I am kicking off a new series called Return to Sender where I will give a review of the products that I purchased and returned over the past 1-2 months. As a beauty blogger, it’s important that I’m completely honest about the products that I purchase and review. As a consumer, I don’t want to read or watch product reviews from people who praise every single product they try since they’re usually not being honest if they can’t ever be unbiased and find products that aren’t perfect. Above all, it’s important that I spend my money on quality products that actually deliver what they promise. If you’ve been following me a while, you know that I don’t worship any products or brands based on who the company’s owner is or who is the most popular (aka Kylie Jenner), and I buy all of my own products to maintain the integrity of my reviews. I feel like so many bloggers and YouTubers today rave about products that are sent to them for free, products and brands they have affiliate codes with, and products that are the latest fad or that have the biggest cult following. Yet when I try many of those products, it quickly becomes obvious that they had an ulterior motive for recommending them. That’s not me, and that will never be my style. I’ve never been one to follow the crowd, but rather I’ve always been the leader and taken the path that is often less comfortable but has more integrity. To be clear, this series is not intended to bash or “hate” any particular product or brand. It’s just my humble opinion of certain products based on my personal experience and test. Your experience and opinion may be different. If you are interested in trying any of these products or you already have them and love them, please take my opinion and others with a grain of salt. With that said, let’s get started. These are the products that I purchased between July and August 2016, and subsequently returned or trashed for one reason or another:
Kat Von D Lock-It Hydrating Primer
I really wanted to love this product. I bought it instantly after testing it out on the back of my hands in my local Sephora. It reminded me of the Too Faced HangoveRx Primer, which I usually wear. The formula is just a little more thin and watery compared to the Too Faced primer, but I thought it would be a good primer to wear in the summer and wouldn’t feel too heavy. My skin type tends to run dry to normal, although I have a lot of issues with hot flashes and sweating throughout the day due to my Lupus (which is why a good primer is important to help my makeup last all day). My first mistake was not trying this on my face in the store or trying to apply a foundation over it before I purchased it. My second mistake was using this product for the first time right before a major event at work. I thought I could get out the door in the same amount of time by using this primer with my usual foundation. Not so much. I applied the primer and let it dry a moment before applying my regular foundation. I instantly noticed a major issue. My foundation had a horrible, scaly, snake-skin appearance as if the primer was preventing my foundation from absorbing or attaching to my skin. The more I tried to smooth it out, the worse it got, as the foundation just lifted right off my face and was basically pilling up. I use Artis brushes to apply most of my makeup (foundation, concealer, and contour), but I’ve never had this problem before except when using the really old-style primers from 15 years ago. Unfortunately it didn’t improve when I tried using a Beauty Blender either. My Beauty Blender just lifted the foundation completely off my face every time it touched my face. This primer reminds me of the effect you see when you apply RainX to your car windows and then the rain/water instantly balls up and slides off the windscreen instantly. Same thing. It somehow prevented my foundation from sticking to my skin, and every swipe of the brush or touch of the Beauty Blender caused more foundation to lift right off of my face.
Within about 2-3 minutes after applying the primer, my face started burning and became beet red. I had a severe reaction to this primer, which truly shocked me since I’ve never had such a reaction with any other cosmetic product. Ever. I don’t have sensitive skin. My skin is pretty tough actually. I had to wash off everything on my face and let my skin calm down about 30 minutes before putting anything else on my face. Lesson learned. Don’t try a new product when you’re rushing out the door for a special event. It made me very late, and I arrived with a red face that took several hours to recover.
Maybe this will work better for someone else, but it’s a thumbs down for me. If you buy this in a Sephora, try it on your face and not the back of your hand. My hand didn’t show any signs of a reaction. Also make sure to throw on some foundation over a sample area of your face if you can try it before buying, and see if it makes you look like you have scaly snake face skin.
