Help Me Help You! :) Holiday Coverage Feedback Requested!

Morning! With the holiday season right around the corner (at least, you know, when it comes to beauty!), I wanted to check in with you on whether I should readjust any of my review practices for the holiday season. Β It is by far the busiest, most difficult season to cover, and it’s pretty much an endurance race from September through late November. Β I’d like to find out what aspects are useful and important to you when it comes to holiday sets and palettes (not standalone products like lipsticks).

Here’s some background on how I prioritized and handled last holiday season (you can check out what I managed to cover for 2016 here):

  • Post sneak peek swatches
  • Test smaller palettes/sets at a higher priority
    • one eye might be shades from a larger palette but ensuring faster turnaround of reviews by simultaneously testing smaller sets instead of using all available face space for a larger palette for 2-4 days consecutively)
  • Alternate testing of larger sets/palettes with standalone, new-for-holiday shades and products
  • Prioritize larger palettes/sets from key brands with higher chance of selling out
    • Examples: Β such as more popular, consistent brands like Anastasia, Becca, Bite, Kat Von D, NARS, Urban Decay, etc.
  • Reduce priority of larger palettes/sets that seem mediocre from initial tests
    • Especially if it has been performing consistently with how it swatched (e.g. sheer, powdery swatches -> poor wear on the eye, no surprises there)
    • Or from brands that tend to release several mega palettes/sets and are known for sub-par performance in those releases

For desktop users, the survey should display below, but for mobile users or if the survey below doesn’t display, click here to take the survey directly. Β Thank you so much for your time!

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We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

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Great survey & thanks for asking. I find “first impressions” not very useful in that I would rather you waited and spend the time on a full review, which I know you do when you can. I like previews/news releases and full reviews, not really the in-between things.

Also, I almost always skip over your “wear time” because frankly I think it’s different for everyone depending on dry skin or oily skin, do you live in a humid place or not, is it winter or summer, primer or not, what brand of primer, and so on.

First impressions wouldn’t really take a lot of time since they’re just that – initial impressions – and I, unfortunately, do not review everything that I swatch, so the potential reason for first impressions would be to provide some info in case it takes me weeks or I never get to the product (and sometimes, I think I will review X, and then it gets buried under more important things and I don’t review it at all).

Hope that makes sense! πŸ™‚

So nice of you to ask! Now I hope we don’t make your life more difficult by having our answers all over the place! At the end of the day, I hope that you will approach this busy season in a way that makes your life easier and more fun, so that you will keep doing what you do all year! The fact that you think and care about what your readers would most like to see ensures that your reviews and pictures, in whatever form you provide them, will always be of tremendous value. Thank you, Christine!

I don’t think life during the holiday season could get any more difficult since I never have enough time and always disappoint myself at the end of the year, so at least this will help me put greater weight toward things that readers identify as more important (in case they differ from what I’ve presently ranked as most to least important!) and maybe disappoint readers less! Definitely not looking for an easy way out πŸ™‚

Christine, I’m going to go and respond to the 4 questions in the survey but I did want to say straight away that I (and I’m sure I’m not alone in this) have so much respect for your judgment that if you find products, sets or palettes mediocre from the get-go, it would be enough for me if you simply mentioned that you’d tired/given a cursory trial to them but found them not worth going ahead with. That way, if I was thinking of getting Palette A, even without a full review, it would be enough for me to know that you didn’t find it great. I’d still like to know/read about it because that information is good for me to have (I hope this makes sense) – knowing that something was so bad on your initial swatching/touching/examination that testing it out further would be a waste of time. I also find it very helpful when you give the “cost per ounce” breakdown and comparison with the regular products from the line (as you recently did with the newest Hourglass offering). I realize that is time consuming and not something you can always do (and often, companies who are offering good value will provide you and us with that info – $120 of product for $90 – that sort of thing and I actually would never expect you to verify that by doing the math breakdowns yourself, especially not at Holiday Release time).

If I give a breakdown in the math, I usually am doing the calculations myself since I do not personally trust brands’ values. Some of them are inflated, actually, based on how they value things – some put quite a bit of value on a bag or something like that! I think the only time I’m not doing the math myself is if there’s no equivalent product to compare it to! (Like Tarte/Too Faced don’t really have singles any more.)

