What brand do you feel has gotten worse over time?

There are so many! The ones that stick out to me are ColourPop and Urban Decay right now. ColourPop felt like it took MAC’s spot when it came to fast and furious releases, but they did it with a fairly high-level of quality and consistency (even more so for the price!). However, I feel like they were more innovative and creative with their launches before; the last year has feel more stagnant and directionless. They have a weak core range, and they can’t seem to figure out an actual, permanent set of products. Their quality has been less consistent over time, though I think that’s partially due to changes in their formulas (which may be what their demographic wants). Lastly, I feel like they used to be more inclusive with their launches and many of their collections seem to be lighter and lighter-leaning.

Urban Decay is a brand that feels like it went all-in on Naked, so their identity is quite different now than what it used to be (and sometimes, the way they name products or position themselves today is at odds with that). I think their quality is inconsistent, especially with eyeshadows. I used to want to collab with UD because they had a great eyeshadow formula, but on that dream list of brands to work with… they’re not there any more–I think that says a lot about how inconsistent they’ve become. They also release the same type of shades over and over again in a way that sometimes feels like new name, same shade, which is unusual (like it’s one thing to release neutral palette after neutral palette, but you can usually spot the differences, even if minor!).

— Christine


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Erica Avatar

I feel like when I look thru the hype, I’m discovering that Colourpop and Melt aren’t as good as they are hyped up to be. Coloupop just underwhelnes and Melt just so inconsistent, Im hesitant to purchase! I’d say Urban Decay, which I’m sure is a popular answer, but I’ve been critical of them since I first tried them in ’99 lol. MAC may not have the best limited edition releases, or they are hit or miss I guess, but they have a fantastic core range of products that keep me interested. The Balm is a brand where I’m like where have you been…remember when they were all anyone talked about? Now crickets and truly I’m like you’re not even that good. I decluttered Maryloumanizer which I used to think was holy grail. I don’t like how it sits on the skin…so cakey. What was I thinking? ?

Wednesday Avatar

I am on the same page with ColourPop and I have never been a fan of Urban Decay. The other brands which I am falling out of love with:

Becca – They haven’t put out anything which remotely interests me and that Zero foundation was a complete eyeroll.

Marc Jacobs – Not so much a quality issue, but rather not finding any inspiration or temptation

Anastasia Beverly Hills – They used to represent a significant portion of my stash (palettes, eyeshadow singles, highlighters), but I have replaced almost all of their products with other brands. The exceptions: I still use some of their brow products and I will always love my Ren palette.

Christina D. Avatar

Great points about CP! You’re so right about too many releases and less innovation, although I do think quality for certain products improved, namely their pressed powder products.

Completely agree, unfortunately, about UD, but I’m still interested enough to at least consider buying a new release. Not so much for TooFaced, Tarte, and Smasbox. I don’t give them a second look anymore.

There are several others, but I’m so disinterested in them that’s I can’t remember their names.

Arena Avatar

ABH, especially the Norvina side. This has been my most-looked forward to brand forever. Until the mad release rush of 2018-2019.

Firstly the mass rush of releases was just outrageous….I could barely catch by breath and enjoy a release when three more concepts and releases (With an added explanation or something)were thrown out there. 2019 felt uber busy and I now find myself taking a long pause with ABH.

Secondly, quality of palette and shadows. What happened? The Carli B palette looked lovely, then I swatched it (pre-plague) and unfortunately it was a pass. I was just astonished at the different quality between Sultry (my favorite) and the Carli palettes. The mattes were not buttery and the shimmer swatch didn’t stay on my hand through a tour of the store…while the Sultry shimmers last forever (it seems).

I agree Christine on ColourPop and UD all the way. Couldn’t say it better.

TropicalCowgirl Avatar

Oh boy. I’m right there with UD. Naked 1, 2, & 3 were almost revolutionary. I loved their Naked foundation and tube glosses. I used to get so excited for their releases. I still love their Space Cowboy in the Moondust formula. But then the quality changes. And changing winning formulas and discontinuing core basics. I stopped buying from them all together when the fast and furious releases of Naked variations. It feels like they started lagging in popular color stories vs creating them.

Too Faced is another. I really liked their six pan palettes. But they started getting kitschy after the chocolate palette and the owner flaking out.

Tarte is another one. Their eyeshadows became inconsistent with the constant releases. And they were all the same!

