt my eye makeup, which is the issue I have with so many other eye creams. I use it twice a day.

    Masks

    Nutri-Recharging Purifying Peat Mask by Lumene (75 ml, 299 SEK) is a mud mask that I used so infrequently that I can not say much about how well it works. What I can say is that enjoyed using it and I have nothing negative to say about it. The mask does not dry down completely and when removed the skin felt nice and happy. This mask does not seem to be on the market anymore so a repurchase is not in the cards.

    The Body Shop British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask (75 ml, 195 SEK) was a gift and part of a kit I received a few Christmases back. I must say I really enjoy masks by Body Shop and would like to try more. Not sure a plumping mask is the highest on my priority list when buying replacement masks but I would consider repurchasing it sometime in the future. Right now I am trying to use up all the masks I own and evaluating what specific functions I wish to have at hand as part of my skincare arsenal. I think a purifying mask and an hydrating mask is top priority to begin with.

    Makeup

    Face and base

    The Blendercleanser Solid from Beautyblender (28 g, 169 SEK) is a soap bar in a plastic container that I use for cleaning my makeup sponges. It is very practical to use on an everyday basis, but I would prefer to be able to buy the soap as a refill. I do repurchase this whenever it runs out.

    Veil Mineral Primer (30 ml, 700 SEK) by Hourglass was a splurge I made in Liberty London when the brand was not easily available in Sweden. I did love using this primer and it made a lovely canvas to apply foundation on. It has one major flaw and that is the very very steep price. The smoothing effect it gives does not really warrant the high price tag.

    This mini Strobe Cream by Mac Cosmetics (30 ml, around 100-150 SEK I think) was a spontaneous purchase when I visited the MAC Pro store in Stockholm a few years back. I was in there to check out their new synthetic brush line and saw this mini and was catapulted back down memory lane. Back to a time when this was a cult product and I loved using it mixed with my foundation or as a shiny primer. After having finished this tube I must say I enjoyed it well enough and I wish to have something similar in my collection to mix and add sheen with, but I’m probably going to try another brand.

    I’m very pleased that I have managed to finish off three foundations. I love the feeling of using up products like these. I’ve had several foundations on the go parallel to each other because I have enjoyed trying out new products. But moving forward I will stick to a more streamlined team. They run the risk of expiring or drying out and I even though I managed to use these three up before that point, other base products were not so lucky. A waste of money to be honest.

    Lumene have been a favourite for foundation for some time now and the first thing I did when the brand was new to me was buying one of each foundation type they had just to try. The Glow Foundation by Lumene (30 ml, 169 SEK) was very hard for me to love due to it being a really poor shade on me. I chose the lightest shade at the time (0, Light Ivory) and it was a tad too dark on its own and almost made me look a bit muddy and gray in the face. I did manage to use it mixed, usually with a paler shade of a heavier foundation to get a lighter formula. This specific product seems to have been discontinued and replaced with other glowing base products.

    The Lumene Blur Foundation (30 ml, 189 SEK) in 0 Light Ivory was my baby however. I loved the finish and the shade. It could be used sparingly for a light base or more heavily for a perfect canvas. It was my favourite foundation and when I ran out I bought another one. But somehow they had changed the shade from a light yellow tint to a more pink leaning shade. So I do not love it anymore since it looks slightly off on my face. Lumene has since then reformulated their foundations yet again so I do not think these specific shades and formulations exists anymore. But I’m hesitant to purchase another one before I am able to go to a store and swatch the shades IRL, but we shall see. I’m using up the tube right now so I’m good for now.

    Last up we have the Matte Foundation from Lumene (30 ml, 169 SEK), also in 0 Light Ivory. This was a very nice matte formula and it did not feel too dry or cakey in any way (mind you, I do have combination skin). The scenario is the same with this, I might repurchase if I can sample the shade range beforehand.

    And a powder by Soap and Glory bit the dust as well, One Heck of a Blot mattifying powder (9 g, £ 12). I stocked up on this lovely product when I was in London a few years back and after this one I have but the one left. I can highly recommend it if you like a translucent pressed setting powder and can get your hands on it.

