Things have been a bit quiet on Makeup Utopia recently, because I’ve found myself having something of an existential crisis about the future of Makeup Utopia. I like to think that I am a very spiritual person. I try to live consciously and with meaning, and to place value in people and experiences as opposed to things.
I started my first beauty blog, Makeup by Sara-May 5 years ago. I started it as an online forum for my absolute love of makeup as an art form, and a place to share the makeup looks I created.
Over time, and through the allure of working with brands, Makeup by Sara-May became more of a review blog. When I retired Makeup by Sara-May and started Makeup Utopia, I retained a very strong focus on product reviews. After 5 years of blogging, I had an embarrassingly large collection of makeup completely separate from my professional kit, and, being completely honest, most of it never got used.
Nowadays, people know the price of everything, and the value of nothing.
Then, in August of 2014, our family packed up the things we couldn’t live without, sold or gave away everything we could live without, and moved quite literally halfway around the world.
For a year or so before our move, I had been feeling a very strong sense of dissatisfaction at the amount of stuff we owned, and as a result, the amount of clutter we were living with. I started reading as many minimal living blogs as I could find, adopted a capsule wardrobe with only 25 items of clothing, and honestly assessed what of our belongings added value or function to our lives as a family. Moving to Europe simply gave me a deadline to complete the transition to minimal living. In terms of makeup, being forced to part with the things I didn’t truly love for myself or need for my kit really emphasised just how much I was storing for the sake of it. I had a room in my house dedicated to the storage of makeup. This felt obscenely bourgeoisie and I have almost no words to describe how good it felt to pass 95% of my “collection” onto family, friends, and people who would use and love these products.
Since moving to the Netherlands I have made no real effort to connect with brands or pr companies, nor do I plan to.
I used to love watching haul videos on YouTube, but now they feel like consumerism at it’s worst. I read/watch monthly favourite posts and videos, and feel like I’ve willingly just watched/read a commercial – when I use every tool at my disposal to block advertisements from my internet and my tv screen. How authentic can this style of content be, when almost every product included is a recent release, most gifted to the blogger, and all products that have been hyped up in the weeks before?
We use money we don’t have to buy things we don’t need to impress people we don’t like.
Maybe I’m just getting cynical in my old age, but when I was a kid, I wanted to be a makeup artist. I wanted to paint faces and make aliens and be creative. Somewhere in the last 5 years, I lost my way and became an advertising tool for brands and prs instead.
I’m done with reviewing products I didn’t absolutely love, just to maintain relationships with brand contacts. I’m done with featuring products just because they’re popular and I know they’ll get a lot of hits. I’m done with creating rigorous posting schedules, and then beating myself up because I can’t maintain them due to both lack of time and lack of inspiration (I have 2 young kids and as much as I’d like it to be different, I can’t post every day, and even 3 times a week is unrealistic at the moment.) Above all I’m done collecting, storing, and finding room for makeup products I’ll never use.
Minimalism is not a lack of something. It is simply the perfect amount of something.
What does this mean for you? It means when I post on Makeup Utopia, it will be a high quality, well thought out article, but it’s not going to be on a regular schedule. I’ll post when the inspiration strikes, and hopefully my posts will be inspiring.
Will I be partnering with brands? I’m open to brand collaboration, but only if I can create meaningful, authentic and useful content for you guys. So no, you probably won’t see much by way of brand collaboration on Makeup Utopia moving forward.
Will I stop doing product reviews? No, I still love and use makeup, and when I really love something, I want to shout it off the rooftops. HOWEVER, the products I review will probably not be the new, hot thing. They will be long-term loves, products that I have used time and time again, the staples of my personal or professional kit. And chances are, I paid for them myself.
My vision for Makeup Utopia is to cater to the average person, the aspiring artist and the industry professional. I no longer want to enable destructive behavior (and I believe rabid consumerism is destructive to the environment, as well as the consumers finances, self esteem and happiness.)
I hope that the average person can come to Makeup Utopia, learn a makeup technique, find inspiration for a makeup look, or learn about a reliable product that they might want (because let’s face it, makeup is a want, not a need), without the hype.
I hope that the aspiring makeup artist can come to Makeup Utopia and learn about products that will perform well in their kit without the expense of a trial and error approach, as well as picking up a new technique, or inspiration for a makeup look they love.
I hope that the seasoned industry professional can come to Makeup Utopia and find practical and informative product recommendations from a trusted colleague, and maybe learn or relearn something useful.
Ultimately, you the reader may not notice a difference, but for me the difference will be profound. In making the decision to change, I feel as though a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I feel honest and free, and most importantly I feel the urge to paint, to play with my makeup and to write from the heart.
This is not intended as a criticism of any other digital content creators. I simply feel like this style of content is no longer the right choice for me.
I’ve put a little piece of my soul into writing this article, and I’d love to hear from you. As a reader of blogs, how do you feel about native advertising and the trend towards blogs enabling consumerism? If you’re a blogger, have you ever felt unhappy being a part of the marketing machine? How did you deal with those feelings?