- Advertisement information: this post discusses items gifted to me with no obligation to share them (marked *). In addition I have / have had a brand relationship with Cult Beauty and Feel Unique / Sephora UK (gifting) and Space NK (paid advertorial content). My blog has Skimlinks and RewardStyle installed to automatically monetise purchases of products I link on my blog, therefore this post may contain affiliate links. All opinions remain my own and please refer to my Disclosure Page for further detail -
We all see the ADs and Instagram posts, and wonder: is Product X or Y really that good? Well, I've tested out a few hyped-up products lately, so I wanted to share my experience of 3 that lived up to my expectations, and 3 that just didn't...
Let's start with the positives! I was pretty dubious about the AKT Deodorant Balm* (I have SC1 with Petitgrain, Mandarin and Neroli) | £21. But I was so wrong! This is a natural deodorant balm, and I've honestly not had a lot of look with these types of products in the past; they've always been strictly for work from home days in my life. However, I tested it out on a work day, and... it seemed to work. So, I tried it again, and again, and felt comfortable to use in all settings and under all circumstances. It's now my everyday deodorant and it's absolutely worthy of all the rave reviews. It comes out its aluminium tube as a paste and you just use a pea-sized amount spread into each armpit. It smells beautiful (I personally love this herbal and citric fragrance combination) and it keeps any unwanted odors at bay all day long. It's pricey, but I've barely made a dent in my tube having used it daily for a couple of months now, so I think it's worth the investment. If you're still not not sold; try their free mini sample before you take the plunge.
Next, I have to shout out the Clarins Lip Comfort Oils* | £22 each | demo. They're the best tinted lip oils I've tried and come in at a nice mid-range price-point. They're nourishing, they give a glossy but non-sticky finish and there are a range of tints available to give a light wash of whatever colour you feel like; from deep berry to peachy-orange. So many lip oils are so sheer that you really only see the colour when it's in the tube, or they're just thin and not that moisturising. This is the perfect formula to me and it deserves its viral status.
Finally, for the positive portion of this post, we have the Skin & Me Personalised Treatment* | £29.99 / month | which is very heavily advertised on all social media channels. This is quite a specific product that works for a certain type of person, but it's great in that respect. Essentially, this is a prescribed treatment, as opposed to a cosmetic skincare product, so you answer a questionnaire and take photos of your skin which a dermatologist will review to figure out your perfect formulation. Typically - unless you're pregnant or breast-feeding - this will involve at least a low dose of tretinoin. This is a prescription retinoid that can yield amazing results; boosting collagen production for bouncier, fuller skin, treating skin texture and improving scarring and discolouration. This will be paired with another active, such as azelaic acid to treat redness and rosacea or niacinamide to help improve hyperpigmentation issues. It's restrictive, in that you use this treatment every night with a pared back wider routine and no other active ingredients. Plus, there's definitely an adjustment period during which your skin might feel very dry and sensitive. However, if you've been using cosmetic products and just not seen the results you want from them: this makes prescription strength ingredients accessible. And if you have stubborn scarring or deep lines: these formulas are what will give you visible improvements.
Ok, now let's get into the products I don't think are worth your money (in my humble opinion)... starting with the Gisou Honey-Infused Hair Oil | £35. This is a very Instagrammable brand, which is why it adorns many a beauty shelf. But when it comes to what's in this product, I just don't think it's anything special. Don't get me wrong; the scent gorgeous; sweet honey and florals will leave your hair smelling wonderful all day long. But, this is just a really average hair oil; it's fairly moisturising, it isn't greasy and it might work for very fine hair, but for me, it didn't do much and really wasn't worth the price tag. I was also disappointed in their leave-in conditioner, which makes me think this brand really is all style, no substance.
I also just didn't love the Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush in Joy | £22. It pains me to say this, because their liquid highlighter is incredible, and I use it almost daily. But, for me, the blush is just too matte and too pigmented to really work for my makeup routine. It's almost as though - no matter how tiny of a dot I think I'm using - it just always seems like a bit too much. And I don't want to fuss excessively when I'm doing my makeup in the morning; I like to just dab, blend and go. Plus, the finish isn't that hydrating and the colour range is very pink-biased; even what I thought would be a reddish tone (Joy) pulls kind of pink on me. This is all personal preference, and I know a lot of people love this formula, but if you have similar tastes to me; I recommend skipping this one!
Last of all, we have another dud from a brand I generally enjoy. I get why the Ole Henriksen Banana Bright+ CC Corrector Stick* (Apricot) | £25 | was launched; there was a viral hack going around (which actually works really well) of blending their Banana Bright Eye Cream with concealer to create a light-reflecting corrector. So, it made sense to launch an all-in-one skincare and makeup correcting product, and I had high hopes for this. However, the finished product - to me - was just thin, greasy and lacking in colour payoff. I get that it's a hybrid formula that should be able to be worn without a full face of makeup, but this was just so subtle on me that it didn't really 'do' anything. The more I tried to layer on the product to actually get some colour correcting benefits, the more it seemed to just pull away what I'd already applied! There's subtle and natural and then there's 'why did I bother applying this?'
Have you tried any of these products? Were they worth the hype for you?