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Somehow, the blog I started on a whim without a clue as to what I was doing is now 10 years old... who'd have thought it?! Much has changed with me, with the beauty world and - of course - how we create content, so today I'm taking the time to look back and reflect on all of that, as well as to pluck a few products from the archives that stood the test of time and that I still use today!

Honestly, the beauty world has gone through so much change during the time I've been blogging. Back in 2014, beauty Instagram definitely hadn't taken off and YouTube tutorials were starting to become popular. I started a blog, like many others did, and we all had regular blogger chats on Twitter where we'd share our thoughts on a topic and build a community of UK creators, as the same people would be there taking part week after week. We'd support each other by commenting and sharing each other's blog posts and people engaged in a really genuine way (no generic 'cute post!' comments).

I'd say it was around 2016 that the real makeup boom began; think Makeup Geek palettes, the Instagram brow, full glam, Urban Decay's Naked Palette, Anastasia Beverly Hills and Becca x Jaclyn Hill! This was also around the time that beauty brands began really churning out the new launches; I used to have a weekly(!) Instagram Stories voting series with all the latest launches to see how interested people were in the new products coming to market, which actually really helped me in deciding what was worth reviewing and what to pass on. More was more in this makeup environment, and that was the case until what I'm going to term the 'Glossier era', which was a minimalist counter-trend to the mainstream beauty vibe going on at the time. Our brows were heavy, our highlight was 'glowing to the gods' and our skin was matte.

Of course, the foundations of what we now consider the 'clean girl' trend (though I personally don't love that term) were laid as the 'full glam' trend developed in parallel to the 'minimalist' movement, but the next major shift for me was during the pandemic. As we all moved towards spending more time at home, our focus moved from makeup and towards skincare, body care and haircare. This made total sense, given every night was a night in, and people were likely wanting to create a 'spa at home' kind of atmosphere. Also, we were seeing a lot more of our makeup-free faces, which probably meant we wanted them to look their best. What's interesting to me is that for myself, and for many others I've spoken to, the pandemic (and probably entering our late 20s) led to permanent beauty habit changes. For me, full coverage and winged liner just never really made a comeback! These heavier makeup products that once formed part of my daily routine gave way to quicker, easy, more natural and intuitive choices. My makeup used to take me almost half an hour, which now feels unthinkable, and these days I take no more than 10 minutes or so, unless I'm going to a wedding or something! 

I've long since come to peace with some truths. Firstly, blogs are 'dead' in terms of engagement and community. Though my platform here still gets significant traffic from search engines; these are largely people who are Googling something specific, have my established domain thrown up, and so they read what they want and move on without commenting. It's different but it's ok! Likewise, platforms like Instagram pushing Reels and the popularity of TikTok has meant that content seems to need to either be aesthetic and fundamentally disposable, or attention-grabbing with viral potential. None of this is really 'me', but honestly; I feel a lot of freedom in the fact that I don't care! Providing helpful reviews and information that's realistic probably isn't stuff the algorithm is going to pick up and push, but that's what I enjoy doing, and honestly; I decided a long time ago that this wasn't going to be my job, so I don't see why I'd sacrifice my enjoyment and integrity to pump out content that's going to 'do well' at this stage. I know those who enjoy my style of content are still here, and I hope it continues to be useful to you! It's actually been a real relief to stop chasing getting 'enough' likes on my latest Instagram post and to explore what I actually want to create.

For the final part of this reflection, I thought I'd share a few products I discovered during the first two years of my blog's creation that I actually still use and love to this day! It's going to be an overview on why I still love these products with my original reviews + more recent features shared below, so you can see how my thoughts on them both started and how they evolved.

Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser* (St. Moritz) | £39 | 2014 review | 2024 feature

This has been such a grower for me! I originally tried this back in 2014; myself and my bestie headed to Selfridges in the Bullring in search of something to to use on holiday, and we were a little dubious when we both purchased this product (this was peak matte Double Wear / Studio Fix era). However, I found myself reaching for this again and again; actually not on an everyday basis, but the light texture and longevity made it great for on holiday (when I'd actually bother to put on makeup for a lazy beach day!) Over the years, as I gradually moved away from wearing foundation every day and only reached for it if I was going on a night out or for a special occasion; there was an obvious contender for my work day makeup routine. This slowly but surely became my go-to everyday complexion product and whilst I do dabble in using other skin tints and there are many others that I think are great; I do always come back to this, and honestly, I think it's yet to be beaten. It's my skin but better, it harmonises my complexion without hiding it, it's radiant without being overly dewy and it lasts on my skin. I don't know how many times I've bought this, but it's a product I reach for at least once a week, and I don't see this changing. Maybe I'll still be using it in another decade...

