Total Duds III: 10 more Products that Bombed

Generally speaking, I try to keep it nice and easygoing on the blog. I do have some strong opinions on a variety of topics but generally try to see both the good and bad, be it people, politics, culture, music etc. For skincare products, same – some products that don’t work on my skin type may well work on others.

Sometimes however, there are products that disappoint you so badly, it’s just shocking, and I don’t see them working for anyone. These are some of those so you don’t waste your money. 💸

💣 Past Instalments of Total Duds

Total Duds: 10 Products That Bombed

10 more Duds: Products that did not Work as Advertised

💣 In this post

  1. Dear, Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence
  2. Insta Natural Retinol
  3. Dr Frog Control Peeling Tox
  4. Aromatica Lively Blue Calming Oil
  5. Nuxe Very Rose Cleansing Milk
  6. Nakeupface foundation
  7. Browlash Liquid Liner
  8. Espoir Be Glow Foundation
  9. Maybelline Hyper Tight Liner
  10. Some by Mi suncream

Today’s duds run the gamut, from sunscreens to serums. Diving in, in 3… 2… 1…

Dear, Klairs | Soft Airy UV Essence

Honestly, this was my favourite sunscreen for the longest time. No flashback, no weird white cast. Cooling – a great attribute, especially in summer. Very moisturising and skin smoothing, great for dried up, over the hill 30 somethings like yours truly 🤣. Skin looked perfected, more even and glowy.

And then, sunscreen-gate happened and all hell broke loose in the K beauty world when it was revealed that instead of an SPF of 50, this product had actually something closer to an SPF of 12-15, which is better than nothing I guess but nowhere near as advertised. I guess some things are too good to be true, and this sunscreen was one of them. I am still upset over this. It was such an amazing product!

Insta Natural | Retinol Serum

Supposedly, retinol is this all in one product that promises to smooth out lines, fight acne, and give a glow to your face. In my case, with this product that I got from iHerb, it ruined my skin and I ended up with huge, painful cystic acne. Bear in mind, being in my thirties, skin does not heal as quickly as it used to and I ended up looking unsightly for weeks on end as the pimple marks faded. I will spare you the evidence. The overall experience put me off retinol for the time being and I am reluctant to introduce retinol back into my routine solely based on this serum.

If you are a fellow acne sufferer, you will know how much a bad skin day will impact you and your confidence. I cannot find anything good to say and the memory of some of my deep, painful, blistering acne nodules caused by this still upsets me.

Dr. Frog | Control Peeling Tox

As a rule, I prefer chemical exfoliation and vitamin C serums to help slough off skin over physical exfoliants. Sometimes however, I just need that physical sensation of rubbing my face. For those times, I reserve cellulose based peeling gels, which are a fantastic way to exfoliate skin without irritation. Seeing those fibres ball up along with your dead skin is a delight and peeling gels really do give you the softest skin of your life. My favourite is Dr. G’s Mild Peeling Gel (reviewed here) but I am always open to new gems, which is why I picked up this trio for a great price at Olive Young.

This was not it. Instead of a peeling gel, you get some weird, highly perfumed, oily, grease bucket lotions in tubes. I used these on dry, clean skin as directed (all Korean-style peeling gels work this way) but nothing. Mixed with water, other toners, nothing. There is just no peeling action happening with these! They did not work as cleansers either as they leave a heavy, waxy film behind, making your skin feel all sorts of unclean and clogged up. I cannot for the life of me imagine whose idea this was and what formulator approved of this.

Aromatica | Lively Super Calming Blue Oil

I absolutely love facial oils. They lock in hydration, nourish and keep the skin supple. Except when they don’t, like this one here. Honestly, all Aromatica products I have tried so far have been let downs. Who formulates these products for the brand?

This oil stung and caused my eyes to water constantly. I tried this on several occasions but found myself having to go to the bathroom to wash it off and start my skincare routine all over again. Not fun when you have a multi step routine.

I persevered on several nights and just closed my eyes and went to sleep, which got rid of the eye watering issue but come next morning, I found my skin… not nourished. Any old moisturiser would have been heaps better in terms of efficacy.

Another issue I had is that apparently, this reacts with nail polish. I do not know what to make of this as I have never heard of skincare dissolving nail polish – it should not be able to do that – right? And yet, this oil ate into my manicure, causing it to bubble, soften, and the high shine gloss turning from sleek to looking like it was applied by a 5 year old. I just don’t understand how this is possible and was rather annoyed as I like to take care of myself, so when a product sabotages my personal grooming efforts, it just annoys me that much more.

