Most Disappointing Beauty Products | 2017

Worst of 2017

Most Disappointing Products

As 2017 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect back on the products I’ve reviewed during the past year and share with you my personal favorites… but this post is all about the duds, the disappointments, the products that had me scratching my head or made me deeply concerned about the direction the brand was going in for the year.

I’m a strong believer that so-called “negative” reviews (to me, they’re just reviews that still take a pro/con approach and may end up with more cons than pros) are important to any influencer’s or reviewer’s body of work.  Without them, I find it is hard to understand how a reviewer accesses products, what types of products don’t work for them, and the like.  Without them, everything looks overwhelmingly positive and ultimately, suspicious, even if they are really truthful.

It’s also important to see where brands fall short as most brands have some point of weakness or simply products they do better than others–and that’s okay–there are thousands of products and hundreds of brands.  There’s no reason to settle for disappointing any more when there are so many options to choose from!

With respect to this post, disappointing doesn’t always mean that the product received an F rating; it means exactly that: something that was extremely disappointing, which could be exceptionally poor quality to a brand with a good reputation producing a mediocre product, even if not an F.

For example, I think this was a lackluster year for Anastasia as a brand; from the debacle and saga that was Subculture to the disappointing quality of their Blush Kits and Liquid Glows, they did not live up to the reputation they had earned in years prior.

On the other hand, Too Faced’s White Chocolate Bar palette was as bad as last year’s mini-version, and while terrible even for Too Faced, nobody was that surprised.  I was also disappointed (and surprised) that both Urban Decay and Makeup Geek couldn’t put out a decent liquid lipstick formula when the market is saturated with better formulas.  Oh, and don’t forget the travesty that was Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham’s London Palette with a soul-crushing $75 price tag to boot!  More disappointments await you below…

What products disappointed you this year? What brands let you down? Share your experiences below in the comments!

Too Faced White Chocolate Bar

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Too Faced White Chocolate Bar Chocolate Bar Eye Palette ($49.00 for 0.42 oz.) is a new, limited edition eyeshadow palette that is available for... Read full review.

Maybelline ColorSensational Powder Matte Lipstick

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Urban Decay Vice Liquid Lipstick

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Urban Decay Vice Special Effects Lip Topcoat

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Estee Lauder London

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Estee Lauder London Victoria Beckham Eye Palette ($75.00 for 0.28 oz.) is a deflating release from a collaboration that was known for its higher... Read full review.

Coloured Raine Mini Eyeshadow Palette

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Makeup Geek Showstopper Crème Stain

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Anastasia Blush Kit

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Anastasia Liquid Glow Highlighter

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Kat Von D Everlasting Lip Liner

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Tarte Buried Treasure

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Tarte Buried Treasure Holiady 2017 Rainforest of the Sea Eyeshadow Palette ($36.00 for 0.37 oz.) is a new, limited edition palette for the holidays... Read full review.

LORAC Mega Pro 4

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LORAC Mega Pro 4 Mega Pro Palette ($59.00 for 0.45 oz.) contains a whopping 32 eyeshadows housed in a slim, cardobard palette. There were some nicer... Read full review.

Too Faced Peach My Cheeks Melting Powder Blush

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Bobbi Brown Glow Stick

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Colour Pop Pressed Powder Blush

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Ciate Glitter Flip

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Anastasia Subculture

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Anastasia Subculture Eyeshadow Palette ($42.00 for 0.28 oz.) includes 14 eyeshadows with three shimmery shades and the rest having a matte finish. I... Read full review.

Chanel Trait de Caractere

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Chanel Trait de Caractere Eyeshadow Palette ($70.00 for 0.31 oz.) is a smoky, earthy set of shades housed in a black compact. I wanted to like it, as... Read full review.

Becca Apres Ski Glow Collection

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Becca Apres Ski Glow Collection Eye Lights Palette ($45.00 for 0.35 oz.) includes seven eyeshadows inspired by the brand's famous powder highlighters,... Read full review.

Urban Decay Distortion

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Urban Decay Distortion Eyeshadow Palette ($48.00 for 0.90 oz.) contains five "duotone shadows" designed to "transform" the remaining 10 (regular)... Read full review.

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There are some real duds here, though I really like the Glitter Flips and UD Distortion. Too Faced White Chocolate and Tarte Buried Treaure just made me want to cry, they swatched so badly.

I didn’t experience too many disappointing products, thank goodness. A lot of that was thanks to Temptalia! Jeffree Star’s Velour Liquid Lipstick in Venus Flytrap was my first dud from the formula. It’s thin, uneven, and patchy on the lips. It’s better as an eyeliner. I also didn’t care for how little pigmentation there was to Medusa Makeup’s lipglosses.

