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How to write a good Fashion or Beauty review

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      16.06.2010 16:38
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      Base your review on personal opinion as you would with any other review

      After lasts weeks shake up of the dooyoo miles system I think most of us realised that for the benefit of the site dooyoo would like us to review the products that the general public is interested in reading and would reward us more for our efforts in those areas.

      One of these categories is fragrance, which most of us own several of at the very least. I am a perfume collector and own dozens as I am sure a lot of dooyoo members do also, but do we need to be an expert on perfume making, terminology, have alchemy or botanical skills to review a fragrance?, and can we expect the general public to understand our review if we do have these skills and implement them.

      I have seen many posts lately where people are afraid to review a fragrance as they have no clue as to notes and things, but in my opinion the people who are reading these reviews such as the general public have no clue either.

      For the purpose of this review and to help me write a good fragrance review I conducted a little experiment, I wrote a practice review that is not posted on here, it was merely an experiment to get some feedback on my perfume review, but it was along the lines of my Estee Lauder Youth Dew review that I composed and posted yesterday only a different perfume and sent it to 12 of my friends and family, 9 ladies and 3 men all from different walks of life, housewife's, a bank clerk, a secretary, a fitness instructor, a waitress, a car mechanic, and a gardener, all ordinary people without specialist knowledge of perfume and the type of people who would indeed read a review before buying. None of these people belonged to or had ever belonged to any review site.

      In my practice review I included a brief history of the scent, included, top notes, middle notes and base notes, I told them how the perfume had settled on me in these various stages, how long the perfume stayed on without going too sweet or fading, the packaging and the price. I then sat back and waited for their responses which I received back over the last couple of days,

      10 out of 12 people told me they had no idea whatsoever what top notes, middle notes and base notes were, some had in fact sprayed on some of their own perfumes but still could not detect specific ingredients in any of the stages other than what the perfumes were actually supposed to end up as i.e. floral, woody, spicy, citrus etc
      The information on the notes I had given for this perfume was

      Top Notes

      Rose, Tuberose Mimosa Plum Pittosporum

      Middle Notes

      Jasmine, Patchouli,Orange flower

      Base notes

      Oakmoss,Vetiver,Sandalwood,Amber

      During the course of this practice review I selected a few of the ingredients that I had picked out from each note, but my practice subjects were confused, as all of them had no clue as to what many of the ingredients actually were or indeed smelled like, particularly Patchouli , Oakmoss or vetiver or Amber.

      I had a short question and answers on what my friends and relatives would want to know from a perfume review, the answers were as follows: - (One person admittedly it was a guy said "couldn't you have put this in layman's terms I have no clue what you are going on about what is a note and what the hell is Veliver Come on Suzie stop waffling") lol.


      The overall smell of the perfume once it has settled down, spicey, or floral, woody or citrus and the main overall smell that you are left with

      Was it sickly, overly sweet, or cloying

      Did it linger on the clothes and go stale afterwards

      How long did the scent last

      Was the packaging suitable for a gift and would the bottle look nice on a dresser

      Was it girly and sexy women love a fragrance to make them feel sexy

      How much is it and where to get it from


      So in short if you have some nice fragrances at home and would like to review them the conclusion that I have come to is no you do not need to be an expert in this field to do so, as long as you write an honest review of what it actually smelled like on you and what your opinion was of it strengths then that should be fine.
      A list of notes is useful then people can pick up on something that they definitely don't like, such as a lot of citrus or spice in a perfume.

      It is worth noting as well that perfume smells differently on individual people, this is because the smell of a fragrance on one's skin can be affected my different things such as, diet or medication or hormonal levels. So it is always necessary to use a tester and let it settle for a few hours before purchasing, this is also useful information to put in a perfume review.

      For those people who do have an extensive knowledge fragrances and can therefore write a technical review, well done I have read some very in depth perfume reviews lately and thoroughly enjoyed them and intend to test out some perfumes because of those same reviews when I get opportunity, so I hope nobody will take offence, I just wanted to point out that in view of the fact that dooyoo would like us to review more in this area we do not need to be an expert, it is a personal review they want and people's opinions.

      I am not telling people how they should or should not write a perfume review but stating in my opinion if you base it on your own personal experience of that product then the review should be fine as it is with any other review.

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        30.05.2009 22:36
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        Bit of advice

        Like any review on this site the most important factor in a beauty or fashion review has to be the amount of personal experience and opinion that the writer can bring to the review.

