Makeup,  Skincare

The Used Up 2023:2

Yet another year has passed and THEN SOME, and it is time to do the second and last instalment of the Used Up. We are well into 2024 at this point but in this post I will look back a bit and go through all of the makeup and skincare items that were used up by me during the second half of 2023, July through December. In that period I managed to finish a total of 20 items and out of those 9 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’ve always had combination skin that is prone to dehydration. But I am noticing my skin changing a lot because of ageing (I’m 42 now) 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, but my skin is less oily and a bit more sensitive now. I only react badly to products on occasion and I still have not discovered any ingredient related allergies.

Let’s dive in!


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 or the balm again. I usually have 2-3 cleansers in action at any given moment.

Let’s start with an odd one. This is the battered tube of the Hydrating Milky Cleanser (135 ml, 279 SEK) by Pixi. This is my first tube of this specific cleanser and I’ve had it for several years. The product is not milky as the name suggest, but more a cross between solid and a cream. Very odd. I’ve tried to illustrate it with the below pictures.

If I add a bit of water is dissolves easily and if I add a bit more it foams a lot so you only need a teeny tiny amount to cleanse the whole face. But it was not what I envisioned when I bought what is described as a cream cleanser. The information on the tube says it should be massaged onto skin, but nowhere does it say to add water in any way. And this “cream” is not possible to massage onto skin without water in my opinion. I tried and failed. So the cleanser worked well but not in the way it is marketed. A bonus is that it lasted for a really long time, but I do not think I will buy it again. I prefer balms and actual creams over foam.

Then we have the recurring cleanser favourite. I purchased the Golden Amber Probiotic Cleansing Balm (125 ml, 399 SEK) by M Picaut when it was released and posted my thoughts on it in The Used Up 2022:1. My feelings have not wavered since then and I repurchase whenever I run out. It is just lovely!

Toner & mists

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

The Glycolic 7% Toning Solution from The Ordinary (240 ml, 174 SEK) was my replacement for the Pixi Glow Tonic as mentioned in The Used Up 2020:1. I had used the Pixi one for so long that I wanted to try something new and I was curious about the one from the Ordinary. The bottle lasted me three years but I was very infrequent in my use, even more than I hade been with the Pixi Glow Tonic. I think I just found it less pleasant to use, a bit too harsh on my skin upon application. I have since finishing this bottle picked up a replacement from Josh Rosebrook instead.

I tried the The Collagen Tonic by Pixi (100 ml, 179 SEK) for the first time in 2021. A spontaneous purchase that I enjoyed using a lot more than anticipated. When I ran out I swiftly purchased a new bottle. 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 nice hydration sandwich! I have another bottle in use currently. The product is available in a 250 ml bottle as well.

The Hydrating Accelerator by Josh Rosebrook (100 ml, 399 SEK) is an old favourite that I managed to track down again at Swedish reseller Caeleste. This time I noticed that the bottle size had changed. It used to be available in 60 ml and 120 ml, but now only a 100 ml was available (at the same price point as the previous 120 ml). I still love to use this and would love to repurchase but it is out of stock currently and has been for a while. I hope it returns.

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.

For hydrating serums we have two new items for me. First we have the Centella Uncented Serum by Purito (60 ml, 250 SEK at the time of purchase). I wanted to try a more inexpensive serum and chose this one on a whim whilst buying some sunscreen at last year. I found that it worked nicely as a hydrator but I did not enjoy the thicker texture (thicker than what I was used to) or the smell (unscented). I did not care for the plastic bottle either, but the pump worked just fine. This specific product has since been reformulated and has new packaging. I have liked the sunscreens I have tried from Purito and I can see myself trying the new version of this serum in the future.

Then we have a more luxurious option from Josh Rosebrook, the Hydrating Boost Concentrate (30 ml, 785 SEK). The serum was on the more watery side of a serum but it was easy to apply nonetheless. A nice hydrator. I found this serum generally pleasant to use but I used it up way to quickly to warrant the price tag. At that price point the product would have to wow me even more than it did. I really like Josh Rosebrook as a brand and think it is a nice treat to try his products from time to time but the only product I return regularly at this point is the Hydrating Accelerator.

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 Hyper Real SkinCanvas Balm from MAC (50 ml, 660 SEK at the time of purchase) was a pleasant surprise. I bought the balm and the accompanying serum, with a discount, close to the launch in 2023. I liked both products a lot but the serum was more suited to my skin type. I used the SkinCanvas Balm mainly as night cream in the warmer months and then as a day cream when winter came along. My skin enjoyed it a lot. It has a very pleasant scent and the jar is very beautiful and luxurious. I might purchase this again in the future as a treat if I get a discount.

I picked up the 24 H Repair Cream by Acasia Skincare (50 ml, 395 SEK) in 2021 and I’ve struggled to use it up ever since. It was difficult to apply and did not want to sink in. When it did my skin felt dry but with a film on it. I think this is a classic case of a product that is not meant for me, but works well for others with different skin types than mine. I’ve read good things about this cream from people with dry skin. So this is a big NO from me. I used it up only by using it on my hands at night and it was not the best experience either.

The Retinol Eye Cream by Pixi (25 ml, 339 SEK) was a nice eye cream that took me a long while to use up. Only a little bit was needed to hydrate the skin around my eyes. However I was hesitant to use it during the day because of the retinol even though the product information does not advise any caution. Retinol can cause sun sensitivity and my skin is a bit prone to that. So I used it mainly at night. I enjoyed the product but I am currently using an eye cream without retinol for convenience. I cannot be bothered to have two.


