Sunday, December 30th, 2012

10 Worst Beauty Products of 2012

There have been several disappointing products released over the past year, but these are ten that really frustrated me… They’re in no particular order!  Now that these are out of the way, we can end 2012 and start 2013 on a happy, positive note going over all the bests of the year :)

What was the worst product you tried this year?

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87 thoughts on “10 Worst Beauty Products of 2012

  1. Avatar of Ioana Cami

    Looks like MAC and NARS need to do a serious overhaul of their collections for 2013, the majority of their items this past year have been less then impressive.

  2. Karley

    Ugh…. Sooo much Nars! Too bad!

  3. Melissa

    Man, I hate that NARS appears three times on this list, but I totally understand why. NARS is one of my favorite brands–their foundations are phenomenal and their lipsticks are unparalleled in my book. Their eyeliners have also had great reviews as well. But I hate that NARS is becoming like MAC, where I have to look for a bunch of reviews before buying. For MAC, they can kind of get away with it, because they release so many products in a year. With NARS, they have a much smaller total number of lines, and having some lines as complete flops (the Andy Warhol line or the Soft Touch Shadow Pencil product as a whole) really makes me wary of impulse-buying anything from them, and really makes me way or buying anything new and exciting that they’re trying to promote, to be honest. NARS really needs to whip their line into shape and start acting like a high-end brand by producing high-end new formulations and high-end, well-though-out limited edition collections, or they are going to fall of the map entirely.

    • Hopefully we won’t have any major flop collections by NARS next year! Andy Warhol was really hard to take – since obviously it was a huge deal to both NARS as well as consumers, it hurt a little to see it do so badly. (Though there were a few good products that came out of it.) NARS doesn’t put out 100% greatness, but they usually only have a few misses a year, not a collection crippled by them.

  4. OMG I so agree about the pressed pigments! HATE them! HATE HATE HATE! lol

  5. ashley

    totally disagree about the marilyn shadows. i love them

    • Avatar of Ruca Ruca

      The dark one was great, and the silver was workable, but the two lighter ones were dry, crumbling disasters (for me). I love the pressed pigments, though. Funny how we have so many different perceptions of the same products.

  6. breyerchic04

    I was so sad to not be able to get the Marilyn Monroe Shadows or any of the Andy Warhol collection. Not so sad now!

    I still haven’t bought anything nars because I do see quite a few misses and i’m not sure where to start.

    • Blushes are a good place :)

    • Avatar of Amy xamyx

      As far as eyeshadows, I find the mattes can be hit-or-miss (some take a bit more work than others), but if you like shimmery shadows, I find them to all perform well. I’ve also heard great things about lipsticks, though I’ve never tried them. I also really like the liquid foundations, but then I don’t need alot from one.

    • Melissa

      Nars lipsticks are also stellar–their tube glosses aren’t my favorite, but I don’t like 99% of all glosses regardless, and their gloss pencils are quite nice. I’d definitely recommend going into a store and checking them out.

  7. Michelle Tamoni

    Just 1 drugstore product out of 10!!! That says a lot about the makeup industry. I remember 5 or 10 years ago, when I would just buy high end products. It was almost impossible to find basic things at the drugstore, like a long lasting eyeliner, a well pigmented eyeshadow or even a foundation that lasted longer than 2 hours!Well, now we can almost find everything with amazing quality for less than US$ 10, and that is amazing! Actually, I’ve just changed my “Holy Grail”, the MUFE Mat Velvet + foundation, to the new Maybelline Pure Foundation that was just released here in Brazil!A Total KO!!
    So, I think all the high end brands need to rethink their prices AND quality ASAP!! SPECIALLY YOU MAC!!!Btw, 2012 was particularly an awful year for MAC collections, in my humble opinion.
    But it was another amazing year for Temptalia and I wish a even better 2013! xo

    • Avatar of Fitrah Fitrah

      Not to detract from how great drugstore products can be, but I think that only one of these products is drugstore may more likely speak to the fact that Christine reviews more high-end products than budget ones. Not a criticism, just pointing it out.

