What's your process before purchasing a product?

For products that I regularly use, it is usually dependent on whether I’ve run out and need to repurchase or if there’s a good deal on a product I know I’ll need sooner rather than later.
Otherwise, most of my purchases are based on what I think should or needs to be reviewed and when,
so I rarely pay attention to sales and the like and buy more based on where it was released first and how quickly shipping will get it to me.

— Christine
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It comes down to if it’s a brand I like or could like, then I’ll look at product quality. I’m a sucker for packaging but if the quality isn’t there, I skip. On repurchasing, if it’s an HG then I will, but not LE (usually because I bought a back up if I really liked it).

1. Reviews first. I almost never kneejerk buy a product; the only times this has happened are when I was looking for foundation matches, which is the most important makeup piece to me. Everything else (e.g. lipstick, mascara, eyeliner, etc.) can hold off.

2. I try and wait to see if I can swatch and play with it in Sephora, Ulta, or wherever. I’d rather see it in person first.

3. When looking at reviews, I try and go for people that are known to have opposite types as myself (e.g. if it’s a complexion product, I have dry/reactive skin so I look to oily/combo skins, etc.) to see what they think. If they don’t like it, it’s probably a go. I’ll usually try and wait to see what people of similar types think just to make sure, but the opposite thoughts are generally what give me more insight.

I wait for sales. When brands send their sale emails I stock up on things I use regularly buying 2 or 3. For limited edition items I mull it over read reviews and look at numerous swatches before I decide if I am going to buy it. Lately most things have been a pass for me because I feel like my makeup collection is well curated with items I love.

Well….for example….I need lipstick right now. I read your blog every day, looking for reviews and swatches and if I find something I might like, I write down the name of it and then I’ll go into the store and swatch it (if they have it lol). I also need blush. I have two favorite blushes from Chanel and I may just repurchase because I’m running low on both of them….but I like to see what’s new first. On everyday products, I usually don’t repurchase until I’m literally out of the product. When I use the last little bit, I purchase the same day. I don’t do sales unless I’m in need of a product and it’s a really good deal on that particular product. Sometimes I hit it lucky and find a bonus or a sale when I go to purchase something….otherwise I just buy it if I need it. 🙂

I predominantly purchase products online (I can’t remember the last time I stepped into a store to buy either makeup or skincare items. Heck, clothes for that matter!). My process to purchase an item — mainly new items — usually entails about 2 – 4 hours of research (reviews, swatches, pricing/deals, shipping rates, etc.) before coming to a conclusion. If it’s something very expensive, then my research will take about a week or two.

I’m generally attracted to shiny, new things. I then talk myself off the ledge by debating whether or not I *really* should buy it, ask my wallet, and depending how excited I am about it I’ll either buy it or close the window quickly, lest I add more to my shopping cart. 🙂

For something I regularly use, but have run out of, there’s really no process; I just buy a new one. I try to find it at the lowest price possible, like with Ulta coupons or points.

For products I’ve never used, I always start with Temptalia reviews. If the product passes with a B+ or better, I look up other pictures or videos of the product. Next, I go to the store and swatch it. I much prefer shopping in a store to online shopping because I like to see/feel the product in person before buying. Then, if I like it, I spend a few minutes trying to talk myself out of it, because in all honesty, I don’t think there’s another makeup item I truly need at this point. Sometimes I leave empty-handed, sometimes I walk out with a new product.

But there’s another darker process that happens once in a while. It concerns a little makeup demon that gets inside my head and causes me to obsess over a product, refusing to leave me alone until I buy it. There is no reasoning with the makeup demon. It wants the product, and it wants it NOW. The only way to quiet the demon is to buy the product.

I rarely wait for sales; if I want something, and I can afford it, I’ll buy it. That said, if something is on sale, and is something I’ve already been intending to buy further down the line, I nay prioritize that purchase-particularly if I stumble upon it in-store, and there are no LE purchases on the horizon.

