Thursday, 22 January 2009

Products best left on the shelf....

Today I went to the hairdresser's. I am in love with my hairdresser at Toni & Guy who cuts my hair and always makes me leave the salon feeling like the best funkiest most amazing person ever- so much so that the £50 price tag translates as bargain of the century. However Toni & Guy operate a system whereby hairdressers specialise in either cut or colour, so I go somewhere else for colour. And as for my colour, I am always left severely disappointed- no, actively distressed. The last time I went there (HOB Salon) I vowed never to go again. And I took to colouring it myself. This led to mixed results and often ended in an expensive 'corrective colour' appointment to undo untold damage. But yesterday I received a voucher from HOB declaring they had won 'Hairdresser of the Year' and therefore I, as loyal valued customer, should celebrate and share their victory with a 50% off voucher. Talk about false economy- I have been left with BLACK MANGLED GROSS HAIR. Even I know 'tint can't lift tint', yet hairdressers I swear, know less than me. Exactly like make up assistants, they don't know what we know!! So, although this 'only' cost £20, I could have got the same botched result myself for free by my own fair hand. And why did I not complain? Well the girl was already in tears from her last client, who 'was a cow... didn't like her hair'. Yes the writing was on the wall. But I didn't have the heart to divulge my true violent sentiments. And I even gave a tip. I guess having had a succession of hair tradgedies -(for they are tragedies, truly very damaging to one's wellbeing... If a woman's hair is her crowning glory, then truly I am exceptionally bereft)-makes me strangely immune from the tears that any other mortal woman would shed.

Anyway, as if this general tradgedy were not enough, as I was laid back having my hair washed, the hairdresser exclaimed: 'Oh I like your eyeshadow! Wotsat then, Barry M?'

'No,' I said, rather defensively, 'It's MAC'. It took her a moment to recall, then she rejoined with some tale of trying to find a lipstick she'd seen in a magazine, which had since vanished. 'Yes, they discontinue a lot of things... limited collections...' I faltered. Bemusement. It was weird talking to someone not passionate (obsessed?) with makeup. Incidentally I was wearing MAC Antique Green pigment (Overrich collection); it got me thinking hmmm, maybe I might as well BE wearing Barry M.

For colours, MAC pigments could often be aped by any number of drugstore dazzle dusts and sprinkle powder. They excel at neutral tones, e.g. Naked pigment doesn't have a dupe I've ever seen. And volume by volume, possibly MAC are cheaper (I don't own any Barry M and the website failed to enlighten me, but I suspect this is the case... however taking in mind various Superdrug promotions, perhaps this desperate defense holds no truth anyway, plus who besides a makeup artist needs a tub that huge eh?). So this sad thought led me to thinking of all the other overhyped, or just lousy, products I've suffered so far and I thought I'd share : products I've bought but wish I'd left on the shelf......

1. Bobbi Brown
Yup, whole range, whole thing. I don't like her and I don't like her overpriced rubbishy scratchy brushes; her unpigmented chalky eyeshadows (good size, crap product); or her boring clumpy packaging. And worst worst WORST of all, this:

This is, of all my considerable makeup money wastage, the most glaring case. It's Oil-free Even Finish Compact foundation. Creates simlataneously oily and flaky skin? Check. Heavy finish yet crappy coverage? Check. Doesn't last on your face, doesn't last in the compact? Check!-- (literally lasted ONE MONTH, for an utterly extortionate £24! For 9 grams of product. For your reference, the absolutely amazing faultless Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation is £22 for 30ml.) Heavy, cumbersome packaging? Check. If this is your checklist, you're in luck.

2. Benefit

...Style over substance, anyone?

-Lemon Aid

Yup, it covers my eyelids a treat. And for non makeup days it is a must (erm, I would imagine!) But.... it's NOT a primer as advertised on the Benefit website. It creases pretty quickly. I wish it didn't. This renders it rather a useless product. If I have to prime first, I'll just use my foundation thanks.