    Eyes

    The Heavy Metal glitter eyeliner in Spandex by Urban Decay (7,5 ml, 230 SEK) was a well loved product. It finally dried up but there was not much product left when it did. Its final performance was at a dear friend’s wedding in October. It’s a very wearable product and I would consider repurchasing this specific product and shade again. But I have a couple of H&M glitter eye liners that I need to use up first.

    The final product of this empties post is no surprise, it’s the Clinique Lash Power mascara in Black Onyx (6 ml, 235 SEK). My go-to mascara. It’s the only one I’ve found that does not smudge on me and has a small enough brush to easily use on both my top and bottom lashes.

    To summarize I managed to finish up 8 cleansers, 5 face mists, 11 serums, 1 eye cream, 4 face creams, 3 primers with SPF, 2 masks, 2 face primers, one eye primer, 3 powders, 1 concealer, 3 foundations, 2 mascaras, 1 soap cleanser, one glitter eye liner and a brow gel. 49 products in total for skincare and makeup in 2019. If my calculations are correct, then that is around 13 000 SEK worth of products for my face that I used up. Some items were presents and some were bought at a discount, but that number is definitely worth noting. That’s an average of 265 SEK per product I use. An average of around 1100 SEK per month on consumables. Products that in many instances are replaced continuously.

    I’m planning on doing these posts bi-annually so that I can keep track on how much I spend, mainly for skincare or other frequently replaced makeup items but also to keep track of my long-term thoughts on items used. It’s been very interesting going through the numbers and thinking about how to spend my money in the future.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Makeup,  Skincare

    The Used Up – 2019:2

    Part one was posted in June but consisted of empties accumulated before we moved from Gothenburg to Kalmar in January. They were not really empties from 2019 but I wanted to record them for my own benefit. This post consists of products I have used up between January – October, a new pile of empty products to reminisce about. I as a consumer will share my thoughts on the products and our time together. Why did I buy it? Will I repurchase? If not, why?

    For reference I am almost 38 years old and I have dehydrated combination skin. I have no sensitivities or allergies.

    In the background of some of the photos you will notice my dirty towels. Apologies. The purple one is a wonderful hair turban that a dear friend gifted me for my birthday a few years back (she made it herself!). It is a true treasure. The grubby white one is a small face towel that was used to remove a clay face mask. Not the best backdrop but it will have to do.

    First up we have a bunch of cleansers. I use one cleanser in the morning and two in the evening including a balm or oil to remove my makeup.

    Elemis Nourishing Omega-Rich Cleansing Oil

    Stats: It’s an oil cleanse in a 195 ml plastic pump bottle, priced at 470 SEK.

    Thoughts: I needed a makeup remover (first cleanse) and had heard great things about this oil. I enjoyed using it but it was not L O V E, if you know what I mean.

    Repuchase? I prefer using a balm cleanser to remove my makeup and will most likely stick to that. I might consider buying it again in the future if I crave trying an oil again.

    Emma S. Melting Cleansing Balm

    Stats: A semi transparent cleansing balm in a 100 ml tube. 230 SEK.

    Thoughts: This product was quite newly released when I was on a hunt for a new makeup remover and I was excited to try it. The usage was enjoyable enough but it had one big flaw. When applied on the eyes it made my mascara a full on mess and extremely difficult to remove. I use a tubing mascara and the balm somehow made the mascara very sticky and everything I was suppose to dissolve and remove instead stuck to my eye area and I had to use a micellar water to remove it.

    Repuchase? Nope. It did not do the job.

    Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm

    Stats: A solid cleansing balm in a plastic jar. 90 ml sold for approximately 400 SEK.

    Thoughts: The smell is divine. The texture is perfect. If you can’t tell already  – I loved using this balm. It smells like fizzy (sour) candy and it removed my makeup beautifully. No stinging of the eyes did or making a gluey mess of my mascara. It became an instant favourite.

    Repurchase? I want to badly. I just wish it were a tad cheaper and sold through a Swedish retailer. It’s not a deal breaker but it did push me to try another brand when I finished this jar. Spoiler – I don’t like the new cleanser and I will repurchase Green Clean next time for sure. But next time I will use it a bit more sparingly to see how long it lasts for. I do not want to repurchase this too often.

