Chatter: Content, Consequence, and Controversy

Grab a cup of coffee or tea – I’ve got a wall of chatter for you today.

What a shame it is that a content creator cannot issue a straightforward (not harsh, nasty, or spiteful) review of a product. Or, perhaps, she can – but not without being lambasted for being a bully, or for, “sabotaging swatches,” or for, “having it out for,” or, “being jealous AF of,” whoever collaborated on the product.

Ridiculous.

Let’s call a spade a spade. Jaclyn Hill has a bit of a blemished history when it comes to collaborations.

  • 1995, her shade with scandal-ridden Gerard Cosmetics. Sure, the lipstick was apparently fine – but when things went sideways with the whole Manny and Jen fiasco, she could (and should) have been more tactful regarding her choice (which I agree with) to end her relationship with Gerard.
  • Champagne Pop, from Becca, flew off the shelves to a ridiculous degree. The spinoff palette, unfortunately, was a failure. Because Jaclyn for some reason refuses to hire competent PR people (read: not her mom and sister) to help her navigate such sticky situations, she bombed spectacularly when she unceremoniously turned the blame at Becca.
    Sure, it was Becca’s manufacturing process. But when your name is on a product, you are at least partially culpable. There’s also plenty of constructive ways to respond to ugly situations without saying, “It’s their fault! I’m innocent!” Yeah – real professional.
  • Then, Morphe. There was talk for over a year about a second Jaclyn collab palette with them…when info should have been released, it was withheld despite a leak. When it should have launched, it was delayed with little-to-no acknowledgment, let alone explanation, as to why (beyond wishy washy excuses and denials of it being what was leaked). Eventually, it launched – and spoilers: it was exactly what was leaked. The shadows aren’t a special formula, and as far as I can tell (from the few people honest enough to create content without either a) being in Morphe’s pocket or b) trying to impress brands, or Jaclyn, or whomever) it isn’t worth the price.
    I haven’t bought their products, I don’t plan to, so I can’t comment on quality from a first-hand point of view. I can say, however, that I’m not surprised.

Over the years, there’s been a cult of personality developed around Jaclyn. Now, there’s a fairly venomous fanbase who seems to think she can do no wrong. They are so active, so pervasive, that they are attacking content creators who are even just vaguely critical. Not even critical of Jaclyn herself, but suggesting that Product X, although decent, is not quite worth Price Tag $Y. Not saying, “don’t buy this,” or, “this is garbage,” or, “wow, what a failure,” just, “From a value standpoint, there are better options,” and, “there seem to be some inconsistencies in how this product is being presented – here is how I got these results.”

Rabid

In a sub-industry inundated with nothing but positive reviews, even fans cannot deal with even the slightest hint of honest yet sensitive criticism. Dare to tell the truth that something didn’t blow you away? You’re obviously a hater, just jealous of others’ successes.

That’s a mature, well-reasoned argument now, isn’t it? It is possible to be impressed by someone’s career successes and simultaneously critical of products they are associated with. These are not mutually exclusive ideas!

Many of the fans losing their minds on those brave enough to issue criticism are young, impressionable ladies who think their behavior is just fine … online. Naturally, none of them would be willing to be so brazen in real life. Having a rabid fanbase so drunk on your cult of personality, however, does reduce the positive perception others may have had and reduces your credibility. No, it isn’t as if Jaclyn is telling these people to go hiss at, “her haters.” But she isn’t asking them not to, either – and people in her camp do support this behavior.

This behavior has some content creators refusing to even touch the product for fear of the drama that will inevitably ensue. It has others, who did a great job approaching the matter respectfully and maturely, refusing to engage with their followers any further for fear of inciting more issue. That is not okay.

Repeat After Me: Criticism is NOT a Fate Worse than Death

Criticism in and of itself is not a negative thing. Yes, of course there are ways to issue it that are – but so much of the vitriol I’m seeing on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, etc. is not in response to negative or nasty content. It is in response to earnest, thoughtful content that is clearly making great effort to not bash the product or Jaclyn.

We must ALL face criticism in our lives. Sometimes it is thoughtless garbage. It isn’t always. If you think you’re so above reproach that you should never, ever be criticized? My, you have some growing to do. I suggest starting with getting off the YouTube and Instagram comments section and doing some soul-searching.

