Wow. It has been a long time since I did an written Empties post, as I’ve really been enjoying doing them as videos – something you guys seem to love just as much! I have just not had the time to film, AND my Empties bag was starting to pour it’s contents everywhere – which my pup Havana found too irresistible. So we can say so long to a pump Mixa body lotion bottle (but you guys know those are a standard in my Empties anyway.
I’ll jump right in, with my non-beauty favourites.
Karak Tea Cardamom
I have my gorgeous friend Beebs to thank for introducing me to this (you can check her out on Instagram as @beebzonian, she is the deal QUEEN). This Karak Tea comes in different flavours (we’ve tried ginger, cardamom and zafran, and loved them all). My personal favourite is the cardamom though, which you can choose to buy sweetened and unsweetened. There are a number of other flavours, like their original flavour, masala and coffee, but I’ve not tried them yet.
I can’t find an online link for them, but I’ve found them at the Hillcrest Kwikspar for around R72 for the box of 10 sachets, which is quite steeply priced (but worth it if you want to splurge and save them for chilly nights). However I also recently discovered that The Happiness Factory (@thehappinessfactory_za on Instagram) stocks them for R59 for the same amount! Plus – you can buy 1kg bags of the instant powder for R185. My dream in our new home is to have a pretty glass jar that I fill with the big bag, and keep it in stock like that.
To me, this flavour tastes like pudding, liquid burfee – absolutely delicious and so comforting!
Dr Beckmann Odour Remover*
This stuff is MAGIC. We have some old dogs blankets that were so smelly we were going to throw them out, as nothing was helping. I gave them a wash with this Dr Beckmann Odour Remover and BAM! They smelt fresh and clean again!
I’ve since tried this on my dog’s current blankets, washing them every week or two just to maintain freshness, and trust me when I say that they don’t even get to that same smelly level again.
I’m dying to get my hands on some more of this, but have been battling to source it – every store I’ve gone into that stocks the brand doesn’t have it, and I can’t find it anywhere online. As soon as I do find it, not only will I buy several bottles, but I’ll update here and let you know where I found it stocked! I really need some for when we move house, as we have so much clothing and bedding that has been boxed for a year or more – that stuff is going to smell really musty and there’s nothing I’ll trust more to fix the problem!
Wax Melts from Bath & Body Works
I bought a selection of different wax melts from Bath & Body Works online, well over a year ago, and had them delivered via my Aramex Global Shipper service. I looked on their site this week, and it appears they’re no longer selling wax melts! How devastating!
I’d been longing to try some of the B&BW candles, but getting such heavy items shipped was asking for massive customs charges. I figured I’d buy a few different wax melts, so I’d get all the enjoyment of the fragrance, without the massive costs – and this gamble paid off!
I still have a few small pieces left of a few others, but these are the two empties, and I wish I could get more. The Limoncello was a sweet lemon fragrance – not like cleaning detergent lemon, but a lemon candy kind of fragrance. It is GORGEOUS! Mahogany Teakwood had a kind of men’s cologne fragrance to it, but not harsh or too masculine. It’s hard to explain, but it was a really lovely clean smell, but with some woody depth to it.
You can buy other brands of wax melts locally (I’ve listed below for you), and these are a fantastic way to fragrance your home without spending the big bucks on candles.
I’ve repurchased this a handful of times. It’s a very basic cleansing milk (I love a milk formula for cleansing) that is gentle, yet efficient at removing makeup. I love this for my first and second cleanse in the evening, and it’s gentle enough to use as a morning cleanse as well.
The product doesn’t leave a greasy film on your skin (a problem with a lot of milks is that they do this, so I’m fussy), it leaves my skin soft and clean and it’s SO crazy affordable.
Definitely something I’ll continue to use.
This is a bog-standard now for every single empties I do. In fact, you’ll always find at least one of these, and at least one Mixa body lotion. I had a couple of Mixa empties too, but Havana destroyed them beyond recognition, so those had to be binned.
I have sensitive skin and find this is super gentle, yet it’s my go to micellar water/makeup remover, and I can use it on my lash extensions as it contains no oils.
My mom actually bought this for herself, and then decided she wasn’t a fan of the oily formula, so passed it on to me. I was MORE than happy to oblige, and I thoroughly enjoyed using it, as I love oil cleansers.
It removes every single stitch of makeup (I used it on my eyes while I had no extensions on during the initial lockdown period, no stinging on my eyes either) and it’s so rich and nourishing on my skin. What I loved most though, was that when you emulsified it with water (you go in with it on dry skin, massage to melt makeup, then wet hands and massage again), it really turns into a milk, and washes away.
