What are your least favorite types of holiday releases?

I’m not a fan of most mega-palettes that get launched–they often feel like they don’t receive as much planning/effort as other launches, so they often under-perform as a result.

— Christine

29 Comments

Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Comments on this post are closed.
Mariella Avatar

For the most part, I like the larger holiday palettes because of the opportunity they provide to try new colours and move out of my comfort zone a bit. And if we’re ever able to travel like we could pre-Covid, if it’s a well put together palette, it can be all I need to travel with. My least favourite are those that comprise on quality and, of course, those that are over-priced when compared to the brand’s regular items (and a major THANK YOU to Christine for providing this information).

Valerie Avatar

It’s so sad about Too Faced. The quality dropped off markedly 10+ years ago. It was wonderful quality and my favorite makeup until they switched to metal components. Their Christmas releases were so beautiful with pigmented silky shadows.
I also agree on the hourglass face palettes. I used to buy them annually. I bought them to experience the range but it’s looking repetitive now.
It seems holidays herald odd-shaped palettes – hearts, triangles, circles, hexa/octagons. I really hate them, can’t figure out why. It’s not the storage problem, either… my brain is configured to create looks from rectangles and squares, I guess.
Plus, once we’re past that holiday, I want to declutter anything with that theme in my stash. Again, my brain rejects it for some reason.

Valerie Avatar

True, Nancy. Those weird shapes create unnecessary bulk and a storing headache.
Also, I’ve fallen for the mini sets a few others have mentioned. I’ve bought mini lip glosses and lipsticks I never used. It’s a good idea in theory but in practice I carry full-sized lip items in my purse. I guess you could throw them in a pocket in the go? But I’m too paranoid I’ll forget them and they’ll end up in the wash, adding rainbow and gloss to the laundry.

DVa Avatar

I would agree. I don’t buy mega-palettes or large kits. The lure is often the amount of product for the price, but I can never imagine myself using half of the product(s) and sometimes the packaging is cute and seasonal but not at all practical.
Seasonal shades don’t appeal to me either. I don’t change my makeup much (if at all) for the holidays anyway.

Nancy T Avatar

Oh, I have a litany! Like you said Christine, mega palettes, especially those horrid ones by Too Faced and Tarte. Then there’s also the sad six-pans by Hourglass, most of the mini lipstick sets, or mini anything, for that matter, including fragrance or body sets. I could go on considering how salty I am after getting zero sleep last night.

Ana Maria Avatar

While I am a big fan of a mini set done well, I do agree that most mini lipstick sets are incredibly unusable. But it’s not just lipstick, some brands really need to make some usability tests for their mini sizes; OK, they’re mostly for traveling or testing a product, but they still need to be at least functional…
And the holidays are a big issues, because some brands really try to push the limit with stocking stuffers.

Oh… Tarte and Too Faced… one of my guilty pleasures is checking their website to see the overflow of new products they have (Sephora or Ulta barely have 25% of the ridiculously high number of products Tarte has on their website, their skincare / bodycare lines would make even Colorpop jealous). But coming the holiday season I know it will explode even more. 😅

Z Avatar

I’m actually in to minis now! I LOVE my mini liquid lip set from Toofaced a few years ago. It’s the same quality as their permanent range, good colors that work on most people, and I’ve never in my life finished a full-size liquid lip, much less a mini. I would like mini lipsticks more if the bullets didn’t break. Every. Time. I’d take a mini eyeshadow palette if it was good quality and the colors spoke to me…but man, companies just do not like putting quality in to their holiday releases with rare exceptions.

Ana Maria Avatar

Anything done with poor quality, just to get some products out for the holidays. The poor quality but seasonal “cute” (or mostly kitsch) packaging that breaks or shows signs of wear easily. The poor quality formulas from brands that usually have decent quality products (why not just put old colors on seasonal / limited edition packaging?).

I also agree on the mega palettes or anything in a shape or format that is “special”, but ends up hard to use or store,.or anything with tons of empty space. I would also add packaging that generates tons of waste, especially with non-recyclable materials.

A very personal opinion, but I dislike anything too holiday related. I mean a winter theme is borderline fine, but something related to a few days of the year (Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.) is defined a no go for me. But I also don’t decorate for the holidays, so I know I’m a very big exceptions. 😅

Adrienne Avatar

I love a reasonably large holiday palette, but only if the quality is excellent. I like the festive themes. I really enjoyed Too Faced’s 2018 holiday palette, the one that came with the silly planner. The reviews were good, so I got it and was very happy with it – I wish they would release it again because it’s the perfect holiday color story for me. Otherwise, I’ve avoided Too Faced and Tarte’s holiday offerings due to the bad reviews!

Valerie Avatar

Oh, right. I got the sugar cookie mini palette from the 2018 collection. It’s the only TFaced holiday palette I’ve gotten in 10+ years. I think it scored well here so I got motivated to try it.

SusanG Avatar

I don’t like how many brands use cheaper formulas or outsource for their holiday releases. I really don’t understand the logic. If you give someone a gift from a brand they’ve never tried before, and it’s of inferior quality, while on earth would that person buy anything from the regular line? That company has lost a potential customer for the rest of the year. All for the sake of a couple of dollars.

