8 Products Our Editors Say Aren’t Worth the Money (& the Ones They Love Instead)

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Like many people, we’ve all fallen into the trap of purchasing trendy products after seeing *one* viral TikTok—especially in the world of beauty. Between foundations your favorite influencers swear by and the skincare product that totally transformed a nutritionist’s routine, it’s easy to get seduced by the hype and hit ‘add to cart’ without much thought. But here’s the thing: These products are not one-size-fits-all, so they aren’t always going to have the same wow-factor on every person’s skin. Here, we’re sharing the products that hooked us from reviews that ended up not living up to the hype (in our humble opinions). Plus, the items we turned to afterward—and loved.

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drunk elephant and dr dennis gross

Finding products that work for your skin type is no easy feat. Fashion Editor Abby Hepworth wasn’t too keen on the Drunk Elephant Babyfacial, preferring this popular Dr. Dennis Gross product instead. “I remember everyone was obsessed with that face mask for a while, but when I tried it I was like, ‘eh,’” she says. “Nowadays I use the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Peels and love them! They’re much faster (I’m so lazy with skincare) and I think work much better overall.”

kosas and glossier

For $16 cheaper, you can achieve glass skin without feeling oily, according to Senior Food Editor Katherine Gillen. While the Kosas Tinted Face Oil may be a crowd favorite, she prefers the results she gets from Glossier’s Perfecting Skin Tint. “I don’t know if it’s my skin type or what, but it looks so patchy [on my skin],” she mentions. “I have since subbed with the Glossier, and while I think it has less coverage, it’s buildable, doesn’t feel oily and doesn’t settle into dry patches.”

fenty and rare

This one may be an unpopular opinion for a lot of people, but for Assistant Editor Destinee Scott, it was an easy switch. “[The Fenty foundation] oxidizes really weird on me and ends up feeling heavy,” she notes. Rather than giving up on foundation, she turned to the Rare Beauty moisturizer. “It’s buildable, stays on and I can literally blend it in with my fingers. I’m obsessed with Rare Beauty.”

hot toddy vs JVN

We know, we know: Dry Bar’s Hot Toddy is a best-seller—and I’m not saying it’s bad—but hear me out: I have super fine hair, and I’ve come to find that it weighs down very easily when I spray products onto my dry hair. The JVN Complete does wonders for my texture after hair wash day. I tend to favor cream products over sprays, and this one is a must-have in my book. It protects my hair when I style with my Dyson Airwrap and helps keep my little frizzies completely controlled.

ilia and covergirl

Our favorite thing about this swap? It saves us $36. Associate Editor Chelsea Candelario prefers a formula that meshes well with her combination skin, which is why she ditched the ILIA in favor of Covergirl. “I wanted to love the ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint, and it’s fine, but it’s annoying to have to mix two shades to match my own complexion,” she explains. She mentions that the dewy look isn’t her favorite finish, and the Covergirl Clean Fresh Skin Milk is a favorite. “Shade 580 matches me perfectly and it’s a smooth application and super affordable.”

laneige and lawless

Managing Editor Catrina Yohay’s opinion on this cult-favorite product may ruffle some feathers. “People love the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, and though there’s nothing I loathe about it, I don’t really get the hype,” she says. The formula is iffy for Yohay, who thinks it feels too thin and like it doesn’t really absorb into her lips. “I’ve since relegated it to my desk lineup after it failed to stand up to my overnight dryness.” With the endless supply of lip masks out there, it wasn’t a hard task to find a replacement she did like, though. Enter: the Lawless Forget the Filler Lip Plumping Mask. “The texture is thick, but not tacky, and layers on cool and smooth like a stick of buttah.” She mentions it has a faint tingle upon application, but, “The all-night hydration has made it a staple in my nighttime routine. Also, I love that the brand is, as it states, ‘clean AF.’”

glossier and refy 1

7. Avoid: Glossier Boy Brow, Try: Refy Brow Sculpt


With nearly 60,000 likes on Sephora, Refy’s Brow Sculpt is undoubtedly a fan favorite. According to Assistant Editor Stephanie Meraz, this product locks her brows in place all day long, unlike the Boy Brow. “I really did like the color and fill that the Glossier product gave me, but the biggest flop for me was how my brows looked great initially, then quickly fell,” she explains, mentioning that her brow hairs are stubborn and don’t hold shape well (an issue that’s no match for Refy).

rare beauty and trinny london
Sephora/Trinny London

Commerce Director Nicole Briese’s beef with the Rare Beauty blush is admittedly the reason why so many people love it: the dense pigment. “Maybe it’s user error, but I have yet to successfully apply the Rare Beauty blush without looking like Bozo the Clown applied my makeup,” she admits. “Even the tiniest dab is too much, leaving me with a hot mess of streaking. Trinny’s Lip2Cheek, however, is extremely convenient. Not only is it packaged in an extremely chic little stacking container, it can be applied with your finger—and more importantly, wiped off of them. It also blends easily with a brush once you’ve got it on.”

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Olivia Dubyak

Commerce Editor

Olivia Dubyak is PureWow's Commerce Editor and textbook Capricorn. She studied journalism at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but has gone from New York City to...
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