It was a bad year for mascaras: I hated BH Cosmetics Bliss Lash (turned into a clumpy mess 2-3 days after being opened) and Medusa’s Makeup Lash Witch (very wet, smears easily and never really sets). I ended up being allergic to Wet n Wild mascaras.

I got buried treasure as an xmas present, so have to make it work. Clearly, the giver doesn’t read this blog. The colors aren’t even as expected, much bronzer. The form isn’t bad, but m/u is all about function. I almost laughed, when I unwrapped it in front of her. But I will persevere.

Wow! I think ABH Subculture will go down in makeup history. Besides the more political/cultural discussions we’ve had on your site, I can recall your review on this getting lots of comments. It has to be one of the most controversial reviews and products of the year. It’s very interesting, and you’ve stated before that “bad” reviews get more comments than the good ones. LOL. Either way, I think your site is awesome and love the discussions this community engages in. I really hope brands pay attention to the feedback and discussion, and avoid serious disasters from now on!

So many products that left most of us just “smdh” level of disappointed and/ or just plain befuddled this past year! Out of all of the above, only one has redeemed itself due to an obvious re-press of all of its newer palettes: ABH Subculture. I just bought mine Thursday, used it yesterday, going in with the realization of how it *could* have gone, but was pleasantly surprised instead. As long as one doesn’t swirl their brush around or jab hard at the matte shades, as well as just using just enough product at a time, it should go well. But I will say this; Subculture is NOT going to be “beginner” friendly!

I feel the same way about Subculture, I like mine and I’m glad I bought it but I see why people have problems with it. I know most people will disagree but I don’t actually think it’s a bad palette, just a high-maintenance one.

I totally agree, I like mine but find myself thinkin about using it twice just for the precision and time that it takes to make a nice eye look. You can definitely make it work and come up with unique looks but it’s not easy and I would never recommend to a beginner!!

I’m glad you managed to get a new one, Nancy. I ordered one from the 20% off the sale price sale. I hope I get one from a good batch. If not, I’ll return it. I had a case of morbid curiosity, though. lol

Rachel, I know what you mean about the morbid curiosity! Probably half of the reason I jumped on it at $28.80. I’m hoping that you get one as good as mine! Used it again today, but I was so lazy that I just kept it a bit simple.

The ABH Subculture palette — I was looking forward to it, then so many problems, so much drama, ABH saying there was no problem with it while simultaneously saying they were re-pressing palettes. Ugh.

My biggest disappointment (and only return) came from the Marc Jacobs Edgitorial palette. It was so muddy on me and the colour I was most looking forward to – the burnished gold one (Pleather Python, maybe?) really clashed with my skin tone. There was only 1 shade in the palette that I actually really liked and it’s one for which I think I had several dupes. So disappointing and not exactly cheap either.

Thanks to your hard work, Christine, and this blog, I generally manage to avoid dud products entirely.

Yeah that Subculture palette…I swatched the darker colors at the store and it was as bad as everyone said it was, everything turned gray and muddy

My most disappointing beauty purchase was Beauty Bakerie The Grape Life metallic lip whip. I finally bought from them after hearing soooo many people talk about how awesome their lip whips are, but mine was one of the worst lipsticks I’ve ever used.

It was patchy and sheer with one coat but if I tried to put on 2 coats (even with a 5 min drying time between) it crumbled & flaked. Either way it lifted color off the center if I pressed my lips together after it was dry, and even drinking water with a straw broke it down so it wore off the center of my lips. I could feel the grit from the glitter. The applicator has a gap in the center so it deposited product unevenly, I had to use a separate lip brush.

Worse, they refused my return so I was just out $20! I won’t buy from them again, ever.

I feel like it was kind of a weird year for Makeup Geek in general. They didn’t really release a ton (which I don’t mind necessarily) but everything they did release was kind of disappointing and odd. I hope that changes for 2018 because I really love their shadows!

I didn’t experience any duds myself this year, thanks to you Christine and this wonderful blog and the fact that most of the eyeshadow palettes on offer did not suit me. Nor do I wear lipglosses or use highlighting palettes.
However for me the major disappointments of the year were the ABH Subculture palette and the EL/VB eyeshadow quads – because in the past both brands have experienced stunning releases.
Urban Decay did not wow me this year either.

I about died when I saw Chanel’s Trait de Caractere, the shades look beautiful in the pans but it’s a shame they swatch so poorly. I bought Road Movie though, and I love it.

