Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Temptalia Asks You


How much do beauty blogs and online reviews influence your purchases? For better or for worse?

Temptalia's AnswerThey deter me when I’m on the fence about a product–and similarly, they can persuade me when I’m on the fence. Products that I’m already set on avoiding or totally gung-ho on getting are unlikely to be swayed by reviews, except when they come at a personal recommendation from a friend. Though for me, it’s easier to see the influence on my purchases for non-beauty items, and I very much rely on customer reviews (through sites like Amazon) to guide my purchases when I don’t know brands/products well.

Thanks to Baby A. for today’s question! Do you have a question idea? Submit yours here.

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58 thoughts on “How much do beauty blogs and online reviews influence your purchases?

  1. It affected me a lot. Let’s just say it more than tripled my original beauty budget.

  2. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of rebecca blueraccoon

    Quite a lot, I’d say. I try not to buy anything blind these days, so I really rely on reviews from bloggers I trust (see: Christine and others) or reviews on Amazon if I can find them. I don’t always trust reviews on Sephora because I’ve heard things about unfavorable reviews not getting posted or ratings not matching reviews before. (I do, however, leave reviews on Sephora, so…) If I see a favorable review for a product I want, I’ll be more likely to buy it, and if I see an unfavorable review (or two or three) odds are I won’t pick up the product unless it’s a *complete* impulse buy (or if it’s a Burberry product, in which case I’ll buy it sight unseen sometimes).

    • Yellowlantern

      Sephora reviews always seem incredibly inflated to me especially when you compare them to MUA (not that MUA is the arbiter of accurate reviews, but still I trust MUA more than Sephora’s reviews).

      • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of rebecca blueraccoon

        What confuses me about Sephora reviews is sometimes I’ll look at a product and it has a rating of, say, four stars…but I go check it out and most of the reviews are two or three stars at most, negative reviews. And I know I’ve written reviews that never get posted, even when they’re mostly positive. So I don’t know how they handle it, and it makes me less likely to trust the reviews.

    • Miss J

      My biggest pet peeve on Sephora is I will take the time to write a complete review listing pros and cons only for it not to get posted, but I always see a ton of reviews that state absolutely nothing of real value other than “IT’S GREAT! BUY!” When the Naked Basics palette came out on the site, it wasn’t getting the best reviews to start then all of a sudden it seemed like a bunch of people just swarmed that site to write a bunch of glowing reviews that pretty much all read the exact same and all the less than favorable reviews were getting votes down.

      • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of rebecca blueraccoon

        Ugh, I hate that! I’d so much rather read reviews like yours. I also wish Sephora would patrol their reviews a bit more in some ways, like take out the reviews that 90 people voted down because it’s not a review, it’s a question about the product. Or it’s a review of a different product. Or…you know?

        • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Janeen Janeen

          Amen. I hate reading 5 star reviews that say “can’t wait to get it!” um hello? How can you leave 5 stars and not even have seen the product in person?!?! It totally messes with the ratings :/

        • Miss J

          I know what you mean! I have read reviews where the person will say they never received the product or returned right away, so wouldn’t know if the product is good or bad, and I’m just like, “AGHHH! What was the point of that, and why the hell was THAT let through?!” Or the reviews that barely talk about the product then go on to rant about something like a gripe with products being made outside of the US; those just make me wonder if the person really tried the product, or if they just wanted to make a statement. And what’s with people posting pics of cartoons or their dogs with reviews?! LMAO.

        • Miss J

          Oh, and I had a review removed *THREE* times after it was posted. It didn’t violate the guidelines, but I’m assuming they didn’t like the wording because once I changed it to sound less alarming it remained posted.

  3. Catherine

    Reading blogs/reviews points me in the direction of what to try on when I go to the counters, not necessarily to buy though. I find that these days I go to beauty counters armed with better product knowledge and a clearer idea of what I’m looking for, so I don’t just take the MUA’s word on things and buy a bunch of pointless things like I used to.

