September Empties + How I Pick My Favorites

I’m currently on a beauty no buy, so I’ve started blowing through a lot of my skincare products! In September, along with my Pixi Glow Tonic, I finished my Missha All Around Safe Block Essence Sun, the Glossier Priming Moisturizer (which I mini reviewed inside of my PM Rich Review), and my Julep Night Shift Sleeping Mask. If you’ve been reading my blog long enough, you’ll know I’ve loved all of these products for a while (save the Missha sunblock which I purchased in January of this year), so I’ll link to the full reviews! However, what makes an empty so good that you literally have to finish it? Let me tell you how I pick my favorites.

Beauty is all about choices. I think there's a lot of things that are complicated in a sunscreen and there are a lot of options out there. That said, I don't feel comfy promoting a sunscreen that, in my opinion, is average at best. I don't dislike it, but the price for its size is not budget friendly (and at the high end of a mid-range brand), and other sunscreens do the same things the @glossier Invisible Shield does. Of course there are differences as well, but not enough I think to justify buying it. I don't want the rep program to get a bad name for pushing a product "just for sales" but instead be completely honest about how I feel about ANY product I recieve. Instead, if you'd like a budget and black girl friendly sunscreen, I recommend the @misshaus All Around Safe Block. ☆1.7 oz for $8-$14 (depends where you get it) ☆No white cast ☆Take a minute to fully sink in but once it does, it's not sticky or oily. ☆SPF 45 & Water Resistant • • • • #sunscreen #spf #summer #summer17 #glossier #glossierrep #teenbloggers #blackbloggers #studentbloggers #beautybloggers #bbloggers #instabeauty #instagrambeauty #skin #skincare #skincarejunkie #kbeauty #koreanbeauty #aesthetic #photography #sunshine #discoverunder1k #discoverunder5k #atlantabloggers #georgiabloggers

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Price

If the price of a product is such that I can repurchase it without feeling like it’s going to leave a dent in my pocket, it’s a good indicator that the product could become a favorite. As a college student, I don’t have a lot of disposable income, so for me, to get a full sized sunscreen that I can wear every day without worrying about it running out AN having it last about 9 months for only $10 is perfect.

Did It Work?

I think in the beauty world especially, we’re always so ready for the next big thing to try that we don’t stick with anything long enough to see if it really works for us. Skincare has always been YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary), and what may work for my skin may not work for your skin. This is why patch testing is very important, and just listening to your skin overall. Products that do what they claim in an easy way, often reach my favorites list.

A few other things come into play including accessibility and packaging, but these two things push a product up to the top of my favorites list and subsequently, my empties list, very quickly. I think it’s this type of thinking that helps me get through no buys, and also the reason I REALLY love Beauty Award spreads in magazines, because you really get to see it all laid out in the most beautiful way possible. I may do my own Best in Beauty Awards this year. 😉

What are some of your favorite repeat buys? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll see you next week!

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Product Review: Pixi Glow Tonic

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Today I’ve got a quick product review lined up for you! This product was recommended to me many times by other Glossier reps, comment threads, and Reddit forums, and a few months ago I finally decided to give Pixi Glow Tonic a chance. Glow Tonic is a 5% Glycolic Acid which claims to tone and chemically exfoliate the skin, leaving a smoother, even base. I’ve only dealt with physical exfoliators up to this point, and I have fairly untemperamental skin, but I wanted to try something new and just see what happened.

This post contains affiliate links, for which I receive a very small amount of money dedicated to the upkeep of this blog. This post is not sponsored, and all opinions are my own!

Product Review: Pixi Glow Tonic

That Glow Tonic Life

When it first arrived, I thought it smelled weird, but I eventually got used to it. Y’all know scent is a huge factor for me, so it took some time for sure, but now, I can barely detect it, so I guess that’s just personal preference. Also, after using it a few times in the morning and a few times at night I decided to relegate Glow Tonic to my more intense nighttime routine. To use, I dash a couple drops on a cotton round and swipe across the skin after I’ve washed my face but before I’ve started applying any serums. There was definitely a purging period where I had small, minimal breakouts along my cheeks, which are areas where I already get pimples. That’s how I distinguished that it was not an allergic reaction. Over the course of several weeks, I saw a visible difference and how smooth my skin looked and felt.

