Amateur Writer | Professional Nerd

Trash Talk: Ranking My July Empties from Best to Worst

August is almost over, but here I am still talking about July. That’s because I went through over 40 products during a month that seemed to go by in a flash! Today, I’m sharing my experience with these items, so you know what to buy and what to give the bye. For each category, products are listed from the items I enjoyed the least to the products I absolutely loved. Now … let’s talk about beauty!


Vichy Idéal Capital Soleil SPF 60 Ultra-Light Body and Face Sunscreen with Antioxidants 

R (Results) – Provides expected sun protection and doesn’t give white cast since it’s a chemical sunscreen, but it doesn’t leave the skin with the healthy glow I like

A (Aroma) – YUCK! This smells like burning plastic and old hot dog water.

T (Texture) – Liquidy and mixes well with my other moisturizers

E (Expense) – $30.50 5.0 Fl. Oz.; I use FSA funds to buy sunscreen, so the price isn’t a deal breaker for me. However, I think you can get a decent sunscreen that doesn’t make you want to vomit for the same (or a lower) price.

Rating: Scam Alert – Although the texture is nice, this sunscreen STINKS!! I couldn’t wait to be done with it. Also, this sunscreen contains oxybenzone, so it’s a hard pass for those looking for a reef-safe sunscreen. 

Coola Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 Tropical Coconut 

R (Results) – Goes on sheer; No white cast!

A (Aroma) – Has a light sweet scent initially, but the scent started to smell more rancid as I continued using it.

T (Texture) – Creamy lotion that absorbs quickly and mixes well with my other moisturizers.

E (Expense) – $28 5.0 Fl. Oz.; Another sunscreen I purchased with FSA funds, so the price isn’t a deal breaker.

Rating: Clearance Bound – Although not a bad sunscreen, it’s not one that is replacing my holy grail Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen. However, I would buy it in a pinch.

Moroccanoil Body Soufflé 

R (Results) – Hands felt moisturized with a slight glow

A (Aroma) – Light sweet, nutty scent

T (Texture) – Creamy, but doesn’t feel whipped like I expect when I hear the word “soufflé”

E (Expense) – $56 6.4 Oz.; It’s more expensive than my favorite bougie body cream, the Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream. 

Rating: Clearance Bound – This was only a foil packet, so it’s not enough for me to jump on the must-haul bandwagon. I might try it if I come across it during a sale, but I’m not planning to seek it out.

Bath & Body Works Cactus Blossom Shower Gel

Bath and Body Works Cactus Blossom Shower Gel

R (Results) – Gives me an enjoyable sensory experience in the daytime. 

A (Aroma) – Has a light sweetly floral scent that doesn’t linger after I’m out of the shower. 

T (Texture) – Standard shower gel. Shape of the bottle allows you to get every last drop! 

E (Expense) – $12.50 10.0 Fl. Oz.; This lasts for MONTHS, so it’s worth the full price on principal. However, with all the coupons and sales, it’s rare to buy a B&BW shower gel at regular price. 

Rating: Clearance Bound – Although the scent wasn’t horrible, it wasn’t amazing. If I needed a scent to round out a deal, then I would get Cactus Blossom. However, I wouldn’t go out of way for this scent. 

Earth Therapeutics Cracked Heel Repair Stick 

R (Results) – Makes my feet feel moisturized and look as shiny as a penny.

A (Aroma) – Has a light sweet scent, which may come from the sweet almond oil. 

T (Texture) – Rich, thick, and buttery thanks to the coconut oil, shea butter, and cocoa seed butter.

E (Expense) – $12 1.0 Oz.; Seems overpriced, but it’s often on BOGO sale at Ulta. I scored this one for less than $5 at TJ Maxx. 

Rating: Clearance Bound – I LOVE the product, but HATE the packaging. I’ve been repurchasing it because of the love, but I’m tired of dealing with the basic packaging.

Earth Therapeutics Tea Tree Oil Moisturizing Foot Mask 

R (Results) – Left these on for over an hour, and my feet felt AMAZING! 