    Pixi Rose Cream Cleanser

    Stats: Described as a comfort cleanser with Rose and Chamomile Flower. It’s a pale peachy pink mud cleanser in a tube. 135 ml priced at 279 SEK.

    Thoughts: I have enjoyed another mud cleanser by Pixi previously and was keen to try the rose one. It became an instant favourite. I love to use this as a second cleanser in the evening or as a single in the morning. I enjoy the smell, the texture and it does its job.

    Repurchase? Notice the two empty tubes in this post? I can confirm that two more tubes are already in use as we speak (a bit excessive but practical, one lives permanently in the shower) and I think I will buy another one when those are empty.

    Pixi Glow Tonic Cleansing Gel

    Stats: Described as an exfoliating cleanser with Moisclean (?) and Glycolic Acid. It’s a gel cleanser in a tube. 135 ml priced at 279 SEK.

    Thoughts: This was another newly released product when I was on the hunt for a new cleanser. You apply it to damp skin and massage for 30 seconds. I used it primarily in the mornings and it was fine, it cleansed my skin but I felt no additional benefits. My feelings ended up lukewarm. I think I prefer cleansers that are applied to dry skin and the gel texture is not a fave.

    Repurchase? No. This cleanser works fine but it’s not for me.

    Moving on to essences and serums. I use 1-2 in the morning and the evening. Hydrating serums are my jam.

    “Buffet” Multi-Technology Peptide Serum by The Ordinary

    Stats: 30 ml in a glass dropper bottle for 179 SEK.

    Thoughts: I purchased this mainly because I wanted hydration and it sounded like a nice concoction of goodies for the skin. I enjoyed using it a lot and my skin did too. After I used up my first bottle I immediately picked up another one, that is why there are two empty bottles in this round up.

    Repurchase? I have not done it yet. I stopped buying it when I read somewhere that peptides should not be used with acids including vitamin C. I use vitamin C most mornings and other acids in the evening, so if I buy it again I will have to see where I can squeeze it in. I think I will give it a go soon.

    Hyaluron-Filler Concentrate by Eucerin

    Stats: These 5 ml bottles were part of a larger kit containing 6 bottles. It is described as a concentrated anti-wrinkle serum and is priced at approximately 300 SEK (for a total of 30 ml).

    Thoughts: A bottle was in my last empties post, you can find it here, and there is no need to repeat myself too much. I did not like it but I did not want to waste the product so I used them all up.

    Repurchase? Never.

    Nordic-C Glow Boost Essence by Lumene

    Stats: A vitamin C and hyaluronic acid essence in a glass dropper bottle. I used up two full size 30 ml bottles during this time period and another one is soon empty. This product is often sold with a discount but currently the standard price point seems to be 289 SEK.

    Thoughts: It was in my last empties post and it is sill a staple of mine. It is my main vitamin c product and a great layering hydration boost. I use it in the morning and often layer another serum on top before a cream.

    Repuchase? Hell yes, I will keep this in my routine. As before, I try to buy one when there is a discount since I use it so frequently.

    Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex by NIOD

    Stats: 15 ml glass dropper bottle with a watery serum. 345 SEK. It is also sold in a 30 ml bottle.

    Thoughts: Since I did not enjoy my previous HA serum by The Ordinary I wanted to try something new. So I put this on my wish list last Christmas and I got it as a gift. A small amount went a long way but the watery consistency always made me use too much product despite my best efforts. The product was ok but I did not enjoy the smell at all, it was a bit funky.

    Repurchase? Most likely no. At this price point I would have to like it way more in order to repurchase.

    Rose Caviar Essence by Pixi

    Stats: 45 ml plastic tube containing a serum-like essence with rose and grape seed oil. It’s sold for 399 SEK.

    Thoughts: I had been eyeing this for a while and not being to sure of it’s place in my routine. But after trying it, a friend had a tube, I realised it was a lovely hydrator and a pleasure to use. I love the smell, the look and the feel of the product. I layer this on top of more watery serums both morning and evening.

