By: Nikita Shah

When I was in my teens and twenties, everyone was obsessed with trendy fast fashion, Ugg boots, and The Office. Don’t come for me; we were young and finding our way. I was in school and working to support myself, and I’ve made the mistake—time and again—of using my hard-earned money to buy poorly made items that didn’t last or didn’t work well because I thought it was a good deal, or worse, because it was cute. Now that I have some experience under my belt, I feel like I’m making better choices and the products I buy are with me for longer.

Growing up before the Internet meant that we didn’t have a plethora of outlets to find the best product we were looking for. Typically we’d find a brand that was trustworthy and stick to it. Advertising played a big part in this because if a brand could afford advertising then it was probably doing well, right? As we grew to be savvy consumers, we’ve learned that this is not always the case. Now people are much more aware of how companies take shortcuts or use cheap options in developing their products in order to maximize their profits. And of course this is not something the companies advertise; it’s something you find out after you’ve already spent money on it. 

The risk of accidentally purchasing a low-quality product is even greater now that the primary method of shopping is online. We’ve lost our ability to touch and inspect a product before buying it. That’s why reviews and recommendations have become more influential in purchasing decisions than ever before. People tend to be reluctant to be the first to try a new brand or product, but when we see it working for other people then we’re more inclined to give it a shot. But, not before we look up the return policy.

Most of us have grown accustomed to Amazon’s shopping experience and it’s drastically influenced our shopping habits. We can buy almost anything at the click of a button with fast shipping and the option for refunds; and the process is streamlined. Now we expect that kind of treatment no matter where we shop online. Making sure you have the option to change your mind is so important to not wasting your hard-earned money on an online purchase. Maybe the size was deceiving, or the colour is off, or you just don’t want it anymore. Make sure you don’t get stuck with a product you won’t use or don’t like.

When you start down the path of looking for the best products, you also start looking into manufacturing practices. More and more people are becoming aware of manufacturing practices that are exploitive (like animal testing or sweatshop labour) or have dangerous health-related side effects in exchange for a low price point. Conscious consumers are no longer putting their money towards practices they don’t agree with, and as we grow older and more financially stable, we’re able to opt for products that align with our values even if it’s a little more expensive. We know that the extra money we pay is going towards things we want to see more in the world like: livable wages for factory workers, sustainable materials and packaging, health-conscious formulas, and ethical testing practices.

And when you find that product that hits all of your sweet spots, I defy you to not tell everyone you know on social media! Spoiler alert: you can’t. When a product aligns with your personality, your price point, and your personal values, you’re going to want to tell the world (which brings us back to our first point: reviews and recommendations). It’s so much more powerful to see a happy customer than for a company to tell you that you want their product. This is the same reason I can’t seem to stop touting Lithe Lashes on my personal social media. 

It’s not a part of my job and I don’t get any type of commission on my posts; I just love this brand and I think my friends would love it too. I’m an environmentalist and I try to keep my buying habits in line with my personal commitment to the planet. Lithe Lashes is completely sustainable, from the packaging to the products themselves, and they always take the extra step to make sure their products are not only effective but also health-conscious. The brand is inclusive of all people from all walks of life because beauty is for everyone, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. This brand exemplifies what I think a good, modern, socially responsible brand should be. They hit the sweet spot.

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