While we have holy grail status products, so do we have products we're on the fence about liking. These are mine -including haircare, skincare and beauty.

As much as we rave about products that have turned into holy grail status, or made it into the “repurchase” section of our empties posts (kudos to you if you can do that because the trash m u r d e r s me, and I have to throw them out) there are always products that we try out with the best intentions, only to have them fall by the wayside. Or maybe they’re not completely unsalvageable, but you’re certainly wondering if it was worth it.

This is a post about those products.

Kristin Ess The One Signature Shampoo & Conditioner

It kills me to say this, because I was so amped to try out the Kristin Ess line. It’s very reasonably priced; products are either $10 or $14. The Signature shampoo and conditioner were each $10. I’m not used to splurging so much on haircare (yes, you heard me right, splurging) I wanted to see if this was worth it. I had heard good things about her line, and while these are two products I’m on the fence about, it doesn’t diminish my enthusiasm to try out her other products.

So first off, let’s start with the good.

The packaging is very shower-worthy, probably because I always get the cheapest shampoo & conditioner around, and they don’t got the cutest packaging. The bottle is actually a soft rubber instead of plastic, so it’s easier to squeeze out product.

Both the shampoo & conditioner are for all hair types, sulfate-free, and can be used daily. I believe the whole Kristin Ess line contains what’s called Zip-Up Technology: “our proprietary strengthening complex designed to ‘zip-up’ split ends while targeting weak areas of the hair, smoothing the appearance of damaged cuticles and helping to protect hair from environmental stressors and color fade.”

I haven’t been using it long enough to say that, and since I’m going back to only washing my hair 2-3 times a week, I’m thinking it’s going to be a while before I notice long term changes like that.

What I don’t like about this product is a) it smells weird. I feel like it was supposed to smell good with a unique spin on it, but what resulted was just weird. And it lingers, so if you really don’t like it, that sucks. The shampoo also advertises “high-lathering”, but I didn’t find that to be the case unless you used a lot of product. And since my hair is not that long, nor is it thick, I don’t like to drown it in shampoo.

Aside from the formula, I have noticed I’m starting to get dandruff again. I’m not sure if this is a result of the shampoo switch, the fact that I’m not longer daily washing, or my using dry shampoos again, so I’m not going to blame it on the new hair products yet. But just the fact that it could be already causing some problems (along with the weird smell) makes me pause before recommending it to anyone else.

Colourpop highlighter in Flexitarian

Ah, my beloved Colourpop. It’s a struggle not to constantly place orders, because I think it’s a great value for the price. That being said, this was one purchase I can’t help but crinkle my nose at.

I had never tried Colourpop highlighters, but I really wanted a white, glow-y one, because I have so many champagne colors. I figured even though it might be bolder, I’d try my hand at the affordable Colourpop and grab Flexitarian, which in pictures looked like a creamy pearl.

When I received my order, I thought they messed up my order and sent a different highlighter. That’s how dark it looked in the pan compared to the pictures. However, once swatched it looked much better. Be warned: even after blending into your cheeks and wiping off the excess, your finger (which is how I like to apply any Colourpop product) will still have traces of highlighter. And it takes some time to wipe it off.

To be fair, it looks amazing from far away. The color is closer to what I expected, and you can really make it pop. What makes me iffy about it is how much I do not like how it sits on the skin up close. It didn’t look well-blended, and it’s hard to see the pigment; instead you see how much glitter is in the formula. Granted, it feels smooth and again, from a few steps back you really can’t see it, but it’s there. I don’t hate it, but I think it’ll take me a while to like it.

As for the formula, it is a crème to powder formula, so it’s very buttery in the pan and you get good color payoff, typical of my experience with Colourpop products.

Frank Body Glow Mask

Frank Body is known for their scrubs, but when I saw they had a skincare range I was so pumped to try it out. Also, I can’t resist their site and copywriting, it’s so hilarious.

Anyways, the Glow Mask was just very… underwhelming. I know, it’s kind of like, what can you expect from a company that is known for their body scrubs?

I will say that it’s moisturizing. Even when you apply, it’s looks and feels like a thick cream, and you only leave it on for five minutes. It’s supposed to give your skin a beautiful glow (hence the name) and make you look fresh-faced and well-rested, but it was just a decently hydrating mask.

