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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Aberdeen chapter.

Have Bloggers Sacrificed Authenticity?


Blogging and vlogging seems to have exploded over the past few years. When I started University, bloggers were still relatively unheard of, and school kids were not going into S1 with perfectly pencilled-in eyebrows. Growing numbers of young people are tuning in to bloggers online and taking their advice on everything from what toothpaste to use to how to find your perfect eyebrow pencil shade. Don’t get me wrong- blogs are a great place to find out about new products, and I do check them out all the time to see if there’s anything I want to try myself, but I can’t help wondering if they are promoting products simply because they have been sent them for free, when they would never have picked them up in stores themselves.




The joy of reading blogs for me was that they used to be run by girls like us. They were students or recent graduates who had a passion for makeup and fashion and chose to spend whatever money they had left over from the month on clothes and makeup they could truly afford. Very quickly, brands caught onto the huge influence these ‘normal’ girls (and guys) had on consumers and started sending them products for free. I won’t lie and pretend that if I was being sent the newest Giorgio Armani foundation, I wouldn’t be wearing it and talking about it (if I liked it), but something about it seems fake to me, and recently, the whole bloggers-being-sent-free-products thing has spiralled out of control.


Last week I saw one blogger talking about the furniture she’d been sent for her new house, and another one complaining about paying taxes on her Instagram story- as if nobody else on Earth pays taxes- and it made me feel uneasy. What makes it worse is that this blogger is being sent thousands of pounds worth of free products every month, which I don’t doubt more than reimburses them for the tax they’re paying: a luxury the rest of us don’t have.


Again, I’d be lying if I said that on the off-chance Swoon Editions emailed me asking if they could send me a couch and a side-board I’d turn them down. That is absolutely not the case, my student flat would look like the inside of their brochure and I’d be spending my money on M&S food shops every week instead. BUT, Swoon Editions won’t message me and ask that, because they don’t message the every-girl, and so bloggers don’t represent us anymore in the same way they once did.

Similarly, skincare products that have saved them from their acne struggle seems like a great video to watch when you’ve got a breakout that won’t budge, until you realise their regime includes a £200 moisturiser and a £150 mask and a £100 serum. It doesn’t work like that for everyone. More and more often we are seeing bloggers complaining that they ran out of something ‘ages ago’ and hadn’t got around to buying another one, so thank GOODNESS they were sent a fresh one by a brand. You’ve got to ask yourself, would they have bought it themselves? No, they wouldn’t, because something else has been sent to them and that’ll fill the void for now.


I now avoid watching sponsored videos, and I don’t like sponsored photos on Instagram for the same reason. These girls are no longer authentic in my opinion, because their lifestyle is completely unattainable. It leaves the rest of us feeling sub-par because we can’t buy a different foundation for every day of the week, and can’t have pink velvet armchairs costing £700 a piece. It doesn’t sit well with me that they rant and rave about getting all these products for free, travel all over the world doing press trips, get to take their significant other with them, and still complain about their job. How horrific to imagine that some people get up at 6:30am every day, work in an office 9-5, only get six weeks holiday a year AND have to pay for all their clothes, skincare, make-up, furniture, trips abroad… (you get the idea).

Maybe I’m a little bit jealous- who wouldn’t be? I save up for months so I can travel in the Summer and if someone sent me on a trip to the Maldives with my best friends for free I’d be elated, but that’s not how the world works.  Not everyone gets £500 vouchers for Bicester Village to spend on a Sunday afternoon. So, for now I’m taking a step back and thinking about whether or not I would still want that hairspray if everyone on YouTube hadn’t been sent it for free, because I’d imagine it seems a lot nicer when you haven’t forked out £45 from your student budget (and sacrificed your lunch for the week) to buy it.


(P.S. This isn’t to say all bloggers only talk about things they have been sent or complain about taxes. For example, Tati Westbrook always seems to give a genuine opinion and her and her husband consistently say in videos that they would rather her viewers got a discount on products than if she was gaining commission from a sponsored link- we need more of these gals in the world).


All Images: Google Images