Can we sustain the pace of beauty today?

As we’re heading into the end of 2018, the state of the online beauty community has really been on my mind, and a lot of it relates to the current product release cycle and the different parts that feed into the ever-growing beast that new products and launches has become. The question that keeps roiling around my brain is whether the current pace of beauty is sustainable for consumers (most importantly, to me), brands, and influencers.  Considering the pace of product releases, how many products get released, how they’re marketed, and how much faster they seem to be developed, I wonder if we’ll ever see a slow down or an adjustment to fine-tuning launches that look more curated.

I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts since August, when I read an article on WWD questioning whether “beauty’s sale mode [will] mimic apparel’s discounting spiral.” In many ways, I felt like the article touched on the different moving parts in beauty that drive it, and this is a high-level summary: the emergence of niche and fast beauty brands, rise of influencers, increased direct sales by brands and more retailers in the space, and increased competition between retailers. Established brands have had to respond to those elements in their own ways.

In the last few years, I’ve felt more pressure to “cut through” some of the hype that gets built by certain brands or products or launches. As a result, I’ve also been more and more cognizant of avoiding hyperbole like “you need this” in a way that I wasn’t a decade ago.  I’m increasingly aware of wealth inequality and just how deeply that impacts every aspect of someone’s life.  There are moments where I have felt like a cog in the hype machine, and over the years, I’ve found ways to counter-act that feeling. I try to be hyper-conscious of how I review and recommend products, how I respond to readers on if they “need” this or if it’s “worth” it, and create ways for readers to use Temptalia so they can make smarter, better, and more enjoyable purchases. I want someone who is on a no-buy to use the site as a resource as much as someone does when they’re looking for a review on a new product.

“There are signs we’re on the back side of a hyper consumption curve,” said [Stephanie] Wissink [Jefferies analyst]. “[The customer] needs a little bit more flirtation and incentive to engage at the same degree, and…she’s looking for beauty to be more affordable.” (WWD)

As much as we’ve seen an increase in popularity of luxury-priced brands like Natasha Denona and Pat McGrath, we have seen an emergence of many niche and indie brands that are more affordable, more filling the gap between mass and prestige.  They’re also being held more accountable for product flops; consumers are expecting and demanding high quality if they’re paying a high price. Brands like Coloured Raine are addressing gaps in the industry while entering a more mid-end price point and leveraging social media to grow their business.  ColourPop’s ability to develop and release quality products at an affordable price point at an insane rate has been disruptive for all brands. The landscape has changed significantly in the last few years, and it seems like new brands emerge all the time–I personally find it difficult to keep up with the newest Insta-famous brand, and I live and breathe beauty!

A lot of commentary that I’m exposed to, whether from readers on this blog or on other platforms, reflects a sub-sect of the beauty-loving population.  Sometimes that can result in minority opinions being louder than the more silent majority; surely when we’ve seen what feels like the umpteenth warm-toned neutral palette released and selling out, it’s because enough people out there keep buying it.  That being said, the fast-paced cycle of releases seems like it is often catering toward the online community and its own demands for new, interesting, and current.  We are the ones paying close attention to each and every launch by all the myriad of brands from mainstream to niche to up-and-coming.  Someone who occasionally pops into Sephora on a whim is likely seeing new-to-them products no matter where the rest of us are in the product release cycle.

As someone who has been deeply involved in the online beauty community for over a decade, I speak from that perspective sprinkled with experience behind-the-scenes working with brand owners, brands, retailers, and PR firms. Five years ago, I rated ~2,285 shades/product across 75 brands and spent just under $6,000 on products to review.  In 2017, I rated 4,652 shades/products across 75 brands and spent over $51,000 on products to review.  There are a lot of factors that contribute to the differences over the years, not solely a result of an increase in products released.  Here are a few reasons that I feel led to 103% increase in products reviewed in five years that I experienced personally:

I’m more efficient today than I was in 2013.  I’m about as efficient as I can be testing products almost every day throughout the year.  I have attempted to improve any bottlenecks in my review routine on the back-end, and the first major strides were done in 2013 and another chunk done in 2016.  As they say, practice makes perfect, and I’ve been practicing a lot on writing my product reviews and have streamlined the way I do it.

In 2014, I decided to start purchasing much more aggressively because relying on press samples became more and more unreliable, so instead of maybe getting two shades out of 30 released a month later, I just started to buy products outright.  I double downed on this in 2015 and going forward as the holiday season was particularly less stressful as purchasing products allowed me to know what I was going to review and when I was going to get it so I could pace out reviews. It allowed me to deliver content more quickly and better timed with releases overall.   I still receive plenty of support from mainstream and niche brands, both from brands I’ve worked with going on 10 years and from brands who have emerged in the last few years.

There are more products being released and hyped up now than there were five years ago. The beauty industry has been growing year after year for the last few years, and the makeup category has done particularly well in achieving increases in sales in US prestige beauty (more on that below).  Many brands have embraced digital marketing and have much more robust strategies in place along with an increased social media presence, and similarly, more beauty consumers are becoming part of the online community, whether casually or more avidly. The amount of information available online and is being accessed by consumers is only growing, so it is a lot easier to be “in the know” without having to head to the beauty counter and hear it from a sales associate in person.

How did we get here?

In 2014, the US prestige beauty industry sold $11.2 billion, which was a 3% increase over 2013 sales per The NPD Group, and makeup, as a category, had the greatest growth at 6%. At this time, NPD also reported that brand loyalty still existed but consumers were “always on the hunt for products that will perform better.”  ColourPop was founded in 2014, and I first purchased products in late 2014 with a few reviews popping up in December but the majority going live in early 2015 (from their core, Super Shock Shadow range).  2014 was also a record year for MAC releases and reviews here with 751 ratings given (up from 542 in 2013 and down to 534 in 2015).

Makeup, as a category, continued to grow in 2015 with 13% growth per The NPD Group.  One of the big, incoming brands in the industry arrived in late 2015: Kylie Cosmetics, which was valued at $800 million just a few months ago by Forbes.  The emergence of new, highly competitive brands seems to have set the tone for 2016 as mergers and acquisitions increased significantly in 2016 and continue into 2018.  Larger brands are also pursuing incubation strategies in developing new brands (one that we saw this year was Flesh Beauty from Revlon).  One that has been around for awhile is Kendo Brands, which is under LVMH (which also owns Sephora), and they’ve developed popular brands like Fenty Beauty, Marc Jacobs Beauty, and Bite Beauty.

In 2016, NPD reported that makeup was “the big headline” in the US prestige beauty industry with a 12% increase in sales growth compared to 2015, and they noted that “top-performing brands today are social and community-driven.”  2017 seemed to mark a slight shift in the beauty industry as skincare grew by 9% and makeup only contributed a 6% increase in sales in the US prestige beauty industry per The NPD Group.  A detail worth repeating was that part of makeup’s growth in 2017 was attributed to 13% increase by eye shadow.

At last check-in, The NPD Group was reporting that growth in makeup (for US prestige beauty) sales have slowed to a 1% increase for Q3 2018 over Q3 2017 where eyeshadow sales have declined by 6%.  The bulk of the increase in US prestige beauty in Q3 2018 came from skincare, which was up 15% quarter over quarter.  It’s no wonder that with the upswing and trend in sustained growth from skincare brands that brands are feeling the pressure, like with Sunday Riley resorting to having employees write reviews on Sephora (read my post for more in-depth commentary on this) and the rise in business models like Influenster that result in a flood of reviews when a product launches.

Retailers have been pushing brands to develop more products and deliver them faster to answer current trends, which are shorter lived now than they used to be.  According to this article by the Chicago Tribune, in 2017, Ulta was pushing brands to deliver products to meet a new trend in “no more than nine months” compared to the 18-month turnaround in 2015.  I have heard from a few brand owners about the pressure to answer to retailer demands over the last couple of years behind-the-scenes.

Shifting from an 18-month to a nine-month turnaround time on developing, creating, and producing a new product sounds grueling and intense, but it’s not a surprise that product development cycles are shrinking.  The rise of brands like ColourPop have made it harder for brands to bide their time; in order to answer consumers’ needs right now, they need to release product right now and not in two years.  ColourPop sees you talking about duochromes, and they’re releasing a set of six duochromes in weeks.

But based on what The NPD Group’s been seeing, the focus in beauty might shift to skincare given that the growth in the makeup category has softened.  It’s interesting that it feels like we’re seeing a constant flow of new palettes releasing and now eyeshadow sales have declined. Maybe we aren’t just feeling like we’re maxed out on eyeshadow palettes. I don’t even mean just how much we own but how many eyeshadow palettes are available at any given moment for new people just discovering the beauty world.

It will be interesting to see how brands with stronger color ranges (who are not known for skincare) react and tweak their offerings to recapture consumer’s interest in makeup.  Will we see color take on lighter, sheerer textures or more makeup-with-skincare-benefits type offerings? Will brands we think of mostly for makeup start fleshing out skincare ranges?  Will the industry merely shift its attention to rather than away from new-new-new?

Where are we going?

In the last few months, I’ve noticed more push back from influencers and readers/viewers along with increased popularity in content about decluttering or shopping one’s stash. The whole concept of decluttering felt like a niche topic a couple of years ago and now seems to be present in the community’s vocabulary.  I have also seen the Dupe List increase in its popularity over time on Temptalia (whereas other aspects are staying the course).  I’ve noticed that individual products seem to have less of a splash than they used to; like the newest Urban Decay Naked palette is more interesting than the average new launch but not earth-shattering–the reactions, the buzz, and any intent to purchase just seem to burn hot and fizzle out fast. I struggle to think of “earth-shattering” level launches these days.

I know that I have been reevaluating my own processes for determining what brands and what launches to cover in preparation for 2019.  I review tons of products and that’s the bulk of what Temptalia has always done, so having lots of products to choose from is a good thing — but all things in moderation.  Feeling like there are 10,000 products that readers want me to cover and only being able to get to 4,000, though, is far from ideal.  There are changes I have to employ in order to continue to serve my readers the best that I can in the current environment and pace of product releases because my output this year is about as much as last year–I am at my limit.

I have been reviewing products for over a decade, and I’ve been reviewing not dozens, but thousands, for many of those years.  In the past, the holiday season was a grueling period of time for me; it meant consistent 16-18 hour days, seven days a week with little room to breathe. Typically, the holiday season spanned about two months where that level of intensity was required and then slowed, but spring of 2018 felt just as intense and I don’t feel like it’s let up much since.  There’s a part of me that feels like the buzz is spread out across so many brands and products, instead of just a few major launches a year, and is driving that feeling of perpetually being behind the ball for me.

2017 wasn’t a quiet year by any means with plenty of brands and launches to review, but I’ve had more days where I’ve mentally struggled with disappointing readers by not reviewing enough for them fast enough in 2018 than in previous years. Several years ago, when I balanced blogging and going to school full-time, I often felt like I wasn’t good enough, but when I officially started to blog full-time (after I graduated school), I felt like I got into a groove.  I was steadily becoming more efficient and streamlined, and generally, was in a good place mentally about the work I was producing.

This past summer, I started to notice that how I felt day-to-day was shifting, and I felt more behind, more discouraged, and more… like I was letting readers down because I wasn’t covering all of the hyped up launches or all of the new or interesting brands on the market.  It wasn’t that I did less but that I could not do more. For the last half of the year, I’ve been struggling to accept that I’ve found my limit on how much I can do and whether that’ll be good enough.  I love what I do in so many ways, and I’m extremely privileged to call what I do a job, and this is a new, unexpected, late-stage growing pain that I’m learning from.  This is the context surrounding why I’m so interested to see whether the industry can sustain its intensity and if it shifts or changes.

It’s been the increased push back from influencers that has given me pause–and perhaps a little hope–that there will be a shift in the industry over time that will, hopefully, benefit customers a little more. Kathleen Lights recently touched on how YouTube is often focused on the new all of the time and personally feels pressure to put out content focused on new products/releases.  Samantha Ravndahl announced last week she was no longer going to accept press samples in an effort to reduce waste and hoping that it would “make makeup fun again” for her.  Lauren Curtis just announced that she’ll be significantly reducing the number of press samples she accepts. I am curious to see whether these conversations and choices ripple through the community at all. I recall when anti-hauls became more popular content, but I feel like it ended up being a trendy video topic for a hot second rather than a shift in thinking in most instances.

There are also signs of brands trying to do better about reducing waste and unused products in press packages, like Smashbox who has been including pre-paid envelopes/boxes that influencers can use to send unused/unwanted product to charity or NARS who sent out a full range of sample-sized bottles of the Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation (instead of full-sized bottles that are often sent instead). There’s also a tremendous response through viewers/readers showing appreciation for brands who think more critically about exactly what they’re sending out and how they are doing so. One brand sent a gift card so that I could purchase my shade match in their new foundation after trying some samples.

What happens if influencers change how and what products they cover dramatically?  Influencers who reach a certain level of success have the financial wherewithal to purchase products they need to produce content and who end up doing so – how will that ripple through the community and the content that gets created from that? Will we see a greater diversity in brands and products covered?  Will there be less first impressions and more in-depth reviews?  Will it be the same but with less waste for the individual influencer? But what will brands do if sending over-the-top press packaging and full product samples don’t capture an influencer’s attention? Will the consumers of that content support or resist change?

Where do you fit in?

Do you feel like there’s an increase in releases in the last few years? Are you keeping up? Have you opted out?  Are you opting out because you can’t keep up for whatever reason(s) or because you’ve already been part of the community for awhile and have acquired all you “need” for the most part?  Have you been caught up in the more aggressive marketing tactics used in beauty (more often than I recall before)?

Or are you enjoying the thrill of new launches and releases or the variety that so many brands provide?  Has the volume of limited edition releases devalued the whole concept of limited edition instead?  Have the more obvious marketing tactics made you more immune to them?

I wonder how someone who is newer to the online beauty community feels; how they manage their budget and how they make purchasing decisions.  It makes sense that someone who has been buying beauty products for several years may feel at least somewhat tired or starts to move on from new releases.  I wonder how those who have been more entrenched in the community feel about the future and whether their interest in makeup as changed over time because of how products are launched today compared to years ago.

