January 2, 2019

Wanted in 2019: Less Of This & More Of That

What do you want more of and less of from beauty brands [and the beauty community] this year? I have some definite opinions!!!

👉 I want:
  • Cool tones!
  • To see a significant decline in neutral eyeshadow palettes and neutral palettes with pops of color... (Adding a couple of 'fun' shades is not edgy or unique- it's still essentially a neutral palette. You ain't foolin' anyone with that.)
  • More matte eyeshadows and fewer shimmers (unless maybe they are unusual duochromes)
  • Greens and Purples in eyeshadow palettes... across the spectrum- lights, mediums, darks
  • Less frequent releases with more thought and quality put into them... Hourglass and Anastasia Beverly Hills are two brands that come to mind immediately as "doing it right." Their launches don't feel like a money-grab. Solve a problem/fill a need, give us something different. Show us something we didn't even know we wanted or needed.
  • Less messiness on social media.... (This goes for Brands and "Influencers.") Think before you type. You can still be yourself, but a tactful version- consider how your words and actions reflect on you and their impact on others. You can be funny without making fun of others. It's okay to be opinionated, but be mindful when expressing it. If you're upset in that moment, wait until you're feeling less so and you'll avoid a lof of controversy, drama and apologies later.
  • Continued transparency and disclosure... You can maintain integrity and still make money!
  • More tutorials! If you want, incorporate them with something else, but don't forget the instructional/educational details. Tutorials pair well with GRWM and First Impressions. (Tell us what you're using, how, where and, most importantly, why.)
  • Better brow products for Redheads... I have the hardest time finding something that isn't too brown, too blond or too maroon/burgundy. Why is this so hard?! (Those that have the closest matches for me shade wise are Nyx and Vanity Mark, but I'm not totally in love with their formulas.)
  • More brow products for 'fantasy' or 'funky' colored hair... KVD put out some pomades that were fairly decent, but with so many boycotting her now, we need someone else to step up to the plate. (I'd also like her brand or another to release brow pencils in these shades.) There are many more of us with usual hair nowadays and it's a nearly untapped market.
  • A slight resurgence in bullet lipsticks... in Mattes, Satins and new opaque formulas in a wide variety of tones
  • Drugstore brands to stay in their lane with their pricepoints... Quality and quantity can be improved without a cost hike. Just because you 'can' charge more, doesn't mean you 'should.' 
  • New faces for collabs... We're tired of seeing the same handful of people get all the collabs. It isn't that we don't like them, but we see them all the time and it's become too much. Give others a chance!
  • Coverage of uplifting 'drama...' people promoting their 'competition,' defending those who've been wronged, congrats for people getting their first brand deal or sponsorship, those who've hit a milestone, etc
  • Less invasive drama investigations... I'll admit those can be interesting like idly flipping through a tabloid in a waiting room, but I don't feel good about it. I don't like seeing someone's career completely ruined [even if it is karmic retribution] or their mental health pushed to the limit. The truth can sometimes be painful, but cruelty isn't entertainment.
  • Cancel Culture and reactionaries to back off a bit... We're 'canceling' too many people for too little. You don't need to make a formal announcement that you're unfollowing/unsubscribing. Do it and move on. If you're asked about it or really troubled by it, there's nothing wrong with saying you feel someone was in the wrong and why, but the absolute vitriol and vicious back and forth social media exchanges are unneccessary. I'd rather see people trying to help instead of hurt... Tell us what might change your mind! "Dialogue over Diatribe!"


🔮 Predictions for 2019:
  • I think we'll continue to see more inclusivity, but it will be more obvious who is doing it for profit and who genuinely acknowledges and supports the need for change.
  • The Clean Beauty trend will be polarizing- it will be on the rise and it will be criticized and debated.There will be a lot of misinformation from both sides to sift through.
  • I feel there's going to be a previously trusted ingredient or existing popular product that becomes scandalous to use, but not because of the brand or faces promoting it. Maybe it will be found to be dangerous or it might be a cult classic that was needlessly reformulated and isn't as good now.
  • Some brands will continue to regurgitate the same types of products over and over and over, because that is what they have always done. (Looking at you, Benefit.) But, the market is so saturated and fast-paced, I don't think that is going to work for them much longer.
  •  I suspect some drama channels will be going in a different direction with their content. Whether for better or for worse, I think we'll see a bit of a noticeable shift somehow.
  • I anticipate we will see more brands working with Men In Makeup directly or at the very least reposting their content. (Except Huda, lol.)

