So I ran across this article in a FB group a few days ago. You don’t need to click it, I’m going to quote it and critique it, so if you’d rather not give hits to blatant click-bait, you don’t have to.
The title is Beauty Products You Don’t Need … and a Few You Definitely Do. Very good clickbait title. I was hoping it would cover things that are overpriced and useless, such as Make Up For Ever’s HD Microfinish Powder, which is simply silica powder ($110 a pound at TKB Trading), put into a pretty little container and sold for $16 for 0.17 oz, or $34 for 0.3 oz. At $34, their gross profit per pound of silica is $1,700. I’m not sure what the net is after the cost of the silica and packaging, but it’s definitely an obscene amount.
That would be article worthy, as would the hundreds of products out there that claim to do things which, if they actually did them, would mean the products would be prescription only. The wonderful blogger and creator of Super Black Lacquers did an excellent post on that very subject, so I’ll just let you read it instead of repeating it.
Anyway, the article did almost none of that.
It starts off with this little paragraph:
“Beauty counters and drugstore shelves are flooded with thousands of products, all claiming to work miracles, but women can’t possibly need every one of them, right? We rounded up makeup, hair, and skin-care experts to weigh in on which items are a waste of money for everyday use and the select few you should stock up on for every day use.”
At this point, I still had hope. Then I read the first item that is apparently totally unnecessary.
“For the day to day, most women don’t need foundation,” says (some lady), New York-based makeup and hair artist. “For a wedding or big occasion you may want more coverage, but typically you can eliminate foundation and just use concealer under the eyes and to spot-treat.”
Yes, foundation. I want to know what magic concealer this woman is using, because the ones that cover the god-awful circles under my eyes are not going to naturally blend in with my very pink undertone. Concealers are heavy-duty stuff for me and, I assume, a lot of other people, because we’re fighting nature and dealing with the incredibly unrealistic expectations that Photoshop, airbrushing, CGI, and HD-camera-ready cosmetics have set up for us
Besides that, if I use concealer to spot cover, I’m going to end up with a patchy face that’s all tiny islands of perfection surrounded by pink, 27-year old skin.There is no amount of blending that will make that work. I’d have to cover my entire face in concealer, which, you know, would cost more than just using concealer the way I already do and then using foundation normally.
It may come as part of a three-step package, but Dr. (some other lady), a New York-based cosmetic dermatologist, says she actually doesn’t recommend toner. “Maybe if you have really oily skin, toners are helpful, but, realistically, if you’re cleansing normally and removing makeup, I don’t think it’s necessary. I think people like it to make skin feel clean, but tingling and tightness is actually a sign of overdrying.”
It’s possible the author of the article vastly oversimplified what the dermatologist said. I really hope so, because “Maybe if you have really oily skin” is terribly inexact for someone who has studied the subject. I have mildly to moderately oily skin, depending on a number of variables, and a light amount of the right toner helps rid my face of oil without me needing to wash my face an extra one to three times a day, which would be drying no matter what cleanser I used. While toners, especially alcohol-based ones, can worsen skin conditions, they seriously do not belong on this list.
It seems like it would be hard for the third item to be more mind-blowingly silly and ignorant of the differences in women’s lifestyles, genetics, locations, and other such important factors. Whelp, they managed somehow. Lip balm.
“With winter coming, you may be surprised to hear that you actually don’t need this popular pocket-size item. “I never ever use lip balms; I just use moisturizer,” says (lady), who simply rubs it on her lips in place of lip balm. “The lips are just a more delicate type of skin than your face, but they need the same type of hydration. Add moisturizer just before you go to bed and then you can eliminate Chapstick, which essentially dries out the lips anyway if you’re using the ones with alcohol.” Another alternative: “Eye cream is even better — it just plumps [lips] up at the same time.”
Apparently, since it works for this lady, it will work for every single other woman in the world. I don’t even know where to begin with this one. I doubt all eye creams are lip-safe. I personally do not want to smear my eye cream or moisturizer on my lips, as I bet they taste like butts. Besides that, they cost a hell of a lot more than even the more pricey lip balms I like (I am a lip balm addict). Nor do I want to carry them around with me.
I do not nervously lick my entire face. Just my lips. Food does not touch our entire faces when we eat, just our lips, and depending on the food and the amount of fucks given during the meal, possibly the area surrounding the lips. Our lips being more sensitive versions of face skin means that they quite possibly need extra care. My face doesn’t crack and bleed in the winter, but my lips do, if I don’t use a good lip balm.
While it’s true that some balms contain drying ingredients in an effort to get you into a never-ending buying cycle, it’s very easy to Google and find out which ones those are. There are plenty of drugstore balms that do not contain those ingredients.
Somewhere along the way the beauty industry convinced us all that we have lots of dead skin that needs to be sloughed off. The truth is, harsh scrubs do more harm than good. “I have so many patients who come in using really aggressive scrubs on their face,” says (other lady). “Any time you overly irritate the skin or overly dry the skin, you’re making it worse.” According to Shah, people with oily or acne-prone skin should avoid scrubs, which cause skin to overcompensate for the dryness scrubs cause. If you don’t want to give up scrubbing, she recommends using the delicate (pricey scrub #1), (pricey scrub #2), or gentle body washes with microbeads just once a week.