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara | £9.99 | 2015 review | 2023 feature

I loved this product when I first tried it as a potential dupe for Benefit's Roller Lash; that mascara dropped out of my repurchases back in 2017, but Lash Sensational is something I'm still using regularly almost 10 years later. I don't try a lot of new mascaras, because this one works so well, but occasionally I'll use something else if I want more of a water resistant finish, but this is my default. It's just a great all-rounder, giving my lashes the exact right amount of everything I want from a mascara! It has a large, curved, rubberised wand that hooks into the roots of my lashes and distributes the product perfectly. This also gives a lovely level of lift, curl and definition. It has volume but it never clumps or looks like 'too much'. It also doesn't smudge, flake or make a mess throughout the day for me, unlike a surprising number of mascaras I've tried!

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Fluid SPF 50+* | £20 | 2015 review | 2022 feature

To this day, for a beach holiday: La Roche-Posay Anthelios is my go-to sunscreen. It's a light, non-greasy, milky-textured broad spectrum SPF 50+ which has recently been reformulated to add a new filter specifically targeting long-wave UVA rays that cause deep damage to the skin. However, the fundamentals of this product are the same: it's high-protection, sweat and sand resistant, gentle and lightweight. It sits well on the skin, can be reapplied throughout the day without causing a mess and offers amazing protection and staying power. It's still the product I trust when I'll be getting a decent amount of sun exposure.

Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Cleansing Oil* | £12 | 2018 review | 2024 feature

This is one of the first proper 'double cleanse' products I ever tried, because it was at Boots and it was pretty affordable. This is a perfect introduction to double cleansing (removing makeup with a water-based cleanser then cleaning the skin beneath it with a water-based cleanser afterwards) because it's such a quick and easy formula to reach for. It's an ultra-light cleansing oil that melts down makeup in an instant, emulsifies with water and can be wiped away without leaving behind a reside with a damp cloth. The efficacy paired with the bargain price is what's kept it a staple on my skincare shelf!

Zoeva Eye Brushes* | from £13.50 per brush | 2015 review

Honestly, I don't have a recent feature of these brushes because I just neglect to mention them, which is my bad because I still use these eyeshadow brushes whenever doing a proper eye look with powder shadows. They're not quite as affordable as they once were but they're excellent; the quality of the bristles and the way they have the perfect shape for any application make Zoeva eyeshadow brushes my go-to. They've lasted so well and - let's be real - they're absolutely beautiful!

Diptyque Philosykos Eau de Toilette | £129 | 2015 review 

This was the first grown-up fragrance I've ever got and I love it to this day (despite having not spoken about it recently on the blog)! Despite being an eau de toilette, it sticks around on my skin all day long and it's beautiful for spring through to autumn with this fresh but also woody notes. It features notes of fig, leaves, bark and cedar wood, balancing the juicy fruitiness with the woodier, more herbal notes. Just beautiful!

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments | £22 each | 2015 review | 2023 feature

These tinted lip balms aren't quite as 'every single day' favourites of mine now as they used to be, but I still reach for them a lot; they have a creamy, moisturising texture and a nice wash of colour. Across the shade range, your mileage may vary in terms of colour payoff but for my favourite shades (Petal - a warm rosy tone - and Honey - a warm caramel-brown nude), they offer the perfect wash of colour for a natural makeup look and a nice, glossy finish. These can live in your handbag and always work for you.

REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask* | £42 | 2015 review 

This one was honestly more of an early favourite I rediscovered a couple of years ago and I remembered how good it is! This was one of my first exfoliating facial products and it still stands up as a gentle but effective option for short-contact treatment. This combination of glycolic and lactic acid AHAs leaves my skin soft, smooth and radiant after use. The glycerin base is brilliant and really buffers these chemical exfoliants so they don't irritate my skin at all.

Clarins Lip Comfort Oils* | £25 each | 2016 review | 2023 feature

I love these lip oils; they're nourishing, glossy and offer a gorgeous hint of colour. I use them alone on minimal makeup days, or even over the top of more opaque lipsticks to alter the finish. Originally, I had the shades Red and Honey (the original, non-tinted version of this product), but my absolute favourites now are Apricot (a peachy-orange) and Chocolate (a berry-brown). For my low-maintenance lazy makeup preferences; these remain perfect!

How long have you been part of the beauty community? How has it changed in the time you've been here and are there any products you discovered early on in your journey that you still use?

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Read more posts from this series here!

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