    Repurchase? I already have another tube in use and I still love using it.

    Next up we have three mists. I use hydrating mists after cleansing and before serums both in the morning and evening. I also use priming/finishing mists on occasion when doing my makeup.

    Hyaluronic Plumping Mist by Balance Me

    Stats: 179 SEK for a 30 ml glass spray bottle.

    Thoughts: I received this as a gift with purchase and I enjoyed its fine mister. The product itself did not wow me in any way. The smell was not too inviting either.

    Repurchase? I do not think so.

    Nordic-C Glow Refresh Hydrating Mist by Lumene

    Stats: 50 ml plastic spray bottle sold for 129 SEK. It also comes in a 100 ml bottle. It’s hydrating and contains vitamin c.

    Thoughts: I got this from a friend whose sensitive skin reacted to it. I love it. The mist is super fine and it feels lovely on the skin. I use it after cleansing in the morning, before my Glow Boost Essence, also by Lumene.

    Repurchase? I already have another bottle in use. I think I will buy another one after that but we will see. I have got another hydrating mist (Pixi Milky Mist) that I want to use up before I buy another one. The Hydrating Accelerator by Josh Rosebrook also intrigues me and I might try that before repurchasing the Glow Refresh one.

    Fix+ by Mac Cosmetics

    Stats: 100 ml plastic spray bottle priced at approximately 200 SEK. It’s a finishing mist aimed to be used over makeup as a last step.

    Thoughts: This is an old bottle. Fix+ was a cult product way back and I used it to set my makeup, make my newly powdered face feel a little bit more worn in. This past year I’ve used it primarily to wet my brushes when applying loose pigments.

    Repurchase? Maybe. I enjoy it. It’s a practical product to have when doing makeup. I have some similar finishing sprays I will use up before but I might go back to Fix+ someday.

    I use cream moisturizers every day and I vary the type depending on what my skin needs (it’s very seasonal). I usually have one for daytime, to be used under makeup, and a heavier one for night.

    Natural Moisturizing  Factors + HA by The Ordinary

    Stats: A cream aimed solely at surface hydration in a plastic tube. 30 ml for 69 SEK. I’ve used up two tubes.

    Thoughts: I heard good things about this cream online and got it for Christmas last year (I accidently got two tubes). Luckily I really like it! It’s a great basic last step (or before sunscreen). I have used it all year except during the harshest winter months when my skin needs something more heavy duty.

    Repurchase? I already have. I only need a tiny amount each morning and it’s great value for money. I think this product will be in my routine for quite sometime.

    Renewed Hope In A Jar Dry by Philosophy

    Stats: 60 ml plastic jar for approximately 500 SEK. A lightweight cream moisturizer marketed as refreshing and refining.

    Thoughts: I was sold this cream by a shop assistant a while back when I was on the hunt for a slightly heavier cream for night time. Philosphy is not I brand I normally choose but I decided to give it a go. And I really like this cream. This jar is my second so I obviously liked it enough to buy it again.

    Repurchase? Maybe. It’s lovely but for that price my love will have to be deeper for me to stick to it for the long haul. I will try some other brands for a while and see where I land.

    Vital Balm Cream by Josh Rosebrook

    Stats: A ceramic jar containing 45 ml. A pale blue solid balm sold for 859 SEK. It contains aloe vera, plant butters, oils and herbs.

    Thoughts: I bought this last winter when I panicked. My skin freaked out for the first time when the cold hit and nothing I put on it retained its moisture. So I ended up buying this extremely expensive cream on a whim. But it saved me and my skin loved it. It worked well under makeup and the jar lasted all through the winter months. After that I still had some left and I used it on nights when my skin felt a bit extra needy. The balm turns a bit oily on application and a small amount spreads easily all over the face.

    Repurchase? It hurt my soul to pay this price but I recently bought a new jar in preparation for winter. I’ve used it on a few harsh days but only time will tell if I enjoy it as much this time around. We shall see.

    Sunscreen is a must for me and I am quite picky. Most sunscreens disturb my makeup and since I have combination skin that is an issue even before I put spf on. A priming product with spf is an appealing concept for me.