I think it would be perfect to do before makeup, because it’s only five minutes, and it moisturizes. I’m definitely too lazy to do that though, so I just stick with this one whenever I want a fast pick-me-up.

The last thing is I’m not a fan of the smell. At first, I thought it was verging on chemical-y (take this with a grain of salt because this is exactly what I thought of Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser too, and now I love it) but now I’ve gotten a bit more used to it, I think it’s nutty, as this product does contain nuts.

Honest Beauty Refreshingly Clean Gel Cleanser

I was excited to try Honest Beauty, not because of Jessica Alba, but because it seemed like a decent brand and no one really talks about. And I figured since I was in the market for a cleanser, I’d just pick it up at Target. Well… I probably should have thought more about this purchase.

The first thing I noticed is that it feels very soapy, both when lathering on your face and when it pumps out into your hands. The pump is shorter than normal, so not a lot of product comes out in each pump too. Good if you like to live by the rules and only use about a quarter size amount of product, annoying if you prefer to be a bit more liberal with your cleanser.

It also doesn’t smell good. I realize I’m saying that about 95% of these products, but seriously, I’m putting them on or near my face, so it’s something you notice. It is free of any fragrances and dyes though, so at least there’s that.

One of the last things is how it stings my eyeballs. I’ve found more and more cleansers that do that (apart my Milky Jelly and micellar waters) on varying degrees, and it’s kind of annoying. I don’t shove product in there and yet I open my eyes and it stings. Granted, for this particular cleanser, it does tell you in the directions to avoid contact with eyes. I can see why.

I can’t say I hate this though. I mean, it does say to avoid your eyeballs. And it does the job – cleanse my face. Isn’t too shabby with the face makeup either, since that’s apparently all I can use it on. So it goes in the ‘eh’ pile, but I probably won’t repurchase.

Are there any products in your routine that you’re on the fence about? Have you tried any of these products?

  • I’ve never heard about that brand before but you got me curious right now. I have to try them!
    The Color Palette

  • Hmm, these all do sound really underwhelming but then again, I’m glad that you shared about them so I know what to avoid.

    Shireen⎜Reflection of Sanity

    • Sam

      yep, I always like seeing what others don’t jive with, so I thought I’d do the same!

  • Kiri Yanchenko

    That is really interesting that you didn’t like the frank body skincare. I guess they should stick to their core offering.
    Set to Glow

    • Sam

      I mean I’d probably still try their other products because I’m curious, but the mask was a bit of a let down.

  • I really want to try a few of the frank body products, but shame about the glow mask and also about honest beauty! I’ve always been interested in the brand as well mainly because of their ingredients and how the company approaches beauty but when I do get the chance to try them out, I will be sure to avoid these products

    Sam Hodgett || Beauty, Food & Lifestyle

    • Sam

      yeah, I’m definitely not against trying out other products from their ranges, but unfortunately these just didn’t work for me.

  • Laura

    I haven’t tried any of these products. I do like colourpop super shock shadows, but I haven’t tried their highlighters and I’m not drawn to them either x


    • Sam

      I like their super shock shadows too, that’s why I was hoping their super shock formula for cheeks would be just as good! ah, it least it was only $8.

  • I haven’t tried any of these products, though Colourpop has been on my radar for a while now and I’ve been wanting to try their eyeshadows. I’m not a fan of visible glitter so I think I’ll avoid their highlighters for now 😅

    Eh products are always a struggle for me, because I don’t hate them enough to toss it, but I don’t love them enough to want to use them, so they just sort of sit in limbo while I try to come up a way to make them work. Never happens, and they usually just end up expiring 🙈

    Jenny // Geeky Posh

    • Sam

      Saaaame! Even with these, I wouldn’t toss them out, but it’ll take me way longer to use it than really needed. But yes, colourpop eyeshadows are really nice, I would definitely recommend!

  • would love to try the shampoo and conditioner
    The Glossychic

  • Marije van der Wal (thegfguide

    Oh they all sound lovely!

    Marije |

  • It’s a shame that these don’t all work for you! I agree with you though, the way something smells is important to me, I can’t use anything floral-y or rose scented, it’s too much for me!

    Hope you are having a good week 🙂 I had the day off yesterday and after a specialist appointment for the little one I dropped the boys off at their grandmother’s and did some Christmas shopping, yey!

    Away From The Blue Blog

    • Sam

      Thanks, Mica, hope you had a great week as well! Sounds like you were very productive though! 🙂