Hey, it's already the end of January! Whoa, how did that happen? In any case, the end of the month means it's time for another edition of... USE IT OR LOSE IT!
New to my Use It Or Lose It
series? Each month I select a few beauty/personal care items
I've been hoarding
in my stash, and vow to either use them up and review them or throw them
away! I typically select about five products each month, but since one of my new year's goals was to declutter, I decided to kick it up a notch and do one product per day during the month of January. If you follow me on Instagram you've probably seen me posting about this every day(ish) with the tag #UIOLI30DayChallenge. For the non-Instagrammers out there I shall repost my product selections and original comments below, plus any follow-up thoughts if applicable.
DAY ONE: Mor Neroli Clementine Hand Cream
stuff smells AWESOME! Light and fruity without being overwhelmingly
cloying or floral. Nice texture too, not too greasy or sticky. Would
totally buy the full size of this, assuming I can get through my current
stockpile of other hand creams..."
Would I buy it? Yes, but as long as I'm subscribed to beauty boxes will I ever really run out of hand cream?
DAY TWO & THREE: Herbal Essences "Naked" Volume Shampoo and Conditioner
got these samples as part of a Klout Perk/freebie last month... I tried
the dry shampoo from this line before and hated the scent (sort of
minty/tea-ish), but somehow it works in shampoo and conditioner form. I
found both of these to be unremarkable: They made my hair clean. That's
about it. I might buy the shampoo if it's on sale - it is a perfectly
serviceable drugstore shampoo, after all! But I'd probably opt for
something else in terms of conditioner. Not bad, not great. Live and
Would I buy it? The shampoo, maybe. Probably not the conditioner.
DAY FOUR: Olay Fresh Outlast Body Wash in Cooling White Strawberry & Mint
"I got this sample in a free #PinchMe
box recently. I like the scent more than I expected to - it's fruity in
a way that isn't hideously artificial. I thought mint + strawberry
would be a weird combo, but it makes for sort of a pleasantly "smooth"
fragrance so yay. I do wish the formula was a bit thicker, but otherwise
I have no complaints... it doesn't seem to irritate my skin or anything
like that. What else can be said about body wash?"
Would I buy it? Sure, why not.
DAY FIVE: Thompson Biotin 800mcg
found some biotin tablets whilst doing my great new year's
organizational purge. I tried taking them for at the end of 2013, but I
think they made my skin break out... flash forward to now and my skin is
in better condition overall thanks to an improved skincare routine, so
I'm willing to give them another shot. I'll probably know by the end of
the month whether or not they've caused my skin to freak out again. Why
deal with the potential hassle, you might ask? My hair could really use
some TLC. Which is worse, thinning hair or acne breakouts? What a fun
thing to ponder. :P"
Follow-up thoughts: I have continued using this and my skin has been breaking out more than usual this month, unfortunately. I'm still not sure if there's a direct link between that and biotin usage though. I don't think I would buy these again, but another company recently gave me some chewable biotin supplements to try so I think I'll see how I fare with those before I make any final decisions re: biotin.
DAY SIX: Alpha Hydrox Extra Strength Deep Therapy Foot Cream with 12% AHA (Glycolic Acid)
purchased this a while back in the hopes that it would make for a
cheaper alternative to some of the other AHA body lotions I've tried -
what I discovered is that this stuff does indeed work as an exfoliating
body lotion, but the texture is slightly thicker/stickier than it's
body-intended counterparts and I'd rather pay a little extra to ditch
the stick. Since then it's been lingering in a basket in my room unused
and unloved, so I've decided to bring it back into action for the thing
it was intended for: As a foot cream! It worked as a body exfoliant, so
I'm sure it'll do a reasonably good job on my feet too. I'll probably
have more to say about that at the end of the challenge!"
Follow-up thoughts: My feet feel smooth and lovely. This is an excellent foot cream—would buy again and definitely recommended for dry, flaky feet!
DAY SEVEN: My Scheming Bamboo Charcoal & Cryste Marine Whitening Double Lifting Mask
mind me, just hangin' out doing blog stuff in THE MOST FRIGHTENING MASK
EVER. I actually reviewed these masks on my blog waaaaaaay back in
2013. The short version of my review was that they were nice, but not
really amazing, which is probably why I still have one in my stash. It
just passed its expiration date, so now's definitely the time to use it
or lose it! There are two really good things about this mask though:
One, it's very sturdy, and two, the loops make it really difficult for
it to fall off your face. Perfect for hydrating whilst blogging,
Would I buy again? Probably not. I like the physical design of these masks but there are other comparably-priced products that do more for my skin.
