Save. Spend. Splurge.

The difference between being Paid to Promote & Referrals from Recommendations

I got a comment the other day about being paid to promote Paula’s Choice on this post where I had purchased & used with absolutely zero results, a very expensive acne gel from Ayla Beauty that had been recommended in some magazine by some beauty editor.

I wrote a pretty frank review about it because I thought others should know my real experiences with this product.

I just want to be clear about something to all my friends, readers & fellow bloggers:

I don’t get paid to promote Paula’s Choice but I do get a $10 referral credit on my account with them when you use my referral code (you get $10 too)…. which is what every Paula’s Choice customer gets if they refer a friend.

There’s a big difference between being “paid to promote” (a fee for writing about & recommending sponsored items) and a referral fee for recommending something you already spent a lot of money on, continually buy and can actually, honestly recommend (which is this case).

NO ONE from Paula’s Choice is throwing money at me to promote their stuff.

This is all happening because I am trying their products & am impressed by them; and I continually buy, recommend & love Paula’s Choice and I am not going to stop doing that.

In the meantime, as I am recommending all of their stuff which I would ANYWAY without a referral code, what is the harm in my getting a referral credit of $10 if you get $10 too?

I’m spending all of my time (for free) and money (not free) talking about their products, taking pictures, answering questions & waxing poetic here.

So if it benefits you as a reader and you kindly deign to use my code, what’s the big deal?

You can read about my entire acne journey & my acne regimen here with a recent update (which I follow very faithfully even to this day).

Here’s a sneak peek:

If I can get more people’s skins cleared up for less money than what these other companies (Ayla included) are doing, then I’m going to do so.

Just because I get a referral credit if you find out about their products on my blog, and you get a $10 credit and I get a $10 credit, doesn’t mean that I’m being paid to promote them.

Regardless of whether or not you buy their products, use my referral code or not, I will STILL continue to buy from Paula’s Choice and I will be frank in my reviews of their products.

Case in point:

I’m currently testing out PC’s Vitamin C 25% Dark Spot Eraser that I paid a lot of $$$$ for, and I am starting to feel like it is not working at all.

Kind of disappointed.

….but their sunscreen is pretty good with a minor flaw I will review after I am done BOTH products so that you don’t waste money (if you are interested).

I also bought some The Face Shop masks for $2 each and in hindsight, I was in a spendy mood because they’re not worth the $$$. I’ll review those too.

I will be reviewing and writing HONESTLY about Paula’s Choice products once I am done being the guinea pig for them.

If you have tried any product I have said was not amazing, and it worked for you, by all means, keep using it!

But if you are wondering if you should spend $60 USD on a little tube of cream that may or may not work, you might be willing to read a review on whether or not it is really all that and a bag of chips.

Bottom line:

If the product / thing / service / whatever is terrible, I will tell you that it’s terrible because I believe that you have a right to know and if you can’t trust your online, anonymous, spendaholic blogger, then who can you trust?! 🙂

(Don’t answer. Was a joke.)

However if it’s great, I’m going to tell you that it’s great and recommend it, with or without a referral for doing so.

If/when I ever get sponsored anything (have not yet, to date), I will be sure to let you know it is sponsored.

That’s all I had to say.


  • linda

    I’m really into Mad Hippie Vitamin C serum, I notice my skin is brighter ( I never understood why marketing used this word but now I know!). Though my skin is normal and I don’t have acne. It was just to lighten old scars/pigmentation.

  • alana

    I love your reviews, they’re one of the things I look forward to most on the blog. I am not always into the products/books/beliefs/articles that you showcase, but we definitely like similar things and I’m always pleased when you bring something interesting to my attention.

    Call me naive but I dont get the feeling that you’re the type of person to take payment for a review. That being said, if you did decide to do that, aint no shame in that, this is business afterall! In the end though, I feel like the people that visit this spot like the way you do things around here so, keep em coming.

  • Irene

    I pay $8 per 50 grams for the plain organic matcha. It’s from a place called Tea & Other Things in Alberta. Unfortunately they have no online store or anything. You could look into buying through a tea trader/importer.

  • Abigail @ipickuppennies

    Eesh, I’m sorry you even had to make the distinction! I mention cash back sites that I like. I get referral bonuses, but that’s not the same as a sponsored post.

    Although speaking of, since you like the products so much, you should look into becoming an affiliate for Paula’s Choice. Also, cash back sites have the store, so I hope you’re using one of those for your purchases!

  • Irene

    I really appreciate your honest reviews. And what’s the harm in a win-win situation where we both get a discount? I really don’t understand people that criticize these sorts of things.

    I have to say though, the vitamin C serum fell kind of flat for me. I was never really able to get into using it. Probably because I need to realize that I’m not the type to slather on product after product. I need to keep it simple and stick to what is most important in skincare. I’m still looking for a good face cream/sunscreen. The Paula’s Choice combination skin cream that I tried dries out my skin and I can’t stand the texture.