This Elizabeth Arden cleanser didn’t leave a film on my skin or block my pores, so I was very happy – this isn’t always the case with oil cleansers. Plus, it felt very gentle and nourishing on my drier winter skin. Thoroughly recommend!
LOVED! I had an odd relationship with this cleanser – I used it for a while, loved it, and then I had a minor reaction. I was concerned it was this, so I stopped using it for a while, and then I forgot about it.
Turns out – it was something that had been used to wash my face clothes that had caused the reaction. I think it was a cheaper brand of fabric softener, as we only bought that once, and since then I haven’t had an issue! I reached for this Gatineau cleanser again when I cleaned out my collection during April, and very quickly finished it up, as I was using it morning and night, and was obsessed.
I love how the cleanser goes on as a rich cream, and as you massage it into your skin it turns to a thinner oil. As with the previous cleaner, you massage this into dry skin (it melts makeup like a dream, and doesn’t sting eyes), then wet hands and continue to massage. It then transforms to a milky consistency and I removed this with a warm, damp face cloth.
Absolutely beautiful formula, and I would highly recommend it, especially for drier or more mature skin types.
I received this deluxe sample size in my Sparrow Society Elizabeth Arden bag. Often when I get these richer, anti ageing moisturisers I hand them over to my mom, as I do have combination skin and worry they may be too rich – particularly if they’re day creams. I can get away with a richer night cream, but during the day my skin gets a bit oilier under makeup.
When we travelled into the bush in February, this was the day cream I took with me. Not only did it thoroughly nourish my dry skin (something about travelling in the bush leaves my whole body just parched), it wasn’t overly greasy. It was an amazing 2-in-1 product, as it was such a nifty size and contained a high SPF, so I only packed this instead of my usual moisturiser AND separate SPF.
I also found that even though I was using a glowier primer mixed with my foundation (for a fresher, lower coverage finish), my skin wasn’t looking oily at the end of the day. In fact, I was being complimented on how good my skin was looking! If I could ALWAYS travel with this and that specific makeup combo (Catrice HD Liquid Coverage foundation and Vita Liberata Beauty Blur) I’d be a happy traveler.
(P.S. there is a sample pot of this in the latest Elizabeth Arden gift with purchase, available until Sunday 2 August – it’s a 7-piece gift set that comes free with the purchase of any 2 Elizabeth Arden products, 1 being a serum, a foundation or a moisturiser.)
I’ve purchased this a few times, much like the cleansing milk – in fact, if skincare was a seriously restricted budget for me, 2 things I would constantly repurchase would be this and the cleansing milk. Both are crazy affordable, yet really do the job. This is gentle, it’s rich yet non-greasy, and being without SPF, it can be used morning and night. They have a couple of other variations that I’ve not tried, but I love this rose water one so much I’m happy to stick with it.
If you’re on the hunt for a budget moisturiser that works well – look no further, it’s under R100!
This Clarins mask came as a gift with purchase that my mom received, and she was sweet enough to pass it my way, knowing I love hydrating masks.
I really enjoyed it – it does the job nicely! To be really honest though, I’ve used other hydrating masks that are either much more effective, or work the same and are more affordable, so I don’t think I’d repurchase the full size unless it was on a really good promotion.
OBSESSED – this is honestly one of my favourite hydrating masks of all time. I’ve gone through 2 of these deluxe sample sizes (is this a deluxe sample or a travel size? I reckon they should make this size a permanent item for sale, it’s perfect for travel.)
This has no fragrance to it, is DEEPLY hydrating and does the job perfectly. In fact, dare I say it’s quite possibly my favourite hydrating mask? It’s a close fight between this and the Optiphi HydraDerm HA Masque, I’ll tell you that much.
I loved to travel with this as my night cream, and am dying to repurchase the full size now. Whenever I applied it, I could basically feel my skin sighing with relief, and I’d wake up with glowy, plump skin.
I have a lot of skincare products, so it’s not often I start one and stick to it right until I’ve squeezed every last bit out. I’ll often bounce from one to the other. Yet I finished this new addition to the Elizabeth Arden offering in no time.
It contains a really high SPF for a moisturiser, and has a string of other benefits, so it’s the most perfect all-rounder. Plus, foundation glides on top so beautifully, it’s like you’ve primed your skin.
The multiple benefits make this perfect for travel, and you then pack this one product in place of a moisturiser, an SPF and a skin primer. Bonus!
