January Empties 2023: the first products we've used up this year. From the makeup product with 150 million hashtags to the vitamin C supplement we really rate. Not to mention the electric toothbrush that only needs charging once a year and the mood-altering bath soak and scrub, these are the products that we've scraped and squeezed to make sure we've used every last drop
We are very lucky to get test lots and lots of products out to be able to do our jobs. Some are used a few times and passed on (to very willing friends and family) to allow for the next product to be tested. And then there are certain products we use up to their very last drop and feel genuinely bereft when we have to recycle or throw them away. These are those. The first products we've used up to their very last scraping in 2023.
From the budget cleanser that is better than its designer counterpart to the dry shampoo you use at night. With perhaps the best eye pencil that's ever been created thrown in for good measure too. We present our January empties.
Victoria Woodhall, GTG Editorial Director
Leapfrog Immune, £39.99
"Touch wood I haven’t succumbed to the colds and viruses flying around. If I ever feel a tickle in my throat, I take one of these lactoferrin immune-supporting chewables, which are raved about by doctors (find out more about what is lactoferrin)) for stopping colds and flu in their tracks. My ‘pill refusenik’ children will take them readily as they have a pleasant citrus taste and don’t require swallowing. It really does help prevent them from bringing lurgies home from school. My husband, who is a teacher, gets the same treatment. I just have to make sure they leave enough for me. Suitable for aged four and over."
“On a similar ‘get your teens to take supplements’ theme come these most delicious chocolate domes (dark-vegan or milk) which are a genius way of taking iron and its absorption-helper vitamin C, without the tummy upsets, constipation or aftertaste. If you’re having heavy periods or don’t each much red meat (me!) it’s hard to keep iron (essential for the body and so many functions, not least energy) at an optimum. I could never get my daughter to take Spatone sachets, which are great and also tummy-kind (too much of a faff) but she has no problem with these, which contain higher levels (12mg, 86 per cent of RDA) plus the vitamins B6 and B12. They really do taste like chocolate, not ‘healthy chocolate’, she says. Oh and when am I sending her a top-up to university?”
Foreo Issa 3 Toothbrush Head, £24.99
“I’ve tried pretty much every electronic toothbrush going and the Foreo Issa 3, £179 beats them all. If like me, you can’t resist manually ‘brushing’ with your electric toothbrush rather than holding it on each tooth, try this. The bristles do have the sonic pulsations, but they are designed to withstand the brushing action too. You charge it only once A YEAR! and replace the heads every six months. As they are made of hygienic antibacterial silicone, I get at least eight months out of mine until they start to lose bristles. The sensation takes a bit of getting used to - it’s not as tickly or noisy as others, but the bristles don’t feel as ‘brush-like’, which makes you doubt whether you are cleaning properly. But my dentist has no complaints and Foreo have studies to back up its prowess. My husband is a convert too.”
Krush Toothpaste Tabs, £10.80 for 62
“My son, aged 15, prefers a toothpaste tablet to paste, not just for the eco creds but because he knows he’s using just the right amount (which seems to be important to him). He tests every toothpaste tablet that arrives at Get The Gloss and has given this, now empty, 62-pack of tabs, a big thumbs up. Unlike others we’ve tried they are blue (a first, thanks to blue spirulina) which makes your teeth look whiter. Apparently, studies show spirulina in oral care reduces inflammation plaque and gingivitis. They support the mouth microbiome, have hydroxyapatite and fluoride to remineralise the teeth and stain-busting silica. A well-thought-through British-made product in a cool aluminium tin that gets the Gen Z approval (and their mum’s).”
SJ Corfield-Smith, GTG Beauty Director
“I love when a product doesn’t fit neatly into one category, because ultimately what that means is it’s doing more than one thing very well. On first opening this you might assume it’s body butter, but you scoop out a handful and run it under hot water as you’re filling up your tub and it turns into a milky bath soak. However, on doing this you will also notice that it has a delicate grit to it, which means it also works as a gentle body scrub too so feel free to grab another handful when you’re in and rub all over to slough away dead skin as well as your cares of the day. And I don’t say that flippantly, because this also contains two adaptogens (ingredients that affect your mood) making this more than your bog-standard bath product. It contains sandalwood to improve emotional well-being (read that as giving yourself a great big hug) and ashwagandha which reduces stress levels. If it’s a calming bath you’re in need of, then this more than delivers.”