I’m sure the companies do inflate their “value” but even if they do, they’re not likely to inflate them to the point where they’re offering $50 of product for $75 (that would be Hourglass). I know you’ve sometimes worded your comments to say “X Company values this at $125 (so it’s their calculations, not yours and that is absolutely fine). And it must be quite a pain to do the calculations for things like those Hourglass LE palettes but just knowing when I’m being fleeced vs being offered a bit more for my money – well, it means a lot and I am so grateful to you for doing it!

And again, I have to reiterate that if you think something is really dreadful (like the EL/Victoria Beckham quad the other day), I’m willing to take your word for it and say “don’t even waste your time on it” – just tell us it’s cr*p and give us a little chuckle too, as you often do.

I’ve seen a few pretty outrageous “values” – like $400 for $50 etc. and I haven’t been able to get anywhere close to $400. I think the hardest thing to ever price out are things like included brushes.

Thank you again, Mariella, for all of your suggestions/insights πŸ™‚

I took the survey, but just to be really clear, your “quick” reviews have more information than most full reviews, and are a really helpful tool for deciding between these monster offerings. I would also rather see five first impressions posts with swatches and general feelings than only one or two full reviews. I’m in an area where I don’t have easy access to see and play with palettes in person, and just seeing your swatches is very helpful. Any extra info is a bonus.

First impressions would be more of an addition than a replacement, per se, since I often don’t know for sure if I won’t get to something until awhile later – like I might think I’ll have time to review when I post the swatches but get inundated with tons of other stuff (that I prioritize higher) and then it gets pushed off and off… until it’s too late, lol!

Personally I could do without the sneak peak swatches if it saves you time for a more in depth review of the priority (read: usually more expensive) larger sets from key brands. I rely on your reviews the most and if you say a product isn’t performing well I immediately cross it off my list but I also like to check other reviews of the items that I’m interested in. Getting the expensive stuff on or off my list helps me budget better & plan/schedule my purchases accordingly. I try to be as responsible when buying makeup so I probably wouldn’t make up my mind based on smaller sets/sneak peeks, like I would still end up waiting for a full in-depth review. But honestly, I’d go through all your reviews for all the items I’m interested/curios about even if I have no plans of buying some of them ? Good luck to you and thank you for being such a trustworthy & reliable makeup reviewer ??

The sneak peeks don’t take extra time because in order for me to review anything (whether in-depth or not), I have to take the photos/swatches, edit photos/swatches, pull dupes, upload, and so putting a sneak peek together takes seconds compared to the hours of the rest!

Survey complete!
The things I find most helpful are the cost/value breakdowns you provide as well as your first impressions (exclusive shades vs. repeats, formula strengths or weaknesses) and the swatches so I can see if the pretty color in the pan actually looks like that on the skin. I appreciate your in-depth reviews on single shade items but tend to read them less when looking at pallets or kits. With the holiday shopping madness, waiting sometimes means missing out!

The megapallets are less enticing to me because I rarely use all (or even most) of the product.

I agree with you on the mega palettes – I personally don’t care for them and tend to buy more quads than anything else. I would personally be more than okay with focusing on 4-8 shade palettes over 15+ shade types. I’ll defer to Christine’s experience with prioritizing which brands sell out the fastest, but I think you tend to know it when you see it in a holiday release. Almost like you know that 2F will release a lot of stuff, mostly crap in quality.

Considering the overwhelming amount of products that are released for the holidays, I’d be very happy with shorter reviews that are general for a whole palette, rather than for individual shades, and do not include wear time test for each shade (wear time can vary a lot by person anyway, so unless it’s shockingly short/impressively long, it’s not information that is very important to me).
Thank you again for you incredible dedication and hard work Christine!

Yeah, definitely wear time can vary but I like to think of it as being consistent across me (e.g. 8 hours is average but 4 hours on me would be terrible!), but I’m definitely interested in whether performing a specific wear test (not just application – all shades would still be applied! but I could do 3-4 looks in a day vs. just 1, maybe 2, if I am not testing all for wear) is necessary (or how necessary).

For me I am most interested in how the quality of the holiday collections compare to the brands’ general quality. How ever you need to accomplish this evaluation (swatches, mini, or full review), I’m okay with!

