Beautypedia's 10 Worst Products of 2013 - and What to Use Instead!

In This Article:

With the New Year just beginning, the Beautypedia Research Team thought it the perfect time to take a look back at some of the products we've reviewed in 2013. Of the hundreds of new products reviewed, many were rated favorably but we found 10 that we had to tell you about because they're so disappointing—and often a waste of money! Check out the list below and find out what to use instead!

Worst Skin-Care Products

Those of you who are familiar with the mission of Paula's Choice and Beautypedia likely know we consult published, scientific research on ingredients and all aspects of skin care, and go by strict criteria per category when evaluating makeup, all to help you find the best products. We'll always be up front about why a product got its rating—and the skin-care products below truly rank as the worst of what launched in 2013.

  • Vichy Normaderm Daily Anti-Acne Hydrating Lotion ($23.50 for 1.7 fl. oz.) contains anti-acne superstar salicylic acid, but its pH of 6 is far beyond the range this ingredient needs to exfoliate, and the formula’s high alcohol content makes it non-hydrating.

    What to use instead: Get stubborn breakouts, bumps, and clogged pores, and minor dryness under control with Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 1% BHA Lotion ($24 for 3.3 fl. oz.) or philosophy clear days ahead oil-free salicylic acid acne treatment & moisturizer ($39 for 2 fl. oz.)
  • Aveeno Positively Ageless Correcting Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($19.99 for 1.7 fl. oz.) got our lowest rating because its sunscreen fails to provide enough UVA (anti-aging) protection and the shades are noticeable orange. Whose skin is this color?

    What to use instead: Go for a tinted moisturizer that provides reliable broad-spectrum protection and comes in a range of neutral shades that resemble real skin. Our top picks? Paula's Choice Barely There Sheer Matte Tint SPF 30 ($20) and Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 ($43).
  • Skinceuticals Body Tightening Concentrate ($75 for 5 fl. oz.) contains nothing that can help sagging skin on the buttocks, thighs, upper arms, or anywhere else. We know those areas are a concern for many people, but this type of sagging needs to be addressed by surgery or cosmetic corrective procedures, not by skin care. If you’re thinking that skin care must be of some help … well, it can, but not nearly enough and not nearly to the extent products like this promise.

    What to use instead: As mentioned above, sagging from the neck down is best addressed by cosmetic surgery, not skin care. However, you can do your part to keep skin protected from further damage by always applying a sunscreen rated SPF 15 or greater, anytime body skin will be exposed to daylight. Our top picks are found here.
  • Lancome Visionnaire Yeux ($60 for .5 fl. oz.) doesn't distinguish itself as a specialized product for the eye area but even if it did, the formula’s alcohol content poses a strong risk of irritation, and the formula contains more cosmetic brightening pigments than anti-aging ingredients. This is a classic example of how Lancome skin care consistently falls short.

    What to use instead: You don’t need a separate eye cream if your facial moisturizer is well formulated, but if you're curious to try one (perhaps because the skin around your eyes is drier than the rest of your face), consider ShiKai Borage Dry Skin Therapy Eye Cream ($15.99 for 0.5 fl. oz.) or Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Age Erase Moisture with Mega 10 for Eyes ($35 for 0.5 fl. oz.).
  • Erno Laszlo Blue Firmarine Treatment Bar ($45 for 5 fl. oz.) is an overpriced bar of standard-issue soap, which means it’s the most outdated way to wash your face. Making matters worse, the formula contains a lot of fragrance, which is irritating, and leaves a skin-dulling residue. As for the collagen-promoting claims? No way!

    What to use instead: Opt for gentle, fragrance-free water-soluble cleansers with more down-to-earth prices. There are many to consider; a couple of our favorites are Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser ($16 for 8 fl. oz.) and Olay Foaming Face Wash for Sensitive Skin ($4.99 for 7 fl. oz.).

Worst Makeup Products

Admittedly, we see more serious missteps with skin care than makeup, but every now and then we review a makeup product that ends up being an awful mess. Here’s what had us asking “What were they thinking” throughout 2013:

  • Avon Ultra Color Rich Brilliance Lip Gloss ($8) met with problem after problem, from its comically small brush applicator to its goopy texture, excess of glitter, and uneven color deposit. Add strong fragrance to the mix and this lip gloss disappointed in every possible way.

    What to use instead: Go fragrance-free, and enjoy the smooth texture of lip glosses such as Burt’s Bees Super Glossy Lip Shine and Paula’s Choice Perfect Shine Hydrating Lip Gloss ($10)
  • e.l.f. Studio HD Lifting Concealer ($3) is so creamy it remains wet-looking throughout its entire wear time. It slides around on skin, causing imperfections to come to light because the concealer has migrated somewhere else. We admit, the price is attractive but between the texture, finish, and half of the colors being problematic, this is one to skip!

    What to use instead: If you prefer creamy concealers, try Clinique All About Eyes Concealer ($17) or Bare Minerals SPF 20 Correcting Concealer ($20).
  • L’Oreal Visible Lift CC Cream SPF 20 ($12.95) was part of the mid-year CC cream craze and despite being from a well-known brand, turned out to be the worst of the bunch. Here’s why: The finish is dewy to the point of looking greasy; both shades have a slightly orange cast; and the fragrance is so strong that you’ll continue to smell it even after this sets. Dishonorable mention for worst CC Cream: Origins Smarty Plants CC SPF 20 ($35).

    What to use instead: Our favorite CC creams are Smashbox Camera Ready CC Cream SPF 30 ($42) and Almay Smart Shade CC Cream SPF 35 ($9.99)
  • CoverGirl Flamed Out Eyeshadow Pencil ($5.99). Oh, how we detested this eyeshadow in pencil form! What a pain! The tip wears down so fast you need to sharpen often, each difficult-to-apply color smudges and fades, and the glitter left behind looks spotty and is nearly impossible to remove.

    What to use instead: If you want eyeshadow in pencil form, it's worth the splurge to buy Make Up For Ever's Aqua Shadow Waterproof Jumbo Eyeshadow Pencil ($20).
  • Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Makeup SPF 15 ($62) is a liquid foundation that was heavily advertised, and many readers objected to our review, but the fact remains that the formula has too many drawbacks to make this a wise buy. Topping the list is its insufficient sunscreen, but a close second is the irritating fragrance ingredients.

    What to use instead: Giorgio Armani is a L’Oreal-owned brand, and L’Oreal’s True Match Super-Blendable Makeup SPF 17 ($11.49) remains a favorite. Another winner and'beauty bargain: Revlon Nearly Naked Makeup SPF 20 ($9.99)

So there they are: the worst products that crossed our desks in 2013. No matter the year, know that you can always count on us to help you find the best products for your skin, whether from the Paula’s Choice line or other brands we review. Shopping smarter and spending your money wisely? Now that's beautiful!

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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