How much research do you do before buying a product?

Not much on my end since I am usually buying something to review rather than for personal use. If there’s a particular item I need for myself, then I usually try to find reviews by a few people I trust, but I often purchase based on my own, past experience with the brand and their products.

— Christine


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Rachel Avatar

Tons. I spend a lot of time here on this website, Makeupalley and Reddit’s subthread MakeupAddiction reading up on a product.

I don’t have a Sephora, or an Ulta or a major department store anywhere near me, just a Boots store so for high end luxury brands if I’m going to spend the money on them I really research them to ensure it’s money well spent. There are certain brands that I do very well with (Chanel lipsticks for example) and I can almost blind buy them, but the rest such as eye shadow palettes, I like to see them on other’s and hear their impressions before buying.

AB Avatar

More than I used to. Mainly because I have basically all I need, so anything that interests me is discretionary and that should be more thoughtful than when I was building my core stash.

Celesta Avatar

I like to look and see if it’s been reviewed on this site (you rock, Christine!), and also on whatever website it’s available on too. If I can swatch it in store to see how it performs perfunctorily for myself, then that’s a bonus too. I’ve found that if I’m underwhelmed in store, I usually won’t take the leap to purchase. I’ve also found if I don’t immediately purchase and can’t stop thinking about it, I should probably take the leap and purchase.

Andi Avatar

I’d have to say very little! I’ll hear about things organically and add them to a to-try list. I’ll look for a Temptalia review if it’s recently released, but also like swatching things in person to get a better feel for it and see colors in person. If I’m buying something online-exclusive, I’ll look up swatches and may read a review or two.

Z. Avatar

Pretty heavily for most things.

For foundations I always like reviews especially because I’m very fair and often times the fairest shade in a foundation range won’t match me, so I look for reviews from people that I know have a similar skin tone. I also have very oily skin so I also look for reviews from people with a similar skin type.

For face products I don’t do as much research, but I still don’t buy anything without at least looking at sephora reviews/swatches.

The product I do the least research on is lip products, but that’s more so because lip products are what I buy the least so they’re what I spend the least amount of time researching. And even so, I watch enough youtube that even if I’m not actively researching something, I usually still have a sense of what the product is.

Maha Avatar

A LOT… I would very much rather have a collection that I love, enjoy and suffer to pick; rather than having a big collection with things I just want to finish or half ass picked.

It’s hard to find reviewers that I can trust tho, you are one of them obviously, but I only trust 3.
Even the little (somewhat) unknown reviewers tend to either not understand how to review properly or just want other companies to send them stuff…

I try till I’m 1000000% sure about wanting the product.

Mariella Avatar

I almost always wait for your reviews, Christine (and I know I am not alone here) and for products and/or brands you don’t review (Lise Watier, for example), I will only buy if I can sample the product/test/swatch it in-store. I also rely on Makeup Alley which I like because it’s user-driven.

Christina D. Avatar

It definitely depends on how much I want an item. I’m glad to hear what my favorite and trusted beauty bloggers have to say — and I love swatches! — but if it’s something I really want and FOMO sets in, I’ll purchase as soon as available. Also, a poor review won’t necessarily stop me from buying an item since not all things works for all people. There have been a few occasions when a item did not get stellar reviews, but it worked for me.

MacKenzie G. Avatar

It varies depending on brand/formula. I don’t feel the need to do much research about, say, Anastasia or Colourpop single eyeshadows, but if a product is from a brand I haven’t tried before or that isn’t very consistent I will look up typically at least 3 reviews (depending on how new the product is). I rely heavily on this site, so a good review here will definitely sway me. I occasionally watch YouTube videos, but I only have a handful of Youtubers that I trust.

Deborah S. Avatar

I tend to do more research on skin care and less on makeup. I rely on Temptalia for reviews of makeup products and will watch a couple of YT videos to see the product being applied. I like Temptalia for obvious reasons but probably one of the biggest reasons is the better photos that more accurately represent the color than product picks on the brands website or Sephora’s site. For skin care it is a much different story. I use a more “scientific” approach and read several different sources for information, such as, Paula’s Choice, CosRX and a couple of dermatologists on YT. There are a couple of “lay” YT channels that I also trust, namely, Gothamista and Hot and Flashy. I watch Gothamista for her reviews and insights into Asian beauty products and Hot and Flashy for more affordable skin care.

Nancy T Avatar

At barest minimum, I will look for your review and swatches. With many products, I will need to do a bit more research, though. Especially for anything that may be a real YMMV type of product or shade. So, between Temptalia, Allura, Stephanie Nicole, Jackie Aina, Alysssa Ashley, Tarababyz and Karen at M&BB, I have a crew of people whose opinions matter to me because of their honest assessments of products.

kjh Avatar

Skincare: tons. Cosdna, EWG, Paula ingredients dictionary and beautypedia, Snow White and the Asian Pear, if it’s there. Don’t really have a skin twin, as so many reactions. Usually do not follow Hirons, etc, bec my skin is an exception to most ‘rules,’ so have to be self-reliant. That would include foundations. Most of the color cosmetics do not have provokers, so I google swatches and usereliable reviewers, like Miss Christine.

Maggie Avatar

I used to not do too much research BC I shopped at places with great return policies. But I have developed so many allergies that it’s better to be thorough than making my footprint larger than it needs to be with all the returns I’d have to make.