DAY EIGHT: Be A Bombshell "The One Stick" in Sunset
got this in an Ipsy bag a reaaaaaally long time ago - maybe even in
2013? Used it once and stuck it in my fridge because I thought the
texture was weird. This is meant to be a lip/cheek/eye pigment all in
one, but it's almost sort of grainy, so... no. Tried it again yesterday
and still don't like. I think it's safe to say that this one goes in the
"lose it" pile!"
Would I buy it? Hell no. And I actually threw it away right after posting the picture on Instagram instead of letting it linger on my desk forever!
DAY NINE: Silk Naturals Strawberry Spritz
can't find this on the SN site, so I guess they don't make it anymore?
In any case, this is a facial spray that smells kind of like
strawberry-infused water (as opposed to super sweet or artificial
smelling fruit sprays). I bought a sample of this a few months ago and
clearly didn't love it enough to finish it up right away, but all things
considered it's not half bad. It's nice to use facial products with no
added fragrance once in a while. I think I'll finish it up this month so
I have one less half-used spray lying around!"
Would I buy it again? I ended up finding it on their site later (I think I did, anyway?) But still probably not.
DAY TEN: Smirnoff Vodka Mega-Bottle Dregs
now for something a bit different! Stan and I rarely drink vodka (and
aren't really big drinkers anyway), so the dregs of this bottle of
Smirnoff we bought to serve at a party has been taking up space in our
kitchen since 2013. We've decided that this weekend we're finally going
to get rid of it! And by get rid of it, I mean drink it. But what to
make with it? What are YOUR favorite easy drinks/cocktails made with
Several people made great suggestions in the comments (here), but we had limited stuff in our fridge/pantry, so this is what we ended up doing with it:
case anyone was wondering what I ended up doing with the leftover
vodka, I mixed it with a dash of grenadine (that's also been in our
kitchen since before the beginning of time), a splash of 100% cranberry
juice, Sprite, and fresh lime juice. Leftover limes from guacamole
night, yay! If this is a legit cocktail I don't know what it's called,
but I can assure you that it's tasty. Until I find out the real name (if
there is one), Stan has proclaimed that it should be called Buzzy
Shirley Temple. Hic."
Would I buy it again? I've purchased Smirnoff vodka for many a party punch in the past, so yes, I'm sure I will. For regular sipping I think I'll stick with wine and whiskey though.
DAY ELEVEN: YuFit EON Wheat Germ Cream 75
"I got this in a #Memebox
a while back (can't remember which one offhand), used it a couple
times, but didn't totally love the texture on my face. The PAO says to
use this within six months after opening, and I think we'll be
approaching that limit soon. What to do? I'm going to try it as a body
butter on my heinously dry legs! And if that doesn't work, I'll lose it
at the end of the month."
Follow-up thoughts: This stuff ended up working really well as a body lotion, actually. It sunk in nicely and didn't leave behind gross residue, yay! This stuff costs like $30 per 75ml jar though, so I certainly won't be repurchasing it just to use as a body lotion.
DAY TWELVE: Fekkai Blowout Hair Refresher Dry Shampoo
got this in the fall Target beauty box and have been using it
occasionally since then - time to polish it off! This dry shampoo isn't
terrible, but I didn't like the texture it gave my hair. Sort of like
post-hairspray hair. Wouldn't buy again for that reason. The best dry
shampoos I've tried to date are Batiste (cheap) and Klorane
(not-so-cheap). Apparently the primary oil-absorbing ingredient in both
is rice starch - methinks I should hunt down some plain rice starch and
attempt some DIY concoctions!"
Would I buy it? No. And I have been researching DIY dry shampoo recipes... my main issue is finding a dispensal method that isn't insanely messy.
DAY THIRTEEN: Tom's of Maine Natural Lip Shimmer in Whisper Pink
"I got this in that massive bag-o-beauty GWP I posted about yesterday -
why not start in on some of that stuff now? This is basically just a lip
balm with the FAINTEST hint of pink shimmer. Barely pigmented - I
couldn't really pick it up with my camera. Definitely not a replacement
for lipstick, but is sort of pretty. The balm has a nice minty tingle
and is slightly moisturizing. Not my favorite formula, but not bad. I'll
use it up but probably won't repurchase!"