Sometimes, sales/discounts occur around the same time I plan to purchase something, like Sephora VIB events, so if I haven’t reached my spending limit by the time that rolls around (ie, there weren’t many LE purchases prior), I will indulge in something HE that I wouldn’t pay full-price for.

Also, if there are some items on my “list” of permanent items, I will sometimes be swayed by price (being able to knock off as many items as possible), or if I can get several from one online order.

For repurchases, track sales and Ulta points. This does not mean I don’t check ingredients, because sometimes they change formulas. For new stuff, check ingredients first, or your reviews, whichever comes first. Considering news for new is usually yours, Temptalia reviews usually are first. Then general formula and color suitability.

1. For holy grail products (mostly skin care) I will just go ahead and repurchase unless something competitive has hit the market and I want to try and see if it can knock my HG off the pedestal. When possible I will get a sample or deluxe sample and go from there. This is always difficult as skin care takes a while to show effectiveness so looking at reviews and having people I trust who have similar issues is a must.
2. If a product is LE then I read reviews, watch YT videos and then go to the store to check it out in person. For me this is a big deal as my nearest Sephora and Ulta are many hours away. The product has to have stellar reviews by people I trust and be something that I think I would like. Example: ELVB Modern Mercury. Reviews were good, many people I trusted were raving about it and it seemed like a must have product. I made the trip to Spokane to see it and realized right away that it was not going to work for me as it was really too dark for my skin tone. However, my daughter has a much darker complexion so I purchased for her.
3. Whenever possible I purchase on-line. It took me awhile to be comfortable with this and I also needed a clear understanding of what would work for me and what wouldn’t. We have a very generous return policy here in the US and if I am completely off the mark then I may return the item or find someone who it will work for.
4. I have reached a point in my cosmetic purchase life where I know what I like and pretty much know how it will work for me based on reviews so I try not to purchase things just because they are pretty or hyped up.

Finally, my thoughts on returning products. Recently I have been seeing a lot of “makeup gurus” on YT purchasing outrageously expensive items to do a full face of makeup with the idea that they are going to return it when the video is done. I have seen three of these videos in the past 4 days. One YT’er specifically purchased the most expensive makeup she could find to make her video. I believe this is unconscionable. Sure we all make mistakes in purchasing sometimes and my personal philosophy is that if it was my stupid mistake then I eat the cost. If a store sales person led me to make the purchase then I might return it. I would never buy a product just to try it out with the specific idea that I was going to return it. The cost of these returns gets passed down to us consumers. I don’t want to end up paying outrageous prices for makeup because some young women on YT are being makeup they have no intention of keeping. Okay, rant over!!

Deborah, I couldn’t agree with you more on the issue of returning beauty products. I would add that an instance when returning is ok, is if the product is causing a bad skin reaction/irritation or when it goes bad in a very short period of time because of improper storage by the retailer. If you order a product without testing it first hand or waiting for reviews, then you take a risk. But returning products just because you bought into the hype, got bored with them and realized that new and better performing ones were released in the meantime, it’s not ok imo.
In addition to what you have said about the people on YT buying products just for reviews and then returning them, I’m also amazed by people who preach being cruelty-free with respect to animal testing (which is a great thing btw) but keep returning dozens if not hundreds of items just because the colour/texture didn’t work for them after ordering the products online. Someone said here, on Temptalia, that when you return a product to Sephora it goes straight to the garbage. So, it’s ok to be CF and trashing the environment at the same time. We do not know how the trash is disposed of. Burning all those chemicals and plastic covers (if burning it is), cannot be good. Ground disposal is even worse. I think we have to stop being cruel towards the environment as well. Being conscious and mindful when we purchase beauty products = less waste = less wasteful of our resources = true cruelty-free.

I’ve found my comfort zone and have stayed true to it for so long, I know very quickly if I’m interested in a product (plus, tbh, I’m really, really picky). Then, I look for thoughtful negative reviews. If I can live with them and/or they don’t apply to my needs, then I usually buy it. I try my best to get swatches or samples first, but occasionally, very occasionally, I buy without them.

