Draining a beauty product to the last drop is bittersweet. While it's annoying that you're out of what you need at the moment, chances are that you really liked whatever shampoo or body lotion you just tapped enough to blow through the entire thing without and switching to something better (or at least newer). Plus, you're saved the hassle of browsing this time around; all you have to do is Google the name on the faded label and reorder a new, topped-up bottle.
But before you do, it's fun to look at what you've emptied, because there's something about your fancy $72 moisturizer — scooped-out and well-loved — that's visually satisfying in its juxtaposition. For proof, we've compiled a photo gallery of empty bottles, tubes, and oil droppers, pulled directly out of our beauty editors' recycling bins. Scroll through to see the beauty products we loved well through quarantine, and read the corresponding reviews to learn which ones we've already restocked for the new year.
Aimee Simeon, Senior Beauty Writer
"There are three areas in the hair department that I don't compromise on: a good deep conditioner, a reliable edge control, and nourishing hair oil. I love that this Mielle formula conditions and softens my curls while soothing my scalp at the same damn time. It's worth keeping a few jars stocked in your at-home inventory. I've also gone through bottles of Mielle's Pomegranate & Honey Leave-In Conditioner, which keeps my curls frizz-free and hydrated long after I leave the shower.
"Once the deep conditioning is said and done, having an edge control to help keep all of my styles — from buns to box braids — intact is essential. I've gone through too many of these Murray's jars to count and love that it provides all-day hold without causing crunch or flakiness. I also love SheaMoisture's avocado oil for my hair and body; it's slightly thicker than coconut oil and keeps my skin and hair hydrated longer — which is especially clutch in the winter."
"You'll never catch me without a rose-toned lip color, and this Glossier tube in the shade Pony is hands down one of my favorite shades ever. The creamy formula goes on like butter and deeply hydrates my lips. The color is the perfect 'my lips but better' tint of neutral pink that looks great with or without a full face of makeup. I've gone through more than one tube of this; it's seriously that good. [Editor's Note: Glossier Vinylic Lip was discontinued as of January 4, 2021.] When I do opt for a full-face, this Dr. Jart primer keeps my skin smooth and soft — never dry or flaky — down to the last drop."
Megan Decker, Beauty Editor
"My eyes and skin have been especially dry and sensitive since I've been isolating throughout the pandemic. I've been keeping a trusty bottle of Visine next to my laptop, popping a few drops into my eyes when I've been looking at my screen for too many hours or I notice the whites are looking red and veiny. I also love the Lumify Eye Drops, but they're a bit more expensive, so I save those for special occasions.
"To make my post-shower routine a little bit more luxe, I've been using the Mutha Body Oil, which makes my skin feel soft as actual silk (justifying the $100 price tag, in my opinion). I also like to double down on the eye cream — or, in this case, the lightweight tightening eye gel by Dr. Loretta — which had the skin around my eyes noticeably brighter and less crepe-y by the time I drained the tube."
"Another workday staple is the Caudalíe Beauty Elixir; one mist gives my face a dewy refresh when I'm feeling dull and my reflection in the mirror co-signs. I've also been very into simple, straightforward "capsule collection" skin-care products, and epi.logic's Master Plan is the perfect white T-shirt serum: a clear, unscented gel that gives my skin a boost of hydration morning or night, or whenever. If I'm actually trying to do it up, I might put on some eyeliner and mascara. The best liquid eyeliner formula I've ever used that literally does not budge from your lash line is Benefit's Roller Liner; I use the brown shade... or I did."
Thatiana Diaz, Senior Editor & Beauty Contributor
"I live for a good body moisturizer, and I would never let a day go by without using one as part of my post-shower routine. This option from CeraVe is an O.G. favorite that has never let me (or my wallet) down, and for that reason, I always keep a jar stocked in my beauty arsenal. As for my Pattern shampoo, there's just something about a no-frills formula that simply does what it's supposed to do. The gentle lather leaves me with a clean yet hydrating finish, and with the added bonus of no strong fragrances — my favorite quality in a shampoo — I had no problem squeezing out every ounce."
"I'm all about a clean slate, and I love when I find products that provide me with that feeling of refresh. These makeup-removing pads from Garnier remove any trace of waterproof mascara, eyeliner, or bulletproof falsies glue. There's no need for tugging and pulling, and I appreciate anything that makes taking off the day that much easier.
"While charcoal sounded scary initially, this Briogeo shampoo made me a believer. I've never felt my scalp so clean — and that's essential when it comes to removing curly hair products that tend to feel heavy. I've had bad experiences with exfoliating treatments leaving me with a dry scalp, but this leaves me with that fresh feeling without any residual tightness or itch. In that same vein of clean skin, I've been trying to tackle breakouts before they make it to the surface. That's why I always have a pot of this spot lotion from Renée Rouleau at the ready for whenever I feel a breakout cooking."
Andrea Cheng, Senior Beauty Editor, Branded Content
"Whenever I’m stressed, anxious, or sleep-deprived, I invariably break out, which happened a lot during quarantine. I never really understood the science behind it until Dr. Dennis Gross — the mastermind behind the beauty industry’s favorite derm-created skin-care brand — launched a line dedicated to repairing and healing stressed-out skin, including a Stress Repair Face cream and serum, both of which are so good that I did everything I could to stretch them out for as long as possible. These products are chock full of antioxidants and nutrients — like green juice for your skin — that address every stress-induced flare-up, like reducing redness, calming breakouts, and injecting moisture.
"Another product I finished: Vitabrid’s Vitamin C12 Dual Drop Serum. I’ve tried so, so many vitamin C serums, and I’ve encountered some that are tacky to the touch, leaving skin sticky for hours, and others that are heavily perfumed. This one isn’t sticky nor smelly; it’s light, so it can be layered easily under a moisturizer; and it’s supremely effective at fading areas of hyperpigmentation and stubborn dark spots."
"Vicky Tsai, the founder of Tatcha, once told me she suffered from acute dermatitis and couldn’t find any beauty products that were gentle enough for her skin — until she launched her clean beauty brand. Her story resonated with me because I had lip dermatitis, and it wasn’t until I started using the Tatcha Kissu Lip Mask that I was finally able to wear lipstick again. This mask, which looks like pink jelly and formulated with a bunch of hydrators and antioxidants, cured my dermatitis, so I can’t praise Tatcha enough for creating skin care that actually works. Since then, I’ve gone through tubs of Tatcha’s lip mask (I’m on my third one), jars of its best-selling skin cream, and bottles of the brand’s essence."
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