Follow-up thoughts: I lost this somewhere in my apartment about a week ago and don't really miss it. Definitely won't be repurchasing!
DAY FOURTEEN: Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensée Cologne Absolue
"I got this as one of the samples in a #Birchbox
bonus mystery pack - it also came with the postcard pictured under the
vial. Fancy! This is a very vanilla-y scent, but not a sickeningly sweet
one - think fresh and woody instead. It smells nice, but I don't think
it suits my personality... does that make sense? It's a "mature"
vanilla. It reminds me of a boss I had a number of years ago, actually.
She was a classy lady! I'm rambling now. Anyway, nice scent, but not for
Follow-up thoughts: If you ever get a sample of this in Birchbox, be careful—the slightest drop on the outside of the vial will make your hands smell like vanilla for hours. Strong stuff!
DAY FIFTEEN: MaskerAide Pre Party Prep Sheet Mask
Pre Party Prep sheet mask, pictured next to some pasta that I did NOT
use because I was keeping it in my fridge. I wore this mask last night
before I went to sleep, so if by pre-party you mean pre-watching TV and
drinking whiskey in bed, then YESS!!! Anyway, this is a hydrating sheet
mask with niacinamide for a brightening effect. Lots of essence, made my
skin feel good, but the actual shape of the mask is a little awkward
and the fiber could be softer. This is the kind of thing I would buy
again if it was a buck or so, but apparently they're CAD $5.99 each on
the Maskerade website! Sorry, but that price would snag me a hydrogel."
Follow-up thoughts: I just re-read my comment and realized it makes no sense. I was keeping the mask in the fridge, so when I took it out I happened to set it on a shelf holding several boxes of pasta, which is where I snapped the picture. Does any of this matter? No, because the masks are still overpriced. But you can get pasta for about a buck a box at Costco!
DAY SIXTEEN: Hydroxatone Anti-Aging BB Cream
is another treasure from the drugstore.com big bag-o-samples. When I
first put this on I was like "Holy crap, too dark!" But then I realized
that they sent a sample of shade medium... no wonder. It does seem to
offer decent coverage, though this cream definitely has a strong yellow
undertone, so I'm not sure if the lighter shade would suit me. IMO this
would suit dry or normal skin types best, as the formula is kind of
creamy and will slide around if you don't set with powder. A pass for
me, but not terrible overall, I reckon."
Seriously, how did I not notice that it said medium on the tube?! Ugh.
DAY SEVENTEEN: English Laundry "Arrogant" EDT
is another goodie from the drugstore.com bag-o-madness. Is it
destashing if you use something you *just* added to your stash? Better
to try it now than in months, I guess. Anyway, when I first spritzed
this I was like "whoa holy crap masculine"... I probably should have
realized from the name that this is a men's scent. But what does that
really mean anyway? It smells kind of grassy and fruity on first spritz,
then dries down to a slightly mellower woodsy scent. Not bad, but I
don't think my BF or I would wear something like this on the regular so
in the swap pile it goes!"
Follow-up thoughts: I spritzed this on Stan and he frowned. Guess my instincts were correct?
DAY EIGHTEEN: Soap & Glory Smoothie Star Body Buttercream
sure I got this sample with a Sephora order. This is a thick body
butter that sinks into dry skin nicely, not too greasy, and the scent is
interesting. It smells kind of like pistachios and vanilla frosting.
The fragance is also quite strong so I have a feeling that this would
probably be a love-it-or-hate-it thing for most folks, but I'm
definitely in the "love it" camp! And now I want to eat my arm."
Would I buy it? Yes!
DAY NINETEEN: Kocostar Face Spot Mirror Patch
"I got these in a #Memebox
a while back, but haven't had many occasions to use them recently
because my skin has been behaving... until yesterday, anyway. Yay? These
are acne spot patches. I thought they'd be kind of like Nexcare acne
patches (which are great), and they are but also sort of aren't. They
work but not as well? Sorry for being vague - I'll explain more in my
blog post roundup at the end of the month because I don't want to write a
novel on Instagram. One cool thing though - the pack comes with a
crappy little mirror attached! Perfect for attaching to your face by the
glow of your phone whilst in bed."
