The bloggersphere has huge influence; with a few positive reviews we have the power to create a cult product, sell out a range or launch a brand from nothing. However, as a wise man once said, with great power comes great responsibility. We may talk honestly and openly, but occasionally we’re incredibly guilty of hyping up a product that simply doesn’t deliver. I’m very much aware that a lot of bloggers (perhaps the younger or more inexperienced) are eager to please, to build and maintain relationships and value an influx of samples over their own credibility – however, in my opinion that’s only of detriment to the reader. I’ve prided myself on saying it how it is (sometimes to my own disadvantage) and putting the needs of my reader over those of a brand, PR or agency who’d love me to say nice things about a product. I feel it’s important to provide a thorough and honest viewpoint, because essentially bloggers are trusted and respected for being completely impartial. However, over the last year I’ve noticed a huge trend of bloggers bigging up products only for myself and many others to find them somewhat of a dud.
Obviously a product’s performance is up for debate and based upon
personal preferences, but when the same issues crop up it gradually
becomes apparent that the hype is unjustified. A recent example of this
comes in the form of Benefit’s They’re Real Push-Up Liner… Marketed as a complete innovation in the eye category, the liner works by ‘hugging’ the lash-line to provide a ‘flawless’ result from corner to corner. The texture of the liner is gel-like and much thicker than anything else I’ve ever used, being dispensed through a flexible plastic tip that aids application and ensures a straight line. So far so good, but unfortunately it then becomes very messy. Although the images accompanying the launch show a beautiful ‘cat flick’ look, I’ve tried umpteen times to recreate it and have yet to succeed – as have many others I’ve spoken to. The large tip may aid application along the lash line, but it’s a nightmare at creating beautiful flicks; the thickness of the gel simply prevents anything other than a straight line being drawn.
Interestingly, Benefit have a number of statistics on their website to accompany the launch including: 91% of 32 women tested said it was longwearing; 81% said it was waterproof; 88% said it hugged the lashline and 84% said eyes looked visibly larger. However, I wonder how many would say it was easy to use, provided the desirable result, was better than their existing liner or didn’t try out after a fortnight? Because that’s the other issue: it dries out something chronic if you don’t look after it properly. You have to turn the dial on the base to release product (similar to concealer pens,) so it’s incredibly important to only dispense a small amount at any one time to prevent the formula drying up or blocking the nib. However, with a brand like Benefit that focuses on creating great products that work well and ensure makeup is fun, it feels somewhat of a letdown to find your beloved new eyeliner as dried out as a three week old prune only a short time after you open it.
Although it’s a perfectly pleasant product, it certainly doesn’t live up to the hype created – especially as it’s an eye-watering £18.50. I’ve found liners that are ten times better for a third of the price, which makes me wonder why there are so many glowing reviews and makeup enthusiasts quickly jumping to praise it. Is it that as a community we’ve become so focused on being the first to write about something, to benefit from SEO and to be seen to support brands we love, that we lose sight of the bigger picture? Is it that there are so many bloggers now popping up that we’ve become incredibly competitive and keen to feature any ‘big launch’ to secure the next set of samples? I’m not sure, but I am concerned that if this trend continues then as a collective we face the prospect of losing our credibility and the trust that made us so different to start with.
What do you think, both about Benefit’s They’re Real Push-Up Liner and the issue surrounding bloggers hyping products? I’d love to hear your thoughts.