Worst Beauty Buys of 2014

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Reader Bubu asked in the comments of a post if I would write a worst style purchases of year, but I think that’s a bit tough. Style is subjective; one person’s hideous is another’s Holy Grail. Not even that, things I don’t like in the spring can end up being a favorite by fall. However, beauty reviews aren’t as subjective. When you have a similar skin type, hair type, coloring as a reviewer, negative reviews can be very beneficial. And so, I am sharing reviews of my worst beauty buys of 2014.

worst beauty buys of 2014

First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy

Why would I take beauty advice from Selena Gomez?  I read her Into the Gloss interview, she raved about this eye cream and for some reason I decided her opinion held value to my almost-40 fair skinned self and bought a tube. Well, the description on Sephora also helped:

Eye Duty Triple Remedy instantly erases dark circles while delivering serious, long-term skincare benefits to the orbital eye area. Upon application, it instantly brightens the entire eye area with a soft universal tint and light reflecting pigments that create an illusion of bright, smooth, and youthful skin. Over the long term, actives in the formula significantly improve the appearance of undereye puffiness, dark circles, and fine lines.

Sounds pretty awesome, yes? I tried it the evening after I got the tube. The formula is a nice consistency, easy to blend without tugging. The color is a weird calamine lotion-pink that doesn’t completely disappear, but under makeup does help lighten and brighten at least on my fair skin. And after three days I felt my undereyes less puffy and not as dark. However, I started having sensitivity around my eye area, like I do when I’m around horses or cats. Also my contacts were driving me crazy. It was late summer/early fall and I chalked it up to allergies, until I woke up one morning to have what looked like a rash in the inner corners of both eyes. I didn’t put on eye cream that day and the rashes were gone by noon. I stopped using the product and then a month later thought… maybe it wasn’t the cream? I tried it and immediately felt itchy and raw and threw the product in the trash.


I bought this for my birthday last year, started using it at the end of January/beginning of February. Supposedly this product would give me longer, lusher lashes just like the prescription products. They said it took a while for the effects to kick in. I applied it daily per the instructions. It didn’t itch or burn, didn’t mess with my contacts. I didn’t see much change; I did see a few more lashes fall out than usual, but didn’t know if that was coincidental or maybe stress-related (I broke my arm two weeks after starting RapidLash).

And then one day I went to curl my lashes, my elbow that was propped on the side of my dressing table slipped and my lash curler yanked every lash out of my left eye. What was crazy is that it didn’t hurt, didn’t even get red. Those lashes slipped right out. Eh, it could have been circumstantial and not RapidLash’s fault (though some online reviews say it weakened people’s lashes and roots) but I stopped using the product immediately. But I knew it was RapidLash when Klutzy Me a few months later did the same exact thing and ended up only yanking out 2 lashes and it hurt like heck.

L’Oreal Glow Renewal Face Oil

My skin isn’t super dry, but it reacts well when I layer a serum or oil under my day or night moisturizer. I had run out of the serum I was using (which was… fine) so I decided to try this oil blend from L’Oreal, a brand that usually plays quite nice with my skin. I’d put 4-5 drops in my hand and dab onto my skin, and then massage it into my face and neck. It absorbed well, smelled nice in a subtle spa/essential oils sort of way, and I did think my face looked as though it was glowing. That was, until I started getting blackheads and whiteheads and all kinds of things I hadn’t experienced in such quantity since high school. At first they were near my mouth, and I thought it was maybe stress related or me falling off the Whole30 wagon. But then I got then on the sides of my nose, on my temples, and between the brows and I had one of those endless whiteheads near my mouth that seemed to regenerate each evening while I slept. I stopped using the oil and in three days my skin was almost back to normal. I’ve gone back to L’Oreal Youth Code serum and my skin is super duper happy.

L'Oreal EverSleek Humidity Defying Leave-In Creme

I tried it on very wet hair, damp hair, dry hair, hair dryer or air dry. Directions say 1-2 pumps; 1 pump was more than enough to battle frizz on my hair but left me lip and a bit greasy. I tried just a dab on my fingertips and it too just made my hair look greasy and limp. I think this would actually work quite well on thicker or coarser hair and those who have naturally very curly hair, I just think my hair is too fine for it.

Head & Shoulders Itchy Scalp Care 2-in-1

Come winter, my head gets super duper itchy awful.  My grandmother dealt with winter psoriasis and I wonder if I have the same thing.  In the past I've used Neutrogena T-Gel in the past but that stuff stinks and eats away hair color. Since changing my diet my dry skin and sensitivity isn’t as pronounced, but with the first head scratch of winter I decided to switch my shampoo. I was at the grocery store and saw Head & Shoulders. I read that Sofia Vergara agreed to be the brand’s spokesperson because she and her family had been using the product for decades. Well Ms. Vergara has amazing hair, so I figured what the heck, can’t hurt right?

