Carly's Beauty World

Beauty & Lifestyle

1 March 2015

Are Beauty Bloggers Trustworthy?

Can you trust a beauty blogger

As a self-confessed beauty addict, there's no medium that influences me more than the beauty blogging community. Such a persuasive bunch, they've completely made it the 'norm' to make impulse purchases, based on posts they've written on their blogs. These days I hardly ever read magazines looking for product reviews, opting for my favourite blogs instead. At least this way I know I'll be getting a completely unbiased, honest review... Or will I?

How many times have you read a blog post raving about a product, only to read another bloggers review that completely trashes it? How do you know which one to believe? Could it just be a case of different strokes for different folks, or is there more to it than that? What really causes a blogger to write a misleading review?

A lack of knowledge is one thing for sure. Since I started my journey in they blogging world I'm shocked at how many PRs have contacted me, asking for a review of a specific skincare product (I'm talking face creams), without even considering what skin type I have. As a skincare therapist, I'm all too aware of the consequences of using something that wasn't designed for my skin. That's why I actually turn down more offers than I accept. Sadly not all bloggers do the same, and time and time again I find myself reading a negative review of a product, only to discover that it wasn't designed for that persons skin anyway. The product didn't stand a chance of giving good results.

When it comes to skincare in particular, another thing that bloggers should consider, is that it can take up to three months before your skin starts to show changes after trying out a new product. Yet there are many reviews out there claiming that face creams create miracles after just a few days. Of course, there are exceptions, and it's not as black and white as that. Some products will show results in an instant, but I would still argue that they need to be given a good trial before the blogger writes their review. Pressures from PRs asking bloggers to publish their post asap isn't a good enough excuse to write something slapdash, where the blogger doesn't really know how the product performed at all. Which takes me on to the taboo subject of...

MONEY! (That was so written in the voice of T Money from Storage Hunters! YouTube it if you haven't got clue!). I know it's always awkward to talk about money, but shock, horror, some bloggers do make a living from their blogs. Personally, I point blank refuse to deceive my readers just because cash is involved, or worse - for a free product. I'm sure that bloggers who write good reviews (when a product isn't so great!) are probably in the minority, but sadly we would be deluded if we didn't think it exists. There have been occasions where I've seen sponsored posts in my area of, let's say, expertise, and I spotted a fair few incorrect facts. It was a shame, because said blogger had obviously trusted that what was being published was true, but personally I think we're better off sticking to topics we know lots about. Either that, or do your research. Keeping readers is far more important than getting paid to write a misleading post.

So the question remains - are beauty bloggers trustworthy? I think it's probably like everything in life - some are, some aren't. At the end of the day, mistakes will be made. We're all human after all! I strongly believe that if, as a blogger, you stay true to yourself, that will shine through. The readers will know, and their trust will be gained. That might mean publishing the odd negative review from time to time, but isn't that why we write about what we do? To be informative, and give an honest opinion?

What do you guys think? Can you really trust a beauty blogger? Do you shy away from the very sight of a sponsored post, or gifted item disclosure? I would love to hear your stories/thoughts in the comments box below.

On a side note: This post wasn't written to come across negative of sponsored posts, or gifted item reviews (as you probably know, I publish these myself too), but more to try and ascertain your views.  I've personally never seen them as being a problem, and if I trust the blogger that's writing, then I trust their reviews, regardless of how they obtained the items.

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23 February 2015

Fleur De Force | The Glam Guide Review

Fleur De Force The Glam Guide Review
If there was one book that was destined to end up in my possession this year, it was The Glam Guide by Fleur De Force. In 2013 my friend Julia introduced me to Fleur's website, whilst suggesting that I set up a blog of my very own. She thought I would be good at it because of my love and knowledge of beauty. At the time, I didn't even know that beauty blogging was a 'thing', despite setting up a blog in 2010, that remained unpublished. I've never told you guys this before, but I totally fell in love with what Fleur had created, and as the first beauty blogger I came across, she was my inspiration to start this site. I've remained a loyal follower of hers ever since, reading every post, and watching all her videos. I'm a massive fan, and find her so relatable. What's even crazier, is that last year, when Carly's Beauty World was shortlisted for 'Best New Beauty Blog' in the Cosmo Blog Awards, Fleur De Force was shortlisted (and won) 'Best Vlog'. Sadly she wasn't at the awards, but can you imagine how I would have felt if she was, and even better, if I had got to meet her? Anyway, when she first announced she was writing a book, I couldn't have been more excited, and I pre-ordered my copy straight away!

