Disappointing Products Hall of Fame

It occurred to me recently that I am forever singing the praises of things I like, but---with the exception of that horrible nasty sorbet that hoodwinked me last year---I rarely remember to write about the things I don't like, the things I think I'll like which then end up letting me down. I have a whole section of this website dedicated to the Best Things Ever, and yet nowhere to write about---how shall we put this?---the Meh Things Ever.

So I thought we'd change that. I thought today we'd talk about those things you buy convinced they'll change your life---you know, the straighteners and flatteners and volumizers and lengtheners, the low-fat this and the high-fiber that---but which turn out, in the end, to be terribly, depressingly mediocre. Let's call it the Disappointing Products Hall of Fame. You can enter anything you like. I'll go first.

That L'Oreal 24-Hour Lash Boosting Power System is crap. I mean yes, joke's on me for buying something called a "lash boosting power system"---and for twenty-five bucks, no less--- but still: I thought it would do something. And it's done nothing! Absolutely nothing! Every night before bed, I religiously coat my eyelashes with the lash-boosting "serum" and every morning I apply the goopy white "primer," and yet four weeks after I bought it on impulse at Target---and here is the lesson, perhaps: never buy anything on impulse at Target---my eyelashes remain as short and stubby as ever.

I mean, yes: possibly I was expecting too much. Possibly I was expecting to wake up with lush forests of fringe sprouting from my eyelids. Possibly I was expecting to be that annoying person who complains about their eyelashes touching the lenses of their glassescoughSeancough. But really: for it to do nothing? What kind of snake oil is this? More to the point, what kind of idiot am I for buying it?

Okay, that's me done. Oh wait, let me also just throw in any lip gloss that claims to be "long-lasting" or "16-hour" or "completely, totally, absolutely waterproof, we swear it won't rub off, even if you find yourself making out with a humpback whale in a hurricane," because those never work. (Just ask the whale. I hear a lipgloss stain is a nightmare to get out of one's dorsal fin.) Okay, I'm really done now. Your turn.


Feb 24, 2010

This is opening a can of worms, but I'll admit to it anyhow: I got the Clarisonic after I heard so many positive reviews and apparently (in my boyfriend's opinion) it's made my skin worse. Of course, maybe I just have to find the right cleanser and figure out how often I should use it. I'm still hoping it'll work as well for me as it has for others...

Also: Wasabi Nuts. Yeah, they're okay, but I've finally decided I'm just not that into Wasabi. Meh!

Feb 24, 2010

I bet I'm going to get a tidal wave of disagreement with this one, but season 1 of Arrested Development. I thought I would be DYING of LOVE for this show. But I just finished all five seasons of The Wire, and honestly, it has ruined television for me forever. Nothing will ever compare.

Feb 24, 2010

My meh goes to Bare Minerals foundation. I really liked the way that it looked on my skin at first, but now (after a year of wearing it) I realize that it only lasts about 2-3 hours. I work 12 hour days, and by the end, I end up looking haggard and comepletely un-makeuped (in a bad way, not in the Gabrielle "I don't have to wear makeup to leave the house, now that I use this miracle Noxema product" Union way."

I love all their other products, it is just the foundation that doesn't work hard enough for me.

Feb 24, 2010

I second the L'Oreal Lash Boosting whatever nonsense. Luckily I didn't have to pay for it, since I got it as part of a promotional thing. As part of the promotional thing I had to take before and after pics 4 weeks apart. L'Oreal sounded so sure of themselves I thought I would definitely see at least some difference. But nope, nada, not one lash out of place, as it were. It has now been relegated to the bottom of my makeup bin.

Feb 24, 2010

The Olay Regenerist line of products. I used them for a month and saw no change at all. None!

Feb 24, 2010

My ex-boyfriend, by far, was my most disappointing investment. :)

Feb 24, 2010

I second the Bare Minerals foundation and all of that powder stuff. I can't seem to get it on without using too much and I have to spend 15 minutes cleaning the bathroom afterwards.

