I know it’s not just me that’s finding it increasingly difficult to get a buzz from beauty right now. This site was started 8.5 years ago and I spent the previous decade writing about beauty. I have never got tired of it until now. Yes, I said it out loud. I definitely have beauty fatigue.
While social media has brought the beauty industry untold bounty in terms of exposure and sales, it’s also contributed to the current feeling of overkill. Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Blogs, Vlogs – they all tell a beauty story, but it’s the same story time and time again. And, now that nobody has much more concentration than a flea, thanks to a surfeit of information that our under-evolved brains cannot drill down to anything other than noise, we’re not digesting beauty information in the same way. If brains could evolve as often as iPhones, we’d be fine. But they don’t.
Big brands, that start their beauty story writing years in advance (spring 2018 is probably on the production line right now), are falling behind in terms of speed, bringing out predictable range after predictable range. It’s left to the smaller brands, with shorter and more versatile lead times, to lead and develop trends with the behemoths playing catch up.
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Looking at what happened to nails as a good example, we can go back only a few years to when there was a nail frenzy. Nails overtook lipstick in sales terms and we literally could not get enough of textures, nail art and meticulous manicures. But, while the nail trend came in like a lion, it left like a lamb just as quickly with no particular industry prediction that it would. We just saw too much and it just drizzled away.
Anyone on social media writing about beauty in whatever way acts as a beauty industry early warning system – if we’re over it, then the chances are that the consumer will be over it pretty sharpish, too. With nails, we (socials) stopped showing painstakingly perfect manis, we realised that showing every colour from every new collection on all of our nails was an ask too far – I spent hours and hours showing nail colours, as did many of us. It’s now rare that someone will take the time to do that anymore and particularly for a mainstream brand. Indis at least are able to gather a very loyal following who are prepared to put in the effort – big brands, with all of the expectation and none of the appreciation, are less likely to garner that loyalty.
There are collections coming up from bigger brands that this time last year I would have been all over like a rash – this year, there are several that I literally cannot muster a word for. And, it’s a very deep disservice to readers to pretend I can.. nobody needs to read hollow words. I can’t bring it for the Victoria Beckham range which looks like a blend of Estee Lauder and same old Tom Ford. I can’t muster it this time around for NARs (for many reasons actually) and if I see one more BB cream arriving at this late stage, you will hear my scream from London all the way in NYC.
Beauty fatigue is another evolution of the industry – brands wanted too much from too many and didn’t quite keep up with the things that they had to do to perpetuate interest, which is innovate, excite and appreciate. You cannot, as a brand, push out the same old things and expect the same level of excitement as you’ve enjoyed time after time. It’s not going to happen anymore. The ‘mood of the internet’ is a strange thing, but it exists, only evident usually if you’re on it 24/7 which is anyone working in social media. If we – the bridges between brands and consumers – are struggling to find different ways to sing the same song, that will trickle down to the consumer in the same way we trickled everything up (if indeed you can actually trickle upwards – perhaps not!).
I adore writing about beauty and I can’t see that stopping anytime soon, but I’m filtering differently. I don’t dash to a launch as though my life depends upon it – the sense of urgency has mostly disappeared completely and I can wait. My site is a mix anyway of news, reviews and just plain old views but I don’t feel a big pressure coming from readers to be first at a new launch or in a big rush (and I used to, so that’s a little seed of change coming from consumers actively interested in beauty and it tells me that there is certainly at least a whisper of consumer beauty fatigue) to do a same day turnaround. In certain circumstances, I am happy to do it and will, but very, very much less than before. And, I’m not the only one that feels this way.
There is are several huge positives to all of this – the first is that there is much less pressure and a less pressured blogger is a more considered blogger, with What brands think of me as a blogger matters less to me every single day although obviously I don’t feel that way for readers – that really would be the time to hang up my lipsticks!
There are plenty of blogs/vlogs expanding away from beauty and further into lifestyle where the remit is wider and content is more easily broken up – I think that’s possibly the future of beauty blogs; expansion and content diversification. Something has to change, anyway. Things aren’t going to stay the same.
So, if you’re a blogger/vlogger/instagrammer, are you feeling it, this fatigue? And as consumers and readers – are you feeling the fatigue, too? Do you never want to see a nude eyeshadow again in your life? It’s going to be all of the awkward if it’s just me, so please do leave your comments. I’d love to know what you think.
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