It has to be said, I'm really impressed with The Glam Guide, in particular, the chapter on beauty. For me, it was like going back to everything I learn't when I was at beauty school, doing my NVQ Level 2. The views, opinions and techniques that are written about very much reflect everything I've been taught over the years. There wasn't anything in this section, that didn't make perfect sense to me, and I love how she's covered so many topics that I've also written about on this blog. From how to choose a foundation, to creating a perfect manicure, it's all there. She's even written about DIY face masks (again we were taught this at beauty school), and an ingredient blacklist (something I've also written about here before). Beauty aside, there are also chapters on hair, fashion, travel, health and fitness, relationships, Youtube, blogging, and so much more.

Overall, I think this is a lovely book, with beautiful illustrations, and I would say it's a bit like a beauty bible. If I had a daughter, I would definitely give her this to read, but that said, I think it's a publication that would be brilliant for all ages. Sometimes I find that once I've read a book, I sell it again on my Amazon book store, but that's not going to happen this time. The Glam Guide is a keeper! It's the kind of book you can dip in and out of, and I'm glad that I now have something I can continuously refer to, rather than pulling out my shabby old beauty school notes all the time! When I next make a DIY mask I'm going to use The Glam Guide instead. If you're interested in finding out how good this book is yourself, you can purchase it by clicking here.

What do you think of Fleur De Force? Is she someone you follow too? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

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17 February 2015

Exfoliating with The Body Shop

Body Shop Exfoliator Review
When it comes to my skincare and body care routine there's one product I cannot be without, and that's an exfoliator. Being a total self tanning junkie, I exfoliate before, during and after applying fake tan. When using something so frequently, it's essential that it doesn't cause any problems, such as redness, stinging or sore skin. That's why recently I've been loving these two exfoliators from the body shop. 
The Body Shop Vitamin C Microdermabrasion

Firstly is the
Vitamin C Microdermabrasion*, a facial exfoliator with super 'fine exfoliating micro particles' and 'crushed garnet stones'. It comes in a 75ml tube, with an easy to use, and very hygienic flip top. Ingredients include camu camu and Community Fair Trade shea butter, and the smell is subtle, but refreshing. The texture of the product itself is very light, and personally I find the tininest amount is sufficient. Maybe a little less than shown in the picture above. I usually use this in the shower by wetting the skin on my face and neck, and then massaging it in with my fingertips, using circular movements. My skin is left really soft, and smooth to touch, due to the little particles removing all the dead skin cells. My face looks more radiant after too, and the perfect base is created ready for the application of my self tan. Even if I'm not using fake tan, this is an excellent step to include in my skincare routine, maybe once or twice a week, perhaps as part of a mini facial.
The Body Shop Spa Fit Exfoliator

The other product I've been using is the Spa Fit Smoothing & Refining Body Scrub*. I'm actually sat here chuckling to myself, as I've just realised that I accidently photographed the wrong side of the jar. What a silly billy! The other part of the label is actually in English. I'm sure you'll appreciate that these pics were taken a while ago, so we'll just go with it shall we? Anyway, this is an exfoliator for the body, and is 'enriched with 100% natural-origin citrus and caffeine ingredients'. I love how it's packaged in a really cute, on trend jar with a gasket lid. To use, I find myself dipping my fingers in the pot, and as with the facial exfoliator, I massage it into my wet skin, again, using circular motions, and then rinse. I'm probably a little bit more vigorous on my body, than I am on my face, because the skin here is slightly tougher. The smell of this product is a lot stronger than the previous exfoliator, and is very zesty. Ingredients include orange, lemon, grapefruit, honey and apricot. The overall results are much smoother, invigorated skin, that is more radiant and glowing than it was before.

I'm really loving products by The Body Shop at the moment, and both of these get the thumbs up from me. What do you think of exfoliators, are they something you use in your skincare routine too? 

