Lilian Min
August 30, 2015 8:02 am

Makeup: Some people adore it and say brand names like MAC and Urban Decay with utter reverence; some people abhor it and would honestly rather get a tooth pulled than try out a smoky eye. But most of us look at makeup and other beauty products and think the following:

1. What will make me look less like an extra from The Walking Dead?
2. Will this stay on throughout the day or will it slide all over my face and make me look like a sad clown school reject?
3. Am I actively doing my body harm by putting this on?
4. How long will this take?

Pictured: The dream.

Though the conversation around beauty has thankfully evolved from something that is an obligation to another form of self-expression, the products we’re told season after season that will “completely revolutionize your life!” and/or “fix this long-term medical and/or self-determined flaw” oftentimes do neither of those things. And of course, none of this stuff comes free — if you followed a “full face” beauty routine down to a T, you might be spending a few extra thousands every year.

So, what should you be dropping your hard-owned dollars on? Let’s be real: We don’t know your skin type, environment needs, allergy profile, and coloration to make carved-in-stone suggestions. However, we can definitely tell you what you shouldn’t buy, with this roundup of suggested not-purchases from some of our most trusted beauty product reviewers: Friends.

Colorful eyeshadow

More than anything else, when asked what they shouldn’t have spent their money on, people responded with some variation of color and eyeshadow, with the worst offender being the intersection of the two. Unless you’re working in a beauty-adjacent industry e.g. fashion or celebrity styling, or attending a lot of “themed ’80s-inspired parties” (looking at you, college folks), you won’t need that electric yellow/radioactive green/workout Spandex purple/neon pink palette.

“Fancy” eyeliners

Candy colors? Non-traditional applicators? For most people, it’s tough enough to master the “simple” pencil or liquid eyeliner, let alone get into fancy eyeliner technology and shades. Since eyeliner is literally right next to your delicate eyeballs, simpler is better, and apparently more effective too.

SPF 100 sunscreen

Real talk: Despite what you’ve been taught to believe, those sky-high SPF numbers don’t really do much more to help block out the sun. Dermatologists have pretty much debunked anything above SPF 50 as basically a marketing gimmick, one which capitalizes on peoples’ fears about sunburn, skin cancer, and aging sun rays. More importantly perhaps than your SPF is how often you reapply while out and about — after all, even SPF 50 sunscreen won’t do anything after a few hours of sweating, swimming, and toweling off.

Pore minimizer/primer

Though these two products don’t do the same thing, they’re both things you put on your face before laying down a makeup foundation. While they’re ostensibly about providing a more even base for the rest of your face and both products may feel great when they go on, their efficacy when it comes to actually keeping everything in place and ship-shape is more dubious. The better focus for the things these products target might be on your diet and how much you’re sleeping.

Unvetted lipstick

Now, we’re all about lipstick here at HG. However, the market for lipsticks and other lip products is saturated to the point where you can find any shade at any budget and in any consistency, which makes the lipstick-buying process a total crapshoot. Sure, that color you’ve been eyeing looks soooo good, but will it dry your lips out? Smear out of shape at the slightest movement of your mouth? Get in your teeth when you eat? While all beauty products should come with either great word-of-mouth or longevity on their side, this is doubly important for statement-making lipstick, or even just the handy neutral shades you pop on when you feel like glamming up just a little bit.

Non-waterproof products

Do you sweat? Do you cry? Do you live in an area where it rains? These are all valid reasons for buying waterproof everything, and honestly, we’re not sure why places are making non-waterproof versions of things like eyeliner and eyeshadow.

Pictured: Not reality.

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Images via here, here, and Shutterstock.