I always need an ingredients list or I won’t purchase. Bloggers/vloggers like Christine, Muse and Phyrra are big go-to’s of mine. Some brands are quite awesome with questions when I reach out directly (like Urban Decay!) I like to see if I also like to look at 1 star and 2 star reviews BC sometimes the most glaring issues are not things I personally find off-putting. There is an Ulta locally where I can take a closer look at items. Sometimes I just do a Google search and see what people have to say about the product

Lesley Avatar

I also look at the one and two star reviews because that weeds out the reviews based on hype and the herd mentality. The other thing I am careful about is the age of the reviewer. A comment from a 20-something that a product made her skin softer and smoother is not very helpful to me as a mature person.

Lesley Avatar

I can’t think if a product or service that I spend money on that I don’t research pretty thoroughly. Before the internet, it was magazines, newspapers and even books. Now, in addition to Temptalia, I check Makeup Alley, Reddit, YT, (including the comments), blogs, reviews on Sephora and Ulta, whatever I can find. My first step, however, is whether the product is cruelty free and I will email a company if I cannot find a clear answer.

MM Avatar

I will watch several reviews on YT but I also like makeupalley as well. I like going to Makeupalley in particular because it’s actually real people’s opinions not just ” beauty gurus” and having more than one opinion gives you a better idea of the product in my experience.

Genevieve Avatar

It really depends on the product – if it’s an eyeshadow palette, my first stop is here and I won’t buy anything until I see your review and check out the swatches and the quality, if the shades work for me. I prefer to see the palette in person too.
If it is a foundation – then I do read other reviews to find out how the foundation lasts over time, especially if the reviewer is using a porcelain shade. I definitely like to check foundations out in person and get a little sample pot to try at home for a week or so.
Skincare products I do look at reviews for serums and moisturisers to find out if they are worth the money.

Rachel R. Avatar

If it’s a high end item, or a brand new to me, a lot. The more expensive it is, the more research I do. I read blogs and watch vlogs for swatches and reviews, I see what people in my makeup groups think about it. There aren’t any Sephoras or Ultas very close by, so I don’t always get to check things out in person, but I try to do that when I can.

Lea Avatar

It depends on the product and brand. In most cases I know the brand well enough to know if I’ll like it and unfortunately a lot of what I like isn’t regularly reviewed by most bloggers/YouTubers. It’s rare to find a lot of detail on CdP, Chantecaille and Armani. It tends to be very hit or miss coverage unfortunately. Most times I’m just looking for swatches at most and even then, I take them with a grain of salt for how they’ll look on me.

Monica Avatar

A hell of a lot! Type A, Virgo here. I’m also a researcher for a living and that spills into my beauty life (which is great for my wallet!). I rarely buy any makeup or skincare without thoroughly checking reviews and swatches. Christine, I always check to see if you have a review first & check your dupes list 🙂 and then I google image to see if I can find swatches on deeper skins.

There’s also a couple of YouTubers that do a great job at reviewing foundations (i.e. wears it for weeks, instead of a first impressions video) and that has been a big help as I’ve recently been looking to expand my foundation collection.

Pearl Avatar

Not much other than here. If I see something that piques my interest (i.e. Pat McGrath), I’ll fall down a rabbit hole on here looking at swatches, dupes, press info and perusing the company’s website, but that ‘s about it. I might go on youtube and see if anyone has demo’d it but lately I get too irritated with the hyperbole. Mostly I’m just interested in the colors and quality and how it would or could fit in my stash.

Yara Avatar

A lot – and part of that is that I use the research phase to stop myself from doing impulse purchases I’ll regret later, especially when it comes to more expensive products. I’ll read up here, check the reviews on Youtube, read customer reviews on the retailer’s website, and if I still really want to buy the product after all that, I may actually buy it.

That doesn’t mean I don’t impulse-buy, because I do – just less than I used to.

(I am also a research nerd, so I find that it’s actually a really fun process for me.)

Alyssa Avatar

I investigate every single detail before buying anything. There are no Sephora’s or Ulta’s in my country, so there are a lot of products/brands that you can only buy in one particular store. Also, the return policies over here are terrible. For example, you can’t bring a makeup product back if you don’t like it or if it’s the wrong shade. Even if the product is still sealed! Therefore, I watch tons of Youtube video’s, I stalk instagram accounts and look for reviews online before purchasing.

Nikki Avatar

Not really. More than anything else, I tend to eyeball it and ask myself questions-is it the color I’m looking for, is it too warm, is it the right formula (usually powder-I don’t have the patience to develop a skill for most cream or gel products), is it expensive enough that I’m going to have to wait until my next pay week, those kinds of questions. A big one for palettes is “how many shades in this palette am I going to use?”-any palette where the answer is less than 50% is an automatic no, 75% or higher is usually an automatic yes.

Bonnie Avatar

None…I will put something on my loves or favorites list. When something gets me excited enough to buy it, I then go to the list and add things to complete the order so I get free shipping. I may read/watch reviews of things I’m interested in, but they don’t sway me either way.

Bonnie Avatar

I’m actually more apt to consider reviews AFTER I’ve already tried something, to see if others have shared my opinion. Also, if I haven’t liked the product, I can see if others are using it a different way that works better.

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