influenster: you don't know me at all

August 6, 2013

I'm going to take a minute to be completely real here. In an attempt to "make it," or at the very least, score some free stuff many bloggers accept sponsored posts. I have also heard bloggers comment that they don't trust these posts, or even the bloggers themselves, referring to them as "fake."

To each their own. I'm small and haven't "made it" if you compare my blog to many others, but I am honest, even if it means losing credibility to businesses. Hopefully I will have gained the more important trust of you, the reader.

So, why  am I bringing this up now? I've written a few reviews. Some sponsored, some not. All have been honest. I avoided writing a review recently because I was so appalled at the contents, and now I face the same situation again. I am sad to say it is a program many bloggers know and love: Influenster.

I saw the boxes of free stuff bloggers were scoring and I was curious, so I signed up. I was sure that given my diet and lifestyle I would likely never qualify for a box, but there is no harm in trying.

Quickly enough, I qualified for the Spring Fever VoxBox. I excitedly ripped it open to find mostly items I would never use: Secret Antiperspirant and Deodorant, artificial nails, tinted lip balm, and a Tastykake snack.

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I stopped using antiperspirants probably a year ago. Not only were they not helping my sweaty self, they are linked to issues including breast cancer. Strangely enough, when I started using a natural deodorant sans the antiperspirant, my sweating actually went down greatly!

The fake nails? Honestly, they just weren't for me. They also came in a purple tint which we all know I hate. A lot of bloggers gave this item high marks, but I don't feel that press on nails are relevant any longer (I still have them in the packaging if someone wants them!)

I'll admit, in terms of the snack cake, I bit (no pun intended). It featured Reese's so I thought it would be delicious. A few bites in, and it tasted more like coffee to me then anything. Then, I read the label and threw the rest of it away. If I am going to splurge on calories, I should be loving whatever it is I'm eating.

The lip balm seemed unsuspecting enough. I know the brand do be a bargain brand which is, fine. And the packaging announced that the product contained avocado oil- sounds healthy right? Until you read the rest of the label and see that lanolin (grease from animal hair) is a top ingredient along with the other not-so-pleasant ingredients. I tried it on once to be fair, and the color bled more than any I'd tried up to that point.

Last but not least, the Osis. I didn't read the ingredients, but I know the brand from my days working at ULTA and know it is a salon brand . I received a mattifying powder that I have kept and use as a dry shampoo on emergency days.

Ok, so one win and four losses. Not looking too good. Yes, I got free stuff, but any member of Influenster knows you constantly write reviews and questionnaires that should probably signal to the marketing people that perhaps I wasn't the best candidate to review their toxic products.

I didn't do much with the VoxBox beyond check it in. I refused to write a fake review and just ignored all the rest of the hype until the program ended. I assumed I would likely never be chosen for another program, and that was fine. But then...

I got an e-mail asking me to take another survey for another program. Curiosity got the best of me and I answered their questions (related to healthy living/eating). I again qualified and again received a package. This one containing...

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SlimFast? Really? I hated the stuff when I was a teenager and I doubt I'll like it much better now. If I want a protein shake, I'll stick with my Arbonne. I know it's safe.

The box included one strawberry shake, one plastic martini glass, and four recipe cards for "cocktails" to make with the shake (yep, alcohol and SlimFast. What a great idea!).



Maybe SlimFast has reformulated or changed since my younger years. I don't see myself making cocktails, but maybe I'll take a sip of the shake. Again, I went right to the label:


Can you read that? The third ingredient is sugar. Sugar? In a diet drink? 18g to be exact...a few under what you would find in a can of soda. Lovely. Sure, it's loaded with vitamins...along with canola oil, cellulose gel, and lots of other unpronounceable ingredients. Yum. This sounds both healthy AND able to help me lose weight. Right.

So, sealed the shake remains. It is on the way to my garbage can.

