EauMG’s 2017 Empties & Thoughts

2017 Empties

Empties are posts that I do where I tally the amount of beauty products that I empty. It also is something that I do that makes me feel like a total hoarder (empty bottles accumulate until the end of a month for a “photo shoot”), but hey, bloggers are weird people. There’s a few reasons why I’m so consistent with my Empties post. Firstly, it helps me keep up with what I’m actually using. I can quickly reference and see if something was a hit/miss for me. Secondly, readers engage with these posts. I think because there are mini-reviews and/or these posts remind us to use what we have. Empties are enjoyable posts; I read them on other blogs. I can’t explain why I’m attracted to the feature, but I am. There is something oddly satisfying about seeing someone talk about a collection of beat up, empty, ugly bottles. It’s refreshing to see what people actual use vs. shiny new releases.

I quickly added these up and I’m may be off by a small margin. Here’s my grand totals of 2017:

Total: 441

Full-Size: 207

Travel/Deluxe Samples: 105

Samples: 129

WHAT?! Is it even possible to empty this many things? That is 146 more empties in 2017 than 2016. I think there is a few reasons for this.

I was aggressive about Operation Sample Empty. I tried to empty perfume samples, hair and skincare samples monthly. This inflated the final total. Oh, and I am doing the Sephora Play subscription box thing. This means that I get stupid, random little things delivered to my house monthly. I have more samples to empty.

Another thing – I started a Low-Buy in 2017 and failed at it miserably. I’ll talk about that in more detail later. I failed; yet, I still bought less. This means that I was using more of my stash even if it felt like I wasn’t.

When I look at categories, I mostly empty skincare items. This doesn’t surprise me as my skincare routine is unnecessarily “complicated”. These empties included a lot of fancy sample items that I’ll never buy, reliable full-size cleansers/toners and treatments. When I empty fragrances, it’s mostly samples. When I empty bath/body products, those are usually full-size. My least amount of empties are hair (32) and makeup (34). Both of those categories contain high amounts of travel/deluxe sample items.

Looking at my pattern of empties, I think it’s OK if I buy skincare. I seem to use it up. I also use up soaps/body washes (my weakness). This is great but I’m stocked! My input is still more than my output. This is a problem. What’s my biggest problem? Makeup. It is what I buy the most of; yet, it’s not what I’m emptying. I REALLY need to stop buying color cosmetics. I also need to get in the habit of when I do, something has to go.

The good news is that I only bought myself 4 fragrances in 2017. This is so much lower than previous years. I bought myself Mugler Angel Muse (small bottle on a 30% off sale), a small bottle of LUSH Lust, Ormonde Jayne Travel Set Lab 3 and 4711 Acqua Colonia White Peach & Coriander while I was in Budapest and it was 107º. I also bought some perfume samples, but it was less than 10 and were for various blog-related features (like Rose Week).

Alice White


My Beauty Goals for 2018:

Buy less.

Yes, I failed in 2017. I knew this would be difficult. I “allowed” myself 2 units a month. I did OK for the first few months. Then things went poorly. I didn’t even fudge a little. I would binge. I would buy so much and then feel guilty. It was a stupid cycle.

Real talk – I realize that I deal with stress by buying stuff. I’m not making an excuse, I’m just saying that I’m aware of this faulty coping mechanism. I’m in grad school, life is stressful, etc. Here’s the deal, I could have worse habits. I have consumed less alcohol in 2017. I’ve been exercising regularly. (FYI – I have lost 25 pounds and kept it off since moving to NYC area!) I’ve been making healthy choices. HOWEVER, my vice is lipstick. I need to find a way to balance this. Because I do want to have something to indulge in but I also need to enjoy the things I have. I also don’t want to feel shame/guilt when I enjoy something. That’s messed up. I am re-instating a Low-Buy but allow 4 units a month. This gives me wiggle room for necessities/repurchases (like sunscreen) and then have room for a frivolous item.

Use up by backstock.

I have some wonderful things. Like my backstock of candles, shower gels and soaps are dreamy. But, I need to use them and stop bringing these things into my life. My goal, and you can laugh at me – I’m admitting my flaws in this post, is that I want to get myself to a candle wardrobe of 5 and only 3 shower gels/soaps in my house at a time.