Here are a couple of interesting articles/reports I found along the way for more reading:


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Ginny Avatar

So interested in this post. I have only been on the scene for maybe 4 years. I’ve often wondered if the industry releases were getting out of control or if I was just feeling a *personal* fatigue and change in my buying habits.

I’m not fatigued by makeup itself but I am a bit overwhelmed by new releases and the amount of brand choices. I used to watch you tubers like Kathleen but I just can’t sit through the hauls or first impressions anymore. I just don’t care and they aren’t informative. No knocks to her as obviously that is/was a huge part of her job.

I would rather see someone like her do more in-depth videos on different brands or lines or formulas (and she definitely has in the past but recently I think the new releases are too ramped up for her to do much else). Like I can find so many videos on whatever new holiday collections are coming out but if I want to find a video going through all the bronzers from Bobbi Brown’s permanent line… I’ll never find that video. These vloggers have such huge collections it would be great if they had time to do swatch and formula comparisons with their extensive libraries. That would really help someone like me with future purchases rather than “influencing” me on new stuff.

Of course Temptalia’s side by side is my favorite blog feature of all time!

Christine Avatar

It’s cool to hear from you, Ginny, because I feel like your time here runs along the timeline I think for how beauty has accelerated.

That’s a good way to put it – makeup itself isn’t fatiguing but some of the other parts of it can be!

Mags Avatar

Ginny, have you checked out Jen from JenLuvsReviews? Her reviews are really in depth. She recently uploaded a video comparing all of the ABH eyeshadow palettes with ingredient breakdowns (and known allergens), comparative swatches, dupes, who they are best suited for, etc.

Sarah Avatar

>Where do you fit in?

I’ve been following the beauty community for close to a decade, and while I’ve noticed some of the trends you’ve mentioned, my own habits are pretty much the same…I try to stick to what I can use up, or at least get a “decent” amount of use out of things like eyeshadow, which just never seem to hit pan lol. I’m not interested in testing out every new release, though I do like reading about them on your site and seeing what kinds of looks other people can get out of them.

As to whether the the pace of the industry will change…maybe? For every person that has a huge makeup collection and is ready to declutter/slow down purchases, I feel like there is a new/young person getting into makeup to take their place. I also think the prevalence of luxury-priced skincare is going to increase, which I’m not really excited about. I know a lot of people think the higher-priced stuff is going to work miracles, when the ingredients are just not that special.

Christine Avatar

Thank you for sharing, Sarah!

I agree that there are plenty of products that seem old hat to many but are new to those incoming! I do worry about just how easily it can be to get sucked into makeup releases if you aren’t immune to the intense marketing that goes on in beauty (which is part of a general concern about increased consumerism + social media + aspirational lifestyles).

Sarah Avatar

Yeah, I do sometimes worry about how modern marketing techniques can affect young people (or really any person) who haven’t learned how to look past the marketing/hype. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past couple months learning about marketing, and while it’s a fascinating subject, it’s a little overwhelming to learn about how powerful it can be.

Specific to beauty, I think it’s pretty obvious that the marketing has reached young people way more than it was even ten years ago. When I first got into makeup about ten years, drugstore was the norm for people in high school or maybe a treat from MAC for a special occasion. Getting an eyeshadow palette from Sephora (namely one of the Naked Palettes) was a HUGE deal lol. I remember how much I treasured my Naked 2 palette when my mom gifted it to me. Now it seems like shopping at Sephora is a regular thing for high schoolers. Idk if that means young people are spending a larger % of their money on high-end beauty, or if they just have more disposable income these days lol.

Nikole Avatar

I just want to recognize your point Sarah. While there are many of us that experienced burnout in this area of life and have hacked our spending down to only necessary items that will need replacing sooner or later, there is still the younger subset that is just entering the beauty community who will fall prey to the marketing and likely buy all sorts of palettes marketed to younger consumers that are simply not very good quality. The rest of us who have been through it already will just have to stand by and watch more and more average-to-substandard cosmetics come out, and learn to weed through them to get to the few good quality items. In short, I guess I am saying that I do NOT expect a slowdown of releases anytime soon. Thank goodness there are reviewers like Christine and a small handful of others that help you to know what is actually good.
I guess the mid-lifers like myself and older than that will just have to get used to ignoring new releases and to deleting a lot of emails from beauty companies.

Christina Avatar

Hi Christine. As a VERY long-time reader of yours (from when you first started), I just wanted to express my gratitude yet again at quality and speed at which you produce posts. It does make me feel sad to know that you feel disappointment in yourself sometimes and think you are not doing enough for your readers. I can assure you, you are doing plenty and can certainly slow down your pace if you should feel the need to. You produce more content than anyone else I follow.

That being said, I have purchased significantly less than I did a few years ago because I’m at my saturation point. I have all the products that I “need” per say, and only buy something if it’s appealing and unique enough for me or if I’m in the mood at the time. I’m also burnt out with the pace at which brands release new collections–I miss the “good ol’ days” when limited edition truly meant limited edition and products were released seasonally. I understand that part of it is because we have more brands to choose from, but I want my holiday collection to be released around the holidays, not in the middle of summer, for example. When there are too many brands releasing the same thing based on what’s trendy, you have a whole bunch of product from different brands that are essentially the same. It’s just too much and too boring for me. No-one is doing anything unique because everyone is doing the same thing.

I also don’t trust most online reviews (save for a few sources like yours) because of the rise of Influensters and other similar platforms–how often do you see a truly negative review from someone who received something free from Influenster or some other promotion. Because of that, I’m forced to rely on myself and really curate what I buy.

Because I’ve been buying makeup for so long, I’m also jaded when it comes to fancy packaging and marketing jargon. I’ve learned to look past all that, which really helps reduce what I’m going to buy. The same applies to skincare. I know skincare is on the rise, but I’m not into fads or what’s trending at the moment when it comes to my skin and prefer to rely on clinical and scientific data. For example, I always laugh when I see how heavily Tatcha promotes Beautyberry in their mask. Yes, I knew what Beautyberry was well before Tatcha started using it in their creams, and it’s definitely not called Beautyberry for the reasons Tatcha implies it is. I’m not saying it’s a bad product, just that the marketing is hilarious to me.

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I feel like I’m losing interesting in the whole industry, which is a weird feeling because it’s been a hobby of mine for so long. Like everything else in life, when you accumulate an excess of something, it loses its appeal to you.

Christine Avatar

It used to be just a few brands that launched almost ahead of a season, but last and this September were definitely fuller in terms of full-scale holiday launches. Part of that is likely due to Sephora itself doing a holiday preview/early access sale on holiday in early September, too.

It’s great that you’re able to see past a lot of the marketing/packaging/hype – that goes such a long way, I think, to at least pushing a lot of those things out of mind.

Christina Avatar

But you know, despite not buying into the marketing and hype, it is still an exercise in restraint for me to not buy as much cosmetics and skincare as I used to because, as I mentioned before, it was/is a hobby of mine for so long. I may not be influenced easily, but I still want to buy that purple eyeshadow because I love purple eyeshadow in general. LOL!

I have to admit, though, that I’ve recently started eyeing what’s being released in Asia instead, probably because I fly there pretty often it seems. It’s the thrill of exploring a new territory. I take comfort in knowing that I’m hopefully a little wiser than I was a few years ago and won’t buy everything because of hype. 🙂

Christine Avatar

I think part of it is recognizing the why and how of purchasing habits – as long as it’s within reason / within your budget and your goals, buying out of want doesn’t strike me as a bad thing. It’s just when it snowballs to the point where the actual act of buying is the most fun part that I think we head into an activity that isn’t sustainable for most people!

I like variety in finish, texture, and formula. I know I’ll always have a “lot” of makeup compared to most people. I think that was true pre-blogging, and I expect it to be true post-blogging… I feel like there’s an outside chance I practically go no-makeup for an extended period of time in a post-blogging life but who knows. I still REALLY love makeup in a way that surprises me.

Betsy Avatar

Wow! That was so well written and researched. I very much appreciate this type of information. I have found myself with just “more, more and more,” but with very little use for all of it. It does start to get somewhat boring after a while. It might be nice to see people use products that they already have in YouTube videos, not always the latest this or the latest that. That is just an opinion from a fairly silent consumer. Thank you again for sharing.

Priscilla Avatar

? Mind blown. I find it difficult to believe some of the figures In your very timely article, Christine! I certainly don’t doubt the accuracy, but am stunned about how we have all contributed to this monster being created by industry giants. Personally, I adore makeup and love reading your blog daily. I appreciate your diligence and hard work in helping us to choose products that suit us individually. Kudos to you!

On the other hand, I’m cognizant (and somewhat ashamed) of the fact that I indulge way too frequently on products that I certainly don’t need. I promised myself that I would not renew my Rouge status in 2018. Yeah, right. Well, that didn’t work. Maybe 2019 is my year to be reasonable with purchases. One can hope.

Thank you for the information and the reminder to remember priorities in the future.

Christine Avatar

Just imagine… these are just US prestige beauty sales – doesn’t include mass (drugstore) or global sales (and a lot of brands have found regions outside the US responsible for particularly healthy growth numbers – I think this is true for Estee Lauder brands if I’m remembering correctly).

Good luck, Priscilla! My best advice is to put together a plan – perhaps a list of areas you have so covered that you really shouldn’t add to it at ALL or “these are products that I need if I find the right one.”

xamyx Avatar

I literally reached Rouge last year without even trying… This year, I made it a point to only buy a few Sephora exclusive items, and didn’t even manage to hit VIB. However, I’m only a few bucks away from ULTA Diamond, but at least I get points that convert to actual dollars, LOL!

Priscilla Avatar

Now, to really answer your questions?:

Yes, I do think the new releases are coming fast and furious and I think it is altogether too much. Am I keeping up? No. Thankfully, I’m immune to the majority of the aggressively hyped releases and trends. I’m not a trendy person. I know what looks good on me and I stick to those colors rather than looking ridiculous imho. It doesn’t stop me from buying new products, though- they are just very similar to what I already own!

My downfall this year has been in the skincare spending. There has been more and more “products that you must have” in order to enjoy younger looking skin. “You must layer your skincare” translates to spending more and more money.

The most noticeable company in 2018 to turn into a marketing machine looking foolish is Drunk Elephant. I was a fan, but they took the marketing too far. Too much hype!

So, I believe that it’s not just makeup, it’s all things beauty. We are a vulnerable segment of society and we’ve been targeted. Bullseye.

Sheila Avatar

Fantastic article!!! I really just started paying attention to makeup releases/buying more makeup early in 2017. My favorite indulgence is eye shadows. Due to some very positive changes in my life/finances (investing more for retirement), I pretty solidly switched from prestige brands to drug store brands in 2018. (I now only buy special prestige items using my Ulta points to bring the price way down, or when they go on clearance.) While I have noticed that my overall spending on makeup has decreased significantly, I admit that with all of the new releases just among drugstore brands, I still buy a lot of makeup. I look at what I have, I LOVE it! I love to see new releases too. It feels like a fun hobby for me. I love experimenting with colors. But there is this nagging voice in my mind that says, “This pace can’t last forever. You’ll have to stop buying so much. Look at how often you get to actually use each item because of the volume of what you have.” I think at some point, it will slow down for me… I plan in the upcoming year to pay close attention to what I have already, and which formulas work best for me. (I have very hooded eyes so some eye shadow formulas just don’t last for me with my long work days.) As much as I enjoy the new releases from makeup companies, it can feel overwhelming at times. And I love colourpop but geeze! SO MANY releases. I think that I would like to see new releases slow down even though I feel like a kid in a candy store whenever something new comes out at my current price point from a brand I love. This pace really can’t last forever.

Christine Avatar

Thank you for sharing, Sheila! It is good that when you look at what you have, you love it and enjoy it. That’s the key part about it! When you look at what you have and feel overwhelmed or anxious by it all, that’s often a good point to really think about why/what you’re buying a little more.

Laurie Avatar

This puts it all in perspective for me: “Five years ago, I rated ~2,285 shades/product across 75 brands and spent just under $6,000 on products to review. In 2017, I rated 4,652 shades/products across 75 brands and spent over $51,000 on products to review.”

CosmetopiaDigest Avatar

MAGNIFICENT. One word for this whole article. This is why you are indisputably at the very pinnacle of the beauty blogging game.

Over the last couple of years, I think we’ll all agree that there has been absolute mayhem in terms of launches and number of products (and brands). While it’s always nice to have choice, surely there will come a time when not much really sells? I mean, the seasoned beauty addict who visits here will stop wanting a palette that looks like every other in our stash; the new-to-Sephora person will be overwhelmed, and buy ONE neutral palette, and be done until they hit pan on that palette.

Where do I fit in? I’ve set limits – very strict ones – on the number of palettes I buy each year. I’m not worried about foundation, because I use acne safe foundations (which very few are). Lipsticks are an indulgence, but there have been very few OMG WOW collections this year – I bought, what, five? In addition, I also look at dupes, not just on your website, but also within my stash – if it looks like something I have, nope (again, lipsticks are an exception, EVERYTHING I own is dusty rose haha). It has been a very meh year for me, purchasing-wise. I’ve bought more far skincare than makeup.

I think you’re absolutely right about skincare being the next big money-machine for brands. Which is why we’ve already seen makeup-only brands such as Makeup Revolution rebrand themselves as Revolution Beauty, and release affordable skincare products. More brands will join the bandwagon for sure.

We certainly live in interesting times, beauty-sphere-wise! I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings (as long as it isn’t just berry/reddish palettes).

Christine Avatar

ColourPop also launched Fourth Ray Beauty, a sister brand I believe, and that’s also all about skincare – so they are also pushing into the affordable, skincare space. From the reading I’ve done, more mid-point skincare is going to be a thing.

Donna D Avatar

Dear Christine,

I truly appreciated and enjoyed this piece… Thank you!

I am an enthusiastic consumer of high-end cosmetics and skincare products. Over the past 20 years, I have spent an embarrassing amount of money on products that were ultimately wasted. Over the past five years, cosmetics played an important, “comforting” role in my five-year episode with breast cancer and maintaining self-esteem. Over the past year, it’s become clear that too many unworn clothes in my closet and a dizzying collection of unused cosmetics and skincare are causing me more anxiety than joy.

