How I test products:
For beauty products, I use the product for at least a week before I write about it.
For food, I don’t test it for a full week, (obviously), but I usually make my husband try it too. Wheat and I do not get along, so if a product contains wheat, my husband is the tester. I nag him for his opinion (beyond, “it’s good”) and relay the info. I’ll let you know when he’s the sole tester. I don’t have celiac disease, just an intolerance, so if you need to follow a strictly gluten free diet, you’ll need to read labels even more closely than I do. Don’t just go on my review.
For household cleaners, I try to use the product several times on a variety of surfaces (if appropriate) and conditions. I have an often stinky, excessively furry, 97 pound dog, a cat who likes to gulp her food down at warp speed and then regurgitate it all over the house, and a husband who (like myself) enjoys hiking, biking, backpacking, and other outdoorsy things and then (like myself) often forgets to remove his boots when he comes home, so my house is an awesome testing ground. I also hate to clean. I absolutely hate it. So I don’t have a lot of patience for products that only sort of work. If I’m cleaning, I want to get the job done with good results.
For pet products, I usually give all pet products two weeks to a month of testing before I review them. And for the most part, I hold pet products to the same standards as I do for the products my husband and I use. If I wouldn’t wash my hair with it, I wouldn’t wash my dog with it either. If we were snowed in for a month and out of everything but dog food, I’d probably chow down. Also, my cat is a cancer survivor and handicapped, so I’m pretty overprotective.
If I deviate from this testing strategy — ie. I only test a new facial cleanser for two days before I write about it — I’ll let you know in the review.
How I get the products I test:
I don’t work for the man, I’m not corporate, and I don’t have any vested interest in any of the products I review (beyond the fact that I want to see awesome eco-friendly companies that produce awesome eco-friendly products do well).
For the most part, I purchase the products I review with money from my own pocket. I don’t run out and buy every new green product on the market, because I don’t believe in that kind of consumption and I don’t operate from that kind of budget. I buy eco-friendly products as replacements when other products in my house run out. When that product runs out, I usually replace it with a different eco-friendly product so I have something new to review, unless I’m in absolute product heaven and then I just restock.
Occasionally, companies will send me a product to try, and I love it when they do (who doesn’t love to get presents in the mail?), but I won’t ever give a product a good review just because it was gifted to me. I also don’t want to give eco-friendly products from eco-friendly companies bad reviews. Maybe I don’t like the way a new green cleaner smells, but you will. Maybe the stains on my couch are more stubborn, or the smell of dog feet is more potent in my house, so while I need to bring out the big guns, a mild cleaner would work just fine for you. If a company is making the effort to be eco-friendly, I don’t want to be negative about that, so my official policy is that if I don’t have anything nice to say, I won’t say anything at all. I’ll tell you about products I love, but if I don’t like it, I’ll keep it to myself.