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Beauty, Makeup, Reviews, Skincare

Empties #5


everythingcaila_empties_5Time for another round of empties reviews! Some of these have been mentioned multiple times before, so I’ll try to be brief 🙂

Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner | Super cheap, light conditioner with a pleasant scent (if you love tea tree, like I do). If you have really thick, coarse hair, this might not be the best for you, but my hair is pretty fine and thin, so it works great for me. I’ve gone through multiple bottles of this, and I’ve already purchased another one.

Trader Joe’s Ultra Moisturizing Hand Cream | This was a really thick hand cream, and it was great during the dry winter months, but I found it very heavily scented, and it made me queasy at times. I thought it had a wonderful texture, but I won’t be repurchasing it because of the scent.

Shea Radiance Black Soap Body Cleanser | This came in one of my Vegan Cuts boxes. I thought it was a decent body wash, but it didn’t blow me away. It had a slightly off-putting yellowy brown color and a minty, almost medicinal scent. I would not purchase the full size.

Seche Vite Top Coat | Seche Vite makes what is probably the most popular top coat in the world. It dries completely rock hard and super shiny within five minutes. The only downside is that it gets thick and gloopy if you don’t use it up quickly enough, and I had to throw this one out when it was only about half empty. I did repurchase it.

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion | This bottle lasted me forever! I always prefer unscented body lotions in a pump bottle, so this was perfect for me. Unfortunately, Aveeno is owned by Johnson & Johnson, who still support animal testing. Boo! I’ll be researching cruelty-free alternatives.

Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo | I think this has been in my last two empties posts. I really like this shampoo – it lathers and cleans my hair nicely, and I would repurchase it, but my husband doesn’t like the scent, so I’ve been trying other shampoos lately.

Kose Softymo Deep Cleansing Oil | I used this oil cleanser as a first step in my skincare routine for several months. It was excellent at removing makeup, including waterproof mascara, so I happily used up the entire bottle. When I finished it up, I wanted to try something without mineral oil, so I did not repurchase it.

Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Frizz-Free Curl Mousse | This is my second or third bottle of this mousse, and I really like it! For a while, I wasn’t sure if it gave as much definition as my old favorite, the Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Mousse, but after using that one again, I do prefer the Shea Moisture Mousse. I’m actually almost done with another bottle of this, and I will probably repurchase it.

Original BeautyBlender | Ah, the beautyblender. I convinced myself that I would never spend $20 on a tiny little sponge, but I’m so glad I finally gave in. I don’t use anything else to apply base makeup now. After this one got really beat up, I wanted to try out the Real Techniques Complexion Sponge again to see if it was really as good as I remember, and it’s soooo not. I repurchased the beautyblender asap!

Trader Joe’s Lavender Salt Scrub | I love this stuff. Always have, always will. I’ll be picking it up the next time I see it at TJ’s.

Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Conditioner | Strangely, I did not like this conditioner as much as the other two Coconut & Hibiscus products in this empties post. It was a decent conditioner, but my hate for the packaging overshadowed any love I could have had for it. When the product because about 2/3 empty, the pump completely stops working. So annoying! Shea Moisture really needs to change the packaging for their conditioners.

Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask | I repurchased this cleanser for longer than I wanted to because it’s difficult to find cleansers with benzoyl peroxide. Eventually, I knew I had to stop repurchasing it because it’s not cruelty-free. I haven’t found anything else with benzoyl peroxide to replace it, and my skin is actually doing really well. I’ve changed up my skincare a lot recently, so I may do an updated routine post soon.

Phew! That was a lot of products, and I already have more piling up! Hope you’re having a great week!



Beauty, Makeup

Wet n Wild Summer 2016 Lost in the Wild Flowers Collection

wet n wild summer 2016 lost in the wild flowers collectionWoohoo! I was finally able to find a new drugstore release before it was completely picked over! I snatched up a bunch of the new limited edition Wet n Wild Lost in the Wild Flowers collection at Walgreens recently, and I’m ready to share swatches and my first impressions.

