Who Do You Trust for Beauty Advice?

We first asked this question in 2012. A LOT has happened since then in green beauty. Time to pick up this thread again… let’s hear your thoughts.

Since you’re here, I’m going to go ahead and assume that you probably like talking beauty—whether you’re fully clean or not.

From a very young age I was always obsessed with products and beauty rituals, and consumed women’s magazines with questionable gusto—from Sassy and Seventeen, to Allure, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle. I relished reading the beauty advice from the editors, as well as from the supermodels—I’m talking Linda, Naomi, and Christy days here—and celebrities they interviewed.

But the magazines have changed, haven’t they? And so have the celebs. It just feels harder and harder to buy that they’re ever offering up an unbiased review, and not just helping sell something. That one time Gisele called sunscreen poison she had to put on her best PR face and eat her words.

Lucky for us, beauty blogs have definitely helped fill the vacuum that good magazines have left. And not every magazine article—I still read Elle and Bazaar with the same excitementis written to appease some advertiser. But it’s not always easy to tell the difference.

So I’m wondering who women rely on most heavily now for their beauty advice. Is it the customer reviews you read on sites; is it what your friends or sister or mom say that sways you; is it Morning Routines; is it Gwyneth Paltrow? Do you still turn to mags?

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Comments
38 Responses to “Who Do You Trust for Beauty Advice?”
  1. Fern says:

    Definitely blogs and customer reviews. The Morning Routines are really good, too, because they give you a “whole picture” look at how certain products/routines fit in overall. I haven’t really had any luck whatsoever with magazine recommendations before – I’m just glad I found blogs that I trust to find things that actually work.

  2. leia says:

    I definitely don’t take beauty advice from magazines as much anymore. The only magazine I still read is Vogue, and I mostly look to it for color inspiration and runway trends. Not that I experiment with my makeup much beyond new lip colors.

    Since I’ve switched to clean products, I don’t really buy nearly as many products, and the ones I do are just from the handful of brands I trust. I usually just read reviews online for the Josie Maran & 100% Pure stuff I’m interested in before I order it online. It has actually made it simpler!

  3. Rebecca says:

    What I rely on most are comments/reviews here on NMDL or Fig + Sage (especially the yearly “best of” posts). I also read the reviews from other customers of my favorite online boutiques like Spirit Beauty Lounge, Saffron Rouge and NuboNau. SBL also has a section with picks from various people (including NMDL!). In the beginning of going clean it was tougher, but now that I’ve developed some favorite brands I just look out for new products from them and/or read their blogs. I know that if RMS, Evan Healy, Sprout, etc., come out with something new, I want to take a close look.

  4. Lolly says:

    I never really trusted magazine recommendations for products. I have friends who are/were magazine and beauty editors for some serious mags, so I know how the beauty editor sausage gets made, for lack of a better/less gross term. I get the majority of my product ideas (I’m a product junkie, so I like to ix it up) almost exlusively online. Natural beauty blogs (NMDL, Fig & Sage, Well & Good) are my faves, but there are plenty of others, plus Makeup Alley can be helpful. I like Into the Gloss, as well. I rarely use it for product recommendations because the products mentioned are rarely clean and a lot of the interview subjects suffer from insider-itis (i.e. raving about a product because all your friends in the industry rave about it/you get free samples, e.g. Olio Lusso or Bioderma Crealine). That said, sometimes I learn about interesting brands, especially when the subjects are French. Because I’m a lawyer, I sort of get off on research, so I have discovered gazillions of beauty websites – some of them are really fun to read, even if not hugely helpful. So yeah… It’s tough to get reliable info, but not impossible.

  5. Emma B says:

    I was never really into mainstream magazines anyways; they contain way too much publicity, which I find pollutes my mind with unhealthy bodily images. Natural Health magazine is one I will occasionally pick up at the airport or browse through online.
    I also tend to rely on blogs and online reviews. My only criticism would be that few of these products are available locally for me (Montreal), so there is the cost and hassle of ordering online. Nothing beats word of mouth and stopping by your local health store to read labels and try the stuff on your very own face/body.

  6. Lola says:

    Well… Blogs and forums like this one! :) Plus customer reviews from SBL, etc. I usually Google the product I want to find out about and click until I feel like I have the most complete “picture” of the product I’m after. I never trust magazine reviews. Call me cynical, but I don’t feel mags actually have more than their own bottom line in mind when they recommend anything.

