Testing new skincare from three big brands

I’ve been trying some new skincare in an attempt to solve my skin problems. I have very oily skin that gets dry and textured easily when makeup products are applied to it, I have really uneven skin tone due to acne scarring and can get pretty bad zits from time to time. I wanted to get into a proper skincare routine to combat these but wasn’t sure whether one brand could do it all. I opted therefore to try three different brands, one after the other, for a period of about 4 weeks each. I’ve also been using my Neutrogena Light Therapy Mask (my review is here) to help with acne during the last few weeks. The brands I tried were Nip & Fab, Mario Badescu and The Ordinary.


Products used: Dragons Blood Fix Plumping Serum, Glycolic Fix Scrub, Glycolic Fix Extreme pads (a smaller pack is available) and Post Glycolic SPF30 moisturiser

I bought a few products in a Superdrug sale where everything was £5, which I thought was pretty good. I did a little research before my purchase about what products were most highly recommended by other customers and what skin issues they were designed to tackle. In the end I went for the Dragons Blood serum, the glycolic Fix pads, the glycolic scrub and a moisturiser. I went for glycolic-based products as these are reportedly good for textured or flaky skin. I wanted to try a serum and an SPF moisteriser because (1) I was worried all the acid would dry out my skin and (2) I was going to Okinawa and wanted sun protection for my face.

Verdict: ★★★☆☆

I really like the packaging and the product design, and I also love how they’ve got a range for spots, a range for dry skin, and so on. However, I didn’t notice much difference in my spots or oiliness after using them. The serum was nice and lightweight and did leave my skin feeling matte and hydrated. The pads were really good in terms of how easy they were – I kept them beside my bed and this always reminded me to go through my skincare routine before going to sleep. The scrub was awesome – it just ran out so fast! I really didn’t like the SPF moisteriser though – it felt harsh and was really greasy. It was more like sun lotion than moisteriser. So they were all really good products, but I didn’t feel like my specific skin issues were sorted. I am not sure how well products work together – I think a lot of my glycolic efforts might’ve been countered by the moisteriser or serum, for example. The prices of these products are really good – often Nip+Fab and Superdrug have ‘everything £5’ sales on their websites. I would like to try a couple more products from this brand so I think I’ll pick up some different things in the next sale.

Mario Badescu

Products used:Drying Lotion, Silver Powder, Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater, Flower & Tonic Mask and Enzyme Cleansing Gel

I picked up the Mario Badescu Essentials Kit in the Beauty Bay sale. I knew I wanted to try the Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater Spray on the recommendation of a friend and this entire set didn’t come to much more than the price of the spray so I took a punt on some other products! As someone who gets spots and textured skin very frequently, I was particularly excited to try the drying lotion and the cleansing gel. I was a bit overwhelmed by how many products are on offer and it made it a little difficult to assess which would be best for me, so I just did my best to get products that would target my specific skin concerns.

Verdict: ★★★★☆

My skin is looking really good and I wonder if these Mario Badescu products might have something to do with it! I have used the rosewater spray almost everyday either before moisturising at night or before applying makeup in the morning. I like how easy it is to use. I don’t think it’s a miracle product as some claim it is – perhaps I should try one of the other sprays they do? But it smells really nice and feels hydrating. I use the cleansing gel every time I shower. I think it’s alright, but it can’t be used on the eyes and I’d have liked either a cleanser for removing makeup or an exfoliating gel. I’ve tried the drying motion on three occasions – twice overnight and once during a lazy day at home – and it never actually dried out or helped reduce the spot. Not sure why. The silver powder is kind of a faff to use so I barely touched it after the first go. The clay mask is really nice and leaves my skin feeling so smooth! I think it’s probably one of the better products in the set with the spray and the cleanser. I really like the branding of Mario Badescu – it feels luxurious and high-end, but with that comes a pretty high price tag. I would definitely try more products in future, but I think they’d have to be in the sale for me to be able to afford them.

The Ordinary

Products used: AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution, Azelaic Acid Suspension and Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

I’d been meaning to try The Ordinary for years but never got round to buying anything. In the same BB sale as I picked up the Mario Badescu set, I grabbed The Ordinary’s peeling face mask, caffeine solution eye cream and brightening cream gel. I was hoping these would target my acne, my puffy undereyes and my uneven skin tone.

Verdict: ★★☆☆☆

The peeling face mask stung. It really hurt. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to – I haven’t ever had sensitive skin – but after about 3 minutes I had to take it off. I am still not sure why it hurt so much – I assume my skin Ph reacted badly to the acidic solution, but unfortunately it’s put me off trying it again. Maybe second time round it’ll be better? The brightening moisturiser had an odd, synthetic smell to it and reminded me more of sun lotion. I don’t think it’s done anything to my skin tone but it did temporarily dry it out in places – handy if you’re super oily like me but if you have dry skin, if might not be for you. Finally, the caffeine solution. I don’t feel like I gave this a fair shot because I simply forgot to apply it every day so I don’t feel I can honestly review it! As a general review of the brand, I love how clinical the products are – I am here for acid in pipette droppers and funky, chemical names. I feel like they’re more scientific that way? The problem I had with the brand was the same as Mario Badescu – choosing a few products for a daily routine was really hard, so perhaps that’s why these products didn’t work for me. I think they have an email service but it would’ve been awesome if they’d had a product-matching tool on their website I could use.

Have you tried any of these brands? I would love to try their other products as perhaps I didn’t get the right bits together for my skin needs. I’m always interested in trying other brands too. Let me know what you recommend!

5 thoughts on “Testing new skincare from three big brands

  1. lilyandr says:

    I love the structure of this post! Nip + Fab is a hit and miss for me I also tried the dragons blood serum and I found it was way overpriced for what it is but I LOVE the Glycolic scrub.


    • Emma Harding says:

      It was really hard for me to review these things ’cause I genuinely think the glycolic scrub was amazing, but the serums and the post-glycolic moisturiser are awful! I need consistency!


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