What research do you do before purchasing a product?

It depends on if it’s a brand I regularly review or not. For brands I often review, then it’s just a matter whether the product is new and is the kind of product I test (e.g. I don’t review a lot of brow product, so I purchase an entire brow gel range). For brands I review occasionally from or haven’t done so, then I spend more time figuring out where they fit on the priority list (so what else am I expecting to review) and whether they have any issues as a brand.

— Christine


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Veronica Avatar

I love researching products to see if I will buy or not!

First of all, I come here to see if you have reviewed it, I also google it and look for images and swatches, and look it up on YouTube to see if more people have reviewed it. I base my desition on that.

But then, other times, the product is a brand new launch, and there are no reviews and I just buy on impulse.

Mariella Avatar

I always come here first and hope there’s a review. I check out Makeupalley. I look for reviews on Sephora’s site (and hope that what I’m looking for is a product they carry). Then I’ll try to check out in person (the primary reason I don’t like not having an “in-store” option).

Heather Avatar

Ditto! A few things I’ll add to this is I check the ingredients, cruelty free status and reach out to others I know who may have an opinion on it. I will forever be thankful for your eye cream recommendation, it’s been my HG daytime eye cream every since!

Mariella Avatar

I love it too but I always worry that they’re going to discontinue it without any warning. Every time I’m at a Sephora (oh, that is a blast from the past), I check to see if they have any and there’s only ever 1 or 2 boxes (with the jar inside) on the shelf.

Seraphine Avatar

First, I always check Temptalia for reviews. Then, depending on the product, I might look for a YT video to see the product being used. If it’s ColourPop, I always watch Makeup Just for Fun’s video. Finally, if possible, I’ll swatch it in the store, though I’m not sure about that anymore,. I’m curious about what people think of the future of swatching in-store, now that stores are starting to open again.

Lesley Avatar

It depends on the product. For eye makeup and cheek products, I rely on you, Christine, but also on other members of this community and their comments. They supply great information on base products and it is easy to find someone in my age bracket or with my coloring. I also go to subReddits a lot. There are now discussion groups attached to the “addiction” subs and the people there are really well informed. There are also a few YouTube channels I like but it’s hard to tell whether a particular product is in constant use so it’s not as helpful for me.

brendacr1 Avatar

First I come here to see if you have reviewed it. Then if it is sold at Sephora I will check their site. I always look for the negative reviews to see what wasn’t liked about the product to see if it is something that I can work with. If there are no reviews I will sit on it for a bit, then if I just can’t shake it from my mind then I just go ahead and purchase it. Before Covid I would go to the store to swatch it but now I don’t know exactly how that is going to work because I won’t be swatching any samples now.

Nancy T Avatar

Usually, quite a bit! I almost always look for reviews here and watch a few trusted YTer’s reviews, as well, before I make any beauty/makeup purchase. Especially if the product is over $10-15. Even though I’m far more picky when it’s a bigger ticket item, I do still look to some YT reviews even for lower cost items, such as DS mascara and concealer.

donna Avatar

I google around coming here first and then check out swatches and reviews from other bloggers. I like to get a variety of reviews before deciding especially if an expensive product. I know there are some brands Temptalia does not review Chantecaille being one.

kjh Avatar

Fairly intense for s/c, starting with ingredients. Often I can rule s.t. out at step 1. That applies to foundations, concealers, sunscreens. Massive allergy to chem sunscreens. Then COSDNA, EWG, Cosing, etc. I’m hardly a chemistry jock, but have built up a pretty good knowledge base of what bothers me, even though I might not know what it’s for, lol. Using COSDNA always has the purpose/ function of the ingredients, so it’s good learning. Color cosmetics, other than foundation or lipstick aren’t usually a problem. For color suitably, I check here or Muse. Never do brand IG; seldom watch YT videos.

Pearl Avatar

I check here, then maybe I’ll check a few YouTube videos and also a little site based research as far as where it is sold. The final and very heavily weighted determinant, though, is here.

Ana Maria Avatar

A lot of research… 😀

*Ingredients: I always look at the list of ingredients first, not only for skincare/bodycare/haircare, but for makeup as well. I might only just look at the product page, but I most times research on beautypedia as well. I completely avoid irritants (denatured alcohols, fragrance, most essential oils, etc.) and based on my previous experience I know what ingredients work or don’t work for me.
If the ingredients don’t work with me, I don’t continue the research.

*Product description, pictures: Then I look at what is the product supposed to do and how it’s supposed to be used. I know I won’t like a dewy foundation, a shimmery highlighter, a brow gel with a big or odd shaped wand, a creamy lipstick. I know I prefer a tear drop brow pencil to a skinny tip one. I know I won’t use a product that requires special techniques or tools, or a lot of time to use.
For some aspects I try to correlate ingredients with claims. I know I love a mattifying primer, but I also know what silicones play well with my skin and which not, for example.

*Reviews: I try to read as many reviews as possible, starting with `official` sites like beautypedia for skincare and temptalia for make-up. I look for swatches for regular users, youtube videos; although I love temptalia for pictures, I also want to see less `editorial` pictures of the make-up, from normal users like me. I try to look on the websites of all retailers that sell the product and usually avoid the website of the actual company selling that product (to many brands feature only 4 and 5 stars reviews).
I have gotten to the point where I don’t take reviews as they are, I have learned to ignore the ratings and to search the longer reviews with more in-depth explanation. I know how to interpret information, such that I might buy a product even if the reviews are bad (like a person with dry skin complaining about a matte foundation being too dry, but stating it didn’t creased or emphasize dry patches… well that one might be perfect for me).