  7. kimberlyloc says:

    definitely beauty blogs, customer reviews and leaders in the industry. i love the morning routine feature for product discovery, and i regularly host a similar feature on my blog that profiles what industry leaders are using. like leia above, i do still look at mainstream mags, but it’s mostly for trend reports and color inspiration — i then look to my clean beauty peeps and favorite brands for ways to replicate what’s going on in mainstream fashion/beauty, but with a healthier twist. also agree with rebecca about being regulars on the clean shopping sites and following brands very closely!

  8. kara rane says:

    hi~ the best beauty advice comes from caring about your health,, once you are determined to have real beauty shine from within then the products chosen are from this source of purity. I love the high quality standards and care that can be found in the Whole Body dept. at Whole Foods. The knowledge of the staff is unsurpassed and the selection is amazing*!

  9. Joyce says:

    I’ve definitely been a fan of beauty blogs like NMDL, F+S (when they update), Intothegloss (agree with some comments that it’s very insiderish), Clean Beauty Blog, etc. I also follow some beauty gurus on Youtube – there are hardly any clean ones but I really enjoy seeing things happen, it just makes more of an impact on me when I see a facial oil being pumped out than having the best writer describe what that experience is like.

    I mainly research online and do searched for product reviews of things I’m interested in (high end clean skincare) and follow those blogs since the bloggers seem to keep reviewing things I am interested in. My most recent follow is Beautyidealist.tumblr.com, who works at Neiman Marcus and is trying to go clean – she reviews a mix of clean and not clean high end brands. For makeup, I LOVE frontrowbeauty, she has beautiful swatches and her reviews are succinct but meaningful (though the products are rarely clean).

  10. Tamar says:

    No question – NMDL is my first stop for thorough, honest beauty advice. After that, I like to go to the blogs and websites of brands I admire. Pai Skincare and Stark Skincare have great blogs, for example, with info that goes far beyond their own product line. They write on everything from foods that benefit your skin, to new star ingredients, to the benefits of lymphatic drainage massage.

    I actually subscribe to a bunch of mags which are currently accumulating in a big pile… unread. The \green\ beauty products they recommend are few and far between and I just don’t find them very interesting. The big exception (although they don’t feature exclusively clean products) is Whole Living, which I adore.

  11. tc says:

    I love you guys of course. There’s a great natural makeup blog called tested on human (http://www.testedonhuman.com/) although it hasn’t been updated in a long time. I used to read into the gloss, though less so now, mostly because I agree with previous commenters that it’s insider-y, and I also think all the women featured on there kind of have the same rich New York hipster look and that gets dull. Jane Marie’s beauty posts on the the Hairpin aren’t particularly clean but the technique columns on shaping eyebrows and whatnot are helpful (http://thehairpin.com/slug/beauty/).

    I am looking for clean makeup for women of color but have been so far unsuccessful. I might give up soon. I’m starting to think clean makeup and skin care is for white girls only.

  12. Nancy says:

    Mainly NMDL and many of the comments that follow posts, occasionally Fig&Sage. My first contact with clean products was with Tata Harper’s line and for that I have to thank Vogue . From a mention on Tata’s blog I came to NMDL’s blog and then the book.
    I used to be a believer that any advice printed on a magazine had to be good :) Since following advice found here, products evaluated and rated by many plus Rebecca’s trusted DIY potion I’ve seen my skin improve and finally get happy. And if I see an occasional unhappy spot , it is because I misbehaved with my diet.

  13. Mustang Sal says:

    The blogs I follow daily are NMDL, The Kind Life (thekindlife.com) and Healthy Bitch Daily (healthybitchdaily.com) for all of my health and beauty advice. Being new to green beauty (it’s been about 2 months since I discovered this blog and subsequently bought the book!), it’s been difficult to find new products after doing a complete overhaul of my bathroom (holy cow, I kept maybe two things). I’ve found great reviews here, and am going through the archives to discover what I’ve missed! I also look at SBL and the product websites themselves (love Evan Healy, 100%pure and Lotus Wei), but I’ve definitely learned the most from the comments on this site. I feel like I have a whole community here at my fingertips, even though I’m mostly a silent partner, as this is my very first comment :)

    Thank you Siobhan and Alexandra for changing the way we look at beauty!

  14. Rebecca says:

    @tc, have you tried Alima? Or Afterglow? Alima has the most variety but they both have mineral makeup for darker skin. Don’t give up : )

  15. Beth says:

    I guess in part because I was raised by a hippie I never realized that clean beauty had hit the mainstream untill I googled it a few months ago and voila NMDL popped up and now I look here but I still rely on my DIY books and my books on nutrition.

