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I spent £250 on skincare products….here’s what happened

I spent £250 on skincare products….here’s what happened

We’re going off-topic today as I’ll like to share some honest reviews of a beauty product haul I did last year. I spent £250 on skincare products and I found some products I absolutely LOVED and some that I’d happily pour down the drain (if I hadn’t paid so much for them!) I waited a full year before writing about them to give a proper review but also because I was pregnant and had a baby during this time and pregnant skin is fab-u-lous so I didn’t think it was a fair time to be writing about skincare products!

So…£250 on skincare…how did that happen!?

I know, I know. I’m a sucker for marketing and advertising and when someone tells me I can buy a fancy lotion that will make me look younger, healthier, more attractive, more successful, happier, sexier and more beautiful…well there’s a part of me that really wants to believe it. I know it was a bit silly to spend so much money on skincare products but I really, really wanted them to work! And a part of me always wonders if you can look better if you spend more on your beauty products. I know £40 for one beauty product isn’t a lot for some people and I actually don’t mind spending that if I know it’s amazing, but it’s so hard to know what is worth forking out for! I find you usually need to use something for a few weeks before you can tell if it’s any good.

Realistically, I know a magic potion won’t change anything. I know great skin comes from regular cleansing, a healthy diet, wearing cream with SPF in it and plenty of exercise – and, let’s face it, good genes are going to help a lot too!

But about a year ago I had a 4-hour train journey and spent the majority of my journey getting sucked into the wonderful world of YouTube beauty videos (in my defence, I forgot my book!) It was three hours of beauty brainwashing as I soaked up the marketing spiel and the shiny attractiveness of consumerism. 

By the end of my journey, my Amazon basket was filled with skincare products and I was convinced that within a week of using them I’d look incredible.

So what did I buy? What worked? What didn’t work? What was worth the money? What will I buy again and what do I wish I hadn’t bothered with?

Here’s everything I bought and an honest review of them all after using them for 6 months. I bought everything on Amazon with the exception of the Aldi cream. Amazon isn’t always cheaper but I do like the convenience of next day delivery and that app just makes it too easy to click ‘buy’!

At the end of this post I’ve also added my daily skincare routine as it includes a couple of new products I was sent as part of a campaign by Jurlique. I’m not obligated to ever mention them again but I LOVED these products so I’m now a fan and will definitely be repurchasing. There’s also a bit of a shocker in there because I’ve since discovered the secret to having zero breakouts. Honestly, not one. And the biggest shocker is that it doesn’t involve any fancy schmancy products at all.

Update: Another little update I want to share is that I recently had my eyebrows microbladed and I feel like that has been such a game changer. Good brows have such a dramatic effect on your whole face. Microblading is a bit scary but there are lots of products out there that can enhance your brows naturally. Check out something like bhmd thick and full brow enhancing serum ingredients.

DHC Cleansing oil – £23.98 – 10/10

I didn’t buy this because of an influencer, I’ve actually been using this for years. It came as a freebie when I subscribed to Women’s Health about 4 years ago and I’ve used it ever since.

It’s basically just an oil you rub onto your face. Rub, rub, rub for about 30 seconds and then quickly rinse off and viola, you don’t have a trace of makeup on. No sticky residue, no bubbles in your hairline, no mascara running down your cheeks. It really is that simple.

I particularly recommend this for lazy ladies who can’t be bothered removing their makeup as you can get every scrap of makeup off in 1 minute. This 200ml bottle will last me about 4 months so it’s not crazy expensive. 

Elizabeth Arden Retinol Capsules – £41.51 – 9/10

I wanted to give these 10/10 but I couldn’t because I found that if I used them daily they made my skin REALLY dry. As in, it looked like my skin would actually flake off kinda dry. But I’ve now found that if I use them about once a week I’m all good.

You twist the top off these tiny capsules and have just enough retinol serum to smother your face. And wow, it feels amazing. 

It feels like skimming a light layer of plaster across your face and your skin feels so smooth, silky and wonderful!

This product is recommended to be used nightly underneath your normal moisturiser but I definitely couldn’t use it every night. I tend to just pop it on the night before a big day.

