How to shop on social media (and not get scammed)

Do the most popular “life hack” products dominating our social feeds really work?

From latte kits to collagen supplements, social media feeds are filled with “you need to buy this right now!” products for a target market. Pastel jigsaws, custom dog beds, monogrammed luggage – there’s no end to a tantalizing selection of things at your fingertips.

Anyone who’s succumbed to Instagram’s belated purchase knows what happens next: A few weeks (or months) later, a nondescript package shows up at the door and reminds of a belated moment of weakness. Best case scenario it works, but more often than not it’s an “online versus real life” failure which means researching return details and a trip to the post office or eating the cost and waste.

We’ve done an in-depth analysis of five popular products we’ve seen on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok to ask some key questions: do we need them? Will we use it? Is it worth the cost? And what can we learn from verified third-party reviews?

Before you hit “check out” on an avocado saver or miracle mop, read on to learn more.

Does the Dyson mop attachment work?

The product: Mop head for Dyson stick vacuums.

Requirement: Dyson owners are a loyal bunch because the vacuums last forever and live up to the hype, with top-notch innovation, design and customer service. That’s what makes the mop attachment so tempting: can it turn a great vacuum into a great mop?

Unbiased reviews: We removed our research from Instagram and the first video tutorial (there are several YouTube accounts dedicated to vacuum test) is that “Do Not Buy” warning. The reason? According to several reviews, the water accessory is thin, cheaply made, and water runs everywhere. In addition, these attachments are made for Dyson but not by Dyson, so it could void the vacuum’s warranty if something goes wrong.

What to buy instead: Keep it low-tech with the efficient and well-designed Vileda Mop ($38.64 at Amazon or $41.97 at walmart.)

Do sticky cleaning balls work?

The product: Sticky cleaning ball (like this one a).

Requirement: Roll this golf ball-sized contraption at the bottom of a bag or purse to clean up dirt and dust.

Unbiased reviews: The cute neon vacuum balls featured by social media influencers need to be taken apart and rinsed after use, which seems like a messy business. And while there are a few shopping options on Amazon, there are no user reviews (which is quite unusual).

What to buy instead: For smaller spaces, Starfrit offers a line of mini vacuums (two AA batteries are required). $10.50 on Amazon.

Do silicone heel guards work?

The product: Silicone heel guards.

Requirement: These stretchy slip-on contraptions claim to soften calluses, protect heels from blisters, and provide extra cushion support.

Unbiased reviews: It’s a product reviewers either love or hate: some swear it helps break in new shoes and protects heels, while others lament that the one size fits all leads to slips and tears, as well as stretching .

What to buy instead: For treating dry feet (especially heels), Flexitol Heel Balm is inexpensive and very effective when used regularly. $10 to Amazon or $13.97 at walmart.

For extra support around the heels, Dr. Scholl’s Massaging Gel Advanced cushions are available in different sizes for men and women. From $11 at Amazon and $12.66 at walmart.

Do cordless curlers work?

The product: Cordless hair curler with USB charger.

Requirement: Inventive and “easy to use” hair tools are buzzing on social media. This tool combines the technology of a suction loop machine with the convenience of USB charging and cordless handling.

Unbiased reviews: In 2020, beauty vlogger Julissa Guillen gave a very helpful tutorial on the very first version of the cordless hair curler. She liked the look of the curls but didn’t like a lot of things: the machine had a short battery life and in two hours she only managed to curl half of her hair because it only takes very small sections.

What to buy instead: Back in 2020, reputable hair tool company Conair launched its cordless auto curler Unbound, but many of the issues that Guillen mentioned in his review seem to persist: charge life, curl quality, and hair twist in the hair. machine. Verified reviewers who love it note that it’s great for travel and works well on short hair. For those interested, it’s best to buy from a retailer with a solid return policy rather than a social media account. Untied Cordless Hair Curler, $69.97 at Amazon and $69.97 at walmart.

Do avocado savers work?

The product: Avocado saver.

Requirement: There are several versions of the avocado saver on Instagram – the silicone sleeve, the pod (with a hard case), and the stretchy “hugger”.

Unbiased reviews: Avocados are expensive and it’s no wonder there are so many inventions to try to keep a ripe avocado from turning brown. (The shelf life of a cut avocado seems to be around 10 minutes.) Despite multiple inventions, it seems no one has been able to fool Mother Nature. None of these savers, from slip-on silicone to avocado-shaped storage containers, have consistently received high reviews from users.

What to buy instead: The key to preventing an avocado from instantly browning is to protect the outer green layer (apply citric juice, like lemon or lime) and then store it in any airtight container. It also eliminates having a single use kitchen item which is a waste of space. Small Bentgo Glass Container with Tight Lid, $24.97 at

Alejandro L. Myatt