        In this category especially when dealing with cosmetics such as perfume it is the fact that it is one of the only categories where I think that time spent describing the packaging is relevant. I get bored with food reviews that describe the packaging, to my mind that is just padding by people trying to up their word count to get a better rating. For products like perfume though itcan influence the buying decision for some people as there is a snob value sometimes attached to such purchases.

        For fashion and beauty products I want to read about the sorts of skin tones or types thatthe product is suitable for and what kind the writer has so that I can compare them to myself after all given the poor quality of the picture of members on the site you cannot rely on those.

        Price is also key as the spend can be quite high and very variable for items and also how long the product lasts, for clothing this is how hard wearing they are and whether they retain their shape after cleaning and for csmetics it is how long they are effective.

        At the end of the day though itis the personal experience and how well the writer can describe a particular product that for me will decide whether I nominate or not.

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        07.12.2008 11:56
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        Light, fresh smell

        I discovered a new perfume range by Tova Borgnine (yes Ernest Borgnines wife) Apparently she does an excellent skincare range as well. The perfume is called Tova 'Signature', there are a few others as well like Tova 'nights' and 'love everlasting'. They smell fresh and clean and never before have I been asked so many times what perfume I am wearing. The price is competative in the vast perfume market. This fragrance is suited to daytime, and there are a range of bath and body products to match. Signature can be layered with any of her other fragrances, they mix and match well. I am surprised that I have only just discovered it, as it was created 25 years ago. I think that it is mainly available in the USA. I have found a few british outlets by seraching the web. The three piece discovery set which contains the fragrance, shower gel and body lotion is available for £20.50 at the moment on the web site of a major shopping channel

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          30.11.2006 14:35
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          What Rachel looks for in crown nominating

          Hello everyone **waves** as the fashion and Beauty Guide I thought it was about time that I sat down and actually told everyone what it is I am looking for in a review when I am doing my Guide thing by nominating people for crowns, which I have to say I do quite regularly.

          Now my predecessor the adorable Angus said “I think Fashion and Beauty are NOT separate categories but are in fact one” and to a large extent I agree with him because for me Fashion isn’t just about what is hot and what is not which is often justified by the media but it is also about the differing aspects such as hair styles, ‘in’ colours, fads and trends and so on. Beauty is an emotional perception on life it is just as much about looking good, feeling good to having a good sense of balance and harmony and being confident with it all, whether that beauty is inner or outer is clearly down to each and every individual and can be displayed in very different ways.

          So having discussed the finer points of both Fashion and Beauty it is clear that everyone has their own ideology and interpretation of which that might mean but when it comes to writing what a review must include and does not really have to include is a difficult one as there are usually so many things to think about but when I write a review I try putting myself the review author in the consumer’s shoes answering the questions I feel they would be asking should they want to buy the product I am writing about. So for me the main pointers to include do not really differ to those suggested by Angus, which are:

          Ingredients - The reason I am including ingredients is because there are some ingredients, which make the product what it is. Should there be an overwhelming smell of Lavender then there must be a reason it was included and what those properties are. So Lavender it is well known evokes both calm and relaxation which for me would be a major selling point because I always look at the list if ingredients when buying something. However, that is not to say that your review should list ingredient after ingredient and become the main focal point of your review. If it is relevant include it and if you feel it isn’t then don’t.

          Description - As I have said before it is a definite must for me, I want to know what something looks like when I am thinking of buying something and if it looks attractive or is sold in something interesting then tell me about it. So your review should include information about size, shape and colour if you have not done so already especially if it happens to be from somewhere like Lush or the Body Shop or with beauty products from places like BeneFit and Hard Candy who tend to be quite creative with their products. The reason I say this is because I believe they have been designed in such a way as to catch your eye and encourage you to buy them. Also the name of the product is usually a clever marketing ploy which is not usually relevant to the product - for example the last review that I wrote about was ‘French Kiss’ by Lush now one would assume that it would be a lip balm or something associated with kissing but in this case it is a Lush Bubble Bar and has nothing whatsoever to do with kissing and it certainly isn’t French, so the name could prove to be an important part of your review rather than using it in the title (not that I would ever make a play on words).

          Small amount of background information – Again if you can include a brief summary about the product then do so, for example Lush products are handmade and contain only fresh ingredients and they are not tested on animals so this information is obviously important.

          Usage – Again how often is the product used, how long does it last for and how do you use it putting it quite simply and again an important part of your review.

          Cost – How much a product costs should also be included within any review as they are an important factor is any decisions made when choosing whether or not to buy a particular product.

          Personal insight – As any review is a personal account it should be based on what you think, how it made you feel, why you bought it and why you are or are not recommending it to other Dooyoo user.