L’Oreal Paris Hydra Genius – £6.66 – 5/10

This product sells itself on being a moisturizer with a water-like texture that quickly absorbs into the skin. And that’s exactly what it’s like – like applying water. As in the stuff that comes out of the tap for free (or very little money!)

If you already have absolutely perfect skin with no need for extra moisture then this could be a good product for you, but it didn’t do a lot for me. My skin just ate it up like a hungry dog and it was gone.

Having said that, it’s not so bad I didn’t use it and I’m half way through the bottle. It’s fine if I’m wearing it under something like BB cream.

FaceHalo reusable makeup remover cloths – £18 for a pack of 3 – 10/10

Now this is a product that is so simple you’ll wonder why you hadn’t bought one before. I actually bought one from Boots and loved it so much I bought a multipack on Amazon. It’s basically just a pad that you wet with hot or cold water and then use it to wipe your makeup off. Yes, like a flannel which costs a fraction of the price (I know!) but this pad is like magic and honestly removes every single smidge of makeup with no need for any cleansing products at all. Just a bit of water!

I don’t really know what it’s made of or why they’re not everyday products in every woman’s bathroom but I know I’m a convert and I love it.

One of the reasons I bought this product is because we have a teeny tiny wash basin in our ensuite bathroom. I don’t even know why we put such a small sink in, I guess we just thought we didn’t need a big one. But as soon as it was fitted I realised it was way too small and whenever I try and wash my face in it I end up splashing water all over the place. You can barely wash your hands in it it’s so small! So the FaceHalo is fab because there’s no splashing about with water, you just run it under the tap to dampen it and then again to rinse it.

One thing I will say is that even when they’re washed at 60 degrees, the makeup stains don’t come out of the pad and it does look a bit gross. Anyone who has washed their makeup off with a white flannel will know what I’m talking about! It’s not a pretty product you’re going to leave on display by your washbasin but it is a new essential. I use mine for 2-3 days before putting it in the washing machine. They say they last 200 washes and mine are all doing pretty well.

Another thing I’d add is that you don’t need to scrub your face with them. The first time I used it I really scrubbed, because I thought it wouldn’t possibly remove all my make-up without any kind of cleanser, and it made my skin feel a bit sensitive and pink. But the next day I used it gently and it worked perfectly. 

I like these pads so much I think I could actually stop buying the DHC cleansing oil (even though I LOVE it) because I can get all my make-up off just using a pad and have no need for the oil.

Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser – £5.00 – 8/10

This one was bought due to all the amazing reviews on Amazon and yea, it’s OK.

At just £5.00 it’s a bargain buy and it cleanses my skin without drying it out. I don’t feel like Wonder Woman after I’ve used it. It isn’t a miracle cleanser and it isn’t working any special magic on my skin but my face is clean and makeup free so it ticks all the boxes.

DHC Lip Cream – £8.75 – 6/10

The product alone would get 9/10 as it’s lovely. It’s really nice and does make my lips super soft. But at £8.75 I think it’s expensive for a lip balm – especially because it feels very similar to Medela Purelan Lanolin Nipple Cream! Hear me out…

I know, a lot of people won’t like the idea of putting nipple cream on their lips but it’s honestly the same stuff and a fraction of the cost! The Medela Purelan is 100% lanolin and is amazing. I started using it when I had George and was breastfeeding and I guess one day I must have had too much on my hand and just put it on my lips (because it’s a very similar texture to lip balm anyway) and it was a game changer! The DHC Lip Cream has lanolin oil in it but not just pure lanolin so it actually isn’t quite as good.

I’m still using the same tube of Medela as I had when Joseph was born 3 years ago and I put it on my lips almost daily. I do like the DHC Lip Cream and if £9 for a lipbalm doesn’t make you flinch then I 100% recommend it. But I also recommend giving the nipple cream a go too!

Lowengrip Gradual Self Tanning drops – £37.00 – 4/10

I quite like this tanning product but it just wasn’t right for me. It’s a serum you add to your moisturizer and it applies really nicely and evenly and is a nice colour (although don’t forget to wash your hands or you look like you’ve been eating Wotsits!)

I think this product would last ages because you just add a few drops into your moisturiser and even 2 drops a day for 2-3 days really made a big difference.

I didn’t score it any higher because I won’t be re-ordering it. I found it stuck in all my pores and fine lines and just highlighted the fact that I’m starting to get wrinkles! Rather than giving me that healthy summer glow I was hoping for, it just made me look old! I tried just applying it to my cheeks but that didn’t really work and it looked a bit patchy and weird. I’d rather just stick to a bronzing powder. This could be a good product if you’re young and have perfect skin (btw, I hate you!)

As I still have a lot left I’ll try using it mixed with a body lotion as it could probably work nicely on my chest and shoulders.

Lowengrip facial serum – £42.50 – 1/10

This honestly made no difference to my skin whatsoever. I’m going to carry on using it because I paid so flipping much for it but it’s not doing anything! It just makes my skin greasy.

Caudalie Premier Cru The Eye Cream – £45 – 1/10

Again, makes no difference to my skin at all! I won’t be buying this one again. Since buying this eye cream, I read an article by a beauty editor who was questioning the whole point of eye cream and she questioned if we really need to use a different product around our eye area or if your normal moisturiser could just be used.

Lacura Q10 Restore Night Cream – £1.45 – 8/10

Yes you read that correctly, one pound and 45 pence. What. A. Bargain.

I’ve used this for years after reading that Aldi moisturisers won in a blind test (or did really well) and were even rated more highly than lots of high end beauty brands. 

I love the night cream and after this experience of trying out a few high end products, it made me realise just how good it is. 

Kinga Facial Steamer – £22.99

I added this to the list as a final one, but it’s really just here to highlight what a sucker I am. I watched so many glowing reviews for this product and I’ve used it…twice. Yes twice. So I’m not going to give it a proper review because I don’t think I’ve given it enough of a chance to shine.

It basically just steams and you put your face in the steam and it’s meant to open your pores and plump up your skin. It didn’t do that for me but maybe if I used it once or twice a week (rather than twice in 6 months) it would. I’ve had it for well over a year and I keep saying, ‘I should use that more so I can write an actual review..’ but I still haven’t. 

So there you have it, spending £250 on beauty products definitely didn’t make me look any different! I didn’t look healthier or more radiant and the pricier products definitely didn’t make a huge difference.

The products I’ll buy again will be:

  • FaceHalo make-up remover pads (£18 for 3 and they say each one should last over a year – but I’ve been using mine for a year now and they’re still perfect)
  • Lacura (Aldi) night cream (£1.45!!!!)
  • DHC Deep Cleansing Oil (I only use it when I’ve got a lot of makeup on so a 200ml bottle lasts all year)

My daily skincare routine

After trying out all these products my skincare routine has changed a lot.

The thing I really learned was that fancy products don’t make a massive difference and the more products I used, the worse my skin became. 

Following this thought, I stopped using cleanser completely. It was actually an accident at first. I can’t remember what happened but I didn’t have any cleanser for about two weeks and during this two weeks my skin visibly improved! I’d been using the FaceHalo makeup remover pads, I felt like my face was really clean without any cleanser so I wasn’t missing using any product, so two weeks without cleanser led to two months and now I haven’t used it for well over 8-9 months and my skin is so much better!

I’ve realised I must have really sensitive skin and even the gentlest cleanser causes my skin to overreact and get super oily which then leads to more spots. So I use more cleanser and then I get more spots! When I cut out the cleanser, the spots cleared up.

Here’s my skincare routine:

  • If I’ve got a lot of heavy makeup on, I’ll use the DHC oil to remove it
  • Then I’ll use warm water and a FaceHalo cloth to gently cleanse
  • If I still have panda eyes I’ll use a smidge of Garnier Micellar Water
  • I then moisturise with the Jurlique Rare Rose Cream

And yes, my skin is way better with this simplified skincare routine1

Joyce Belfort

Wednesday 8th of April 2020

Wow, I had to do a double check to see if it was really you who wrote this. I believe this is a first of its kind in at least 4 years. Will this be a new column for you?

I have been using the DHC oil for a very long time too, since before instagram's existance. It is a J-beauty classic. Must have empties more than 10 of those by now ? Totally worthy of a 10/10 score.

Agree with you about the L'oreal hyrdra genius, it did nothing for me as well.