Do I still LOVE to indulge? YES! But I am much more selective about the brands and products that I choose to purchase. For example, I recently abandoned all products by a previously beloved brand, Paula’s Choice, because of the brand’s non-stop email marketing and relentless release of new products – each as wonderful as all others – without a commensurate increase in brand guidance about what would suit me, and without meaningful guidance on “order of operations” (i.e., application). In addition, I came to resent PC’s constant sales, which ultimately caused me to lose confidence in fair product pricing.

What I see as a colosal failure by PC is but one example of what will ultimately drive well-resourced consumers away.

Christine Avatar

As a long-time beauty enthusiast, how do you feel about how products release/get sold today vs. 10 or 15 years ago? I’m curious if there are any observations you’ve made!

Do you have any method you use now to be more selective, Donna? Brands that send an email every day or even more frequently really irritate me, and it does seem like education has fallen off for some brands.

Hope you are doing better! xo

Donna Avatar

Clearly, my purchases escalated with the development of online commerce. Online commerce also has enabled WILD product line depth that would have never have been possible in traditional bricks-and mortar stores: How many different serums can a beauty advisor pitch at a counter and still deliver credible education? In my teens and 20s, brand strategy was closer to the three-step Clinique routine, which focused on three skin types. One could have confidence that the brands were committed to the quality and efficacy of its full product line. And makeup formulas were likewise more narrow, which made choices manageable. Waste was relatively nonexistent.

Today, the high cost of print and broadcast marketing has been replaced by a barrage of new products that may or may not have been credibly developed and tested. It’s like throwing hundreds of varieties of pasta at the wall (which all taste the same, BTW ) to see what sticks. And what doesn’t goes away as quickly as it appeared in those daily emails.

Let me be clear: I LOVE shopping online. But I am so disappointed (bordering on angry) that brands do not provide swatches that are actually useful. For that, we must rely on YOU!

I especially loved your post today because you’ve elucidated our need to be responsible consumers, and acknowledged that TOP NOTCH bloggers like yourself have a duty to bring some order to this chaos… Even if the chaos is fun and passion-filled!!!

Jane Avatar

Hi Christine, hope you don’t mind me replying to a question you asked someone else. I’ve been a makeup enthusiast for 38 years, since I was 12 years old.

Years ago makeup collections were launched seasonally, spring, summer, autumn and winter/Christmas and were something to really look forward to. There was time between each collection to use the products and enjoy them, also the collections weren’t launched as early as the are now. Autumn launches wouldn’t be available until August at the earliest, for example.

I think it is sad that we are all so bombarded with endless launches now without having the time to actually use and enjoy what we’ve already bought before it becomes “yesterday’s news”.

I refuse to play that game now and do regularly “miss out” on new releases, but I am fine with that.

Any company who bombards me with marketing emails etc is very swiftly dumped!

Megan B. Avatar

I’ve been a very long-time follower of PC — i’ve got quite a few editions of “don’t go to the cosmetics counter without me”, it was my cosmetic/skincare bible from about 2000 until recently (i still check reviews on beautypedia). Her products were originally touted as scientifically proven to be effective, non-irritating, and most importantly, reasonably priced (she called out so many skincare brands and items over their overinflated prices over the decades!), and over the last few years I’ve seen product sizes drop, prices inflate drastically, and launches of multiple products the ‘original’ Paula decried as unnecessary, like their eye cream. I have a few PC products that i will probably repurchase until I die (when they’re on sale, which is fortunately relatively frequently) but why would I buy her Vitamin C or niacinamide or azelaic acid serums when i can go to a brand like the ordinary and spend a tiny fraction of the money? I’ve replaced many of her products with substantially cheaper, just as effective alternatives because of how much her prices have gone up. She touts that her products are formulated to be superior, but all i see is extra ingredients, any of which that might cause my sensitive skin issues.

Given all the hype around asian beauty products and the wealth of good, effective formulas out there (not to mention how much skincare is really taking off), i really wonder if her brand will survive long-term.

Miki Avatar

I have to agree about PC! She seems to have fallen prey to marketing and money. I just can’t see the quality & quantity there with her products anymore. It’s really a shame considering where she came from. I also own a few of her books! I find that a little appalling. Did she forget her roots??

Liz Avatar

Fantastic post Christine. To start off, I’d like to say that you are an invaluable resource to the beauty community, and we respect your hard work and professionalism so much. You’re an inspiration!

With respect to new releases, I really like the way Chanel does it. Seasonal curated small collections with new colors and new product types (a formulaic proving ground of sorts). I feel like Urban Decay was starting to get the hang of that with their Beached collection this summer, which was excellent. NARS also does seasonal, but lately have seem less restrained to that model. Could this format maybe help brands to push back on the development cycle requirements levied by Sephora/Ulta?

I’m personally the reverse of the trends. I started with skincare, then got into makeup. Skincare is a daily chore I now enjoy; makeup is a fun and artistic outlet. I feel like I have a decent collection now, and only add to it if something fills a gap, performs significantly better, or speaks to my creative soul.

Christine Avatar

I think UD has slowed down a little, and their overall release schedule doesn’t seem to be quite as extensive has a lot of brands. For one of the mainstream, old guard kind of brands, they don’t seem to be doing flip flops to launch 24/7.

NARS’ holiday launch seemed extraordinarily deep to me this year – a lot of products – but them redoing their eyeshadow range made sense to me.

Sandy Avatar

I didn’t start really getting into makeup/skincare until I took the Michelle Money course as a treat to myself at the end of maternity leave. I was 41, so I admit that I flailed a bit and bought a lot of stuff that I didn’t need or didn’t suit me or that was recommended and I never reach for. I’m trying to be more picky now. I had very little before and now have plenty. Trying really hard to get into some good skincare. I’ve always looked young for my age but want to take better care of my skin. There’s SO much out there that I don’t know how to wade through. Glad to have found you to help cull through everything and not feel so overwhelmed.

Sue Avatar

A very well-written post, which I need to read again in order to truly absorb it all.

My thoughts, for what they’re worth: I have never felt you “let anyone down” in regard to products, reviews, or opinions. While sometimes I wish (aloud!) that you reviewed fewer expensive products like Tom Ford, Dior, and so on, I realize that there are many levels of disposable income out there and that you also balance it by reviewing Wet ‘n’ Wild, Colour Pop, and other budget brands.

I do feel there are too many releases too frequently from a lot of companies these days. Seems like some brands that used to have one holiday release now have several. ** cough cough ** Too Faced *** There’s a pre-holiday release, a holiday release, a Black Friday release, a post-holiday release. I can’t keep up nor do I want to.

Finally, I appreciate that you never tell us we NEED a certain product. Just this week I have made the sad decision to stop following a beauty blogger I’ve loved for years, because too many of her posts are now titled “You need this!” or “You HAVE to get this in the XYZ sale!” No, I don’t, and I don’t like your telling me that I do. What used to be a blog of down-to-earth reviews has become not much more than a list of sales. 🙁 I’m sales-notice’d out!

Christine Avatar

It is getting harder to classify collections by season – there were afew holiday launches that seemed like they were timed for a fall launch but the whole theme and/or spiel would be for the holidays and now some of the “late” holiday launches could be spring ’19 early releases…

It’s a fine line to walk between making recommendations and becoming a salesperson as an influencer, so it is good hear feedback about an example that does / doesn’t work for you.

Nancy T Avatar

First; Breathe. You have reached your optimum limit. And you are still operating the most well run, well oiled machine of the beauty blogging world, Christine. Believe it. Also realize that you are “enough”. You are doing a fabulous job at keeping up, while still providing in-depth QUALITY reviews, instead of churning out just swatches with little to no content! I’ve been watching as the beauty world has changed in ways that I do not fully support, nor am enthusiastic about. Too much product coming at us all at far too fast a rate. Much of it just copying what everyone else is doing. Many a YT’er even seems to be getting burned out by the storm of sheer volume. I as a consumer am now in a bit of a overwhelmed, yet underwhelmed coma because there is just too much incoming at this unprecedented rate. Yes, I am becoming product weary. Feeling like much of what I’m seeing is beginning to run together in a frenzied blur. My sock drawer is literally now FULL of eyeshadow palettes. Do I even use them all? Do I still enjoy the thrill of it any more, or am I so overwhelmed by what’s in there that I now have trouble figuring out what to do on a given day? Yes to both. It has reached the point where the market is saturated, no, flooded, with the new! new! new! BTW, you are now putting out so much content due to the pressures that you are sensing that I can hardly keep up! So, please stop putting yourself down. You are doing far more than you are imagining. If anyone tells you something different; shut them down, my friend!

Christine Avatar

What I’m struggling with is more that I feel like I can’t improve in the way that I’d like – in the past, while I may have done “my best,” it felt like if I did XYZ, I could be better and improve the following year. This year, I feel like I’ve exhausted how to streamline my process or make parts of system more efficient, and that’s been harder for me to wrap my head around.

CK Avatar

Christine, you’ve done some amazing work! We all love you and what you are doing, which is why we keep coming back. You did a huge upgrade with the software and it’s pretty sophisticated. You have so much to be proud of, and you do need a rest. There isn’t much more I think you can do save maybe a system of likes for comments, but other than that, your system is top notch. A face lift every now and then may be warranted but overall, your system is the gold standard. But don’t beat yourself up! There are only so many ways you can manipulate a database.

I’ve never felt like you have let me down. I have only recently in the last few months started paying more attention to the beauty industry when I started watching YouTube but I find that when I want meaningful information on products from someone I can trust, I come here. Most of us are probably like that. I also understand that you can’t review everything under the sun. It’s okay!

Susan Nevling Avatar

Christine, there are regular long term readers who want your opinions and newer readers who would like to try many different things. You compare product to product and don’t consider price in performance except rarely. This is so useful to anyone of any age, experience, financial status and overall interest. Your reviews are fair, honest and concise. I appreciate you and know others do too.

Melissa Avatar

I think this was a great post because it’s something I have been thinking about myself. I have found that a few years ago I got excited about a new launch/ new palette.. etc. Now, I feel like I have a drawer full of palettes that I cant possibly even use up so there is no need for any new ones. The only items I have been purchasing are items that need to be replaced because I often feel overwhelmed by my own collection. After Colorpop launched, I bought a ton of their super shock shadows as well as their liquid lips. It felt great having so many options at a reasonable cost. But now, I just have a collection of colorpop that have dried out and require replacement. So, the appeal of having many options has quickly withered away with both the shadows and the liquid lips drying up. I personally do not buy any products from Kylie Jenner because I believe she isn’t a good role model for young women, but I do believe she has made a major impact in the beauty industry. Now more than ever, there is a large community of teen and young women spending their money on makeup and Starbucks because of social media and who they look up to. Kylie is the status quo for young women when it comes to beauty which is the reason for her business being so successful. She is selling an image as much as a product. I personally have invested more money in skincare 1 because my skin is starting to age as well as the fact that I only buy a single product at the time and replace it as its get low or try a new product when one runs out. I dont allow skincare to sit on my shelf the same way that I do with my makeup collection. My makeup is a “collection” where my skincare routine is a need in the same way that I need to purchase soap and toothpaste.

Christine Avatar

That can be one of the issues with affordable products if your budget is more used to accommodating mid/high-end price points: you can simply too much very quickly! The recent ColourPop Super Shock Vault bothered me for that reason – that’s a lot of cream eyeshadow for one person to have on hand, and of all the types of products that often turn, creams are one of them! I love ColourPop, and I love the Super Shock Shadow formula, but I’ve stopped keeping most shades after I’ve reviewed them because I’ll never have a chance to return back in time to use them up; better to pass them onto friends/family (I don’t donate used cream eyeshadows!) within a month or two of opening vs. two years later!

AJ Avatar

Speaking personally, I’m definitely over the hype. I have more makeup than I need or can realistically use, and very little that is being released feels like it is honestly ground breaking or exciting. I get excited about things like the Melt Smoke Sessions palette, because an all-green palette is a unique idea, but I’m not going to get excited about any “neutrals with a pop of color” palette no matter who makes it or what the theme is.

I don’t think the market is sustainable, I think we’re seeing a bubble and it’s going to burst. Between the trends against waste and towards decluttering, people are just jaded by too much of a good thing.

I’d like to see brands back off on constantly chasing trends and instead focus on really innovating — don’t give me 4 palettes a year of similar colors in the same formula, look for ways to improve on eye shadow as a concept — sparklier metallics, deeper mattes, better blendability, longer wear time, unique multi-chrome colors, whatever. Develop a glossy lip product that my hair won’t stick to. Make nail polish that dries faster than ever. Things like that.

As for the trend towards skincare, I’m fortunate to have really low-maintenance skin so I don’t really pay attention to that arena. I have the products I like and that’s what I use, I’d really only get excited if I found a product that was just as good as what I already use, but half the price 😉 I suspect as I get older, I’ll get more interested in that side of things, though.

Christine Avatar

It will be interesting to see how the industry shifts if the US does undergo a recession in the next few years – consumerism in general seems up across categories but particularly in beauty. The industry itself seems like it’s heading toward crossroads on its own and a recession would complicate future decisions further.

Marilyn Avatar

This is so interesting, especially the data. I am Sephora VIB status which means I spent $350 in Sephora in the past year and I’m not sure how that happened! I didn’t use to spend that much. I do think it’s because I found a moisturizer that I actually use and buy more of when it runs out.

I think there are just way too many eye palettes coming out. I love the ones I have, and I love collecting them and probably keep them way longer than I should. When I look at what I have, it’s rare that a new palette has a new color or something I don’t already have. And I usually reach for the same 2 palettes anyway!

I appreciate that you are thoughtful about products you review and it’s one of the reasons I come here first! Letting go of hype and learning to shop my stash is so good for my budget.

