Bullshit Free Zone: Are These Beauty Heroes Brilliant Or Overrated?
The Debrief: No bullshit time: is Touche Eclat actually good? Will Advanced Night Repair actually make you look better? Should you buy a Tangle Teezer, really?
There are some beauty products that you hear about over and over again. It's telling that, even if you're not into beauty, you know how to pronounce Touche Eclat or have at least had a bloody good go at saying it, but is it any good? Are any of these things actually good, or are they just the product of some celebrity fans and incredible PR?
I gathered some of those beauty products you hear about all the time, and tested them with absolutely no bias. Some of them have been tested over the course of six months (in the case of skincare), some of them have been vined, but I have been completely, brutally honest about all of them. Because nobody wants to spend £40 on something only to find it's sort of balls.
Might as well get the big boy out of the way. This has been in everyone's makeup bags since I can remember, and if you think it's a concealer then you're wrong. It's a highlighter, so you're supposed to put it over the top of your under-eye concealer to give it a luminosity that dazzles people backwards off their chairs.
Is it good? I don't understand the hype about this, and I never have. I think it's for people who have no under-eye bags at all, just faint shadows. I don't have bad ones by any stretch of the imagination, but this just sat on top of my concealer and made me look old. When I tried to blend it, the consistency mixed with the concealer so my under-eye circles became a lot more prominent and the skin above them, a lot lighter, meaning everything looked really puffy. I bought it once a few years ago and the same thing happened - but I carried it around for years in my makeup bag just to show that I had it (I'd bought it in Duty Free on an Easyjet flight back from Malaga).
Sorry YSL. I love you for many reasons, and will always covet your pretty things because they make me feel like a sophisticated rich French celebrity, but Touche Eclat did not work for me.
If you want a brush, then you should get this brush because everyone cool has one in a fun colour (or black) in their bag. It's got to the stage where people ask if they can borrow someone's Tangle Teezer rather than 'brush'. Shit's got to the hoover stage already.
Is it good? I have thick hair. And lots of it. A hairdresser once told me I had three times the normal amount of hair on a head, something my ex-boyfriend used to laugh at because it sounded ridiculous but I believed it for years. Mainly because hairpins go missing in it, matts appear after only an hour of it being let loose, and hair bands regularly snap after a few days. The Tangle Teezer felt really strong, and pretty much worked. No, it didn't get those inner layer knots, unless I lifted the hair up and really went at it from the underside, but it's not God.
The only problem with this is, if it doesn't quite get to those matts in my thick, full but naturally straight, hair then I don't think it'll work on afro hair. Or frizzy hair. Despite saying it's suitable for 'all hair types' on the box.
If you have skin that feels a bit malnourished, is a bit dry, looks aged, keeps getting weird red patches that nobody quite understands, then someone will recommend Advanced Night Repair to you. A serum you put on before your moisturiser either every night or, if you want double protection, every day and night, this smoothes and sooths, anti-ages and forms a barrier against gross pollution. You know, all that stuff that you read on the tin and then laugh and write it off as bullshit.
Is it any good? I have used Advanced Night Repair for six months now in a bid to put it to the actual test, and it passed with every colour I could name. Seven. No, Eight. Is turquoise a bonafide colour? Anyway, this stuff is amazing. My skin is pale and gets scaly, while also getting spots, and started to look a bit old due to a five year smoking habit. I also had terrible acne and was covered in scars. Six months later, the scarring has gone, my skin feels totally different and people keep saying how nice it looks. As in, people actually say 'Your skin looks amazing'. I recommended it to Jess (Debrief culture editor) who now also uses it every night. I just looked at the price again and nearly threw up, but then realised it lasts for about six months which works out at... y'know it's fine. FINE. And if I'm telling you this, and I refuse to spend over £15 on shoes, then you know it's for a reason.
You'd think that false eyelashes mainly rely on how good you are at putting them on but, as someone who has been consistently buying £1 boxes from the till bit at Primark, it's actually about quality. Eylure have been going for years, and are generally thought of as being The People To Go To If You Want False Eyelashes. Dutifully, I went to them. And had a bash.
Price: Depends on the style, but prices start from £2.99
Is it any good? Very nice. In a vintage way (it's supposed to, I chose a vintage design). Also, pretty easy to apply as false eyelashes go and thankfully, when I fucked it up, I could remove it and reapply without ripping my eye off. Only down side is the fact that the glue is white, so if you put too much on it seems to dry white and make you look insane. This is easily remedied with some black eyeliner, though, and what do you expect with false eyelashes? Ease?! It has meant that, next time I'm going to get false eyelashes, I'm not going to waste my time with the shit ones. Eylure all the way. Well done Eylure.