First up: the Megaglo Multi-Sticks

wet n wild megaglo multi sticks

wet n wild megaglo multistick swatches

Left to right: Marigold Round, Light Up My High-Biscus, Carnational Anthem


These are stick highlighters/blushes that are very creamy and can be sheered out. I have worn Light Up My High-Biscus as a blush and Marigold Round as a highlighter and they are surprisingly subtle when applied with a stippling brush. I haven’t worn Carnational Anthem yet since it’s quite orange, but as I said, these can be blended out to be pretty sheer, so I may give this a go as a blush. I also think these may work as eyeshadows, but I haven’t tried that yet.

Coloricon Metallic Liquid Lipsticks


wet n wild metallic liquid lipsticks

wet n wild metallic liquid lipstick my tulips are sealed peony express coming up roses

Left to right: My Tulips Are Sealed, Peony Express, Coming Up Roses

wet n wild metallic liquid lipstick my tulips are sealed

My Tulips Are Sealed

wet n wild metallic liquid lipstick peony express

Peony Express

wet n wild metallic liquid lipstick coming up roses

Coming Up Roses

I’m not sure how I feel about these yet. First of all, they do not dry down like most liquid lipsticks. In fact, they are much more like a gloss, but they’re not gloopy or uncomfortable. I noticed that, when blotted, a lot of the color is picked up, and the micro glitter is left on the lips. The same thing happens throughout the day as they wear off. I don’t really have anything bad to say about these, I’m just not sure if they’re for me. I know metallic liquid lipsticks are a trend right now, so I wanted to try out an affordable version, but I think they look kind of weird in general, although Coming Up Roses looks the most like a normal lip color. I think I’ll try using the lighter shades on top of matte lipsticks or lip liners to add some dimension.

Megaglo Highlighting Powder

wet n wild highlighting powder crown of my canopy

wet n wild highlighting powder crown of my canopyThis is a gorgeous highlighter for deeper skin tones. It won’t work as a highlighter for me, but I could probably make it work as a blush-topper. There is a lighter shade, but unfortunately, it was sold out by the time I found the display at Walgreens. I think I’ll give this one a go as an eyeshadow. The formula is super glowy without large chunks of glitter.

I didn’t swatch the two Megalast nail polishes because my nails were already painted, but the two colors I picked up are Poppy Culture (the orange) and Cherry Blossom On Top (the pink). I love Wet n Wild nail polishes, and these two colors are super bright and perfect for summer. I believe there were two other colors, a purple and a green, but I don’t really like either of those on my nails, so I didn’t purchase them.

Wet n Wild has been killing it this year. I’ve picked up so many things I’ve grown to love from the brand since January. I hope you found my swatches helpful, and let me know what you think of this collection!

Beauty, Skincare

Two Eye Masks: Petitfée Black Pearl & Gold Hydrogel Eye Patches & Kracie Hadabisei Eye Zone Intensive Wrinkle Care Pack



eyemask2I consider my under-eyes to be a “problem area”. I have pretty extreme dark circles and “troughs”, and I feel like they make me look a lot older than I really am. I’m trying to accept that they’re genetic, and I probably won’t be able to improve their appearance. The most I can do is slow the aging process, and I recently tried out two Asian eye masks to do just that.

Petitfée Black Pearl & Gold Hydrogel Eye Patches

Petitfée Black Pearl & Gold Hydrogel Eye PatchIngredients: Water, Glycerin, Calcium chloride, Butylene Glycol, Ceratonia Siliqua Gum, Xanthan Gum, Carrageenan, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Mineral Oil, Alcohol, Synthetic fluorphlogopite, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Peat Water, Sodium Hyaluronate, Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water, Chamaecyparis Obtusa Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Gold 0.0001%, Pearl Extract 0.01%, Betaine, Allantoin, Disodium EDTA, Triethanolamine, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Artemisia Vulgaris Extract, Citrus Junos Fruit Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethyl Hexanediol, Citrus Grandis Seed Extract, Bambusa Textilis Stem Extract, Pinus Palustris Leaf Extract, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Fragrance

The black pearl and gold powder are supposed to improve circulation around the eyes and give a brightened, glowy effect. The various extracts are supposed to rejuvenate the skin. After using these several times, I can say they had no effect other than being slightly moisturizing immediately after use. I stopped using these after 7-8 nights because I felt that the skin around my eyes looked even drier in the morning than before I had started using these. Some other things to note: these have a very heavy floral fragrance. If you keep these in the fridge, they are especially refreshing. I found that the eye patches themselves were quite slippery and tended to droop down my face, so I had to constantly adjust them, and the essence got all over my entire face.