Shannon Avatar

I’ve become more interested in decluttering and depotting recently. I had a huge stash and was tired of feeling guilty that I couldn’t physically use all the eyeshadow I own. I just started using the Vanity feature and it’s really changed the way I look at new releases- I still have a huge number of products despite some pretty major decluttering; seeing all my shades/products in one place and how many dupes I already have, my attitude has changed. I used to feel like I had to jump on all the new releases and now it’s going to take something really special to add to the collection. Thanks for helping me be more organized and focused with my stash!

Christine Avatar

Happy to hear you’re working through your stash to create the right set/mix of products that you’ll love and enjoy! I know that if I was a “normal” person, I’d still have quite a lot of products/shades because I enjoy a variety of makeup, so the number of products that’s “right” really depends on each person, I think!

O Avatar

I’ve been a long time reader of your blog, and I comment very infrequently. Let me start by saying that once again, your ability to be self-reflective and see the bigger picture is the reason why you remain and continue to remain on top of everyone else in this industry.
With that being said, I’ve noticed all the same things you have. I personally have slowed down because everything is starting to look the same and my financial priorities have shifted. The skincare bit is the truth, and is probably the reason I re-Rouged again this year despite swearing up and down that I wouldn’t. I’m determined not to next year and be even more vigilant with shopping my stash and getting rid of things I won’t use.
The parts I read where you talked about feeling bad about how fast you can review things made me sad. You have NOTHING to apologize for. I’m amazed that you’ve even been able to keep pace the way you have for so long. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is appreciative of your efforts. The best part about the evolution of your reviews over the years is that your standards have changed and become more strident, but in a good way, because there’s a lot of fluff in the industry now that we need someone to cut through truthfully and honestly, and you do just that.
Thanks for everything.

Christine Avatar

Best of luck with your buying goals for 2019, O! It takes a lot of getting used to whenever we adjust spending in a category (I’ve done it with other areas of my life, like being better about only buying shoes I can and will wear that won’t hurt my feet, LOL), so sometimes it is a work in progress.

Thank you!

Emily Avatar

I’d don’t wear as much makeup as I use to, mostly because I don’t have the time, but makeup releases doesn’t really excite me anymore.
I much prefer spending my money on skin care now but I don’t really want to see the makeup industry get out of hand. Scaling down would be great, it would be nice to see care put back into releasing makeup. Maybe help me get back into it.

Alisha Avatar

I think you are right in that I don’t notice the craziness over most MAC launches where items are sold out instantly and hard to find like they were maybe 10 years ago when you had to stalk websites to get it right away. Some products that come to mind are candy yum yum, Osbourne collection, nicki minaj’s first pink ls, and stereo rose msf.

Mags Avatar

We appreciate all of the hard work you put into this blog! I have felt very overwhelmed by all of the new releases these past few years. I’ve been interested in makeup for about 8 years, but 2014 was the turning point for me when I went from being the casual shopper at Sephora to becoming heavily invested in new releases and trends. I went through a 3 year phase of over-consumption and decided this year, I would scale it back. This is the first time in 4 years I won’t be a Rouge at Sephora, and I’m ecstatic about that. I really do credit my ability to scale back from reading your reviews and interacting with different beauty enthusiasts here. I am regularly checking the dupes page to save myself money, or to decide if an item is worth the splurge.

Most of the big releases or collections have been ho-hum for me this year, and I think that’s because we keep seeing the same color stories released time and again. I crave to see more originality back in the industry, so I hope some brands will take note.

Christine Avatar

Not surprised, Mags! It’s part of the job, and I get overwhelmed by how many new things there are to keep up with, so I can only imagine what it’s like for someone who only spends a few hours a week keeping up, lol!

It is so easy to over-consume in beauty; so many things, so many shiny and pretty things that are hyped up and even just well-rated. Congrats on not getting Rouge status this year — sounds like your changes are working!

Tarzi Avatar

Thank you for writing this. I’ve been into makeup since about 2011 – or at least that was when I started watching makeup YTers. In 2012 I got really into nail polish, and then in 2013 I fell into a rabbit hole of Sephora purchases. (There’s no Ulta in Canada, and Shopper’s didn’t have as much selection back then). I bought a little crazily at the time, trying to experiment with my skin and colours and such, and then by 2015 I went cruelty-free because I felt that I wasn’t using my money wisely – impulse buying drugstore items that didn’t suit me and were poorer quality, mostly. Going CF was mostly a cost-cutting measure for me as it made me think more consciously about whether I “could” have something, and did I need it, and was it worth the price? My consumption has definitely dropped off since then.

I think a lot of people – and I’m not sure necessarily if you do as well – really trapped and anxious by having large amount of items. I’ve moved around a lot since I was 18, mostly due to school, so I’ve found myself always considering whether or not I can pack up all my stuff easily. My sister never moved away for school so she just buys stuff and buys large items and things she doen’t use often and doesn’t declutter a lot because she’s never needed to pack up and move on short notice. It’s a really different mindset. I wonder if sales are dropping off in correlation with Gen Z starting university, or Millennials starting to settle down, or if it’s purely fatigue.

Christine Avatar

I browse /r/makeuprehab often enough that it definitely seems like the accumulation of too many things can result in anxiety! I don’t feel that way myself about what I keep because it’s organized and contained, and I don’t mind having a lot. Sometimes I look at my front entry or the gym/mail room and dread trying to organize and sort through for things to review and things to donate (because I know I won’t review).

I’ve been trying to be more mindful of what I purchase for review in the sense that I’m trying not to buy in excess of what I can reasonably hope to review, because for many years, I’ve purchased the whole line of ______ (permanent, existing, not new) so that I can add it to the Swatch Gallery but never end up getting to it due to other new releases… and then two years later I’m passing a whole line of new things to family.

Dawn Avatar

/r/makeuprehab is a good resource for thinking about makeup purchases. Between there and here, I have not made rouge this year, and will “lose” platinum status at Ulta. I simply don’t need anything else. I’m more focused on using the great stuff I already own than mindlessly purchasing more. Using the items I have, and increasing my “skills’ have been the new focus of my makeup habit. I am sick of being sold to, advertised to every moment. /r/makeuprehab has some resources listed, and the budgeting and frugal pages have been eye opening for me. New goal: Save for retirement and look fabulous while I do it. Financial literacy is new to me, and while I don’t beat myself up for past mistakes, I won’t keep spending money for consumables I can’t consume.

Christine Avatar

We are working hard to put as much toward pre- and post-retirement savings accounts. Temptalia is an amazing career thus far, and I’ll do everything I can to ensure it’s a good, long run, but it is the internet and I am risk averse, so we are prepared in case something shifts in the future.

Glad you’re becoming more financially literate, Dawn – they are tough lessons to learn and unfortunately, very easy knowledge not to have if you don’t have parents/good friends around that really instill those financial lessons in you early on. Even better that you aren’t beating yourself up for the past and just learning + moving forward!

Lubna Avatar

Thank you very much for this great article, it’s very informative and provided me with a fascinating perspective on the beauty industry. I personally started taking a keen interest in makeup and beauty in the past three years. Prior to that, makeup had a purely functional role in my life, I had a basic routine just so I could look put together at work and such. In the past three years, I started following beauty news and releases and acquiring more makeup. At first, the novelty was amazing. I am 37 years old and started using makeup over 20 years ago, but I was dazzled in the past three years by the sheer variety of colors, textures and products available, as well as the immense improvement in the quality of makeup products compared to 20 years ago.

In my relatively limited experience with the present beauty landscape, I have noticed a sharp increase in product launches in the past year or so. I am not surprised at all that it is a lot for you to review; I think you’re doing a heroic effort! But the pace has become exceedingly manic, there’s a new release almost every day or so. I find that brands seem to be releasing repetitive products, as if they’re repackaging the same products of last month and selling them as something new. I feel a bit put off by the social media marketing strategies some brands use, and I feel a bit nauseous when I see the words “you need this!” on any new release. At present, I’m happy with what I have and want to focus on using it rather than acquiring more products that I won’t get to enjoy because I have too much. I still enjoy seeing some new releases, I feel tempted by some, especially very sparkly and colorful products, and every now and then will give in to that temptation. But increasingly I will look at a pretty new palette and think to myself I already have these shades, and will use Temptalia’s dupes to confirm.

As for whether or not the current rate at which beauty brands release new products is sustainable, I don’t think it is. Brands need to slow down at some point to develop new products. The decline in eyeshadow sales is very telling; I guess it’s because consumers are seeing repetitive products and nothing truly new. Of course, time will tell.

Thank you for all the informative reviews you’ve written, they have helped me make better choices with my purchases, and continue to do so. I find that Temptalia is a very valuable resource for every single person interested in makeup and beauty, it is an encyclopedia of makeup, quite literally. This kind of repository of beauty information doesn’t really exist elsewhere online and I don’t think it would be possible to recreate it easily.

Christine Avatar

It’s awesome to hear that the quality and variety today is much improved over where it was 20 years ago! That is one of the perks of more product development/releases at least – just like greater diversity in shade ranges for complexion products is a place where we want to see variety and expansion!

It’s so good to be happy with what you have and have reached a point where you’re able to resist temptation often! 🙂

Thank you!

Leslie Avatar

Great article! I’ve been mulling over these questions a lot this year. I’ve been a heavy makeup consumer since 2014. Last year and this year I’ve really only bought products that really grabbed me, like Huda Beauty and Pat McGrath. My means to purchase makeup has also steadily increased over the years, so I’m more able to afford luxury brands than I was back when I started.

I used to buy every Urban Decay release, and I haven’t bought anything of theirs since the Spectrum palette because it was SO bad. Also, I’ve noticed that most brands and collections will go on sale pretty shortly after release now, anyway, so I don’t feel the NEED to buy something immediately like I used to.

I’m so saturated with makeup at this point that I’m only buying stuff that is unique or the formula is just that good (like Pat Mcgrath and Huda).

I just don’t know how this can be sustainable! Geez, how many collections did Too Faced release this year??

Christine Avatar

I think Too Faced launched more than usual, but like Tutti Frutti and Sweet Peach were permanent launches, so in a way, quite different than a lot of releases these days which are LE LE LE. Their holiday offerings seemed about on par with past years – a set or two for each of their key retailers (Ulta, Sephora, etc.).

ColourPop out-released MAC this year from what I can tell, though!

Wednesday Avatar

So much to digest in this post and as a longterm Temptalia reader, I am definitely at the jaded point of the makeup curve. I feel inspired by less and less, but at the same point, therefore, value the few incredible quality gems that come my way even more. I will never entirely tire of makeup or become so jaded that it no longer holds interest. I remain on the hunt and feel assured there are better and better technologies and products available in the future. I wish we didn’t have to wade through so much noise in the process.

Your wesite is a treasure trove of information and I would like to stress from my perspective, you do a tremendous job of keeping up. As a long time cosmetics fiend, I feel less and less urgency towards marginal products and feel due to the sheer volume of what is out there, the truly good picks will be the cream that rises to the top. Limited Edition does not hold much interest as it seems to be synonymous with hum-ho quality. I would not be distressed to see less emphasis on new products. Temptalia is so much more and my favourite features have little to do with what is a flash in the pan release.

The readership continues to provide me with thoughtful advice and inspiration. Perhaps we could see more interaction on the blog. I know you have a hosted chat, but I never seem to get there due to time constraints and many things clamouring for attention. There are not too many days where I do not at least quick scan the blog. That is testament in itself. Now I am rambling as I have not let your post percolate and digest entirely. There are many issue facing our planet due to our mass consumptive ways and I would love to see a scaling back, and hope trends keep pointing in a positive direction for change.

Thank you for all you do.

Christine Avatar

It’s a long one! I normally write in one go but this one had me stumped for awhile… one of those things you feel passionately about and then talk yourself all out and feel wrung out when you go to put pen to paper so-to-speak.

I agree; there are less products that make me REALLY excited, but when I find a product that does evoke some good feelings, it’s a true delight. I think about products like Pat McGrath’s Decadence palette which I love so dearly – those stick with me now. A lot of launches are in and out of the brain, even if they were good, because it’s onto the next and I can only fill my makeup brain with so much info at once.

Tammy Avatar


I too am starting to look at the effect of consumerism on the planet, and rethinking the way I spend money from this perspective. While I’m not ready to go over completely to minimalism, I am seeking information from those who have embraced minimalism. I can see the benefit for the planet, as well as for the individual.

Consumers of cosmetics are a target audience. I worked in the cosmetics department of Bergners from 2010-2018, and discovered the cosmetics department in any department store is the financial anchor, that’s where the money is made. While I am innocent in my love for cosmetics and skincare, those who are attempting to get my money are (not innocently) looking for ways to increase my spending. For me, this is something to think about.

Nina Oz Avatar

Your piece on sustaining the pace of beauty really hit home for me, especially as we are in the season of selling mixed with the obligation of giving a desirable product. During the last year, I have found myself less excited about makeup and skin care, as the advertising imagery has become too over the top and less realistic. While I use your site as a filter, and to cut through company’s BS claims, I have had to unsubscribe from many beauty companies and influencers because it has become so overwhelming to keep up with the amount of products being released.

This article also highlighted the amount of work you really have to do in order to keep up with current trends, releases and campaigns. It really hit home when you mentioned in a previous post that you did not take vacations because you couldn’t afford to miss work due to the intense workload you have to keep up with. Girl, we appreciate all that you do and don’t mind if you have to take some time off to take care of yourself! In any case, I hope that this rapid pace of consuming decreases in the new year. Sending you (and Mellan) health, happiness and wellness all year round.

Christine Avatar

That’s a good callout, Nina! There are a ton of sales and it’s “buy buy buy” for who – mostly me but some “give a little, get a little!” I’ve always worried about the “treat yourself” meme mostly because treating oneself IS good but that can’t be a blanket reason to buy things all the time.

Thank you! 🙂

Rachel Avatar

Ironically, I am getting less and less interested in beauty over time. I used to be able to watch YouTube for hours, now I watch a couple videos per week. I guess I would rather spend that money on travel or put it towards retirement.

Christine Avatar

It actually seems to be a pretty normal path from what I’ve seen over the years. Especially more recently, a lot of people start off on YouTube, then start migrating away, find a few blogs, and then eventually just pop by every now and again as their interests move on from beauty.