  4. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Christine Christine85

    Beauty blogs influence me TOO much! I’ve purchased more make-up than I could ever use but those pretty swatches just hook me to buy something! Plus, the in depth reviews of quality helps as well. At least I know all the make-up in my kit is all quality and money well spent.

  5. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Veronica Veronica

    Well, we’ll put it this way – my collection wouldn’t be half the size it is without sites like Temptalia. Whether that’s for better or worse is a little more ambiguous. :P

  6. Blog reviews and swatches are the main deciding factor of my beauty purchases, actually. This is because the products I want are either unavailable where I live, or because I simply don’t have the time and energy to go out to swatch the products myself (yay for crippling social disorder -_- ), or both. I should add that your posts are especially helpful not only because of the quality of the swatches and the depth of the reviews, but also due to the similarities in our colorings. Of course, I consider factors like the differences in our skin type before deciding on a purchase.

  7. Well, Of course there are a couple of sites that have gained my trust after following some of their advise, but the thing with the internet is you can always find mixed up reviews so it may be hard to really know what works. The proof is in the pudding- either try it yourself or, as mentioned above, wait for a friend to tell you all about it.

  8. Finicky

    I absolutely rely on (trusted) beauty blogs, because:
    – I have limited experience with beauty products
    – I do know I love high end products, but don’t have the budget to buy many
    – I live in Australia where makeup is expensive (2 x US prices give or take)
    – I only have a small amount of product and don’t want much more (it all fits in a medium makeup bag)
    – I HATE beauty counters at departments stores to try out products
    This all adds up to being very selective with limited prior experience. Therefore – need beauty bloggers! Thank you!

  9. Before I buy a product, I make sure I read blog reviews and going by how how many positive reviews there are I decide whether or not to purchase the product. So 100% for me.

  10. As I do a lot of my makeup shopping online I really rely on reviews and blogs – especially if I’ve not had a chance to try the product previously or if it’s a brand not available in Australia. Temptalia is where I come first, if I’m still undecided I do a further google search. It’s the same with eating out at new restaurant – I ALWAYS check online reviews.

  11. Paramezwari

    I read A LOT of reviews before buying, beauty especially. I only buy things that are reviewed as really great (and available and affordable, obviously) because I like to keep my collection diverse enough but minimal. I just don’t like clutter and keeping things I don’t use so online reviews and blogs really help me streamline what I need and should buy and cut down on the impulse buying :D

  12. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Mariella Mariella

    Holy smokes! I have NEVER purchased so much makeup as since I started looking at blogs and youtube tutorials/reviews! These have been a huge factor in the volume of makeup I purchase. But on the “plus” side, I do know they’ve helped me ensure that I make good purchases and avoid disappointing products. But truthfully, I probably buy 10 times as much stuff now as I did before I started looking at all the makeup stuff that is available online.

  13. amy

    Blog reviews heavily influence my purchases. I’m to the point now I’ll rarely purchase without reseach. I might be influenced by a sample in leu of research. If I see a product get numerous great reviews/awards by favorite (seemingly unbiased) bloggers, it goes on my Amazon wishlist to be purchased when needed (not necessarily on Amazon.) I feel like I have collected a drool-worthy collection of beauty products AND the items are spread across the price spectrum. Its all about performace, not price, brand, or fancy packaging (although pump bottles will win in a close race b/c they maintain product freshness.) I LOVE beauty bloggers!

  14. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Abbey Abbey

    Beauty reviews have helped me limit my buying to quality products. Whereas before things were pretty much hit or miss, I now read reviews and plan my purchases. It’s also helped me skip SO MANY limited MAC collections. I now know that no matter how tempting those four-shadow palettes look, the quality more than likely isn’t there and I should wait. I now have much more quality and less quantity.

  15. L

    I’m exactly the same Christine. I also, feel more confident in buying a product when I know what to expect.

