Friday, May 20, 2011

Grading Guidelines

I am inspired in part by Temptalia's awesome grading schema, but I've tweaked it a little for my own use.  The categories I evaluate are:

Price (out of 10): How painful do I find the price?  Since I'm on a college student's budget and have very little money, I like low initial costs.  Also taken into account are the general price range for the product; a $10 eyeliner would receive a lower score than a $10 foundation, just because eyeliners are generally cheaper than foundation.  The price for evaluation is the amount I paid for it (or, similarly, the cheapest it can be found on eBay, Beauty Ticket, or All Cosmetics Wholesale), not the amount it retails for in stores, unless, of course, they happen to overlap.

A 10 would be given to straight-up cheap products (say, a $1 Wet 'n Wild eyeliner), as well as to cheap-for-their-category products (like a $6 foundation) and cheaper-than-usual items (like a $5 Smashbox lipstick), while a 1 would go to extreme luxury products (the likelihood of me ever giving out a 1 is really slim!) like a Guerlain Gems lipstick ($46) or Le Metier de Beauté eyeshadow ($30).

Value (out of 10): How much product do you get for the price?  If it has a higher initial cost but you get enough to last forever (as with, say, the older Benefit boxed powders [which I still wouldn't buy full-priced!]), the product will get a good score here, as long as the quality is there, too.  If you get a ton of product, but it's terrible, that's not great value, either, though it will lose points under quality, not value, if that's the case.  Low-scoring products for value would be those that have offensively little product for the price (like the Buxom Big & Healthy Lip Stick, $18 for 0.03 oz, when most lipsticks are 0.10+ oz--and yes, I realize it's a hybrid lipliner/lipstick, but that's no excuse for such a tiny amount!).

Quality (out of 15): Is it a good product?  Is it something I will actually want to use?  A product can get a great score in price and value, but terrible in quality, if it's cheap with a lot of product, but the product is bad and you'd never want to use it up.  This is a pretty nebulous category, but I hope that over time I'll be able to figure out what things really make a "quality" product; until then, I'll be sure to explain my rationale thoroughly.

Pigmentation (out of 5): Is the product as pigmented as it claims to be?  If it's supposed to be a full-coverage foundation, is it?  If it's supposed to be a sheer lipstick, is it?  Does it apply evenly?

Duration (out of 5): Does it last at least as long as it claims it will?  There are few things more annoying than wearing a "stain" only to realize it wears off in an hour.

Consistency (out of 5): Does it apply nicely, and feel nice on?  Nobody wants to wear something that feels icky on--grainy lipgloss, I'm looking at you!

Packaging (bonus points only): I don't care much about packaging, and since I gravitate towards cheaper things, I didn't want this measurement to bring down the scores of otherwise great products.  However, awesome packaging is great, so if something is truly stellar in its presentation, I'll give it 1 or 2 extra points.

Buy again?: Pretty self-explanatory; this doesn't count towards the score, but it will serve as a nice reminder for myself as to whether something is worth repurchasing.

I hope that helps clarify things a little!  It's certainly helpful for me to have a more concrete set of rules for how I want to evaluate products.

Note: These guidelines are really only applicable for makeup; skincare will either have a different set, or will have only prose explanation.
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