However, the best part was its unintended qualities in helping with my eczema.My eczema displays itself in the inability for dead skin to properly fall off of my neck and chest. Because Glow Tonic actively exfoliates dead skin, swiping it over my problem areas almost immediately (!!!) showed a lightening of the skin in that area because the dead skin was coming off! It made me really excited because those dark patches are a thing that I really feel insecure about from time to time, so it was nice to get rid of them (temporarily) for sure.

Final Thoughts?

Glow tonic is a great introduction to chemical exfoliants in a skincare routine. However, at $15 for 3.4 fl oz is a bit steep if you go through it as quickly as I did, and I didn’t even use it every day. Pixi does offer large sizes including 250 ml for $29 and occasionally, a 500 ml bottle with a pump, so buy in bulk if you really think you’ll be using this stuff for a while. They also offer Glow Tonic “On-the-Go” which are presoaked pads almost like makeup remover pads for $18 which are great for travel!

Hope you guys enjoyed my review on Pixi Glow Tonic! What other products would you like to try out soon? I’m currently on a no buy while I plot for all of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales next month, so any and all suggestions are welcome! Have an awesome day! <3

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Product Review: Glossier Body Hero

Heyyyy everyone! I feel like it’s been so long since I did an honest to god product review, but Glossier has got me on lock with these monthly launches! This month’s launch they started Phase 3 of their line, which is body products. The Body Hero campaign was beautiful, showcasing women of different colors and body types which I LOVED. It was an interesting move for them, and I’m excited to see where else it’ll go. Let’s get started!

As I detailed in my preview post, the Glossier Body Hero Duo consists of the Daily Oil Wash ($18) and the Daily Perfecting Cream ($22). They’re both scented with Orange Blossom Neroli which is how one of my childhood vacation bible schools smelled like (weird I know) so I enjoyed a bit of nostalgia while using these.

Product Review: Glossier Body Hero

Body Hero Daily Oil Wash

I swap out my shower regimen fairly often because I use products up a lot faster than I do other beauty products. I was in the middle of a bar of goat’s milk soap my aunt gifted me, so I was happy to try out something a little different. My only experience with body oil is the baby oil my mom used to slather on me when I was a kid, but this wasn’t like that (exactly). It doesn’t foam, even with a washcloth, which is a little annoying. It “froths” instead which is more like teeny tiny bubbles. Bubbles make me feel squeaky clean, but I don’t think that was the idea with Body Hero. However, if you’re not big on bubbles, you’ll probably like this! One of my favorite ways to use the oil is to exfoliate first (I’m using the Lush Scrubee bar right now) and then follow up with the oil. My skin feels really silky smooth after!

My biggest qualm with the oil is that you have to use a LOT. I feel like I’m using 5-6 pumps to adequately cover and clean my whole body which means this isn’t going to last very long if I use it on the regular. This is something you should keep in mind going forward because although it’s a big bottle for $18, paying $18 over and over isn’t the most cost-effective. If this is a luxury purchase for you, then you should certainly move ahead! Or, you can purchase the duo and save a bit of money that way.

Body Hero Daily Perfecting Cream

This cream is perfect for the fall months when the weather starts to change and so does your skin! A lot of Glossier’s products are very light, but this cream is definitely a heavy body cream which is going to be great for winter for my eczema chapped skin! It comes out of the bottle white, but on deep skin is has a very distinct light pink tint until you rub it into the skin. It’s not sticky and absorbs quickly, leaving a light sheen over the skin that’s comparable to the sheen in Birthday Balm Dotcom. It’s subtle, but noticeable which I love. Plus, it lasts ALL DAY LONG. I put it on in the mornings after a shower usually around 8:30-9 am, and I like to wear shorts in the Georgia heat, but it doesn’t sweat off or anything. It just shines! I don’t get ashy, and my legs look just as good at 5 pm as they did when I left my dorm.