I hate to say this, but I was disappointed in Bésame’s Snow White palette. I’m not a snob at all but I know when I’m working with a quality eyeshadow. The shades themselves are fine but when I was swatching them, the powder was coming off in thin sheets and crumbled when I put them on my arm. Yes, they’re soft, but that doesn’t make them good. They reminded me of the type of eyeshadow you get in play kits. Some of the shades also left a stain on my arm which I’ve found is common in cheap formulas (especially reds, blues, and purples). As strong as MUFE’s or Sugarpill’s eyeshadows are for example, they don’t swatch poorly nor do they stain my skin when I wipe them off. I kept the Snow White palette because it’s adorable and I love Bésame’s aesthetic, but in no way are the eyeshadows themselves worth the money.

Yeah, agreed. But I think the formula is historically accurate, too. The earliest shadows I had were 1960s. They were real powdery, but nothing like the Besame. I find it rather hard to use, and it is so muted. It made me look up technicolor, bec it seemed pre-technicolor to me. It wasn’t. It actually performs better with my Zoevas than my Waynes. Wayne’s brushes make a dusty mess. Don’t use it often, but the bigger bag is TDF. And the lips are decent….as they had better be. The eponymous shade always gets compliments.

I’m sorry to hear about your Besame palette. 🙁 My Snow White palette’s shadows are very soft, but I didn’t have powder coming off in sheets. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality. It sounds like the pressings or formulations were inconsistent, maybe. 🙁

I didn’t buy anything deeply disappointing this year, but I really enjoy your bad reviews haha. Especially when you really try to make sense of the product (a la Subculture).

I was disappointed with both the Distortion palette and KvD lip liners.

It’s interesting to note that the ABH Subculture scored a B- (the highest scoring product on this list!) and yet is a major disappointment of 2017 for most customers. No contest. ABH let a lot of people down.

I didn’t buy any HE this year but drugstore pretty much. Although I fell in love with those Milani rose printed blushes which I still like and ended up collecting as many shades as would suit my skin just wonder wth did they put in them? In the beginning there’s a faint thing to them hardly noticeable but they all smell weird now. They don’t brake me out so that’s great but why did they throw that voodoo smell to them? Lol! Also I find them on the dry side have to pass the brush twice to pick some color but I won’t throw them away yet. Another weird item was the Maybelline 14hour lipstick? My mom gave me one and that thing feels like it has sand it should be more of an exfoliador than a regular lipstick and it doesn’t last what it claims. What worectgey thjnking?
On a nice ending my daughter gave me for Christmas the Hourglass highliter trio and I’m loving it! Beautiful!

The Kat von D lipliner in the nude color is THE BEST NUDE FOR THE WATERLINE IN THE EYE, EVER. It lasted 8 hours on me and through a nap. I’ve never had an actual eye product wear so well. And when it finally faded, it did so without dripping down my cheek

My biggest disappointment was CP Now and Zen. Yes, as in Glass Bull, etc. my whole set is pretty suckworthy. My buried treasure gift is an object lesson to read before you purchase. My CP N&Z was a lot worse than my ProMega 4, which was a tad better than Christine’s, but nowhere near Lorac par. Bought a lot of Lorac, and only PM4 was a let down, and only comparatively speaking. It didn’t suck, and I would not say it was not worth it. Some of this is old lady p.o.v. You can do sheer or non-intense color with it, which can be a good thing, when you love color, but really feel to old to channel Huda, ND, glitter/metal, etc.

The one failure I can think of immediately was the release of Urban Decay’s Troublemaker Mascara. It had great colorful packaging but when I tried the free sample I received from them, I thought it had been used as I saw ‘eyelashes’ on the wand. A quick check of ingredients at UD’s website said that it contained fibers to aid in the illusion of volume to your lashes. When speaking with various UD salespeople including their customer service I got the impression that many women liked the packaging, but disliked the mascara because of the fibers. Perhaps they need to release a fiber free version.

Another failure or really it might be the specific colors was the release of newer colors to the Lancôme Drama Liqui-Pencil series. The newer colors were softer in texture and even with gentle pressure lining your eyes, the points kept breaking. Older colors didn’t have this problem. Not sure if the formula was changed from old to new, but I wasn’t happy with the Cuivre color (great color but hard to love if the tip kept breaking off.)

If I think of anymore disappointing products, I will add to the list.

I like the mascara – fibers and all – but I think the brush puts waaaaay too much product on the lashes. I wish the “teeth” were closer together. (I actually bought disposable wands on Amazon so I could use it up, because it stays on amazingly well – I have a recurring problem with one eye watering and this mascara can handle it!)