🤔 I wonder if we will see fewer brand deals for influencers this year after what happened in the beauty community last year? I am interested to see how marketing changes overall.

January 1, 2019

Vloggers, Gurus and Influencers... Oh my!!!

Like many “alternative” girls from my era, I had a paper zine (ah, high school in the 90’s <3). Then, in 1998, I started to do what basically came to be known as “blogging” by crudely uploading my “content” as text files to my Hometown AOL space. I got my hits or traffic (if you can even call it that) by putting the link to the files in my profile and sharing it in chatrooms. I also did ezines, listservs, newsgroups, forums, etc. (Web Dinosaur, rawr!)  I wrote about movies/tv, music, books, sex, relationship advice, women’s issues and diary/journal pieces, as well as some bad poetry. Technology evolved and I rode dat wave,  so to speak, using other platforms (i.e. pitas, weblogs, diaryland, blogspot, livejournal…) and eventually launching my own site. During the 2000’s my particular niche was called an E/N [everything/nothing] blog. I liked the dichotomy of that phrase; I wish we still used it. (Maybe I’ll try to bring that back!) I’ve never really thought of myself strictly as a beauty blogger, or even a lifestyle blogger, for that matter.
Beauty Blogger was a decently descriptive, fairly innocuous term though. And it made sense when that began to include or transition to Vlogger, even though saying the word out loud sounded like it could possibly be a part of the anatomy, plumbing tool or household gadget. (C’mon, you know you want to try saying it right now, haha!) My brow didn’t furrow too much until Beauty “Guru” came into play. That sounded pretty pretentious to me. Even Beauty “Expert” kind of grated considering many had no professional experience, but I’ll admit “Advisor” didn’t have quite enough pizazz and “Ambassador” had a bit too much, erm, formality.)
Now the terminology is even worse! The latest buzzword leaves a terrible taste in my mouth every single time I see or hear it! We’re talking full on Sourpuss McScrunchy-face here…  What is this vile vocab? Influencer. 
I can’t escape the mental image of a hypnotist with a swinging pocketwatch, whispering that your eyelids are getting ‘heavy, very heavy" and you are growing "sleepy, very sleepy.’ (Except in this case, it's more like, "You need a new highlighter. You will buy this highlighter." )* snort *
The negative connotations of the word “Influencer” * shudder * make me want to distance myself as far as possible from the label. The “machine,” by design, makes it very difficult to do that if you want interaction, ergo success. I don’t necessarily like the idea of using my powers for evil * muhaha * and swaying purchase decisions or giving undue credence to the latest fad. I want to help people to make their own, hopefully more informed, choices. I want to help them discern the pr and marketing buzz from the actual quality and cost of products. I want to help them find new things to enjoy. I like sharing with others and learning from others.
This is not my job. This is a hobby. If it ever becomes more of a chore and less fun, that’s when I will step away.
I think a lot of people go into this kind of venture with similar good intentions, only to be seduced by the bright and shiny 'Notoriety' and 'Free Stuff.' Bragging rights though- I’ve already had a career that gave me a taste of that, though on a smaller scale. And if I’m honest with myself, those were ultimately downsides of the job and I actually struggled with handling everything that came along with [or because of] that. You start to question who your friends really are, who you are… what is important and why. In lamens terms, it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, folks!
Also, I have social anxiety and I’m not crazy about being the center of attention. Plus, I can be a little, um, reluctant to part with my money and I do love a good bargain. So, in some aspects, fame and fancy possessions are contrary to the kind of life I want to live. (Sure, I like nice things, pretty things, fun things- but not if they put my financial stability, relationships or physical/mental health at risk.) I’ve learned to value what I have earned. I also acknowledge the privilege I am afforded. Of course, it definitely helps that my conscience [possibly read: guilt complex] is always ‘tsking’ me loudly and clearly if I so much as teeter even slightly towards self-absorption. (Thanks, Mom & Dad! No, seriously, I am grateful for the way they raised me and values they instilled!)

Suffice it to say, you can always count on full disclosure from me and expect me to weigh the pros and cons of the things I like, love, hate or am just ambivalent about :)

All this being said, this is the year that I [ideally] start actively uploading videos on my You Tube beauty channel, where I will be my blissfully awkward, unabashedly cringey and, uh, slightly wordy self. ;) Like, Comment, Subscribe and all that stuff: https://www.youtube.com/user/TousledElegance