Bloggie Wednesday: Do You Only Blog Positive Product Reviews?

Bloggie Wednesday: Do You Only Blog Positive Product Reviews?

On Beautyholics Anonymous, you’ll get a mix of blog posts that are product reviews, opinion pieces, tips and tricks, lifestyle anecdotes and so on. If you’ve been reading my product reviews for a while now, you’ll know that I do not only write positive product reviews. In fact, you’ll often see me throw in a number of negative reviews as well. When a product didn’t work for me as well as I expected it to, you can bet your bottom dollar I’m going to tell you about it.

No I know that there are plenty of beauty bloggers who do not write negative product reviews. If the product doesn’t work for them, they’ll choose not to mention it on the blog. This means that every product that is mentioned on the blog will be ones that are recommended by the blogger. This practice is similar in conventional magazines as well, where nothing bad about a product is ever mentioned (unless it’s really, REALLY bad). The objective is to make the blog (and said magazines) a positive environment as much as possible.

To be honest, it’s very hard for me to say that I’m 100% all right with that but really, it could just be me, which is why I’d like to hear your take on this. If you’re a beauty blogger, do you only blog positive product reviews? Is there a reason you choose not to include any negative reviews? If you’re a reader, do you prefer reading blogs that offer both positive and negative reviews, or do you prefer only positive reviews?

I started reading blogs long before I jumped on the beauty blogging bandwagon and I fell in love with beauty blogs because they were so different from all of the women’s magazines I was used to. Every single product mentioned in magazines are recommendations (rightly so because they’re often if not always paid product placements). And then we have beauty bloggers giving honest opinions about products that don’t suit them at all. Most didn’t bash the products and said they were shit, of course, but they were thorough in their explanations as to why said products didn’t work for them.

I knew that when I started blogging, I wanted to write like that. I wanted my readers to know what is good, what is so so and what they should save their money on.

When a beauty blog only has 100% glowing reviews of every single product he/she reviews, I must say that it’s hard for me to not question the blogger’s honesty. When every single product that is mentioned or reviewed on the blog is “so good”, I must wonder if there really isn’t anything bad at all that the blogger has tried? And if there were products that didn’t meet the blogger’s expectations, is there a reason why he/she won’t explain to the readers why the product didn’t work?

I like purely positive reviews from time to time and when there are reviews in between that are also positive but maybe the blogger didn’t like one thing about the item, I enjoy those even more. It may not be a deal breaker but it’s just a little thing that annoys him/her. You’d be surprised at how many beauty products I’ve purchased over the years that came from reviews like that. Heck, I even buy the ones that came with negative reviews because what didn’t work for you may work for me (and they often did). I seldom find beauty products that I like every single aspect of and I believe a lot of you do too.

Like I said, it could just be me. I could be in the minority of nitpickers, which is why I’d love to hear your thoughts about this, as a blogger and more importantly, as a reader.

Tell me what you think: as a reader, do you only prefer to read both positive and negative reviews? As a blogger, are negative reviews relevant anymore or should we just stick to what is worth mentioning and recommending?

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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36 comments… add one
  1. Melissa

    To be honest, I like reading both. I’m a postgraduate student who doesn’t have a big budget to play with, therefore when I buy something, I want to know what about the product is good and what about it is bad. For example, I’m very fair and if a blogger had similar skin tone to me tested a foundation that was not light enough, I’d like to know about it!
    The other thing is: is only wanting to post positive enteries to do with the fact some bloggers are given products to try? When a company has been generous to provide you with a product for free, I can imagine that if the product is not suitable, it would be easier to discard a review altogether. Although, just because it doesn’t work for one person, doesn’t mean a blogger can’t recommend it for others. A foundation that is oily for those with oily skin, may be wonderful for those with dry skin etc

    1. Tine

      I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the reasons for the 100% glowing interviews is for the fear of pissing PRs off. No one would say it out loud, of course, but I really wouldn’t be surprised if that’s one of the reasons too. I certainly have fallen off calling out lists for being, erm, too descriptive in my negative reviews. To that I say, oh well, no biggie. I can buy my own stuff. ๐Ÿ˜›

      A company’s generosity for giving product away isn’t for free nor done in the goodness of their own hearts. At the end of the day, it’s still business and they want to see ROI for what has been given out. When bloggers write about them, it’s brand exposure on their part too, which adds to their KPI. On the other hand, bloggers who don’t talk about products that don’t work for them isn’t doing their readers any favours either. After all that’s said and done, a blogger must decide who is more important: the brand who’s giving him/her free products to talk about or his/her readers who want to know the blogger’s honest opinions on the products he/she talk about on the blog.

