What high-end beauty brand needs a makeover?

Guerlain. I feel like their launches are a little erratic, ultra predictable, and I barely hear about them these days. As someone who’s favorite brand used to be Guerlain, I’m barely paying attention to them.

— Christine
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I agree with Guerlain but I’d also add Tom Ford.

They’re putting out too many products now and I feel like the quality has suffered. They need to learn how to curate the range better, IMO so that releases are exciting rather than, ‘oh, another lip product release already??’

Tom Ford’s lip color ranges seem awfully over-the-top – like too many shades and variations for the price point with a lot of overlap. The concept of the clutch-sized lipsticks was cool but pushing to release 50 new shades every year or so seems destined for similarities.

i also hear reviews of tom ford lipsticks turning bad very quickly like in just a year. i dont have any tom ford lippies but some of my chanels have lasted 3 years without any discernable change in quality. so maybe should also tighten QC more given the price point.

The one that comes to mind first for me is Estee Lauder. They have such an “old lady” vibe (and this is coming from an old lady). I thought they might have been changing when they released some of those Victoria Beckham things but those were not readily available at all (the dept. store near me that carries EL didn’t get the most coveted items) and I also think their pricing is out of line – I get the sense that they’re priced high just for the purpose of pricing things high (so maybe we’ll think we’re getting something “special”). I agree with you also about Guerlain. Far too many of their products don’t measure up to the pricing and aren’t innovative enough or good quality enough (I’m thinking mostly of their eye shadows and other eye makeup) for the hefty price tag. About the only product of theirs I am willing to splash out for is LdeP foundation.

I’d say Tarte bc of their problems with shade range and palettes that are all nude and boring but even more so I’d say Benefit. They cater to fair and are so lacking in offerings. No decent eyeliner, eyeshadow or lip products. Their launches are gimmicky and they release the same crap all of the time. Sorry but no more brow products or blush palettes. They need to come up with something new. Really they came out with a click pen brow pen? Who needs such junk?

Two questions; are lists allowed? And if so are we talking formulas and packaging or just packaging? ‘Cause boy do I have a list for this.

1. Guerlain: I agree wholeheartedly. Their packaging is, overall, stale and some of their formulas need a serious overhaul plus the fragrance! It does not add to their image of luxury, it looks like they’re covering up cheapened quality.

2. Kevyn Aucoin: A lovely brand that was part of my first intro to make up, but they need an overhaul of their shadow and base formulas and expansion in shades (less than some I could mention but more than others).

3. Shisedo: They are very dated in terms of packaging and their makeup formulations need not so much replacement as expansion, there is nothing wrong with expanding an existing line or adding a higher pigment one.

4. YSL: Again with the fragrance and lower quality ingredients for a bad price point.

5. Any high end brand that makes heavy use of fragrance in their products. They’re just stacking the deck for their consumers by making skin worse or reactive to sell more products.

I’m with you on the fragrances. As someone who struggled with breakouts for the past almost 30 years, I immediately get turned off by heavy fragrances even they don’t break me out like they used to.

I’m going to play devil’s advocate and disagree; I personally love that Guerlain has a very limited and succinct approach to branding right now. With brands releasing new, often unnecessary and cash-grabby products all the time I love knowing that Guerlain isn’t quick to join in. Guerlain is such a historic brand with over a century of revolutionizing the beauty industry and nerds like me appreciate them staying away from being too ‘fast-fashion’ with their releases. If MAC is Forever21, Guerlain is Hermès; they have the reputation for quality and immediate association with luxury that they don’t HAVE to change their strategy and follow the rest of the pack.
With that said, I think Dolce & Gabbana Beauty needs a makeover. Their products are nice and the quality is usually great, but it’s steadily becoming a niche brand in the US with new releases becoming increasingly difficult to find and purchase. It wouldn’t hurt for them to revamp their formulae and fully embrace the sensual Italian joie de vivre invoked by the iconic D&G brand. They’ve played with Italian themed releases in the past but (for me at least) they often fell flat. There are a few products that I wish they’d bring back (the leopard print bronzer? Yeessssssss!) but, until they make more effort to really wow their US demographic I won’t be making many purchases… mostly because they likely won’t be available :(.

See, as a long-time Guerlain customer, I’ve found their quality lacking in core products like their blushes and eyeshadow palettes, and every couple of years, they’ll release a formula and continue to release subpar formulas (they used to have lovely eyeshadows + blushes years ago). They’ve also discontinued many products ranges and have no replacements — like their blush powders have two shades on Sephora. They have one, limited edition five-pan eyeshadow palette. They continually release limited edition Terracotta mega-bronzers and Meteorites but don’t seem to bother innovating the rest of their line. Given the number of redos they’ve down on their eyeshadows (and how quickly they get discontinued), it doesn’t seem like they’re sticking to core/being classic either.

If they just had a solid range of stellar products, that’d be one thing, but they come off to me less as a classic brand or set of offerings and just stagnant and wallowing. They used to be my favorite brand, and I’m not asking for them to be like fast fashion at all but steadily innovating and improving their range and offerings is worth doing; in fact, their quality has been less and less reliable to me (based on my experience). They’ve become a brand that I’ll still trust for lip products but will assume that their eyeshadows and blushes will be disappointing, so they lost me with respect to reputation for quality etc.

