These are my brief notes on hand and body products that I have either used up completely or decided to get rid of. For other types of products, see the index. My opinions are based on my own experiences and preferences. Please keep in mind that my favorites could be total garbage for you, and your favorites could be my personal nightmares. Or maybe we have the same tastes and needs, who knows?
♥ = products that I would look into repurchasing
Scrubs and Physical Exfoliants
- Ahava Mineral Body Exfoliator – Received this from BeautyDNA, and used it whenever I wanted to feel like a terrible person. When people talk about banning plastic microbeads (link: http://time.com/2917…ned-microbeads/), they are talking about this kind of product. It’s obvious when you’re using the product, but you can also tell by looking for “polyethylene” as an ingredient. If you’re interested, there’s plenty of google-able information. This is the only pleasant-smelling Ahava product I’ve found, but I still should have thrown it out. Would not repurchase.
- Haus of Gloi Soft Bubbling Scrub Eggnoggin mini – This suds up like a foaming, exfoliating body wash, unfortunately. I like my body scrubs to be thicker so I can really scrub with them, instead of lathering up like a soap. It only lasted about three uses. Maybe that’s typical for body scrubs, but I expected it to last longer. There’s nothing wrong with this, it just isn’t the sort of product that I enjoy using. I do still like the Eggnoggin scent though. It wasn’t as strong or deliciously eggnog-like as the perfume, but it was still pleasant. The scent did not linger after the scrub was rinsed off.
- ♥ Julep Brilliance Glycolic Hand Scrub – Works nicely as a hand scrub or as a body scrub. Like all Julep products, it’s probably not worth the full price but it’s good if you find it on sale.
- Oscar de la Renta Foaming Body Scrub sample (2) – It does lather up nicely, but I just don’t like exfoliating body washes. The scrubbing part of it isn’t dense enough to actually scrub. Because they’re body washes, whatever is supposed to do the scrubbing just barely touches the skin and then gets rinsed off because I’m in a shower and that’s what body wash does in a shower. If I use a puff or a salux or something to give the body wash/scrub a chance to actually scrub my skin, all it does is gunk up the salux. Exfoliating body washes (or foaming body scrubs) are a good example of things that should not be 2-in-1 products. While this scrub is one of the better ones I’ve tried, it’s not a very good body wash OR a good scrub.
- Sephora Scrub Mitt – This isn’t an “empty” per se, but I consider it used up. It’s nice in theory, but the elastic around the mitt was inconvenient enough that I didn’t like putting it on/taking it off, which you have to do when you switch hands. Also, it got moldy. Also I got a salux, which I find more convenient. Would not repurchase.
- Dermadoctor Shrinking Beauty deluxe sample – Fuuuck off. “Inspired by lobsters”? Are you kidding me? You are a mediocre overpriced lotion making snake-oil-salesman claims, implying that beauty is inversely proportional to size. The packaging makes vague claims and offered even vaguer directions. A sticker label was applied over the original packaging, in order to add “in conjunction with regular exercise and a healthy diet.” Just, fuck off.
- Juara Candlenut Body Creme sample – Worked fine. Smells kind of coconutty, but not in an annoying way.
- Julep Bare Body Milk – Smells summery. It’s a nice summer lotion. Lightly moisturizing, nice summer scent that isn’t sunscreen or coconut, I think I would have liked it more if I received it in like April or May instead of July. I just got tired of it and wanted to be done with it. Now I am.
- ♥ KSKIN Emu Cooling and Slimming Massage Cream – I’m not sure of the exact name of this, basically it’s menthol lotion. I absolutely love it to slightly numb/relax and cool my legs down at night after a long work day. As with every Memebox product I’ve received and loved, it’s impossible to repurchase.
- Pacifica Coconut Crushed Pearl Bronzing Body Butter deluxe sample – slightly too orange, I don’t like worrying about staining my clothes.
- Perlier Intensive Nurturing Body Balm deluxe sample – absorbed well, non-greasy, way too much lavender. I like a little but this much made me feel like an old lady.
- Philosophy Hope in a Jar for Body – It’s a perfectly average and unremarkable lotion. It has a very slight unappealing scent (or is simply unscented?). I wore it when I wanted a lotion that wouldn’t interfere with my perfume.
- ♥ Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Buttercream foil – Love this! Limes, the best of all the citruses! Decided to purchase a small size of it.
- ♥ Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Buttercream travel size – I really enjoy this scent but the sugar-ness of it can get to be too much. Travel size is the perfect amount to enjoy but not get sick of it.
