I never thought I would admit this. Throughout my 5-year blogging journey, I was all about searching for the newest makeup release, buying it, swatching and writing a review.
I wanted to be one of the first people to buy the hottest product so that I could be one of the earliest to review for the blog, and I thought that would optimize my SEO and help my blog land on the first page on Google. And some of my posts did end up on the first page.
When I first started blogging, I discovered the wonderful world of makeup. When I was a teen, I didn’t wear much of it except for eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, and the occasional blush and lipstick. I never wore foundation or brows until I was 23. I started going full-face when I was able to wear contact lenses. When my face ballooned from prednisone, I started learning how to contour. There is only so much puffiness you can hide, especially when you take a high dose of prednisone like 20 mg or more, but it made me feel confident. I’ve always had pretty low self-esteem about the way I looked and body dysmorphia, so makeup was my saving grace. So that was when my obsession with buying and wearing makeup began.
So what happened now? I was the one who people turned to for product recommendations. I was the one who would get compliments at work or randomly about my eyeshadow or bold lip. I was the one who gifted others (or was given myself) with beauty gift sets.
I also have some new makeup from a few months ago that I said I would review, but have never come around to it.
Beauty content is getting really formulaic for me.
It seems like a lot of my reviews was the same. Here’s a standard outline of a beauty post:
Intro (Name product, price, size)
Body paragraphs (first impressions, formula, pigmentation, etc.)
Swatch with photos and a photo of yourself
Conclusion (overall impressions, would I recommend, etc.)
Same ol’, same ol’.
Now, I know that I shared beauty blog post ideas that don’t require hauls or reviews. But even then, I can’t get myself to take photos over the weekend of my products and write up a post. I haven’t even shared any of my latest Project Pan check-ins.
Makeup is expensive, but I’m enjoying travel and fashion content more.
If you have noticed, my most recent posts have been travel-related. I shared with you guys my posts about Downieville, London, Stonehenge/Bath, and Paris. I love to travel even if I have only been to 9 countries (including US where I live and the Philippines where I was born) and 9 states in the US (including California where I live). I love exploring new places with Cecilio or returning to our favorite places. I love storytelling and sharing our journey to somewhere new. Travel photography has always been one of my favorite things too. I also seem to get a lot more traffic on my travel content. While most of my audience is still primarily female, I also noticed that I get more male readership (aside from Cecilio).
I am also getting back into fashion and after discovering midsize style despite my prednisone-induced weight gain. Sure I would love to lose 20 pounds, but it’s not in the cards for me right now and rather than beating myself up and hating myself for a chronic illness I didn’t ask to have, I want to be able to wear cute, stylish things with confidence. And I think I have been able to pull off nice outfits. I have been sharing my outfits on Instagram, and when I applied to be an influencer for rewardStyle and LiketoKNOW.it, I got accepted (shameless plug: if you are interested in seeing or shopping my outfits, download the LiketoKNOW.it app and follow me here). I’ve been buying more clothes than usual (thanks to Black Friday and Small Business Saturday), but I plan to slow down and mix and match my new outfits with my older pieces.
I was horrified when I reached Sephora VIB Rouge AND Ulta Diamond this year. That meant that I spent $2,200 overall between both stores. I could have purchased two tickets to Japan with that amount of money without trying to scrimp for the cheapest ones.
Even though I don’t travel as much as I would like, I try to maximize the quality of my posts, and I try to branch out to the specifics of each destination (for example, I talked about the London Eye Champagne Experience). And I plan to share more about my city. Sure, Sacramento is not glamorous like SF or LA. And we have a reputation for being a “stopover” city for Lake Tahoe, Napa, and SF. But it is still a pretty hip, medium-sized cosmopolitan city with a strong beer and coffee culture. We have restaurants that pride themselves on serving dishes from local, high-quality ingredients. There’s a pretty big blogging community here too (shoutout to The Blog Bloc).
But not buying as much makeup, clothes and not eating out at the expensive restaurants in the gentrified area where I work will help me save for future travels. Here’s how I see it: makeup is only for me, but travel is for Cecilio and me.
I don’t have the desire to buy as much makeup.
Okay, that’s a partial truth. I may or may not order something from ColourPop. But the desire to buy makeup isn’t as strong as it used to be. When trendmood announces the latest release, I’m unimpressed and “meh”. When I walked into Ulta the other day to get my eyebrows waxed and the brow lady wasn’t there, I walked around to see if there was anything I would’ve been interested in purchasing. Needless to say, I walked out empty-handed. Well, I needed makeup remover wipes and sponges. But the Hannah from 3 years ago would’ve gone crazy buying multiple $20 lipsticks and a few bronzers.
I have so many palettes that almost share similar colors. And I have multiple blushes but still end up only using a few.
So moving forward, I plan to share more lifestyle, lupus, travel and fashion posts. Eventually, I want to travel enough to have a map on this blog and a travel tab with all of the destinations I have been to. I worry that blogging (especially in the travel niche) will die down in 5 years, and I won’t have much to show for it if I go to only one big destination a year. That is why I am trying to save for Japan next year, maybe South America and/or South Africa in 2021, and back to Europe in 2022. And 2022 is the year we can start trying to have children.
I think I still will do beauty content, but I have to be in the absolute mood to do so. It’s just not going to be the main niche of this blog like it used to be, even if I do lose readership from fellow beauty bloggers. And it’s okay to shift in a different direction as you grow and evolve as a writer, a blogger or an individual.
Hannah is a travel writer, graphic designer, and the founder/editor of Hannah on Horizon. She is based in Sacramento, California, living with her husband and two adorable dogs. She shares tips on how to experience luxury travel on any budget, and how to maximize time at each trip or destination, no matter what your budget or amount of vacation time at work. She enjoys making you feel like you have visited each destination with her through her storytelling and informative writing style.