2015: The Shitlist

I realize I’m a bit late on the “posts about 2015” thing, but I really wanted to take some time to think about the products before publicly berating them. I made a post not too long about my hits and shits of the summer, but I’ve had a few flops since then and figured I’d share my thoughts.

If you’re on the fence about a product or trying to talk yourself out of buying it, here are my top disappointing products for 2015. Conversely, if one of your all-time holy grail products has made this list, please do not be offended. Everyone has a different skin tone and type, as well as varying personal preferences! Just because a product didn’t work for me does not automatically make it a bad product overall and it’s not meant to be a personal insult to you if you do enjoy or even love any of the products mentioned below.


Tarte PAP bronzerTarte Park Avenue Princess Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer ($30.00) – Okay so there isn’t actually anything wrong with this product, the issue is really with how people use it and advertise it. This is a nice, slightly more neutral-toned, lighter brown matte bronzer from a brand that makes my absolute favorite blush formula. My problem with this product is not with the product itself, but with what people are saying about it and the reasoning behind my purchase. This is NOT the best bronzer for cool toned pale skin, and it is absolutely 100% not the best contour for cool toned pale skin. Bronzer and contour are not the same thing, should not be promoted as such, and this is not a product meant for contouring. I currently run at about NW13 in MAC, so anybody still on the fair side but darker than me will likely find success with this product as a bronzer. However, if you try to contour with this, you’re gonna have a bad time – it left me looking rather dirty and muddy as opposed to warm and sun-kissed. Return!

Instead, try: Contour: Sephora Collection Contour Powder in Tranquil (sephora.com, $14), Bronzer: Too Faced Luminous Bronzer in Snow Bunny (sephora.com, $30).NARS RCCNARS Radiant Creamy Concealer – This might be the most-hyped product on this list and as such, it’s also the most disappointing. I just was not impressed with this formula or packaging at all. The formula is rather thick, which does not at all make sense for the doe-foot applicator it comes with, as it seems to hold no product. It took multiple dips back into the tube to get a mere three dots of product under each eye, and it took far more effort than necessary to do even that. It blends out okay and doesn’t set too fast, but it looked thick and cakey without actually covering up any of my under-eye darkness. This review is coming from the travel size tube of the shade Vanilla, which I returned after two uses. Perhaps I will try again in the future, but for 2015, this was a solid miss.

Instead, try: MAC Mineralize Concealer (maccosmetics.com, $21)

LORAC Pro2 eyeshadow palette – I could not possibly feel any more indifferent about this palette. So much hype for this, so many rave reviews, and every single person talking about how buttery and pigmented these shadows are. Meh. This gets a big fat meh from me. By no means is this a horrible palette, but by no means is it a fantastic palette either. The shade selection is decent, and I appreciate the even split between matte and shimmer (eight of each). That’s about the only good things I have to say. The shadows maybe feel more “buttery to the touch than comparably priced shadows, but it doesn’t stop them from kicking up a storm every time your brush touches the pan. I’m really not sure how a product can be buttery and simultaneously so powdery. There was not nearly enough pigmentation or color payoff (even over an opaque base) to warrant the excessive fallout. Coupled with flimsy cardboard packaging, I am not impressed. The best thing about this palette was the sample of eyeshadow primer that came with it. Pass.

Instead try: Anastasia Beverly Hills eyeshadow singles (anastasiabeverlyhills.com, $12 or four for $40 / coming to Sephora soon)

nars audacious mascara

NARS Audacious mascara – When this first launched, I immediately placed an order online so I could get a deluxe sample to test it out. Well, I’m really glad I didn’t pay the $26 for a full size. The ultra spiky wand is deceptive, as it manages to simultaneously clump all of my lashes together without adding any length in the process. The brand’s promise that this will “amplify” your lashes translated to what was basically just one giant eyelash. I had to brush through my lashes with my eyebrow spoolie just to make them look acceptable enough to leave my workspace. I’m not the only one a bit disappointed by this super-hyped release, Alix of icovetthee recently talked about it on her channel too.