Another product that I powered through was this Pixi moisturiser. I used this as a night cream EVERY SINGLE NIGHT until I actually scraped the last remaining drop from the tube (that I even cut open for good measure). When my skin was feeling tight or just a little drier, I used a little of this during the day too – although for my combo skin, it is a little on the rich side for day time.
This smells DELICIOUS and is really nourishing and rich. The most perfect night cream ever, and one I’d happily repurchase, even at the local resellers prices. It’s not cheap (around R600 or more depending on where you buy from locally – or you can order via Cult Beauty, but right now with covid I wouldn’t recommend overseas orders), but it’s just so good. Effective and really enjoyable to use.
Not one I reviewed – this Magic Cream is VERY rich, and would therefore be wasted on me with my combination skin. My mom actually purchased this off Muse Beauty, after I’d told her all about the product.
She loved it! It’s very rich and glowy, and you could tell the difference when she used this – her skin was dewy and looked so fresh and youthful. Mom’s already longing for a new jar, but it’s a pricey product even when purchased overseas – at the resellers here, it’s out of this world expensive. She says she’ll definitely repurchase it when she travels internationally again (my folks usually do every year, but sadly haven’t been able to due to corona).
If you have dry or mature skin, this is a miracle product for you!
You guys know I’m a sheet mask maniac, and I’ve mentioned most of these before. In fact, you’ll always find a load of sheet masks in my empties posts/videos. I’ll do a quick summary of each product, as I have mentioned most of them before.
I enjoyed using this, although I did find the serum to be a little on the thicker side – almost too thick for a sheet mask. It definitely hydrated my skin, and left it feeling soft, but it’s on the pricier side for a drugstore single use mask (R50), and for that price I’d rather repurchase the Garnier one.
My best for the price! These are R25 each at Dischem, and often on a 3 for R60 special (such a steal). They fit my face pretty well (better than some masks I’ve paid more than double for), and are soaked in a super hydrating serum. You can get them in broccoli, brazil nut, tomato, banana, avocado, collagen and snail masks – I’ve used the first 4 and loved every single one, although I find myself repurchasing the tomato, banana and brazil nut the most.
Probably my favourite sheet mask ever. Super saturated in serum, intensely hydrating and almost always on discount (either 20% off or 3-for-2) at either Clicks or Dischem. I have been gifted from the brand before, but I’ve purchased my own before and after.
I know the price of this is scary for a single use mask – but you’re not just paying for an average hydrating mask. It’s INTENSELY hydrating as well as being really soothing for irritable skin. It’s 100% natural and biodegradable, made from biocellulose (initially developed to treat major burn victims) and soaked in Vitamin B3 to soothe a compromised barrier or any irritation. In fact, if you’ve had a reaction to something and your skin is red and irritated, I’d highly recommend trying this mask to soothe, hydrate and start the repairing process. It’s also so well made, as it’s probably the thinnest sheet mask I’ve used, and the best fitting one too.
The only under eye patches I’ve found to work. This was my 3rd pack and it definitely won’t be my last. The trick is to leave them on longer than suggested – I put them on and then sit for at least an hour! I apply them and the gel is quite thick, and then by the time I take them off (more often than not after a full movie), you can actually feel that the gel is thinner, so you know the product has absorbed. My under eye area looks so fresh and smooth!
Amazing to put on in before an event – apply, go about your life for an hour (shower, dry and style your hair, do your eye makeup and have a drink), and by the time you want to get to your face makeup, your concealer will look FLAWLESS.
I absolutely LOVED these products, and have done a full review, which you can read HERE.
I was sent this whole new range of Batiste dry shampoos earlier this year. I use dry shampoo almost every single day – whether it be on freshly washed hair to add extra oomph at the roots and texture to the lengths, or on day 2/3/4 to soak up excess oils and leave my hair smelling fresh.
Of all of them (and I enjoyed them all) I liked the Volume the least, but this is my same feelings towards the regular Batiste Extra Volume – it left my hair not feeling as ‘clean’ as the others, and I couldn’t go my full 4 days between washes. The other 3 I absolutely adored, and I’ve already repurchased Damage Control and Hydrate (and will repurchase De-Frizz definitely).
They’re just like the older, original Batiste dry shampoos, but better, lighter and with much nicer fragrances.
Garnier Ultimate Blends The Strength Restorer Serum
I cannot, for the life of me, find a link for this locally – is it discontinued I wonder?
