Opinion Page: Product Follow-Ups

Nov 19, 2020

One of the things I struggle with is when influencers sing the praises of a product, and then you never hear about it again.

Remember Beauty Pie?  It filled the feeds of so many influencers for months, and now, crickets.  The Always Pan seems to be everywhere right now, but who knows how many of its devotees will still be singing its praises when the partnership budget runs out.

So I thought that I would go back and discuss which previously reviewed items I’m still using, which didn’t get a re-buy, and products I just changed my mind about.

Colorfulkoala Leggings // Tired of paying $98 for leggings, I gave the Colorfulkoala Leggings a try.  I expected to like them.  I didn’t expect to swap out my Lululemon’s all together in favor of a <$30 leggings.  But here we are.  I’ll be listing most of my Lulu leggings on Poshmark later this week.

Knix Underwear // When I first reviewed the Knix leakproof underwear, I was meh about them.  I preferred Thinx.  Not anymore.

A few months of washes later, and my Thinx undies look worn out.  The pairs from Knix still look new.  I’ve also changed my mind about which I find more comfortable.  So yesterday, I picked up two more pairs of Knix boy shorts and three more Knix thongs.

I also hear they have a lot of great products for pregnant ladies and new moms that are worth a look if you’re on the hunt.

Briogeo Haircare // This summer, I made an effort to add more BIPOC-owned brands to my beauty cabinet.  The first choice was Briogeo, and I am still loving their clean haircare products.  If you suffer from oily roots (Hi, it’s me!), their scalp scrub with charcoal and coconut will clean your scalp and roots without drying out your ends.  My only wish is that it came in a tube instead of a jar, but alas.

If you want to give the Briogeo line a try, I recommend this multi-product kit.  It has a tube of scalp scrub, their best-selling deep conditioner, and their Be Kind shampoo and conditioner.  I’m really happy with this purchase, and my hair hasn’t looked better in recent memory.

Gem Vitamin Bites // I reviewed these vitamins for Saw It On Social, and I was really enjoying them for a couple of months.  But they were expensive, and after a while, I decided they didn’t fit into my budget.

I did like the convenience of vitamins that I could eat, however, and switched to the MyBite vitamins.  It’s a bit like eating a tiny candy bar.

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Mascara // I love this mascara.  I think Pillow Talk is one of the best products I have ever tried.  Sadly, my optometrist did not agree.

During a recent exam, he found a few tiny white bumps on the inner part of my eyelids.  When I told him that I had recently changed mascaras, he advised me to change back.  It’s such a great product, but unfortunately, I had to retire it.  So I went back to CT’s Full Fat Mascara.

Peloton Bike // Over the summer, I spent most of my time working out outside, so my Peloton got precious little use.  I used the app for arm and core workouts, but the bike itself sat in the corner looking sad.  But once the weather turned cold, I was back on it a couple of times per week enjoying the Broadway, Motown, and Beyonce rides.

Right now, I’m recuperating from coronavirus, so I’m off it for a bit.  But I’ll be back at it as soon as my lungs are able.


These are the products that were top of mind.  If you have one you want to request a follow-up about, leave it in the comments.

{this post contains affiliate links that may generate commission for the author}


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  1. Elizabeth Ruf says:

    I seem to remember you recommended the Dermaflash Dermapore device in a recent Sephora sale post.

    Did you get it? Do you like it? I’m curious but don’t know if $99 is worth it.


    PS. I tend to trust your reviews, etc. more than others because of the paid partnership aspect to it. (Hitha being one exception to that.)

    • Belle says:

      I bought it after my facialist started using it on a deep, incurable blemish and two weeks later, it was gone. I really like it for acne. I don’t use it as much for serums, but I love it for clearing out pores.

  2. Elise Layton says:

    This is exactly why you are the only beauty/fashion/lifestyle/career (surely there’s a better word for all you bring to the table) blogger that I follow! I have total confidence in your reviews, and think this follow up feature is absolutely great!

    • Emily says:

      I second this!!! Thank you, Abra!!

      • Sarah says:

        I third this! Which is why when you (and others in the comments) recommended pull on jeans, I bought them. Thank you all! These are perfect for my life right now. If any other blogger had recommended them, I would not have purchased. But I trust Abra because of the way she runs her business (and I always use as many links from the blog as I can to purchase things and support her).

    • Maria says:

      Fourth! Thank you for your continued honesty and candor!

    • Betsy says:

      Yes! I bookmarked this post to come back for the leggings – I trust you! Thank you!

