Now that the beauty blogosphere has become so saturated it has taken on a life of its own. PRs wring their hands because they don’t have enough samples to send out to everyone and yet exist in a state of panic in case a refusal offends. If there is one thing a PR is programmed to do, it is to protect the reputation of their brand, so causing offence by refusal is a hard thing for them to do in case it reflects badly on the brand. However, the long and short of it is that there are simply not enough samples to send out. It is something of a myth that beauty companies are laden with cash and have the budget to send out hundreds of free products. Quite simply, beauty companies are run like any business and the PR office is often the least wealthy part of the company and have to work within the budget they are given. However wealthy the company, the PR office are given what they’re given budget-wise and don’t have a choice in the matter.
So, how can new bloggers ever step into the beauty blogging arena without the benefit of samples? Beauty blogging can be an expensive business: I’m lucky enough that I don’t pay for many of the items I review as they come part and parcel of my day job, but I also try to talk about products that don’t need samples to make an impression. So, whether it is finding something brand new across the globe (I spend a lot of time trying to fathom out Korean beauty sites!), or just loving a look, the point is, it isn’t the product that is key in many cases, it is what you have to say about it.
Pick up store samples where and when you can; department stores are best for this as they very often have small phials of fragrance, as well as sachets of creams. Magazines also are a good source for sample sachets. Beauty brands have got into the right the way of thinking regarding ‘trial size’ or ‘travel size’ – sometimes if you want to review a range, these are pre-picked as the best bits of a brand and it can be a much more economical way to trial products without having the big spend of full-sizes. Some brands will send out free sachets for you to trial via their websites, although I notice this is something they do less and less as they realise that people will and do pay for tiny sizes. You can even get a swatch of make-up on your hand at the counter, take a quick snap of it and still have a valid view of the colour, texture and pay-off; the same with a spritz of perfume.. it’s what you have to say that counts, not whether you have the product in your hand.
I always think that swapping with other bloggers is a great idea, especially when it comes to make-up, although I wouldn’t advise swapping anything that’s been used for eyes or lips such as inner rim liners, gloss or mascara purely from a hygiene point of view. But there is no problem with blush, foundation, nail polish and no problem with the other products if they are unused. I do swaps, particularly with brands that aren’t easily available in the UK and like the eco concept that nothing goes to waste.
Because of the boom in blogging, it is going to take a bit of thinking outside the box to circumnavigate the lack of samples and to find a way to make your blog have a voice, but it can be done. Don’t ever shy away from talking about supermarket buys or budget purchases – everyone needs basics and there are thousands to choose from so your view on non-luxury items has just as much of a valid place, if not more so, in the blogosphere as any Chanel or Dior palettes. Luxury items are known in the business as ‘niche’ and budget items as ‘mass’ and that says it all.. budget brands are in mass availability, attainable and necessary, while niche are for a much smaller market defined by price.