Any pertinent disclosures will be included at the top of each post. We currently mark posts at the top with the labels “Affiliate Link,” “Purchased,” “Sample,” and “Sponsored.” In the case of paid placement, the post title will begin with “Sponsored” for absolute clarity. Below, you will find more in-depth descriptions of the common disclosures we make on the blog:
- AFFILIATE LINK | The majority of links to third-party retail websites are affiliate links. We receive a commission if you purchase any product(s) through affiliate links. It does not add any cost to you as the customer. The commission comes out of the retailer’s pocket, and the commission can range from as little as 1% to as much as 15% depending on the retailer, campaign, product type, etc. For many of our affiliates, if a product is returned, the commission is returned as well.
- PURCHASED | The products featured on the blog is a healthy mix of products purchased by us for review as well as samples provided by brands. In order to make it clear that disclosures were not omitted or forgotten, we began including Purchased to indicate products we bought ourselves.
- SAMPLE | Brands, their representatives (such as their public relations firms, marketing affiliates, and the like), and retailers will send a product for consideration. Consideration means that the product is submitted to us so we can check it out and determine whether it is a product we want to include on the blog. We make all decisions regarding when, how, and if it is even mentioned on the blog. We do not allow brands to read a review in advance. We do not accept compensation for our product reviews.
- SPONSORED | Sponsored posts are specific posts that we have been compensated for. Occasionally, there are sponsored giveaways, where the compensation may be in the form of prizes and/or financial compensation for exposure. We do not endorse or otherwise review products for compensation, so you will see topical content (e.g. “5 Tips for a Girl’s Night Out”), giveaways, promotions (like an upcoming sale), or advertorials (advertiser/brand-written content). We also develop larger experiences like brand-driven Foundation Matrix matching, which involves creating and developing code and design for the brand.
- Personal Experience: All reviews are written based on the Author’s personal experience with the product and is not influenced by third parties (advertisers, brand representatives, public relation representatives, etc.). Products are tested in the way(s) and for as long as necessary to properly test a product–e.g. a lipstick requires less time to test than a moisturizer.
- Based on Claims: Each product is tested and reviewed based on the claims the product makes. As much as possible, we defer to marketing/advertising text as written by the brand. Whenever we feel we have to make interpretations, we try to walk readers through that interpretation. We typically err on the side of the customer rather than give the brand the benefit of the doubt.
- Fairness: We review products in full and do not hide or ignore areas that could be improved. When you see a review that doesn’t mention any cons, that means we couldn’t find any. Similarly, if you see a review that’s all negative, it’s not because we want to bash a product–it’s because the positives weren’t there!
- No Brand Oversight: We do not make changes to the character of our reviews. We have not personally had a brand ever reach out in an attempt to change what we have written, but should it ever occur, we would not make those changes. The only changes we will make to a review or post is for things like pricing inaccuracy or adjustments, retailer availability, release date updates–fact-based changes that have no impact on our opinion but facilitate the spread of pertinent information.
- Rating System: We use our own rating system, known as The Glossover, to help guide readers through our reviews and understand the components that make up the overall rating. Please see below for an in-depth explanation of The Glossover.
THE GLOSSOVER | A RATING SYSTEM
Our rating system looks at specific areas, and these areas depend on the type of product. Each area is given a score, and all five scores are added up, and the total is divided by the total possible points (45) to yield a percentage. This percentage is converted to the American grading system. Presently, there are two rubrics in place, one for color cosmetics and another for tools.
What do the letter grades mean? An A is an outstanding/excellent product; a B is a good product, but there may be better ones out there; a C is an average product that isn’t good but not awful; a D is a below average product; and a F is a product that fails to meet stated claims. It is imperative to read both the review and rating to get an accurate assessment as to where the product excelled or failed.
- 99-100% = A+
- 93-98 = A
- 90-92 = A-
- 87-89 = B+
- 83-86 = B
- 80-82 = B-
- 77-79 = C+
- 73-76 = C
- 70-72 = C-
- 67-69 = D+
- 63-66 = D
- 60-62 = D-
- 59 or below = F
Please note that the rating system has undergone changes throughout the life of the blog. This is an explanation of the current system (labeled The Glossover) utilized on the blog, so there may be differences to the rating systems employed previously. As of October 2012, we have removed packaging as a component of the rating system. As of August 2016, we have added a second rubric for tools.
Color Cosmetics | An Overview of the Rating Rubric
Naturally, because of the nature of cosmetic products, one characteristic may impact multiple areas. For instance, a very creamy lipstick may also be prone to bleeding color or the creamy texture may enable it to glide on more easily, while a dry lipstick may be harder to apply and drag on lips, it may wear longer.
Product | This area looks at how well the product lived up to the claims the brand made (should they fall outside of the other four areas, such as hydration or plumping) and overall quality.
Pigmentation | We assess whether the color payoff is as described (by the brand) and color trueness. Please take note, we first look at the brand’s/retailer’s website (that sells the product) to determine the level of pigmentation the product is supposed to have. A product that is supposed to be sheer and is sheer will receive full marks, whereas a product that is supposed to be sheer but is totally opaque would lose points.
Texture | This area is concerned with assessing how a product feels and includes, but is not limited to, characteristics such as dryness, softness, creaminess, evenness, weight, powderiness, smoothness, streakiness, and so forth.