  2. Mel

    I really like it when blogs post both positive and negative reviews, otherwise like you, I get a bit skeptical and think that all their blog posts might be sponsored. Actually, my favourite type of YouTube video to watch at the moment is ‘Disappointing products’ or ‘Products I won’t repurchase’.
    Mel recently posted..Violet Box March Review 2015My Profile

    1. Yolondi

      Me too!! Absolutely love losing myself in these kind of videos! It does get a bit monotonous when every single person who blogs/vlogs about products “loves’ every new product that has come out in the last 5 mins. Strangely though, a few months later they don’t like it anymore…

      1. Tine

        Hahaha sounds very MAC! ๐Ÿ˜›

    2. Tine

      Me too! I enjoy those sort of videos. Usually thumbnails will show them frowning or wincing at those products. I find them so funny. ๐Ÿ˜›

  3. MonicaP

    I also like reading both especially if the beauty blogger is similar in skin tone or coloring as me. If a beauty blogger reviewed an eye shadow product that creased on her oily lids, then I probably won’t buy that product as it’ll definitely crease on me too.

    MonicaP recently posted..Fresh Floral Flats for SpringMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Me too! If I see that an eyeshadow creased on the blogger who reviewed it, I most likely wouldn’t touch that eyeshadow with a ten foot pole. My eyelids are ridiculously oily and if it creases on lids that are typically not super oily, then it’s a lost cause on mine. ๐Ÿ˜›

  4. chikanozboy

    i would like a honest review both with positive and negative reviews. after all why do we search for beauty blogger for reviews? to assist people out there to make a right decision before they invest on something, right? we cant trust magazines coz they only write the nice things out there, i just hope all beauty blogger can give their honest review on products.

    1. Tine

      Magazines still sell well because of the “fantasy” they sell us: nice pretty things that we some day aspire to have. Of course, every item mentioned in there are paid to appear in the magazines. That’s why I love the concept of bloggers: we’re supposed to give our honest opinions about products. If they’re good, yes say they’re good, sing praises about it that every person and their mother should buy it. But if it’s bad, say so. Don’t have to bash the product and brand; we can still be professional in saying what we don’t like about the product. That’s why 100% glowing reviews irk me; it’s not realistic that there isn’t a single bad thing one has tried.

  5. Norlin

    For me I usually provide a good balance of both. If the product does give a bad reaction to my skin, yes I would actually say that in my post but I would also provide constructive criticism of the product and not just lambasting it. I think it’s fair to let the readers know what’s good for MY skin and what’s not and have THEM make up their own mind about the product.
    Norlin recently posted..April Giveaways: Scrub A Dub Dub with Sugar Queen Body ScrubsMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Ah yes, that’s important. State the condition and type of your skin, very important, so that readers know where you’re coming from if the product is good or bad. Just like we don’t simply attack willy nilly on social media (well, we shouldn’t!), we shouldn’t do the same when talking on the negative points of a product.

  6. Paris B

    A resounding no will be the answer. Where’s the fun in not having a good ol’ rant when the inspiration hits?! ๐Ÿ˜› But that aside, positivity is all good. Because I have less blogging time and therefore am offering less exposure on my blog, I prefer to keep things positive. But every now and then, that product that sucks balls comes along and I go to town. I did with that terrible 3CE foundation just recently.