Ah, 2017… the year of many makeup “wow” moments and plenty of disappointments. I wholeheartedly agree with many of your choices here, but do actually love Kat von D’s liners, the Ciate Glitter Flip lipstick, and it’s worth noting that the Anastasia blush trios work amazingly (must be a different formula than the quads). Really hoping that I’m 2018 we see more consistent quality in Anastasia, something exciting from UD, and maybe something that isn’t totally food-oriented from Too Faced.

Nyx’s In Your Element FIRE: Glossy Black Lipstick.

I literally counted the days waiting for it to arrive. Never in my life would I expect a SHEER BLACK to exist as a lipstick. I was so disappointed and didn’t realise in their promo/demo video they CUT the application footage. It was impossible to build. It was like dirty grease or a good look if you, too, would like to look like Danny Devito’s Penguin.

I wasn’t disappointed with Too Faced’s White Chocolate Bar release as I was wondering why they even bothered releasing a full size version when the mini had done so poorly. And then this one performed just as poorly too.
I was disappointed with ABH as a brand altogether this year, the lack of products that performed well and the company and Norvina’s stance on the Subculture palette disappointment. I hope they choose to release better performing products and perform better as a company altogether next year. I did like them before, but this year left a poor taste in my mouth.

I admit I get a bit gleeful seeing the bad boys list!

My worst purchase this year is on the best list which goes to the point that everything is subjective. I purchased Jouer Ultra Foil eyeshadow palette. It was a completely out of character buy. I should know better, but hey, the holidays.. The shades simply do not play well against my skintone. I think it’s the heavy metal goldness which pulls rather greenish on me. 2/3 of palette are complete duds. Magic Hour and Starlight are just meh. Conversely, Stila shimmer and glow in Cloud has been a win. Performance wise, it’s not one of the stellar shades, but I can layer..

I’m down with making a bad choice of a good product or a good choice of a mediocre product.

The one product I wanted very badly was the tarte treasured berrie palate and even though it’s been on sale lately for $18 @ Sephora and tarte’s website, something kept a deterring me from buying it. Alas I have read your reviews and I’m glad I didn’t buy it! Even if was only $18. Thank you for another great post!

I agree some real, some real flops here. I was most disappointed by the EL one because I love the color story but Tarte and UD had some real stinkers this year too. I wasn’t expecting much from Too Faced but those blushes were beyond…

Oh no, the Glitter Flips? I love Iconic and Siren quite a lot. They’re not exactly “comfortable” to wear, but I haven’t found any liquid lipstick formula, besides Sephora’s house brand, to be easy to wear on my dry lips.

The It Cosmetics Confidence in a Compact foundation was a big disappointment for me this year. I had wanted to try it for such a long time, and when I finally got it, the foundation made my skin break out. Eventually I tried it again but got the same results, so I know I can’t use it. It might actually be a good product, just not for me.

Subculture still has me confused. I almost bought it without waiting for reviews (because I love the color scheme and after Modern Renaissance, I really trusted ABH) but now I don’t know if I’ll ever try it. I have so many palettes in my collection that anything that’s too difficult to use will sit untouched. The whole situation put a weird taste in my mouth. And, how will I know if they ever change the formula, or if new batches are consistent with the original wonky batches? The two failed shimmers are enough to make it a pass for me.

Got UD Distortion palette as a Christmas gift, but returned it for a gift card immediately (this family member has gifted me palettes I wouldn’t have thought to pick up for myself for years, but this is the first time I didn’t even want to try it). I have a lot of limited edition UD in my collection from over the years that I don’t reach for often, and those shades were so lackluster and easily duped. Still not sure what I want to exchange it for!

A friend recommended the Ciate Glitter Flips to me. I’ve lost all patience for super drying lip products, but they’re pretty, so I’ll check them out in store if I can.

Thankfully, I didn’t buy many disappointing products this year, due in part to your thorough reviews! The only item from your list I own is the ABH Subculture palette, which I bought within the last couple of months entirely with Ulta points (and with a 20% off coupon). I actually like the palette, and have been able to create some gorgeous looks with it, but might have been disappointed if I had bought it at the time of its release. Since I was expecting it to be bad, though, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s definitely not as easy to use as the Modern Renaissance or Mario palettes, but workable, and the colors are lovely.
I continue to be disappointed in the inclusion of irritants in certain products, especially lip products. I was so looking forward to the MUFE lipsticks and the Bite liquid lipsticks, but they contain linalool and peppermint oil, respectively, which just don’t work on my sensitive lips. But, obviously, that’s more of a matter of personal preference. On another note, I loved the Lunatick Cosmetics lipsticks I bought in late 2016, but they went bad after less than a year!

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