Longevity | This area assigns a rating based on how long and well a product wears relative to how long it is supposed to wear. When a brand does not indicate a specific wear time (often the case), we interpret based on industry standards (e.g. “long-wear” doesn’t mean one hour if you look across the industry) or see how it falls against the average wear time of similar products. Longevity is not purely based on time but how it wears and considers such problems as chipping, creasing, fading, feathering, settling, and smudging. For your reference, here are some average wear times based on the Author’s experiences over ten years:
- Blush: 7-8 hours with very minor fading
- Eyeshadow: 7-8 hours with very minor fading but no creasing (without a base), 8-10 hours with no creasing/fading (with a base)
- Eyeliner: 8 hours with very minor fading but no smudging
- Foundation/Concealer: 6-8 hours with minor fading around t-zone, possible light creasing along laugh lines or underneath the eye
- Highlighter: 6-8 hours with very minor fading
- Lipgloss: 2-3 hours for extremely sheer color; 3-4 hours for all others
- Lipstick: 3-4 hours for extremely sheer color; 4 hours across all; reds and colors prone to staining tend to last 5-6 hours
- Nail Lacquer: 8-10 days with minor tip wear (with a base/top coat), 7 days with minor tip wear (without a base/top coat)
Application | This area focuses on how easy it is to apply a product, whether it requires instructions, how difficult is it to remove it, does it bleed/feather, how evenly does it apply, and the like.
We have specifically considered (at great length) and removed the following metrics over time: price/value and packaging.
A Note on Primer
People often ask me why I test things without primer, and the reason is that after reviewing products for awhile, I really started reading how brands were marketing/describing their products. I repeatedly saw eyeshadows being described as richly pigmented, long-wearing, crease-resistant, fade-resistant, blendable, etc. Some brands have eyeshadow but not an eye primer (less common now, I think). In an effort to hold brands to what they claim (even when it seems ridiculous), I started testing without primer. It is entirely possible to put out a formula that is intensely pigmented, blendable, and easy to use without primer–and for me, longevity is there, too, which is an aspect that can be your-mileage-may-vary (I have normal-to-dry lids, for example). [Note: in the same vein, lip products are not tested with lip balm, lip primer, or lip liner; cheek and face products are not tested for longevity with primer or set with powder; foundation is often tested for several days, if not weeks, and various ways.]
I wore the same eyeshadows over bare skin and over primer (MAC Prep + Prime 24 Hour Base) — I couldn’t tell the difference between the two until after 10 hours of wear, and I couldn’t tell while applying, either. For me, the key takeaway is that primer extended the wear, but the eyeshadow itself was effortless to apply and use, no tricks necessary–it was still a quality product on its own. Viseart isn’t the only one formula that works well alone or paired with a base/primer, but it was just something on my mind recently. Since Viseart had tested so well in the past, I thought they’d be a good example to show what good eyeshadow is capable of. 🙂 (And if you’re new, unless in the caption, any look/swatch is posted without using primer.) That being said, I love that eye primer exists, and I totally understand why it’s a staple in many people’s routines–it’s a worthwhile product to have in one’s stash for the extra insurance/peace of mind for impeccable wear as long as you need it. I figure if primer is part of your routine, it is easy enough to add a 1/3 to full grade up depending on where products missed 🙂
Viseart Cashmere Theory Palette
Viseart Cashmere Theory Palette (over MAC Prep + Prime 24 Hour Base)
Tools | An Overview of the Rating Rubric
Developing a core set of metrics that apply to a variety of products was particularly easy with respect to color cosmetics, but other types of products are harder to rate in large groupings beyond something like efficacy or overall quality. When creating a rubric that could be applied to a variety of tools, we looked at more objective ways to assess a tool’s quality at a glance.
Product | This is a rating assessed on the overall quality of the tool along with any claims that may not be accounted for in the other metrics.
Fitness | We look at whether the tool performs the way it is designed based on what the brand claims, and if the absence of claims, we will do our best to determine the type of tool and what the tool is typically expected to do. For instance, a brush that is supposed to be used for liquid foundations would be rated based on its performance with different types of liquid foundations and application methods but would not be rated based on usage with powder foundations, even if its use might be tested with it to provide more information to the reader.
Durability | This metric is a measure of how well a brush has held up to multiple cleanings, is it relatively easy to clean, does it dry quickly, does it smell after a wash, does bleed dye when being washed, how well does it retain its shape naturally, does it shed over time, and so forth. While we would love to test brushes for years and report back, that’s not feasible, so durability is usually assessed over a month or longer or based on accelerated tests (washing every day).
Construction | This is a determination of the quality of the tool with respect to things like the overall shape, cut, and build of the tool. As the majority of tools reviewed with this system are brushes, here are specifics to brushes that we look for: quality of ferrule, closeness of the ferrule to bristles, any loosening of the ferrule, scratches or marks on the handle or ferrule, shape of the brush head (are there stray hairs poking out? are they glued in or just leftover from initial creation?), quality of the fibers used, weight distribution over the handle to the brush head, and so forth.
This feature was added October 2012, so it will not be seen in earlier reviews. It is a designation awarded by the Author to particularly worthwhile products and the recommendation is subjective. The recommendation is not awarded purely because of a grade, as there are many highly rated products that will not have this designation. Whether a product is or is not listed specifically as “Temptalia Recommends” has no impact on the overall rating.
The best way to explain why a product is recommended is that it is an overall look at how well a product performs, how interesting/unique it is, where it falls against competitors, if it is of particularly good value, and the like. It’s the difference between a product you know is good and a product you love and want everyone else to love and have and adore. It’s the answer to, “But would you buy it? Would you recommend it? Do you think it’s worth it?” It’s for products that stir us, move us, and truly impress us.