          Finally packaging which always causes a bit of controversy when it comes to reviews over whether it is or is not important. In my view it is only important if it forms part of the products image or is relevant to the product, example – Skin cream from The Body Shop or Lush comes in a container with a tight sealing lid to keep the product as fresh as possible avoiding the drying out stage and therefore it is important to mention it.

          One final thing before I summarise and that is the title of your review, now everyone knows that I always make a play on words as and when I can get away with it, why? Well because it makes my review A) Stand out in the crowd and B) Makes people want to read it because it has caught their attention. If you are going to write a review make the title interesting. I think one of my best titles was for the review I wrote about Lush Two Timing Tart and I used the title “He stole my virginity with a two-timing tart” why… because it was the very first Lush product I ever used, so therefore I am no longer a Lush virgin and the product being called ‘Two Timing Tart’ allowed me to make a play on words which got people wandering what on earth I was writing about and they came to read it. If you are writing about Lipotrim and have the title ‘Lipotrim works for me’ then it doesn’t stand out in a crowd, nor does it enthuse me to read it. So just a little tip there.

          When looking at a nominating a review for a crown I will look for anything that merits a nomination even if I only find the review useful. Let me explain why, for me a useful review could display all the relevant information that I have mentioned so far throughout this review but I find the style of writing less enjoyable or it may have a constant stream of spelling errors, which make the review a little more difficult to read. I am not a stickler for grammar but punctuation does play a semi-important role for me but it is not make or break for any review that I choose to read.

          So providing that you have covered all of the main things in a personal approach and have included the details of which I have mentioned above then a review should be worthy of a nomination.

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            22.07.2006 12:26
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            Just be you and be fun!

            Hi all you wannabe fashion and beauty writers, welcome to the world of “You can’t please everybody, all of the time!”
            That to me sums up how to write a good fashion and beauty review.

            Unlike my predecessor, I think Fashion and Beauty are NOT separate categories but are in fact one. Fashion is not just about clothes but hair styles, the “in” scent and jewellery, etc. Beauty is about looking and feeling good about yourself and starts with a “spiritual” or inner feeling of confidence and comfort.

            Each and every person here will have their own style, their favourite perfume/aftershave, favourite shirt or top, so why separate when you can combine and create.

            Writing a review is all about you.
            What you like.
            What you use.
            What you do.
            What you feel.

            Like any review, it has to be about the experience and about personal insight. Without that you are describing and not reviewing.

            I am not going to drag this out and let it become a “I am better than thou!” rant at how people write reviews, that is what my rate is for, to show how I feel about somebody’s review. This is about what “I” look for in a fashion or beauty review.

            Here is the bit where I sell myself;

            I co-own Cherish with my wife Sherry and I am the main buyer as well as a wholesaler to three other shops in the area. My skills lie in finding products that people will buy, staying ahead of the fashion and ensuring that our products meet the standards our customer set. With any cosmetic, I need to know what is in them. Without this knowledge I will never buy a product. Also, how they were tested. Animal testing is a big no-no and we will not entertain it. Ethnic products must be fair trade and come from government backed businesses. All these are important issues when it comes to selling a product to a customer and are frequently asked questions. I have never bothered asking any supplier what the packaging is like, never.

            I make my own cosmetics such as soap, lip balm, massage bars and other items and have a good understanding about the legislation involved in these processes. We do stock a lot of body jewellery and silk scarves, as well as being opposite one of the best ethnic/gothic clothes shops around, (called Dazzle) and we often have people pick a skirt from Dazzle and come into our shop to match it to the jewellery we have. So all in all I have a very good knowledge of the category I am now guiding.

            Right there is my CV back to the subject in hand, (titter ye not!)

            I will look for anything that merits a nomination to Dooyoo for a crown even if I only find the review useful. A useful review to me may have all the relevant info but not be of a style I enjoy reading so this will tarnish a good review. Much in the same way as if I read a magazine article about something I liked and it was written in a boring fashion, I would not finish the article so it would not be very useful to me. Harsh? Not really, just my personal choice and opinion. So do not get disheartened if you feel my rate is somewhat different to the core of raters, my personal opinion is not that of Dooyoo’s who award the crowns. I have actually put forward two reviews so far which I did not like. These reviews have a comment from myself about the style and are now in the hands of Dooyoo to decide if they merit a crown. I will do this for all reviews where I feel the effort has been put in and the information is all there so do not change your style for me, change it for you if you do so wish.

            To me, providing you cover all the main things in a personal matter, then a review should be worthy of a nomination, regardless of how I feel.

            What a review must have is a difficult one as there are so many things but to simplify it here is my thoughts on the core values.

