June 2022 Empties

Hello readers, it has been yet another 6 months. How’s the heat treating you?

I have been imaginably busy which things I’ll blog about soon! But one of ongoing projects is cleaning out/reorganizing my room. So I need to get rid of a ton of empty bottles! But have once again failed in actively keeping track of my experience with them. So once again, I will try once I get rid of these and have a designated space, and try to keep up with the next batch ๐Ÿ˜…

Nivea Breathable Lotion

I got this from Influenster awhile back, and I feel like when I used it then, it felt watery on application. The texture itself wasn’t too liquid. But it leaves skin feeling very satin with a nice scent (I got Tropical Breeze which I don’t think really matched but was still ok). I like the pump packaging (not sure if folks into recycling think it’s wasteful though ๐Ÿค”). The only other issue may be sus ingredients. No parabens though.

Tree to Tub Soapberry for Face & Hair

I won a credit for some Tree to Tub items and was really impressed by just how natural they were! I think that my original review still stands. You can read it here.

Queen Helene Cocoa Butter

Unfortunately, I didn’t like this product. It was too watery as well and smelled like sunscreen. I bought it because it was more affordable, but it has methylparaben and dyes/colorants among other concerning ingredients.

Tom’s Deodorant

I tried this Tom’s deodorant in effort to try something more natural and without aluminum. But I think I might as well try an anti-perspirant (but they cost more ๐Ÿ˜ซ). Other more affordable brands like Suave even offer aluminum-free deodorants now.

Blue Lizard Sunscreen

I only had a sample of this, but it’s honestly the first sunscreen I’ve used to leave a cast. However, they don’t use parabens or fragrances!

Air Wick Life Scents

Obviously more of a lifestyle item, I think you’re supposed to have some kind of plug-in so that it releases a scent into the air every so often. But we just used it as a spray. It is an aerosol though. I just included this because I absolutely love this Paradise Retreat scent that lists it’s made up of coconut, almond blossom, and cherry. If anyone knows anything that smells like it, let me know!

I did just throw away some empties I honestly can’t remember how they worked. So I should be done with these vague reviews in a post or two! Thanks for reading.


Pureauty Naturals Eye Cream

Hey, how are you readers? Getting enough sleep?

Not having a “real” job for several years, I’d gotten used to staying up and sleeping in late. But now, my job– which over the holidays didn’t really have a set schedule!– starts at around 7am! Not only am I a night owl, but I think that part of why I am is that it’s so peaceful and quiet ๐Ÿ˜Œ Combined, I do lose sleep and have some bad dark circles. Like: I’m-embarrassed-to-even-show-you, bad.

So I’m willing to try almost anything for them. When I saw this eye cream from Pureauty Naturals on Tomoson, I figured, why not?

I was provided this product complimentary for review purposes.

It looks like it has some pretty natural ingredients and no parabens. Hyaluronic acid, cucumber fruit extract, and caffeine are key factors and sound like they would help combat dark circles, anti-aging, and puffiness. It’s an interesting blue color and texture that actually reminds me of this Bliss hydrator I have. It’s like that kind of stuff that’s between a lotion and gel.

One of its benefit claims is that it’s not greasy and a little goes a long way. These were true for me, and I found that even the 1oz size provides a lot of product.

So it is quite refreshing, It feels nice and doesn’t irritate my eyes. However, I can’t tell if it’s done anything. I’ll admit that I don’t think I have “puffiness” or wrinkles (at least, noticeable lines) and my bags aren’t as severe, so maybe the refreshing aspect helps those issues. I still have undereye shadows though.

Before & after using Pureauty Eye Cream, no filter/editing

The packaging is quite nice; it comes in a box as well. It’s alright, but it’s just a little disappointing that something that addresses dark circles doesn’t. Products just call themselves “eye cream” without making any specific claims, so I think that if you’re interested, try to find it at Walmart or on sale.

This product was sent to me free of charge to share my honest experience.


