Nota bene: this post contains some affiliate links. I will be compensated for any purchases made through the use of those links below. Thank you!
I’ve always really enjoyed watching “Empties” videos on YouTube, so I thought I’d give it a shot here on the blog. It’s a good opportunity to review some products I might not otherwise get a chance to talk about. It’s also some great motivation for me to focus on using up some of the products I already have, rather than purchasing new ones! What do people call that? Shopping your stash? Something like that. I’ll probably only do these posts every couple months, or perhaps seasonally? We’ll call this the late spring edition.
Here are the products I’ve finished in the last couple months. Have you used any of these? Let me know your thoughts!
As per usual, these products are all cruelty free. ♥
Hurraw! limited edition ChocoMint balm
This was a collaboration with Love Goodly in celebration of the brand’s 1 year anniversary. I got this way back in the August/September 2016 box. I usually go through lip balms a bit faster than this, of course, but I had a few going all at once. Hurraw! is my favorite lip balm of all time, and this flavor/scent combination was divine. How could you go wrong with chocolate and mint, really? I’m sad it was a limited edition (and is currently sold out on the Love Goodly website). I would absolutely buy this again if it was available. This seems more of a cool weather scent/flavor to me, so it seems appropriate that I finally used it up. In the summer all I want to smell is tropical coconut and vanilla.
LUSH Ocean Salt
I go through one or two of these a year, I guess? LUSH’s Ocean Salt is one of my very sporadic “treat yourself” items, and has been for years. I’m certain I’ve talked about it on the blog before! I always hesitate to use that last little bit in the tub. I’m still trying to work my way through a bunch of other shower products, so it’ll be a little while before I buy this again. So sad.
Mullein & Sparrow facial steam
This was another Love Goodly box item from December/January. This was a sample size, but I got about four uses out of it, so I’m choosing to include it here. The full sized herbal blend is available on the Love Goodly website, here. I mentioned this in a Friday Favorites post back in January. The herbal blend includes lavender, chamomile, rose, calendula, chickweed and comfrey, which served to both sooth my skin and relax my mind. When it comes to products like this, I know I could DIY it, so I probably won’t repurchase this. It was a great item to receive in a subscription box, though! Love Goodly has yet to disappoint.
MyChelle Perfect C™ serum
Again, Love Goodly subscription box item! This came in the December/January box, as well. I love getting serums and facial oils in my subscription boxes. It’s always such a pleasant surprise, because those products are typically fairly expensive. For example, this product retails for $44. In addition to being cruelty free, this vitamin C serum is vegan, and is made without the use of GMO’s, parabens, petroleum, phthalates, silicones, sulfates, or artificial fragrances and colors. I typically use a serum at night, but it was nice to have one for daytime use. My only issue with this product is that it smelled very much like alcohol. Also, the fact that it contains citrus oils and is intended for daytime use was somewhat worrying. I experienced no photosensitivity when using this product and going outside, but this does have grapefruit and tangerine oils in it. Use sunscreen!
OGX Weightless Hydration+ Coconut Water shampoo & conditioner
OGX has so many varieties, I can’t really keep track of it all. I bought these at Target the last time I needed new shampoo and conditioner. This brand has been my go to for some time, and I guess I don’t really have a preference. I just try to buy whatever seems appropriate for my hair type, or whatever smells the best at the time of purchase. There wasn’t anything particularly outstanding or noticeably different about these, but they do smell really nice. I always run out of conditioner before I run out of shampoo. Anyone else?
That’s all for now. I’ll return with another Empties post at the end of the summer! Thanks for reading.
Hello there, dust sprites. I probably don’t have to tell you this, but I am a makeup newbie. Sure, I wear mascara, and I’m a total lipstick junkie (always have been obsessed with lip products in general), but when it comes to just normal, everyday things like applying foundation, I literally have no clue what I’m doing (outside of just smearing tinted moisturizer or BB cream all over my face). This is the summer I figure things out.
When I was younger, my mom encouraged me whenever I felt like playing with cosmetics. I’m pretty sure she loved the idea; I flip flopped from tomboy to girly girl on the reg, and she really enjoyed my girlier times. Heck, my mom was the mom who tried to convince the other moms to let my friends pierce their ears. I remember her purchasing my very first blush compact (Maybelline) and lipstick (some sort of frosted pink Avon variety). Mostly, though, she bought me endless glitter gel and LipSmacker products in my preteens (and that one green lippie from Wet n’ Wild that like… changed color with your body temperature or something).