I’m not sure where to start with this one, either. Yes, there are a lot of issues caused by people with oily and acne-prone skin accidentally drying out their skin in an effort to remove all of the oil ever, but that can hardly be pinned on scrubs alone. I will grant that they’re not necessary, but they do help a lot of people obtain softer skin. They do sort of save it at the end, although in an asinine manner, with “If you don’t want to give up scrubbing,’ like it’s a damn addiction or something. Plus mentioning (and linking to) two very expensive scrubs, and then saying “any gentle body wash with microbeads.” Pretty sure there are plenty of gentle body washes that would play merry hell on all sorts of skin types.
That added prep step that so many makeup artists swear by? Skip it! “Most primers really don’t work,” says (lady). “I do faces all the time and don’t put primer on.” Eyelid primer is also unnecessary. To help powder shadows affix to your lids, try a dab of concealer or foundation to help it stick.
I’m gonna go ahead and assume the faces she does all the time that she doesn’t put primer on are for photoshoots and the like. Not people who are working long hours at jobs that don’t break for makeup re-touching, not people who have to sit in traffic in 80-90 degree fahrenheit, high humidity weather for five plus months a year. Definitely not people who prefer a more natural look, so they use a color-correcting primer, since pancaking on foundation (that we apparently don’t need) enough to hide whatever color issues one may have rarely looks natural.
And no eye primer? Seriously? Use concealer instead? This lady appears to be pulling these tips out of her ass. Again, some of her clients might not need eye primer for their shoots, but people in high-humidity climates do. People who don’t get makeup retouching breaks do. People who want opague color do. People who want their shimmer to stay in place do. People who have a day that starts at six AM and doesn’t end until ten PM sure as shit do, I can’t even.
The article then covers cellulite creams, thank god, which are total bullshit. At this point, though, a lot of people reading (if they’ve gotten this far) are going to doubt the rest of the list since the first part is so insane.
“I think the three types of creams [you need] are dedicated eye cream, face cream, and body cream. I do find eye creams are more delicate than a face moisturizer, and they also contain things like caffeine,” explains (lady). As for a good foot moisturizer, she suggests good old Vaseline.
First of all, caffeine in an eye cream does zilch.She should know this, as a damn cosmetic dermatologist. She should also know that plenty of people need two different moisturizing lotions/creams/mists for their body, one for dry spots and one for regular spots. And just the thought of having vaseline squishing between my toes grosses me the hell out. I’ve used face creams that were too rich for my face on my feet before, but I didn’t decide that everyone else should do the same.
Here’s my favorite one:
(Lady) admits that it’s easy to fall for all the beautiful colors, but they’re actually a waste of space in your makeup bag. “You don’t need 25 eye shadows,” she says. “Just get three basics. Most women need one neutral palette and that’s it.”
I can’t think of a single neutral palette that contains all the necessary shadows for both daytime looks and night time, more vampy/smokey looks. There probably is one, but I can’t think of it. Yes, unfortunately there are women who do not enjoy wearing makeup, and wear it due to workplace dress codes or to conform to societal expectations, and no, they probably don’t need a ton of bright crazy colors. I have no idea what the ratio of those women is compared to the spectrum of women with those who enjoy makeup somewhat on one end and those who make an outright hobby of it on the other. I honestly have no idea.
What I do know is that there are enough women who are somewhere on the “enjoy it to a degree” spectrum to make this piece of advice laughable. Even women who stick to neutrals, mostly, are going to want to change up their looks, and try new things, and in doing so will end up with more than 25 eye shadows. On the other end, there are those of us who absolutely love wearing color just as much as we love wearing a perfect neutral eye, and those of us who love wearing color more.
Let’s look at the options for a single, simple shade. Brown. There’s ash brown, chocolate brown, golden brown, light brown, taupe brown, dark brown, bronzed brown, red-toned brown, pinkish-brown, etc etc. Then there are the finishes: matte, semi-matte, satin, frosted, shimmer, metallic, and then the specks of shimmer/glitter that could go with any of those finishes: tiny sparkles, tiny glitter, larger glitter, multiple sizes of glitter. And the glitter can be in every shade of the rainbow. And then there are duochromes. I think I’ve made my point.
I own more than 25 unique brown shadows. Brown isn’t even one of my favorite shades, other than for liner, as I like to use powder for liner pretty often.
Face mists are another one. Need a refreshing spritz on a hot day? “You could just put water in a spray bottle,” says (other lady). “The one difference with a spray bottle is it may come out a little more forceful, while mists have a nice aerosol feel on the skin, but these are things you would not need on a regular basis.”
So, we’re supposed to spray water on our non-primered, spot-concealed faces and eyes and unprotected lips? That doesn’t sound like a hellish trainwreck waiting to happen, nope, not at all. And that doesn’t take into account some of the things some face mists do. Some are designed to prep or prime, but most are designed to set makeup in place, mattify the skin, or refresh the look in general. These aren’t a necessity for all, but they are for some, and the alternative they offered is just a bad idea.
