Bloggie Wednesdays: What Makes A Good Product Review?

Bloggie Wednesdays: What Makes A Good Product Review?

That’s a good question. It was an idea for a Bloggie Wednesdays topic by Beauty Swatch (thanks Yishan!) and I thought I’d write about it.

As bloggers who blog about beauty, needless to say that a majority of the blog posts we write are on product reviews. We write about the cosmetics we love, we dish out the ones we don’t. What’s your take? As a reader and/or blogger, what do you think makes a good product review?

There are so many ways to do it. Many seasoned bloggers like Christine from Temptalia and Karen from Makeup and Beauty Blog have set high standards on how product reviews are written. Christine writes her reviews in a very structured manner. Every product has categories it must fulfil. Karen’s style is more casual and loosey-goosey. She likes to talk about cosmetics in the form of stories. There’s no fixed style as to how she writes her reviews. It’s like she’s having an intimate beauty chat with her readers.

Both write reviews very differently yet they do incredibly well in the blogosphere.

Regardless of how these bloggers write their product reviews, there is almost always a set number of points they adhere to and areas to address when reviewing a beauty product. Incidentally, they are also what I like to read in product reviews and how I like to write them too. Break out the dictionary, folks. It’s time to brush up on your adjectives. πŸ™‚

Bloggie Wednesdays: What Makes A Good Product Review?

Description: What the brand claims the product does. Between you and me, I make it a point to disprove their claims if possible. Muahahaha! πŸ˜›

Texture: Gel, cream, lotion, light, heavy, greasy, non-greasy, etc.

Scent: Scented, unscented, smells like the toilet, etc.

Bloggie Wednesdays: What Makes A Good Product Review?

Colour: Description, undertones (suitable for warm, cool or neutral), highly pigmented, barely pigmented, etc.

How it applies on the skin: Smooth, grainy, absorbs quickly, sits on the skin doing nothing, etc.

How it looks on the skin: Powdery, matte, dewy, natural, cakey, etc.

Longevity: How long the product lasts on the skin, whether it stays on strong or fades off during the day, etc.

Bloggie Wednesdays: What Makes A Good Product Review?

Results: For makeup – how it looks like at the end of the day, if it’s still on the skin, if base makeup oxidised, etc. For skincare – what’s the difference on the skin after 4-6 weeks, etc.

Ingredients: This wasn’t a popular addition when beauty blogs first came along. However, more and more readers are requesting lists of ingredients. People are educating themselves with what’s in the products they’re applying on their skin and it’s a good thing. I find that if it’s difficult to photograph the ingredients list, it’s best to type them out even though the spelling of the words will drive you nuts.

Bloggie Wednesdays: What Makes A Good Product Review?

Pros and cons: What you like about the product, what you don’t like about it. There’s almost always something you may not like about a product, no matter how small. What can I say? People like to read the juicy how-the-eyeliner-spit-in-my-eye shizz. πŸ˜›

Price: The retail price of the product (if there’s a sale going on at the time of writing at a particular store, readers will appreciate the heads up, so do write the sale price down as well and when it ends).

Availability: Where can your readers buy the product? Usually local retailers are mentioned first then international ones if available.

Good-quality images make a big difference in product reviews too. If you’re reviewing a mascara but the close-up of the mascara on your lashes is blur, it’s difficult for the readers to tell how good or poor the mascara is. If makeup swatches are done and photographed under poor lighting, a great product can end up looking pretty crappy. The truth is that images can make or break a product review, no matter how well it’s written.

Having said all these, I don’t think there’s a set formula or rules on how one should do product reviews. I’ve read concise product reviews that work as well. These information should guide you on how you could judge and review a product but it shouldn’t restrain your blog. Just remember that the more information you give your readers, the more they’ll appreciate your review and all the more to help them in deciding their purchase.

With these important points addressed, how a product review should be written depends very much on the personality of the blogger. There’s no right or wrong. It depends on the style of writing you enjoy. For me, I like to read reviews with a bit of humour and wit in them. I like beautiful pictures followed by good writing. Best of all, I love reading product reviews that make me laugh (not at the blogger but with the blogger). Product reviews aren’t exactly the most fun articles to write but if you can make them interesting to the reader then that, to me, is a great review.

What do you think makes a good product review? πŸ™‚

Bloggie Wednesdays is a series of articles just on blogging. They contain tips, how-tos, discussions about anything and everything you need to know about blogging and how we can be better bloggers. If you have any suggestions, tips and tricks about blogging you would like to share with us, or if you have any questions you would like me to address, please let us know in the comments.

