beauty

'I used my boyfriend's (cheap) skincare products for a week. Here's what happened.'

Recently I moved in with my boyfriend, which is kind of a big deal for me. I had big plans of living my life own and buying a Dalmatian for company. You know, normal goals. But then I fell in love, and now I co-own a slow cooker.

I’ve discovered lots of things since living together; like he reads clickbait articles from start to finish — no skimming, he thinks all your socks should match, he buys boutique beer from a brewery we have to drive to get to, and he has a skincare routine. 

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Maybe routine is a strong word, but usually after a shower he will slap a few things on his face.

To be honest, I was a little transfixed when I first noticed his products in my - I mean, our - bathroom. 

Unlike my skincare bottles that are usually in muted pretty colours and cost over forty dollars, his skincare products are packaged with either nondescript colours or in traditionally ‘masculine’ colours — think, dark blues and grey colours with big bold lettering. They also all cost him under twenty dollars at the supermarket.

What a life men lead! 

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Our products also promised us drastically different things, while my daily cleanser offered to make my skin pop, his daily moisturiser reminded him to stay loyal to his skin. I’m unsure what that means, but I bet the copywriter thought it sounded masculine when they wrote it. 

Still, I was curious. We have similar skin types - sensitive, dry and prone to flaking. Skin that needs to be hydrated but also scrubbed once a week. 

So, I decided to try his affordable skincare and see what happened. Perhaps, I’d come to find a cheap and fabulous product? 

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I was also beginning to wonder if I was paying a pink tax on my skincare.

The products.

The three products my boyfriend uses are Bulldog Sensitive Moisturiser, $10.99, L’Oréal Men’s Expert Hydro Sensitive Soothing Daily Facial Wash, $4.97, and Nivea Men Deep Anti-Blackhead Carbon Scrub, $9. 

Image: Look Fantastic  

Image: Look Fantastic  

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Image: Nivea  

All up, it costs about fifteen bucks - and that’s not on sale (and they go on sale pretty frequently). 

Considering I’m a level three 'Beauty Aficionado' in the Mecca Rewards system - well, you can imagine I spend a little more. 

Another thing I noticed was that all of his products have the word ‘men's’ written on them, which is an interesting comparison to my skin care that does not mention my gender on the front of it.

The trial.

My new routine began on a Monday. I started with the Bulldog Sensitive Moisturiser. The thing that freaked me out the most was that it was completely scentless. I sniffed for ages, then (worried I had COVID-19) asked my boyfriend who confirmed that it had no smell.

It was quite thick and made from natural ingredients (at least according to the bottle), which is a tick in my book. 

I found it took forever to rub in because the texture was so thick, but my face didn’t break out into a rash - which is a win, because I have very sensitive skin. 

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Image: Supplied

It was a little too thick for me to throw my foundation on straight after - I swear they were, like, mixing together. It reminded me of sunscreen, but not fancy sun screen. The kind of sunscreen your teacher offered you at the school sports carnival. 

Image: Supplied

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In the afternoon, I washed my face with L’Oréal Soothing Daily Facial Wash. This one did have a smell, but sadly it smelt like whatever my boyfriend at fourteen wore as body spray. Okay, my boyfriend at nineteen. 

Still, I didn’t hate the daily wash. It was a little harsh on my skin and there was definitely some redness afterwards, but it subsided pretty quickly. 

Once again the product was quite heavy in texture. I ended up having a shower just to ensure I got it all off. Is this because skincare makers think men are rough when rubbing things in, so they need more of it? They are wrong... men are lazy. My boyfriend walks around with residue stuck to his face. 

Next, I moved onto my Nivea Men’s Deep Anti-Blackhead Facial Scrub

Now, I love to scrub once a week, because I get flakey skin and removing it is as satisfying as squeezing a pimple or heating up last night’s chocolate cake in the microwave so it gets all gooey. 

The bottle promises me it will give me clean and healthy skin - and this one actually smells nice. A bit of a vanilla vibe, but it also somehow smells like my dad’s cologne?

The texture isn’t super, super thick - so it scrubs on and off easily. I can do this all in the bathroom sink. I actually quite like this one. It definitely doesn’t feel as soothing on my skin as the eighty-dollar option I’m currently using, but considering the price difference, I’m pretty sold on it. 

My face is red afterwards, but that is pretty normal post-scrub for me. It disappears pretty quickly and my skin doesn’t feel like I’ve just tried to scrub it off to no avail. 

I stick to these products for the rest of the week. The Holy Trinity, as I nickname them. 

The Bulldog moisturiser pretty quickly becomes the bane of my existence, purely because of its thickness. I also noticed that I really do like putting something on my face that smells nice. There is something kinda weird about putting something scentless and gooey on your skin. 

Honestly, it’s just a lot of work to rub it in, and considering I like to stay in bed for the maximum amount of time, it cuts into my ‘me’ time. I also don’t feel like it’s giving my skin quite the hydration it needs, but maybe I’m just not rubbing it in enough. Either way, I can’t use a product daily that doesn’t bring me joy. 

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Image: Supplied

The L’Oréal Daily Face Wash does not agree with my skin even slightly. In the end it just seems to make my face a bit red. I feel less clean, more raw and once again, thickness is an issue. It’s all just such an effort. 

Still, it’s important you keep in mind my skin is particularly sensitive, so this might work for you if you aren’t prone to redness and blotchiness. 

However, it isn’t all doom and gloom and me begging someone to take me back to Mecca. 

I used the Nivea scrub two more times in the week. It's more than I’d normally use a scrub (I’d usually stick to once a week, maybe twice), but I wanted to get a feel for the product. 

This one, I’m a pretty big fan of. It doesn’t irritate my skin; the smell is quite nice, and it really does seem to reduce blackheads and impurities. 

Do I love it as much as my usual one? No. But it’s a completely fine alternative that gets the job done, and it’s under twenty bucks and near the chocolate aisle in Woolies. (Well, at my Woolies). 

The verdict.

Honestly, after a week of using my boyfriend’s products, I do think my skin took a bit of a beating. 

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Here's my skin before:

BEFORE.

And here's my skin after:

AFTER.

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It’s much more red and blotchy now, and does feel drier. But in fairness, I did scrub more than usual, so note that down. 

However, my main take away is I’m not sure these products are that great for my boyfriend’s skin either. While I don’t think you have to pay the prices I tend to pay for skin care, I do believe investing a little goes a long way. 

Honestly, men’s formulas need to be made lighter. Do they think thick equals manly? This may be true if you’re a footballer having a lockdown party, but I’m not sure it applies to skincare. 

Maybe men should get in touch with their feminine side and try some of our products?

Last night, I put some of my moisturiser on my boyfriend’s face, and he admitted the texture and smell were better. 

In summary, men can keep their budget skincare range to themselves. I’ll stick to my favourites and start hiding my moisturiser!

Feature image: Supplied

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