Thursday Chats – Buying Things “For the Blog”

Today is another installment in my Thursday Chats, where I try to start a conversation by discussing “issues” within the beauty community. I’ve decided to post one blog post in this series per month, which should give a decent gap between these types of posts. Last month’s topic was PR Packages. Today, I wanted to talk bout the topic of beauty bloggers buying things “for the blog”.

What do I mean by “buying things for the blog”? For me, this means a beauty blogger purchasing beauty or skincare products solely for the purpose of reviewing it on their blog or to have it in pictures on social media, and not really because they were interested in the product to begin with.

Why Do Bloggers Buy Things “For the Blog”?

I can think of a few reasons why bloggers might buy things just for reviewing purposes. The first is that having access to the product before or right after its launch means that the blogger owns the product while the hype surrounding it is at its peak. The earlier you can get your hands on a product, the more views you’ll likely get, as people are still researching and deciding if they are interested in getting it themselves. Plus, I don’t think the hype created by bigger bloggers or YouTubers help; if they have it, everyone else wants it, too. No one wants to be late to the game when it comes to trying out a new release, because if you review a product six months late, everyone has already moved on to the next best thing and most people are no longer interested in reading reviews of old products.

Another reason why I think some bloggers do it is because it gives them more content to write about. One purchase can produce a haul post, a review of each item they bought, as well as a few posts on looksusing the product (if it’s makeup). However, there’s only so many times you can talk about a single product, so it might feel like there’s a constant need to inject your collection with something new in order to get more content.

Regardless of the reason, I think there’s definitely a pressure for bloggers to buy things “for the blog”. It’s probably pretty natural for a blogger to feel like they have to buy products as soon as they release in order to get a review up before everyone else – I admit that I feel that pressure myself sometimes. I try really, really hard not to get sucked into it, and I feel like I’m getting better at resisting temptation. I rarely ever buy hot new releases just to be a part of the hype anymore, unless it’s something that I truly want, and often I’ll review a product much later after its release (the Too Faced Sweet Peach palette, anyone?) With that said, I can’t pretend that the desire to buy products for blogging purposes doesn’t get to me, because it does, more frequently than I would like to admit! It’s actually how I came up with the topic for this blog post – I feel it, so there must be other bloggers out there who feel the same.

Sometimes when I’m browsing at makeup, it feels like a constant internal battle of “should I buy it or should I not?” Part of it is fuelled by the simple desire to own a new item – I would likely lust over the product even if I wasn’t a blogger. But if I’m honest, part of it is also because I want to blog about it, or to understand what other reviews of the product are talking about. Usually the rational side of me wins, – the side that tells me I already own too many lipsticks/highlighters/eyeshadows and I can’t justify buying another one, but sometimes it takes a lot of effort to talk myself out of buying a product. Sometimes it’s hard for me to differentiate between whether I truly want the product, or if it’s because I’m getting sucked into the hype.

Personally, I don’t think that buying products for blogging purposes is wrong, but my opinion of it is that it’s a vicious cycle, and that once you get in the habit, it’s hard to know when to stop. In a way, I’m almost sad that I feel the need to stay ahead of the game. Like most other bloggers, I blog as a hobby, and I don’t think anyone should feel the pressure to spend money. In the long term, is it reasonable for bloggers to continuously keep up with these new releases? I suppose like any hobby, one does need to spend some money cultivating tools, but as a blogger, I’d rather have that money go towards things like a new camera, a website design, or something to improve my blogging skills or the blog itself.

To get past this constant cycle of buying, it’s our job as bloggers to come up with more creative content other than to haul and review, then rinse and repeat. I’m completely guilty of getting into that cycle (or more accurately, just hauling and then not even reviewing). A lot of people are doing “Shop my Stash” posts, declutter posts, or Project Pan posts lately. Nova from SuperNovaBeauty came up with the idea of doing a Palette Roulette every week, which I think is absolutely brilliant (see her latest post on her Palette Roulette here). These types of posts geared towards using up what you already own have been around forever, but they seem to be more prevalent these days, and that’s awesome! It means people are consciously thinking about the things in their collection instead of going out to buy new items and creating more clutter at home. It’s nice to see a wider variety of blog posts out there, and I hope it continues. I know one of my goals for this year is to create a better variety of posts instead of haul after haul (although I’m still buying, ’cause who can resist makeup and skincare)?

Tell me, do you buy makeup products solely for your blog? Is this issue just something that’s in my head? Let me know what you think about this topic!