  16. cel

    Beauty blogs and reviews influence me WAY to much I think. But I think it’s positive and negative. I don’t have most of the products where I am, so when I see something I like I have to ask relatives in the U.S. to get it for me and I don’t want to waste money and effort so I try to research heavily on the product and looking for foundation shades is supposed to be impossible but apparently not so, so I’m grateful for blogs, reviews, and forums especially yours on the other hand, I get so exposed to so many good products I want to get my hands on even though I don’t need it. xx

  17. Beauty blogs influence my purchases in two major ways:

    1. Making me aware of brands that might not be available locally, but which are worth tracking down. Without blogs, I wouldn’t know about Le Metier, for instance and I wouldn’t have a clue what the colours actually look like.

    2. They give me key information that I can’t test from swatches, like how long a product wears or how similar it is to something I already own. I can guess at that last one sometimes, but I’d have to carry my entire collection with me to be sure I didn’t have a dupe…

  18. Alice

    They make me aware of things that I wouldn’t notice otherwise. I actively seek out reviews about performance to sift out the bad and avoid brands with too much inconsistency. While good reviews are sometimes handy, nothing’s bought until it’s swatched in person. In-person testing is irreplaceable for color and texture.

  19. ElvenEyes

    I would have to say a good 90% of the time! What bloggers/vloggers say, be it good or bad, about a product, the way it performs and the swatches they show really influences what I purchase or at least put on, or scratch off my wishlist. At then end of the day I go according to my own thoughts, but it is definitely swayed by how people, especially with similar colouring as I, say about a product. While I know I can always return something I like to hit it on the nail the first time and appreciate reviews as well as enablers to products or lines I didn’t even know existed!!

  20. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Anne Anne

    Oh, a lot. I almost never ever buy a product if I haven’t read a thorough review (and especially if I can’t swatch a product for some reason. But I do both most of the time). Admittedly, I have expensive tastes, and it helps me to narrow down the choices. Of course, reading blogs creates other needs, needs that did not exist before. I try to maintain a balance, even though I can deny that I’m much more prone to temptation than before (but I’m also much, much more picky than before). I like to think that for now, the way I view and use beauty blog is still totally healthy, and truly helpful!

    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Alejandrina Aleonushka

      Same here! Whenever I go to a beauty counter it’s because I’ve done my research first and have in mind good and bad reviews, so its just a swatching issue. It saves me a lot of money, time and falling for whatever salespeople say just to convince you into buying stuff. Yay for beauty blogs! :D

  21. Stacey

    It depends. I find out about new products from blogs and magazines, but I decide on the product based on what I swatched/test. I rarely buy anything online. Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy was the only product which I relied on 100% from Temptalia’s Readers. I dont even like Fyrinnae’s shadows…too muddy black. But I do look at Christine’s reviews, but I dont always agree with all of them, so I have to swatch.

  22. Megan

    More or less they make me more aware, either of new products coming out or realistic use of a product. Reviews are actually pretty helpful and swatches make me more aware and less likely to impulse buy. That being said I picked up the glinda based on 3 sets of swatches, in reality without the reviews I woul dhave gotten the Theodora one, but after seeing the swatches I made the realization that I wouldn’t use it that much because it is so dark.

  23. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Christina Christina

    Beauty blogs and online reviews influence my purchases but it is a balancing act. I do extensive research by reading blogs, reviews on retail sites (like Sephora) and watching Youtube videos. The only problem I run into is sometimes the swatches online are done on someone who doesn’t have the same complexion as me. So, I’ll try to find images or Youtube videos with someone that has a complexion close to mine.

    I also think you have to know what you really like when reading blogs because sometimes a product can get a stellar review but it might not be a product you like (frosted lipstick vs. creme lipstick). I’ve loved make-up my entire life and have gotten pretty good at knowing what I like (colors, finishes, textures). So, I can read a review and determine if the product meets my tastes.