Pacifica Well-Being

Hello readers, (how) do you practice self-care?

To be honest, I don’t really know myself. I feel like the common idea of it just being one’s spa day robs it of the weight of its activist origins. One’s 9-to-5 is one thing, but the stress of trying to change the forces of the world is a whole other story! Some people may find the collectiveness of that work invigorating though. So facial masks may also work for some, but maybe you may still need a safe environment, therapy session, or simply getting other needed medical care.

Did you know that besides skincare and makeup natural brand Pacifica has some collections centered around wellness? I was able to snag a few items by Influenster, and even though they weren’t things I would’ve got myself, I’m glad I was able to try them!

Pacifica Dream Sleep Beauty Gummies

Dream Sleep Beauty Gummy

I sleep terribly. I am always sleeping during the day and partying with my cat at 3am. So I was thinking of trying a new melatonin, but since I am usually on vampire time, I don’t want to take it regularly or get dependent or even immune. Since this gummy also has L-theanine and chamomile, it is great for such situations.

They really helped me get ready for bed and fall asleep. However, I think that they work best if you take them right when you want to fall asleep. I was able to “power through” them when I wanted to squeeze one more thing in my day, so they ended up being useless that time.

You take 2 gummies per serving. They taste pretty much like any gummy that aren’t coated in sugar, but they are shaped like little fruits!

Rose Quartz Pre-Wash Dry Brush

When I first saw it, I was skeptical. It seems like this might have more impact or results if you don’t regularly exfoliate. It’s supposed to sweep away dead skin and “debris” as well as energize. I would say that it can do the latter, but it’s just kind of weird to fit into my schedule. It says “pre-wash,” but I’d prefer to use it after I wash my face or be able to do it at any time.

Big Waves Soft Hold & Volume Hairspray

I gave this 5 stars on Influenster pretty much based on its amazing coconut and vanilla smell. But I will probably knock it down one because it really is a soft hold. It kind of reminds me more of a dry shampoo. Pacifica though, true to its ethical brand image, doesn’t use an aerosol spray but an interesting twisting cap that can lock in as “on/off,” so helpful from the spray going off in your bag!

Eye Bright Vitamin C Serum Mask

Again, I’ll be honest: I flubbed up on this and totally used it incorrectly. It already comes in a tray, and I didn’t realize it has mesh that’s meant to be taken off… duh! I do plan to buy it myself and use it right some time because even with the mesh still attached, it worked! I’m not sure about this, but I feel like undereye brightening products I’ve tried clash with my warm undertones and make them look bruised ๐Ÿค• This provided some noticeable lightening, but obviously didn’t magically cure my dark circles. So I’d love to try them again to see if it’s still not too harsh without the mesh.

Lavender Moon Body & Pillow Mist

This is another interesting item. I don’t think I’ve ever tried another aromatherapy product besides my essential oils diffuser. But I’m quite pleased with this. I wouldn’t really like to smell like this (the hairspray on the other hand…), but it’s very relaxing and helped me fall asleep. The only thing I had a problem with is that its spray nozzle comes out in more of a straight spritz than a mist. But it’s easily solved by pouring some in another bottle. I think you can prolong its use this way. It’s pretty big bottle!

Mars Unboxes

How you do to relax or recharge your batteries?


I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

July 2020 Empties

Hey hey readers, can you believe that it’s August?

I would like to formally issue a big curse to everyone’s who has ruined this year for everyone else. Not just in big, unfortunate terms, but even just everyday moments that we’re missing out.

As I said in my Skincare Routine post, I accumulated a bunch of stuff. So I’m actually using products and finishing them! These were empty before quarantine, so I’m still not any better at recording my reactions so no video ๐Ÿ˜

Bliss Ex-Glow-Sion Eye Cream

Also from my Routine post, I received this from Bliss’s testing panel. It contains niacinamide and vitamin C which sound good for lightening but didn’t work for me. One thing I should start noting is when I start using a product because it sounds like niacinamide may take a few weeks to notice, perhaps even longer than this product lasted. I have very bad dark circles though, so if yours are just from one night and you’d like something without parabens, SLS/SLES, or animal testing, this may be worth a try!