Peter Thomas Roth Mask-A-Holic Kit
I generally love Peter Thomas Roth products and have found some “holy grail” products in his brand that I have repurchased repeatedly over the past 4-5 years. I was so excited when I saw the Mask-A-Holic Kit offered at Sephora for just $75. This kit contains 5 different masks that are in 1.7 ounce jars. This is much larger than a standard trial or mini size mask but smaller than his full size jars which are 5 ounces each. The smaller jars would still last a very long time, even with frequent use. The masks include the following:
- Cucumber Gel Mask
- Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask
- 24K Gold Mask Pure Luxury Lift & Firm Mask
- Irish Moor Mud Purifying Black Mask
- Pumpkin Enzyme Mask
If you don’t routinely treat yourself with any other skincare treatments or masks, this may be a great starter kit for you to sample various types of masks and pamper yourself a little. However, if you are a skincare junkie and own a lot of other masks, you may be disappointed with the Peter Thomas Roth masks. Don’t get me wrong… They’re not ALL bad. I really like the Pumpin Enzyme Mask and think it is very effective. It smells great and feels great. You can actually feel it working as it sits on your skin and works to remove the dead skin cells and dull layers of your skin. However, that’s where my love ends. I had tried the Cucumber Gel Mask previously and found its results rather lackluster. I didn’t see or feel any difference in my skin affer using it for a few months. I felt the same about the Rose Stem Cell mask. This mask has a strong rose scent that is too overpowering of a scent for me. I saw no difference in my skin after use. I was excited to try the 24k Gold Mask and didn’t know what to expect. It looks luxurious and feels nice initially. As it dries, it becomes VERY sticky. By the time it’s time to wash it off, it turned into a thick, heavy, gloopy, sticky mess that was very difficult to wash off and remove. Again, I didn’t or feel any noticeable difference whatsoever. Last, I tried the Irish Moor Mud Purifying Mask. This mask feels like a goopy, thick black tar. On the face, there’s no noticeable feeling of it doing anything. I thought it would have a fresh, tingling detoxifying effect. Not so much. Again, no noticeable difference that I could see or feel.
Perhaps my standards are high because I have all the GlamGlow masks. After I use my GlamGlow masks, I can instantly see and feel a noticeable improvement in my skin. The only mask I can recommend from PTR as an individual purchase is the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask. However, if you have 2 or 3 GlamGlow masks, skip these. It’s just not worth the added expense.
GlamGlow PlumpRageous Matte Lip Treatment and Primer
I previously posted a full review of this product, so be sure to check that out if you missed it by clicking here. I won’t go into all the details again, other than to say that this product did not deliver what it promised in my opinion. I am a huge fan of GlamGlow products in general, but this was a huge miss that I returned within 24 hours.
Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Eyeshadow Palette
I saw this Limited Edition eyeshadow palette on Sephora’s website and instantly fell in love. The colors are my favorite and tend to be the shades I’m drawn to and wear on a daily basis. The palette contains what appears to be a stunning set of 8 nude shades, most of which are shimmers. The description says that they are creamy and never drying or chalky. My experience was the exact opposite, and I sadly returned this palette after a few days of trying to work with it. The shadows seemed very dry and were definitely not creamy. I tried a couple of different application methods. I thought they would apply better when using the tip of my finger, but they still felt very dry and chalky. They were not pigmented at all. I tried using a flat eyeshadow brush, both dry and wet, and neither of those methods worked. I still could not get any color payout from these shadows, even when my brush was wet with Mac Fix Plus. I was so sad that this palette didn’t work out because the shades really were stunning… in the palette.
Too Faced Lip Injection Glossy
I’m a big fan of the Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme, so I was happy to see them expand on this concept by making colored glosses with the plumping product in it. Honestly, my plan was to throw this in my purse and use it on top of my matte lipsticks later in the day as my matte lippies dried out on my lips. I thought it would give me a pop of extra color and some much-needed plumping all in one product. This product just didn’t impress me. I purchased the shade Spice Girl which is a pink nude. This product does not come in a lot of shade variations. There are only 6 shades available, and none of them are advertised to give you a lot of color payoff. The description on Sephora’s website says they provide “tinted juicy color” which is a fancy way of saying they’re just barely tinted and certainly won’t provide any significant coverage on your lips. I wasn’t expecting opaque coverage, but I expected a little more than these provided….or else I would use the clear Lip Injection Extreme. It provides the same tingling and plumping effect as the Lip Injection Extreme. I just didn’t like the way it looked and felt. It was very thick and sticky. My hair kept getting stuck onto my lips. Yeah, it was “that” kind of sticky that most of us hate in a gloss. I couldn’t justify keeping this and returned it.
IT Cosmetics Anti-Aging Eyeshadow Trio with No-Tug Brush
I found this eyeshadow trio and brush set advertised on QVC, and I justified the purchase because of the dual eyeshadow brush. I honestly believe that IT Cosmetics makes the best brushes available on the market. It’s not uncommon for me to purchase a product just because it comes with one of their amazing brushes (usually these deals are primarily reserved for QVC customers). However, when I received the eyeshadows and realized that the quality was completely different from the eyeshadows in their palettes, I knew I had to return it. These were the most chalky eyeshadows I’ve ever seen! Ever! There was absolutely zero color payoff, and many of the other QVC customers agreed with me judging by the long list of negative reviews and comments. You could take a piece of black board chalk and achieve the same effect. The trio eyeshadow set with the brush was $29, and I couldn’t even justify the brush for that price if I was going to throw away the shadows. The brush is nice though. It is double-ended with one side being a great brush for packing on color while the other side is perfect for applying and blending shadow into the lash line.