A (Aroma) – No strong scent, but there was a light sweet scent that reminds me of a spa

T (Texture) – The serum feels squishy and goopy in the booties, which is the usual texture of the other moisturizing foot masks I’ve used. There was plenty of serum to cover my big AF feet.

E (Expense) – $7 1 pair; The price is around the same as the other foot masks I’ve used. Also, they are often on BOGO sale at Ulta, so it’s easy to get 2 packs for the price of one. 

Rating: Clearance Bound – Although I liked this foot mask overall because it’s one of the few that aren’t too small for my size 12 feet, it was still a struggle to get them on, and I had to put socks on to make sure they stayed on properly. These will be a sporadic purchase when I can get a good deal. 

Coola Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 Piña Colada 

R (Results) – Light mist that allows for easy reapplication and goes on invisible.

A (Aroma) – Didn’t have any noticeable scent even though it’s supposed to smell like piña colada.

T (Texture) – Very lightweight. I could barely feel it, and there was no stickiness.

E (Expense) – $25 6.0 Fl. Oz.; Another sunscreen bought with FSA funds, so price wasn’t a concern. However, it seems like the standard price for sunscreen.

Rating: Haul It – While I will pass on the lotion version of Coola sunscreen, I love the spray for reapplying sunscreen.

SheaMoisture Purple Rice Water Bar Soap 

R (Results) – My skin always felt nourished after using this soap.

A (Aroma) – This smells AMAZING!!! Has a light sweet floral scent 

T (Texture) – Gives the most rich and luxurious lather. 

E (Expense) – $5.99 8.0 Oz.; This may seem expensive, but this is a BIG bar of soap that will last for months. Also, SheaMoisture bar soaps are always on sale, so it’s unlikely you will pay that price.

Rating: Haul It – I haven’t met a bar soap from SheaMoisture that I didn’t love, and the Purple Rice Water Bar Soap is no exception.

Dove Dry Spray Rose Petals 

R (Results) – My armpits feel dry all day!

A (Aroma) – One word: Roses! 

T (Texture) – When they call this a dry spray, they mean it. Sometimes I spray too much because it doesn’t feel like I’ve sprayed anything. 

E (Expense) – $5.99 3.8 Oz.; I don’t care how much this deodorant costs, I will always buy it. I finally found a HG deodorant, and I’m never letting it go.

Rating: Haul It – Since I’ve found the Dove Dry Spray, I have never gone for anything else.

Dr. Jart+ Dermask Foot Smoothing Mask 

R (Results) – Makes my feet feel incredibly soft! However, I have to leave these on for hours before they start to warm up.

A (Aroma) – I didn’t notice any strong scent.

T (Texture) – There could have been a little more serum for my taste, but I absolutely love the warming sensation.

E (Expense) – $12 1 pair; I thought this was overpriced when I saw it online at Sephora, especially with its low ratings. After scoring 2 pairs at TJ Maxx for less than $5, I am now more than willing to buy it at full price. Unfortunately for me, it’s been discontinued at Sephora.

Rating: Haul It – This is the best foot mask I’ve ever tried! I will happily buy it (at full price!) any and every time I see it in the wild.

CeraVe SA Lotion for Rough Bumpy Skin 

R (Results) – Smoooooove legs!

A (Aroma) – Nada! This is a fragrance free product.

T (Texture) – Lightweight, but creamy. Mixes well with my go-to body moisturizer (Kiehl’s Creme de Corps)

E (Expense) – $17.99 8.0 Fl. Oz.; Used 2-3 times a week and lasts for about a month. I would definitely repurchase.

Rating: Haul It – After 1 bottle, I still have strawberry legs, but they feel much smoother. 


Dermal Korea Collagen Essence Mask (Acai Berry/Apricot) 

R (Results) – Slight hydration to the skin.

A (Aroma) – Nothing strong with the Acai Berry; Apricot smelled like peaches.

T (Texture) – Not nearly enough serum

E (Expense) – $9.99 16 Pack; This is beyond a great deal, but these are some cheap masks in both price and quality.

