Finished Five: My Impression of First Impressions, Glo-Minerals, Saje, ZO by Zein Obagi, Hylamide, and Kat Von D, and questionable ethics of skincare companies

I want to give a genuine opinion of a product once I know how it works on my skin type through and through, and that is why I’ve started waiting until I entirely finish a product before discussing it. Of course this doesn’t work for items like eyeshadow palettes or powder bronzers, because I don’t think I know anyone who has ever entirely hit pan on every single shade in an eyeshadow palette, but for just about everything else, it does. Particularly for items like skincare and foundation, it’s really essential to see how the product performs over time, especially when you’ve got oily, acne-prone skin like mine.

I understand that many bloggers and Youtubers like to do “First Impressions” because it lets their viewers and readers know that they’ve purchased a product and will be testing it out further, and also because it is easy and quick content to throw out there. I used to watch First Impressions videos back when they first became popular, but I never really understood the purpose of them. Having someone use a product once, or not even use it, but just swatch it, does nothing for me. I can do that online or in a store by simply looking at a product or poking it. If I really want an influencer’s opinion I want a hearty, meaty review. I want them to have used the product for weeks and know all of its strong-sides and weaknesses, I want them to know exactly how to utilize the product, I want wear-tests with different primers, I want before and afters when applicable. I want, well, actual content and an actual review. So while I understand why folks do create “First Impressions” content and can’t really blame them for doing so, First Impressions are of no use to me, so I will continue to review fully-finished and mostly-finished products when possible from here on out.

For myself as well, I’ve found that only reviewing (most) products after fully finishing them has been good for my own product consumption and my skin. If I know I can’t post a review until a product is fully finished, I’m more likely to focus in on that cleanser or toner or foundation and use it consistently until it is all gone. This is way better for my skin than jumping from product to product within a week, and confusing and stressing my skin. I still have a slightly excessive collection of skincare, but in using up products one at a time I’ve been able to rein in this hoard a fair bit.

Finally, here are my most recent Finished Five!

Recap of my skin type:
-Olive, oily, hormonal acne-prone (PCOS), mid-20’s
-White heads and blackheads, rarely have cystic acne
-Redness in T-zone
-Dry hands and legs

  1. Name: Saje carrot nourishing mango & shea body butter
    Price: CAD $24.95
    Size: 200mL/6.8 fl oz
    Cruelty-Free and “Natural”