-Get Even

Again, nice idea. Yellow counteracts red, yet again. But no. It comes in THREE shades. That won't cut it in today's multicultural world, Benefit. Unless you happen to be chalk white, vivid yellow or ashen brown, these powders will not suit. Also it didn't do enough oil controlling to entice a colour matching sacrifice. Stick with MAC pressed Blot powder, folks.

- Moon Beam

Nail polish bottle and brush. erm, Why?? How does this aid application? Anyway, product itself. Goes bad quickly, perhaps due to unhygenic aforementioned design. Colour is nice, I won't lie. Unique? Certainly not. Lasts on your face? Moderately. Very mediocre and boring product. Stick with highlighter powders and pigments for a more natural application. Use Guerlain's Cupidon pencil or similar for highlighting small areas such as above the lips, along the inner eye.


I cannot believe I spent over £20 on this?! It comprises of a sub standard pair of tweezers, a paste and a powder. Save yourself by mixing vaseline with a dark eyeshadow. The brushes were quite cute, and the packaging (old style) was cute too. If it's in new cheapie lightweight packaging, only the brushes stand as reason to buy. Don't.

- Fantasy Mint face wash

Nice smell. Gloopy, filmy texture, doesn't wash deeply at all. Try Honey Snap out of it scrub if you insist on giving Benefit skincare a go. That one smells nice and softens skin, but after buying it twice I won't be going back. Overpriced and underwhelming. Not quite bad enough to get on the list, but it's sidekick Mint wash easily fits in.

-Ooh La Lift

This sounds like what Fagin might say to congratulate one of his boys on a particularly successful pickpocketing find. I feel no less a victim having bought into this nonsense. Does nothing. Thin pinky liquid, very useless. Use Touche Eclat, believe the hype.

- EDIT/// Forgot yet another stupid wasteful Benefit product: Bo-oing concealer: too dry to be blendable, therefore can never look natural. And again, limited shades, and also unhygienic concept: Product is so dry it demands to be used by fingers warming product up- brushes can't pick any of it up. Hated this!!//


-Base Paupière
VERY similar to MAC's Painterly Paint Pot. Dulls the colour of your eyeshadows, that's the main cause for it making it to the list.

-Angled Blusher brush

£28 mistake. Too stiff, deposits way too much colour. I have a feeling it would make a great contour brush for an expert, but I haven't reached for it. Looks very pretty. A bit scratchy. Also took a million washes before the black dye ran off the bristles.

- Nail polishes

£12 and rubbishy drusgstore runny quality. Pretty bottle, but really!

P.S Heavy scented mascaras, blushers.... why go so heavy, Guerlain? (Just an aside, I love Guerlain overall though.)

4. Lancome

-Traceur Design Waterproof eyeliner
I was at the airport and had happily stuffed some trusty Artliner into my basket. Then a pesky SA came up to me and pointed out the newer version, which had way more product in (4.3g I believe as opposed to 1.something or something like that). She assured me it was identical, only more economical, plus waterproof. Wrong- inlike the adored Artliner, this stuff 'peels' off. It's awful. Very sad. Taught me to mistrust SA with a vengeance.

- Pinksplash Color focus palette (eyeshadow quad)
Another expensive airport buy, different untrustworthy SA. These were terrible on me. They should supply this as a ready made E.R/ Casualty/ Doctors/ other medical drama series/ supply kit for the on-set MUA to perfect the pink eye of severe infection or injury, or druggie. Not sure who else would be able to pull off this colour selection?

-- I've just seen the new Lancome quad and it looks amazing though, it has a hot pink so no doubt I should steer clear... but it looks awesome...

- Moisturisers: Hydra Zen Neurocalm, Primordial, Pure Focus
All have a nasty heaviness to them, heavy scent, feel stodgy. I don't know why I persisted with Lancome moisturisers. I now use humble Nivea Oil free moisturiser every day, and Clinique Total Turnaround at night.

