Over the last decade, I have been lucky enough to experiment with countless products and brands. Eventually I took an interest in the ingredients and what the active ones were actually doing to my skin, and whether that was an effect I was going for or not. This is crucially important to making informed decisions with your skin’s health and your budget – some things simply aren’t worth the money or the risk of trial and error. Here I will compile a list of brands and some specific products that I can remember trying, and whether I Loved ‘Em and would recommend trying them out for yourself, or whether they were garbage and you would be better off trying to Leave ‘Em alone.
Clean & Clear
LEAVE ‘EM! There is so much wrong with this entire brand that I hardly know where to begin. If you read my last post, the Basics of Skincare, you will recall that there are some companies who contribute to the popular misconceptions most of us have (or have had at one time) about what works & what doesn’t in the skincare game.
They have products such as Morning Burst facial cleanser, which flies in the face of not washing your face in the morning with a cleanser, as it strips your skin of natural oils and creates an overproduction of oil that will leave you with a greasy face all day. Oh but don’t worry, they’ve got more products for that! Their toners and astringents (horrible, horrible products – NEVER use an astringent no matter who makes it) are loaded with alcohol and witch hazel, further drying out your skin.
Their moisturizers also contain alcohol, and their line of acne-specific products lends itself to the misconception that blemishes need to be attacked aggressively and the whole face should be treated, rather than just the affected area. Pretty much everything they sell, that I can see, is a misleading bottle of garbage that will make your skin much worse and feeling like more of their products are the only solution.
LOVE ‘EM! I cannot get enough of LUSH, they really know what they’re doing. Their ingredients are as natural and organic as possible, everything is handmade and you get a little sticker with an image of the person who made yours, the date it was made and the use by date. Very cute! With their Fresh Face Masks, most of which need to stay refrigerator, have approximately a 1-week use period before they go bad – this is because the ingredients are mostly raw foods that will spoil. Once you use 6 of these, and return the black plastic pots they come in, return them to their recycling program and receive your 7th mask absolutely free! I love that they have an incentive for recycling their packaging as well as buying more product, very clever.
I have loved every product I have ever used of theirs, even if some of them weren’t tailored to my specific skincare needs and therefore not quite as effective as they would be for someone else. I currently have “Breath of Fresh Air” toning mist (a mixture of rosewater and other essential oils that really helps refresh your skin and smells amazing) and “Herbalism” (a clay-type face wash that you take bits off of and add a little water to, working it into a consistency that you can apply to your face, a mild exfoliating element that is gentle enough for everyday use), and I love them. They are exactly what my skin was asking for after getting too comfortable with my Origins regimen after many months!
LUSH has incredibly reasonable price points, and if you can get to a physical store location, they are really cool about giving you samples of just about anything you could possibly want to try, as well as selling you a small amount of a cleanser so you don’t have to invest in a large amount before using it for a couple weeks to see what it does for you.
LEAVE ‘EM! Similar to my criticism of Clean & Clear, Noxzema has completely the wrong approach of “attacking” the skin. Sure, their products tingle when you apply them, but that is not necessarily a good sign. I would love to dissect and analyze their ingredients, but they fail to list them on their official website for some reason. Hmm.
At any rate, the camphor smell has me highly suspicious about the type of “deep clean” they are advertising in their products. They are well known for having acne products that are extremely harsh and will burn the shit out of several layers of your skin, and if you don’t know any better, keep you coming back for more abuse in the guise of “treating” the problems that their products are actually creating.
LOVE ‘EM! I love this brand more than any other. One of the ways that the hooked me was by offering free mini facials to anyone who wants one (something they still do at their stores and Macy’s counters!), complete with a personal consultation, products tailored to suit your skin’s needs, and a generous helping of samples of the products used for you to take home & continue testing to see how well they work – all with absolutely NO pressure to buy anything! Only companies with complete confidence in their products can afford to offer these things, because they know how high their quality is, and they know that people will become devoted customers if they can see that for themselves.
I mix & match products from a couple of different lines; they have multiple lines for various skin concerns, complete with something for every possible step in your regimen. They also routinely offer great deals online and in-store, promos for free products if you purchase a certain dollar amount. More to the main point, though – one reason the products are so amazing is that they use organic, all-natural ingredients at high concentrations, so while the price point may be a bit higher than I’d like, the products make up for that by lasting MONTHS because you need such a tiny amount to get the job done.
Another major perk would be the smell of anything & everything they sell. A lot of their items contain essence of orange blossoms, which means your face smells like a fresh orange all night and it is amazing. Your partner will really appreciate how great your face smells when you slide into bed next to them – my fiancee has noted on numerous occasions how nice I smell after using my High-Potency Night-A-Mins. If you can find your way to a physical store, you definitely should before ordering online, so you can test out what you like before buying, and get in on that free mini facial offer!
That does it for now, feel free to comment with brands you would like me to review and if I haven’t tried any of their products already, I will make every effort to do so! Also, feel free to discuss your own experiences with these brands/products.