May 27, 2016

Are Brands That Swatch Their Own Makeup Helpful?

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One of the trends in the makeup world at the moment is brand’s that do their own swatches. Tarte likes to take to youTube and swatch their new collections with a bit of music in the background, Colourpop posts images of all of their swatch collections on light, medium, and dark skin tones, and a slew of other brand’s are also take to showcasing their own swatches across social media outlets such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and more!

This can helpful in some cases. I know I’m not the best photographer in the world and I realize how difficult it is to get true to life swatches that represent a shade well. Brand’s utilize professional photographers to take their photos which means you might just be getting a better swatch from them than you ever could from me. Mind you, I am not talking about promo images as we all know how grossly wrong those are!

But personally, I think you can get some of the best swatches of your life from many, many makeup blogs out there (my own excluded since as I said I’m not really the best photographer in the world).

I decided to write this post though because I laughed recently when I came across Lancome Juicy Shaker swatches and it quickly made me realize how much I appreciate some of my favorite blogs for their swatches.

juicy shakers swatches

What do you think?

I did a review on Lancome Juicy Shakers recently and I enjoyed them but didn’t love them. They are lightly hydrating, sheerer in pigment, and they tend wear away very fast.

I’m not really sure how Lancome swatched these but the above photo from looks like lipstick swatches not Juicy Shakers. In this case, a brand swatching their own makeup might not be so helpful because I don’t think I could get this color pay off from a Juicy Shaker unless I poured an entire bottle on my arm!

I think I sometimes you can find brand swatches a bit helpful but in most cases they are heavy swatchers which means things can become inaccurate quickly.

Do you think brand swatches are helpful or do you prefer blog swatches?

I think I’ll stick with blogs myself!

I receive a small commission if you shop through my link.

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Kimmwc03

    I prefer blog swatches; much more trustworthy. Although, sometimes I will forget to check my favorite blogs for swatches before I buy from a brand, like ColourPop, so I’ll go by their swatches and I’ll be thinking “Wow! That doesn’t look anything like what I thought it would.”

    • Isabella Muse

      I find Colourpop a bit helpful when they launch new collections and no one else has swatches but most times I end up getting it and I’m like, “Wait!? This doesn’t look like the swatch on their site!”

  • Heidi

    I prefer blog swatches — including yours — but not the ones where it’s a crappy phone shot or something like that. ColourPop, with the swatches on different skin tones, I appreciate that. But if it’s a heavily doctored photo that’s obviously promotional material, I don’t trust it.

    I also don’t trust it if the photos are exactly the same and just the shades are different. Make the photoshopping that much more obvious, why don’t they?

    • Alys

      Oh I know!!! I’ve noticed that too. Especially on nail polish. It’s like the exact same hand in the exact same position. I don’t get it!

      • Jenn

        Yes I think a lot of time they are not actual swatches on models. The Clinique website shows the lipstick “on” models but it’s photoshop, not swatches. I always search for good blog swatches now!

  • Jay

    I really appreciate when brands swatch their own products on different skin tones. It shows how much they appreciate customers of varying shades. In my opinion each setting can produce inaccurate swatches–blogs with poor/ultra bright lighting, and brands that produce unrealistic (fake-looking) swatches. In addition to swatches I especially like real-life pictures of people wearing the products.

    • Maggie

      Me too. I think the more quality pictures the better. I don’t think it has to be mutually exclusive–brands and bloggers are welcome to take pics.

  • Adrienne

    I prefer blog swatches because many times you get different skin tones and ethnicities and the person who does the swatches will sometimes show with primer or without primer and if its on the lips and its a matte or stain it looks very different on the inner arms verses a lip that may have un-even color or patchy areas. I will stick with the blogs!

  • Alys

    I always look for blog swatches. I’m much more likely to believe what you all have to say and how you present a product. That Lancome swatch is ridiculous! As someone else said though, I do appreciate that some of the brands are showing swatches on multiple skin tones now. That is really helpful!

  • TropicalChrome

    I prefer blog swatches. Even then, I get tired of the perfect lighting which means the product looks nothing at all like it’s going to look on me – especially nail polishes. I’ve learned to read between the lines and interpret the pictures, but what I really love are pictures in the shade, in normal indoor lighting, etc. You know – how I actually wear the product, the lighting I live in.

  • Maggie

    I actually tend to like brand swatches better generally as so many blogs nowadays are way too bright/over-saturated (Musings is one of the few that gets it right!) and I like seeing them on different skin tones. That Lancome one looks iffy, but my juicy shaker in cake looks waaaay more like theirs than your swatch (on both lips and skin) and I actually think it’s really pigmented lol (as long as you shake it well)…it does indeed fade within like an hour or two πŸ™

    • Isabella Muse

      awww maggie thanks! I always feel like my swatches are awful! I’m so bad at pic taking but thanks! I feel good now πŸ™‚ It looks like they swatched over rouge lipstick apparently!