- Templespa Peace Be Still calming cage and body balm deluxe sample – Didn’t particularly care for. As good as any other hotel lotion, I guess.
- ♥ The Body Shop Moringa Body Butter – Great, plan to repurchase. I like that it’s so thick that you think it all soaks in, but then in the shower the next day you’re like, “oh, it’s like I basically already have shaving cream on. Okay it sounds gross when I put it like that, but it moisturizes and makes shaving easier the next day and smells amazing so I like it. This scent is pretty strong and lasts easily all day.
- The Body Shop Shea Body Butter travel size – I like the formula: it feels like it’s totally absorbed, but somehow shaving in the shower is really really easy the next day. Don’t really care for this scent; luckily there isn’t much scent to shea butter.
- ♥ Trader Joe’s Jojoba Oil – Jojoba oil is kind of magical and a multi-purpose basic to have on hand, but this bottle leaked a tiny bit so I made a point of finishing it up. Would buy again, but I’d like to shrink my stash a bit first and wait until I have an occasion where I’m like, “Oh no, only jojoba oil can save me now!”
- Tree Hut Shea Body Butter Coconut Lime – Too sweet and intense of a scent. The formula is okay, feels greasier than The Body Shop body butters. Not greasy, just greasy in comparison. Would not repurchase unless there was a scent that I fell in love with.
Body Wash/Shower Gel
- AHAVA Velvet Cream Wash sample – The kind of body wash that makes me think body wash is stupid. Sure I’m probably cleaner, but now I smell like this stupid body wash.
- Essential Elements Rosemary Shower Gel deluxe sample – Imagine you are a potato being steam-cooked with some rosemary and other herbs. Also you are covered in bubbles. Am not a potato, would not repurchase.
- Gilchrist & Soames Spa Therapy Body Wash deluxe sample – Scented with 70% nothing, 25% stanky feet, 5% cucumber. I dumped out the whole thing right away in the shower so I’d never have to deal with it again. So so gross.
- ♥ H2O+ Sea Lotus Body Wash deluxe sample – Actually really like. It’s summery and beachy but in a refreshing ocean way not in a sweet coconutty sunscreen way, or in a gross seawater way. Deluxe size is the ideal size for body wash, by the way. Enough to use for a good while, but not so long that you have to force yourself to use it up. This was free, but I would purchase a few minis if possible.
- H2O+ Sea Salt Body Wash deluxe size – It’s okay. It’s “aquatic” but I didn’t like it as much as other oceany body washes from H2O+. Tossed it before I finished it because I have several body washes that I actually enjoy.
- Library of Flowers shower gel in Arboretum – I disliked this at first scent, but changed my tune once I actually used it. If you’ve ever wanted to be so flowery that you suspect you have actually turned in to a flower, this is for you. BE a flower. Conveniently, the “I AM FLOWER” scent did not linger on my body after showering.
- ♥ Mor Cosmetics Hand & Body Wash Lychee Flower – I LOVE this scent. I only realized in the last four uses that it’s a body wash and not just soap. My only complaints are that 16 oz might be too much (I get tired of the scent and have to rotate other things in halfway through the bottle), and that Mor is no longer sold in the US (hopefully that’s temporary, since they still definitely exist). I’ve got a stockpile of Mor stuff, and I’m crossing my fingers that they re-expand here by the time I need to repurchase.
- Not Soap, Radio ‘When life gives you lemons…’ Body Wash deluxe sample – It’s okay, not a fave, a little cleaning-product-y due to the citrus.
- Not Soap, Radio ‘When life gives you lemons…’ Body Wash deluxe sample – I liked the second bottle better than the first. Wouldn’t repurchase, but enjoyed using. Lemony fresh.
- Marvis Ginger Mint Toothpaste – I have a really really really high tolerance for ginger, so I only notice the ginger in this if I try it right after smelling a non-ginger toothpaste. I liked this but also managed to get sick of it. And this is only the travel size
- ♥ Trader Joe’s Anticavity Peppermint Toothpaste* FS: My usual. Minty without tasting like a mouthful of fake peppermint sweetener. The artificially sweet flavoring in most toothpastes (that lingers forever!) makes me gag literally. This doesn’t.
- Aveda Mineral Hand Cream deluxe sample (2) – Strongly dislike. It feels simultaneously greasy and siliconey, it isn’t absorbed even after half an hour, and my hands don’t feel more moisturized after using it.
- ♥ Julep Rock Star Hand Creme travel size – This is like my 4th of 8, something like that. It’s one of my favorite hand creams. I intend to repurchase if I ever use up my entire hand cream stash.
