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A New Approach to Beauty


I think this post has been in the back of my mind for a while but I've finally become conscious of what it was that I was feeling and I've had time to consider how I want to write it down. I love beauty and I love blogging (obviously!) but there are some parts of the beauty world that I'm not comfortable with and don't want to feed into, so I wanted to put this post out there a) so you guys understand my vision for this blog and b) in case any of you are feeling the same, so I hope this is clear and concise so I get my message across properly.


Before I got really into blogging and even as I was finding my feet with it, I was honestly a little bit naive. If my favourite YouTuber said they loved a product, I'd go out and buy it with what I earned from a few minimum wage shop shifts at the weekend. I never really considered the possibility that they weren't being genuine, or that what worked for them might not necessarily be right for me (like light nude lips that look awful on my skin tone!) Whilst I'm a lot more clued-up these days, I do still think I've been guilty of falling into certain traps.

Last week I went back home to my mum's for a few days and, as she's having some work done on the house at the moment, she said I really needed to sort out my bedroom so begrudgingly I did. And what I found honestly made me pretty ashamed. Me: who feels a pang of guilt having to throw out the occasional bit of milk or a few vegetables that have gone off, not because of the money but because of the sheer wastefulness, has been hoarding tons of old, probably expired makeup. 

I'm not going to dismiss the drugstore because a) not everyone can or wants to buy high-end and b) some of my favourite products come from there, but so much of it was stuff I'd picked up in 3 for 2s and barely touched! Some of it was lip shades I'd never wear had I'd bought because it was on offer, I had five bottles of L'Oreal True Match (ironically, none of which matched me) and there were endless barely-used eyeshadow palettes. Whilst I was deliberating for weeks over buying anything over £20, I was happily popping into Boots several times a week, maybe spending £10 or £5 there, which obviously stacks up! It's amazing that you can now get a good quality eyeshadow palette for the price of your daily coffee, but what's the point if it's something you don't want or need? £3 or £30, it'll only end up sitting unloved in the bottom of a drawer somewhere. These days I really don't feel like I'm 'missing out' if I pass over a deal - I'll just buy the one thing I wanted or stock up on something I love and regularly use up (like Maybelline Lash Sensational or Eraser Eye Concealer). The same goes for discount codes and sales: if on it's something you've had my eye on then happy days! But you honestly don't have to make a purchase just because there's a deal on - there will be more deals and I'm sure some of them will be when you genuinely want or need an item.

Obviously I'm a beauty blogger so I'm always going to have more products than the average consumer, even if they're an enthusiast, but I just want to recalibrate what I'm trying to do here: tell you which products are worth buying and trying lots of them so you don't have to! Of course I still love discovering new products and I'll keep doing overviews of the latest things I'm trialling but I really want to make sure I answer the question: is this good enough to make it into your routine as a normal person who doesn't have a million eyeshadow palettes? This isn't my job: I'm just a hobby-blogger but occasionally I'll buy stuff for the benefit of my content, I'm just done with feeling like I need to rush out and buy everything to keep this platform relevant. I know I'm really lucky and brands will often provide me products to try, however I don't want every post just to be about the new xyz. I hope you've noticed that I'm introducing more content about what I already own; talking about which products are my favourite in a category, what I like to use for certain occasions and the highlights from a brand that I think are worth checking out. I'm also going to introduce more content putting two similar products head to head (which I've occasionally been doing anyway) because I don't think that you need to run out and buy everything. When I do a themed post (such as everyday foundations or easy cream eyeshadows), the intention is that someone reads the post and figures out which one of the products featured could be for them - not that they go out and buy the lot.

I think as bloggers we need to be aware that promoting mindless consumerism isn't cool. Along with a lot of the community, I'm part of a generation where having large amounts of debt has become a way of life and most people can only hope of owning their own home with mum and dad's help when they're pushing 30... Yes people can make their own choices but I don't want to be another voice telling them that an eyeshadow palette is more important than their long-term financial security one day, and then never mentioning it again. Yes, we all deserve a treat every now and them I don't want to normalise going into debt to buy makeup! I'm sure I've made flippant comments like this but I really want to start being conscious of and careful with my language and how it could come across. Most people I know in real life (and that would read my blog) own maybe 2 eyeshadow palettes so I want to make sure I'm recommending one that I think is worthy of being in that elite group. I want to keep asking 'could this be someone's holy grail?' and talking about the products that I suggest to my friends (who probably use one foundation and a handful of lipsticks) when they ask for my opinion.

