Skincare (along with hair care) has never really been my thing. It just struck me as really long and exhausting and who has the time to put on ten different products after a long day anyway? I’ve been trying to get into it more over the last few months, this began with trying out the very talked about skincare brand: Mario Badescu.
I have oily/combination (my cheeks are normal and my undereyes are dehydrated) skin that, other than the odd spot every now and then, is problem free. It is also not sensitive.
At the time, Beauty Bay had an offer where you could get the Special Cucumber Lotion, the Acne Facial Cleanser and the infamous Drying Lotion for £30. It seemed like a pretty decent offer so I decided to try them out. I bought the equally hyped facial spray separately. I’m terrible at routines but I promised myself that I would keep up a routine for 8 weeks so I could give it a fair review.
It started off so well, my skin felt like magic. For two weeks, my skin was the best it had ever been. I would wash my face using the Acne Facial Cleanser morning and evening, and use the Special Cucumber Lotion (toner) right after, I would then spritz my face with the facial spray and apply my usual moisturizer right after.
It started to go downhill by week three, I noticed my skin, which had been non-oily for the first two weeks of this routine, was oilier than usual? I thought that it might be my moisturizer or the facial spray; so I used less of them. It didn’t work, my skin got oilier by the day so I started using more of the toner as it seemed to clear my skin of all excess oil whenever I applied it; that also didn’t work.
By week four, I was waking up to large red bumps from my chin all the way up to my right cheek. They were itchy and burned when I scratched them. I stupidly thought they were aggressive mosquito bites; they weren’t.
By week five, I decided to give my skin and break and not use anything but water. Two days later, my bumps went away. That was when I realized something wasn’t quite right with the products I was using. I then took the time to search every ingredient in the products I was using.
The second ingredient in the Special Cucumber lotion (the first being water) was isopropyl alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol is a skin irritant, especially when listed as one of the first five ingredients in any cosmetic product. It erodes the skin’s barrier, damages your skin’s ability to heal, keeps it in a constant state of stress and with prolonged use, can cause long term damage. Unfortunately, it’s used in many cosmetic products, usually to keep a formula stable but it’s also put in products that are meant for those with oily skin as it can give your skin, a weightless, non-oily feel. The irony is that prolonged use of isopropyl alcohol on the skin can actually cause your skin to be even more oily than it was initially. I was beyond dismayed to discover this as I could not believe an ingredient that could be so damaging to the skin could be in a skincare product.
As for the other products, the Acne Facial Cleanser was just your everyday normal cleanser but prolonged use did make me feel a little dry; my skin felt tight and started to flake around my nose. It does contain isopropyl alcohol in it and some other skin irritants but my skin did not react to it quite like it did to the lotion, that may be due to the fact that the ingredients are listed lower. Overall it was not a product that I found to be groundbreaking or particularly beneficial to my skin.
Although my skin is oily, it is not acne prone and I don’t really get spots (congested pores are my problem and I try to tackle them as much as I can), so I never got the chance to try the Drying Lotion more than a couple of times. It doesn’t dry my spots any faster than common toothpaste does and considering it’s almost pure alcohol, I really struggle to recommend it.
The one product that I did, and still do, love is the Facial spray. It is so hydrating and refreshing. When it was cold, I would spritz my face with it and then apply my usual moisturizer right after for extra moisture and hydration. On hot days, I use it as a substitute for my moisturizer as I hate it when my skin feels heavy or sticky in the heat. I know some people use it as a primer or even a setting spray, I personally never have. Note: it does leave a little sheen on your face so I don’t know how that would work unless you’re going for a dewy look.
I think I’ve made it clear that I’m not very impressed with these products nor am I happy with the Mario Badescu brand. I struggle to understand how any reputable skincare brand can use volatile ingredients in their products, especially ones that can do so much harm to someone’s skin. I feel like I got very lucky as I could have seriously damaged my skin. Thankfully, after giving my skin a long rest, it is back to normal although its sensitivity to products with high alcohol content in it remains. I doubt I will buy any Mario Badescu products again, I may like the facial spray but I do not like it enough to repurchase from a brand I do not respect.