From the super speedy 30-second fake tan to the bath salts that slim, these amazing beauty products sound too good to be true! But are they? We put them to the test…
We all know the celebs have a helping hand when it comes to looking preened, primped and polished, but not all of us can afford lavish A-list treatments with an equally lavish price tag. The good news is there ARE cheaper alternatives out there, but do they deliver the same results?
We decided to put the beauty products and salon treatments with big claims to the test and found that, actually, some of them really do work! Hoorah!
From a detoxifying seaweed bath and laser hair removal to the at-home teeth whitening treatment you have to try, these are the beauty buys that claim to change the way you look. We promise to give our very honest opinion of whether they actually work or not.
Do you have a wonder product you love? Or something you have tried that promised great results but just didn’t deliver? We would love to hear from you and feature it! Let us know by sending us a message or writing on our Facebook page.
Spanx faux leather leggings (£89, Harrods)
SPANX are the masters of shapewear. And they have used their expertise to craft a legging range with built-in compression panels. At first glance the leggings don’t look out the ordinary. But a quick look in the mirror and all that changes. I can confidently say they made me look around a dress size smaller and gave me that all important uplift in the bum area. Plus the super high waist means my tummy was smoothed out a treat. They are only two sticklers. The price and the fact that they only come in a small, medium or large. But for an investment piece, they are definitely worth considering. In fact, I may snap up another pair!
CACI Synergy Non-Surgical Facial (£120, available nationwide) The claim: A non-surgical facelift that will tighten your skin and lift your muscles
The truth: Web editor Lauren said, ‘While this isn’t a particularily relaxing facial, the results are pretty incredible. The micro- microdermabrasion treatment comes first, which is great for smoothing and clearing the skin. Any blemishes or dry patches looked significantly reduced after the treatment.
The muscle-training comes next, which works by passing small electrical currents via probes to re-educate the muscles under the skin so that they are lifted.
Though I’m not promising wrinkle-reducing miracles, it’s a great treatment to try before a special occasion if you want your skin to look plumper and more radiant.’
Oil pulling (£1.74 – £5) The claim: a natural hangover cure
The truth: Editorial Assistant Hana said: ‘Pop a large spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth and swish around for 10-20 minutes the morning after. As well as a hangover cure, this ancient Indian technique has been said to work wonders for skin, teeth, digestion and even your heart. Please let me warn you though, coconut oil in your gob after a night out is not enjoyable. In fact, the texture made me feel a bit sick! Luckily, after a few minutes it turned to a tasteless liquid. I found the continuous ‘swirling’ made my jaw hurt a bit, so I was relieved when 20 minutes was up! My hangover didn’t miraculously disappear but I did feel a tiny less foggy – but maybe that’s the placebo effect. I’ll think I’ll just stick to the trusty pint of water and a coffee!
Coutoure Ultimates Sarah Tights The Claim: Ladder proof and seamless
The truth: Digital Coordinator Miriam said: ‘These ladder proof tights use a unique knitting technique to ensure you can go seamlessly from day to night without any tight-related mishaps. During a 48-hour test – which included two machine washes – the tights definitely held their own. And as an added bonus they seemed to smooth out a few lumps and bumps on the way. On the downside the 100 denier version that I tried – they do come in a range of deniers – left me a little hot and bothered. And the £14.99 price tag may also put some people off.’
Credit: Couture Ultimates
Glitter Lips by Beauty Boulevard (£12.50) The claim: Glitter lips that last all night
The truth: Beauty writer Lauren said ‘Completely smudge-proof, once these glitter lips are on, they aren’t coming off! I felt pretty ridiculous trying these out in the office, but they’re great for fancy dress. Try them in silver, gold or a bright red shade. And when you do want to take them off, they’re pretty easy to remove with an oil based cleanser.’
Tweexy: The wearable nail polish (£10.95, Onogo) The claim: The easiest ever way to apply polish.
The truth: Web intern Ellen said: ‘This inventive product makes painting your nails trouble-free and simple. When using this cool product, you can paint your nails on the go, whether it be on the train, or over coffee – all you need to do is place the Tweexy on your finger. It’s a very versatile gadget, fitting all finger sizes and nail polish brands. There are a few downsides though, it can feel top heavy and uncomfortable because of the silicone. Be careful when moving the ring from one hand to the other too – no one likes a smudged mani!’
Olaplex hair treatment (£50 for a stand-alone treatment at ColourNation, Soho) The claim: Long-lasting damage control for frazzled locks
2016’s haircare buzz word refers to a special deep conditioning treatment, often used at the same time as a colouring treatment, that works on the hair’s condition from within, rather than superficially like a lot of deep conditioners. Nicola Clarke, Creative Colour Director Color Wow and John Frieda Salons said: “For colourists, the biggest game-changer in hair colour is Olaplex. It maximises the strength of hair by reconnecting broken disulphide sulphur bonds in the hair, which gives hair a thicker look and feels healthier and stronger.”