OK, now let me elaborate on what I meant on my initial post. I put one of these on a pimple that had almost come to a head and it did seem to burst... thing is, when you use Nexcare (or other hydrocolloid patches) the center of the patch turns this sort of yellow-ish white-ish color, which is a mixture of the pus (ew) and the pus reacting with the bandage. These stayed completely clear, just oily, which makes me think that they're just plain plastic stickers... that may sound pointless, but if you're a face-picker they might prove handy as a physical barrier to keep you from messing with your skin. So not totally useless.
Would I buy it? No. I don't really have issues with face-picking, and the whole reason I like the Nexcare patches is because of that sexy hydrocolloid action that draws pus (EWWWWW) away from the skin. (I wrote more about the Nexcare patches here, by the way.)
DAY TWENTY: Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream
is a multi-purpose, glycerin-based moisturizing cream that's meant
to... well... moisturize. I've had this random dry/flaky patch on my
face the past few days that has been annoying the crap out of me, so I
used it on that and it really did seem to soften it up. The camphor
scent makes it a little weird to use as a daily moisturizing treatment,
but as a salve for lips or dry patches I give it a thumbs-up!"
Would I buy it? Undecided. Right now I don't think I really need it, but if I start getting scaly patches like that more frequently I would consider picking up a tube.
DAY TWENTY-ONE: Sweet Anthem Perfumes' Juliet (Oil)
must have received this as a sample with an order, but I have no memory
of actually trying it before, so here we are. This has top notes of
Clove, Mango, and Pink Pepper, middle notes of Neroli and Jasmine
Sambac, and base notes of Muskwood and Tobacco. Despite being a little
spicy, I think this scent has a clean sort of sweetness to it. Kind of
aquatic. It's a lovely fragrance but I don't think it suits my
personality - maybe I'm not a sweet girl? :P"
Would I buy it? Not this particular scent, but I would certainly try others by Sweet Anthem in the future.
DAY TWENTY-TWO: Sally's Box Love Recipe Sheet Mask in Paprika
lot of people were intrigued by this variety when I had a Sally's Box
giveaway a few months ago, and I'm just getting around to trying it for
myself now. The verdict: I don't think it's really too distinct from the
other Sally's Box Love Recipe masks, other than maybe the scent - I
*feel* like it smells like bell peppers, but that could just be
confirmation bias or something. In any case, it moisturizes and soothes
nicely and fits on my face reasonably well. Not bad for a $1 mask!"
Would I buy it again? If Memebox ever brings these back to their shop for $1 apiece, yes.
DAY TWENTY-THREE: Dearberry Ice Cream Hand Cream in Green Tea
"I recently did a swap with a fellow #Memebox
fan and she threw this in as an extra - yay! Google tells me it came
from one of the Black Friday boxes. So far as I can tell, this is only
called "Ice Cream" because of the tube design. The formula is pretty
average - not greasy, but not ultra-hydrating either. At least the scent
is nice - like sweet green tea, shockingly enough. I let Stan use some
and he sniffed his hands creepily for a long time. Mmmmmmm."
Would I buy it? No. But Stan still sniffs himself for a bit too long whenever I let him use it.
DAY TWENTY-FOUR: Ryo/Ryeo/Ryoe/Ryu Anti Hair Loss Treatment
is a conditioning-type rinse that's supposed to prevent hair loss
(surprise!) I got it in a Memebox a while back and didn't really pay too
much attention to it at first, but I've been using it for the past few
days, and I think it really may be improving the condition of my scalp.
Not sure about the hair loss, but healthy, happy scalp! This stuff has a
pretty distinct herbal medicine scent (AKA dirt) which might be a
dealbreaker for some, but I don't mind it. I'm pretty certain I'll end
up buying a full-size tube of this!"
Follow-up thoughts: I started translating the ingredients list for this, and it seems like two of the ingredients are Salicylic Acid and Zinc Pyrithione, which would totally explain why it's making my scalp less flaky. This leaves my hair nicer-feeling than other similarly-priced treatments of this type though, so I will certainly be purchasing more. And maybe post a review with the full ingredients list once I figure out what all of them are.
DAY TWENTY-FIVE: Versace Bright Crystal EDT
is a soft, musky floral with some fruity/watery notes. This is what I'd
describe as a "safe" scent- not so strong that it will make your
officemates sneeze to death, but not really that unique or interesting
either. Smells nice but I won't be hunting down more!"
Would I buy it? Still a nope.
