Testing Overly Sponsored Products (Not Sponsored)

Testing Overly Sponsored Products (Not Sponsored) header

I have seen the same ads from YouTubers, bloggers, and content creators, and I wanted to try out these overly sponsored products for myself. I tried a mix of beauty and lifestyle brands as well as several free-to-play games. Before I begin, I have nothing against anyone who shares these sponsored products as I have had my share of sponsored and gifted posts on here. I just want to see for myself if they are worth the time or money. With that said, my opinion is subjective.

Beauty

Function of Beauty

The shampoo and conditioner I bought from Function of Beauty

I have seen tons of sponsored videos on YouTube and ads on Instagram and Facebook praising Function of Beauty, but I have read mixed reviews from people who actually bought the customized shampoo and conditioner with the main critique being they are not effective. There was another concerning complaint that Function of Beauty made their hair fall out. However, my friend tried out Function of Beauty for herself, and she liked it so I figured I would give it a go as well. As a side note, Function of Beauty recently launched their customized skincare products, but I have a pretty good skincare routine so I opted to only test out what they are known for – their customized shampoo and conditioner. I filled out the hair quiz, selected my scent of peach and mandarin, and placed my order on March 18th. Shipping was really quick and I received my order on March 22nd. I have been using both the shampoo and conditioner about 3 times a week since then, and I am almost nished with the bottles so they have lasted around 3 months for me. As far as the scent, I love the peach scent! Also, Function of Beauty’s shampoos and conditioners are cruelty-free and vegan, and there are silicone-free and fragrance-free options as well. Based on the hair quiz, these were my 5 goals:

  • Fix split ends – I have not had a haircut in over a year and a half, so I have some split ends. With this goal, split ends are coated for a smooth hair surface while future split ends are minimized. The ingredients included are black oat seed extract and beetroot extract.
  • Soothe scalp – I have dandruff so I specifically look for shampoos that are marketed as anti-dandruff. This goal moisturizes the scalp to relieve discomfort, reduces buildup, and helps prevent flakes. The ingredients included are aloe vera and salicylic acid.
  • Oil control – My hair itself can get rather oily so I went for the oil control goal that promotes healthy hair growth and prevents excess oil production. The ingredients included are rosemary leaf extra and vitamin E.
  • Anti-frizz – Another problem I can have is that my hair can get frizzy. I decided to go for this goal that softens the hair while protecting the hair from frizz and breakage. The ingredients are tamarind extract and Moroccan argan oil.
  • Strengthen – For my last goal, I decided to go with strengthen as I felt like it complemented my other goals. This goal increases the hair’s resilience, stimulates healthy hair growth, and protects hair from breakage. The ingredients included are horsetail extract and evening primrose oil.

After almost 3 months of using Function of Beauty, I cannot tell a difference in my hair for some of these goals. I do not if my hair is actually stronger, but for other goals I could tell a difference. I can go around 3 days without washing my hair because it is not oily and I do not have flaking. I will say the shampoo and conditioner are effective, but of course the effectiveness will depend on your hair and the goals you selected. I also have not noticed more hair fallout than usual, which was a concern of mine after reading the reviews. However, my main downside with Function of Beauty is that it is costly. I paid 356 kr / $58 for the 473 ml shampoo and 473 ml conditioner and that is with a $14.50 savings and free shipping. Paying $58+ every 3 months for shampoo and conditioner adds up and it would be more cost-effective if I stuck with my regular shampoo and conditioner that I think works as well at preventing flakes and also conditions my hair.

Would I recommend Function of Beauty?

Yes I would recommend Function of Beauty because the shampoo and conditioner were effective for me and they did not cause my hair to fall out, but it is expensive. If you would like to try Function of Beauty for yourself, you can order a one-time set, which is what I did as I did not want to be tied down to a subscription.

Estrid

The starter kit from Estrid that includes the steel razor, 2 razor blade cartridges, and a wall holder

I have seen numerous review posts by bloggers as well as posts on Instagram by those who received the Estrid razor. All the reviews I read were positive, but I have not seen any reviews from people who bought the razor. I ordered the starter kit in the color Bloom on March 18th, and I received it on March 29th, which was not a bad wait time. However, I ended up receiving the started kit in the wrong color Space. I messaged Estrid on Facebook that it was not a big deal, but I was sent the wrong color of the starter kit. They asked for my order number, and they sent me a replacement kit in the correct color! I definitely did not expect a replacement kit, but I am glad that Estrid has great customer service. I will be giving the Space kit to my mother as Estrid is not available in the US. Since receiving the replacement, I have been using the razor every 1-2 weeks to shave my legs and armpits. The razor is of great quality, and the handle is made of steel so I feel like I have more control over the razor. I also love the razor blades with the lubricating strip, and I do not have to use shaving cream. Another great plus is that the razors are vegan and cruelty-free! The starter kit is cost-effective and it is only 75 kr / $12 for the steel handle, 2 razor blades, and a wall bracket. From there, you can choose to receive a set of 4 replacement blades every 2, 3, or 4 months for 95 kr /$15, and my replacement blades will be dispatched on June 18th. I also added the case (45 kr / $7) and shaving cream (65 kr / $10) to my next shipment so I can try them out. Shipping is also free and climate-compensated! I will be continuing my subscription of razor blade refills as I love them and they are actually cheaper than other razor blade refills here.

Would I recommend Estrid?

Yes I would hands down recommend Estrid. Their razors are fantastic, and they have amazing customer service. I would definitely recommend getting a starter kit to try it out for yourself.