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10 February 2015

Burt's Bees | My Favourite Products

Burt's Bees Review
Hello friends! Today I'm going to share some real love for a brand that I only discovered in 2014, but so far have found all their products amazing! You're probably wondering if this is even possible. I mean, how often is it that you find a company that makes a good 'everything'? Well, Burt's Bees do! I'm so bowled over by what I've tried, that I wanted to know more about their story, and have pretty much read the whole Burt's Bees website. (Who has time to do that?!!). I just love their stuff so much. Anyway, I've managed to narrow down my faves to just five, and here they are:

Foot Cream* | Coconut | Link
I don't know what it is with me and coconuts these days, because I don't even like the things, but recently I've been really loving the smell. This foot cream has the most gorgeous fragrance, and I love how thick and rich it is in texture. I would go as far as saying this is probably one of the best foot creams I've ever tried, and there's been a fair few in my time, with me being a beautician.

Body Lotion* | Milk & Honey | Link
The Milk & Honey body lotion has the most pleasant fragrance, and is brilliant for softening my skin. When the weather gets cold, I suffer terribly from dryness, and have been reaching for this product every time. I love the smell, the lightweight texture, and how it absorbs so quickly, yet lasts so long.

Deep Cleansing Cream* | Soap Bark & Chamomile | Link
When it comes to facial products I'm a right little fuss pot. After years of having high end products at my finger tips in the salon, I'm naturally very sceptical, especially if it's a really good price. The first time I used the Deep Cleansing Cream, all I could think was 'wow'. It's really flippin' good! The texture is rich and luxurious, and the smell is to die for. My skin feels so soft when I've used this product, and I find myself wanting to use it just for the experience!

Lip Balm | Nourishing Mango Butter | Link
Ahhhh, the Mango Butter Lip Balm. I feel like this is an essential in my skincare routine right now. I probably use it about six times a day, if not more. It's saving my lips from becoming flaky and chapped. It's like silk in a stick. I love it! If I'm not using this one, then it's the Vitamin E & Peppermint version.

Hand Salve* | Link
This product has been an absolute godsend over the winter months. My poor hands keep getting sore in-between my fingers and on the knuckles. It's annoying, and happens to me this time every year. The Hand Salve is like an intense treatment, with the most gorgeous smell. The texture of it is very much like Vaseline, but the product is way more advanced, I would say. The ingredients include beeswax, herbs and botanical oils. Once applied, it absorbs quite quickly, and I find it to be really relaxing. Probably because it contains lavender, which helps me to sleep.

Most of the products listed above were sent to me by Burt's Bees (so thank you if you're reading this), but since then I've purchased more. I currently have a wish list as long as my arm for this brand, because I'm hoping to try everything. I can't get enough, and even Ollie loves them! I had to purchase more lip balms, because he kept stealing mine! I have to admit, I feel like I'm probably a bit late to the party with this, as I discovered they've been around since the 1980's. Oh well, better late, than never! So they say.

Have you guys tried anything from Burt's Bees? Do you love it as much as me? Please leave your recommendations in the comments box below.


3 February 2015

The Body Shop | Drops of Youth

The Body Shop Drops of Youth
The Body Shop Drops of Youth range was designed to combat the first signs ageing, and has several different products, including the Bouncy Sleeping Mask and Concentrate, both of which I'm going to review today. When you get to my age it's really important to tackle fine lines and wrinkles, so these have been much welcome editions into my skincare routine.
The Body Shop Bouncy Sleeping Mask

Firstly, is the newly released Drops of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask*, which comes in a sturdy glass jar, complete with a little spatula, and 90ml of product. Described as a 'night cream - gel', this mask includes Edelweiss stem cells, which are great for cell renewal. The texture of it is very thick, and a little goes a long way. The smell is pleasant and fresh, and every evening I apply some to my face, massage in, and wait for it to absorb before going to sleep. In the morning my skin feels amazing. I find this cream totally replenishes my dry and dehydrated face, and is especially useful for healing any spots or sore areas that I have. It's moisturising and soothing, and the tightness I was suffering from has now gone. Overall I think this mask is incredibly good value for money, especially as I'm used to paying a lot more, for a lot less cream.  
The Body Shop Concentrate

