From YouTube to blogs to social media, the internet is packed with beauty reviews and opinions. That all can get a little noisy, and sometimes unreliable, thanks to advertisers and sponsored content influencing all the reviews.
But one Instagram account is breaking away from that influence. Gelcream, lead by New York-based, Russian-born editor Yana Shept, posts real, unfiltered reviews of things like fragrances, masks and nail polish along with gorgeous shots of the products.
Gelcream’s Instagram mission statement is “no ads, total freedom, light and shadow.” And you can see that come through in all of Shept’s post, where you’ll read things like “I didn’t notice any lifting effect,” and “fun but don’t expect much.” She also gives each product a rating out of five, highlights her repeat purchases, and usually mentions if she was gifted something by a brand.
She’s honest, whether she likes something or not, and while Shept told Refinery29 that most brands she covers are understanding, not everyone takes it well in spite of her efforts to be objective.
When she posted a review of Kim Kardashian’s KKW Body Fragrance, it sparked a huge debate on innovation in the industry and celebrity influence between Shept’s fans, KKW devotees and even Jen Atkin, the Kardashians’ friend and hairstylist (who called Shept a “miserable human being“).
@kkwfragrance — Body Fragrance. I think that’s a great product to break my silence: the symbol of consumerism. This is the only Kardashian-Jenner creation I ever held in my hand and I must admit, it feels nice. Here is what I think while touching her. Having the resources you must innovate in all areas: create breakthrough formulas and manufacturing processes, new communication approaches; offer best customer support; research and develop with young creatives… all of that to make products that will stay in history and improve our day-to-day life. Instead, what do we get? Sadly, a celebrity using fame as a tool to sell us some 💩. Tiny companies with tiny budgets care more than KKW’s mega-brand. No returns, no exchanges, copy-paste designs, basic formulas, generic products… isn’t Kim just a mirror reflection of our generation? I am afraid it was us who created this “monster”. I am keeping this perfume as a symbol of America. I can’t return it anyway. $60 + another $15 for tax and 10-day shipping — 3/5 for the perfume, 0/5 for KKW beauty brand. #gelcream_kkw #gelcream_perfume
It’s those kinds of conversations that really differentiate Gelcream from similar review-based accounts, too. Not only does Shept take care to be objective and honest, but Gelcream’s 76,000 followers are like a little community of beauty lovers and readers who want to talk openly about what products are really worth their time. And it’s Shept’s straight-talking reviews that keep them coming back.
“I’ve worked in magazines my whole life and I know how hard it is to depend purely on advertising budget — you end up working for those brands, not for the magazine,” she said to Refinery29. “I wanted my personal project to be independent. I’ve had offers with Gelcream but accepted none.”
So if you’re eyeing the latest serum or palette, a scroll through Gelcream’s feed could help you make a more informed decision, or even completely change your mind about a brand.