  3. Meg says:

    I think I ignored your recommendation of the Colorfulkoala leggisn the first time or two you posted about them, and then one day decided to bite the bullet and order them. OMG!!! I regret waiting for so long. While I prefer the leggings without pockets, I now own several pairs and just recent got (and am wearing) their joggers. Recommend that for anyone interested, order a few different style and try on because that is how I found my absolute fav (which is not the highest reviewed one on amazon). My favs are the pocket less, full length, high waisted yoga pants (not the buttery feel ones). Can we worn working out or with a sweater and not look like wearing athletic leggings.

    • Anna says:

      Check out Senita Athletics leggings (https://www.senitaathletics.com/collections/pants). Most of their styles have pockets (that’s kind of their thing, with leggings and with bras), but they have a few styles that don’t (seamless and salutation styles come to mind, though there might be others). I think the Moto has pockets but is meant to be dressed up, and a few other styles have pockets closer to the waistband, so they’d be covered up by a top. They’re female-owned and based in Arizona, and their prices are pretty reasonable. Plus they’ve got a whole Black Friday week sale going now.

  4. K says:

    Can anyone out here speak to using Knix or Thinx for dealing with unpredictable uterine fibroid induced flow? I wouldn’t expect them to keep up with a full on onslaught of shedding. But, it could be worth it to get away with not wearing a pad.

    • Jess says:

      I was recently diagnosed with adenomyosis (so not the same as you but someone with a lot of bleeding going on), and lucky me, I am getting a period every 5 days, as well as just at random times. A hysterectomy is in my future. However, these underwear are great, I wore them for training for my marathon with a heavy flow. So I think they’d be just fine for you. The problem is if you are going to wear them every day, it’s going to be quite expensive.

  5. Ashley says:

    I agree with you on the Always Pan! I’m interested in it, but is it actually good or all bloggers just being paid to tell me it is? I really need better pans but am so unsure…

    • Emma says:

      I bought the always pan more than a year ago and I’m still obsessed. I’m about to sell my other pots, pans, and colanders because I haven’t touched them for ages. I just pre-ordered the steam baskets that can be stacked on the pan.

    • MaDdy says:

      I cook at least 5-6 times a week a d it is the best pan I have ever owned. Lives up to the hype, and with the current Black Friday discount, I bought an extra one for me and a couple more for family members.

  6. AManda says:

    I agree with a previous poster, this type of candid and thoughtful content is exactly what builds trust and makes Abra one of my absolute favorite bloggers. The colorfulkoala joggers are incredible, NO ONE should be sleeping on colorfulkoala!!

  7. k-t says:

    Love your honesty on products.

    To add to your Colorfulkoala recommendation, I sadly found they did not work for me, as I’m short in the torso. Super-soft fabric, loved them for walking the dog. The waist band would roll when I sat down though. My (very tall) teen daughter (who only wears Lululemon leggings) found them fine, although the 7/8 length was comically short on her. Zella and Athleta are still my go-tos.

  8. Emily says:

    +1 to the Briogeo line. I just purchased their conditioning mask and the exfoliating shampoo along with the stimulating hair massager. Been using for a week and my scalp is about 80% less itchy and flaky. Hopeful that I can ditch prescription shampoo and maybe preserve my color and keratin longer now.

  9. Erica says:

    I tried colorfulkoala after you reviewed them. I now have 5 pairs and refuse to pay for lululemons ever again (which is all I used to wear before). I have converted my mom, my sister, and a few friends. I am 5’3″ and the 7/8 length is “full” length on me. My mom is 5’8″ and gets the full length for the same look.

  10. Laura says:

    Love this topic! Really appreciate the transparency, as always.

  11. SL says:

    I agree with everyone above about really trusting your reviews. In that vein, I would love to see an update on your daily/nightly skincare routine. I am suddenly not wearing any makeup, but also failing to take care of my skin generally and looking a hot mess for it. I need some guidance to get back on track – for the 35 + age bracket.

    • Crystal says:

      I highly, highly recommend @CharlotteParler on TikTok/Instagram. She spent a long time in the beauty industry, is working on her esthetician license, frequently collabs with dermatologists and cosmetic chemists, and just launched her own reusable, silicone undereye mask. She offers solid, science-backed information on how to take care or your skin, order of application, ingredients, junk ‘science,’ you name it.

  12. Jodi says:

    You link to the haircare product doesn’t go to a set. I’m totally interested in the product and sephora has a few different sets. Do you mind fixing? Thank you!

