Products I Regret Buying


A number of you have requested this post, and we do see merit in warning our readers about products that we deem utter rubbish. It’s not often that I’m left disappointed by products because I do a fair amount of research prior to purchasing, but sadly these ones slipped through the net:

Vita Liberata Ultra Sheer Tinted Gradual Mousse in ‘Light’

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Towards the end of last year the usual ‘it’s suddenly summer and I’m so pale’ panic convinced me to dip my toe back in the self tanning pool. I did a lot of research beforehand and decided on Vita Liberata because it appeared to get the best reviews across the board. I wanted something subtle, so when the Gradual Mousse in ‘Light’ was recommended to me it sounded like just the ticket. Now, I know it says “Ultra Sheer” on the bottle, so perhaps my expectations were too high, but to me “sheer” still implies some colour, albeit not very much. After three consecutive nights’ use I still looked exactly the same, not a single shade darker. I very rarely self tan, so when I commit to it, I expect results – applying it is a pain, and sleeping with it on is gross. If I’m going to go to the trouble of tanning, I want to look tanned.

Dove Advanced Hair Series Oxygen Moisture Shampoo & Pure Care Dry Oil Conditioner

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Please forgive the product photograph taken in Clicks – I had already thrown the bottles I’d bought in the bin before I decided to do this post. For context regarding my Dove choices: I like to use volumising shampoos and moisturising conditioners because if I use volumising only, my hair is too dry, and if I use moisturising only, my hair is too slippy (I find the Redken Body Full Shampoo and Pureology Hydrate Conditioner to be the ideal pairing). The aforementioned combination from Dove was horrible. HORRIBLE. The shampoo left my hair feeling completely stripped, as opposed to volumised, and the conditioner did absolutely nothing – I may as well not have used it (and I did use this combination a few times just to verify how horrible it was). The result: dry hair that was impossible to handle – by the end of my blow dry I was left with the exact opposite of ‘rich girl hair’. Two very dissatisfied thumbs down from me.

Note: if you are looking to try ‘drugstore’ hair care that actually works, try the L’Oreal Paris Hair Expertise range.

Catrice Beautifying Lip Smoother in ‘040 Coffee to Go’ 

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Controversial. I love the colour, but the formulation dries my lips out something fierce –  if I wear this for more than a day or two my lips descend into a chapped, flaky mess. The packaging and colour selection are similar to the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors, but I’m afraid that is where the comparison ends. I think the formulation of the Clarins offering is far superior, and actually conditions the lips as opposed to offering a slick of colour and not much else. And I’m not about to start applying a layer of lip balm prior to each application, because I simply don’t have the patience to try and find ways to make an average product work better.

Bobbi Brown Sheer Powder Brush & Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush

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Can someone please explain these brushes to me, because I feel like I’m missing something? The amount of rave reviews online honestly made me think that my life could not carry on until I’d bought them…so I did.

When I felt the Sheer Powder Brush in store I noticed that it felt a little scratchy, but I assumed it would soften after I’d washed it. Not so much. If anything, it’s gotten progressively scratchier – how is that possible? At this point I am one wash away from slapping some Philip Kingsley Elasticizer on it to try and soften the bristles. I’ll admit that I’ve probably been ruined for life by the RMK Cheek Brush (soft, squirrely goodness), but honestly, I think that even Real Techniques pips Bobbi to the post on this one.

As for the Full Coverage Face Brush. Well *purses lips*. The Real Techniques Expert Face Brush is better, sorrybutitstrue. Sure, the Full Coverage Face Brush is nice and soft, and sure, it blends well enough, but it’s nothing to write home about. I didn’t notice any difference in my foundation application, nor did I find it significantly more pleasurable to use. Save your pennies and invest in some Real Techniques or Sigma brushes.

OSKIA Renaissance Cleansing Gel

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The biggest disappointment of the lot. After this experience, I’ve come to the very sad realisation that Anna (Vivianna Does Makeup) and I might actually not be she-doesn’t-know-it-yet-best-friends. I bought this on the back of her glowing reviews, and I have to say, I just don’t get it. Firstly, it’s esspensive – over R600 at the time I bought it, which is by far most I have ever spent on a cleanser. Secondly, I haven’t noticed any change (better or worse) in my skin, it just looks the same. I suspect that in order to see the true benefit of a cleanser like this, perhaps you need to live in a city like London where pollution and general grime are in and on your face 24/7 ie the cleanser has some real work to do. Living in Cape Town doesn’t pose much of a challenge in that regard!

I have never spent a lot on cleansers because, to my mind, they are on my face for such a short space of time, the price just can’t be worth it. I was persuaded by the internet to change my mind and I (quite literally) paid the price. I will continue to use it until it’s finished because hello, the price, but this definitely won’t be a repurchase.

Are there any products you’ve tried recently which have left you with buyers remorse? Share the love and help educate us and your fellow readers!

17 comments on Products I Regret Buying

  • Tarryn B

    I am just as disappointed with the Bobbi Brown Sheer Powder brush. I bought it in January, and like you, I thought it was scratchy but hoped it would soften up. Nope. It hasn’t. And mine sheds like mad. If anyone out there knows how to make this thing softer, please let me know!

