Are beauty products worth the time, money and space they consume?

That’s the puzzle I’ve been trying to work out over the past month, while also doing a spot of decluttering.

As I explained in an earlier introductory post, I’m a bit of a sceptic when it comes to products, preferring my trusty bar soap and fresh water over face peels, body butters and hairsprays. In our household, any white goop in bottles gets the derisory nickname ‘elbow salad’* and often remains untouched.

But have I been missing out all along?

I’ve taken four random products from a stash of abandoned bottles and tubs in my bedside cabinet and put them to the test.

For the past four weeks, I’ve been applying them to only one side of my body to see whether there are any noticeable effects.

I’ve also asked my other half, Ruth, to guess which side has been getting treatment, and the results are in!

Rituals body creamProduct: Rituals Magic Touch Body Cream (Organic Rice Milk and Cherry Blossom)
First impressions: This smelled nice – kind of floral and creamy, which I guess makes sense given its title. It wasn’t watery or greasy when used.
Results: Applying this each day took a fair bit of time, but I could see absolutely no discernible results, to be frank.
Did Ruth guess right?: She had no clue which side of my body had been moisturised and which hadn’t.
The winner: Low-maintenance. The bottle is used up and in the recycling (hooray!) and I won’t be rushing out for a replacement.

no 7 protect and perfect advance serumProduct: No. 7 Protect and Perfect Advanced Serum
First impressions: This was the serum getting middle-aged women in a hot mess a couple of years back when the stuff was actually proven to work on wrinkles, unlike pretty much all other anti-ageing products. There were queues at the shops and all sorts of silliness like that, so I had high expectations.
Results: This was fairly easy to apply, although I quickly learnt not to use it too near my eyes (the stinging!!) I read an online review which compared the consistency to semen, which is gross but fairly accurate. After less than a week, the fine lines on one half of my face were actually less pronounced. F*** me!
Did Ruth guess right?: Yup, she did, after what I’m sure was a stunningly attractive display from me as I wrinkled up my forehead repeatedly so she could judge.
The winner: High-maintenance. About half of the bottle remains, and I’m honestly thinking about replacing it once that runs out. I’m using the one for under-35s, but they also have another version for over 35’s, as I keep telling Ruth with glee (she’s just turned 35 and is pretty sore about it, hee hee).

Seacret cuticle oilProduct: Seacret Cuticle Oil
First impressions: Ugh, I mean, how important are cuticles really? I struggle to get excited about a product like this. It’s made of lots of seed oils (almond, grape, jojoba, sesame) which sounds kinda nice, and is fairly quick and easy to use.
Results: To my slight disappointment, this did make my fingernail area look a bit better. Less dry and cracked skin. It also had an effect on my bedside table, leaving delightful little oil rings behind where I had set down the bottle.
Did Ruth guess right: Uh-huh. Damn.
The winner: A draw. I think I’ll keep this bottle but wouldn’t buy it again (I’m still struggling to get excited)

Philip Kingsley elasticizerProduct: Philip Kingsley Elasticizer
First impressions: Hair elasticizer? This sounds very silly indeed. I imagine my hair starting to behave like Stretch Armstrong’s arms. So, let’s give it a go. Massage into wet hair before shampooing…wait for 20 minutes…OK, that’s four minutes….da da da da da…oh, that bit of the bathroom needs cleaning….six minutes….bored now…seven minutes….oh my good god, 20 minutes is a lifetime.
Results: Absolutely f*** all. Fabulous.
Did Ruth guess right?: So, full disclosure, I didn’t just treat one side of my hair, fearing I would look like a madwoman if it did anything dramatic. There was no ‘Ruth test’.
The winner: Low-maintenance. Bottle empty and binned.

Overall winner: No. 7 Protect and Perfect Advanced Serum

Round two:

Undergoing the test next will be four more products from the deep, dark bedside cabinet.

Round two productsFor the face: Clinique Rinse-off Foaming Cleanser

For the body: Veet In-shower Hair Removal Cream

For the hair: Frizz-Ease Straight Fixation Smoothing Crème

For the eyes: Clarins Eye Contour Gel

*I think this is a term stolen from Eddie Izzard in a nod to the fact that you can pair a part of the body with a foodstuff to come up with a beauty product (face cream, body butter, cuticle oil…) Feel free to come up with your own and post them in the comments section, the more surreal the better.

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11 thoughts on “ Low-maintenance versus high-maintenance beauty regimes: Round one results ”

  1. Thank you for your “study”! I am suspicious of pricey beauty products so it is nice to see someone evaluate them who is not on the payroll of the company.

  2. I’ve been trying to avoid overly specific or occasional use beauty products, and a few of them have been replaced by single-use batches made out of things in my pantry. I used up my St Ives scrub, and now use a little bit of sugar and honey in a dish. If it was me, I’d try replacing the cuticle oil with occasional olive oil.

    1. Olive oil – why didn’t I think of that??! That’s a great idea. You probably already have it, you know what’s in it, if you spill it over your salad it won’t matter, etc etc…

      1. I have started using olive oil for my face last year. I was extremely sceptical but I though I would give it a try because then you can be sure there is nothing harmful in it. I just absolutely love it. I am in my early 40s with normal skin and I am totally ready to pay quite a lot of money to put something of quality on my skin but since I have tried olive oil, everything else seems unnatural and synthetic. Sometimes I have felt for a more glamorous feeling and tried a fancy skincare oil or cream but after a couple of days I regretted it and gave it to somebody else, I missed the feeling of my skin totally being “one” with the oil. And my skin is not even particularly dry!
        Only for a couple of week in the summer when it is really hot do I skip it.
        I put it in a cute little pump glass container for a nicer look in my bathroom. I put some in it and use the rest of the bottle in the kitchen. It just feel so right! And of course I buy a good organic brand. It is fun because I then allow myself to experiment with expensive brands in the kitchen (with the rest of the bottle), I feel more confortable spending money on olive oil when I know that part of it will be for my skin. Also with the overall feeling of saving money since I was ready to spend quite a bit for skin care products. I also use it on elbows, knees and feet in the summer. The rest of the year, I never use body cream anyway, it is just so boring to apply! And I garantee there is no odour to it!

  3. Organic Coconut oil £2.35 in Asda, great for moisturising the face, (a little under your foundation gives a lovely dewy look), body moisturiser, conditioning the hair, taming dry unruly hair, lip balm and so many more uses, saves me a fortune (even the hubby uses it!). I know it probably won’t suit everyone but definitely worth a try ?

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