I don’t know about you, but I rely HEAVILY on reviews for most of my purchases. Some would say I have a bit of a ‘problem’. But look…I don’t like to waste money, irritate my skin, have something not work with my existing tech or break after 2 weeks. So reviews (and those lovely little star ratings) have become something I won’t shop without. Especially when purchasing online, sight unseen!
Because I do rely on those star ratings so much, I thought it would be fun to add that element to my clean beauty reviews, clean skincare reviews and brand spotlights. But just adding a star rating to a product or brand can lack specificity; so many times, a product, brand (or book!) will be 5 stars in one area, but less stars in another. And sometimes that breakdown is important to know. For example, if I’m writing a review on a website and I give a product 4 out of 5 stars, wouldn’t it be nice to know that it’s actually a 5-star product, but the pump was terrible so I knocked off a star for sucky packaging?
So that’s why I came up with the SWISH Score!
Why SWISH? Well, I do have that cute little smiley-face swish in my abbreviated mark 😏:
The SWISH score is simple: 5 focus areas (see below), 5 stars possible for each, for a total max score of 25.
Here’s the breakdown:
This is pretty self-explanatory, but packaging that is safe and friendly for our planet is an aspect that has really become important in my purchasing decisions. Is the company using recycled materials, sustainable packaging, shipping carbon neutral? I’ll assign a star rating of the overall eco-friendliness of the packaging for the product and/or line.
How well does it Work?
Pretty simple: does the product deliver on its promises?
How clean are the Ingredients?
This area is a little gray, as ‘clean’, ‘green’ and ‘nontoxic’ mean different things to different people. I stay away from the big dirties, but I’m ok with some synthetics (just because they’re created in a lab doesn’t mean they’re not safe…keep in mind that there are a lot of ‘natural’ ingredients that ARE unsafe). I look for full transparency in a brand whether it’s organic cosmetics or nontoxic candles. If I can’t see all of your ingredients, it ain’t going in my cart. All this to say, my level of clean may be different than yours (and I’m always trying to learn more, so things may change/update as I do), so keep that in mind when eyeballing this part of the score. Also remember that this is all scoop that has formed my opinions based on personal research – I am no doc and no chemist…just a girl trying to be as green and clean as I can!
Safe for Sensitive Skin?
This one is personal, but such a huge factor when it comes to my skincare and makeup purchases that I had to include it. In fact I will scour reviews to see if anyone mentions having sensitive skin before I even ponder purchasing. So if you’re sensitive-skinned folk like me, know that my star rating here is based on skin that is super-damned sensitive: I have to mostly stay away from essential oils on my face, can’t use anything abrasive, have to buffer any actives, etc.
The Happy Medium Factor
This is basically my ‘worth it’ ratio. In other words, I want to be clean and green but can’t afford and/or want to pay a fortune to do so. We typically have to pay a premium to get ‘clean’ products, be that organic produce or clean beauty brands. So is the cost of the product doable in my humble opinion? Or another facet: if something isn’t totally clean, but it’s not ‘dirty’ and serves a good purpose, is it worth the risk (for example, I use a tretinoin product)? All of this is so relative, especially as it pertains to budget. My Happy Medium is different from yours. But I will do my best to explain my star rating for this aspect each time so you know where I’m coming from!
And here’s the SWISH Scorecard:
That about covers it! If there’s something you’d like me to hone in on in my reviews, please comment below and let me know! The SWISH system is a work in progress and I’d love any feedback.
Tracey is the founder and writer of Life in the Happy Medium. She’s also a freelance graphic designer, Mom to 2 teens, Wife, and Friend to a tribe she holds dear, who’s prone to some fairly serious car singing and dancing much to her family’s chagrin (old school R&B is where it’s at!).
From cleaner beauty to healthy-ish eating, she’s blogging here to share favorite finds that keep her happy in the middle.
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