    And, the Full Coverage Face Brush… okay, I’m in disagreement here 😉 Well, sorta. I got this as a birthday gift a few years ago and it is literally the only foundation brush I use. After receiving this brush, I was so happy with it that I haven’t felt the need to try any others. I probably think it’s the bees knees because I don’t own the RT version, so there’s that. I am, however, kinda really loving the RT sponge!

    Oskia has been on my to-buy list. Guess I’m scratching that one off!

    • Camilla (author)

      I am going to do a conditioning treatment on Sheer Powder Brush and I’ll report back. I figure it can’t hurt, right? Please give the RT Expert Face Brush a try if you can, I promise you’ll be impressed!

  • Lizelle

    Maybelline Lash Sensational mascara. I don’t think I’ve ever had to work so hard to like a product. I saw so many great reviews, but I have to say, I don’t get it. It loads too much product onto the wand, and even when I wipe off the excess, it makes my lashes look spidery, instead of fuller. I really wanted to like it – I even tried using a different wand – but it was average at best. I guess I’ve been spoiled by my go-to mascaras – MaxFactor False Lash Effect and Clinique Lash Power Feathering mascara.

    • Camilla (author)

      Oh that’s so interesting – I love that mascara! However I do have a few friends who have had the same experience as you, sorry it didn’t work out! Completely agree re Max Factor False Lash Effect though, that stuff rules!

  • Tori

    Disappointing about Vita Liberata but tanning 101 – never go sheer. I use their Ultra Dark version and one thin layer for a few hours creates the most insane colour. I swear by their tanners.

    Good to know re Catrice knock offs of Clarins Instant Lip Perfector – was intrigued by these but will stay clear as just love how hydrating the Clarins one’s are.

    Oskia cleanser – 100% with you on this one. It is bloody expensive and I guess you and I were expecting great things after all the hype 🙁

    Lastly – agree on Bobbi Sheer Powder brush, just doesn’t feel like the best quality to me. Glad to hear about the Full Coverage brush as was quite keen on that.

    Great post Cam x

    • Camilla (author)

      Am going to give the darker shade a try as per your recommendation. Thanks darling xx

  • Bianca

    So good you mentioned the Oskia cleanser, has been on my list too – taking that off! I bought The Body Shop Drops of Youth bouncy sleeping mask – while not too expensive, wasn’t dirt cheap either. Just leaves my face a sticky mess, no matter how little I use. Much prefer the Avene Soothing Moisture Mask – feel like it plumps up the skin very well from all the moisture you receive.

    • Camilla (author)

      I haven’t tried Drops of Youth but must admit, it never really appealed to me. I’m a HUGE fan of the Avene Moisture Soothing Mask, it’s one of my faves. Have you tried the SKOON Overnight Hydrating Mask?

      • Bianca

        I haven’t, no. Next on the list!

  • Simone Cameron

    Wow, what an expensive regret for the cleanser!! THankfully I’d never be tempted to spend money like that on a cleanser. Another blogger said the same thing to me about cleansers…they are just on your face for a short time, don’t bother splurging on a cleanser. So I stick to that 🙂

    I’m so scared to buy expensive brushes. My most expensive are the regular RT brushes…and I love them. I don’t want to pay R400 for a brush and I hate it! Oi.

    • Camilla (author)

      Tell me about it…ouch! I think I’ll be sticking to my trusty Environ Gentle Cream Cleanser from now on!
      I do think that there some brushes that are definitely worth the splurge (RMK Cheek Brush, MAC 217 etc), but agree that RT brushes are absolutely fantastic, esp considering their price point. I recently bought the Starter Set a few weeks ago and I am obsessed!

  • Tayla Calcott

    You guys have no idea how much you influence my purchasing decisions! Saves me so much money!⭐️ Thanks guys!

    • Camilla (author)

      Happy to be of service! You must let us know if there’s anything you’ve bought recently that’s left you feeling disappointed…

  • Anye

    I am with you on the Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush. I have some love hate relationship with it, but come to think of it I never reach for it anymore. It applies my makeup way too streaky on second of third use. It soaks up a lot of the foundation and then you almost have to wash it with sunlight liquid to get the damn brush clean – not that I would actually use sunlight on any makeup brush. I do however LOVE their blush brush.

    • Camilla (author)

      Totally agree – I am a huge fan of the Blush Brush too, I use it every single day. You win some, you lose some, I guess!

  • Erica

    I love the oskia cleanser. I just feel my skin is glowing and my hormonal break outs are so much less. I am very disappointed with real technique expert face brush and was going to try the bobbi brown one but now you’ve changed my mind for me. Thanks for a great blog

  • Hildegarde_k

    Ahh thanks for the post! There’s a couple of things that were on my list, but have now been promptly scrapped. Disappointing products for me are TBS’s Body Sorbet and the LA Girl matte liquid lipstick things (think Jules wore it in a video not long ago). I hate the texture and I don’t understand the product. Will happily stick to body butters. Regarding the liquid lipstick: I love the colors but the texture is horrifying. If I put my lips together and then open my mouth, I can feel my lips peeling away from each other due to the stickiness, eeuw! And on my lips the colour cracks and bleeds and is just a big mess.

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