I'm kind of 'over' the hysteria that brands and influencers often whip up over a release and I'm not a fan of faddy or disposable products. Of course makeup is meant to be fun above all else, but certain trends like mermaids and unicorns don't appeal to me. The cynic in me says they're using cute packaging to get people to buy products that probably won't suit them (very few skintones can pull off pale blue highlighter) and aren't classic products that they'll love for years to come. If you're a makeup artist then I can totally see a place for these more out-there colours, but I'm sure most of you reading this are just normal people looking for products that will work for you day-to-day. I'm also fed up of companies releasing limited edition products to make everyone feel like they have to buy it right now, only for whatever it is to become permanent later down the line. I also question whether some companies withhold stock to make a product 'sell out' and seem more desirable. There are also some brands that do way too many new releases in a short space of time, so I can't help but question if the quality has been compromised (such as Too Faced cashing in on the Sweet Peach hype by dropping a huge collection and Tarte capitalising on Shape Tape's popularity by allegedly re-releasing an old foundation as though it was brand new under that name. I love ColourPop but they also do far too many new launches). I guess we could all just do with stepping back and taking stock as to whether we want and will use a product or if we're getting caught up in the hype. I generally impose a 30-day rule on myself; if I want something I have to at least wait a month after its launch before purchasing it, so I can see if I still actually want it after the buzz subsides.

I also think there's a lot of polarisation in reviews these days - products are either 'the best x ever' or 'the worst y in the world' and I actually think there's value in taking the middle ground. Some products are just 'ok' and I still want to talk about those because maybe you were thinking of buying one of them and have similar preferences to me, so perhaps a different product would be better. I do wonder sometimes if it's for clicks and to stay on PR lists (seriously, you can't be 'OMG, SHOOK!' at everything you just unboxed and tried once...)

So, what does all of this mean for me and my blog? Don't worry: like I said, I'll still be reviewing new products! I don't want to call this 'minimalism' because it isn't and that's not what I'm striving for, I just want to approach everything with an awareness of consumerism. For me, I want to make sure the focus is on answering whether a product is worthy of a place in your collection, and if certain people find that dull or if brands don't want to work with me because I don't say 'OMG YOU HAVE TO DROP EVERYTHING AND GO OUT AND BUY THIS!' after one use then so be it (not that I've ever been someone to do stuff like that!) I want to keep talking about the products I already own and not worry that people are bored of it, because that's more realistic and I don't want to keep buying new things for the sake of it, especially if I don't see myself loving a product long-term. I ran an Instagram poll last week and you guys were split 50/50 but I think that to support all of this, I'm going to change my monthly favourites to 'If You Buy One Thing This Month...' because most people will only treat themselves to one new product a month at most. I hope that if you're reading this blog then you already trust my opinions and appreciate what I'm trying to create here, but we all do things subconsciously that can feed into this 'buy buy buy' mentality, so I want to just keep this at the forefront of my mind when I'm creating content.


What are your opinions on consumerism in the beauty world? Do you think it's become worse in recent years?


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40 comments

  1. LOVE the post. I’m finding myself nodding in agreement as I read through the post. Thank you for sharing your new approach and honest views.x

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  2. such a great Post. I find myself buying things I know are good and know they work for me. luckily the skin care I use has options of the same product for different skin types. I have narrowed down my eyeshadows 2 three pallettes. 1 by tarte 1 by too faced and one by urban decay. all are different. I also get subscription boxes so I can try something out before buying. and when I review products I do it honestly. If it sucks I say so. and also list what is good.