Rating: Scam Alert – I received these masks as a gift from the beau, but this is a prime example of getting what you pay for.  I would only buy the Apricot because of the heavenly scent.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios AOX Daily Antioxidant Serum with Sunscreen for Face SPF 50 

R (Results) – Glowy skin with no white cast

A (Aroma) – No noticeable scent; Advertised as fragrance free

T (Texture) – Very liquidy like a serum; Absorbed quickly

E (Expense) – $42.50 1.0 Fl. Oz.; Although I used FSA funds, I still think it’s overpriced. 

Rating: Scam Alert – I love the glow this sunscreen gave me, but sometimes it stung when sunscreen got in my eyes. Also, this contains oxybenzone, so it’s not reef safe.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Barriair Cream 

R (Results) – Skin feels moisturized 

A (Aroma) – None; Advertised as fragrance free

T (Texture) – Slightly sticky, snot-like mousse

E (Expense) – $30 1.5 Fl. Oz.; Seems like the standard price for a good moisturizer

Rating: Scam Alert – This sample has me doing a heel turn in the opposite direction based on the texture alone. 

SKIN&CO Truffle Therapy Face Toner 

R (Results) – Saw no difference in pore size or skin texture

A (Aroma) – Smells like a spa; Ingredients include lots of essential oil

T (Texture) – Light and watery

E (Expense) – $27 6.8 Fl.Oz.; This is basically an overpriced witch hazel. After using the deluxe sample, I have no desire to buy this product. 

Rating: Scam Alert – Witch hazel does nothing for my skin, so this is easy to avoid.

Sephora Collection Moschino + Sephora Toy Honey Mask 

Sephora Moschino Toy Honey Mask

R (Results) – Face felt hydrated and plump

A (Aroma) – Faint sweet honey scent

T (Texture) – Just the right amount of serum!

E (Expense) – $4 1 Mask; For that price, it’s worth buying. However, at the original price of $8, this would be easy to pass. 

Rating: Scam Alert – I was excited to score this mask! I thought it was worth the hype since it was constantly out of stock, but this isn’t worth the hype.

Lapcos Derma Mask Hyaluronic Acid 

R (Results) – Hydrated skin 

A (Aroma) – Light floral scent

T (Texture) – Basic hydrating sheet mask, but didn’t have enough serum for me.

E (Expense) – $3.99 1 Mask; Bought this as part of a set of two at World Market; Not worth the price based on experience with other sheet masks.

Rating: Scam Alert – This mask is totally forgettable. If I want an excellent hyaluronic acid, I would pass on this and pick up the one from TonyMoly. 

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Face Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin 

R (Results) – Moisturized, but dull skin

A (Aroma) – No scent; Advertised a fragrance free

T (Texture) – Light cream

E (Expense) – $29.99 1.35 Fl. Oz.; This is not worth the price for me. I can spend the same amount of money for one of my favorite moisturizers, the Kiehl’s Creme d’Elegance Repairateur, or even the L’Occitane Rich Cream.

Rating: Clearance Bound – I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews for this moisturizer, but it was kind of a bust for me. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t the rich, thick moisturizer that I love. 

Vichy Mineralizing Thermal Water Spray Rich in 15 Minerals 

R (Results) – Gives me a hydrated face ready for serums

A (Aroma) – None; Product is fragrance free.

T (Texture) – Fine, light mist

E (Expense) – $9.50 5.1 Fl. Oz.; Although I ran through this bottle quickly, I think it’s one of the more affordable mists for sporadic users.

Rating: Clearance Bound – The mist is so fine, I probably sprayed too much, which is likely why I went through this bottle so fast. With all the coupons and sales, there is no way I’ll pay full price for it on a regular basis. 

It’s Skin Aloe Mask Sheet

R (Results) – Plump and hydrated skin

A (Aroma) – I don’t remember any strong scent

T (Texture) – Basic sheet mask material with plenty of serum

E (Expense) – $2.99 1 Mask; I purchased a set of 2 for $5.98. It’s not the worst price for a basic sheet mask.

Rating: Clearance Bound – I don’t hate this mask, but I don’t love it either. I’m not running to repurchase, but I wouldn’t be upset if it showed up in my stash again.