    Urban Defence Complexion Primer SPF 30 by Urban Decay

    Stats: A smoothing silicone primer in a 30 ml plastic pump bottle. I do not know the price since it has been discontinued.

    Thoughts: This was not my first bottle but sadly it will be my last. If it was still being made I would happily buy it again and again. A smoothing primer that does not pill and has a high spf, what is not to love? I’m so sad it’s discontinued.

    Repurchase? I wish I could.

    Instant Glow UV Primer SPF 30 by Lumene

    Stats: A glass dropper bottle containing a serum-like primer that leaves an oily glow on the face. Sold for 299 SEK.

    Thoughts: My aim was to replace my UD primer, to find another one with spf that worked well on my combinations skin and under makeup. I enjoyed using this product but it was not a perfect match for my skin type. It made my makeup slide around a bit too much.

    Repurchse? Most likely not unless my skin becomes drier.

    Ultra Light Daily UV Defence SPF 50 PA++++  by Kiehl’s

    Stats: 60 ml plastic tube for 445 SEK. High protection sunscreen including UVA. It’s marketed as a lightweight formula.

    Thoughts: This is not the first time I’ve used this product. I repurchased it again after I heard someone talk about how well it worked under makeup, so I gave it another go. I should have known better. It just does not work under makeup for me. I have to remember this over time so that I do not buy it again to fill that role.

    Repurchase? I say nay.

    I’m aways glad when I manage to use up makeup items. It’s so satisfying because it’s so rare.

    Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light by Mac Cosmetics

    Stats: Plastic powder compact with a small mirror in the lid. The powder is pressed and the compact contains 10 g. It is prized at 315 SEK.

    Thoughts: Firm favourite. I’ve used this for many years. Previously I’ve used it as a setting powder, but nowadays I mainly use it as a finishing powder or it’s main purpose in my life – as a touch up. It provides a slight coverage, which is perfect for retouching my makeup after a day at work. It takes care of shine and tones town any redness. 

    Repurchase? I have another compact in use right now. It fills a purpose and I have not found another product to take its place.

    Infinity Filter in Light by Linda Hallberg

    Stats: A loose setting powder in a plastic jar with a sifter. 9 g for 279 SEK. It is not completely matte, it gives some luminosity, and adds some coverage.

    Thoughts: I really like it. I used it as a setting powder in the mornings and enjoyed the finish it gave.  

    Repurchase? I have a few other powders I will use up first but it’s on my shopping list. I think it will be my only loose powder moving forward.

    Lasting Perfection Ultimate Wear Concealer in Fair 1 by Collection

    Stats: British brand that I stocked up on last time I was in London. Standard plastic packaging with a wand. Price and amount of product unknown. I remember that it was cheap and that I bought at least four.

    Thoughts: This is great. Perfect colour for me and it provides great coverage and wear. Easy to blend. If I’m ever in the UK I will buy some more.

    Repurchase? Most likely but not in a while. I have another one (my last) in use right now and I notice that it’s drying up quite quickly. Stocking up on makeup items has its downfall.

    Eyeshadow Primer Potion “Anti-Aging” by Urban Decay

    Stats: A plastic tube with a wand containing 10 ml of product. A beige but quite transparent primer. 235 SEK.

    Thoughts: Before I bought this I used the “Original” version from UD for some years. When it stopped being what I needed it to be fellow beauty lovers recommended I try the anti-aging one. The first thing that happened when I opened the product was that the wand broke. I used it up anyway and I liked it well enough.

    Repurchase? I have another tube in use so I did repurchase one, but I think I will not do it again. I have quite oily lids but my eyeshadow does not hold all that well using this primer. I will most likely try another brand next time.

    Lash Power mascara in “Black Onyx” by Clinique

    Stats: 6 ml mascara for 235 SEK. It is a tubing formula that is to be removed with warmer water.

    Thoughts: This is my love. Clinique is not usually a brand I buy from but this mascara is the best one I have found for me. I need a tubing mascara because everything else smudges on me. The brush is slim and small and makes the application effortless. It does not add much volume or anything but I enjoy the look.

