Worst of 2018
Most Disappointing Products
As we close out 2018, it’s fun to reflect on some of the better and more interesting products that have been released and reviewed over the past year, but I also like to think about what products let me down during the year, too. When I think about the worst of the year, it’s more about expectation levels and what was released; it isn’t necessarily that it was the worst in quality but was it super hyped up and then fell totally short? The list below is a mix of products that are disappointing because of quality (with some being devastatingly bad) and others because these brands can or have done better.
For example, I don’t feel like Wet ‘n’ Wild improved their Color Icon Eyeshadow formula. The mattes seem a little more pigmented and blendable, but they don’t wear as well. The shimmers are often much worse than they were before. I miss the old Comfort Zone palette. Sephora reformulated their Colorful Eyeshadow range, which I deeply regret purchasing “all the shades” of based on past experience (I didn’t even end up testing them all as reader interest waned so thin after several dismal ratings and reviews!).
What’s noteworthy about this year’s list is that brands that have had very high notes in this year and past years have spots on my list. Fenty Beauty has four products on my list: Rose on Ice (much better in the pot now!), Moroccan Spice palette (not bad but should be so much better!), Killawatt Foil Palette (packaging is a let-down, formula wasn’t as good as it could be), and the awful, awful Metallic Eye & Lip Crayons.
Luxury-priced Tom Ford earned four spots on my list of 20 with the lackluster Private Shadows (for $30+ singles, they should be consistent AND high quality), more dismal Shadow Extremes, ho-hum Soleil d’Ambre, and the more recently disappointing experience I had with the dual-ended eyeliners. I have some long-time favorites from Tom Ford from over the years but this year, I’ve been less and less impressed by the offerings and consistency in quality.
It’s not much of a surprise when some of the more packaging-focused launches by MAC make it onto my list, like the Nicopanda kits and the Lo-Fi mega-palette. What is a surprise is to find that Viseart’s Petit Pro 02 was such a departure from the quality I expect from the brand. Similarly, I expect and know Urban Decay can do better, which is why this year’s newest Naked Palette, Naked Cherry, finds it way onto my list.
Did you have any product flops this year? Products that disappointed you?
MAC Baby Girl Bronzing Powder ($28.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a soft, light-medium brown with warm, orange undertones and flecks of gold sparkle over a...Read full review.
MAC Lo-Fi Jeremy Scott Eyeshadow x29 Palette ($75.00 for 0.51 oz.) is an example where there's a lot of attention paid to the packaging but not enough...Read full review.
The formula is supposed to be "highly-pigmented" that "will maintain their vibrancy." Some shades were pigmented, some were not. The majority of the eyeshadows had a grainier, drier texture that had some excess product kicked up in the pan and was prone to moderate fallout during application without use of a primer. In general, most of the shades were dismal applied over bare skin as the drier texture seemed more prone to picking up the natural oils on the skin, absorbing them, and looking uneven as some parts appeared darker than others.
Several shades were an exercise in frustration trying to blend out and maintain vibrancy, which was something I felt even when I used the eyeshadows over primer, as they always faded and darkened within a few minutes of wear. I packed and packed the shades on to get decent results out of them and had to use primer just to get something only mildly embarrassing to look at.
Typically, within six hours, the shades had altered noticeably with some fading and patchiness apparent; with primer, that got closer to eight hours overall but I saw some slight shifting in certain shades faster than that. The looks I created with these shades took me three times longer than other bright, matte eyeshadows on the market (Viseart, Sugarpill, Urban Decay, ColourPop) and required a lot of cleanup in comparison.
I have not had great luck with Sephora's formula in their 28-pan palettes like this one; I find it very dusty and on the thinner or drier side, so...Read full review.
Fenty Beauty Rosé on Ice Fairy Bomb Glittering Pom Pom ($42.00 for 0.25 oz.) is a translucent dusting of fine, pale pink sparkle and micro-glitter. ...Read full review.
