skincare empties, eltamd, Klairs Vitamin E Mask, charcoal mask, Dr Jart+ hydrating mask, Placenta serum

It’s another round of empties!
In this episode, I’ve finished up a lot of face masks and then there’s well talked about brands like EltaMd and Biologique Recherche.
Leave your thoughts or questions in the comment below, would love to hear your experience on any of the products mentioned!

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EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 review

EltaMD UV Clear SPF46

A well blogged about sunscreen from the US, that’s oil-free and supposed to be great for acne-prone skin, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation. Also comes in a tinted version. The UV Clear SPF46 a mix of both physical and chemical sunscreen (9.0% Zinc oxide, 7.5% Octinoxate).
You can’t really buy this in Europe yet, the way I got my hands on it was buying it second hand through Swedish eBay, Tradera. But if you can’t wait for something to pop up, I’m guessing Strawberrynet is your best place to shop.

The finishing feels matte with a somewhat radiant finish. Does blend in well, but wouldn’t say it goes on completely clear on my skin. I seem to have that type of complexion that any mineral sunscreen that promises to be invisible never truly is. I need some tint otherwise I end up looking ready for my casket! But I have to say, that the EltaMd’s sunscreens do have one of the mildest white cast I’ve come across.

The application is smooth, one pump is all you need for your whole face. It’s also fragrance-free but has sort of a bitter almond-scent to it, luckily it doesn’t linger.
It worked great with my skin and didn’t seem to cause any breakouts, but didn’t feel like it helped to prevent them either. It’s got B3 and HA in the formula, which makes it feel hydrating and felt great during winter.
But during summertime, in very hot and humid weather, this felt uncomfortably sticky on the face.


In a sense, I like that it is a hydrating formula that works great for normal to dry skin too. A lot of products for acne tends to also be formulated for oily skin. So I’m pleased to see one that’s more for all skin types.
But if you live in a hot and humid climate, you might want to look for something more matte. In Sweden, we have about one week in July that’s really tropical, and so it’s not a huge deal for me to have an extra sunscreen for that situation.

The only thing you have to keep in mind is that this is more of an everyday sunscreen. It is not water or sweat-proof, and therefore not the best sunscreen to have on during a day at the beach or during outdoor activities.
I would and will explore more of EltaMDs sunscreen, specifically the tinted versions and the new physical sunscreens they offer.

Repurchase? Yes, I would.

Biologique Recherche Serum Placenta

One of those products where I’ve felt, do I talk about it or not?

The Biologique Recherche Serum Placenta was gifted by my mom to help with acne and post-inflammatory red spots. While I have some grey zones, naturally, I’d never purchase it myself as it is definitely not a vegan product. But I just didn’t have the energy to argue with my mom, so I gave this an honest try.

Compared to everyone else who’s tried or is using this, I’m probably the first to be sensible about it as I was totally unaware of how cult this brand was at the time of use.
I do think that the product works to some degree, but that the price tag and the brand’s exclusivity can make you a little “blind”.

I will say that I could notice a difference between when I used it or not. On days of use, my skin would look better, slightly calmer and have some radiance. It sort of felt like an all-in-one product without the irritation of some. It seemed to hydrate, soothe and fade red spots to some degree. But I saw the greatest effect when coupled with the BR P50V lotion (review here). And I strongly believe it acts as a buffer to tolerate the exfoliating lotion better which yielded better results.
But overall, it wasn’t a cure for acne or my acne scars, and the effect wasn’t as good as of other ingredients.

Except for the stank this has, which smells just like cats sprays... My biggest issue with this serum was its consistency. It’s very runny like water or toner and sinks in fast. I just personally didn’t like how you applied it, felt a bit messy and like I didn’t know what I was doing. Did my face get any or did my hands absorb most of it?
There are pros and cons to that. Pro, it makes it easier to layer product. Con, you might use more than you need.


In the end, I simply did not find it to be amazing or necessary in my routine after I had finished it. Maybe it’s because my routine already includes retinol, vitamin C, as well as ceramides, amino acids, and peptides? I feel like I “moved on to better things”.

