I struggle to accept ratings out of ten. How did you get that? What was your score based on? Was your one and only awarded point a pity point? Why only a 9 when 9 is so close to 10? I need context! As an aficionada in the arts of judging and complaining, I have compiled my very own Perilously Pale Product Rating System, a thorough and systematic method of scoring. It works on a score out of ten, where each point is awarded for meeting certain criteria that I consider to be important in a beauty product, not just willy-nilly.
- Is the product cruelty-free?
The first thing I do when I pick up a product off the shelf is check for the little bunny on the back, which indicates to me whether or not the brand follows the Beauty Without Cruelty initiative. According to the Leaping Bunny website, the program “provides assurance that no animal testing is currently used in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories, or suppliers”. Ingredients and practices that adhere to these types of guidelines are incredibly important to me, and should be something all consumers are aware of. While I wouldn’t say I strictly buy from only the brands that have Leaping Bunny status, it is definitely a factor that sways my purchasing decisions.
- Does the packaging catch my eye?
I am one hell of a sucker for packaging. If it’s going to look pretty on my vanity, there’s a 99% greater chance I’m going to buy it. I’m like a magpie for clean-looking labels and minimalist containers, and I think most of the beauty-obsessed community are the same. One look at their perfectly curated Instagram feeds and you can see that they have an eye for all things aesthetically-pleasing. Packaging is usually the first impression a product makes, and for me, it is often a make or break.
- Is the packaging convenient to use?
Once you take the product home of course, you’re not going to care how pretty it is if it’s a pain in the ass to use. Beautiful new facial oil in a dropper bottle? Love it. Trying urgently to screw the dropper bottle closed with oily hands before the product drips off my face, all while desperately hoping I don’t drop the glass bottle on the floor? Don’t love it quite as much. A product needs to be convenient enough for me to use, no matter how much of a rush I’m in, or it gets pushed further and further toward the back of the bathroom cabinet.
- Does the product have an agreeable scent?
The way a product smells is really important to me. It’s the difference between feeling pampered and fresh every time you use it, and reaching for your OTHER body butter instead. Depending on the type of product, the longevity of the scent is also significant. Perfumes you want to be able to smell when you step into the shower that evening, whereas a potent eye cream can be quite unbearable.
- Is it made from quality ingredients?
Putting a few drops of lavender extract in a bottle of alcohol and calling it a toner does not impress me. Neither does the fact that my R350-a-pop facial cleanser has the same top ten ingredients as my bubble bath. Nothing irritates me more than being ripped off when it comes to beauty, so I do my homework about the product and make sure I’m getting what I paid for. I’d like to start learning more about the ingredients I see most often in my products, how are they derived, how much do they cost and what benefits do they have your skin.
- Does the product last well?
Every so often I come across a product that I absolutely love, a product I love so much yet doesn’t seem to last. This could be because it’s necessary for you to use SO much product before you get the desired outcome, or because the product goes weird and unusable before you’ve finished it. In both cases the beauty item doesn’t last well. It’s incredibly frustrating to purchase a serum that requires four pumps to cover your face sufficiently, or to splurge on a fragrance that changes it scent before you are able to finish the full bottle. The longevity of the product needs to much its price tag and volume.
- Are any promises made being fulfilled?
Look, if you didn’t want me to believe that your serum was going to reverse signs of the last ten years of aging then you shouldn’t have put it on the box, okay? Alright, so I’m not that bad, but I do like to see a significant change in the area that the product has promised to improve. Skincare items are notorious for their outlandish promises, and I believe it’s important for a brand to deliver on phrases and terms that they use to promote their product and entice consumers into purchasing the item in question.
- Is it worth its price tag?
I don’t think it’s fair to only award products for affordability. Sometimes, especially when it comes to skincare and fragrances, you really do get what you pay for, and it’s worth your while to invest a little more in order to really see and feel the results. A more reasonable test would be to ask if the product was worth whatever I paid for it. I find that a lot of cheaper products from brands such as Essence, Catrice and the Body Shop, do the same job, if not a better one than their high-end counterparts. Therefore this is one area I’m quite critical in.
- Did my boyfriend notice that I used it?
Stuck for areas to rate a product on in order to get a score out of ten, I asked my boyfriend what I should include, and his simple contribution was “Would I notice that you used it?” Every time I see him he has the time frame of a couple of seconds to notice my new purchase (new dangly earrings, glitter liner, slightly cooler version of the only shade of lipstick I ever wear) before it’s deemed ‘evidently not eye-catching’. So I included this as my ninth point because quite frankly, if I’m going to fork out half a grand for a blush, I’d at least like a compliment or two on it.
- Would I repurchase it?
And finally, the ultimate way to judge how much I enjoyed a product is if I would consider buying it again. Some purchases are a waste, some are merely disappointing, some are even good, but only a few have me knowing that I’ve found my holy grail product. Often, a product may not tick off every requirement on my list, but it will have one quality that makes it great enough to become a regular in my beauty routine.
Everybody has certain requirements that they need to have checked off before they purchase a beauty product. What are the fundamentals when it comes to the products you buy? Is there any I’ve missed on my list?