I've been hoarding trash. It sounds completely absurd, and it is, but there you have it. I've been hoarding trash in order to show off the things I liked well enough to finish off. Some of them are itsy-bitsy little samples, so finishing them wasn't hard. However, if I hate something or have problems with an ingredient, it goes far, far away from me. These are things that stood the test of time.
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment: I received two of these, one clear, the other tinted, as a free gift from Sephora ages ago. I honestly have no idea when, that's how long ago. The clear balm was the first to go, and the tinted one is on its last leg since it's currently my daily "lipstick." This thing was amazing. The smell is lemony-sweet, it has a decent, hard-to-describe flavor, and they moisturize wonderfully. The only problem is that the full size isn't much bigger than this tiny tube, and it costs $22.50. Sit back and read that again: $22.50. For a lip balm. No matter how much I love it, I won't be purchasing the full size when my Nivea one does the same thing.
Ren Micro Polish Cleanser: This came in a sample set of Ren's best-selling products. As someone who has sensitive skin, I was a little apprehensive about trying it. I do exfoliate at least once a week, but a "polish" cleanser sounded like it might be a little harsh. This was a dream to use. The tiny granules weren't sharp or scratchy, but I could tell it got the job done because my skin looked brighter and had fewer blackheads (eugh, I know, but we all get them!) after each use. I will definitely be nabbing one of these for my weekly exfoliator as soon as I finish up the St. Ives scrub I have going.
L'Occitane Shampoo with 3 Essential Oils: Oh, my God, this shampoo smelled divine. You know the smell of freshly baked cookies? It had a note of that, probably from almond oil. I was sad to see this sample go because of the smell, but it honestly didn't do much for my hair. It didn't damage it -- I was a bit concerned because it has SLS -- but it didn't do anything. I won't buy it, but I may explore my local L'Occitane to see if they have any bath products that smell similar.
Sarah McNamara Miracle Skin Transformer: Some use it as a primer. I used it as a tinted moisturizer after my sunscreen, because SPF 20 ain't gonna cut it for my vampiric complexion. It was pretty damn good as a tinted moisturizer, but what I loved most was that it kept me relatively shine-free right up until its final few dollops in mid-July. Then again, by July, nothing can keep my skin matte except for maybe smearing Milk of Magnesia on there. (Hey, it's a thing. People do this. I'm just too lazy!)
Suave Naturals Creamy Milk & Honey Splash Body Wash: So, yeah, this is what I was hoping to find when I tried the Vile Dial that landed on my last Hell Noes. It's cheap, it moisturizes, and it smells like creme brûlée. What more can you ask for in a drugstore body wash? I'll buy this again once my coconut-scented one runs out.
Simple Radiance Cleansing Wipes: Everyone has been raving about Simple in the blogosphere, so I decided I'd give something of theirs a try. Me gusta! They removed everything from my sunscreen to my waterproof mascara without stinging, making my eyes burn, or causing any breakouts. I liked them so much I ran out and grabbed a Simple starter kit to see how I get on with the rest of their products. I will be thrilled if I can find a range of cheap products that actually work for me.
Burt's Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes with White Tea Extract: Great for refreshing the face. Not so great for removing makeup. Or, you know, going anywhere near your eyes. At all. Ever. No lie, these stung my eyes like a mofo, but they're wonderful for wiping sunscreen off the neck and décolletage. Still wouldn't get them again.
Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Face Cleanser: More commonly known as (cue Smeagol voice) "the precious." I've gone through three bottles of this, and I always go back to it. Or I would if I could find the damn stuff. Sephora no longer has it in store or on their website. Ditto for Beauty.com and Nordstrom. This is literally the best cleaner I have ever used, but while it's so difficult to get my hands on, I'm taking the opportunity to try new things. Any suggestions?
Phyto Phytojoba Shampoo: This is another old Sephora gift. It's designed for dry hair, which I have (thank you, nasty grays and the dye I use to mask them), and it worked extremely well. I wouldn't go so far as to spring for the full-sized bottle when Phyto's prices and the performance of cheaper shampoos I've found act as a deterrent, but I like it well enough that I would jump for joy if I ever got it as a gift.
Benefit They're Real! Mascara: Quite possibly the best mascara ever. It's not a waterproof formulation, but it stayed on, most notably, through my Star Trek Into Darkness cry-fest. (Shut up. Don't talk to me if you didn't cry!) It volumizes, lengthens, and is one of the blackest blacks I've found. The only reason I haven't rushed out to buy a new one is because it dries up in the blink of an eye. Why, Benefit?
Ren Bio-Retinoid Anti-Aging Concentrate: Yet another sample from their best-of kit, and yet another product I'm going to have to buy one day. This was hydrating enough that I didn't need a moisturizer after using it. I'm not sure whether my skin was just dehydrated or if it's that powerful, but within a week of using it, I noticed the fine lines on my forehead had all but vanished. Brilliant.
VO5 Total Hair Recovery Advanced Hair Treatment: This stuff has been in and out of my life since I can remember actively having a hair regimen that involved more than shampoo and conditioner. I always come back to it when my hair is feeling brittle or over-processed, and it always does the trick. Best of all? It's cheap. It works, it's widely available, and it's cheap. I can overlook the generic packaging, no problem.