Vichy Pureté Thermale Mineral Micellar Water for Sensitive Skin 

R (Results) – Removes light layer of makeup or sunscreen without drying out the skin

A (Aroma) – Nothing noticeable. However, parfum is listed in the ingredient list.

T (Texture) – Water; There’s no added oil, so no need to mix before using.

E (Expense) – $14.50 6.7 Fl. Oz.; I like to douse my cotton round, so I went through this very quickly. For that reason, it might be overpriced.

Rating: Clearance Bound – This micellar water is great as a first cleanse without stripping the skin or stinging the eyes. Since it’s on the pricey side, I would wait until a sale or coupon to pick it up.

Truly Blemish Treatment Acne Heart Patches 

R (Results) – Reduced and eliminated pimples … sometimes

A (Aroma) – Nothing noticeable

T (Texture) – Stickers 

E (Expense) – $10 36 Patches; Seems standard, but these patches are very hit or miss.

Rating: Clearance Bound – These patches are just so adorable, but sometimes they didn’t do anything for my zits. Sometimes they don’t even stay on my face, but when they work, they’re amazing!

Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner

R (Results) – Hydrated face ready to absorb serums

A (Aroma) – Cucumber, spa-like scent 

T (Texture) – Light liquid, but the nozzle makes it feel like your face is being doused if you hold the bottle too close.

E (Expense) – $34 4.2 Oz.; This is way overpriced for me. I used it multiple times in both my day and evening routine, so it only lasted about a month. However, I would repurchase if there was a sale, bonus point offer, or I was redeeming points at Ulta.

Rating: Clearance Bound: I wouldn’t find myself repurchasing this often solely because of the price. 

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask

R (Results) – I didn’t notice any results using it as a sleep mask or a wash off mask, but I prefer it as a wash off mask because I didn’t like the texture on the skin.

A (Aroma) – Fruity in the jar and on initial application, but the scent didn’t linger.

T (Texture) – Bouncy Jelly; Feels sticky on the face especially if you apply a thick layer

E (Expense) – $45 2.7 Oz.; I would not purchase the full size jar at this price. The mini size for $22 is a better option for me.

Rating: Clearance Bound: I originally purchased this in a gift set. I would repurchase the mini size Watermelon Mask, but I don’t see myself purchasing a full size version.

ACURE Brightening Vitamin C & Ferulic Acid Oil Free Serum 

R (Results) – No dramatic brightness; Slight decrease in post-acne hyperpigmentation

A (Aroma) – Didn’t notice any strong fragrance, but not advertised as fragrance free

T (Texture) – Creamy Lotion

E (Expense) – $19.99 1.0 Oz.; Very affordable Vitamin C. I used 2-3 pumps once a day during, and it lasted for about 3 months.

Rating: Haul It – Although I didn’t see dramatic results, I saw enough that I would repurchase this if I wanted Vitamin C in my routine. I have dry sensitive skin, and I had zero irritation from this serum.

It’s Skin Honey Mask Sheet

R (Results) – Hydrated, plump, and slightly tacky skin

A (Aroma) – There is an initial sweet honey scent, but it dissipates

T (Texture) – Plenty of gooey serum! There is extra for your chest, hands, and arms.

E (Expense) – $2.99 1 Mask; Good price for a mask that I continue to repurchase.

Rating: Haul It – This is a mask I never pass by. Any time I see it at World Market, I always buy at least one!

The Oozoo Bear Water-Bang Hydrating Mask

R (Results) – Super hydrated skin

A (Aroma) – Light, sweet floral fragrance

T (Texture) – Milky, slightly viscous serum

E (Expense) – $4 1 Mask; This is one of the pricier masks, but I usually only buy it when it’s on sale. However, I would happily pay full price!

Rating: Haul It – I buy this mask every chance I get. I have never been disappointed by it. 

Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask 

R (Results) – Skin felt soft and nourished

A (Aroma) – Don’t remember a strong fragrance; Ingredients include lavender and rosemary

T (Texture) – Whipped and creamy

E (Expense) – $49 2.3 Oz.; Although this seems pricey, I would purchase the full size because my dry skin loved the richness of the mask.

Rating: Haul It – This will definitely be repurchased!