THE TRUTH: Beauty writer Lauren Hughes said: “If you want a quick and easy way to boost shine and give damaged hair a new lease of life, Olaplex is definitely for you. Your hair will feel softer and smoother after just one treatment.”
Harley Medical Group Laser Hair Removal (from £58 a session) The claim: Long-lasting smoothness and a significant reduction in body hair
The truth: Beauty Editor Stephanie says, ‘Us girls spend more than £500 on hair removal every year so if you’re blowing that kinda cash, you want it to be long-lasting! Nothing works as efficiently to permanently remove hair than laser. Unlike some treatments, the Harley Medical Group’s laser works on any skin tone and most hair colours. I’ve been for two sessions so far and already don’t have to shave as often. The hair that’s grown back is thinner and fairer. As for the treatment itself, it’s not painful per se, more uncomfortable – like a hot rubber band flicking the skin. It’s best to book in for six sessions, spaced six to eight weeks apart to get up to a 90 per cent reduction. And because you need to keep your skin out of the sun through the treatment period, it’s ideal to start now in time for next summer.’
The make-up eraser, £12.99 The claim: Erases your make-up with one easy swipe
The truth: Features writer Unity said: ‘After you’ve put it through the washing machine then dried it, you have to wet a corner and run it over your face. I was pleasantly surprised at how easily it wiped off my (quite heavy!) foundation, but when it came to my mascara it wasn’t much good at all!’
Crystal Clear Microdermabrasion (£50 for 40 minutes) The claim: Brighter, more even-looking skin
The truth: Stephanie says, ‘Sluggish cell turnover can make your face look dull and lines deeper. This deeply exfoliating facial isn’t your typical relaxing face tickle. Skin is cleansed, sandblasted with crystals then treated with a hit of oxygen. It sounds scary but it’s in no way painful and you’ll see an instant glow. My fine lines definitely looked less noticeable too.’
Baking soda as an under eye mask, around 85p per 180g The claim: Apparently this store cupboard essential can get rid of pesky under eye bags!
Beauty vlogger Darshika Patel claims that by mixing baking soda with water to form a paste, you create a super effective gel that will zap bags away and reveal younger looking, more even skin.
The truth: Deputy digital editor Lauren said: While this is a very cheap and easy way to combat a skin problem that so many of us face day to day, I’m skeptical on just how effective it is! While the under eye area did feel softer after the treatment due to the exfoliating properties of the ingredients, I can’t say that the skin tone was very different… I would stick to the old spoon-in-the-fridge trick for reducing puffiness and perking up tired eyes, as although I suffered no irritation, baking soda might be a little harsh on sensitive skin.
Veet Hair Removal Cream with Shea Butter and Lily, £6.99 The claim: Quick and easy hair removal in just 3 minutes
The truth: Deputy features editor Kira said: ‘It was easy to apply and left my skin feeling smoother than if I’d used a razor, but while it got rid of the most of the hair, some of the shorter ones didn’t come away. The packaging says you can leave it on for up to six minutes but patches of my skin start to tingle so I couldn’t hack it!’
Polished Teeth Whitening Powder (£18.99) The claim: Use once or twice a week to brighten your teeth and remove stubborn stains
The truth: Deputy web editor Lauren said: ‘The polished teeth whitening treatments and products are amazing! My teeth look a lot brighter and it is easy to keep up the treatment by using the powder a couple of times a week. For £18.99 it is a great price too, as you can keep up with maintaining the colour without having to spend a fortune.‘
Neutrogena Visibly Renew Body Lotion, £5.99 The claim: Your skin will be ‘visibly renewed’ by this smoothing body lotion
The truth: Nikki, commissioning features editor said: ‘The lotion went on smoothly and absorbed well – even onto damp skin. It certainly breathed new life into the dry skin on my legs and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say they look ‘visibly’ renewed, I’d definitely use it again.’
Josie Maran’s 3 Piece Argan Glow Self-Tanning Collection, £30 The claim: A 30-second fake tan
The truth: Web editor Katie said: ’This is a shower-friendly fake tan that develops on the skin in an amazing 30 seconds! I decided to tan my legs only to get a feel for the product, so using the long handled applicator I applied (as directed) one pump of tan onto the sponge for each area I wanted to tan. The mousse is a really dark colour, but that’s good as it shows you where the tan is and helps you guide it around the skin. You need to move the applicator in speedy circular motions to spread the tan quickly so focus on one area at a time. I went back over my feet and thighs after I’d applied it to my calves. My skin did look slightly tanned but I think you would need two applications to get a really deep colour, but all in all it was easy and does only take 30 seconds which is bliss if you’re busy!’
Westlab Epsom Salts, £2.49 The claim: De-bloating and detoxifying bath salts
The truth: Lauren said: ‘Pop a handful of these into your bath for a detoxifying weekly treat. After bathing in the salts for 20 minutes my skin felt soft and smooth and, while I’m not claiming I dropped a dress size with one session in the tub, the celebs do swear by them as a secret weapon for de-bloating. Either way, at £2.49 they’re far cheaper than your average bath salts and seem to do the job just as well! Though you may want a swirl of bubble bath too, as the salts aren’t scented.’
