I have been writing about natural and organic beauty consistently for over four years now and I have been a consumer of natural brands for over eight. In some ways writing about natural beauty (I use natural for lack of a better word, because natural and green are a huge spectrum rather than a one size fits all) becomes easier the longer you do it, in other ways it has become significantly harder.
The green or natural space is booming; my inbox has never been so busy, whereas once upon a time it was relatively easy to keep abreast of the newest product launches, these days that alone is a full time job, without mentioning all the other admin that goes along with running a blog. With the space getting increasingly busy cutting through the "fluff" becomes increasingly hard, with ever longer and more descriptive press releases and brands scrambling to convince us of their USP. Sometimes it's very hard to not feel like we have seen it all before. I think new brands are incredibly brave to launch, but it certainly isn't easy to compete when there are brands who have been doing this ten plus years. On the other hand, some brands who have been around for a while are getting left behind by newer brands who are hitting the ground running in terms of their marketing. The depth of information and knowledge required to truly understand and convey the essence of the products as well as weeding out those not worth the hype, is in itself increasingly time consuming, it's a jungle out there and one that is not that easy to navigate. I feel like I have had to put on my Nancy Drew hat one too many times, to find out whether brands are being genuine or not.
Something that is also increasingly concerning for me is the huge increase in the luxury portion of the green beauty market. There is no denying that good quality ingredients cost more, if you add to that green beauty products often have a higher ratio of active ingredients and lack of fillers found in conventional products, then differences in prices are logical and expected. We all like a luxe product, however looking at some of the skincare routines posted on Instagram the products are adding up to hundreds and hundreds (if not thousands!) of pounds, which for me makes green beauty seem unattainable to most, when in reality nothing could be farther from the truth. There is nothing wrong with enjoying luxury products, or that there is in fact a market for them, I just feel like the balance is being lost slightly.
You don't need to spend a fortune to have healthy happy skin naturally, which is why I try and cover all price points and budgets, from simple DIY to luxe. Most people know and understand that bloggers often receive PR samples and have mutually beneficial relationships with brands, I myself have always been honest about that fact. I feel at ease because even when it has financially left me out of pocket I have always been honest and aimed to be informative on my blog, it's not worth selling your soul to the devil for the sake of a bit of extra cash, after all you do that and you loose your readers. I am not just a blogger but am also consumer and still choose to spend a certain percentage of my money on product, not only because I like to support brands but also because I like to put my money where my mouth is, as I feel it keeps me more grounded when reviewing certain products, even those sent to me. I feel it is too easy to loose sight of reality when you never have to pay for anything and it shows in some peoples writing.
Something that people often ask about expensive products, is are they worth it? The answer to that is incredibly complex, the question is more a case of is it worth it to YOU. Ingredient quality, sourcing, size of the business and many more factors all affect pricing. Brands of course will always tell you their product is absolutely worth it, but the reality as a user often can feel different, beauty is after all personal. Some people just want something that doesn't cost or promise the earth and I can see where they are coming from. Just because your serum isn't made by nuns under the light of the moon doesn't mean it won't do the job at hand. At the moment buying US brands isn't particularly in your financial interest if you are living in Europe and there is a lot of factors at play such as currency conversion and taxes; this was demonstrated by the recent May Lindstrom price hike and the conversation that ensued. In the interest of balance it isn't just May who has put up her prices, it's just more noticeable with her brand due to the circumstances. Although many will continue to buy, others will have to find an alternative and that is perfectly OK, there is thankfully plenty of choice.
Sometimes the space feels so noisy, so full, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. The pressure to keep up with everything as a blogger, all of the time is intense. Occasionally brands don't feel that blog posts, mentions or reviews do them justice. All I can say is that it is very hard to be all things to all people, all of the time. I blog for readers, but I of course hope that I can maintain good relationships with brands in the process. If that isn't the case, in my opinion then it's best for everyone to part ways. I have always been good at saying no to those brands and opportunities that I didn't feel aligned with this blog and it's ethos, however I think going forward that I will have to take a another look at my time, my priorities and how I can continue to be true to myself in the content I provide. We all evolve and after four years I feel it's only right this blog continues to do so. I have come to realise saying no isn't at all a weakness but a sign of strength and one that will allow me to concentrate on providing content that I want will want to write and hopefully people will want to read. If you are a blogger I would love to hear, does any of this resonate with you?