Nuud

The starter pack from Nuud that includes a 15 ml tube of anti-ordorant

I have been constantly shown ads on Facebook for Nuud, which is anti-odorant (is Facebook trying to tell me I smell?). If you do not know what an anti-odorant is, it naturally prevents the smell of perspiration without blocking pores or irritating the skin. For comparison, antiperspirants block pores and prevent sweat while regular deodorants mask the smell of sweat, so with Nuud, you will sweat, but you will not smell bad.I have not seen any reviews by people who bought Nuud except for the reviews on their website which are mostly 3-star and up. There is one 1-star review claiming the anti-odorant did not work, but the vast majority of reviews are 5-stars. I have used natural deodorants in the past, but my main problem was that they do not last and after half a day or so I started smelling bad. I was intrigued by Nuud because they claim the anti-odorant lasts 3-7 days even with being active. I ordered the starter pack on March 18th, and I received it on April 7th, which was a longer wait time than I expected. The first time I used Nuud was on April 8th. I applied it that morning, took my daughter to kindergarten on my bike, came back home, and I went about my day as usual. The next morning I did not smell bad so the anti-odorant did last at least last 24 hours. The next day I decided to take a shower and put the anti-odorant to the test to see if can last 3 days over the weekend. However, it lasted 1.5 days. By day 2, I smelled bad and I definitely needed to reapply and this was with not doing much during the weekend nor being more active like biking. I used the recommended pea size amount, so I tried using a little more to see if it would help the anti-odorant last longer, but it does not last more than 2 days for me. Even though the anti-odorant does not last 3+ days for me, I like that I only have to apply it every other day. Also, the 15ml tube did last me more than 2 months. As for the price, the 15 ml tube is €12,95 / $16 while the smarter pack of two 20 ml tubes is €24,95 / $30, which would last me at least 5 months. Shipping is also free! Considering that, I do not think the price is bad at all. Also, Nuud is vegan, and the tube is made from sugar cane plastic. Furthermore, the anti-odorant itself is a white cream, but it does not stain or discolor clothes. Nuud also does not have a fragrance so I often used it with perfume, which is nice because I do have competing scents from a deodorant and a perfume. I really like Nuud and I will continue using it.

Would I recommend Nuud?

Yes, but it does not last 3+ days as advertised for me. However, every body is different, so it may last 3+ days for you, and I have since bought the smarter pack as it is a great and more environmentally friendly alternative to antiperspirants.

Shein Sheglam Multi-Faceted Makeup Sponge

The pink Shein Sheglam Multi-Faceted Makeup Sponge that comes with

I have bought a few clothing items from Shein before, which I will mention below, but recently I have seen sponsored as well as gifted posts on Instagram for their beauty brand Sheglam and specifically for the new multi-faceted makeup sponge they released. Just like their clothes, the makeup sponge is cheap and costs $3.50 (I paid €3 since I bought it from the European site). The sponge is hypoallergenic, latex-free, cruelty-free, and antibacterial. I was drawn to the makeup sponge because it claims that you can complete your entire makeup routine (including eyeshadow and lipstick) without using a single brush or other beauty tool. I ordered the sponge on March 21st, and I received it on March 31st, which is not bad. I first used the sponge a few times to apply liquid face products including concealer and foundation, and it worked well and it was easy to get under my eyes and around my nose with the angled sides. However, the sponge soaked up quite a bit of product and I had to use more foundation than I normally would with other sponges. Shein claims that there is zero makeup waste with using the sponge, but I definitely disagree with that claim. When I cleaned the makeup sponge, the foundation also stained the sponge. Next I tried doing an entire makeup look with only the sponge. I used the NikkieTutortials x Beauty Bay Palette for a blue eye look, and I was able to apply the eyeshadow, but it is difficult to blend the colors. I think the sponge would work best if you only use a single eyeshadow shade. Also, I was concerned with the excess eyeshadow shimmer on the sponge ruining the rest of my makeup so I had to clean the sponge before moving onto my face makeup. Once again, the blue eyeshadow stained the sponge. I then applied concealer and foundation as I have been and then I tried using a powder blush. I was able to get the blush on the sponge and onto my cheeks, but again, it is difficult to blend out. The sponge would probably work better with a liquid or cream blush. I then used the sponge to apply a powder highlighter and the angled side worked surprisingly well and the highlighter looked pretty. I did not use the sponge to contour, but I imagine it would be difficult to blend out powder contour just like with a powder blush. Now the final test was using a liquid lipstick. I first applied the liquid lipstick onto the sponge and then onto my lips, but I found the application messy and the sponge soaked up a lot of product and the lipstick was sheer. I applied more lipstick to the sponge and tried to make it more pigmented, but it did not look that good compared to if I just used the liquid lipstick applicator to apply the lipstick. The lipstick also stained the sponge, and I now have foundation, eyeshadow, and liquid lipstick stains on the sponge. After washing the sponge several times, I have noticed it starting to tear on the sides. Shein claims the sponge lasts 2 times longer than other sponges, but I doubt that seeing as how I have only used it and cleans it a handful of times and the edges are tearing. The case the sponge came with is nice, and I will definitely use it with other makeup sponges when I travel.

Would I recommend the Shein Sheglam Multi-Faceted Makeup Sponge?

No I would not recommend the Shein makeup sponge because even though it is cheap, it is not good quality and it starts tearing after using it and washing it a few times. You can technically do your whole makeup with just the sponge, but it works best with liquid makeup products. However, the sponge soaks up quite a bit of product and the makeup stains the sponge.

Other Beauty Brands I Did NOT Try

For this section, I wanted to include other beauty-related brands I have seen sponsored posts and videos for, but I did not try them because they either do not ship to Denmark or I simply would not want to try them.

