The Ugly Side of Beauty Blogging

Beauty blogging is one of those things that sort of popped up overnight. With the first beauty blogs coming onto the scene in 2005 or so, it has since grown into a mainstream field. Originally beauty blogging was about honest communication, making a connection and sharing, and enjoyment or entertainment. As long as you had a computer and were able to create a basic blog site, you were set. It has now, however, turned into an industry that has completely transformed from its origins. With career bloggers requiring agents now, just creating a blog and writing isn’t enough to cut it anymore.

It’s All About the Numbers

Web traffic and social media numbers are your authority. When your numbers drop too low, you are no longer an asset. It’s a cold, cut-throat world. Long-time beauty blogger, Nadine Jolie Courtney, comments on this aspect of blogging in a post for Yahoo Beauty in June. She recounts getting let go by her blogging agent because of underwhelming social media numbers.

Within the blogosphere, numbers are currency. Bloggers became forces to be reckoned with specifically because of the mass reach that they had. When you have 20,000 twitter followers that not only reads but also respond heavily to what you say, well that’s a huge demographic to tap into.

It’s Turned Into Marketing instead of Honest Communication

Where bloggers originally sought out products and brands to try and then voice their opinions about their experience with those products, more and more bloggers are now being sought out by companies flooding their work inboxes with requests to promote their products. Since this can end up paying quite well, the majority of beauty blogs out there operate this way. However, it can quickly turn into product placement and marketing over an actual honest communication. Bloggers are faced with a decision: to accept the money and promote the product, a product which they don’t even believe in, or reject the money and stick to what made them want to start blogging in the first place.

The Guardian interviewed some of the industry’s top bloggers to discuss their success and a few of them specifically discussed this part of the job. Sam Chapman, blogger of Pixiwoo, had this to say:

“Many cosmetic companies are looking to pair with social talent on sponsored content – these deals should only be made if you genuinely love the product and would spend your money on it because the second you lose credibility it’s gone forever.”

Of course within an industry that has never been concerned with honesty – the photoshopping of pictures as an accepted industry standard is only one example – it’s really no surprise that meeting a financial bottom line has taken priority over honest communication within the blogosphere as well. But just as we at Slink aim to be an alternative and positive voice within the industry, so too do many of our favourite bloggers continue to contribute their voices to the honest conversation and refuse to compromise their credibility.


-- Editor-in-Chief SLiNK Magazine