    Repurchase? Oh yes, I already have. Until I find an option that will rival it’s qualities I’m not in the market for another mascara. This is the one for me.

    Perfect Eyebrows tinted brow gel in “Dark” by IDUN Minerals

    Stats: 5 ml fiber-infused tinted brow gel for 179 SEK.

    Thoughts: I colour my eyebrows on occasion to darken them. But usually I forget, so for everyday makeup looks I like to use a tinted brow gel to darken them. I was on the hunt for a cool darker brow and I had heard good things about the IDUN one. I liked it ok. The colour was good and it worked fine but the hold was no match for my stubborn brows.

    Repurchase? Most likely not. I’m currently using a version from H&M that I prefer.

    That’s all folks! Since this post sums up such a long time period my thoughts and comments are in some cases written down many months after a product was used up. My aim is to do these more frequently but life got in the way this time around.

    To sum up this edition of The Used Up there are twelve products that I would repurchase and out of those eight already have been. Three maybes, nine no’s and the one sad “I wish I could”. I enjoy trying new skincare and staple makeup items (foundation, mascara etc) but I love sticking to what I love even more.

    Thanks for reading!

    Sofia

  • Makeup,  Skincare

    The Used Up – 2019:1

    I highly enjoy reading about products that other people have used up and their thoughts on said products. In the past I have documented my own empty products more sparsely via Instagram but since I now have the possibility of being a bit more in depth with my documenting (since I have a blog these days) it will be a task I look forward to continuing in this format. I, as a consumer, sharing my thoughts on some products and our time together. Why did I buy it? Would I repurchase? If not, why?

    I had accumulated a lot of empty products, mainly skincare, before we moved from Gothenburg so I sat down and documented everything before discarding them. However, this was in January! I’ve had very little time since moving to spend on the blog so this post have had to wait a little longer to be created. I personally don’t mind but hopefully my notes will be enough since I do not have any of the packaging left.

    For reference I am 37 years old with a combination skin that is dehydrated. My skin rarely reacts badly to products and I have no allergies.

    Skincare

    Cleansers

    Purifying Gel Cleanser by Glo Therapeutics

    Stats: Purifying cleanser with salicylic acid, glycerin and yucca that should be massaged onto wet skin for 60 seconds.  It comes in a 200 ml pump bottle.

    Thoughts: This cleanser was introduced to me by a friend who gifted me a bottle for my birthday. I liked the smell and how my skin felt after using it. I used it primarily in the mornings whilst in the shower and it felt like it cleared up my skin just a little bit extra, left it smooth. It was en enjoyable experience.

    Repurchase? This was my second bottle. The first one was a gift, as mentioned, from a friend and the second one that same friend helped me purchase at a salon. When it was empty I felt an urge to try other products and moved on. No hard feelings.

    A quick google search later and it seems the company has rebranded itself and products are now marketed under the name Glo Skin Beauty. They still offer a Purifying Gel Cleanser but I do not know if it is the same formulation. I might try something else from the brand in the future. Who knows?

    Sensibio H20 Make-up Removing Micelle Solution by Bioderma

    Stats: Micellar water for sensitive skin, a quick cleanser and remover of makeup. This was a 250 ml bottle but various sizes are available. Price point for this size is as of today 95 SEK.

    Thoughts: When this cult classic became available in Sweden naturally I wanted to try it. I use it for a quick removal of eye makeup when I’m tired or when I have a lot to remove. Also I use a tubing mascara (the only type of mascara that does not smudge on me) and I find that this specific micellar water is excellent at removing it.

    Repurchase? This was not my first bottle and will not be my last. I always have a bottle on the go. I love that it does not sting my eyes nor does it feel drying around the eyes. I have tried other similar products and so far this is the one I prefer.

    Daily exfoliants

    Glow Tonic by Pixi

    Stats: 5% Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Toner. I used up a 250 ml (regular size) and a 40 ml (mini from a kit). Price point for the regular size is currently between 239-299 SEK.

    Thoughts: I use it in the evening after cleansing as a mild exfoliant (when I remember to use that is). It is in my routine because it has a cult following and I follow that hype. Seriously.