Next is the Drops of Youth Concentrate* which I've been using for a while now, and it has to be said, I'm really impressed with this too. It comes in a glass bottle, with a pipette style applicator, making it really easy to apply. The product itself is to be used like a serum, so I massage a couple of drops into my skin, before applying a day moisturiser, or the bouncy mask, when using it at night. Just like the mask, it smells really fresh, and is an absolute pleasure to have on my skin. As some of you might know, I have a combination skin type, and often struggle to find a serum that can be used in the morning. Anything that could potentially create shine is a no go for me, but this isn't the case with this concentrate. The solution itself is fairly thick, and it's quite unique, in the sense that it absorbs immediately after being applied. That's a real bonus when I'm in a rush. My skin is left feeling really smooth, and I love the way my make-up looks now, because of how it's enhanced the condition of my skin.

Both products have made my face look and feel so much more healthier than it was before. I was really suffering with a mixture of dry, peeling skin, whilst still having to deal with the oiliness of it being combination. That's a whole lot of problems to deal with in one go, but when using the two together, it becomes so much more balanced. The bottle of concentrate is pretty much gone now, but I'm definitely going to buy another. When it comes to Drops of Youth, The Body Shop have got me hooked!

The Concentrate can be purchased here for £24.00, and the Bouncy Sleeping Mask here for £22.00. The Body Shop are currently offering £10 off when you spend £25, or £25 off when you spend £50! Just enter the code SAVE at the checkout.

What do you think of the skincare ranges at The Body Shop? Is there anything else you recommend I try?

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20 January 2015

Favourites 2014 | Body Care

Body Care Favourites
Yep! I have another favourites post for you all today, and this time I'm focusing on body care. I've got a fair few of these to get through over the next couple of weeks, including hair, skincare, nails and more, so look out for those! In the meantime here's some of my fave body products from 2014:

Shower Gel | Radox | Coconut Kiss | Link
I've been lucky enough to try out many of the shower gels in the Radox Fresh and Fruity range, and so far I like them all. The two that I love the most are Passion Fruit Splash (which I got at the Cosmo Blog Awards), and more recently, Coconut Kiss. They're just so refreshing, and using them first thing in the morning is the perfect way to start the day.

Deodorant | Garnier | Link
There's nothing worse than deodorant stains, so thank goodness I've discovered Garnier Mineral Invisible Spray. Since using this little beaut, I find my clothes are no longer ruined with awful white marks. Even the black ones. It smells really yummy, dries quickly, and is said to last around 48 hours (I've not tested this though, as I shower every day!).

Body Lotion | Champneys | Citrus Blush | Link
Oh my goodness. I absolutely love this light textured body lotion. It has the most scrummy citrus smell, and is full of lemon oil, mandarin, cardamom, almond oil and vitamin E. Once used, my skin is left feeling soft and revitalised. It's enough to make me want to get in the car and drive to Champneys spa right now! And I've never even been there - can you believe that? (I shall add it to my list of things to do in 2015!). 

Bath Oil | Grahams | Natural Bath/Shower Oil* Link
Grahams skincare is a new brand to me, and has only just been released in the UK. Their bath and shower oil is the first thing I've tried, and let me tell you - it's pretty cool. Over the months since using it, I've discovered that it's a multi-purpose product. As well as being great in the bath and shower, it's good as a sort of intense moisturiser too! I think it would be perfect for people with hyper-sensitive skin, due to it's all natural ingredients that include honey and olive, manuka, almond, emu, apricot kernel and vitamin E oils. 

Self Tanner | St Tropez Mousse | SHADE | Link
I don't know what it is with St Tropez mousse, but despite trying loads of other self tanners, I always end up going back to this as my all time favourite. When faced with several important events in 2014, this was the one I reached for, so I guess you can say it's still got holy grail status with me. Lots come close, but there really is only one St Tropez!

Perfume | Juicy Couture | Viva La Juicy* | Link
Viva La Juicy ended up being my top perfume of 2014, and when Vivabox kindly sent me a voucher to choose any perfume of my choice, this is the one I picked. Aside from it's gorgeous fruity smell, I've always loved the Juicy Couture brand, and just look at how adorable that bottle is. It looks so cute on my dressing table!

