As a 'blogger' (I hate that term), I am really lucky and blessed to have the opportunity to try all sorts of different skincare and beauty products. However, trust me when I say this - it is NOT as glamorous as you make think it is. To be honest, sometimes the sheer amount of volume of products that are sent can be quite overwhelming and at other times, brands put a lot of pressure to have a post or Instagram photo out ASAP. In my 2 years of blogging and Instagram, I have learned when to say "no" and I now know what sort of 'collaboration' works best for me.
With reviews, I can sometimes take the LONGEST time to write one. Skincare products such as serums and eye creams are actually one of the hardest types of reviews to write due to the fact the product needs to be used for a decent amount of time consistently to see and know results. There is a reason why sometimes, I will have almost finished the bottle before I write a dedicated review of a product - I need to know the product well! Other products, I can get away with using in a shorter amount of time before reviewing, these include things such as masks or cleansers, where to results are pretty much instant. Makeup for me is a tough one as I am no makeup artist, I base my opinions on makeup very quickly as for me the product needs to work fast. Short little snippets of a review work best for me in this instance!
However, as a 'blogger' and a general consumer I find that there are products that don't quite work for me. Whether it be a reaction to the product in question or I find that the product a little disappointing in terms of results, texture or how just how it performs over time, there are products that I just didn't get on with. If there is one thing that I have learned in my time blogging is that not everything HAS to work for me and my skin can't agree with everything and it is okay to say so.
*** Please note, I was kindly gifted these Aveda products in exchange for blog post. These didn't work for me, and thats okay! All the opinions in this post are my own honest opinions.
It's Not You - It Could Just Be Me
One thing I think we all need to understand is that we are human. Part of being a living, breathing human is that we are all different. Everything from our genetic makeup, personality, conditions that we live in, habits, lifestyle etc. We are not all the same and this is so important when it comes to reading reviews because what works for Person XYZ will not necessarily work for you. There are plenty of examples of this on the internet. Cult products from brands such as The Ordinary, La Mer, SKII and recently for me, Aveda - all have rave reviews. However, there are people who just didn't get along with the product whether it be they didn't see the results that everyone was raving about, didn't see the value or the product led them to have an uncomfortable reaction.
Speaking from my own personal experience, I was gifted products from Aveda. Looking at the ingredients on these products, they appeared fine for me to use (no SLS...yay!). However, after a few days using them, my scalp was an awful, dry and itchy mess. Quite simply, the product wasn't for me, and you know what? That's quite okay.
It is really impossible to have a product work for everyone. The thing about beauty products, whether it be skincare, haircare or makeup is that half the fun is in discovering products. If something doesn't quite work, we can move on and find something else. It's an important message to remember as consumers AND as brands.
Brands - this applies to you too
Going back to my story of my reaction to the Aveda products that I was gifted. Due to the fact these products were given to me, as good etiquette, I let the company know. Their response was one that really surprised me (in a good way). Basically, they said thanks for letting us know, and please be honest in how you feel about our products. This is something that I think a lot of brands - big or small need to really reflect on. Whilst the criticism might make a few people think twice about purchasing, nothing puts other off more than bad behaviour from brands.
In my time on social media and blogging, there have been various dramas that have occurred on Instagram, the Reddit forums and of course on blogs. Quite simply, the behaviour of some brands has been rather appalling. Some brand owners can't take negative responses to their products and they expect everyone to love their hero or cult products. Whilst the vast majority of their users do honestly rave and love the product, others have just politely voiced that the product did not work for them or they may have questioned the efficacy. Those who offer a differing opinion should not be shut down and be treated awfully, they are absolutely entitled to. If you don't like what has been posted take a leaf out of brands like May Lindstrom Skin's book and perhaps help find the root of the problem. If that doesn't solve it, she graciously says thank you and moves on.
Honesty First, PR Packages Second
Finally, in this rant, I look at you fellow bloggers. I don't understand bloggers who don't use products, yet post glowing reviews about them. How is this even humanly possible? There are products where I understand results can be seen instantly (think sheet masks, lipstick etc), but there are other products such as eye creams and serums where miracles, unfortunately, don't happen overnight or in two days. If it does, where can I get some?
The blogger/influencer and PR relationship is an interesting one. If a PR company is sending items out, it generally is for consideration, unless otherwise specifically stated. To get in the good books of PR companies bloggers will generally need to post about a product and/or include a review (depending on the nature of the campaign). The more a blogger writes about a product from that PR agency (or brand), the more likely they PR agency will continue working with them. Please note, I when I say this, I don't mean everyone but only a select few, so please don't shoot me for saying this. However, there are some bloggers out there who constantly want 'free' goods and in order to continue this, they will write a 'great review' of a product on their blog. I am sure some of you have come across these 'reviews' whereby there is no substance, just a regurgitation of a press release with the added "I love this! It is amazing". Not very helpful if you are a consumer if you ask me.
I am in no way perfect but when receiving PR packages, out of courtesy I will post an image of an item on my Instagram feed and/or include an Instagram story - blogs posts, however, are a whole other ball game. I only every post about products I really do enjoy using and when I do, I try to provide a little more of the why. Why did I love a product? Why didn't I like it? Lots of whys! Whilst I will admit, my blog is generally filled with 'positive' reviews, there are also some 'negative' ones there also, and with any 'good' review I give, I also do try to point out some of the flaws or issues with a product (for a lot of my products it is price!). If I can't review, I do try to think other creative ways to talk about the brand or the products - it doesn't have to be always reviews! It can be educational, though provoking or just fun!
So fellow bloggers, I do ask, when receiving products - please be transparent and please be critical when criticism is due. It's not all about free goods and numbers - it is about respecting your audience as they trust you to guide them in their purchases. Don't take advantage of your voice.
Now Back to that Aveda package
So now, back to the product/s that started this entire blog post in the first place - Aveda's Damage Remedy Shampoo, Conditioner, and Hair Repair. As mentioned, the shampoo and conditioner didn't work out for me, quite simply, the product made my scalp feel extremely dry and itchy after a few days and I was getting dandruff. I stopped using these two products because the reaction I got wasn't fun and it did take about a week for my scalp to return back to normal. However, what did possess me to even look and consider these products in the first place was the fact that they were SLS free and the ingredients at first glance, looked harmless enough for me. I generally find it hard to buy SLS free shampoos, so I was willing to give the Aveda ones a go in the first place. Overall, I wouldn't purchase this particular product combination but after my experience with the Aveda PR team and how professional and lovely they were, I would consider looking into something else in the range later on down the track. The Damage Remedy range however, was most definitely not for me.
And that, ladies and gentleman, is quite simply the truth.