5. Prescriptives

- Custom colour foundation- an 'expert' matched me... until I stepped into daylight with my expensive new purchase and had a horrific tide mark. SO USELESS! And it was beyond crap anyway in so many other ways too. I suppose it's hit and miss, if I'm being generous. A stupid unnecessary gimmick if I'm being honest. Come on, with all the ranges overspilling, why would you gamble on this?

- Virtiual Skin foundation (it may have been d/c since- it was one which she sold as "makes you look like you're constantly in candlelight"). Lousy lousy no coverage, and orangey as well.

- Inklings eyeliner in Mulberry
Needed to line in purple pencil first, otherwise colour didn't show up, and also it was very watery and didn't last. Very poor quality. Think it has since been axed from their lineup?

-Px Super Line Preventor Extreme
I actually preferred the original, well at least it didn't make me break out! I highly regret buying the first one, it was £55 I remember and seriously that shopping trip I spent £220/ £250, something highly obscene, and not one product was any good at all. Recently I have been buying a gorgeous Prescriptives eyeshadow called Buttermilk, and I received 4 little samples of this as a gift. It was a disaster. Not only as ineffective as its predecessor, but whatever the new formulation included, caused spots. Stay away!

6. MAC

Ah, MAC.

- Volcanic Ash Exfoliater (limited edition)
OK I know everyone loved it, To me, it was sugar mixed with dirt. I also found it caused spots. I used it once and hated it. I had bought 2, seeing as it was as usual limited edition, accompanied by ecstatic raves. I could have sold it on Ebay for a small fortune. Instead? Got swaplifted. Hate you e*******!

-Mystery; Retrospeck eyeshadow
Many MAC eyeshadows are rubbishy texture. Little colour pay-off, unblendable, chalky. There is wild variation in quality, only somewhat navigated by first checking the finish.

Mystery is a very interesting plummy browny grey which I love, sadly it leads to patchy blending and can only be used for crease or its poor application becomes too obvious. Such a shame!

Retrospeck is a lustre, and we all complain about them. Glitter chunkerama, bad. Looks so pretty in the pot, but applies as a disaster. Has been on my swaplist since forever, so its reputation must precede it.

Antique Green Pigment
I know- sacrilege! But having really looked at it, there is something a bit Barry M about it, there is something tacky about it. It's gorgeous and applies wonderfully, but somehow winds up looking a bit hackneyed.

Lipglasses/ liplustreglass
I find these too sticky. I like Plushglass as that feels piquant so it's cool, and it stays on lips an extraordinarily long time. But the other ones feel so heavy I just have to wipe them off.

-Studio Fix Fluid Foundation
--Shudder!!-- I can't stand this. I'm breaking the rules here, as I never bought this, but I got a sample and it wreked havoc with my skin. Also, very very yellow and I was colour matched, this was indeed the one for 'cool' skintones. Awful, had to wash it off at once, soooo heavy and unpleasant all round.

- Blot powder LOOSE
I love love love the pressed powder, so better try the loose, right? For mornings, and have the pressed compact for on the go! NO! This is like a completely different product, why does it even share the same name? It lacks the main ingredient which makes the pressed powder so potent (some clay derivative) and instead is loades with talc, wheatgerm, bismuth and other deadly no-nos. Oxidises a terrible orange colour, does NOT control oil in the least, messy packaging which spills everywhere.

Overhype. These tend to look too pigmented and greasy unless you have black or asian skin. On those they look stunning, especially black skin. But the ones I tried- the discontined but highly popular So Ceylon and Petticoat, made me look oily and either orange or ruddy, neither flattering options.

-266 angle brush
Equal to any generic eyebrow brush, I found this too floppy to be much use.

7. St Tropez

- Tan Remover
Doesn't work at all, as I found to my horror when I tried to wipe my orange palms clean... eek! Cost me around £15. The rest of the range is fab though.

