Empties #42 – Mateja’s Beauty Blog


This is a travel size only. I didn’t like this when I first got it – the reason was TO’s retinol. I like it a lot more now. It has great coverage (medium-full), looks great on the skin (almost always), has a ton of good ingredients and an SPF 50. It suits my skin better when it’s dry, but I wear it in the summer heat to.

Buyback: Got the full size in a new shade of Fair Ivory.


One of my favorite foundations. It looks great on the skin – it’s lightweight, has a natural-invisible look, the finish is naturally semi-matte and it looks great over the pores as it fills them up a bit and therefore provides a very smooth base. But I don’t use it in winter when my skin is drier. Despite the name, this isn’t your typical matte foundation for oily skin. This is the old lightest shade in the drugstores here, which is a bit too dark for me and I usually wear shade 100.

Repurchase: Done.

One of the best formulas for my skin. It’s natural, fresh, and has medium coverage, which is enough for me. My skin is dry, so of course I love formulas that don’t look matte.


Subsequent purchase: Done, this time in the new shade 50.5.

A medium-strength retinal serum, comparable to a 0.2-0.5% retinol product, but with less irritation potential and said to work faster. The few retinol products I’ve used haven’t gotten any results, and I don’t see any anti-aging benefits from this one in terms of reducing lines or sagging, but I like to take comfort in the fact that they at least do slow the appearance of signs of aging. It is a light yellow lotion that has this color due to the retina. I’ve never experienced any irritation or redness so it’s an easy to use product for me and layers.


Repurchase: I have the stronger version 10 that I am currently using and my skin looks fine.

I use this every day. It contains 0.5% beta-glucan and madecassoside, so it repairs the skin barrier

Product. It’s a very light serum that absorbs quickly and is easy to incorporate into your routine.


Repurchase: Done.

So far, this is the only vitamin C product I’ve seen pigmentation fade. I also love the Eucerin ones, but these vials are so small and I’ve used them for much less time. It contains 10% ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, a stable version of vitamin CI like most. The fading was so slow that I didn’t see it until I saw comparison pictures between a few months ago, but it has lightened up a lot of last year’s sun damage. It’s a slightly oily serum that leaves a glow on the skin, but it’s a lightweight product that can be layered. I’m currently using the weaker Afrodita drugstore version, which has a similar texture and the same version of vitamin C.

Additional purchase: Yes, but I also like the cheaper drugstore version.


BALEA Mild cleansing foam

A nice cheap cleaning product I can get in DM. It works better for my dry skin than the wash gel I used before, the mousse is fluffy and does the job of a second cleanse or a one-on-one cleanse when I’m not using makeup. The smell is like Nivea and strong.

I’ve been using it every day for a few years and I cherish it as the product that has helped me improve the texture of my skin. It’s a lightweight toner-serum product made with 95% ferments (galactomyces) and the rest being niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, panthenol, allantoin, adenosine and a handful of fillers.

Repurchase: Yes.

ECOOKING peeling mask

The only AHA mask I really like. The usual 30% AHA doesn’t bother me, but this finally felt like something on my resilient skin. For the same reason, I think it will be too much for most, or at least only for those used to strong acids. Small pot lasted a long time as I am very forgetful about acids and only use them when something is wrong with my skin.

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Repurchase: Yes.

This looks good on paper as it contains Biotinoyl Tripeptide-1. I haven’t gotten any result from it, apart from my lashes becoming even more stubborn to curl. It’s a lightweight serum that didn’t irritate my eyes and can be used under mascara.

Repurchase: no

L’OCCITANE Immortelle Overnight Reset Oil-in-Serum

I love this serum so much. Every time I use the testers my skin looks and feels so good. But it’s so expensive and there’s nothing impressive about it. No vitamin C, retinol, bakuchiol, ceramides, niacinamide,… It only has immortelle oil which might be some anti-aging. And it has adenosine, so it’s something. I can’t justify buying a product at such a price that doesn’t contain anything special, but I’m definitely enjoying my days with good skin when I have testers.

Purchase: I would like to own it, but it is too expensive.

CV Vitamin C Enzyme Peeling Powder

I didn’t like that at all. The name says it all and you mix the powder with some water, then apply it in circular movements and wash it off. It’s insanely drying. My face felt drained of every bit of moisture after use and fingers could not glide smoothly over the skin. It had no visible effect on my skin and it wasn’t as effective as an exfoliant like Skinfood Black Sugar.

Repurchase: no.

These are mini sheet masks used with UFO, a light emitting, sonic vibrating heating device. There’s a lot of essence in there, more than in your average sheet mask, so after one treatment with UFO I squeeze the rest of the essence from the packaging onto the sheet that’s on top of UFO and do an extra treatment or even two. My skin is always much softer and moisturized afterwards. UFO helps to absorb this enormous amount of essence so much faster. I don’t see any difference in effect between these two versions and while I was concerned that they would break me, it turned out not to be. Recently my skin had a dry spell and I realized that this is the best in my stash to properly hydrate my skin and it repairs it all at once.