I used to love Benefit but something happened to their formulas in their box cheek colors. And speaking of just catering to light skin tones. Their newest cheek colors don’t even show up on me. I seriously miss their Bathina.

I think brands lose focus trying to be everything instead of focusing on their core products. I notice when they go through identity issues the quality starts to suffer. I also believe there are products that become easier to ignore when I realize they are more focused on pictures instead of real life. I stopped wearing loose powders when they were designed for “baking”…way too drying, until I found Hourglass.

I also think some brands are kind of tone deaf. You have to living in a box to not realize you should be more sensitive to how fast PR disasters spread. Don’t claim to cater to everyone and then release only light tones ala Tarte. My company has super strict social media/Internet rules if your name is linked to the company. They fired someone for posting racist bs on reddit while claiming to work for our company even when they did so after hours.

Ivy Avatar

Hmm, I feel that Melt Cosmetics is the first one that comes to mind out of brands I’ve shopped from. I wish this wasn’t the case because I really admire the brand and I think they have a create eye for color stories and releases – the design of the Amor Eterno collection was amazing, even if not the quality – I personally don’t know if I see the brand growing as much as they may want in their current state.

I think most are in agreement that the transition from Stacks > Palettes sadly had a decrease in quality, and while they’ve had some hits including their latest release, they have a lot of misses. Out of the 4 palettes they’ve released this year I’d say they’re averaging around 50/50 in terms of solid quality palettes. The gel liners have gotten great reviews even if I haven’t personally purchased them myself, but the glitter glosses from the Modern Love collection were… gimmicky and not great quality. At this point, I’d say the brand is most known for their eyeshadows which are a coin flip in terms of whether they’ll be good quality, and while the lipstick & blushes are OK, I’m not sure if they’re standout enough to be the saving grace for the brand.

I also think that while not now, in the future they might suffer a lot more for their inconsistent quality because at least the two brands you mentioned (Urban Decay and Colourpop) have some staple products like the primer potion and the extremely affordable prices, respectively, to keep them popular even though I completely agree with you that across the board, those brands have lost their luster. The main reason I say Melt is that sadly, I’m not entirely unconvinced that if another brand popped up with a similar aesthetic and better quality that Melt’s popularity would decrease substantially.

Alice Avatar

I still personally like Colourpop. The last couple releases might not be for everyone, but I personally like. About it being light, I think pastel looks stunning on people with darker skin tones. They have done a lot of jewel tones and neutral in the past, so I see why they go pastel in the last few releases to mix things up. I am also glad that we are getting a lot of lip glosses and balms, which are items I personally love.

Urban Decay is just a sad brand to me now too. I think a lot of their products are still decent, but they really need to do something about their eyeshadow, as there are a lot of competitors with better price and better quality. The brand overall just did not aged well, it feels like it has been stuck in the 2000, and it is not hip and cool like it used to be.

Heather Avatar

ColourPop and Urban Decay are the two that first came to my mind, too. ColourPop because it feels like it lacks focus right now—this year, only the Tie Dye collection really stood out to me as a creative, well-edited collection. (Even though not all the shadows performed well, and even though I don’t think anyone was sitting around wishing CP would bring back UD’s most annoying formula, ie, the matte-with-glitter.) The past few releases are blah, and even though they cater to my skin tone I’m not inclined to buy them.

UD has sort of floundered for years now. I don’t feel like they’ve updated their formulas at all, even as cheaper brands (like CP) are churning out excellent mattes and shimmers. I feel like haven’t come up with anything that feels high-quality, on-brand, AND unique since the Moondust release.

And this is probably going to be an unpopular opinion, but PMG’s past few releases—particularly their focus on the Rose line—haven’t felt as inspired or unique as previous releases. Yet another pink-purple palette with gold? Or literally repeating shades or repromoting palettes (in LE packaging) like they did with the Star Wars collection, just to create hype and scarcity? Make enough to meet demand and/or make the popular palettes permanent! The products themselves certainly haven’t gotten worse, but their ability to read the room has. I won’t buy new releases from them because I don’t want to deal with trying to grab products as they come in and out of stock.

Ivy Avatar

Late, but I agree with you completely about Pat McGrath as well sadly. I don’t think this would mean her brand is going completely downhill, but stretching the rose theme over months has felt very stale. It’s not bad to stick to a theme necessarily but at the same time, I feel that there could’ve been more variation against this theme – perhaps an aged/vintage version that included some silvers and greens. Considering that there’s a large community of PMG collectors, the LE spotty releases and lack of differentiation between many shades has been lackluster. I hope she & her team do better in the future, but I’m also looking at upcoming releases with a more cautious eye.