  • Bootea, Fit Tea, Skinny Teatox: I have not seen ads recently for these detox teas, but seeing as how they are still around, I will mention them here. I have no interest in ever trying the detox teas because they are marketed as a quick way to lose weight, but that is because they essentially make you go to the toilet a lot. There is also a long list of other side effects like severe stomach cramping and pain, vomiting, headaches, restlessness, and increased heart rate that I would rather not risk.
  • Care/of: I have seen sponsored YouTube videos for Care/of, and it is similar to Function of Beauty where you take a quiz, but instead of hair care, they send you personalized vitamins. I do not take vitamins, and I do not think it is necessary for me. Care/of also does not ship to Denmark, but I was curious to see what vitamins they would recommend for me. They recommended 5 vitamins including Vitamin B12 and Veggie Omega because I do not eat meat and fish, Vitamin D because I live above 37º latitude, Astaxanthin because I live in a city, and Keratin for nail strength. The price for 30-days of these vitamins was $56, which seems like a lot. Furthermore, I read reviews where the vitamins the person ordered were missing or they received the wrong ones, the person ran out of vitamins before they received their next shipment, the vitamins did not have any effect, and also Care/of is expensive and it would be cheaper for them to buy the vitamins at a store.
  • Curology: Curology is also like Function of Beauty where you complete a quiz and they create a custom skincare set. I have a pretty good skincare routine, but I was interested in checking out Curology. However, they are only available in the US. I completed the quiz to see what type of products I would get, and they included a custom formula to fight breakouts, a cleanser and moisturizer for oily skin, and spot patches for pimples, which makes sense since I have oily, acne-prone skin.
  • Foreo: I have seen ads as well as sponsored YouTube videos for Luna, the face cleansing massager, and UFO, the mask treatment from Foreo. The Luna and UFO are so expensive, and I do not think they are worth the price, so I have no interest in trying them out.
  • Kenzzi: Kenzzi is an IPL hair removal device that I have seen numerous sponsored YouTube videos for. Like Foreo, Kenzzi is so expensive so I do not want to try it out.
  • Sugar Bear Hair, Hair Burst, Beauty Bear: I have seen numerous sponsored Instagram posts and sponsored YouTube videos for hair growth vitamins, and I do not want to try them because they cost $30-$40 a month, and you need to take them for a minimum of 3-6 months to notice any results. Also, from what I have seen, your hair can feel nice, but it is hard to tell if the hair growth is from the vitamins or just natural growth, and there are some that have experienced acne breakouts due to the biotin in the vitamins, and I do not need any more breakouts.

Lifestyle

Honey

Numerous YouTubers have been sponsored by Honey over the years, and I have been using Honey since 2018. Honey is a free browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Edge. It is a fine extension because it will automatically go through discount codes when you are checking out from an online store so you do not have to do a Google search and copy and paste different codes to see if they work. Sometimes Honey will not have a discount code and I will find one through Google to use. However, the rest of time there is no discount code available at the time. Honey can save you money and time, and they also have Honey Gold where you get money back in the form of gift cards by making online purchases. You need to reach 1,000 Honey Gold to get a $10 gift card, and different web stores have rates of 0.1%-5% money back.

Would I recommend Honey?

Yes I would recommend Honey because it is free to use and it often saves time and money when you are making online purchases. If you end up not liking the extension, you can easily remove it from your browser.

A screenshot of Honey showing 2 coupons found on the Waterdrop website

Skillshare

Skillshare is another popular sponsor on YouTube, and I tried 2 weeks of the Premium Membership for free, which gives you access to all classes (on the basic free plan you can only access around 10% of classes). Skillshare has classes on pretty much everything you can think of (writing, blogging, YouTube, painting, drawing, knitting, photography, interior design, cooking, baking, gaming, web development, languages, personal development, productivity, etc.). Many classes are around 30 minutes-1 hour, but there are some shorter and some longer classes depending on the topic. I watched a variety of classes from Danish baking, blogging, melt and pour soap making, and photography. The classes I watched were:

100% Rye Bread (The secret recipe) and Step by Step Guide to Danish Pastry – both of these were fine classes, but they were a bit lengthy. I later found out all the videos for the classes were on their YouTube so I can watch them again for free on there if I want to. I also find it easier for me to just Google a recipe than following along with a video.

Creating Blog Content Your Readers Actually Want to Read– I felt like I already knew all of this information from reading blogging tips posts and just through the 5 years now I have been blogging such as understanding who your audience is, showing your personality, having original and evergreen content, engaging readers, having images, and breaking up lengthy paragraphs. The worksheet included with the video is helpful if you do not know who your audience is, but for me at least, the video was a bit of a waste of time, but it would be helpful for new bloggers.

How to Get Sponsors for Your Blog – I was interested in this video because I find it difficult to find sponsors for my blog especially since I live in Denmark and most brands want to work with UK or US only bloggers. However, the video was not helpful at all because it talked about accepting sponsors that are relevant, having a media kit, the different types of sponsorships (ads, posts, videos, and social media mentions), how pricing varies, and pitching to brands. Like the previous video, I felt like this one was a waste of time as well.

Handmade Melt & Pour Basics – I have been interested in making soap and this video includes tips and recipes. Most of the content I already learned from YouTube videos and joining a soap making Facebook group, but there were a few new things I learned like making reconstituted soap. However, some of the tips in the video seemed a bit questionable like they used food coloring in the soap when I think most people would tell you to use soap dyes. Also, they have other videos for melt and pour soap recipes which include dried rose petals and dried orange peel, and I know you cannot add any fresh or dried botanicals to melt and pour soap except calendula and cornflower petals because they will rot and mold. I do not recommend this video because it does not include accurate information, and there are also plenty of free resources out there on soap making that are a Google search away.