“Yes this comes with an eye-watering price tag, however, if you’re looking for a product that has been scientifically proven to make a transformative change to your skin, this is it and I would extend that to Skinceuticals as a whole. I wear high-strength vitamin C serums on a daily basis as it is the ingredient that gets skin looking brighter. And it is always teamed with the best daily SPF too, of course. The reason this one is so effective is that it has a high percentage of vitamin C (10%) partnered alongside powerful antioxidant phloretin, which helps diminish pigmentation, and ferulic acid which slows down the skin ageing process. I have a patch of pigmentation on my cheek which has significantly lessened after using this. In short, it is an absolute powerhouse of a serum that, if you can justify the spend, won’t let you down.”
“This is the solid, pan stick style, heavier coverage sister to the original Complexion Rescue tinted moisturiser, and it has been a wonderful addition to my makeup bag. Especially in the colder weather where I feel my pallid skin needs a bit more oomph to look alive and kicking. It’s dense enough in pigment to use like a concealer but creamy enough that you can also buff it all over the face and I find the stick applicator so much easier to use if I need to quickly put my makeup when I’m on the train or in a rush - a few swipes over the face, rub in with your finger or a brush if you’re feeling fancy, and you’re ready. It’s available in 20 shades but different stockists only seem to have a few of each shade so a little research may be required to find your match.”
“Regular readers of this feature may have seen me holding this bottle before as I waxed lyrical about it in our August empties 2022. Which tells you a few things. Firstly, how much I genuinely rate this eye cream, that I’ve gone back for more. Secondly, how long it lasts (here I am almost 6 months later) which I hope makes the initial outlay feel more comfortable to you. Since having used it - I only apply it at night as I use the Tula Rose Glow & Get It Cooling & Brightening Balm, £28 during the day as the brightening particles make me look instantly more awake - and the fine lines around my eyes are noticeably softer and smoother. Unsurprising perhaps as the formulation contains vitamin C, peptides that repair the delicate skin and bakuchiol, which acts like retinol. I can’t promise that I won’t be back in another 6 months still going on about it.”
Jemma Thompson, GTG Design and Social Media Manager
Altrient Liposomal Vitamin C, £44.50
"It’s that time of the year when we’re all fighting off the dreaded cold lurgy. When it comes to supplements, Liposomal vitamin C is the powerhouse formula we all need right now to keep colds & flu at bay. This liquid sachet from Altrient contains a super high dose of vitamin C (1000mg per dose) which is just what our bodies need to boost white blood cells and protect against infection. What makes this supplement special is the liposomal formula; it’s the most bioavailable form or supplement that our bodies can absorb efficiently. I mix it in with water, smoothies, or squash twice a day and it goes down way easier than a pill (and doesn’t taste bad at all). You get 30 sachets in the box which works out to £1.48 per use. It is on the pricey side but it’s worth the investment if you’re immune system isn’t the sharpest (like me). I avoided catching Covid off my partner over Christmas and I swear it was down to this! So, I’m converted."
"It’s very rare I hit pan on a lipstick, (especially as I have about five on the go in my handbag!). However, I’ve been very loyal to this Gucci lippy, thanks to the high-shine and hydrating formula. It’s infused with hyaluronic acid, rose and peony oil which all help to nourish dry winter lips with a wet glow finish. I’m obsessed with the long-lasting shade, it’s a warm orange hue that adds vibrancy to my face."
"Gastroenterologist (aka a gut health expert) Dr Roshini Raj is the mastermind behind America’s top-selling cleanser which finally launched at Space NK last November. I’ve been testing out the probiotic gel face wash for a few months, and I understand why. The milky texture does a great job of removing makeup, impurities and dirt while leaving the skin balanced. I’ve had stubborn blemishes on my cheeks and since using this the texture and tone have improved significantly. That would be down to a combination of blueberry, white tea and turmeric. Overall, it’s a super gentle cleanser and great if you have an oiler skin type like myself. I’ll replace this emptie with the Skingredients Sally Cleanse — which has big shoes to fill."
