Best & Worst Products of 2014




It's a quick and easy way to find the products you're guaranteed to love and avoid the ones that just won't do.

Best and Worst Products of 2014

2014's Best Makeup

There were many great new entries this year for makeup, from all price ranges. These are the ones that are so exemplary that we wanted to make sure they were singled out.

NARS Audacious Lipstick ($32)

This lipstick promises full-coverage color and creamy wear in one stroke, and it delivers! Even better, it fades to a beautiful stain and comes in a dizzying array of colors that complements a variety of skin tones. Pricey, yes—but we think you’ll agree that it’s worth the splurge!

theBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer SPF 18 ($25)

We love this tinted moisturizer for its fragrance-free formula which includes broad-spectrum sun protection and an easy-to-apply lightweight texture. The natural-looking, slightly dewy finish is beautiful, and it evens out redness and imperfections without emphasizing fine lines or wrinkles.

Flower Beauty On Your Mark Liquid Eyeliner ($6.98)

This bargain-priced liquid liner from Drew Barrymore’s line is a winner on all fronts: the tip allows for precise application (even if you don’t have the steadiest hand!), there’s no smudging, it doesn’t fade, and for all its surprising longevity, it comes off in a snap with a water-soluble makeup remover.

IT Cosmetics’ CC+ Lip Serum Hydrating Anti-Aging Color Correcting Crème Gloss ($24)

This luxurious gloss is pretty, with natural looking shades and an attractive soft-shine finish. But that’s not all it has going for it – it has a good blend of emollients and antioxidants to condition lips, and leaves them softer even after it’s faded. Plus, it has a nice vanilla scent from vanillin – which isn’t a skin irritant!

Paula's Choice Brow-Defining Cream Duo ($20)

This duo features two neutral shades to shape and define eyebrows in a creamy formula that makes application easy. The surprisingly creamy texture doesn’t fade or smudge throughout the day. Plus, the shades can double as cream eyeshadows!

2014's Worst Makeup

Following are the makeup products that we simply can’t recommend to anyone – those whose performance just didn’t make them worth the price, no matter how inexpensive they were!

Revlon Bold Lacquer by Grow Luscious Length & Volume Mascara ($7.99)

This mascara is supposed to lengthen with a fiber-laden formula that attaches itself to lashes. The problem is that the hair-like fibers flake throughout the day, potentially falling into eyes and causing irritation! Not only that, but it takes multiple coats to achieve thickness, and by then the result is clumped, and spidery-looking lashes.

Milani Lip Intense Liquid Color ($6.49)

This liquid lip color does indeed provide intense coverage, but it’s prone to bleeding outside the lip line – even if you don’t have lines around the mouth. It also includes lavender, which poses a slight risk of irritation, and comes in a small shade range whose colors have limited appeal.

Yves Saint Laurent Fusion Ink Foundation Octinoxate SunscreenSPF 18 ($60)

This poorly-formulated foundation is proof positive that expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better. For $60, you’re getting a foundation that, despite attractive packaging, is loaded with potentially skin-damaging alcohol. It also fails to provide good enough UVA protection, despite claims that it does.

Maybelline Real Impact! By Great Lash ($5.99)

We’ve always thought Maybelline’s Great Lash line was overhyped (it’s not nearly as amazing as its reputation would have you believe), and this latest entry is no exception. Instead of Real Impact! it should be called “No Impact” instead! It’s one of the few mascaras we’ve tried that makes it look like you’re wearing nothing on your lashes at all – no length, volume, or curl is added.

NYX Cosmetics The Natural Shadow Palette ($7)

This shadow palette looks pretty in its packaging, but it has an overly-powdery finish (to the point of being chalky), has poor pigment quality, and tends to flake because you have to pack on the shadow to get it to show up! A rare disappointment from this usually stellar makeup brand.