Wash Off Tan | St Tropez | Link
So I used to be a Rimmel Sun Shimmer kind of girl (literally for years), then along came this. The St Tropez Instant Tan Face & Body Lotion is really easy to use, gives a natural looking colour, and best of all it doesn't stain your hands! (Unlike Sun Shimmer! Does it still do that? Ugh! So annoying). So, sorry Rimmel, St Tropez it is. 

Body Spray | Esthe | Floral Dream* | Link
I got this Korean body spray in a Memebox, and I'm a massive fan of it's fruity/citrus scent. It's my everyday go to spritzer, and I'll be sorry when it's all gone. Because it's not a full on perfume, the smell is fairly light, but sometimes that's all I need.

What were your favourite body care products in 2014? Did you try any of these?

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13 January 2015

Fake It Till You Make It! | Why Bloggers Buy Followers

Why buy fake followers
A while ago I was reading one of the blogs I follow, when I suddenly realised their Bloglovin followers had shot up, from hundreds, to literally thousands overnight. I was pretty shocked. Not because I wasn't aware that fake followers could be purchased, but because I trusted this this bloggers views and opinions. In a way, I felt a bit cheated. Did this person think their readers were so dumb they wouldn't notice? I remember wondering if it was even possible for someone as popular as Zoella to grow their following to that amount, in such a short space of time. This kind of stuff goes on in the online world all the time, and since this happened, I've seen a fair few bloggers do the same. The question is - why do bloggers buy fake followers?

From a business point of view, it's likely that the blogger is trying to enhance their blogging career, by making their stats look much higher than they really are. Having good blog stats can lead to the blogger getting lots of sponsorship opportunities, free goods, and all sorts of other paid work. Opinion leader bloggers are like gold to brands and agents. When a blogger has the ability to reach, and influence a large target audience, brands are keen to get them to promote their products or services, in a bid to generate more sales. But if the followers are fake, there's no-one to influence.... right?

Well, yes that's true, which is why it takes more than thousands of Bloglovin and Twitter followers to convince any brand or agent worth their salt to work with a blogger. That's where unique users come in. This is the amount of new visitors a blog gets on it's site in a set period of time. Most brands and agents ask for evidence of this, and that's something no amount of fake followers can give you. So now you might be thinking that purchasing them isn't going to enhance anyones blogging career. But sadly it's probably not the truth.

How many times have you clicked on a blog, seen they have thousands of followers and decided that their content is probably quite good because there's so many? Next you've probably hit the follow button, so you can read their posts on a regular basis, and perhaps decide for yourself? Imagine all the other people that are doing the same thing. Suddenly the blog with all the fake followers now has a whole load more real followers, people who are probably reading the blog, and giving them the real stats they need. These bloggers literally fake it till they make it.

It sucks, but that's the reality of the blogging world. If you're someone that's considering buying fake followers, my advice is don't do it! You may not realise, but the blogosphere is a very tight knit community, especially in the world of beauty bloggers. When someones stats shoot up to crazily high amounts over night, it sticks out like a sore thumb! Suddenly they're a top blogger on Bloglovin, and everyone knows they probably bought a load of followers. Fellow bloggers and brands alike will lose respect for you and your blog, and when social media sites delete fake accounts (as they do every now and again), your stats will drop again, exposing what you've done even more! The same goes for people that set up new blogs, and buy a load of followers at the same time. It's really obvious, because they were nowhere to be seen in the blogging world before!

I have to admit, I don't always unfollow people if it becomes evident that they may have purchased a few fake accounts. There was a case recently, where it may or may have not happened, but I love the blog so much that it would take more than a silly mistake to stop me from following. I'm kinda nice like that, and when someone does something daft, I tend to think they probably had their reasons. Who am I to judge what anyone else does, anyway?

Personally, the most important thing to me is that my readers can trust my opinion. Without that there wouldn't be much point in me writing this blog. When you're trying out and reviewing lots of beauty products like I do, it's really important that everything written is true to what I believe. That's why I would never purchase fake followers. Surely it's just a one way ticket to losing everyones trust?

What do you guys think about buying fake followers? Do you have any tips on how to spot them?

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