Instead, try: Tarte Lights Camera Lashes mascara (ulta.com, $10), Benefit “They’re Real” mascara (sephora.com, $12)

First Aid Beauty Detox Eye Roller – My first venture into anti-aging under-eye skincare, this roller-ball style treatment went back to Sephora within two weeks. Rather than soothe, hydrate, and protect, as promised on the packaging, this stuff left the skin under my eyes dry and itchy. I don’t have particularly sensitive skin, so it took me a few days to figure out what was actually happening. As soon as I stopped using it, the dryness dissipated and I stopped itching. A sample size of the ultra-luxe Tarte Maracuja C brightener solidified its return.

Instead, try: Tarte Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment (sephora.com, $38)

Fresh Sugar Lip Lovers set – I spent a long time mulling over this purchase… apparently not long enough since I did end up buying it. This is a value set featuring five of Fresh’s most popular lip products. Of these five, two were outstanding (the lip balms they are most famous for). The sugar lip polish, while effective, is one of the most vile beauty products that I have ever tasted, and is not so above and beyond the flavored Lush or Jeffree Star lip scrubs [in performance] to warrant the assault on your tastebuds when it inevitably gets in your mouth (especially when the other two are literally designed to be licked off). Price wise, this set is a pretty good value, but with bad (lip scrub), mediocre (lip gloss), and useless (lip serum) products in the mix, the decent price does not actually reflect the value of this set. The lip balms are lovely, but not so revolutionary as to justify paying $22 for glorified Chapstick, so maybe hold off on the full size of that too.

Instead, try: Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velour Lip Scrub (jeffreestarcosmetics.com, $12), Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask (sephora.com, $26)

loccitane almond oil

L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil – I wanted to love this so bad. It is so luxurious, and really it feels quite nice if you can forget about the price tag. Unfortunately, despite being a shower oil – a major draw for those with dry skin – this product contains sodium lauryl sulfate (conveniently not in the ingredients list on Sephora’s website). Sulfates are not really an inherently evil ingredient, but they can be extremely irritating and drying so it makes very little sense for it to be such a prominent ingredient in a luxury bath product targeted towards dry skin. For all the good this stuff does while I’m in the shower, it leaves my skin dry and itchy just like every other body wash with sulfates, but the others I can get at the drugstore for $5, not $25. Hard pass.

Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear Trans-Foam Clay in Moisturizing Pink – Another “for dry skin” product packed with sulfates, this one didn’t even try to hide it. I picked up this clay mask cleanser from Birchbox a few months ago, really struggling to remember why I even bought it when sodium lauryl sulfate is in the first three ingredients listed. I used this clay-to-foam cleanser once before setting up a return. The clay mask feels nice on the skin, but upon rinsing, my skin was dry, tight, and had that “squeaky clean” feeling that is a big red flag you’ve gone too far. If you don’t have any sensitivity to sulfates, then by all means, use this product with reckless abandon. That said, with SLS so high on the ingredients list and this product targeted specifically at dry skin, I have a hard time believing there are many people who could use this and achieve the desired affect. Maybe this is why there are only eight reviews on Sephora. No thanks.

Instead, try: Tatcha Pure One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil (sephora.com, $12), GlamGlow PowerMud (sephora.com, $22)

2 thoughts on “2015: The Shitlist

  1. YES to the NARS concealer. Everyone raved about how great it was so I sucked up the $20+ price tag and bought it. It doesn’t do anything that my $5 NYX “HD concealer” in the tube with wand does, but it DOES oxidize something awful. I used it to edge my lips with bold lip color and it turned orange on me. I looked like I’d been dusting my face with Cheetos. I need to return it, even though it’s been probably a year since I bought it and touched it…

    Liked by 1 person

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