  24. Tori

    I wouldn’t be quite as on the ball about products as I am if not for beauty blogs. :)

    Aside from the amazingly detailed updates about new collections, I often look to blogs to see if products are as I want them to be. Temptalia hits the spot more often than not so this is one of my favourite beauty blogs. For example, if I want a really pigmented black eyeshadow, I’ll check here that product A is not really a wimpy grey masquerading as a soot black. I also really appreciate information about pigmentation, wear time, glitter fall out, potential pitfalls and unexpected potential. I would say that even if I’m really set on buying something, a bad review may turn me off from the product because I usually have a certain expectation (like good colour payoff or no glitter or no creasing) of the product. On the other hand, I will look twice at a product I haven’t noticed if it comes strongly recommended. I’ve really come to trust and appreciate your honest reviews which I’ve come to trust and I use them to ruthlessly edit my beauty purchases.

    I use other beauty blogs for other purposes. Like some are really good at swatching new products so I use those as a reference but because some bloggers tend to praise everything they use, I take their reviews with a pinch of salt. It’s not that I don’t believe them or think that they’re embellishing but I have oily skin, hooded eyes and live in a humid climate so I find that makeup that works fine on others works and lasts horribly on me so I have to take these differences into account.

    Bottomline though, no purchase is ever final until I test the product out in person and I still enjoy going down to the makeup counter and actually look at and play with the items myself. :)

  25. ZG

    BEAUTY BLOGS HAVE MADE ME BECOME AWARE OF PRODUCTS THAT I DID NOT KNOW WAS OUT THERE.

    BEAUTY BLOGS ALSO GIVE ME INFO ON PRODUCT DURABILITY-WHICH IS ALWAYS A COOL THING.

    BUT FOR ME … AT THE END OF THE DAY I STILL LIKE WANDERING INTO DEPT STORES AND TESTING PRODUCTS-ITS LIKE CHRISTMAS TIME FOR ME.

  26. Monica!

    Since I started (avidly) reading beauty blogs three years ago, my makeup collection has massively grown!
    As of late however, I have reduced my expense on makeup, only because I have so much stuff already. Now BB’s keep me informed about up coming collections as a reference if any given product arouses my curiosity, and if I find many negative reviews on item I’ll usually pass

  27. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Angel Angel

    Definitely a lot! I rely heavily on Temptalia, select few beauty blogs on Tumblr, and word of the mouth from good friends. I want to hear the good, the bad, the in between about the product I’m planning to buy, and if it’s worth it or not. I very seldom buy beauty products on a whim, because I want to get my money’s worth. Other than that there is extensive research and planning behind my splurges.

  28. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Margot mkdallas

    Huge influence! Almost all my makeup and skin care purchases are driven by reviews and swatches I find online (95%). The swatch photos are particularly important to me, as the photos are frequently more accurate than what you can see in real life, due to weird store lighting (Sephora and Neiman’s, I’m looking at you). I especially appreciate the photos taken in outdoor light. The Swatch Gallery here is fabulous; used it many times when I feel like I need a new lipstick. There are about 5 blogs (and of course, this one is my #1 go-to because of the detailed reviews) and MUA that I always consult before purchasing.

  29. Zainab

    I find I agree with Christine for the most part (If I *must* have it, bad reviews probably won’t put me off), but I’ve found the real value is opening my eyes to stuff I otherwise would never have even known about, and not just in beauty, I’ve found films, books, recipes, interests I wouldn’t have even known existed because of online reviews.

  30. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of jo jo

    They are a huge influence. Temptalia is the very best.

  31. dana jovanovic

    Makeupalley.com has a huge say with me whether or not i buy a product. i trust the reviews, and there’s always great swatches!!!

  32. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Alison Alison

    Beauty blogs have a HUGE influence over what I’ll buy, especially the ones I’ve come to trust for honesty and candour. I’ll never buy anything that’s widely considered poor quality by reviewers and will usually look at swatches to find a shade I like. I find it immensely helpful for filtering through all the many brands and products out there to find exactly what I’m looking for. Honestly, I find most beauty counters far too intimidating and I don’t trust SAs and MUAs to necessarily take my needs into consideration or recommend products without attempting to SELL me something. They also don’t know my tastes like I do, so I find that I can look things over at a distance to decide what I’d like to buy, complete with swatches, pictures and details that come from someone who has tested a HUGE number of products and has come into contact with more of the products on the market than myself and the women I know. Places like Temptalia give me an objective point of view without all the intimidation and fuss – very convenient!