Most of you reading know that she died when I was sixteen, which was really right around the time I started becoming somewhat more interested in wearing make up “for real.” It was actually something we argued about a little, because she was way more into the idea than I was. And sixteen year old girls argue with their moms about everything. Literally. In the end, I just never really learned. There was the occasional reddish eyeshadow, black eyeliner pencil, and black lipstick (because baby goth), but I just never figured out the normal stuff. My father supported/tolerated whatever weird teenage thing I wanted to wear or put on (including blue hair and darling customized vampie fangs), but makeup was certainly out of his scope of knowledge. I’m 90% sure he thought my red shadow was just pollen allergies.
Writing this all out really just makes me feel nostalgic, which is kind of how makeup makes me feel in general. It also make me feel so incredibly thankful for my parents. All girls deserve a mom and dad like mine. Nobody’s perfect, and of course I don’t only have warm and fuzzy memories about my mom (again, moms and teenage daughters), but a lot of who I am today is because of her. I appreciate that.
I recently placed a mega-order with Ulta. These products are all new to me, so I thought an unboxing post with some initial thoughts might be fun.
Everything I purchased is, as far as I know, cruelty free (not tested on animals). Some of the parent companies of these particular brands do business in countries that require animal testing. I will provide notes where applicable. Some of the items I actually felt confident about are a little more on the pricey side, but they’re from brands I know I can trust when it comes to transparency. As always, you should use your wallet, and your voice, in the way that works best for you. Logical Harmony is the best resource I know when it comes to researching cruelty-free beauty.
Now let’s get to it! I didn’t take a ton of photos; my bathroom lighting is …less than ideal?
Pacifica Transcendent Concentrated Concealer in light.
- 100% vegan and cruelty free / Made in the US / formulated without parabens, phthalates or petroleum
I occasionally use a cream concealer with a brush, but I’ve never purchased or used a wand before. Pacifica is a brand I am familiar, comfortable and 100% happy with, so I felt safe making this choice. I have nothing but praise for this brand, and the fact that they make cruelty free beauty more accessible to everyone.
Initial thoughts: The shade is fine for me, as long as I blend it out. I appreciate the lighter coverage; I’ll be able to use this with both a BB cream (which I’m more comfortable with) and a more traditional foundation.
Pacifica Radiant Shimmer Coconut Multiples
- 100% vegan and cruelty free / Made in the US / formulated without parabens, phthalates or petroleum
Let’s learn how to contour! I chose this as a product to learn with because a number of folks online said that it was a very natural and light looking pallette. I’ve also learned over the years that I really can’t use powder-based products because they consistently turn my face into a patchy desert.
Initial thoughts: First, this palette smells incredible: straight up creamy coconut. I don’t know how I feel about the shimmery “contour” color, but I like both the highlight and the blush. These are light, and I like that I can build them up very slowly. In the end, this isn’t really all the great for contouring, but I’ll use the light shades often.
If anyone has any recommendations for a cruelty free matte contour palette, I’d be happy to hear them! Please!
ELF Online Exclusive Contouring Brush
- cruelty free
As it stands, the majority of my tools and brushes are either from ELF or ecoTools, so this seemed like a no-brainer. I appreciate ELF’s lower price point. It’s probably worth noting here that while all of ELF’s cosmetics are apparently vegan, not all of their skincare products or brushes are. I have no idea how to use a contouring brush, but I’m about to find out.
Initial thoughts: I know this is a cheap makeup brush, and cheap makeup brushes are the same as cheap paintbrushes. This is fine for practicing and playing around, but it sheds quite a bit.
Too Faced Travel Size Hangover Replenishing Face Primer
- cruelty free (parent company is not) / silicone-free
According to the internet, a primer is a good and useful thing. I chose this one because it’s travel-sized (in case I hate it) and is made with coconut water (and I’m not ashamed to admit, too, that one of my favorite YouTubers uses it).
Initial thoughts: This is really nice! My skin, especially my undereye area, is desperately dry. I will probably end up purchasing a full sized bottle of this when I run out. I would consider adding this to my “every day” list.
Juice Beauty PHYTO-PIGMENTS Flawless Finishing Powder in translucent
- vegan and cruelty free / made in the US / formulated without parabens, silicone, or synthetic dyes and fragrances / uses organic ingredients
I’ve received Juice Beauty products in a couple subscription boxes, and this is one of those companies I’m happy to shell out a little more money for. There were solid reviews for this particular product.