Wet 'n' Wild Nude Awakening Color Icon Eyeshadow 10-Pan Palette ($4.99 for 0.35 oz.) is the type of product that makes one question whether...Read full review.
The formula is split into two finishes--metallics (Foil) and glitters (Glitter)--and the performance depends largely on the finish. In general, the formula is supposed to "glide" on with an "ultra-thin, water-resistant gloss of color onto the lids." Though each compact seemed to be the appropriate size for a standalone eyeshadow, they only contain 0.03 oz. a pop, which made them some of the smaller single eyeshadows on the market. There were some really lovely shades but enough inconsistency that for the price point, it never amounted to being an impressive range.
The Foil finishes have a softer, more yielding powder base that have moderate to high shine (some are actually metallic, some are more pearly) with better color payoff, easier application, and better wear. The Foils tended to be creamier and smoother with better adhesion and blending on the lid, though there were a few shades that seemed to have too much slip and a tendency to go on unevenly or blend out unevenly during application. For the most part, though, the Foils were good eyeshadows and were easy to work with.
The Glitter finish shades are supposed to have "micronized glitter" and find that they don't really work as well as intended. They have more powdery base colors and larger flecks of micro-glitter, so that they tend not to bind as well and result in fallout during application or get lost in a brush. I tried applying with fingertips but the majority (like 90%!) of the glitter sticks to the fingertips and doesn't budge. Due to the more powdery base, they did not work particularly well with a dampened brush either. Your best bet would be to pat them on top of a cream eyeshadow or tacky base.
The formula is supposed to have "insane glide" that is "creamy upon application" but sets. The brand says that they can be used as eyeliner, eyeshadow, lipstick, or lip liner. I found the performance to be underwhelming both on the eyes and lips, though on lips it was particularly disappointing. Fenty has been fairly consistent, and where they've missed, it's usually not a total failure, but I had no luck with this formula at all.
The pencils feature a very waxy, thinner consistency that does tug somewhat (eyes and lips) and often requires multiple passes over curved areas--they'd swatch well enough on my arm but in practice, I had trouble getting even, opaque coverage whether I tried the formula as an eyeliner, eyeshadow, or lipstick. They were easiest to use on my lower lash line, as they only tugged a bit, but the coverage seemed to lift slightly as I tried to layer and even out the color or else it would pull away along any fine lines. However, if I tried to diffuse or blend out the line, product flaked off or lifted away randomly. While swatches were difficult to remove on my arm/hand, most shades disappeared within six hours on my waterline and were noticeably faded after eight hours on my lower lash line.
As an eyeshadow, they applied poorly with fingertips and a brush as the formula dries so quickly that most of the product remained on my fingertip or wouldn't adhere to my skin (from the brush), so applying directly from the pencil was best, which resulted in decent coverage but was often patchy or uneven. If I attempted to go back over areas with the pencil, I couldn't glide the pencil; I had pat and push it onto just the area or else it would lift away other areas. When I tried to diffuse the edges, whether I just used a fluffy brush or fingertips along the bare edge or if I tried to use a powder eyeshadow (say, in the crease) to blend the shimmer shades and a matte crease shade together, the cream eyeshadow lifted away and left behind bald patches. I reached the point where it was a game of applying and accepting that they'd never look great on my actual lids. They did have decent wear on my lids with about eight to nine hours without creasing but the color started to flake off. Read more...
The formula is supposed be a wet/dry formula that has less intense shine when applied dry and a more metallic finish when applied wet. They're a finely-milled, loose powder that can be used on eyes, lips, and cheeks. Not wholly surprising, they tended to perform best applied with a dampened brush or over a lightly tacky primer. They can be a little messy to work with if you are not used to loose eyeshadows, but I did not find them any better or worse than the average loose formula. The pigmentation varied a lot from shade to shade, though most shades had more pigmentation when applied with a dampened brush along with greater shine.
