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.


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!

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