Beauty Bitch is Tried and very Tested

Mimi ON Nov 21, 2008 AT 6:27 pm

Tried and Tested

Tried and Tested

One of my pet hates is doing Tried and Tested features. These make everyone miserable, including any readers who have just forked out a fortune on their skin/hair/nail/body care only to discover that the beauty editor on their favourite mag thinks it’s rubbish and doesn’t work.

Tried and Tested features also make PR’s livid if their product doesn’t quite make the grade and they go one of two ways. Either they cross you off every list they have, including the gift list, or they bombard you with more product from the range you have just crucified in the hopes that you will find something better and mark it accordingly. Then they secretly harbour a deep hatred for years to come.

Newspaper Tried & Tested features are more believable though than any found in a glossy purely because they aren’t at the same level of mercy as mags regarding advertisers. Terrified of upsetting big spending beauty advertisers, beauty eds lambast the small fry who spend no money on the magazine while bigging up their major payers. You are on a hiding to nothing with T&Ts, and most editors avoid the problem of rubbishing a big spending brand by saying nothing at all, rather than lying through our teeth.

Very often though, different brands are actually made by the same manufacturer, so while one product can get a stunning 9/10, the other can end up with 5 or so. In truth, they are the same product in different packaging.

The only Tried and Tested features worth their salt are those done by readers. Usually these readers test their free product into the ground with every little whim or quirk accounted for and written about. They aren’t as over exposed to jars of unguent or compacts of this season’s trend shades as anyone who works in the beauty business so what you actually get is a fresh perspective – rare as hen’s teeth in the beauty trade.

Readers take their testing very seriously and it’s then up to the editor to print what she or he feels is worthy. In fact, it’s a little bit like marking exam papers and the over-triers are pretty tedious. Spelling mistakes, grammatical howlers and grubby writing paper are light relief compared to the readers who grasp a T&T like a degree dissertation. Sending in a double sided A4 essay on eye cream isn’t necessary…or funny…or clever.

And, don’t forget, what works for one person won’t work at all for another…unfortunately when it comes to your skin, all you can do is keep trying and keep testing.

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