I will start with the good surprise:
Nivea Pure & Natural Hand Cream
Before I start there's something you should know: I HATE hand creams. I'd never ever use hand cream if I could get away with it, but unfortunately my hands get really dry and when it gets cold it can get so bad that the skin around my knuckles cracks open and bleeds. So I have to use hand cream. My problem is the really horrible greasy feeling it leaves and walking around like a T-Rex for half an hour, unable to touch anything because I'll leave a sticky film. The solution I've come up with is that I only use hand cream at night before going to bed, which means it needs to be quite moisturising.
The ONLY reason I bought this was because it was cheap. Nivea strikes me as a brand that is very good at being average. They don't seem to have any stand-out products, neither exceptionally good or exceptionally bad - essentially a brand to stick with if you don't want to take any risks.
It actually took me two or three weeks to realise that this hand cream is as a matter of fact really good. It only takes about five minutes to sink in and leaves my hands feeling velvety rather than gloopy and disgusting. At the moment it's moisturising enough for me to only apply it over night, but I feel that as the temperatures drop I'll have to apply it during the day as well. But you know what? I haven't got a problem with that.
I can't find an RRP, but you can get this for £2 for a 100ml tube at Tesco at the moment. This is really a product that has wowed me when I wasn't expecting anything from it.
On to a more negative surprise:
Origins Modern Friction face scrub
This had just won a beauty award when I was looking for a new face scrub. It's one of Origins' top sellers and as I hadn't tried anything from this brand before I decided to give it a go. I read some reviews about it being quite harsh and grainy, but that didn't really put me off as I like my scrub to give me a good scrubbing.
My skin isn't overly sensitive, but this stuff it couldn't handle. "Harsh" is an understatement. It has a very dense texture and the grains inside are relatively large. You're supposed to use it dry if you have normal skin which I found absolutely impossible, as it felt like I was tearing off bits of my skin. Sensitive skin types can use it damp and it's a bit better then, but you're still faced with another problem.
Once it gets wet, it starts foaming on your face. This isn't really a problem as such, as many of us will love a good lather, but this scrub is so jam packed with LDL and fruit acids it physically hurts. A little bit of the foam got in my nose when I was washing it off and it stung so badly it made my eyes water. And don't get me started on the two times I opened my eyes too early and got some of this product in! You may as well just dunk your face in petrol.
Retailing at around £30 it's not cheap, though you do get a generous 125ml tube, which (unfortunately) seems to last forever.