Nuxe | Very Rose Creamy Make-Up Remover Milk

I am always on the hunt for a better first step cleanser, and cleansing milks were recommended to me by my dermatologist, back when I had a compromised skin barrier, resulting in an awful bout of of acne (not related to the retinol product above).

Nuxe is a brand that I have enjoyed in the past; their lip balms (review here) and hand creams (review here) in particular. I was excited to try this cleansing milk. Alas, it stung my eyes, was not great at removing makeup, a lot went a short way, it seemed to weirdly absorb into skin rather than act as a surfactant, and left a waxy film behind. I tried using this up as much as I could since I would still follow up with a second step foaming cleanser, but had to give up eventually as I hated the fact that it absorbed and felt waxy all of the time. Also, the rose scent was very (too) strong in my opinion and did not add to the sensorial experience.

Nakeupface | One Night Foundation in #01 Ivory Nude

Wow, where do I even begin with this foundation. Chalky, drying, cakey, makes my eyes look like piss holes in the snow. See pictures above. Colour match is not great either. I think this is the first time in my life that I think a foundation is too white for me – normally I have the opposite problem and struggle finding foundations that are light enough or at least, somewhat blend into skin if sheered out.

BUT. No amount of primer, blending, setting spray could save this horrible mess of a base product. At least the sponges it came with were nice and I have been happily using those.

Side note. This foundation is advertised as being ok to leave on, the Korean description says that there’s no need to wash it off. Horrible, horrible marketing. Who came up with this crapola?

Browlash Ex | Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner Deep Black 0.7g

I have been wearing liquid liner since I was around 15 and love trying new liners. That being said, Browlash Ex’s offering is one of the worst I have tried in a long, long time. Whether I primed my eye lids or not, it made no difference. This eyeliner never set and started transferring and migrating as soon as it was applied. The pigment was weak and refused to layer. Panda eyes 5 minutes into application, all around my eyes. Not a good look! Not even emos would like this eye liner.

Espoir | Be Glow cushion foundation & Be Glow Pro Tailor foundation

Eerily similar to the Nakeupface foundation described above. I am happy I can use the sponges that the set came with at least. The cushion and foundation however were both horrible. Cakey, did not blend in regardless of whether I used a little or a lot, eyes like pissholes in the snow – again. Primers, setting sprays, layered over short or long skincare routines – I could not make these work, and suspect they broke me out too, though I cannot be completely sure on that claim as I did not use them long enough. Every time that I stray from my HG face product, I am reminded that I really, really shouldn’t.

Maybelline | Hyper Tight Liner

Erm, Maybelline… I don’t think you understand what tightlining really means. Tightling is lining your waterlines (the slightly moist skin behind your eyelashes). I was expecting some kind of khol or pen or gel liner, but what this is, essentially, is another liquid liner – and not a great one, at that. The formula is prone to smudging and the weirdly dotted nib (I am guessing those are for the waterline?) makes it impossible to get those razor thin lines the way I like them. I did try and use the nib on my waterlines, but as expected, the liner transferred immediately and did not stay at all.

Some By Mi | Truecica Mineral 100 Calming Suncream

To everyone and anyone who will listen, I have been RAVING about Some By Mi’s miracle toner, which single handedly has turned every day into a great skin day.

When I tried this sunscreen however, I could not believe that those products came from the same line and same parent company. This sunscreen smells like glue stick and has a weird cottage cheese like consistency. Undeterred, I tried using this and was shocked. It does not create a film like a normal sunscreen would. Instead, it balls up and flakes off in little balls. I have tried using this on my face (primed skin) and body (non primed skin) and have experienced said pilling and shedding on both, without fail. It also does not moisturise or keep skin comfortable during the day. Instead, it collects in your nasolabial folds and eye folds as white residue. Not a good look!

I suspect that sunscreen flaking off means reduced efficacy, and therefore, personally, would not recommend this sunscreen.

Final Thoughts

Most products I try are reasonable or work at least somewhat as advertised. Others are great finds and I always make sure to praise them. Only some – very far and few between – are truly abominations of the cosmetic world in my personal opinion. What are some products that you have been hating as of late?

© 2021 The Empties Diaries All Rights Reserved

2 thoughts on “Total Duds III: 10 more Products that Bombed

  1. Wow… I haven’t tried any of these products but after reading your review I’ll make sure to never purchase any of them. They look like total disappointments.

    I have been quite lucky with the new products I’ve tried recently. Can’t think of any let down, with the exception of L’Oreal Magic Invisible Dry Shampoo, which left an awful white residue on my hair and had a very strong, intrusive fragrance that gave me such a horrible headache I haven’t dared to use it again.

    Thank you so much for sharing all this useful beauty content!

    Liked by 1 person

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