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  3. You are so right. As consumers sometimes companies make us feel like the are doing us a favor by allowing us to access their amazing products, when in reality makeup is a luxury and we don't need to give our money to them if it won't serve and improve our lives. This release after release culture goes with such a disposable and irresponsable consumerism attitude that made unsuscribe from most of the big beauty youtubers some time ago. I want quality and products that work for me, not an array of cute packaging when I open my make up drawer (which will eventually turn into trash)! Thank you so much for the refreshing and responsible attitude in this community

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  4. Great post Jasmine. Very well thought out and its nice to be able to trust bloggers to recommend products that are really worth buying rather than making sure they appeal to PRs so they keep getting sent free products.
    Leigh
    https://beautybargainsandbeyond.blogspot.co.uk/

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  5. I love your candor, Jasmine. You're right about the reality of our generation and the debt many of us accumulated due to schooling or mortgages or whatever else. It's a great idea to carve a space in the beauty world that is realistic for the average person's make-up collection. Brands have a tendency nowadays to release products as "limited" edition, making consumers feel pressure to purchase it lest they will never see this product again. It's really a shame - we get pressure from all sides if you think about it.

    Deanna
    www.luxandvitae.com

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  6. I totally agree, I did a post a while back about why I prefer to buy high end makeup, and the jist of it was, I never reach for drugstore when I have something I love more from Hourglass or MAC. I love drugstore, but I found I was really careful when buying more expensive items, but was buying drugstore bits and bobs constantly, then never using them. I would rather spend £30 on a blush I love and use daily, than buy 10 £3 blushes I never use, its so hard being in this generation though and seeing things constantly, - I've fallen for the Glossier Hype twice now and I didn't need or like any of it. Sometimes its so much better to save rather than spending lots on things you just dn't need!

    Erin || MakeErinOver

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  7. Really enjoyed this post and I can definitely relate!
    For years I would pop into Boots and Superdrug every few weeks and always leave having spent £30 or so on new things I spotted. It was exciting to try new products but quite often things would be left untouched and forgotten at the back of drawers.
    Since then I've moved out, become a homeowner, and have had to prioritise other things. When I see something on instagram or youtube that I really like the look of I add it to a wishlist on my phone. A lot of the time I forget about it after a few weeks but just adding it to a list takes away the "I'd better buy it before I forget I like it" feeling. These days I tend to save up and buy fewer but higher quality products. I do much more research and might not always buy the latest thing but I do have more tried and tested products that have a good reputation for being amazing.
    My Many Favourites x

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  8. I totally agree with you: I think bloggers should not promote consumerism but rather help us choose the few products we really need that will stay in our beauty-case for a very long time. Help us making a choice. I particularly like bloggers that show me how to use the same products in different ways so that I don’t have to buy thousands of different things, I can buy a few very good ones and make the most of them, if you know what I mean.

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  9. Can't really speak for the beauty world but I will say that I felt like this at one point last year when it came to book blogging. Just the feeling that i HAD to buy lots of books and give hauls for every book I was remotely excited about but I a. dont have the money for it, b the space and also I prefer for instance buying books on my Kindle unless they're books I'll read again! So I was really worried I'd no longer be relevant etc because I don't give haul content. Definitely agree because I do think we all not just as bloggers but everyone has some sort of responsibility in not promoting excess consumerism and how it can make other people feel, ourselves feel andd the environment too! xx
    www.susanetc.co.uk

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  10. Love this post, at the moment I'll admit I've got some new bits in but then again I do rarely treat myself and I review stuff I've had the longest first so a lot of it won't get used for a while - I don't see the point of having multiple mascaras on the go when they expire so quickly. I was just thinking today how much makeup is too much and I've been making a point of binning stuff that just doesn't work for me and I can't pass on and forcing myself to rotate through products and use up as much as possible!

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  11. This is such a wonderful post. I highly agree with it, it's definitely been my mentality towards makeup over the last year. While I love having a large makeup collection I am definitely more cautious with my purchases - affordable & highend. I use to hoard drugstore makeup to compensate for the fact I rarely went high end. Now in both categories I research every product profusely and just evaluate and reevaluate why I want it. I like to leave an item on a wish list for a while and then later return to it to see if I still want it. I also constantly double check my makeup collection and declutter anything I don't use and give it a better home.

    www.themakeupaficionado.com

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  12. I love what you've written here. I completely agree with everything you've said. None of my friends have more than two eyeshadow palettes, or foundations, or blushes. I think it's one thing that bloggers and beauty YouTubers need to remember, we are not the average consumer. Beauty rooms filled with overflowing Alex drawers aren't normal. Buying another palette doesn't seem so special when you already have 25, but if you only have one it is a big deal. It's something you'll be using all the time instead of for a month and then never again.