When I looked these up on CosDNA, I was surprised by the ingredient list. It contains five different parabens for preservatives, yet the packaging says these are only good for two months after opening.

Would I recommend these? Definitely not. I’m not sure why these were so ineffective, even for moisturization. Maybe it’s the alcohol that’s pretty high on the ingredient list or the heavy fragrance?

Kracie Hadabisei Eye Zone Intensive Wrinkle Care Pack

Kracie Hadabisei Eye Zone Intensive Wrinkle Care PackIngredients: Water, DPG, glycerin, ethanol, PEG-75, palmitate, Royal Jelly extract, hyaluronic acid, lemon, maltitol, peg-60 hydrogenated castor oil, polysorbate 20, methyl gluceth-20, sodium citrate, xanthan gum, BG, citric acid, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben

These were the second of the two eye masks I tried, and I admit I had much higher hopes for these because they actually contain retinol and hyaluronic acid, and they are unscented. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to test these out over a longer period because after one use, I woke up with tiny whiteheads under my eyes the next morning, ugh. I think I gave these three chances, but each time, I woke up with the same tiny white pimples. As for the fit of these eye patches, I honestly preferred the PetitfĂ©e hydrogel ones. These fit much better under my eyes at first, but after a couple minutes, it felt like they almost shrunk onto my skin, and when I needed to adjust the placement, they tugged a lot.

I’m not sure why these broke me out. The CosDNA analysis shows that corn oil is a potential acne trigger, so that’s my only guess. Would I recommend these? They do have great reviews everywhere I’ve seen, and they are pretty affordable*, at around $11 for 30 pairs. If these hadn’t broken me out, I would definitely have liked to try them out for a full month.

I’m disappointed that my first two eye masks were both duds. I would love your recommendations on other eye masks or eye creams, I’ll try anything!

*affiliate link

Beauty, Skincare

Aromatica Rose Absolute First Serum

aromatica rose absolute first serumFor Christmas, my husband surprised me with a box full of goodies from Peach and Lily, a Korean beauty store in Queens. Out of all the products, the Rose Absolute First Serum from Aromatica interested me the most. First of all, I love anything rose-scented, and secondly, it’s organic and cruelty-free – not super common in Korean brands, from my research. I’ve been using this for a good three months, and I’m ready to share my thoughts. Let’s get into it:


Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Propanediol, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Betaine, Rosa Damascena Bud Extract, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Polyglyceryl-10 Myristate, Panthenol, Phenethyl Alcohol, Sodium Carbomer, Levulinic Acid, Sodium Levulinate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Allantoin, Malva Sylvestris(mallow) Extract, Mentha Piperita(peppermint) Leaf Extract, Primula Veris Extract, Alchemilla Vulgaris Extract, Veronica Officinalis Extract, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Adenosine

According to CosDNA, there are no acne triggers or irritants, and the ingredients are all a 1-3 (out of 9, 9 being the worst) for long-term safety. I can attest to this being super gentle and non-irritating.

How I use it

I apply this after letting my tretinoin sink in for 10-15 minutes. I shake out a dime-sized amount onto my fingers and gently pat onto my skin. I find that it’s more than enough for my entire face and neck. After letting it sink in for a few minutes, I follow up with CeraVe PM moisturizer.


The consistency is slightly thicker than water. I wouldn’t say that it’s a gel because it’s pretty runny, but it’s definitely thicker than a straight-up liquid. Here you can see how it looks right from the bottle, patted onto the skin for 10 seconds, and then after 30 seconds:

aromatica rose serum swatch

Straight out of the bottle

aromatica rose serum swatch

Patted onto the skin for 10 seconds

aromatica rose serum swatch

Patted onto the skin for 30 seconds

Although it’s subtle, you can see the brightening and moisturizing effect.