For the rest of you (us), we should encourage professional, thoughtful content creators to create as they intend. We need more of their work! We need honest, thoughtful reviews and discussions…even if the peanut gallery thinks otherwise.

…and Before You Think think this is a Jaclyn Bash…

–it isn’t. I think it is quite impressive that Jaclyn has been able to establish and grow her brand over the past few years. At something like age 26 or 27, she has successfully built a lucrative career in an industry and format that is difficult to grow in without years of experience behind you. When it came to 1995 and Champagne Pop, she clearly has an eye for what will be on trend, and she worked to establish relationships to create in such a way to capitalize on that. For someone who does NOT have an experienced management team or higher education behind her? That’s incredible! …but she still has opportunities to grow.

TPDTY: On Upselling for Consumers and Salespeople

A month ago, I went for a wax at a popular waxing chain. The first-time service, albeit uncomfortable, went well! Part of how this chain makes money is through selling their in-house line of skincare products for use at home after the service. I generally eschew these things unless the person I’m working with can make an excellent case for them. Most do not.

Upselling

Afterwards, the esthetician who rendered my services tried (gently, unlike this hair stylist) upselling me on some of their retail line. According to my esthetician, the products contain growth inhibitors and exfoliants. Both are cool, but not enough to sell me on a $27 tub of 45 wipes. She gave me one of the wipes to demonstrate how saturated they were (unlike some wipes that are halfway dry); it was pretty solid. But then again, for $0.60 per wipe, they ought to be.

Know Your Products (or Services)

I asked what its active ingredients were to exfoliate – like an AHA or salicylic acid; she balked. She ultimately went on to tell me that it contained lavender and aloe vera for soothing purposes – great, but not what I asked. The packages did not list that information either which, as a consumer, I find disconcerting.

Needless to say, she didn’t make the sale. I later went to research the products and found that they do have both AHA and BHAs – but no information on what kind or on concentration. Ouch, not worth it to me when I can use any number of products I already own.

As a Consumer

Read moreTPDTY: On Upselling for Consumers and Salespeople

Febreze One & Terracycle

Febreze One

First things first: I did receive free product from Influenster to solicit testing and a review from me. HOWEVER, I had already purchased TWO bottles of this product before I knew there was or joined the campaign.

If it is par for the course for beauty bloggers to talk about candles, why not other home fragrance products?

I’ve been a Febreze junkie for over a decade. Meadows and Rain, which I’m pretty sure has been long-since discontinued, was my first favorite. Over the years, I enjoyed a lavender one (forget its name) for a while, then (oddly) the Allergen Reducer (I don’t have indoor allergies), then Thai Dragonfruit (discontinued), then the Tide one. I still use both the Allergen Reducer and the Tide-scented ones for different things – my brother-in-law is allergic to cats and we have two, so if he’s coming over we aggressively vacuum, and I hit the seating with the Allergen Reducer. It’s a nice, light scent. I have no idea, honestly, if it helps with allergens though. It’s the thought that counts?

Bought at First Sight

Well before I received the BzzCampaign invitation for Febreze One, I spotted the new bottles in Target for $5.99 with an on-product coupon. Because I’m a sucker Febreze junkie early adopter, I gleefully dropped one into my cart before realizing what’s cool about the product. The trigger and dispensing mechanism is intended to be reused – so you just purchase refill bottles that screw into the bottom.

Two Solutions in One Spray

Read moreFebreze One & Terracycle

Two Cents: Instagram Makeup for Everyday Wear

Instagram MakeupI was watching this video about using Tarte Shape tape from Stephanie Marie on YouTube and laughed at the, “if you’re NOT A YOUTUBER,” part of the title. (Btw: She’s spot-on with the recommendations on how to use Shape Tape, but more on that from me in another post).

Makeup needed to look, “good,” on camera or film is not the same as what one would wear in real life. Certainly there are occasional intersections, but think about it: such makeup is by necessity stronger, heavier, more dramatic.