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31 comments… add one
  1. Joyce (bronzerbunny)

    What a great post! I think you really broke down all the possible parts of a product review, and that’s great! I tend to just write things that stand out to me, so I don’t always hit all the categories you mentioned above. I like reading a variety of types of product reviews though!! πŸ™‚
    Joyce (bronzerbunny) recently posted..I β™‘ Burberry Lip Glow in Pink Sweet PeaMy Profile

    1. Ashley

      I’m with Joyce!
      Ashley recently posted..New Year and New ThingsMy Profile

    2. Tine

      Thanks Joyce! Nah, it’s definitely not necessary to mention all the points I mentioned. Heck even I don’t at times. Like you, the things that stand out get mentioned the most. Especially if they’re negative ones. πŸ˜›

  2. M&L

    great post! we try to fulfil reviewing those subcategories like you listed!
    hopefully over time we’d get better at it!
    M&L recently posted..Bad to the Audacious TaupeMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Haha thanks! It’s a play around the categories. No hard rules πŸ˜‰

  3. Paris B

    I like reviews that “talk” to me as opposed to a bulleted point one that hits all the categories. I guess I just find the latter too clinical and when I read, I’m here for the story as well as for the views. I don’t think there’s any set rule as to what makes a good review. A good review is one that shares your thoughts on the product in a clear coherent manner. Everything else is gloss πŸ™‚
    Paris B recently posted..Lunasol Vivid Colour Purification Makeup : An Overview of Lunasol’s Spring 2013 Collection and some thoughtsMy Profile

    1. Renee | Beauty Fool

      I agree with you, Paris! I like it when it’s the blogger “talking” to me about a products rather than a standard review with all the bullet points/pros and cons. I mean, it’s obviously very helpful but somehow it gets tiring.

      x Renee
      Renee | Beauty Fool recently posted..Outfit: Into the BlueMy Profile

      1. Tine

        Yeah I agree too. I think that’s why most of the time I just skim Temptalia’s reviews. I follow her because of the comprehensive reviews she does on so much makeup (especially the new releases), but many a time if the item itself doesn’t interest me, I skip the review. But if it’s something I want to get, then I read it carefully because she describes colour, texture, dupes, etc very well.

    2. Tine

      Me too! I’m not a fan of bulleted point reviews too. I actually wanted to try it out a few years ago but gave up because really, I talk too much for ’em bullets. πŸ˜›

  4. Ling

    I’m with Paris B on this one.

    As a blog reader, I get bored reading a standard format…I like a mish-mash….I like something that makes me giggle…or smile…I also love gorgeous photos… I don’t even know what undertone anything is…

    As a beauty blogger, I am SUPER crap at describing colours and scents and textures…and I tried to follow a regular standard format at first…until I realised it wasn’t me. So now, I just write whatever inspires me.

    I also like short and sweet reviews that don’t ramble on too much with too many words because seriously, it’s too overwhelming with too many words.

    OMG…I sound like a hard one to please…but I actually read A LOT OF beauty blogs.
    Ling recently posted..OPI On Her Majesty’s Secret ServiceMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Nah, you write what inspires you. That’s what I love about your reviews, Ling. My lord, they are funny. Not funny as in OMG WHAT THE HELL IS SHE DOING THAT NUTJOB but OMG I DO THAT TOO! Okay maybe the former too sometimes. But that’s what people love about your blog. They never know what to expect.

      PS: Can’t describe colours either. Green’s green. Blue’s blue. Anything in between, I’m lost.

  5. Lily (@ChloeAsh)

    You covered pretty much everything here, Tine, and I usually dislike it when the review is too short. I’ve read some reviews which basically says that it worked for her and that she liked it. That’s it. There are no Why, How, you know, the basic stuff you need to cover. That said, maybe I just like reading essays πŸ˜›
    Lily (@ChloeAsh) recently posted..Smoke It Good With Dior Blue Denim and KhΓ΄lMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Me too! I’m a sucker for long reviews. And not to mention good pictures too. I’ve seen very blurry shots (taken with a phone) of swatches, mascara, etc and I’m like, exactly what am I supposed to be looking at here?

