It’s been a hot minute since I posted and I apologise for going AWOL on you with no explanation. The last few months have been crazy and I decided to step back from it all to gather my thoughts. I know most of you are thinking the title is click bait like those videos on YouTube but I’ve been seriously considering how I feel and fit in with the beauty community both in and apart from my blog. Today’s post is going to be a chat about my thoughts, feelings and strong opinions about certain stuff. Most of you might hate me after this, unsubscribe and talk s*#t about me but it is what it is. This post is all over the place so please bear with me. It’s really hard getting such complicated thoughts to flow smoothly. It’s also going to be hella long so grab a drink and a comfy spot if you’re interested.
If you read my post here, you’ll know that 2016 wasn’t the greatest year for me. It sucked career wise, I gained loads of weight and friendships came and went like the seasons. Unfortunately, this year was a million times worse. I don’t want to talk about it too much but I threw myself into my blogging as an escape. Every waking minute was spent taking photo’s, researching products, writing posts and planning. I never spent time with my kids, I was constantly broke trying to keep up with new releases and I was stressed 24/7. Blogging was a distraction from reality but now I’m not so sure about that. My blogging has turned against me and it took me quite some time to realise that. I had to step back from it all to reflect and I want to share it with you. I’m only human, I make mistake and I have feelings I cannot control. If this can help just one person who is feeling the same or doubting what they do, then it’s worth it.
I know these types of posts are not everyone’s cup of tea but that brings me to my first topic.
Keyword. MY. Me. Mine. Something that belongs to me and me alone. That sounds so childish but it seems to be something other people forget in the blogging community. Not so much targeted at me but something people need to be reminded of. I started this blog as a space to share my thoughts with like-minded makeup lovers, beginners and pros, even those wanting to dip their toes into the wonderful world of beauty. I’m closing in on the 3-year mark and it’s been an adventurous ride.
What started as a safe, secure, sane place for me to just sit down and write (something I’ve loved doing for my entire life), has turned into a nightmare. Not because I don’t love writing anymore, but rather how I do it and who I do it for. I have no one to blame for this except myself. This is not something brought on by the blogging community but rather a reaction to me wanting growth for my blog.
I don’t know when or how I decided to start blogging 5 times a week but that was a really stupid idea. I’m not saying it’s not good or not possible, it just wasn’t right for me. The pressure was so intense, I didn’t see what was happening around me. I got so consumed with trying to reach milestones that nothing else mattered. At the beginning of the year, I set myself a milestone of 40k pageviews per month by the end of 2017. I shattered that record by getting 66k pageviews in March already. Instead of reaping the benefits and enjoying the success, I pushed myself even harder trying to review the plethora of products I bought and items brands had sent me.
Keeping up with the latest products
I’m a brand whore. I don’t need to tell you this. You can see by the products I typically purchase. It’s not something I’m proud of and it’s been to the detriment of my wallet too. I still love trying out affordable products and finding those hidden gems, but I tend to invest in well-known brands because they have consistently performed better and are generally of better quality than their drugstore counterparts. That’s the reason I didn’t really do dupe type posts over the years. Some people still don’t realise there’s more to a dupe than just being the same colour. It needs to apply the same, feel the same and last around the same amount of time. Otherwise be specific and call it a colour dupe, otherwise, like me, expect it to perform the same when it’s not even possible.
There are hundreds of products being released weekly and browsing social media keeps us privy to the latest and greatest. Even though I read hundreds of reviews, I still want to buy the product to see how it fairs on my skin type and how it looks on my complexion. This has resulted in many a purchase that still didn’t work or suit me. But because I saw it, I wanted it. You can see how many blog posts and YouTube videos are titled “YouTube/Instagram made me buy it”. I have more makeup than I could use in a lifetime and the feeling of wanting more still prevails.
Working with brands
I receive constant emails asking me how I get brands to send me products. In most cases, they find me and the ones I’ve reached out to have never responded by sending me freebies. I get the occasional press release email now and then but that’s about it. I never wanted to say this before but since I’m moving on to a new path, I’m leaving it all out in the open. Working with brands isn’t always as great as it seems. The perks of not having to pay for certain items, being able to try products before they launch and getting invited to events are the only things great about it. Little do most bloggers know, it comes with strings attached. For me, those strings strangled to a point of disdain. When accepting products from certain brands, there’s an expectation from the brand for you to feature the product. No problem, makes sense, right?
