This may be somewhat controversial, but it’s a question I ask myself on a weekly basis. With the beauty blogging world filled to the brim with beautiful, bright young things all vying for attention, it makes me frequently question where my place is in it all. I’m approximately ten years older and three dress sizes larger than the average beauty blogger, but I do believe my knowledge and passion more than make up for it. I’ve worked in the beauty industry for many years, carving a career out of a passion that later evolved into this blog; I now work on a consultancy basis with some of the biggest global brands and emerging names, so I do really know what I’m talking about. However, even though I’m comfortable in my own skin and have industry knowledge far beyond many others, I still ponder whether I would have more success if I was a little younger and a little bit prettier. So, do you need to be beautiful to be a successful beauty blogger?
I would never begrudge another’s success, but it’s hard to not notice the majority of the most successful and ‘mainstream’ bloggers having something in common: their long, flowing hair; their flawless, glowing skin; their pearly white teeth; their perfectly constructed eye makeup. We all have a fundamental need to look at beautiful things and are naturally attracted to the traditional form of perfection, but after a while it does get a little boring. The reason I started reading blogs was because they were written by women just like me – they got spots, they had late nights and paid for it under their eyes, their hair frizzed up during warm weather and they didn’t know how to create the perfect smokey eye either. The reason I started my own blog was because I wanted to share my own experiences, talk about my own battles, provide an alternative view of the beauty industry, discuss products I genuinely loved and focus on stuff that really worked. I didn’t even include my name or a picture of my face for nearly a year after launching the site, because it wasn’t about me as a person or the way I looked – it was about me as a beauty enthusiast.
As this blog has grown I’ve been lucky enough to have experienced some amazing things, met incredible people and turned my passion into a new career. However, I do still get that pang in my stomach when I think about the opportunities I may have experienced if I was a little more beautiful in the traditional sense. It makes complete sense for brands to want to work with individuals they deem to be aspirational, inspirational and a reflection of their customer, but the reason blogs have become so popular is because of the women behind them – flaws and all. I feel slightly uncomfortable that a certain selection of bloggers are projecting an appearance of perfection not unlike the celebrity culture that is so often criticized. Is that as relatable as a women explaining how to get the most out of a foundation that doesn’t have perfect skin? Is that as valuable as a 40 year old woman talking about her favourite eye cream? Not everyone that uses beauty products falls into the category of a twenty-something stunning beauty, so it’s a shame not to see more representation across the board of women in every sense imaginable.
Zoe wrote a post a few weeks ago which really resonated with me. She discussed how she’s often felt overlooked because of her personal style, not fitting into the box that many brands like to fill. I love the diversity of the blogging world (every shape, size, colour and style being represented,) but I do feel that outside of our blogging circle perceptions aren’t quite the same. Bloggers are supposed to represent ‘real women’ that have lives, passions, flaws and eccentricities, but it seems unless you’re practically a model with skin to match then the wider world doesn’t want to know. I’m glad of the brands I work with, who value expertise and passion above what I look like in a photograph, but it’s a shame not to see more diversity in the wider world. Some brands get it just right, using bloggers of all ages, skin tones and backgrounds in their campaigns, but on the whole it seems that the most successful (in the traditional sense of being brand ambassadors, featured in mainstream press and highlighted as a representation of ‘blogging’ outside the circle itself) bloggers are all very similar and tick certain boxes.
When I asked my Twitter followers if you needed to be beautiful to be a beauty blogger, the result was a resounding no. They placed emphasis on knowledge, passion, creativity and the ability to construct an awesome blog post – looks didn’t even come into the equation. I love seeing women experiment with makeup, discuss their relentless frizzy hair, provide advice on hair removal and bare their naked faces and discuss their troubles with acne. I think that everyone that has a voice has value, that everyone with an opinion holds the right to express that; I believe that beauty is only skin deep and we’re all going to be wrinkly old women eventually, so why do we place such importance upon a pretty face right now? I only wish the wider world and the media celebrated the diversity of our awesome community and the knowledge we bring, rather than focusing on a handful of pretty faces that look like they’re straight off the cover of their magazine anyway.
What are your thoughts? Do you think you need to be beautiful to be a successful beauty blogger?