A Review Rant

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Recently I've read a few reviews, got to the last line and realised that nowhere does it say how much the item costs or where it is available from. This really aggravates me - to me, it's just lazy. Yes, the review could be the most entertaining, awe inspiring, tears of wonderment inducing piece of writing I've ever come across but if you don't include the vitals - it's a waste of time! Ok, so maybe that foundation costs £50 and you don't want to seem like you have money to burn or that you're rubbing it in the face (excuse the pun) of your readers but you know what - chances are your readers will already know the amount you tend to spend on things! Why should they have to google around to find out more about something a blogger should have given them the entire details on? Surely a review is so that we, as readers and consumers can decide on whether or not an item is worth our money? If the review doesn't state the price anywhere, how are we to know?

Another thing I like to see are photos and swatches - the more the merrier! Indulge me visually and I'm yours. I'll be all over your blog like a beauty obsessed rash and recommending it left, right and centre. Give me a blurry, badly lit photo, grainy quality and the tell tale blue or orange tint of a dodgy white balance and I'm not interested. The photos are entirely pointless. I can't tell a damn thing from them! I wont even click the link to read the review. That red-orange, smeared grainy thing on the back of your seemingly mustard yellow hand is a hot pink lipstick swatch? Really?! I understand that not everyone is good with a camera, but surely it's just common sense not to post pictures which aren't true to how a product looks.

Third and final pet review hate isn't actually to do with the way they are written or presented but this - the PR sample hungry bloggers. I realised last week that one of the first blogs I started following hasn't reviewed anything they bought themselves in about four months. It's all been sent to them by PR teams. That is ridiculous! Fair enough, if you get the offer to review something interesting your readers will be interested in then go for it! But if you haven't found a single thing you're interested in enough to buy yourself to review...maybe you need to wonder if it's time to stop blogging. And don't give be that 'Maybe they can't afford anything' bullshit either, because everyone has a bit of spare cash every now and then, even me, an unemployed student. Harsh, maybe - honest, definitely. If you're looking for a sugar coating then go elsewhere, you wont find it on this blog.

Now I'm not saying I post the best reviews in existence, I don't, but I can post them knowing I've told my readers everything they need to know. Perhaps I'm reading far too deeply into it - after all, it is only makeup, it's only blogging, it's only the Internet. . But to me, good photos, a price, where to buy and mix of PR/ self bought items is like putting underwear on in the morning - not something you would casually forget about/ question the purpose of!

What do you think? What are your review/ blog post pet hates?

(P.S) Check out Miss Tat's post on the subject here.

(P.P.S) For all the 'if you don't like it, don't read it' comments - I don't read it. I unfollow. Not saying there's a right/ wrong way to do things, just some common sense ideas and my thoughts on the matter.


  1. Well, to me the posts bare of text are the worst... there should be more info then just the pics. I'm more interested in the "how does it feel". Some pics to liven up the text are also nice :)

  2. Great post! I'd have to admit I'm probably guilty of not saying were you can buy a thing. Good example of my appalling 'theory of mind'. It's something I'll try not to forget in future.

    I also, love looking at good photos and try not to swatch unless the daylight is good - I don't know enough about editing to correct otherwise.

    Thanks for the rant. x

  3. lol funny, i just posted about something similar a couple of days ago. I'm just getting fed up with a couple of things :P

    I didn't mention the PR bloggers, but they're sure a peeve of mine. The fact that most of them never, EVER buy anythnig for themselves is just so questionable to me.

  4. I also get annoyed when reviews don't mention where the product is from, obviously if it's a drugstore brand then that's fine but when it's not a brand that most people are familiar with it's annoying (and most likely to be a PR sample review anyway). Good photos in reviews are so important too, that's hopefully something I've improved on since I've started blogging. If you're trying to show how much you like a product it makes sense to use photos that show the product at its best and give over bloggers an idea of what the product is really like. x

  5. I totally agree with you on blurry, dimly lit photos- especially on subtle colours.

    My pet review peeve is when there are no swatches or photos by the reviewer, only stock photos. This is fine for skincare items, but for colour cosmetics surely readers are looking for something more than what they can find themselves on google images.

    I guess I will need to look at my own reviews with a critical eye now too :)

  6. I don't have any pet peeves when it comes to reviews. I suppose if I don't like the way someone does their reviews I just wouldn't read them. Oh wait I do have one....Honesty! I know some bloggers only do overly positive, sugar coated, glowing reviews and you'll read 50 other reviews on the same product and the others say the product was craptastic. I'm not sure if the blogger is doing "BS" reviews to get freebies or if maybe they don't truly test the products but I want honesty.

