Archive of ‘Don’t Waste Your Money’ category

Spoiled Pretty’s Take On Smooth Away

So I survived the Spokane snow I’m back in Philadelphia. And you know what that means. It’s time to weigh in on Smooth Away, the hair removal discs sold on TV.

My sister wasn’t exaggerating when he said that the mini Smooth Away pad deftly defuzzes your upper lip. The superfine crystals on each pad exfoliate – buffing away dead skin in addition to hair. But if you have sensitive skin, put the pad down…don’t buff nuthin’. I smoothed away my mustache three days ago and my skin is still raw and tore up. It feels like I have a rug burn below my nose – and there are a few small spots that look and feel slightly scabby.

To be thorough in my testing, I also used one of the larger Smooth Away pads on my leg. As the skin on my leg is more resilient thant that on my face, I didn’t experience any irritation. The pad removed the hair – although, afterwards, it did feel a smidge stubbly to the touch. Another Smooth Away shortcoming is that you’ll go through the pads fairly quickly. The pads are most effective when they’re brand new and haven’t yet been used; and once you start buffing, you’ll notice that the efficacy of the pads will start to diminish.

One Smooth Away kit contains: 1 Large Smooth Away, 1 Small Smooth Away, 4 Large Smooth Away Replacement Pads, 4 Small Smooth Away Replacement Pads. And right now, when you purchase one kit at $14.99, you’ll receive an extra kit for free. But I doubt that having two Smooth Away sets will keep you smooth and hair-free for long. Depending on the length and texture of your hair, one large pad will likely lose it’s grit after one leg.

Bottom line: Smooth Away is, indeed, a throwaway.

L’Oreal Bare Naturale Gentle Lip Conditioner Tastes Like You Bought It At GNC

I’m a big fan of L’Oreal (it doesn’t get much better than HIP JellyBalm or Skin Genesis Daily Moisturizer Oil-Free Lotion), but I’ve got something to say about their Bare Naturale Gentle Lip Conditioner and it isn’t pretty.

The preservative-free, fragrance-free lip soother is 96% natural and does a decent job of conditioning lips while adding a sheer tint to your pucker. But must it taste and smell like old-school Metamucil? For real, it tastes like some supplement that you’d buy at GNC.

Surely there’s a way to add some fruit juices or bubblegum essence to this product without rendering it carcinogenic. Don’t ask me how, I’m no scientist…just putting it out there. And it’s $10! I don’t know about you, but if I’m shelling out that much for .11 ounces of lip balm, I want some flava.

If This Concealer Is Smart, I Shudder To Think What A Dumb Concealer Looks Like

Yesterday, I visited the parental units and my sister happened to be home from college. As is the norm when she makes an appearance, her makeup arsenal was splayed out on the counter in our once-shared bathroom. I couldn’t help myself from taking a peek and rooting around a bit.

Most of the products I’ve tried before, and a majority of the stockpile were gifts from her benevolent big sis. But before turing off the light and moving on, an unfamiliar tube caught my eye – Almay Smart Shade Concealer.

Almay promises, “with Smart Shade Concealer, there’s no more guessing or stressing over what shade of concealer is right for you. This revolutionary colorless concealer contains microscopic color beads that are activated when you smooth it on—transforming into a shade that complements your skin tone. It conceals minor imperfections on face and dark circles under eyes and provides easy, buildable coverage.”

So what’s the verdict? This product is neither a smart buy, nor does it conceal.

First of all, the concealer has an odd, paste-like consistency. Kinda like toothpaste. And it’s thin, so don’t smooth it on, as directed. In order to achieve any kind of coverage, you must dab it on…but even when you do, don’t expect to camoflage anything more than a freckle. No joke. And, finally, if you’ve got medium to dark skin, just fugetaboutit. Almay Smart Shade Concealer leaves chalky white patches in its wake.

I think that a product that adjusts to compliment your skintone is great…in theory. But, in my opinion, this ‘technology’ is much better left to blush or lipgloss – situations where there’s more leeway with regards to color. With foundation, powder and concealer , you’re trying to fake a flawless complexion. So why leave a perfect match to chance?

