Tips & Tricks

Tip Tuesday: a review of…reviews.


Lately I’ve been thinking a fair amount about reviews. I feel like, especially in the world of beauty, they are a HUGE factor in me being interested in or trying a new product.
I also feel like they can be misleading and confusing at times…which can really muddy the waters.


I’ve tried my best to work through the upsides and downfalls of reviews so I thought I’d share some of my insights. I’d also love to hear what you guys do to make reviews work for you best.

1. Take note of the source you are seeing reviews on.
I usually find that reviews are most accurate when they are posted on a site other than the actual brand. For instance, if I was looking at say..Becca (just throwing them out there) product I would look at the reviews on Sephora before I would look at the reviews on Becca’s actual site.
For two reasons:
One because I just find that it’s more likely that if someone is actually at the brands website they already love their products so you are fishing from a smaller pool of thought &
Two: If you own a website you also have the ability to delete any review you want. I like to think most companies would never censor their negative reviews (unless they were inappropriate & offensive) but you really never know.
So if you have the option to see them elsewhere as well, I’d take it.

2. Don’t just look at the stars, look at the comments.
I get a lot more out of reading the actual comments than I do just taking stock of the star rating. For instance I was looking at a boyfriend Tee the other day and it had a 3 star rating so I scrolled down to see why, there was only one reviewer. She said the shirt wasn’t tight enough. That’s a good thing to me cause I want my boyfriend tee’s loose. I wear them with my muffin top pants and I need the extra room. So the 3 star rating looked more like a 5 star to me.
Basically, we all have different needs and expect different things out of our products, pay attention to what the writers expectations and needs are before making your decision.

3. Drop the tip top and the bitter bottom.
Some people are PASSIONATE on hating and/or loving things and I think many times they are right on the money…but also sometimes they were just having a great/crappy day and this product is the beneficiary of their mood. I try to take those with a grain of salt and focus on the median responses to things rather than get too swayed by one very compelling review.

4. Keep an open mind
A great example of my doing this would be the book some of you recommended “Girl on a Train”, when I first saw this book a few weeks ago I saw a few bad reviews so I didn’t read it, I was getting weirdly picky and would only try a book if I saw over 4 stars. After a few of you said to give it a shot, of course I did and I DEVOURED it in like 36 hours it was fantastic. There are just some things that are going to have a wide range of opinions so I have decided not to get too narrow in my review snobbery:)


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  • Reply
    March 25, 2015 at 12:57 am

    Makeupalley is amazing for reviews! You’ll find a review for almost everything on there.

  • Reply
    Shekin D.
    March 25, 2015 at 2:32 am

    Yes i can’t rant much! this is the key points i usually look for! nice post! 🙂 Starting to be you fan!

  • Reply
    March 25, 2015 at 2:49 am

    As far as makeup Paula’s Choice site does not hold back with review positive or negative and always mentions better for oily normal or dry skin. Her site is one to checkout

  • Reply
    March 25, 2015 at 4:29 am

    I agree with all of this advice. You have to be careful with reviews, some are outright nonsensical! I like to read reviews at non-brand websites, with a few exceptions. Amazon, Sephora,, and It takes more time, but is worth it.

  • Reply
    March 25, 2015 at 7:21 am

    Generally, I do read reviews, however, even if the product has 5 stars, I will often read the 3 star reviews (the middle ground) as usually those reviewers point out both the positives and negatives of the product. I definitely try to avoid reading the 1 or 2 star reviews unless the product has an overall low rating simply b/c people are absolutely crazy! I read a negative review for a red lipstick on Sephora once and the girl’s review was nothing short of bizarre – I think she was actually offended the lipstick didn’t look good on her but complained about the price and how she was out of money. This didn’t really make sense to me as you can always return products to Sephora, if not for a full refund, at least for store or online credit. Ridiculous!

  • Reply
    March 25, 2015 at 7:39 am

    Kohls is notorious for deleting any negative reviews I post that states facts about a garment, not my personal opinion about it(ie. if something was way off in length than the description said, size inconsistencies on garment same size/brand but different colors, etc.)

  • Reply
    March 25, 2015 at 8:19 am

    There are also a lot of paid fake reviews out there. If you read through the comments, you can usually see the exact same wording in many 4 and 5 star reviews for one product.

  • Reply
    March 25, 2015 at 8:54 am

    Great advice!
    p.s. on a sidenote, my Maskcara cosmetics from Evine are scheduled to be delivered today; cannot wait to get home from work!!!

  • Reply
    Lauren Clemons
    March 25, 2015 at 10:39 am

    I was a reading a review on a product today and it was given 2 stars. The reason: “It’s not the product or the seller’s fault. This was just advertised somewhere I didn’t expect to see it advertised.” …… whaaaaat. I definitely dig to see why certain products are graded lower and it’s for silly stuff like that. How infuriating for the owner!