"If you’re on the hunt for a natural deodorant that really works, then let me introduce you to this refreshing formula from vegan brand Mio. What makes natural deodorants stand out is that it contains no aluminium (linked to causing breast cancer) and often boast eco-friendly ingredients and packaging. This isn’t the first time I’ve made the switch to natural, but I can’t say every time has been a success. However, this reliable purse-friendly balm textured formula has had me covered from workouts to raves to running for the train and more. It’s formulated with moisture-controlling minerals and sugar shield technology that helps create a protective layer to control body odour. Plus, the packing is 100% recyclable too!"
Amy Rostas, GTG Beauty and Social Media Assistant
"Working in the beauty industry we often get asked ‘what is the best bond repair hair treatment for damaged hair?’. A question that now has lots of potential answers thanks to more and more options being available. Hairdressers have raved about Olaplex for years, but K18 Peptide bond repair treatment is giving it a run for it's money. I’ve been using it for the last few months and I can really see a difference in my hair, it feels thicker and in much better condition. I’m also convinced using this has helped my hair has grow, but might just be thicker ends giving that illusion. There's a bit of a knack to using it correctly, you wash your hair with just shampoo (which might feel a bit strange to begin with) and then apply a small amount to towel-dried hair, leave it to activate for four minutes and then either leave your hair to air dry or blow dry as normal. So is K18 hair treatment better than Olaplex? It is for me, I find Olaplex leaves a residue on my hair whereas this leaves it really bouncy."
"Music, fashion and beauty icon Rihanna graced the beauty industry in 2017 when launching Fenty Beauty and for me its been a true hit ever since. This Gloss Bomb in Fenty Glow was the first shade in the range to launch and its been a repeat buy for myself and my mum ever since. It's the perfect shimmery mauve pink that works on all skin tones. It's gorgeous alone or even works layered over your favourite lipstick . The shimmer will get your lips sparkling but without that grainy, glittery feeling - its not sticky and actually leaves your lips feeling hydrated. It's a must-have in my makeup bag. If this colour isn’t for you there are several other shades to choose from - I’ve got my eye on the Hot Chocolit shade next."
"This luxurious woody body cleanser is now a staple in my family’s washing routine - we have bought at least three since I was able to test it in the Get The Gloss Beauty & Wellness Awards 2021 where It won a gold badge. This body cleanser is more than just any old shower gel, its packed full of body care ingredients - including AHAs which is a chemical exfoliant that leaves your skin smooth and can prevent blemishes (no more bacne and buttne for me!), niacinamide for brightening and vitamin E for hydration. The scent is also worth mentioning, this one packs a punch with its Modern Unity fragrance (blackberry and birch tar - which gives it a gorgeous sensual woody but uplifting floral vibe) that lasts long after you’ve washed it off. Trust me your skin will thank you for this one."
"If you're not on TikTok you might have missed the sudden booming craze for Charlotte Tilbury’s Flawless Filter. The hashtag #flawlessfilter has over 150 million views and it's growing. Why all the fuss? I think because it's so versatile. It's a liquid highlighter that can be used as a primer, mixed in with foundation, or even just applied on top of your makeup for a subtle shimmer. I love that it's buildable, so you can alter the coverage based on what you want, I often just wear this with a bit of bronzer and I’m ready to go - people have think I have no makeup on and have an amazing skincare routine (which I do, but it's not that good!) I also love that a little goes a long way, so the bottle lasts a while. In fact, I think this bottle has lasted me an entire year. It has been 'duped' by lots of cheaper brands but it's the original that's truly worth the hype."
Christina Callaghan, GTG Commercial Director
"Congratulations to Gatineau on celebrating its 90th Birthday! The brand is known for its revolutionary skincare solutions and last year it rolled out the red carpet with new launches and limited edition products. I got my hands on their spa candle and have a newfound love for the brand. The candle gives me major Diptyque vibes, not only with the packaging but their unique blend of room-filling scents (they call it their unique Énergisante Signature Blend which includes the combination of stimulating bergamot, aromatic geranium and soothing lavender). With a 45-hour burn time, I've been able to use it for months and have only just come to the end of my beautiful glass-packaged candle. It doesn’t get closer to an at-home spa experience without a luxury candle, a warm bath and a great book."
