This the first year of Beauty Super Spy, and I thought it only fitting to have an awards ceremony of my own. In 2016, I tried and tested many products, however, some I chose not to review because I didn’t think they represented good value, or it wasn’t fair to review something I had a reaction to. I also experienced good customer service and several that needed improvement. The winners are products and services that stood out and impressed, and that isn’t easy with me. Read on, and I hope you find some new favorites, and agree with my choices!
Best Beauty Discovery
The criteria here was to award a beauty discovery that didn’t have a category for anything else, but was worthy of changing the face of the beauty world.
Rose Hips ~ Several of my favorite products (Ole Henriksen, Rodial, and Trilogy) contain rose hips, and they work wonders on the skin. Gentle and hardworking, the oils can smell quite strong at first, but once on the skin feels smoother and softer instantly. Products with a high percentage of rose hips calms and heals the skin, and I recommend them without hesitation. For anyone with scars, this is a good natural treatment as well.
Foreo ~ This is a wonderful battery operated skin cleansing device that is easy to use, with some models that can be recharged. It can be used with most cleansers, and comes in a variety of sizes and also heads to suit different skin types. The best part is that it’s hygienic and doesn’t need replacement heads or batteries. I see it as a mini facial each day to help with circulation as well as gentle exfoliation. Read my review on Foreo here.
Feelunique Pick ‘n’ Mix ~ I’ve never agreed with the sale of samples, and this is a great way to try products and then use the £3.95 shipping fee against other purchases. It prevents an abuse of the system, and also helps consumers try products they want without having to ask at beauty counters or to write to companies (both which are tedious tasks). Choose up to 5 samples a month and pay £3.95 shipping, which is then redeemable as a gift voucher, valid for 60 days against future purchases. Visit Feelunique here.
Best Skincare Product
These three products have been the ones that have impressed me the most. It was hard to narrow them down, but when you make a repeat purchase automatically without thinking about it, you know it’s a keeper for the beauty cabinet.
Ole Henriksen Truth Sugar Glow Polishing Mask ~ Initially I thought this was a little messy to use, but the results are amazing after the first application, even my mother noticed a difference. Quite simply, this is a mask and exfoliator in one, and with a dash of Vitamin C that boosts the skin, cleanses, and helps stimulate the cell regeneration. Read the full review here.
Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm ~ The first thing to notice is how amazing this balm smells, and it really calms you down if you feel a bit stressed. The creamy texture makes it easy to apply, as it glides onto the skin. I prefer to use this as a hydrating mask in the evening, and is great to use instead of a cleansing oil as it dissolves away make-up quickly and gently without rubbing. Find out more in my review.
MALIN + GOETZ Vitamin E Moisturizer ~ A simple and light moisturizer that is gentle and hard working. It calms sensitive skin, or is great if you’ve had a reaction to a product, and the Vitamin E helps hold more moisture and water in the skin. Read more in my review here.
Best Customer Service and Website
These days, nearly every brand has their own website or sell their products via another website, so it’s important that the products sold are genuine, and that they have excellent customer service. There is much room for improvement for many companies who don’t respond to queries, or have poor business practices. Here are some that in my experience that are good at the time of writing:
Clarins ~ Although the website can be a little hard to navigate, delivery is fast and customer services are handled by the company and not outsourced. My missing item query was handled quickly and professionally in less than a couple of days.
Latest in Beauty/ You Beauty Box ~ On the occasions I have had to contact customer services due to missing parcels, or an incorrect order, the responses have been swift and the staff aim to resolve matters and provide refunds quickly. My PayPal payment was refunded within an hour of my request, and a replacement item was received within a week.
Feelunique ~ So far I have had no issues with Feelunique, all my orders have arrived and the discount codes and gift voucher codes work. The website can be a bit fiddly in finding items, and they also offer a lowest price guarantee.
There have to be the bad and neutral reviews, but rather than highlight them, here are a selection of products and services that haven’t impressed me. If a product or service says they will do x, then that should happen—sometimes you can give them a second chance, but first impressions do count.
The Hero Project ~ I like to support new brands, and I tried a sample of a moisturizing gel by the company that was in a You Beauty Box. It was the worst product I have ever used and made my combination skin feel tight and dry. Usually I would use up a product I don’t like on my hands, but the rest of the sachet went in the bin—it was that bad. As I wanted to give the company a second chance, I emailed and asked for a sachet of serum to try and to review. Social media was flooded with photos of sample sachets they had given out so I knew they existed. I received a barely legible response from someone who obviously didn’t speak English who told me there were no samples, but I could apply to be a tester. I then saw Latest in Beauty offering 10 x 3 ml sachets of the product on their website. It’s one thing to lie, and another to be unprofessional and this company is unworthy.
Glossybox ~ People rave about the beauty box, but often the contents were budget brands and small sizes. I tried a box only to find that you can’t cancel a monthly box if you order after the 14th of the month. The customer service was slow, but they did agree to cancel my subscription eventually and gave me the option to return the box I had ordered. This was only because I acted within 14 days of ordering. The website itself is misleading with small print dotted in different parts of the site. It’s not user friendly, and the postage charges are high.
Look Fantastic customer service ~ This has to be the worst customer service yet, with unprofessional responses, no action, and then they ignore you by closing a ticket and tell you to open another if you aren’t happy with their response. I opened half-a dozen tickets for one issue, which was a refusal to accept a cancellation of a subscription that had been canceled online, and a refusal to refund an order that had never been placed. It took a week of 30 plus messages across various channels before I quoted consumer law at them, and then the refund took several weeks to process. They also have a habit of emailing you each day with a promotion code, most of which don’t work. I have ordered products since, and have had no issues, but I would not trust them with a subscription.
Birchbox customer service ~ Birchbox processed my refund for a returned item promptly, but when it comes to resolving issues, they need to improve professionally. It can take days if not weeks to get a response, and my query was in regard to the promised gift on an anniversary offer that failed to materialize. I was palmed off with excuses and then accused of lying when I mentioned a friend in the same position had been given points in lieu of the out of stock gift (which then came back into stock). Poor customer service leads to customers finding alternative companies to use, and they need improving greatly in this respect.
Aurelia Miracle Cleanser ~ I guess most people like the fact that most of the ingredients are natural, but I found this product to be basic and overpriced. It cleansed, but not deeply, and at £38 for 120 ml I was expecting a lot more. There was no miracle, and although the packaging is stylish, it did little more than a cleanser from the self-selection shelves in the local pharmacy.
Where to buy
Ole Henriksen is available online at Feelunique.
MALIN + GOETZ is available online from Space.NK.
Latest in Beauty boxes can be ordered online with a 30% discount (until 17 February 2017) with this link and using the code BEAUTYSUPERSPY on new subscriptions.
YOU Beauty Box is available monthly from £6.95 for two products from a selection.
Rodial products are available from Space.NK.
*Prices and availability correct at the time of writing.