    Billie | www.othersummers.com

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  13. Greetings from Australia. First-time comment from a long-time subscriber. It's refreshing to see the anti-consumerism trend picking up in the YouTube and blogging communities. I first started taking a long hard look at my own makeup collection after Kimberly Clark's antihaul Youtube series. Then I was inspired to do a Konmari-decluttering with my belongings and do project-panning with my makeup/skincare. I think loving makeup/skincare should be more about using them, rather than just buying them and let them sit and gather dust.

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  14. I love this post so much Jasmine as I feel like I've been on this wavelength for a while though I don't know how well its come across, and I have of course fallen into some of those traps of consumerism and immediacy lately. But I love the drugstore but since the day I decided not to go in and browse the makeup aisles every time I went in to get necessities changed my life because my makeup collection has stayed under control due to that change alone. And yes, I hate when people are like you guys need this and you need it now. Its such a bad way to go about things and I don't want to be responsible for teaching people bad spending habits and impulsiveness on things that really don't keep you alive. Anyway great post, and I look forward to continuing this journey with you and see what content you create xxx

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  15. I tend not to collect many stuff, especially makeup. I do love eyeshadows, but I also want to use up my products (major OCD on that). I have 2 eyeshadow palettes that I use everyday and I haven't hit pan yet (one I'm using for 3 years straight). Right now I'd like to buy another one (considering Naked Heat) and I have read dozens of reviews and watched many YouTube videos in order to justify that purchase.

    For some people yes reading blogs and watching videos can lead to consumerism, but you must have that tendency in you in the first place. As my husband says I am stingy and I guess that stops me from buying losts of stuff!!!

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  16. I have felt that way for a lomg time now, ever since I went into maternity leave and had my first child. Using what I own, actually finish products and not buy into the hype of new releases works great for me for almost four years now.
    It is important to realize that people don't necessarily own more than one eyeshadow palette, or six different red lipsticks. We tend to forget that in the bubble of beauty blogging.

    Anne - Linda, Libra, Loca

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  17. I LOVED this post. Since last fall, I have been enforcing a finish first rule. I cannot buy a product in a category (cleanser, lipstick, blush, moisturizer, etc.) until I finish something I already own in that category. It has saved me TONS of money and improved my ability to store things. I also am more conscientious about recycling packaging, as that impact concerns me as well. I LOVE beauty and makeup - it truly brings me joy. However, I also do not want my love of it to harm my financial situation or the environment. I am with you!

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  18. You have my support on this matter and I am over the hysteria too. I have pretty much quit watching YouTube except for a few channels that I enjoy for tutorials and trust. I barely bought anything myself anymore and I only feature products that I truly think will benefit my readers and followers. This year I am on a journey of rediscovery my stash and rediscovering budget beauty and so far I am happy with the direction that my blog is going.

    Shireen⎜Reflection of Sanity

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  19. I couldn't agree more, Jasmine! I've been feeling similar for a while now. I used to buy so much stuff, so I could feature it on the blog and then it would just sit completely neglected. The desire to produce the content with new releases because they're popular is understandable in the blogging world but totally unnecessary. I still buy new products every month, whether new releases or not, because I genuinely love trying them out but I stick to things I really want, not what would look good on the blog and bring the traffic. I'm so over having tons of makeup which is not used and wasted. xx

    Mummy's Beauty Corner

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  20. Great post!

    I just started my own blog and this is something I will strive to emulate in my own write-ups. I naturally write about stuff I already own and am regularly using as I am also a hobby blogger. I feel that I already own so much stuff that there is plenty to write about without going on massive spending sprees every month. However, I am quite new to this so I will have to be mindful of this in the future as I run out of products to write about.