Burt’s Bees Moisturizing Lip Mask

Burt’s, obviously, is another brand for natural types. This item is 100% natural, without parabens, phthalates, SLS or petroleum. I got it in a lip-themed Target beauty box which they are discontinuing! ๐Ÿ˜ฉ This sheet mask is a bit different than face masks. Face masks– that I’ve had– are wet and feel refreshing. The lip mask was obviously more oily.

You leave it on for 5 minutes. I’m not familiar with almond or meadowfoam seed oil, but it definitely smells like something you’d expect to be “natural.” It’s like sweet cereal or oatmeal. I would say it’s hydrating, but I don’t typically have dry lips, so I can’t really say how long that lasts. You might be able to get the same results with DIY oils or balm.

affiliate links
Affiliate links
Bliss eye cream | Burt’s Bees lip mask
Smith & Sinclair tablets | Biobelle mask

Smith & Sinclair Alcoholic Gummies

PopSugar’s Dabble sent me a few of these, and they’re embarrassingly delicious. Again, perhaps you can make something similar on your own. But I am barely a social drinker! I don’t even know if its 5% ABV is a lot or not, but I don’t think so ๐Ÿ˜… So it may be good for people that don’t have alcohol in the house. They also have “mocktail” gummies without any alcohol.

Que Bella Radiance Boost Mask

This was a cream mask that was in another Target box. Masks are why I’m not good at empties! The only thing I noticed is that it was, in fact, shimmering. I feel like some people may find that irritating ๐Ÿค” It has cocoa and shea butter if you would like something that’s supposed to moisturize and make you glow.

Free & Lovely (Bodycology) Lavender & Amber Mist

So I think that when I first got this, I thought it was a very sweet but musky smell which is exactly for what I’m looking! Something that’s a bit more advanced than just plain vanilla. But as I used it more, I realized that this smells exactly like– I’m going to date myself here– Juice Bar Cotton Candy Spray.

Juice Bar Cotton Candy Spray

Do y’all remember this? LOL. I don’t think they even sell Free & Lovely in stores anymore which is a shame because I would’ve loved to have smelled their other scents. And they were free of animal testing, parabens and the like.

I can’t tell you what it is, but I also finished the moisturizer/possible serum I was sent by a survey site. Now I’m testing a different facial cleanser, I’m out of eye cream, using just a Bliss serum, and sometimes a face mist. Simpler now! But honestly, I would still like an eye cream. Also, I bought some collagen lotion to perhaps replace that, but the safety seal wasn’t sealed??? Do you think I should use it???


black owned brands pin

Black-Owned Brands: Beads Byaree, Harriett’s Bookshop, Morning Moon Made Gifts, Bevel, Adjourn Teahouse

black owned brands pin

Hello readers, how are you?

I haven’t posted in a month! I can’t believe I kind of miss it. Even though I’ve no idea what’s going on with this new WordPress format, I love typing and sharing. So here is the latest batch of Black-owned brands! I usually try to keep to my blog’s theme of skincare, beauty, and fashion, but there have been a lot of threads and posts lately. You can always find those and more brands on my Pinterest board.

Beads Byaree

Beads Byaree has some of the most creative jewelry I’ve ever seen. Creator Areeayl Goodwin says pieces come from a place of whimsical imagination, but I feel like there’s something empowering about the clothing and accessories as well.

Harriett’s Bookshop

Harriett’s in an independent book store in Philadelphia. Named after Harriett Tubman, it aims to celebrate women artists, authors, and activists. Not in Philly? You can buy from them online especially helpful for small businesses during Covid.

Morning Moon Made Gifts

ellie b started a great Twitter thread that prompted others to share their favorite “cottagecore” brands. L (@bonchnass) contributed Morning Moon Made Gifts‘s etsy which offers lovely macrame home goods including plant hangers, coasters, and wall hangings. Perfect for your new quarantine plants!