      • charlotte

        I fully agree.. and it’s a shame she does not do more because I get burned a lot more at Sephora than I do at the drugstore. There are some amazingly good products in low end these days.

        • That’s actually one of the reasons I review more high-end products — you pay more but there are plenty of misses within high-end, and accessibility to high-end can be a lot less for some, as not everyone lives near a counter or Sephora, so many have to order online. Access to drugstore brands is much, much larger, and even if something doesn’t work out, it’s less of a loss.

          • That makes a lot of sense to me. I love reviews of drugstore products but I will not actually go search for them online before trying it out unlike the more expensive brands because of the investment,

      • Michelle Tamoni

        I understand that Christine reviews a lot of high- end products. But that’s fine because that’s where we can loose money big time. Just an example, the Carine Roitfeld collection was something that I wanted to buy everything immediatly. But, after seeing Christine’s post here, I can honestly say that I’ve saved myself good 300 bucks!!
        But my pony is, the fact that drugstore makeup has got massive quality improvement in the last years, and at the same time, the big high-end brands such as MAC and Nars have had some MAJOR issues with quality lately with most of their collections is undeniable. That’s exactly why I’ve pointed out how amazing is Christine’s work here, because she gives her most honest opinion about everything. And thanks to her I’ve save A LOT of money with high-end products that, after reading her review, I went to the drugstore and found something better and cheaper. Just saying…

    • Stacey

      That could be the case but I think there are more HE products reviews with Temptalia than drug store products and I think that should be taken into consideration…and not to say the above products were not shabby.

      • Avatar of Amy xamyx

        However, if you look at the overall ratings from each brand, you’ll find an equal amount of DS brands have consistently high ratings as HE brands, even though less DS products are reviewed. I find DS brands are, in fact, stepping it up while certain HE brands are merely coasting on their reputations.

        • I tend not to review drugstore shades/formulas that are middle-of-the-road – it’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just there are too many really good/really bad products that are of higher priority. I test 2-3x as many products as I actually am able review :(

        • Stacey

          Even Fitrah above stated my sentiments exactly.

  8. Avatar of Amy xamyx

    We have to keep things in perspective with NARS; while the Warhol collaboration was, overall, an epic FAIL, I don’t think it’s an adequate representation of the brand as a whole. I think I was more disappointed in the packaging & presentation than the products themselves. I spent quite a bit of money on NARS this year (and in years past), and I have to say it’s still a brand I look forward too every season. Given about 90% of what I use day to day is NARS, I can forgive this one miss. As for the eye pencils, I quite like them (but not much ever creases on my eyes), and I think it’s just one of those products you either love or hate.

  9. Carrie

    I remember when I first saw the preview for this round of Pressed Pigments I was intrigued and even asked you when you might get around to reviewing them. Once I found out I had a few days I did some searching and realized that they’d come out before. Reading those reviews cooled my jonsing for them. Then I saw Musing of Muse’s reviews and realized they probably hadn’t changed much, which your recent review confirmed.

    I finally played with these in the store this weekend and I was astounded – all I got off of these was pure glitter. And yet some of these had actually sold out! My mind totally boggles over this product!

    I am so so SO glad that I waited!

    Here’s hoping 2013 is a better year for MAC – more formulas like Mega Metal Shadows (I would kill for more of these in cooler toned shades!) and less Pressed Pigments!

  10. Avatar of Carressa CaressUH

    Worst product I tried in 2012 was the Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush.

    • Avatar of Ruca Ruca

      That blush was SO popular! I never tried it myself, but it intrigued me. Thank you for saying you disliked it because I really need to feel like I made the right choice not to buy this cute but weird product.

  11. The MAC pressed pigments and shade & smoke pencils were really bad, and I agree with you about the NARS Andy Warhol collection too.