Shannon Avatar

Another very long-time reader here – probably 9 or 10 years. Most of the online beauty community passed me by awhile ago. I prefer photos of swatches and written reviews to YouTube. Because of this I haven’t kept up with every release and hot new brand for years now. I also buy less than I used to because I have too much already. That doesn’t mean I spend less time looking at new products though. I’m very picky about my purchases and do lots of research. The beauty industry today is overwhelming.
Here in the western Baltimore suburbs, Ulta has opened three stores this year, in addition to five existing stores within close driving distance. Northwest of Washington DC there are at least five Sephoras in the Montgomery County suburbs (that’s not counting other MD suburbs or Northern VA). The rate of growth of this industry is almost mind boggling and I don’t think it’s sustainable long term; in fact, I wonder if we’re going to hit a bubble in a year or two. Even in today’s hyper-consumerist society most women are only going to have so much eyeshadow and perfume.
I wonder about dollars spent too. There isn’t a hard line between prestige and drugstore anymore. There are brands at all price points. Low end brands have ramped up their game and independent brands have superior quality for less money. I’m definitely spending less money per product now and I’m expecting that to continue.
On the upside of the constant releases everyone can find something due to diverse offerings. Smaller companies that create niche products can put pressure on the big guys. For example, I have tried to buy cruelty free for 20 years, and back then it was hard to get anything in a drugstore. Fast forward and now even Cover Girl is Leaping Bunny approved! I don’t have to spend extra or go out of my way to avoid animal testing like I used to.
There’s no way to keep up with everything beauty anymore. Not all of these releases are targeting me anyway. I just enjoy what I can and keep an eye out for big waves and trends.

Holeigh Avatar

Huge round of applause for this insightful, well researched article! I’ve been deep into the cosmetics for probably 4-5 years at this point and I am definitely feeling the fatigue. As someone who entered right around when I feel like things started to explode, I remember being so ridiculously overwhelmed, because I felt so far behind. There’s a lot to learn about makeup and what everything is for and what you need and certainly don’t. At this point I still find a lot of enjoyment in makeup, but I also feel so burned out by the sheer amount of crap that gets released every week.

I have a special addiction to eyeshadow palettes, and I’ve come to realize how many I have that I’ve used twice and put aside for the latest and greatest, it’s honestly pathetic. When I bought my Naked palettes I used them every single day, I almost hit pan on some shades. Those days are long gone, and I just can’t help but wonder WHY. Why do I feel like I need so much stuff, when much of it is so similar to other things I have! I remember looking at individual items and feeling they were so special, because I didn’t get that many items overall. I’m trying to get back to that and use what I have, rediscover those old favorites.

I still love YouTube and watch a lot of beauty channels. It’s definitely interesting to see someone like KathleenLights talk about the pressure to promote the new all the time, and think about how many huge channels started by showing their whole collection of MAC lipsticks or focusing on tutorials with tried and true favorites. I hope we can get back to that, because with the exception of tarababyz, who is a damn champ, you know most YouTubers never touch the stuff after a first impressions.

I find reading Temptalia and watching channels like Beauty News to be so helpful in killing down the hype a bit. You ladies have been doing this for long enough that you know the tricks, the recycled trends, and what true value is. Instead of letting fanciful desires cloud my judgment (especially with today’s Sephora sale, I needed one more thing [which is its own problematic thought process] and was going through your reviews to make sure I picked a worthy CT lipstick) I can make informed decisions and see the bigger picture. Especially with Beauty News, the sass helps as well! Haha. Thanks again for this, Christine; it’s going to stick with me for awhile!

Tenika Avatar

I as a consumer feel like there are way to many new releases especially in the eyeshadow realm. I have decided to to stop purchasing based on packaging, and look at the quality over everything. I also take into account the person behind the brand, this is new for me, but now I can pick and choose who I support rather looking at the product alone. I don’t really care to much but if there is bad press than that does sway my purchasing. I read reviews 98% of the time. I go to the negative reviews first, I’ll also look on a few sites to compare what is being said. I also have decluttered do to space and age of the products. This year I was most disappointed with the fact that I purchased products and after 6 months still hadn’t used them, some a year. My daughter even told me that I just like purchasing makeup, and that I not even wearing it. This goes for skin care too. So I have really pulled back and I will continue to view some Instagram accounts and comment but I will reserve my purchasing. I will mostly purchase skin prep and skin care products. Maybe a palette every once and a while.

Genevieve Avatar

First of all, let me say how wonderful you are Christine – I really don’t know how you do it and I get concerned when I read about you having 18 hour days. Your work is consistently of an outstanding standard and the organised and fair way you go about reviewing beauty products is a cut above everyone else.
Secondly, it is a thoughtful article that you have written about the state of the beauty industry and how it has evolved in the past decade or so.
Thirdly, I do think that there is a current trend towards excellent, cruelty free and affordable makeup – eg ColourPop, Coloured Raine, Dose of Colours and City Colour out there. Older, more expensive HE brands like Guerlain, Dior, Chanel, Lancome are not delivering at the moment and their influence over the beauty scene is dwindling. There are simply better products around, as your blog has demonstrated.
I also think that beauty lovers are starting to be more discerning, more thoughtful about what they purchase and how it fits in with their current stash. I really rely on your dupe list for this to help me determine what I already have.

Thank you once again, for all that you do. I don’t want you to feel discouraged or disappointment – that can be fatigue talking as well. You are an amazing and inspirational person Christine and we all love you.

Dawn Avatar

What a great/interesting topic. I am at the point where I think long and hard about any beauty purchases. I love what I have, and I “need” nothing. The dupe list and vanity are helpful to minimize spending for the same product. I have a sickening amount of neutral eyeshadow! Seeing the dupes within my collection was the most eye opening. Making better and informed decisions about what I buy is wonderful. It wasn’t on my radar a few years ago. Pretty packaging is pretty but I don’t let that determine what I buy any longer. The last collection I purchased for that reason was the MAC Star Trek collection and I love and use what I have often. Your site has been utilized several times to help me realize I have it already! I also see I don’t have dupes for several Pat McGrath shadows in the bronze seduction pallette. I quit smoking recently, so i promised myself that next year I will be purchasing it as a reward for my 1 year anniversary of being smoke free. Part of me is so horrified at the price I don’t know if I’ll be able to to actually get it, even as a reward.

Adele Avatar

I really enjoy your essays. I loved reading this.

I’ve mostly opted out, I think. I like that there’s choice, and that there’s pressure on brands to put out great product, but I started opting out back when MAC limited edition collections were launching early and selling out before the launch date (remember Ripe Peach?!) – it started feeling like marketing instead of like passion for product, and slowly that reaction rippled into everything and every brand. I started appreciating brands who release smaller, more interesting collections – smaller brands in general, I think – and often I lean toward brands that are more expensive, but I’m also buying less.

I’m also still using Rouge Bunny Rouge and Dior singles that aren’t new, but are absolutely beautiful, and so I’ve only bought two eyeshadow palettes the last two years: I’m just not tempted. Like you said, there’s a lot of sameness, and bringing a “you have to prove yourself” attitude toward product means you’re less susceptible to every pretty taupe or bronze.

I’m also much more conscious of which brands I buy from based on all the ones who make bad social media decisions, so that helps cut down on the noise, too. Because there’s a loooot of noise.

I still love makeup! I love putting it on and experimenting with it. But even my small (…by way of comparison) collection lets me get tons of different eyeshadow looks so I don’t have to repeat them often, and that means I don’t need more eyeshadow. I like that. It keeps me balanced. It helps me make smart shopping decisions, knowing I don’t need anything. I really like your point about hyperbolic language, too. Because there’s a lot of that. I appreciate your approach of documenting the quality of any given product, and weighing its claims, and letting consumers decide for themselves.

I’m also sorry you feel overwhelmed 🙁 I think you’re doing amazing work.

Christine Avatar

How MAC collections move remain a mystery to me, but they certainly have changed substantially over the years. There are still some products that disappear as fast as lightning but most collections linger and linger – and nowadays, you’ll have the ability to grab ’em at 25-40% off eventually. MAC discounting was unheard of before!

Roberta Avatar

Another excellent post Christine! I really enjoy these types of posts that you’ve been doing more recently in the last couple months. I also think it’s great that you included how much you spend on buying new products, it was something I always wondered about.

When you wrote that you’ve struggled mentally with how you’re concerned that you’re reviewing enough products I want you to know that you do an amazing job. I’ve been following you’re blog for ten plus years and have seen the amount of quality work you always put out. You do great work and the amount of content you are putting out right now is more then sufficient. I don’t think you can humanly keep up with every launch and release. Please don’t beat yourself up over the amount of content and please take care of yourself!!!

Alyssa Avatar

I hit Sephora VIB Rouge for the first time last year and hit it again this year. Ulta Platinum on top of that.

Plus, purchases from brand websites like Colourpop and Black Friday deals.

I have over 30 eyeshadow palettes currently. I’m afraid to actually count how many…

After two years of overexerting myself, I am finally over it. I came to this conclusion after calling up and canceling an impulse buy from Dose of Colors last week. I’m spending thousands on things I simply do not need. I am not buying anything other than replacements for finished products (like foundation, concealer, etc.) moving forward. I bought into the hype and I’m ready to put an end to my hyperactive consumerism.

My focus will now be on working through my ginormous collection and “shopping” for things I’ve already bought. I have everything I need and more.

Christine Avatar

Ulta Platinum is quite impressive – especially since Ulta doesn’t carry quite as many high-end/luxury brands.

Good job canceling an order, Alyssa! That is a great move, and I hope you’re able to re-focus on what you have and enjoying those products!

Shelly Avatar

I’ve been “on the scene” for about eight years now. In the last handful of years especially, the number of new releases have become way too much for me. For example, while I wasn’t buying every new shiny thing five years ago, and even though my own stash was (and still is) tiny compared to other makeup enthusiasts, I still bought a fair amount of stuff almost every month and still have more than the average makeup user. This year to date? I’ve made only five purchases (and two of them were to replace mascara). There’s a lot of stuff I still want, and there’s stuff I’m going to have to replace at some point; I’m just not in a massive hurry to buy All the Things. I’m also putting more thought into what I’m buying.

Overall, I would love it if more brands focused more on their permanent lines. I’m especially looking at MAC in regards to this. I wish they would transition their matte eyeshadow formula over to the long-discontinued (and still lamented, and still — IMO, at least — much more superior) Matte² one. I’m also sure they could come up with new(ish), interesting shades in their various finishes that most mainstream brands don’t carry. I also wish they’d add more permanent Viva Glam shades. It also seems to me like they’re trying too hard to be “cool” that they’ve forgotten their roots, and people aren’t as excited about their collections as they once were. Another thing would be for them to expand ALL their foundation ranges like they’ve done (well!) with Studio Fix Fluid. (For example, I’d love to see a Face and Body in N0 and C0 for the fairer set, as well as some very dark shades for deeper skintones.)

Another thing I’d like to see more makeup brands do is put the money they would otherwise spend on these egregious PR mail-outs into making foundation samples available for purchase online. (I love that Koh Gen Do does this, for example.) Not all of us have ready access to Sephora/Ulta/department stores to get samples made; something like this would be incredibly useful and helpful.

I’ve also noticed some Youtubers filming more declutters and such in the last couple of years. Some of it I think may be because it’s the trendy thing to do. Some of it, I think, is a genuine recognition they have a lot of makeup and want people to see their process and such, in hopes that others will take more consideration over their own stashes. (They’ve certainly been motivating for me sometimes!) I also like and agree with Ginny’s comment about wanting to see more brand features and product features (e.g. product comparisons across a person’s stash). Personally I’d like to see more Youtubers come back to the ARTISTRY side of makeup. Enough of the mostly warm-toned Instagram-style smoky eyes + false lashes + sharp-within-an-inch-of-its-life liquid lipstick; let’s see some editorial looks that you might see on a runway/catwalk or in a photoshoot for a magazine or campaign.

Christine Avatar

MAC’s eyeshadow range could use a facelift – both in terms of updating formulations but also in terms of the shade range. They’ve discontinued a number of shades over the years but made little in the way of replacements!

The one thing I’ve just seen over and over again is that YouTubers will put out makeup tutorials and the like, but the people aren’t really watching them – over and over again I hear from YouTubers about that type of content not resonating, so even if there is a vocal demand for them, when push comes to shove, the data doesn’t support it. I think there’s still a shift that has to come from more consumers before we’ll see major changes in content like that.

Sherry Avatar

I have almost completely stopped buying new makeup. Something would have to be REALLY special to tempt me because I own enough makeup (my stash would be considered moderate to small) that there is almost no look or color that that I can’t duplicate with what I now have. There is a particular lipstick color which I had years ago and can no longer purchase or duplicate that I would buy if I could find it but other than that I’ll spend my money, probably to better effect, on good skin care products.

Lena Avatar

What a fantastic post! I got into makeup about 3 years ago when I got a new job that required a lot less of my time. Makeup became my ‘hobby’. Since then, my collection has grown from a mascara and an eyeliner to 2 full drawers. At first it was so exciting to buy buy buy! But after a while I realized that all these things were just taking up space and that using them wasn’t as exciting as buying them. This past year, I put myself on a ‘low buy’ which I will continue into next year. Your blog is an excellent resource for me and I always look at your dupes section to make educated purchases. I am working to have the kind of collection where I am as excited about using the products I have as I would be about purchasing new ones. Even only 3 years in, many of the new releases seem reductive and … frankly boring.

Thank you for all your hard work! I hope your feelings of inadequacy go away. Your blog is THE BEST and your efforts are more than enough.

Melanie Avatar

Great Article! I honestly have lost interest in the beauty community. To to to many releases for under performing products…to much hype. I want quality cosmetics and don’t mind paying a higher price for what works. Same goes for skin care I have noticed a huge increase in the hype when the product isn’t all that. I judge a skin care product based on 30days of use. Drunk Elephant for example is one of those over hyped over priced lines.

I enjoy reading about products here on this platform as its honest and trustworthy and I do like to see what is new!! I appreciate your hard work!!! I no longer do those splurges on new releases. I look at what I have, and to buy a new eye shadow palette I have to be able to use 90% of the colors otherwise its a no purchase. Been my new rule

I will say I feel Youtube has done tremendous harm to the beauty community. Paying influencers for positive reviews to only end up buying that over hyped product to find its crap and yes I will return it. I know longer watch beauty influencers on Youtube, hard to trust what they have to say anymore. The list goes on and on with beauty community and youtube.