Interestingly, I think that most brands I’ve shared are in fact, women-owned as well. But if you’d like something more masculine, Bevel is geared toward male skin and hair care needs, touting the first face serum created for Black men. I don’t really think that female skin would notice though, right? ๐Ÿ˜… Because high quality design and features (sulfate-free shampoo, aluminum-free deodorant) at great prices has me want to try them… for myself!

Adjourn Teahouse


Keeping with the cottage theme, I saw Addie’s Black-Owned Organic Tea Brands post shared a few times and haven’t even checked out everybody, yet. So I’d definitely recommend it if you’re more of a fan of tea. I just had to include it and Adjourn because the tea is so pretty! It doesn’t just look nice but is also sustainably-sourced.

I’m sure a lot of the posts and threads I mentioned came about in effort to support the Black community after high-profile and racist murders of Black people including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Armoud Arbery by cops and vigilantes. Like voting, buying this way is debated, so I don’t intend for this to be related or an action for these people but just to highlight indie businesses that may not receive the same attention and perhaps divert money award from larger brands that can invest in bigoted systems. So maybe it is kind of related, but you’d like to do something like contact your representatives or donate to protestor bail funds, I created a Black Lives Matter board with a bunch of resources. It’s organized too! As to not be so overwhelming.

Did you find anything to your interest? Share your favorite brands and check out previous posts in the series.

Thanks for reading!

Currents Pinterest

May ’20 Currently: Skincare Routine + Where to Get Test Products

Currents Pinterest

Hi readers, have you been testing the waters?

It seems that pretty much everywhere here in the US is trying or starting to “reopen” after having the shittiest initial response. So I will probably be stay staying put.ย 

Some people may be having time to play around with makeup looks, but I honestly don’t have that much extra time. However, with everyone else home, old material things have become more noticable and making me want to get rid of them! Except I paid good money for them or otherwise do not want to waste ๐Ÿ˜… So I’ve been trying to use up some skin care I’ve collected.

I put virtually no research into my routines. I probably should, no? To get ~ optimal ~ results or whatever. But I just feel like then it becomes that obligation like with makeup. I think it’s more fun when you’re just making it up ๐Ÿ˜‹ You all can tell me your thoughts, and then that way it will be like suggestions rather than a rigid method.

Okay, I don’t usually have this many products, but! Bliss has an Ambassador program where you can test products, and I managed to test and receive some incentives! (If you’ve over 5k follows on Insta, you can be in their Influencer program) So that’s why a lot of products are from them, and I also get into some other places from where I’ve received products. Also, this is my “wake up/morning” routine.

1) Cleanse/Exfoliate
Already, I feel controversial. Do you think it’s bad to exfoliate everyday? I used to use the St. Ives apricot scrub everyday, but now they have milder ones. If I don’t, I feel grimy. I use St. Ives green tea (and now with bamboo) blackhead scrub.

2) Eye Cream

3) Firming
This is totally something skippable especially if you’re younger. I’m just using this Burt’s Bees moisturizer because I got a sample from PopSugar‘s testing panel. I aim it mostly around my neck and jaw which feel less… puffy? But I’m not sure as heck if they look that way.

4) Spot Treatment
I’ve been trying my gifted Burt’s Bees and Drunk Elephant oils on scarred and red areas. I’ve also a Sunday Riley turmeric oil, but I think that it gives me texture problems. So I’ve been been experimenting with this natural Healing Tree lip balm I got (I believe) from them via Tomoson.

Again, I’m not a professional. I’m sure an esthetician would say to not put coconut oil on your face. But I don’t think that it’s making anything worse and the extra moisture prevents any sorts of bumps or things I can pick.

5) Moisturizer/Serum
In the video, I call the Bliss serums basic, but um, serums are pretty serious! Years ago, I may have just washed and moisturized with something inexpensive, but that basicness was definitely something that left those problem spots dry and open to be messed with. I still think that an oilย plus a simple moisturizer might work; I’m just not 100% sure myself because I’ve been using something I’m not sure how to classify!