For makeup, first I read your review and check out your swatches! Then I check out other reviews, usually from Amazon and Influenster, sometimes Sephora or Ulta, and sometimes I also read the reviews on the brand’s site (always taken with a grain of salt, some brands reportedly remove negative reviews).

Then, if I’m convinced I must have it, I buy it!

SKINCARE: If it is something that I regular use, I purchase two of that item when on sale but I make sure that I use them in the next six months. The great majority of the skincare products I buy fall in one of the two categories: they either 1) have organic/bio certification from Canada or UE or 2) they are dermo-cosmetics (usually made in Canada or UE). I did and I still do a lot of research on the ingredients and I also watch some YT videos done by dermatologists. For the ingredient research, I mainly use Ewg, Livestrong, UE regulations, Health Canada, David Suzuki Foundation (Canadian).
I cannot stress enough how important the ingredients are. Check them carefully; the time invested in the research is an investment in your health. The skin is covering our entire body and while the skin doesn’t “breathe”, the pores do absorb what is put on top of them (hence the use of medical patches i.e. nicotine, estrogen and progestin patches). Avoid using irritants like harsh chemicals, oils, fragrance in skincare or makeup as they clog the pores and may affect you skin later. And don’t experiment on your skin; if your face is continuously exposed to irritants, one day you may find yourself with dermatitis, rosacea, acne etc. I’m not saying it’s just the bad products that cause skin conditions but they are certainly, at best, a contributing factor if not the cause. And it’s always harder to get back your healthy skin than to prevent all of these.

MAKEUP: First step: do I really need this? Is this product going to replace a product that went bad/was in my stash for too long /is of poorer quality, or it’s just another addition to the pile of stuff ? For me personally there’s no point in having 30 eyeshadow palettes or 20 highlighters as I’m not a MUA or operating/working in the beauty industry.
Second step: which are the ingredients and where the product is made?
Third step: reviews from people I trust and swatches in stores. I prefer to swatch in stores or to see reviews from people of similar age, skin type and undertones as mine.

I look up reviews and usually stick to companies I know or have used before, then I look up swatches on people who have a close skintone to me(I’m so lucky to be within Christine’s shade range) and then shop my stash and see how much I’ve used of something that is similar, like if I really feel like I *need* to have a forrest green eyeshadow I find something close in a palette and realize it’s only been swiped once or twice then I decide I don’t actually need it that badly. Every new thing I purchase has to stand out in my collection and perform as well as possible, for example, I recently bought the Stila liquid glitter eyeshadows because that is unlike anything I own.

For many of my skincare and basic makeup purchases (mascara, eye brow pencil, foundations in brands that have my shade, cleansers, moisturisers, serums) I stock up when sales are on and I often have quite a supply stashed away.
For lipsticks – again I tend to buy my favourite shades when they are on sale or a shade that I am prepared to take a gamble on from an online sale.
However, for eyeshadows – I only get them if I will use more than 95% of a palette, or all of the shades in a quint/quad and ONLY when it has been reviewed here and given a great rating by Christine.

Oh, I prefer to use cruelty free products and generally skincare products that are made here in Australia/New Zealand so that they are easily accessible and supporting local industries.

First I see if it works for me, based on the texture and the shade selection. Then I wait for your review, and reviews from my favorites youtubers like Kathleenlights and Casey Holmes. If it passes all of those requirements, I’ll likely get it or at least keep it in a wishlist for the future. If it’s a collaboration from a youtuber that I have faith in, which will likely sell out within minutes, I’ll snag it.

Usually, I put the “needs” before any WL items. Such as making sure that my skincare, mascara and other every day types of things that I’m going to burn through and will need to replace.
For other less necessary items, much depends on whether an item is: 1.) LE, or 2.) now perfect for the time of year we’re in, at least to some extent. I’m in the process of trying to rein in my “wants” to a considerable level in the next year. Especially when it comes to products that can turn rancid.

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