Could you explain the criteria you use to review products?
I evaluate products based on 4 factors: packaging, quality, ease of use, and price.
Packaging: I look at how durable, practical, unique, and high-quality the packaging is. I ask whether the packaging would be good to travel with, whether it makes the product difficult to access, and how it looks.
Quality: I examine things like how pigmented, long-lasting, and effective the product is. I also analyze how well the product does what it claims it will do. For example, if a company claims its mascara will give you dramatic volume, but it really only gives you definition, I will count that as a strike against the quality of the product. I also consider whether there are beneficial or harmful ingredients in the product.
Ease of Use: Is using the product straight-forward or do you really have to work with it to get the result you want? If a product is difficult to work with, this counts against the score.
Price: I analyze what value you are getting out of the product. This is probably the most difficult category to evaluate because I try to look at both the product’s price in isolation and its value considering the product’s quality. When looking at the price in isolation, I determine how well a product is priced when compared to other high-end or non-high-end products. I will also compare the product’s price to the price of other products from the same company. When looking at price considering quality, I examine, basically, whether the product is worth the price you will be paying for it.
How do you determine the grade for each review?
I add the individual category scores together, but I give different weights to each category. Out of a maximum possible score of 100, quality gets 50%, ease of use and price get 20%, and packaging gets 10%. After multiplying each category by its weight, I add up the subtotals to get the overall grade. You can see how I match up the scores and grades in the number line below.
The grades are color-coded, from green to red, with green representing high-scoring products and red representing products you should not buy.
I also occasionally give “extra credit” to products for factors that aren’t covered. These points are added onto the total score. So, for example, if a product has a score of 85/100 after I add up the category subtotals, and I give it 3 extra credit points, the total score will be 88/100, giving the product a B+ instead of a B.
Why do you score products the way you do?
First, I think the categories of packaging, quality, ease of use, and price cover what most of us care about when deciding whether to buy a product. But, as with everything, there are always exceptions, so I will sometimes give products “extra credit.”
Second, I have assigned the weights according to what importance I think each factor has. Of course, different people have different preferences. Some of us really like fun packaging, and are willing to pay more for it. Others of us are strictly practical. This is why I give both an overall score and individual category scores. It is also why I chose to show each category’s score out of 10, instead of making packaging out of 10, quality out of 50, and ease of use and price out of 20. Using the same base score enables you to see what I think a product’s individual qualities and gives you the freedom to weigh category scores however you want. If I have scored ease of use 7/10, and ease of use is very important to you, you’ll easily be able to evaluate the product on this factor.
How do you get the products you review?
I have purchased a large majority of the products I review with my own money. A minority, but good portion of the products I review have been sent by Public Relations companies or directly from companies. I am not paid to do any reviews or posts on products. Posts containing received products are placed in the “PR” category.
My reviews will always be objective, no matter what. I am not shy about openly praising or criticizing a product, as you can probably tell from the reviews I have already written. The reason I write these reviews in the first place is to help you make smart decisions about how you spend your money, so encouraging you to buy a product I personally don’t think is high-quality defeats that purpose, and is not something I would do.
Please also read the About page. It explains my motivation behind creating this blog.
I hope that answers most or all of the questions you have. If not, feel free to send me an email at Allura@allurabeauty.com.