Source for Featured Image: Ivory Mix

29 thoughts on “Thursday Chats – Buying Things “For the Blog”

  1. This was really interesting! I agree, and sometimes when I buy something keeping in mind that I’ll be doing a review of it, I feel like I think a lot more about the product, like the packaging, texture, application, durability. I tend to enjoy the exciting experience of using a product for the first time and photographing it before it’s no longer perfect! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a pertinent question! I always try and wait at least a month after a launch to buy a product because everyone who is reviewing something as soon as it comes out (in my opinion) can be influenced by the initial launch hype. So I don’t know if people like it because it’s good, or because it’s new. Not exactly an answer to the question “do *I* buy things right away” but I would prefer if bloggers/reviewers do things because they like a product and take their time to reflect, and not just jump into something to get the views. That way I know their opinion is one I can value!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a really good rule of thumb to follow, waiting a month after a launch to buy something. I can totally understand your wariness of reviews for newly launched products, not knowing if the reviewer truly likes the product or is just caught up in the hype – I feel the same!
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, they were very interesting to read! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this post, and clearly so much thought has gone into it. I definitely justify a lot of purchases these days with being able to blog about it. Although, I do not purchase items that I am not interested in just because they are hyped at the moment. That is where I draw the line. But I often find myself buying $25 worth of Sephora products just so that I can get whatever promotion is available at the time, since they do often have minis of the newest releases.
    While this is enabling me to buy more product, I do think that using the Sephora promotions is the smarter way to do it. That way you can purchase products that you know you love, or that you have been meaning to try, and still get that new item that maybe you weren’t totally interested in, but there is hype around it so you feel the need to review.
    I did this recently with the Benefit Cosmetics BADgal Bang! Mascara. I literally have no interest in this mascara and I already have a pretty good feeling that I won’t like it (before even trying it), but Sephora had a mini available in a promotion so I placed an order specifically so that I could get the mascara mini. Before this, I must admit that I was considering purchasing the mini of the BADgal Bang! even though I know I probably won’t like it and am happy with my current mascara. Luckily, they are charging WAY TOO MUCH for that mini ($17 CAD???!!), so that stopped me.
    I also am very guilty of picking up these new items, and then not reviewing them. I need to get better on top of reviewing these new hyped up items immediately if I am going to go to the trouble of getting them. Otherwise what’s the point? I just get caught up in so many other posts, and now that I am doing Palette Roulette, that dominates a lot of my time, and especially my eyeshadow time! So if there is a new eyeshadow palette that comes out, it is really difficult to use and review it while doing Palette Roulette at the same time. I’m starting to think that I might put Palette Roulette on hold for one week if a new palette comes out that I want to review.
    Thank you so much for shouting out my series! It means so much 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry for the late reply – I’m trying to catch up on my comments today!

      Wow, thank you for the awesome, insightful comment. You had tons of awesome points! That’s good that you don’t get sucked into products you aren’t interested in, just because they’re hyped up. I totally get what you’re saying when it comes buying products when there’s a promotion going on at Sephora, it’s definitely a better deal to buy when those promotions are available rather than getting nothing extra. I *sometimes* take advantage of them, but the last few years I’ve been trying to only buy during the VIB sales because I’d rather get the discount, haha!

      I’m with you on it being tough to get reviews out. Sometimes it’s tough to use something enough times to come up with a review while not neglecting your old products! Like you said, it might be a good idea for you to take a break from your Palette Roulette to test out your new palettes (maybe 3 weeks of Palette Roulette and 1 week of trying out a new palette, depending on how many new ones you have to get through?)

      You’re very welcome! I always want to give credit where it’s due 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • You definitely have a lot more restraint than me, but we already knew that haha. Yes! I will be taking a break from Palette Roulette this next week to use the Colourpop X Kathleen Lights Dream St. Palette! And I am excited!

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  4. I like your idea of conversational Thursday posts! I try to not buy things purely for content reasons, I like to try a more organic approach in my natural flow of using, buying and trying new skincare. I think especially with skincare you can’t try something once immediately after launch and write a comprehensive review of it other than I like it/don’t like it/these were the immediate effects. I think if the blogger is genuinely interested in the product and has been a long term user of he brand then an initial first impressions blog and then a further evaluative one would suffice!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally agreed with you! Skincare is a tough one to blog about because like you said, sometimes you have to wait months to see results – you can’t really do a first impressions or a review a few weeks after trying out a new skincare product. Great points, thanks for sharing!

