How We Do It
We assign products a rating of one to five stars.
- Five stars: Superior. These are top recommended, world-class products.
- Four stars: Excellent. These are some of the best products around.
- Three stars: Good—not perfect, but still worth your consideration.
- Two stars: Fair. These are better than having nothing at all (but not by much).
- One star: Poor.
Our skincare review ratings are based on published medical and scientific research—not our opinions after using the products. We feel this is the safest and most impartial way to help you have the best skin of your life (and we also wouldn’t want to risk our skin by applying badly formulated products)! Our team’s 50+ years of experience and ongoing relationships with dermatologists, cosmetic chemists, regulatory experts, and beauty industry insiders assures you’re getting the most reliable, helpful information—minus the misleading hype!
Makeup ratings are subjective and do involve product testing (reviewing a mascara without putting it on lashes is pretty useless), but our goal remains the same: We are passionate about making it easier for you to cut through the hype, clear the confusion, and discover what really works! Knowledge is beautiful!
Each category of skincare and makeup products have their own unique criteria that determine its final rating, but here’s our basic checklist as we consider whether or not a product is worth your time and money:
- Who is the product best for, and how easy is it to use?
- Can the product live up to all (or any) of its claims—is it poorly formulated or the claims just over-exaggerated?
- If the product makes anti-aging claims, does it contain effective amounts of ingredients research has proven can make skin look younger?
- Does the product contain any ingredients research has shown can irritate skin, including strong fragrance?
- How does the product differ from similar types of products—is it worth the cost?
- How does its packaging impact performance, ingredient stability, and ease of use?
You can learn about the criteria we’ve established for each category of products by visiting the Best Products section where each category has this info summarized for your convenience!