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No. It’s not a rhetorical or sarcastic question. Neither is it meant to rub anyone the wrong way. I know what beauty bloggers do and why they do it- reviewing products, giving their opinion on it, giving product launch previews and alerts. And the past few years have seen a plethora of them helping consumers making informed choices which is great. But as I surf through these blogs, a few questions keep bugging me. So here I am shooting them off to all and sundry – anyone who would deign to read and reply.

First of all, WHY this overriding emphasis on “pictures” of the products? Yes I know the reader needs a visual but will anyone pick up a product solely based on the look of the product? If so, why bother reviewing it? Can anyone make out, say, the consistency of the cream or oil, the smell of a toner or a shampoo, or how well a foundation will blend or if an eye liner will not bleed just by looking at the pictures? I don’t think so. A general sort of an idea about the product is what even the best of pictures can give. The reader  has to take the writer’s word for it and use her own discretion. So , pray, what is the point of  so many pictures? Putting a picture to show that you actually used the product and are not putting up a fake review, that I understand and appreciate. But beyond that, it beats me. And horror of all horrors when a stray hair on the arm that one has swatched the lipstick on stands out, magnified manifold by the lovely DSLR camera .

While on the subject of pictures, lipstick swatches to show the colour range of a particular product line or give a comparison between two shades or variety thereof, I understand. However, I still have some doubts. The picture of the swatches on the arm may look very different than the real colours, depending where the picture was taken- indoors or outdoors, with flash, without flash. And why a picture of the writer wearing the lipstick on her? To take an example, I’m NC 40 in MAC. Reading a great review of MAC So Chaud and seeing pictures of the lady, also NC 40, wearing MAC So Chaud, I decided to give it a try. But imagine my horror when I tried it at the MAC store and it totally washed me out. My point, for the readers, simply is that pictures can do only so much. They are no substitute for actually trying the product out yourself.

Another thing that surprises me is when some strong words are used to describe a product, specially the fragrance. As a case point, I can recall a blogger talking of Forest Essentials Jasmine and Aloe Vera Facial Mist (toner) smelling like cow dung! I mean really now. I almost didn’t pick the product up reading this. Who wants cow dung on their face for god’s sake! But when I did try it out at the FE store, it was nothing remotely near cow dung- not to me in any case. Which is precisely my point- why use such strong words? Some may find the smell you drool over repulsive or vice versa. A simple “strong/ strange smelling, may not agree with everyone” would be more apt, no? And I say this not because it can adversely affect the product sale or something but because you are not being fair as a reviewer with such strong judgements.

And last of all, why does no Indian beauty blogger mention if the product is “cruelty free” or not? I know that in a country where human life is cheap, animal rights don’t matter but why not at least inform your reader? Why not provide her with the facts and then let her decide whether her gorgeous tresses are worth subjecting a few bunnies to cruelty or not? After all informed choices is what beauty blogging is all about, isn’t it?

I’m not a beauty blogger, not in the conventional, limited sense anyways. I do talk about products that I have tried and tested and mostly sans the pictures, except for one or two. And, as before I once again urge all the gorgeous women out there, aged 18 or 60, to not join the mad rush for beauty, fashion and makeup blindly- just read about something- a launch or trend or call it what you will and pick it up. Let us all use our own discretion and, more importantly, sense of perspective- do you “need” it or just “want” it. Nothing wrong with the latter either as long you make that choice consciously. And while it is all very well to look great but isn’t it as important walk out in payjamas and flip flops with the same confidence as you would in a Chanel dress? And while you are at it, how about being at peace with yourself – with your life, your body, your skin, the choices you’ve made, the buses you’ve missed and the jackpots you’ve won? I, for one, am trying.