    However, I think the primary reason most people don’t write negative reviews has nothing to do with keeping their blog a happy place. That’s the PR spin on things. The REAL reason is because no one wants to piss off their sponsors and brands and PR who are feeding them their freebies. So they choose to keep mum. To each their own I say. Personally, I don’t care. I barely work with many companies anymore (I know it’s weird when I tell people this, but it’s true. I think it’s because a lot of brands/PR deem me a loose cannon and outside of their control so they’d prefer to avoid. C’est la vie!) But most people do prefer to err on the side of caution because everyone dreams of being that next big problogger right? ๐Ÿ˜› /end essay
    Paris B recently posted..Your Say: Is there a brand whose products consistently disappoint you?My Profile

    1. Tine

      Oh yeah I read that review. I enjoyed it! We humans are like that; see people talk something bad, makes for better entertainment. ๐Ÿ˜›

      Ahhhhhh ding ding ding! Nail on the head, woman! Nail on the head. I’ve fallen off calling out lists too because of what I write. Oh well, no biggie. I’m a big girl, I can buy my own shit. ๐Ÿ˜›

    2. Efrain

      Girls you’ve impressed me, I can’t believe both of you aren’t asked by PRs but I really like how you review I prefer a honest review even if it’s a rant.

      If a blog only has glowing reviews it makes me think the blogger isn’t honest and prefer being ok with brands.

      1. Tine

        Aww thanks Efrain. I understand why bloggers want to stay on PRs’ good side, especially if the products that they can offer for free are high end ones. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to what we as bloggers are blogging for. I used to say I’m blogging for myself but really, who am I kidding here? Of course I’m blogging for you readers. I wouldn’t work that hard for myself! ๐Ÿ˜›

  7. Sara-May

    If a blog only posts positive reviews, I get very cynical very quickly. Negative, or even balanced pro/con reviews are much more useful to the consumer.

    When a blogger will only post positive reviews, I begin to feel like their priority is desperately pleasing brands and pr’s, and why would I bother reading that?

    It’s absolutely possible to run a successful blog without pandering to brands, and these are the blogs I am interested in reading, because clearly, their readers are the biggest priority.
    Sara-May recently posted..Top picks from the Priceline 40% off cosmetics saleMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I replied an earlier comment with this: “After all thatโ€™s said and done, a blogger must decide who is more important: the brand whoโ€™s giving him/her free products to talk about or his/her readers who want to know the bloggerโ€™s honest opinions on the products he/she talk about on the blog.”

      I agree; it’s definitely possible to run a good and successful blog without needing to pander to brands. As long as the blogger knows what his/her priority is. Who comes first? Brand or reader?

      1. Sara-May

        Yeah, that’s totally the point, right? Once you figure out who you’re writing for (brand or reader) the decision to post honest, balanced and sometimes negative reviews becomes easy.

  8. Kat Ness

    I like to read an all rounder review on products. Not just “this is amazing………..” and not saying why it is. I like to mix it up on my blog otherwise people would probably get bored.
    Kat Ness recently posted..Skincare ChangesMy Profile

    1. Tine

      That’s a good way to do it, Kat. Keep it interesting, mix it up. Too many negative reviews isn’t a good thing as well, and I have to remind myself to put in good ones among bad ones or else there’s too much of a Negative Nancy theme going on.

  9. Hexia

    if a blogger or youtuber says they only want to put good reviews up, I’d stop paying attention to them immediately. My view is if you don’t blog about the negative products you’re not (strictly speaking) being honest because you’re omitting parts of your reality. I think it’s a bit immature to try to make ur blog a positive environment by only putting up positive reviews, that’s deluding yourself and everyone else by making the world out to be only a happy place.

    I agree, the whole point of reading beauty blogs is to get an honest opinion unbiased by money. I never liked reading about products in magazines they tended to be very generic comments or just plain gushing.

    I think since the shift in thinking of blogging from a hobby to a business people feel less inclined to say negative things (i dunno tho I’m a latecomer to beauty blogs and youtubers) and I’ve also felt that in the last year or so the youtube reviews I watch have been getting more vague and more about the youtuber than the product. Like “Oh I love this product so much” instead of “I really liked this product because of X” and I’ve been finding it rather annoying. I follow some bloggers and youtubers because their personalities are really entertaining (hello jaclyn hill she’s so funny) and they give good reviews and some just because they give good reviews but if I wanted to hear someone say 10 different versions of “this product is really good” in a 9 minute long video, I’d rather just watch the shopping channel (I’m kidding I never want to hear that).

    certainly I can see how a blogger might be having a good run and get a whole bunch of products they like and it can sound like they’re excluding the negative ones, but if your entire blog only has glowing reviews then yeah I’d be very suspicious.

    I’ve just started blogging and I’ve got a couple of reviews of products I didn’t like up heh. one of them’s my most viewed review I think.