  12. Avatar of Alyza Alyza Rae

    Most Nars permenant products are awesome! Their Larger Than Life liners are my favorite and their nail polishes are so lux and lovely. It always surprises me when they put out a dud and it baffles me that they CONTINUE to release more Soft Touch pencils, do they not listen to consumer feedback or test products at all?!

    • Lisa J

      I feel the same way about Mac overall, too. So many stunning products in their permanent line, many of them HG products for me. Why do they fail so terribly when it comes to LE products?? It’s not as if they don’t know how to make quality products!

      Nars was the biggest disappointment for me overall this year. It was not their best, but hopefully both companies have listened and learned and 2013 will be better! ;)

  13. Avatar of Sabriel Sabriel

    OH! The Revlon PhotoReady Sculpting Blush Palette!

    It is absolutely terrible. I couldn’t get the blush to show up at all on my (~NW20) skin. It was hard to pick up the powder with my brush, but even after I scraped a bunch of it loose and packed it on, I still couldn’t see it.

    The contour color showed up, but it was was too shimmery. It also was a very warm tone, and very obviously not a shadow.

    I guess the highlighter was OK, but that’s not saying a whole lot.

  14. TrippyPixie

    The worst product I tried this year was Wet n Wild’s Mega Eyes Defining Marker. The felt tip was so incredibly stiff that I thought I was going to get scratched. I actually returned it, and I almost never do that.

  15. Avatar of Bri Bri

    Twas a bad year for Nars & Mac :(

  16. Lisa J

    Those Mac shade and smoke liners is what caused me to give up on LE collections once and for all! I’ve been disappointed in a product before, but I’ve NEVER had the desire to take that crap product and hurl it at the Mac building I purchased it in!!! I totally felt that way, but of course I didn’t do it…LOL! There was absolutely no excuse for a product that bad. (Full disclosure-Pink Pigeon and Party Parrot being re-released brought me back for one brief moment…:P)

    2012 was not a great year for Nars either and I, like many, fell victim to the Andy Warhol collection. I rarely ever return makeup, but every product I bought from that collection was returned. The overall collection had a great look to it, especially the self portrait palettes, but just did not perform. For the price? Ridiculous….

    • LOL!

      I was REALLY worried about the NARS Andy Warhol launch, because I know I was one of the first to put out reviews and they were just so negative and so bad. It’s comforting to know that I wasn’t off the mark and a lot of others had problems, too!

  17. Avatar of Barbie Barbie

    maybelline bouncy blush i hated it so much i chucked it in the trash

  18. I love ‘Worst Product of the Year’ lists *evil cackle*. So disappointed in the NARS Andy Warhol collection, its living proof that you can’t judge a product by the packaging I guess :(

  19. Avatar of Patrícia Patricia

    Wow I am impressed to see that 9 out of 10 worst products are high end!

    • I went by both rating as well as general level of disappointment – there were some subpar drugstore products this year, but few that were genuinely disappointing enough to be considered for this list!

  20. Avatar of Ruca Ruca

    Ah, those silly, misguided Beth Ditto pencils! I had no pain, no problems, and a lovely application with mine (I had the same one you had, Christine), but I did return it because I decided the product was a confusing attempt to create “Smokey Eyeliner for Dummies” for lack of a better idiomatic analogy. I used the light color for e/s all over the lid, and the dark, rounded end for a heavy, smudged eyeliner–top and bottom. It looked good, but I can do the same better with actual eyeshadow and a gel or pencil liner, and that would be much cheaper, too. Still, there much be someone who would love the thing and not care about trading price for convenience. The brick color absolutely does not go in the crease, though; it’s just a fat, silly eyeliner pencil.

    I wanted to like it so much, but it went back for a refund, as did all my Marilyn shadows. YUCK!

  21. Avatar of Vincent Vincent N

    Why aren’t the Beth Ditto 1/2 liner 1/2 shadow sticks on here?

  22. Avatar of Veronica Veronica

    Revlon’s cream blushes. Gorgeous colors, but the formula was too stiff. Brushes were out of the question – you either picked up too much product by digging in or none at all. Application via fingers was really the only worthwhile way of doing it, and I really wasn’t keen on doing that. Revlon’s blushes in general are not the strong point of the brand.

