Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Product Fail: B. Kamins Blemish Gel and T3 Veloce Dryer

I'll be making two returns at Sephora today. One is an anti-acne spot treatment that I picked up on a whim and the other is a hair dryer that I've had my eye on for quite a while.

B. Kamins Blemish Gel 5% 

As you can see, the 5% in the name stands for the amount of benzoyl peroxide. Warm weather makes me break out in the oddest spots -- I'm currently sporting two painful zits right above my upper lip and on the left brow bone. From experience, I know that my skin can take a bit of harshness without becoming sensitive. The saleswoman at Sephora recommended this product and pushed for a sell rather than a sample. I guess I was in a buying mood, which I promised before that I would not do without sampling and testing. I've learned the lesson again, the hard way, again.

B. Kamins redesigned and revamped their packaging this year. Some Sephora locations may carry it while others may not. It is not listed on the Sephora website right now. I haven't tried any B. Kamins products in the past (aside from a mattifying day moisturizer which I own and tried once), so unfortunately I'm unable to conduct a "before/after" comparison of the brand and their quality.

For those who like to peruse the entirety of the box for instructions and ingredients, I took pictures of the box and product which have many many things to say. Scroll down to the end of the pics for what the B. Kamins website has to say about the product versus my personal experience.

Click on the pics to enlarge.

B. Kamins says:

A unique oil-free, color-free benzoyl peroxide gel that helps to control bacterial growth and clear blemishes, blackheads and spots.  This hydrating formula moisturizes as it works to help prevent skin from over drying and becoming flaky.  Ideal for both adolescent and adult acne.

I bolded the parts that failed for me. It did not clear any of my blemishes, blackheads or spots. Also, it was far from hydrating or moisturizing. The saleswoman had warned me that it may be quite drying, which I was excited about (yes, excited) because my skin sometimes does better with harsh products than gentle. What happened was that this blemish gel did dry out the skin without treating the problem. First, the product tends to stay on the surface rather than become absorbed into the skin. Then it dries to a crusty white flaky mess, so it's not as invisible as you might think it is. The flake remains on your skin until you wash your face and I found that there was absolutely no difference in the blemish from Day 1 to Day 7.

My normal-skin sister has also been breaking out lately so we tried this product together for a span of a few weeks, and she also experienced zero change or improvement. At CAD$29, you get a hefty sized product that simply does not do what it promises to do. Back to Sephora it goes.

T3 Veloce Dryer

I've been lusting after a T3 dryer ever since an acquaintance got one a couple of years ago and said it was the greatest thing that ever happened to her hair. She has great hair to begin with, so I didn't see a perceptible difference before/after. But I've been reading the reviews and built up a nice hype in my mind. Unfortunately, at the $200-300 range they're offered at, T3 dryers remained an elusive dream until now. I noticed that Sephora began selling a smaller $99 version and considered making an online order from them for the first time, as I was sure it would not be in the stores in Canada. (Canadians have to purchase $125 worth before Sephora offers free shipping.)

But I was wrong! They were in the stores here after all. There was one left at the Eaton Centre location, so I snatched it up and found myself marching to the cash register in no time.

Previous to this dryer, I've only used the basic Conair dryers as I didn't care much for heat-styling and blow-drying my frizzy ass deviant wavy Asian hair. But the thing is, I hate wet hair. I can't stand my tops being soaked by the wet hair on my back and I hate that wet humid feeling at the back of my neck. So blow-drying is a love/hate thing. It's probably worthwhile for me to invest in a good dryer that will get the job done as speedily and nicely as possible. I thought this would be it.

I like the size and look of this T3 Veloce. It's not as light as I thought it would be but it's not heavy at all. The sleek minimalist silver design also appealed to me. HOWEVER...

...note the placement of the on/off switch.

That's right. It's smack dab on the middle of the handle where your fingers curl around to grasp the dryer.

You can try holding it lower, but that position doesn't support the weight of the end of the dryer and puts a lot of strain on your wrist and fingers to keep the hold.

You can try grasping it higher on the handle, but your fingers are still over the on/off switch.

You can try holding it lower on the handle... but nope, still running into the same problem.

Try rearranging your fingers? Maybe my fingers are too long?? Nope.

I was devastated. I really really wanted to like this and permanently get rid of the hair drying hassles. Here's what Sephora says about the product:

What it is:
An easy-to-use, Tourmaline-infused hair dryer.

What it does:
The T3® Veloce Dryer is the perfect intro into a collection of ground-breaking hair dryers that have led the way in Tourmaline hair care technology. T3 patented technology infuses Tourmaline into the dryer's components which, when heated, emit maximum levels of negative ions and far infrared heat. Heating the hair from the inside out, this lightweight dryer accelerates water evaporation while locking in moisture and sealing the hair cuticle to reduce frizz. The result is a 40% reduction in drying time over conventional dryers and a silky, shiny finish.

What else you need to know:

Only the highest quality, imported Tourmaline gemstones are crushed into fine powder and infused deep into the vital elements of the dryer. Unlike other products that make do with a sprayed coating, the T3® Tourmaline infusion process achieves deeper, longer-lasting results.