I do however, love my long lasting lipstick. I train for triathlons and it lasts while I'm running / swimming.

Feb 24, 2010

I am sorry to say that I am one of those annoying "my eyelashes hit my glasses" complainers. I mean, don't get me wrong I wouldn't ever want to give up my long eyelashes, in fact they are pretty much the only physical thing I like about myself, but it IS really irritating when they hit the glasses.

I have been disappointed by every "miracle" cleaning product I've ever bought. No, the grime does NOT just wipe off with one quick sweep of the sponge/mop/whatever. Ever.

Feb 24, 2010

Also, I LOVE Allyson's answer.

Operation Pink Herring
Feb 24, 2010

All four brands of aersol dry shampoo that I've tried. Dry shampoo DID change my life, but now I can't find a spray bottle that doesn't clog up after two uses. There's powdered versions, but they look.... powdery. It's worse knowing how great a product could be and then having it taken away -- I wish I'd never tried you, dry shampoo!

Feb 24, 2010

I used to love Max Factor stretch and separate mascara, but then they changed it and it wasn't as good, so I decided to try something else. Unfortunately I thought I'd give the Maybelline "#1 mascara in America" a try, mainly because Carmindy uses it on What Not to Wear. It was horrible and smudgy and I threw it away after about 4 uses.

BUT...I impulse-bought the Kirkland/Borghese mascara at Costco, which was a big risk since you have to buy two of them. I LOVE it! And you get two for pretty much the same price I used to pay for one Max Factor.

Feb 24, 2010

Hopefully no one will throw anything at me for saying this, but I did not find "The Wire" to be all that it was cracked up to be. I thought it was okay, but I didn't burst into a tower of flames watching it or anything.

Also, perennially disappointing are those nuts that you can get on virtually any street corner in NYC from the nut cart guys. They smell like HEAVEN; just passing near one makes your mouth water and you just feel like those nuts are going to make your DAY, but every time they end up sucking ass.

Feb 24, 2010

God mine seems so dull after everyone else's, but I bought one of those stick vacuums absolutely CERTAIN it would lead of life devoid of cat hair, dust bunnies and general floor filth. Turns out that it's top heavy, obnoxious to use, makes the worst high pitched whining noise of all time and doens't work 1/8 as well as my Dyson. I had assumed that having a small lightweight vacuum would make cleaning such a breeze that I'd be willing to do it all the time but I'm just as lazy as and hair covered as ever.

Feb 24, 2010

Quidad for curly hair. I bought it thinking finally...this will tame my naturally curly hair. Um..no..just a sucker who spent $$$ on a product that changed nothing...I hate that.

Feb 24, 2010

Most under-ten-dollar wines I buy besides Charles Shaw. I spent an inordinate amount of time in the wine aisle at Trader Joe's this weekend because I was having a dinner party and wanted to branch out. I filled and unfilled my cart, weighed the choices, I even got a recommendation from the wine guy. Turns out all three cost more and taste worse than Two-Buck Chuck. I am at least temporarily deterred from being adventurous.

I found your blog a few months ago. I've been needing to get that off my chest, so thanks for the opportunity!

lauren k.
Feb 24, 2010

L'oreal Bare Naturale Mascara. Does the bare stand for barely anything in the tube? Perhaps I got a bunk one but am not willing to buy it again to find out. Totally underwhelmed.
Nars Orgasm blush-what's up with that? People are CRAZY for it, and I found it so meh I am still bummed about it 6 months later.

Lastly, I agree about Bare Essentials powders-while I like what they do they get all over me and my other nmakeup and I think I need to quit them.

Feb 24, 2010

Stimulash by Fusion. Doesn't work nearly as well as Rapid Lash, and costs more!

