Look, I’m not one to brag, but I am good at getting gossip. Quite good. I often think, if I didn’t have a lisp and wasn’t afraid of absolutely everything, I would be a cool and tough detective.
But hey ho, the loss of Interpol or whatever is your gain. I’ve been my ear to the ground, and have picked up on a particularly interesting bit of beauty blogger controversy.
Bloggers/journalists/influence shamans are sent better quality versions of the beauty products that are sold to the general public. They give glowing reviews to the high-quality versions, thus creating demand.
However, the brands don’t reproduce the same product. They do a second, cheaper production run. The fruits of the second batch will look very similar, but the quality won’t be up to scratch. Consumers are disappointed, but the sale’s been made. The brand owners cackle manically, rolling around in cash and the tears of their fans.
Fuelling The Fire
There’s nothing concrete, but people who are discussing the rumours cite two main controversies:
Tati Westbrook spoke out about the practice after Too Face allegedly supplied her with a palette that was of better quality than the version they would be putting on the market.
“I feel, genuinely, that there were two different factories working on those palettes, and that mine might have been better than a lot of other people’s…there were some shady things going on”.
Now, I like Tati. I trust her reviews more than I trust a lot of YouTube reviews. Also, I don’t think she would point the finger if she didn’t truly believe that she had been misled. That’s not to say she was – I just think she genuinely doesn’t trust Too Faced to produce products that are of consistently high quality.
Jaclyn Hill had a similar issue, with Becca – although the product she had was a prototype, not a press sample.
The Champagne Eyeshadow Palette was a complete flop. Those who tried it said it was dry and patchy, nothing like Becca’s usual shadows. More importantly, it was nothing like the shadows that Jaclyn had been promising on her social media.
In this case, Becca admits that the shadow palette sold to the public was not the same product that Jaclyn had gushed about. They used a different lab, apparently because of time constraints, and that lab hadn’t been able to match the quality of the first batch.
Because customers were so unhappy and vocal with their complaints, the palette was pulled and apologies were issued.
Finally, there’s often a disconnect between how products look online and in person. I’ve got my own opinion on why this is (see below) but many regard it as further proof that press samples are slightly different, much better versions of the same product.
The Plot Holes
– Any extra product development would result in extra costs. So, if it’s all about making more money, it doesn’t make sense to go to the trouble and expensive of producing a secret special range for bloggers, does it?
Even if you were going to be shady about it, there are cheaper ways to garner positive reviews from lots of blogger/print/influence shaman people. Strike one.
– Also, you know the phrase ‘when you hear hoofbeats, think of horses, not zebras’? I think the special secret blogger range might be the zebra here.
I mean, it’s not too unusual for brands to cut costs and not pass on savings. It’s shitty, but it happens. Usually, they just change the packaging so you get less product – I feel like ice pops are the best example of this. One summer, I’m going to tear open a Brunch and find that I need my reading glasses to see it.
– With filters, ring lights and a brass neck, you can make crap products look good.
I’ve seen YouTubers make dents in dusty shadows with a single swipe. They dig up so much product that the swatches look totally opaque. It’s zero indication of what an actual swatch would look like, let alone what the shadow would look like on the eye and applied with a brush.
I think there’s something shady about crap products getting glowing reviews, but I don’t think it’s as complicated as this rumour suggest. So, what’s actually happening?
Product quality can vary from one production run to another, especially if different factories or machines are used. It could be that this is what happened with the notable cases, mentioned above. The initial lab run resulted in a better product than most subsequent runs – unfortunate, but not sinister. What matters is how the brand deal with the faulty batches.
Alternatively, and probably what you’re all screaming at the screen – for whatever reason, the person doing the review is giving the product praise that it doesn’t deserve. It is actually a crap product, but they’re hyping it up. No great conspiracy, just plain old shilling.
And there you have it. Case closed, back to the important and definitely true things, like Avril Lavigne’s clone.