But there’s no clear instruction on what EXACTLY it is that’s expected. I like to test the product out thoroughly before I write my review. Different weather, any other issues, comparing it against something else, etc. So do I need to post my review within one week, a month, when it launches? I don’t know because the brand didn’t say when. Certain companies do let you know the embargo date (when you aren’t allowed to post until) and that makes things a whole lot easier but I’ve experienced first hand what happens when you post without an instruction. It turns nasty even though the blogger is the last person to be blamed for an incident like that. On the flipside, brands can get really annoying, pestering for a review two days after I received the products. At that point, I decide whether to submit to their request or cut all ties depending on the value of the product.
The other thing I’ve noticed is that brands don’t do their research when selecting bloggers. I’m not sure what they base their findings on but it does happen. For instance, I managed to get hold of a fellow bloggers media kit (unofficially) and checked out her stats. She’s been blogging for less than a year and her media kit states she gets over 60k+ views per month. Like I said, this has taken me 3 years to accomplish. At first, I thought, wow she must be doing something right because she started receiving press drops like crazy. After a while, noticing that there was no engagement on the blog, I asked her what her stats were because I just wasn’t being successful. She obviously trusted me because she told me it was all a lie. She made it all up because she knows brands don’t verify the stats or how else is she going to get noticed. That was around the time I went AWOL because it made me question everything I had worked for and whether I still wanted to be doing it.
Lastly, and the worst of it, is being honest. I’ve had brands stop working with me and sending me stuff because I featured a product I didn’t like. I’ve even had one drugstore brand, it’s probably in the top 3 you’re thinking of, personally phone me and s*#t me out like I was a child. I apologised profusely at the time but in hindsight, I was completely honest and I’m happy to no longer be affiliated with them. That is part of what I pride my blog on, featuring both what worked and what didn’t work for me. At the end of the day I blog for my readers not for brands and that’s the bottom line. I’m not going to bash brands but I’m certainly not going to sugarcoat products that didn’t work for me. As my disclaimer says, just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.
From my side, I think I’ve missed the boat completely when it comes to working with brands. To this day I still don’t know the answer to what is expected when working with brands and how to catch their attention. I’d rather stay in my lane and do what I like so I don’t succumb to the pressure of pleasing and working on someone else’s demand.
Social Media stats mean nothing
If you guys follow @lipglossgirl on Twitter you’ll know where I’m going with this. She brought to light the amount of bloggers and influencers that purchase followers for their social media. Some of the people I admire and look up to were brought to the firing line and upon further investigation, were found to be guilty of it. I’m not saying everyone has done this, but if people gain and lose followers with no change in interaction, it’s one of the signs. If you follow me on social media or are a blogger with an organic following, you know how hard you have to work to not lose followers on a daily basis. It’s a constant struggle and with the way social media algorithms work, damn near impossible to grow your following even when posting consistently. This is one of the reasons I’m deciding to quit social media.
Hate/Shade/Nastiness whatever you want to call it
This is the other reason I’m quitting social media. To be honest, I haven’t gotten much negativity from my followers over the years. Actually none whatsoever. I probably have the some of the sweetest followers I could ever wish for. The amount of you guys that reached out to find out why I fell off the face of the earth really touched me and kept my love for the blog going. It’s the hate towards others that really p**$es me off. I see my fellow bloggers struggling to get content out there, trying to learn and then nasty cows on social media trampling them when they’re down. Everyone talks about women empowerment and lifting each other up but it seems they only do it when they’re benefitting along the way. Also, it’s become such a norm that people don’t defend and stand up for others and reading that kind of stuff every day doesn’t help the way I feel towards it.
Yep, I’m going there. But it’s not aimed at anyone but a message to myself. A part of the reason I hardly post my face on social media is that as a Muslim girl, I need to protect my beauty and modesty. Wearing a full face of makeup and getting likes and comments say ‘You look so beautiful’ goes against that. Posting products of expensive items and showing off my makeup collection is far from modest. That goes against everything I’m supposed to stand for. That’s the main reason I’m quitting social media. There’s more to the religious aspect of blogging but I’ll share that with you once I decide to walk a new path.
It’s also the way it makes me feel. We are taught to be happy for others but recently all I’ve been feeling when browsing social media is jealousy and envy. I can’t control my feelings and I certainly don’t want to be that person whose heart aches for what other people have so I rather just remove myself from the situation completely. I don’t know how to explain it because I don’t feel that way when watching my favourite YouTubers. I guess I feel that some people deserve it more than others.
So bellas for now, I’m still going to blog and review products I’ve lined up to share. It’s going to be on my terms and on my schedule but rest assured it is coming. However, I won’t be updating Instagram, Twitter and Facebook from here onwards.
I hope you’ll stick around to experience this new journey with me and find everything you’re still looking for. Again, apologies for the post being all over the place, kudos to you for making it til the end.
Lots of Love!!!