Today I thought I'd do a bit of an off-the-cuff post on what to do with products that just didn't work out for you. Here in the UK, you can't return opened beauty products and whilst I try to pass on as much as I can, I do tend to leave products I think I won't like unopened so someone else can have them fresh and new. That still means there are quite a few products I end up with that I tried, didn't love and need a use for, so these are my top tips!
Problem: "this acid is too strong!" Solution: use it for the body
The skin on our face and neck is a lot thinner than the rest of our body (though, note: the armpits are still pretty sensitive and obviously any intimate areas!) Therefore, products formulated for the face are generally supposed to be a little gentler. That also means that if a product is a bit too intense or sensitising for your face, it could work on your body. I personally suffer from KP (if you'd like to know more about this - check out my dedicated post) which is effectively a buildup of keratin in the hair follicle which can lead to dryness, irritation and the tell-tale red bumps. Exfoliation is really important and the fact the skin is quite thick and rough where I have my KP so it can definitely take a more intense exfoliator. In fact, these stronger products every so often help a lot in releasing some of that build-up and smoothing out the skin on my body.
Problem: " this moisturiser is too rich and heavy!" Solution: use it on your neck
You really don't need to go around buying a separate neck cream, but it's a great idea to take your skincare down there and I often use products that didn't work for one reason or another (other than irritation, and I keep it gentle in terms of actives) on my face for my neck. I have a moisturiser I really love, it's super-nourishing but it doesn't sit well under sunscreen or facial oils, which are essentials for my AM and PM routines respectively, so I apply it to my neck and chest in the evening instead. Likewise, you don't necessarily need the same level of cosmetic elegance on your neck as on your face where you're putting on all your makeup, so if something is too heavy or too rich or just doesn't quite work for your skin type: go for the neck and chest.
Problem: "this mineral sunscreen leaves a white cast!" Solution: use it around your eyes only
Mineral sunscreens are generally a lot less irritating around the eyes, so if you find that your favourite product can sometimes transfer and cause that burn then try using a mineral-based formula instead that didn't work all over your face. You can sheer it out a little and make that cast a lot less noticeable because it isn't everywhere (and this is particularly true if you wear concealer) and have the added benefit of having something less likely to cause burning and watering closest to your eyes. If it doesn't quite work like in this way or you're still uncomfortable: try the backs of your hands because they get so neglected and can be one of the first places to show signs of photoageing.
Problem: "this cleanser is too harsh and stripping!" Solution: save it to use after exercise
As someone with a drier skin type, I quite often use cleansers that leave my skin feeling a bit tight and squeaky. So many, that I often pass them on to friends and family, barely touched, but I keep hold of a couple because they're great at cutting through the layer of sweat that forms on my face after I've been out for a run.
Problem: "this face mist is too scented!" Solution: use it a room or pillow spray
Lastly, I personally like a fragrant face mist, but every so often it can feel like you're spraying perfume on your skin. If the idea of that turns you right off, I suggest using it more as a space mist than directly on your skin. If you're having a relaxation session, simply mist it around yourself, on your pillow or above your bathtub to enjoy the scent without worrying about any irritation or it being too strong (as it will dissipate a little in the air).
How do you find a use for products that just didn't do it for you?