Another place you can get products to try are survey sites! Granted, you will really only come across beauty items once in a blue moon, but perhaps you can find panels that only talk about makeup or you’re totally fine with that and making some mulah or testing other products. Once, I tested soda, lol. But what they reveal can be totally up to them. For example, my mystery product is labeled a moisturizer, but it’s not a lotion and does kind of look like a serum. But I don’t know the brand, ingredients, focus or anything.

Affiliate links
St. Ives scrub | Bliss eye cream | Oils: Drunk Elephant, Sunday Riley, Burt’s Bees | Bliss Serums: Glow & Hydrate, Bright Idea | Bliss Wipes | Bliss Makeup Melt

Anyway, I just use a bit of the moisturizer where the oils aren’t and rub everything together, so all the face is hydrated and so that the oils aren’t too concentrated in one spot and possibly cause a commotion.

6) Face Mist
I was skeptical of this, but I honestly liked it. My mom’s friend gave us a Curativa Bay spray, so I guess pals could be another place to get stuff ๐Ÿ˜… I feel like it’s like what setting spray does for makeup but for skincare and gives my skin that bounce Jennifer Garner talks about in Neutrogena commercials ๐Ÿ˜„

Night Time

When recording the video, I didn’t have a night routine besides removing makeup and maybe toning. But I’m experimenting again with toning and using the Bliss vitamin C serum. That way, I’m not out in the sun with some harsh stuff on my skin. I think I’m liking it.

Wow! I vlogged about some of the body products I’ve got, but this is already almost 800 words, so you can just watch it if you’re interested and check my Insta for the one I forgot! Stay safe and healthy!


Mars Unboxes

February Target Unboxing

Hello hey hey readers, did you do anything for Valentine’s Day?

I was feeling kind of lousy (unrelated) and bought myself two Target beauty boxes. Woah, Mars, you absolute madman! Right? The theme for one of them was “Pucker Up” which I thought was perfect for Valentine’s, but per usual, I’m late! The other box’s theme was self-love which can be enjoyed year-round. ๐Ÿฅฐ


TwelveNYC Perfect Pout Cooling Gel Lip Mask

If TwelveNYC is a Target brand, perhaps they’re old? Because I do not see them on the website. This lip mask looks like the eye mask of the same brand in the Self-Love box.

Dr. Bronner Peppermint Lip Balm

An organic balm that wasn’t tested on animals that Target claims you can also use it on your cuticles or other cracked skin. Would you use a lip balm like that? Received a full size which sells for $2.69.

Burt’s Bees Moisturizing Lip Mask $2.59

Meadowfoam seed and almond oils are supposed to help define your lips. Phthalate and paraben-free and not tested on animals. Single use mask retails $2.59.

St. Ives Passionfruit Lip Scrub

This smells really good, made with 100% natural sugar and not very gritty at all. Received a full size which sells for $4.99.

Pucker up affiliate links
Affiliate links
Burt’s Bees mask | Dr. Bronner’s balm | St. Ives scrub
Milani matte | Burt’s Bees shimmer | Soap & Glory gloss

Milani Bold Color Statement Matte Lipstick

This smells exactly like the vanilla extract you use to bake. It seems like a very pretty, creamy red-brown that is vegan and not tested on animals. This is marked as 0.13oz and the full size on Target’s website is 0.14oz, so I’m just going to count it so at $5.99.

Burt’s Bees Peony Lip Shimmer

Maybe other shades are more noticeable, but Peony had basically no pigment in it. Shimmer, yes, and also a peppermint scent and matching sensation. Burt’s doesn’t test on animals. Full size retails for $4.79.

Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Lip Plumping Gloss in Plums Up

So I’m not going to lie: the recent profiting off bigger lips traditionally and negatively associated with black people by people who aren’t black to perpetuate beauty standards has impacted me so that I feel that I should look this way. Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with having bigger lips (or not!), but any more is for another day/tag.ย 

Target says that it’s “suitable for vegans” ??? and not tested on animals. The full size is 7mL for $8.99. Received a 4mL version which would cost about $5.14.

Self Love affiliate links
Affiliate links
Pacifica Mist | Aveeno Balm
Village Naturals Soak |Yuni Aromatherapy Mist


Que Bella Radiance Boost Shimmering Cream Face Mask

Made with shea and cocoa butter, I would hope that this smells good! I couldn’t find this on Target’s website either, but similar masks by the brand around about $2.49.

Pacifica Island Vanilla Perfumed Hair & Body Mist

I hope my friends aren’t reading this because I actually got them a different scent for Christmas and was possibly going to switch somebody’s… I actually like their scents better, so I couldn’t unfairly switch. I will bear the brunt of this very sweet vanilla!

Pacifica is paraben and phthalate-free, vegan, doesn’t test on animals, and does not contain propylene glycol. A 6oz full size sells for $11.99. I received a 2oz which is worth about $4.

Aveeno Moisturizing CICA Balm

This balm is supposed to help with very cracked skin. Aveeno is owned by Johnson & Johnson which is on a BDS list though. The 1oz package retails for $2.99.

Yuni My OM World Calming Aromatherapy Body Mist

This is supposed to inject calm into any moment, but it smells like the soap in a public restroom. Perhaps it could work as aromatherapy, but I would not like to smell like it myself! It is vegan, not tested on animals, and crafted with wind power! With a 4oz full size at $19, the received 1oz should be worth $4.75.

Village Naturals Therapy Aches & Pains Muscle Relief Mineral Bath Soak

Another item to help relax, this mineral soak contains Epsom and sea salt, menthol, eucalyptus and spearmint. I don’t really take baths– this says you can use as a foot soak though!– so I might just give it to my mother.

Masque Barย Silver Foil Peel Off Mask

Made with raspberry, macadamia, and peppermint, this K-beauty mask is supposed to brighten and soften. I can’t find this silver foil one on Target’s site, but similar ones go for $3-$4.

TwelveNYC Bright-Eyed Cooling Gel Eye Pads

A pair of sparkly gel pads that should help reduce eye puffiness. Do these help you, readers?

Well, that was a big post! I felt kind of bad for buying unnecessities, but these are great bargains. Did you see anything interesting or that you’ve tried? Happy belated Valentine’s and leap day!


January 2020 Empties

Happy Black History Month readers! How are you celebrating freedom?

I haven’t quite figured what I’m doing myself but perhaps a toe-dipping into canvassing for my candidate is in order. Just thinking about it is giving me cramps, but I guess when you’re always overthinking, you gotta not sometimes ๐Ÿ˜…

I’d been trying to make videos for Empties, but I’m still not good at recording my experiences with products, and I just kind of want to make a post, so here it is!


Pacifica Rose Water Makeup Removing Wipes

These were part of a gift from a friend. Wipes are so tricky for me because they’re like soda. Once it’s opened, it loses efficacy. And I don’t wear makeup everyday, so halfway through a package, they’re dry. However, I do like Pacifica’s natural focus, and this product doesn’t contain sulfates, parabens or petroleum, and is vegan and not tested on animals. Apparently, rose water smells like my bug spray which isn’t bad! But it just reminds me of being in the woods ๐Ÿ˜

I kind of want to stop using wipes because I want to create less waste especially stuff that’s not degradable which I don’t know if these are. They’re made from natural fibers. But I have figured out that if your wipes dry out, you can put toner or micellar water on them!

St. Ives Cactus Water & Hibiscus Cleansing Stick

This was from aย Target beauty box (shame on me,ย  I ordered this month’s). Initially, I did not like this because it’s like a bit of bar soap in a plastic container (boo), so you’re awkwardly rubbing it across your face, and it doesn’t lather nearly as much as shown in ads. Some people say it’s convenient for travel which may be true about just tossing it in your bag, but once you use it… it’s wet! So I was a bit concerned that if I would screw the lid on that it would develop mold! It didn’t, but I would always let it air dry.