My biggest qualm with the cream is that if you rub it in too much it starts to pill. They easily brush off, but that seems to be a problem with the formulation. I also have little bumps pop up around my knees for about an hour after application. They don’t hurt or itch, and I think it may have something to do with my eczema (that’s where it normally flares up), but I felt it should be included in this review.

All in all, I highly recommend the cream for everyone and the oil for someone who wants a special shower treat if they don’t have a bathtub (I miss my Lush bath bombs lol). Don’t forget you can get the Body Hero duo together for $35 and for 20% off if you shop through my rep link. Big thanks to everyone who shopped with me this month. You help make these reviews possible!

What’re your favorite bath/shower products? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll see you next week!

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Fenty Beauty First Impressions

I know today seems like any other Tuesday, but in fact, Robyn Rihanna Fenty has blessed the makeup world with her very own makeup line, Fenty Beauty. Now before I get into my first impressions, I want to address a few things. First, I’m not a die-hard Rihanna fan. That said, I find her aesthetic to be beautiful, and I look up to her as a style icon. Secondly, I’m not going to compare it to KKW Beauty. I know a lot of people wanna be shady about the packaging and all that stuff, but the products are what I’m concerned about, and what you should be too frankly. There is enough beauty world drama to go around lol. Let’s get started!

Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

So one fun Saturday, I went up to Lenox Square Mall (I LOVE living in Atlanta btw yall, everything is so close) to test out Fenty and redeem my Sephora birthday gift. Because I went alone, I got to spend an hour uninterrupted in the store just swatching and sniffing and just having a good time. The first thing I tried was the foundation, BUT since I was so excited I totally forgot to write down what shades I put on my arm. *cringe* Sorry guys. However, I applied it and let it dry down while I was testing other things so I have some views on the consistency.

The top 2 shades are foundations, the bottom shade is a match stix.

This foundation WILL oxidize. A couple days after my visit, a makeup artist was on Fenty’s IG stories talking about how it doesn’t oxidize, the shade just adjusts a bit as it dries because it loses a bit of water…You mean the definition oxidation sis? All of the shades I applied after drying down were a hair darker than they were originally. This is also a very liquidy formula! When I pressed the pump, I almost missed my arm, and from the looks of the floor around the display, I wasn’t the only one. My last first impression on the foundation was that it is very, very drying. The primer was not on the display, so I couldn’t try it with the primer, but to me it looked and felt dry to the touch. So I worry about how it would look on my actual face.

Fenty Beauty First Impressions

Match Stix

I had some of the same issues with the Match Stix as I did with the foundations. The concealer type sticks that were matte also felt kinda stiff and dry after application. Even when I was applying it to my arm to swatch, my skin was kinda getting dragged behind it instead of it gliding on. The Shimmer Sticks didn’t have that issue, and the colors were very pretty, especially on my deep skin.

Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer

The lip gloss is very nice, in theory. I have two-toned lips, which I love of course, and I usually enjoy lipglosses because they play really well with the different colors of my lips. However, I think my lips almost exactly matched the shading of the gloss because it looked like I was just wearing my clear Glossier gloss! I liked the vanilla scent ad the packaging is cute AF, but I just wouldn’t buy it for myself. On lots of other people testing it, it looked very wearable and universal as claimed.

Killawatt Freestyle Highlighters

Now to my favorite part, the highlighters!!!! Well, sorta my favorite part. The highlighters were hella pigmented. Like…HELLA. Justttt not on me. I have trouble with powder highlighters, especially ones with pinky/champagne tones. This is why I usually stick with…well stick or cream highlighters. The same pretty much went for most of the highlighter shades with the exception of Ginger Binge, Moscow Mule, and of course the true gold highlighter, Trophy Wife! If I had to pick something buy from the whole collection, it would easily be these two highlighters. They were pigmented in swatches and on my face, and Trophy Wife was what I had my eye on since the promos dropped!

Invisimatte Blotting Papers

Lastly, as an oily girl, I wanted to try the blotting papers and blotting powder (and compare it to Wowder, of course), but the blotting powder also wasn’t on the display (Lenox Sephora, get yaself together!!). The blotting papers didn’t do a thing. It just soaked up what it could from my oily forehead and nose, but I was still incredibly oily after. I wouldn’t want to use a bunch of the paper trying to take oil off, so I wouldn’t bother with it.