    As far as price and where to buy products....hmmm....I do not include that in my reviews unless it is an unknown brand, Indie or new brand. Simply because everyone knows where to buy OPI, Nubar etc and what their cost is so it seems a bit redundant to put it in every post. However when I review a lesser known brand/product I always link in the article direct to the company site.

    Is it possible that the blogger you are refering to is on a nobuy and that is why they are not reviewing anything but PR products...I don't know I just hate to think that someone is in this just for freebies.

  7. @ LiisK, I agree. I guess pic only posts aren't reviews though...I do think they're a bit pointless unless they're photography/ inspiration posts, though!

    @ Sparklz and Shine, ah, everybody forgets things! I might do a basic editing post to help folk out. A few people were interested in that when I posted the 'Beauty Blog Photography 101' post but I haven't gotten around to it yet :S

    @ Miss Tat, I just added a link to your post from mine :) You're got some good points on there! It's questionable to me too.

    @ LilyLipstick, yeah it's fine with drugstore products since most people will be familiar with them anyway. I think most people get to grips with photography as they continue blogging :)It doesn't have to be amazing quality, just good enough to give a true idea of the product.

    @ Jen W, I think stock images are okay for press releases or when the product is stupidly expensive so the blogger doesn't own it. I've got to be on the ball with mine now too haha.

    @ Evil Angel, I don't read them if I know the review isn't going to tell me what I want to know or see immediately that the pictures are bad quality. I tend to either unfollow or only look at the posts I know I'll enjoy from them (FOTDs, tips etc). Overly positive reviews are annoying, I wonder if they know we can see through them by now?!

    I think the price at least is a vital part of a review. It's how people judge whether to buy or not. I wouldn't have the foggiest as to where I could buy a lot of nail polish brands since in the UK it's generally drugstore polishes or what you can get from Sallys (OPI, ChG, Seche Vite). Nothing else. So I appreciate a link to a site which ships internationally from nail bloggers.

    I don't think the blogger is on a no buy, since they have been posting about nights out/ clothing hauls etc. I hate to think it too, but it does happen :/

  8. Fav post, couldnt've said it better myself.

    I find the blogs you've pointed out strangely addictive though, these people are major arse lickers (that's how they get soo much stuff) and I don't know I guess I'm weirdly obsessed by the balls they have!

    Another thing I hate is stock photos =0/


  9. Totally agree. It really annoys me when there isn't a price (This is the first thing I state in a review) and bad photos annoy me more. I won't even bother reading the post if the photos are bad, it's a complete waste of time. Oh and another thing to do with photos; when people swatch products on paper?! This doesn't give me any idea to how it will look on my skin.

  10. I'm now checking my blog to make sure I've listed prices for everything :3, I usually do for drugstore/high end stuff but for indie companies I forget to! My bad!

    I agree with you on the photos and swatches though. I get SO irritated when I'm trying to decide on buying something, and I type in google for swatches... I get 10 hits, maybe 1 of which will have decent swatches. The rest will be "yeah, this eyeshadow is pretty and I love it," can I have a picture or something? I also don't like foundation reviews that don't show the coverage! The back of your hand doesn't count...

    I guess I'm guilty of getting a little lazy something though =/

  11. Your post made me want to have a rant as well - don't think my work colleagues would be interested though because half of them don't even know what a blog is! lol

    I don't mind a mix of PR pics and the bloggers own photos as long as you still get to see the product and swatches - what makes me want to hurl my laptop out of the window in anger is the obvious PR sample posts which just consist of one blogger took pic of the product, no swatches and then just a line of text saying what it is, where it's from and a note saying 'PR sample'. I don't mind if it's a PR sample - what I do mind is that you can't even be arsed to actually review it!! It is good? Is is bad? Did it make your eyes bleed? Posts like that are just pointless!

    I think a lot of people are frightened to be honest about PR samples. It's ok to not like something, a product can't be perfect for everyone. I try and give a balanced opinion and say "I liked this but then this bit wasn't so great" or "this wasn't for me but you might like it if...". Obviousley if it's completely rubbish then that's what I'll tell people! People can always tell when you're fibbing so you might as well be honest.

    Rant over...I might have to go and have a lie down now! :)

  12. god i couldn't agree any more with you about the crappy swatch pictures. i hate more than anything when someone shits up my reader with pictures they spent NO time trying to make good. it's like, don't even bother swatching if you can't use more than a speck of product under dark lighting.

  13. I am not the best at pictures myself but I totally share your viewpoint on that one. I have not set myself a target of 'must post three times a week' or whatever, would love to give some regularity to my readers, but I just can't. I am totally dependent on the sunlight, or natural daylight to take my photos and I rather not take photos at all, when I feel they're going to be poor as in where the people would not get a decent idea of the product. My pet peeve is yellow tinged photo and I just cant trust a swatch when it's like that. I had a dilemna when I reaally wanted to blog about the latest nails inc polishes, and the nail of my index finger was just atrocious, well my way round that was to hide the actual finger, and focus on the others: i dont think it would have been fair on the product to show it in such a bad light, pun intended.