Instagram Makeup & Influence

We’ve reached a point where Instagram makeup is so pervasive that people think that those looks are it. Everyone is going hard with concealer-driven under-eye highlights, two tablespoons of highlighting powder, matte liquid lips, and very serious eyebrows.

  • It’s one thing if a a full-face of Instagram or YouTube-ready makeup is what you like. There’s nothing wrong with that, and there’s definitely a ton of artistry to appreciate. I see incredible, mind-blowing makeup on Instagram and YouTube all.the.time.
  • …it’s another if you don’t care for heavily done makeup but feel compelled to wear it because that’s what’s trendy.

Multiple Routes

There’s more than one, “right,” way to wear makeup. In my opinion, artistry like Lisa Eldridge’s is woefully underrated. Alone, Lisa has taught me more than a dozen gurus with the same IKEA vanity setup (only a little shade because tbh I kind of want one too, Alex drawers and all) have combined. Recently, I read a comment on one of her videos that said something along the lines of:

I believe that in twenty years all those Kardashian-inspired looks trending on social media will be a butt of a joke as much as eighties New Romantic look is now.

Struck a chord with me, really. I enjoy a bit of everything for the most part, but have a realistic approach to, well, real life.

The Bottom Line

What do you think of Instagram makeup for everyday wear? Are you on-trend, or do you prefer more timeless looks?

Clinique Dramatically Different Dupes

I’m still slowly working my way through a bottle of Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. I use less of it these days since I’m having good luck with my Mountain Rose Herbs argan oil, but it’s still a good lightweight moisturizer for those with combination to oily skin. At this point, I don’t think I would repurchase unless I bought it from the CCO at less-than-retail or managed to catch it on a rare sale like Macy’s recent VIP sale.

Generic Price, Perhaps Prestige Quality?

In my internet wanderings, though, I’ve come across TWO Clinique Dramatically Different dupes or generics. Until now, I’ve never seen Clinique Dramatically Different dupes, or any other Clinique dupes for that matter. They are both generics of the lotion version of Dramatically Different.

One, from Sally Beauty’s GVP (Generic Value Products) line:

Clinique Dramatically Different DupesGVP Distinctively Unique Moisturizing Lotion

With a Sally’s card, it’s $9.69 and they frequently offer B1G1 50% off on the GVP line. It only has one review, which is glowing, but still. For less than half the cost of the, “real deal,” I’d probably venture the money and give it a shot if I were in the market.

Two, from Wal-Mart’s Equate line:

Equate Strikingly Unique Moisturizing Lotion

The price on this one varies – on Walmart.com it is marked around $12, but through Wal-Mart Grocery (their pickup service, more on that below), it is marked down to $6.84. Apparently, Wal-Mart’s Equate line has a whole host of generic versions of Clinique products. Realistically, I’d be skeptical – but there are 55 reviews, many from former Dramatically Different users, giving it nearly five stars.

Side Note on Wal-Mart Grocery: I’ve used this service for nearly two months (yes, with my own money) I wholeheartedly recommend it to my friends, family, colleagues, and fellow busy people. They don’t charge for pickup orders, and I save time and the hassle of going in a store (particularly Wal-Mart – I love this service, but I don’t love being IN Wal-Mart. Sorry not sorry).

If that sounds relevant to your interests, you can sign up and save $10 on your first order here. I do get a small referral kickback but do not have an affiliate relationship with Wal-Mart; any Wal-Mart Grocery customer can refer their friends or family in the same way.

I’ve tried neither of the Clinique Dramatically Different Dupes in this post, but was intrigued by seeing generic versions of prestige products.

Is It Risky?

Compared to trying to buy Clinique Amazon or some other random, non-licensed reseller? Not at all.

I’d be more comfortable buying a generic version of a product from an established generic line like Equate or GVP. Even if it ends up being not as high quality a product, it isn’t mislabeled or falsely packaged. Generic house brands or private labels like Equate and GVP are directly tied to the reputation of the retailer that sells them – so even if we aren’t quiiite getting Clinique quality, they aren’t going to offer a comparison product that unsafe. From a business perspective, it doesn’t make sense.

I’m Curious

Would you try either of these Clinique Dramatically Different Dupes or other generic version of popular Prestige products?