            Ingredients (At least the main active ones)
            Description (A must)
            Small amount of background
            Usage (Again, a must.)
            Cost
            Personal insight

            Packaging only if it is an important part of the products image.

            Remember, all reviews should be personal, not too long and interesting to read in my opinion so try to structure your review around your own style and personality and make them shine.

            *UPDATE*

            I have changed my stance on ingredients due to ovewhelming opinion that it should not be a must to include all the ingredients and as long as the main active ibngredeints are mentioned I will not let it affect my rate.

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              21.05.2006 07:37
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              Advice on writing reviews in the Fashion and Beauty category.

              As the Guide for the Fashion and Beauty category I have read numerous reviews in this section. Hopefully as I do have to read all these reviews, the guide I have written should offer writers an idea of things that could/should be included in the review. Fashion and Beauty are two very different subjects so I will give two separate guides as to what I look for in a review: remembering what a review is actually for…

              One of the most important factors you should have in your head at the time of writing any review is that the review is for a potential buyer of that product. They will come to the site looking for an unbiased opinion of a product/service that you have used so will want to know if it is any good or should be avoided and why. To keep focused put yourself in their shoes. When you picked up the product in a shop or bought it online, what were your thoughts as you saw it? What questions would you have liked to have asked before you bought it but were only provided with the basic information on the packaging etc.? You can hopefully provide people with that information and with your review can help them decide whether or not the product is for them.

              Remember this is my opinion on the information I look for – there are products that are not of interest to me so I put myself into the shoes of a potential buyer. This is also generalised and not specific to one area or certain products (examples are given) so most of the time the questions below can be adapted or missed to suit the product being reviewed.

              *BEAUTY* - Beauty Misc., Body Care, Fragrances, Hair Care, Make Up, Skin Care.

              The first thing I think about when reading/writing a beauty review is where the product will have been advertised. This information I wouldn’t include in the review but it gives the writer an idea of why people may be coming to the site. Make up is generally advertised on TV or in magazines but of course those are limited to a glossy photo or a 30 second ad which makes it impossible for the viewer to get all the details about the product. A magazine for example may have that high quality photo, a celebrity endorsing it and the product name. But that is all. No mention of what the product is or does. The majority of products on the site may not be advertised at all and word of mouth or just general browsing may intrigue a person.

              So firstly I’d like to read an introduction as to what the product is – sometimes by the name and the category the review is placed in it is still hard to figure out what it is. Personally I’m not really interested in a life story as to how you may come about buying it as I feel that information isn’t necessary and won’t help me decide if it’s for me but of course it is personal choice and if you want to add something then feel free to do so. The intro doesn’t have to be long – just give the reader an idea of the product so they know if it is something they’ll be looking for and then when you get into the main review, discuss it in more detail.

              Many adverts make very promising claims. For a woman, a foundation ad may promise a flawless finish, for a man a shaving gel may claim to give a closer shave with no irritation and for a child a shampoo may claim to reduce tangled hair and no irritation if it gets in their eyes. It can be useful to say what the product claims because as these are ‘opinions’ you can then go on to discuss those claims in greater detail and give your opinion on how much you agree or disagree with them.

              The bulk of the review should be personal opinion because we are human and have flaws – we’re not as perfect as the models on TV advertising the products and in a way can ‘prove’ to the reader why you have come to the conclusions you have. What do you think of the product? How well do you think it performs? Some reviews may also provide information on the smell of the product – remember it may be a product marketed for women but men can also use them and may not want to smell of flowers. Other products may be for a certain skin/hair type so perhaps describe your type as people may not be the same and decide to try something else. Is the product easy to use? Is it messy? As I mentioned before, does the product actually live up to its claims in your opinion? How long does the product last or will you find yourself having to buy a new one often? A plus could also be to compare the product you are describing to something similar – price variations, quality of the products, results…

              Discuss the advantages and disadvantages – these can be stated in the boxes at the start of the review but you can give a much fuller opinion on them in the review itself. How does the product perform over time? Writing a review of a hand cream on first use may not actually be that helpful – do your hands feel any different weeks later? Even shampoos used once can produce great results but with continual use can leave hair lifeless because of the build up on the hair. It really is important to have experience of the product so you know the ins and outs of it or it will show in the review that there is limited knowledge.

              Beauty reviews (although there are exceptions in the category) are generally products that contain ingredients. A few members have asked if they should include all the ingredients. NO! Many people write “This product contains X, Y, Z ingredients but I have no idea what they are” – so why include them? If they mean nothing to you, chances are they’ll mean nothing to anyone else. Those sorts of details just pad out the review. Some reviews you can mention the important ingredients – if you know the product contains X which helps moisturise the skin then describe it – that sort of info if much more useful. Don’t just list things for the sake of it.

