Everyone has those annoying Facebook friends who are constantly trying to sell you the Next.Best.Thing. I know I do. While it’s tempting to hit “Unfollow” after getting another flash sale invite or Facebook Live announcement, sometimes I wonder if I should stop being a hater. What if this product is the one that I’ve been looking for? In the name of research, I tried the bestselling items from direct sale brands, and I asked beauty and wellness experts for their advice when it comes to buying online. Read on to see what’s worth the Facebook likes.
The Skin Care Stars
From inspirational memes to magnified pictures of strangers’ skin, most of the sales pitches I see are from skin care consultants. While it’s easy to write them off as product pushers, you may miss out on some quality skin care staples if you do. The key to wading through the BS? Looking into the science behind the brand.
“If you are considering buying products from friends on social media, try to do some research into the company itself. Get on the website to see whether they've done clinical studies showing efficacy and safety,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. “Beware of photos that look too good to be true. When looking at before and afters, make sure that the lighting is the same in both images. A common trick that people use is to have overhead or side lighting in a before picture to accentuate wrinkles, and then forward facing light in the after photo to blur them.”
The first brand I took for a spin was Arbonne. The standout from their anti-aging RE9 collection is the Intensive Renewal Serum ($65). Aside from the amazing smell, its lightweight formula is packed with antioxidants, like vitamin C, plus alpha hydroxy acid and brown algae extract—all ingredients I usually look for in a daytime serum. My skin felt softer and more radiant afterwards, earning it a permanent spot in my rotation.
Next up was Rodan and Fields, the skin care darling of mama-prenuers everywhere. The brand (started by the same derms who launched ProActiv) is all about finding the right regimen, so naturally I tried their bestselling Redefine kit that came with a cleansing mask, toner, day cream, and night moisturizer. In an unforeseen twist, the product that I couldn’t get enough of was the Daily Cleansing Mask ($43). When I first saw that the regimen called for me to apply an exfoliating mask every time that I cleansed, I thought I’d hate it (I’m very impatient), but instead, it became a calming ritual that resulted in a smooth, detoxed complexion.
As it turns out, I’m too devoted to certain non-Facebook skin care items to totally turn to one brand’s system, but these two products will be added to my #shelfie. “There is nothing different about these products that make them better or worse from those that you can purchase from your local beauty or department store,” says Dr. Zeichner, so if there’s something on your Newsfeed that has peaked your interest, it won’t hurt to go ahead and give it a try.
The Makeup Musts
Independent makeup consultants were the first ones who put direct sales on the map—and they did so way before social media was even a blip on our radar. I mean, can you imagine what it would’ve been like when Mary Kay was starting out and seeing all your friends cruising around in pink Cadillacs on Instagram?
The first Facebook product that made me swoon was BeautyCounter’s Skin Tint ($41). In full disclosure, though, I discovered it years ago before I even knew the brand relied on consultants. Nonetheless, it’s worth trying if you need a new foundation. The hydrating formula is buildable so you can tailor it to the coverage your skin needs while achieving an all-over glow. Plus, it has no harmful or toxic ingredients.
Another item that I’m adding to my makeup bag is Avon’s True Color Lipstick ($8). With a nourishing mix of shea butter and vitamin E, the bestseller kept my lips soft and the color didn’t budge. Another shocker: I fell in love with the line’s top shade Cherry Jubilee. The vampy hue looked too dark for my liking in the tube, but when I put it on it wasn’t nearly as drastic. Hello, new winter lip color!
The Clothing Keepers
If someone you know is selling clothes on Facebook, there’s a (very) high chance it’s LulaRoe. Known for their bright patterns and range of sizes, the brand offers everything from leggings to dresses to jean jackets and more. While many of the patterns were a little too bold for my taste, the winning style was the Carly dress. It’s a simple t-shirt dress that’s super soft, making it perfect for those days when you just want to slip on something low-maintenance. The Carly is a basic that can easily be dressed up with a cool jacket or chunky jewelry, which is exactly the type of thing I like to have hanging in my closet. Also, if you search for it on YouTube, you'll go down a serious rabbit hole watching videos of ambassadors tying and styling the dress different ways.
The Wellness To-Dos
Right now, the wellness movement is getting bigger and bigger by the day, which means there’s a spike in companies trying to sell you products or lifestyles that will improve your physical and mental health. Jame Heskett, a holistic MD and author of The Well Path, suggests asking yourself a few questions before taking the leap. This is especially the case when it comes to supplements, fitness programs, or anything ingestible. First, does it seem safe? Second, do you really need it? Is the person selling you this within your inner circle (i.e. the ten closest friends or family members)? And lastly, does it require a monthly commitment?
“Anything related to your health should go through a more stringent due diligence, because so much is being sold on the internet these days where the claims are extraordinary,” explains Heskett. “Be wary of anything that promises a miracle, or something that is too good to be true—as always, it probably is.”
However, if you’re looking for something to improve your well-being without worrying if it will live up to its expectations, try essential oils. You’ll reap their aromatherapy benefits and can use different blends to relax or energize your senses. The best one I tested was DoTerra’s Citrus Bliss ($20) blend. Its aroma reminds me of a creamsicle, and I’ve bee using it in the morning with a diffuser anytime I need a little extra pick-me-up.
Overall, I learned that I shouldn’t be so quick to judge. There are definitely some decent products that my social media friends are promoting. But at the end of the day, your Facebook friends are salespeople who are getting a commission from the brand. Similar to those perfume pushers at the mall: You can ignore them all you want, but if there’s actually something that spikes your interest, go ahead and try it. It won’t hurt—although you may begin getting tagged in posts going forward.