    Repurchase? My skin is happy and it looks nice but it’s hard to pinpoint what product does what to be honest. But I like the idea of doing some light exfoliation on the daily and then doing some more intense cell sloughing with a mask here and there. So yes, I have repurchased it and probably will again and again. The marketing machine works!

    Overnight Glow Serum by Pixi

    Stats: “Concentrated Exfoliating gel” with alpha hydroxy acid. A 30 ml serum in a dropper bottle with a price of 320 SEK.

    Thoughts: Bought it since I enjoy other Pixi products. However, I disliked the consistency and how it felt on my skin. I used it primarily in the evenings but to be honest since I did not enjoy using it I was very inconsistent in my usage. I finished the bottle however. Good girl!

    Repurchase? Not bloody likely. For an exfoliating fix I would prefer using a face mask now and again rather than this serum form.

    A spot of hydration

    Hyaluron-Filler Concentrate by Eucerin

    Stats: This 5 ml bottle is part of a larger kit containing 6 bottles. It is described as a concentrated anti-wrinkle serum. Price is approximately 300 SEK (for a total of 30 ml).

    Thoughts: I bought this because Caroline Hirons did a Eucerin overview and made it sound interesting to try. But I did not fall in love with this product as I had hoped. I was anticipating some serious hyaluronic acid action and ended up not liking the smell or the texture. It did nothing for my skin.

    Repurchase? It’s simply not for me. I will use up the remainder of the bottles but I’ve been avoiding using it daily since I do not care for it and I will naturally not consider it in the future.

    Glow Boost Essence by Lumene

    Stats: Essence with vitamin C and hyaluronic acid from the Valo range. This was a 15 ml mini that I got in a kit. It has the same dropper bottle as the regular size available on the market. The regular size is 30 ml and the price seems to vary a lot online and I can find it for 209 – 289 SEK.

    Thoughts: I first picked this up because the word “essence” drew me in. Now it’s a staple of mine that sinks in quickly and makes my skin feel nice and hydrated. I love the smell too. I use ut to layer hydration and it does a fantastic job.

    Repurchase? Hell yes, I always have a bottle on the go. Since I repurchase quite often I try to buy one when there is a discount because I run through quite a few bottles yearly.

    Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 by the Ordinary

    Stats: 30 ml hyaluronic acid and friends in serum form, in a dropper bottle. 89 SEK.

    Thoughts: Intrigued by the Ordinary I needed to see if this could be my new HA fix. Sadly, it is not my new favourite to use for extra hydration. It does not sink in properly into my skin and it started to pill when I layered other products on top. It did not make my skin feel hydrated, more like the opposite.

    Repurchase? What do you think? No.

    Hydrating Milky Mist by Pixi

    Stats: Mist with hyaluronic acid and black oat (?) for a “quick hydration”. 80 ml is currently priced at 223 – 279 SEK

    Thoughts: Another one from the Pixi train. I love layering hydrating products so that is what I use this mist for, both in the morning and evening. I love to spray it on straight after cleansing in the morning or after cleansing/Glow Tonic in the evening. Then I add serums and the combination works well for my skin. I also love the smell BUT.. my more recent bottles have had sprayer issues. The mist is fine for a while but then it starts to squirt in your face. We shall see if this issue continues but it’s starting to put me off the product quite a bit. That would be a shame..

    Repurchase? This product has been a staple in my skin care routine for quite a while and I have one on the go and a back-up ready. The sprayer issue will determine its fate.

    Treatment and moisture

    Precious Oil by M Picaut

    Stats: Seabuckthorne, lipo peptides and apricot are highlighted on this 30 ml dropper bottle. It’s an anti-aging serum and is priced at 699 SEK.

    Thoughts: Swedish brand M Picaut was getting some rave reviews in the beauty community and I wanted to try it for myself. As with most oils I used it mainly in the evenings. It was nice and I liked using it, but my skin does not NEED it if you know what I mean? At that higher price point it felt a bit excessive and my combination skin does not care for oils all that much in general.

    Repurchase? Might do yes, if my skincare needs change due to drier or more needy skin.

