Half-Year 2023 Beauty Empties Edition | The 17 Products I've Loved & Hated So Far

14.7.23 Lagos, Nigeria

It's just getting into the second half of 2023 and I thought it would be a great idea to introduce something  I've only ever done once before - For The Love of Old Makeup. Was clearing out my collection (Like I almost always do) and saw I had a lot of empties I never got to talk about. 

A number of these products are loves, some are maybes and 1 is a definite NO, NEVER lol. No worries, I'll tell you why and you can empathise with me. 

CosRx Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser

As recommended by my aesthetician, I use this every morning to wash my face for 60secs. But it lasts forever - literally. I am at the point of wondering whether to toss it out and just start using the new one I purchased to replace it, lol. 

It really is a gentle cleanser and a little goes a really long way. The very first time I used the CosRx Salicylic Acid Gentle Cleanser, I squirted out the same amount of product as I usually would with a liquid cleanser (this product is a cream cleanser), and spent about 15mins and 3 bowls of water trying to rinse off my face. 

The best part is that although it is gentle and gives off the feel of a silky, creamy feel to the skin after rinsing off, it leaves a slightly squeaky clean feel which I like without the skin being stripped off. It also washes off makeup pretty well too especially when there is some left after taking off makeup.


Blot Velvet Foam Cleanser

This product is for sensitive skin or you just want to feel rich. Blot Cosmetics provides this product with a gentle loofah which is used to gently exfoliate the skin while using this product to wash.

It really is a very bougie product. The skin does feel velvety after use and I absolutely love the fragrance this product leaves behind after rinsing off. 

To show you how gentle and mild this cleanser is, the Blot Velvet Foam Cleanser doesn't take off makeup and only takes off actual surface dirt on the skin. I tried using this with my hands as opposed to the loofah and it felt like a futile task as I'm not sure anything happened on my face at all. 


Skin Science GlySal 5-2 Cleanser

I got this product actual months after the release. I had wanted to purchase it about 3 months after the launch but it kept being sold out on the website. When my aesthetician said I could use - but at night only - I diligently waited to see available on the site and quickly cooped it (I already have a backup for it in storage so no more out-of-stock for me)

I'm not sure why of all the videos I watched and feedback I saw on this product, not a single one ever mentioned the fact that this product doesn't lather. It is still so weird to me. This product doesn't lather AT ALL and you absolutely need to shake it before use otherwise, you get an almost water-looking thing when you try to squeeze some of the product out. 

The first tube I got didn't mention shaking before use, but it is possible that the brand got some feedback cos the extra I have, has it written on the tube.

I love this product. This is the one product that made me question the purpose of lather. It cleans the face without leaving a single piece of residue on it - even makeup, and you know how there is still some dirt on the skin when using cotton wool to apply toner or astringent on the skin after cleansing? There is no single dirt after washing my face with the SkinScience GlySal Exfoliating cleanser.


Arami Onyx Light

My aesthetician advised me to stop using this product on my skin as it was too harsh on my skin otherwise, Arami Onyx Light is the only product I'd use for my face and body. It is another product that literally never finishes as a little bit of it goes a REALLY long way. Heck, I used to use 2 drops of this to wash my entire face. I reviewed this in a previous post here. This product is so good, I usually just pour it into the 2ml bottle and take it with me for a work trip which lasts up to 4 days and it is always more than enough. 

The only snag with this though is that there is a tendency to use more than one needs because it is liquid. When this happens it terribly dries out the facial skin. This experience taught me how to use not more than 3 drops of this to wash my face squeaky clean with no residue. 

One of the reasons I respect this product a lot is how it manages to take off every stitch of makeup in one wash. Using Onyx Light to remove my makeup is the ONLY time I use 4/5 drops of it. But it takes off every single bit of makeup. If you have tough skin that can handle it, then this will be perfect for you. 


Arami Hydra Gel

I'll be honest, I'm still on the bench about this one. It is indeed deeply moisturizing but the texture is somewhat thick and makes the application not smooth. I do wish it was easier to blend on the skin. Although, there is a hack to it which is to add a couple drops of Arami Joy Oil and mix with Hydra Gel. It lightens the heavy texture of hydra gel and makes the application smoother. 

I do like the feel of my skin after Hydra Gel. It feels like a coat of protection literally but it just seems tedious applying the product though. 

Meanwhile, I'm going to get a refill for it so I'd say try it and then decide fully for yourself.


Shea Moisture Virgin Coconut Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm

I love Shea Moisture, but they failed with this product. Although it hasn't finished, I already consider it empty.

This product is very, very messy and coupled with the fact that I already don't like the mess taking off makeup sometimes brings with this, add oil makeup cleansing and you've lost me. 

This product doesn't rinse off the skin after application and it stains the sink so bad I need to take extra time to wash the sink every single time. 

It's a big NO for me


Blot Hydra Priming Moisturizer

This product blends beautifully with foundation to create a tinted moisturiser but with more coverage than your regular tinted moisturiser. I love to apply a full pump of this and then a half pump of foundation for a clean, barely there foundation finish. Underpainting works so well with this technique as it just blends everything out leaving you with a perfectly natural and even finish. 

This moisturiser isn't heavy at all and so works for combination to normal skin. For the oily skin girlies, I wouldn't recommend as you know how their skin can get. 

