Empties, volume 2 (featuring Balea, Catrice, KIKO, The Body Shop, Tarte, and more…)

Hi everyone!

Welcome to the second installment of my “Empties” posts! I have accumulated quite some crap, so let’s not waste any time and get right into it:


As you see, there is a lot to talk about. To make it easier, I will split the post into Skin Care and Makeup products.

Makeup Products

1. Catrice eyebrow filler

Catrice eyebrow filler

My brows and I have an odd relationship….On the one hand, I think they are already full and quite ok-shaped, so there is no need to fill them in. On the other hand, I find myself constantly being tempted to buy brow products. My most recent wish was to buy an Anastasia Dipbrow pomade…Thank god, I realized on time that that would be a mistake! I’d spend a lot on something, I’d just never use.

I’ve mentioned before that when I take close-ups, especially for the blog, I do fill my brows and I use the Catrice powder duo for that. It works really well, the colour is great and the final result looks pretty natural. However, for everyday purposes, I still find it too much and too heavy. My perfect in-bewteen solution turned out to be the Catrice eyebrow filler.  Basically, it’s a mascara for your brows. It has a mid- dark brown, quite taupe-y colour and comes with a spoolie (just like a mascara). The price was around €3,50 (or something in that range, affordable anyway).

At first, I didn’t get along with this product. I just combed it through my brows and it wasn’t doing anything for me, than just keep the hairs in place. So, that’s what I used it for for a while..but then I discovered another strategy. I started using the very tip of the spoolie, where the most product sits, to apply the colour on the brows, and then comb then into shape. Does that make sense? Anyway, it made all the difference…It fills in nicely the bold spots, gives some colour, and keeps the hairs nicely in place. And all that, without being too overwhelming. The result is very natural, but still somewhat neater-looking brows.

I repurchased this product 🙂

2. KIKO Ultimate eyeliner pen

KIKO eyeliner pen_1 KIKO eyeliner pen_2

I love this eyeliner pen! I cannot believe that it only cost me €3,50! It’s definitely better than the Catrice and Essence versions I have tried. The colour is really black, the tip of the eyeliner is just the perfect length and width and it doesn’t bend too easily, giving you loads of control when winging it. Just perfection!!!

Mine is not completely used up yet, but I can feel that it’s getting there. During my next visit to KIKO, I will definitely stock up on this baby!

3. Hema makeup base

Hema makeup base

The Hema makeup base is the first of these types of products that I have every tried. It’s a quite ok product. It mattifies, smooths and has a slightly cooling feeling upon application. It definitely does not feel as the more silicone-rich bases…so if you are not a fan of the silicone feel, this may be a good product for you to try. The price is €3,50. Foundation and bb cream go slightly better over this base. It doesn’t really protect you from shining for too long (4-5h tops…longer on colder days) but then again, what really does?!

I am using a Korean makeup base now, the Innisfree no sebum mineral primer. That one feels a lot more silicone-rich. I will probably review it later on.

And that was it for the makeup products I have used up lately. Let’s proceed to:

Skin Care Products

1. Balea shaving foam

Balea shaving foam

I didn’t expect to like this as much as I did. First of all, when I bought it, in April, I didn’t think it would last me 3 months. It did! And mind you, I use it daily. The product comes out as a white foam, very fluffy…supposedly it contains Argan Oil, and NO: parabens, silicones, mineral oil. If you are afraid of those, this is your shaving foam. It has a very slight, pleasant scent. The price is €1,60, I believe. You can find it in dm.

I repurchased this too 🙂 it is so much cheaper compared to my previous favourite, Gillette.

2. Etude House HAPPY fresh foam Witch Hazel 

Etude House cleanser

This is a Korean face wash, which contains the allegedly good-for-acne-prone skin witch hazel. I bought it online (ebay, around 6-7$). The product is not a foam…more like a really gentle scrub/cleanser. Mostly, it is a cleanser, but it contains micro particles, which exfoliate too. It leaves you with s squeaky-clean face. It does not dry the skin out…I use it daily, even twice a day on occasion.

Again, I have a re-stock of this, so me likey 😉 Generally, I have a good experience with Korean face wash products, and intend on trying more in the future. I use the Missha Strawberry Latte, and also love it.