  23. Avatar of Mariella Mariella

    In all honesty, Christine, because of your reviews, I don’t think I have a “worst” product this year….I’ve avoided buying products that looked good but didn’t perform purely because of your reviews! If there was a “worst”, it was probably a Algenist night cream and that I received free in a VIB gift bag from Sephora. I was glad I didn’t pay for it. It would be a fine cream except that it is very expensive and doesn’t deliver on the promises it makes. It moisturizes okay and is an okay night cream if it was 30 or 40 bucks but it’s way more than that!

  24. MAC released such poor-quality collections this year! it makes me sad causa it’s the brand that got me into makeup and they had been a favorite for a long time :/ I still love some of their permanent products and some items that came in overall bad collections, but I hope one day i’ll fall in love with their collections again. and that dior swimming pool palette was really disappointing, i was so excited to get this to make a pastel look but when I saw your review I gave it up

  25. Avatar of tzwiggy t_zwiggy

    I actually haven’t tried any truly awful products this year, I think this blog has helped me a lot to steer away from those bad purchases I otherwise would have made (NARS Warhol being a good example).

    I have however had some huge disappointments, some of them most likely due to too high expectations. The biggest one is without a doubt the Armani eyes to kill shadows. I clearly didn’t try the best shades, they were kinda gritty, had lots of fallout and looked a bit muddy and uneven on my lids. Also the UD shadow pencils and Bare Escentuals primer shadows didn’t work for me at all.

  26. Nicole

    Armani Eyes to Kill Trio. The colours look really nice in the pan, but the colour payoff is bad and it is so glittery. I will not buy an Armani powder eye shadow in the future.

  27. C Reason

    I actually like the Mac pressed pigments, but I agree with her other comments regarding Mac. I think she left out a few other dishonorable mentions regarding Mac, however.
    1. Beth Ditto highlight powder
    2. Entire MM collection EXCEPT the lipsticks. Blushes were too pale, beauty powder too chalky, only thing it had going was the packaging.
    3. And last but certainly not least Mac gets a dishonorable mention for their passive aggressive marketing strategy. They’ll send the store literally 3 of the hottest, trendiest items everyone is talking about online, (one had to be made into a tester) then sell out immediately, not get anymore in, and frustrate their customers. It’s like their saying, “we showed you. If yiu want to get this stuff you better buy it quick.”

    • Tabitha

      I loved the MM lipsticks but I actually loved the beauty powder too, and I liked the blushes. For us pale ladies it was actually pretty perfect, I think it would have been kinda odd if they’d done darker colors or more vivid blushes- just because that isn’t the type of makeup MM wore.

      I agree that their limited edition collections are pretty freakin crazy though, but I think stock varies from store to store. Mine usually gets a decent amount of everything, but it still sells out in a heartbeat because people see how quickly everything goes online and don’t want to pay Ebay prices =/

  28. I am so glad I saw this list! I was in the store playing with the bars shadow pencils last week and have been meaning to go back at some point and buy one. Now I know to avoid them like the plague!

    • Joanna

      You don’t have to avoid them. Many people have tried them with great success. Just because it didn’t work for Christine doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. Put it on and blend it out. Then layer with powder shadow!

  29. gigi

    NARS is a disappointing line in a lot of ways… I was really disappointed with the new tinted moisturizer they came out with (they promised it would be better than Laura Mercier) but I should have listened to that “little voice” inside me that said “No! Remember how disgusted you were with the NARS Sheer Glow foundation? It looked like you were wearing glue!” Then of course the Warhol Collection was a total JOKE. The new “Larger Than life” liners are decent, but their lipsticks/glosses are revolting. It’s strange, because they’re owned by Shiseido and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Shiseido Perfect Rouge lipsticks. You have to wonder if they could just share formulas with their mother company. NARS is basically a really great blush/bronzer company-and thats about it. As for MAC… omg I won’t even go there…ok, yeah I will. 2012 wasn’t a good year for them- I wonder if they’re losing their touch????? Pressed Pigments are an epic FAIL, and I was really excited to try them. Maybe 2013 will be better for MAC? But I’ve lost total faith in NARS after this year!!!

