The Disappointing Beauty Products of 2017
It's not very often I write about beauty products that have disappointed me and that's because they aren't something I often come by. I'll declutter and pass things on if they no longer suit my tastes or if I have similar products I prefer over them, but for the most part, the products I buy have always lived up to my expectations. Having said this, the occasional product will, however, fall short and although I preach about not buying as much and making considered purchases when I do, I am still human and prone to making mistakes here and there. Other times, no matter how much research you do, a product simply doesn't work or isn't right. I don't necessarily regret buying these products, they're just things that haven't wowed me enough to ever think about repurchasing, and I'm glad I've tried them, but I'm also glad to move onto something different. In an oversaturated market, no one is immune to slipping up and I think it's important to look at things with a critical eye so we can all make better choices in the future.
Many post-work trips to Sephora lead me to create my own custom Anastasia Beverly Hills 4 Well Palette. I'd spend hours swatching all the beautiful eyeshadows in-store and then my angel of a friend, Jess, kindly picked this up for me from the US where it was significantly cheaper. I absolutely adore the two bottom shades (Birkin and Caramel), but the two top shades (Sateen and Glisten) actually translate a lot differently on my eyes compared to swatched on my arm. It's something I've never experienced with makeup before, so it's really quite strange, but I find Sateen to look a little too yellow and Glisten a little too orange, which clashes with my skin tone. I also have shades in my custom MAC palette that are almost identical to Birkin and Caramel, so I really don't need these either, and although I can't fault the actual quality of these Anastasia eyeshadows, I'm going to pass this quad on. I really did try loving this palette, but I never felt excited for it and it was fruitless to try to convince myself that I could. I will consider future eyeshadow purchases more carefully from now on and if you're interested, you can watch my makeup declutter over on my Instagram Stories.
The Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist was a product I admittedly gave into the hype of and while it definitely packs a punch in terms of glow, I find the scent quite off-putting (the closest thing I can describe to is seaweed) and it's enough to make me not want to repurchase it. Used on either bare skin or over makeup, I did enjoy wearing Luminous Dewy Skin Mist over my makeup in the winter, but now that it's summer, I feel like I have less use for it because I don't need that much added glow. At the moment, I'm using it in my skincare routine as a toner/extra boost of moisture, but it doesn't feel as refreshing as other facial sprays (it's less wet, if that makes any sense), not to mention it's also $70 and extremely overpriced for what it is. For half the cost, my MAC Prep+Prime Fix+ does just as good a job (I have no issues using it all year round and it doesn't smell weird) and while I will use it up, I won't miss this from my routine.
I was never really phased when The Ordinary began making waves in the beauty blogosphere, but when I had a couple of gaps in my skincare routine that I wanted to fill, they were my first port of call. I mean, at those low price points, I couldn't really go wrong. Keen to try a retinoid, I decided to buy their Granactive Retinoid Emulsion 2% (formerly known as Advanced Retinoid 2%), and as a potent skincare treatment, I researched extensively into retinoids and was made well aware of all the side effects (purging, redness, dryness) prior to purchasing this. Still, I never expected huge, angry breakouts, no difference in the evening out my skin tone or even a red and irritated neck. Given that the neck is where the first signs of ageing take place, it almost makes this anti-ageing treatment redundant in my routine and even after three months of testing it out, this just did nothing but aggravate me. In addition, I find the formula to feel quite tacky, which is understandable considering how cheap it is, but also isn't the most pleasant feeling. My skin is a hell of a lot calmer since I stopped using it, but a part of me also wants to give it one more chance. If it doesn't work out, I'll admit defeat and try a gentle oil-based retinoid (this is a lightweight creamy serum consistency), which I think will better suit my skin type.
The second gap in my skincare routine that I wanted to fill was spot treatment, so I decided to take a chance on The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution. Used as either a targeted treatment or all over serum, the results from this have been deeply underwhelming and I haven't found it to be anywhere near as effective as other spot treatments I've tried in the past. Unlike my Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 and Glossier Super Pure, this didn't do anything to remedy my skin while I was purging and even on smaller breakouts, it takes a few days before I notice a reduction in my spots. With my previous spot treatments, I could see they had shrunk the very next morning. My skin has become more acne prone since coming off the pill (for that reason, I'll probably go back on it soon) and my breakouts can be quite stubborn too, so I really don't think this is the right product for me. If you're someone who breaks out once in a blue moon and they're not particularly large, this formula may work well for you, but once I've used this up, I'll be looking into other spot treatments for myself. I've got the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% waiting to be used and I'm hoping this will deliver better results because so far, I haven't been that impressed by The Ordinary.
Glossier can be quite a hit and miss brand for me. The products I love from them are really innovative and unlike anything else I own, but then there are others that don't really make a lot of sense or are a bit too simple for my tastes. Their Priming Moisturiser was a product I loved from the very beginning - it was lightweight, yet surprisingly hydrating - but becoming acne prone again lead that all to change. When I was informed through Jaye's post that it contained retinol, it suddenly all clicked why this no longer worked for me and since I've ceased use, my skin's been doing pretty well. When I go back on the pill, I'll still be staying away from it as it's pretty irresponsible to include retinol in a daytime moisturiser (retinol increases your sensitivity to the sun) and especially as I also live in a sunny country. Apart from the added retinol, I do love the formula of Priming Moisturiser and as much as I wish I could still use it, I'm looking forward to trying the Herbivore Pink Cloud Rosewater Moisture Creme as a replacement.
Glossier Priming Moisturiser Rich was a product I had no issues with in terms of irritation, but after using up a whole tub of this, I simply couldn't get on board with the lavender scent. Fragrance isn't something I'm sensitive to, but I can be quite picky with them and for the most part, it's also really unnecessary in skincare. The formula is decadently thick and luxurious, as well as containing some wonderful ingredients such as ceramides and antioxidants, though I wouldn't call it groundbreaking compared to other moisturisers on the market and I just don't love this enough to repurchase it.
At the beginning of last year, I purchased Glossier's Super Pack, which contained all three of their serums; Super Glow (for dull skin), Super Bounce (for dry skin) and Super Pure (for stressed skin). I raved about Super Pure in my Best Beauty Products of 2017: Skincare & Haircare post, but Super Glow and Super Bounce just weren't as effective and out of the lot, these are the ones I don't see myself going back to. Don't get me wrong, they did make a slight improvement to my skin, but as dullness and dryness are my two main skin concerns, the formula of these two is quite basic and I've still got that itch to try something new. I should also point out at that Super Glow is formulated with aminopropyl ascorbyl phosphate vitamin C, which isn't as efficient as vitamin C derived from L-ascorbic acid. These serums would probably suit someone in their early twenties who's just beginning to experiment with skincare (or even people with sensitive skin as they're quite gentle), but I turn 30 this year (yikes!) and I think I need something a little more advanced in my routine.
Drunk Elephant is one of the most talked-about skincare brands right now and when I picked up the Rise + Glow set a couple of months ago, I was excited for my first foray into their products. Formulated without fragrance, stripping alcohol and many other nasty ingredients, I fell in love with C-Firma Day Serum from the set, but B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel, on the other hand, left me unimpressed. The reviews I had read on the gel moisturiser indicated it wouldn't be enough for my dehydrated skin, so I opted to use this as a serum instead (it's very lightweight) and even then, my skin didn't look plumper nor any less dry. Hydration and moisture aren't complex skin issues and although I have no qualms splashing out on expensive skincare, I really don't think this is worth the $75 price tag. This could work amazingly well for normal-to-oily types, but as for me and my dry skin, we are now on the quest for a new hyaluronic acid treatment.
What beauty products disappointed you in 2017?