No More Dirty Looks recently asked – Who do you trust for Beauty Advice?
It was a post that Alexandra, one of the two original founders of the acclaimed site, originally wrote in 2012 when the landscape was much more different:
IntoTheGloss existed as a curated passion project that was almost a guilty pleasure of looking into the medicine cabinets of the 1%. Now it’s the Taylor Swift of beauty sites: a “welcome all” space that maintains a slight elitism that keeps your attention on their recommendations, running with an engine no longer driven by passion but by capitalism: ad space, endless published posts on sponsored material, click-baits and the “seemless” integration of Glossier into the lifestyle brand of Into The Gloss.
Beauty websites in between (i.e. Byrdie, Beautyhigh, etc) can feel like glorified Sephora e-mail blasts.
Bloggers who worked hard on their reviews all too often end up working with the very brands they write about or start their own ventures with an online store or another brand – always with the same story that honestly just elicits an eye roll at this point. And while I support fellow bloggers turning their presence into more opportunities, it is sad when said blogging goes away.
With the proliferation of social apps like Twitter and Instagram, it’s also disconcerting at times to see behind-the-scenes that the beauty blogger whose advice you trust is actually very cozy with some of the very brands that they write about. Regardless of how many times they write that nothing sways their reviews, seeing the blogger buddy up with the brands they write about doesn’t illicit a lot of confidence for a objective review.
As a blogging hobbyist myself, I can say that there are pressures to writing about beauty products. There is an unspoken relationship where talking a product up results in more support in the way of samples, increased views and promotions from the brand. On the other said, my sometimes out outspokenness has led me to being blocked from a handful of brands who either acted preemptively because they felt insecure or because my writing had offended them.
I think there was a blog post from a brand that I had never reviewed who indirectly called me a “nasty blogger who attacked people’s passions.” Which, fine – they’re allowed to feel however they want to feel, but that’s also something I want to speak about in the green beauty world. Because it is intrinsically such a tight knit community with founders of brands pretty much people sitting behind a computer and working out of their homes, it can feel personal but my own belief is that if you want to compete as a legitimate business, your products should be held to the same standard, so if I offend your “passion” by writing my honest observations, then maybe you aren’t cut out for the real world and neither are your products.
I recently reviewed May Lindstrom’s Honey Mud and provided my honest observations about it which drew a lot of comments from others who shared the same experience yet if we were to search online for reviews about this product – it would seem that my experience is the outlier. In fact No More Dirty Looks has told readers that if they experienced irritation with May Lindstrom’s Clean Dirt (an exfoliating scrub with spices that should NOT be used daily) to just pat it on really gently and rinse off – which is a disservice to the reader as you’re completely wasting your money just so they can be supportive of a friend’s beauty line.
At the end of the day, everyone can do what they want with their own forum however I just think it is misleading for the reader. I’m not advocating for cruel take downs of people’s passions but merely for there to be some level of honest discourse.
So dear readers, my question is as follows: where do you go for beauty information? How do you parse through the countless sources to figure out what to rely on and what to read with a grain of salt?