Obviously, I love beauty products. Even when I'm not writing about them, I'm using, browsing and shopping for them. But there's a whole lot of noise in the beauty industry, and it often feels like there are too many products demanding our attention.
After trying probably thousands of products, I know what works for me and what doesn't. I also believe that there shouldn't be a product just for the sake of it—it needs to add something different or useful to the market.
So while I have an extensive list of the products I'll always use and go back to, there are some that simply just don't work for me. You're probably used to reading about beauty editors' favourite beauty buys, so keep scrolling to find out the products I'll never buy and what I go for instead.
1. Concealer over tinted moisturiser
I've never really understood the point of tinted moisturisers, and I've never found one that did anything interesting. I want it to both tint and moisturise, and it's so hard for one product to do both effectively—especially for everyone's skin needs. They also always seem to come in maybe three shades at most, so I'm pretty much out of the game anyway.
For lighter-coverage days, I prefer to use concealer over any dark spots and on my under-eyes. I can choose whatever level of moisture I want myself with a face oil or moisturiser underneath it.
This concealer single-handedly changed my no-makeup makeup days. If you're struggling to find a light, dewy concealer to replace a tinted moisturiser, this is your best bet. It gives me enough coverage and makes my skin actually look like skin.
How can a pencil replicate a tinted moisturiser? Yes, I know, but hear me out. First, I start with my favourite base, which is usually a nourishing oil, but you can go for a lighter moisturiser if you're worried about longevity. Then, I use this precise pencil in any areas that I want to cover. It gives me the best of both worlds, as I get to control both the coverage and the amount of hydration.
This brightening concealer is the one I go for when I need some more coverage and a seamless match for the moisturiser I'm choosing for my base. It's one of my all-time favourite concealers.
2. Lip pencils over lip plumpers
I definitely don't need lip plumping products anyway, thanks to the size of my lips, but honestly, there are so many more pleasant ways to define your lips. My biggest problem with lip plumpers is that that they hurt.
They've usually got menthol or peppermint in the ingredients (or even worse, some kind of pepper concoction). I'm not here for the whole "beauty is pain" thing unless it's a much-needed wax or something that has more long-lasting results. Also, you have to keep reapplying these things, and no-one wants that.
Lip liners are the way to go to add some shape and definition—regardless of the size of your lips—and they're perfectly pleasant to use.
I have one of these lipliners in the shade Cold Brew in every handbag I own. It has a wonderful texture that stays put. I use it underneath both nude lipsticks and clear glosses.
These buttery soft pencils are the best alternative to lip plumpers. They're smooth enough for over-lining and filling your lips if that's what your goal is, but I love these both as a replacement to lipstick and as a perfect base for lip colour.
I've been on a journey with lip pencils, and I really struggled to get a precise line in the beginning. I definitely went out looking like a toddler who's first been introduced to crayons. If you're struggling to get a clean line, this angled pencil will make the application much easier.
3. Black castor oil over hair vitamins
I know that some hair supplements work really well for people with thinning and fine hair, but those gummy bear vitamins all over Instagram are a no from me. Many supplements aren't regulated, so if you're tempted, then make sure you do your research (or better yet, get some advice from someone in the know).
I've had traction alopecia in the past, and instead of going for supplements, I decided to try black castor oil. Within a few months, my hairline had significantly improved. I used it in its purest form as a treatment, but now, I also look for hair products that include it.
I've used this on both my hair by massaging into the scalp and also on my eyebrows. But be warned: It's very thick, so if you don't have Afro hair, use it as a treatment mask before washing out.
One of the shampoos that I have in constant rotation to make my hair softer and easier to manage. The blend of oils including black castor oil and extra virgin olive oil gives my Afro hair all of the moisture it needs.
This is the perfect solution for when my hair needs some extra TLC and I want all of the benefits of the castor oil without the mess.
4. Double-cleansing with a facial cleansing brush
I tried, I really tried. I love a gadget as much as everyone else, but I didn't enjoy cleansing my face with the equivalent of a dramatically oversized toothbrush every day. It felt really odd to have something oscillating over my face, and I know some people swear by them but it's not for me.
They're also expensive, and while it's an investment, I much prefer spending that on more juicy products like perfumes and lipsticks. In regards to their cleansing abilities, I get it, you do get a very thorough cleanse.
But I also get a great cleanse by double cleansing. It means I actually get a moment to touch my face and massage the cleansers in and really take my time. We have so much tech in our daily lives, and I don't want it in my bathroom.
I've been using this ever so luxe cleansing balm for years now. It gets rid of all of the makeup, dirt and daily nonsense that accumulates on my face. There's also no better feeling than massaging it in and using a hot cloth to remove it all.
I use this heavenly scented, jelly-like cleanser as my second cleanse. It removes any lingering product from the balm and also does a great job of cleansing by itself.
5. Regular face masks over sheet masks
I can't even tell you how many sheet masks I've used and regretted. I tried to get on board with the hype, but it always ended up in a wave of disappointment. Sheet masks aren't easy to apply—it's a faff and most of them don't fit well. Then I can't even relax because there's liquid dripping down my chin.
I know that many sheet masks deliver some pretty powerful actives, but I like the added step of washing a decadent mask off and seeing how glowy my skin looks afterwards.
Also, I had major eco-guilt after each single-use and unsustainable sheet mask that came into my life. So, I'm back to good ol' regular face masks that last longer and feel like more of a treat for both my skin and soul.
When I'm looking for a mask that has a lighter feel on my skin like a sheet mask would, this zingy mask peps my skin up.
A mud mask was probably one of the first skincare products I ever tried and I'm still into them. There's nothing more satisfying than letting that mask dry on your face. This is an elevated version of my teen favourite, thanks to the inclusion of pollutant- and toxin-removing pink clay.
6. Any lip product over liquid lipstick
If there was a time capsule that contained all of the products that defined the last few years of the previous decade, it would be the liquid lipstick. It's the lip product that single-handedly changed an entire category and caused much chatter on Instagram.
I converted to liquid lipsticks for a while, as I was interested in how long they lasted compared to regular lipsticks. Then I realised just how shocking most of them were.
They're so matte that they start cracking within hours, my lips got sore and the icing on the cake? Liquid lipsticks are so hard to remove at the end of the day.
In my opinion, lip glosses, creamy lipsticks and even matte lipsticks are more comfortable to wear than liquid lipsticks are forgiving when it comes to application.
I've tried a lot of things on my lips, and this grown-up cherry chapstick is still ranking at the top of my list. It has a silky smooth texture that stays put for hours as well as giving my lips both coverage and shine.
A drugstore classic for a reason. The number of lipsticks in my collection is too indecent for me to share publicly, but despite there being many luxury brands in there, this is the one I still use on the daily.