I love this hair serum and have gone through multiple bottles of it. The only reason I haven’t repurchased is that I currently have my Ellips and a Kerastase one to finish up, along with other smoothing creams and leave in conditioners – I’m not one for purchasing something if I have a product designed to do the same job).
I found this to hydrate my ends, leave them looking shiny, and definitely smoother, so I’d repurchase if I can find it.
Another one I can’t find online locally – in fact, in my local Clicks they have the whole brand on their sale shelves, so I wonder if it’s being discontinued?
I ADORE the Cake dry shampoo, it’s the lightest feeling dry shampoo in the world, smells like Christmas cake and leaves my hair feeling clean with less build up. Yet I haven’t been able to find it for some time.
This dry conditioner is used on your lengths and ends in between washes, and it does a lovely job at giving hydration and texture to hair. If you can find it, I’d definitely recommend!
It’s not often you’ll find fragrance empties, as I don’t wear my nice fragrances every day, and keep body sprays or cheaper perfumes for daily use. This Avon one surprised me, as it has such a beautiful fresh, floral fragrance I couldn’t stop reaching for it!
I have to rave about the Bodycare From Africa brand all over again. So affordable and SO good! Every product I’ve used has felt like top quality and so luxurious, so it goes without saying that I adored this hand cream. The Argan fragrance was also my favourite – strong enough that I could enjoy it, yet not so strong that it fought with perfume if I chose to wear it.
I’ve bought countless tubes of this over the last few years. It’s a really rich, thick, buttery hand cream, yet it doesn’t leave my hands super greasy. It smells gorgeous and is enough for even the driest hands!
Woolworths Silk hand cream
I can’t find this on the Woolworths site, but I’ve seen it recently in my local branch, so I know it’s still being sold. I’ve used the Milk and Cashmere variants too, as I really love the formula, but this Silk one is probably my favourite scent.
BEST HANDCREAM EVER! Super hydrating, yet non-greasy, smells gorgeous, and I even used it on my feet, as it deeply hydrated the skin there so quickly. Fabulous hand cream and would definitely repurchase.
Ok, so I did (in the name of research) try this lotion on my face. I’m not a big fan of products that are for face and body, and I used it for 3 days on my face, but didn’t find it to be hydrating enough, yet weirdly it also felt a little greasy. I ended up using it on my body instead, and found it VERY enjoyable as a body lotion.
It felt very hydrating on my body skin, and for some reason it didn’t feel greasy at all on my body skin (odd, but true). I loved how it sunk in like a dream, and it was the perfect summer lotion, even for hot and sticky Durban!
So as you can see, the last few months I’ve tried a lot more body lotions than my usual 2 favourites (Mixa and The Body Shop butters). Yes, as I mentioned there were some Mixa empties, but they were destroyed – so these are all the others. Having gone into winter, I have been reaching for thicker, richer products and loving using body oils again.
I love keeping a body oil in my shower, and when I turn off the tap, just before I climb out, I massage some into my skin. Either on my whole body (when I don’t want to stand doing the lotion thing because I’m tired or cold), or sometimes just the extra dry parts like my arms and legs (I’ll go in with a lotion or butter as well, but the oil over damp skin traps moisture).
I really liked this Palmer’s one, because firstly it smells like chocolate (yum), and secondly – it’s very rich without leaving my skin looking and feeling like I’ve rolled around in my fried chips packet. It’s also affordable, so I’ll definitely repurchase.
I absolutely LOVED this body cream. I didn’t notice a visible difference in terms of less cellulite or my skin LOOKING firmer, but it felt smoother and tighter to the touch. It was also beautifully nourishing, so I’d definitely repurchase at some point.
This body butter smells blissful! I’d previously not tried any from Oh So Heavenly, but now I’ll definitely try a few of their other variations. It’s super affordable and smells incredible, plus it’s rich and nourishing to dry winter skin!
GUYS – how have I taken so long to discover and appreciate this brand? This body butter is cheaper than my usual favourite The Body Shop ones, yet I think I prefer the formula!
It’s really rich and buttery, but spreads with ease (it thins out beautifully as you massage it in, making it a dream to use). It also smells gorgeous from the essential oils used, and it has their infamous proteasyl in, a fantastic natural anti-ager.
On top of all this, I love that if I use this on my hands (for example), it sinks in and isn’t greasy, yet I can feel a layer of hydration there until I wash my skin.
I’ll most definitely repurchase this at some point – I just need to work my way through my current stash!
WHEW! That was a lot of products, but I feel so much better at having cleared out my Empties bag and gotten some mini reviews of products to you guys! I promise the next one will be a video again!