Beauty blogging: do we need a palette cleanse?
OK, firstly please excuse the terribly pun-ny title, it seemed like a good idea at the time. But seriously, there’s been a lot of talk about blogging fatigue lately – particularly beauty blogging and I thought it would be interesting to discuss.
Following my 10 years of blogging post I saw Jane from The Women’s Room at an event. We had a brief chat about the blogging landscape and she followed up with a post bemoaning the inauthenticity and commercialisation of the bloggersphere. Then Jane at British Beauty Blogger weighed in with her observation on the dearth of London Fashion Week beauty coverage on blogs and social. Her conclusion was that we just don’t care any more. With the relentless pushing of product, same-y vlogs, and popular blogs essentially becoming sales vehicles for brands in the age of the brand ambassador, beauty just isn’t as exciting as it used to be.
To further emphasise the point: my new favourite discovery. Yes it’s a vlog but a refreshingly candid one that’s categorically not run by a pretty vanilla 20-year-old. Kimberly Clark’s anti-hauls are nothing short of brilliant. They tell you what she’s ‘not gonna buy’ and why you too don’t need it in your life (sorry Too Faced Sweet Peach palette). The 30-something drag queen’s vlogs are hilariously entertaining but have a serious message about consumerism. She’s not saying don’t buy things you like, just that no-one needs ten Hourglass highlighter palettes that do essentially the same thing.
For me it’s easier to take the anti-haul messaging on board. When I was growing up we just didn’t have the breadth of brands or as many channels of brand communications. Today’s young generation has celebs and influencers shilling product on every single platform, 24/7. But it’s led to a wasteful hoarding culture that simply isn’t sustainable.
I think part of the issue is there are far too many launches. There’s pressure for brands to launch a new collection every month and the blogging revolution means there are so many more channels to promote them compared to the 20-odd magazines of old. And even worse are the ‘cult’ products. Endless palettes, lip kits and ‘vaults’ that are marketed as collectibles but have become complacent and repetitive.
The anti-haul movement is encouraging beauty consumers to stop and be more mindful about how they consume and is perhaps also a clue to the rise of no-bullshit skincare line The Ordinary. This is the antidote to cutesy chocolate bar packaging and uber-fancy Tilbury-esque rose gold with its utilitarian bottles and minimalist typography. Not to mention the pricing – around a fiver for high grade hyaluronic acid. Yes it’s another thing to buy, but it’s marketed as a functional and effective item that won’t take you 10 years to use up.
I limit beauty coverage on this site to quality brands that do the classic or ‘no make-up make-up’ products I like, or who have interesting marketing or digital campaigns to talk about. (Although I’m not perfect, I do have a weakness for balm cleansers and facial oils.) There’s definitely a shift emerging, with a lot of decluttering going on, ‘pan projects’ (where hoarders challenge themselves to ‘hit pan’ before buying similar make-up), low-buy and no-buy challenges. Before I started researching this post I really had no idea that beauty hoarding was such a huge issue.
So, is it time for a palate (or, ahem, palette) cleanse? If you’re reading this thinking about your groaning shelves of identical Urban Decay palettes, get Kimberly Clark to be your guide. Say it with me, “I don’t need it, and I’m not gonna buy it.”
WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGE: Kylie Jenner lip kits
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my cookies policy here
CLICK HERE to get Disneyrollergirl blog posts straight to your inbox once a week
CLICK HERE to buy my book The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman
That's Not My Age
7 March, 2017 @ 7:29 pm
Excellent post. I’m totally anti-haul, anti-horde. Less is more, people.
7 March, 2017 @ 9:16 pm
This post has really hit the nail on the head with how I’ve been feeling recently. Just so disinterested in blogs and blogging and buying and reviewing and I’m sure the over saturated environment that is or was beauty blogging has much to do with it – nobody needs another Too Faced Palette review really do they?!
8 March, 2017 @ 7:50 am
I’d love to know what the ratio is of people wanting something new every five minutes to those that are hankering for slower paced, higher quality launches.
“There’s pressure for brands to launch a new collection every month”… I would wager that there’s also pressure (more quiet, but real nonetheless) from people being turned away due to incessant launches (surely it’s not just me?!).
Good post – the alternative view needs airplay!
8 March, 2017 @ 8:40 am
I totally agree with all your thoughts here Navaz. It’s consumerism gone mad.The same applies to fashion. The world’s gone mad with endless shows, countless lookbooks and street shots. It’s time to call a halt!! We don’t need this much STUFF in our lives !
8 March, 2017 @ 9:28 am
So true Sue, yes, beauty has caught up with fast fashion for sure. But it’s not sustainable and I think it ends up putting people off. After a while it makes you feel a bit sickly!
8 March, 2017 @ 9:15 am
I love Kimberly! I think the main issue is that being seen as a brand mouthpiece is viewed as desirable – readers get forgotten, when mostly what they want is just some solid information and a splash of opinion before they make up their own mind whether this is a ‘want’. Persuading people to want things, in my view, is not the job of a blogger, it’s the job of a brand.
8 March, 2017 @ 9:29 am
Totally nailed it Jane!
8 March, 2017 @ 9:23 am
Laughed so much, the video is priceless .
No more to add about hauls, whether beauty products or Hermès bags , the need to possess more is a sickness .Never satisfied, never confident . No accomplishments just vanity .
Have pity on these people.
8 March, 2017 @ 9:31 am
Agree. Thanks Estrella!
8 March, 2017 @ 1:30 pm
Part of taking back your identity at every age is truly considering the people and products you allow into your life. It is a powerful feeling. Love your blog, loved this post.
8 March, 2017 @ 1:36 pm
Thank you so much Patricia
9 March, 2017 @ 3:10 pm
I’m in a very anti-haul period…thankfully, and hope it will last. Great post, but wondering about your thoughts are towards blogging now – it’s all so focused on consumerism and making money for the blogger?
9 March, 2017 @ 8:24 pm
Yes I agree Kathy, I think I wrote about that in my ‘ten years of blogging’ post. I had to stop it from turning into a rant! I think blogs have suffered because bloggers were courted by brands who would offer cash for coverage, which then moved to Instagram, which means people don’t blog much any more. But that’s OK, I just stick to the blogs I know and like (The Women’s Room, That’s Not My Age, Keep It Chic etc) that talk about fashion and other things, not just shopping. It’s been ten years so I couldn’t really expect it to stay the same. I do miss it being a smaller community though.
10 March, 2017 @ 1:44 pm
Thanks – I just read it. Totally agree. I’m doing a blog purge as well, and only want to read yours, and the others mentioned.