Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Michael Todd Skincare? Never again.

As much as I'd love to say that I've had a fantastic experience with ALL the skincare I have tried lately, I will be very honest and say, I have not. There are some brands which haven't been right for me, and then there have been some brands which I haven't been pleased with at all. What's worse than a bad product is a bad expensive product, and what's worse than a bad expensive product is.. Awful customer service.

And the award for Poorest Customer Service of the Year goes to.. Michael Todd True Organics.

Yes.. This is the brand which countless YouTube beauty gurus have raved about, and I did my full research on their products before I purchased. Great review, great review, great review.. So I finally took the plunge and placed an order of approx. $50 on 23rd May, and received an automatic confirmation with a delivery tracking number. After waiting almost 2 weeks, and with the tracking service proving absolutely useless, I emailed them on the 5th June to find out where it was and they told me I'd receive it on 28th June at the latest. I thought, "Crazy, but fine - maybe it'll come earlier.."

Forward to 12th June, I returned from a brief visit up North to be greeted by this..

A notice slip from Royal Mail stating that it would cost me an extra £12.91 to pick up my item - which I'd already paid delivery price for!

Naturally, I freaked out. Over the next few weeks, business became pretty hectic so I didn't have time to chase this up but on 28th July, I emailed Michael Todd customer services saying that I was very unhappy, I refused to pay the fee and wanted a refund, and that Royal Mail would return their item shortly. However this was BEFORE I found out that they will not accept responsibility for any customs fees nor give a refund - and to add insult to injury, I didn't find out from their customer services, but instead by reading the T&C's on their website, because they had not responded to my email in roughly 3 weeks. Eventually I emailed them to complain that my first time experience at Michael Todd had been an absolute nightmare and that I was appalled, disappointed and would not purchase from them again. They DID respond to that (!), and insisted that they had responded to my my previous emails. One of their staff emailed back telling me that Royal Mail had overcharged me, and also stated again that my previous emails had been attended to - which seems highly unlikely considering that I check my emails everyday and my Junk folder every few days. She also said that I received a notice to collect my item, and when I asked her about that, she said it was the customs fee slip itself. Oh, charming. No email notification, no alert on the tracking service (which I checked everyday), just a polite fee slip through my letterbox. At this point, I was fed up and felt cheated (not to mention frustrated because she kept insisting that they replied to my emails when they didn't - believe me, I had no reason to lie!) Michael Todd, what a sham.

In the end, they decided to ship the item back to me and I received it almost a week later, without any fee added. I guess they just wanted me off their backs and heck, I wanted the product I had paid for.

Onto the product itself.. Michael Todd Antioxidant Carrot Serum. Was it worth the roughly $45 price tag? Worth this hassle? Absolutely not. Sorry, but to me, it's a product which has been over-hyped - don't get me wrong, it's a nice product, feels nice on the skin but honestly, nothing special. This verdict is not based on my awful customer service experience but is an honest judgement for the product itself; it is a glamorized moisturiser at best. It does feel very soothing and moisturizing, smells like carrots and tea tree oil, and I appreciate the hydration it gives - but I didn't see any amazing results after using this at night a few times and it is far too heavy as a day cream. I would price this at about $25-30 maximum, and I definitely will not be going back for it again.

There were several other products in the MTTO range that I really wanted to try out, but after this experience, I will not be buying from them again.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Clinique 3 Step

A few weeks ago, I picked up the Clinique 3 Step starter kit at Boots in Westfield. My skin has been a nightmare since I tried the Clarisonic in early March this year, with serious inflammation around my chin/cheek area - I'm talking burning, small red bumps beneath my skin, not a nice experience - plus very dry cheeks and an oily T-zone. Trying to find a suitable range for my troubled skin has been an absolute mission and I was becoming annoyed at trying to find something effective which wouldn't inflame my sensitivity.

For this reason, the Clinique 'Fragrance-free' banner caught my eye and whilst I was having a look, I got chatting with one of their skincare consultants who did a whole analysis on my skin and recommended the Type 2 programme. I'd always thought my skin was oily-combination but turns out I was wrong, and I'm dry-combination (dry, uncomfortable cheeks and oily T-zone). For £20, I think the starter kit is very reasonable and have heard a lot of reviews which made me even more curious!

THE CRUNCH: I love, absolutely adore the Clinique 3 Step system. It is a dream for my skin and has not only restored it back to good health, my skin has never actually looked or felt better! This is the best step I've taken for my skin after trying out numerous brands and I am very impressed. The face wash and toner (or shall we say liquid exfoliator) really cleanses my skin without stripping it and the Dramatically Different Moisturiser is just fantastic. Using this routine constantly for over 2 weeks, my skin feels clean, smooth and dewy and without any irritation at all. Finally!

  • The face wash (or liquid mild soap) is a very thick gel which lathers up luxuriously and is a delight to use. It smells fresh, and does make my skin feel squeaky clean after use. It doesn't tighten up my skin which is a huge plus as I hate that feeling, although it does dry skin out very slightly. 
  • The clarifying toner comes next, and I love this stuff! This is a strange one for me - it contains alcohol which I usually avoid for fear of inflaming my skin further and overly drying out my skin. However, this somehow works and doesn't irritate my skin at all but instead deeply cleanses it and controls the oiliness. It has been really effective in clearing away any breakouts, and I love the tingly refreshing feeling it gives when used. Clinique claim this is not just a cleanser but also an exfoliator which works in a non-abrasive manner - I must say, I've used it for over 2 weeks and feel that it has kept my skin very smooth.
  • The Dramatically Different moisturiser - where has this been all my life? This is the perfect moisturiser for dry-combination skin. It applies very smoothly over the skin, hydrating my dry cheek area AND my oily T-Zone without making it oily. Keeps my face matte and soft, and I can see this product becoming a holy grail in the near future.
Overall, I love this routine and will be sticking to it for as long as it continues to work wonders for me!

UPDATE: 28th August 2013
As the weather has started to cool down in the UK, the Clinique face wash is becoming much more drying on my skin than in the hot summer months. For that reason, I switched this with the La Roche Posay Purifying Foaming Gel which I love. It does seem to do the job and doesn't dry out my skin afterwards, however I don't feel it gives me as deep a clean as the Clinique fash wash. I may switch back, or see if Clinique offer another alternative. I am still in love with the Clarifying lotion, it is becoming a holy grail product; my skin loves salicylic acid and this is one of the key ingredients. I do love the moisturizer a lot so for now, will be sticking to it. Thumbs up, Clinique!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

And so it begins..

There are thousands, if not millions, of beauty bloggers and skincare pages on the internet - however, my aim with Skincare Musings is pretty simple. I just want an outlet to publicize my findings and opinions, quickly and effectively.

I'm a designer in my 20's and since my teens, have had a love for skincare - I enjoy make-up, clothes, handbags and shoes as much as the next girl, but skincare! Skincare has always been a passion. Something I am forever learning about, researching and strongly believe is worth time, effort and investment. No amount of make-up or artificial procedure will compensate for the miracle which is our skin - where natural, God-gifted beauty shines through.

I have tried various skincare ranges, methods, techniques, home-made treatments and there have been some interesting truths to the beauty and skincare industry worth noting. One of the biggest lessons I have learnt is that some product hypes are just not for everyone and some products are truly worth the hype they're not getting!

So here we begin. I won't post regularly as that wouldn't be practical, but think of this as my skincare/beauty diary. Whenever I find something worth posting about, I will - whether it's a positive or negative review, it will be with your benefit in mind. 

Have a fantastic day :)