To Review or Not to Review – that is the Question

I was thinking about reviews today. It’s mainly because I have so many planned and so little time. When I write reviews, I base it on what has worked or not worked for me and my personal likes/dislikes about the product. There is no real science to it at all for me — and by no means do I make claims or call myself an expert. I don’t think I’m alone in this, right?

As for reviews I like to read, I like ones that are of course, honest, and have that writer’s personal take on the product. I love finding blogs where reviewers let their personality shine through. I am not a fan of regurgated (did I spell that right?) press releases. I am also not a fan of rah-rah-rah this is a great product type of review or ones that just trash everything. For me, the best reviews are the ones that offer a balanced perspective and show the pros and cons of the product. That said, I’m also a believer that if the product sucks, then say so.

This raises the question of should a blogger post a review that is negative? I’ve written both positive, negative and hopefully balanced reviews. But to be honest, given how little time I have to do this, I prefer to focus my energy on products that I like. I don’t think there is no right or wrong answer. I think it is up to the individual — it is your blog after all.

On another note, in terms of bloggers whose reviews I like to read, it doesn’t matter to me how old they are, and whether their colouring is the same as mine. If I want to find reviews of products for my skintone, I have specific blogs that I read for this. Otherwise, my reading list is broad. Very broad. I like having the different perspectives. It is what the blogger says about the product, their description of the product and how it worked for them that keeps me reading and in the majority of cases, gets me buying.

I’m editorializing a bit. And rambling of course. So I throw it over to you — what are your thoughts on reviews? the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly?

On another note, did you notice I’ve gone collage crazy lately? Picassa is my tool of the moment. I’m a bit obsessed with it so please bear with me while I go through this phase.

Today’s FOTD is simple makeup as it was again scorching hot in Toronto. If you’re interested, here’s what I’m wearing:

Bare Study paint pot (MAC)
Woodwinked eyeshadow (MAC)
Dior Iconic mascara
Black liner (NOIR Cosmetics)

NARS Sheer Glow in Fiji (it is too light! Hate when I’m not correctly matched at the counter — this is another rant topic for sure)
NARS Laguna
Shy Beauty blush (MAC)

Viva Glam VI (loving this again!)


  1. Phyrra says

    I love reading reviews, both good and bad. I actually like it when someone says 'this product did not work for me because of X' because sometimes, if a product didn't work for someone because of X, it might work for me because of Y. So I find them helpful.

  2. Arianne says

    I do negative reviews very rarely. If something is so utterly atrocious then it gets a short (and sweet) blog post of "DO NOT BUY THIS."

    Reviews take a long time for me to blurt out, so I'd rather spend time writing up a (partly) positive review than an entirely negative one.

    P.S. Love your makeup! Too bad that foundation doesn't match. You better yell at the NARS counter associate who helped you. 😛

  3. Julia Mathias says

    I agree with you that it's more fun to do positive (but balanced)reviews, but negative reviews can be pretty useful too. It prevents us from buying useless things.

    And I also really like reviews with personality, if I wanted bring I could read descriptions on the brad's website.

  4. VexintheCity says

    I like reading a mixture of both but at the end of the day – reviews are based on the individual bloggers usage and I always bear that in mind when reading reviews. I'll still go and buy a product that somebody else hates cos I wanna find out how it performs on ME. Just because you like/dislike something, doesn't mean I'll feel the same.

    People won't like everything I rave about in my reviews or dislike and vice versa.

  5. Catherine says

    Love the FOTD collage! I think it's a great way to see what lighting works best for you too. 😀

    & dude, ITA. It's way more fun to write good reviews. I try to be as balanced and thorough as possible in my reviews (I think erring on the side of verbose & technical LOL. Someone once commented they could tell I was an engineer from the way I write my reviews!) but I have to admit I've definitely left bad or meh product reviews just sitting there because I'm so uninspired to write anything about them. Blogging is my hobby, and I can't really see why I should force myself to do something I don't want to do in my precious spare time! But I do want my blog to be useful, so I try to force myself to at least get out the useful reviews.

    And … again, I am right there with you! I actually have a backlog of about 80 products to get through RIGHT NOW. That keeps growing! Half of which already even have product photos taken, etc, I just don't have enough time to write all of them! Because of that I've kind of stopped posting hauls b/c I think the reviews are more useful anyway.

  6. Rica says

    I know what you mean. I am usually more excited to write positive reviews, because I love finding stuff that works!

    Now that I look at my blog, I find that I write more formal reviews for the products that I like. But I keep it more informal for products that I don't like. Your post makes me think about my style, in a good way.

    As a reader, I do enjoy reading products that fail, I would want to know because I don't want to regret buying! It's nice to read about different perspectives!

    Btw, lovely fotd. I totally understand wrong colour matched! I got matched with Ceylan, and it's too light for me. Fiji will be a better fit for me.


  7. Kim says

    I agree with your opinion on reviews. I think it's quite easy to spot press releases/ advertising thinly veiled as blog reviews. Those "reviews" just don't interest me that much unless it's a very novel product or contain useful blogger perspectives on them. Also, premature or too one-sided reviews are not helpful. Sometimes a product is just simply beyond amazing/awful – those reviews are of course ok as long as the blogger offers their personal opinion on WHY it is so. I have yet to find my own repertoire of bloggers who have the same colouring/skin texture/ preferences as me, but it's still helpful to read others' experiences. Full face pictures with the review is always helpful. 🙂

  8. naturalnchicmakeup says

    I like to read and write balanced reviews, but most importantly, it has to be honest. I think it's important to keep in mind your readers and how they may or may not like something. Everyone's preferences are different so I think bloggers have to be un-biased and offer their personal view based on their experience, but also offer some insights as to how/why something didn't work.

  9. MarciaF says

    I've been writing reviews for 11 years on a beauty website that I'm the administrator of plus for several months on my personal beauty blog. It's easiest to review products we love or absolutely hate. The ones that are just so-so sometimes make a boring review. But the most important thing is to explain what the product is like, how it works and your honest opinion. I appreciate that in other people's reviews which is why I am a subscriber to your blog.

  10. scarlettholly says

    I totally agree with MarciaF – it is the inbetween products that are hardest to review. I do wholeheartedly want to hear about products that do not work, or that are only ok, even though I recognise that those are the reviews that are harder to write, and given that blogging takes a lot of time and effort (I have about 20 reviews in draft form that need work just at the moment!), I appreciate that it can feel like a drag, or work, to write a review for a product that's only okay. A blog should never feel like work, because that will take the joy about it. However, I do feel that by sharing both the good and the bad experiences, the whole community and sharing aspect gets stronger. Just thinking about the community side, I think that one of the reasons why beauty blogging has developed such strengths comes from the intrinsic links between editorial and advertising in magazines so that you so very rarely see a negative review for a product in a magazine, so hearing someone say "no, this didn't work for me" is incredibly refreshing and honest, an integral part of beauty blogging.

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