    For the price tag of products, I am guilty at times and must make a point to summarise info at the end of the post someway or other. I love the way vex in the city summarises it.

    My personal pet peeve is when people complain that there are too many posts about a particular product: When it's a product I like, I can't get tired of reading about it from different people and see their swatches. If it's a product I don't like and I am not interested in, well I don't read. Nothing irritates me more than people complaining there are too many posts about the models own freebies or the benefit glamour pencils: well that was the aim of the whole operation, that people want to talk about it and spread the love. If it's too much, skip it, and concentrate your time and efforts on reading your posts you do like and showing it by taking the time to comment: much more productive xx

  14. Love this post Lily, although at the moment I can't talk about bad photos since mine aren't the best, but I'm getting a new camera soon....
    It really bothers me that people are just doing it to try and get free stuff, I've been reading a lot of new blogs recently and I was shocked at the amount of reviews on individual blogs of products that had been given rather than bought.
    If so many people are blogging just for that reason and the indie companies are sending out products it will be the death of them... :(

  15. I share the same sentiments as you...
    One more is people with awful grammar. I mean, there's spell check on ALL computers last I checked... And if you're not sure how something is supposed to sound, use the grammar check too!
    As an English Major, it's a HUGE pet peeve of mine that I have to re-read sentences 3 or 4 times to understand what's trying to be said. UGH!
    That's not to say that I'm perfect either... Sometimes I miss a letter, or a funny sentence... We're human! Just don't make all sentences broken and illegible!

  16. The yellow bathroom picture thing kills me.

  17. Ah~ one more thing! I also don't have a problem with people talking about things sent to them for free - but it also REALLY makes a statement to me if they say that they bought it themselves (especially if it's something that is rather pricey). That in itself is the more convincing to me than any other aspect ;)

    And I agree with liloo! People shouldn't not post swatches because there are already tons for that particular product of it's been out for awhile. As long as it's not LE and already went out of stalk, it's fine! When I'm considering purchasing something, I will seriously never tire of looking at different swatches no matter what!

  18. I don't know, with photos, if I'm reviewing something, I prefer to take photos of the product 'in action'. If I'm reviewing say, a Sleek palette, I'll put in photos of looks using every single shadow from the palette, but I won't take a picture of the palette or do swatches. I'll link to someone else's post with pictures of the palette and swatches instead, because I don't see the point in struggling to take my own photos, when I could just link to someone else's post with high quality photos, and share the love.

    However, if all the photos I could find of an item's packaging were bad quality or really small (if the photos on the website were tiny, for example), then I'd take some myself. I reviewed a Lily Lolo eyeshadow that nobody had taken a swatch photo of before, so I did swatches myself, as well as the 'in action' shot.

    Personally I get a bit tired of reviews of products that only include swatch photos, which is why I'm all about the in-action shots. I think it's great to show people what you can do with the product, I tend to lust much more over shadows that I've actually seen on someone's eyelid (especially if it's a brown eye, because mine are brown, I'll admit that I started following you because of your eyes Lily!). I do appreciate that it takes a lot longer to produce a review with EOTDs in it though, which is why I don't do many reviews. I got the Sleek Sparkle palette but I probably won't review it because by the time I get around to using every single shadow in a look, it'll be a couple of months out of date. I don't know if it's even still in stock anywhere now!

    Some bloggers receive a lot of PR samples, and if I got as many as some do, I probably wouldn't buy as much make-up because I wouldn't have space for it all. It is a bit weird when blogs only review PR samples though, surely there are some things they want but can't get for free? I agree about the prices, I can't think of any blog I follow that doesn't include prices, I think it would really put me off. Unless they had brown eyes and illustrated reviews with EOTDs, I confess that I'd probably still follow them then!

  19. I know I try to always include a link to the item I'm reviewing, either where I bought it or where I think it can be bought for a better price.

    I don't mind a mix of stock photos and swatches, but I do really get bummed out when I don't see swatches. I think that is what bothers me the most. No swatches.

    Also, as far as the PR bloggers go, maybe they're just getting everything they want sent to them? That one is really hard. Some of the blogs I enjoy reading and seeing swatches, such as Temptalia, tend to get a lot of things sent to them, but I still feel like their reviews are good and worthwhile.