    1. Tine

      I recently read a blog post by this really big YouTuber/blogger in the UK. I’m not going to name names but I reckon she was given a product to try out. She tried it out only once and she wrote a blog post raving about it and recommended her readers to check it out. Mind you, it wasn’t a first impressions sort of post (at least, she didn’t word it that way; the impression I got was a proper review). How the hell can you only use a product once and rave about it and tell people to go buy? I was disappointed to say the least.

      It’s natural for us to have a good run and have tried a lot of products recently that were all good but I’d suggest mixing it up with some older ones that you may not be so happy about. Or maybe Monday: positive review, Tuesday: lifestyle piece, Wednesday: positive review, Thursday: negative review, Friday: beauty tips etc. Something like that would work.

  10. Priscilla

    I’m a Brazilian makeup artist and I think that my opinion on a product matter: if it’s good or if it’s bad. I think blogging is like journalism: you write stuff because you believe that sharing the truth is a good thing. In the case of beauty blogging: it’s your truth.

    One of my top read posts is a review about a very raved trio – foundation, concealer and powder – from a particular Brazilian brand, Koloss. They are supposed to be HD products and they are RIDICULOUSLY cheap. Like, with the money conversion plus taxes, one MUFE HD foundation is about 190 reals. This “HD” foundation is around 10 reals. NOT EVEN 10% OF THE MUFE PRICE.

    Every single beauty blogger (and the beauty “bloggers”) around here raves the MUFE HD foundation AND the Koloss HD foundation here in Brazil. I was like: “HEY! Why am I – and everyone else – spending all this money on this foreign brand if there’s one made in my own country?”
    And the most funny thing about the 90% of the Koloss trio reviews: none of them contained pictures of the blogger wearing those products. Only complements.

    *raises on eyebrow *

    As you expect, the Koloss one does not performs like everyone’s reviews. Not even 10% of what MUFE does like the price would suggest.
    It goes on the EXACT opposite way: the trio was the worst product I ever bought. And all the comments on thar particular post are: “you are the only one who posted pictures and says something true about this product. i almost bought this.” or “i bought this product and i was as disappointed as you”.

    Only because of this post I’m a truly believer that bad reviews should be on my blog.
    Priscilla recently posted..Resenha: Studio Makeup Mist & Set da e.l.f.My Profile

    1. Tine

      Hmmmm very suspicious indeed! I’d be thinking “okay who’s been paid to write such good things about the trio or how many of them were given the same product and asked to say good things about it?”. Cheeky, very cheeky.

  11. Shamim de Varax

    I like reading both sides and therefore I will always try to write my true opinions, whether I like a product or not. However I also try to make it fair, wouldn’t just bag a product entirely, there’s always something which works, or may work for someone else. I do hate it when beauty bloggers or even youtubers just write positive reviews, or especially when they review something they’ve obviously been sent (because reviews for the same product would pop up everywhere else) and they’ll say really generic things about the product with no useful information.
    Shamim de Varax recently posted..Mimโ€™s Mini Manicures: OPI I have a Herring ProblemMy Profile

    1. Tine

      We see a lot of that for new product launches. Suddenly there’s a barage of blog posts from bloggers writing about the same product and raving about it and then … zzzz. No more sound. ๐Ÿ˜›

  12. gio

    If a blogger only writes positive reviews, I can’t help but question their honesty and quickly lose interest, Not every product is great, and by avoiding to talk about the bad ones, you’re doing your readers a disservice. I understand some bloggers are scared of losing their PR contacts, but there is no need to diss a product. Just talk about the pros and cons and why it didn’t work for you. Not every product works for everyone, after all. Most brands don’t have a problem with that. And if they do, good riddance. Building an honest relationships with your readers is far more important that getting a few freebies.
    gio recently posted..Product Review: Vichy LiftActiv Retinol HA Day SPF 18My Profile

    1. Tine

      My sentiments exactly G. At the end of the day, we as bloggers must decide who is more important to us: a brand or our readers? Of course, the aim is to please all parties but sometimes that doesn’t work and that’s when we have to choose who our priority is. Just like you said, building an honest relationship with our readers far surpasses a few freebies. It’s very hard to build a good reputation but it’s also very easy to destroy it.

