The MOST Overrated Beauty Products

There's nothing better than a gorgeous beauty product that's effective, easy to use, and a pleasure to apply. But, on the other hand, there's nothing worse than a product that's just downright a waste of time and money. Sadly, not all beauty products are created equal — and, while we're in the habit of pointing you to the best stuff out there, we thought we'd take a moment to talk about the products that usually leave us with a general feeling of "meh."
While we acknowledge that there may very well be exceptions in each category of not-so-great primpers (and, hey, if there's one that works well for you, please take to the comments and let us know!), these are the products that we can generally assume will leave us frustrated, greasy, and/or feeling less pretty than when we started. And, friends, ain't nobody got time for that.
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It's not all bad, though! For each kinda-sucky beauty product category, we've included products that are new, improved, and more reliable versions of each product. Come check out all of our yeas and nays — and let us know if you agree!

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Illustrated by Emily Kowzan.
Cuticle Oil

We know that nail salons would like you to think that cuticle oil is the end-all, be-all to having a pretty manicure, but IRL, that stuff is grease city. Unless we have an hour to sit around to let the stuff slow-ly sink into our skin, we just end up with oil everywhere but on our cuticles — which totally defeats the point.
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The only cuticle treatment we've ever really liked, this cream is totally, well, lush — but, it sinks in thoroughly and quickly, leaving behind only perfectly moisturized skin and a subtle citrus scent.

Lush Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter, $16.95, available at Lush.
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Illustrated by Emily Kowzan.
Alcohol-Based Toner

We may have lived for a bracing splash of the stuff when we were broken-out teens, but now that we're full-grown ladies who understand the fact that alcohol simply dries out skin (and causes it to produce more oil), we've completely lost our love for any products that feel overly harsh.
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Our replacement for the skin-stinging spashes of yore? This softening, nourishing new toner from Kate Somerville. It contains high-tech hydrators and peptides that leave our skin glowing and rejuvenated.

Kate Somerville KateCeuticals Replenishing Toner, $58, available at Kate Somerville.
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Illustrated by Emily Kowzan.
Pressed Powder

We appreciate a matte finish on the skin as much as the next woman — but, lately, we've found that powder in a pressed pan form almost always leaves our skin looking cake-y and overly dried out. No bueno.
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Our solution? This clear multipurpose balm from makeup genius Mally: it can be used either under or over makeup — even throughout the day — to mattify the skin without any product build-up.

Mally Beauty Liquid Face Defender, $40, available at Mally Beauty.
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Illustrated by Emily Kowzan.
Oil-Based Body Scrub

Oil-based scrubs had their moment in the sun — it seems that, a few years ago, every one of us had one of those "sugar scrubs" in our showers that combined oil and granules to slough off dead skin. Sounds all well and good, right? Yep — until, that is, we realized that every time we used the stuff, our showers would get so slick we had to send a warning text to our roommates to make sure they didn't meet their death on the slippery tiles.
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A much better (yet still ulta-softening) solution: a body cream with built-in chemical exfoliators. This one by Avène contains lactic acid for gentle removal of dead skin cells. Simply apply at bedtime and wake up silky — no sketchy greasiness involved.

Avène Professional Akérat Smoothing Exfoliating Cream, $30, available at SkinStore.
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Illustrated by Emily Kowzan.
Hair Masks

Okay, okay — we know that there are some hair masks that women really swear by, but we've never been able to justify the time it takes to sit around to let the thick stuff sink into our locks. Plus, we have a sneaking suspicion that, rather than nourishing our strands, these creams are simply slicking our locks with heavy silicones.
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Instead of a heavy mask, we dig this nifty "hair serum." Turbo-charged with vitamins B5 and B6, this post-wash treatment sinks into strands and disappears — no waiting around necessary.

Phyto Phytodensium Age-Defying Serum, $32, available at Sephora.
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Illustrated by Emily Kowzan.
Lash Primer

We're always searching for the next lash potion that will give us unreal-looking fringe — but, for some reason, we've never been able to justify adding a lash primer to our morning routines. Shouldn't our mascara be able to do the job without a sidekick?
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Enter: Too Faced Lash Injection, which is everything we want in a lash product, all in one handy-dandy little tube. This high-tech, nourishing formula includes elastic polymers that coat your lashes, creating little "tubes" around each one — and giving us lashes that are so long, we're barely able to put on our sunglasses.

Too Faced Lash Injection, $21, available at Sephora.
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Illustrated by Emily Kowzan.
Self-Tanning Lotion

We're just going to say it: ugh. We dutifully try all of the latest self-tanners that hit our desks each season, hoping each time that we will be left evenly, gently bronzed — but, instead, the creams sink unevenly into our skin and leave us streaky and stinky everysingletime. No, thanks.
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The only glowifying product that we've found that doesn't leave us offensively tie-dyed orange? This oil-free moisturizer, which deposits a tiny hint of tanner while glycolic and lactic acids smooth things out — we're left with subtly tinted limbs that never, ever look blotchy.

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Glow Moisture, $42, available at Sephora.
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Illustrated by Emily Kowzan.
Natural Deodorant

Raise your hand if you really, really want to be a user of natural deodorant — but find that it leaves you reeking by 1 p.m. Yep, we totally agree — which is why the majority of natural deodorants get tossed onto the giveaway pile every time we get a shipment.
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The one (seriously, there's only one) exception to our unanimous distrust of natural deodorants? This aluminum-free, lavender-and-peppermint cream that our beauty-savvy VP of editorial swears by. Give it a go, and we can almost promise — you'll become a convert, too.

Soapwalla Deodorant Cream, $14, available at Soapwalla.
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Illustrated by Emily Kowzan.
Plumping Lip Gloss

Funny story: The other day, one of our editors swiped on a new lip gloss. The formula was smooth and creamy, and the color was a beautiful dusty rose. But, after a mere 30 seconds, she started to feel a strange burning sensation that got worse and worse until she finally had to swipe the stuff off to stop the pain. We couldn't believe that companies are still creating lip products that actually hurt — and that women actually still buy them in the name of creating fuller lips.
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This is simply not a case where pain equals beauty. A good, cushiony, super-hydrating lip balm will give your lips a voluminous boost, naturally. Try this luxe balm, which imparts a rosy glow along with major hydration.

Givenchy Hydra Sparkling Magic Lip And Cheek Balm, $31, available at Sephora.
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Illustrated by Emily Kowzan.
Tinted Moisturizer

Sigh. Here's the thing. When we apply any kind of a cover-up all over our faces, we do expect it to, you know, actually cover things up — and most tinted moisturizers are so dang sheer that once we blend it on, we still have to go in and cover every spot with concealer. Major time waster, if you ask us.
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A really good BB cream, in our opinions, is the perfect middle ground between heavy foundation and a totally-transparent tint. We love this vitamin-infused pick by Dr. Jart — it has "Flexitone" technology that covers every last blemish while still being utterly undetectable. Win!

Dr. Jart+ V7 Beauty Balm, $36, available at Sephora.
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