Once upon a time, people peddled their goods door to door with little more than a so-called customer satisfaction guarantee. Today they sell them online with the knowledge that an influx of customer reviews could soon make or break them.
Though 5-star reviews may be widely (and wildly) sought after, this ultimate seal of approval is a bit of a mixed blessing. A data analysis by PowerReviews revealed that products with less than five star reviews actually outperform their higher-rated peers in terms of sales. In other words, customers may prefer a more varied reception, with thumbs down accompanying the thumbs up.
Still, a 5-star review leaves little to be contested — until you actually dig behind the scenes and find out which highly rated items may not be worth the hype. Let’s have a look at six separate 5-star reviewed products that aren’t worth the money, at least according to our experts.
Le Creuset 4.5-qt. Dutch Oven
Le Creuset is placed on a pedestal in the world of culinary luxury. In that world, the brand’s Dutch ovens are particularly well revered. And their sparkling 5-stars reviews suggest they’re worth the steep price. This isn’t untrue; but also not untrue is the fact that you don’t need to shell out this much cash for a great Dutch oven.
“These vessels cost around $390 when shopping directly and even if you shop at sites like Amazon you’ll still likely spend around $240 or so, depending on the color you choose,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at DealNews.com. “Instead of opting for this premium brand, consider a Lodge Dutch Oven in the same size. You’ll spend around $80.”
Eighty bucks is hardly cheap, but it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a Le Creuset! Lodge makes a good product, too.
“Lodge items are of great quality that will last for years as long as they’re well cared for,” Ramhold said.
Our Place Always Pan 2.0
On the Our Place site, the Our Place Always Pan 2.0 has a tidy and ample stack of 5-star reviews. It costs $150 normally, but is presently on sale for $115.
“This pan has basically gone viral and gets high marks for being easy to clean, kind of,” Ramhold said. “But its price tag [is high] and some reviewers report that they stain easily and the handles are uncomfortable to hold (and act as a trap for food particles which are difficult to clean).”
As a more affordable alternative, consider brands like GreenPan, which offers ceramic cookware for a fraction of the cost, “and even come in bundles at excellent prices, like this 3-pack from Costco for just $64.99,” Ramhold said.
Chanel (and Other Designer) Lipsticks
Anyone who has purchased high-end makeup before knows just how much they can spend on lipstick. A tube of Chanel goes for at least $45. Some of their collections — and those of competing designer brands — radiate with 5-star reviews. But do you really want to spend this much on a tube of lipstick? Maybe not when you find out that you can get comparable products for so much less.
“You can get a variety of different kinds of lipsticks for $10 or so from ColourPop,” Ramhold said. “There are a lot of different types too, so you can easily find one without having to spend a fortune.”
Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum
According to the tech-powered skincare consumer platform What’s In My Jar, 54% of anti-aging products sold in the U.S. today are not worth the money. “They make promises that they cannot fulfill,” said Maria Semykoz, co-founder and CEO. “They simply don’t have the ingredients that could do the job.”
One example of a highly reviewed skincare product that isn’t worth it is Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum, which starts at $110.
“This is serum that can help attract water to the upper layer of the skin,” Semykoz said. “Old good glycerin in your drugstore moisturizer can do exactly the same. There are also many hydrating serums with way better ingredients for a fraction of the price.”
One of those great alternatives is Revolution Skincare 2% Hyaluronic Acid Plumping & Hydrating Solution, which sells for $13.99 on Amazon, where it’s scooped up a nearly 5-star rating of its own.
Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream
Another skincare product with stellar reviews that is not worth it is the Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream, a 1.69-fl.oz container of this product costs $65 on Dermstore.
“The brand’s marketers justify the hefty price tag for this moisturizer with Vitamin C content, but the cream contains a low percentage of a vitamin C derivative called Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate,” said Semykoz. “There is no evidence that this ingredient is effective in fighting photodamage in this concentration.”
She added, “It’s better to spend your money on a serum with a bioavailable form of Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid), for example, products like this ($23 at Target).”
Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream
The highly esteemed and generously reviewed Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream costs up to $290 for 50ml. It’s not worth it.
“This is just a moisturizer,” Semykoz said. “You’ll get the same skin results from a Cetaphil cream at Amazon.”
Consider this 20-oz jar of face moisturizing cream by Cetaphil, which sells for under $16 on Amazon.
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