  • Jane

    Ah man do I hate swatches that aren’t even swatches but instead are like flat color-matched paint chip samples. Brands that use little quarter-inch or half-inch circles or squares depicting a “color representation” are the worst. What kills me even more is when there’s an option to view larger swatch….and it’s only a separate pop-up window with the same exact size swatch…but now in a separate window. Argh to the Nth power!

    Maybe cosmetic companies don’t need to hire photographers to put up decent, realistic, true-to-life swatches because they know beauty bloggers who take swatch photo’s are gonna do it anyways and it doesn’t cost the cometic company anything. Also, a big factor in selling products in general is to NOT give people a reason to NOT buy your product, and perhaps posting realistic swatches might be a reason for people to not buy the product. Finally, I suspect cosmetic companies make decent money from people ordering incorrect shades online and then keeping the product ’cause it might be too much a hassle to return it, and yet turn right around and order even more shades till they get it right. Win-win for the cosmetic company either way.

  • Marcia

    This makes me feel even worse about juicy shakers and lancome. I was more than excited and couldn’t wait to try the juicy shakers, although lancome is the brand I try to avoid. I was so disappointed, even they have almost no color and no staining abilities are fine, but they smell awful ! Most, if not all, smell like chemical solvent. The packaging is not cute, big and bulky, and it’s not even a good lip gloss formulation. Anyway, total disappointment, and this picture just makes me think worse of them. All the pigments in one tube together won’t make these swatches !

    • Isabella Muse

      Looks like they swatched them over lipstick but nordstrom whited that out! But yes, they are very, very sheer sadly πŸ™ I’m sorry you were so disappointed!

  • Monica

    I came across this same LancΓ΄me picture a few weeks ago, but it had some important information on it that doesn’t look like it showed up on the picture you have! If you check out this picture ( it shows that the swatches represent a suggested combination of the Juicy Shakers AND the bolder L’Absolue Rouge lipsticks. I thought it would be helpful to share this, since I had the same reaction as you did when I first saw the swatches, until I realized that the picture was referring to two products, not one!

    • Isabella Muse

      yes very helpful! Nordstrom whited this out completely!

  • Nikole

    You took the words out of my mouth, Muse; I was thinking that perhaps each swatch above is the contents of an entire Juicy Shaker bottle, lol.
    It’s nice that the brands offer their own swatches, especially on different skintones; however, there are still many reasons to be suspicious that they are just photoshopped/doctored pictures.
    I appreciate real swatches, especially yours Muse. (Your photography is perfectly good, by the way).

    • Isabella Muse

      looks like they swatched over lipstick which nordstrom didn’t say! Aw thanks Nikole!!!!!

  • Ryou

    I wish brands would just pay bloggers with different skintones to do swatch photos for them — The only thing they probably need to provide is the environment (so there’s no discrepancies in lighting, camera, etc).

    And Temptalia better be one of them.

    (Hey, one can dream)

  • Linda

    Muse, I’m lucky that your skin tone and coloring match mine. So when I see you swatching and wearing the products, I know right away if it will look good on me or not. (Except that I’m about 15 years older than you. ) You’re the only blog I read because of our similar coloring and because I love your style. You’re so warm and friendly and funny. Thanks for all you do, pretty girl!

    • Isabella Muse

      aw thank YOU Linda! This comment totally made my day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xoxoxoxo! I’m so glad to hear I somehow helped you <3!

  • Linda

    And those LancΓ΄me swatches – WTH? Maybe that’s the pure pigment, before they added the oil and other ingredients? I switched those in the store and they were so light I could barely see any color at all. Completely misleading.

    • Isabella Muse

      Apparently they are swatched on top of lipstick which failed to show in the nordie’s image! but still why bother showing swatches over lipstick!? dumb!

  • Karen

    I rely on blog swatches though I will say Colourpop swatches are usually good. That swatch from LancΓ΄me isn’t. So they ruin the perfectly thoughtful idea of showing colors swatches on different skin tones with unrealistic swatches. Any fan of thes or Lancome’s previous glosses knows they are sheer.

  • Rachel R.

    Brand swatches are better than nothing, but most are photoshopped to look much better than they actually are. I much prefer to see blog swatches.

  • MrsJymm

    Blog swatches are waaay more helpful. MUG has been a repeat offender in the misrepresenting-live-swatches-on-Youtube category. I’m over it and quit Marlena’s channel.

  • danadoo

    I prefer blog swatches, including yours of course. I really like lip swatches the best, it seems to give me a better idea of how the colors really look. Is it just me, or do the Lancome swatches look somewhat metallic on the darkest skin that’s swatched?

    • Isabella Muse

      Thanks Danadoo πŸ™‚ xoxoxo! <3! They did them over lipstick which I didn't know because Nordstrom cropped up the image so weird!

  • Lorraine

    Haha!! Look @ the orange one. That shade was almost clear irl.