  20. Completely agree about the swatches and the PR samples! About the cost and where to get the product, though, I can only speak for me personally, but I sometimes forget or just leave it out when I review a well-known product or brand. I think it's because over in the US, for the most part, most brands are available at the same few places (Sephora, Ulta, etc) and I assume everyone knows that and knows the general price ranges of the brand anyway. And for people not in the US, I wouldn't know where they could find the product anyway. You've raised a really good point though, and maybe I shouldn't assume anymore and just include it to make my reviews more thorough :) For lesser known products/brands, though, I always try to remember to include both :) Thanks for the insight, Lily! x

  21. I completely agree. I get really irked when I see a post and then have to go elsewhere to find more information on it - isn't the whole point to review the product as a whole? In my opinion, that includes the price - which means it should be included in the review.

    And I totally feel you on crappy swatch pictures. I certainly don't have the best photography skills, but if I'm showing a friend a color, I try to get it at least as accurate as I, myself, possibly can. I go nuts when I browse Specktra for new MAC collection info/swatches, and see people posting "bad phone pix" - if you know it's bad, why are you posting? It's not at all helpful, and it's a waste of bandwidth.

    As for the "don't like it, don't read it" responses - I always find those rather rude haha. Yes, it IS true, but people can typically figure that out for themselves. I only ever find it okay if a blogger (or anyone else) has been repeatedly harassed/bothered by the same people over and over, but it really just pisses me off if it's in response to, say, one persons comment.

    Pet Peeve: Someone else mentioned this - bloggers getting annoyed with other bloggers writing about the same thing. I don't remember who it was (and wouldn't name them if I did), but there was one blogger (who writes about nail polish) who made an entire entry calling out another blogger for copying info from everyone else. She had links and dates and was rude and demeaning - not taking into account that she, herself, wasn't posting anything ~innovative or ~new. Companies hand out information, it gets spread around, and then spread around some more. As long as credit is being given when due, then who is anyone to say who is allowed to write what on a topic? Not everyone is going to follow the same blogs, so information being spread out is good, I would think.

  22. I admit, I am horrible about listing a price and where to get it! Sometimes I remember and then others...totally slips my mind and then I realize it days later when I re-read and face palm.

    The thing that gets me though is a review with no photos, or only one and it's of the packaging. I want to see SWATCHES! Or when there is really no review just photos. Drives me nuts!

  23. Oh dear, I have been guilty of not mentioning the price...I think I just jump from subject to subject so some things tend to be left out! And as for pictures...well I know my old ones were pretty crap so I'm probably going to delete the old ones and do newer reviews with better pictures (I know I have a post where the pic is completely off focus...to think that I've been using the same camera! )

    And whilst I'm at that, I should probably edit the current posts with the prices of the products. Lol it's gonna be a long job for me!

    And yeah I get really peeved when there are no photos of swatches, I mean ok if you don't swatch it, maybe post a pic with you using the product? That could work as well...some people just don't have logic (I know that to a certain extent, I belong to that category as well!)


  24. I have recently been receiving things from larger PR to review, but only if it's something I think my readers/followers would enjoy. I don't feel bad about it, because I know I will give my honest opinion good or bad. But that also doesn't mean, I wouldn't go purchase it again in the store on my own.

    I pride myself on my swatches, because like you, I had a hard time finding swatches out there that were worth a damn when I first got into makeup. What's the point of a swatch if it looks horrid?! I guess they are at least *trying!* :D

  25. i just want to say thanks for writing this post.. maybe more posts like this will help raise the standards and quality of makeup blogs! (as long as people don't get defensive)

  26. I'm totally with you on this. If I have an interest in a product but can't remember where it was from or I don't want to waste time going to the place then figuring out that the product was going to be more then a weeks worth of gas then I fel like I wasted time reading about the product itself.

    I disagree with the whole "if you don't like it don't read it comments". If a follower can have the ability to ask nicely "can you please add the price and location" then why not ask?

  27. Every blog I read is a bit different but I struggle to read ones that post several times a day if the content isn't different. I guess I really don't care about seeing MAC swatches that much but when I see post after post about the same thing I get bored.

  28. If I don't have cash - which is most of the time to be honest - I'll do a swatch project, or review something I've been using for ages and thus actually really like, or, omg, do a LOTD! I agree with you on price too - for example, if I'm doing a swatch dump of Fyrinnae products, its pretty obvious where they are from and most people know how much they are, but if its some new whoop-de-do primer or something, most people won't. Help your readers out!

  29. It seems as though every blog I read, every other post seems to be sent by PR to review. TBH that puts me off even reading the blog or checking out that product. Too many people in the last year or so seem to have sold out. My huge pet peeve is the Sponsored post. Grr.

  30. My biggest pet peeve about bloggers' reviews is when they just rave about everything. Like there's no way every single product you received in the last year is 100% perfect and we should go out and buy it right away. I understand that sometimes they don't want to tell people not to buy something but come on there has to be at least ONE thing that really sucks and you should just say so.

  31. ayeee, those "happy, happy, joy, joy" bloggers...


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