Final Fenty Thoughts?

The price points for all of these products are all under $40 (not counting the Match Stix Trio) which is reasonable considering Fenty has been marketed like a high-end makeup brand and could’ve been sold to us as such. Does it fall under a college budget? Not exactly. Is it a great treat/gift for yourself or a friend? Totally. I think you should pick one or two products you really want to try and grab those. This brand is also incredibly Black Girl Friendly! The big thing, of course, being the 40 foundation shades with multiple undertones making it extremely easy for people of all skin tones being able to find their match.

So that’s my Fenty first impressions! I’ll be keeping an eye out for the holiday collection because there are going to be an eyeshadow palette and more lip colors, so I’m excited! What other brands do you want me to do a first impression on? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll see you on Thursday!

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October Thoughts

October Thoughts

Welcome to October world, only 30 days left until Halloween! Yes, I’m one of those people! I love Halloween and October in general because that’s when it really starts to feel like fall. I am hesitant to call it fall though because even though it’s a breezy 68 degrees today, Georgia weather will change on you at the drop of a hat. College is going well so far, and I’m really enjoying myself and my new environment.

I’ve been really busy between working two jobs and schoolwork, so I’ve had to make an extra effort to be organized and to prioritize what’s important to me. Going into my fourth year of blogging, I’ve become frustrated with a lot of things, namely how social media practices have gotten so hyper-superficial, in a way I wouldn’t have anticipated when I started using various platforms 4 years ago.

It’s gotten to the point where there have been days I ask myself, why are you still blogging? Do you even enjoy it anymore? You barely make time for it, and the writing (I feel at least) has been lackluster. When I think about all I’ve been able to do and accomplish because of this little blog, I smile. I’ve met a lot of people and gotten a lot of opportunities, and yes there’s the money factor. What little income I generate from this site has been helpful to pad a part-time job income and to give me a little more freedom than some of my peers who don’t work in any capacity.

I came into this industry naive and fresh, and I did what I loved. I still love it, but these days it feels like there is an insurmountable learning curve preventing me from operating at my very best. Whenever I go to other blogs or Google for advice, it’s almost always about monetization or building an email list. And frankly, that’s not what I’m here for. The money is a happy accident. My definition of success is for an audience to see, appreciate, and enjoy the work that I’ve put out into the world, and maybe help other people who like me, a few years ago, just want somewhere to express their passions.

I’m working on a side project right now called SprinkleMeet (@sprinklemeet on IG & Twitter), and while the original idea was for an app, it may be turned into a blog itself. I want to be able to share what I’ve learned as a casual blogger, not one of the multimillion dollar professional ones. For the ones who do it for the passion, and the love, all while balancing the realities of the real world. We’re not jet-setting to every fashion week, nor do we have the fancy cameras, the Instagram husbands, or worlds chicest apartment. But we are here, chugging along.

October, and fall, to me, means change. And I hope one day soon I can move past this little rut and change the way I’ve been thinking about the work that I do and the impact I will leave.

Much Love,

Dymond M. <3

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7 Things You Missed At New York Fashion Week

7 Things You Missed At New York Fashion Week

Fashion Month is a hectic four-week trip around the world, first at New York, then London, then Milan, and finally stopping all the way in Paris. There are so many shows going on that even with all of the extensive coverage, it can be difficult to consume it all. Luckily for you, here are seven bite-sized pieces about what you missed at New York Fashion Week!

1. Rihanna On a Dirt Bike

Riding high from her Fenty Beauty launch, Queen Ri herself finished off the edgy Spring 2018 ready to wear show by riding down the runway in a neon green ensemble on the back of a dirt bike. Your fave could never.

Source: Harper’s Bazaar

2. Kate Spade Is Classy As Usual

One of everyone’s favorite bag lines, Kate Spade, also had the cutest designs for Spring 2018. There were lots of florals and gingham and one very cute crocodile wicker handbag on display. Is it April yet?

