It was 2009 when I first stumbled into the world of beauty blogging. Right from the get-go, I was completely enamoured by it all and naturally, a lot has changed in the eight years I've been a part of the beauty blogosphere. From a bedroom hobby of mine since 2011, a full-time job for others and to a huge advertising platform for brands, it's evolved beyond belief. Having spent my twenties growing up here, I've seen my relationship with beauty go through its own significant change over the years too, and as I leave the days of impulse shopping and frivolous spending behind me, never has my relationship with beauty been better.
In the beginning, it was a whole new world to discover and explore. There were different lipstick colours to experiment with, different finishes, different formulas, so many different products for achieving the exact same thing and whatever brands my favourite YouTubers were using, I had to try them too. I remember putting together my own small custom Inglot eyeshadow palette and buying an Illamasqua blush not necessarily because I was in love with the products themselves, but because they were brands that were new to me and I just had to have them in my collection in some way. I also took recommendations from pale blonde girls - the complete opposite to my own complexion - and somehow, I still convinced myself that MAC's Crème d'Nude Lipstick would actually look good on my olive skin tone! As much as I wanted to, I could not pull off the pale nude lip trend for the life of me.
Pay day couldn't come sooner each fortnight and though I did really well saving my money for my travels to Japan and Europe, I was also really good at spending it. I was receiving parcel after parcel, so much so that my dad even became friends with our local courier! There were many wishlist and haul posts in my early days of blogging, and at times, it overwhelmed me when I would think of all the products I was lusting after. Once my money hit my bank account and I finally got my hands on them, I wasn't even satisfied because the more I bought, the more I wanted and it was a never-ending cycle.
When you're in your early twenties, I think it's only normal to spend your money more frivolously. You have less responsibilities, yet more disposable income and when I entered this online beauty world, it was so full on and I was so enraptured in trying as much as I possibly could. I see people now who were my age when I first got into blogging buying product after product, and though I have the hindsight now to see how unsatisfying it all was, I certainly don't pass any judgement as I know that was me at one stage in my life. At the end of the day, it's your money to spend how ever you please too. I don't regret all the money I've spent over the years - it was a time in my life where I didn't know any better - but it's also something I don't really like to think about either!
I'm not saying that the beauty community has had a bad influence on me - in fact, discovering it has been one of the best things to have ever happened in my life - however, there's no denying that it encouraged me to consume more mindlessly than if I hadn't found myself here, and as YouTubers and bloggers felt more like friends than advertisements, it was so easy to get caught up in the latest trends, brands and new releases. I liken it to being trapped inside a bubble because once you step outside of it, it's only then you're able to see that it's all a bit too much, that it's not a feasible lifestyle and how owning hoards of product doesn't actually feel good. I'm not sure if I was trying to fill some sort of void in my life or whether I simply got caught up in the craze, but either way, I didn't feel any happier and I wasn't getting the fulfilment I thought my constant shopping would bring me. I was consuming beauty products like crazy, while the beauty world consumed me.
Despite all this, being a part of this community is something that has made a profoundly positive impact in my life. I discovered something I'm truly passionate about, my blog is my creative sense of purpose and I even feel a sense of belonging with everyone here and the friends I've made. I also never would have found these amazing products that have done wonders for my skin, that have cleared up my acne and that have made me feel so much more confident in myself. I love that my friends and family come to me for beauty advice, how makeup is a form of self-expression for me and I love learning about beauty, whether it's through a makeup tutorial or reading about the science behind skincare. I've learnt how to photograph better, how to write better and all in all, I can't imagine my life without beauty blogging.
I'll always love everything beauty related; I feel totally comfortable and in my element typing away endlessly about products here on my blog, though I think living out of home had a positive influence in changing my mindset through the way in which I consume. When I was living in Melbourne, most of my pay was going towards rent, utility bills, food and just general living, which left very little left over for big spending, so it got easier to talk myself out of buying things that took my interest and whatever I did buy, I made sure it was something I really, really loved. It was definitely something that was hard to get used to at first, but like with most things in life, you adapt and it gets easier. Telling myself, "I don't need this" soon became second nature and when I do have a little extra cash - for example, during tax time - I can allow myself to splurge a little and it feels all the more rewarding and satisfying knowing I'm not simply looking for a quick pick-me-up.