Glad you utilized Survey Monkey. Until it got messed up, I have been able to donate fair bucks to the Humane Society of the US. It’s an overall good org…enables you to take surveys, help the surveyor with needed info, and donate to your choice of numerous charities. Win-win-win.

Please don’t waste your time doing exhaustive reviews of the umpteenth Too Faced holiday palettes – I think at this point everyone knows they will be mediocre at best! I really felt badly for you last year, having to deal with those suckers…

I completed the survey but also wanted to add a few comments. Firstly you do an amazing job with your reviews and we thank you for it! Secondly, holiday palettes are often gone in the blink of an eye. I personally think an in depth review isn’t needed, especially on larger sized palettes. I’m much more interested in your general impressions, product photos and perhaps some indicative swatches.
Thanks again and looking forward to seeing what will come this season.

It’s those last 2 bullet points that stand out to me as being very helpful:
β€’ Prioritizing those items most likely to sell out fast. Definitely much appreciated!
β€’ Putting subpar, crappy products on the back burner. Especially when initial swatches look horrid. (Although, in all honesty, those reviews are pretty fun to read!?) And we all know how terrible those multiple holiday churn-outs of 2F and Tarte *usually* are, so back burner for them, too.

Yeah, I think I had maybe 10 or so kits/palettes that weren’t reviewed – a combo of a few I purchased but didn’t get to swatch and a few that I swatched but didn’t review, and I know a couple were Tarte/Too Faced, haha.

I hope from all input you can indeed tailor this to be easier for you! My two cents:
– Sneak peak swatches — almost always I wait for your review anyway, so for me, you could skip
– All shades in a given line — not needed; a representative sample, like 3-4 of the say 20 shades, suffices focusing on formula key attributes and performance; I can explore from there.
– Larger palettes / sets from key brands: Definitely reduce priority of palettes that seem mediocre or are from brands with consistent sub-par quality. Other mega-palettes: a sampling of the shades versus all would be plenty for me. If a given brand markets say 5 different palettes, reviews of 1 or 2 is all I’d need for insights and direction.
– Larger palettes v. smaller palettes/quads: Smaller/quads are more realistic and useful for me.
– New-for-holiday shades: I’m a sucker for sparkly holiday things — it’s when I can relax discipline and practicality — so appreciate these reviews. Also if there are special holiday-only gift sets from quality brands.

Hope this helps!

I’m not trying to take it easier or be lazier – I’m actually trying to see if there’s a way for me to cover more products and faster instead of taking so long and disappointing readers in the process! More about working smart than me focusing on something that might not matter quite as much to readers as I think it does – hope that makes sense!

Thank you for your input! πŸ™‚

You are so thoughtful, Christine! ❀️ Honestly, some brands’ releases will probably be easy to predict the [mediocre to bad] quality of, and a full review for those wouldn’t be necessary… I’m thinking MAC and Too Faced eyeshadows ?
Someone else mentioned cost/value breakdowns, which I agree are invaluable!
I think another survey might be helpful, once more releases are announced, asking which products in each category are most anticipated. E.g. choose one or two each of x/y/z eyeshadow palettes, a/b/c lipstick sets, etc.

We shall see, we shall see… MAC’s are usually not too bad since they are smaller palettes, and so they tend not to be as overwhelming to review compared to the 15-20-30 pan palettes that seem ho-hum throughout.

I can usually get a good idea of what’s more anticipated/less anticipated by how readers interact with posts about said products (official announcements, sneak peeks, etc.) re: comments, views, shares, likes, and so forth!

And sent! I really hope this can help to streamline some of your workload with all the holiday sets coming out.
It seems palettes are the big obstacles to get through so I’ll mention a few points that I find the most helpful.
Some palettes like the mega pro’s will run out of stock quickly so i do feel that a swatch sneak peak comes in handy. At least you can see if there’s much pigmentation or patchiness.
I think you totally could cut out reviews of every shade in the palette. I would probably be good with a summary of best performer, worst, most unusual shades or repeats of other palettes.
Please never get rid of the list of holiday items you reviewed by grade, that comes so in handy once we get further into the season
Thank you so much for all your hard work!