Michelle Avatar

I’m disappointed in brands that are lazy and release the same products over and over again every holiday. Nars consistently releases an Orgasm themed Christmas set and Charlotte Tilbury always releases a Pillow Talk themed set. The Too Faced holiday collection always includes the same eyeshadow colors that were in the holiday collection the previous year. Ditto for Tarte. It would be wonderful to see something unique from a brand during the holidays.

Moxie Avatar

Anything scented around a theme, which for the holidays is cinnamon and gingerbread and clove and allspice and wine and in some cases pine or wintergreen. Which are all scents that I hate because they give me a headache.

I wish that companies would stick to basic comforting holiday-adjacent scents like vanilla or cherry or apple, although last Christmas I saw a really gorgeous lip tint that said it was scented like apple but it was cinnamon apple. Eurgh.

Natasha Avatar

Sorry, but I have to disagree. The scents you prefer are the ones that give me a headache so I look forward to the influx of the forest and spice leaning scents. They’re available for a relatively short period of time.

P Jill Avatar

I agree with so many of the comments here. I do not care for the holiday scented make up and mega palettes containing mediocre eye shadows and poor formulas !
That being said, I would welcome a convenient palette containing a highlighter, blush and a couple of shadows- the majority being of existing popular shades, with maybe one of the shadows or highlighter an exclusive shade.
Im thinking of a compact designed and sized like the Pink Glow Compact that Tom Ford had many summers ago.

brendacr1 Avatar

I’ve learned to stay away from the holiday releases they usually are lacking in quality and I’m not looking for any huge palettes that need storage that I’m not prepared for. If something spectacular comes along then I’m all for it, but that hasn’t happened for many years.

Z Avatar

I haaaaaaate the “ultra cheap made in china and pumped out for the holidays for the sake of endless consumerism junk” cosmetics that roll out every year. From low brands to higher, everybody puts out garbage and I hate wading through it to the things that had more thought, care, or just actual quality put in to them. From Toofaced to Ulta’s house brand, seeing that stuff elicits a visceral reaction that gets bigger every year. Yuck to all of it. And you know what they do with the stuff leftover a month after the new year that didn’t sell, right? Retailers destroy it. No donations, no recycling, none of that. If it didn’t sell and the company won’t take it back, it’s more “cost effective” to them to just bin it. They have their employees sit in the back room, rip it apart, squeeze out the tubes of liquid makeup, break palettes and pans, cut wires off tools, cut or break hair brushes, and throw all of it in to dumpsters. Source – close friend worked Ulta for two holiday seasons.

Andreia Avatar

When I was younger I found big palettes and sets very appealing, specially those with lipstick, blush and everything and more in one case. I liked the idea of getting “a lot”. Then I realised I never used half of it because most of the colours were just plain wrong for me.
Now, when it comes to makeup at least, I tend to dwell for a while on *shiny things* that catch my fancy and then if I keep thinking about it, I’ll go and get it. I also prefer a more classic look and holiday releases tend to be “too out there” for my liking.
And… I’ve realised I reeeeeally like reviews! Specially when they’re impartial and with holiday releases it’s harder to find those because they’re new to the market. You never know what you’re getting! I also think they’re about impulse purchases and now I tend to ponder on things I buy a lot more. Every time I throw sth away I’ve only used half of I cringe a little (money and trees wasted!).
Last but not least, the older I get the more I appreciate individuality and holiday releases are marketed to the hilt and to a point where it has the opposite effect because I just think “I wanted it but now everybody else is getting it, so I don’t want it anymore”.

Genevieve Avatar

My least favourite of holiday releases are mega palettes – and I totally agree with you Christine – most are underperforming with chalky shades and an array of similar colours that do nothing for me.
I also dislike it when a brand releases a bunch of lipglosses – none of which I will use.
And my third dislike is when the products are actually more expensive than if you had bought them individually, or the brand has included some random item that they really can’t sell because it is so bad.

Shannon Avatar

Anything where corners get cut with the formula, but the thing that annoys me the most is when companies release year round products in holiday packaging. Especially when it’s just the outer disposable packaging! Pointless and makes me irrationally annoyed haha

Natasha Avatar

I must admit I tend to fall for the holiday releases. I try not to but like last year when, I think it was Too Faced came out with those palettes with the rabbit, swan and fox. Well, I got them on sale and they look beautiful on my vanity table. The quality is reasonable. No regrets.

Helene Avatar

It’s been years since I bought a holiday set, or maybe not, I did get a highlighter set from MAC not that long ago.
My least favourite would be Hourglass selling their products for more just because they have made the size smaller and put it in a palette. as runner up, I guess it must be To Faced using just about the same products and colours they used the year before. I have one of those and have gotten a lot of use from it, but I never felt I needed anything any of the following years.

Jane Avatar

I’m just the opposite. I enjoy the larger palettes (but agree with you, only if they receive thought in deciding the color scheme and perform well). I actually liked one of Too Faced’s Christmas releases similar to the one in your picture (I think it was Boss Lady or something like that). But I didn’t care for any other ones they released afterwards.

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!