Practising minimalism and mindfulness have become increasingly more prominent in the community and the more I'm learning about them, the more connected I feel to this way of life. It's sort of hard to articulate why, but I'm sure you all know what I mean when I say that my mind feels so much more at ease owning less, and though you'd never call me a minimalist looking at my makeup collection, the point is that everything I own has its place and its value in my life. Everything that doesn't, I've removed and I feel like I can take the time to properly enjoy and use up a product now because I'm not fleeting over to the next new thing like I used to. My skincare routine and applying my makeup have become daily rituals I've learnt to really revel in because it's not overwhelming to decide what to use anymore, and where once makeup used to be a way of masking my insecurities and something I felt like I had to wear, I wear it now simply because it's something I love. Makeup would often feel like a chore when I was younger, but learning to slow down and giving myself ample time to get ready has made me really appreciate all these wonderful products I'm so privileged to own.
When you've been around here long enough like I have, you have more tried and true favourites that you become fiercely loyal to and you also have more of an idea of what works well for your skin tone, skin type and personal style, so everything else just suddenly becomes noise. I've cut my blush collection down by half, my nail polishes by three quarters and I haven't tried a new cleanser in almost a year, yet never have I felt happier and more content with what I own. I don't have this constant crave to buy something new all the time, partly because I want to save more money, but mostly because for the first time ever, I feel genuinely at peace with what I have and for anything that's on my wishlist, there's no rush to go out and buy it. I have an extensive decision making process that I go through before I purchase something as I'm so conscious of adding clutter back into my life and after years of overspending, you realise it's impossible to keep up in an ever-changing market. I could buy the newest release today and by tomorrow, we'll all have moved on to the next hyped up product.
Perhaps my years of impulse shopping and frivolous spending weren't all for waste though and it's actually the reason why I've now arrived at this place of contentment. Had I not given into the allure of all these products, maybe I wouldn't know what works well for me and what doesn't, plus it's definitely played a part in helping develop my personal style. I'm glad those days are behind me now though as my next goal after living in Melbourne is to now save up for my own apartment. It's going to be hard, but as I'm not spending my disposable income all on makeup anymore, I know I can do it and this is something I really want to do on my own.
I think if there's one thing that slightly worries me about my changed relationship it's that I feel like I now have less to talk about here on my blog. I don't want to blog at the expense of my bank account and I think it also feels slightly disingenuous to buy things for the sake of creating content. It's definitely justifiable if you blog for a living, but blogging is a hobby for me and it's always going to stay that way. As I don't have a big following (which I'm totally okay with as it's not something I actively work on) and I live in Australia where blogging isn't as highly recognised, it's very rare that I receive PR samples from companies and brands, and although I don't see this as any sort of disadvantage, in some respects, PR samples can make blogging a little easier. By no means am I envious though, it's never been something I aspire to and it would only defeat the purpose of my more minimalist lifestyle change too. Instead, I'm taking it as a challenge. This just means I have to get more creative, step outside my blogging comfort zone a little and whether this means coming up with fresh beauty ideas or doing more lifestyle content, it'll be interesting to see where my blog is headed.
My newfound relationship with beauty is healthier and happier, and it has made feel a lot more free both physically and mentally. It's helped me change the way I shop for clothes too and through buying a hell of a lot less, I'm enjoying what I already own so much that I don't even feel the need to buy, buy, buy. I'm always going to love beauty and my favourite way to spend my money is always going to be on beauty, but I've reached the point where the sheer volume and hype of it all just feels so insignificant and meaningless to me now. As my priorities have shifted, I place a lot of value onto the products I welcome into my life and I've found the less I buy, the less I want. It's liberating to have finally broken what I once thought was a never-ending cycle and though it may seem like the opposite, never have I enjoyed beauty more than I do now.
Have you had a similar change in your relationship with beauty over the years?