  33. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Jade Jade

    Hugely! I rarely buy products now with researching first. I actually buy more now because I read blogs too!

  34. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Janeen Janeen

    I ALWAYS research a product before buying it. My #1 site for reviews is temptalia :) I also look at Sephora’s ratings. Unless there’s a big Temptalia “A-/+” rating, I don’t touch it. However I really do want the Too Faced heart blush that came out, which got a B :(

  35. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Terri Terri

    I am absolutely influenced by beauty blogs, and Temptalia is my favorite for so many reasons. I feel like when I started reading this I had SO much to learn about skin tone, colors etc. I love that you break the colors down in such a precise manner Christine and even go so far as to say what skin tone it would be good for because I am not always spot on with that myself.
    And then there are the pictures…..whenever I want to know what a color REALLY looks like, I come here. I am often surprised by the difference in the “swatch” on the on line site compared to what it actually looks like. I could go on and on but I won’t……just please NEVER stop doing what you do, Christine. I know how hard you work and we all appreciate it I think!

  36. AwwRITE!

    Beauty blogs are so incredibly helpful and youtube reviews can also be great. I get to find detailed descriptions of the ingredients, color, consistency–even scent–before buying it myself. Even a bad review can be helpful, especially if the reasons are clear. I am so grateful to Christine for the time and effort she puts into this site!

  37. Anna

    Since I have to import most beauty products I use, blogs are a must for my choosing. Importing makeup is mostly expensive, and I don’t want to risk too much money and the time of shipping (usually between 6-8 weeks) in an overall bad product. The blogs are even more determinant if it’s hard for me to test the product: there’s only 2 Sephoras in my city, both far from my home, and they don’t have all the famous brands.

  38. Isabell

    A great deal, I’d say. I always check Temptalia and Makeupalley for reviews before purchasing a product.

  39. Lark

    Blogs are News Of The New, and swatches are great. One girls meh is another’s Great Go To, so blogs are guides to what I want to look at when hitting a mall. Although sometimes I wind up tapping those card numbers in online pronto! Stuff you don’t really need is so easy to pick out.

    Christine, Guerlain owes you a fat commission check for getting me to stop at their counter. It was carnage! Blogs do that too.

  40. They influence me A LOT!! Usually if a product has a negative review I force myself to really rethink into purchasing it. I always come to Temptalia when it comes to new MAC collections because they seem to be more in depth and honest. And also come with a great list of dupes. It has to be a special product for me not to care about what others say. (The new Archie Collection lol)

  41. Geneva

    In the beginning for me YouTube was a huge influence over what I purchased. My collection has really grown because of it. I now only purchase what I need to replace. If there is a new product I’m consideringf I definetly read reviews prior to making the purchase.

  42. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Dee GUSnail

    They are a huge influence in the sense of introducing me to new products/brands, swatching and of course reviewing the quality of the brand. I try not to let it goad me into buying stuff I wouldn’t use much/don’t need.

  43. Adele

    Almost completely! I’ll make impulse buys when something is on a good sale or it’s such an obscure product that I don’t expect to be able to find much about it online, but for the most part I choose all of my makeup purchases based on blogs. Unless you can get your hands on a tester, the best way to figure out whether a product is worth your money is good swatches and an informative review — guessing based on advertisements and what the sealed product looks like doesn’t come close!

  44. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of SandraJT Sandra JT

    Blogs & vlogs often stop me from buying products out of sheer curiosity, but they often help me decide TO BUY many products. I often hunt for past released limited edition products online at good prices. And yes, I’m very careful who I buy from. They must have a great reputation for selling authentic products. Blogs like this help me put together online orders on a regular basis. My latest one being a ton of MAC lip products.

    Thanks very much for all the hours of work you put into swatching & photographing! I’m well aware of how much time it takes! Especially when you’re doing it on a regular basis like you do here, Christine.