"Everyone has their preference for dry shampoo and the secret to my long, thick hair is years of minimal washing. Batiste has been my go-to dry shampoo brand since my teens, and although there are a lot of more expensive alternatives out there, I've never had any issues with this drugstore brand. I wash my hair once a week and go to the gym 3-4 times a week (ok maybe less so this January), and this really helps banish the sweat from my hair. and doesn't leave me with any white residue. Unlike lots of other dry shampoos this is unique because you apply it at night to let the main ingredients of charcoal and baking soda get to work on detoxifying and refreshing your hair while you sleep. I also find that I have a lot more volume in my hair but it doesn't weigh it down with any gritty residue. I’ve been using this bottle for over 2 months and only just run out, and with a price tag of less than £5, you really can't beat that!"
"KP (or chicken skin) has been the bane of my life for years. I discovered Ameliorate around 5 years ago and it is the only product (and trust me I’ve tried everything) that has actually banished the bumps on the back of my arms and legs. I find it also significantly helps with ingrown hairs. If you have bumps on your legs I recommend dry brushing first to get rid of some of the dead skin and then applying this as I think it absorbs better and is more effective. It's super hydrating and leaves your skin feeling super soft. My only issue with it is the scent, but it’s something I can overlook because it genuinely does the job. I use it daily and go through about two 200ml tubes a year."
Marie Louise Pumfrey, GTG contributor
"This month, my beauty empties are chock full of nourishing products to combat the drying effect of the winter. At the start of the year, I snuck in some winter heat in Dubai. Rather than an after-sun, I took my favourite moisturiser, the Soap & Glory Zen body souffle which has a soft whipped texture and absorbs easily into the skin. I’m obsessed with its heavenly fragrance of lavender and tonka bean which wafts around all day. I’m back home and scraping out the dregs. Fortunately, it only costs £4.97 and comes in a big pot."
"I’ve been missing my morning moisturise with the Roc Revive and Glow Cream. It’s a great lightweight and non-greasy gel-cream that intensely hydrates without feeling heavy on the skin. There’s Vitamin C in the formulation, plus antioxidants designed to brighten and firm the skin. Roc’s a science-led and clinically formulated brand, so I always feel safe in their hands. If you suffer from dehydrated skin, this is one of the best day creams I’ve come across."
"I’m a long-time fan of Revive skincare, especially their intense eye cream which comes in a tiny pot but it is staggeringly pricey, so I use it sparingly. It’s been formulated with a powerful peptide-driven mechanism, olive and almond extracts to help with dark circles and reduce puffiness. I use it just before bed as part of my evening routine and genuinely have noticed its firming effects around my eyes. It’s ophthalmologically tested and suitable for contact lens wearers, which I’m one and always need to be careful around my eyes."
"I first discovered cellulite on my legs in my early 20s, and have felt self-conscious ever since. Thirty years later, I can’t wear short shorts confidently and stick to mini-skirts in the winter with woolly tights. But, the Legology cellulite oil has helped reduce the unsightly bumps which I have on my thighs. I use after a shower, massaging in with their suction cup which creates a vacuum and helps maximise the benefits. The oil has been formulated with aromatherapy ingredients to detox, drain and stimulate the trapped fluids that cause the lumpy orange peel bumps."
Ingeborg van Lotringen, Contributing Beauty Editor
Evo MacGyver Multi-Use Mousse, £21 for 200ml
"Honestly, finding a hair mousse that truly volumises and plumps and doesn’t let off until you wash it out is like locating a needle in a haystack.I blame the 80’s, when every strong-hold mousse made you look like you’d electrocuted yourself, putting half the world’s women (and Bon Jovi) off of these stylers forever. A shame, because a modern strong mousse is a thing to behold for people with fine hair. It took me years to come across this, named ‘McGyver’ after a tv show about a butch man who could fix anything. And this mousse can certainly fix my flat, floppy hair, somehow making it twice the size without it going crunchy and all mall-ratty. It also lets you shape your hair and keeps it in place. This bottle took forever to empty even though I use it all the time, so I’ll be replacing it with just the same."