    I prefer blogs for swatches but I’m happy to see more swatches out there on social media from brands too.
    The problem is when they try to make it look “better” with pro phtogs and lighting and editing but that alters the accuracy.

  • Elise

    Those Lancome swatches are actually Juicy Shakers layered over L’Absolu Rouge shades, not the shakers on their own. I’ve seen that picture before, but it had the shades used listed on the right side of the image.

    I do appreciate when brands provide swatches. They won’t always be 100% accurate, but neither will blogger swatches. The only way to be sure is to try it yourself. What I do hate, however, is when brands “swatch” digitally, as opposed to actually photographing the product on a model. I’ve seen this often on lip and nail products.

  • Haus of Boo

    I recently came across this swatch pic of Lancome Juicy Shakers as well and thought this is very misleading. Like many, I think it’s great that brands are providing swatches on different skin tones. Always a helpful reference but I will also turn to blog swatches to compare. Swatches may also turn out different across different screen on mobile, tablet and pc. More homework to cover but I don’t mind as long as it helps me to get a better idea of what I’m buying online

  • Paris B

    I appreciate the swatches on different skin tones (few bloggers can do it unless you have access to friends with different skin tones who are willing to lend their arms or parts of their face) but otherwise, I don’t trust brands one bit. They’re there to sell a product, not to be helpful. And as you’ve pointed out, how on earth did they get such pigmented swatches of what is basically a sheer product?! Tsk, Lancome tsk!

    • Isabella Muse

      People always ask me to swatch on different skin tones but that’s WORK! How do you get your friends to come over daily to swatch on their skin tones!? That’s a pain in the butt lol! Great idea, sure, but not exactly easy when I’m busy and they are busy, etc…! So, blogs are def a god sent as you have a wide variety of people you can go to get swatches. haha right? Lancome WTH?

  • Francesca

    The Juicy Shakers are WAAAAY more sheer than that photo. I think that is vastly photoshopped.

  • karman

    I stand by blog swatches! Because bloggers tend to be more honest, and they will state if they used any primers to achieve that effect. Swatches done by brands is like the best case scenario, when all the stars align, you can get that kind of effect. πŸ˜›

  • Monet

    Yep, I don’t always trust bramd swatches because all kinds of editing can be done to make the colors seem more vibrant etc. I do like the live swatches that brands sometimes do on snapchat because there’s no faking those.

  • Brittany

    Although I definitely rely on blog swatches and helpful reviews, I find that brand swatches across multiple skin tones to be very helpful. It is hugely due to the scarcity of bloggers with a complexion that is similar to mine so swatches on your beautiful complexion don’t mirror what it looks like on me. With everything posted directly from each brand, skepticism is necessary when figuring out if the pictures are really an accurate representation.

  • Kiss & Make-up

    Thing is, no two swatches are ever the same, it all depends on the skintone underneath. So I just try to check as many swatches as I can. And even then you never know how a color will end up looking on you.

  • Tray

    I prefer blog swatches, and I have to say, I love YOURS ! Your blog is awesome ! Witty funny reviews and swatches that made me buy way too many products !

  • Jules

    I personally prefer blog swatches!! Although brand swatches can be somewhat helpful, they don’t necessarily show the quality or pigmentation accurately. I usually rely on you & Christine at Temptalia. Her swatches are super high quality, so I can get good feel for texture/pigmentation. But my skin tone is so different from hers, I don’t always get an accurate color. Our skin tones are much more similar. Eyeshadows especially tend to pull the same color on you as they do me. It’s so crazy how different the same color can look on different undertones & color depth!!

    • Isabella Muse

      I depend on Christine too!!! πŸ˜€ and thank you, I don’t think I do very good swatches but that made me feel like I do πŸ™‚ Isn’t it!? It’s weird because sometimes I find looking at swatches is completely unreliable as it’ll look awesome on one person and terrible on me!

      • Jules

        Your swatches are great! They look natural and real, and being fair with olive undertones…there just doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to how colors pull on me. So I’m lucky you’re around πŸ™‚

  • Tegan

    NYX is one of the worst offenders when it comes to inaccurate color swatching. Oh my gosh, I cannot ever bring myself to order from their website because the colors they show online are vastly different from what I see in the store.

      • Tegan

        Some of their descriptions of the colors are also pretty inaccurate. I love the brand, but I can only buy their lip products in stores (unless I already know what the color I want looks like).

        • Isabella Muse

          ITA! I tend to play a guessing game with their stuff!

    • Isabella Muse

      OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH wow! They completely blanked that out! Interesting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Zovesta

    Agreeing with others that your swatches are the most trustworthy. They’ve always been the most accurate, with very few exceptions, in my experience! I use the brand’s swatches as a starting point – helpful, but not the deal breakers.

    • Isabella Muse

      thanks Zovesta that’s a really big compliment xoxox!