Wow, I just realized starting this post out that I've only written three posts since my last monthly "use it up challenge" post, and only two of them were actual reviews. Sorry, guys. Some of you know I've been pretty sick as of late and have been stuck at home for a couple of weeks - I took a medical leave from my job - but I am planning to go back on Monday. I am starting to get better, so hopefully getting back into the swing of things will also get me back on track with blogging. I don't want to wake up one morning and realized I've ditched you all for six months again!
Anyway, here is what The Boyfriend and I used up in October. (Isn't it great that he actually uses good products, not just Irish Spring and Barbasol? I am so lucky.) Many of the products I have already reviewed previously in my Current Skincare Routine and Favorites post, so if you see a bunch of links, just know that they're nearly all going to take you to the same source!
Shiseido Facial Cotton: reviewed here.
Neutrogena Makeup Removing Wipes (blue package): I do not use these for my face because they sting my eye area, but they work great for swatching, so I buy them in bulk at Costco and use them for removing swatches from my arm!
Neutrogena Night Calming Makeup Removing Wipes (lavender package): reviewed here. These are the ones I do use on my face, and my skin loves them!
Sonia Kashuk eye makeup remover: reviewed here.
Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid: reviewed here. Boyfriend and I both use this.
Shiseido Pureness Oil Control Blotting Paper: the best blotting sheets around, in my insistent, not-so-humble opinion. I prefer them to Boscia's, Clean & Clear's, Palladio's, and many more that I've tried but don't recall to list. I can blot my full face with one sheet (I don't need 2-3 each time like I do with Clean & Clear, for example), and they don't disturb my makeup in the least.
Dior Hydra Life Pro-Youth Sorbet Creme: reviewed here.
Clinique Makeup Brush Cleaner: I use this to spot-clean my brushes after each use, in between deep cleanses. I spray a few sprays onto a tissue, then rub the brush around in it until it wipes clean. I prefer it to other brush cleaners I've tried because it works well and doesn't give me any kind of reaction (like, for example, the Sephora brand spray did - my eyes got SO irritated after I used the brushes I'd cleaned with it!).
Alberto V05 Kiwi Lime Squeeze Clarifying Shampoo: this stuff is such an unsung treasure, to be found in virtually every drugstore for $1 or less. I have several bottles stockpiled under my bathroom sink, and with good reason. I use it to deep-clean my makeup brushes; for ease of use while washing brushes, I keep it in a pump bottle (similar to the ones sold by the Container Store here) that I refill as needed. I currently have both Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo and Redken Hair Cleansing Cream in rotation in my shower to use as clarifying shampoos on my hair about once a week; to be honest, I'm just trying to use them both up right now so I can get back to using my cheapie V05 Kiwi Lime Squeeze, which I'm pretty sure I prefer to both of those more expensive ones (though I've only used the Redken twice so far, so I reserve the right to change my mind later on about that one). On both brushes and hair, Kiwi Lime Squeeze works wonderfully - thoroughly cleanses without being drying or stripping at all, nor does it leave any funky residue - and it smells fantastic, to boot!
CVS brand "Essence of Beauty" Pomegranate Apple shower gel: like the Sunblossom shower gel reviewed in my August "use it up challenge" post, this is another good one. It smells fruity without striking any artificial or synthetic notes, or being TOO sweet, which can be hard to find in affordably-priced shower gels. It lathers up wonderfully, doesn't leave any weird residue on my skin, and gets me clean. If I'm sniffing for it, I can catch little bits of the scent later in the day, but it's not so strong that anyone else would smell it or that it would conflict with whatever fragrance I'm wearing. I would also call this a "year-round" scent: it's light enough to be summery, but rich enough to work in the wintertime, too. (I miss living near a CVS!)
Kerastase Chroma Riche conditioning mask: this is actually either the third or fourth jar of this I've used up over the years. I've loved it ever since I got a cut-and-color at Gene Juarez, a high-end Seattle-based salon chain, in preparation of my freshman year of high school (longer ago than I'd care to admit) and the stylist used it on me. My aunt graciously bought me a jar of it and the Bain Chroma Riche shampoo for my birthday that year and I've been using both, on and off as I could afford them, ever since. It's far too expensive for me to use ALL the time, though a little does go a long way (even when I use it four times a week in place of regular conditioner, one jar still lasts me about six months, and that's when my hair is at its longest). I also tried the Chroma Reflect version once; I don't think the two are THAT different, but I slightly prefer the Chroma Riche, as it's more nourishing when used consistently. If someone offered to give me a jar of the Chroma Reflect though, I'd certainly use it! Both make my hair shiny in a healthy way, not an oily way, and smooth it without weighing it down.
(If you're interested in the idea of a mask like this but want a cheaper alternative, I also really like Frederic Fekkai's Technician Color Care 3-Minute Mask. It works almost equally well, but for some reason I still find myself partial to the Kerastase.) One more note: I don't actually color my hair anymore, I haven't in years, but I still tend to use color-care shampoo and conditioner because I find they leave my hair in the healthiest condition. Something about being made for sensitive hair, blah blah blah. Stylists always tell me my hair is very healthy, but I find it still seems to respond best to treatment products made for colored hair.
These are the products The Boyfriend used up! Below are his words.
Jack Black Beard Lube Conditioning Shave: this is easy to use, smells great, feels good on the skin, and numbs the face a bit so you don't notice nicks or cuts as much (which may or may not be a good thing). It doesn't cause too much distance between the razor and my face so I get a clean shave. It works so well that I have to be careful not to nick myself. I do find I nick myself less when I exfoliate before using it. In my experience, it works better than other shaving creams and LUSH Ambrosia. This is a huge bottle I buy at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, but it takes me over a year to use the whole thing up, and I shave almost every day.
Neaclear Liquid Oxygen Acne Wash: this feels like washing your face with Windex, in a good way. It lathers just the right amount. It gives a chemical clean, a "squeaky" clean, and is a bit drying. It doesn't sting my eyes or nostrils or leave any residue behind. I do think my skin is clearer when I use it regularly and I have repurchased it.
Bath & Body Works Ocean for Men shower gel: this smells great, feels good on the body, lathers a lot, and leaves a slight film on the skin. Doesn't do anything to help my keratosis pilaris but doesn't hurt it either. It's got an inoffensive clean scent that reminds Kristina of Acqua di Gio, which she loves, and it sure beats the hell out of Axe.
Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio Aftershave Lotion: overall, a fantastic aftershave that I really love using. It doesn't break me out at all, and I like the "zing" feeling I get after putting it on (I don't get that same "zing" factor from the Aftershave Balm in the same line). It stings a bit at first but then sinks in and feels perfect. Scent-wise, it interacts well with other Acqua di Gio products, like the cologne and deodorant, both of which I also use. I have also repurchased this.
So, readers, what do you think? Are you feeling compelled to try any of these products out now? :)