2019 Empties : The Final Stats

2019 Empties

It’s taken a little while to do the final roundup of my 2019 Empties. I have tracked my empties in a spreadsheet for the last couple of years and by the time it reaches the new year it’s made some interesting reading, particularly as I’ve been able to compare 2019 against 2018 to see how my usage has changed.

I thought I’d also do some comparisons compared to my 2018 empties review since I have that data available from last year. Things ended up being a lot closer than I thought they would be this time last year.

Total Products Finished & Total Value

2018 was the year I concentrated on decluttering my cupboards, anything part finished got used up, samples and deluxed sized bottles causing clutter got used and finished, so my total number of products finished was much higher in 2018 for that reason.

I was surprised at just how close the total value was in 2019, whilst I did still have lingering part used products to finish up in 2019, I very much started a fresh on many items. So the fact there was less than £40 difference between 2018 and 2019 was a huge shocker!

Just like last year I treated value as the full RRP price, I would likely hunt around for offers when I’m repurchasing or considering purchasing a new product but that’s the price you would expect to pay for. Any deluxe minis that I have found available to purchase had a value added, but where they didn’t I didn’t attempt to place a value on the item. If I did the total would be higher as another 45 products would have a value attached. That’s not to say that these products are worthless as if you added up all those mini moisturisers it would equal a full size product that would need to be used or purchased, I just personally think it’s the best way to track value.

Products by Type

I was surprised at how much less skincare I had used in 2019 compared to 2018, however I do think I may have had a lot of samples kicking around that got finished last year. 2019 skincare use was mainly full size and some deluxe sized products. I have been very good this year at only keeping a couple of things open at a time and making sure it’s used up until the next thing is finished! I’m not feeling particularly surprised that I used up less makeup since September I’ve worked at home and now wear makeup 2/3 days a week maximum instead of 6 or 7 – so my useage rate changed up.

I feel like making the decision to swap to larger bottles for shampoo and conditioner for when I’m at home had a positive impact as the haircare number was a lot less. I suspect that is due to me going through larger bottles less frequently. Bodycare usage is up slightly but we tend to share shower gels more now than we did last year when Ben would buy a mens one, so we go through shower gel twice as quick.

Gifted vs Purchased Empties

I didn’t track this in 2018, so this was a new thing I kept a monitor of in 2019.

Purchased = Products purchased by me, GWP, arrived in beauty boxes/advent calendars etc. Or products directly given to me by friends and family.
Gifted = Items given directly by the brand or their PR Agency
Compensation = Items received as compensation but not directly by the brand. E.g attending an event or talking about a gifted beauty box where the product brand has had no involvement. These are marked as “Gifted by Company Name” in my empties posts and reviews.

Purchased products still make up the vast majority of what I use up, however there are also a lot more deluxe and sample sizes in here where as gifted items are for the most part all full sizes.

Total Values of each are;
Purchased – £1483
Gifted – £586
Compensation – £48.60

To Repurchase or Not to Repurchase? That is the question.

Last year the Nos far outweighed the Yes products – however this year I’m surprised to see they were pretty much on par with one another. I do feel like I’ve discovered quite a lot of good products this year and haven’t really found too many products that I’ve actively despised. The Maybe products just like last year are ones which I would keep if I was gifted them and happily use again, but I’m unlikely to go purchase myself – likely only picking them if they were from a limited range of options in a shop.

When I say “Yes” to repurchasing – it doesn’t mean that I will definitely repurchase as I have a lot of product to use up. But it would be if I was considering purchasing a new Moisturiser for example, it would be a product would be at the top of my list for choice.

There were also more discontinued products in 2019 – some of these may have been discontinued since they were first added to the spreadsheet, but I don’t have time to recheck them all again!

Top 5 Brands

In total there were 148 brands in my empties,(I count own brand products under the main retailer) I was surprised at how high that figure was! I would have expected that figure to be under 100!

The top 5 Brands were

  1. Pixi
  2. Tigi
  3. Beauty Pie
  4. The Body Shop
  5. Boots

I totally wasn’t surprised to see Pixi at the top of the list this year, I’ve used a lot of their skincare and they outweighed second place Tigi by a fair way. I mostly switched to large bottles of Tigi Shampoo and Conditioner this year as a replacement for Aussie to try and reduce my plastic wastage, but I also finished up a few styling products I had from them at the beginning of the year. I’ve frequently used bits from Beauty Pie throughout the year, but it’s been a skincare brand which has been a bit secondary to my love for Pixi, in 2020 when I need to buy skincare I will try more from them as I have enjoyed what I’ve had mostly. I am surprised the Body Shop is so high up! I received a present from my local shopping centre at the tail end of 2018 with a bunch of products in, so I suspect at the start of the year I was using a lot of those new things. It’s a brand I used to use a lot but haven’t so much this year. And lastly good old Boots! In the second half of the year I discovered how good their own brand shower gels smell and have pretty much only used them for the past few months, however there was some own brand skincare which also featured.