What happened to classic quality products?
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving !!!

Christine Avatar

Yeah, it is like how fast fashion changed the fashion industry and that there are few “classics” and trends last weeks or days not months – it’s very similar in beauty, as products are in and out but nothing stays for long.

I definitely disagree on influencers/YouTubers – I think that they’ve done more good than harm, especially since there are thousands of people who create great content and certainly aren’t being paid to say one thing over another. They’ve helped increase and encourage diversity in who the beauty industry represents – it is much easier today than ever before to find someone who looks like you, who’s from where you’re from, or who feels like you do than ever before. They’ve helped so many people learn how to apply makeup by eye shape, coloring, face shape, and so forth. People who don’t have friends who love makeup have been able to connect with and relate to those who do. YouTube is just one part of improving the accessibility and bringing down the barriers to entry in beauty.

Lynda Avatar

I know I’ve definitively have product fatigue. I love eyeshadow but I feel like everything is the same. So I’ve been very selective in what I buy now. And most of my money is going to skincare. I haven’t reached rouge yet this year whereas this time last year I was rouge. But most of that is skincare. Lipstick is still my weakness and I’m constantly using your dupe list because I have a terrible habit of buying the same medium plum lol! Great job on the article Christine! Interesting times ahead for sure!

CK Avatar

I’ve not paid attention to the industry much until the last couple of months. I’ve come to sites like this one periodically, but not frequently until lately, after I started watching videos on YouTube.

I had what I thought was a fairly large collection of makeup (lmao, was I ever wrong) and I had conditioned myself to not buy things I didn’t need for a very long time. People had gifted me makeup and I gave it away because it was just too much. For a couple of years, I watched all these special releases come out with great longing because I wasn’t buying anything. And then at long last I finally started to get low enough in the pan on some items and it was time to replenish. I like to make use of what I own, because I don’t like to waste products, and so I will use stuff until it’s just about empty before replenishing.

Previously, I had been almost exclusively NARS. Lips, blush, eyeshadow. I cheated with foundations, for the most part, because most of NARS’ formulas didn’t work for me for some reason. I also cheated with drugstore mascara and some liners. But after seeing reviews about Colourpop and seeing the price, I have dropped NARS. I took a chance and have been well rewarded. I am really enjoying the items I purchased from Colourpop. My wallet is also thanking me. If I were only shopping NARS, I couldn’t have afforded to get as many items as I have. 6 Supershocks are about the equivalent of one NARS duo. wtf? It was a no-brainer. The revamped singles are $19. I can get a 9-12 pan palette for less than that.

But after watching a lot of videos and finally seeing what’s being released, I’m totally flummoxed at how wasteful it all must be. There are so many beautiful collections out there. Who the hell can afford all that? Today I watched Jen Luvs Reviews do a review of the Anastasia Beverly Hills palettes and when she had the five main ones (excluding Subculture and Prism because their formulas were so different), I felt positively bored with the whole brand because so much of it was the same neutral colors.

So I’ve mostly replenished and the only things I am willing to buy other than the basic staples are uniquely colored shadows. Neutral palettes bore the crap out of me. I would have loved to have seen more quads as releases. I can justify having more quads than I can having more 16-20 pan palettes. Fenty’s holiday release was complete overkill. It was like a whole new line in and of itself.

The amount of collaborations this year alone has been staggering. Over half of them were with Colourpop, it seems, and they are not done yet – BeckyG is coming out next week. Morphe also grabbed a few very prominent releases. There were only a couple that were with other brands.

I was flloored to see the number of shades you sampled, and it irritated me to know that it was Ulta pushing brands to release more frequently. When it comes to eyeshadow, who of us that loves color finishes anything in 9 months? This is why eyeshadow sales have plummeted. Everyone got saturated last year and people that actually use their products regularly hit their limit.

Skincare, I think, deserves a more prominent role and we are going to see that. Affordable skin care, like what we saw with The Ordinary, is probably the next wave. Good products, vegan and cruelty free, antioxidants, legit stuff. Good skin never goes out of style. I am extremely judicious here, too. I try not to waste my pennies on garbage that won’t work. Especially if it’s expensive garbage. I read labels and ingredients are going to take a more prominent role going forward.

Christine Avatar

I’m sure it’s retailers, in general, that exert quite a bit of pressure, especially since retailers like Sephora and Ulta often have far more powder than one individual brand but definitely not just specific to Ulta (I’ve heard enough stories and comments about Sephora from brand owners/employees).

I know that minis are an incoming trend – so smaller sizes, which in a way, are better in this type of market, but it’ll still come out in favor of brands/retailers.

CK Avatar

Thanks for that. I would really love to see minis as holiday releases. My feeling is that those huge palettes like James Charles, Jaclyn Hill’s, Morphe 35, UD Elements, etc. are great for people who work in makeup artistry and smaller pots of the non-neutral colors would be appropriate for normal people.

I think James Charles’ palette design is excellent, with the neutrals being given greater quantities. Sizing that general layout down would be good for normal people.

Joy Avatar

Thank you for the time and effort and thought put into this article – it was truly an enlightening and enjoyable read. I am not the typical make-up buyer (I turned 71 this year), but I love being involved with it. About 8 years ago I started helping some indie brands do marketing, ladies who were making astonishing eye shadows but had no idea how to reach customers or write accurate (and enticing) descriptions. What I mostly learned, in all my researching, was how much incredible mark-up and hype was going on with major brands. For instance, one company sold brushes for more than $30 a piece, and when I painstakingly tracked down suppliers, could find the same brush for 23 cents. Things like really influenced how willing I was to blindly pay the full price for items and made me much more selective. Skip ahead a couple of years and I started finding reviewers I could really trust, like you, who continued to help me spend more wisely with your honest reviews. As someone who loved art, I previously “invested” in so many palettes because of the appeal to my eye and heart, and then found I couldn’t pull off most of the colours (I am extremely pale and cool-toned, which is not what the market caters to) and now I simply wait for you to warn me when things are warm-toned (sadly, it seems all the time). This last year has been especially disappointing (albeit good for my budget) when everyone was based on oranges and reds.

Interestingly enough, my focus changed to skincare the last two years, trying new items I wish I had available in my salad years, which seems to align with what your own study has shown. Now I need to find reliable guides in this area to provide the same information you provide on makeup. Once in a while I wander thru YouTube but mostly find (so far, at least) that reviewers seem to run either unbelievably “ooooh this is best thing in the world” or theatrically “I hate this,” so I just need to keep looking.

My one piece of advice I’d offer someone new to either field, makeup or skincare, is to learn which companies own multiple lines that basically provide the same benefits at different price points. Studying ingredients doesn’t always require a degree in the field, just a bit of time. Now, if I could find someone doing all that work for me, with realistic videos or blogs, I’d be ever-so-grateful!

Sorry, I know I’ve rambled on. Thank you for all you do for all of us – I have NEVER felt disappointed in you and hope you can work past feeling that way about yourself. You are a gem.

Christine Avatar

Thank you for sharing your perspective, Joy! It’s very cool to hear from you as I find your age group is often under-served by brands and the beauty community online, and also because you have a unique perspective based on your work with indie brands!

CK Avatar

Joy, check out Hot and Flashy and Pampered Wolf on YouTube. Angie is in her 50s and has some really great playlists on skincare and makeup ingredients, sunscreens, etc. for mature women. Gemma of Pampered Wolf often features her mom.

Jessica Avatar

Hi Christine, I’ve been an avid user of your website for a number of years, and have been watching the beauty community from the sidelines since the days of usenet. I liked your notation about the phoney promise of the “aspiration lifestyle.” A friend and I laugh at how “follow your dreams!” has become just so.. empty. Regarding the overabundance of new releases – I think it’s a shame. One of the things I like about makeup is its emotional/memorial nuance. Similar to perfume – the sensory experience of makeup is closely tied to our memories, it can embody experiential connections to our pasts. So many releases, by so many uneducated brands and pushed by so many uneducated “influencers”, I think, tend cheapen the experience, make it less special. The industry’s appears to be trying to push increasingly more and more expensive stuff in an attempt to re-create this sense of diminishing authenticity. One the one hand, I can appreciate the dissolution and chaos that is and will ensue. On the other, I miss watching the pride my depression-era Grandmother took when she used one Estee Lauder lipstick as her full makeup routine.

Ellen Avatar

My beauty stash was a big container when I showed it to the make up artist doing my wedding makeup, she said ” you never need to buy makeup again!” And that was 25 years ago!! Now I have a bag of extras under my sink (from the ever increasing sales on premium products that never ever used to be available for anything but full retail price)! Sephora, MAC and even Bobbi Brown routinely have 20 and 25% off sales, as experienced over the past Black Friday/Cyber Monday week. I feel pressure to replace staples when they are discounted, but then have more product than I need at one time, and less income to spend on the thrill of finding something new. I have many, many more eyeshadows than I will ever wear, because I truly didn’t know how to use them properly until recently, with the help of better brushes and video techniques, and got caught up in the new releases and sales, as mentioned above. I’m sure I have dupes or close dupes, yet always worry about having travel ready products. . My quest to find the perfect foundation has quelled and been replaced with too many eyeshadows, thanks to Anesthesia’s palettes, and the fact that warm tones are the best for my hair, eye color r and skintone. Yet I still don’t know whether to ascribe to the Bobbi Brown theory of yellow toned foundations for all, especially because my hair and eyes are warmly toned, or to got with lines that offer pink, yellow and neutral undertones because with red hair you have pink skin. Do you counter with a yellow foundation or match exactly with a pink toned one? I have both, and still don’t know the answer to the question. But I did recently buy a drugstore foundation that may very well be the best match I ever had. I looked at the L’Oreal ad for their True Match foundation, and the model with coloring most like my own was wearing their W1 original True Match foundation. That one is oil free, although laudably fragrance free, and my skin requires something with more moisture. So I bought the Lumi foundation in W 1-2. It is not very yellow, it is FF, moisturizing, and blends into my skin like a dream. And I bought it on sale for 30% off! to add to foundation frustration, Sephora has their Color IQ, Estee Lauder has a machine at the counter that will match you with a foundation, and Bare Minerals has an app to give you a custom blended shade! Sephora’s Color IQ is terrible in my opinion, and I have not tried the rest. But these tools add to the allure of cosmetic shopping as well, and likely drive sales. I, for one, am on an eyehshadow freeze unless I run out of something critical, and a lipstick one as well, unless MAC brings back the Velvetease lip pencil in OH Honey!! I usually have no qualms about returning something if it doesn’t perform, however, I recently went to return a completely unopened product because I had found a superior version of the same category, and the Sephora SA went to throw it out. I reiterated how it was completely unopened, seals intact, but she said she had to discard it anyway! I kept it since it had been my old staple, rather see it discarded for no reason! Now I feel terrible if I accidentally overbuy during a sale, as happened in the last Sephora VIB sale. There was a lipstick that I loved that had been discontinued, so when it came back I must have bought two at full price. It was in my stash bag, and I forgot and ordered two more at the recent VIB sale because it said they were running low, and i feared ti was being discontinued again. When I found the two I already had stashed, I realized that I will never finish four of them in my lifetime and would like to return or exchange them. But I pause at the thought of two perfectly good, unopened products being discarded. It is a financial, environmental and cosmetic crime. But I have to worry about my pocketbook too! So sales have become opportunities for companies to get you to buy more than you ordinarily would have to begin with! And I I have recently discovered fragrance, I am going DOWN!!!!!

Thank you for addressing a very relevant topic. You are correct, you are lucky that your job allows for your cosmetic spending. I feel guilty for mine!

Erin Avatar

This is a fantastic post! I’ve often wondered how you, as an influencer felt with the pace. It blows my mind how quickly things keep coming out. I feel like Colourpop puts something out every five days. I can’t keep up with that and can only imagine how their team feels as well. How do they constantly have launch parties and keep up with that demand? As well as shipping out all the samples. I can’t even begin to imagine how exhausted you are.

Thank you for giving such a great perspective!

Christine Avatar

I imagine ColourPop has a lot of people working for them and expanding all the time to keep up! I’d be more annoyed with ColourPop if they were putting out flops, but they do a lot of great products so affordable + high quality =/= hard to be mad.

Llorelei Avatar

I’ve been into the whole “beauty community” for about five years now, and I have to say in the past year I have really spent some time in self-examination and getting my makeup buying habits under control. It actually started with Kimberly Clark’s anti-haul videos and grew from there. I kind of looked around at my makeup collection and thought… “I have enough makeup here to last five lifetimes… why am I buying more?” The answer was hype and marketing. I followed so many “influencers” and companies on facebook, youtube, and instagram that I could no longer tell if I actually wanted that new makeup release anymore or if I just thought I did because I’d been told so often by others that I HAD to have it. So, I unfollowed every single company and every single person that I felt was trying to sell me something and, perhaps unsurprisingly, my makeup buying binges ceased almost completely. It was such a relief to no longer feel like I “had to” keep up with all these new products and could just enjoy the makeup I already own. I feel like perhaps I didn’t get out as soon as I could have, but I’m definitely glad I got out when I did since, as you mentioned, new releases are just coming faster and faster and quality seems to be decreasing with every new release.

Vii Avatar

Do you feel like there’s an increase in releases in the last few years?
–> Oh yeah, there has definitely been an increase. Releases are popping up every other week it seems like or hints it and then it comes out. Sometimes it seems to be the same thing reiterated over and over in new packaging which yes, trends but honestly for someone who has been in the game for a while, it gets a little lackluster. Someone who is newer, shoot there is probably more sparkles in their eyes.

Are you keeping up? Have you opted out? Are you opting out because you can’t keep up for whatever reason(s) or because you’ve already been part of the community for awhile and have acquired all you “need” for the most part?