  16. jen says:

    Blogs are definitely my main source. I regularly check NMDL, IntotheGloss, CrunchyBetty, and Lisa Eldridge on youtube. I use those sources for inspiration, and then I’ll read as many customer reviews (amazon, makeupalley) as I can find when I decide to actually buy something. If I could suggest one thing to NMDL, it would be photos. Compared to my other “beauty sources,” NMDL is really lacking in the visual department. I think it’s hard, in general, to have a successful blog with out a decent photographic component.

  17. Colin says:

    I’d recommend blogs like the Beauty Brains written by people who know what they are talking about. Definitely avoid blogs that indulge in groundless scaremongering.

  18. Clara says:

    Your website, of course!…Mainly blogs, like:
    – the one from SBL
    – the blog of a shop in London i really like (www.beingcontent.com) and also their customer service
    http://www.londonmakeupgirl.com/ which i think is very interesting
    I check also other ones, but these are the main ones!

  19. Emily says:

    I watch a lot of “beauty gurus” on Youtube who are just awsome, regular girls who have through trial and error have discovered a lot of great things relating to beauty! Sometime I spend a whole Sat afternoon watching them :S Whoops!

  20. HM says:

    @tc check out http://www.minimalistbeauty.com/ – its written by an african american woman with lots of super helpful tips, not just around beauty but all about living a minimalist life style. Its very inspiring!

  21. Even though I’m a makeup blogger, I’m still a sucker for a good magazine. And yes, I tear out pages and stick them a folder every now and then to remind me of products to go buy!! I do trust girlfriends who always look fab, so I’ll ask them what that lipstick is or if they have a secret serum they are using, then go plop down the money hoping it does the same magic for me!!

  22. Michaela says:

    I honestly have the same dilemma. I love magazines but honestly feel they are required to promote products. I really listen to a lot of the blogs I read, this one included. Also I read costomer reviews as well and take them into consideration. I also feel as if online retailers are really accommodating to customers and have relationships with blogs to really get info out there. Like spirit beauty lounge and birchbox. I trust those sites, I don’t know if that’s naive. I also read into the gloss about 20 times a day. I read what people are using and it’s not celebrities who are the face of some beauty/cosmetic conglomerate. And I love the update because you can click on a product and it gives you the list of who uses it and what thy have to say about it. Genius! But the Internet has changed the way I buy products. I can’t buy unless I have all the info about it; ingredients, swatches, etc. so ultimately I am a smarter shopper and can still enjoy magazines but don’t run out and buy things I see anymore.

  23. Beth says:

    @ HM, I’ve enjoyed the minimalistbeauty blog too. I like that she is a fellow dancer.

  24. comagirl says:

    Definitely not magazines. Magazine articles are filler for advertising. And definitely not self-promoting ubiquitous Gweneth Paltrow. No way. I, of course, read this site, but I have products that I love and trust, so I don’t really venture out too much. If I do find I want to try something new, I’ll research it on my own and possibly too extensively. I also love NMDL reader suggestions, especially for homemade products like almond oil with essential oils. So far, that has been my favorite.

  25. rinabeth says:

    most def NMDL – to date, it’s hands down the site i recommend the most to other folks getting on the green quest. for clean. fig+sage, jessa blades, wellandgoodnyc, christy coleman, reviews by trusted peeps and good ol’ trial & error! i used to try makeupalley and other beauty review sites, but i feel like clean products get a bad rap when the reviewers are primarily sephora shoppers. the magazines i used to love now bug me – especially ones owned/operated by celebrities/editors who preach clean living but who constantly rave about and have their mags completely riddled with ads of yucky products! i get the need to make money thru ads, but still irks me a wee bit.

  26. rinabeth says:

    most def NMDL – to date, it’s hands down the site i recommend the most to other folks getting on the green quest for clean. fig+sage, jessa blades, wellandgoodnyc, christy coleman, reviews by trusted peeps and good ol’ trial & error! i used to try makeupalley and other beauty review sites, but i feel like clean products get a bad rap when the reviewers are primarily sephora shoppers. the magazines i used to love now bug me – especially ones owned/operated by celebrities/editors who preach clean living but who constantly rave about and have their mags completely riddled with ads of yucky products! i get the need to make money thru ads, but still irks me a wee bit!

  27. J Dubbs says:

    I love NMDL but now that I left the States, it’s hard to get a hold of a lot of the products abroad. Trying to look for good beauty advice locally (currently based in Taiwan)
    Never look to beauty magazines or even mainstream beauty forums – most of it is bought advertising in disguised.

  28. Naomi says:

    This NMDL site is kind of my bible!!! I love the diverse community here, and that there is so much contribution from everyone, and I’m especially grateful for all of you who are so forthcoming in sharing your own personal experiences, challenges, research and ideas. To me this is one of the safest resources as we are a pretty unbiased group with no financial stake in the products, etc, we recommend to each other.