  13. Kate from Seduced by Beauty

    Great topic Tine. I always try to make my reviews reflect the truth whether it is good, bad or indifferent. I will never 100% bag a product though as what doesn’t work for me, may work for others, but in the case where it hasn’t worked for me I will state why so my readers can make a well informed decision whether to add it to their collection.

    The type of posts that I dislike reading are ones that sound like they have come straight from the PR press release. As a reader it is really easy to tell if the blogger hasn’t tried the product or if they are writing it in a positive light just to keep the brands happy.

    I also prefer to leave writing about new releases until the รฉxcitement’ has died down a little from the launch as I find it frustrating seeing SO many bloggers writing about the same product, saying exactly the same thing. Yes, it may be a great product but have they really given it a proper trial? This is especially important with skincare as I don’t believe that you can really know how a skincare product works unless you have trialled it for at least a month (if not longer).
    Kate from Seduced by Beauty recently posted..Teenager part 2โ€“Makeup at SchoolMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Thanks Kate!

      Oh don’t even get me started on blog posts that are verbatim press releases. That deserves an entire Bloggie Wednesday post altogether! ๐Ÿ˜›

      I’m with you too; I prefer to write about new releases later. The only times I’ll join the crowd and talk about the same product is if the product is limited edition or if it’s a time sensitive launch. Other than that, I’m happy to wait and talk about it later.

  14. Rebecca B. Bird

    I post negative reviews sometimes, but not necessarily every time. It depends on why I didn’t like it… if I just didn’t like the scent or something or thought the product was “meh” (not great but not awful) I might not be bothered to write about it. If there’s a clear reason why I didn’t like something (e.g. a mascara that flakes, a makeup remover that doesn’t remove makeup etc.) then I will definitely share that. My style is more polite than rant-y, but I’m not afraid to share negative opinions. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Rebecca B. Bird recently posted..The results of my Memebox Easter Egg HuntMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Good to hear Rebecca! I don’t believe negative reviews need to be ranty (although I must admit, I do enjoy the ranty ones more :P); they can still be professionally done with the message that the product just isn’t to your expectations. For shitty products, I always try to find something good to talk about it (that’s why I always have the “what I like about it” and “what I do not like about” parts at the end of each product review). There’s almost always something good about a product, although I have come across the ones that are so bad that I have nothing good to say about it at all (this is rare).

  15. Hilary

    NO NO NO!!! Negative reviews are VITAL! If there are no negative reviews on a site it makes me think if the person only accepts sponsored/paid for reviews, in which case I don’t feel I can trust them, or just aren’t very good at reviewing/honest because they don’t want to upset anyone and will only say nice things. Either way it makes it a not very valuable resource for me to use – and I have 0 time really, so an unreliable blog doesn’t get my precious time.

    Negative doesn’t have to mean horrid – you can say ‘this didn’t work for me’ or ‘this isn’t a great product for the following reasons’ without being all ‘I HATE this, its awful – blurgh’ (unless it really is poo, in which case, it deserves total slating tbh…)

    I need to know why it didn’t work though – it might work for me when it didn’t for you because of the reasons, and that makes it a perfectly valid review and very helpful…..but only ever posting positive reviews just doesn’t sit well with me.

    I think you’re pretty honest and upfront, and I’ve purchased many many things you’ve reviewed – not all of them glowing reviews (don’t ask me which right now, no brain room for that lol), so not being gushing doesn’t mean it a) won’t sell product and b) isn’t an enjoyable read – which at the end of the day is the primary objective of a blog surely? For people to enjoy reading it….if it sells product – great for those brands – but not the primary reason for writing words down…

    Will get off my soap box now – I feel a bit passionate about this obviously lol!

    1. Tine

      Haha you’re as passionate about it as I am! I agree; we can be professional about negative reviews without needing to bash the brand and product. Although if the product is really, really shitty, I’m afraid it’s going to be very hard for me to hold my tongue.

      At the risk of sounding woo woo (no disrespect to other bloggers who do this, of course), it has something to do with not wanting negative energy on the blog, hence the only positive reviews. It works for them and it works for many, but it’s just not for me.

  16. HIlary

    Yes – but ‘negative’ reviews don’t actually have to be negative in tone or energy – imho the sign of a good blogger is one that manages to not be glowy reviews all the time, but still keeps a positive upbeat energy to their blog. Like you do ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜€

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