Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Worst of the Best

     My drawers, shelves and cabinets overflow with cosmetic products, all green and natural brands at this point save for a few Dior eyeshadows. By my account, I've spent about $800 in the last year trying stuff in the name of ecology and health. I've found winners, scads of them really, but there are some definite downers out there. To kick off 2010, allow me to list a few of the worst of the best: things I tried from brands I trust, only to find they are indeed sheisty products for one reason or another (price, formulation, efficacy or lack thereof, and/or bad packaging). In no particular order, here are the things I won't ever buy again - even though I love the brand.

  1.  Dr. Hauschka Facial Steam Bath: Unless you're running a spa out of your kitchen, this stuff is too much hassle to mess with. I don't use it enough for it to be gone by its expiration, and that's a problem with preservative-free cosmetics. If I really need a steam bath for my face, I'll just use essential oil over a boiled pot. If you are indeed a kitchentician or you run an actual spa facility, well then, go ahead.
  2.  Korres Milk Cleansing 3-In-One Cleanser: I tried so hard to like this product, because Korres usually makes me happy, I love multitasking products, and it's extremely convenient to pick up when I'm out and about. Then my Auntie came for a visit, borrowed it, and pronounced it to be "slick as shit." Well, you can read her guest review here. Needless to say, I just don't care for its slickery feel either. 
  3.  Jane Iredale Eye Gloss: Only use this if you like sticky eyelids that appear to be covered in fish scales. I love the idea of this product, but the formula is wrong. And it stings, too.
  4. John Masters Organics Herbal Cider Hair Clarifier & Color Sealer. Smells douchy. Actually douchy. It's nothing more than diluted cider vinegar with a few indiscernible essential oils thrown in. If you want to seal your color, use the vinegar from your pantry. Besides, diluting this from its pour-top container then applying it by dumping it over my head with a cup makes me feel like a puppy. And it's a pain in the ass. I don't care for the smell (had I mentioned that?!?) enough to do this except upon rare occasion. If I were to use it every few days (because cider vinegar rinses do indeed clarify the hair wonderfully), I would mix my kitchen vinegar with water (and maybe a little essential oil) and apply it liberally with a spray bottle before showering. Prepare to smell like the Bio lab. The John Masters Organics brand as a whole is marvelous, and I use just about everything else they make. But I won't make this $17 mistake again!
  5. Aura Cacia Shower Tablets: The idea is to put one of these eucalyptus or lavender tabs on the floor of the shower so you can reap the benefits of aromatherapy via steam. Totally ineffective. A cottonball soaked in essential oil would do better; these things totally dissolve within about a minute, and I couldn't smell anything but that nasty cider rinse I mentioned earlier. Instead, put a little of the oil (use only pure essential oils, please, otherwise the therapeutic benefit is nullified) into the reservoir of your vaporizer. Your lungs will thank you, and you'll hack much less. I swear this treatment helped my son overcome pneumonia last fall.
  6.  Lavera hair styling products. Great idea, totally ineffective in keeping my 'do did.
  7.  Caudalie Contour Creme Eyes & Lips was the former name of this $50 budget-buster. I thought I was being a recessionista by combining anti-aging for two parts of my face. A big fat Meh. They've repackaged this and renamed it as Pulpe Vitaminee Eye & Lip or something stupid like that. Either way, I'm not buying it again, but I still like Caudalie.


  1. this list! I'm generally NOT a fan of Korres face products, though I adore their make-up and their body stuff. Similarly, Caudale has a great night cream but a crappy SPF moisturizer (not moisturizing enough in my book!).

    And CD eyeshadows are the bast, bar none.

  2. thanks for weighing in averill!

  3. Kitty such a great job. You save us money by posting these reviews. I love Korres and seriously was looking at the cleanser, so glad I didn't buy it. I try so hard to make informed purchases but I'm an impulse buyer by nature..not so good.
    Hope your 2010 is off to a good start. Anything is better than 2009 I think for most of us. I really want you to know how much I appreciate all your comments. I've felt like a train wreck & if it weren't for people like you, I would of laid over the tracks weeks ago. All my best to you xo deb

  4. DT: Is there anything so appealing than beautiful, shiny make up calling to us from the cosmetic counters of upscale department stores?!? You and I are the impulse buyers manufacturers dream of!!! Glad my foibles can at least inform others. Makes me feel soooo less guilty when I waste money on products that suck!!! You are so awesome! xo kitty

  5. I love your candid reviews! I also love the last post on Antimony, because, my daughter wants a nasty little zsu zsu pet and I hate rodents. I did not even want a fake one around, b/c I can see it ending up on my pillow as a joke. So now, I have a real live excuse not to get one (not the "that thing is nasty" excuse :)

  6. Thanks, Mandy! We got one of the nasty little buggars under our tree... zhu zhu pets are the stupidest thing I've ever seen. He doesn't even play with it - already!!!

  7. The cotton ball idea is great. Which one would you put in the vaporizer.

  8. LP: our vaporizer has a little reservoir where one would usually put the Vick's Vapor Rub. I just pour several drops of eucalyptus essential oil in and VOILA! Instant lung function! Sometimes I use lavender oil as well, but the eucalyptus is most therapeutic for colds and flus and pneumonia, all of which have visited our home recently. If you want to learn about therapeutic aromatherapy, head over to The Fragrant Muse. Liz is a genius! Thanks for coming by! xo kitty

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