Helmies, £7.99 The claim: Protects nails from smudging after painting
The truth: Features director Anna said: ‘You have to wait until your nails are touch-dry before you can even use them so that’s a bit disappointing. When you get them out of the packet they feel a bit rubbery and powdery. They fit well to your fingers and do let you do things like type while your nails get completely dry. They stay on better than you’d think, unless you’re trying to put the washing out or empty the dishwasher. My nail polish was pristine, but I’d take a quick drying topcoat any day, or even simply running them under cold water is more effective. TOP TIP: get them out of the packet before you paint your nails.
Skin D-Luxe prime time age defying moisturiser, £19.95 The claim: Will plump our ageing skin
The truth: Food ed Felicity’s verdict was: “It smelt lovely and felt tingly on the skin. I saw good results on my neck, smoothing my ‘saggy chicken neck’ (which I have after weight loss!) Perhaps not so good on the face as I still felt I needed an extra layer of moisturiser on top.’
Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Visibly Renew Elasti-Boost Body Lotion, £2.49 The claim: Makes skin ‘bounce back’
The truth: Showbiz writer Helen said: ‘This super-moisturising lotion is perfect for all skins. While it nourishes parched, dry skin, it also hydrates normal skin, leaving you silky-soft and smooth. As I (unfortunately) discovered, it also works a treat repairing sunburn. All this in an easy-to-use and mess-free pump bottle too! I love it.’
Vita Liberata Trystal Minerals Self Tanning Bronzing Minerals, £34.95 The claim: The world’s first EVER self-tanning bronzing minerals
The truth: Lauren said: ‘Having the combo of dark hair and eyes, but naturally pasty skin, I feel far more confident with a golden glow. However, with the faff of applying a fake tan (plus the dreaded eau de biscuit) I often just opt for a sweep of bronzing pearls instead. This product required the minimum effort of applying bronzer with the maximum results of a lasting tan – pretty ideal! My advice from testing the minerals is to not to be too heavy handed – it’s quite the intense shade of bronze! Apply sparingly and blend thoroughly all over your face, neck and collarbone for an even finish. After washing off my make-up at night I did notice that my skin had more of a golden glow, though it was subtle. A great product for summer!’
Cocoa Brown self-tan, £7.99 The claim: A radiant tan in just one hour
The truth: Food editor Felicity said: ‘I was a little nervous about using this as I didn’t want to look tangoed! I applied it with a mitt, which helped the product to go on really easily. Within 2 hours the product had worked and was pleasantly subtle.’
Iluminage Precise Touch Permanent Hair Reduction System, £240 The claim: Permanent hair removal
The truth: Stephanie says, ‘This is a neat little gadget, much smaller than other hair reduction gizmos I’ve seen on the market. You choose from three settings but even the most powerful setting didn’t feel uncomfortable on the skin. At worst it was warm. It’s quick to use – I did my legs in about 30 minutes. After 4 weeks, I’ve noticed my hair definitely looks finer and takes longer to grow back.’
VOYA Seaweed Bath, £16 The claim: A complete detox and seaweed voyage to ultimate relaxation
The truth: Lauren said: ‘While I do enjoy a dip in the sea on my hols, I wasn’t all too sure about bringing the whole of the ocean floor into my bathtub. In the VOYA box you’ll find a bundle of dried-out, wild seaweed and a sachet of detoxifying bath salts. Pour everything into boiling hot water so that the ingredients will expand and release their soothing and healing properties, then add cold water until the bath is at your desired temperature. Getting into the tub itself was daunting. Giving off a rather pungent odor, slimy seaweed is not the most attractive bath time addition. While I’m sure that VOYA’s ‘magic seaweed’ is full to the brim of restorative and detoxifying properties, I still needed to have a long shower after my marine-inspired bath, which rather defeats the object!’
Beverley Hills Formula Charcoal Toothpaste, £4.99 The claim: Black toothpaste that gives you a whiter, brighter smile
The truth: Digital coordinator Rachael said: ‘While at first I felt like I was staining my teeth rather than polishing them (it was an alarmingly similar look to red wine mouth) I’ve grown surprising fond of this peculiar-coloured toothpaste. After brushing with it twice a day for a week, my teeth looked noticeably whiter. It’s got a fresh and minty taste, too!’
Nair roll-on hair remover, £12.99 The claim: Quick and easy roll-on hair removal, no spatula required!
The truth: Web editor Katie said: ‘I’ve always used hair removal cream rather than wax so I was keen to try this roll-on remover that sounded super quick and easy. True to its name you simply roll onto the areas of your bikini line you want to neaten up, wait 5 minutes and rinse! It really worked and it wasn’t messy at all. Perfect for speed and as a suitcase essential when travelling.’