8 ways blogging has changed from 2009 to 2015


When Do Not Refreeze was born in March 2009, it was very much early days for beauty blogging. I’ve mentioned it before in various posts over the last couple of years, but it’s just insane how different the entire industry is now. Even the fact that you can call it an industry is nothing short of astounding when you consider its infancy. This post I read recently by Louise at Freckled Elle (formerly known as Affordable Treats, a fellow class of 2009 alumni!) sent me into a fond reminiscence of the old days, so inspired by Louise I thought it might be fun to take you on a trip down memory lane and compare it to the beast that is beauty blogging in 2015. Are you sitting comfortably?

1. The evolution of nude lips
The very phrase ‘nude lips’ conjures up an entirely different image today to what it did six years ago. In 2009, nude lips meant blanked-out concealer nude – or jizz lips as I like to call them. Classy girl, me. The most popular choices among bloggers included GOSH Darling, MAC Myth and Natural Collection Apple Blossom (the latter of which you can see me sporting here if you fancy a throwback!). In 2015, nude lips are more natural, ‘my lips but better’ shades, if you don’t mind a 2009 buzzword! The Illamasqua Glamore Nude lipsticks here are a much more accurate depiction of today’s nude lips.

2. Colour is out, neutral is in
A few years ago, we would all go batshit crazy over the impending launch of a colourful eyeshadow palette or collection. Today, it’s all about the neutrals – and brands know this. Even colour kings like Urban Decay and Illamasqua have launched a slew of supremely wearable products over the last year or two (much to my chagrin). While I do love to wear colour when I bother to give myself the time, I totally understand, appreciate and take advantage of the ease of neutrals.

3. Collections have downsized
I used to have an obscenely sized beauty collection. Even more obscene was the speed at which it grew! Beauty collection videos frequently popped up in my YouTube subscription box, but these days we all seem to have downsized quite considerably. I for one got rid of well over half my stuff when I last moved at the beginning of 2014, and capsule makeup collections have become a bit of a trend in a similar vein to capsule wardrobes. Quality over quantity, innit? Although let’s not forget that, compared to that of the average consumer, the amount of makeup we own is still pretty shocking. ;-)

4. Less is more
Sort of an encapsulation of points two and three. Not only have our collections become smaller and our colours more muted, even the very looks that are most popular now follow the ‘less is more’ rule. Well, to an extent – the outsiders will never comprehend the sheer amont of products required to create a well-practiced and perfected ‘natural look’!

5. We’re branching out
Only a handful of blogs that I read (and have read for years) are still purely beauty-focused. Lifestyle is the biggest buzzword in blogging now; these days we tend to follow blogs more for the author and the want to get to know them rather than the need for straight information. We want to know what each other are up to day-to-day, what we’re eating, where we’re travelling – and we like writing about it, too, so it seems to fit. It seems to be a fairly natural progression that many bloggers have been weaving more of their personality into their sites.

6. Community spirit vs. hero worship
Reader engagement is a funny old thing. This is something I’ve touched on once or twice before, but back in my day (-brandishes walking stick-) there were so few of us that we all religiously commented on each other’s blogs, all the time, and chatted to one another over Twitter. We were all equals. What with the rise of the internet celebrity, those with that untouchable status are bombared with constant messages from their superfans without even doing anything (infuriating, I’m sure, granted) while the lowly mortals sit around twiddling their thumbs and praying to the blogging gods that we might get just one comment please on the post we just wrote. I’m not bitter, I swear..

7. A new career path
Ok, no bullshit now. As much as I am prone to a touch of the green eyed monster, there are a league of full-time bloggers building a real brand around themselves and making a living from writing who I have some serious respect for. In 2009, while there were already a very small handful of pioneers doing it, the idea of turning your blog into a sustainable, full-time job was still laughable. In 2015, we’re seeing more bloggers than ever eschew the nine to five in favour of being their own boss and that is frankly pretty damn awesome.

8. Beauty journalism: online vs print
Again, something I’ve mentioned in passing before but let’s elucidate. Beauty blogs first started growing in popularity because people trusted them so much more than traditional media, because we were (and most still are) giving real, unbiased opinions on products and services. Slowly but surely, as blogging has become more commercial and lucrative, many blogs have been adopting a more editorial, magazine-like style. This is one that’s always puzzled me, but there you go.

9. …But some things never change
It always has been and always will be fascinating to witness the evolution of blogging. No matter what, blogging always has been and always will be one hell of a ride. So thanks for joining me on it!