8. La Prarie

-Cellular Treatment Concealer
Very drying and hard to blend, plus poor coverage. Was very expensive but I forget now... I think £26. Beautiful colour but wrong consistency. Go with the amazing Lancome Effercernes.

Well, I think that's it!!
Have YOU tried any bad things??


  1. Hmmm... well, I've tried lots of bad things, probably too many to list!

    My most recent disappointment was Cover Girl Lash Blast mascara which everyone is raving about. On me, it left little "clods" of mascara all over my lashes which I had to comb out.
    -re: Pink eyeshadow: I've found that I can use some but not others, and I never know until I try them on.
    -re:Lancome skin care: They did nothing for me either. The cleanser was so-so, the "oil free" lotion I used left my skin shiny, and I didn't see the point of their serums. Nowadays I'm loving Clinique's Super Defense for daytime, and I just ordered some of that Turnaround cream. :) In general I've been really pleased with Clinique for skin care.

    I do love that MAC Blot pressed powder. I guess it's a good thing I didn't buy the loose version!

    (I'm laurore44 on YouTube)

  2. Hi how are you? Thanks for checking out my blog!

    Ooh yes I forgot- I hated that Lash Blast too, made my lashes really hard and felt damaging! Horrible stuff! I thought I was alone on that one, haha! Still, at least it was cheap. (Lancome Virtuose Courbe was awful too, luckily I had a sample so again it didn't cost me.)

    I agree about pink e/s, although the rule tends to be, if it's super pale then it's ok. Actually Clinique make a nice weak pigment pink colour that works. They have some good stuff really, and much better for skincare than Lancome for sure. I'll have to look into the Super Defense stuff, thanks for the tip!! x

  3. I'm so sorry to hear about your bad experience with the colorist(although, it sounds like she doesn't even warrant this title). I've done the same thing...totally unhappy with the cut/color, don't say anything, then leave after giving a tip on top of an outrageous charge.

    I don't think I'll be buying anything from Benefit anymore...I haven't had any luck with their products. The brow color in a tube (can't remember name) separated into two colors (brown & bright orange) within a week of purchase. LemonAid creased on me as well. The Oh La Lift burns my eyes.

    I fear buying foundation in the department stores. It should be mandatory that all cosmetic counters be next to a great big window of natural light. I should do more like my mother, who has them do several swipes, then walks outside to check which one matches her skintone.

    I didn't have any problem with Studio Fix Fluid's texture or with my skin but it was so orange that I looked like an Ommpa Loompa.

    Pink eyeshadow...whoever thought this would be a good idea should be fed to the fish. I can't wear any shade without looking like I'm sick.

    I'll have to think about what else I absolutely hate from my collection and post about it.

    I really enjoyed this post! Thanks so much for warning us.

  4. Hi! I love that- mandatory that foundation counters should be near a source of natural light! - You are so right, gosh if only I was ruler of the world... that would be the first law I created!! I totally learnt my lesson sinc, and found my HG.

    And as for pink e/s, I love pink but on eyes it really is a recipe for disaster. I am still tempted by the new Lancome quad, but I'll try to remind myself pink eyes are bad.

    Still very upset about my hair, will probably end up spending a fortune trying to repair the damage What a nightmare!! x

  5. Hi there, Just found your blog, and I LOVE IT! I've tried a few crap things in my time, high and low end. I think the worst has to be any moisturiser by Olay as these actually manage to dry my skin out which is interesting... Lancome skincare, just makes my skin feel heavy and congested...MAC Liquidlast liners, which I couldn't apply straight and needed a stick of dynamite to

  6. Wow, what a very kind thing to say!! Thanks!

    Yup, have you tried the GOSH dupe of liquidlast liners- Extreme Art liner- they need oil to get them shifted. Still, if I ever go to an all-night rave/ swimming competition, I'll be relying on that stuff haha. xx