Other thoughts

This serum is marketed as hydrating and anti-aging, and with aloe and niacinamide being the first and fourth ingredients, I think it lives up to the claims. I’ll confess that during January and February, when I was dealing with several horrible skin issues, namely breakouts due to clindamycin and extreme dryness from tretinoin, I wasn’t sure if this was doing anything for me. Whenever I cut this out of my nighttime skincare routine, however, my skin would be extra dry in the morning, most noticeably around my mouth where I struggle the most with flaky skin. Even now that the weather is finally getting warmer and it’s not super dry, I still see more dryness in my skin on mornings after skipping this product. Niacinamide is supposed to help with red marks left behind by acne, but I can’t say that this serum helps at all with mine. For me, the main benefit is hydration, and I don’t think I can be without this in the cold, dry months.

It costs $39 for 100ml. I’ve been using it for over three months, usually twice a day, and I still have over half the bottle left. I think if I continue to use this, it would probably last me through August.

I think this is a great serum if you’re looking for something that’s gentle, soothing, and hydrating that will brighten your skin and help with anti-aging. If you want a serum to fade red marks or clear up acne, I think there are better products out there, as this one is almost too gentle.

Have any of you used the Rose Absolute First Serum? I’d love to know your thoughts!

Beauty, Makeup

Mini Jordana haul & mini reviews

Jordanahauljordanahaul3jordanafabubrowLet me tell you the story of my quest to get my hands on the new Jordana Sweat Cream Matte Liquid Lip Colors. A couple months ago, on a blog or on Instagram, I saw that Jordana was releasing liquid lipsticks. I was super excited…Jordana is a cruelty-free company, and I wanted to try an affordable liquid lipstick before I sprung for one from Kat Von D or Anastasia. I went all over New York City to every Walgreen’s I could find, and I found exactly one shade in neon pink. I didn’t get it because I never have, and probably never will, wear hot pink lipstick. That was the only one I could find in person or online, for probably six to eight weeks, until I saw the announcement on Nouveau Cheap that Jordana had revamped their website and put up all the new products for purchase.

I hopped onto their site and placed an order for six items, including two shades of the liquid lipsticks, enough to qualify for free shipping. After receiving no confirmation email for a few days, I called the company and they informed me that they did have my order, and everything would be shipping out soon. After another couple of days, still with no email, I checked my order status on the site, and my total was now showing about $5 less than it was before, and my order now had only five items instead of six. I compared my original receipt with the new one, and sure enough, one of the lipsticks wasn’t on my order anymore, so I called Jordana again, and they informed me that one of the lipsticks I had ordered (Tiramisu) was out of stock and wouldn’t be shipping out to me. If I wanted it, I would have to place another separate order sometime in mid-April. Okay, whatever, things happen, they’re a small company, and they had just updated their site. I also wasn’t charged for shipping and the very nice woman I spoke to said if I placed an order for just the lipstick when they were back in stock, I could call her, and she would waive the shipping fee on that order as well. A few days later, my order was delivered – I finally had my hands on the Jordana Sweet Cream Matte Liquid Lip Color in Crème Brulee! We had maybe a week or ten days together…it was nice. I really liked the color, and the formula wasn’t bad either. Then, this past Friday, I was robbed at work, and the thief took my purse, which had two lipsticks in it. One was The Balm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Liquid Lipstick in Charming, and the other one was, you guessed it, the Jordana Liquid Lipstick in Crème Brulee.

Despite losing about $1100 worth of personal belongings, I’m particularly angry about losing that $5 lipstick, as ridiculous as it sounds. I may tell the story of what happened to me last Friday, but for now, let’s stick with some mini reviews, starting with the liquid lipstick:

Sweet Cream Matte Liquid Lip Color in Crème Brulee | I found this liquid lipstick to be comparable to its counterpart from The Balm. I do think the Meet Matt(e) Hughes are better in terms of staying power, but in all other areas they are pretty similar. I can’t comment on the other shades from Jordana, but Crème Brulee dries down about one shade darker than it applies. It has a sweet scent that I can’t quite place (made more difficult by the fact that I’m no longer in possession of it). It dries down completely matte, but it isn’t uncomfortable on the lips. It transfers slightly while drinking, and after eating, I do think it’s necessary to reapply since it wears down quite a bit in the center of the lips. Thankfully, it’s easy to reapply a new layer on top of the product already on your lips. It does emphasize lip lines, and it will start to form a gross white line in the center of your lips after several hours if you don’t check on it periodically. All in all, I think these are great for $5, and I desperately want to try more colors.