I would say it was powerful and speedy enough, though I did not see a huge reduction in the frizz. I also really liked that the price of this was CAD$99 instead of the usual inflated price we get for everything here in Canada though our dollar has been more or less at par with the US for a long time. I've seen Sephora offer products for the standard price at first, then inflate the price later as the brand/item soars in popularity. I figured it was a good time to grab it while there was one remaining. Plus, I read all the reviews and had done my research. And you can't exactly test a hair dryer properly at the store. I had to bring it home and try.

I can't get over the stupid on/off switch issue. Now I see reviews complaining about it, but I can't believe the people who are saying that it's minor and they still like this dryer and think $99 is a great deal for it. I'm sorry, but this is a major design fail. It's the simplest thing. Do not place the on/off switch in the middle of the handle so that your customers have to continually turn the dryer back on in the middle of their hectic morning routine. I pressed this switch about 10 times during one drying routine and it was super annoying. I tried to forgive it and thought the dryer was still quite good... but upon reflection, my conclusion is that T3 had built a solid name for itself and is now out to make a quick buck since not everyone is going out to grab their usual $200-300 offerings. I don't think I'm being overly harsh or critical. If I were to design an appliance, function will be at the top of the list, and the placement of the on/off switch is kind of important. I don't think that takes much thought or consideration. Seems to me that someone in T3 was in a desperate hurry to get this thing built and manufactured.

Back to Sephora you go. $99 is not worth the frustration you will give me each morning.

I think I'm becoming more critical and pickier, which is not a bad thing. I will make a concession for the B. Kamins blemish gel which may work for some but not for others, as it so often is the case with skincare products. But as for the T3 Veloce, I can't get over it. It's like making a door and placing the door knob high up towards the ceiling rather than on the middle. Would you buy a door like that? My mistake was in not opening up the box to actually try holding the dryer and seeing how it feels in my hand. I didn't want to rip open the one box that was left at the store. That's what comes of being too polite. This will be remedied in future excursions.

When was the last time you returned a product and what does it take for you to make the return?


  1. The last product I returned, I didnt even try it, it was that HD powder from MUFE, which gave Nicole Kidman that awful look. I saw the article with her picture right after I ordered the powder. It made a hit and run, right back to the store!

  2. @ Nicky, that's hilarious! I saw that pic, I can understand tossing the HD powder back to Sephora as fast as possible.

    Liz - when you find a super acne-zapping formula, let me know - it seems so elusive! And I totally get your frustration/rage regarding the T3 - that just sounds so ridiculous! Definitely don't settle for something that's not doing the trick, especially when it's not small change.

  3. Laura Mercier Mineral Powder. Everyone on YT was raving about it, so I bought into the hype and got it, completely ignoring the fact that it hate Bismyth Oxychloride in it. I was itchy and broke out. Back it went. You gotta love Sehora's return policy!

  4. @Nicky - I never liked transluscent powders in the first place so I'm so glad I got to test out a sample of that instead of buying it. Returning it was a good call!

    @Latoya - I'm starting to think the perfect anti-acne treatment can be found right next to the unicorn and Elvis. :(

    @Tracy - I noticed the return policy is slightly modified now. You have to show your identification if you don't have the original receipt. Not sure what they plan on doing with the information they collect, but... yeah.

  5. My Rusk W8less isn't exactly weightless but it too has the switch design fail like the T3 Veloce. There are 3 click switches in the middle of the handle and all I can ask is, WHY RUSK WHY!?
    Why not use pushable switches that click into place and don't budge unless the thumb moves the switch up and down instead?! Maybe I'm explaining it wrong but some hair dryers have switches like this and I think the big boy brands should have already solved the switch issue long ago!

  6. Hey, Ashley! I know what you mean, and yes, why don't these big names get their act straight? I guess I won't be picking up that Rusk either!

  7. @Liz: It's to make sure people aren't scamming them I guess. They are loads of people who do that. I once saw someone bring back over $300 of stuff almost a year later. USED.

  8. I understand why they instituted the change, but I don't know how they would go about using the information from customer IDs to resolve their issues. Maybe they should modify the return policy so that people can't make returns after a certain amount of time, rather than collecting sensitive and personal information which can be much more valuable than the monetary value at stake. How would they even know someone is scamming them? They won't be able to track down the original purchase if it was made with cash and the product was returned without the barcode. I don't like giving out my information, and more and more stores ask for it without good enough reasons. (Like at Winners - they keep asking for my postal code and I always say no.)

  9. That dryer sounds like a total, total fail! I'd return that in a heartbeat as well! Being pickier sounds like a damn good lesson to learn on this reductionista journey. I am also waay too polite sometimes and have paid for it later. Wondering if I'll ever learn though! ;)

  10. Yeah, that was a bummer. :( I tend to get quite bitchy without much prompting, so I try to restrain it... then it comes to NO GOOD!! lol

  11. Haha thanks for the review. Was going to get one off Folica but your line about how T3 is making a quick buck off of this lower priced version made me rethink.

    1. Yeah, not sure if their regular $300 giant ones are any better but I was so disappointed with this one. Good luck finding a new one!


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