For moisturising only, it doesn't feel exceptional and so might not be wow, but I would definitely repurchase this for mixing with foundation for a light every day coverage. Blot Cosmetics definitely did a thing with this.


Blot Mattifying Face Veil

I like this product. 
I'm not usually a primer girl as I feel it is a waste of product for every day use, so I usually skip it. But the Blot Mattifying Face Veil is light enough to feel like a light moisturiser which helps my foundation stay a bit longer without becoming glowy compared to if I applied my makeup without it. 

I really like the consistency of the product and I did get a bit tired of the matte, velvet finish all matte primers began to have with Smashbox Photo Finish primer as the pioneer of them all. 

I don't know if the Blot Mattifying Face Veil will work as well for oily skin but I'm very happy with it so far. 


Nuban In My Skin Foundation

My love for this foundation knows no bounds. I love the texture, the finish, the spread, the fact that is water-based and it makes my skin look sooooo gorgeous whenever I use it. 

I would say that the brand did a great job with the In My Skin foundation especially when paired with the finishing powder. 

The first time I used this foundation was sort of surreal - the application was so easy, the result was flawless and the finish was impeccable. I get so many compliments when I use this product and the best part is that a little indeed goes a long way unlike some other foundations that need.

The only downside I noticed is that when the product is about to finish, the water base accumulates and sits on top of the product. I had to drain the water out after it spilled all over my face and clothes one time I tipped the bottle to apply, and finish up the rest of the foundation. Otherwise, this is a great product.


Zaron Brown Skin Compact Powder

When Zaron released the Brown Skin range, I did wonder how different it was from the other compact powder the brand had at the time. 

Fast forward 2 years later and I'm now a die-hard fan of the Brown Skin powder. Considering I'm not a powder gal, it is strange seeing myself applying powder so religiously but the consistency and light weight quality of the product is so nice and smooth. 

I use the Brown Skin powder as an all over setting powder and under-eye powder highlighter whenever I want a really natural highlight look. 

The only downside to this compact powder is that it finishes before the foundation even when you buy them together and start using them at the same time. This is due to it's full coverage quality compensating for where foundation application wasn't done properly. Instead of reaching for foundation to fix it, the powder works just fine and it makes it easier. If you don't mind purchasing this in the ration 1:2 for foundation and powder.


Black Opal Total Coverage Face+Body Concealer

I've loved this product from the very first day I used it over 4 years ago. From the consistency to the ease of application, the texture and how easy it is to blend whether with a brush or a puff, it just works. 

I usually use this as my under eye concealer and to spot conceal any particular scar or mark I want to cover on my face when I want a flawless look. It also helps when I need slight warmth or red undertone on my skin as my skin tends to fluctuate between red and yellow undertones sometimes. 

A little of this product goes a long way and it is very good value for money. I've re-purchased this product 3 times since the first time Black Opal gifted it to me so there must be something there right?


I have shared in depth reviews of these 2 products you can read them here Ewami Satin Micro Polish and Arami HLR Drops

Both of them are definitely repurchase

Uncover Rooibos Glow Toner

I'll be honest and say that at first I had thought this would be a strong toner but when I had slight reaction, it came to my rescue and I was glad I had an itsy bitsy bit left at the time because that was what I used until my skin recovered.

I have a review of this product here but it is a definite repurchase for me especially for those emergency skincare situations when you stop every single thing and revert to the barest minimum.

Tiam Vita B3 Source

This product was recommended by my aesthetician for brightening my skin and I have repurchased once since I started using it but I really can't see the brigthening...at least not yet, lol. 

I believe this is one of those skincare products that one needs to use for a really long time before they see the benefits so I'll wait 6 more months and hope it does brighten my facial skin and I can permanently stop using my hydroquinone cream.

The one thing I like about this product is the texture. It ALMOST has the same texture as Snail Mucin essence and this means a little goes a long way and it makes my skin feel really smooth right before I have to apply my Sunscreen in the morning. 

Would you recommend I try using this in the night instead?


Arami Joy Oil

I shot a cute, short, little video when I unboxed this but I think that video is lost somewhere in my google cloud drive now 😕. 

It comes in a beautiful bottle and is beautiful to photograph and has the lovely hibiscus petals in it and a really cool, calm scent and above all is a lightweight oil. 

At first, I used it to moisturise but later started using it as the very last step in my nighttime skincare after moisturiser and it has made a heck of a lot of difference. My skin is so much more supple now and responds to hydrating products better than before. I genuinely like the feel of my skin in the morning while washing it. 

It says you can use this for hair too but unfortunately, I'm currently sticking to Tea tree oil on my scalp as the result of a reaction so I've been unable to try it out. But, Arami has a refill for this product so I'll still get to try it on my scalp in the near future. 


Arami Ultra Shade

The Arami Essentials website says this product won't be restocked as a better formulation is being worked on and I'm happy about this. This product irritates my eyes a lot when I apply it all over my face. I had to find a way to maneuver around my face so it doesn't come any close to my eyes. It was so bad initially that I actually gave feedback to the brand so I'm really glad this product is being worked on. 

I actually repurchased after the first tube cos I love the consistency of the cream and how it makes my skin glow after application. 

I'll be looking forward to the new formula and you bet I'll be reviewing it when that comes out.

That's all my feedback, comments and opinions on 17 of the beauty products I've used in the first half of 2023. 

Which ones have you used and do you have the same comments/feedback as I do on them?

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