Lauren Avatar

I agree with ColourPop. After they discontinued a lot of the original products (lipglosses, lippie stix, lip liners) this past couple years I just am not impressed with them anymore. I don’t mind the mass products if it is hit after hit after hit… but now it’s just “here’s a bunch of stuff that looks like the last stuff and isn’t great but it is stuff” to me. The more fun colorful super shocks also seem to not be getting released. It is all about the blushes, nude “with a pop” eyeshadow palettes, and barely pigmented sticky lip glosses that have too much product coming out (I know some people like the new glosses but I’m salty because the old formula was perfect to me). I have faith that they will turn it around and maybe this is just a weird bit of time for them with COVID – they are going through a bit of what seems to be an identity crisis! I hope they bring back more eyeliners, lux lipsticks, lip pencils, reformulate the colored mascaras so they don’t flake, FUN super shock singles, and I’m still waiting for a true cool toned palette!

Nancy T Avatar

Christine, the exact two brands you named above, ColourPop and Urban Decay, and for all the reasons you stated. Both are on a downward spiral with inconsistent quality and what I feel are identity crisis for their brands image. UD is by far the BIGGEST letdown for me. How can they produce such a phenomenal palette such as Naked Honey and then just about a year later, a disaster like Naked Ultraviolet, and remain a top tier ranking brand? I’m just stumped by the QC issues, the axing of some truly excellent, well loved products, and recent regurgitation of shades with different names, just as you mentioned. Might be time to hold a real funeral for UD. ☠️

Helena Avatar

I feel NYX, like Urban Decay, has been doing some weird things since being acquired by L’Oréal. There have been some improvements, no doubt, but also some flops that make you wonder. They often release entirely new formulas seasonally, and some of them do seem innovative and thoughtful, and others are like…why did you make another lip formula in the same shades as your other lines when you could’ve expanded your existing, popular ranges? (They do that too, to be fair, and it’s much appreciated!)

Helena Avatar

Oh, and Anastasia fumbled 2019 by not giving their collections time to breathe and foundation shades not releasing all at once…and then COVID-19 seemingly screwed over their chance to recover in 2020. I understand the explanation of production issues that Norvina gave, but a whole palette per season (Riviera, Alyssa Edwards, Jackie Aina, Carli Bybel)—and weren’t there also two quads for spring?—was already breakneck before the “sub-brand” megapalettes got plopped out. Not that consumers have to buy everything a brand puts out, but apparently some of them feel like they should, and they only have so many eyelids.

Super Fun Avatar

I think NYX had had to scramble to avoid being labeled a dupe brand. A lot of their most popular products (micro brow, epic ink liner, hd powder) are dupes. But then they buried their Nude Matte eye shadow singles -the best formulation in the drugstore – in the permanent range in packaging that was very similar to the awful Hot Singles.

Deborah S. Avatar

Before answering this question I spent some time really thinking about it and reading others comments and I really don’t have anything to add to the list of brands. However, just in general, I feel like I have stopped really looking at any of the major brands carried in most department stores and actual makeup stores such as Ulta and Sephora. I find myself much more interested in what Indie brands are doing and not the generally overpriced, over-hyped, manic release schedule and generally boring products produced by the mainstream industry these days. I finally went to Sephora in Spokane two weeks ago and normally, after not purchasing or even going to the store in over six months, I could only find three things to buy and only one was an actual makeup product. I walked around the store looking to be wowed and thinking I was going to drop a bundle and came out with a little bag and some depression about the experience. Amazingly, my daughter only picked out one thing and we both got our birthday gifts even though my birthday was back in January. So, I am just bored with the offerings from major brands.

Rachel R. Avatar

Honestly, most of them. A few stand outs from former favorites:

Sadly, Urban Decay would top my list, for all the reasons you mentioned. They’ve lost their edge, their vision, their innovation, and their quality is inconsistent. They need to get their palettes back up to consistent, good quality.

Too Faced has gotten more inconsistent and repetitive, with some true WTF releases. They still have many great products, but they’ve been declining.

Bite Beauty. They just seemed to suddenly disappear. No one raves about their complexion products, and their lip range seems really limited since saying they were going vegan.

ABH. Inconsistent quality, too many releases, and Norvina is running it into the ground with poor business and personal choices. Also, Norvina’s line really should have been a sister brand to preserve ABH’s core audience and aesthetic.

