by Miss Shadow Lovely (2017)
As a beauty blogger, I’m definitely what you’d consider an avid cosmetics user. You name it, I’ve got it. Probably many different name brands of it. And… while I do occasionally snag a sponsorship for promoting a product on my blog now and then; it can be a bit of a costly obsession. Anyone who has purchased their fair share of makeup or bath & body products for themselves, girlfriends, mothers, sisters, or friends will surely empathize with the struggle of the some times ridiculous prices. So, when it comes to finding a great deal on some of my favorite brands and products, I’m always on the lookout.
But, this is going to be a cautionary tale. Never sacrifice quality for cost when it comes to beauty products, and here’s why… Now, even though makeup reviews are my specialty, my true weakness are bath and skin care products. I’ve always prided myself on having silky smooth skin from head to toe; mostly thanks to a consistent regimen of exfoliating, moisturizing, and lots of regular warm baths. For me, there was nothing more relaxing than a nice soak in a bath with a body oil, bubble bar, or my personal favorite; a bath bomb.
Bath bombs were always a consistent favorite of mine. I love the variety of colors, shapes, fragrances, and textures. But, if you’ve ever purchased a bath bomb at the mall or specialty store, you understand when I say that they are definitely a “splurge” item. At anywhere from $5-15 per bath bomb, people will frequently look to websites such as Etsy to find cheaper bundles of homemade bath bombs. But, in my experience, the homemade bath bombs from sites like Etsy are more affordable; but lacking in most of the essential oils and ingredients that supply the added benefits that I’m looking for in a bath bomb.
They’re nice for when you just want to have a cutely colored or sweetly scented warm soak, but for a skin routine like mine… They’re just rarely worth it. I’d rather just shell out the extra cash for my little indulgence. So, you can imagine my excitement when I received an e-mail from one of my blog’s readers, informing me about a listing on a popular e-commerce auction site for a case of bath bombs from my favorite retailer; being sold at a wholesale price.
I know what you’re probably thinking. That seems too good to be true, right? Strangely enough, it’s actually quite a common occurrence. For a variety of reasons, usually around the holidays or maybe a store promotion, franchise owners for this particular retailer will often order an overstock of popular items like these to prepare for the risen demand. When the promotions don’t do as well as the franchisee has hoped, they’ll try to at least make their investment back by selling the merchandise at wholesale prices online.
I followed the link to the auction listing provided in the email and was astounded at the price of the offer. A dozen of one of my favorite bath bombs; for 20% less than wholesale cost! Now, “Surely,” I thought to myself, “there HAS to be a catch…”
I closely scanned the item description, meticulously trying to uncover the reason for such an outrageously good deal. After carefully reviewing over and over, the only flaw I could find to attribute to the product was ‘damaged packaging’. Score. Online warehouses or web stores will often hide hidden gems like this listing. ‘Less than perfect’ packaging means that there is a chance that the seller will not be able to sell the product for wholesale value without a negative seller review from the customer who receives it. Fortunately, a lot of online sellers aren’t willing to risk the a negative review in an era where product reviews shape the opinions of the average consumer.
I’ve had lucky finds like this one in the past. I once got a brand new Blu-Ray player for under $100 because of a hole in the manufacturer packaging. Finding listings like these are a game of chance and timing, and at the time… I thought I had found a steal. Of course, another common issue that you’ll often find with amazing online prices is the fact that they’ll likely be shipped from a country across the globe. Which means that unless you’re willing to shell out a bunch of money for expedited shipping and handling, you’ll likely be waiting up to a month for your purchase to arrive.
Sure enough, the product’s location was in West India. The estimated delivery date was 3 and a half weeks. It was a bummer that I’d have to wait so long, but the cost of expedited shipping was almost as much as the product itself, and I didn’t want to sabotage such a great deal. If I wanted to pay that much money, I would have just gone to a local outlet of the same retailer and bought them in person. I begrudgingly accepted the delivery estimate and placed the order.
A few weeks later, I came home from work to find the package waiting for me at my front door. Perfect timing, as I was just coming home from a brutally stressful day in the world of customer service. I couldn’t wait to tear open into my package and run myself a long overdue warm bath.
I turned on the faucet and waited for the water to finish filling the bathtub, all the while admiring my cute little treasures. No signs of damage to the actual bath bombs themselves, just a hole in bottom of the package; just as the listing had described. I saw a big of degradation to the bath bombs, which I chalked up to being the result of their shelf life. I imagined that since these were so discounted, that they must have been the result of a dramatic overstock from a failed store promotion.
Finally, the water was almost to the desired depth, and I poured a little bit of foaming bath oil into the tub before tossing in my bath bomb. That day had been particularly stressful, and I decided that a simple bath bomb want enough. I wanted bubbles, too. Large fluffy clouds of suds soon piled high across the surface of the water and I tossed my bath bomb in.
I could hear the familiar fizzing sound that I’d come to love, and climbed into the tub. Immediately, I could smell the rich essential oils and fragrances surrounding me as I closed my eyes and let my body sink below the bubble covered water. Everything was perfect, for the moment… until… suddenly, my arms and legs started to sting terribly. Then, my abdomen. My entire body felt like it was on fire.
I quickly jumped out of the tub, covered in soapy foam; my skin burning and beginning to itch like nothing that I’d ever felt before. That familiar fizzing sound seemed to follow me out of the tub as I frantically ran to the sink and started to splash handfuls of water all over my body to wash away the suds.
What I saw terrified me. My entire body from the neck down, was covered in small black holes on the surface of my skin. The flesh surrounding those holes was red and horribly inflamed. I panicked and began shrieking, falling backwards to my bathroom floor. Upon closer inspection, I confirmed my worst fear. The holes were actually moving. I gagged upon the discovery that every single small hole was, in fact, an insect burrowing into my skin.
I grabbed my cell phone to call 911, passing out shortly after from a combination of shock and disgust. When I woke up a few hours later in the hospital, my entire body was wrapped in bandages. I didn’t even want to know what was beneath them. My stomach turned at the thought of the thousands moving little holes that I had seen shortly before losing consciousness.
A nurse came in to tend to me a while later, doctor in tow. He informed me that upon finding me on the bathroom floor; one of the paramedics had inadvertently stepped on a bath bomb, crushing it to pieces. When they saw movement coming from the crushed bath bomb, they grabbed the box of them and brought it to the hospital to help them identity the cause of my current state.
Upon further inspection, it was discovered the bath bombs were infested with a horrid species of skin burrowing insect indigenous to West India known as the Chigoe Flea. I don’t recommend Googling it, so I’ll summarize them for you. Chigoe fleas burrow into the flesh of living creatures to lay their eggs inside of the host’s tissue. Before that even happens, the process of burrowing into the skin causes severe irritation and intense pain caused by enzymes used by the insect to break down flesh.
After explaining to the doctor where I had acquired the bath bombs from, he speculated that the insects may have found their way into the packaging via the hole in the box. He advised that they likely burrowed into the bath bombs due to the scent of a familiar plant oil or the texture of the bombs themselves.
So, here I lay in this hospital bed. The doctor just left about an hour ago, so I had some time to kill and I thought I’d type this up. Thank you for taking the time to read my review of this product. I’d give it these bath bombs a 2/10; definitely not for sensitive skin types like mine.