The formula is supposed to have "unadulterated color" that's "highly pigmented, longwearing, and crease-resistant." The packaging is clever, though for anyone who has more than few eyeshadows in their stash, the compact is rather large relative to the actual pan of product (which is less than average for a full-sized eyeshadow--given the price point, I would have expected closer to 0.07 oz. or even 0.09 oz.). The formula itself varied a lot between shades with enough inconsistency that would make me weary of buying blind online.
The pailette (glitter) finish was most similar to the glittery shades in the brand's eyeshadow quads, though I felt that there was more of a base color/powder coming through and slightly finer, less fleck-like glitter particles. The ultrasuede (matte) finish seemed to have the softest, most finely-milled consistency out of all five finishes. The suede finish is like a satin in my mind--barely-there sheen, whereas the sateen finish seemed to have more noticeable, larger shimmer particles in comparison and was more pearly overall. The vinyl (metallic) finish had a denser texture relative to the other finish but wasn't as creamy or as rich in feel as I would expect based on luxury brand formulations that have been releasing.
The price point is high for singles, which wasn't unexpected given the brand is positioned as a luxury brand. I wish that the quality was higher, and I wish that the formula was more innovative and interesting. I only tried 10 of the 3-shade range, but there wasn't enough within those 10 (which were varied across the finishes) to justify purchasing the remaining shades to review. Some shades were very rich in pigment, others were weaker; some were drier and others were satisfactory; and most wore for around seven hours well.
NARS Heartbreaker Holiday 2018 Cheek Trio ($42.00 for 0.36 oz.) includes three blushes from the brand's permanent range. Oddly, the brand's...Read full review.
Urban Decay Naked Cherry Eyeshadow Palette ($49.00 for 0.456 oz.) is the newest in the Naked series and features a mix of corals and plums. The...Read full review.
The formula is supposed to be "highly pigmented" and wear for "10 hours" while being blendable and layerable. There are three finishes, and I found that the quality did differ depending on the finish more than anything else. The glitter finish was comprised of a mix of more matte and glitter-packed shades, where glitter would fallout during application and often were under-pigmented, along with denser, more silicone-heavy glittery shades with the latter applying and holding up better on the lid as it adhered better, though they typically didn't have great pigmentation. The matte eyeshadows were medium to opaque in coverage but often buildable with fairly soft, thinner textures with some powderiness, though there were some definite winners in the bunch. The shimmer eyeshadows were more often quite pigmented with moderately dense, smooth textures that were easy to use, but there were a few that had a little too much slip or were too dry and so application wasn't impressive without a dampened brush or an eyeshadow primer underneath it. The wear was between six and eight hours.
Each eyeshadow can be lifted out of the compact by opening using the second opening along the bottom of the compact. The lip of the first opening is what keeps the eyeshadow in place within the compact itself. I thought it was clever and made for easy removal, though the overall component felt a little lightweight to the point that it did feel flimsy. These are a revamp of the previous Colorful Eyeshadow range, which ran for $10.00 but contained 0.07 oz. or $142.86/oz. while the new ones are $190.48/oz. I think these would be more viable if the price point was $6.00, which would have made them the same price per ounce as the previous formula. The $8.00 price point makes them more expensive than MAC and on par with Anastasia (both of which have more eyeshadow per pan, too), but the Sephora house brand has always seemed to priced below mid-end, so the price point on this doesn't quite make sense.
Fenty Beauty Moroccan Spice Eyeshadow Palette ($59.00 for 0.47 oz.) is a new, 16-pan palette that features an array of shimmers and mattes with pops...Read full review.
Fenty Beauty Killawatt Foil Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter Palette ($54.00 for 0.70 oz.) is a new, limited edition palette featuring seven hues...Read full review.
Tom Ford Beauty Soleil d'Ambre Eye & Cheek Palette ($155.00 for 0.45 oz.) is a new, limited edition palette that contains four eyeshadows and two...Read full review.
Viseart Petit Pro (02) Petit Pro Palette ($30.00 for 0.28 oz.) is new, eight-pan palette with four matte shades and four shimmery shades. I usually...Read full review.