Nothing But Bonfires
Feb 24, 2010

Lauren K -- you must have got a bad tube, because L'Oreal Bare Naturale is one of my favorite mascaras! It gives me length while still looking natural. Try it again!

Feb 24, 2010

Let's talk makeup remover. I have been under the impression that I am very unpicky - I just want something that actually gets mascara off!

#1: Camomile Gentle Eye Makeup Remover by The Body Shop. I call BS on "Gentle." It stings my eyes! Burns! Pain!

#2: Oil Free Makeup Remover by Neutrogena. The burning! The stinging!! The complete drying out of the fragile skin in my eye region!!

#3: At this point, I was getting desperate. I went to a department store and got Naturally Gentle Eye Makeup Remover by Clinique. Damn it. It just didn't work. It didn't burn, but it didn't work.

What's a girl to do? Help me. Please!!

Feb 24, 2010

NGS, Try using the Philosophy Hope in a Bottle for getting mascara off. I love how well it works!

I'm not sure if this was an ad for the 24 Lash Boost mascara, but in the fine print they said that fake lashes were added for volume but not length. I'd say they knew it was a dud product and sent it out anyway!

Feb 24, 2010

Living Proof wave shaping, no frizz styling cream: $25 for 4 oz and does worse than whatever hair gunk I picked up on clearance at TJ Maxx.

BTW, if you buy fancy makeup/haircare and hate it, return it within the month and buy something else. Most places are good about returns and will realize that dissatisfaction is better treated by a return/replacement than constant annoyance at seeing the expensive disappointment on your bathroom shelf.

Feb 24, 2010


If I never bought anything on impulse at Target, my life would be worthless.

Christian Dior Show Mascara, go to Ebay 1/2 the price. You won't regret it.
PS I need a law degree for the below code deciphering.

Juli Page Morgan
Feb 24, 2010

That mascara that put little tubes on the ends of your lashes to make them look longer didn't work for me. My lashes aren't long, but they are rather thick. This mascara made them look thin and sparse. Long, yes, but thin and sparse. And it BURNED my eyes when I washed it off. One try and I was through. Tossed it in the rubbish bin that night.

Feb 24, 2010

While I was growing my hair out, I bought a bottle of Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray which is supposed to make your hair look all "who me?! I just got back from a day at the beach!" and what-not. It was around twenty bucks, which is WAY more than I normally spend on one product, and it just made me look like I had a day-pass from a mental hospital.

I've since cut my hair and gone back to my beloved cheap-o products.

Feb 24, 2010

CoverGirl's exact eyelights that Rhianna advertises... I was SO excited to get it, and it's so clumpy and gross and hard to get off. Not a winner!

I also recently bought that new L'Oreal Telescopoic Explosion mascara (the one with the round brush), and it was alright at first, but now it comes out of the tube in a big glob.

I neeeeed a new mascara!

jennifer in sf
Feb 24, 2010

I'm with Operation Pink Herring. Dry shampoo is such an evil tease!

Also, like 5,476 things I've bought to stop my hair from getting frizzy. I've just given up.

Feb 24, 2010

Every foundation ever. I'm not orange! Why does my foundation always look orange?

Also, CoverGirl Lash Blast. Clumpy, goopy, and the tube dried out after 2 weeks! Threw it in the garbage.

I should have never strayed from my true love: Maybelline Full-n-Soft mascara. I luuuurve this mascara!

Feb 24, 2010

Oh man, I CRACKED.UP. over the part about one's eyelashes touching the lens of one's glasses.. hahahaha! Sorry, but that does happen to me, too, although more so when I'm wearing mascara. It really is annoying.

Things I've bought that don't work: David Babaii Bohemian Beach Spray. Similar to Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray. SOOO does not work. Just makes my hair feel dirty and smells way too perfumey. I also tried this thing that you rub on your skin to get rid of your hair. Ha! Doesn't work for that purpose although it does do a fair amount of exfoliating. Oh, and epilators? Ouch!! The claims that they don't hurt are preposterous!