    Hurriya - www.hurryupmakeup.com

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  21. That is definitely the way to go :) x

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  22. I couldn't agree more! I'm so over seeing faddy makeup on every YouTube channel x

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  23. I couldn't agree more - no matter what the cost, our makeup bag should be made up of products we use and love! x

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  24. You're so right - it's a bit sad to think of a ton of products just sat there gathering dust! x

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  25. Yeah that's definitely how I want to approach things now! x

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  26. Exactly - it just seems so wasteful! x

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  27. I agree and you’ve just made me so guilty as I shopped excessively lately! I agree with Erin comment below about being selective when shopping drugstore. I do that too simply because I tend to reach for high end brands in the end. Of course I’ll buy in to an incredible Makeup Revolution launch here and there but I no lomger aim to own everything. I’m also on no foundation ban given I bought a tonne and I only have one face! Great post x

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  28. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! :) Watching anti-hauls definitely puts things into perspective and makes me realise I don't need every new release x

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  29. Brilliant post Jasmine, as a beauty PR I do struggle with the consumerism aspect of it, and having worked for the world's biggest beauty company for many, many years I know how it works from the inside....and the relentless launch cycle. Mindful consumerism has become key to me (huge fan of the Minimalists) and I am still working my way through a drawer of product (which was originally two drawers) and only buying what I have run out of and really need (like you). I still believe in the power of beauty (and hair in particular which I believe has a hugely transformative power, and is my area of specialism) but have a very pared down beauty routine now, and am working my way through the 30 lipsticks I own, none of which I have finished yet! Well done for writing such a considered and thought-provoking piece.

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  30. I avoid browsing Boots and Superdrug too so the new releases don't suck me in! I totally agree that some people can be really irresponsible with how they take about products x

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  31. I think it's pretty easy to get sucked into it when you're part of the community as it becomes so normalised that you have to step back and say 'wait - that isn't what people outside of this world do' x

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  32. That's such a good way of going about things! I'm not sure I'll quite manage that but I am focusing on using things up at the moment x

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  33. I feel like we've had such a similar experience! I'm focusing on investments that I'll use and love now instead of the makeup version of 'fast fashion' x

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  34. Thank you for commenting Naomi :) I guess from both a blogger and PR perspective, it's all about focusing on those products that will be used and truly loved! x

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  35. This was such a good read! I know what you mean. Apart from spending way too much money on makeup myself (I've reached a limit these past few months, I really need to stop doing this spending thing) I feel the need to feature new products on my blog and if I wait too long, I'm late to the party. Just because everyone talks about a certain product, does not mean I need to do the same thing. Sure, I want to try it out for myself and it might be a new favourite, but honestly I've been hauling so many eyeshadow palettes lately, it's insane!

    Love, Charline | Charline Has a Blog

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  36. 100% agree with this - I love makeup and skincare, but I also want to be a conscious consumer so I try to buy only things that I know I will love and use, and will spend tons of time researching before I make a purchase decision. I used to buy lots of cheap makeup because it's easy to think that throwing in £5 for a lipstick isn't a big deal, but it adds up, as you say, and I also tend not to appreciate these purchases as much precisely because they don't feel "consequential". So my tactic to spend less money, funnily enough, is to buy mostly mid-range products because I know I'm likely to get good quality and the higher price also means I spend more carefully.

    I love your blog - we have very similar skintones and tastes in makeup, so I always find stuff I like from your recommendations! I just wanted to let you know that someone out there appreciates that you don't shill every new beauty release :)

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  37. Thanks so much for commenting! Your words mean a lot :) I totally agree about cheap makeup - I've found some gems over the years but the amount of rubbish I bought too probably counters that! x

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  38. I totally agree with you. I stopped buying limited edition makeup a while ago because there's too much stuff being released and I prefer to stick with products that I can repurchase if I want to. I am gradually getting rid of all the products I have bought in the past that I have never even used. I would rather spend my money on holidays and things like that. I still love makeup but I couldn't possibly use all the products that I own so I need to be more choosy going forward. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

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  39. That's exactly right Jasmine, results don't lie - products either work or they don't! X

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  40. Totally agree. The beauty market is so saturated with products that I feel every new release has to therefore be the best thing in the entire world. I definitely need to start using more of my makeup instead of buying it just because someone else recommended it and not using it.

    www.upyourvlog.com

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