Thank you for sending in your answers, Renee! πŸ™‚

Yes, I will keep doing sneak peeks – that’s definitely not a concern!

Thanks for asking. I appreciate a quick comment from you that a certain product is mediocre, or that you’re not reviewing something because of past hx from that brand. I trust you and wouldn’t need more of a review on either type, I find reviews of larger/pricier palettes really useful, so I can pare down what I’ll take a serious look at in-store.

I’m new to your site overall, but I totally understand September-November (In my case December) craziness . I also have two sites where I review things (nothing like cosmetics, of course), although I can do so much quicker than you as I don’t have to swatch and test everything over the course of hours.
I’m truly in awe of what you do, completely understanding the commitment; time to follow up, post, comment, et cetera. Then getting down on yourself if you don’t get it all accomplished, which never happens BTW.
After doing the survey, I love the idea of first impressions and agree, items that tend to sell out quicker (due to brand recognition) need to be touched upon sooner. The rest you seem to have a good handle on, and your readers are understanding and savvy enough to base decisions on your first impression and swatches, rather than needing an entire review immediately (if at all in some of the cases for seasonal items).
Good luck with the crazy season, we’re all going to need it!

I definitely try to get stuff that’s more likely to sell out up faster, though it doesn’t always work out (sometimes predictions are off, and other times, it sells out SO fast that just the time it takes to buy+receive+swatch isn’t fast enough).

Haha, yes, the to-do list never quite gets finished no matter how much you’d like it to!

Survey complete! Like has already been mentioned, you are amazing in all you do to churn out fair reviews for us as consumers. I personally think holiday collections are something that you can just give quick impressions of (typical to the brand, subpar to the brand’s usual offerings, holy @#$^$#^ TooFaced made an amazing holiday palette, worth it/not worth it) because the are always limited edition. I like the photos and I find them more helpful than dupes. I personally think in-depth reviews are better for permanent products because we have more time to buy them (i.e. then you have more time to play with the products) and cursory overviews are better for the limited holiday collections. I like that you give indications of wear time, but it probably isn’t necessary for the limited releases either, because there are so many variables to what will increase/decrease wear for each person (eye shape, oily/dry/normal, humid climate vs dry climate, etc.). Thank you again Christine!!!

We’ll definitely see about Too Faced and whether this is the year I modify the coverage – certainly a possibility!

I think wear time is good myself – if only as a consistent marker in my reviews, I suspect that it gives an indication of better/shorter wear, like something that only wears for four hours would be concerning regardless!

Lowering priority for bands known for releasing subpar megasets in the past sounds great to me!

The most important thing, for me personally, is having dupes up and available for holiday releases that are limited. I’d say that from most to least important is: swatches -> dupes -> minimal review (even just a letter grade only) -> full review.

I already do all of the things in the post, just FYI – I was laying out how I operated last holiday season but wanted to give readers the opportunity to chime in for areas I could do better (or perhaps, am incorrectly prioritizing!) – so I am glad that’s something that you like! πŸ™‚

I would love it if you could be a little more opinionated following a review. Even a comment saying if you like, love, dislike, would buy, are disappointed. I do like your almost scientific reviews as they give every product an equal chance but some of your gutt feelings would be good. Of course you can only speak for yourself but you are so knowledgeable it would be nice if you could share more thoughts ideally through words or maybe via symbols…

I love your website, it’s a daily treat, thank you.

Oh, I see, hadn’t noticed that before. I tend to read text more. That is helpful. I am Scottish and have to find different ways to get products shipped. Your reviews are so helpful.

With all of your experience you should bring out a cosmetics company or do a collaborative. It would be rude not to : )

Thanks for amazing website.

No problem, Polly! If you see a sidebar on the blog, “Recommended Products” will show all of the products I’ve designed as something I personally recommend πŸ™‚ If you don’t see a sidebar, it’ll be toward the bottom of the page after the content.

You can also find it through navigation > product.

If something swatches poorly and your experience working with it is equally poor, I don’t need more than swatches and a brief review. Shade by shade breakdown isn’t necessary if it’s a clear pass (though there will always be people who buy sets regardless).