KVD was going downhill ever since going vegen, even without Kat’s BS playing in. Their vegen formulas just weren’t very good ones. It seems like it’s slowly improving again, so we’ll see. I’ve heard the blushes are great, and the new eye primer and bamboo curling mascara primer sound innovative and interesting.

Wet n Wild. The eyeshadow reformulation was a dud, and it seems their collections are getting to be really hit and miss. But they still have and come up with some really good stuff, so maybe they’ll find their way again.

NYX still has many good products, but it seems like they don’t have a clear vision any more and are getting repetitive, even with their more unconventional shades. The really need to update their hit-and-miss eyeshadow formula. They’re not being talked about as much, and I don’t buy from them anywhere near as much as I used to.

Genevieve Avatar

You’re quite right there Rachel – for those of us who have been makeup lovers all our lives and there was a brief time time when lots of the above brands you mentioned were having happy days, it was wonderful to have such choices. But now, like you, I feel that most brands (like Stila too – I forgot to mention that brand) have just gone down the long and winding road to the abyss.

Pearl Avatar

“ABH. Inconsistent quality, too many releases, and Norvina is running it into the ground with poor business and personal choices. Also, Norvina’s line really should have been a sister brand to preserve ABH’s core audience and aesthetic.”


Bonnie Avatar

I agree that NYX doesn’t have any of the really cool turn-my-head releases anymore, but I still shop them for holy grail favorites. They make my all-time fave eyeshadow base and I really like their slide-on eyeliners. I pretty much know I can find a lip color that will work if I need to grab one. Same for an eyebrow pencil.

Super Fun Avatar

Sometimes I wonder why brands bother with permanent collections outside of certain staples. Even the old-school model of seasonal launches was a type of low key LE release. But how many people finish up a whole blush and only ever rebuy that one product? Even if you’re the rare person (in the beauty community) who finishes products, you’re probably trying something new next. It sort of makes sense that ColourPop would treat everything like a one-off production run.

Genevieve Avatar

You hit the nail on the head Christine – both CP and UD have gone down the waterhole as far as I am concerned. Too many wishy washy releases, poorly produced formulas and same old colour stories. I wish CP would bring back their old favourite single eyeshadows – like when the brand was good.

bareMinerals – which I own quite a few of the Ready eyeshadow formula, has moved away from this and now they are lacklustre.

Too Faced/Nars, with their heavily sexualised names for products and inconsistencies are a dud to me.

ABH – with the releases of the Norvina line, damaged the brand’s reputation and are now in the so- so bin.

Lisa Marie Avatar

I am in total agreement on Colourpop and Urban Decay. I used to be such a huge fan of their products and got so excited about new releases, and now it’s all just boring or junk. Bite Beauty broke my heart! That was a fabulous brand with amazing products and then poof, all gone.

bibi Avatar

Bobbi Brown – was one of my favorite brands when it first came out. Now I rarely buy anything from BB (face base & the black plum eyeshadow single have been my only purchases in the last 10 yrs), Nothing new & exciting from BB in years and the eyeshadow formula is now a chalky mess.
Tom Ford – for a luxury brand that’s basically gussied up Estee Lauder TF sure has gotten hit or miss. Nice packaging though.

Rachel Avatar

I’ve fallen out of love with Coloupop. I enjoyed the cheap prices and the dupes, but when it comes down to it the performance of the high luxe brand outshines the Colourpop dupe shade. Spotty and patchy application for lippies, loads of warm-toned shades but barely any cool-toned (seems widespread, but even more so for CP), and the Super Shock shadows I have dried out and pulled away from the circular container less than a month after opening.

Urban Decay the only thing I buy now is the eye primer.

I guess I’d rather prefer their own shade and standout products rather than dupes of high end ones.

Astr Avatar

Outside of ColorPop (I think), there seems to be a strong correlation between a brand being bought out by a conglomerate and a decline in quality. (I remember how much I used to love Bobbi Brown and Stila.) Thank goodness there is room for innovative brands to move in.

Helena Avatar

Oh man…Charlotte Tilbury. The original brand seemed to have such a great core and was really focused on that clean, chic yet glamorous red carpet makeup she was known for. And then it just got confused, ballooned into way too many products and missed the mark with the weird makeup-skincare. There are still star products (I’ll never give up Very Victoria), but the brand needs to return to its roots before it becomes kitschy and dated.

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