    I’m going to go back to the CeraVe moisturizer after I finish my abhorrently expensive but amazing cream from Darphin.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      That’s what I think.

      Anyway, the point is that I am spending my own money & I am being honest. Maybe that’s why I haven’t been sponsored yet. Hah! 🙂

    • save. spend. splurge.

      I stopped the Vitamin C serum the other day and my skin was just.. dull and not amazing. I have to be consistent in my entire regimen unfortunately 🙁 I see the consequences of not doing it. 🙁

      Which PC SPF skin cream did you try?? I am using the RESIST mattifying one and I don’t really love how liquid it is, BUT I do like that it is SPF 40 and covers well while blending in and not leaving white streaks.

      It also burns a little because it’s a chemical sunscreen but the other version is zinc and I am not sure it will be good on my acne-prone skin.

      • Irene

        @save. spend. splurge.:
        I’ve been using the Resist Super-Light Wrinkle Defense SPF 30. The one with the tint. Maybe they’re trying to accomplish too many things with one cream – sun protection, moisturize, anti-wrinkle, even out tone with a tint… and I don’t think it does any of the above all that well.
        The texture is that of a silicone base product. It is rather liquid when it comes out of the tube, but then it dries out the skin and makes me flake. I find that I break out more if my skin gets dry.
        I started drinking matcha tea a couple of days a week now, and that has really helped. Or it’s a placebo, and I just enjoy the taste. Can’t hurt. But it’s hard to tell if that is the definitive solution to my skin. But thanks for the tip! 🙂

        • save. spend. splurge.

          LOL! Multi-tasking is a terrible thing in a product.

          Ahhh. Yes. It sounds similar to the one I am using now that I like — RESIST Mattifying but mine doesn’t have a tint. It also doesn’t moisturize, so I end up doing a light layer of moisturizer and then that SPF cream over top.. which I don’t necessarily mind because I never expect one cream to do it all.

          As for the matcha green tea, I stopped it a week ago and my skin broke out. Coincidence? I am not willing to experiment.. I also really enjoy the taste, as you do. I add milk and it is just so comforting. I don’t even need sugar in it.

          Going for another cup now.

          • Irene

            @save. spend. splurge.: I LOVE matcha tea with unsweetened almond milk, it’s so good. Don’t need the sweetener, and I find that I can pass on my coffee. Which is probably healthier for me too. I found the cutest English Tea shop in my area and they have really high quality matcha that is much cheaper than David’s. How come you keep going back to David’s tea?

            • save. spend. splurge.

              Hmm. I keep going back to David’s tea because I did the math between them or finding a Japanese supplier who sold Ceremonial Matcha as well. They’re cheaper out of the two, or at least from what I saw online.

              How much does yours cost per 100g??

        • icecapades

          I just tried a sample of that exact PC Resist Super-light you mentioned and really liked the “tint.” i didn’t have to apply make up afterwards like I normally do (the Resist did a great job on masking the blotches on my skin). Unfortunately my skin was left dry (slightly flakey) after I applied the Resist. This is most likely because my skin gets super dry after washing my face. One solution would be to use moisturizer first, then the Resist. The Resist would have been perfect on its own otherwise. But I’m def considering buying a full size in the future.
          I def need to try matcha tea!!!!

          • Irene

            @icecapades: I’ve tried combining the PC resist cream with my regular CeraVe (super affordable at the drugstore) cream for more moisture. And while that does works, I don’t like the coverage of the PC cream as much as my regular make up. And I’m already putting on two products at this point, haha. I will probably use up the PC cream anyways, because I’m loathe to toss it.
            Also, silicone products can be drying. So it might not be the face washing that is causing you to have dry skin. Try one of the PC face washes, they are amazing. SaverSpender does a great review of them on this blog.
            You have to try matcha tea! It is so tasty and really good for you.

            • save. spend. splurge.

              Oh yes! The face wash is SO CHEAP for what you get & I won’t go to another brand for sure.

              Hmm.. I had no idea silicone was drying. Maybe that’s why the SPF moisturizer doesn’t really moisturize.

          • save. spend. splurge.

            Try washing your face with PC, then moisturize, then Resist.

            I am liking the Resist super light mattifying liquid for the SPF. I mean I kind of prefer Jane Iredale because I can just brush on the SPF powder but that stuff REALLY dries my skin out 😐

      • Cat

        @save. spend. splurge.:
        Just saw your comment about not loving how liquid the Matte Resist sunscreen is. The Skin-Balancing SPF moisturizer is still light, but not as liquid (I’m comparing to the CLEAR sunscreen moisturizer, which is a very similar formulation, if not the same). Bonus is that when it’s not so runny, it lasts me longer too!

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