Portrait Photography: Shoot & Edit Instagram-Worthy Shots – I was very interested in photography when I was in high school, and I have recently been watching Jessica’s YouTube videos so I was curious about her course. I did not finish the course before the trial ended, but what I did watch was high-quality and helpful. Jessica talks about the whole process of photoshoots from planning shoots, doing photoshoots, and editing and retouching photos. Jessica’s class was by far the best that I watched.

Just like with YouTube, the classes I watched varied in quality. There is only 1 class I watched that I would hands down recommend and that is Jessica’s photography class. If you are a new blogger, the blogging videos would probably be helpful as well. However, I do not recommend the baking videos because they are on YouTube and I cannot recommend the melt and pour soap videos because they include inaccurate information. As for Skillshare itself, I did not receive an email when my trial was ending and I also did not receive an email when I canceled my membership. It seems like Skillshare wants people to forget about their free trial and to pay 115 kr / $15 a month for their site.

Would I recommend Skillshare?

No because there are plenty of free alternatives out there from YouTube, blogs, and Facebook. You can also easily Google what you want to learn and find resources that way. Also, I never received any emails about my premium membership ending or when I canceled it, which seems a bit shady as I would like to be informed when they are going to charge me and if they actually canceled my membership. If you do want to try a trial Skillshare membership, know in advance what you want to learn about otherwise you can feel overwhelmed by all the videos available and make note of when your trial is ending if you do not want to pay the monthly fee.

A screenshot of the classes I finished watching on Skillshare including 2 baking classes, 2 blogging classes, and a soap making class.

Shein

I have seen sponsored hauls for Shein on YouTube as well as ads all over Facebook, and I have since purchased from them twice last year. First the good:

Graphic Print Short Sleeve Tee in XL for 7,99€ – the shirt has a nice design, and it is comfortable to wear. The shirt also fit well and it was loose without being too big.

Halloween Print Drop Shoulder Sweatshirt in XL for 10,99€ – I bought the sweatshirt on sale for Halloween, and it is a lightweight sweater. The design is also cute and the sweater fits well.

Halloween & Letter Graphic PJ Set in XL for 3,00€ – I bought this pajama set on clearance, and it is a soft material. The shorts are stretchy and comfortable to wear, and both the shirt and shorts fit well. The designs are adorable, and I especially love the design for the shorts.

Now for the bad:

 Plush Faux Fur Teddybear Hoodie in XL for 9,99€ – the hoodie is big, but it has cute ears on the hood, but the hood oversized as well. The hoodie is soft and warm, but after wearing the hoodie a few times at home I noticed holes in the seam of where the right arm meets the wrist and at the bottom of the hoodie where the waistband is. I do not know when the holes occurred, but I did not do anything that would cause two holes in the hoodie such as wearing it out, getting it caught on something, or being rough with it. I can obviously sew the holes, but I do not expect a hoodie to start getting holes after wearing it only a few times.

SHEIN Plus Bat and Star Print Crop Tee & Skirt Set in 0XL for 17,00€ – I specifically bought this set from Shein because I saw Facebook ads for it. I bought this set in plus size because I read reviews that the top ran small. I thought the set was so cute, but the top is tiny, the sleeves are way too tight, and it can not cover me up whereas the skirt is plenty big because of the elastic waistband.

SHEIN Plus Bat and Star Print Crop Tee & Skirt Set in 4XL for 17,00€ – after the 0XL top was too small, I went back and bought 4XL as I wanted a top that actually fit me. The top does actually cover me, but if I were to move my arms up, the top would come up and show my bra. The skirt is on the large side because the 0XL was more than big enough because it can stretch quite a bit.

As you can see, I have had mixed experiences with Shein. Some of the clothing items have been great whereas others are falling apart and they are either too big or too small in size. Since Shein is a fast fashion brand, the quality is not always up to par and you do get what you pay for.

Would I recommend Shein?

No because even though the prices are affordable, the quality can be pretty bad and the sizing is inconsistent. If you do decide to shop from Shein, I definitely recommend reading reviews and seeing pictures customers have uploaded so you know for sure how the sizing and quality are. However, I would recommend more sustainable methods of shopping such as shopping secondhand or from sustainable brands instead of from a fast fashion brand like Shein.

Waterdrop

The 6 flavors of microdrinks I received from the Waterdrop taster pack including Zen, Boost, Love, Relax, Youth, and Clean

I have seen gifted and sponsored blogger reviews for Waterdrop, and I liked the idea of using microdrinks to make the water taste better so I drink more water throughout the day. The microdrinks are also sugar-free and contain vitamins and natural flavors so they are beneficial to add to the water. I ordered the taster pack on March 20th, which included 6 flavors with 3 microdrinks each for 18 microdrinks total. I do not remember the exact date the microdrinks arrived, but it did take longer than I expected. I first used the microdrinks with 400 ml of cold water then 600 ml of water to see how the flavor would change and if using more water would make the flavors I did not like so much taste better (they did not). You can also use the microdrinks with sparkling water, but I do not like sparkling water so I stuck with regular water. The microdrinks were fun to watch when they dissolved in the water, and the taste is subtle, but the combination of flavors was not always the best. Here is my ranking from best to worst of the 6 flavors I received:

Zen – contains starfruit, white tea, and lemongrass. Zen was surprisingly my favorite flavor, and I liked the combination of starfruit and white tea. Even though Zen was my favorite flavor out of the 6, I do not like it enough to go and purchase a 12-pack of it.