DAY TWENTY-SIX: Vibrant Cleanse Vibrant Cleanse Lemonade
"I got this in a #BeautyArmy
box a while back, which is sort of odd because I think it's basically
supposed to be a dry/shelf-stable version of the concoction you drink
whilst doing the Master Cleanse. I'm pretty dubious of the Master
Cleanse, but I did try some of the special "lemonade" when a friend of
mine did it, so I will review this purely on its culinary merits: It's
bland. Blander than fresh lemons anyway, and the cayenne pepper element
is pretty mild. I can't think of a reason why I would ever end up buying
this, but it's gone and out of my house now, so... yay?"
Follow-up thoughts: A fellow Instagrammer pointed out in the comments that this sample packet is actually 1/3 of a serving, hence the blandness. That's like... the stupidest idea ever? Who gives out a sample that's only 1/3 of a serving of a drink mix?!
DAY TWENTY-SEVEN: Freeman Goji Berry Hydration Mask
is a wash-off moisturizing mask that looks, smells and feels like hair
conditioner. Well, maybe it's a bit stickier. Kind of a gel-cream
hybrid, in any case. Unfortunately, this didn't really do anything for
me... after I washed it off my skin felt pretty much the same as before?
So why did I spend 10 minutes with sticky goopiness on my face? Bleh! I
like some Freeman masks, but this is definitely not one of them."
Follow-up thoughts: If you want to know which Freeman masks *don't* suck, I recommend the Black Charcoal & Sugar and Strawberry Chocolate Mud Mask varieties.
DAY TWENTY-EIGHT: Babo Botanicals Swim & Sport Shampoo & Wash in Cucumber Aloe Vera
have no idea where I got this sample - I think it's meant to be a
multi-purpose wash for kids after they get grubby at the pool or
playground or what have you. I tried it as a body wash... smells OK and I
think it's detergent-like enough to actually remove chlorine from hair
even though it doesn't contain sulfates, so maybe it would double as a
decent shampoo for color-treated hair? Shrug. I probably won't be
purchasing this because it's not something I need, but it seems nice
enough for what it is."
Follow-up thoughts: This might actually be handy for travel too. Just saying!
DAY TWENTY-NINE: L.A. Girl Glazed Lip Paint in Pin Up
this in the Drugstore.com GWP bag I posted about at the beginning of
the month, and am finally getting around to trying it now. I'm sure most
of you know of these at this point - if not, they've been touted as
budget dupes for Too Faced Melted lippies or even OCC Lip Tars. I don't
think either of those comparisons are really accurate, but this is a
very nice budget lip product in its own right: Very pigmented, easy to
apply, longer-lasting than some other glossy lip products. Pin Up is a
really flattering neutral red - bold but not crazy-looking! I will
definitely be keeping this in my stash and may even pick up another
color or two next time I order from Drugstore.com."
Follow-up thoughts: Yes, I know I totally should have taken a lip swatch picture. But I didn't. I'll try to remember to do that at some point! But really, if you like classic reds and glossiness and lip products that cost under $5, it's hard to go wrong with these.
DAY THIRTY: Fresh Rose Hydrating Eye Gel Cream
really like the texture of this cream - it spreads easily and is very
hydrating without feeling too heavy or greasy. The scent is nice (sort
of like cucumber and fresh flowers) but maybe a bit strong for a product
meant to be used in the eye area? Not bad overall!"
Would I buy it? Undecided. I really do like the consistency, but daaaaang it's fragrance-y. I have some other fragranced eye creams and they don't seem to bother me, but they don't smell as strong as this one.
And thus concludes the Use It Or Lose It: 30 Day Challenge. I laughed, I cried, I smeared some stuff on my face. This was a good experience for me because it forced me to try some stuff I was "saving" for no real reason. Why do I do this?! I know I'm not the only one though. Anyway, my favorites out of this batch were the Alpha Hydrox Foot Cream, Soap & Glory Body Butter, Ryo Hair Treatment, and L.A. Girl Lip Paint. Success!
I don't think I'll be doing a 30-day destash next month, but perhaps I'll do another "of the day" thing on Instagram in February... maybe foodie-related this time? I do plan to do another blog series that's sort of related to destashing next month, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow or Monday to find out more about that. :)
Have you tried any of the items in my #UIOLI30DayChallenge collection? Agree or disagree with my thoughts? Let me know in the comments!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, check out my full disclosure policy.