I LOVE D&G. I think I used to buy it from Sephora.com. I haven’t bought any in a while as it is harder to find, but I love all the products I do have from them.

I so agree! My Nordstrom just began to carry his line. Too much glitter and sparkle for me. Way overpriced. I would love to try a few of his fragrances but they are out of my league.

Hard to pin one or another down, as I’ve generally become disillusioned by and lost interest in HE/luxury brands as a group, because so few seem to consistently attend to quality while charging so much more than mid-range that generally are more reliable.

But Trish McEvoy comes to mind for this question — I had a lovely plummy red gloss I finished a few years ago, so occasionally I’ll check them out just in case but there’s been nothing interesting to me since.

I think there might be too many to cover them all in this forum!! I am pretty sure that my first choice won’t be a popular one but Charlotte Tilbury would be at the top of my list. Other than the Film Star Bronze and Glow, the new highlighting primers and her lipsticks, the rest of her products are pretty poor quality. The eye shadows don’t last at all and I am someone with dry lids and always use a primer but these shadows wear terrible, have fallout all day and don’t blend for sh*t. The e/s pencils are terrible. The shades are pretty but they don’t have an impact on the lid and they actually crease on me which I have never had another brand of e/s crease on me. Probably the thing that bothers me the most is her constant reference to everyone as “darling”. Her IG posts are literally flinch material for me.

2. Benefit, Too Faced and Tarte. I lump these all together because each is stuck in the a rut, of their own making, and can’t find their way out. I say trash everything and go back to the drawing board.

3. I hate to say Guerlain but I agree with you, Christine. Guerlain is a brand that I want to love so bad and they do have two products that I really love, my Meteorites and Lde Peau foundation. Otherwise, their products are pretty meh and very expensive.

4. Tom Ford is another brand that needs to slow down and focus on getting a core collection that is good quality, cohesive and at a reasonable high end price point. I am not saying make a $5 e/s but their current price tier is just ridiculous for the quality that you get. Still regretting my Honeymoon e/s quad purchase.

I know that many people really love this eye shadow quad but for me it fell short of the mark. It blends to a murky shade no matter how lightly I blend and I have tried many primers, different brushes (high end and low end) and I can’t get a distinctive shade blend out of this palette. I had fallout and the shades were not as pretty on the lid as they were in the pan. I purchased it while visiting Vancouver, Canada because we were going to see Adele in concert and I wanted to have something extra special for the event. I absolutely hated my eye shadow look that night. I think if it is something that you have really been wanting and since many other people think it is amazing, you should try it. I am one person and it is only my humble opinion.

I’m more of a DS to mid-range buyer, so I don’t have a ton of input.

I did buy Guerlain, including several of the old formula 4 Couleurs eye quads. The reformulation of the eyeshadow palettes were pretty awful. I also love the looks of Guerlain’s lipsticks, but the heavy fragrance keeps me from buying them. So the brand needs to rethink some things and update, IMHO.

Estee Lauder needs to update, and do a better job of it. The Victoria Beckham items were hard to get. The trying-to-hard Estee Edit line just didn’t feel genuine or have stellar products.

YSL needs a reformulation of their eyeshadows. They’re horrible. I’d like to see them get rid of their heavy cosmetic fragrances, too.

I love the new blush trios from Kevyn AuCoin, but the brand was off my radar before they came out. The one eye palette I have from the brand wasn’t stellar. I think the brand needs to revamp and let people know its still around.

Hourglass. Their eyeshadows are sub-par, they only seem to make blush/bronzer/powder for very pale skin tones and they’re way overpriced. I feel like they keep doing the same thing over and over again, with just minute variations in tone and I haven’t ever been wowed by ANYTHING I’ve ever purchased.

I would like all of them to stop selling in Mainland China until such time as the Chinese government stops requiring testing on animals.

My first thought is that just about every luxury brand needs to get with the times and go cruelty free. The only ones I can think of are Chantecaille and Charlotte Tillbury. Because most luxury brands aren’t cruelty free, I don’t try them and don’t have a lot of personal criticisms/suggestions, but based on what I see on social media and their releases at Sephora, I’d say that Guerlain needs the most help. They don’t seem to be innovative (or classic, because they lack a strong core range), and they just keep releasing slightly different iterations of the Meteorites and Terracotta Bronzer. Based off of the occasional Youtube mention and your reviews, Christine, their eyeshadows are nowhere close to where they should be given the price.

Now, I make a distinction between luxury and high-end makeup. As far as high-end brands go, there are about 3 I’m unhappy with (4 if you count KVD, but that’s completely personal so I’m not gonna go there): Too Faced (too many sub-par releases way too fast, and they seem to be in rut), Tarte (their shade ranges are pretty much unforgivable at the point, and most of their releases in the last few years have been terribly boring), and Nars (I have no respect for them since they decided to stop being cruelty free in order to sell to China, and at this point they’d need a huge PR overhaul because I’m not the only person who’s p*ssed).

