Product Reviews Sustainable Living

January Product Empties

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We are already a month into 2020, which means it’s time for my January Product Empties post! I only have 6 empties to share with you this month, but they are quite varied. Also, most of them are eco-friendly and sustainable which shows I have been making progress in my transition to using more sustainable products. I hope you enjoy reading about them!

The packaging of my January Product Empties

Health and Beauty

Friendly Soap – Conditioner Bar: Lavender & Geranium

I have been trying out different conditioner bars lately, in a search for the most effective and eco-friendly one. I purchased this one from the Cruelty-Free Beauty Box shop. Conditioner bars are a better choice for the environment than bottled conditioners, and this one is cruelty-free, vegan and free from parabens, SLS and triclosan as well as being plastic-free. It comes in a simple cardboard box.

An empty box of Friendly Soap Conditioner Bar Lavender & Geranium

The first time I used this conditioner bar, I smoothed the solid bar onto my hair. It was easy to apply and made my hair feel conditioned. A great start! Then I noticed the instructions that said: ‘For best results add 600ml of boiling water and mix until bar is dissolved. Once cooled decant into recycled conditioner bottle’. Since it said it gave the best results, I decided to do just this!

Turning my solid conditioner into liquid
Friendly Soap Conditioner Bar dissolving in a jug of water with a spoon in it.

I found a large pyrex jug and poured 600ml of boiling water over the bar. It dissolved easily, but the mixture was very thin and watery. I was doubtful that it would thicken enough, but I was pleasantly surprised. As the mixture cooled, it thickened to a smooth paste, equivalent to the average liquid conditioner. I found some old empty conditioner bottles and I had enough conditioner to fill nearly 2 bottles. This shows that the bar is great value for money because it only cost me £4.95 for the equivalent of 2 medium-sized bottles of liquid conditioner, which is usually quite expensive.

Two conditioner bottles filled with liquefied solid conditioner.

The conditioner worked just as well in liquid form as it did as a solid bar. I’d say it’s the best conditioner bar I have used so far! (Although, watch this space because the conditioner bar I am currently using might just beat it!) It smoothed easily onto my hair and made it feel well-conditioned. 

I would highly recommend this conditioner, even to people who prefer the convenience of liquid conditioners. You get the best of both worlds because it comes in an eco-friendly bar form but can be made into a liquid conditioner at home. It is also one of the cheapest solid conditioners I have found, as well as one of the most effective. As mentioned, I am using a different conditioner bar now but I would definitely repurchase this one in the future.

LUSH – Poppy Soap

This is a fairly new soap from LUSH and I bought it around August when I saw it in the shop. It has such a pretty poppy design on the front, and it is full of poppy seeds which add to the effect! It smelt really nice too so I wanted to try it out.

LUSH Poppy soap in paper packaging
LUSH Poppy soap

I started using this soap in September, but I did stop using it for a while when I got the Ghost in the Dark Soap. The Ghost soap lasted me from mid-October until early December, and then I went back to the Poppy soap. It then lasted me until the end of January.

LUSH Poppy soap in a blue, fish shaped soap dish.

The soap smelt lovely but the scent was not very strong – I didn’t really mind this though. It worked effectively as a soap, and the abundance of poppy seeds gave it an exfoliating effect. When the soap got small, it broke up into several pieces, and eventually, I added these to my ‘leftovers mix’.

A birds-eye view of LUSH Poppy soap in a blue, fish shaped soap dish.

There are so many lovely soaps out there to try, and LUSH is one of my favourite brands. A bonus of LUSH is that their soaps can be bought packaging-free. I would like to try some of their other soaps first, but I would definitely come back to the Poppy soap in the future.

The Humble Co. Dental Floss – Lemon

I have previously used chewing gum by The Humble Co. which you can read about in my October Empties post. Recently I decided to try out their dental floss as well. I had been searching for a more eco-friendly floss for a while so I was delighted to discover this one.

An empty pack of The Humble Co. Dental Floss - Lemon

The Humble Co. floss is cruelty-free and vegan, and all the ingredients are natural. It comes in cardboard packaging unlike most other flosses. Unfortunately, however, the floss itself is made of nylon, so it is not plastic-free. There is also a small piece of plastic inside that the floss is wound around. Nevertheless, it is a step up from mainstream floss.

In terms of effectiveness, the floss did its job. It also lasted for ages because there are 50 metres of floss in the pack. The fact it lasted a long time makes it more sustainable. The flavour was lemon, but I couldn’t really taste the lemon at all – it was pretty tasteless, but I didn’t mind this.

The packet claims that the floss is made in Colombia, which means it has been shipped overseas to get to me.

Although this floss is not perfect, it is the best I have found so far in terms of sustainability. I have already bought the mint version and will review that in a future empties post. 

Related post: It Started with Flossing Teeth… My First Monthly Challenge

Nivea Black & White Invisible Antiperspirant

I don’t use antiperspirants every day because I don’t think they are very good for our bodies with all the chemical ingredients in them. However, I wear them on days where I am around people a lot and want to make sure I don’t smell! I have just used up this antiperspirant by Nivea.