  30. Oh well, there are fail products in each brand MAC or any drugstore… Awesome list))) I like compilations of worst and best products ))

  31. It’s really sad that Nars is on here three times, because I thought that they had a solid performance for the first 3/4 of the year. But then the wheels came off with Warhol (including the fact that they releases a whole bunch of the shadow pencils. ARGH!!). I thought that every other collection they brought out had some real winners, but there was nothing in Warhol that worked for me. I’m nervous to hear that it’s the first of several planned artist collaborations.

  32. CC

    The worsts things that I tried this year were: The YSL Shocking mascara, well it was shocking, in the fact that it let me with spider lashes, and the Maybelline Mega Plush Waterproof mascara, the wand is very flexible, thus making it weak and doing nothing for my lashes. I also tried like 3 Clinique blushes, and they are very stiff and hard to get any color from them, you need to work with them a minute or two. Once you get the color is a beautiful natural tone, but it takes too much time and effort to do so. And last but not least the Maybelline Super Stay 14 hr lipstick in Ravish Rouge; beautiful red that it looked gorgeous in the first 30 minutes, but after that it was a complete mess.

  33. Avatar of Dominique Dominique

    Nars Debbie Harry palette is very bad indeed but Dior Swimming Pool is one of my fav palettes, so lovely pastels quite easy to build up. M.A.C Marilyn eyeshadows were really disappointing ( and what cheap packagings for the whole collection ! ),

  34. The shade and smoke shadow/liner was probably the worst I tried this year. It was just so dry, the color payoff so poor. Glad I could return it!

  35. Avatar of rebecca blueraccoon

    I think my worst was the Maybelline Super Stay 10hr Stain Gloss thing. It smelled and tasted so vile, like cherry cough syrup. I could not get it off my lips fast enough, and it’s left me very wary of trying other Maybelline lip products in general.

  36. Avatar of Catherine Cathy

    After discovering your blog, I’ve become obsessed with reading reviews before purchasing anything, so I’ve been spared – I was close to buying some of the things listed here (the Warhol eyeshadows looked so lovely in the pan!), but didn’t, so thank you :D Happy new years!

  37. Clara

    Mac Reel Sexy lipstick was a huge disappointment. The application was so difficult because it was so uneven. Finally, I gave it away. I was happy that a similar shade has been promoted in the Quite Coral Kit in the holiday collection!

  38. Andrea

    MAC should do only four collections per year one per season with nice packaging and trendy colors. Who can have good products if launching new products every week :-(

  39. Avatar of MAJ Margo

    Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush was the worst, by far. I’m super pale – I’m MAC NW15 and in some products, the lightest shade is too orange. That being said, I couldn’t get the blush to show up on me at all! I bought two shades that were on the lighter side, since I want to look natural. I couldn’t get these things to work at all. I tried my fingers, a brush, even wiping it on my cheeks from the pan (haha that was a fail). The color was super faint, splotchy, and didn’t blend. Even though it was like $6, don’t waste the money.

  40. I totally agree on the Nars shadow sticks; I was extremely disappointed with them. What a shame; the colors are so pretty! I tried the MAC fabulousness palette in Neutral and the quality seemed up to the usual Mac standards.. Even though the brand has a great color selection they need to work on quality control. This is a great list Christine! Have a happy new year!

  41. Avatar of Kathryn KEG

    I like pur minerals products-but I tried a couple of their shea butter lipsticks, and while the color was great, the pulling,tugging and agony to try and get the lipstick on my lips without breaking the tube, qualifies this product as one of the worst. I ended up tossing the tubes.
    HAPPY NEW YEAR CHRISTINE :]

  42. Avatar of Kathryn KEG

    I am grateful for your reviews- I am able to avoid wasting my money on lousy products!!