There are a few other brands that could stand to have a bit of an image makeover in order to appeal to larger crowds, because they’ve mostly been relegated to “old lady” makeup status: Clinique, Elizabeth Arden, and Estee Lauder. They needn’t lose their classic appeal, but a little bit of modernization couldn’t hurt IMHO.

I haven’t been happy with any Bobbi brown products for a long time and I never buy the brands with those horrible perfumes in them. Estée Lauder need a makeover too.

I think a lot of the traditional HE brands are really losing the plot a bit:
Estee Lauder
Tom Ford

All of the above are incredibly expensive, but not always of stellar quality. It’s quite disappointing.

Seems like a several of my former fav brands need makeovers. Persistent problems that are starting to impact how I view a brand: poor quality for KvD, inconsistent quality for Dior and Chanel, boring product for Clinique and Shisedo, excessive & haphazard releases for Mac, the inexplicable absence of cool pigments for Colourpop and Hourglass. For the last year or two, brands seem to spend more time swamping trends than innovating for target personas.

My new favorite brand has become Pat McGrath Labs. Urban Decay has a staying power that surprises me.

UD needs to move on from the Naked series. They have a palette here or there that’s a hit but they have so much sub par releases and such gimmicky products. Lip mousses? Glitter lip flips or whatever?

Bobbi Brown. So predicable. Her eyeshadow quality is terrible; poor pigment, fade quickly, major “dust up” when applying a brush to the product. Overall just a big “fail” to me. Also her products are way overpriced as well – I’ve noticed a pretty significant increase in her prices in the past 2 years.
I will stick to her gel eyeliner pots, and her “Smoky” mascara which are good products.
I don’t particularly care for her “Beach” fragrance either. Smells like Coppertone suntan products- not appealing at all to me.

From a drugstore junkie here, Revlon needs to reduce their prices or improve their products I find them lousy. Almay, Neutrogena boring! Pixie I would add it to how I feel about Revlon either cut your funny, ridiculous prices in half or improve. I’m cool toned and the few things I have tried from Pixie haven’t had any color payoff the products are not velvety soft and I just don’t like them at all. I do like their hygienic or fresh looking presentation especially when they come in the light green container but hmmm not falling for any of it again. Lol!
Maybelline I don’t like much of their products either but I did like their Fit Me foundation, face powder and some mascaras., just purchased their molten pink & peach highliters I don’t find them as good as Milani or WetnWild in fact my favorites have been WetnWild so far have collected all of the selection which also contains Precious Petals, Botanic Dream omg! These are perfection and the price! To me, Cover Girl is better than Revlon & Maybelline combined.
Done ranting. Lol!

Forgot to add, agree so much with Estée Lauder, Elizabeth Arden and Clinique they have looked like old ladies since I was a teenager now I caught with the old too being 55. Lol! They need a modern fun twist makeover. I have owned all those I still like many things Clinique and some from the other two as well not bad brands at all but boring. I don’t mind the encasing to be just like Nars or Elf of course, I love to drool over the rest if beautiful presentations but is the inside that counts just like in a person I don’t have the budget to splurge on such expensive ridiculous makeup and many times they haven’t ’awwwwme’ (if that’s a word? 🤦🏻‍♀️) any better than drugstore. But I do purchase tons of drugstore to check them out for the thrill and compare could easily become a YouTube guru but too old for it. Lol! Nah! Lol!

Just about all of them. Any brand that doesn’t have the makeup junkies like us eager to see and try their new products is failing, because we are where the money is. Of course, they should know who their target market is, but no matter what age group they are hoping to grab, their offerings, packaging, and marketing should be up-to-date. If their name isn’t on the top 5 of most makeup lovers’ wish lists, they’re doing it wrong.

There are so many. When I look at my makeup purchases from a few years ago, Guerlain, Chanel, YSL and a few others like those dominated. Now it’s Bite, Hourglass, Becca and more recently Pat McGrath. Urban Decay, while not perfect by any means, is still doing a lot of things that pique my interest.

I agree that Guerlain needs to change something. I love the new Rouge G lipsticks, including the “choose your own packaging” concept, and I like both the Kiss Kiss and Petite Robe Noire lipsticks that I’ve tried. But their eyeshadows have plummeted in quality (I have more than half a dozen of their 4-colour palettes that were discontinued last year and still wear them frequently but haven’t purchased one of the new palettes) and their blushes are just boring. Their highlighters and bronzers are generally good but they used to be outstanding.

A couple of other brands, YSL and Dior spring to mind, really need to focus more. Their releases seem to be all over the place and their product offering is confusing because there’s little clear differentiation.

The big thing that I notice, though, is that there aren’t any “legacy” prestige brands (ones that have been around a long time) who are leading the pack in terms of quality, colour or formulas. I feel much more confident buying eyeshadows from Colour Pop than from Tom Ford not just because the investment is so much less but because the quality is more consistent. If I want insight into the sorts of trends I’m going to be seeing around a lot, I’ll look to Anastasia, Pat McGrath or Fenty. While it might seem natural that older brands are more conservative, a few years ago it was still Chanel that seemed to be at the forefront of colour and texture trends.

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