19 thoughts on “8 ways blogging has changed from 2009 to 2015

  1. Great post, lovely! It is ridiculous how much product we get through, isn’t it? I was all pleased with myself as I’ve narrowed it all down to three cabinets…and that’s just make-up! I’m currently ignoring my excessive skincare collection until further notice xx

  2. I’ve been blogging since 2011 so you’ve got 2 years on me but even I’ve seen a massive change in blogging, not only in the makeup trends but what it’s like to be a blogger, how we post etc. Who would have ever thought in 2009 that bloggers/vloggers would be taken serious enough to be on stuff like Loose Women because I sure didn’t. I know when I first started blogging my OH used to say what a pointless thing to do (I ignored him, as I do) but now he fully understands why i do it (but he still can’t grasp how I can write 3 paragraphs about one product haha).

    I do think there are 2 different types of ‘blogs’ now, there are the magaziney ones which contain very little personal opinion (not keen on those) and then there’s the ones that I follow for the author and for the overall personality and tone of the blog, I love the ones (like yours) that I can trust wholeheartedly and know that they’re not lying about anything to succeed with brands etc.


  3. Oh I really enjoyed this! 2009/2010 is when I started reading blogs and eventually started my own in 2010. It all seemed a lot simpler back then, it wasn’t about stats and followers, more sharing opinions with your readers! Although saying that I love how blogs have become a media source in their own right now, it’s fun watching bloggers evolve and adapt! xx

  4. Oh I so agree with the ‘praying for a comment’ part! I think there’s a difference now though between bloggers who have ‘fans’ who are interested in the blogger/vlogger themselves over and above the information that’s being given. That’s one of the biggest dividing lines that I’ve seen – fans vs readers.

    1. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there! I don’t know why that hadn’t really occurred to me, or at least I couldn’t figure out quite how to articulate it but you’re bang on.

  5. It’s crazy how much things have changed in a relatively short amount of time! I must admit I still have a bit of a soft spot for Gosh Darling! I don’t own a tube, but I kind of want to haha! xx

  6. I loved this post as it touches on so many great points. I miss the old days of blogging (I started in 2011) where you could do your own thing and not worry about anything. Oh how times have changed.

    1. Thank you! You’re right – and even though it’s the done thing to move with the times it’s definitely still nice to look back fondly to when things were much simpler. Good lord, I really do sound like an old woman.

  7. I’ve been reading blogs since around 2008. Things have changed an awful lot since then. I think a lot of reading for trusted reviews has gone from the bigger/full time blogs. There are less I can trust now I think. When peoples ‘favourites’ posts or videos are half full of things they’ve been given or paid to mention I just can’t trust them. Funny that some of these ‘favourites’ never seem to get a mention ever again. Lots of these bigger blogs never seem to interact with comments any more, I can’t understand that if it is your full time job you couldn’t manage 15 mins to reply to a handful of comments a day.
    I enjoy blogs that have a bit of real life to them, rather than a photo of a lipstick in its packaging next to a candle/vase or flowers/stack of posh magazines, with no photo of it being used or real review of it. That’s the reason why I favoured blogs over magazines, for honest reviews and decent pictures of the product being used.
    The whole hero worship thing is pretty weird and scary to me. I can see it getting out of hand at some point and one of those girls getting mobbed or something by a bunch of excited 13 yr olds. I think the blogs I’ve followed like yours over the last 4-5 years have matured as I have (now 29), and a few of the Gleam blogs have almost become a bit immature to appeal to teenagers, although those girls are around 25.
    I remember Gosh Darling and all of the other concealer lip colours that were so popular. And the obsessions over the latest Mac Mineralised Skin Finish colour. I still have favourites from then, mostly from lollipop26.

  8. Oh gosh, yes – the not replying to comments thing really drives me mad. And the fact that they justify it (and everything else) by saying ‘oh but it’s so haaard, I’m sooo busy forever, I work like 25 hours a daaay’. Pur-lease. And you’re right about the Gleam thing, some of them seem to have really regressed in maturity if you compare their current content to their older stuff, and it’s exactly to appeal to teenagers so it baffles me that they often promote such wildly expensive things. Do brands and agencies not realise how young their audiences are? Surely there can’t be much ROI there for the businesses.

    1. You’re exactly right, under the age of 16 I don’t think I knew much about higher end make up, and was content with Rimmel/17/Miss Sporty, and the like. Bourjois was as about as high end as I bought at that age!

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