Keep using up samples.

This is one goal I did accomplish in 2017. I will continue doing this. The stuff I don’t want/can’t use is being donated to a LGBT youth shelter and a woman’s shelter.

Buy more services/treatments and less products. 

This sounds overly indulgent but whatever, this is a beauty/fragrance blog. I’m feeling the needs for  some basic maintenance like a good hair cut and maybe some sort of cosmetic treatment. I’m also considering getting braces to fix my fed-by-food-stamps, no-health-insurance-growing-up, poor people teeth. While I’m on this topic, anyone have advice on their “adult braces” experiences?

Do you have any beauty-related resolutions/goals for 2018?

*Alice White pic from

18 thoughts on “EauMG’s 2017 Empties & Thoughts

  1. Your empties are fun to read! It seems like I rarely empty anything, so am pretty amazed at your lists. But, like you I am using up perfume samples and decants – it seems like the easiest thing to empty.

    And lipstick is my weakness – my make up routine is really simple so lipstick is the fun part. But I have bought far fewer and am emptying old favorites that aren’t made anymore. And I’m seriously hoping Chanel didn’t change it’s formula for all it’s lipsticks – the new limited one dried out my lips like crazy and I just went ahead and returned it.

    When every headline makes me question our future, I figure perfume helps keep me in a cloud of fragrant beauty and happiness. (And Natori is one I use a lot of so thanks for your review! Plus, Narciso Rodriguez Fleur Musc, a really really lovely rose. So so pretty)

    1. I think they’re the easiest to empty 🙂 Start small and then graduate to the bigger stuff.

      Oh, gosh, it is truly my weakness. It is my favorite beauty product. Beyond that, I just enjoy it. I love the pigments, the texture, etc. I do a Instagram Story daily of the shade of lipstick I’m wearing that day. Sadly, I think I could wear a different one every day without repeating in a year. Yikes.

      I also realized in ’17 that many of my old favorites have been discontinued. They may have been discontinued earlier but I probably didn’t notice. Speaking of those Chanels, I tried in store on my hand it was so dry. It wouldn’t glide over my hand without tugging. I have not tried the new Spring/Summer ones to see if they are also like that. Let’s just hope that last collection was a dud.

      This is also another truth. In today’s climate, we all need some sort of joy. For me, that’s perfume and pigment. It’s instantly satisfying. And in the world of frivolous impulse buys, lipstick and perfume isn’t *that* expensive (if you avoid the super luxury $ stuff).

      So happy you like Natori! It’s such a gem. I love the NR FM. It’s such a good designer rose! It’s on my list. I really need to update my list. I organized my perfume and I see some things that are “gaps” (i.e. carnation) and some things that may be too similar to other things I own.

  2. I admire your commitment to using up samples. I have a small box of skincare samples that I seem to forget about but my biggest problem is perfume samples. Between Sephora and ordering from Surrender to Chance or Luckyscent I have hundreds. My resolution this year is to try every perfume sample I have and either use it up or give it away. Which means I need to ignore all of the new releases and go low or no buy. Hard to do!

    1. That is hard to do! But, I think it can be done. I admit that I have ignored most new releases over the past few years (unless a sample was sent to me) because it’s overwhelming. I was trying to catch up on “old stuff”.

      One of my sample problems is this blog tbh. I sort of keep them like I’m an archivist, to reference later. I realize this is ridiculous and I’ve got to let some of this go. 🙁

  3. I’m doing a Project Empty using older cosmetics that I still like but I either need to use them up or let them go. I’m choosing to use them up.

    I have so many sub boxes that my supply of bocy lotions, moisturizers (lots of moisturizers), primers, lipsticks and eyeliners seem never-ending. I started using the moisturizers as neck & chest creams instead of getting rid of them. No point in letting a good product go to waste.

    I am making a point to spend less this year and have cancelled one beauty box. I might splurge on a fragrance or a good skincare products but that’s about it.

    1. I’m doing this too with the moisturizers. I’d rather use it (plus nobody wants my partially used stuff like that). They’re now bougie neck creams or fancy cuticle creams/oils.

      Stopping the monthly boxes has been HUGE for me. Those were really dragging me down with samples/travel sizes of stuff I didn’t want.