3. The Body Shop Chocomania body butter

Body shop butter

Not much to say here….I have previously expressed, even rhymed!, about my undying love for TBS body butters. This one makes no exception. A very thick and rich butter to hydrate your skin in the winter. It smells divine!

I have a bunch of others now…around X-mas I got two gift cards for the Body Shop, and every time they have a 50% off sale, I am there hoarding body butters LOL. And other things…

4. The Body Shop Aloe Calming Facial Cleanser

Body Shop aloe vera cleanser

This is rated among the best TBS products. It is aimed at sensitive skin (which I don’t have), but it was very cheap at the time, and I needed a new makeup remover. It has milky consistency, removes makeup quite well (even the black Inglot gel liner, which is a bitch and needs some more work to take off). It’s very gentle on the skin, so I can imagine why people with sensitive skin would benefit from it.

I purchased the Camomile waterproof eye/lip makeup remover (to make my life easier when removing eyeliner), but have not tried it yet. I hear good things about the camomile line in general, so it seems promising.

5. Himalaya Herbals Apricot scrub

Himalaya apricot scrub

This is a facial scrub, which I use once a week for a more thorough exfoliation. It’s a fairly rough scrub in the sense the exfoliating particles are a little bigger and may feel rough to some people. I have never had issues with it irritating my skin. I do not recall the price, but Himalaya products are quite affordable and considered “natural”, whatever that means.

I have another scrub from Alverde now, since I like to mix it up a bit. Nevertheless, overall, I am a fan of Himalaya products.

6. Tarte Pure Maracuja oil

Tarte maracuja oil

I talked about this oil in my Let’s Talk Skin Care series (part 3). I praised it and I am so sad that my baby bottle is gone. It did take me a good 3-4 months to use it up, but now it is really finished…I smeared the last drops of it on my face last night. “Farewell, lovely Tarte Maracuja oil! I will never forget you!!!”

Maracuja (= passion fruit oil) is a very light-weight oil which, among other things, is rich in vitC…so it brightens up the skin very visibly. I applied this on my face every eve before my Olaz 7 in 1 Total effects cream. Loved the result!

I have really gotten into plan oils for skin/hair care. Argan oil is very good for dry eye area, and dry hair.  I did not find passion fruit oil around here, so after some research, am now going to try grapeseed oil. It’s the closest one in terms of lightness and it is recommended for use on problematic skin because of its anti-septic abilities. We shall see….

Well this post really turned out to be quite long. Done! 🙂

What did you use up lately? Is there something you’d recommend?



Let’s talk SKIN CARE! Part 3

Hello again!

So, after 2 long long posts about skin care (here and here)…prepare for another one hahaha but also, the last one in this series. For now anyway!

I have a few more products in my skin care routine that have proven useful and I’d like to share my experience with them 🙂

Let’s go on with The Body Shop and their Vitamin C microdermabrasion:

vitC micrderm abrasion TBS

This is basically a gentle face scrub. When applied on the skin, you feel many, many micro beads which gently exfoliate the skin without irritating it. Personally, I don’t have sensitive skin, so also the more “aggressive” scrubs do the job well for me.

That being said, I do enjoy the tender touch of this product a lot. I normally use it in the end of my shower, as a final cleansing step, and the frequency varies between 2-3 to 4-5 times a week…depending on whether I remember to exfoliate or not hehe.

I do like this scrub, despite the fact that for the most part, it’s just a generic cosmetic mash of ingredients:


Water (Solvent/Diluent), Solum Diatomeae (Abrasive), Glycerin (Humectant), Aluminum Silicate (Exfoliant), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil (Skin-Conditioning Agent), Dimethicone (Skin Conditioning Agent), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) (Skin-Conditioning Agent/Emollient), Cetearyl Alcohol (Emulsifier), Glyceryl Stearate (Emulsifier), Phenoxyethanol (Preservative), PEG-100 Stearate (Surfactant), Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer (Stabiliser/Viscosity Modifier), Polysorbate 60 (Surfactant), Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Antioxidant), Xanthan Gum (Viscosity Modifier), Fragrance (Fragrance), Sodium Hydroxide (pH Adjuster), Disodium EDTA (Chelating Agent), Linalool (Fragrance Ingredient), Limonene (Fragrance Ingredient), Myrciaria Dubia Fruit Extract (Skin-Conditioning Agent), Citral (Fragrance Ingredient).