  • Reply
    March 25, 2015 at 10:40 am

    I’m a review fanatic. I use reviews on Sephora and Ulta for anything skin related and Amazon for everything else. With that, I’m super afraid to order the Hac pack, because there are no reviews! Lol it is honestly holding me up. Is there a way to add a reviews section for people that have bought their shades so far, adding age, type of skin, shade chosen, etc.? It would really be helpful for people like me that are afraid of ordering for fear of how it applies to my specific skin concerns. ☺

    • Reply
      March 25, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      Sydney, don’t be afraid to try! It’s amazing! and its so funny because I usually don’t take the time to write a review but for some odd reason I do need to put a plug in about this foundation #1 You get all products in one compact, I love that and the price is not bad especially if you are going to try Nars or Bobby Brown which cost about $45.00. I have never tried a cream foundation before and it is so much better than the liquid I was using. So, you don’t have to buy 4 separate products to achieve what your wanting. I to was concerned about my shade. I am pretty fair to medium so I went with the model that I had fair skin and blonde hair. Walnut for sure is my contour color. although I think I could use a shade darker but anyhow it looks good and natural. Have a friend look at your skin and then compare to what cara’s sample models are. I am 44 and have acne prone, combination skin. It works great and the coverage is better than my liquid Bobby Brown. The illuminator is better than her original illuminator which was a liquid. Her color combo is going to be the safest. I look at what other products are out there such as Becca contouring and those frankly scare me. And watch her video. I don’t think you will be disappointed and the costumer service is great. They are so nice. They sent me two blushes by mistake, I was waiting on my contour color and then that never came (got lost I guess in mail) then another one came. So, I am sure they will work with you. I have been following cara for awhile now and have been waiting patiently on her new iiiD. So the wait was finally worth it. I think she has finally achieved a wonderful foundation and look for all women of all ages.

  • Reply
    March 25, 2015 at 10:44 am

    I like to look for trends in the reviews. For example if a reviewer states a product is poor quality, ill look to see how many other reviews mention that to judge whether or not it is a real issue or just an unmet expectation by one or few people.

    I’ve purchased makeup that had a small trend in the negative reviews for something that would also be a negative for me. But it was just a few of the the 100s of reviews and the foundation actually performed perfectly!

  • Reply
    March 25, 2015 at 11:17 am

    For some AMAZING reviews (and complete waste of time), I urge you to go read the review of the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer on Amazon. Absolutely amazing!!!

    • Reply
      March 25, 2015 at 11:49 am

      Oh my gosh, those reviews are absolutely hilarious!!! thanks for pointing me there!!

  • Reply
    March 25, 2015 at 11:38 am

    I usually read the 3 star reviews first as I’ve found that those people tend be a little more objective. They tell you the pros and the cons- “I liked the feel and converge of this foundation but it made me break out” or ” I like the color pallet and the pigment but it wasn’t long lasting and therefor wasn’t worth the money”. Three star rating will also give you more of an idea if a complaint is an unmet expectation or a real issue. I then I take a look at one 5 star and one 1 star, that way I can see how the rave or hate stacks up against the 3 stars.

  • Reply
    March 25, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    I’ve found that even if I think that the product is great because of sephora/makeupalley/blogger reviews, if it’s being sold on amazon or ebay always check the actual seller’s reviews – sometimes you think you are getting an unbelievable deal but those rascals try to pass off counterfeit products as the real thing! 🙂

  • Reply
    March 25, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Also COMPLETELY read the description of the product, and then read the reviews. More than once I’ve seen a product description say a shirt is tissue cotton, and then have the sole reviewer giving it a 1 star because “the shirt is too sheer,” when that is what tissue cotton is. Or that a pair of earrings are “smaller than imagined” when the size of the earrings was in the product description.

  • Reply
    Rachel @ Blonde with a Chanse
    March 25, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    I love these and couldn’t agree more! Especially with #1.

  • Reply
    Ariana Raftopoulos
    March 25, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    I just got so excited because I just ordered Girl on the Train like 10 minutes ago and I cannot wait to start reading it ASAP!

  • Reply
    March 25, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    Who is the book by?

  • Reply
    March 25, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    Just wanted to say here that the book list comments were really great- I have 3 of them on hold, and read 2 others that I really liked- fun!

  • Reply
    Rachele H
    March 25, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    I love this so much! I am the type of person that does a lot of research before I buy something and reviews can be such a pain in the butt if you don’t know what to look for. It drives me CRAZY when I see a review of what appears to be a good product get three stars and a comment that says “I haven’t had the product long enough to review it fully.” So don’t review it!!!! Lol

  • Reply
    March 26, 2015 at 9:01 am

    You summarized all the things I try to do when I research pretty much anything I’m thinking about buying. I thought I was being crazy over-the-top so it’s nice to see your list!

  • Reply
    March 26, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Great list, Cara! I’m big on reviews before making a purchase, too!

    The only thing I’d add to your list is to consider the actual number of reviews (the number in parentheses after the stars). If a product has 4.5 stars with 1,000 reviews, that holds a lot note more weight than a product with the same rating but only a handful of reviews. I DEFINITELY read the comments if there are only a few reviews because then I don’t trust the star rating as much.

  • Reply
    Currently Crushing On. | How Sweet It Is
    March 28, 2015 at 5:29 am

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  • Reply
    March 28, 2015 at 8:30 am

    Thanks for these tips!

  • Reply
    weekly gems | Beagle and Bear
    March 28, 2015 at 8:44 am

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  • Reply
    Bri | Bites of Bri
    March 28, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    I love this advice for reading reviews! You’re definitely right about the major haters or lovers that are often extreme. Sometimes the best reviews are the ones that tell you exactly what you wanted to know which makes the item perfect. I always take that into consideration when posting reviews.

  • Reply
    Miki Nyckel
    March 28, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Umm .. is that ‘Girl on a Train’, or ‘The Girl on the Train’ … lol. Though I now want to read them both. Hmmm.

  • Reply
    Sweet Tea Sweetie
    March 28, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    I agree in that I both love and hate reviews. I love having so much access to reviews, but you also have to take the time to read through them to get the truth.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Frank (@MissUSAHockey)
    April 7, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    I tried to comment on this like 3 times, and I had a lot to say lol… But your reminder about 3rd party sites for reviews saved me from buying Roller Lash after glowing reviews on the Benefit site.

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