What makeup products are difficult to use but you love so much they're worth the effort?

Nothing comes to mind as a go-to product that I reach for on my rare off days that’s genuinely difficult to apply or to use. I hate having no answer, so maybe something in the same vein is that I still wear and use Natasha Denona eyeshadows even though a lot of shades are underwhelming for the price (I find I like them more over time, just personally).

— Christine


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Mariella Avatar

All of MAC’s Luster eyeshadows are difficult to use but a few of them – like Tempting – are so beautiful that I will make the effort. For me, matte lipsticks are no picnic either, but if the colour is really gorgeous, I’ll give it a shot, using a balm or similar product to make the lipstick less drying and less dry looking.

Erica Avatar

I feel tempting swatches beautifully but I have difficulty getting that beauty to translate to the eye. I mean when I put it on the eye, it’s a nice dark brown but it just not as pretty as it swatches. Any tips? I think I have used Fix + but w no luck.

Mariella Avatar

Erica, what I find really makes a difference to me is using Urban Decay’s Primer Potion in the “Sin” colour (I think they may have renamed it “Last Sin” or something like that but I can’t check right now – on my way out the door) – I have an “old style” genie tube and only use it for a few shadows and Tempting is one. It makes a major difference in how the shadow looks – the difference between “nothing special” and “really nice”.

Wednesday Avatar

Brow cream gels. I’ve had a difficult finding the right product, the right stroke weight, and the right shade for me. I love Benefit Ka-Brow, but I’m rooted blonde and now look better in Anastasia shade taupe. I find that formula more difficult tho…stiffer, but I’m gradually getting on to it. I’m not a fan of stencil looking instagram brows, so colour wise, I’ve learned to go in with a much lighter gel than my natural brows just to add colour in bare spots without looking carved out.

KaseyCannuck Avatar

Maybelline Colour Tattoos. I love using these as a coloured base with coordinating eye shadows but they get dry and stiff in the pot so fast and become difficult to apply. I can pat them on with my fingers well enough, but prefer to use a brush for more precision.

Asche Avatar

Lipstick is what comes to mind. Not in the sense that I find lipstick difficult to apply or anything, but wearing it feels like an ordeal. I constantly worry about it smudging or getting on my teeth, or whether it’s fading gracefully, and I worry about eating and drinking anything. Wearing anything on my lips causes me so much stress…but there are so many beautiful colours and lipstick can really pull a look together. For that reason I love lipstick, but I wouldn’t say I enjoy wearing it.

Deborah S. Avatar

A specific product would be the Stila Magnificent Metals. I love the look but they are tricky to work with. In general, I find highlighter difficult to apply. I have some skin texture and hyperpigmentation in the area where highlighter would be applied so I have to be very careful to take care of those issues before applying any highlighter. I do love the look of a subtle highlight so I am willing to work at it.

Nancy T Avatar

The only PITA to use products that came to mind are; eyeshadows that require special “tricks” to make them work, but can look amazing once done! Ones that require damp application or glitter glue in order to make them POP. Or that bedeviled UD Naked Smoky palette. I can get a gorgeous, sexy as heck look out of it, but it needs not only primer, but Nyx Knight JEP to give it that oomph.

Silvia Avatar

Shannon, give Essence prince false lash effect mascara (green letters) a try. I recently ordered two for a wedding that one and the sculpted volume Mascara (purple letters). And boy oh boy do they show! I like them much better than Cover Girl lashblast volume (in an orange/brownish tube) the waterproof one. Is good but the princess are awesome! I removed it after with a q-tip and Vaseline. I have small eye with small lashes but full I’m petite all the way actually. I really have liked the princess!

Lea Avatar

I suppose my answer would be brows? Not that they’re difficult to do, but I don’t tend to bother on a daily basis even though it looks nice when I do. I’m not really sure why I don’t do it more often; I only need a little for a bit of a boost on the front and tails. I suppose my brows are full enough that it just isn’t a “must do.”