However, I loved the smell, and it honestly was a good makeup remover (I never really wear heavy makeup though so IDK for other use!). This was also made with coconut oil, so maybe that’s why. But I wouldn’t really like this as my regular face wash because I just feel grimy if I don’t exfoliate and get acne it I don’t use something for it. I would’ve recommended it even though I wished it’d be repackaged, but it seems like they don’t even make it anymore. St. Ives now does have other cleansers that aren’t their famous scrubs, but I don’t see any with cactus water ๐Ÿ˜”

Shampoo Ingredients

Apothecare Essentials Booster Shampoo & Conditioner Sachets

These were freebies in a CVS purchase. They were a while ago, so I don’t exactly remember how they work, so they’re a freebie in this post too just in case you wanna hear about volumizing hair products. They’re made with rosehip oil, geranium, and aloe vera. So even though it has rose like the Pacifica wipes, these (empty sachets, at least) smell more like baby lotion or powder.

They contain no dyes, parabens or silicones and have a real science side that I don’t even understand. Perhaps that’s why their full size is $11!

L’Occitane 5 Essential Oils Shampoo

I STG that this says it’s a “shampooing shampoo.” Thanks, L’Occitane. I don’t feel so bad that again, I don’t really remember how this worked. It came from a trial hydration set that the brand had on sale for $5 (!), but I don’t think I was that impressed. Maybe it was the small size. But it’s supposed to soften and smoothen your capillary fibers. I can only notice that it smells ginger or herbal-y.

January Empties

Curativa Bay Skin Mist

Now this is weird because my mom got this from her friend, and I don’t think she works with the brand or a salon or anything. I thought she worked at a school ยฏ\_(ใƒ„)_/ยฏ Initially, I thought face mists were kind of gimmick-y too. Like: I already use a moisturizer or serum. How moisturized do I have to be!? But I do think that little extra step does help put that extra bounce. I’ve no idea what electrolyzed water or hypochlorous acid is if those ingredients concern you, but it is vegan, organic, and not tested on animals.

Sunday Riley A+ Retinoid Serum

This is probably the first item I’ve used up from my Allure beauty box sub try. I really like that you can try higher-end brands for only $15, but I wasn’t a fan of some of them. I think I decided to get the box because I saw that I’d get this and confused retinoid with retinol which I thought would be good for dark circles. But retinols are retinoids? ๐Ÿ˜ต While they both seem to be used for acne, retinol sounds like it’s more for anti-aging (collagen, crow’s feet, dark spots, etc).

So my experience of this serum helping redness actually makes sense. However, it’s usually $80, and I don’t think it doing just that is worth it.

January Empties Links
Affiliate links
Pacifica wipes | St. Ives stick | Apothecare Essentials shampoo & conditioner
L’Occitane shampoo | Sunday Riley serum | Mario Badescu spray

Hoorah! I don’t think this sounded too bad. ๐Ÿ˜„ Although I have gotten sick over the course of writing this. What are your cures for the cold?

Thanks for reading!

ulta haul pin

Ulta Xmas Haul!

Hello readers, are you using your holiday gifts?

How many years have I had this blog and haven’t really done a haul? Well, last year I won an Ulta gift card, so it was really able to help with my holiday shopping this past season ๐Ÿค— There will actually be a part two of this post because some items will be for my friends that read this, and I didn’t want to spoil their gifts (yes, we haven’t seen each other since before Christmas). This one will be for things I got for people that don’t read this and a few things for me.

This post contains affiliate links.

Indian Coconut Matte Stick

For the Sis in Law

Part of my brother’s wife gift along with a toy for baby nephew. She posted that he liked playing with pens, so I even got a couple of novelty pens for him but technically her. I got this Pacifica Indian Coconut Nectar body butter and Burt’s Bees matte lipstick because I think she’s more into natural beauty than I am and can also somehow pull off a red lip way better than me too.