Initial thoughts: I was not expecting this to be shimmery. Is all finishing powder shimmery? That can’t be right. I need some more practice with this. I probably won’t be buying another shimmery finishing powder when this runs out. Again, if you have any matte recommendations, please let me know in the comments!
J. Cat Beauty Online Exclusive Spray, Set, Go Setting Spray in Go Aloe
- cruelty free
This was inexpensive and seemed like it might be refreshing, especially with summer around the corner.
Initial thoughts: This is a very pleasant way to end a makeup routine. I like it! It also toned down the shimmer on my face a little bit.
Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Brow Pencil in rich brown
- cruelty free (parent company is not) / formulated without parabens, phthalates, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate
I’ve used other Tarte products, and have always experienced good results. It made sense to me to purchase a new-to-me product like an eyebrow pencil from a familiar brand.
Initial thoughts: This is another one of those light, but buildable products. This means there’s is a lot of wiggle room, which I appreciate because I don’t know what I’m doing. Filling in my brows is …going to take some getting used to. I do love the tiny spoolie brush.
- cruelty free (parent company is not)
I decided to try three different NYX lip products because of that aforementioned lip product obsession. I’ve never purchased anything from this brand before. Price points are solid, and the variety can’t really be beat. Even though I got these for fun, I was still hemming and hawing over swatches for about a week before I made my final decision.
Lip Lingerie in Corset
Initial thoughts: The smell of this product is awful, but the color and texture are amazing. This is a pretty much perfect nude. I will probably pick up one or two other shades of the Lip Lingerie.
Soft Matte Lip Cream in Stockholm
Initial thoughts: This smells exactly like the Bonne Bell LipSmacker Frosting in vanilla that I was obsessed with in middle school. I love everything about this product. I’ll definitely be trying some more shades, but Stockholm ended up being a really nice shade for me.
Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Stone Fox
Initial thoughts: I like this formula okay, but this was my least favorite of the three. That said, the color is fabulous. I really couldn’t resist a gray lipstick.
I had a blast unboxing these and just playing around. Thank you, Ulta! Again, if you have any suggestions or tips, please leave them in the comments or hit me up on Twitter or Instagram @girldust. I love to hear from you!
Nota bene: Friday Favorites post often contain a few affiliate links. I will receive a small percentage of the sales made through the use of those links below. If you’d like to have your product featured here, and feel like you’d be a good fit for girldust, please feel free to contact me! I’d love to work with you! ♥
- This chocolatey orange lip scrub from LUSH has been a post-winter savior. This particular flavor is an Easter-only item, and I’m really disappointed that I didn’t think to buy more than one. I love it so much! I might try to scoot back into the Harvard Square location before class on Monday next week and grab another. Will they still have it? I don’t knoooow!
- I’ve fallen hard for Pacifica’s Indian Coconut Nectar scent, which is a delicious warm blend of vanilla and coconut. I use this new hair and body spray every single day. Pacifica is 100% vegan and cruelty free. This smells like summer.
- This tee from Pretty Nobody Co hits me right in the feels. It’s my life.
- Boy Bye is a new spring shade from Trust Fund Beauty and it’s gorgeous.
- If you’re in need of new flip flops this summer, do yourself a favor and buy a pair of Sanuks. Trust me. I am a former flip flop hater. Three years ago, the Yoga Mat flips changed my life. I will never stop talking about these. Shown here is the Yoga Mat Webbing.
- I would very much like to read this book now, please and thank you. May 30!?
- Weird Beard Candle Company released a new batch of scents earlier this week. Float On is officially on my wishlist! I need it! Please somebody feel free to buy me ten of them. When I was a kidlet, the rootbeer scented scratch n’ sniffs were my favorites. And honestly, the smell of root beer is still pretty darn euphoric for me.
- I’ve recently become obsessed with Humm Kombucha. You can find it at Target and it’s basically… kombucha for people who are new to kombucha? Mainstream booch? I don’t know. It’s very sweet, almost like soda. My favorite is the coconut lime. I choose to be low key about my kombucha drinking, because it gives Teej the major heebie jeebies, but this stuff is treat city.
- Are you a fiddler? I’m definitely a fiddler. While I tend to go for things like doughy or squishy fidget toys (kinetic sand is my favorite thing), these 3D printed gadgets from AntsyToys look like they’re so much fun!
- I received a fun box of new-to-me cosmetics and skincare goodies from Ulta in the mail, and I can’t wait to share the unboxing with you! This is the summer I learn how to actually paint my face! I hope you’ll come along for the ride. I’ve got a tiny sneak peek up on Insta.
- It’s still National Park Week! Entrance to all National Parks is free this weekend. Go explore!