–> I have leaned more towards opted out than buying every releases and every part of the collection. I have been part of the community for a while, exact years unknown but my interest in makeup picked up around 2009 but I wouldn’t say it really “picked up steam” until 2010/2011…ish? A lot. Let’s just say a lot. You did Youtube videos at one point about your reviews of the week or something of that nature. 😀 I’ve been having that feeling the last few years but more so this year of yeah okay, pretty sure I have acquired most of what I “need” and “want” at this point.

After a while, with resources like yours for example, I start seeing the releases with more of a critical mind. I have always done so but it’s more cemented in recent years. Perks of getting older. 😀 I know what colors work for me and although I am open to trying new aspects, I also have to realistically look at it and be do you really now. Your posts about is it worth it/etc, splurge or not, and saving over the years have helped me save some money. In the cases of money separation from the bank account, it is at least done with more of a critical mind. I think you are doing a fantastic job and with the way releases are churning out, it is very tough to keep up. Lots of hugs and thanks and warm wishes your way. We are our own worst critics and mental health is important.

Have you been caught up in the more aggressive marketing tactics used in beauty (more often than I recall before)? Or are you enjoying the thrill of new launches and releases or the variety that so many brands provide? Has the volume of limited edition releases devalued the whole concept of limited edition instead? Have the more obvious marketing tactics made you more immune to them?

–> In the past, probably more so. Now, very rarely. I enjoy seeing new launches and releases just to see what is out there but I don’t find myself so trigger happy to buy it. Anything that catches my eyes, I make sure I wait for the “hype” to die down a bit. Look at reviews and swatches to see what I have similar. I do use the vanity thing to add but for me, I made myself to a makeup inventory list that I now put up on Google Docs so that I can access it a little easier on the go. It lets me see my collection and put it up with a pending purchase to see if this want of mind is something I can justify. I recently justify the latest Pat McGrath’s Sublime Bronze because I got that $100 coupon from Sephora. 😀 If Decadence comes back, I hemmed and hawed over it, I will for sure get it this time! Ah well…money saved at least. T_T

Limited edition certainly doesn’t mean like it used too. You said something once about if the product was well received that it would be a good idea for the brand to bring it back as a permanent item. Instead of no, it’s limited edition once it’s gone it won’t be coming back…no wait just kidding here it is after hyping it up like the apocalypse is here etc. That is the part of the recent wave of limited edition I don’t particularly care for with this marketing tactic. This is turning out a lot longer response than I had intended but ah well. This is a good article and I am enjoying the discussion. Thanks a bunches.

Christine Avatar

It’s great that you’ve become more critical of your purchases! This is good behavior no matter the purchase, but it is so easy to forget to run through our internal checklists! It sounds like you’ve ridden the wave over time, so it’s no surprise that you’ve grown more immune to new and shiny… since it’s not really that new or that shiny anymore!

Thank you for answering so many of the questions I posed!

Dana Avatar

As a daily reader, this is the first topic I’ve felt compelled to comment on–mainly because I want you to know that you do an amazing job and your hard work is very much appreciated by your audience. I know I don’t just speak for myself when I say this, and it makes me sad to hear that you’ve been feeling like all that you do is…not enough. This is my favorite beauty review site because you do review just about everything known to man and I know you’ll be honest–it’s really hard to take reviews seriously when everything is “OMG you NEEEEEEEED this!”–and because your thoughtful reviews have helped me become more conscientious about what I buy. So, thank you!

It’s funny–I was just thinking recently about the seemingly breakneck speed of new beauty releases and I wondered if it was just me. I’ve amassed quite a collection of makeup over the past several years and I’m at the point now where it’s almost as if I’ve seen one shadow/highlighter/nail polish/etc I’ve seen ’em all. It seems like there’s a LOT of stuff out there, but the vast majority of it is very similar and it’s harder to get excited about new releases. Especially when the holiday LE’s are coming out before Halloween when I’m not even in the mood for it yet. The hype and the “Insta-famousness” wears me out; maybe I’m just grouchy, but this site is a breath of fresh air because I know the hype train doesn’t come to this station. I think that’s what really makes me want to swear never to buy anything again ever–no, not every makeup item is *that* good, and no, you do not need 27 different [expensive] skincare products in your routine, but to hear the Internet tell it, you’ll look like a wrinkled, boring hag if you don’t buy every.product.available. It’s just…overwhelming and ridiculous.

I really do wish things would slow down, and as someone mentioned earlier, it would be great if beauty brands would focus more on innovation and developing unique products.

Christine Avatar

Definitely seems like it’s not just you or me – something is happening in the industry for sure! Whether it’ll sustain itself, morph into skincare or what, time will only tell.

I think we still see some innovation but because there are so many releases, it’s hard to see interesting through a forest of the same, you know? I wonder how inventory looks for brands year over year, particularly since we’ve seen so many things go on sale – like Naked Heat came out recently and already promo’d for 50% off all over the place!

Michelle Avatar

I’m now over 50 and have been obssessed with the industry for 30+ years. Up until Sephora hit I was pretty loyal to MAC and Lancôme but now I buy from dozens of brands. Never really been into drug store brands even in my 20s.

2019 will be a turning point for me. I have more makeup than I could ever hope to use in my lifetime and recently gave away a small fortune of it.

Even skincare is not something that excites me as I’m at the age now where if I want to see a significant difference I need botox and filler and that’s what I’ll be spending my money on going forward. It dawned on me that it’s pontless to have all this gorgeous high end makeup if I don’t like the canvas it’s going on.

Miki Avatar

I used to be loyal to Lancome. It’s amazing to me to see how their products have stayed the same while everything else has improved tenfold. I try Lancome stuff now and it’s just, well, sub par! I find that so strange, because Lancome used to be the gold standard in luxury, and now it just falls flat. I think brand loyalty is the only reason Lancome is still standing!

Nikki Avatar

The pace of beauty is super-frantic right now, but it’ll slow down, as things do, and hopefully we’ll eventually hit a sweet spot. I’m very careful about what I buy (sometimes too careful-I ended up missing out on the ColourPop Disney Princess collection, even though I was interested in it, because I waited too long to buy) and I have a Sephora account but am not a Beauty Insider. I like watching YouTubers’ hauls sometimes, but I keep my personal pace manageable by focusing on buying what I love.

Rebecca Avatar

Christine, I personally like that you’re selective in what you choose to review and don’t feel let down by a lack of reviews on other items. It seems like you’ve been choosing to review brands with a reputation for producing quality products even if certain ones are duds. I agree with the observation that the pace of new releases is a bit over the top and overwhelming (I mean Kylie has released a Kim, a Khloe, a Kourtney, a birthday, and eons of other collections over the past year alone).

I like seeing products whose creators appear to be thinking on such products having a fairly regular place and function in one’s makeup application versus being a spur of the moment product to use maybe once.

Now I really like Shu Uemura and Danessa Myricks and would be really excited to see you review products from either brand in the future. I realize Danessa Myricks is fairly under the radar and Shu Uemura has limited availability in the USA only being available online now. It might be a tall order considering you get thousands of products but I’ll always be looking forward to your reviews regardless of what brands they are for.

AB Avatar

What a powerful, insightful and generous essay.

I’ve long been actively impressed by how you do what you do — so many releases, brands, products; consistent, high standard reviews; and all still being able to keep brands’ trends and histories in the stories. Now that I see the numbers, my mind is (further) blown.

Where am I … I hit a wall over last months, have opted out (though sure to be a phase only because I’ve been a beauty-aholic for most of my 50+ years). A little because I have all I need plus some, but mostly because the frenetic and even frantic pace of the industry and stores got to be too much.

I just sort of stopped enjoying going into the stores and grazing, sampling, discovering. So-so quality is now the rule more than the exception across all brands, and is even more disappointing in the high end brands. I tired of going to pick up something I’d read about here to find it was already off the shelf — LEs measured by the days almost. What brands are doing to get attention has crossed a line or two in my eye; that Revlon brand I think call Fresh was a big no for me what with those product names.

It just stopped being fun for me lately. I’ll get back in at some point — something will catch my eye, I’ll dip a toe back in. I know that. After things settle down. (But I read your blog every single day still!)

AB Avatar

Christine — thanks for your interest. No, nothing specific triggered this ‘opt-out’ that I can think of and it’s my first, yes. But I was so deeply in one could see this as an adjustment, but in fact it’s a weariness. I still love pretty things.

But let me see — generally, probably the culmination of various experiences. E.g., LEs not available after a month; three long term favorite products discontinued right in a row (Chanel blush; Guerlain foundation; SKII toner); many many distinctly unpleasant experiences with SAs (MAC everywhere, Bobbi Brown in Washington DC several times, Armani in Chicago, Sephora in Raleigh — to cite a few; sure, I get that middle aged women become invisible, but we’re the ones with the disposable income, so at least pretend); bewildering number of new brands with widely varying quality requiring research for very item; customer service issues like: MAC and LEs shortfalls and poor quality, Tarte account hacks and no notification, ABH fulfillment and also the ‘it’s the customers’ fault’ Sephora and MAC hyper aggressive email marketing practices; again, the Flesh line names was one of the triggers; high end $$ brands with so-so quality that make them unreliable. Etc.Honestly, I buy from Beautylish sometimes just to thank them for being so great.

But I’ll get back in. It’ll be more balanced versus the enthusiastic hobby it’s been, but that’s ok. My love of all things beauty dates to my earliest memories of my grandmother, it’s in my DNA.

Thanks again for all you do!

Litha Avatar

Thank you for such succinct and well written post!

I have been a beauty enthusiast for 3 decades and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but yes, I think I’ve reached my own personal saturation point. There are just SO many new releases All.The.Time. I miss seasonal releases of small capsule collections 2-4 times a year. I hate the speed which companies release new products these days and I loathe all the poor quality limited editions. It’s enough to make your head spin (and your wallet, too)!

I remember excitedly waiting for my new Allure magazine to be delivered each month in the 90’s (this magazine is still available but sadly a shadow of its former self, largely due to the loss of long term editor Linda Wells) as my main source to stay up to date on the latest beauty and skin care trends. This was before the internet, YouTube, Infuencers and the like. And on-line shopping as we know it today didn’t exist. If you wanted to try or buy new products you did it old school via a trip to the store.

I miss all of this. I swatched or sampled everything before I bought something. Boy, did that cut down on spending and/or buyer’s regret! I buy more than my fair share of products on-line these days, due to convenience more than anything else, which is not always a good thing. I’m trying to cut back on that and spend more time swatching and sampling in person like I used to. And if there I is no retailer near me to do so, I’m learning that I probably don’t really ‘need’ that product anyway!

JJ Avatar

I’ve been apart of the beauty community for 5-10 years and at this point I feel there are just to many new releases and too many limited editions to really make much stand out. For example I used to love the well done Mac limited collections when just a few were released a year. As they started to turn out more and at a faster rate I just started to notice a decline in the package and colors and quality.

It’s also not exclusive to them as how many naked palettes came out this year?(2-3 I think) compared to one a year or even a year plus apart. It’s just a lot of stuff and a lot of the same.

As someone who has a gaint collection, Who was always buying something new. I’m at the point where I really ask myself to I need this because it’s pretty or slightly different etc.

I’ve also hit the point where Im just not wowed by products like I used to be.

Bottom line I’m just at the point where I don’t really buy much or feel the need to whether that be high end or drug store. I mean literally the last thing I bought was a clearance balm pallet with colors and products I already love for travel.

Nell Avatar

Thank you Christine for this insightful, informative and revealing look at the current beauty industry. There is much competition and vastly changing areas of marketing. Profitability is always the driving factor.

New product releases tempt us all to have a look. New colors for the season and the latest trend fad is exhilarating. Perhaps it’s fear of missing out that drives limited editions. Influencers highly touting the newest offering create buzz. The industry knows all this, and more.

The choice to become more selective in the brands to consider is wise for all. I’m not interested in those brands that appear to market and produce for the very young teen. Our needs and desires are different, thus it makes sense to skip those. I choose to pass on fashion forward brands or the latest starlet branded line. I’ve noticed a large move toward skincare and I won’t be buying that either. I have a great dermatologist whose plan I follow. I couldn’t care less about gimmicks. Packaging needs to be reliable as do shipping boxes. I can be happy with drug store, high end or niche as long as the product performs, lasts and generally makes me feel I look my best.

Please know that I am not about to purchase anything without checking Temptalia first. The overwhelming number of options has driven me to become a careful shopper, and I appreciate Temptalia as a trustworthy platform on which I can depend for answers. You have helped me and countless others to make the best choices for our needs, and not be wasteful of resources and product. For this I am deeply grateful.

Finally, your site is wonderful, but your time and hours are not. You have built a reliable, dependable and exciting business. With the non stop hours and seven day work weeks you will soon come close to burnout. Pace yourself and please be careful. Your physical and mental health should be nurtured too. Take a break, we will be here when you return. Perhaps you might consider posting five days a week, or something else to lighten your load. We will wait! Stay true to your plan, you are doing a fabulous job.

Christine Avatar

Yeah, I really wondered if it was more or if it was just me or something else entirely… but it does seem like it’s more overall. The whole idea of “fear of missing out” didn’t seem to be as much of a marketing tactic 5 or 10 years ago as it is now. Oh, sure, a lot of us knew if you snoozed you lost out on that MAC LE but it wasn’t like that for most brands!

I’ve been posting seven days a week for years – I’m good 🙂 I actually used to work more hours than I do now, by a little bit. But boy oh boy, traffic dips even if I visit my parents for the weekend and have all my posts scheduled and ready to go!

Nicole D Avatar

Excellent read Christine!! The pace of the beauty launches is insane and as you mentioned, I find that sales were in most part “social and community-driven” for the past years. The video that Samantha Ravndhal posted is a symptom of a feeling of discomfort that is growing among the consumers. It takes guts to put out that video; for an influencer to admit that receiving an insane amount of PR was not only bad for the environment and a waste of money as many PR products ended up not being reviewed or shown to her viewers, but had consequences on the way she was viewing/appreciating the products. Because you either don’t have the time to properly review these products or you end up with superficial reviews. She also said she became sort of “out of touch” with respect to how much money consumers spent on products she took for granted, until she wanted to place an order and realized that the shipping & taxes were more or as much as the product itself. Many YT influencers are raving about a product, people buy it, and a few months later the same influencer puts out a video showing the product being decluttered. Or they end up doing a video that sounds like “I don’t like the anymore products I just reviewed a couple of months ago, here you have others that perform better”. Comments like “Hey, you just said that’s the best powder and I spent $$ amount of money and now you say this one is better” remain answered at best or are deleted.