Source: The LA Fashion Magazine

3. Marc Jacobs Missed His Mark Again

At last year’s New York Fashion Week, designer Marc Jacobs came under fire for displaying non-POC models in colored locs, an act for which he apologized only after posting an initial response on Instagram doubling down on the issue. This year, he sent white models down the runway in headwraps which are commonly worn by POC and thus, are discriminated against for doing so. Sorry Marc, it’s gonna be a no from us.

Source: Hypebae

4. Alexander Wang’s Surprise Show

Alexander Wang’s famous #WangFest show almost always garners the hype it deserves and this year was no different. While the actual show intended for editors and the fashion elite was scheduled for 10 pm that evening in Bushwick, at 9 p.m. Wang bussed in the models to Nolita and did a show. Wang then proceeded to the official show. Many critics of the official show claimed that it wasn’t as good as recent years, while others believe they’re just a little bitter that they weren’t first to watch.

Source: Man Repeller

5. Ralph Lauren + Luxury Cars = A Really Good Time

Ralph Lauren decided to hold his runway show in his actual garage. Models walked amongst a $40 million Bugatti, a candy apple red Ferrari (after which several of the looks were modeled), and one sexy silver Porsche. I’m sure the clothes and cars combined could pay our tuition many times over.

Source: Glazia

6. Fidget Spinners At Tory Burch

We all thought we could escape that toy our middle school siblings all know and love, the fidget spinner. However, Tory Burch added one as a pendant to a necklace and the internet collectively lost its mind. Art imitates life, no?

Source: Hello Giggles

7. Leslie Jones at Christian Siriano

One of the things about NYFW is that it could be considered a fairly buttoned-up affair. Everyone wants to look good and not end up on a worst-dressed list. Then, Leslie Jones came and saved the day! She sat front row at the Christian Siriano show and yelled, laughed, and showed her deep appreciation for the clothes, which made everyone else around loosen up too. Siriano is known for designing dresses for Jones’ Ghostbusters movie premiers after no other major designers would.

Source: Vanity Fair

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Glossier’s Body Hero Duo Is Here

Glossier's Body Hero Duo is Here

Welcome back ladies and gents! Yesterday, Glossier began Phase 3 of their product line, Body Hero, which contains the Daily Oil Wash and the Daily Perfecting Cream.I’m super into this duo for two reasons. First, I’m a college kid with no bathtub, and I can’t bask in the wonder that are my Lush bath bombs anymore, so this is making me feel pretty good about showering and relaxing. Secondly, I have eczema and it’s really hard to find products that are moisturizing but don’t smell like a hospital. Glossier really managed to find that perfect mix and I’m in love with it.

Related: Glossier Phase 2 Review

The Daily Perfecting Cream is $22 and the Daily Oil Wash is $18, but together the duo is $35 and ships free! Plus, if you’re new to the Glossier crew, you can use my link for 20% off your first order bringing the total down to $28 (and it still ships free!).

One more thing before I go! Priming Moisturizer is now $22 instead of $25 and the Phase 1 set’s price has been lowered to $40! Now you can start with the brand’s basics without shelling out as much money!

I’ll have a full review up of the duo soon, but until then take it easy!

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The Best Alternatives to Black Eyeliner

Audrey Hepburn. Amy Winehouse. Ariana Grande. These are some of the women who inspired a generation with big, bold, black cat eyeliner. However, in light of the transition from summer to fall, I propose that we slow down on the liner. Yes, it’s a dramatic statement, but I feel like there are many other eye looks that don’t have to rely on the heavy black eyeliner we all know and usually love. I’ve found I like the natural shape of my eye, and I’ve started wearing eyeliner, in general, less and less. However, if you don’t wanna ditch the liner life completely, here are a couple alternatives that you can try.

Brightly Colored Eyeliner

One way to still transform your eye shape with liner without it being so heavy is colored eyeliner! I currently own Colourpop’s liner in the shade Teaspoon,   a NYX pencil liner in the shade Gold Glitter, and two NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils in the shades Milk and Purple Velvet. They’re fun, more lighthearted and make my eyes pop!