Robin Avatar

Mascara ! Nothing makes my eyelashes visible . I’ve tried dozens and no matter what I do it seems Iike my lashes are flat in no time . I still use it though . Sigh

Silvia Avatar

Robin, check the note to Shannon. I just bought the Essence ones and almost screamed after seeing results. I love them! I hardly ever curl my lashes I think is torture but even without that mascara really shows nice! I ordered from their website. Too many times have noticed people open Essence products at Target.

Robin Avatar

Silvia – thanks for the tip. I will def check out the Essence Mascaras . At the price point of $5 or so it’s a low risk purchase . I googled them and Ulta sells them as well as Target . Perfect excuse to make a Target run, lol ! Robin

Priscila Avatar

False lashes. They make a huge difference in the look but they’re difficult to wear. I seem to be getting better at it the more I practice, but so far it takes like 15 minutes or so for me to do it, because I have to wait for the glue to dry, etc….

lisa Avatar

Brow anything, my left brow is a piece of cake to do, my right brow doesn’t naturally arch as high as the left and its a pain to try to make them match without overdoing the right brow or making it look fake. I get it done but its nerve racking. I do them daily as my little grand daughters made fun that I have no brows LOL.

Genevieve Avatar

If it’s difficult to use, I don’t have it. I was using brow gel for awhile and it just didn’t seem to last long on me so I switched back to using a brow pencil – much better results.
For the same reason I don’t do contouring, eye liner, lip liner and false eye lashes – just too much work and I would end up hating the results.

Jules Avatar

I can’t help my love for ABH subculture…I Didn’t have the heart to return it, as it’s my first non-neutral palette. It’s encouraged me to be more bold with my eye looks, with varied results….I have to give it credit for that.

Erica Avatar

I actually really love the ABH Subculture. It requires a gentle hand and you do have to do some planning before using ie what brush, what primer, etc. I love the colors and the looks I’ve created. All Star and Adorn together is my favorite. And yeah, it pushes you out of your comfort zone but in a comfortable way. It’s so nice to not have another completely neutral palette. I worn Subculture quite a lot since I’ve got it!

Alecto Avatar

I don’t use anything I personally consider difficult, as I can’t be convinced to make that kind of effort. Having said that, 98% of the women I know would consider most of what I do difficult, and “too much effort.”

Brenda C Avatar

I still struggle doing a cat eye, love the look, try every kind of eyeliner and I have all three of the Vamp stamps now and they are a great help.

bibi Avatar

It Bye Bye Under Eye concealer- Sparingly is the key, warm it one the back of your hand first then pat into place lightly with ring finger. You’ll be rewarded with completely coverage that will not budge until you take it off!

Liquid liner- I opt for a smokey wing most days because I still find it difficult, but for a true arabic eye you gotta get jiggy with the liquid liner!

Anything brow- soooooo boring but makes such a difference

Erica Avatar

I’d say MAC paint pots or their loose pigments. They require certain brushes or a mixing medium and that all can be a pain to use but I love them. MAC Blue Brown is HG for me:)

Silvia Avatar

I would have to say eyeliner. I don’t like a harsh line so I blend it and many times disappear it too. Is always been a struggle. Many times I just don’t bother butcthey make a Cleopatra difference. 🙂

Susannah Avatar

Colourful eyeshadows are my problem. I have a few urban decay palettes that I love the look of but I can’t find ways to use them. Specifically urban spectrum, vices 4 and reloaded, and the afterdark palettes. And I can’t use them as liners because eyeliner looks really strange on me!

Cheryl Avatar

Eyebrow pencil. I have blonde eyebrows and I have tried powder and creme and it all looks fake so I put sone light brown Maybelline eyebrow pencil on and kinda smudge with my finger to make it lighter and not look unnatural. It’s a curse to have blonde eyebrows and eyelashes!

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