Deal Breakers- What Make Us Hard-Pass On A Product?

I recently was trying a new face mask sample (the Fresh, Lotus Youth Preserve Rescue Mask to be exact) and I was struck by the cucumber scent. Now–I have no problems with cucumbers–I actually really like them, but I know Jess is not a fan. And I wondered if it was just the taste of cucumbers that she was against or cucumber anything.

Which then got me thinking about product deal breakers. Things that are just NOT going to work for you when it comes to a new product. Would a cucumber scent be enough to send Jess running away from the Fresh mask? (it’s actually not included in the description for it and only in the ingredients, btw.) I wondered what other things might be product deal breakers for us–and you!


Why yes, I DO hate the scent of cucumber- it literally makes me gag!!

I bought a moisturizer by SkinFix once (I struggle with winter eczema and this is supposed to be good for that) and the smell was unbearable. I also have a tough time in general with anything “perfumed” or artificially scented. Tatcha products might be a miracle but it’s too floral scented for me, and I won’t ever get on the Bum Bum Cream wagon because that’s also too heavy for me to even try. My favorite lipstick from the Sephora Collection smells like a grape Jolly Rancher. It fades quickly so I can get past it, but I always give it a side-eye when I first swipe it on and wish it just smelled like lipstick. (I do love to smell anything from Aveda, and if I could crawl inside the scent of Josie Maran’s oil facial cleanser I would!)

I’ve also come around to giving a hard pass to most matte liquid lip products. This isn’t a 100% deal breaker- I have one that I reach for regularly- but I have to give a serious swatch test to see if it dries down like tempera paint (looking at you, Kat Von D!). Usually I skip it- I haaaaate the feeling lip product dryiing out and flaking off my lips! I would rather have a matte lipstick that I might need to re-apply over a long-wear paint. Related: I generally pass on lipgloss, too- it has it’s time and place but I find it too sticky!

Aaaaand, this might seem surprising or counter-intuitive, but GLITTER. Big, chunky glitter is a hard pass for me, especially in highlighters and bronzers. Now I do like a disco-glittery eye sometimes, and I have purchased loose glitter which is super fun for glam looks, but on the daily, if it has chunks of glitter in it, it’s a nope.


Ugh. Pots. I hate products in pots. I don’t like digging into things and getting product under my nails. It just super weirds me out. I also don’t like things that are in packages that are too heavy. Like a huge bottle of shampoo is just overwhelming to me. And really bulky glass bottles look pretty, but make me nervous. So I pass on them.

And I’m not crazy against things having a scent. Most of the time it can work for me and it’s okay. I have friends who are super sensitive where they get headaches from some scents and that’s definitely not me. But I did pick up the Glossier, Body Hero Duo and I cannot with that scent. It’s really floral so I rarely use it and when I do I have to cut it with something unscented to get it on. Oddly, something like Caudalie and L’Occitane are really scented but it never bothered me, so who knows. I’m also not a fan of overly sweet smelling things, but really, who is?

Also, not being cruelty free is a new deal breaker for me. I definitely am checking brands on that before I buy.


Smell is a deal breaker. I’m fairly sensitive to overly floral, heavily perfumed products (and people.) That will definitely make or break a product for me, or even prevent me from trying it in the first place. I just recently tried a new sheet mask, and of course couldn’t smell it before purchase, and it was THE WORST. Very old lady perfume-esque. I couldn’t even leave it on the recommended time…. and had to wash it all off immediately. It was bad.

Packaging is another make or break. Not necessarily the delivery style of the package (like how Lyn hates things that come in pots), rather the label and colors and overall design. Is it pleasing to the eye? Which is basically the same way I choose my wine bottles.
So there you have it- don’t give us any stinky stuff!! What are your deal-breakers? How do YOU pick out wine? Tell us in the comments!

5 thoughts on “Deal Breakers- What Make Us Hard-Pass On A Product?

  1. Cruelty free is tricky. You probably already know this (so this comment is more for readers who may not), but a product could, essentially be cruelty free, but unable to use the label for various reasons. They may use an ingredient that was testing on animals way back in the 60s, but is no longer tested that way.

    Plus, the laws are not well defined (where they exist at all). No government agency currently defines these terms, nor sets standards for their usage, it is left to each company to determine what its “cruelty-free” label means. And so we have outside 3rd party orgs that you can have your product labeled as such, but they each have their own definitions of cruelty free. (see first paragraph).

    Anyhow. Food for thought. Lots more here:

  2. Deal-breakers: 1. Pumps that break. I feel like I’m cursed with faulty foundation pumps, cleanser pumps or perfume pumps. There’s never a way to get the befrigged product out after that happens–looking at you, Arcona Eye Dew!–unless you use a mini chain saw (does Sephora sell those?) and 2. Similar to Lyn, legit “cruelty free” products.

  3. Like you guys, I can’t do floral scents at all. They make me gag. It seems all the luxury brands make their stuff smell like old lady mixed with rotting roses. I don’t get it. Yuck.

    Another hard pass is anything by certain brands who are total dicks in their marketing or social media platforms (Z-Palette, The Ordinary, etc). Benefit annoys me because their ads are so ridiculous. They aren’t CF anyway so it’s moot but still… And Morphe can piss right off with their brand influencer marketing. They could make the best stuff in the world but I won’t be buying it.

    Now that I have built up a disturbingly large cosmetics collection, I’d say that I have to pass on just about anything that is not really interesting and/or a really good deal.

  4. Oooh, yeah. I didn’t even think about GLITTER. No way am I buying anything with a chunky glitter in it.

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