Making Terrible Products Work

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Unworthy products – ones that we can’t even bear putting on our faces/bodies because they are just not good enough. These products get relegated to the back of our beauty closets and only see the light of day two years after the fact when they get tossed in the trash during a spring cleaning.


Every product comes with a job description. But just like in a real-life workplace, some products (employees) perform their duties better than others. I consider myself a fair employer, though. If a product just isn’t working out in its current position, I will utilize it in a different way (crappy cleanser? Use it as body wash. Crappy toner? Decant it into a spray bottle and mist yourself after a shower. Crappy face cream? Use it on your feet). Sometimes you might be surprised by the results.


A few months ago I did some product/gift swapping with my darling friends Ruhi (@ruhimaach on Instagram) and Dana (@bijousmere on Instagram). One of the products Ruhi sent me was Tatcha’s Indigo Soothing Rice Enzyme Powder – a dodgy blue powder that resembles old-school laundry detergent. Ruhi gave me a bullet list of instructions to follow while using this product, which I did, to the letter. Tatcha is a brand that I always see on Instagram. Their products all look beautiful – they have truly mastered the chic, Japanese minimalist aesthetic. But just because a product looks good doesn’t mean that it is good. Everyone always raves that Tatcha’s products are on some kind of second coming of Christ/life-changing level, so I had extremely high hopes and expectations for this particular one. To say that I hated this product after the first use would be an understatement. Not only did it dry the absolute hell out of my skin (anything that makes your face “squeak” when it gets rinsed off should be a red flag), it made it feel itchy, which has never happened to me before. [Sidebar: I also had a sample packet of the famous Camellia Cleansing Oil, which I also thought was awful (leaves the face squeaking, just like the powder). Ditto for the indigo hand cream and moisture rich silk cream (I’m sorry, but alcohol shouldn’t be the fourth ingredient on the inci list of any moisturizer). I just don’t understand this brand’s hype when the products simply don’t perform well. I can promise you I won’t be getting any Tatcha PR samples… and I’m perfectly fine with that.] I looked on the Tatcha website to see how they recommend using the powder. I tried it their way, unsuccessfully. I took matters into my own hands and mixed the powder with a couple of cleansing lotions. No luck. After these failed attempts at making the product work, it got pushed to the back of my armoire where it was basically forgotten about until a couple months later. When I did my swap with Dana, she sent me some items from Salma Hayek’s skincare line Nuance. One of them was the Wild Lime Exfoliating Facial Gel. This product is essentially a knock-off version of a true Asian brand peeling gel. But these products aren’t exfoliating at all—there is an ingredient in them that, under friction, causes a peeling/rolling effect. Which is all fine and well, but these companies try to convince you that what’s rolling off your face is dead skin, and that’s simply not the case. This gel does have some citrus acids and sugar cane extract (glycolic) in it as well, though. And it does sting if you put it on freshly-shaved skin, so I’m sure it has a pretty low pH. The thing is, it reeks of men’s cologne and artificial lime, so it’s almost unbearable while on the skin. Not to mention the whole peeling thing is a hoax. To the back of the cupboard it went.


Last week when I was lining up the last few products I wanted to finish for the #MissionEmpties challenge, I rediscovered the powder and exfoliating gel. I thought to myself, “what if I mixed them together and used it as a mask?”. One word: EUREKA. I cracked the code (whatever code that is). I mixed a big blob of the gel with a palmful of the powder, which created a gritty blue paste. I applied the blue paste onto freshly cleansed skin and left it on for an hour. Miraculously, the faint scent the powder has completely nullified the overwhelming lime scent of the gel – I forgot I even had the stuff on my face because it had no smell at all. When I rinsed the “mask” off, the granules of the powder stayed grainy/scrubby (when I used the powder on its own with water previously, the grains melted into a cream with absolutely no scrubbing power), which gave an added bit of physical exfoliation. When I looked at my skin in the mirror I was shocked – it was like I had a new face. All of my freckles had completely faded away and my skin was smooth and glowing. This is just one example of how using two sucky products in a creative way can produce an amazing result. Now, I won’t be rushing out to buy the powder and gel simply to mix them to get this effect, but at least now these products have a use/purpose and won’t go to waste!


Have you guys ever combined crummy products in a way that made them effective? I’d love to know, so please feel free to share.


4 thoughts on “Making Terrible Products Work

  1. I can’t believe it!! I’m truly amazed by your creative ways! I currently enjoy mixing products- but usually it’s two that I like on their own as well lol! I’ve mixed Clinique exfoliating paste wth la mer cleansing gel. Very nice! I am currently mixing a Korean foam cleanser (holika holika) with tatcha rice powder. Great idea about toners in the shower! Oh and I use Cle de peau massage cream on my feet under socks as a mega foot treat!

    Liked by 1 person

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