Beauty blogging: do we need a palette cleanse?

Kylie Jenner Lip Kits

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
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