I am a smiley and happy person. Always have been. I enjoy all the little things - movies, mornings, Dairy Milk and live music - and spend most days strolling around with a spring in my step. Venting spleen is not a regular part of my repertoire, or it wasn't until I set up this blog. And perhaps because I have this outlet for my secret frustration (The editor wants me to write about what?!! But it's crap!!! Please, can I not just say that it is CRAP!!!? I can't? Why not? I'm fired?! You can't do that!!!! - is how the scene would play out in the middle of an open office), I am far less inclined to gripe about the other stuff. Such as the fact that the only men who ever hit on me are of the unwashed and obnoxious variety; that my bus journey home takes 20 minutes on a good day and an hour and 20 minutes on the one Friday night when I'm making dinner for friends; that they've screwed up the X Factor format beyond repair and that James McAvoy is happily married (and in my world of fictional singledom, this troubles me: cue heart-string twinge).
So, to kick my weekend off in sunny style, I'm offloading a few of my beauty bugbears... in the hope that they might just put a conspiratorial smile on your face too.
Eve Lom Cleanser
Yes, yes, I know - it really does work miracles on some people. And I should know. I was one of the converted for two good skin years, when despite the occasional deep, cystic breakout (should have known!) I reached a pleasing plateau of glow and softness. Then, Eve forgive me, I quit (because I have a problem with how much money she charges for what is essentially a pot of dirt-cheap mineral oil)and my skin manifested itself into what could only be described as a plague upon my face. It took months for things to go back to normal and when I attempted to crawl back to this cleanser, tail between legs, it just wouldn't have me. Spot central. Oh, and don't like the smell either. Polite beauty editors call it 'medicinal' or 'herbal'... don't be fooled... it smells distinctly unnatural... a bit like grubby rubber. On another note, when I started using it (about 8 years ago now), the formula was creamier (and felt better on the skin) than it does now, when I've noticed that it's become grainier.
Salt Scrubs (in general)
Perhaps it's just me, but I've never found a salt scrub that actually does what it says on the packet. I've tried Elemis, The Sanctuary, The Body Shop, Bliss etc etc and the sensation is always distinctly uncomfortable and refuses to produce any ostensible difference (besides redness). Why are they so popular? In the most basic terms you are taking hundreds of shard-edged crystals and scratching them up and down your body and while the surrounding oils may do your skin some good, the salt seems like the obvious miscreant in the equation. Now I steer clear of scrubs altogether and load up my cheap-as-chips Superdrug Exfoliating Gloves with moisturising body wash and have a good rubdown.
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream
I dislike this for all the same reasons that I dislike the Eve Lom cleanser. It's packed with mineral oil and lanolin (a common irritant) and has the sort of "herbal" (READ: petrol-chemical) smell that turns my stomach. It chapped my lips something chronic, scared the bejesus out of my husband (who said it tasted revolting; kisses off menu for about a month thereafter), and the more I used it, the worse things got. And just to clarify, once and for all, petrolatum cannot hydrate skin. It has no water in it, and as an oil is not refined enough to penetrate even the most superficial layers of skin. It sits atop of the surface, providing a barrier to foreign bodies/drying air currents etc etc certainly, but not doing anything more miraculous than that... which leads me onto...
A ha. Another one. So it looks cool slicked over eyelids and high on cheekbones (on the floodlit runway; in real life it just looks greasy), but it does nothing whatsoever to moisturise lips or any other part of the body. It can make a temporary difference to cracked heels and hands, when worn with conditioning gloves for example, but the results will be short-lived. It does not heal or repair or protect. It is the most basic and bog standard of products, with no beautifying power at its disposal. What-so-ever.
Eyeko Sparkly Eye Pencil
The little kid in me, who used to collect comic books, wear pink capes and sketch Manga-style heroines in Physics lessons, can still be drawn to the quirky beauty brands, but my run in with Eyeko's Sparkly Eye Pencil was far from comical. I foolishly opened it up and ran it along my lashline without testing it on my skin first. Christ, the pain. It's glass-hard, scratchy and uneven (thanks to all the real glitter particles in it...). If you've ever glitter & glued as a child and accidentally rubbed your eyes, you'll know how I felt. This one's a health hazard.
Revlon Beyond Natural Skin Matching Foundation
'It goes on white and adjusts to match your exact skin tone.' Ha! My palest friend looked as though she had been tangoed and I took on a very scary tan shoe polish, with a lovely greasy tide mark around my chin for good measure. Fetching. Ladies, be very wary of anything that says it will change colour to match your complexion... which leads us to...
...Estee Lauder Daywear Plus Sheer Tint Release Formula
The exact same thing. I used it after a shower at the gym. It felt and smelt rather nice, blended easily (feeling much more like a day cream than foundation), and then I hopped on the tube and into town. Woe be-tide mark. The same greasy film of fake tan-ness over skin and when I blew my nose I left a Rorschach Test behind on the sheet. Ick.
Bliss Steep Clean Cleanser
I have a bit of a problem with Bliss in general really. The professional theory sounds enticingly strong (we're famed for our facials, get our skincare here &, voila, have a pro-style treatment at home), but I've never felt it delivers. Regardless of what beauty editors recommend on their pages, what they actually use is what really speaks volumes (and to discover that you have to trawl their cabinets just like every other nosey dinner guest), and I've never found a single one of my beauty ed friends who uses Bliss products themselves. Body, sure! But for face? The formulas all seem a bit too strong, harsh, drastic... take this cleanser for example. The website says: Steep Clean Cleansing Milk is the ultimate cleansing weapon for t-zones that are bogged down by clogging or worse, clad with acne. Formulated with smoothing salicylic acid and enzymes to digest dead cells and diminish inflammation. It's 'the bomb' on breakouts. My beauty ed hackles go up here, because I know that if you're using an enzymatic and salicylic acid formula twice a day, every day, it's more than likely that you'll get to a point where skin will sensitize, or be over-stripped, and then it will begin to play up again. Which is what happened to me. It might work for those with excessively greasy T-zones, but then again, I'm a staunch believer in treating oily skin conditions with oil-based products. 'The bomb' should've been warning enough really...
Every bloody year 'the models' rave on about this French pharmacy find, which apparently works all number of miracles 'eet's so sooooothing! eet's so caaaaaaalming, eet's soooooo gooooood!'. It's mineral oil is what it is. So, it's not really any better than E45 or any of the other bog standard emollient white creams you get from the chemist... and it absolutely won't work any miracles. Models look that way already. Sorry, but someone had to let you in on the secret.
Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash
I had heard and read so many wonderful things about this LA facialist to the stars that when the lovely Space NK PR sent half the line over for me to test, I was convinced I'd find my new favourite thing. What is it they say about great expectations? It left my skin with that horrible if-I-smile-I'm-sure-to-split feeling and a tingle that lasted over an hour. Thank the lord I didn't start with the Purify Cleanser. Ouch.
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