This month’s Cosmopolitan had a really interesting title on the front cover – “Beauty Bloggers: can we trust anything they say?” Total clickbait, right? Well it worked for me, I bought it and read it, along with loads of other bloggers, judging by how many times I then saw the front cover pictured on Instagram. If Cosmo were looking for some free advertising, it certainly worked. So was the article any good? Can you really trust a beauty blogger?
Blogging scandals – buying followers
It seems every week there is a new blogging scandal – today, scrolling through Snapchat and Twitter, it’s all about bots and people buying followers on Instagram. There will ALWAYS be people who fake or buy their way to the top. Sadly it seems to happen all the time. I certainly don’t agree with it, but I can also see why people fall prey to it.
There is so much pressure to do better, to get more likes, to get more followers, you can see how giving yourself a little boost would take that pressure off for a while. And then the opportunities come rolling in and the pressure mounts to maintain the growth and keep the stats moving upwards.
People keep saying it won’t last and it won’t translate into lasting growth and genuine engagement, but when you see these people jetting off to Coachella because PRs don’t check whose followers are real or not, then it can be hard not to feel just a little bit pissed.
BUT, I digress. Back to the real reason for this post – the Cosmo article.
What did the Cosmo article say?
The gist of the article was that beauty bloggers aren’t experts on skincare and make up and so how can they possibly give you advice you can trust. It also said that, on top of that, bloggers get paid, or provided products for free that they might otherwise not endorse or promote.
Let’s take these points one by one.
Beauty bloggers aren’t experts
So we may not be trained or have a degree in dermatology, but we do tend to try A LOT of skincare. Is your Mum or your best mate an expert? Probably not, but I bet you still regularly turn to them for advice or questions. We are lucky enough to have the entire world of the internet at our fingertips – one tap on your phone and you can find out what other people think of the latest beauty releases. But surely we are all intelligent enough to realise that everything we read is someone else’s opinion?
I write beauty posts myself and I never proclaim to be an expert, but I write my posts as though I was talking to a friend and everything I write is what I would say to their face.
I also find the fact that this gripe is coming from a women’s magazine hugely hypocritical. On the day I bought Cosmo, I also bought Glamour. Both magazines I enjoy reading and they both employ and interview qualified aestheticians, beauticians and dermatologists. So surely, according to their logic, I should trust everything they say?
Well, in one magazine I read that you shouldn’t double cleanse because it strips the skin of too many of its natural oils… and in the other magazine I read that a double cleanse is a great way to really get rid of all traces of make up. How do I know who to trust in this scenario?
The fact is, you have to try different things and work out what’s best for you. Beauty bloggers – and magazines – just help direct us to products that might be our holy grail. And by sharing their experiences, we get closer to working out what might be right or wrong for us.
Bloggers get paid to promote products
Yes, bloggers get paid to promote beauty and skincare products, but I don’t for one second believe that magazines go out and buy all the new releases themselves. I am pretty sure they get sent a whole load more freebies than I do. If Alex Steinherr pays for half the products she uses, I’ll eat my hat.
But does that make me want to read what she says any less? No, because I respect her opinion (I think she’s great actually, and I don’t mean to pick on her at all) and I know that even if she was gifted the products, she will give her honest opinion. And it is exactly the same with beauty bloggers. At the end of the day, if a blogger raves about a product, then you go out and buy it and discover it’s absolutely useless, you shrug and move on. And you might be less likely to read or trust their reviews in the future. So one less reader for that blogger and their distorted opinions.
So can you trust beauty bloggers?
There will always be people you can’t trust, in any walk of life. There will be some bloggers who just want to play the system, get as much out of it as they can and not really give a shit about being honest. It’s always disappointing to see bloggers who you have looked up to playing the system, but it happens. I’m trying not to get sucked in, as depressing as it is to see my stats going up a lot more slowly than other people’s!
What do you think to the Cosmo article? Do you think you can trust beauty bloggers?