Advanced search

Whether you’re a beauty novice or a confirmed fashionista, this topic is for consulting Mumsnetters on all things style-related. Plus, check out our Swears By page for the inside track on the next Mumsnet must-have.

Expensive products that aren't worth it and alternatives

(165 Posts)
susiefen Thu 21-Mar-13 20:12:21

Inspired by the previous "beauty products you hate" thread, I thought it might be starting one for products that you've spent a lot on but been disappointed. I'll start with the Estee Lauder serum everyone raves about but I don't find it's done anything for me and also Creme de la Mer - absolutely lovely and smells utterly divine, but I'm not sure it's done more for my skin over the last 6 months than Olay ever did...

coffeeinbed Mon 25-Mar-13 12:15:46

Bass my Nars Laguna Bronzer broke and I have using Bourjois Bronzer, the one that looks like a chocolate bar, the lighter version.
Similar colour, not sparkly which is important.
It's a but scented, but not too badly.

NomDeOrdinateur Mon 25-Mar-13 12:40:07

Moisturiser: I have spent a ridiculous amount on "bargain" and luxury moisturisers for my sensitive, acne-prone skin. Too many to recall or name. I finally tried Avene's Skin Recovery Cream and it's absolutely perfect: it's not greasy, makes my skin heal faster and doesn't cause any spots, makes a great base for make-up and is perfect for mixing with foundation to give a more natural look. It's £14 for 40ml, but it does last a long time and it's the one thing I would try never to cut down on.

Other skin products: I've tried so many brightening toners, AHA/BHA products etc (mostly Clarins). The only ones that have made a noticeable difference were the Bravura London Glycolic Acid products, which cost roughly half the price of the department store stuff. I now use the 30% Glycolic Night Cream every evening (although I'm planning on giving my skin a break by cutting down to twice per week soon), and my skin is looking the best it ever has - residual acne is all gone, marks are fading by the day, texture and brightness much improved.

Brushes: I've used Estee Lauder, MAC, No7 and Ecotools brushes previously, but for me nothing comes close to the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush and Powder Brush. I also think the Boots basic bronzer brush is the easiest, most fool-proof way of applying blush.

wildfig Mon 25-Mar-13 13:34:53

I love Skin Recovery Cream. It's brilliant.

We're probably victims of our own politeness. I remember when I first started reading MakeupAlley, being amazed by the contemptuous 'this product was lame so I returned it' reviews of unsatisfactory items by American shoppers.

aladdinsane Mon 25-Mar-13 16:06:43

Does anyone know of a cheap alternative to elemis frangapani?

ClaudiaCutie Mon 25-Mar-13 17:03:21

Cleangreen - best buys hmmm. Not all cheap but what is most effective:

Serum best buy - Obagi C Vit C serum - really improves look of skin (brighter, younger). If I leave this step out, my skin looks tired, lined, and flat. Fab stuff! Conversely the Obagi eye serum is just a way of moving £90 out of your account. Pointless.

Cleanser best buy - MD Cleanser for oily skin - vicious stuff, but ONLY thing that keeps my oilslick t-zone under control. Extreme oil problem calls for extreme measures. Not for normal humans.

Blackhead treatment best buy - Nutrogena Spot Clearning stuff - gentle, effective, fine under makeup.

Moisturisers/sunscreen/skincare general - Almost anything from Eucerin, LRP or Bioderma - haven't bought a dud from any of these yet.

Lipstick best buy - Chanel, Dior & NARS lipsticks. Not cheap but soooo worth it. Colour true, mega long lasting. Much nicer than the high st cheapie long wear lippies.

Eyeliner Best buy - MAC Gel pot eyeliner. So much better on me than any others. (Speaking of which, worst buy - Chanel Pen thing Eyeliner - flaky black muck and adds 10 yrs to your eyes, £22 wasted on THAT grrr).

Tools best buy - Lydia Makeup Brushes off Ebay. Dead cheap, wash up well and last. Big bundle has tons of different shapes.

Setting Powder Best buy - the Smashbox Photo Finish white gritty stuff. £18 (grrrr annoying) but gosh it WORKS on the oily t-zone.

Makeup overall best buys - has to be MUA and the Collection 2000 brands. Astonishing quality for the price. Their ranges must be the dupes for tons of things. There is no way they could have the economies of scale to make such good products for pennies. We are really fortunate to have access to them.

Oh handcream best buy - Nutrogena Norwegian Formula stuff, wonderful!

Peachypips - Long wear alternatives to ELDW are Revlon Colourstay as already mentioned, Maybelline 25hr wear, or Collection 2000 long wear. All three cheapies have much nicer shades than EL and don't result in hardfaced tightskin look that EL gives too. Everyone's a winner :-)

WallyBantersJunkBox Mon 25-Mar-13 17:21:01

I have been told by an insider that Creme De La Mare is one ingredient different to Nivea!!!

It certainly feels the same when you press it into the skin. Don't know if that's actually true!

This is true though - Rodial the most expensive product gram for gram for skin (even more than La Prairie) is made by the same company that make Nip and Fab you can buy in Boots. And the main cost difference is in the packaging and marketing. The dry leg fix and body butter is amazing.

I went on a visit to another sister company for a training course and one of the employees worked in the beauty division and told me that the best thing to clean your face with was a Dove soap bar. confused

I find it a bit perfumed.

When I am a bit short of cash I used Cetaphil as a cleanser, it's pretty good for me.

