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Why you Shouldn't take all Product Reviews at Face Value.

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We read about as many critical reviews as the next person but we do have our cut off point - it's when the reviews start to sound like these guys.
     There comes a time in every fashionista's life when she must abandon the world of 'rumor has it' when it comes to researching prospective additions to her faceted collection of beauty buys (and steals), and it is indicated by the start what we're going to refer to herein as ' the review rut'. It's that period in of time where one runs into nothing but negative, non-constructive reviews (and unintentionally too). It is at this time that we often lose quite a bit of insight into why we read reviews in the first place, and what we should be getting out of them:


Reasons to Read a Review.
      We read reviews when we want to buy something and when we lean neutral on certain issues. We even read them because we feel accustomed to listen to another side of the same story; for instance your favorite clothing store has everything you need and every time you go, you get exactly what you wanted. But someone else doesn't have the same experience as you do and sometimes their view leans more in opposition to yours. Their view, as you should discover from listening to their perspective, is not entirely negative, but it does present some points that may be new to you/ you may not have considered before. Therefore, it is entirely healthy and beneficial to read, listen, and discuss someone else's critique of a product. In another example, there's a new product out that you've been waiting for months to get your hands on, and it's got several celebrity endorsements and rave reviews. You try it, and it sucks. For a moment it seems that you're the only one in the dark about why the product is of such high acclaim and that can be frustrating, but fret not; there's a reason that your experience is not on par with everyone else's: you're only human and you aren't the only one who has had that experience, but you could be the first to speak up, so don't be afraid to do so!

Everyone's a critic.
      Really, everybody is. It may not be constructive, or even relevant, but we maintain our point: everyone is a critic (or critical, at the very least). You may want to read reviews to learn the art of critiquing, or just keep your own skill up to date. It's a time-tested and good habit for critical people to read the reviews of other people and expose themselves to a variation of opinions for any given topic. One doesn't have to do this to become a good judge, but it is a start. Some people are very goo at this naturally because they understand what people are looking for when they read reviews. For the rest of us, we should be watching them: if  nothing else it teaches us to appreciate contribution a bit more.
Why this is relevant for beauty products: 
It's great, but is it personally relevant?
      You should be asking yourelf this question at the start of every read. A product being 'awesome' or 'exactly what I was looking for' has virtually no relevance to you merely because it lacks one thing: specificity. If you're not convinced, then let's add some of that missing specifity in now: You've struggled with dry facial skin for years, especially in the colder seasons. One day, you begin to read about how a beauty product branded by a higher end cosmeceutical company is the 'cure-all' for dehydrated skin; it has soothing shea and tocopherol in it for intense moisture and it's non-comedogenic and, to top all of that off, it's one of the less pricey items that the company offers. At this point you are presented with three choices; you can either a) assume that it will work for you and buy it right away, b) request samples directly from the company, or c) read reviews before you buy the item. For all intent and purposes, say you chose to do option C only. Every single review was positive, critical, substantially sound, and media is presented to show that the product is represented well by the company. All is going well for you and you buy it. It doesn't do a thing for your dry skin and you're disappointed. You now go and write a negative review for the product. But what's the lesson here? It's that no matter how many reviews you read, you're not doing yourself any favors if you don't know what kind of skin history the person on the other end is packing. Buying something without having a general idea at the very least of how it may affect your skin is a great way to get your daily dose of adventure, but you're going to end up 100 bucks in the hole if you don't nip that habit in the butt most of the time.
      The truth is, you have no idea what type of skin most people who post reviews have if you're only reading reviews: go watch some youtube videos, and become key word search savvy. MUA is a better way to read review because most, if not all of the users on their site identify what type of skin they have and even their skin conditions. You're knowledge of that fact can be the difference between a negative review on a product that wasn't meant for your skin and a negative review on a product that was meant for your skin but didn't perform well!
 
Techniques such as these for example, do not work for everyone.
 
Multiplicity.
      Reading a lot of reviews. We're telling you (for your own good really) to read as many reviews as you possibly can before you buy a product. It's good reading practice and it'll keep you keen on what other people look for when reading reviews if there's a voting system for review moderation. It's also a good way to get connected with people who may have blogs that are entirely dedicated to reviewing products. Everybody wins in this situation! We're not however, telling you read like one hundred reviews (unless it's something like a chemical peel that could ruin your life), but we are saying read about twenty to be on the safe side, and not all from the same page, okay?
SPAM.
      You can bet that spamming programs and malicious software are used to fill out review forms. They are often the same thing submitted repeatedly they are often irrelevant, standard spammy issue. You should keep your eyes peeled and avoid reading reviews on sites where the reviews all sound 'suspiciously' similar!
The left field.
 Chances are like this: if you're asking it here, someone over there is answering it, you have to find that answer on the other side yourself. Of all the questions that you may have off hand about a product, you should always ask these ones, or a closely similar variant:
  • Is it available in my country?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Can I find it somewhere else for less?
  • Are there (free) samples available? 
  • Are there any reviews for this product excluding celebrity endorsements?
  • Are there video reviews?
  • What are the ingredients?
  • Does it contain anything I'm allergic to?
  • Will it work for my skin type/ tone/ complexion?
  • Was it banned in my country for containing mercury? 
  • Is it discontinued?
Question everything, even if you think it's been answered already, question it anyway; refine your semantics and get refined results. A closed mouth goes unfed more often than an open one even with an unaccommodating host.
Customer Service.
      Talk to them. Do it directly or via the company email. Voice your concerns about using a product and ask your questions. Be polite and considerate of the company and their time and they'll more oft than not return the favor. They may even give you samples of a product and coupons this way.
The 'Disclamer and EULA' caveat.
      Many sites the furnish reviews will have at least one of these. They are meant to protect their credibility in the event that things get sour for the consumer, and their a good thing too (you wouldn't believe how many people attempt to sue companies for things as non-substantial as a review by one of their customers posted on their page). They're also meant to protect you, the consumer. You shouldn't always take reviews as the best advice on any skincare routine. Talk to your doctor first and see if a certain type of product is right for you. Side effects of not doing this include depleted bank account, self inflicted sense of disappointment, and sudden inventory of useless items better put at the curb for trash day.

       Well, if nothing else, we hope you enjoyed reading the article and learned something today, we need a lot more social media savvy consumers and critics in the age of cosmeceuticals: it's growing faster than we can measure and so is the review margin!
-C9K