Again, much like with the tea tree lotion I discussed in part 2, the main component that is being marketed here, namely vitamin C, is standing somewhere in the middle of the ingredient list. I don’t know if they rely on the notion that most people will simply not know that magnesium ascorbyl phosphate is actually vitC, or that we won’t notice….No idea! Whatever the case, I would have liked vitC to me a more prominent ingredient in this exfoliant.

Also, I am not quite sure whether vitC can really penetrate the skin…I do remember getting this procedure at the beautician salon with vitC…ionophoresis, I think. She used a special technique to introduce vitC into my skin.

So, am I simply washing the vitC in this scrub off of my face under the shower? I don’t know…

In any case, this exfoliant doesn’t do harm, and it seems like my skin looks brighter lately, so I will give it the benefit of the doubt 😉

Once a week, and for me that’s always on Sunday (my beatifying day…do you have one too?), I treat myself with a face mask:

face masks

Discovering this brand – Montagne Jeunesse – was also a random event. I needed a face mask…wanted to try something new…and I saw chocolate on the package. Done deal!

After the chocolate one, I tried a number of other face masks from this brand and loved most of them. The only one I did not enjoy was the self-warming fudge mask, which irritated and prickled my skin.

Chocolate remains my favourite face mask, and not only because it smells divine :). It really does brighten up the complexion, tighten up the skin and rejuvenate it. Another favourite from the Montagne Jeunesse masks, are the ones you can peel off. Face off!!! So cool! Joke aside, those also refresh the skin very well.

Most of the masks are clay based, so I have been thinking of getting just a plain clay mask, as these are particularly recommended to people with blemish-prone skin.

What kind of masks do you use?

And, last, but perhaps first on my most-beloved-skin-care-products list at the moment: pure maracuja and argan oils:

Tarte maracuja oil argan oil

Maracuja (aka passion fruit) oil and argan oil are both plant oils. Plant oils have been gaining loads of popularity recently. Pretty much every self-respecing skin or hair care product these days contains some plant oil…with argan being the current trend. These oils are rich in essential fatty acids and vitamins. Maracuja oil is rich in vitC, and argan oil in vitE.

My first experience with those oils, I owe to my dear friend Manuela (thank you Manuuuu!!! <3). As a birthday present this year, she gave me a holiday set from Tarte. Tarte is like the American answer to The Body Shop, as I see it. Perhaps even better! Or maybe the grass is just greener on the other side of the fence hehe. Anyway, a part of this set, was this sample baby bottle of the Tarte Pure Maracuja oil. Mostly due to my ignorance at the time and the fear of smearing oil on my face, I ignored this treasure for months. Then, 1.5 month ago I finally decided to give it a go.

The oil feels very light-weight and absorbs quickly.

Already the very first time I applied it, I thought “OMG!!!” And bear in mind, I hardly ever react like this to skin care products..most of the time I am extremely skeptical. My skin instantly looked brighter and just so fresh and alive. Unbelievable! No dullness, no redness, no large pores….no extra oiliness…just LIFE! I have been using it religiously ever since, mixing 2-3 drops with my Olaz Total effects 7 in 1 day cream.

I dread the day I will be out of this oil, because our local natural products store doesn’t carry maracuja (passion fruit) oil. I will have to figure something out to re-supply myself…If any of you knows how and where, please oh please!, leave a comment.

Anyhow, the day I was at the natural products store, there was sale on pure argan oil. Having heard so many good things about it, there was no way I’d pass on this deal 😉

I still don’t have much to say about it…I have been applying it around the eyes, where my skin can get very dry, but not so much on the rest of the face. What I do notice is, that compared to maracuja, argan oil is a bit more “heavy”. It’s not the right way to describe it, but I have not found a better word…Maybe richer in texture…I don’t know.

Argan oil is also very nice, very hydrating.  I am very curious how it will compare to maracuja oil, when applied on the whole face.

I will keep you updated!

Do you also use plant oils in your skin care routine? Share your experience!

With this, I conclude my skin care series for the time being. There are new things on the horizon, but I will need more testing time before I can be a fair judge 🙂 I hope you will share you skin care secrets with me and found mine at least a bit useful.

See you soon!