Five products we will never recommend even to our worst enemies

There are products that are bad, and then there are ones that we can not in good conscience recommend to anybody with a face. We don't hate anybody that much (or at all)! Here are five things that should be on your hit list.

High pH cleansers

I used to think I could get away with using just any kind of facial wash without paying attention to its pH. After a disaster from trying a cleanser that I later found out has a pH level of 8, I vowed to always always check the pH to avoid subjecting my skin to another pimply nightmare. Our skin needs an ideal pH level of 5 to maintain a healthy acid mantle that can protect it from bacteria and irritation. High pH cleansers destroy that by stripping away the protective barrier, so if you’re acne-prone and vigilant about keeping your face clean, you can still put yourself at risk for a breakout!

Others don't react as much as I did with a super high pH cleanser. All the same, steer clear of them if you have the opportunity.

Fake makeup

We can’t stress this enough: just say no to fake makeup! We don’t really know what’s in them, we don’t know where they came from, and stealing intellectual property damages the businesses of the brands we actually love. There are lots of cheap yet safe alternatives that are often at par with the original, and besides, fakes don’t guarantee that they’ll perform anywhere as good as the original as we discovered with the fake Kylie lip kits experiment. So, if you don’t want to slowly ingest rat poop and mystery liquids and aren’t sure of the item you spotted online, check out our tips on how to avoid buying fakes. Remember: if it’s too good to be true, it’s probably fake.

(Ed: Or part of a Project Vanity Kit, haha. - Liz)

Makeup on clearance

Say what!? We beauty lovers all have an amazing sale-radar that helps us spot great deals from miles away, but wait! Before making that super sale clearance purchase, always make sure to look at the expiry dates to ensure that your haul isn’t due to expire in just a month or two. This is particularly important if you’re buying backups that you won’t be able to use immediately. You won’t want to use expired cosmetics for face, or end up just wasting money on stuff you’ll have to throw out soon!

Physical exfoliators with sharp edges

If you haven’t yet heard, St. Ives is facing a lawsuit over the damaging effects of their famous apricot scrub, which contains crushed walnut shells as a physical exfoliator. The shells have jagged edges that are said to cause tears or breakages in skin at a microscopic level. These microtears make skin vulnerable to bacteria, so all that effort to exfoliate may be doing more harm than good. Besides, why subject your skin to a harsh, painful scrub that only scratches the surface (literally and viciously) when there are gentler, more effective alternatives?

These are all new, but I keep them only for personal use.

These are all new, but I keep them only for personal use.

Pre-loved makeup with dip packaging

Although I prefer to get BN (brand new) items more than PL (pre-loved) ones, I think it’s okay as long as PL items were opened in the same year they are being re-sold and not in a dip-use-dip (DUD) packaging. There’s no assurance that the seller made sure to only use clean applicators and never double-dipped, and there is simply no way to sanitize mascaras, liquid lipsticks, or lip glosses! The product may look and smell fine but there’s a good chance that a colony of bacteria has been living inside the tube. You can still adopt PL items but for your own safety, stick to powder formulas and liquids in sealed pump bottles. 

What products do you make sure to avoid for yourself and others? Why?