If you have time to swatch something, but don’t have time for a full wear test and review, I still really appreciate your first impressions. I also find your comments about pricing to be very helpful, like when something is comparatively expensive for the amount, or when something seems crazy expensive but you end up getting a ton of product overall.

Dupes are probably my favorite part of your reporting, outside of swatches, but I think the most important things to have dupes for are things that will sell out, things that are very expensive, or things that are very unique. Sometimes a mediocre brown eyeshadow is just a mediocre brown eyeshadow.

Thanks for all that you do and I know we all appreciate your coverage of the holiday releases no matter how you decide to prioritize things!

Immediately before seeing your full priority list what came to mind for me was sneak peak swatches. I deeply value all your reviews (*especially* on lip products!) but if I recall correctly you don’t test eyeshadows over primer, and I’m fortunate to have found a primer that will pretty much make anything stick to my oily lids, so – I tend to not be as interested in how shadows perform over time as much as how the pigment/payoff is outside of the pan. If I like the shade I can probably bully it into working…unless it’s a hard F grade lol.

Lip products, however, I am SUPER interested in the review portion of and frequently directly make purchasing decisions based on your reviews. So I’d love to see, like another reviewer said, quick takes alongside sneak peaks of lip collections that are likely to sell out (ie did the range overall have decent staying power, pull into lines, etc…).

Thanks so much for what you do and for thinking so much of your readers when deciding how to deal with what I’m sure is a totally bonkers work period for you!!

Hi RJ!

Sneak peeks aren’t going anywhere, so that should be good news! They are the best way for me to get the maximum “value” out of all the products I buy and put time toward (even if that is just swatching/photographing) – so at least the photos get out ASAP. It also helps give me some time to test without holding back swatches. Otherwise, I’ll end up with thousands of photos at the end of the year that were taken and will sit on my hard drive for eternity (I switched to doing sneak peeks a couple of years ago for this very reason!).

I don’t test eyeshadow over primer for wear, though I am fortunate that with my more normal lids, this is doable and a lot of formulas last six to eight hours on me (and some even longer) with a few that seem like my lids eat them entirely!

I think that the whole “reduce priority on initially seeming mediocre products” is probably the biggest thing to me. Then we kind of know that something has great potential if you even give a full review. I trust that you have touched and tested enough that you would have a good idea even with an initial interaction. Does that make sense? Anyway, I am all for whatever happens/whichever way you go- I will be reading avidly.

It does, Joan! It’s not often that initial impressions are drastically different, particularly if we are talking about something that is pretty disappointing throughout (vs. one or two shades). This is even truer when it comes to a more tested formula – like MAC eyeshadow or Urban Decay lipstick – have tested so many that I tend to have a good idea of where it’s going to go.

I think the tougher part is when something swatches well or it seems pretty good but not the most amazing thing ever – it’s grayer and a bit harder to tell until I really start working with it.

Christine, I’ve completed the survey. And thank you for taking suggestions from us :).

– Sneak peak swatches: can be combined with mini-reviews in the case of brands that usually perform well, thus eliminating the full reviews (i.e. Bite Beauty will release holiday sets combining lipstick/lip pencil/gloss as I saw from the invitation received for the VIB Rouge private event; there is little chance that they perform poorly).

– Same goes for the eyeshadow/face palettes from the other brands you mentioned: ABH, Becca, Nars etc. that are known to perform well. Unless there is a change in the formula or the manufacturing place (i.e. the EL X VB eye quad that received an F from you is made in South Korea whereas the one from last year that performed well was made in Italy), the swatches & mini-reviews should be ok. Personally, I can skip a full review in this case and as someone else pointed out, I don’t need to know if an eyeshadow/blush/highlighter stays eight hours on me at this stage, as it depends on a multitude of personal/environmental factors. This will allow you to test more products in a day. I trust your expertise; if you feel and see from the initial swatches that there is the same formula as in the past, then I’m ok. The manufacturing place is important imho for a couple of reasons. It’s about the QC and the source of the raw materials (i.e. the talc from/used in USA or Europe may not be the same as the talc used elsewhere, where there are less regulations. You don’t see it written, as it’s only written β€œtalc”, but you can feel it when you try the product on).

Hi Nicole!

