3 of the worst skincare products of 2022 and what you need to swap them for in 2023

By Deanna Pearce

Published Dec 27, 2022 at 09:15 AM

Reading time: 4 minutes

While searches for ‘skincare’ have been on a constant growth ever since January 2016 according to Google Trends—including two major peaks in May and November 2020—it’s important to note that keeping your skin healthy and attractive is more than just a beauty fab. Skincare as a ritual also provides an opportunity for mindfulness. It allows you to reduce your stress, focus on self-care, and even strengthen your self-worth.

But let’s not be naive either—with the rise in popularity of skincare come thousands of products that brands will do almost anything to push us to buy, regardless of how beneficial they actually might be. And with so many options available, heated opinions are bound to circulate.

It can therefore be incredibly difficult to choose which creams, serums and cleansers to purchase when your TikTok FYP perpetually confuses you, feeding you one contradicting review after the other. Fear not, however, because I’ve done all the testing, researching and debating to save you the trouble, and to hopefully prevent any major breakouts.

1. Clean & Clear Exfoliating Daily Wash

3 of the worst skincare products of 2022 and what you need to swap them for in 2023

Now, everyone’s heard the age-old phrase ‘It does exactly what it says on the tin’—well, sadly in this instance, the folklore doesn’t quite add up. Despite this product’s seemingly straightforward branding, consumers might not complete their daily skincare routine feeling quite as fresh as promised.

The Clean & Clear Exfoliating Daily Wash uses naturally derived exfoliators, thereby supposedly making it a perfect product for any oil-prone face. Unlike other competing exfoliators, the Daily Wash utilises micro-beads—tiny exfoliating agents used to remove dirt, oil, and dead skin cells—which,  allegedly, should leave the skin feeling smooth rather than irritated.

However, in a classic cosmetic plot twist, marketing consultant, TikTok content creator and skincare enthusiast Dani Nicholls included it in her list of skincare products that belong in the bin.


Bestie, I’m begging you. Stop using these 😭#retinolskincare #acneskin #tretinoin #skincareroutine

♬ original sound - Razia Moe

Alternative: The Ordinary Squalene Cleanser

3 of the worst skincare products of 2022 and what you need to swap them for in 2023

If you’re still on the hunt for a cleanser which won’t irritate your skin, perhaps you should consider a natural anti-chemical product. One such example would be the straightforward, no-nonsense Squalene Cleanser from fresh-faced favourites The Ordinary. Not only is this product a personal favourite of mine, it’s primed for all skin types and is not going to break the bank.

The Ordinary’s cleanser also, you guessed it, contains squalene—a highly versatile fatty molecule, which works to moisturise and soften your complexion. This can also help reduce frown lines and wrinkles.

2. Any brand of make-up or facial wipes

3 of the worst skincare products of 2022 and what you need to swap them for in 2023

While these flimsy little chemical squares might have served us all well after a sticky night out, the reality is, make-up wipes are both ineffective and harmful. Rather than cleanse the skin, facial wipes are designed to break down makeup particles, so instead of effectively removing any residue or cosmetic pollutants, using these wipes effectively rubs the particles into your skin—inadvertently leaving a dirtier surface than you started with.

These nasty little wipes can also have a devastating impact on your skin’s pH balance, primarily due to the abundance of chemicals present. Over time, face wipes have a tendency to cause irritation and breakouts, leaving the skin looking dull and wrinkled.

If these revelations don’t cause you to throw out your hoard of wipes immediately, the final straw might be their horrendous environmental impact. These products are made from polyester, cotton, wood pulp and rayon fibres meaning they won’t decompose quickly, instead piling on top of one and other, padding landfills.

3 of the worst skincare products of 2022 and what you need to swap them for in 2023

Alternative: Greenzla Reusable Makeup Remover Pads

3 of the worst skincare products of 2022 and what you need to swap them for in 2023

Who needs chemical face wipes when reusable pads and trusty bottles of micellar water exist? This new fan-favourite combo is a great alternative, both in regard to removing your make-up and keeping your skin safe from any unnecessary abrasion and damage.

Made from luxury bamboo and 100 per cent cotton, these pads are beautifully soft, perfect for even the most sensitive of skin, and easily washable. They’re also highly absorbent, so the days of aggressively scrubbing at your waterproof mascara are long gone.

While facial wipes may appear more convenient, their one-use nature often results in a hefty end-of-the-month bill. On the other hand, high-quality make-up pads can often withstand 100 washes. Once you’ve removed last night’s war paint and you’ve gotten the maximum use out of your pad, simply throw them away in your compost bin and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.


The less single-use anything, the better! 🌿 #reusablecottonpads #ecofriendlyproducts #torontobusiness #reusable #cottonpads #savetheplanet #lesswaste

♬ Believe Me - Navos

3. Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs & Rosewater

3 of the worst skincare products of 2022 and what you need to swap them for in 2023

Not many cosmetic products have held such a tight grip over the gen Z and millennial community as the iconic Mario Badescu facial spray. Is it still worth the hype? Sadly, I’m here to inform you that the beauty YouTubers of 2017 were lying to you.

Anyone marketing this spray should definitely dodge the word natural, as it turns out that the mist is choc-a-bloc with fragrances—specifically, Hexylene Glycol, a colourless liquid known to cause skin irritation.

The spray also contains Phenoxyethanol, a preservative which should be fine in low concentrations but has been known to cause drastic allergic reactions in some cases. Beauty whizz Katya-Niomi stated that “it’s simply fragrance galore” and went on to explain how bad fragrance is for your skin as it sensitises it, in turn breaking down your skin’s barrier.


why i don’t like the Mario Bedescu facial sprays #mariobedescu #skincare #skincareadvice #skincaretips #acne #clearskin #eczema

♬ original sound - Katya-Niomi

You know what they say, third time’s a charm. The Mario Badescu spray also has remnants of Propylene Glycol—an ingredient that has garnered mixed opinions within the cosmetic community. It has been deemed safe by certified dermatologists via Healthline as the ingredient is chemically inactive, however, the Environmental Working Group has also acknowledged the ingredient’s capabilities to cause redness and irritation.

Alternative: Superdrug Vitamin E Hydrating Mist

3 of the worst skincare products of 2022 and what you need to swap them for in 2023

This Superdrug gem is a favourite among netizens online, with one user stating: “It is the most versatile skincare product I own, I use this product as a toner, I use it during the day as a fresh natural moisturiser and it gives me this impeccable glow.” It can also be used at the end of your make-up routine to set your face.


My holy grail skin care product is this Vitamin E Refreshing Toning mist from super drug. It’s a very versatile product which can be used as a toner, face refresher especially in the summer, it can also be used as setting spray. How cool is that? I got mind at Superdrug for a little under £5. Amazing. #skincare #glowymakeuptutorial #skinglow #vitaminemist #superdrugstore

♬ original sound - Nangah

The affordable hydrating mist also contains many other vitamins A, B, F, and H, which combined with the horse chestnut extract will help moisturise dry skin.

There we have it, these are my discoveries. Of course, I would be an irresponsible skincare comrade if I didn’t encourage you to do your own experimenting in search of the ultimate cosmetic kit. However, I hope these findings start you off on the right path.

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