Confession time: beauty editors get a lot of free beauty loot. As a former editor myself, I can attest to having a desk buried in samples and promotional packages. Lip colors of every formula, quirky face washes, body scrubs with secret ingredients, color-changing nail polish, placenta products (yep) — it was all there and then some. Behind every beauty company there's a hard-working PR team whose job is to spread the word about new launches. So, out go boxes containing the latest samples to editors at major publications as well as bloggers and writers, and yes, even Instagram influencers.
It sounds cool, but it's also a tricky game to play. Without them, beauty editors would never be able to afford all the products they're required to research, test, and review. However, some brands hope that cool swag and free products will make us forget that a lipstick or face wash is only mediocre. So, the true test for me became asking myself one question: would I actually buy this with my own money? If not, why would I recommend that others do?
Some brands (not all) get upset when their generous gifting policies and VIP invites don't result in glowing reviews, but a writer's loyalty is to the story whether it's about the best foundation they've ever tried or the hair chalk that made their strands a clumpy disaster. We aren't in it for the freebies, even though it is a pretty cool job perk. Our motivation usually boils down to an obsession with discovering products that actually work in a sea of products that only sort of work.
With that in mind, here are 12 products I've come to love over the years and would actually purchase with my hard-earned cash.