Charlotte Tilbury Multi-Miracle Glow Cleansing Balm

R (Results) – Using as a sleeping mask, I woke up to soft, plump skin

A (Aroma) – Mix of baby powder and a floral perfume

T (Texture) – Light balm with a little silicone

E (Expense) – $60 3.4 Oz.; Definitely overpriced, especially if being used for a cleanser. I like it best as a sleep mask

Rating: Haul It – I’ve only tried a few samples of Charlotte Tilbury products, and this is the first one I wanted in full size. However, I would still wait for a sale or some kind of incentive before laying down that much coint. 


Ralph Lauren Woman Eau de Parfum 

R (Results) – This has decent lasing power

A (Aroma) – Floral “Old Lady” scent

T (Texture) – Feels heavy; Probably works better for winter

E (Expense) – $64 1.0 Oz.; Since I hated this fragrance, there is no way I’m spending money on this.

Rating: Scam Alert – I absolutely hated this fragrance as soon as I sprayed it.

Juicy Couture OUI Eau de Parfum 

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R (Results) – Doesn’t has great lasting power

A (Aroma) – Sweet, fruity scent that’s totally forgettable

T (Texture) – Light; good for spring

E (Expense) – $65 1.0 Oz.; This scent was not worth buying a full size of this fragrance. I also don’t really like the bottle design.

Rating: Scam Alert – The only Juicy Couture fragrance I absolutely love is Viva La Juicy. OUI doesn’t even come close to taking that top spot.

Michael Kors Wonderlust Eau de Parum 

R (Results) – Smells good immediately and melds well with my body chemistry.

A (Aroma) – Warm, spicy floral

T (Texture) – Medium; Probably better in warm weather, but could work in slightly cooler months

E (Expense) – $70 1.0 Oz.; This is around the price I would pay for a fragrance.

Rating: Clearance Bound – I’ve never met a Michael Kors fragrance I liked until Wonderlust. Although it was an enjoyable experience, I need a few more samples before making the plunge to full size.

Mugler Alien Eau de Parfum 

R (Results) – Lasts for hours!

A (Aroma) – Warm Floral; This is a floral for people who don’t usually like florals.

T (Texture) – Medium; Although it’s a floral, this would work better in cooler weather

E (Expense) – $84 1.0 Oz.; This fragrance is pricey, but the scent is so unusual that I’m okay paying that price.

Rating: Haul It – I love a warm and spicy fragrance that doesn’t smell like anything else in my collection.


The Mane Choice Manetabolism Plus Healthy Hair Vitamin Dietary Supplements 

R (Results) – After using two bottles, I saw absolutely no change in my hair growth. 

A (Aroma) – I didn’t notice any smell, but there was an initial off putting taste.

T (Texture) – These pills are on the larger size, but I didn’t find them difficult to swallow. However, I usually took one pill in the morning and one pill in the evening.

E (Expense) – $25.99 1-Month Supply; These are in the low to mid-range price of other hair vitamins available at Ulta. They are also often included in sales, so it’s easy to get them at a reduced price. 

Rating: Clearance Bound – Your results may vary, so if you are intrigued, then give it a try when they are on sale. Just don’t expect a miracle. 

Rated Green Korean Beauty Avocado Scalp Pack with Banana 

R (Results) – I didn’t see any dramatic results in the health of my scalp or my 4C coils.

A (Aroma) – Smells just like banana-flavored candy! The scent reminds me of The Body Shop Banana Truly Nourishing Hair Mask.

T (Texture) – Looks and feels like smashed avocado (It’s guac without the pico!). It was easy to work through my hair and made my scalp feel tingly.

E (Expense) – $3.99 1.69 Fl. Oz.; I purchased a set of 2 for $7.98 at World Market and got 3-4 uses out of each pack, so this is a very good value. I wouldn’t run out to buy this immediately, but I would repurchase it.

Rating: Clearance Bound – Although I didn’t see immediate results, I would absolutely add this to my routine every once in a while to give my hair and scalp some extra TLC.