2016 was a year of eco friendly and cruelty free discovery, for me. I thought I’d return from my lengthy and accidental blogging hiatus by sharing some of my new favorite beauty products.
While I am an omnivore, cruelty-free (no animal testing) personal care products are a top priority. The products listed below all happen to be vegan, too, but I do use products that make use of animal ingredients (like beeswax and goat’s milk) fairly regularly. I’d also like to note upfront that this is not a sponsored post. These are just companies that I feel really good about supporting!
- Hurraw! Balm Papaya Pineapple 100% natural / certified vegan & cruelty-free / GMO-free / made in the US $4.49
If you’ve been reading this blog for a bit, or if you follow me on social media, you are probably familiar with Hurraw! I’ve definitely gushed about them before. This company is good people. The Papaya Pineapple was a new variety to me, this year. It’s a tube of tropical perfection in my snowbound New England. I want to keep one in my purse, and one in the car, and one… you get the idea. Whenever I order from Hurraw!, I order four or five tubes, and they have always included a free balm with my purchase. This time around, because it had been a while, I also received a very sweet handwritten note on my invoice that said, “Naomi’s back!” I can’t say enough good things. If you can’t find Hurraw! balm at a local retailer, it’s absolutely worth ordering through the mail.
- Trust Fund Beauty Nail Lacquer vegan & cruelty-free / 10-free / GMO-free $15
My nail polish collection has been toxin free and animal friendly for about six years, now. It includes a variety of brands in all price ranges (proving that the way you choose to spend your dollar 100% counts, because ten years ago the options were incredibly limited). I discovered Trust Fund Beauty over the summer, and this brand is now at the top of my list when it comes to polishes. My first purchase was Hot in the Hamptons, an ultra bright shimmery pink, perfect for summer. I immediately fell head over heels for the coverage and durability of this product. This is the first polish I’ve used in ages that didn’t just chip off immediately. I’m looking forward to purchasing a couple nude shades (including pictured, Bitches Who Brunch) when I have the budget for it.
- Zao Organic Volume Mascara 100% natural / cruelty-free / free of petroleum derivatives and parabens $33.20
I’ve used a few different cruelty-free mascaras, but never anything quite so luxurious. The price point reflects the quality, and for the one cosmetic item I use almost daily, I do think it’s worth it. I love the bamboo packaging. I received this in a Love Goodly subscription box!
- OSEA Malibu Atmosphere Protection Cream 100% natural / vegan & cruelty-free / made in the US $48
Oh my goodness. So. To be honest, the name of this product made me giggle a bit when I first got it (another amazing Love Goodly subscription box item), but it is so, so good. I will never giggle at it again. This is not something I can afford to replace at the moment, and I am incredibly sad to see that my bottle is nearly empty. This is honestly the nicest daily moisturizer I have ever used. It smells great, it feels great on my dry, sensitive, and aging (bwamp bwamp) skin, and it’s full of nourishing ingredients.
- Schmidt’s Deodorant Rose + Vanilla Stick certified vegan & cruelty-free / free of aluminum, parabens, and phthalates / made in the US $8.99
I finally found my dream deodorant. I’ve been using strictly natural deodorants for the last four years or so. It’s been a bit of challenge finding the right one for me. Flash forward to the release of this particular scent (in stick form), and I decided to give Schmidt’s another go, after not being 100% in love with their jar formulas. I am so thankful that I did just that. Natural deodorant is tricky, for a lot of people. It’s something that’s really important to me, so I’ve kept at it over the years. The price point is right, I love the ridiculously girly scent, and this product actually works.
- Acure Ultra-Hydrating Body Wash certified vegan & cruelty-free / paraben & sulfate-free / $9.99 (price varies)
I discovered this after searching for the “best moisturizing body washes” when it started to get cold. I’m never looking back. I do, admittedly, feel a little guilty about the plastic bottle (because we’ve been really good about using bar soaps with minimal packaging since I moved into the house), but this product really is incredible. And it smells so good.
I’m really pleased that I managed to discover some new things over the last year, even if a couple of them are definitely out of my price range right now. It’s important to me that I continue to support the companies that are ethical and genuine, and that the self care products I use regularly are ones that I can feel good about, in more ways that one.
Thanks for stopping by. My name is Naomi, and this space is made of girldust. This blog is a picture of my comfortably scattered life on the coast of Maine. I'm trying to be a slightly better version of myself every day. I like old houses, reading, the ocean, ghost stories, and museums. You can learn a little bit more about me here.