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  5. That was me the first couple years of my blog. I became an enabler monster and really bought way too much stuff. I know some things I’ll NEVER finish using, some things I bought, reviewed and then never used again. I finally decided to get off the hype train and blog MY way. It’s much easier and I stay in budget limits.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s hard to get out of that cycle, isn’t it? And then you realize you’re wasting so much money on products you don’t even love/try to use up regularly. That’s awesome you managed to pull away from all of that though. The only way you run your blog is to do it YOUR way!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m totally guilty of buying products for the blog. Normally It’s with subscription boxes because you get a deal on the products at least so that’s how I justify it.
    I don’t often buy new releases but I just did with the ColourPop give it to me straight palette.. BUT I also adore that palette so it’s ok xD

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmm, I never even considered subscription boxes! At first I was going to say that I wouldn’t consider them as something you buy for the blog, but I guess when you look at it like “I’m only subscribed to this box so that I can blog about it” then yes, maybe! But you’re right, the value of the boxes is higher than the price you pay so they’re worth it if you like what’s inside!

      When you see something new that catches your eye, sometimes you really do need to just bite the bullet!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You know me… I am not one at all to buy new and hyped products. I am more likely to hold onto products for ages so I can do comparisons later on. 😉 And the truth is, I was shopping a lot before I had the blog. I don’t think the blog materially altered my shopping pattern.

    I recalled buying just one item with a clear intention of using it on the blog: the Shu Uemura eye lash curler. I had owned one before but it didn’t work for my eye shape so I gave it away to a friend ages ago. But I wanted to compare it against the then newly discovered Surratt curler which I love – to show the difference in curvature. Guess what, I never posted that blog entry at all! The Shu Uemura eye lash curler sits in it box, unopened and unloved! o_O

    You’re right, it IS a vicious cycle with the new and hyped makeup releases! And the brands are laughing all the way to the bank. Don’t fall into their trap.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I LOVE that I can always read about products that I never hear about on other blogs, and that you don’t often talk about hyped items. Hehe, I know you started your blog to curve your shopping addiction! XD

      LOL what. I can’t believe you rebought the Shu Uemura curler and then never opened it!!

      Yes, I totally agree not to fall into their trap. I think a few years ago I definitely did, but I’ve gotten SO much better at not falling for their crap!

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  8. One of the craziest things I’ve seen some beauty accounts on IG do, is to buy 2 of the same product. Reason behind this is using one of course, and leaving the other untouched for photos. Like what, that’s just insane to me! Not gonna lie I have bought a product just to review, even though I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about. But I will never buy a product that I could never see myself using. Please keep doing these posts, I so love to read them ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excuse me?! LOL that is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever talked about! I had no idea people did such things. I mean, I get that taking a photo of a pristine product looks prettier than a used one…but can’t you just take the picture before you start using it?

      I think it’s okay to buy a product just to review. We all get sucked into doing that once in a while!

      Thank you, I’m glad you enjoy these posts!

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  9. This is a really interesting and thought-provoking post. (Also, really love the idea of posts about issues surrounding blogging) I think it’s totally natural for bloggers to buy things to pad out content – and omg i use it ALL THE TIME as an excuse to buy things. “Well I can do a haul post AND a few ootds AND some reviews” … you’re right, it’s a total cycle. I love your solution, though; it is up to our community to make NEW content and not have to rely on buying things xx

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  10. What an interesting post! I bought a lot of makeup before I started blogging so I don’t know if blogging has increased that at all, but I definitely do think about potential posts when I decide I do want to buy something. I have a monthly budget that I stay within so I usually think really hard before I buy something because if I jump the gun on a hyped item, then the budget might not be there if there is something that I really, really want later on in the month.

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  11. Well, you know me, I’m a skincare junkie so when it comes to makeup, it’s not that I’m disinterested but it’s definitely something that I don’t buy as often. I’m actually not very up-to-date with releases. There are some products that I will inevitably hear about again and again through word-of-mouth but it normally repels me to purchase the item until at least a few months later when the hype has died down. I like to try out a product under my own accord in order to keep things fun and fresh. I don’t like buying things for the sake of buying things although am sure I do this from time to time! 😅

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  12. I was guilty of doing this when I first starting blogging but I quickly realized what a bad idea this was once I was left with a bunch of products I hated and didn’t work for me. Plus it was a huge waste of money. Now I only buy things if I actually want them and if it works for my blog, bonus. I rarely buy new releases right away either – I like to read and watch reviews and make sure whatever it is is actually good and worth purchasing first. Great post and interesting topic!

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  13. Honestly it’s so hard to control myself from buying new products for the sole purpose of reviewing it but whenever I feel like i need to, I go to my stash and look at all the things I already have which are honestly enough to create a lot of content if I use them creatively.

    Liked by 2 people

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