Hask hair face wash sheet mask

For Mom

For Christmas, part of my gift for my mom was Hask’s Argan Oil shampoo and conditioner. I got them because *whispers* her hair is dry, and it claims to repair. It’s not rude to say her hair is dry, right? ๐Ÿ˜… It’s just like, what people have. I have flat hair and combo skin. The Pacifica Coconut Milk face wash is for all skin types, so hopefully it’ll work for her. I got it because she always gets store brand face washes. And she actually uses sheet masks, so I got a TonyMoly I’m Real Olive one.

It was actually her birthday too, so in the pic with everything, you can see two hair masks and a kit. I couldn’t really find any spa type of product that would fit the budget but just searching around the Ulta site led me to this Cosy Comfort Kit from The Vintage Cosmetic Company. It’s just kind of an eye mask and knit thing to put a hot water bottle in, but reviewers said it helped with their sciatic nerves. The two hair masks are Hask Rosรฉ Deep Conditioner and a Marc Anthony Aloe Vera and Jasmine Oil Deep Conditioner.

My Ulta Haul

A Little Something for Me

Can I please emphasize… that these aren’t the only things I got for people!? I feel like this makes it look like I bought more for myself. In any case, most of my things are just basics. I haven’t used tanning products with a mitt before or a stipple brush. I’m still searching for my perfect foundation, I was all out of scrunchies, and I got this Ulta brand sharpener with 2 sizes because my lip from Allure is larger than the standard pencil. But unfortunately it  fit this either. Any suggestions?

I hope you all had wonderful holidays! Unfortunately, I won’t be able to further review most of the items in this post, but I think what I did get for myself will provide plenty! PLUS, I did also sign up for Bernie Sanders’s volunteer social media team! New year, right? So I’ll be posting about my support on here and my social media channels.


black owned brands pin

Black-Owned Brands: Foxie Cos., Coloured Raine, Taliah Waajid

Hello hello all, have you fastened your seatbelts?

I drafted this while we were keeping an eye on Hurricane Dorian. Fortunately, Florida was mostly spared, but the Bahamas suffered major damage. If you have GoFundMes or other donation links, send them and I’ll share them!

I haven’t been blogging lately because I can’t get into my affiliate links program! I’m not here to sell you things every post, but I did just have some book posts and want to have variety. So I’ll promo things some more indie brands pro bono! (I was able to get in on a desktop??? So there will be affiliate links at the end of this post).

Foxie Cosmetics

First up in the incredibly Instagrammable Foxie Cosmetics which seems to sell more bath goods than makeup. Owner and creator Kayla Phillips, a writer, musician, and activist (!), knows the importance of vegan, animal testing-free and even chronic illness options and all those factors influence her vibrant and unique products.

Check them out at: Foxiecosmetics.com

Coloured Raine

Coloured Raine might be the first brand I’ve come across to mention that they strive for fair wages. Created by Loraine Dowdy, I like that she acknowledges the push to highlight black and black woman owned businesses includes reasons like other brands don’t take different skin tones into account. Coloured Raine doesn’t test on animals, has many vegan items and also is environmentally-minded.

Coloured Raine is available at colouredraine.com and select Targets!

Taliah Waajid Natural Hair

While “natural” may conjure thoughts of botanical ingredients, natural hair particularly associated with a movement may refer to the embracing of naturally curly, coily, and kinky hair. This is to whom Taliah Waajid has spent 20 years catering. But I like that like her ingredients still seem kind of plant and vitamin-based. A few skincare items are also offered.

Taliah Waajid is available at Naturalhair.org and at Walmart!

Coloured Raine Taliah Waajid products
Affiliate links
: Coloured Raine highlight | matte lip paint | eyeshadow
: Taliah Waajid leave-in | curl cream | castor oil

Did anything catch your eye? Let me know if I should feature your fave brand!

Sources: Marie Claire