- L’Occitane Shea Hand Cream deluxe sample – Dislike the scent. Absorbs quickly. Would not repurchase.
- Tocca hand cream deluxe sample – I used about half and gave the rest to a coworker who was sad about her dry hands. I don’t especially care for the formula and don’t care much one way or the other about the scents I’ve tried. Can’t even remember which one I gave away.
Soap (bar or hand)
- ♥ Caldrea Rosewater Driftwood hand soap – This is so pleasant! It doesn’t smell like either rosewater or driftwood to me, but it is a pleasantly mild scent. I broke my “no backups” rule and used Birchbox points to buy the last one in the shop (Caldrea still makes it, but Birchbox has stopped carrying Caldrea products).
Shaving Cream/Whipped Soap
- Whish Blueberry Shave Cream deluxe sample – Okay fine you’re right, world, you’ve convinced me. Shaving cream isn’t required but it does make shaving better. I didn’t repurchase this, but it did convince me to buy some whipped soaps from indie bath shops and use those as shaving cream. The blueberry scent is a weird fruity-sweet-not-quite-foodie scent. It’s not bad but it’s not my favorite. I’d like to try this in a different scent.
- Savor Soap Whipped Soap Creme Fraiche Pumpkin mini – This was my first whipped soap, and it was not at all what I expected. First of all, it does not smell like pumpkin in any way. Not pumpkin, not pumpkin pie, not squash of any sort, and not “pumpkin pie spice” aka the blend of spices that you add to pumpkin to make pie. It smells like Red Hots candy, or like those red cinnamon gummy bears, which rank near Circus Peanuts and Bit-O-Honey as the worst so-called candies. Secondly, I had assumed whipped soap would be a bit more… whipped. Lighter and fluffier, like frosting. I was wrong. Savor’s whipped soap is as dense and firm as play dough. If you scooped it out and made a tiny sculpture out of it, it would stay in that shape until you decided to reshape it. [Since I don’t plan to do a dedicated review of Savor Soap, I feel obligated to elaborate: Even though I didn’t like this product, their customer service is excellent, shipping is fast, and the owner is friendly and responsive. I can comfortably recommend the store as a whole, but I strongly recommend looking up reviews of individual scents before placing an order]
- Ruffian nail polish in Naked – Don’t like the formula, color, or bottle. Color looks bad on me and it wears terrrrrrrribly, so I got rid of it.
- Julep Ta Da Quick Dry Drops (2) – Works great but the worst packaging. The first bottle I got was low, and every one after that has had less than 50% left before I opened it (I’m on my third). Still sealed, brand new product over half evaporated 😦 Keeping them in the fridge does not prevent this or slow it down enough to make a difference.
Nail Polish Remover
- Butter London Scrubbers – one pad took off a glitter manicure really easily. IIRC they’re silly expensive though.
- Sephora Express Nail Polish Remover – Worked fine but it’s way more expensive and not as effective as 100% acetone.
- ♥ Studio 35 Beauty 100% Acetone Nail Polish Remover (2) – Every time I switch to something that isn’t 100% acetone, it takes freaking for.ev.er. to remove my polish. I’d rather briefly expose my nails to a harsh drying chemical that effectively removes polish than use something less harsh that is also less effective. This bottle leaked when stored on its side but otherwise was just like every other acetone.
Nail and Cuticle Care
- Julep Hand Moisture Mask – Fine, if a bit silly. This has been discontinued and it’s not a product that I really see a need for anyway.
- Julep Mighty Nail & Cuticle Serum – I like this oil, and the dispensing method (it’s a click-brush like Stila’s lip glazes). This is actually the only case of using a click-brush that I’ve liked – I hate it for lip products, concealers, and… I guess that’s it. The thing that I dislike about Julep’s packaging is that it’s completely opaque and I hate having no clue if I’m almost finished or if I still have most of a product left.
- Julep Nail Moisture Mask – lotiony finger puppets. Apparently you can use your ipad with them on, which I wish I’d known before using them. Wouldn’t repurchase, but would be okay receiving more in a mystery box.
- Dermelect Foot Treatment foil – Idk. I put it on my feet, and my feet are still there. I’d need at least a deluxe sample if I wanted to tell if it worked better than a regular lotion or cream. I’d use a deluxe sample if you gave me one, but the foils are pointlessly small and I’m not interested in buying a full size.
- Julep Foot Moisture Mask – my fiance couldn’t stop giggling because of the bags on my feet. Could not convince him that this is a normal thing that people do. My feet are undeniably softer.