Next up is lip liner.
“It’s very drying, and young women definitely don’t need it,” insists (lady). “You really only need a lipstick or a lip gloss. Women who are aging may need the lip liner more than younger girls, because as women age the line feathers out. But lipstick is preferred since it’s more hydrating.”
Again with assuming all products work the same for all people. OCC Lip Tars, one of the most amazing things to come out of the makeup world recently, tend to feather no matter your age. Also, I doubt a good lip liner is drying. I use one occasionally, with products that feather, and I’ve never experienced any drying.
Finally, on the “Don’t need it” list, are blotting sheets.
“If you have very oily skin, you may want to consider washes containing tea tree oil, mattifying moisturizers, and certain face masks,” says (other lady). “Blotting papers may lift up a little more residue than a tissue would, but they’re not really needed.”
Good blotting papers lift up a hell of a lot more residue than a tissue does, and they’re coated in a thin powder to prevent them from messing with your makeup. I’m starting to wonder if this woman has ever spent five minutes outside in a hot, humid environment. Mattifying moisturizers can also clog pores, which could cause acne on someone with normal skin, nevermind someone with oily skin. And face masks, tea tree oil cleansers, and mattifying moisturizers aren’t an option once the makeup is already on, and you’re at a family reunion, sweating your ass off.
There was also something on there about oil-based body scrubs, along with a joke about roommates slipping in the shower or something. I’m glad they removed it because oil-based body scrubs rock.
Their list of ‘necessary’ items.
“For hair products, everyone has different needs, but this is one product that nobody can live without,” says (lady). She suggests spraying your roots around the front of your face and blow-drying roughly to add volume and fake a freshly washed head of hair.
Okay first of all how do you blow dry ‘roughly?’ Bang yourself on the head once in a while with the dryer? Slap your own ass with it? This may very well be an industry term I’m not family with because I’m not super into hair, but man, it does not sound good.
It frankly blows my mind that things like foundation and primer are unnecessary in this article, but dry shampoo is a must, I do use dry shampoo on occasion, but my hair is normal/slightly oily. I don’t think dry shampoo would help already dry hair, or dry scalps. The advice itself isn’t bad (except for that ‘roughly’ part), but it doesn’t belong on a list of necessities. It also doesn’t cover the huge issue with SLS and other drying agents in most shampoos that cause over-oiliness to begin with. Switching to a non-drying shampoo and figuring out a schedule that works for you (there are quite a lot of women discovering that washing their hair daily causes scalp issues and dries out their hair, so they do it every other or every third day), and stopping the drying cycle would be a hell of a lot more effective.
Mascara. If you only have time to use one product, this may be the one. As (other lady) says, “Mascara just livens the eyes.”
This might be good advice if you have thick lashes and don’t need to push-line, and/or have naturally curly lashes or use a curling mascara. If I just applied mascara and nothing else, I’d have slightly thicker, slightly longer stick-straight lashes that would still be invisible unless you were looking straight down from over my head, or from the side. Push lining should be a necessity before mascara, in my opinion. It makes lashes look thicker and helps outline your eyes.
If you have normal skin without issues, (other lady) recommends applying an antioxidant serum, which contains vitamin C and vitamin E, in the morning. “It helps to brighten the skin and fix discoloration, and, in theory, it could also help scavenge free radicals from sun damage.”
I haven’t tried anti-oxidant serums, because I think they sound like bunk. That last part, ‘in theory,’ is most likely bunk. Almost anything that will have a visible effect is prescription only, as I noted at the beginning of the post.
You should apply moisturizer with at least SPF 30 every morning, according to (other lady). No exceptions
Every lady loves a pop of color, and, according to (lady and other lady), there’s nothing more mood-boosting in the beauty world than a flattering lipstick or gloss.
Not bad advice, if taken out of the context of the article. However, a pop of color, I’m assuming, means a shade that isn’t ‘my lips, but better,’ and I’m imagining a woman with patchy spot-concealed skin, sweating her eyeshadow (and possibly mascara) into a creased mess, the concealer slowly eroding from sweat and water spritzers, bruised from bashing her forehead with a hair-dryer. Adding a pop of color to that image does not help anything by my amusement level.
(Other lady) suggests buying a basic gentle cleanser to use morning and night to remove grime and excess makeup.
Again, agreed wholeheartedly.
The last item is blush.
(Lady) says a flushed cheek will make anyone look more healthy and beautiful. Simple enough.
Nuh-uh, not that simple. As I mentioned, i’m pink as all hell, so applying blush without foundation is just going to look weird. I’ve tried it. It doesn’t look like a natural flush, no matter the shade I use or how light my hand it. It just looks like irritated skin. Also, it’s going to disappear fast with all that water spritzing.
This article reads more like “How to look like a hot mess” than anything. I hate clickbait articles of all kinds, and I especially hate beauty-related ones that are full of useless ‘tips’ that assume all women are one giant monolith that react the same way to the same products.