      Having said that, I noticed that more and more bloggers are investing in better cameras these days. Images certainly are improving. Heck, even I’m envious of their pictures. πŸ˜›

  6. Lisa

    Hi Tine, a wonderful post I can adapt for my own non-beauty blogging purposes. I was also wondering if you would feel comfortable if other bloggers left their “blogging about blogging” posts via linkup or comment section on Bloggie Wednesdays too. Nikki at Styling you blog used to do it and it was a great way to learn from other bloggers. Love your work!
    Lisa recently posted..Breathing Life into Organ Donation: InterviewMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hmmm that’s a good idea Lisa. You know what I might just do that! I enjoy Nikki’s blog, especially the Saturday ones when she talks about blogging. I’ve left a few bloggie links on her Saturday posts as well. Great idea. Okay I’ll see how to get this done πŸ™‚

  7. Nikki

    You made me laugh on “smells like toilet” description! πŸ˜›
    Ahhh, product review is one very OC post to do! I take time (really) and I find myself sitting in front of the product staring on blank space trying to recall as much as I can as I use the product! This is a wonderful topic! πŸ˜€
    Nikki recently posted..AMW Reviews: Estee Lauder Pure Color Sheer Matte Lipstick in RebelMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I reviewed a product once that smelled like toilet cleaner. And I said it smelled like toilet cleaner. Not sure if the PR who sent me that product liked that description or not. πŸ˜› But it really smelled like toilet cleaner and I have to describe it as such. πŸ˜›

  8. Sarah

    This is interesting… I think there’s a bit of subjectivity in that I, like some of the other commenters, find the style of writing very important. It needs to be engaging! Sometimes I read reviews where a lot of technical stuff is covered (as it should, I guess!) but they can be a bit dry if the blogger’s “voice” is missing.

    Personally I vary the way I do it, with some reviews more detailed than others depending upon the type of product and where or not I’m reviewing 1 item vs a whole collection!
    Sarah recently posted..Pucker Up: Tips to keep your lips looking great!My Profile

    1. Tine

      I definitely agree. If the blogger isn’t engaging, then the chances of closing that X button at the top of the page is very high. I’ve seen reviews with great images. But the words, oh they kill me. ‘Tis a pity because it could have been a great review (positive or negative).

  9. Sarah

    PS. Thanks for making the time to come out Sunday. Was great to meet you! πŸ™‚

    1. Tine

      Was great to meet you too! And I have to say, my gaaaawd you are gorgeous πŸ˜€

      1. Sarah

        Aww thanks Tine! x
        Sarah recently posted..I’m baaaack! My trip & lots of Newbies, aka Daiso HAUL!My Profile

  10. Yishan

    Yay! Another great post Tine! I’m with Paris B too, I like a conversational post – which incidentally you do so well.

    1. Tine

      Thanks sweets! And thanks for the great topic too. I have a list of ideas written down, mostly from you. Time to tackle the next one! πŸ™‚

  11. Karen C

    Great blog on writing a review!

    I’m not a blogger, but occasionally I leave reviews on websites about their products, or like beautyheaven where you get points or when trialling products.

    Your blog has given me some excellent hints and tips on things to cover, and of course, your reviews are always informative and indepth!

    1. Tine

      Aww thanks Karen! The whole reviewing thing started from Makeup Alley, didn’t it? I never reviewed anything on Makeup Alley, but before I started blogging about beauty, it was the first place I go to to check if something was worth purchasing. So many of the reviewers did such a great job in describing the product and how it worked/didn’t work for them. Most became beauty bloggers too. πŸ™‚

      Beautyheaven is also another good site to check for reviews. I do it too every now and then.

  12. gio

    I believe that a good review needs to mention all those points you listed, and explain why the blogger liked/disliked a product, but it needs to be engaging too, otherwise no one will read it. Pictures can greatly enhance a review too, but they are so hard to take! I really envy those who can take clear and gorgeous closeup shots!
    gio recently posted..Product Review: Sunumbra Sunscreen SPF30+My Profile

    1. Tine

      Tell me about it Gio. Every time I tell the husband, I need a better camera to take amazing closeup shots like other bloggers are doing and he says “it’s not the tools, it’s the carpenter”. OH SHUT UP.


  13. Angela @ The Unprofessional Beauty Blog

    I don’t think there is a specific format that a product review should be written in, but I think the different categories that you mentioned should at least be somewhat talked about in the review. Good pictures are definitely a plus as well.

    PS: I laughed at your “smells like toilet” but then I can’t say that I haven’t tried products close to smelling like a toilet (OK may be not an actual toilet since I don’t think my toilet smells that bad LOL but definitely not a pleasant scent for a beauty product).
    Angela @ The Unprofessional Beauty Blog recently posted..Splash of Spring Makeup Tutorial|A Cherry Blossom Inspired LookMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahahaha I’ve had one that smelled like a toilet cleaner. OMG it was bad. SO BAD. πŸ˜›

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