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 Glow Mud Mask by Pixi (45 ml, 279 SEK) was a nice mask for days when I wanted a “pick me up” and clear impurities. The product seems to only be available in 40 ml at the moment, so something has changed, but the price point is the same. I got 16 uses out of this tube (full-face) and I would consider buying it again in the future.

Base makeup

Hollywood Flawless Filter in 1 (left) and Hydrating Camo Concealer in Fair Warm (right)

I received the Hollywood Flawless Filter by Charlotte Tilbury (10 ml, 580 SEK) as a birthday present a few years back and have used it on and off since then. My favourite way to use it is to mix it with a green colour corrector and apply it as a priming base before foundation or concealer. This is the lightest shade (1 Fair) but it is still too dark for me. If CT came out with a lighter and more neutral shade I would consider repurchasing since I love the finish it gives. It gives the skin a little slip as well and I found that other base products applied beautifully over it.

The Hydrating Camo Concealer by Elf (6 ml, 89 SEK) worked ok for me but the shade (Fair Warm) was too dark and peachy. I did not like it under my eyes since it looked cakey and creased so instead I used it to even out my skin tone in other places. It still had the tendency to settle in my pores and fine lines so I doubt I will buy it again even if they would create a shade that would suit me better. Elf is a bit difficult to get a hold of in Sweden so that also turns me off a bit.

Then we have the usuals, two tubes of the HD Studio Photogenic Concealer (3 g, 109 SEK) by NYX in the shade Green (CW12). I have enjoyed using this formula for a long time now and it is an integral part of my makeup routine. I use it as a mixer with most of my base products to neutralise the redness of my face but also to adjust shades so that they are closer to my skin tone. This specific product seems to be out of stock in a lot of places and I wonder if they are discontinuing it. NYX has released the Pro Fix Correcting Concealer in a bunch of shades including a green so maybe that is a replacement but in a different formula. We shall see..

Then we have the Skin Hero Blur Powder from BeautyAct by Kicks (8 g, 229 SEK) that I had heard great things about so I picked it up in Translucent. I was looking for a replacement for my Charlotte Tilbury powder but this was not it. It made my foundation look darker and I needed to use quite a lot to get the desired effect and then it just ended up looking cakey. I disliked the packaging and the scent as well. I used it up but reluctantly. Not a powder for my taste and needs obviously.

Mascara & brows

Yet again we have the recurring favourite Relevée Mascara (6 g, 320 SEK) by Surratt Beauty. I have used it since 2020 but in 2024 have I started to dabble with other brands of tubing mascaras. Relevée is lovely to work with but it smudges on me. Not as much as a regular mascara, no way near, but enough to make me start looking at other options.

Miscellaneous makeup

I am always pleased when I manage to use up a lip product before it goes off. I bought two shades of the Lisa Eldridge Gloss Embrace Lip Gloss (4,5 ml, £18 at the time of purchase) in 2020, Blush and Muse. Both shades are great in theory but they are very subtle on my lips. My lips are not very pigmented in themselves so Muse is a barely there shade and Blush gave a slight depth. I just prefer a bit more oomph on my lips. Not to mention that I am not a gloss person, I prefer balms. I do like this nourishing formula and used the glosses primarily on my lips as a treatment. The pigmented formula and the large applicator also made them a bit messy to apply to my thinner lips. I always have to dab a tiny bit in the centre of my lips and then spread it out in a thin layer with a finger. I love Lisa Eldridge products in general but this one is not perfect for me, I have to fuss a bit too much for my liking. That said I have bought more shades after using up these two. Lisa always creates intriguing shades and her latest drop of the Gloss Embrace shade extension had me wanting more despite the above mentioned issues with the product. I think objectively is is a great product with lovely packaging, a large and stunning shade range, different pigment levels and a reasonable price point. It might just not be a favourite of mine.

The Eyeshadow Primer by Milani (8 ml, 179 SEK) was another surprise miss. I had heard so many people rave about it online but it was just ok. I have very oily eyelids and at this point I have almost given up on finding eye primers that I like. The longevity was not great with the Milani one. I also prefer the Urban Decay Anti-Aging one since it is so easy to blend eyeshadows on top of.

2023 empties wrap-up

I few years back I started looking at the total items in each category and divided them into more accurate sub-categories to track how I consume a specific type of product and comparing the numbers to previous years. This year I will present it slightly differently. Instead of specifying numbers for previous years in this post I will do that tracking privately, since it is mainly for my own benefit. Old stats are available in previous posts for anyone curious. Any interesting patterns I find will be mentioned in this post, of course.

A note on this type of summary: 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.

To summarise 2023 I managed to use up: 5 cleansers, 2 toners, 2 face mists, 6 essences/serums, 1 eye cream, 3 face creams, 4 masks, 1 spot treatment, 2 concealers, 4 colour correctors, 1 face primer, 1 powder, 1 mascara, 1 eye primer and 2 lip glosses. That is a total of 36 skincare and makeup products worth around 12 000 SEK if purchased at full price.

The trend this year was my tendency to use up fewer product overall but the average cost per item is higher. So my choice of more expensive items is shining through, the same theme as in 2022. I’m still good at using up the skincare items that I buy before they go bad and rarely throw skincare bits out due to old age. A trend I hope to keep up in the coming years. My prediction of last year of many empty masks was fulfilled, a task years in the making. Nothing else really stands out except the fact that I obviously need to change my mascara a bit more often.

Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.