There's been a lot of drama on YouTube lately. Instead of everyone taking sides on the issue, I think it would be far better to just learn from the experience and move on. This experience has taught me that I need to be a wary and informed consumer when seeking advice on YouTube.
My sincere hope is that the beauty community eventually agrees on a standardized set of ethical guidelines about honesty on whether a product is a promotional gift, or an item they have actually bought. OxfordJasmine recently made a pledge of honesty to her followers. How fabulous is that?
So let's just learn from the experience and move on to more interesting things like makeup. Here I want to share some commonsense tips on how to spot whether a haul or rave video is featuring a promotional product, or an item that has actually been bought. These tips are not hard and fast rules, they're just signs to look out for when you're seeking beauty advice:
- If someone is doing a video on a massive haul of products from a company (especially online company) that you've never heard of, it may be a promotional video. Obviously online companies like Coastal Scents, Sigma, and Elf are now well known, but I'm talking about totally new companies.
- If a price has not been mentioned, or the guru has not explicitly stated that they in fact paid for it, it might be a promo.
- Look around YouTube and Makeupalley for reviews of the same products the guru talked about. If no one else has reviewed it yet, chances are the company is new and is trying to promote itself.
There is nothing wrong with a guru being paid to give their opinion about a product. It's great that they are so successful, and are making a buck doing what they love. So now, the onus is upon us as consumers to take these steps:
- If you want to try out a brand new company's products, order $10 worth of items from them and see if you like it. If you hate it, at least you didn't blow a fortune on rubbish. Consider it a trial fee.
- Curb your instinct to purchase every single thing that a popular guru suggests. I know it's hard, but watching hauls helps me live vicariously through others. I set a monthly budget for makeup. If I'm drooling over something, I sleep on it, and then ask myself the next day if I still want it. Chances are, the thrill will have died down and I will think rationally. However, if I'm still thinking about it for a solid week, and it's within my monthly budget, I go for it.
PS. My blog is far too new to receive free promotional products, but just to put out the disclaimer, all of my reviews to date have been things I've bought. If the day comes when I am given products to review, I will be perfectly honest about it. In fact I'll brag about it. ;)