It’s supposed to help with acne and dark circles but did nothing to prevent spots or lighten my dark circles. Now, that last one is a really profound claim. Considering that dark circles are caused by thin skin, and pretty much botox is the only cure for that… “Helps with puffy eyes” would be a much better choice of wording. But then, can’t comment on how well it worked for that as I never get those.

It might have had a somewhat effect on PIH/PIE and wound healing, but I didn’t find it to be better than other popular, or even cheaper and conventional ingredients. (Like vitamin A, C, and chemical exfoliants) And like I mentioned, it seemed to work best paired with the P50 lotion. Alone, it hardly did anything for me than to hydrate. But a good moisturizer with ceramides and NMF’s does the same, without having to cost plenty.
I also looked at the research behind using placenta in skincare and found very little research to say for sure that it’s better than the known ingredients we use today.

And lastly, this has a very repulsive odor. It’s not strong, still, it lingers much like neem oil. But it truly smells like a bodily discharge of some kind. The scent kept reminding that it comes from an animal, which definitely made me feel shame to use. I just can’t justify this sort of ingredient to be used for vanity’s sake. Luckily, I personally found other ingredients to deliver better results. Not necessarily cheaper, but definitely more effective. And so I didn’t feel torn when finishing this up.

Before ending, I’d like to add that I used to use this in conjunction with an at-home dermarolling to minimize acne scars (indents). However, can’t say that I noticed a difference.
And rounding off, the BR Serum Placenta is a good alternative for hydration and to help tolerate the P50 Lotion better. Alone it won’t have as an effect on fading discolorations from spots. But know that there are cruelty-free products that can be used the same.

This product should have its own post as I have more to say on the topic and alternative products to recommend that’s vegan-friendly. But this will do for now.

Repurchase? Nahh… Maybe if it were human placenta and did not smell so obviously of secrete. But then there’s this risk with contamination and why placenta extracts lost its popularity in the mid-1900s.

Biologique Recherche Placenta Serum review

BareMinerals Complexion Rescue in Dune

I wrote a full review on this almost 2 years ago (check it out here) and thought it would be fun to revisit, now that I’ve actually finished it.
It’s recommended to use it within 12 months, so I’ve been dragging it out a bit too far. Reason for this is simply that I’ve had other foundations to use and that I have periods of not wearing foundation at all.

Overall, I don’t feel any less different from my initial review. I still find it to be a great sheer foundation!
I’m still amazed at how long 35ml has lasted me. My biggest issue though is still the dewy radiance it gives. For that, I’ve concluded I like it more during wintertime. Because that’s the time I want a little more radiance and hydration.

The thing is, if I were to buy it again, I might go like 3 shades lighter. I don’t know how they’ve sorted the shades, ’cause I can wear a little bit of everything. I noticed that the shade Natural 5.0 suits me just as good as Dune 7.5!
Actually, looking at their foundation shade matcher right now, they do in fact recommend Natural 5.0 to tanned skin?!
Anyway, as I’d use it for wintertime, if I ever repurchase, I’d probably go with the shade Natural or Ginger.

There’s not much more than that to add!

Repurchase? Yes, I would.

*Managed to throw before including in picture.

Face masks, Klairs Vitamin E, Dr Jart Hydra Sleeping Mask, InstaNatural Charcoal mask

Klairs Vitamin E Mask

I wrote a more extensive review of this one year ago. My thoughts and feelings haven’t changed much since then. But I thought I’d give you another update. I still love it as a mask but also hate the herbal scent.
As I mentioned in my review, the scent got milder… But that isn’t to say that it isn’t strong in the jar!
It says to use it up within 12 months, but took me about a year and a half, and the scent is still very prominent. I would’ve finished it quicker, but I haven’t been so into face masks lately in general.

Klairs Vitamin E Mask is one of the nicest masks I’ve owned in terms of texture and results. But I have unfortunately not been able to wear it as a sleeping mask it has aggravated my skin. Mostly, skin that’s already inflamed and breakout-prone. On healthy skin though, it has worked very well.

Repurchase? If they got rid of the scent or changed it to something more tolerable I would’ve liked to repurchase it. It’s really a pity they went heavy on the lavender.

Dr. Jart+ Dermask Vital Hydra Sleeping Mask

I haven’t been able to find this mask on US sites, seems like it’s only sold in Europe and Asia. You can get it at places like ASOS.
It’s a hydrating sleeping mask that has a gel consistency. Sinks in without leaving the skin sticky. Does contain some fragrant oils for perfume, but nothing too strong.