    Niacimide 10% + Zinc 1% by the Ordinary

    Stats: “High-Strength Vitamin and Mineral Blemish Formula”. A serum in a 30 ml dropper bottle for 69 SEK.

    Thoughts: I think I bought it due to what it said on the packaging about its effect on pores and impurities (I have very visible pores) when I was browsing the The Ordinary shelf at my local H&M. I use this serum primarily on my larger pores, in the center of my face, in the evening. I see quite a bit of difference in my skin texture if I use this regularly. My pores just looks nicer.

    Repurchase? Already have.

    Age-Repair Eye Cream by Grown Alchemist

    Stats: “Tetra-peptide & centella”. 15 ml pump bottle for the slight price of 620 SEK.

    Thoughts: Sadly (says my wallet) I think it’s very nice and I learned just how much I like it when I stopped using it for a while. It’s moisturizing but not greasy and it looks great under makeup. One bottle lasted me more than 6 months.

    Repurchase? It’s a bit too expensive for my taste but I have caved in and bought a new bottle. I really like it and will make an effort to repurchase only when I have a discount code.

    Hydration rescue 24H Replenishing Balm by Lumene

    Stats: This is a moisturizer from Lumenes Source (Lähde) series and a 50 ml jar is 159 – 199 SEK.

    Thoughts: Lumene does some great products and I appreciate their price point. The words “Hydration Rescue” combined with “Replenishing Balm” sold it to me. I love this as a night time moisturizer and in the winter I use it in the daytime as well.

    Repurchase? I already have a new one in use.

    Disclaimer – future me can report that I am not sure I am as smitten with the product anymore. My new jar feels different, the product not the jar itself, and I am not enjoying it as much as before. Reformulated maybe?

    Makeup

    A rare sight.. empty makeup products

    Airbrush Flawless Finish Skin Perfecting Micro-Powder by Charlotte Tilbury

    Stats: Pressed powder in the shade 1 – Fair that is currently not available through Swedish retailers. I bought mine in the CT Covent Garden store in London but there are British online retailers that ship to Sweden and it currently retails for 34 GBP.

    Thoughts: Reviews were rave and I listened. Now I can say that I too love this product. It’s a super fine pressed powder in a beautiful slim rose gold case. I use it for setting my liquid foundation/concealer in the morning and I adore the finish it gives.

    Repurchase? I have not yet but I most likely will. I wanted to use up some other powder products first and recently (since writing my initial notes for this post) I have purchased a contender from Nabla. It is a similar product in a slim compact and it has gotten great reviews. I think I will purchase the CT powder again in a few months and use them side by side to get a better opinion on how they compare.

    Legendary Brows by Charlotte Tilbury

    Stats: It is a tinted brow gel. I used the shade Super Model which is a cool dark brown. The availability is the same as for all CT products and it retails for 18,50 GBP.

    Thoughts: When I was at the CT store I willingly let the makeup artist sell me things, including this. I love how small the brush is but I was not wowed by the effect or colour payoff as to warrant the price point. It was ok but not amazing, if you know what I mean.

    Repurchase? I’m testing out cheaper options and they are performing well so most likely not. 

    Blur Foundation by Lumene

    Stats: I have the shade 0 (Light Ivory) and the tube is 30 ml. It’s marketed as medium coverage and retails at 169 – 189 SEK.

    Thoughts: I do not remember when I first bought this or why. I had probably read a nice review or two. I really enjoy using this foundation and it is my preferred one at the moment. I have been mixing this shade with a newer shade (00), especially in the winter, to get a better match to my skin tone. It is a staple in my makeup wardrobe. It can be used sparingly for a lighter coverage or built up for more coverage.

    Repurchase: I already have and will certainly continue to do so as long as it keeps working for me. A tube lasts quite a long time and I enjoy using it a lot. The price point is nice too. If I will continue to mix it with another shade will be up for evaluation since I feel like the shades have been tweaked over time. I’m not so sure I will need both moving forward, but watch this space.

    That was all for this round! Since nearly six months has passed since I took these photos I have naturally accumulated more empty products. So a round two will appear in the near future.

    Thank you for reading!

    S