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 this comprised lip shades I'd never wear but 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 it's something you've had your 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?