I woke up at 2am today and started reading blogs since I didn't feel like working yet. After going through my usual routine, I visited Pammy's post on beauty blogging again to see if there are any new comments. I've been keeping track of it since she wrote it, and I really appreciate all the insights in the post and in the comments page. This time, I'd like to share what I think about beauty bloggers "selling out" or losing credibility. This is my comment.
Been following this post for a while, and I'd just like to share what i think. :) Ideally, in beauty blogging, the blogger must pay for all the products that she reviews. But while that's ideal, it's also unrealistic. First of all it's difficult to get content unless you're sitting on a mound of money exclusively for makeup/kikay things.
Second, a good beauty blogger spends a lot of time coming up with a post - swatching, taking pics, testing, and finally, writing are all time-consuming (I spend 2-3 hours on one detailed review on average). Sure we do it out of love, but then again, it's unrealistic to continue unless there is some form of return.
While I for one appreciate kind words from readers whenever they find my blog useful, practically speaking they cannot keep me going. This is the situation a beauty blogger like me finds herself in: I need products to write about but I can only buy a limited amount for myself. I also want to be able to write about the latest news and products in the niche, and the only way i can sustain that is by receiving PR material.
So why do i blog?
I love beauty products. I love how transformative they can be, how they can change the life of a woman who, like me, did not feel confident about how she looked like. I wouldn't be where I am right now, career-wise, if I did not look presentable. I want to be able to share that potential for personal change via beauty blogging.
Other than that, I have to admit that I also have a selfish reason. :) I blog about beauty and I agree to receive free stuff because I like owning pretty things. It's not logical. Sometimes I feel like a magpie.
I also have to mention this since some commenters discussed it: from what I know, beauty bloggers earn very little money in blogging. Sometimes companies sponsor us, but that's very rare and can not be treated as a regular income. So if you ask me if i'm doing this for money, no, i don't, because I don't expect to earn good money from it anyway. But if someone offers me compensation for a post or ad about a product I support anyway, I don't see why that should be a problem.
Now, if the "ideal" is not possible, then what should beauty bloggers strive for?
For me, balance. A review or post need not be all positive or all negative as long as you can defend it. All products naman have a good side and a bad side. For me it's just a matter of pointing it out if they exist. Write about free products, but combine it with other topics. An FOTD, for one, is a great way to break up a string of freebie posts. OOTDs, how-tos, videos, can also add to the content.
I'm also a voracious blog reader, if you don't know! My day begins with reading blogs. Even though I see event posts, press releases, and sponsored posts (not necessarily within the beauty niche) I still at least scan them because there are some information I might find useful in my line of work or future posts.
At the end of the day, it's up to the readers to decide if bloggers are pulling their leg. If you feel that our credibility has been compromised - if you feel that our posts have no value to you anymore - then the best action really is to stop reading. :) Think about it. It's free to read blogs like this at no cost to you other than a few minutes of your time, while a blogger spends some hours every single day making sure it doesn't suck. Unless you agree to pay a monthly subscription fee, I think that bloggers should be free to receive PR materials without judgment.