Youth – contains peach, ginger, ginseng, and dandelion. I love peach-flavored drinks, but I was a bit concerned that the ginger would be overpowering as I do not like ginger. However, the ginger was very subtle, and I could definitely taste the peach, which made it my second favorite flavor I tried. Like with Zen though, I would not purchase a 12-pack of this flavor.

Boost – contains blackcurrant, elderflower, and acai. I was most excited for this flavor because I love blackcurrant and elderflower drinks, and I never had the flavors together, but the combination was just okay. I could finish the glass of water, but I did not really care for it, and I would not buy the 12-pack.

Love – contains pomegranate, goji berry, and schizandra. I was not sure what to expect of this flavor combination, but it was okay. I did not really care for the flavor, but I could finish the glass of water. However, it took a while for me to finish the glass, which seems like the opposite purpose of the microdrinks. I would not buy the 12-pack.

Relax – contains hibiscus, acerola, and aronia. This was another flavor combination I had no idea what to expect of, but I did not like it. I could never finish the glass of water even when using 600 ml of water to dilute the flavor some more. I would not get a 12-pack.

Clean – contains herbs, juniper berry, and stinging nettle. This combination of flavors was terrible. I could literally only drink one sip of the water even when using 600 ml of water. I definitely would not purchase a 12-pack because I cannot drink more than one sip.

At least for me, none of the flavors were good enough for me to want to purchase a 12-pack of the microdrinks. I would rather just drink water I infused with fruit myself because I know I will like the flavor and therefore I will finish the glass. I will not have all the added vitamins if I infuse my own water, but I do not think the added vitamins are necessary if you regularly eat balanced meals. Also, the price is on the high side for the microdrinks. One 12-pack is $11, which is a little less than $1 a microdrink. It is more cost-effective to infuse water myself and drink more water that way.

Would I recommend Waterdrop?

No I would not recommend Waterdrop, but taste is subjective. I personally did not like any of the flavors enough to want to spend $11 on a 12-pack of microdrinks. For some of the flavors I ended up drinking less water because I would not finish the glass. However, if any of these flavors sound interesting to you, I would recommend getting the taster pack for $22. With the taster pack, you will get 6 out of 9 different flavors, so you may get the same flavors as me or the Focus (contains lime, acerola, and baobab), Glow (contains mango, cactus fruit, and artichoke), or Defence (contains cranberry, rosehip, and moringa) flavors. If you end up liking any of those flavors, you can then purchase a 12-pack.

Other Lifestyle Brands I Did NOT Try

  • Audible: Audible seems to be another popular YouTube sponsor, and Audible is an audiobook subscription service through Amazon. With the membership, you get 1 credit a month to use on an audiobook, unlimited access to Audible Original Podcasts, and access to deals. I do like listening to audiobooks, but I would rather listen to audiobooks through my library for free with Libby.
  • Boohoo, Fashion Nova, Missguided, Pretty Little Thing, Princess Polly, Zaful, and Zalando: There are so many sponsored hauls and tryons all over YouTube as well as Instagram posts about these brands, but I have no intention of purchasing from them because they are all fast fashion brands. I did purchase from Shein a while back, but it is definitely not a regular occurrence for me. I imagine these brands are the same as Shein where the clothes are affordable, but the quality is not always up to par and the sizing is all over the place. If you do want to buy from these sites, be sure to read the reviews of the items and look at the pictures customers have uploaded so you have an idea of what you are actually buying. However, as I mentioned in my Shein review I recommend more sustainable fashion alternatives.
  • Bright Cellars: Bright Cellars is a monthly wine subscription box that I have seen recently sponsoring YouTube videos. First off, I do not drink wine because I do not like the taste, and also the subscription box is only available in the US, therefore, even if I wanted to, I would not even be able to try out the subscription service.
  • Casetify: Recently I have seen sponsored YouTube videos for Casetify, but they mainly sell cases for iPhones and they do not sell any cases for my Android phone. The Android cases are €55-€60 / $67-$73, which is a bit expensive for a phone case, and I do not know if the quality is any good.
  • FabFitFun: I actually reviewed the FabFitFun Fall 2019 Box back when they had a 50% off sale, but I am still seeing Facebook ads and sponsored unboxings on YouTube. I would be interested in trying out another box as the first box I received was a huge disappointment, but FabFitFun only ships to the US, Canada, and the UK.
  • HelloFresh: I have been seeing a lot of sponsored YouTube videos for HelloFresh popping up, which is a meal kit delivery service. HelloFresh is available in Denmark, but it seems like it would be better for people who do not have the time to plan and shop for meals. I do like that HelloFresh has a vegetarian meal option, but 3 meals for 2 people is 400 kr / $65 PLUS 29 kr / $5 for shipping, which is the cheapest option and that seems a bit expensive for one week! I have also read reviews where the produce and meat arrive rotten or they go bad shortly after receiving the box, there are missing ingredients, and sometimes the meal box arrives late or does not even arrive that week.

Gaming

AFK Arena

I have seen numerous sponsored Youtube videos for AFK Arena, which is an idle mobile game where you get rewards for not playing. However, I found the game boring because when you are playing EVERYTHING is done automatically whether it is playing a stage in campaign mode, fighting enemies on each floor of the King’s Tower, or even in PVP when you fight against other players. The only thing you can do is press on the hero’s portrait when they have a special, but there is no point in doing that because the heroes automatically fight the enemies so might as well leave it on auto so they can automatically use their specials as well. Along with various stages and a PVP mode, you can also join guilds and summon heroes at the tavern. One reason why I decided to play AFK Arena is that Markiplier and Chica are in-game characters at the tavern, and Markiplier even voiced his character, which was nice. Summoning heroes is a big part of the game because you want better heroes to complete the stages and do well in PVP. You need diamonds, which is the premium currency to summon heroes, but I never felt pressured to spend money because there are not countless pop-ups and at least in the beginning, it easy to get diamonds by completing quests. However, I would say the big downfall of AFK Arena is that is very little to do as a player. You can level up your heroes and choose which heroes to be on your team, but you have no control over how the heroes fight and you just have to hope that they are stronger than the enemies.