  13. Bee says:

    I LOVE this follow up feature, and echo everyone that your reviews are the only ones I trust. I also second the request for a follow up on skincare. Do you still love the Aphorism products and the glopro? I’ve been on the fence for both of those for a while and would love your very honest and practical follow up.

  14. Catherine says:

    Slightly related, I’d like to know more about how affiliate links work (and how long they stay active). I’ve definitely searched the archives and found products or items from years ago that I’d love to have you get revenue from!

  15. Hillary says:

    I tried the Pillow Talk mascara after your recommendation and I’ve been loving it. I’m it didn’t work out for you, though.

    For anyone else who’s interested, I started with the travel size to make sure I liked it. Abra’s note in the original post about how to apply was very helpful. I think some of the online reviews are based on people not following a similar process.

  16. Aar1 says:

    Kinda curious on the mechanics of the sponsorships. You mentioned how the partnership budgets for some bloggers might not have run out. If a post isn’t labeled as *sponsored*, could it still be due to a partnership?

    • Belle says:

      They’re supposed to label all of them whether sponsored, gifted, partnered, etc.. There are two “tricks” I see often. The FTC rule says disclosures have to be conspicuous, but bloggers just post one blanket disclosure in the blog footer saying some posts are items are sponsored, instead of placing it on each post. So if you think something is sponsored, look for one of these blanket disclosures (which, frankly, are BS). There’s also another version of this where bloggers do a product roundup post, they solicit freebies to review, and then don’t disclose they were free because they never promised to write about them.

      The second trick is to post it on a first post and then after that, never post again. So you get paid to write about a pan once, then you keep writing about to gin up affiliate sales but don’t mention your pan was given to you or you were compensated.

      A lot of bloggers are very serious about disclosures, and that’s great, but there are still bloggers looking for loopholes. A lot of brands have to police the bloggers they work with because the brand can be in trouble also.

      • Sarah says:

        There is a clear consensus here that we trust your reviews and want to help support your business. Can you do a post or partial post explaining whether you are paid if we use links from your old postings? For example: If I re-buy something you recommended in 2019 becaues I liked it so much, and I go back to the original post and use your link today, will you get paid? This is a bit of a black hole for those of us who aren’t bloggers or social media giants, but I really want to make sure I can support you financially in every way I can; you give so much to us and it’s an easy way to give back to you.

        • Amy says:

          Yes! I would love a category of ‘products I recommend’ so I can easily find those and click on your links.
          Ditto for recipes (just because it’s hard to find them sometimes and I’m a big fan of your desserts for 1-2 ppl posts).

        • Belle says:

          I don’t think so. I think the links go dead after a while. I can’t remember how long it is, I would need to do some research.

          I appreciate the effort to support this blog. It’s a big time commitment. I’ll look into specifics.

      • Aar1 says:

        Thanks so much! This is really helpful to know! Definitely makes some Olay and Equilibria content feel perhaps not fully natural, lol!

        • ANNIE says:

          The Equilibria and Olay campaigns basically have the opposite effect on me – I’d be surprised if I ever purchase their product since I’m so turned off by their aggressive influencer marketing. IMHO of course, maybe they’re wonderful!

  17. Sarah says:

    Thanks for this! I’d love this to be a regular thing also. I got a few things from this last so thanks!

    • Belle says:

      I used to do it more frequently, but I just haven’t been buying as many new things. I guess COVID has me stuck in my old ways 😉

  18. Annie says:

    I love this roundup! I also purchased the colorfulkoala leggings on your recommendation. I haven’t quite given up my Lululemon habit but maybe someday, haha.

    Still my FAVORITE rec from this blog is the Free People Ottoman Tunic. I have 3 and when the Amazon dupe was highlighted in the Break Things newsletter yesterday it took me all of about 20 seconds to hit purchase.

  19. W says:

    the Pillow talk mascara, i got the same thing with the white spots

  20. Kate says:

    +1 for Knix and their pregnancy line. The high waisted postpartum underwear were a little spendy but the best thing I bought – ladies, buy 2 pairs for the best post c section glow up. Plus, they’re a Canadian company which this Canuck is all about 🙂 Thanks Abra for the unbiased and trustworthy reviews.

  21. SC says:

    I just got a mini of the Pillow Talk mascara — was looking forward to trying it but now I’m dubious! I had a very painful stye last month from using old mascara (OOPS) so I’m skittish!

    Thanks for the follow up reviews, always curious how things perform long-term. Hope you are feeling better very, very soon!

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