2014's Best Skincare Products

In terms of skincare, there were some truly outstanding products that made their way on shelves this year, and for that we’re very happy! Every BEST-rated product below provides great benefits for skin, and in packaging that will keep their good-yet-delicate ingredients stable.

CeraVe Eye Repair Cream ($12.99)

While it’s true that you don’t necessarily need an eye cream, if you’re in the market for one this is a great option, at a steal of a price. This tube contains a powerhouse mix of ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and other anti-aging ingredients, and is fragrance-free. It’s packaged to keep its key ingredients stable, and works well to moisturize dry skin around the eyes and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Bare Escentuals Prime Time BB Primer Cream Daily Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($26)

This is a primer that does what it says, and does it well! It has a silky cream-gel texture that blends easily, and its light, natural-looking tint helps even skin tone beautifully. Plus, this fragrance-free formula provides broad spectrum SPF with mineral ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, doesn’t emphasize pores or wrinkles – and contains antioxidants and anti-irritants in packaging that will keep them stable.

Coola Face SPF 30 Cucumber Matte Finish ($36)

This has a true matte finish that blurs minor imperfections as it provides reliable (and gentle) mineral-based broad spectrum sun protection. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients bring more anti-aging benefits, all in a light texture that’s so elegant, you’ll actually look forward to applying it every day—which is the point! Works beautifully under makeup, too!

Paula's Choice Resist Moisture Renewal Oil Booster ($35)

Dry skin meets its match with this blend of antioxidant-rich, non-irritating) plant oils that’s gentle and fragrance-free. It helps repair and rebuild skin’s protective barrier, and works well on its own or as an addition to any other moisturizer or eye cream!

Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Defense Uber-Dry Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($26)

Those who have oily skin sometimes shy away from sun protection because of the potential for shine, but that’s not the case with this dry-finish formula that provides reliable broad-spectrum protection. It also contains antioxidants like vitamins A, E, and C to boost its sunscreen, and contains a good mix of skin-repairing and anti-irritant ingredients, all while being fragrance-free!

2014's Worst Skincare Products

In terms of skincare, there were some truly outstanding products that made their way on shelves this year, and for that we’re very happy! Every BEST-rated product below provides great benefits for skin, and in packaging that will keep their good-yet-delicate ingredients stable.

La Mer The Lifting and Firming Mask ($230)

In addition to being ridiculously overpriced, this mask cannot lift and firm skin as claimed, comes in jar packaging that will cause its good ingredients to degrade as soon as it’s opened – and contains fragrant ingredients that have strong potential to damage skin—quite the opposite of anti-aging!

derma e Cracked Skin Relief Crème ($13.50)

If you’re looking to heal dry, cracked skin, definitely look elsewhere! This formula contains a who’s who of potential irritants like arnica (which can eliminate naturally-occurring defensive antioxidants in skin), bay leaf, clove – yet lacks heavy-duty repairing emollients, meaning it has no value for truly dry, damaged skin.

Nuance Salma Hayek Ageless Clarity Resurfacing Pads ($19.99)

This product is supposed to work to exfoliate lines and wrinkles, but its pH is too high for the AHA it contains to work as an exfoliant. Not only that, but it contains SD alcohol, which can damage healthy collagen production and dry skin – not what you need if you’re trying to fight wrinkles!

Burt's Bees Soothing Lip Balm with Eucalyptus and Menthol ($3.30)

"Soothing" is absolutely not the word to describe this poorly-formulated lip balm! Sure it has emollients to help with chapped lips, but it also includes the active ingredients menthol and camphor that have the potential to make chapped lips worse, not better. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also eucalyptus, cornmint, and spearmint – all of which can serve to further irritate lips.

Guerlain Abeille Royale Face Treatment Oil ($98)

Another expensive product that just isn’t worth the price, this treatment is sold as a facial oil – but doesn’t contain much oil at all. It’s highly fragranced and contains more alcohol than anti-aging ingredients for skin. If you’re looking for a facial oil, this is certainly one to leave on the shelf!