The ultimate coloured lip balm, I was interested to see how good this was because I don't really care about lip balm due to it attracting bits of my hair and food. Also, it feels really artificial. And my lips aren't dry. But let's give it a go anyway.
Is it any good? Oh I can imagine lip balm lovers going batshit over this. It feels so expensive and nice and when I threw my hair over my face (see above) barely any hair stuck - which is more than can be said for vaseline, I can tell you. I also gave my hand a good snog and while there was some residue (obviously, it's lip balm), the colour stayed firm which was very impressive. And it's not slimy at all. So yeah. I'd say this is probably the best moisturising lip colour I've come across and, as a child of the nineties, I have tried a lot of 50p ones down the market so this beats all of them hands down. It'll last forever, too.
They're so cute, even if you're not into eyeshadow it's kind of tempting. And there are a million colours to pick from. And each little round pot has a tiny mirror and an applicator. And they look SO CUTE.
Is it any good? The eyeshadow itself is astoundingly good - shimmery without looking gross and frosted, easy to apply and smudge, plus really easy to blend with other colours. If you wet them then the colour is even more intense. The fact there's a mirror just adds to the joy, obviously, but there's a bit of an issue with the applicator, in the sense that it's fucking massive, making it quite hard to be precise. If you're just wanting to use eyeshadow the usual way, then cool, but I like to contour with it like my mum (my mum is very good at putting makeup on) so a thin line in the socket crease, a lot of blending, and a lighter colour on the inside. Fine, but tricky when using an applicator roughly the size of a cucumber (OK I'm exaggerating but imagine! An applicator the size of a cucumber! Hilarilol etc!)
An 'industrial strength' concealer that pretty much everyone cool has in their makeup bag. Benefit are basically untoucheable, and I'd like to own everything they've ever made, but is this particular concealer better than all the rest?
Is it any good? OK so this is a good concealer, no doubt about it, but it didn't cover my under-eye bags as well as my usual one (Laura Mercier. I got sent it, OK, I'm not The Queen. But it's the best one I've found, so far) and I had to use quite a lot to get to the stage you see in the vine. In terms of spots, thankfully I'm relatively spot-free right now bar one bastard on my chin, which Boi-ing covered admirably. Obviously you can still see it because of the laws of physics and the fact that it's still there, and raised, on my face. But it's way less noticeable now, and Boi-ing drained it of all colour. So, a good concealer for spots but maybe not the best for under-eye shadows. If you're going to spend a shitload on a concealer, then there are others that are more multi-purpose (Laura Mercier, for example. Rimmel is also very good).
Yes, Benefit makes the list twice because this mascara is lauded as the best mascara ever. As in, people profess borderline sexual attraction to it, citing sky-high eyelashes and full transformative properties. As if it's a wizard. A sexy mascara wizard they'd like to bone, bigtime.
Is it any good? Mother of pearl, this is an absolutely SLAMMING mascara. I don't really have any eyelashes, but this pumped them up bigtime and it only took two quick coats for me to look like a horse. Horse have long eyelashes. That was supposed to be complimentary. Anyway, the only downside of this fucking excellent beauty product is that it doesn't come off, to the extent that Benefit had to create an eye makeup remover of way higher strength due to the amount of half-complaints they received. 'Your mascara is incredible but it stays on for a week' is a complaint, I guess, but it's not the worst thing that could be said about a mascara. So make sure you get the eye makeup remover to go with it, but if you want big eyelashes that look like they're about to detach from your face and go on a weekend-long bender (hint: you do) then this is worth the money.
Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Day Wear
I can't use shower gels because I break out in eczema all over my body, I can't use any body moisturisers for the same reason, and I've been alternating between Aqueous Cream and Nivea (you know, we all know it, it comes in a blue tub and it's your best friend) my whole life. But my face is still scaly and dry and, during last summer after moving into an office with a central heating system but no windows (hahahah), actual bits of my actual skin would flake off onto my actual keyboard. Actual. My sister gave me a tester tube of this Clinique stuff that looks like custard, because she got some free at work.
Is it any good? I love this. I love it so much that when my tester ran out, I got her to get me another tester, and then I bought a tub of it and spent the day frozen in horror. But it's a whole year since I bought it, and there's still just under half a tub left. I also use quite a lot, because you're only supposed to put a pump on your face in the morning and the evening, but I go mental and do two. It's never reacted with my skin, and it sinks in almost immediately so I can put foundation over the top without waiting. It also works really well with Advanced Night Repair, and means that my skincare costs more than my handbag, coat and purse combined. Mindblowingly expensive. But worth it, if you can make it work. And if you can't, then go find some goddamn testers and try it for yourself.
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