We're coming up to the end of the month, and at this point I usually do a post about the products I have loved and used the most - the monthly favorites, and I will do a favorites post this month too, but first I thought I would do something I have never done before, a post about products that have been a disappointment to me. If I were to put together all the new products that I've bought and tested over a year, I know that there would be a small mountain of them; some are fantastic, others are good, others are bland and forgettable, and I probably wouldn't buy them again simply because I can't remember them and then we have the last group of products - that ones I would downright avoid. The products today are examples from this last group but but before we start I want to emphasize that this is based on my personal experience of these specific products and although they may have been a disappointment to me for reasons that I'll explain, they might work very well for others. I also want to say that I have tried several other products from all of these brands which I have truly loved, so this is not a critique against the brands mentioned, only of these specific items.
At the beginning of the year I decided that it was time that I swap my trusted eye brow pencil for something else since there are so many other interesting eye brow products on the high street, and so I've started to experiment with a few other types - unfortunately with very little success so far. That's why I've got two eye brow products in this line up starting with a product that I got very recently - the Avon Anew Transforming Brow Filler (£6). For some reason this product isn't listed on line which is why I haven't got a link to it, although you can find it in the latest Avon Book. It's a twist up eye brow filler pen with a comb tip, which is intended to help define and set the shape of the brows, as well as add a hint of color and I tried it in Light Brown. Maybe there was something wrong with the product I got, but it took A LOT of twisting to get any product to come out of the tip, and when it finally did it had a gloopy gel like consistency and the little color it had was very blotchy and unevenly distributed throughout the formula - frankly it looks awful when you test it on your hand, you can photos here on my Instagram. If you're brave enough to apply the gooey looking gel, it feels quite wet on the brows and although the comb tip does do a little shaping, I didn't get any color from it at all. Perhaps the color was too light for me, but this brow filler did absolutely nothing except make my eye brows wet and that together with the strange, unappealing consistency makes it a product that I won't buy Anew.
The second brow product is Maybelline's Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara (£4.99), which I have done a separate review of previously which you can find here. It comes in a mascara format, so you apply it to your brows using a wand which has a ball shaped brush with long stiff combs at the tip of it, see photo here on my Instagram. My biggest challenge with this product is the dry formula, which makes it difficult to get an even amount of product on the brush, which then of course means that you also get an uneven application with the color clumping in some places. I've found that I always need to use either an additional brow brush or q-tip to even out the color, which is tricky without messing up the brows, and I usually end up with a very bushy and exaggerated brow look - not at all something I'm going for. Since the formula is already dry but it also sets very quickly on the brows, you need to work fast when you even out the color because once it's set, it's there for the duration of the day, which I guess is a plus when it comes to long wear. The fact that I need to use additional tools to get this brow mascara to work at all, but still without achieving the look I actually want, means that it's too much effort especially when I can get a nice arched brow using a pencil in a fragment of the time it takes me to fiddle with Brow Drama - Sorry Maybelline, but for me this product is too much drama and not enough brow sculpting!
MUA Lipstick (£1) in this gang of disappointing five partly because MUA is one of my favorite basic budget brands and they have a lot of great products, but also because this particular shade - 16 Nectar is absolutely gorgeous, just the perfect peachy summery shade, which you can see here on my Instagram. So why have I included it then you ask?, well it's because it's one of these formulas that has a split personality. When you apply it from the bullet the lipstick shows its positive side; it's very soft and creamy and the pigmentation seems good, although the formula is a bit "thin", so you have to apply the lippy fairly thickly for an even coverage on your lips. After that it starts to set really quickly, and that's when the Mr Hyde side of this lipstick shows its face by drying along the lip contours and where your lips meet. That horrible dried contour then stays put even after eating and drinking, while the rest of the lip color disappears - it's not a good look and one of my pet peeves when it comes to makeup. So despite being a stunning golden peach color, for this particular lipstick MUA stands for Must Unfortunately be Avoided.
One of the most hyped products to reach the UK last year was Maybelline's Baby Lips Balm (£2.99) a must try product for any lip balm addict, and I since I'm a fan of everything cherry I was very excited to get my paws on a Cherry Me. The claim was that this cute and colorful lip balm would give 8 hrs of hydration and nourishment, quite something for a lip balm priced lower than most drinks in Starbucks. The lip balm does give a faint cherry red color with a little bit of shine which isn't long lasting but nice enough, although at the time I was distinctly underwhelmed by the lacking sense of hydration (you can see my original review here), and didn't feel like it did anything at all to nourish my lips. Since then I did continue to use it for a while over winter to finish it up more than anything, but as the weather got colder not only did the lip balm not add any hydration or nourishment - it was as if it actually dried out my lips even more and made them hyper sensitive, so eventually I had to stop using it and instead move on to old Burt's Bees to restore my lips. I've never reacted like that with any other type of lip product, but it's safe to say that I definitely don't cherish Cherry Me, and next time I'll opt for a Starbucks instead.
To balance things out and to show that it's not just a selection of budget friendly
products that have proven to be a let down I'll finish with a premium
brand product, Dior's Blush Trianon Edition (£30.50 reviewed here)
in the color 916 Pink Réverie. It all started so well with its gorgeous
packaging and cute embossed bow pattern, and even though the muted pink
shade with strong blue undertones was definitely outside my comfort zone,
and not at all the kind of color I would normally go for it did look
promising in the pan. The texture of the blush is lovely and light, but
it's let down by the complete lack of pigmentation and it doesn't matter
how much I apply of it, on me the color simply will simply not build up
at all. At first I gave it the benefit of the doubt and thought that
perhaps it was simply that the color wasn't suitable for my skin tone,
but after having gone from office pale to a slightly more healthy
looking golden color, there should at least in theory be a bigger
and more noticeable contrast, so the blush should appear more but unfortunately Pink Réverie still doesn't show up my skin, as you can see here on my Instagram.
Out of all the products today, this was probably the biggest
disappointment for several reasons - first of all it's not exactly a
budget product and secondly it's Dior, an iconic brand which I don't think it's unreasonable that you have high expectations from. I guess it just goes to show that quality has
nothing to do with hype, clever marketing, glossy packaging and you can get great products as well as duds in any price range. With this little collection of unfavorites out of the way, don't forget to check in tomorrow to see the actual monthly favorites for May.