(Brands used mostly for boring general consumables only have been discluded from the above list – e.g Cotton Wool and Toothpaste)

What I’ve Learnt This Year

Tracking my empties in a spreadsheet form for the first time in 2018 made me much more aware of how much I was consuming vs how much I still had in my cupboards. I have bought very little skincare this year and I’ve tried to only really buy when I’ve been out of something and have nothing to replace with. E.g I don’t have a really good makeup removing cleanser but I do have second cleanses left then I would purchase. There are a couple of times I’ve bought some extras of, e.g when I ran out of eye cream I wanted to review all of Beauty Pie’s in one blog post, however those will all be used up before I consider buying another again. Times like that are also very rare and I tend to only do it with Beauty Pie to make the cost of delivery worthwhile.

My makeup spends have been no where near as bad this year and especially now I’m not walking into a TK Maxx fortnightly on a lunch break (whilst I do miss it!), my purchases have been thought out and considered. I’ve been good at trying to only have a couple of things open at a time (if not just one) and have mostly been able to use things up until they’re finished. The one vice I do still have is eyeshadow palettes but towards the tail end of the year what I’ve added has been far less than what I have in previous years. I think this has partially been because I now work at home I don’t wear makeup every day, so I have less cravings for something new and I’m excited to play with what I already have when I do put makeup on.

In November I decided to do a declutter of makeup I was never likely to use again, and sold a lot of it on eBay and I made a small fortune! It spurred me on to have a further declutter and as I’ve been seeing family and friends I’ve been inviting them to have a rummage in my box of treats.

I started a 3 month no buy in November 2019 which will end the day before my 30th birthday (depending on how depressed I feel I might need a pick me up treat!) and I have been tracking what I’ve purchased and bar one thing it has all been essentials, and I haven’t actually missed shopping at all. I think again because I’ve been making notes of “what I bought on my no buy” ready for a post about it (as it’s the first time I feel like I’ve actually been successful at it!), but I think it has spurred me on to continue this throughout the year – maybe allowing myself the odd time to have a little shop if I fancy it.

Over Christmas I’ve been started on doing a whole beauty inventory for myself and it’s really highlighted that despite how much I’m using still much I still have (e.g I have 61 face masks – sheet and multiuse combined). I’ve still got a few more drawers to go through, but it’s mainly for my own curiosity as to see just how many items I have and how much I use them over the year (e.g I’ve weighed all my lipsticks with a precise gold scale!). I’ve isolated a few products as I’ve gone along to try and concentrate on finishing (if I can) and will likely swap these out seasonally throughout the year.

In 2020 I hope to see my cupboards shrink down a bit, and I’d like to every few months review what I’m using, swap things around and declutter too. We’re in the process of decorating our whole house how having lived here for a year and I’d like to get the whole house more decluttered as we go, which includes my beauty collection!

Out of everything I’ve tried over the years, I think the best way which has made me cut back on purchasing has been having an empties spreadsheet. Even if you’re not a blogger and just wanting to find a way to curb your shopping sprees seeing that value of products finished tick up and how long it really takes to finish a moisturiser is a pretty easy way to make you put things back down when shopping. Feel free to grab a copy of my spreadsheet and adjust it should you feel like giving it a try!

Let me know in the comments what you learnt about your spending habits in 2019 and if you have any other ideas of things I could track in my “columns” on my spreadsheet this year.


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Helpless Whilst Drying

Email: helplesswhilstdrying@gmail.com



  1. January 15, 2020 / 11:39 pm

    I tracked my empties properly in 2018 so I could make pretty graphs but I have’t managed it for 2019. You might have inspired me!

    • rachael
      January 16, 2020 / 10:50 am

      Haha thank you! I’m a data geek so love being able to see data and graphs at the end of the year!

  2. January 16, 2020 / 4:31 am

    I love that you tracked by brand and by whether or not you would repurchase! It’s so fascinating that the values were similar between this year and last year.

    • rachael
      January 16, 2020 / 11:07 am

      I was so surprised – considering 2018 was the year of finishing part open products I thought the values would be a lot lower this year. I think I finished a fair few full size perfumes this year which did give me a bit of a boost!

  3. February 29, 2020 / 12:40 pm

    I gotta make a better attempt at this! I am the freaking scientist! HAHAH! Loved your graphs!

    • rachael
      March 2, 2020 / 12:04 pm

      Hahah, I’m a data nerd when it comes to websites and love a good spreadsheet!

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