  43. Avatar of Ruca Ruca

    For me, the absolute worst product this year was MAC’s 3 glittery Fluidline eyeliners–the pink being the worst by far. The black one is pretty bad, too. only the grey one is wearable, but barely.

    This was a huge disappointment for me because gel liners are my favorite, and I prefer Fluidline’s formula over all others, even Bobbi Brown. I found out the hard way the BH makes some of the worst gel liners on the market, but these Glamourdaze MAC Fluidlines were pure hell.

    • Lark

      Go ask an MUA, these are a much lauded product – which nobody used as liner. The best creme eyeshadow though! I knew this instinctively, The MAC staff said they’d been using them as shadows, Women’s Wear Daily gushed about it.

      Use your finger. No primer, that’ll screw it up. Sometimes they need a second coat across the lid. All fabulous alone, maybe with some Blacktrack. You can line with Paintpot too. It’s all just paint!

    • I totally agree if you use them as fluidlines, though the silver one is pretty perfect for for me who am fair skinned/ clear eyes / liner dummy ;-) ot makes a less harsh, softer line. Bit I find the pink one awesome if applied as a cream eyeshadow, I only use a small touch of it in inner corner of eyes to give a little pop of light and glitter… you could try it that one, hope it will make you love that color again….

    • T Anne

      Hehe I actually kinda like the pink fluidline, I didn’t like it the first time I tried it but it’s definitely grown on me

  44. Lark

    You could try using Soft Touch pencils the way every body else does. With a brush, as a wash, under other colors. We don’t cake on shadow anymore. We layer colors.

    If you look at the collection model you see how the product is used. And your testing is inherently flawed, nobody puts on ES like that!

    • Hi Lark,

      I’ve done all of those things – I know for sure we’ve had this discussion before! I’ve applied with fingers, brushes, sponge-tip applicators, from the pencil itself. Over and under eyeshadow. By itself. As an eyeliner. As a highlighter.

  45. Definitely: OPI the living daylights, from the Skyfall collection: beautiful glitters, but impossible to apply!! If you strike brush like a normal polish, you get ZERO glitters… if you want to pack up, you have to put a heavy thick huge coat of clear polish, it’s not a concern about color, but about wear (gets easily marks) and about drying time…

  46. Lol funny, because the MAC Pressed Pigments and Marilyn Eyeshadows are actually 2 of some of my favourite beauty products of 2012, for me they work beautifully, in this instance I was really glad to have read your reviews only after I already got the products or I would have missed out on them.

    • I’m glad they work for you, Stella!! :) I would much rather give a bad grade and you love it than a great grade and you hate it! Any tips for working with the Pressed Pigments?

      • Lilinah

        i’m happy with my MAC Pressed Pigments. I used Too Faced Glitter Glue as a base and they stay bright and without glitter fallout – on New Years Eve for close to 15 hours.

  47. Carolyn

    I would have to say I am in total agreement with you when it comes to my Amethyst pressed pigment recently purchased…. Just wouldn’t stay put, I didn’t have a primer under it though……BUT my Spot lit pressed pigment is AWESOME!!! Used it with a primer and applied with my finger (applied the A with my finger too) and it stayed all day with no creasing and a beautiful shimmer!!! The shimmer almost reminded me of twinkling stars depending on how the light hit it….I will definitely repurchase this particular one again.

  48. I love your “worst” posts. Just sayin.

  49. Avatar of Leticia Leticia

    Thanks to your reviews, I stayed away from all the products on your list! Like for others, it has become a habit for me to read reviews before purchasing and that´s helped me a lot. The worst product I tried in 2012 was not a new release – it was Benefit´s Hello Flawless Powder…the finish on me was awful and not “flawless” at all! It´s by far the worst pressed powder I have tried :( !

  50. Tanyeli

    Hi Christine ! I’m from Turkey,Antalya. I like your web site but this article very important for me.. Because readers like reading real reviews about the products :) I hope , u understand my english :) Happy new year! :)