Sephora, the cosmetics retail giant with over 2,300 stores worldwide, is a part of the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton ($EPA:MC) empire, which made €46.83 billion in profit last year. Plenty of people spend a lot of money at Sephora (including this writer!), especially when repeat buyers cash out on the store’s rewards program.
With that said, every store has its busts — products that just garner terrible reviews — and Sephora is not immune to that. Poorly rated products aren’t necessarily terrible, but they do leave online review trails that may leave one questioning whether or not a brand’s products are worth the cost. And, at a store where the average product is rated above 4-stars, having a 3-star rating is a lot worse than what it usually means.
According to reviews compiled and aggregated up until March 28, 2019, here are the ten worst brands that are sold at Sephora:
10. Glow Recipe ($PRIVATE:GLOWRECIPE)
Average rating percentage: 79.370%
Number of reviews: 3,872
While this brand's aggregate rating is close to 80%, calling it one of the worst brands at Sephora does seem a bit silly. However, it starts the list of worst rated brands much thanks to its Watermelon Glow Sheet Mask.
This product has just over a 3-star rating, and like most sheet masks, it is described as "sloppy to put on" by reviewers. One reviewer wrote how the product is, "literally the consistency of a thin layer of jello. If you have even a tiny bit of length to your nails, prepare for this to tear innumerable times. It was infuriating trying to make this work, and, ultimately, I felt like no product made it onto my skin."
9. Supergoop! ($PRIVATE:SUPERGOOP)
Average rating percentage: 78.987%
Number of reviews: 5,547
This skincare line offers UV protection and is rated 4 or more stars across all but two products—Invincible Setting Powder and Defense Refresh Setting Mist—both of which are rated just over 3 stars.
Those who complain about the Setting Powder called it out for its "terrible" packaging, with more recent reviews reporting that the brush head makes it "almost impossible to put it [the sunscreen] on evenly over your face."
8. Pretty Vulgar
Average rating percentage: 78.867%
Number of reviews: 2,472
One bad product spoils the bunch.
This brand is highly ranked across every product it offers except one—the On Point Liquid Eyeliner Pen. This pen is rated poorly at 2.5 stars, as reviewers complained that the pen runs dry or is difficult to use.
"I love the pigmentation and the flexibility of the felt tip (sometimes those can be really stiff as we all know)," wrote one Rogue member who is also a Sephora employee. "But I expect my liquid liner to have about the same 6-8 week life span as my mascara if not more. Sadly this guy was dried out and done in just 2-3 weeks."
7. Rita Hazan
Average rating percentage: 78.070%
Number of reviews: 2,207
Sephora.com currently carries a few products from the Rita Hazan brand. All are rated 3.75 stars or higher... But it wasn't enough to bring the brand out of the top ten.
While some call these products "The Holy Grail for Hair," others still complain about it. For the Ultimate Shine Gloss, one reviewer wrote that she, "Saw little to no change after several uses. While it did not damage my hair, it also did nothing to improve the condition of my slightly brassy color."
6. Ciate London
Average rating percentage: 78.032%
Number of reviews: 6,737
Ciate London has the majority of its products rated at 4 stars or more, but two of them — the Jessica Rabbit Eyeshadow Palette and Dewy Spritz — weigh the rest of the brand down.
One of the most helpful reviews for the Palette was by a Rogue member who would've rated it a single star if not for the "cute packaging." "There is absolutely no colour payoff whatsoever," she wrote. "I had to work really hard to get any look."
5. Milk Makeup
Average rating percentage: 77.747%
Number of reviews: 20,487
Milk Makeup offers dozens of products on Sephora, with several rated at or around 4.5 stars, but one of its lowest rated products—the Blur Stick Mini—comes in at 3.5 stars.
One reviewer broke down why this product may be reviewed so lowly: it all depends on the person's skin and personal preference.
"I was really curious about the blur stick but didn't want to purchase the full size since I read such mixed reviews on it. Glad I purchased the mini instead because this product was a complete miss for me. It was really difficult to get out of the packaging, in fact the bottom of the actual container was stuck within the outside plastic packaging, so the mechanism to push up the blur stick is broken. I didn't notice any reduction in pores but I will say that the product feels very silky on the skin. I think this is more geared for people with oily skin though. I have relatively normal skin with an occasional oily t-zone, so the product actually dried me out/made my skin kind of flakey on my less oily days.
(Personal aside: as someone who uses Milk's Blur Stick, I'm disappointed that some people don't like it. But hey, it's not for everyone.)
4. Living Proof
Average rating percentage: 77.227%
Number of reviews: 8.815
With 74 different products on offer, Living Proof earned its spot on the list of the 10 lowest rated brands due to a range of high and low rated products. Nearly all of this brand’s offerings are rated 4 stars or higher, but there are a few, such as the Restore Conditioner Mini bottle that costs $12, that are rated as low as 2 stars.
"Smells great but really did nothing special for my hair," one reviewer wrote. "Actually felt more dry and tangled afterwards."
3. Drybar ($PRIVATE:DRYBAR)
Average rating percentage: 76.112%
Number of reviews: 11,532
The California-based chain of hair salons features dozens of its products at Sephora, including dry shampoo. One dry shampoo type for brunettes is one of the lowest rated products for the company, because among other reasons, as one reviewer put it, the shampoo "makes my hair feel a rats nest i cant brush it and it left a stain all over my brush that i can not get off."
2. Vita Liberata ($PRIVATE:CROWNLABORATORIES-2)
Average rating percentage: 74.902%
Number of reviews: 2,307
Currently, Sephora.com carries only one Vita Liberata product—the Luxury Tan Moisture Locking System. The bulk of the negative reviews on this product relate to the size of the bottle for the price: 1.69 ounces for $25 (currently on sale for $12).
Average rating percentage: 71.968%
Number of reviews: 6,947
The lowest rated products on Sephora come from the Ouai brand, which is from celebrity stylist Jen Atkin are the shampoos. Some of the shampoo products, which are meant for different hair textures, are rated 3 stars out of 5, as those who buy these products don't know these shampoos aren't for them until they try to use them.
Here, it just goes to show that beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder... Or the bad hair day of the angry internet beauty product commenter.
(Note: for this article, we limited brands to those that have active products at the company and with over 2,000 reviews in order to weed out inactive, not heavily bought, or single product line brands.)