Feb 24, 2010

I spent a wad on Bumble&Bumble something or other because (SHAMEFEST) Angelina Jolie purportedly uses it on her long hair.

Not only does the stuff underperform any of the regular cheap-o stuff from WalMart, it SMELLS god-awful!

Additional complaint, for free:

Why, when I finally find a perfect mascara/shampoo/eyeshadow shade/lipstick, DO THEY IMMEDIATELY STOP MAKING IT????

Feb 24, 2010

My husband is really into buying anything that promises to clean the shower without actually having to perform the act of CLEANING it. He's very into the scrubbing bubbles automatic sprayer and bottles of shower "wash" that you spritz around.

After YEARS of this I think he's finally realized that the only thing that really cleans a shower is elbow grease.


Feb 24, 2010

The Magic Bullet. HATE! When it leaked for the twelve MILLIONTH time, I threw the whole thing straight into the trash can and haven't regretted it since. Give me a normal blender every day of the week.

Feb 24, 2010

NGS - Seriously, try the Maybelline eye make-up remover, but ONLY THE BOTTLE WITH THE BLUE WRITING, NOT THE PINK. The pink is oily and disgusting. But this is the best eye make-up remover I've used and it doesn't sting. Really.

As far as disappointing products, too numerous to mention. But doesn't it feel great when you just decide to chuck it and move on???

Feb 24, 2010

@#15 (Jessica): Epicuro Nero d'Avola at Trader Joe's. It's $6.49, tastes /delicious/, and has garnered unconditional approval from my wine-hating boyfriend. It's basically the Spanish equivalent of a Pinot Noir.

I do regularly grab Chuck as well, though - but the label doesn't look as fancy when bringing it along to dinner parties. :)

Feb 24, 2010

I wanted to put in a good word for the Magic Bullet--I've had mine for 2.5 years and we use it ALL THE TIME. We love it. The only thing I hate is washing it (as we are dishwasher-less--unless I can count Ben as a dishwasher!).
Although I've been disappointed in nearly every single curly-hair gel I've ever tried. All they do is weigh my curls down, and give my hair a funky texture.

Feb 24, 2010


Try Avon's eye make-up remover. It is so cheap and it doesn't burn. I've used it for years. I was skeptical at first but now I buy it in bulk.

Feb 24, 2010

We bought the roomba robotic vaccume a couple of Christmas's ago. What a disappointment. It would continually get stuck under furniture and when it came time to empty it it was like a giant dust buster - crap goes flying everywhere and then you have to sweep THAT up. It still is sitting in the kitchen plugged in and ready to go - but not worth the effort to turn the power on.

Disappointed by TIGI Catwalk Curls Rock.

Yes it does make your hair curly, BUT it also makes it stiff and if you dare break up the stiffness of your curls to make it look more natural you lose all the hold.

I very quickly realized I needed to fork over the cash and stick with Bumble and Bumble when it comes to taming my crazy curls.

OH, and I second the comment that Bare Minerals doesn't last as long as you would hope. I still love them, BUT it's hard to look fresh if you sweat even the slightest.

I am also 1.5 months into treatment for acne with Proactive. The jury is still out on this one...

P.s. I love this.

Nothing But Bonfires
Feb 24, 2010

I love that this is turning into a forum for people to recommend products to people as alternatives to their Disappointing Hall of Fame products! Everyone wins!

Feb 24, 2010

The product sold ONLY ON TV that I bought At WALGREENS that is supposed to "buff"? "rub?" off your hair (like on arms and legs and such) Not even close. I have baby fine hair on my arms so I thought for sure it would take that off. Nope.

Sheer Cover/Bare Minerals - over it completely. What a mess.

Anyone tried the new roll on make up? Nothing like living the cliche of war paint...right?

Feb 24, 2010

For me, it's the Flip video camera. I find it extremely meh. Sure, you can instantly upload, but what you are uploading is mediocre video at best and truly crappy at worst. The digital zoom bites. Maybe I should have gone for the HD?