  4. good job on both using things up and setting realistic goals for next year. I keep thinking I’ll use up my samples while traveling but I don’t actually travel much, so they end up un-used. I got braces as an adult (30) and they took longer than I was told they would, but otherwise weren’t too terrible. Keep a toothbrush at work. However, I found it very difficult to keep up with using the retainer, especially after I had kids. My son is now 16 and he has braces and I guess now they use a permanent retainer (it’s wired in your mouth) so maybe that’s not an issue anymore?

    1. I’ve traveled a lot less this past year too. I found that I was hoarding these things for travel and it’s like, “Why not use it now?!”. If I need travel stuff, I’ll just get those little bottles to transfer my stuff into.

      I have a feeling that mine would be in much longer than they quoted due to the issues AND that I’m adult. Like you said, there are other distractions that may make me a less than wonderful patient. There are a lot of options now so I’m going to talk to someone else too to see if there are other options for me. It’s the commitment that scares me tbh. Will I even be living in this region this time next year? Etc. People tell me that the $ will make you a very compliant patient, lol.

  5. I went through braces along with my teenage son in my mid 30s (same reason as yours) and I would advise caution. I opted for traditional braces, you know the metal mouth look, because I wanted to get it over with as fast as possible. The process itself is not too bad; once a month you get them cranked down and have a serious headache for a few days. However, the removal and trying to keep them clean during the process are both nightmares. If you opt for braces invest in a high power waterpik to make your life easier. One of the things they don’t tell you is that they don’t come off easily. I am convinced that the removal process weakened my teeth and caused subsequent fractures that required crowns. This was many years ago and there may be more gentle options out there now so make sure you ask LOTS of questions. Also, as an adult the movement of your teeth may not be permanent and could require the use of a retainer for the rest of your life to keep the new positions. Hope that helps.

    1. Thank you so much for your input! *taking notes*

      This is all great stuff to know, consider and to ask. In general, my teeth are terrible (for the reasons I’ve already mentioned). Honestly, I didn’t think about asking about the removal process or how older, weaker teeth would react to all of this. Thank you for bringing this up because it’s something I need to ask.

      1. You are most welcome! I am always happy to try and save someone else some pain and grief. I love your blog and follow it religiously. I have many of your perfume suggestions bookmarked (so many perfumes, so little time) and do so enjoy your wit and humor.

  6. Congrats on using up so many products. I also love reading empties posts, so keep them coming!
    I will also never apologize for my obsession with lip products. It might be a bit out of control, but I love it!

    1. There are much worse obsessions to have, right?

      I need to slow down to enjoy some of the beautiful shades that I already own, but geez, there’s always temptations.

  7. Re: weakness for lipstick. I was wondering if you had tried any of the L’Oreal lipsticks that were done in collaboration with Balmain. I bought Confidence, which on me is a soft nude with some gold glittery bits, and Instinct–and that’s the one I thought you might like, based on what I’ve seen in your reviews here. Instinct is a sort of gray/olive green with a bit of golden sheen to it. For such a strange colour I’ve found it remarkably versatile, and it works on its own and with glosses and other toppers.

    1. I haven’t! I have added Instinct to my cart sooo many times and then never went through with purchase. It looks like such a cool shade! I’ve also been tempted by one of the matte red/oranges. I know that isn’t unique but the swatches of it looked so rich and wonderful. The next time I make an Ulta order, I’m going to go through with Instinct 🙂

  8. My beauty goals are pretty in line with yours – buy less, use more of my back stock, and use up perfume samples and decants. I love your empties posts. It helps me keep track of what I used that I liked/didn’t like and also gives me an idea of how much of a certain type of product I use in a month or a year. What really gets me to buy more than I need are sales and bargains. I need to figure out a good technique for not giving in to those.

    1. Ugh, sales. I how I love and hate them. This time last year when I unsubscribed from brands/stores, it really helped me in my Low-Buy. Then I started getting back on lists when I wanted to buy something (coupon?) and then they’re back. I really need to unsub again. Sales, BOGOs and GWPs really work on me. Ulta needs to leave me alone 😉

      But, I’m going to think about techniques too because those are my weakness. I guess I need to make a list and be very aggressive about sticking to it. But, you know, sometimes an impulse buy is fun too but I guess they shouldn’t get in my way if there are other things I want.

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