WallyBantersJunkBox Mon 25-Mar-13 17:24:43

By the way the same person who told me about Creme De La Mere worked at Rodial!

I'm not a skincare double agent or anything! grin

IslaValargeone Mon 25-Mar-13 17:30:32

I don't know that the 'one ingredient different to nivea' is a particularly good argument if it's that one ingredient that makes all the difference.
We have 98% matching DNA to chimps but there's a significant difference.
I bought some dry leg fix in Sainsbury's the other day as it was on offer for £3, not impressed though.

ItsintheBag Mon 25-Mar-13 18:13:00

For years I used Lancome Mascara.I changed to Max factor 2000 calories.It's great really no difference all.

FrugalFashionista Mon 25-Mar-13 18:35:02

It's an open secret that most skin creams are total bogus and their marketing is shrouded in pseudoscience. This book is a great mythbuster (and she's more enthusiastic about skincare products than most other dermatologists I've met).

scarlet76 Mon 25-Mar-13 18:48:44

Great thread!
I used to use Clinique 3 step but started to question how much money I was spending. I still use the liquid facial soap which I love but switched to Simple toner and Simple age resist night and day moisturisers. I think my skin looks just as good as it ever did.
I have heard before about the Chanel and Bourjois link before. I always use their blusher and eye shadow pots.
I also recently spent less than £3 on a Blistex tinted lip salve in rose - I prefer it to my Clinique chubby sticks!

WallyBantersJunkBox Mon 25-Mar-13 22:53:19

The one ingredient different is the seaweed farmed from California once a year, I think there are some soft oils to make it more absorbent. For that you could just take kelp tablets. There are loads of blogs online comparing the two. Not everyone can afford £150 for a pot of face cream so it's interesting to know that there is an alternative.

I have never found a better product than La Prairie skin caviar, so if anyone has heard of one cheaper do enlighten me! smile

I found the Nip + Fab dry leg fix fantastic on my post holiday tan in Feb, when my legs became very dry. It was so rich it would soften a dinosaurs skin.

armagh Tue 26-Mar-13 09:31:29

Wally is it Rodial or Nip and Fab dry leg oil / body butter that is fab?smile

IslaValargeone Tue 26-Mar-13 10:23:20

Speaking as diplodocus legs, I didn't find the dry leg fix at all rich.
I think you must be young and lovely Wally, I think lard might be my next step.

WallyBantersJunkBox Tue 26-Mar-13 11:23:45

Oh blimey I am far from young and lovely (42). my legs could have been in an Attenborough documentary. wink I didn't realise that was the one you were referring to also Isla isn't it strange how people get very different results.

Some Rodial products were very good - the snake serum stuff was fantastic. However I was using freebies so probably slathering it on! Was so angry when DS's godparent left the company!

The Nip + Fab body butters are very good, lighter than body shop and more absorbent.

I've always sworn by Palmer's though. And if I can keep it up using a bodyshop body brush at night, clovering my legs in cream and then warming it up in the duvet. grin

My legs get horribly dry and itchy. Unfortunately, I can't cope with the smell of Nip&Fab (it actually made me heave) or of Palmers (HATE this). So far, Aveeno is the only thing that I've found which even remotely helps and I can tolerate stink-wise.

WallyBantersJunkBox Tue 26-Mar-13 19:04:22

What about Jurgens or Cetaphil Remus? They are quite neutral smelling?

timidviper Tue 26-Mar-13 19:21:04

Remus I buy Aveeno and add a couple of drops of an essential oil like lavender to make it smell better! I hate the smell of Palmers too.

IslaValargeone Tue 26-Mar-13 19:40:16

I can't bear Palmers either. Might give the Bodyshop body butters a whirl if they are quite thick?

EuroShaggleton Tue 26-Mar-13 19:51:50

The body shop body butters are great. Some are a bit stinky but the Shea and nut based ones are not heavily scented.

LaTrucha Tue 26-Mar-13 19:55:45

Remus - try the vaseline one I linked to upthread. It is not glamorous, but I really like it. No smell I can recall. It only costs about £4.50 so if you don't like it it's not a major loss.

I don't have dry legs, but I do have very dry hands and extremely sensitive skin. It's the best I've found.

Thanks, LaT. I've tried it and it stings! The Aveeno is better for me, I think - but I'm still hoping for an even more holy grail! I actually don't mind the smell of the Aveeno but adding some essential oil is a really good idea: lavender might even have some healing properties too - it was great on my stitches after having the dds. smile

I actually resorted to smothering my shins in Sudocreme last night and it does seem to have done them some good.

coffeeinbed Tue 26-Mar-13 20:06:20

I use Aveeno, but it must be the bottle not the tube, the tube is too thick and does not sink in.
I mix it with Weleda Sandthorn Oil, which is heaven - smell and feels lovely.
I bout some Boots Botanics Body Cream, I haven't tried it yes though, but have high hopes because I love lots of the other stuff there.
Something else I tried which was lovely - but pricy - was Origins A perfect world.

PenfoldRocks Tue 26-Mar-13 20:07:02

I didn't realise people didn't generally return beauty products blush. I recently spent £150 on origins nonsense which made my rosacea worse, so I returned it, full refund from John Lewis concession after I'd used it for around a month. I moved to Dr Haushka which cleared things up & now use Aldi Lacura without any problems.
I use body shop body butter for scaly legs, but always buy from their outlet super cheap.

coffeeinbed Tue 26-Mar-13 20:08:11

I haven't returned anything yet, but I think we all should.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: