Honesty In Blogging.


I wanted to clear up a topic that seems to be spoken about a lot in blogging recently, and that’s the PR/Sample Debate. I can completely understand why this comes around – if you’re going to spend £30 or more on a moisturiser, you would want to know if the review(s) you were reading were unbiased and accurate. I’ve been blogging for three years now and it has completely taken off, so much so that we are basically learning as we go along. There aren’t a lot of laws (here in the UK) when it comes to samples and disclaiming but there are, shall we say, unwritten rules – just like avoiding your friend’s ex-boyfriend, we all know that we should be 100% honest when it comes to revealing how we got our hands on a product and our thoughts on it.

To me, this is a no-brainer – samples happen and over time, you can build up a relationship with a PR and so you do get a lot of their latest launches and releases. I speak to a lot of PRs on a daily basis due to my running a magazine full time and no one I work with regularly expects anything, they don’t make demands to post samples ASAP or request for samples to be undisclosed – most of these brands are well-known brands for whom it’s a little added publicity since I have a good readership or small brands who appreciate any publicity they get, but understand that bloggers and press alike may not have space for their products or are charming enough to wait their turn. I never, ever work with pushy PRs – I hear there are a few and I have encountered one or two but I don’t need the hassle or stress in my day to day life. I don’t feel like I get a huge amount of samples (this could be because I’m a little bit forgetful when it comes to replying to emails and of course, I don’t go to events) but I would say there is sometimes the occasional * in a post which marks a freebie – some have a few and a lot have none at all, but my posts aren’t planned out by what I have and haven’t bought – they simply go in to the mixing pot that is my makeup stash.
I like to purchase most of what I feature myself – I like to choose the shades and prepare for upcoming features in due course (I tend to enjoy the products that I buy a lot more for some reason). Plus, I am obsessed with all things beauty – some people go on huge booze benders or spend all their money on that Shania Twain memorabilia collection but me? Oh I just like makeup.

Blogging is evolving at a rapid pace and I think a lot of people forget this. Where once blogging was just a hobby we did in our bedrooms, it is now a full-time job for some – because of this, bloggers can be self-employed, they can be directors of their own companies and so there are a lot of benefits with tax and even claiming expenses. Times are a-changing and incredibly quickly, too. I invest a lot of time and money back in to my business (the magazine mainly but also my blog) and I know many other bloggers are the same; keeping up with the latest launches and collections, spotting the latest must-have mascara etc. and this takes time and money. Similarly, when you are offered a few pieces from a brand, you want to be able to provide a service to your readers – one that is both honest and up to date. And readers want to know if said new collection is worth buying so it all goes hand in hand (that is, if everything is laid out on the table – and I know that I, as well as the blog/gers that I love, read and think of as friends, are all honest).
I don’t expect anyone who isn’t a blogger or whatever to have the amount of makeup I do, that would be truly ridiculous (though I do regularly switch it up and pass it on to friends – the girls never, ever leave without a huge bag of goodies) and I wouldn’t ever expect people to buy everything I feature, but I think blogs are the place people run to when they need a new item of makeup and so I want to be one of the people they come to – I provide a fair few different options in my posts for, say, a brightening moisturiser but you wouldn’t ever need them all, you can pick and choose depending on what suits you. As I also run a magazine, I buy a shit tonne of products so I can always have an opinion for upcoming features, there are times when I buy three different mascaras in one go because I need to get a feel for them, but I see this as my job – there’s no reason that anyone else would need to do this and I hope I make that clear.
My area of (semi) expertise is skincare and helping to clear up acne because that’s one of the reasons I started this blog, I couldn’t leave the house because of confidence issues with my skin and I wanted to document the products that were helping. That still applies. I often have people requesting I do reviews and sometimes it’s not possible without a little bit of help from PRs etc. and it’s also good to cover a wide variety of topics/products so you appeal to more people.

I don’t think there should be any grey areas about this, but I think a lot of people can jump to conclusions and think the worst of bloggers. I have spent three years working my way up to where I am (not that I’m a blogger ‘sleb or anything but I’m happy and grateful for what I do have), – that is, having a wealth of loyal readers who trust what I recommend – I wouldn’t throw it away to be paid for a review or to recommend something just so I could get in there with the PR. One of my favourite things is helping people (usually on Twitter) to decide between products I’ve tried and also when people say “I bought this because of you and I love it”, “I trust all your recommendations”, “your skincare posts have completely cleared up my skin” – this happens a lot and it makes everything worth it.
Without biggin’ myself up, I do know that I have quite an influence over my readers when it comes to my reviews and recommendations and I completely understand this – I would never want to lose my integrity by recommending something I thought was average or worse. Sometimes I think it’s a little disrespectful when people accuse me of giving something a good review because it was a sample – it’s like someone telling you you only go to work because you get a free lunch. A little offensive, in my opinion but trust is something that has to be built and all that.

I don’t tend to post anything negative as such on my blog, there are times where I’ve said “I can’t recommend this for this reason” but mostly I weigh up the reasons for my thoughts and let the readers decide – we all like different things and outcomes so one man’s junk could be another man’s treasure. The only time I’ve said not to buy something is if it is a fault with the design or I’ve heard a lot of people say the same thing etc. and I do try to say this constructively but I’m not scared to give a negative review – if something hasn’t worked for me I simply won’t feature it as this blog is more for my recommendations than badmouthing a product that could work for many other people. I think being fair is the way forward, take this review for example, I was honest, I said it didn’t work for me and why but if you look in the comments, you’ll see that a lot of people highly rate it!

My point here is that, yes, bloggers do get samples but there’s very rarely anything dodgy going on. PRs aren’t cracking a whip, making sure we feature something by the following week. So maybe there’s not a lot of products on here that I say I hate, but I work with only a select few brands and I only usually agree to samples if I’ve heard of the brand or at least know they’re sold by a reputable store (i.e FeelUnique or Boots etc. – more so people can get hold of it easily), is within a reasonable price range and if it fits my blog, is something I need and will work for me etc. – there’s many, many brands I turn down, which I’m sure applies for all bloggers. I’m also pretty quick to get rid of products when they don’t work for me, I can be quite fussy when it comes to beauty products but my friends? They love everything I send their way.
I notice that people are always quite quick to judge bloggers but at the end of the day, there are some amazing blogs out there – they’re free to read, they’re honest and may have even solved a skin concern or two and you don’t even need to have a subscription. I find blogs to be far, far more honest than the magazines you can buy in stores (I have one magazine subscription to Allure but the rest I don’t touch).

So while I can’t speak for all bloggers, that’s how it is for me and how I like to think it is for others too – the bloggers that I know and speak to are always honest and genuine. Of course, I also have a magazine which I get samples for, but I only add samples in to posts on my blog if I want to – I never have to (just like all samples) and it’s only if a product is really great and I can’t wait to share it with you.
You can guarantee that everything featured here is my genuine thoughts.

I really hope this clears up a few things in the blogosphere (first and last time I’ll ever use that term, promise) – I’m almost certain I speak for everyone when I say we’re not trying to trick you or hide anything. When a few posts come out on the same product or release at the same time, it’s because it’s new and we can’t wait to be the first to blog about it and not because it’s sponsored! I don’t ever really do sponsored posts, not because I think they’re bad but I just don’t really ever get asked to do them and unless I could pull it off in a unique way which was related to my blog, I would feel a bit odd. As long as they’re clearly labelled that they’re sponsored, it’s a-ok with me. A lot of the time when a new store opens or there’s a new release, there’s whisperings on social media of “is it sponsored?” – I have to say, to my knowledge, we usually just jump on a “new” bandwagon because everyone is excited and wants to blog first – like certain palettes and the & Other Stories launch – and also I often get/see tweets from readers saying “have you tried this? I want to know your thoughts” – you lot are just as bad ;). If it is sponsored, I would think it would be labelled but (usually) big launches don’t need to be sponsored because there will be a heap of hype anyway.
I would say to use your head and think clearly about these things but have faith in bloggers, we’re not bad people and we do, genuinely, just want to help. Don’t fall for every hype going and don’t succumb to blogger pressure – unfortunately if I buy from Miranda Kerr’s skincare range, I won’t wake up looking like Miranda Kerr (this should be on a tshirt, non?) so don’t be sucked in to buying the latest product unless you actually need it! (It sounds like I need to take my own advice here but I do take reviewing products seriously so I often buy products for review purposes, mainly for the magazine rather than on here).

Feel free to discuss! I feel incredibly nervous publishing this because it’s one of those topics. I hope I came across well! You can see my full disclaimer here.

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  • Cate

    A post on honesty that’s full of undisclosed sponsored links? V funny!

    • For some reason I can’t remove them, I will have to contact Skimlinks – and they’re not undisclosed! I have two Skimlinks disclaimers and I highly doubt a link to Miranda Kerr is going to get anyone very far?!

  • Very well put. You have such a nice way with words. Sponsored/PR sampling always can be tricky in this new blogging world we have. Personally I don’t mind it if the blogger is honest about it and if it isn’t too often. But I don’t see a reason for readers to get haughty about it. For the most part I think bloggers do well to be real and upfront about it. Blogging is the reason I stopped reading magazines, I trust real people’s opinions and thoughts over magazine sponsored reviews. I think you do a magnificent job with the PR samples you get.

  • Laura Neuzeth

    This was very well written, Kate. I trust your opinion a lot and I appreciate that you took your time to explain this issue to those who are not knowledgable about the subject.

  • Daniella

    This is really well put, I completed agree, it is definitely a tricky subject, but no need for readers to get angsty!
    Daniella x

  • This is definitely something that everyone needs to read from time to time. Although it is not much talked about, thanks for letting us all know how PR samples don’t change your honest opinion!

  • Maddy Cane

    This is written so well! I agree with everything that you said! xxx

    Maddy from UNSTITCHEDD

  • Kimberley

    You absolutely wrote this beautifully. Whilst I blog, I tend to be more on the distrustful side because I see so many name dropping in Tweets, and seemingly just wanting free things in hopes of ‘reviewing’ them, and so I tend to be.. skeptical. But like you said, there’s a lot of work beforehand, or other various reasons and so I thank you for giving me a bit of thought, and letting me take it on an individual basis.

  • Veronica

    I hope people aren’t giving you a hard time about samples! It’s really just the nature of skin care/make up blogging nowadays. Obviously, it’s different for people who seem to want to blog FOR the free samples, but those blogs are easily sussed out. You’ve been a blogger for a long time and you run a magazine so it’s only natural for PRs to come to you. Ain’t no shame. I’ve never thought your reviews have been anything but honest – you’ve openly talked about products that didn’t work for you and only raved about the ones that did! Besides, we’re all trying to save pennies in this day and age so I don’t fault you for taking samples instead of shelling out £30+ for a product!

  • sarah

    Thanks for writing this post. I have never doubted your ability to write honest reviews, but I can understand why people can get misunderstood – because as you said – the blog-scene has changed so much & bloggers can earn money from their content. I appauld you for adding your opinion to the debate in a well-reasoned manner, you’re one of my favourite beauty bloggers and this has only made me admire you more.

  • Guest

    Dear Kate,
    I have noticed that people tend to go after their heads without thinking and looking around them not just when it comes to beauty blogs but when it comes to life. Some people are so close-minded. They expect from you a miracle and when they don’t have it comes the criticism. I think what you are here for is to help your followers to see clearer. You are not a doctor, not the owner of a brand. You are a nice, lovely and reliable person. Of course, even with your opinions we have to be careful because we all have different skins and tastes and what works for you might not work for others. Your favorite products aren’t in the cheap section but they aren’t that expensive either. People buy MAC foundations which (at least in my country) costs a lot but they can use it for almost a year (or maybe just me because I never “fix” my makeup). I believe it is the same thing with masks, moisturisers, cleansers etc. as you said we do not need ALL of them and when it comes to skin care we need to take care of it. We have to find the right one or the one we like. Of course, I understand why some people feel like being lied to because they don’t see the miracle they’ve been expected. It is a hard job that you are doing because it is so easy for others to be mean to you or other bloggers anonymously. I really hope you don’t listen to these people they are mean because it is the only place they can be without being “caught”. I trust you but I also take my distances and I think this is the right way to think. You give us your opinions and advices not duties. We don’t HAVE TO do what say and it is not your goal. You are our chatty friend that we love to listen to and seek advice from.
    Sorry for such a long comment. I just wanted you to know that I believe most of your lovely followers think more like me. I love your blog and I find you so likeable. As an exemple, whenever I put G into the search bar it is gh0stparties that comes first and not google. Haha I use more your blog than google! Have a nice day, get well soon and drink a lot of tea! X

  • Kirsty

    bless you for writing this post! I’ve always been a huge blog reading fan, and recently started my own (mainly to justify my spending habits haha) I cant even remember how I used to decide on new products and 100% trust my ‘fave’ bloggers to do a good honest review, for example I’ll mainly read your blog for ‘decorative’ make up reviews/ideas, and I turn to other bloggers such as vivianna does make up for skincare because I know I have a similar skin to her.. keep going and ignore the haters 🙂
    thanks for all the great help over the past 3years!

    Kirsty x

  • Gema

    I think that the main problem with people offending bloggers is jealousy. I mean, the sound of ‘i’m a full-time blogger’ can make you vomit sometimes, because most of the people think that you just buy or get things for free, photograph them, write how amazing they are and answer to some e-mails. Plus, you can do everything just lying in bed, you don’t need to get up early, etc. This might piss off looots of people and sometimes even I find myself feeling a bit angry with you all, because I have to do all these everyday things that ‘normal’ people do. However, recently I’ve started to realise that you are working hard as well and I believe that if we could swap our lives for one day, I would be very surprised how much real and not so glamorous your life is. So, don’t be sad or uncomfortable when you get a hater comment, they will always be ones, but I think that more and more people now realise that blogging is a job and it is easy, like every other job out there. Even though, I haven’t got any hater comments on my blog (I guess because it’s not very popular), I believe that I know how you sometimes feel, but try not to feel that way, because you are an amazing and friendly girl and this is the only thing that people can get jealous of. Not your samples and variety of products make your blog worth reading, it’s you. 🙂

  • Amy

    This was a fantastic read Kate, I’m really glad you put it up 🙂 I agree 100% with you, I’m a tiny blogger in comparison to some yet I’m very lucky to get offered Pr samples here and there. I’ve never felt pressurised into getting up a review in a certain time period, in fact everyone I have worked with has been super kind and helpful as it is all new territory for me.

    I’m completely honest with my reviews as there isn’t a reason not to be? Surely companies want to know if their products are not too great so they can improve them, as well as that help out the average Jo who doesn’t want to spend their hard earned cash on something when in fact it’s not that great. Clearly this works the other way, if something is fantastic rave about it so hopefully we can all get a slice of the cake so to speak.

    Blogging may look super easy to some but I know just running my blog along side university last year became quite tough and I sat back for a little while to finish assignments. Doing it full time must be really hard so I full appreciate what you and others alike do. I’m glad you blog as I thoroughly love reading what you have to say 🙂

    Amy xx
    A Little Boat Sailing

  • I think this post is spot on. I discovered blogs because I was looking for skincare solutions (and came across yours!) and I enjoy reading them for the tips and tricks that you guys offer up, and I know that with the sheer volume of products you review this wouldn’t be possible without pr samples, unless you were made of money! I don’t envy you trying ten different products on your face, for me I’d be scared something would go wrong! But I applaud you for doing it so people like me can take away the knowledge bits you impart on us for doing so. Not to mention discovering products you wouldn’t have looked twice at before. Also, people that complain about ad’s, skimlinks, and any way a blogger can get a few pennies should walk a mile in their shoes and realise how much work it is. After starting a blog as a hobby, I realise how much work I put into mine and it’s only a nightly thing, not a career. So I’m sure I speak for a lot of people when I say Thank you for doing what you do, and doing it amazingly!

  • Liisa

    Within 1month of starting my blog, I received beauty products from a PR. I felt pressured into it, and didn’t even want these products. After this, I’ve not accepted anymore. I don’t want added work in return of junk.

    However, I know a bloger who spends all day talking to every PR going. I can’t take it seriously. I think it’s a shame when (a few) people see their blog as a way to get free stuff.

  • Anja

    It’s kind of sad that you had to clear this up. I think that readers will notice who’s being honest and who isn’t. That’s why I like reading blogs so much… if I feel like a blog isn’t to my taste anymore, I can remove it from my bookmarks and not read it anymore! Keep up the good work with your blog, it’s one of my all time favourites and one of the few ones I haven’t got sick reading! XO

  • Adrienne Third

    First Kate, I want to thank you for writing such an upfront and honest post about this particularly touchy subject and secondly to back you up for every single word you’ve said.

    I’ve been blogging on and off for the better part of 10 years, mainly personal blogs and ones I only felt comfortable sharing with close friends. Recently I felt the urge to share with the world and created my new blog to really share my efforts in combating insomnia/restless sleep and ways to cover up my terribly lacklustre skin and dark circles. I’d like to think that if I can contribute to helping even one person ease their sleep woes with the products I’m reviewing and testing, then I’ll have achieved what I set out to do. PR is a mine field for those without experience dealing with them, and I would never dream of giving my readers bad advice just because I felt obligated to. I want to share what works for me, what I found didn’t help but in a honest and balanced way. We’re all different, but that’s what makes reading blogs so fascinating. I rely on blogs to tell me what I should and shouldn’t buy, it’s the average girls opinion I value much higher than a glossy magazine.

    Adrienne | Late Night Nonsense

  • great post! i have been following beauty blogs for a couple of years now / youtube gurus and i think followers / viewers are pretty clued-in in terms of a real review or PR review .. it’s “interesting” to see product X appear on several different channels and blogs all at the same time (dead giveaway) .. nonetheless, i don’t mind if bloggers/YTs review things that are sent .. just be up front.

  • Amazing post! I don’t like when bloggers only post about their PR samples. There is one blogger who I stop following because every single post was PR samples. I think it’s fine to review them but hardly anything was bought with her own money, which made me question her motives.

  • Michelle

    Great post, I think what you said was spot on.

  • Jo (Pop of Coral)

    Brilliantly written post Kate, your honesty is so refreshing! Jo x

  • Caroline Noble

    Really well written. I liked the post but I do have one thing I would like to say.

    I don’t want it to come across bitchy, as I know that when writing, tone and expression is hard to get across but this is meant as a constructive thing, not an out and out hate. (thought I would get that in there before all hell breaks loose!)

    I appreciate that bloggers get samples, I mean they are famous (for want of a better word) for doing what they do and PR is just doing what they do by getting their products out their, not to say it is free advertising; the company has to pay for the samples after all.

    The thing that bothers me, and it is something you covered Kate, is that there never seems to be negativity about a product. Now I understand and appreciate that as a blog you don’t want to have negativity, which means you just don’t write about the products you don’t like, which is your perogative, but I personally feel a bit of sometime constructive comments (not just a case of I didn’t like this lipstick it makes my teeth look yellow) would give a more rounded feel to the blog. If we can’t see the things you have been sent that you don’t like, then we just see the products that have been sent to you and you are commenting that they are good, which may come across as every PR sample you are sent as being brilliant and maybe having a biased opinion as you have been sent ‘freebies’. (when I say ‘you’ I mean it as the Royal ‘you’, not you personally).

    I hope I have managed to put across a point in a way that isn’t a bitch fest and you understand what I mean.


    • Thanks! Not bitchy at all, you worry too much 😉
      I can only speak for myself but I think I’m pretty honest when it comes to saying what works and what doesn’t with a product. A lot of the time a product doesn’t work for a reason, for example I wanted to love the Bumble and Bumble Quenching shampoo but it just made my hair so greasy and lank – but I have fine hair so I probably wouldn’t go and choose something that is for thick, dry hair so it’s almost pointless for me to talk about this.
      A lot of the time I do what I have done in this post – – the Hourglass brow pencil is alright but not something I adore so I’m still on the lookout. A lot of the time I also talk about how much I like something and say “but I wouldn’t recommend this unless you had acne” or something similar.
      I hope this helps! x

  • Emma

    This was an interesting post. I understand that you don’t want to put negative reviews on here, so as to keep it an upbeat place with positive recommendations, but personally I would love to know when you find a product is unsatisfactory or doesn’t live up to its claims, rather than just choosing not to mention it at all. I often find these reviews a lot more useful that a dozen reviews raving about something.

    In particular, as a reader of many beauty blogs, I find it frustrating when I want to hear honest reviews on a new product (recent example: Tresemme’s new texture range) but all I can find through Google is two dozen bloggers who, it turns out, all received the product for free at the launch event. It’s not that I disbelieve their reviews, it’s more that I give more credit to bloggers who went out, spent their money on something, and can say ‘Actually I do feel a bit cheated’ (if that’s the case). I think we are all more easily impressed with something when it’s free rather than if we’ve dropped hard-earned cash on it.

    All this said, to me you stand out amongst a lot of beauty bloggers as having a good deal of integrity, stating when things are comped even if you don’t have to, and generally you strike me as honest which, as a reader who DOES go out and buy things on bloggers’ recommendations, I value highly.

    I know that in writing this post, you’re not asking for feedback from us, your readers, but I hope you can take something from all our comments anyway. I wouldn’t expect you to change the way you blog, but it would be neat, maybe even just once a month, to feature a ‘disappointment’, something that doesn’t live up to the hype.

    Thank you for writing this post.

    • Hey dude, thanks for this. As I said, I do point out any bad points in reviews, ie. if a foundation made my skin oily or a brow product just wasn’t for me. I think there’s a good amount of good and bad but as I said with the Kiehl’s review, most people loved it so I find it’s best to point out what works and what doesn’t – it’s not very constructive to just be negative, y’know? People know what they want in a product and then they can make a decision for themselves. It’s best to just weigh up the findings!
      I also sometimes do a “Products I Want To Love… But Don’t” series on YouTube where I talk about products that I don’t love. I often find products that have been well talked about on blogs that I just don’t like.
      I hope this helps! x

      • Emma

        I definitely get that it’s not necessarily constructive to just rip a product to pieces and be totally negative. And I also want to clarify that my issue with the lack of negative reviews was not directly at you, I think it’s a wider issue in the beauty blogosphere. I also appreciate that it’s unfair to say ‘this product is rubbish’ just because it didn’t work for you, as everyone is different.

        I think beauty blogging on the whole is really damn hard (I don’t do it, so this is slightly an outsider’s view!) – readers can get critical because they’d love the opportunity to try out high end products for free, but on the other hand finding the time to fully test and review these products is, I imagine, a real challenge. And beauty is so subjective! At the end of the day, it really is just a stream of one person’s experience with products, and readers can then process that information as they see fit. If they feel a blogger is lacking honesty, they can choose to stop reading and go elsewhere. There’s no shortage of beauty bloggers, and one of the great things about that is that you can seek out someone with similar skin tone/type etc, and then you might find the reviews are of more use to you.

        I’m sorry, this turned into a bit of a ramble about the nature of beauty blogging. I appreciate what you do, though, I think you provide a great resource and it’s good that when I’m considering a new product I have a little group of trusted bloggers, and I can pull up their website and say ‘I wonder if gh0stparties has anything to say about this product’. I also appreciate that you provide posts like this that are a little more introspective and explore the world of blogging.

  • Lisa

    I think this is a brilliant post. It’s so sad that it has to be cleared up, and that people tend to think that starting a blog is an easy way to get free stuff. I personally blog because i love it, and because i have loved reading blogs for years and wanted to try it out myself. Blogs such as your own that gain momentum and followers and are lucky enough to be so popular should gain the recognition they deserve, whether its by PRs wanting you to review their products or not. I think as long as you’re honest then what is there to fuss about?

    Lisa xo

  • Allie

    You are one of the bloggers who I trust the most – even if you were to do a post where all the products were PR samples, I wouldn’t question you at all. However there are some blogs which I can no longer read as they only ever feature products which have been sent to them and although it shouldn’t matter, I feel like those bloggers are being disingenuous. Even though you say you don’t post negative reviews, I like that you’re not afraid to say when a product hasn’t worked etc and in this sense your posts are more nuanced than just continually raving about products, which is great. Great post! x

  • Well written, Kate! I don’t want to be redundant, since most of the commenters have voiced my thoughts. So, I’ll just say I trust your opinion on skincare and makeup and love seeing/reading your reviews (good, bad, and otherwise!). 🙂

  • Stephanie Vainer

    Great post!!! super inspired. I cant agree more with you, & Your one of the few I would trust your honesty on a product or subject. Thank you for this wonderful post, really has me thinking.

    Stephanie Vainer

  • Eleanor

    This is a great post and very well written and you’ve made so many points i agree with!

  • I think you’re actually excellent at reviewing and pointing out useful things or cons, but there are other bloggers who refuse to post negative reviews. It somehow makes me question their “integrity” because it feels like they are “keeping something from me,” does that make sense?

    Obviously, they don’t HAVE TO post negative reviews, but I think, as a reader, it’s something I’d really appreciate.

  • This is such a brilliant and well-written post. You make so many good points here, and I think that on the whole, bloggers have managed to retain their integrity more than traditional print writers. I feel far more confident reading a recommendation from a blogger who I can see as a ‘real person’, even when its a PR sample, than I do reading something in a magazine as I always feel like its never entirely trustworthy. With blogging you can really see the person using the product and understand them, which is what makes it so amazing. I only follow bloggers who I believe offer honest, real opinions and I think that anyone who doesn’t will struggle to be popular and alienate their readership. I think you’re fab Kate, don’t change! I love your blog!

    Sophie | An Arrangement of Notes

  • Janine Wanderlust

    “Darn, and I thought I’d wake up as Miranda Kerr”. But seriously you can discern a good reviewer in the details: if they go like “it’s amazing/best thing ever”,- show a really young face with deer-in-headlight-gaze, and have little details why it is so amazing then I’m often not too convinced.

  • Rachael Gibbons

    Preach sista!

  • Carey Mathieson

    I don’t read a lot of product blogs – in fact I think yours is the only one I read but I would completely trust your judgement over that of magazines because the products they feature pay for advertisements within their pages! You may make money from your blog, too, but at least you’re only one person as opposed to a whole team of people so we know that your posts are genuine!

    This is a really well written post and I hope you cleared up a lot of things for some people.


  • Alice

    I just want to say that I think this is BRILLIANT. I have never thought that anything you have posted is anything other than your honest opinion- personally, I totally agree with the “if it doesn’t work for me I won’t feature it” mentality. I think negative reviews can be a bit unnecessary, unless there’s a very VERY good reason for it. I also agree that blogs are far more honest than magazines- it’s nice knowing that there’s an actual real person there trying these things properly!! So yeah, this is brilliant, and keep doing what you’re doing!! xx

  • Anja MacGillivray

    Wow! This post really opened my eyes Kate 🙂 I agree 100% with what you said about blogs being way more trustworthy than magazines (most blogs anyway!) And I really don’t want to offend anyone but I firmly believe that majority of people who complain about bloggers getting free samples have a mild case of the “green eyed” monster! Besides “fake or paid” reviews are pretty easy to spot
    And for the record I have been reading your blog for a long time now and have purchased at least 10 products that you recommended. 🙂

  • gigi

    I loved this post. as a blogger I did wonder how others felt about this topic I think giving honest opinions is so important even if it means you are saying something just didnt work well for you even if its a pr sample as well. I like to post reviews on products I myself purchased and tried but sometimes I will throw in a pr sample review. thanks for this lovely insight! xx. gigi. food and beauty blogger @

  • Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for a wonderful blog post. You are so honest and I would never think that you would do a post just because you were told to.

    I appreciate how much time you spent just writing this! And I highly value your opinion on many products. Boo to the people who think otherwise.

    Thanks for being honest and for both buying your own products and giving the ones you get sent a chance.


  • jemaroons

    I already tweeted you but just thought I’d drop a comment as well. I absolutely LOVE this blog post. It’s so well written and well said! I, for one, am a happy blog reader. Your skincare advice has made my skin so much better! Thank you so much. xxx

  • Spot on post. Thank you Kate for taking your time out to write this. I’m a dedicated reader and truly trust in your knowledge.


  • Charlotte Hoedemakers

    This is why you’re my favourite blogger.

  • Rhian John

    Hi Kate, I have never commented before but you are probably the first blog I started reading, and I do blame you for all the products I have and the amount of money I’ve spent, but I am also incredibly grateful for your recommendations!

    I have never got the sense that you have been dishonest, if people think this, I genuinely just think they’re envious of your amazing make-up and skincare collection and don’t think you would buy all that yourself. Clearly you just have an obsession 🙂

    Oh, one more thing you inspired me to start writing too – please check out
    Rhian x

  • kami

    This is such an amazing post. This explains exactly my thoughts on blogging in general. I am an interior designer and I can relate to this situation in a way. At my company we get tons of samples anything from fabrics, carpets, stone, paint, tiles. And people always are a bit skeptical when we recommend a product thinking that we are somewhat sponsored by those companies. I do not understand why people get so upset with the blogging community. They have to understand how important it is for bloggers to receive PR samples. Without PR samples bloggers would not be able to do their job as well as they do. They are tools of the trade. That doesn’t mean they are biased. Without all the PR samples, there would be a lot less swatches of products on the internet, a lot less available information. I am not a blogger, I am a regular reader.

    People have to ask themselves why they read blogs in the first place. For me is to find out about new releases, see swatches or see initial thoughts on a product. Now I always think of review as a general guide since no product can be a miracle product for everyone. What might work for someone might not work for someone else. I recently bought something based on a review and I completely broke out from it. Would it make sense to blame the blogger that recommended it? It’s stupid.

    Now in terms of negative reviews. I find them a bit ridiculous and I find that there is a tendency for people to look for them rather than look for the good things in a product. As I mentioned before, everyone is unique. Fragrance, texture, longevity, aesthetics, all contribute to how we perceive a product. I usually don’t even bother reading negative reviews since I know they might not even apply to me. The only negative reviews that I would accept would be something like brush reviews (if they shed, are corse and so on).

    Just my 2 cents. Keep up the great work.

  • Julie

    Loved this honest post. Well chosen words for something that had a big need to be said for a long time now. You just broke it all down and I hope that this rumours, “hate” and debate will finally come to an end.
    My blog has just come to the point where companys start contacting me and until now I’ve just received one request that wanted to push me in a “give us a positive feedback and we will support you more” way. And I’ve friendly answered that that kind of stuff is just not my cup of tea. I love my readers honesty in their comments and mails and want to give the same honesty back to them. I hope every other blogger thinks that way too and our readers will definitely appreciate that.
    Loved this Kate. Thank you!


  • I love this post i totally agree, whenever im sent products i always say it was sent and my reviews are honest

    i hate when people dont say they were sent it because its just really dishonest

  • I absolutely agree with this, and I also think that posting negative reviews is very important. Not just for the sake of it obviously, but there needs to be a balance of products that you do and don’t like to keep the honesty going. x

  • Kirsty Calloway

    Brilliant post!! Your blog is fantastic and is everything I look for in a blog! I’ve definately become one of those people franctically googling a product whilst walking round boots, for blog posts about it as I 100% want honest opinions on things, and whether they are actually worth my time! That’s the tricky thing with magazines, and with PR posts, you’re not totally sure if the products they’re reviewing are all that great or whether these ‘promotions’ are nothing more than an advert with no genuine opinions on whether it’s worth the money! I recently started my own blog to tell people what products I like and give my genuine opinion! Although products don’t worth the same for everyone, it’s good to hear what someone with the same problems as you has to say and how they deal with it. For examle I have very dry lips and so always apreciate honest blogging from people with the same problem (for example don’t use this lipstick if you have dry lips). I think in some ways people shouldn’t shy away from negative product reviews, as just like films, it would be refreshing to hear some more varied opinions!

  • qb

    well put.some one with honesty and integrity.i was recently ‘blocked on twitter from a new skincare line that has just launched.the amount of ‘brown-nosing’ that went on to beauty bloggers and celebs being sent products for free was unbelievable.I wanted very much to buy this product but was told that a dept store stocked their products as well as their own jip was why should i pay postage and packing when the company was sending free products to b blog and celebs.why.i obviously touched a nerve but i don”t care.i was very nice about it too lol.
    i chose another product btw and cheaper and free p+p and only 6 ingredients wahoo!
    people forget that the customer- paying customer at the end of the day is or no review.common sense must be applied.
    you can do all your research bloggers people in the industry experience etc but at the end of the day it’s who do you trust.bloggers waving their shit in the air saying ‘i got sent this’ etc but ‘all opinions are my own’ honest are you to the people out there who watch/read your blogs /vids.this is a massive subject so please don’t be offended.
    i have talked to friends about this subject and they are losing interest in you-tube vids.they say most of the beauty/make-up folk they follow have gotten big for their boots as they don’t post regular vids and talk about what they got sent or are invited to events to far flung places etc.

  • 楽天 リュック
    ミネトンカ 正規品

  • Daniela

    I really appreciate your honest Kate and it’s refreshing to see a bblogger who isn’t wrapped up with getting freebies and sucking up to PR companies. Others could learn a lot from you! 🙂