All this to say...you can trust me! Every time Influenster releases free stuff, blog land is flooded with reviews. Some bloggers may legitimately like the stuff. But so far, nothing I've received is for me, and I wouldn't recommend it either. Sorry.

After this, I doubt Influenster will want to work with me. But who knows? I've spoken up. Maybe someone else will. Or, maybe they will realize people these days are seeking safe products and will take note. I prefer to only review things when I have positive feelings, but in this case, I hope I've helped someone in some way.

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This post was created in connection with my appointment as a SlimFast Ambassador.

15 comments

  1. I SO admire this post and your honesty! I got both the same boxes you did and chose not to even review them on my blog because like you, most of the stuff I did not like. I let Influenster know, but now I'm thinking I should have done an actual post on them. I did like the lip balm and the mattifying in the first box, but that was it!!

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  2. I love you and your honesty! I'm always on the lookout for free stuff, who isn't? I have liked the majority of things I have received from Influenster so far. BzzAgent though? Not so much. I think I have only reviewed 2 or 3 things out of numerous items I have received because I just did not like them. Maybe that's why I haven't received an offer from them in several months.... Oh well, I would much rather receive products to review that suit my lifestyle anyway!

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  3. They have honestly gone off the deep end if they are trying to advertise slim fast with alcohol...I laughed out loud!

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  4. It's so great that you don't feel the need to talk things up just because they were given to you for free. Honesty is always the best policy. Thanks for sharing your true opinion!

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  5. It's literally like I wrote this post. I got the spring vox box too and it looks like I got all the same stuff as you. Sure, I downed the snack cake but other than that? A bust. I refuse to write a crap post about it because there was nothing worth writing about. I didn't get the hair powder, I got some hair WAX. I'm like uhh that is NOT going to work in my long hair. I honestly haven't applied for anything on influenster since. Also, the fake nails. Oh god. I gave them to my 12 year old sister and now she looks like a baby prostitute. That's all I have to say about that. It's a no go.

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  6. I love to read honest reviews. Hopefully, companies will begin to understand that many people don't want all of the unhealthy ingredients. It is up to us (as bloggers) to be very honest about stuff like this. If more bloggers are honest, I think that companies will start to make better products. The companies will, then, be forced to listen if they want to make money instead of lose it!

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    1. You are right. We have the platform to share, and it looks like when one does, others follow!

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  7. I love your honest review. I'm trying to live a healthier lifestyle (it's a slow process), so I appreciate you speaking out for more natural products. I think companies need to hear that.

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  8. This made me smile, because I felt the same way about a lot of the stuff in that VoxBox. Fake nails? Can't stand them. I took them off in about 30 seconds. Antiperspirant? Same as you, I haven't used the stuff for years. Snack cake? As if! I did really like the lip gloss and the mattifying powder though! Thanks for sharing your honest opinion. It does no one any good to pretend to like something.

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  9. Hey Bekah! Thanks so much for your honesty! I mean really...Secret, press on nails and Slimfast! Can you say..."I Love the 80's/90's", lol! That really sucks though, seeing as if there are so many "new" products on the market now. Thanks for the heads up Bekah and thanks for linking up today! Have a wonderful rest of your week my friend! ;_

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  10. Haha I love this kind of honest post!

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  11. I have thought about writing some reviews but I knew that I would have a hard time with products that I don't believe in. Nice to know that you handled it the way you did.

    http://agutandabutt.blogspot.com/

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  12. I just recently signed up for Influenster but have yet to do anything with it. I loved your post and everything you stated is the reason I am scared to accept offers from companies. I have a few emails now sitting and I'm just pretending I haven't seen them.

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  13. Ended up here after your latest post linked back. I think its hysterical they are sending you a whole box of Slimfast! Maybe you can stand outside a Zumba class to sell them?

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  14. It's so refreshing to have bloggers talk about products in such an honest way, even if the reviews are bad! I never know what to think in these types of posts but these are great, thanks!

    Lauren
    Exploring My Style

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