10 tips for writing beauty reviews

10 tips for writing beauty reviews


The more I do it, the more there is to learn. Hope these ten tips are helpful for anyone starting to write beauty reviews:

  • Take photos straight away
    NOT when it’s all bashed up from knocking around your bedroom, NOT when you’ve squeezed the tube beyond recognition. Do it as soon as the product arrives and is still looking pristine.  Then you’re all sorted when it’s time to write the review.
  • Say no to reviews of products that are not right for you
    Only say yes to reviews where you have the enthusiasm and knowledge to give an informed review. Or if it sounds fun. To put it another way, if an offer doesn’t make you want to do this:
    via GIPHY
    hen it’s probably not right for you and the wisest thing all round is to let it go to somebody else. Being choosy about the reviews you say yes to will automatically enhance whatever you do decide to feature.
  • Tell the story of the brand (if it’s interesting)
    These days I think people are very interested in the provenance of the products they use. It’s lovely to think that you are supporting a small brand, or that your cosmetics started life by somebody stirring a pot on their kitchen table. Not every product has a fascinating heritage – some are simply branding slapped on a label. But if there is a story there, include it in your review.
  • Warn the PR if a review is going to take a while
    It’s professional courtesy to let the PR know if you’re running behind on reviews, or if testing a skincare product will take several weeks. Most are fine with this because they want a quality, considered review as much as you do. But if it turns out that the PR is in a hurry and you can’t or don’t want to meet that deadline, it’s probably best to decline at this point.
  • Take before and after shots
    Take a close up photo of your skin when you start using a new skincare product and then again after a few weeks. Often there isn’t enough of a marked difference for you to be able to use these photos in your review, but they can be a good indicator as to whether something is happening or not.
  • Make yourself aware of common allergens
    It’s rare that a product is suitable for everybody. For example, dimethicone is a very common ingredient in skin and haircare, and whilst it doesn’t give me any problems, that’s not the case for everybody. So if I spot it in an ingredients list I will point it out, for the benefit of readers who are actively avoiding it.
  • Give basic product details in an easily accessible format
    It’s frustrating as a reader to see beauty reviews that are coy about the RRP, or don’t tell you where you can buy a product. Help the reader out with details like this, especially if there is a current promotion they might be interested in.
  • See beyond the press release hype
    Just because something claims to be the best thing since sliced bread doesn’t mean it isn’t mouldy old dough. Ask questions. Delve deeper into research and claims – how big was the study? Who conducted it? Are we talking proper scientific research or the opinion of four people in the marketing department?
  • Show swatches of any coloured product
    This is one of the most useful gifts to readers – how does that lipstick look in natural light? Is that nail varnish shade true to what’s on the outside of the bottle?
  • Check out what paying customers are saying
    Once you’ve formed your own opinion, have a look at what other punters are saying on unfiltered sites such as Amazon or MakeupAlley. Beautypedia is also useful for expert opinions (mainly US brands). Don’t be swayed by individual reviews – look for any trends in what consumers are saying and think about how that compares to your experience.

I think the most important phrase to keep in mind when you’re writing beauty reviews is YMMV – Your Mileage May Vary. Everybody experiences make up and skincare differently. One person’s dream lipstick shade is another person’s waking nightmare. The serum that makes your skin glow may make your friend break out in hives. This is why you can never really define if a product is good or bad – so much is a case of personal preferences and biological differences. But what you can do is give the reader enough information to make up her own mind. Put the reader first and think about what they might want to know about a product – that’s your review.

When it all goes wrong..

Sometimes a product just doesn’t meet your expectations, but that’s OK because as we said, YMMV. There’s still plenty you can write about: What were your initial expectations? How did the product fail to meet them? What would you like to see changed about the product? What (if anything) DID you like about it? If it’s not right for you, who might it be right for?

Do you have any other tips to add? Please leave a comment below

PS If you found this useful and are just getting started as a reviewer, you might enjoy this post about how to get started writing blog reviews.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
  • fashion-mommy

    Great tips, yes pristine packaging and good photo’s make all the difference.

    • It’s harder in the winter though, don’t you find? When there’s barely any daylight you have to be quick to get your shot.

  • Very helpful tips! I always take a photo of products before I use them, makes a difference.
    I think I might start taking before and after photos now 🙂

    • I must admit I don’t always remember to do that, but it makes it so much easier when you do. I tend to take photos in batches at the weekend when hopefully I can get a bit of decent outdoor light.

  • I love the YMMV part, that is oh so true. Plus as someone who needs paraben and SLS free products I like seeing that in reviews

    • Oh yes that is a really good point, an important thing to include.

  • Amanda CP

    I don’t write beauty reviews, but you mentioned all the things I would like to read on a beauty product review, especially before and after pics, if there is a difference. They sound fun to do.
    Amanda. #kcacols

    • Yes they are because every product is different and so often they don’t turn out quite how you expect. There’s always something new to explore in the world of skincare.

  • tracey bowden

    I don’t really write beauty reviews but I use a few of your tips to write reviews of other products eg take pictures straight away. I recently had to send a load of emails as my daughter was ill and I am still trying to catch up on all my reviews now! #kcacols

    • Get well soon to your daughter Tracey. Hope life calms down a bit for you! Try not to worry about the reviews, health is much more important.

  • My Petit Canard

    Really great tips here! I dont typically write beauty reviews, but have featured beauty products in round up posts and have done a couple of these things. But there are also some tips here that I hadnt considered or thought about previously like taking before and after shots which makes a lot of sense. If I write a full on beauty review at any point I’ll definitely be coming back to some of these! Thanks. Emily #KCACOLS

    • Thank you Emily! Yes I only learned that after making mistakes. I just recently had a product that’s very shiny, so it got fingerprints on it straight away which I had to clean up before taking the photos.

  • Cecile Blaireau

    Wow really great tips here. I have done some beauty reviews but not that seriously! oops #KCACOLS

    • I think a lot of this stuff you can apply to any style of review so I hope this was helpful Cecile. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Madeline Littlejohns

    Really useful tips here! And lots of them can be applied to other types of reviews which is great! x #KCACOLS