Repurchase: Yes.

A nourishing lotion that leaves the same silky smooth film on the skin as the hand cream (which I love using) and is an excellent formula for dry skin. The formula is a medium-weight lotion and absorbs quickly enough for my liking, but not in minutes. However, I find that the Nivea lotions have better cumulative/long term results.

Buyback: Maybe, but I bought back Nivea’s Souffle to fill up my empty stash and it’s that good.

EVELINE COSMETICS Extra soft organic argan manuka oil face and body cream

I liked that very much. Formula is a classic cream that absorbs fairly quickly and provides adequate nourishment. This has a nice ingredient list as it has argan oil, honey, oats, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, cholesterol and that’s before preservatives and fragrances which are only allowed at a 1% concentration, although the main ingredient is mineral oil. It smells nice too, very similar to the super expensive L’Occitane Almond Body Cream.

Buyback: It’s likely. I might get distracted by something new and shiny, but I really enjoyed this.

ORIFLAME Scents & Moments shower gel

Paradise sunrise

This is supposed to smell like grapefruit, but to me it smelled like mango, so a soft juicy fruity sweet scent. Formula is nothing special, but overall ok. I like the smell of Soft Cuddle based on the fragrance page in the catalogue.

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Buy back: They’re expensive for the quantity and how quickly I used them up, even if they have discounts.

AFRODITA Natural Vanilla Cream Oil Shower Gel

I wasn’t a big fan of it. Formula was ok, creamy but nothing outstanding. The scent didn’t sit well with me even though it’s a pretty basic vanilla. I prefer their lavender shower gel.

Repurchase: no.

DOVE Nourishing Secrets Restoring Ritual 48h Antiperspirant

Coconut and Jasmine Blossom

My usual antiperspirant that I’ve been using for years. It smells like coconut, but I don’t even notice the scent anymore. It leaves white marks, but I find these deodorant sticks to be the most effective.

Repurchase: Done.

A liquid strongest Olaplex applied before #3. I find this combo works significantly better than just #3 and I like the way the Olaplex routine (0 + #3 treatment + #4 shampoo + #5 conditioner + # 6. Leave-in) improves the condition of the skin hair. I saw that they finally improved the packaging by adding a spray as the nozzle with a tiny hole is painfully slow and ineffective in dispensing the product. I just unscrewed the bottle and poured it onto my hair.

Repurchase: Done.

OLAPLEX No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner

It’s not the most amazing conditioner in terms of visible results, but it’s thick and good enough, although I much prefer the #8 mask. I find this a must have product in my routine as I bleach my hair.

Repurchase: Done.

JOICO K-Pak Liquid Reconstructor

A protein leave-in that I use regularly. I stopped using it for a while and I noticed my hair was starting to break more, so I don’t want to be without it now. It is very light and does not have an immediately visible effect in terms of more nourished and less frizzy hair, but as said, it has a long-term effect. A 300 ml bottle lasts a long time.

Repurchase: Done. Now in a different packaging.

KÉRASTASE Chronologiste Essential Balm Treatment

I hated this for a long time, but then used it with an acid rinse (1 teaspoon of citric acid to 1 liter of water) and it became a huge favorite. It makes my hair insanely soft and feels great and the effects last for days. It’s not the best for taming my frizz, but only the Moroccanoil Smoothing Mask makes a difference. This smells like Miss Dior Cherie without the obnoxious patchouli.

NATURE BOX repair mask with avocado oil

A silicone-free drugstore mask that I actually like. It’s nutritious enough since shea butter tops the list, but it doesn’t reduce frizz.

Repurchase: I prefer Pantene, but it’s nice if you want something silicone-free.

GARNIER Color Naturals Cream

9.1 Natural extra light ash blonde

I use this shade for toning. This formula has completely replaced L’Oreal Excellence for me. For one, they’re half cheaper since L’Oreal’s price has increased over the years, the shades are pretty much the same, the formula is okay, and as much as I love the L’Oreal conditioner they put in their boxes , I now use Joico K- Pack Reconstructor and Intense Hydrator right after coloring. I swap out the developers for a weaker 3% as I tone the hair color, not lift it. I use the unused developers in those boxes for cleaning (1 part dish soap + 1 part hydrogen peroxide developer + sprinkling in baking soda to remove stubborn stains on fabric). The conditioner size added to the boxes is pathetic at just 22ml. I mostly use 9.1 (I’ve used up a few cases so far) and buy 8.1 just in case when I’m not doing too well with bleaching.

Repurchase: Done


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