One might argue that we are all adults and we should use our judgement and not buy every product an influencer is raving about. I would say that we need more ethical and thorough reviews from the influencers. I have nothing against PR; but if you get PR, you either review it for the consumers or you get your name off the PR list if you consider getting too much. Or at least show swatches. But just to throw the products in the “give away” bin after receiving tons of PR packages, is not fair. Influencers get PR because they have followers = potential buyers/consumers.

To be honest, I’ve become fed up and unsubscribed from those that just post videos showing swatches of the new “toys” or doing GRWM where they rave about new makeup but without any follow-up.
Sometimes I get the feeling that the beauty industry is functioning in a fast-food mode.

I like your style Christine. I used to spend a lot on subpar products before discovering your blog. Not anymore. You don’t compromise quality for quantity and pressure. You help your readers make better and informed choices when it comes to beauty and that’s revolutionary and innovative nowadays.
p.s. I hope to have been coherent as it’s very late when I’m writing this comment 🙂

Christine Avatar

For most reviewers, they are reviewing a handful of products a week, if that, so it seems very easy to accumulate an excess of product veryyy quickly. I’d love to see brands work more closely with the people they send out product to in order to avoid sending irrelevant/unwanted product and find ways to connect to facilitate product. I know I prefer to work on a by-request basis with brands that I’m unfamiliar with or know that I don’t cover 24/7.

We all have some personal responsibility to be more cognizant in what we’re purchasing and why, but sometimes you have to get burned a few times before you think more critically about what you’re considering. It’s not always an issue of honesty but recognizing that what works for one person may not work for you and vice versa – are you taking their preferences and skin type/skin tone/etc. into consideration? what else has this person tried?

Food for thought: I review a lot of products, but I still donate some portion of products that are sent my way. I receive products from brands that I’ve never received an email from – that I don’t have a contact name or number or email for. I have explicitly told brands that I don’t think it would be a good fit or it’s not something I think I’d get to, and they’ll send it anyway. There are also lots of products that are interesting but at the end of the day, I have to make a decision on what to cover and cannot cover everything. I also receive products 4-6 weeks after launch that I’ve already purchased. I spend thousands on products hoping to review and end up not reviewing. It really is not a matter of fairness, IMO. I do my best, but I couldn’t just give you swatches of everything I’ve received or purchased for possible review. I’d do nothing else but photograph/swatch and I might still not have time to actually edit and post all of those swatches. Part of the process of creating content is the selection and curation based on what is or isn’t a good fit for the type of video, the audience, timing, etc.

Nicole D Avatar

Christine, that’s the key word right there, « review ». What you do IS reviewing, like in testing the product during the day (texture, performance, colour, ingredients, accuracy vis-à-vis the brand’s claims), comparing to other products from the same category etc. Reviewing is a lengthy and thorough process. Many YT influencers gave up on that, sacrificing quality for quantity. Just parading the products in front of the viewers on YT, swatching lipsticks and eyeshadows on their arm, cannot be called “reviewing the product”. Call it “what I bought/received this week” but not reviewing.

I am all with you; an influencer can’t review all the products received from the brands and she/he has to make a decision. That’s normal and perfectly fine. Raving about a product just because the colour is gorgeous but not mentioning that there is fallout or that the staying power is not great, that’s misrepresentation at best, although I would call it lack of professionalism. You chose the hard path while others chose the easy one.

Christine Avatar

Well, my point was more that those who receive PR often receive more than they cover in general, even if they are diligent and have good intentions, and I don’t personally think the solution is they should swatch it all or else – that was my personal disagreement with what you said. Nothing to do with being honest or making sure to mention both pros/cons etc.!

Susan Nevling Avatar

I have not read any other comments and am not an economist. I adore makeup.
That said, the economy is stagnant or slowing in many sectors yet still expanding in others. I don’t think growth is sustainable in the current world climate. Nevertheless, even in the great depression, a woman could somehow splurge on a new lipstick.
I expect the beauty market will slow down but not go away completely unless there is a true world disaster. Just my opinion based on my loves and my voracious appetite for reading. The last things I would give up would be a moisturizer with sunscreen, mascara, and a moisturizing lipstick.

Brenda C Avatar

I can purchase anything I want, money is no object. I don’t get excited for a new releases anymore. It is so overwhelming now that it’s almost too much to take in. There are eye shadow palettes upon eye shadow palettes, blush, foundation on and on. Limited Editions used to make my heart race, now I don’t even look, I’m not wasting my time staying up all night or getting up at a ridiculous hour to buy something that’s going to sell out. I love makeup, it’s a big part of my life but I won’t be a hostage to it. Yes I do like Pat McGrath, most of her products are top of the line, I will pay for top of the line. I am on a no-buy right now because I have enough makeup to last me for a long time, I don’t need any more makeup, I don’t need to buy something just because I like the look, smell, colour etc of it. It’s wasteful, I can spend my money elsewhere on other things that I need. And Christine, you do a wonderful job. You can only do what you can do. When your plate is as full as your’s then just concentrate on what you do best, like you do.

Nicole Jeanne Avatar

Christine, this has got to be the best damn blogpost I’ve read in your entire blogging career! First of all, you should get an award for this Pulitzer prize winning writing. 🙂

This article was very insightful and thought-provoking. I am 34 years old and have been into makeup since a teen, first being enamored with makeup ads in fashion magazines, then learning about makeup tips and tricks from YouTubers like Michelle Phan, to now following “makeup gurus” on social media. In the past 5 years, I’ve noticed a mental shift in me. I’m overwhelmed by all of the makeup choices out there. I feel anxious and stressed out when I see all of the makeup products sitting in my tiny bathroom. I find myself questioning, “Why do I keep buying eyeshadow palettes and lipsticks when I only have one face and will never use up all of these products in my lifetime?” And in my constant search for the perfect makeup products for myself, I realized there is no true “holy grail” product if I continue to be aware of every SINGLE brand and product that comes out. If I find something I love, then keep it and stick to it. And STOP the constant search out there for something better.

I now consider myself a minimalist. I live moderately and am aware of all the things I purchase. I have 1 foundation, 1 concealer, 1 eyeshadow palette, 2 blushes, a few lipsticks, etc, just the basics of what I need. All of my makeup fits in one cosmetic bag. I ENJOY hitting pan. It gives me pure satisfaction and joy to see that myself use an entire product. Then I go out and buy a new product to replace it with, and perhaps try a different brand. When I see makeup ads by Too Faced or MAC promoting their latest collection every few weeks, it doesn’t have the same magical power over me. It’s more stuff. More stuff that I don’t need, that is promoting constant consumerism, and encourage more waste in our world.

I applaud the shift in influencers who are fighting back against the capital consumerism and materialism, being more cognizant of how our planet and how wasteful all of this “stuff” is. I agree, it’s going to be interesting to watch as this unfolds and affects the economy.

Thank you as always for your blog posts and reviews. I’ve been reading and following since the beginning when you were in law school. Although I’m not into buying makeup on a consistent basis like I used to, I still enjoy intermittently reading about the latest and greatest makeup products. And when I finish my blush and go shopping for my next replacement, I will definitely look to your blog for reviews on what new blush to try. <3

Christine Avatar

From the sounds of it, you must have done a big declutter at some point or did you shift to a no-buy to get through more of what you have?

It is a fine line to walk since the nature of the industry is more consumptive than functional (makeup is not really a “need” but a “want” for most, and even stretching “need,” there is only so much rationalization you can put in the “need” bucket) for influencers and the like but we can do our part to be a little more sensitive to how and why we can influence to do so as responsibly as possible!

Gabriela Gonzalez Avatar

I completely agree with this post. I have been feeling tired lately as there are so many new things coming out but they all look so similar. I´m not against swatches as they are an important part of reviews but I want brands to show me looks in their instagram accounts and not only swatches. I want to see what I can actually do with their products. I feel like that with more look ideas I´ll actually finish the product and will feel the need for a new one.

Another important thing is the amount of waste this all produces. We´re all here having fun as if all the waste produced by our endless consumption generates and I appreciate when palettes from affordable brand are cardboard. Unless you´re speding big cash on a palette I don´t see the need to have plastic and a mirror. I wanted so badly to purchase the vault of shuper shock but I coincidentally finished a super shock and saw that the size of the package was unnecessary due to the size of the product. What to do with all this waste then? I would like to see brands come up with a greener approach to this issue.

All this brings me to my next idea that´s that companies need to release quality products. I recently purchased Morphe´s 35B palette and I have absolutely no idea what to do with it. The quality is so terrible I can´t use it, there´s no pigmenation at all! Setting aside the fact that I paid 35ausd for it, there´s also the problem of what to do with this rubbish, throw it away? give it to someone else knowing that this person won´t be able to use it? it´s a plastic palette that will never degrade!

I hope that vloggers change direction and focus more on look books and less on new releases.

JULIE F Avatar

I am a quiet reader, seldomn post. I am both amazed and thankful for your blog. I am also thankful for your readers. I have gained so much valuable info from them on top of the outstanding work you do. You could never let us down.
I work too hard in a hospital and I’m learning I only have 1 life, I have to learn to say no. Christine, you have a life too! Dedicated readers have become your friends, they will understand slowing it up a bit, and will still love you!
I always love the part where readers share their BY and there tips. Perhaps a daily spot where readers can respond to others questions, or takes on new items could help you? You deserve some help, and have some very knowledgeable readers!!

Christine Avatar

It’s normally just during the holiday season where it gets really crazy – most of the rest of the year, it’s more like 10-12 hours a day and just has more room for error (like if I have to spend half a day dealing with life things!). Fortunately, it’s not work for me most of the time – don’t really have any hobbies outside of makeup! I don’t even know what I’d do with myself if I had more hours to do anything I wanted, truly.

Zoe Avatar

What a stunning piece! Great job, as always, Christine. You consistently articulate the state of the online beauty community and trends with such measured and thoughtful words. I love how you cite lots of figures and also provide further reading.

As far as this beauty hype machine goes… It really has gotten kind of crazy, huh? Personally, I have been inundated with releases and don’t buy nearly as much makeup as I used to. It’s become a lot harder to keep up with the constant stream of products. It has increased and it’s fatiguing. I have a lot of stuff that takes a long time to use up. I am active on r/makeuprehab, many members of which share a similar sentiment. Never mind the fact it’s entirely too expensive to actually buy everything of interest.

I still read your site almost every day. I still check out releases on Musings of a Muse, and watch Beauty News on YT, along with my fave MUA’s Lisa Eldridge and Dustin Hunter. But aside from that… I am kind of checked out of the beauty sphere. It’s just too much. The more aggressive marketing messaging (I work in Marketing, lol) doesn’t appeal to me. I delete more beauty emails than I open. I shop less sales than I used to.

Obviously it’s working on some people. I know a lot of young women who spend most of their paychecks on makeup and have stacks of palettes that they “collect” but don’t really use. I guess they haven’t hit their peak saturation point, but I have and need a break.

Christine Avatar

It feels a little extra these days for sure, Zoe! Like it’s always been a very industrious marketplace with lots of new releases at any given time, but there’s something about this year and perhaps a bit of 2017 (in retrospect) that feels different to me.

I get a little bummed whenever I see someone make a comment about needing to get paid before they buy something, even though I know that the comment gets made and doesn’t necessarily mean they’re spending all of it on makeup or that they don’t have savings, etc. (could be some % of every paycheck set aside for “fun” money!)… but I get worried.

Aurore Avatar

I will say it again, but I follow you for a good 8 years, and the job you do and how you improved it commands respect. I’ve been reading you almost every day, I am not ready to change this.

At my level, and in my field, I also feel the pressure of my community for more content, more trendy, which is not always what I want to do. I think that doing your best at what you love is enough, and from what I’ve seen, people will feel it and they respect you for staying true to yourself.

As a beauty consummer for 10 years, I remember the time when finding a foundation pale enough for me was a dream come true. Not only I have a very big collection today (more than a lot of mua that I know xD ) but I pay closer attention to dupes I may own, performances and pricing. I am also more focused on displaying my collection the right way so I can visualise what I own and what I need at any moment. So I’d say I’ve become wiser in my product choice, but I’ve also become allergic to any form of buzz or trend : this helps a lot in my product search 😀

Please continue to do what you love and how you like to do it, that’s the most important in the end I think

Christine Avatar

Over the last year or so, I’ve weighed whether I should go back to YouTube, but my heart isn’t in it. Blogging is more my style and plays to my strengths, so I remain here as a blogger as there’s not an actual reason to switch over, but each year that passes and more blogs go by the wayside, I consider it a little bit more.

Aurore Avatar

I know how you feel : I’ve started to be more active on Instagram, but I’m still more comfortable on Facebook.

But from my point of view you should definitely stay focused on your blog, because on YT or other social medias you are not free to diffuse your content to all of your audience, the platforms wants you to pay for that. On a blog, the audience can see everything you post and come to see your content.

It’s frustrating to see that people who want to follow you only see you once in a while, for you and your audience as well.

Silvija Avatar

Thank you for the great article! I live in Europe and started paying more attention to the makeup and high end brends two years ago. I have nowhere near amount of products some people have, but still consider I have a lot. I’ve noticed I am influenced by hype, and want to purchase new stuff (e.g. UD Heat or Cherry palette), but then, as it is pretty expensive for me, my rational side wakes up. My goal for 2019 is to find the right balance of low and high end products in my stash and to declutter. I recently purchased my first UD palette – Naked 3 just because I love and want to wear those colors (+ your review helped). I realized that e.g. Heat, as much as I love the colors there, I would not use much because I already have similar shades in my singles. I am more obsessed with skincare and am really into Asian Beauty but Western brands are still dominating in my makeup collection. Even though I can’t afford a lot of high end products, I still enjoy your reviews, especially W’n’W ones! 🙂

Christine Avatar