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  • Writer's pictureAnnie

Product Empties for 2020

Is it called 'hoarding' if I keep all my rubbish so I can write about it at the end of the year? Please say 'no'.

I don't know about you, but I really love seeing people's empties. I follow a number of content creators across various platforms and I constantly see how seemingly every week these people seem to be coming into dozens of new products. Amidst all the consumerism, I'm curious to see what realistically makes it into rotation and whether they ever like something enough to go out and buy a replacement. Or maybe I'm just weird and I like seeing everyone's trash. In the event that you share my strange proclivities, here's my rubbish for 2020.


I wore makeup more than I thought I would this year despite taking part in voluntary isolation after lockdown. Every time I've had a social call, I've thrown on a full face of makeup. I've also tested out dozens of new brushes and I'm continuing to use them with different product types so all in all, I'm getting use out of the things in my stash. The fude reviews will be coming soon to the blog.

I managed to finish one foundation this year. The Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation contains slightly more product than an average bottle at 32ml. I purchased it in late 2017 soon after its release so three years was really pushing it. Even though I have dry skin, I quite enjoyed this foundation. It required an extreme amount of skincare as prep work but it is a medium to full coverage product that has a very thin and runny consistency. Consequently, it isn't as heavy-looking on the skin as other full coverage products. Towards the end, I mixed this with a more luminous foundation. These days, I'm wearing lower coverage base products so I won't be repurchasing this.

I panned the only shade I really liked in a highlighter trio set from The Face Shop and as soon as I started edging into the outer shades, they broke off. Oh well. Pan is pan.

The Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray is a yearly repurchase. I often forgo powder and just go straight to a setting spray to lock my makeup in. On the mascara front, I've been using up a bunch of minis and samples. I really enjoy the Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes Mascara so I'm always happy to receive a mini when I order from her website. I have another sample of this. Two brow products were used up in the Tarte Busy Gal Brow Gel and the Etude House Drawing Eyebrow.

Although I favour using brushes, I'm retiring a few sponges. The classic Beauty Blender Sponge and the Fenty Beauty Precision Makeup Sponge have little tears everywhere. I typically use a sponge to remove excess product when I've overapplied. I think they absorb too much product otherwise. In terms of softness, the Fenty Beauty sponge is softer, lighter and more porous than the Beauty Blender.


2020 was the year for skincare. I had the luxury of working from home where I've been protected from the pandemic. Additionally, the restrictions on travel and a reduction in the number of social calls I typically make has allowed me to invest more time on skincare. I'm incredibly grateful to live in Australia which has Covid-19 very much under control in comparison to many parts of the world but I still had to deal with some mask-related acne. In the grand scheme of things it's defintely a first world problem and a very small price to pay.

I begin my morning with the Dermalogica Microfoliant which is a tried and true favourite in my skincare routine. I need both a chemical and physical exfoliant but I like how the Microfoliant is made from rice so it's not very harsh. I suffer from dull skin but this is a great product that instantly brightens my face. It's an excellent product and I repurchased two more bottles during the recent sales period. My physical exfoliant of choice is the COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid.

I experienced an extreme amount of dryness this year. To combat this, I went heavy on the hydrating toners, essences and serums. The Chok Chok Green Tea Water Skin toner from Tony Moly works really well with my skin. It's a green tea ferment that has the consistency of water and it adds a lot of hydration to my skin. I replaced it with the Tony Moly Galactomyces Lite Essence which had been sitting in my drawer for a long time but it definitely wasn't as effective. As soon as I finished the bottle, I returned to the Green Tea toner. I used both of these items immediately after washing my face.

The Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum is a cult favourite and with good reason. This is the only serum that does more than add hydration to my skin. It's the only product I've ever tried that quite drastically reduces post-inflammatory erythema (PIE), otherwise known as the red hyperpigmentation on skin following acne. When I get a pimple, even if I don't touch it, it leaves a red mark or pink mark behind. My skin just wants to bathe in bottles of this stuff but my wallet cries a little every time I need to repurchase it because even with a discount, this stuff is still ridiculously expensive. Estee Lauder has recently reformulated this. I've placed a very expensive bet that it's just as good, if not better, because I bought back ups of the new stuff during the most recent Sephora 20% off sale. Most of my skincare spend goes towards this.

It must seem like I really enjoy using the Fresh Vitamin Nectar Glow Juice Antioxidant Face Serum because I have 6 empty bottles of it but I think it's a bit meh. I buy the trio packs during the sales season for $72 so it makes it really affordable for another hydrating serum which is quickly absorbed. I like it for the price but I don't get any glowing benefits from it. It smells like I'm wiping fruit juice on my face. I much prefer the Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Face Serum which is more hydrating but it's also more expensive per ml and it has a strong fragrance in comparison to the rest of the Fresh Rose line products.

I casually mentioned that I went through at least 6 large jars of moisturiser in a year to my best friend recently. Her oily skinned self looked at me like I had grown another head. I began the year using the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream and was at least half way through the tub before I gave it to my brother who was experiencing some of that genetic chronic dryness. It's still my favourite heavy duty moisturiser but it has one flaw in that it can ball up underneath makeup. Both the Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream and the Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Moisturiser sink into the skin without any pilling issues. While the Lotus Youth Preserve Moisturiser isn't as thick or occlusive as the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, it layers well and is good enough so long as I follow through with an oil.

