A Word About Our Product Reviews

Whenever people preface a statement with “in the interest of transparency,” I assume I’m about to be lied to.

Maybe it’s the Scorpio in me, or the fact that I’ve heard it more times than I can count (especially in the workplace, but only at previous jobs, thank goodness!), but it reminds me of when people say things like “with all due respect.” If someone says “with all due respect” to you, you’re probably about to be served. That said…

In the interest of actual, true, real, oh-my-god-just-believe-me-I’m-too-tired-to-lie transparency, we’d like to talk about how product reviews come about on this site. Because there’s about to be more of them.

I’m convinced that people who don’t work in the beauty business sort of want to know how editorial reviews actually happen. Can you trust them? Are they BS? I’m compelled to address it because I’m about to go crazy with product reviews. I have tried so many new things lately, and I’m bananas about a lot of them. This doesn’t happen a lot! But we want you to be able to trust where it’s coming from, because that’s what No More Dirty Looks is all about. For serious. So here, let us answer some questions we imagine you might have about our review process.

1. Do you just get everything your hearts desire for free?

Heck no. I mean, we get a lot of free stuff, for sure. More on that in a moment. But if we did get whatever we wanted for free, we wouldn’t be forking over mucho cash for Tammy Fender every time we run out of that Intensive Repair Balm, for instance, or loading up on three Infinite Love perfumes at a time on the Lotus Wei site. We also wouldn’t be re-upping on the Kahina cleanser from our own OpenSky boutique, or whining because 100% Pure has been out of stock out on our favorite face sunscreen for months—which we know, because we ran out and wanted to buy more. So yeah. We want you to know that we buy stuff too. Most of it, in fact.

2. But the first products are free, right? Just so you can try it and review it?

Oftentimes, we get sample sizes of things for free to start. Some people send us full sizes, which is awesome—but rare. Sometimes, too, people have asked us to test products that are still in development to offer feedback, in which case those are technically free, too. Once we’ve reviewed something, sometimes people like to spoil us rotten, usually because of two things. First, because we’ve written nice things about their products, every word of which we meant, and they want to say thanks. And second, some of these people have become friends, and sometimes friends like to spoil each other. But this is extremely rare, in any case.

3. Do you endorse things because of paid advertising?

Ha. Well, look around. We’ve obviously found the way around this: We don’t have ads on our site, we do this whole thing for free (aside from the Friday Deals, which we get a flat rate to host). Those deals are the only semi-commercial thing we do on the site and the reason for it was mostly benevolent: Clean beauty can be costly. Plus, you seem to love them. Plus, they keep this site running. Also, as we have said, we only do deals with companies we endorsed beforehand and handpicked because they’re so clean and high-performance.

4. Why don’t you ever rag on products you hate?

We have a policy when it comes to product reviews, and that policy is “if you don’t have anything nice to say, find something you do have something to nice to say about, and talk about that instead.” Basically, if we don’t like something or don’t love something, we just leave it out. Which does not mean that if we don’t review something we hate it. We’re only two people! And we, like you, like what we like!

5. Do you only review things when PR people send you emails about it?

Ha. What a crappy question! You guys would never ask that, we know, but the answer is “of course not.” Honestly, most of the products we try and review here are things we found ourselves, or that we told each other about, or that our retailer pals like Spirit Beauty and NuboNau told us about, or that we read about online. Once in awhile a press release comes our way and we have that head-slapping moment and we just cant wait to get your paws on the new line. It’s honestly amazing when this happens, mainly because it’s so rare. And as much as we try to stay on top of what’s new, that alone would be a full-time job in this exploding clean cosmetics category.

OK so we’re sure we missed some stuff. If you have questions, please ask them. Your trust is really important to us. We’ll try to get to all of them in the comments. And if you just have, well, comments: As ever, the floor is yours.