Made to Last Eyeshadow Primer | An eyeshadow primer is an eyeshadow primer is an eyeshadow primer. I’ve used a few throughout the years, and I’d be lying if I said I could tell much of a difference between any of them. Maybe I have low-maintenance eyelids, but I’ve never really had any issues with any primers, from the Urban Decay Primer Potion to the Wet n Wild Photo Focus, and they all seem to work great for me, this one included! I can’t think of anything bad to say about it!

Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara | While I don’t think this is a bad mascara, it’s probably my least favorite thing from my mini haul. The formula is very wet, which means it weighs my lashes down, and it doesn’t hold much of a curl. However, it is volumizing, so if that’s your thing, you’ll like this mascara. Plus, it’s only $4!

Made to Last Liquid Eyeshadow in Forever Sand | I already have two of these, but I wanted to pick up this shade because Tati raved about it. Maybe I have to work with it a little more, but I found this one to be kind of streaky and uneven compared to the other two shades I have. I do think the color is beautiful and very flattering on me, though. Check out a swatch in the picture below.

jordana creme brulee and forever sand

Left: Sweet Cream Liquid Lip Color in Crème Brulee. Right: Made to Last Liquid Eyeshadow in Forever Sand

Fabubrow Shape & Set Gel | Brow gel isn’t an everyday necessity for me, but I have liked using them in the past. This one is great! It gives my brow hairs a tiny bit more definition, and it sets them in place without feeling the least bit crunchy. I tried using it alone, without filling in my brows with my Brow Wiz, and while I don’t think I’ll be giving up filling in my brows any time soon, it’s a good option for super lazy or minimal makeup days.

Hopefully sometime soon, I’ll get to try more of the liquid lipsticks, not to mention replace my phone and other belongings. Right now, I’m trying to take my mind off of everything by taking a little time from work and playing with makeup 🙂


Beauty, Caila's Favorites

March Favorites

tarte amazonian clay 12 hour foundation, the balm meet matt(e) hughes, cosrx acne pimple master patch, nars creamy radiant concealerHappy April everyone! March was a busy month, but it didn’t stop me from picking up a few new things, including my new holy grail concealer!

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation | This is my favorite foundation for when my skin is behaving. I find that when I’m dealing with dry, flaky skin, this base tends to accentuate it. Fortunately, I’ve had pretty good skin this month (fingers crossed it stays that way), and this foundation makes everything look even better.

Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch | I know I just said I had pretty good skin throughout March, BUT when I did have a couple small pimples a few weeks ago, I slapped some of these guys on, and the next morning, they looked 75% better. Acne-prone people need to get on the hydrocolloid bandage train ASAP. These little patches help protect wounds from bacteria (and causing further infection), draw out all the “gunk” from the breakout, and, in my experience, speed up the healing time dramatically. I don’t think I can be without these from now on.

The Balm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Liquid Lipsticks | I wrote a whole post about the shade Committed, and I mentioned at the end of it that I had already picked up another color. I ended up getting the shade Charming, which is a deeper version of Committed, and I’ve been wearing both of them off-and-on for weeks. I used to think that liquid lipsticks weren’t for me, but I’ve found that I’ve been wearing lipstick more since I’ve gotten these. I think the fact that I don’t really have to worry about the product smudging or getting on my teeth is what makes these so great for me.

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer | Possibly the most popular concealer of all-time? After years of hearing literally every blogger and Youtuber rave about it, I finally have my very own! I got it in Vanilla, and it’s a perfect match. It’s very full-coverage, so I do have to be careful not to apply too much, or it can look a little cakey by the end of the day. Other than that, I think this is the best concealer I’ve ever used. Don’t you love it when a product lives up to the hype?!

What products have you been loving lately?