Price: $29 + $3 shipping
Kylie Cosmetics Birthday Collection 2016
Kylie Cosmetics released a collection of brand new products that were limited edition in celebration of Kylie’s 19th birthday. My experience with this company hasn’t been very good on average, so I was very nervous about buying any of the brand new products that weren’t market tested prior to the launch. This company has a strict “No Refund and No Exchanges” policy, and customers (including myself) have often gotten stuck paying for defective products or products that have serious issues and are often unusable. This new birthday collection was advertised to be infused with gold, and it included a new LipKit shade called Leo (maroon shade everyone has been anxiously waiting for her to release), a new eyeliner kit called KyLiner, 2 creme eyeshadow pots, a kit with 6 mini matte lipsticks, a new metallic lipstick shade called Lord, and a new gloss shade called Poppin. She also offered an obnoxiously expensive small empty makeup bag for sale that wasn’t worth 1/10th of the price customers were charged. In total, the entire bundle collection cost $195 …. for those that could get it. In typical Kylie fashion, she promised there would be plenty kits for everyone to buy, yet they sold out in less than 1 minute each time she restocked them, leaving thousands of angry customers behind in the dust. Some of the individual products became a little easier to get if you were fast enough to shop during one of the few restocks. Affer August 10th, they were discontinued completely. I was able to purchase the Leo LipKit, the Rose Gold Creme Eyeshadow, the Mini Matte Lipstick Kit, and the new metallic Lord.
My package arrived as many other packages have that I’ve received from this company, showing signs of tampering. The original tape the box was sealed with had been cut, and the box was resealed with a small piece of scotch tape. I should note that the scotch tape is how this company originally sealed all of their boxes before they were flooded with complaints of theft and tampering and subsequently changed to a larger piece of clear tape to seal the boxes. When I opened the Rose Gold Creme Eyeshadow, I knew something was wrong. It had a large spot on top of the Creme shadow that looked like it could be mold. The edges inside of the product also appeared bad with the same type of gross stuff growing on it. I wrote Kylie Customer Service and included several photos, inquiring what the stuff was inside my eyeshadow, but they didn’t answer that question. They did include a postage-paid return mailing label and asked me to return the product for an exchange (which is very rare for this company to offer).
After dealing with the eyeshadow issue, I then swatched and tried on my new Leo LipKit. The quality was very poor. Usually, Kylie’s lip liners are good quality, but this one was streaky and dropped heavy pigments of color in some areas while appearing dry and sketchy in other areas of the line. The liquid lipstick itself was incredibly patchy and uneven. While many fans continue to make excuses for the poor quality, I will not do so. A product should be thoroughly tested,and they should ensure the quality is acceptable and on par with competing products before they take 1 single customer’s hard-earned money. These products are sold with high-end price tags, and they should deliver high-end quality. When people look at your lips, they don’t know that Kylie Jenner made it or if Santa Clause made it. They will, however, know if your lipstick looks streaky and think that you don’t know how to apply makeup properly. Don’t buy products soley for a brand name or because you’re a fan of a teenager. Buy products for quality and don’t lower your expectations of a brand because it’s Kylie and she’s “just 19 years old.” This is yet another product that I cannot wear at all because the quality is subpar.
The Mini Matte Lipstick collection contains 6 mini matte lipsticks, each containing approximately 0.02 fl oz of product. All 6 minis added together contain approximately the same amount of product as 1 full sized tube. I haven’t worn these on my lips yet, but after swatching them, they feel incredibly empty and not worth the cost of $36.
Last but not least is the Lord metallic lipstick. I quickly discovered that this metallic lipstick was half
full (it was obviously half empty even when the applicator was still in the tube). This is an issue the company had with the KyMajesty metallic lipstick, and the issue obviously hasn’t been corrected yet. Since posting about mine on Instagram, I have received messages from other people indicating the same issue. Honestly, I’m not going to bother writing the company about this issue. I have decided this will be my last Kylie Cosmetics purchase unless some serious changes are made in the future.
That concludes my list for August 2016. Have you tried any of these products? Or did you try other products that we should stay away from? Tell me what you think in the comments!