While I’m definitely not frugal I do appreciate value for money and when I splash the cash I like to get a product/service that I feel was worth the spend! And I’m not into brand bashing – the whole anti-haul trend not withstanding – but given that I have forked out for products that haven’t lived up to their promise I do feel entitled to an opinion.
Please feel free to disagree and let me know your experiences with the following, but here is a run down (in no particular order) of products I’ve been disappointed with recently!
Sensationail: Polish to Gel Transformer Kit – £49.99
I thought I’d found a holy grail when I discovered this product existed! I’d been on the look out for a while for a home gel kit to replace forever chipping nail polishes or frequent trips to the salon that I don’t always have time for.
The kit claims you can easily turn your favourite nail polishes into quick dry, high shine, gel polish manicures that last up to 10 days and offers two application methods. The first being a mixing method whereby you mix your polish with the ‘gel transformer’ and apply and cure; and the second being a gel top coat (cured) over your regular nail polish. The appeal for me was the promise I could use my own existing nail colours, of which I have in abundance, without having to start a new collection of pricey gel polishes.
My first attempt at using the kit I went for the mixing method and found this almost impossible. Even my newer polishes that had plenty of life in them were tricky to pour into the pot provided (as was the thick ‘polish to gel mix’ provided in the kit) and to get the ratios correct as per the instructions was incredibly difficult. I abandoned this method quite quickly and went onto the gel topcoat method. The draw back here being the drying time as you need to wait for your regular manicure to completely set before applying the gel, defeating the object of a gel manicure which sets immediately under the light. However the gel top coat applied beautifully and cured well. I did find after a few attempts I learned to cure for longer than advised as with a shorter cure time the top coat wiped off a little when cleansing. It also took away the shine more than I expected so my nails never had that perfect finish!
The very nature of a gel polish is to create a number of sticky layers which each layer of polish adheres to in between cures, therefore the regular nail polish method seemed destined to fail at the get go. And it was. My manicure lasted barely 2 days before scuffing at the tip of the nail and chipping; and to remove the manicure completely required a long drawn out process of soaking and filing.
I decided to give the kit one more chance and purchased a couple of gel polishes directly from their website. At £12.50 a go I expected them to perform well and be far longer lasting than my previous attempts. However the result was just as, if not more, disappointing. No matter how many coats I attempted, or how many times I capped the free edge of my nail, my nail tips failed to cover properly and I always ended up with a faded edge to my manicure which was so frustrating. And again the manicure never lasted more than a couple of days before I needed to embark on the long drawn out soaking off process – which was quite frankly too much work for a two day manicure!
I gave up on my quest for home gel manicures and continue to visit the salon for that perfect, long lasting finish!
Cocowhite Oil Pulling – £19.99
Teeth whitening is a regular part of my beauty routine and I often try out new products and systems. Oil pulling became a trend some time ago and as usual I was late to the party. I purchased 14 sachets for £19.99 from their website which recommended I used a sachet every day, before teeth cleaning. The instructions tell you to swish for 15 minutes (but build up from 5 minutes for beginners), spit out the formula and clean teeth as normal.
With hindsight I was never going to managed this process as I am definitely squeamish and found the process so sickly I could barely keep the product in my mouth for longer than a minute. The oil itself was so thick it feels like it’s about to slide down your throat at any moment and I spent most of the process gagging. Because of this I never managed longer than a couple of minutes ‘swishing’ and did not complete the 14 day course.
For obvious reasons I saw no difference to the colour of my teeth, but genuinely have heard some good things about the product and the oil pulling method has been around for centuries so who am I to question!?
Sweat: Kayla Itsines Fitness – £14.99 per month
Thank goodness for the free 7 day trial is all I can say about this one!
The app itself was generally quite easy to use and the workouts seemed straight forward enough – and I’m sure they would yield results. However the support once they’ve got your subscription is non-existent and I tried all sorts of communication methods to get a response but to no avail.
My main gripe was the fact the the workouts on the app come with no voice over instructions which I found odd. The whole marketing campaign focused on the ease and convenience with which you could work out right from your phone- anywhere, any when. However I found this a confusing concept as with no instructions I was required to constantly stare at a small phone screen; at awkward angles, whilst twisting, turning, thrusting and jumping around. This would be marginally acceptable for standing workouts but a lot of what I chose to do was a mixture of cardio and matt work which meant I continually had to move my phone to the floor mid workout so I could still follow the instructions. There isn’t even an ‘outloud’ timer to tell you when a move is complete which quite frankly meant I was contorting into strange and uncomfortable angles mid-crunch in order to keep a constant eye on the screen.
I tried over the course of my 7 day trial to make contact with the support team to establish whether or not this feature would be introduced (or if it existed already and I had simply overlooked in my setup of the app) and after receiving no communication back, even after after taking to Twitter, I gave up and cancelled my subscription!
Is it just me, or should voice description be a basic feature of a workout app??
St Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Lotion – £14.50
Another prime example of a time I thought I’d hit the mother-lode. I first gave this a try just after I had my daughter and the last thing I could find time for was tanning!
The product claims that in “just 3 minutes as part of your daily shower regime, St.Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Lotion is a convenient way to build a sunkissed, gradual glow, that provides up to 24 hour moisturisation.”
I followed the advised application method to the letter:
Step 1: Fully cleanse and wash in a warm shower.
Step 2: With the shower off, generously apply the product in circular motions with your hands to wet skin to create an even coverage. Wash palms after application.
Step 3: Wait 3 minutes.
Step 4: Fully rinse off with warm water only.
Step 5: Gently dry yourself, before getting dressed. After showering, the self-tan actives will naturally start to work, developing gradually and deepening with regular reapplication within the shower.
The obvious pro is the huge time saver compared to more conventional tanning products – 3 minutes and rinse off! However, let me tell you, 3 minutes standing freezing and dripping wet feels like an eternity! And while the product left my skin silky smooth, I did not see a change in colour in the slightest! I gave this product a fair trial and used it for a week – without a trace of a tan in the process.
A nice concept, but a huge disappointment! I’ll stick to my regular tanning routine (which you can read about here).
Dermacol Make-up Cover Foundation – £9.95
Last but not least on my list of regrets is the high coverage foundation that recently took the beauty blogger world by storm! Always one for a band-wagon, I ordered a tube of this to see for myself if it lived up to the claims of intense coverage.
This foundation boasts such extreme coverage as it contains 50% pigment and claims to leave a natural-looking finish, with a satin matte appearance, providing complete coverage of acne, bruising, tattoos, spots and skin imperfections.
I purchased from Just My Look which advised to apply the product by tapping gently onto the skin using fingers or a damp cosmetic sponge. Which I did.
I used my current go-to Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge to apply and tried to build gradually in light layers. A task which was quite difficult with the thick formula of the foundation. I found it almost impossible to spread and blend and the finish was far from natural. I was expecting a high coverage but the product only enhanced my pores (which definitely do not need enhancing!) and added far too much texture to my skin. The product quickly oxidised and with wear separated around my chin and nose area, leaving it looking patching and uneven.
I also found it difficult to apply bronzer/contour/blush over the foundation which dragged when applying over top of the foundation and moved the base, leaving patchy areas.
The product, I believe, originated from use on screen and I can see how this would be effective. But for everyday use it is too heavy, not smooth enough and no where near long lasting. The product looked good on camera (as intended) but does have an SPF so there was a slight flashback on photo’s.
I’m afraid Dermacol joined other base products in my ever growing foundation graveyard…
That completes the run down of product’s I have recently purchased and unfortunately not grown to love. I’d love to hear your opinions on these products too and about any products that you feel didn’t live up to expectation!