You would do much better to choose your own shade than let Almay’s ‘microscopic color beads’ make the decision for you.

Pop Goes The Hair Elastic

Whatever you do, do not purchase “Ponytailers” from Conair’s Styling Essentials line. On a recent trip to CVS, I purchased a set of 75. I used them for the first time the other day, and I’m so upset by the poor quality that I’m tempted to write Conair and demand my money back. Here’s what had happened…

I pulled my hair back into a low pony and secured with one elastic. Then I coiled my hair into a bun and secured with another elastic. While running errands, I felt something hit me in the back of the head – like someone threw something at me. But when I look back, there’s no one in sight…so I chalk it up to my overactive imagination. Then, five minutes later, the same thing happens. I hear a sound behind me, and it feels like someone has thrown something at my head – so now I’m peeved. Except, again, there’s no one there. I reach back and find that my hair is no longer in a bun. Or even in a ponytail. My tangled mess of a mane is flowing freely down my back. Both of the elastics had failed me by up and deciding to spontaneously burst.

I rummaged through my purse for anything resembling a hair taming accessory, but came up empty-handed. Frankly, I was embarrassed to have a handbag so bereft of beauty accessories. Fortuitously, I found a twist-tie (why I have a twist-tie but no barrettes or hair clips is beyond me) in my bag and MacGyver-ish-ly wrapped that sucker around my mortifyingly messy hair. Thank goodness for small miracles, literally.

When I returned home, I removed the twist-tie and pulled my hair back using another of the Conair Ponytailers. Like clockwork, 20 minutes later, it snapped too. Third time was certainly not a charm. And my hair is baby fine, too…not thick at all, so I don’t understand the problem. This product is obviously defective, and I fully intend to contact Conair and express my displeasure.

I did a Google search on “Conair Ponytailers” and it came back empty…which makes me think that this product is no longer on the market. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell my local CVS. So if you see Conair Ponytailers at your local drugstore or mass market retailer, do like Dionne Warwick and “Walk On By.”

Don’t Be Tempted

At a company holiday party last week, the conversation turned to beauty products – as it usually does when I’m around. Two coworkers told me the same harrowing story – okay, maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic, but it wasn’t a good story.

Both women recently paid a visit to their local Bath & Body Works and were tempted into purchasing items from the Holiday Temptations line (not a surprise, given the yummy packaging). After taking the products home and using them, they were taken aback by the stains left on their tubs and towels.

We never got around to discussing how well the products work, but let’s be real – a shower gel had better get me squeaky clean (and wash away my cellulite) if it’s going to stain my shower.

Buyer Beware

After reading that sells discount skin care, body products, and cosmetics – in addition to fragrances – at up to 80% off, I couldn’t wait to log on and fill up my online shopping cart. So imagine my surprise when I found that not only are the discount claims highly exaggerated, but in many cases, their prices are higher than the retail value. Case in point:

Product: Clinique Perfectly Real Makeup
Retail Price: $22.50
Fragrance X Price: $30 (and they have the nerve to say that you’re saving 17%)

Product: MAC Clear Lip Glass
Retail Price: $13.50
Fragrance X Price: $17 (they say you’re saving 26%)

Product: Frederic Fekkai Apple Cider Clarifying Shampoo
Retail Price: $19.50
Fragrance X Price: $22.50 (they claim this is a savings of 18%)

Product: Philosophy Strawberry Milkshake Ultra-Rich Shampoo, Bath, & Shower Gel
Retail Price: $16
Fragrance X Price: $22.50 (you’re supposedly saving 21%)

Don’t get me wrong – there are many products on that will actually save you a couple of dollars. But can you really trust an online merchant that would so blatantly jack up prices, making you believe that you’re getting a deal?

The bottom line is that if you choose to purchase from, or similar discount websites, take precautions. All it takes is a few extra minutes to check prices and make sure that it’s you, and not them, who is making out like a bandit.

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