Would I recommend AFK Arena?

No I would not. You do get rewards while you are not playing the game, but when you do want to play, the only thing you can do is decide what heroes to add to your team, what stage or floor to fight on, and what team to fight against in PVP, and everything else is done automatically for you, which makes the game boring.

Best Fiends

Screenshot of one of the stages of Best Fiends

Remember several years ago when it seemed like every YouTuber was sponsored by Best Fiends? Well, I never played the game, but I wanted to play a classic overly sponsored game and see if it is actually any good. Best Fiends is a mobile game, and the premise is to connect 3 or more of the same icons to complete the stage. You have fiends that help during the stage, and they each have different abilities. Each stage also has different goals and obstacles, but I found the game a bit boring because I was pretty much doing the same thing over and over again. The graphics are cute, and the game is easy to play because all you are doing is connecting the icons, but I imagine the stages get harder on the higher levels. Speaking of levels, there are over 4000! Best Fiends is also free-to-play, and you do not have to pay money to beat the stages, but some of the fiends can only be unlocked by purchasing them. With that said, I do not see myself playing Best Fiends after this review because there are so many other things I would rather do with my time.

Would I recommend Best Fiends?

No because even though the game is cute, it is very repetitive and I did not have that much fun playing it.

Raid: Shadow Legends

There have been so many gaming YouTubers who have been sponsored by Raid: Shadow Legends, so I had to try it out for myself. Raid: Shadow Legends is a mobile turn-based game, and the main gameplay especially when first starting out is completing chapters by fighting enemies and defeating the boss on the final stage of the chapter. The more chapters you complete, the more things you unlock in the game such as a dungeon mode where you complete stages for special items, clans where you join a group of other players, and PVP where you fight other players. Another big part of the game is summoning heroes, and the goal of the game is to create the strongest team of heroes. When I first started playing the game, I immediately noticed the graphics were very high quality for a mobile game, which was nice. Also, when I reached chapter 2 and summoned a handful of heroes, I realized there was autoplay for the stages. The autoplay can be set to 1x or 2x speed, and from chapter 2, I only used autoplay because it was quicker to complete the stages. However, those are the only good things about the game. From the ads, it seemed like Raid: Shadow Legends would be an amazing game, and their slogan for a while was even “Forget everything you know about mobile games”. But, Raid: Shadow Legends is not a unique game. For example, it is pretty much exactly like Fire Emblem Heroes and the only difference is the graphics and heroes. In Fire Emblem Heroes, you summon heroes, make strong teams, complete chapters by fighting enemies in different stages, and fight other players in PVP. Others who have played Raid: Shadow Legends have compared it to Summoners War, but I have not played that game. However, not being a unique game is not my main problem with the game. My main problem with Raid: Shadow Legends is that it claims to be free-to-play, but in reality it is pay-to-win. Yes you can play for free, but if you want to have a strong team and do well in PVP, be able to complete all the stages in the dungeon mode, and avoid farming stages, you will need to pay, and the packages are not cheap! You will also get constant pop-ups to spend money to get better heroes, equipment, and gems (the premium currency in the game). I literally got 7 pop-ups in a row at one point to spend money on the game, and I have no desire to continue playing the game because of that.

Would I recommend Raid: Shadow Legends?

No I do not recommend playing the game. There is a lot to do in the game and the graphics are great, but it is pay-to-win in that the only way you can get better heroes and do well in the game is if you spend money on expensive packages.

Screenshot from Raid: Shadow Legends of my team of heroes fighting enemies

World of Tanks

Despite World of Tanks being around for over 10 years, I have seen sponsored YouTube videos recently for it, and I decided to try it out. World of Tanks is free to sign up and download on PC, and it is also free on Xbox and Playstation. I went in trying to be optimistic because I do not really like online multiplayer games, but if gamers recommended it, it should be good right? I downloaded the game on my gaming laptop, and it is a large game – you need at least 36 GB of hard drive space! The premise of World of Tanks is that you are a tank, and you and your team of 14 others need to either destroy all the enemy tanks or capture their base. There are different types of battle modes, but this type of battle is the most popular. The game also has great graphics, which I expected from a PC game. When you first start playing, you go through Boot Camp which is like a tutorial mode where you learn how to play. Boot Camp was fine, but the game went downhill real quick when it came to the real battles with other players. As I mentioned, I downloaded the game on my gaming laptop, and my laptop got so warm while playing and you need to use the keys to move the tank. I could not play for long periods (at most 30 minutes, which was around 2 battles). The battles last at most 15 minutes, and they are not fun. There is very unbalanced matching in the battles and you will be put against players at a much higher level than you. In my first battle, I was destroyed right away before I was able to do any damage to the enemy tanks. You will also have players on your team who camp where they stay at the base and do not do anything the whole time. Furthermore, World of Tanks is pay-to-win and you have to pay for premium tanks that are expensive, or else it will take a lot of grinding to improve your tank. Others have compared World of Tanks to Armored Warfare, but World of Tanks uses tanks from World War 2 while Armored Warfare has modern tanks. Wargaming, the company that made World of Tanks, also made World of Warplanes and World of Warships, which I assume are similar except instead of tanks you have warplanes and warships.

