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Can You Trust Beauty Blogs Anymore?

Several months ago, a little while after I resurrected Blog for Beauty, an article appeared in TODAY newspaper about Singapore’s beauty blogging, Youtube and “influencer” industry, especially about the authenticity and ethics behind it.

I was asked a few questions for the article, and also thought it’s finally time to publish this post, since it’s such a hot topic recently.

I started beauty blogging in 2006 because as much as I loved magazines and wanted to work in one (and eventually did), I knew that at the end of the day, magazines have to answer to advertisers and couldn’t ever be completely honest.

Blogs were like the anti-magazine, and in those days, it was such a fun, close knit community, and we all did it for the love of beauty. Working with – or even being noticed by brands – was not even a thought in our heads, because we didn’t think it were possible. (Then beauty blogs started to get popular around 2008, and dinosaur bloggers like me would remember the New York Times article , our first “backlash” in the media.)

Today, of course, this has all changed, and while the TODAY article only questioned the more commercial/advertorial aspect, there are so, so much more inauthentic, unethical practices and manipulation going on, too many to list here.

That being said, I’m in a weird position. I come at this issue from 3 different angles, as crazy as that may sound. I’ve been beauty blogging since the beginning, was a beauty writer/editor for a while but am now a makeup artist, and for a few months of career confusion in-between that, was in digital marketing and worked with many bloggers.

Either way, perhaps that is why I am in a position to give some insight to this:

For one, I know where the professionals – makeup artists, editors, etc. – are coming from, and totally understand their concerns (uh, complaints) about the rise of beauty bloggers/influencers. In those cases, I feel they need to just accept that times have changed and stop complaining. It sucks, but it is what it is. But then I remember working with a lot of bloggers and saw first hand how/why they are giving everyone else a bad name, so I understand it, too. At the same time, of course, I know that not all bloggers are like that, and it’s unfair to paint all bloggers with the same brush.

So can you trust beauty blogs? Personally, for the most part, I don’t. I think today it would be smart to be a cautious. That’s not to say there aren’t any good, honest beauty blogs out there; there certainly are, but it’s rare.

As for me, like I told the journalist for the TODAY article, literally everyone who knows me knows that I write a beauty blog. This is scary, ’cause I’m a very private person, but I believe this is also good ’cause it keeps me accountable and careful about what I say and do. I never want to be dishonest or unethical; especially so with family, friends and everyone else watching/reading. It’s my reputation as well, since I am a professional in this field.

And now that I’m back, I’ve made the decision that there will be no sponsored posts on this blog*. I think this is where the dishonesty, confusion and compromise usually starts, so let’s cut it out altogether! I only relaunched Blog for Beauty as a hobby, and ’cause blogging is a huge part of my life, and I still absolutely love it.

I’d love to know what do you think on this issue: Can you – and do you – trust beauty blogs today? Who are some of your favorite beauty bloggers?

* Updated: Except for special circumstances, such as it has something to do with my makeup artist career, and I simply want to share it on the blog as well.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Well, yours is the only beauty blog I subscribe to. So there’s my answer. 😀 I believe it’s not an easy decision to arrive at; to not accept any more sponsored posts. Respect you even more even more because of this. 🙂

    • Renee

      Thank you Grace, what an honor to be the only blog you subscribe to! Thank you for your support, really means a lot 🙂

  • Jordan

    I’ve worked with some bloggers that give the beauty industry a bad name right off the bat. Before launching my new beauty blog and taking a year long break, I was in the blogging industry for almost 5 years. In those 5 years, I’ve had many magazine articles written about my blog and I. I’ve worked with over 300 brands from around the world, along with other beauty bloggers (if they even are deserving of that name) and whatnot, so I’ve seen similar things to what you have seen firsthand.

    It’s unfortunate that you can’t trust the typical beauty blog anymore, and it’s so sad because there’s so much good content, but the background behind it is not real. When I first started blogging I remember where everyone supported each other, and it was like you said… a close-knit community. Now everyone was out to receive free things, earn money off of unoriginal content, and wasn’t publishing these incredibly fake “free product for 5-star review only” posts.

    Because of it, all the REAL beauty industry workers are having a difficult time, and are not in good hands when it comes to talking about it in the media.

    I accept sponsored topics and content, but I decline 95% of them because they either don’t fit into my blog’s content, are products I would never purchase and actually use, or the typical free-for-5-star-review-only pitches. I blog for passion, and hopefully looking to pursue a successful career in the beauty industry. I was just offered a job as a column writer for an upcoming beauty magazine, so that’s exciting.

    P.S. I’m in love with your personality and approach on topics like this. Big fan of Blog For Beauty!

    • Renee

      Hey Jordan, wow! We seem to have similar stories, in the sense we blogged for a long time and then took a break. (Mine was a 2 year break, which I regret, though – way too long!) And yeah, my thoughts exactly – it’s a shame to see what the industry has become. I hope it will go back to basics, if you will. I reckon there needs to be more laws about such things. (In Singapore, where I live, they just announcing that they will be taxing the freebies bloggers get, so I reckon this might stop those who are not genuine with their blogs. Or at least I hope so!)

      Thanks for your kind compliments on my blog and I am so glad to have you here! It’s nice to e-meet you. 🙂 Big congrats on a beauty column – that’s huge! Where can I read it?

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