When you’re fixated on solving a skin issue or finding the perfect makeup product, it’s easy to get excited by packaging, a description, and the claims made in social media ads. But the truth is, not every product that claims to be miraculous truly is.
So we often look to consumer reviews to see what other people think. But are these reviews what they seem to be? Are they an honest reflection of results from people who have tried the product?
Unfortunately, it is very common for beauty brands to pay or incentivize people to write positive reviews for their products in order to bolster sales. Here’s how to know which reviews are legit, and which may not be reliable.
The language or messaging seems repetitive in different reviews
One of the best things you can do before deciding to purchase a beauty product is to look beyond the number of stars that rate customer satisfaction, and read not one but multiple reviews. If many of the reviews written seem positive and rate a product with a high number of stars consistently, it’s worth your time to actually read what these reviews say.
While it’s true that a large number of legitimately satisfied customers may tout similar results, they usually always have different words or ways of communicating their experiences. It’s a red flag if more than one review seems to utilize similar language, messaging, or boast certain results as if they were “coached.”
Pay attention to your intuition and use your intelligence to decipher what seems too coincidental to believe.
It’s not a verified purchase
Many online beauty product retailers require people to have accounts in order to post reviews and will indicate whether or not that review is based on a verified purchase from them. Similarly, product reviews are sometimes sourced from external sites, in which case this should be indicated clearly.
Technically, reviews based on paid incentives or posted in exchange for free products should also be clearly indicated, but this isn’t always the case. It’s even possible that recipients of free products haven’t tried them at all.
Check for indication of a verified purchase. Even though this doesn’t guarantee that a reviewer hasn’t been reimbursed or received some other type of incentive, if the retailer you’re using doesn’t provide any proof of this factor, you might be better off shopping elsewhere.
There are extreme conflicts between reviews
If quite a few reviews rave about the miraculous efficacy of a product but you notice intermittent one-star ratings that say otherwise, it’s worth paying attention to. The positive reviews of any product, no matter how many in number, might be untrustworthy if they are peppered with a few seemingly reliable and consistent reports of inefficacy, poor reactions, or common complaints.
It may be tempting to skip over the nay-sayers because it isn’t what you want to hear when you’re excited about a product that might be the solution to frustrating issues. If you don’t want to waste money on snake oil, though, read and take note.
The people who have no incentive to be dishonest are those who have tried the product personally and had either underwhelming or experienced negative effects. While it is important to keep in mind that everyone has different reactions to different products, those with unusually sensitive skin or allergies are (usually) aware of a product’s contents before they decide to use it.
There are no before and after photos (or they are too good to be true)
Beauty enthusiasts who love to try new products or people with persistent skin issues seeking a solution are usually happy to post comparison photos when they experience incredible results. And why wouldn’t they?
If all you see is rave reviews with no visual proof, it could be an indicator that an army of influencers has been paid to hype a certain product.
On the other hand, if you see before and after photos of topical beauty products that literally transform a person’s appearance, proceed with caution. Though they may or may not have used the product you’re looking into, it’s quite likely that they’ve used other products, received injections or professional treatments, or been retouched in photos.
If the results seem miraculous, that one product alone is unlikely to be a one-stop remedy.