Related post: Natural Deodorant vs Conventional Antiperspirant – Striking a Balance

An empty bottle of Nivea Black & White Invisible Antiperspirant

This particular antiperspirant claims to prevent yellow or white marks on your clothing. It seemed to do the trick because I didn’t notice any marks. In terms of general effectiveness, it does the job. I didn’t notice a difference between this and other Nivea antiperspirants I have used. The product smells pleasant, if a bit artificial. 

I chose Nivea because it comes in a glass container instead of plastic. However, I am aware that Nivea is still not an ethical choice because they are not a cruelty-free company. I have been searching for an antiperspirant that comes in a glass container AND is cruelty-free. I recently have found one, and I will review it in a future empties post. Because of this, it is unlikely that I will be buying Nivea antiperspirants again.

Supplements and Remedies

Nu U Nutrition – Magnesium Oil Pure Mineral Spray

I purchased this spray after reading about the health benefits of magnesium. These include soothing tired muscles, lowering inflammation and fighting depression. Apparently, magnesium is best absorbed through the skin rather than through the digestive system, hence I went for the option of a spray rather than an oral supplement.

Related post: 6 Unique Self-Care Ideas – Take Magnesium Supplements

An empty bottle of Nu U Nutrition - Magnesium Oil Pure Mineral Spray

I applied the oil every morning after getting out of the shower. The instructions don’t specify where on your body to apply it, or how much, but I read elsewhere that it can be rubbed into any muscles or joints that need soothing. Most of the time, however, I applied the oil to my feet because I read that it is easily absorbed there and the magnesium will travel to where it is needed.

Although magnesium oil is not technically an oil, it is called so because of the slippery, oily feel. It certainly felt oily when I applied it to my skin. It took a little while to absorb and my skin felt slimy for a while. I didn’t really mind this though. 

I like that this spray only includes two ingredients – Aqua and Magnesium Chloride. So it really is a ‘pure’ product with no additives. It is suitable for vegans and is not tested on animals. 

I didn’t specifically notice a difference in my health from using this product, but I find it’s always hard to tell whether supplements are having an effect or not. The supposed benefits are enough to convince me to continue using a magnesium supplement though.

This bottle was good value for money because it only cost me £13.97 for 200ml which is cheaper than most other brands I’ve seen. It lasted me for nearly 18 months of daily use.

How sustainable is this Magnesium Oil Spray?

The spray came in a plastic spray bottle. The pump was not particularly effective, especially as the bottle got emptier, and it would occasionally stop working. Eventually, I decanted the rest of the product into another empty spray bottle, which worked fine. Because of the ineffective spray, I have replaced this product with a magnesium gel instead, which comes in a plastic tube. Ideally, I would like to find a magnesium product that doesn’t come in plastic packaging. If anyone knows of one, please let me know in the comments!

You can purchase this Magnesium Oil Spray on Amazon here.

Food and Drink

BumbleZest Yerba Mate Matcha Green Coffee Sparkling Water

I received this drink as a special gift in the December edition of the Cruelty-Free Beauty Box. It is sparkling water with Yerba Mate, Matcha and Green Coffee, along with lemon, cinnamon, Himalayan salt and maple syrup. Basically, a healthy version of an energy drink!

An empty can of BumbleZest Yerba Mate Matcha Green Coffee Sparkling Water

The drink claims to have a high caffeine content – equivalent to a standard cup of coffee. Normally I avoid caffeine because it can make me jittery, and I don’t want to become dependent on it. So I wouldn’t normally have bought this drink, but because I received it in my box I was up for giving it a try. I was curious to find out what it would taste like because it was an unusual combination of ingredients.

The drink was very much sparkling and certainly had an unusual taste. It was hard to pinpoint the dominant flavour but I could taste cinnamon and lemon. I couldn’t taste the coffee much. It was not too sweet and basically tasted like sparkling water with a hint of cinnamon and lemon. It was quite more-ish, partly because I was curious to identify the unusual flavour.

I wondered if the caffeine would affect me, but I chose to drink it on a day where I didn’t have any commitments, and I also drank it in the morning. Luckily, it didn’t seem to have any negative effects at all. I felt fine after drinking it – I was fairly clear-headed but not jittery. I had a productive day but I’m not sure whether that had anything to do with the drink!

A healthy, sustainable choice?

The drink is vegan, low-sugar, low-calorie, contains all-natural ingredients, is made in the UK and comes in a 100% recyclable, non-BPA can. These things all make it a great choice for your health and for the environment. That’s not to say that I would recommend consuming a lot of caffeine, but if you are partial to an energy drink then this is a healthier option to go for. 

That’s it for my January Product Empties

Have you tried any of these products before? If so, what did you think of them? Are you tempted to try any of the other products on this list? What products have you used up this month? Let me know in the comments!

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January Product Empties


  1. I like reading these posts and seeing what other people are using! Thank you for sharing this post!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading it!

  2. Ahhh I absolutely love Lush bath bombs! They also do my fave ever face masks x

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I love their face masks too, I always collect up my empty Lush pots to take back and get a free face mask! x

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