    I don’t bother with magazines at all anymore – they champion green-washed products and cater to the almighty dollar (sponsors, advertising, etc) and while I get it, I don’t trust it.

    I do a fair bit of my own research for anything particularly important to me, and I occasionally use the EWG site to check on products if there are ingredients I don’t recognize as healthy or unhealthy. I also have a few very trusted brands that I know work for me and I know haven’t sold out… By “sold out” I mean stuff like Nude or REN where they started with integrity and I think the line was sold, then the bad stuff started creeping in…

    Back to NMDL – I love that this site has suggestions that range from brands to products to nutrition to the emotional / spiritual component. That spectrum has helped me to develop my approach to incorporate all sorts of new ideas and practices and to really focus on my issues in a much more holistic fashion.

    Big shout out to the awesome women who run this site and the amazing community who participate in supporting it and making it what it is today!

  29. Hazel says:

    I never look at magazines anymore. I definitely read blogs & that is how I get interested in a new-to-me product. I will always research a product before I decide to buy it though because often it sounds good but sometimes has ingredients that don’t work for me. Cost is a factor too. Although I have some spending money that doesn’t mean I want to spend all my money on beauty products. LOL. I’ve been learning that less is more and homemade is best. But for things I don’t have the time or expertise to make I buy.

  30. cathy says:

    I usually trust product reviews on blogs and websites and am able to get a good feel for a product but I CAN NOT BELIEVE that out of all the reviews I have read about Kahina Giving Cleanser NO ONE ever mentioned that you have to pick up the (large) glass bottle with one wet hand in order to pump it into your other hand! I have small hands and an antique sink so this method definitely does not work for me. I can’t risk dropping the bottle and cracking my sink which means I have to dry my hands after wetting my face and walk away from my sink to do the pumping! Fortunately Kahina customer service agreed to send me an empty travel sized bottle that I will transfer the product into…but this causes me to wonder what other information reviewers are leaving out that is important to me but may not be important to them.

    Generally when there are many reviews on a product on sites such as Spirit Beauty Lounge you hear everything and can pick and choose what applies to you. That’s what I try to do…read as many comments as possible.

  31. Naomi says:

    Oh, and one more thing… I stay away from mainstream media because I think the message is always: You aren’t pretty enough! You must not age! You need to be prettier / younger / better / thinner!!!

    I love that a consistent message on this site is about acceptance and being comfortable with what we’ve got. I don’t particularly feel like I’m being told I need to do everything in my power to not look my age, or to conform to some conventional ideal of what a woman should look like. I love that I feel, more than ever, that I don’t need to hide or correct what other people may classify as “flaws” and that we are really pushing a more forgiving, inclusive and all-encompassing concept of beauty that spans a broad spectrum of ages, styles, races, skin conditions, etc.

  32. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Naomi, I so feel you. I have been posting on instagram about the issue of green beauty being for everyone – you don’t have to (or want to) look like what conventional mags present as the ideal. Been thinking of making a whole blog post out of it. Green beauty is maybe better, though certainly not perfect, about this stuff.

  33. Letitia says:

    @tc: two recommendations for clean products not centered on white-girl skincare: Blissoma and Allafia. There are others out there, but, of course, when I need to remember the names, I can’t! I don’t wear makeup, so I can’t help you out there. I hope you find skincare that works for you. Your comment really hit home with me. The struggle is real.

  34. Great discussions here!

    My beauty product advice comes from a variety of places. I follow natural beauty blogs, I follow natural beauty brands on social media, I spend hours reading reviews on sites like MakeupAlley and Spirit Beauty Lounge, I browse the Whole Foods beauty dept, and I’m lucky to have friends in-the-know around the world who keep me up to date with what they’re trying and loving.

    What can I say? I’m a natural beauty fangirl :-)

  35. Stephanie says:

    This is definitely my go-to site. The articles are great, and there’s a wealth of suggestions in the comments, too. I LOVE reading the comments :-) I’ll occasionally check Makeup Alley, but not as frequently since I’ve switched to green beauty. I will usually find out about a product and then just Google it, looking for blog reviews. I trust some blogs more than others, but I’ll read a wide range. Green Product Junkie, Well + Good, A Model Recommends (not strictly green, but I like reading about UK/European products) are just a few.

    Keep up the good work!

  36. boiling says:

    I never trusted magazines or celebrities to dole out honest beauty advice. The sources I choose are:
    – customer reviews i trust on some websites
    – Blogs like NMDL and others
    – If it is cheap, I sometimes, try it out myself.

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