Feb 24, 2010

Any shampoo or conditioner promising volume, and any toner. My hair is still flat, and I can still see my pores.

Feb 24, 2010

I have to say that the "ex-boyfriend" answer above was my favorite. I wish I were clever enough to come up with that off-hand, as that answer is definitely true for me, too.

Also, I bought HW a Nikon Coolpix camera for Christmas, and it... well... completely sucks. Seriously. Boo!!!!

Feb 24, 2010

Hey Ashley, try mixing the Curls Rock with a softer product. I mix mine with the Redken Smooth Down Heat Glide and the result is significantly less crunchy than if I use the Curls Rock alone.

I agree with whoever said "any foundation ever." Hate foundation. HAAAATE.

Feb 24, 2010

I loved my Lancome Eau de Bienfait Clarte makeup remover. It took off everything easily without feeling greasy. Then Lancome discontinued it and replaced it with this new product, so I dutifully tried it and it SUCKS.

Instead of taking off my makeup, it smears my eye shadow and eyelash glue all over my eye area. It's just a big gooey mess. It's also really harsh on my skin. I feel like my face has been rubbed raw and I still have makeup on.

I tried the MakeUp Forever version, thinking hey, they're makeup PROFESSIONALS. It works slightly better but it's expensive and I ended up using a ton of it. For as much as it cost, it should either work better or I should be able to use less.

I'm still looking for the perfect makeup remover, but out of desperation I went to Longs and bought the blue bottle of Maybelline makeup remover, my go to in high school. It works way better than the two expensive ones I've tried!

* caveat: The Lancome and MUF products might be okay for normal makeup removal, but when I perform I wear this awesome glittery silver eye shadow. My old remover took it off in one or two swipes, but new Lancome and MUF removers leave my face covered in tiny sparkles. Sounds cute until you wake up in the morning still covered in minute traces of silver and eyelash glue.

Sonia Gawel
Feb 24, 2010

Looking for an eyelash product, my dear? Don't want to spend hundreds of dollars? What you need is RapidLash! Ok, its $50. Still a little steep but...but...but...its AHA-mazing! My tube has lasted me 4 months so far and my eyelashes have grown so long that I've had to trim them and they are so dark that I don't need mascara at all any more! Incredible. I poured over volumes of reviews of different products and this seems to be the most bang for your buck. You'll see results after 1 month but after 3...ho buddy, are you in a surprise!

Camels & Chocolate
Feb 24, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love. I know you agree with me on that, ha!

Feb 25, 2010

I'm sitting here right now drinking some meh coffee I sprung for on a lark the other day, your timing couldn't be better. As far as products go, I would agree with NGS on pretty much any commercial mascara remover. They either burn the eyes and work, or don't burn but you have to scrub enough to remove half the lashes with the mascara.

Finally my grandmother set me straight: "I don't know why you girls pay $20 a bottle for junk when salad oil would do the trick"

Seriously. Olive oil on a cotton ball; problem solved.

Feb 25, 2010

Amen on the Eat, Pray, Love. Should have been called Me, Me, Me. Blah.

Proactiv ended up being a huge waste for me, but I have the horrible combo of sensitive/acne prone skin. Ah, help!

I love Clinique mascara. It took a bonus week free gift with purchase to win me over, but it worked! I refuse to go back to Target mascara.

Feb 25, 2010

Latisse, lashes people! That stuff works!

Personally, I hated my Laura mercier oil free foundation. Sucks, and surprising since I love her Tinted Moisturizer.

Feb 25, 2010

@NGS: I've had the same thing, and I hate the oiliness of "gentle" eye makeup remove products. I use Rimmel's eye makeup remover. Best stuff ever. A few months ago I bought Almay's, used it once, and kicked myself from deviating from what I knew was good and what worked.