Would I recommend World of Tanks?

No because first off you need a gaming PC, but ideally not a gaming laptop to avoid overheating. There is also unbalanced matching in the battles and you will be put up against players who have paid for the premium tanks and you have very little chance of winning against them as a free-to-play player. These reasons make the battles unenjoyable to play, and I uninstalled the game after writing this review.

Screenshot from the start of a battle of World of Tanks

Other Gaming/Tech Brands I Did NOT Try

  • G Fuel: G Fuel is known as the official energy drink of esports, and it is overly sponsored by gaming YouTubers and Twitch streamers. I was curious about G Fuel, but shipping to Denmark is ridiculous, and I would pay more in shipping than for the product (the starter kit is $15 for a shaker and 7 packs of their most popular flavors, but shipping is over $20). Even though I was interested in trying G Fuel, I did not want to pay so much for shipping.
  • ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark: It seems like every YouTuber has been sponsored by one of these VPNs. I can see the benefit of using a VPN, but I feel like I really do not need to use one and I do not want to spend money on it either.
  • Occulus: I have seen plenty of sponsored YouTube videos for Occulus, and yes the VR headsets are cool especially the latest Occulus Quest 2 that does not require a PC, but they are on the expensive side, and I do not think I would get that much use out of it.
  • Raycon: There are sponsored videos all over Youtube for Raycon, which makes wireless earbuds and headphones. They are not too expensive, but I have plenty of headphones and I really do not need a new pair.

Have you used any of these overly sponsored products?

53 thoughts on “Testing Overly Sponsored Products (Not Sponsored)

  1. I loved reading this! I saw an Instagram ad of Foreo and read the reviews which said u can buy a cheaper one on Amazon – I did that, but I don’t think it did anything to my skin 🤷‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to shampoo my hair a few times a week. Now I shampoo my hair once a week and condition only the bottom half of my hair 2-3 times per week. My hair doesn’t smell but it gets very oily and it’s impossible to remove shampoo residue from my hair follicles. I haven’t found a solution yet to combat the oil problem.

    Today I came across a scalp massager which I’m eager to try. It’s funny how it exists on IG and I don’t even use IG 😂 it’s a brand called Lily Eden which I’ve never heard of, but the massager is infused with lavender! I couldn’t say no to that, and it’s worth a try!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. P.S. We tried HelloFresh and I think it’s overrated too! It’s so much cheaper to buy the ingredients yourself, and free recipes online are not hard to find these days. We tried HelloFresh only because we had a coupon, and even with the discounted price I couldn’t justify continuing with that plan. DIY will always be cheaper int the end. I also agree that SkillShare is a overrated. I haven’t used it but find everything I need for free on YouTube tutorials.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s great hearing your experience with HelloFresh! I agree it is so much cheaper to buy the ingredients yourself & you can find recipes for everything online.
        Yes! YouTube is so much better than Skillshare especially YouTube is free!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. That sounds frustrating that your hair gets so oily, but I hope you’ll be able to find a solution!

      I haven’t heard of Lily Eden before but now I want to try the scalp massager haha

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The scalp massager feels really nice and it has a lavender scent so I can’t complain. I didn’t have much of a color choice but otherwise I’m happy with the scalp massager so far, and it was only $6.00!

        I still have oily roots so I started taking a collagen supplement by YouTheory for healthier hair, skin, and nails. It’s too early to tell whether or not my hair is improving yet but I’ve had the collagen supplement in my cupboard for ages and need to use it up before it expires. I’m bad for buying product and forgetting to use it 🤭

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Most of these items are discounted (Winners/Marshall’s) so I don’t feel guilty about getting brand-name products from these stores.

        I think the collagen supplements are helping so far but it’s a bit hard to tell. I try to take them consistently but sometimes forget.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so happy to finally get to read this! The outcome for most of these is exactly as expected, but I was surprised to hear that nuud actually worked! I might have to try it for myself too at some point. 😯

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m happy I finally finished this post haha
      I was surprised too with nuud! When they advertised 3+ days I was like no way. It’ll be like all the others that need to be reapplied several times a day, but nope! Even with the summer heat, I can still go 1.5-2 days!

      Like

    1. Yes exactly! When I read reviews on a brand’s website I doubt that they’re from actual customers because they could be from employees or they only tested the product out once & wrote the review.
      You’re welcome!

      Like

  4. I love this post idea! It was great to have some of my ‘does that really work” questions answered. I’ve considered HelloFresh but ultimately, I think it’s for people who don’t care enough about their food. If meal planning and eating healthy is a priority, then I think you would make the time to do it. I’m glad you wrote about Shein too, because I’m constantly on there filling up a basket, but never want to risk the money on low quality items.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      I completely agree! HelloFresh is for people who don’t really care about what they eat & they won’t put any time into planning & shopping for their meals.
      There are some great items on Shein, but there are definitely a lot of low quality items as well.

      Like

  5. Wow you did a lots of reviewing – this is such a great summative post! I honestly see so many adds all the time and think similar things of does it actually work better than something I already have? This review has helped a lot with a couple brands! I even learned about a couple new ones 🙂 Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am always happy to read this kind of posts! Hearing someone’s opinion on non sponsored products is always good! I wanted to try Nuud and Estrid! my sister has been using Function shampoo for the last two years and she totally loves it. But as you said, a lot of products are overrated! x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely recommend Nuud & Estrid!
      That’s great to hear your sister loves Function of Beauty & I would continue using it if the price wasn’t so high 😞
      Yes there are a lot of overrated products!