You know a shampoo is bad when your husband says it sucks. First use… fine. I don’t like the new smell but whatever. Second use… my hair felt weird after drying, like I had mousse in it though it was product-free. The next morning I woke up to a grease pit on my scalp, and I had not used any product and let my hair air dry – such a method (even with using just conditioner) usually gives me two days fine and one day dry shampoo before having to wash again. I washed again, went to dry my hair with the dryer and round brush and my hair looked greasy and limp but heavy as though it was dirty or full of product. By the end of the work day I looked as though I hadn’t washed my hair in a month. Oh, and my scalp still itched. Karl said his hair felt like Barbie hair with it and stopped using it after a week.

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I had to giggle a little about this – everyone and their brother posts their “best beauty buys” which is helpful for sure, but I think the “worst beauty buys” might even be a larger community service!

  2. Thanks for sharing! lol it’s amazing what review gets you to buy something. I’ve heard good things about First Aid Beauty so that’s a bummer. I too was bummed by RapidLash.

  3. Interesting stuff. I haven’t tried any of the above, but I think we all experience a bit of ‘trial and error’. Sometimes things that people rave about just don’t work with our particular chemistry. Thankfully I haven’t any any reactions as bad as you mention above, though in 2013 I did find that the Neutrogena ‘Clarisonic’ copy gave the worst spots ever!

  4. Well this was depressing. Lol. Going to look if you have done a 2014 favorites. Never tried any of these products. Guess I won’t.

  5. Allie-

    The authoritive reference for all skin care and make-up for me is Paula’s Choice “Beautypedia” http://www.paulaschoice.com/beautypedia/. I read her book “Cosmetics Cop” years ago and now compare her product reviews when I come across endorsements (any source) for products I may be interested in purchasing. I have purchased (and repurchased!) her skin care products, especially the serums and AHA products.

  6. Oh heck no, I would not touch the stuff again after that! How long did it take for your lashes to grow back? I am sure you were horrified! The older I get, the more sparse my lashes are. I am also noticing my hair starting to thin. Man, it sucks.

  7. I am so boring an rarely try new things when it comes to beauty products. I have been using Original Sprout (an organic, vegan baby brand) products for years and love how gentle it is on the body. My favorite of theirs is the body lotion – it takes away my ugly cracked heels in a about 2-3 applications.

    I went out on a limb earlier this year and bought Younique’s 3D Lash Mascara from an online party. I loved it so much that I actually join to become a representative. As I mentioned I have very basic beauty routine so I was shocked that I actually did this. I have used Latisse for years and it did make my lashes a little longer but I was hoping for va-va-voom and it never happened. I love this mascara adds a lot of length and you can just take it off with regular make up remover. I have not seen loss of my lashes and have been using it now for about 2 months. I am not trying to sell you on it – but it is amazing! I can’t believe I can actually have pretty lashes with mascara. If you are interested, drop me a note and I can send you more info.


  8. I enjoy these types of posts too! Beauty products are fun & frustrating, aren’t they? My eyes are super sensitive so I’ve often had red eyes from mascara, eye shadows, etc. For a while I used only Bobbie Brown eye shadows & mascara & had no issues. However, her stuff is expensive (to me), so I ended up trying Neutrogena’s mascara. No problems at all!! I also picked up some NYC eye shadow at Walmart one day on a lark; the colors reminded me of that popular Urban Decay eye shadow. Luckily, no sensitivity with this brand either & I really like the colors. Saving a few bucks is nice too. One thing I won’t switch from, though, is Bobbie Brown’s BB cream. Love the way it looks & feels on my face!

  9. Loved your detailed review on Rapidlash, but was horrified to read that you yanked out your lashes not once, but twice! I’m not saying that the product is any good than you’ve already reviewed, but maybe you could give it a second chance since your timing with your broken arm may have impeded your use of the product?

  10. I just bought some of the triple eye duty stuff from First Aid Beauty a couple weeks ago and it’s growing on me. Thankfully, no irritation yet – that sounds horrible!

  11. I find the “worst” lists to be more educational than the “best” lists, lol. For me, my worst product was a mascara by Bombshell that Ipsy sent out- smelled like gasoline and made my eyes BURN. Also shampoo bars- I keep trying and failing to make them work.

  12. I’ve never been a fan of Head and Shoulders. Whenever I tried it, it ended up drying my scalp out even more than it already was. I have dry skin, and my scalp gets really dry, itchy, and flaky, especially in the winter. What I’ve found works really well for me is sulfate-free tea tree oil shampoo. I like Avalon Organics, but I’ve also used Jason Tea Tree Scalp Normalizing Shampoo and Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo with pretty good results. The downside is that you have to be careful with the ingredients in your other hair products, because you’re more likely to get buildup without the sulfates to wash them out. My hair and scalp have been much happier with the change, though. 🙂

  13. I’m sorry you had back luck with head n shoulders. I love it! I use the 2-in-1 for itchy scalp that I buy from Costco followed by whatever conditioner is in my shower. I’ve had good luck with it and it seems to be the best thing for my dry skin/scalp. I hope you can find another product that works for you!

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