Big disappointment for me? Hope in a Jar. Makes my face break out. See also, pretty much 98% of products I've even bought to help my curly/wavy hair. Send help.

Sarah Ashley
Feb 25, 2010

Kiss Me mascara will change your life! It makes tubes around you eyelashes and comes off with the pressure of water. It will not run, because the tubes come off instead; looking like your real eyelashes are coming off, but they aren't. You can find it at Sephora.

Feb 25, 2010

Totally agree about Eat, Pray, Love. Blech.

I also second (third?) the dry shampoo bottle issue - mine got clogged JUST as I was getting really attached to the product. I had the same issue with Aveda hairspray a couple of years ago. Smells amazing, worked really well - clogged beyond belief.

Feb 26, 2010

I second (or we might be on third or fourth by now) all the curly hair products. The worst for me was John Frieda's Frizz-Ease products. My hair has never been so dull and flat. No frizz, sure, but no one notices that when it looks like you haven't washed your hair in a week.

Also disappointing: Pepsi Throwback. Everyone I know just raved about it, but while I do taste a difference between it and regular Pepsi, it's not a big difference. Plus, I'm still laughing at the fact that advertising that your product is "made with real sugar" is considered a good thing now.

Feb 27, 2010

Try the Bliss Lid and Lash wash. It is the best eye makeup remover ever! Not greasy and doesn't irritate my sensitive eyes at all.

Feb 27, 2010

Tide Pen. Stupid thing doesn't remove stains well and the stain soaks into the tip transferring it onto other clothes if you're not careful.

And I second, third and fourth foundation/concealer. Apparently 'Oompa Loompa Orange' seems to be a popular shade these days.

this new place
Feb 27, 2010

the wine aerator I bought is a total joke. cant tell the difference, no matter the wine. i know people who swear by it, this particular brand, and I totally think they are mental.

this new place
Feb 27, 2010

the wine aerator I bought is a total joke. cant tell the difference, no matter the wine. i know people who swear by it, this particular brand, and I totally think they are mental.

Feb 27, 2010

Two recs (this is not in the spirit of the post but I can't help myself). Proactiv makes me SO mad b/c it's so expensive and if you get a prescription you can get generic 4% benzoyl peroxide face wash which is double proactiv's 2%. It works wonders although it does bleach your towels if you're not careful. And for frizz taming? Kerastase Oleo Relax serum (orange bottle) is expensive but man, you get what you pay for.

Mar 02, 2010

Thing I was disappointed by: Clinique's facial cleansing system or whatever it's called. It just made my combination skin super dry. (However, I am loyal to Clinique's Dramatically Different moisturizer.)

In response to the curly-haired ladies out there who are looking for something to control/boost their curls, my brother (yes, my brother) turned me on to L'Oreal Tightly Wound spray. This stuff is FABULOUS. Unfortunately, it does dry out your hair, but if you use it out of the shower you can have a decently fresh-looking and bouncy hair for up to 3 days. (Yes, I did just admit to not washing my hair for up to 3 days. SOMETIMES.)

Mar 03, 2010

I agree with Kim about the gross-out Maybelline eye makeup remover. I'm currently pretty underwhelmed by my "You Rebel" tinter moisturizer from Benefit. The one I was using before this was a freebie someone gave me from Mary Kay and it made my skin far less crappy than the Benefit glop does.

Mar 08, 2010

Blue Bottle Coffee. $7 a cup and it isn't as good as Peets. I came this close to buying that L'Oreal mascara system yesterday. Glad I didn't. For all the ladies on here who can't find a decent eye make-up remover I suggest Cetaphil. I use the liquid version to remover make-up, and the bar version in the shower. It's great for sensitive skin.

Apr 04, 2010

Eat, Love, Pray. Toner, do not use any toner. Proactiv. Oraganix coconut conditioner, does not even condition in the least.

May 18, 2016

Stay inairmftove, San Diego, yeah boy!

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