The final step of my morning skincare routine is an oil. I discovered the Kora Organics Noni Oil in 2019 after fiddling around with sub-par products from The Ordinary and I haven't looked back. It has a thin consistency that soaks perfectly into my skin. It's on the pricier side but it's another product which definitely makes a difference to my skin moisture, softness and overall suppleness. I recently purchased more during the Black Friday sales.

My evening skincare routine is extremely pared down. I use a prescription topical treatment on my face that my doctor has instructed to be used on freshly washed skin and with few other skincare products. If I need to remove makeup, I'll use an oil cleanser and follow through with a second cleanse face wash. I finished the Dermalogica Pre-Cleanse Oil which works effectively but I don't like the herbal tea tree oil fragrance. It also tends to go milky if I get any in my eyes. I much prefer the Dermalogica Pre-Cleanse Balm which is packaged conveniently in a squeezy tube and doesn't create a white milky blur if I do get it in my eyes. I have repurchased two more tubes of the Pre-Cleanse Balm but my best friend gifted me a giant tub of the Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm this year so I won't need to buy anything for a long while yet.

For my second cleanse, I'll use a small amount of my preferred Shiseido Senka Perfect Whip face wash and if my skin is particularly textured, I'll pair it with my Clarisonic which went out of business this year! I've had my Clarisonic Mia 2 for at least six and a half years and it's still in perfect working condition. I'm desperately looking for replacement brush heads so if anyone knows where I can buy some, hit me up. I've been using knock-offs from eBay which do the job but they're just not as soft or delicate as the branded ones. I work late into the night at least 4 days a week so sometimes I get lazy. In that event, I'll wipe my face using Bioderma Micellar Water and follow through with a tiny amount of the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant.

Regarding lip care, I must be the only person who hates the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. I bought a pot after hearing rave reviews of it online but this stuff somehow manages to dry out my lips if I leave it on overnight. I ended up using this as a day-time product but I returned to the Caudalie Lip Conditioner which is fantastic and not as messy. I lost the tiny Laneige spatula a few months in.

There was a large SPF 50+ sunscreen from Auscreen in my empties as well. I briefly flirted with Asian sunscreens but given the recent scandals which have revealed that the SPF factor was no where near as high as the packaging claims, I will be only using Australian sunscreens from this point forward. Sunscreens are regulated and tested here as medicines with well known consumer groups and government agencies conducting yearly tests on effacacy so I know that I'm protected so long as I buy an Australian product.

Body Care

I just use the plain Dove Body Bar with a loofah in the shower as my everyday body soap but sometimes I need a bit more to slough off the rough parts. I abandoned using physical shower scrubs in 2020 and found a chemical exfoliant in the Mario Badescu AHA Botanical Body Soap. I don't use it every day. It does an okay job in leaving my skin soft. I only care that my elbows aren't reptilian and it's an inexpensive product so I've repurchased the soap.

After showering, I apply the NUXE Huile Prodigieuse Multi-use Oil which is a long term love. I live with my brother and he swears it makes me smell "like an old lady". There's fragrance in it and I'm not typically a fan of any scented product but it's a thin consistency oil that my body absorbs well. I didn't manage to get through as many as I normally would because I stopped applying it to my hair for a period of time when I tried out hair masques. I also tried the Kora Organics Noni Glow Body Oil but it's too thick for my liking and far too expensive for how quickly I go through oil.

The La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP+ is a god-send. I'm a chronic scratcher so lathering myself in this moisturiser really helps in softening my skin and preventing the itchiness. A little goes a long way with this product.

I think everyone obsessively washed and sanitised their hands this year. I lost track of the mini tubes of hand creams and just bought large moisturisers with pumps to leave in cars, in my home office and in various rooms across the house.


Hail dry shampoo! It's the lazy girl's best friend. I prefer Klorane but Batiste is cheaper. On the hair front, I also used four tubes of Solfine Crema Colour hair dye with the corresponding bottles of oxy. I typically need to dye my hair more often than that and do the roots every few weeks but I got lazy this year. Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed visible greys in my recent photos.

Makeup brush cleaning is something I'll avoid at all costs. It happens once every three months because that's when I run out of brushes in my extensive collection. I finished up two brush cleaning products in the Hakuhodo Transparent Soap and the Daiso Makeup Brush Cleaner. Both are excellent products and I recommended them in my How to clean your makeup brushes post.

I burnt through six candles. In all honesty, I'm the kind of person who thinks that candles are for burning your money away. Someone inevitably gifts me a candle or two for Christmas so during lockdown I thought I'd make confinement in my home office a little nicer by lighting one of them. I became a little curious so I purchased a whole box from a local company named S'ol Factorie. The scents were pleasant (particularly the floral ones which I much prefer over fruity ones) and the scent throw was strong but I prefer diffusers which I don't need to find a lighter for. I used up two diffusers which I keep in my bedroom but I have mini diffusers in each bathroom which I count in my household spend.

And that's it folks. That's my rubbish from 2020. Luckily it's my neighbourhood bin and recycling pick-up day tomorrow.

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