My Ramblings About Product Reviews

Nothing to Disclose

Today as part of Talk to Me Tuesday series I wanted to rant about blogging. Recently my blog feed expanded tremendously, and I currently follow probably 10 times more blogs than I did last year [that’s hundreds of them!]. However, I’m not only following the bloggers I love and respect, but also those that I think are doing something wrong, just so I can see a clear example of what I should not and will not be doing here on Glamorable! I also use it as an opportunity to research their readers, usually through comments, just because I’m always curious to see what kind of audience such blogs would attract.

One thing that particularly irks me is product reviews. Very often companies contact dozens of bloggers with review opportunities, which is why you might notice that suddenly almost every blog you follow seems to be posting about the same thing. I understand that makeup, skin care, hair care, really, any personal care products work very differently for everyone, however, when a product has obvious flaws, wouldn’t it be natural to mention them in your review so the readers have a better idea? I try to always list any of the cons I can think of, because what is nothing for some, could be a deal breaker for others.

Here are just a few examples of what I’m talking about:

  1. Pigmentation – I believe pigmentation has never been a subjective matter, a product is either highly pigmented or it isn’t. I also don’t like the phrase “pigmented for the price”, which some bloggers use when reviewing drugstore products. Just because an eye shadow costs $2 doesn’t mean the bad pigmentation is somehow any less unsatisfying; and lately drugstore cosmetics evolved so much, you can easily find cheap makeup comparable to high end brands in terms of color payoff and overall quality [my favorites lately are Milani, L’Oreal, and Hard Candy]. Which brings me to my second point…
  2. Price Bias – Just because something is expensive [which is a relative term], doesn’t make it a con, unless you run a couponing/deal blog. Some bloggers write lists of Pros and Cons for products, [and don’t get me wrong, I love that because it makes the review appear so much more objective], however, I don’t think price should belong anywhere on that list. From a reader’s perspective, if I am looking for reviews on a specific product, chances are I want to buy it aka I’m prepared to spend my money on it, so I couldn’t care less what the blogger thinks about its cost. I have to admit, I used to factor in the price in my earlier reviews, and even used the phrase “good for the money” more than once or twice, but I have learned so much since those days and grew out of it.
  3. Free Product Leniency – Of course the brands would be happy to receive a glowing review, but what if the product is less than stellar? I’ve seen some bloggers write positive reviews anyway, but most commonly they would just not mention the bad parts at all and only focus on the pros. Usually it means the blogger simply felt like they didn’t want to disappoint the brand, but the reader is clearly on the losing end here. I don’t have enough fingers to count how many brand relationships I have ended just because I refused to post about their products, after receiving them for “editorial consideration”. I usually contact the company and tell them exactly what the flaws were, but if a brand can’t take criticism, it’s not a brand I want to work with anyway, because if they refuse to listen to consumers, their products will never improve. Actually, this is the reason why you don’t see too many negative reviews on Glamorable! It takes me several hours to write a comprehensive review from start to finish, a time better spent for writing about things I liked and loved instead, so all the glowing reviews you see on this blog are genuine [pinky swear!] 🙂
  4. Dishonesty – The worst of them all. If you received an anti-aging moisturizer to review, don’t write two days later that it removed all of your wrinkles…

I’m sure there are more things I could rant about, but that’s all I can think of right now. Remember last week I mentioned that I’m a terrible complainer? Well, this is me complaining! 🙂 I’m not going to give you any specific names, because honestly it is not mine or anyone’s place to tell someone what they should and shouldn’t be doing with their blog. Remember, blogging has no rules. However, I also have the freedom to express what I like and dislike, and this is ultimately what this post was about. If any of you feel that what I described above is how you do things over at your blogs, I hope you don’t feel offended, because that wasn’t my intention at all. Everyone is different, and your audience clearly loves what you do, otherwise they wouldn’t be reading.

Did you ever buy a product after reading a raving review only to be disappointed with your purchase later due to obvious flaws the blogger didn’t mention?

Copyright: The content in this post is protected by copyright. To view our copyright policy, please refer to Disclosures & Content Use page.

  • Thank you so much! I love this, My blog is fairly new (February) and I have been dabbling in some product reviews. I have been contacted by a couple of companies and am actually apprehensive because if I wouldn’t be naturally interested in the product, why would I all of a sudden write a review about something that is not me? You obviously have a successful blog so I view a lot of your posts like this as tips! Even though I do have a beauty/couponing blog I don’t think I would ever list the price in a review as a pro or a con. I would rather put the price out as information and post latter about how/if there’s a great deal on it! This was a good post!

    • Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comment, Angie! I totally agree with you, a price is better left as a piece of information; and reviewing products that don’t really fit the theme of your blog is usually a bad idea too, because it usually confuses the readers. You’re on the right track! 🙂

  • Great tips and very true! I am definitely honest no matter if I receive a product or not, but in all cases I try to point out any pros and cons. I do mention price because a great drugstore product is definitely a good deal, and if I don’t feel like a high end product is worth the price tag I will say that as well, whereas sometimes I try a HE product and I feel like it is 100% worth the price tag because I love it so much.

    • Hi Zoe, thanks for the comment! 🙂 Main reason I now try really hard to avoid mentioning my thoughts on the price is because money is such a sensitive topic to so many people, and some might even take it too personally. Imagine if a blogger reviewed a $200 bottle of luxury nail polish and said something like “totally worth the price”. Even if the blogger really felt that way, just imagine how much drama that would invite! It’s just a matter of not making the readers feel uncomfortable.

  • I really love hearing your ramblings on this! Your frustrations all make sense. I’m generally disappointed to see signs all over a blog that suggest the blogger is more interested in getting free things than providing useful information to the reader. I don’t run a coupon/deal blog and agree that a high price isn’t necessarily a con, but I do think that value, gimmicks, marketing and promotion strategies are worth commenting on. The cosmetics (and skincare, hair, fashion, etc…) industry is one that involves very high markups and I don’t like the feeling that I’m being taken for a ride. Thanks for your thoughts, they’ve give me something to think about! I really enjoy these kinds of rambling posts.

    • Thank you for the comment, Erin, I’m so happy to hear that you don’t mind my ramblings! I agree with you on high markups, and currently the best way I found to give the readers a good idea whether or not the product is worth it was by implementing a ranking system.

  • I try to be honest and balanced in my reviews. If I feel the cons outweigh the pros for a product, I email the vendor (if I got for free) and tell them that I would prefer not to publish the review. I do a lot of food reviews so I say what my faves are and what other friends/my husband like and why if there are some flavors I don’t care for. I think your reviews are great, by the way! (Erica @ Erica Finds)

    • Thank you for the comment, Erica! I think emailing the vendor is the right thing to do, more often than not they welcome negative feedback and try to improve the products.

  • Hello! I am just wondering, and I am sure you get this question a lot, but what kind of camera do you use for your blog? I love the vibrancy of your pictures and it’s something I haven’t found yet in a camera.

    • Hi Barbie! I actually don’t get this question a lot, so thanks for asking 🙂 I use Canon Rebel T1i, which I had for about 5 years now. It’s an investment, but if you are passionate about photography, a DSLR is your best bet.