      Like

  7. This kind of content is WHY I got into blogging. The real, honest reviews that are often controversial in a highly sponsored world. I’ve read and reread this post maybe 4 times. I love your honesty.
    I’ve got an Estrid razor – sponsored. I am always honest and trial my items for an age before giving my opinion. I actually really rate the razor and I’ve since gone on to purchase new heads for the razor because it’s left me without ingrown hairs!

    Rosie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you & yes! I’m all for honest reviews & I want people to say if they didn’t like a product even if it was gifted or sponsored!
      I don’t think I’ve read your Estrid post, but I have no doubt that you’re always honest in your reviews. It is an amazing razor & I’m excited to get my refills lol

      Like

    1. Thank you & I definitely recommend Nuud!
      Yes! It makes you doubt if the product is actually good if everyone who is sponsored by the brand says it is…

      Like

  8. I loved reading all these reviews. It’s so helpful to know if something is worth it or not. Especially if it is a product you have never purchased before! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome & I completely agree! When a product or service is so heavily sponsored, I doubt how good it actually is so it was nice trying them out for myself

      Like

  9. This is an absolutely brilliant post, Karalee. I know as bloggers we say we give honest reviews when something is gifted or sponsored, but I’m sure there’s always a flicker of doubt in the reader’s mind. It’s so interesting that you rate Estrid because I’ve seen glowing reviews too but they’ve all been sponsored, so it’s really refreshing the brand actually does live up to the hype!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much & I agree. I have occassional doubts especially when a product is heavily sponsored like Function of Beauty. Do they really like the product or are they just saying good things because they were paid & have an affiliate code?
      Yes Estrid definitely lives up to the hype & it’s my go-to razor now!

      Like

  10. Brilliant post! There’s lots of products I keep seeing bloggers try and it always makes me want to try them. I did try Bootea once as I was sent it for review and it was NOT a pleasant experience.

    Corinne x

    Liked by 1 person

  11. WOW! I’ve seen a lot of posts like this but nothing this thorough before! I was really interested in the function of beauty one, I’ve read so many mixed things and it seems so expensive to use long term. I love Honey, its a great way to save money and it’s always nice when you get that voucher when you get the points. Estrid sound like an amazing company, I definitely need to try them out. I’ve worked with Waterdrop before (and purchased from them since) and loved them, but I think there were only one or two flavours that I wasn’t keen on so it definitely depends on your palette x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do recommend trying out Function of Beauty & I know people have been using their shampoo & conditioners for years, but for me at least, it is too expensive to use long term.
      Yes Honey is fantastic & I definitely recommend Estrid!
      That’s great you like the microdrinks from Waterdrop & you purchased from them! I just personally didn’t like any of the 6 flavors enough to want to buy from them again

      Like

  12. This was so interesting to read! I’ve seen reviews of lots of these products but mostly from sponsored posts – I’m sure most of them are honest but it’s so good to read a totally honest review and also read what the customer service is like for paying customers. Estrid sounds like such a great company – it was so good of them to send out a replacement in the right colour! x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yes I hope people are honest in their sponsored reviews, but occassionally I have doubts especially with overly sponsored products like Function of Beauty.
      It was great being able to try all these products & Estrid is an amazing company!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. The first few products you mentions I have seen ads for them. I also see a lot of ads for sugar bear hair vitamins. I don’t think I would try them. I’m interested in hair vitamins but I believe their are better options out their.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I have seen tons of ads for them as well!
      I wouldn’t try the hair vitamins because like I mentioned they contain biotin which causes breakouts. I imagine you can buy other vitamins that are beneficial for the hair, but you would have to wait months to see any results.

      Like

  14. Loved this post! I actually read it the other day but have only just got around to commenting. The only one here I’ve worked with is estrid and I absolutely LOVE them. I love the products and the brand and everything they do (and I’m really not just saying that hahah!) I do get intrigued about these products which are advertised everywhere, on everyone’s blog’s and YouTube channels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thank you!
      I completely agree Estrid is an amazing brand & I love their razors & what they stand for! I’m excited to try their shaving cream as well!

      Like

  15. Function of Beauty and Estrid are the ones that have appeared all over my socials. So many ads and reviews! It’s good to know you enjoyed using them and would recommend them.

    I’ve heard massively mixed reviews about Shein. It’s not a brand I’ve ever felt tempted to buy from and especially not after what you’ve said.

    Thanks for sharing your honest and not sponsored views x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Function of Beauty’s shampoo & conditioner are effective, but they’re too expensive for me to use long term. I would definitely recommend Estrid & I love their brand & their razors!
      I definitely don’t recommend shopping from Shein because it seems like a tossup if the item is actually good or if it’s low quality.
      You’re welcome!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. This was a very useful post! I hate when influencers get a PR freebie and write a raving review even if they actually hate it. That’s why I only buy from influencers who I know personally and who have a strong track record.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same here! Whenever I see random influencers promoting a product, I question whether they actually like the product or they’re just saying good things because they were paid. Of course there are also bloggers & content creators I trust to be honest.

      Like

  17. Thank you for sharing this! I often wondered about function of beauty but heard some horror stories of people loosing a lot of hair. I guess if it works for people great, but I already have fall out as it is so I don’t think I’d try lol and waterdrops was something I saw on a YouTube add and I was tempted, maybe not anymore now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome! I was definitely worried about hair loss, but I’m happy I didn’t have that experience. However, I wouldn’t recommend the shampoo & conditioner for you because I have no idea how they would be for your hair!
      I know others who tried waterdrop & liked most of the flavors so you could get the taster pack to see for yourself if you like any.

      Like

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