Avene XeraCalm A.D. Skin Replenishing Cleansing Oil, £12 for 400ml
"My skin is dry enough; I don’t need soap to parch it further, thank you. I go for sulphate-free body washes and soap-free bars normally, but this fragrance-free wash goes one further by packing lots of lipid-replenishing oils. Despite the name, it is more like a gently foaming liquid wash, so don’t be concerned it’ll leave you covered in oil. It does moisturise as it cleanses though, to the point where you have little or no need for bodylotion afterwards. And the bottle is huge so as to last you a looooong time before it’s, finally and sadly, empty."
"Another impossible-to-get-right product, as far as I’m concerned, is a pencil liner that smooths along the upper lashes (I’m not even mentioning the lower lash line) but doesn’t slowly but surely (or, in many cases, practically immediately) start melting into charming junkie puddles under your eyes. Especially as one gets older (who me?!) and the eyes sag and you use more eye cream to try and do something about the crepiness, pencils just won’t stay put and disappoint again and again and again. Except this one. It’s definitely the best there is, or ever was. A dream to apply, and it won’t melt, disappear, or move. This shade (Turkish Coffee) is a wonderful Ebony without any red in it (the latter being unflattering near the eye), but there is a choice of other great, suit-all colours as well."
Revision C+ Correcting Complex 30%, £187.40 for 30ml
"Revision is an eye-wateringly expensive brand, but that is because it won’t compromise on the best possible formulations and ingredient levels. It’s not just about high percentages of stuff, it’s about delivery systems (the technology that actually gets actives to where they need to go) as well. This super-light but deeply moisturising serum-cream has 30% tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, the lipid vitamin C compound renowned not only for being stable, but for penetrating to the dermis to do collagen-boosting work, alongside the antioxidant and brightening benefits that vit C has. The best thing about THD is that it’s completely non-irritating, so you can pack a huge amount in without risking rashes (something you can’t say about pure l-ascorbic acid). It’s teamed with other powerful antioxidants and a complex that physically shields skin from pollution particles, alongside probiotic technology to keep you microbiome happy. It’s a perfect base for my SPF50: together, they make sure nasty UV rays stand NO chance."
Kerry Potter, GTG Contributing Editor
"I’m very late to the niacinamide party – in case you are too, it’s an active ingredient that packs a mighty, but gentle, punch. It calms acne, reduces pigmentation and helps repair the skin barrier. There’s 5% of it in this marvellous moisturizer from renowned dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting; a product that’s been a total game-changer for me, taming my previously troublesome skin in the two months I’ve been using it. What’s more, its pleasingly thick texture makes it feel cossetting and luxe. A very good product for a very good price."
"I have cheated on this vitamin C serum over the years but I always go crawling back to this one with my tail between my legs. It never pills – vital during the morning rush when you need to chuck on skincare then make up and get out the door – and it immediately evens out skin tone and adds glow. It takes my face from ‘zombie’ to ‘J.Lo’ in seconds."
"With ceramides to retain moisture and omega-rich plant oils to help with elasticity, this balm from cult US brand Drunk Elephant makes a huge difference to my under-eye area. The skin seems more cushioned which makes both wrinkles and dark circles less obvious, and a little goes a long way. Bonus marks for the pleasingly velvety texture. Oh, and the purple colour pop packaging looks cool on the bathroom shelf too."
"This is the bargain of the century – six quid for a huge 200ml tube, which lasts at least three months. I previously used a very similar cleanser from a far swankier brand that cost five times as much until I discovered this in my local Superdrug. It’s a gentle, soothing, unfragranced thick cream that cleans without stripping or drying out my face. It doesn’t sting your eyes – in fact I use it to remove mascara too. Don’t bother with the accompanying cloth, instead use an old-school flannel for a bit of added exfoliation. A lot of bang for not very much buck."