Sneak peeks get posted within a couple of days of swatching/photographing but a review (even a mini one) wouldn’t be ready until I could actually wear and test at least a few shades (which could be a couple of days to a couple of weeks), so I hope that makes sense why sneak peeks would be separate from any review πŸ™‚

Hi Christine ! Perhaps you could reduce the wear time test in the case of the holiday palettes (eyeshadows/blushes/highlighters). Let’s say that you usually keep the eyeshadows on your eyes for ten hours to see how long they stay put or how they fade; if you keep them for like two max three hours, would this help you review more eyeshadows from different palettes in one day ? For me personally this would work just fine.

I mean, wearing for two or three hours isn’t going to tell me anything in particular in most instances since signs of wear typically occur between 6-8 hours for me! I might as well just apply and remove immediately after – but there is a physical limit on how much my eyes/cheeks can take per day (applying/removing/applying/removing) so it’s not unlimited even excluding wear because I have to apply (otherwise my words are worth nothing) to the area it’s supposed to go on. Don’t worry – I will figure it out based on what I can/can’t do, what is efficient, etc. πŸ™‚

Thank you for your feedback!

Thank you Christine for replying ! Oh no, I don’t you to rub your eyes off by applying/removing the eyeshadows. I’m just trying to find a way to cut your efforts during this particularly super busy time and at the same time to beneficiate from your input πŸ™‚ You can revert to the usual after the holiday season. If the first impressions tell you that formula in a holiday kit did not deviate from the brand’s usual one and if I see from the photos that the manufacturing place is the same, for me it’s ok.
In the humid summers or in the freezing winters here in Eastern Canada (add to that the frequent freezing rains), a powder product that lasts indoors for 6-8 hours may not wear well on me for more than 2-3, even with primer/setting powder. But I understand that these are particular factors πŸ™‚

I love the survey and answered fairly middle of the road. After following you for several years and living through holiday season myself, I can only imagine how crazy it gets. Having followed you for so long and rarely having experiences that differ significantly from yours, I trust your initial impressions more than any other. You have the knowledge, experience and rating system in place so I feel comfortable in your initial impressions of products. I know that you always feel that you are behind and yet you consistently get your reviews up before products are even available. How you do it I don’t know. My hope is that you are able to spend time with your family this holiday season and give us full reviews of products that you feel we would most benefit from and the rest an initial impression would be great. Swatches are very helpful because many of us have been following your swatches and we know by looking whether it was a good swatch or not! Thank you for asking for our input and thank you for all that you do.

An excellent survey Christine, because it allows us to let you know what we consider to be important and not let you waste your time and effort. I really appreciate the work you do and don’t want you to get swamped.
Wear time for eye shadows, to me, is not important as it is different for everyone – some will use primer, some have oily lids etc. What is important are the swatches and how easy/difficult the shade is to apply and blend.
First impressions are not really necessary either, nor stating the dupes – we can look up the dupe list for that if we’re interested in a particular shade.
And for brands that have been experiencing a downturn eg Too Faced – perhaps just review one of their holiday offerings – a few days after it has been released so you know whether it’s a complete dud or not.
I hope this helps.

This is a great survey and thank you for being thoughtful!

– I usually go through images of every of your post very fast, to get a quick impression of how each shade looks like (for eyeshadows and mega palettes). And based of the overall rating and the swatches of the shades, I decide if I should put this product on my mental wishlist or not. So rating is very important to me personally.
– For something subtle like face highlighter and blush, I’d further read your description and full review, down to details! I like knowing the wear time just because it’s a good metric for how this product could last, at least on one person. I have my own regimen of priming and blotting, but I still value your words very heavily. In fact, I like how detailed your reviews are, and how seriously your took products to testing. Your rating system and its criteria are very consistent over the years (I’ve been reading Temptalia since 2009). And I appreciate the dupes so much! Especially when something was of so much hype and they practically “disappear” immediately when they hit the market, dupes are my “final hopes” for getting something close to that.

I realize this might not be a “conclusion” for my answers to your survey. Still hope this helps!

I took the survey but some additional thoughts –

– swatches are super super helpful for me, so I really appreciate the sneak peeks. I would love it if you included some first impressions. First impressions would be especially helpful for items that are an existing formula but new colors if you could let us know if the new colors seem consistent with the permanent line.

