There have been a few new beauty releases from two skincare brands that say they price their products transparently, so I placed orders with both! Now I've had a good go of the products, I'm going to give you reviews of them all and the lowdown on the brands.
I have a post here on Beauty Pie, so please check out that before you read further if you're not familiar with this brand. The updates since then are: the shipping cost has gone up - I paid an eye-watering £6 to have this delivered and it was only Royal Mail 2nd Class, plus the membership process has changed (more on that later...) I noticed the change in shipping and 'processing' fees after my previous review and this is why I didn't do another haul when they released new products. When I did my original post it was just the standard sort of £2.99/£3.99 flat charge that most websites go for. Taking into account there's a cap on how many products you can order a month, I thought these additional charges were a bit cheeky... However I was intrigued enough about the skincare to give this brand another try.
There's been a bit of a kerfuffle over social media, and whilst I don't like to get embroiled in online drama, I have one thing to say: whether you're the CEO of an indie makeup brand Googling opinions on your company or the manager of a hotel looking up 1-star reviews on Tripadvisor, being defensive online about negative feedback will never, NEVER make you look good! You should be taking on board criticism from people spending their hard-earned cash on your goods or services as a way to better your offering, not as a personal assault. It just looks massively unprofessional.
Although I appreciate the essence of this concept and they've kept up releasing new products to make being a 'member' more worth it, I am starting to feel as though it would be easier to just charge a reasonable RRP for these products! Whilst the 'non-member' prices for their makeup products was higher than I personally felt they were worth, they weren't crazy. However for the skincare I personally think that the supposed full price is totally unwarranted. Once you factor in the membership and shipping charge I reckon I paid £10-15 per product (this includes postage and 'processing'), which I still think is a great deal. However (whilst I appreciate they're trying a new concept) I'd rather the products were just that price each so I could buy them as and when I want to without having to commit to anything. I feel you'd need to order a good 3-5 products a month to make it seem worthwhile. Overall I think they should revise the concept of transparent pricing and just show an element of marketing, profit (it's not a dirty word!) and whatever else in the cost of the product, as opposed to getting that via membership fees and excessive postage costs.
I was also really annoyed because when checking out, it appeared I was buying a month's pass upfront (previously you had to purchase 3 months upfront for £30, so I thought it was a good thing, as it looked like 1-month passes had been introduced). However instead it set up a direct debit, which I was pretty mad about because I feel any long-term financial commitment should be totally clear at the point of purchase, and this wasn't. It also has a minimum 3-month term and although I managed to get it cancelled and refunded, it was pretty poor from a brand that's supposed to be all about transparency. The whole thing was a bit like booking a '£15' Ryanair flight which, by the time you've checked out, ends up costing £50.
Double-Phase Daily Deep Rinse-Off Cleanser | £4.92 (£25 RRP) | This is actually a really nice cleanser that reminds me a lot of Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish, but is a little more lightweight and lotion-like. It doesn't have much of a scent and feels nice and gentle on the skin and eyes. It comes with a muslin cloth, which I like, so all I do is massage it in and wipe it off with the damp cloth. It's effective at lifting off my makeup without stinging my eyes, though it would be nice if it was a bit tougher on dark eye makeup (I do find there's a bit left over after removing this makeup). There's no residue left over after use and overall it's a nice, simple cleanser. This is the one product I think could be close to worth the full price.
Ingredients include: Vitamin E, aloe vera, passionflower seed oil
Fruitzyme Five Minute Facial | £6.04 (£50 RRP) | This is an interesting mask with a gel-like texture that contains exfoliating particles. You just leave it on the skin for 5 minutes and gently massage as you rinse it off. This is a nice mask that leaves my skin looking and feeling incredibly fresh and healthy. It feels much smoother with dead skin removed and there's more of a glow to my complexion. However I just don't think it's worth £50! £6 is great for this and £15-20 would still be pretty good, however against products like my REN and Caudalie AHA masks that are cheaper and better, I just think the RRP is too high.
Ingredients include: AHAs, BHAs, pomegranate enzymes
Plantastic Micropeeling Super Drops | £6.69 (£50 RRP) | This is a clear, water-light serum that sinks into the skin without feeling at all sticky. I've been using this for several weeks but in all honesty, I didn't find it did much for my skin. On paper it all sounded great in terms of the ingredients and promises of glowing skin and clear pores. However despite persevering, I just didn't see the effect from using this product - so it's a pass!
Ingredients include: salicylic acid, banana fruit acid, kiwi berry stem cells
Now this is transparent pricing that I can get behind! These products come in at affordable prices without the extra messing around and surprise costs. The Ordinary keeps its packaging basic and functional and strips back its products to the active ingredients only. This means that only proven ingredients are used in their products and there are no add-ons, which means you might find the smell or consistency of some of the products to be unusual.
The only thing I would say is that if you don't know your skincare, the names can be a bit overwhelming. However for my first order (check out the reviews here) I just did a bit of a pick n' mix and saw where it took me! For these prices, it isn't a bad way to go.
Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution | £7 | I was intrigued to see if this could top my beloved Pixi Glow Tonic (which is a 5% formulation), as it's a lot more affordable! Obviously this doesn't contain all of the other ingredients the Glow Tonic does like aloe vera and witch hazel, so although it doesn't soften my skin, it also doesn't leave it feeling too stripped. Glycolic Acid is an AHA, meaning it chemically exfoliates the skin. Whilst for a seriously stubborn dry patch or around the nose, you might still want to use a scrub occasionally, I find that something like this is enough to keep my skin smooth and even. I also find that it gives my skin that immediate glow boost it needs when it's a bit lacklustre, as well as fading any scarring or hyper-pigmentation over time. Overall I'm enjoying using it, though I do still prefer the Pixi Glow Tonic because of the extra goodness it contains in terms of those extra ingredients! Though this is a little stronger, so if your skin is very much used to glycolic acid and you want to step it up a gear, this is the better option.
AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution | £6.50 | This is impressive because it contains both AHAs and BHAs (a more pore-penetrating acid which is great for oily skin) and I've never tried the two combined. It's watery in consistency and comes with a dropper. It's a little bit terrifying-looking; like a cross between fake blood and beetroot juice... and it contains strict instructions not to leave this on for more than 10 minutes (I won't lie, the 'professional use only' label was also slightly scary...) I've been using this once or twice a week since it arrived and so far I'm impressed! My skin is immediately brighter and much smoother. It's intense so probably not the first acid exfoliating product to try if you have sensitive skin, however for my skin (which is pretty used to these kinds of treatments) it really does the job.
Salicylic Acid 2% Solution | £4 | This has to be the highlight of the bunch for me! Salicylic Acid is a BHA, making it amazing for spots. This has a clear, gel-like texture that you dispense through a dropper, however can go slightly white before you rub it in properly. When you're seriously breaking out all over, it can be used like a serum, otherwise I spot-apply it to any blemishes. It can be applied under makeup without any issues or as an overnight treatment if you prefer. It's amazing at quickly calming down any angry breakouts and clearing up spots. For the price, especially, I can't recommend it enough if you have blemish-prone skin.
Have you tried these products or brands or do you have your eye on anything here? Let me know your thoughts!