*In-store swatches (not possible right now): For some make-up items I just want to see the color or the texture in person. Our computer screens have a limit on how accurate they show colors, some things look different in natural light, and sometimes texture is hard to tell from a photo or video.
But I also know how to take swatches with a grain of salt. A eyebrow pencil or lipstick tester in store might be dryer (because of constant air exposure) than a fresh one. An eyeshadow softened by the greasy hands of shoppers might apply better from the tester than a fresh pan.

Rachel R. Avatar

I check Temptalia and other bloggers/vloggers I trust for reviews and swatches. I’m in the Phyrra FB group, where their is lots of good advice and swatches, and lots of indie brand users, and warnings about possible irritants and allergens. Sometimes I’ll research ingredients, especially for skincare, as I’m not as familiar with those.

Maggie Avatar

1. Ingredients List for Irritants: I can recognize red flags for my own skin issues
2. Location of Manufacturer: whether it’s made in a country that I feel typically does enough enforcing their own quality control and health inspection codes. If it’s not, then I consider the brand’s reputation and where exactly I plan on applying this. I’m quite strict with anything that goes nearby eyes or lips but may be more lenient with cheek or brow products for example.
3. Photos (for makeup): Swatches on skintones similar to mine–or swatches comparing similar products I own.
4. Written or spoken reviews on forums (reddit or makeupalley), store, bloggers/vloggers
5. See/touch product in person–if available at stores nearby. Bring possible dupes I own to swatch against (and show a sales person what you brought as soon as you walk in so they know you’re not grabbing testers plus they can be extremely helpful)
6. If possible, try a tester or get a sample–especially for fragrance or foundation.

kellly Avatar

I like seeing a review posted first, and I like your reviews because they are impartial and objective. You don’t slant them to whether or not you like the color, you just review the performance as a product. As a scientist, I really prefer that type of objectivity.
Next, if it’s an eye color or something I would use around my eyes (like a highlighter) I check the ingredients (sometimes listed on a peel-back label that’s nearly impossible to peel and then in about .0001-point font size so I need a microscope to try and read it). I’m allergic to carmine and even keep a little sticker with the color number for carmine for those labels that don’t have the name listed. If I like the color(s) and finish and there’s no carmine involved, then it’s a “go” for me.
I have trouble buying something online without at least being able to see the color in real life because I have no idea how things show up on my monitor compared to how they look in real life. These past few months I’ve bought almost nothing because if I can’t see it in person, I don’t know whether I’m really going to like it and whether the color will work for me or not.

Genevieve Avatar

First of all, I hear about it here – on this blog. And I check out your review Christine and trust your findings. If the shade selection, the review and the price are stars all aligned, then I will consider whether the purchase is warranted. I will check my stash and your wonderful dupe list to see if I am not purchasing the same kind of shades over and over again.
When it comes to lipsticks, my lip chemistry is quite different to yours. So I do need to look at swatches or other reviewers to see what the shade looks like, if I am buying online. Basically I really do prefer to see everything myself in person as a final check.

Missy Avatar

Good question. I think it’s tied back to how much I plan on spending on said purchase. For example, I don’t tend to do much research for a Colourpop order because the risk is pretty low with their drugstore-level prices. If I’m looking at high-end product like PMG or ND eyeshadow palettes you can be sure I’ll be watching YT videos, consulting Temptalia and reading consumer reviews. I also systematically research all foundation purchases as it’s not easy to find that HG ‘skin like’ finish I prefer. So many of them settle into pores and lines looking chalky, or slide around your face while they oxidize. Getting matched for a foundation is pretty much impossible these days; the shops are still closed to the public in my area. We’re stuck trying to figure it out online.

Quark Avatar

My process is check Temptalia first, then MakeupAlley, Reddit & finally a few YouTubers that I trust aren’t just shilling. I’ll ask around too, but my friends and I have different tastes and undertones. They can tell me about overall quality though (like texture, wear time or packaging).

Megan Avatar

1. Check Temptalia
2. Search a few subreddits like r/makeupaddiction.
3. Check reviews on Sephora, Ulta and sometimes Influenster
4. YouTube so I can see the product in action.
5. Look at the ingredients

Watching a Sephora video about the YSL Touche Eclat all over brightening pen convinced me to buy one and it is fantastic for brightening up the dark shadows made by my protruding brow.

After buying 2 Viseart mini-palettes and being incredibly disappointed with them, I read Temptalia’s review and it echoed my entire experience. Now I always check Temptalia first before making a purchase.

Adriana Avatar

I’am so grateful for beauty blogs like this, it saves me time and money. Just want to add my two cents on the topic of “Language of Beauty.” What I find annoying are descriptions of lip colors, such as playful pink, bold red, perfect peach, sophisticated plum! Can a plum be sophisticated? Is there such a thing as a perfect peach? As a buyer looking for example a red lipstick, I want to know if it’s orange based, pink based, brown or plum undertones, medium, light or dark red. A bold red tells me nothing. One more little annoyance….online stores such as Sephora, Nordstroms and others, customers leave a comment about a particular brand of lipstick but never mention the color, same with eyeshadow palettes, when more than one color combination is offered. They need to require the comment include what particular color their referring to. Well, that’s my two cents.

Jane Avatar

Dupes in my vanity for eyeshadows, almost always, whether before or while the palette or shadow is in front of me in the store. Also quality reviews (yours usually are enough). That’s about it.

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