Skincare Products That You Should Not Waste Your Money On

The $170 billion beauty industry conspires to convince us that every new product justifies a splurge. And to top it off; this highly competitive market is loaded with innovative new launches every season. Each product comes with its own premium features and upgrades. Take ‘beauty fridges’ for instance. Are they really worth it or will my normal refrigerator do an equally good job? And what about the other skincare products you should not waste your money on?

As a working-class individual, I might not see the need to waste money on an ‘extra’ fridge, considering that I already have two perfectly functioning refrigerators at home. Having said that, as long as your skincare products are not exposed to extreme temperatures and you’re storing them per the label instructions, you’re good to go. I know some may argue that refrigerating some of your skin care products can help prolong the shelf-life, but again, this varies depending on the formula, the ingredients, their stability, pH and so on.

Social media is a very powerful marketing tool – and companies are aware of this and are trying to persuade us that we “totally need it” even though most of us are doing just great, sans the new product. So, in this article let’s discuss what skin care products are completely unnecessary and are just not worth all the hype.

Skincare Products Not Waste Money On
Lumina Stock/ Getty Images

Skincare Products You Should Not Waste Your Money On

Eye cream

Before we jump on the bandwagon, let’s make one point very clear. You may consider using an eye cream if you have sensitive skin and if your skin is particularly dry around the eyes. This is because eye creams contain more oil than a regular face cream.

But if your main concern is dark circles and puffiness around the eyes, I’m personally not convinced that any eye cream is effective for that purpose alone.

Sometimes genetics comes into play or in some cases, an under-active thyroid or an underlying food allergy could also contribute to the above symptoms, therefore I’d look into those before splurging on an eye cream. Please consult your healthcare provider for further advice on this.

Also, don’t get me wrong here. By suggesting that you may not need a separate moisturizer for the eye area, I am not implying that moisturizing around your eyes is an unnecessary extra skin care step. You can still use your anti-aging cream. There’s no reason why you can’t use it all over your face. Eye creams are usually packaged in very small jars and can cost anywhere from AED 80 for a 0.5 oz. jar at the local pharmacy to AED 260 onwards at a boutique store.

Also, as a rule of thumb, start early with moisturizing your eye area and avoid products with synthetic fragrances as this is something that can be highly irritating.

Costly sunscreens

Choosing a sunscreen from the hundreds available in the store. How many of us look for the strongest sunscreen out there and are willing to pay premiums for SPF mark ups of 70, 90 and 100? As a community, we are obsessed with numbers and any SPF marking that reads over 50 sounds great. But let’s re-visit the recommendations of the American Academy of Dermatologists. This is their consenus: “regardless of skin type, a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 should be used year-round.” As evidence suggests, there’s no mention of numbers above 30.

So, keep in mind that the higher the SPF value, the smaller the increased benefit. This is contrary to what you might think, SPF 30 isn’t twice as strong as SPF 15.

Here, let’s do the math together. It’s very easy, just divide 1 over the SPF number. While SPF 15 filters out 93% of UVB, SPF 30 filters out 97%, which is only a slight improvement. This takes us to SPF 50, which effectively blocks 98%, while SPF 90 offers 98.9% in terms of sun protection.

Call me a little sunscreen obsessed (I am), this is one subject I love researching about it. But I think the take-home messages here would be: use your sunscreen all through the year, re-apply every 1 1/2 to 2 hours, especially so if you’re spending more time outdoors and make sure your sunscreen offers broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

Face Mists

Face mists are meant to hydrate and leave your skin feeling refreshed and uplifted – but it’s not all that simple. Not all face mists are equal. Unless your face mist contains humectant ingredients that are good at holding onto water, it will simply evaporate off your skin.

Ideally, the mist should contain both humectant and/or be occlusive to seal moisture effectively within your skin. Most commercial aqua mists only contain water, so I wouldn’t recommend using those. If you like mists, choose ones that contain glycerin, hyaluronic acid and other soothing botanicals such as aloe and rose extracts. Water alone can make your skin even drier. For me, aqua mists go straight up into the ‘skincare products you should not waste your money on’ category.

Lip scrubs

Chances are, we all have fallen for this. I mean who doesn’t like their lips looking gorgeously smooth and irresistible? But here’s what most lip scrubs do. In simpler terms, you’re buying yourself a glorified sugar/oil mix with a lot of unnecessary ingredients — all mixed and packaged in a tiny 0.5 oz jar that comes with a hefty price tag. Instead opt for a multi-purpose scrub or DIY your own mix with some kitchen grade brown sugar, honey and coconut oil. It’s a great way to save some cash. To help you get started, check out our chocolate lip scrub recipe here.

Anti-cellulite creams

There’s an influx of topical creams in the market with claims to reduce cellulite. Many have ingredients intended to accelerate fat breakdown (caffeine, guarana, L-carnitine) alongside other herbal extracts. No matter what the labels for these products might suggest, they have very little to offer alone. There are reports that combining these with other treatments might show benefit in the long run, but again, little evidence to support any such claims. Retinol however, is being studied for it’s role in minimizing the appearance of cellulite but results have not been conclusive.

Additionally, I would also like to add ‘stretch mark creams’ to this list of skincare products you should not waste your money on.

Moisturizer for hands, feet and cuticles?

Hand Cream

Nah. Again, nothing but a marketing ploy. I find it ridiculous to buy a specific moisturizer for my hands, elbows, neck and another for my feet. Just get yourself a good body lotion that can be used instead.


Toners have long been used as an adjunct to skincare regimen especially when cleansers were not pH-balanced. Our skin functions optimally at a pH score of 5.5 and it is important to maintain the ‘acid mantle’ at that pH (your skin’s first line of defense). Once the acid mantle is compromised or your skin pH becomes too acidic or alkaline, skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, and rosacea may result. 

So essentially, what toners would do, was to help re-calibrate your skin’s pH for those that need help with oily skin or markedly plugged pores. This is completely optional. In general, a gentle toner is recommended for people with enlarged pores and excessive oil production; and for those with Rosacea-prone skin. Otherwise, just use a pH-balanced cleanser and skip the toner all together.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this. You can find more skincare reviews here. Please do let me know if you think we should add more products to this list, I’m happy to head a discussion on this subject.

Sahar x


  1. 14th July 2019 / 3:49 pm

    Wow! Thanks for the information… I’ve seen family and friends spent hundreds if not more on eye cream for their dark circles!! Now, its time to tell them to save these money and get something that help sleeping well!

    • Sahar Reviews
      18th July 2019 / 12:34 am

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad you found this helpful 🙂

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