– if you swatched a mega set but only tested say, 1/4 – 1/2 of the shades, I would find the review almost as useful as if you tested all of the shades, but I bet it would be a lot quicker for you! The survey implied that you were thinking about doing that – I hope you do!

Thanks, Emi! Yeah, I think if I did first impressions, I would have to be comfortable/confident that the first impressions would hold up well, so I don’t think I’d do it with a totally new formula unless it was limiting thoughts solely to what I experienced swatching (e.g. MAC puts out a new lipstick, and after swatching, I can certainly say whether the majority were creamy, pigmented, etc. but couldn’t say anything about wear, hydration, or the like). I think I am most hesitant (or concerned?) with respect to products that look good initially but end up more average in performance.

I appreciate knowing if the formula of brand’s holiday offering seems consistent with their regular formulas. Even if you can’t give an in depth review, just knowing that a brand’s holiday lipstick/palette/whatever isn’t the same as their regular one is so helpful.

My biggest concern with holiday offerings is that the brand will cut corners on quality so any comment on whether the formula seems the same is so helpful!

If there are any deviations, I usually will mention it, but if it’s a powder eyeshadow and still performs well, even if there are minor differences, likely no comment there!

PLEASE clearly mention where it was made. So many holiday items are counterfeit sub par quality. I want to spend my money on companies that care enough to sell me the same quality all year. It is a deal breaker for me. If products are typically made in Italy I’m not buying versions from China no matter how pretty the packaging is.

As for reviews.. clear pictures.. swatches.. and maybe a quick mini review of each shade with description of it’s performance on first impression is good for me personally. I can tell a lot by a swatch but if it’s gritty, chalky, etc that would be good to know.

Everyone has to make purchasing decisions for themselves, and so I try to take photos of the packaging and ingredients, which is typically where that information is found, for those who want that information!

I’m not personally comfortable (and find it extremely problematic, bordering on offensive) blaming a country for the quality of any product when the brand is the one ultimately responsible for putting out quality products.

I find it offensive that a brand would sell me something completely different from their usual quality and manufacturing practices, just because they know holiday sets will sell, and charge me the same price level for it. I don’t care where it’s made, I simply used Italy and China as examples. I pay for Tarte, I expect Tarte… or Becca… or any other brand. It’s basically ripping us off. No different that putting Ferrari decals on a Chevy and selling it to you for 200k.

You asked what would be helpful.. that would be helpful. It’s hardly offensive to want to know where your product is coming from and be an informed consumer, especially when we are talking a product that goes on your skin and different countries have very different health and safety regulations. I’m quite shocked that you would basically accuse me of being racist over it.

There’s nothing wrong with asking or wanting more information regarding whether the formula changed in a palette compared to the rest – but assumptions that China = inferior quality is not something I’m willing to do, and it’s not something I’m going to encourage because I don’t find it to be true from my personal experience. Chinese manufacturers are completely capable of putting out high quality products, and it is up to the brands to engage with the right manufacturer and ensure the product they release is the quality they intended.

I did not accuse or call you racist, so I would appreciate if you did not put words into my mouth. I only said that that is not something I could personally be comfortable with speaking on and would find it problematic based on my perspective, background, and experience, and I (again, let me repeat: me, personally, not you) would feel that I was offending people by disparaging products solely on country of origin. I did not speak for you or about you; I spoke only for myself.

Again, I reiterate what I said before: you have to make the purchasing decision for yourself, and as much as I can, I provide that information but politely request that you respect how I personally feel on this matter just as I respect that you want to have that information and certainly don’t try to hide it.

I tried to respond to your feedback with useful information and to acknowledge your request. I tried to explain that I do already provide the information, where you can look for it, and gave my personal reasoning for why I could not do more based on your suggestion. You are still asking me to violate my own personal ethics and values in your follow-up question even after I explained, and I don’t think that’s fair at all.

I actually like your first impressions. Or previews on holiday collections. I’ve bought one thing just due to a first look. but it sold out very fast so I’m glad. I do think you should prioritize stuff that is from brands that sell out or usually have good items. I’ve pretty much given up on too faced holiday. I like smaller brands like paul and joe and pretty vulgar but they don’t sell out like NARS or Chanel.

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