    The carrot and patchouli scent of this product seems strange at first, but it changes once applied to the body and ends up smelling really great. I always seem to get compliments on how I smell when I wear this! It’s super thick, hydrating, and isn’t irritating unless you’re applying it over razor burn. I LOVE the product itself (and a decent portion of Saje’s other products as well), but I’ve got beef with the packaging of this product. You’ll notice in the picture above that my lid (shiny brown in colour) is different than the matte black lid displayed on the website. This is not only because Saje finally revamped the packaging of their body line (Great move, imo!), but because the original shiny lids were actually cutting people’s hands. I can vouch for this, as I got a lovely cut right along my palm from opening this, even though I knew about the dangers of the lid as I worked at a Saje at the time. I’m happy that Saje would give refunds for people who had been cut by the lid with no questions asked, but very unhappy that they continued to sell this product that was literally slicing open people’s palms instead of recalling it. Even after receiving the new, re-branded carrot body butters, stores were still told to sell through the old ones first. Not impressed by that! If you do decide to purchase this product make sure you go in-store and pick up one with the matte-black lid. I doubt that many stores still have the shiny-lidded versions in stock as it has been a few months since the rebranded products appeared online, but just in case, avoid the shiny-lidded ones at all costs.
    Will I repurchase? I’ve purchased two of these in the past, but there are other body moisturizers out there, and I’m on the fence about whether or not I will continue to purchase from Saje as I’m a little rattled by the company’s ethics and how they treat their employees (pressure to maintain a specific diet when working in the store, company culture tools and products that appropriate other cultures, etc.) Saje does a lot of great things, but in my my mind I’m grappling over whether or not these good things outweigh the bad things, for myself personally.
  2. Name: Deciem Hyladmide High-Efficiency Face Cleaner Balancing Face Cleaner and Makeup Remover
    Price: CAD $21.00
    Size: 120mL/4 fl oz
    This is about the fourth or fifth bottle of this cleanser I’ve gone through. It’s a strange gel consistency that gets somewhat milky as you lather it up, and it leaves a slight residue after you wash it off. I found with this cleanser that it didn’t strip my skin, and the residue can easily be wiped off with a towel. It’s an excellent makeup remover and can be used on eye makeup as well. HOWEVER, I do not support Brandon Truaxe (founder of Deciem) and what he has been publicly doing on Deciem’s Instagram accounts these past few months. I don’t want to go into detail about it here as I am not the best authority on this situation, but Truaxe fired a number of important members of the Deciem team who genuinely loved the company and were doing incredible things for the company and its social media. Truaxe then took over their Instagram account and has been posting painfully transparent and often aggressive content. Not only has he been tastelessly roasting customers in the comments section (which I am fine with regular people joking around and clapping back when people target them, but not with brand’s attacking their consumers, as it is unprofessional imo) but he has posted Anti-Semitic jokes and other harmful comments. I ethically do not feel okay supporting Deciem and its umbrella of brands (The Ordinary, NIOD, Hylamide, etc.) anymore. I’m not okay with Anti-Semitism, targeting customers, or taking over a company Instagram for your own personal, unprofessional joyride. This is unfortunate, because The Ordinary produces many affordable, incredible skincare products that are widely recommended in online skincare communities. I just don’t feel comfortable supporting Brandon Truaxe anymore though, and will not be repurchasing any products from Deciem as I use them up. We as consumers have the power to voice our concerns of ethics and what sort of behaviour we endorse with how and where we spend our money, and I think it is ever-so-incredibly important to remember that and practice that when we are able to.
    Will I repurchase? No.
  3. Name: Glo Minerals Pressed Base in Beige Dark
    Price: CAD $63.00
    Cruelty-Free
    Size: 9.9g/0.35 oz
    I have so much love for this pressed base. It’s the only powder foundation since high school that I’ve actually entirely hit pan on. It feels great, you can build it up to be foundation on its own or use it on your oily spots after liquid foundation. It just looks really smooth. If there is one thing you ever buy from Glo, buy the pressed base! It works well on my oily skin but also works well on the dry clients at my workplace.
    Will I repurchase? I already have! But in a shade more suitable for summer.
  4. Name: Zo Skin Health by Zein Obagi Oclipse Sunscreen + Primer SPF 30
    Price: CAD $75.00
    Cruelty-Free (non-prescription ZO products are not tested on animals, apparently!)
    Size: 30mL/1 fl oz.
    Honestly it’s not a bad primer! While it’s not super mattifying or pore filling, it does a good job as a general primer and I like the added SPF 30 aspect (but keep in mind you would need to apply some sort of sunscreen over your makeup every 90 minutes after initial application to keep your skin genuinely protected). The one I used was not full-sized as it came in one of their older kits, it was half sized (15mL). The packaging is really sleek, especially with how the pump pops up when you twist the cap. However, the way the pump is positioned in relation to the cap makes getting product out a little difficult closer to the end. The product itself isn’t clear, it does appear to have a bit of a tint, but this tint did not show up on my olive toned skin. Overall I think the product is great, but the packaging could use a bit of improvement.
    Would I repurchase? At the moment I have a lot of other primer and sunscreen options I’d like to use up, but I could definitely see myself using this again in the future.
  5. Name: Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita II
    Price: CAD $24.00
    Size: 6.6mL/0.22 oz
    Cruelty-Free and Vegan
    I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with the Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks. They’re not the most drying as liquid lipsticks come, but they are still a liquid lipstick at the end of the day and are still a fair bit drying. Lolita II is a lovely little terra cotta nude, and this was a favourite summer work shade for me for awhile. I only had a travel sized one (about half of the full size) and despite using it several times a week for a number of months I was not able to use it all up before it expired. If you do want this, I recommend getting the smaller Lolita duo rather than the full-sized full-priced Lolita II.
    Would I repurchase again? I’m not really feeling liquid lipsticks as of late, but I may eventually purchase it in lipstick bullet form when I reduce my lipstick hoard a bit.

Thanks for reading through this lengthier than normal Finished Five! Have you finished any products lately that you genuinely love or despise? I’m curious to hear what everyone is using.

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