Truly Hand Sanitizer Germ Killin’ Gel 

R (Results) – Don’t have the ‘Rona, so I guess it works to keep the germs at bay

A (Aroma) – No added fragrance; Just basically smells like alcohol

T (Texture) – Watery; Calling this a gel is straight lies!

E (Expense) – $6 1.0 Fl. Oz.; This is probably way overpriced, and I went through it super quick.

Rating: Scam Alert – I bought this when sanitizer was scarce, but I wouldn’t recommend purchasing it.

Bath & Body Works Japanese Cherry Blossom Creamy Luxe Hand Soap 

Bath and Body Works Japanese Cherry Blossom Hand Soap

R (Results) – Hands are clean, but not dried out

A (Aroma) – Smells like cherry, but it doesn’t linger too long.

T (Texture) – Creamy and feels luxurious

E (Expense) – $7.50 8.0 Fl. Oz.; It’s rare to pay full price for B&BW soaps, but I would still pay full price for this soap because it feels and smells lovely.

Rating: Clearance Bound – I enjoy this soap, but Japanese Cherry Blossom isn’t my favorite B&BW scent. I won’t seek it out, but I wouldn’t be mad if I had to settle for it.

WHIM by Ulta Beauty Pineapple Hand Sanitizer 

R (Results) – Still don’t have the ‘Rona, so …

A (Aroma) – Smells just like sweet pineapple-flavored candy

T (Texture) – Thicker gel that absorbs quickly and doesn’t make my hands feel sticky

E (Expense) – $3.50 1.0 Fl. Oz.; Probably overpriced, but I love the scent.

Rating: Haul It – I ran through this sooooo quickly, but the scent it delicious. I would most certainly repurchase.

Bath & Body Works Rose Water & Ivy Gentle Foaming Hand Soap 

R (Results) – Hands are clean, but not dried out

A (Aroma) – Smells like a bouquet of roses; This is for rose lovers only.

T (Texture) – Light and foamy

E (Expense) – $7.50 8.75 Fl. Oz.; It’s rare to pay full price for B&BW soaps, but I would still pay regular price for this soap because I couldn’t get enough of that rose scent.

Rating: Haul It – This is a scent I would happily seek out, and I would buy a couple back ups.


White Barn Wallflowers Midnight Blue Citrus 

R (Results) – Kept my office smelling nice

A (Aroma) – Fruity, juicy ocean water

T (Texture) – Liquid

E (Expense) – $6.50 0.8 Fl. Oz.; Could be overpriced, but I don’t care. I like it, and I’m going to buy it. Plus, there are always B&BW sales and coupons.

Rating: Clearance Bound – I like the scent, but I will only buy if the color coordinates with the plug-in decor.


Laura Mercier Medium Deep Translucent Loose Setting Powder 

R (Results) – Offers sheer layer of coverage under foundation that helps my makeup last through an 8-hour work day

A (Aroma) – No noticeable fragrance

T (Texture) – Soft and finely milled

E (Expense) – $39 1.0 Oz.; This is pricey, but it lasts such a long time, especially if you’re someone who doesn’t use a lot of powder in their routine.

Rating: Clearance Bound – I know this is a holy grail product for a lot of makeup geeks, but I just don’t get all the hype with this. For me, it’s just another decent powder among a sea of powders.

BareMinerals Lashtopia Mega Volume Mineral-Based Mascara 

R (Results) – Luscious lashes that weren’t clumpy and didn’t smudge

A (Aroma) – None; Advertised as fragrance fee

T (Texture) – Mascara usually makes my lashes feel a little crunchy, but this did not.

E (Expense) – $20 0.40 Oz.; Another overpriced prestige mascara, but I might buy it on sale.

Rating: Clearance Bound – Although I liked the mascara, it didn’t blow me away. I would only buy it on sale.

NYX Professional Makeup Matte Blotting Paper 

R (Results) – Easily blots lipstick and shininess 

A (Aroma) – None

T (Texture) – Smooth, absorbent basic paper

E (Expense) – $4 50 Ct.; NYX is always on sale at Ulta, so it feels like I’m always getting these papers for nearly $0. Full price is also decent because they last forever.

Rating: Haul It – These are my go-to blotting papers.