PurPicks Is A Review Platform Clean Beauty Fans Can Call Their Own (No More Scouring Stars On Amazon)
After introducing Canadian safe skincare certification CertClean nearly three years ago, Jenise Lee faced an unforeseen occupational hazard: Constant questions about which beauty products were her favorites. She doled out details on her choices, but grew concerned that they didn’t address specific needs of the curious or broader consensus about products.
“There was no platform that answered their questions at scale. I threw up a site to see if people were interested in reading reviews about these kinds of products,” says Lee, discussing the user-generated review platform PurPicks. “We now have the largest database of products certified by third parties. We have thousands of reviews, and we haven’t really officially launched.”
PurPicks is currently putting hundreds of products from roughly 100 brands, including Pleni Naturals, Carina Organics, Helena Lane Skincare, Lily Farm Fresh Skin Care, My Mane Care, Bee Real Products, Apple Island Naturals, Hairprint Hair Care, Cocoon Apothecary, Dr. Brite and Davids Premium Natural Toothpaste, up to public scrutiny. To be featured and appraised on the site, products must be certified by CertClean, Environmental Working Group, EcoCert or the USDA as organic.
“We love the idea. While the concept of reviewing products isn’t new, this is a website that verifies that the products that are being reviewed meet clean ingredient standards through eligible certifications,” says Jessica Burman, founder of Cocoon Apothecary. “Product reviews are very powerful because they go beyond marketing and sales jargon, and give people the authentic information they need about performance, scent and texture. The market is ripe for a clean version of a review website.”
Reviewers rank products from one star to five stars on PurPicks, and the overwhelming majority of reviews on the site are on the positive side of the spectrum. However, Lee is forthright with brand founders that negative reviews could crop up on PurPicks. “Your product is not great for everybody, and it’s viable market research for brands when negative reviews appear,” she says.
Today, roughly 70% of the reviews on PurPicks are sourced from participating brands. Lee says the remainder of the reviews are from people who organically discovered the site and assessed products. PurPicks attempted to generate reviews by sending out samples of select products from 10 brands to consumers. The item that has accumulated the most reviews on the site, Pure Beauty Organics’ Body Butter, was involved in the sampling program. It has been reviewed 64 times so far and scored four-and-a-half stars.
At the moment, PurPicks is merely informational, and no products can be bought through it. However, it will soon premiere an affiliate program that enables sales, and PurPicks will take a percentage of each sale. The site won’t hold inventory, and brands will be responsible for fulfilling orders.
Another future endeavor of the site will be to verify that reviewers have bought the products they’re reviewing. Part of the verification plan is to allow them to attach photos of the products they’ve purchased and evaluated. “We are looking at ways to ensure credibility,” says Lee. “The whole point of the site is to make you feel confident and empowered to make better decisions.”
To encourage reviews, PurPicks is considering a point system that would incentivize review write-ups. In addition, to guide consumers to products right for them, Lee is trying to segment information on the site by various characteristics. She explains, “I’m Asian, and I have very straight hair and really short eyelashes. I want to find products that work for me. There isn’t a green beauty platform that speaks to me.”
Beyond the reviews, Lee envisions PurPicks as a destination for clean beauty content compelling to broad audiences. The site is providing a mechanism for green beauty bloggers to upload posts at their discretion with the aim of developing a vast archive of materials. “You can’t just have the voice of certain parties,” says Lee. “It needs to be open, so that content from a diversity of backgrounds is all in one place.”