I picked this up as I wanted to focus more on hydrating face masks. This seemed to have great ingredients despite the fragrance. I’ve enjoyed their rubber and Shake&Shot masks and thought this would be similar.
It contains a sort of “aqua soothing complex” with patented ingredients derived from plant glucose and xylitol. It’s supposed to restore and protect skin’s moisture barrier and help soothe and calm irritated skin.

My skin hasn’t necessarily reacted badly too it, but I seem to not tolerate sleeping masks. Even when they are light as this one. I always end up waking up with a few bumps, like it’s occlusive or something?
I’ve tried the Vital Hydra Sleeping Mask both on top of my moisturizer and instead of my night moisturizer with no luck. I was going to sell it further, but then I came to a point where I had used half of it and there was no point.

Instead of a sleeping mask, I use it as a regular rinse-off. Because of its gel texture, I’ve also been able to use it with my Foreo UFO (review here).
But overall, I haven’t found this to be that hydrating and calming to my skin as I had hoped. At least it’s not that expensive for how much you get and how much you need each use.

I’m still very much into hydrating masks, but I’m going to try finding something more effective at calming the skin rather than having the possibility to aggravate – which the Dr. Jart+ Hydra Sleeping Mask has by containing perfume, geraniol, and citronellol.

Repurchase? Probably not. It’s nice and all, but I didn’t find it to do anything for my skin.

InstaNatural Charcoal mask review

InstaNatural Charcoal Mask

Another face mask! This one’s not really empty but it’s going in the bin after just standing in the corner for months in the shelf.
Mind, this product has been discontinued, but you can still get it through Amazon and probably other places. But please read my review before you do…

I feel kind of ashamed that it’s taken me so long to talk about it. As I kind of promised a follower on Instagram that I would follow up on this mask. I got it last year as a freebie when purchasing the InstaNatural Eye Gel. You could choose between three or four products, I chose the Charcoal Mask.

Well, my experience has been quite problematic with this product. I wanted to give it a fair try before I recommend it.
It has – or had – many great reviews, but if you look closely, there are a few one-stars between all the four/five-star reviews. And unfortunately, my experience has been just the case of those giving it a one-star review.

I don’t see myself as having particular sensitive skin anymore. So it felt odd reacting negatively to a product quite as intense as I’ve had.
The directions say to keep it on for 5-10 minutes before rinsing off. I’ve used charcoal masks before with good experience. But after five minutes with this one, my cheeks start to burn badly, pulsing with heat and like someone just put numbing cream on. It’s a very weird experience for me who rarely gets a reaction like this.
I rinse it off, and my face is bright red, like a sunburn. Which stays up until one hour after I’ve washed it. The heat lingers for about 10 minutes more.

It’s like an allergic reaction, but I can’t for the love of God figure out what ingredient that’s causing this! I’ve practically had experience with all the ingredients before and never had this type of problem. The one that’s sticking out the most is Hesperidin. But according to Paula’s Choice CID, this is supposed to be one of the best antioxidants?!
So my only conclusion is to suspect the third ingredient on the list, Bentonite clay, which has recordings of being quite harsh to some. And similar reportings can be found on the Aztec Healing Clay, which is pure Bentonite clay. I’ve actually never used it pure or where it’s been high on the INCI list, but it’s been in a few products without a problem.

Still, the aftermath is soft skin, and it doesn’t look like my skin got more agitated than the burning sensation and redness. But knowing this is a bad sign I’ve eventually let it be.
Only once did I pick this up and put it on and it didn’t turn my face red or burning despite leaving it on for 10 whole minutes!
I’m suspecting that my use of acids and retinol may cause some sensitivity to this particular clay? As the redness didn’t occur at one time when I was taking a break from these things.
Overall, the take on this is, you don’t really have to have particularly sensitive skin to react to a product. Some ingredients or formulas are just bad. I’m speculating that there were a lot of people like me reacting to it, and that’s why they discontinued the product.

Repurchase? Well, it’s discontinued, so no can do. But as you’ve probably sensed from my review, Big NO!

Have you tried any of the products above?
Share your questions and thoughts in the comments below!