Back in 2011, I started my first blog. It was called Beauty Never Fades and it didn’t even have its own domain name. Back then, blogging wasn’t really a thing. I don’t even know where I got the idea to blog or if I was inspired by another blog I had seen at the time. I just wanted a place where I could ramble about beauty products. It was less like a blog and more like a catalogue of all of the makeup I owned and my thoughts on it. I reviewed every individual eyeshadow separately. I would sometimes get eight posts up in a day. I wasn’t writing for anyone but myself really. Before then I had started to catalogue makeup I had tried in a notebook, but it made more sense to write about it online in case it could help somebody else. I knew nothing about analytics or how to get high on Google rankings. I can’t imagine I had more than ten views a day, but that was okay, it was always about the love of makeup for me.
I don’t know how long I was “blogging” – or posting about everything I owned – before I received an email from The Body Shop asking if I would like to try their new products. I had no idea what to say except for “yes, of course!” and I won’t forget the day that the package came in the mail with the Lily Cole collection inside. My family and I sat around looking and swatching like it was Christmas morning. I had no idea companies sent bloggers products. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world to get such an opportunity.
Somewhere around that time, YouTube started to become a thing. I obsessed over Pixiwoo, xSparkage and many other makeup artists who probably don’t even have channels any more. I was a qualified makeup artist myself and I loved the idea of sharing my product knowledge, tips and tricks with anybody willing to listen. So on my birthday, I bought a (terrible) mini camcorder and set it up in my room to film an Inglot haul. No lighting, no editing. Just me sitting on my bed chatting about makeup. There were no YouTube partnerships back then (and if there were, I didn’t know about them). It was not a career option. I doubt anybody had more than a couple of hundred thousand subscribers. It was never about that. I made countless videos – terrible makeup tutorials, videos about dying my hair blue and a rant about how difficult it was to be a makeup artist in Ireland which went a little viral in the community. It was easier to get views back then and some of my videos even got over a hundred thousand which is completely unachievable these days unless you’re incredibly lucky.
Over the next few years I was blessed enough to be invited along to various blogging events and received quite a few bits in the post. I was never on every PR mailing list but there were a few companies who sent me things again and again. At some stage, I rebranded as The Glamour Nazi, learned more about blog design and how to tag photos to help Google find them more easily. That blog got far more views than Beauty Never Fades ever did and it was aimed a little bit more at the reader. I dropped in and out of YouTube sporadically and tried to relaunch with the same name as my blog. As is the way of YouTube, I got a lot of hate for my tongue-in-cheek name (a play on ‘grammar nazi’) as well as my teeth, my voice, the length of my videos etc. etc. Even though my video quality was better and I always filmed in natural light, I never got the amount of views I did in the early days because YouTube had started to change.
December of 2015, I decided I wanted to relaunch again. I wanted to shake off that name which was garnering far too much negative attention and taking away from everything else I was doing. So came The Rebel Lipstick as you see it today. I got a ring light, I got a light box, I got a Canon camera. I wanted to do things properly. I aimed to show you high quality pictures of products. Let you see the textures and the colours as they are in real life. I spent several months before the relaunch planning everything from blog design to how I would edit photos and how my reviews would be laid out. The Rebel Lipstick now gets approximately 500 views a day which is small in the grand scheme of blogs and websites of the world but which is huge to me. Beauty Never Fades was lucky to get ten or twenty views a day and as far as I can remember The Glamour Nazi averaged at about 100. This is the most successful my blog has ever been.
But I have decided that it’s time to bring it to an end. Not to rebrand and relaunch but just to stop blogging altogether. Blogging is hard work – no, perhaps that’s not the best way to phrase it. It’s not difficult but it is all consuming! Blogging is a LOT of work. I photograph products and edit those photos. I photograph products on my face and edit those photos. I create looks using those products, photograph them and edit those photos. I write the blog posts themselves. I tag my photos to help Google find them. I schedule social media posts so that people see the blog posts. Perhaps it doesn’t sound like a lot but if you sat down and created one post in full, encompassing all of those aspects, you will see just how much work it is. I work a full time job and on my days off, I blog. I mean, my entire days off are taken up by blogging from the time I get up until at least early evening. On my days off, it is rare that I leave the house because I am usually doing something for the blog. My entire life has become a rotation of working and blogging. And to be honest, it has been like that for years.
I blog and always have blogged purely for the fun of it. I love makeup and I love to share my opinions with people. Let me tell you, I wouldn’t have been doing it for the past six years for any other reason. It is my one and only hobby. I can put my hand on my heart and say that I have never earned a single cent from blogging. I did receive a few cheques from YouTube back in the early days but I’d say it’s at least four years since I got one of those. From the blog itself, I’ve never received a cent. You can talk all you want about how I got so many free products but would you work two to three days a week for six years if your boss wouldn’t pay you but promised you a few lipsticks instead? More recently, the PR samples have been few and far between. They mainly go to “influencers” now or the bloggers with the highest followings on social media and now everybody and their mother has a blog so competition is fierce.
I have well and truly lost the love for it. Rereading this, I feel like I’m coming across wrong. I don’t want it to sound like I once lived a charmed life swanning to PR events and getting “blogger mail” and I’m giving up because I don’t get to do that any more. As I said, the amount of hours I’ve spent putting into this blog will never balance out no matter how many products I received. Today blogger is a dirty word. I never talk about blogging in real life. It’s something close to my heart, a hobby I have loved for six years. Yet when people I know in person find out that I have a blog, it becomes a slur they use against me because blogging today isn’t what it was several years ago. I feel like I’m subject-hopping a little now but there are quite a few reasons that my heart isn’t in it any more. Mainly, I feel like I need to live my life a little more, instead of being tied to a blog. I do this for the love of it but I put a lot of pressure on myself to get new content out all the time. I’m not somebody who could just relax and put the odd post out whenever I felt like it because I love structure and schedules. If a long time passed between posts, I would feel panicked and guilty. Realistically, people probably would’t notice but I am very hard on myself which is probably one of my worst and best traits. I want to try new hobbies and get out of the house more and I have begun to resent the blog and the stress I put on myself. I continuously feel the need to repeat that I have always done this for the love of makeup but some days I really feel like screaming “WHAT AM I DOING THIS FOR? WHAT AM I GETTING OUT OF THIS?” There have been so many perks – the products, the events, the people; oh I have met so many amazing people! – but when I’m cancelling plans on real live friends because I need to get a post out, what is my life?!
So what now?
I am a makeup enthusiast first and a makeup artist second. I currently work on a makeup counter. Makeup is my life so it’s not like I’m packing it all in and going bare faced in future. I feel like my conclusion to end the blog came naturally. I feel like deep down I’ve been done for a long time and I don’t feel sad writing this. If anything, I feel relief which says it all. The harder question to ponder was what to do next. So I’ve decided. I’m never not going to love sharing products and opinions with whoever will listen so I’m going to put a lot more into my Instagram. I’m going to try to post more often – more looks, more review pieces, more makeup photos. It’s going to be like a mini blog in itself but far less time consuming and I’ll finally have time to do it. I may even branch into Instagram stories or Snapchat although I fall in and out of love with those mediums quite often so I’m not making any promises on that front.
If you do like to listen to my makeup ramblings, then I urge you to follow me on Instagram from now on.I’m TheRebelLipstick over there too.
Thank you to each and every one of you who have read, commented or merely lurked on any of my blogs over the last few years. You are the sole reason I am six years deep.