              Finally I’d like to read a conclusion to your review. Give a round up of the product and describe your reasoning for choosing the star rating you have – what did you knock stars off for or what you felt were plus points. Will you be buying the product again and did you feel it was good value for money? By summarizing the review you can clearly state the main facts that arrive to you overall feeling of the product.


              *FASHION* - Fashion, Fashion Accessories, Shoes.

              Fashion is a relatively quiet category and it can be a hard area to work out what is required from the review. These can be specific items, more of a general opinion on the ranges supplied by certain brands or shops (although most of the time the shops are found in the Shopping category).

              Firstly what is the product/brand? Introduce it to those who may only know vaguely what it is about. As I mentioned in the Beauty category, the name may not give a clue and if the reader can find out general information from the first paragraph it can save them wasted time if they know it is or isn’t what they want. If it is a brand what is it they sell? Is it a range specifically for one gender, age range or size? If it is a specific product, describe what it is and what it does and even what it looks like because if there is more than one product, the picture provided may not be the one you are describing.

              In the main review, describe the product(s) you yourself have bought and give as much opinion as possible so you can demonstrate what you are saying. In a clothing review you could mention what you thought of the items you bought, the style of them, what they were made of and how good a quality you felt they were. Mention what sort of age range you think they are suited to as many may decide from that they won’t suit it and find something else. In a fashion accessory review such as sunglasses you can describe the how well you feel they performed in protecting your eyes and how long they lasted. In a watch review you could describe your needs from the watch, if they were satisfied, battery life, accuracy and the functions of the watch. For brand concentrated reviews describe the ranges, the sizes available, the fashions, if you feel there were the advantages or disadvantages with buying this brand compared to another, what the brand offered you and if they bring in new products regularly. Compare prices with similar brands or products but provide an opinion to tell the reader what you thought was better/worse and why.

              Finally give a round up of your experience with that product or brand. Will you be buying another? What advantages/disadvantages did you come up with? Overall were you happy or not? Show the reasons you gave for giving the star rating you did.


              *BOTH AREAS*

              There are subjects common with both areas and review writing in general.

              Company information is an area that can either be a yes or a no. I know that there are products out there made by environmentally conscious companies or those against animal testing so stating that can be a plus. What I really don’t want to see is all the pointless details about when the company was set up and the run up from then to now. Unless there is a specific reason for including that information that could help me (a potential buyer) decide whether or not I should buy from them then I ignore it.

              Packaging although can be useful to help people find the products on the shelf by distinguishing them; I really don’t feel a huge amount of weight should be put on it. This again pads out the review and if people find the product they can easily read what is on the box themselves. But if describing a product like a shampoo, it can be useful to describe how easy the shampoo bottle is to use in a shower: those with dexterity problems would find that a huge plus if they know they may have problems.

              Be an individual. I don’t expect people to follow this guide to the letter and produce hundreds of reviews all in the same format and include the same information. I want variation – put your stamp on your reviews. If you wish to include any detail then go ahead and do so as I don’t necessarily rate down for it unless I find it impossible to find the relevant information.

              Quantity does not equal quality. I don’t want to read a 10,000 word essay on product when you can quite easily say all you need to in less than 1,000 words. Think about what you are saying – if you base anything on today, will it have any relevance tomorrow? E.g. “I’ve not had much time to write on Dooyoo lately so thought I’d post this one as I had it half finished anyway”... That won’t help anyone, it’s irrelevant and even if you as the author go back to read it a week/year later, you’ll wonder why you included it. The same goes with mentions of Dooyoo – most people have no idea how Dooyoo works, the review writing and rating so keep referenced to a minimum (preferably no mention at all).

              If you do need any help before or after posting in this section then feel free to contact me and I will do my best to help you out. No doubt I may have missed specifics out that relate to certain products so write the review as you would and include the details you feel are necessary then you can use the guide to add in anything you may have missed that you feel should be included or omit those that just pad it out. You can edit a review so don't worry if there is anything missed out. Please don't post reviews in any category just because there is no exact product match - contact me and I'll let you know how to add it.

              If you think highly of a product then sell it – put passion into it and chances are you’ll do a good job of making someone feel the need to buy it. On the other hand if you have had a negative experience, don’t be ashamed to admit it – if you give all the relevant details and prove effectively why you don’t like it then you could save people from experiencing the same thing.

              P.S. Please don’t convince me I need to buy anything else or I may have to move out from lack of room! :D

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