The Best Alternatives to Black Eyeliner

Just Eyeshadow

I’ve found that with many of my super pigmented eyeshadows, dark thick eyeliner tends to detract from the overall look. So instead, I’ve started just wearing the eyeshadow alone. It lets the colors really pop, and I like it like that. Another idea is to take an angled liner brush and wet it, and then applying the shadow as a liner. Same effect as a colored liner, but you have a bit more control over it. Cream eyeshadows are also really good for this technique, but I’ve yet to find one that doesn’t dry in such a way that it’s terribly hard to get off. If you all have suggestions, let me know.

Brown Eyeliner

This is a trend that I’ve found myself loving the idea of more and more. Brown liner is a softer stance than black liner with the same eye shape changing qualities. For brown girls, however, it can be difficult to find a shade that actually shows up on us, so do a little shopping around to find the best brown for YOUR brown.

What’s your favorite black liner alternative? Do you prefer pencil, gel, or liquid (I’m gel!)? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll see you Thursday!

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The Problem With the Taylor Swift Reputation Merch

The Problem with the Taylor Swift Reputation Merch

By now, unless you’ve been living under a rock, everyone and their mom has heard that Taylor Swift is back. Following her successful assault trial, T-Swizzle has returned with a new album, titled Reputation, single and music video. While I could spend some time talking about the time appropriateness of the launch, cultural themes in her music video, and just the overall tone of the campaign, I’ll save that for Twitter. This is a personal style and beauty blog, so we’re talking MERCH. A few months ago I talked about how concert merchandise has a special place in my heart and also in the hearts of many others I’m sure. However, I have a couple problems with not only the design of Taylor’s merch but the marketing principles behind it.

Please note that obviously, I’m not a Taylor Swift stan. I’m a big fan of Speak Now and Red, and I really haven’t heard a single that wasn’t a bop until this most recent one, so her music is not what I take issue with. Rather, it’s the persona she has adopted over the years since she removed herself from the country scene and inserted herself into pop.

So What’s With the Snakes?

At first glance, her merch seems innocent enough. Got a CD, some shirts with the album cover on it. Then come snake rings, a hoodie with snake detailing, plus a couple items with a very particular font many of us are familiar with. Starting with the snake, let’s just say that trying to “reclaim” the snake part of the narrative she wanted no part of is shady at best and intentionally obtuse at worst. I mean, just last year she was responsible for Instagram allowing users to ban certain phrases (in this case, snake emojis) from their pages. I get that people change their minds about things, but this is an obvious marketing tactic, one that doesn’t sit well with me.

The Problem With the Taylor Swift Reputation Merch

Then the Kanye font. No, he hasn’t actually trademarked that font, but the similarities are uncanny, and of course, many people have pointed it out. People have also pointed out that the album is set on Donda West’s anniversary of death but I don’t think Taylor Swift would go out of her way to do something like that, and it’s the furthest reach I’ve seen all of 2017.

The Problem With the Taylor Swift Reputation Merch

Taylor Swift Tix: Shady or Helpful?

So you think her merch is shady. What’s the big deal? Well yeah, everything mentioned above is pretty much an opinion, and because I’ve never met the girl, I could be entirely wrong. However, the big glaring problem with Taylor’s merch strategy for this album is the connection to concert tickets. Ticket bots have been a huge problem in recent years for real fans trying to get good seats to shows which has lead to many artists partnering with ticket providers to have Verified Fan Sales. Swift’s team has gone one step further with Taylor Swift Tix. It allows fans to complete “unique activities” to increase their chances of getting tickets including buying music and merchandise.

Yes, there are some free activities like watching music videos and joining the email list but those are “low boosts” and therefore not super helpful when the Waitlist to Priority Line refreshes every 24 hours. I think this crosses the line from “helping the fans” to taking advantage of them. I believe the hardcore fans will be willing the participate in this, but my main concerns are the casual fans and the young, impressionable ones with parents who can’t necessarily afford to buy merch AND tickets, especially since buying the merch does not guarantee a ticket. Ethically, I’m not here for this, and this is why I don’t carry much sympathy for Taylor Swit and some of the things she gets crap for because she is complicit in much of it.

Do you guys care about any of this? What are your thoughts on TSwift, postitive or negative? Do you agree with her marketing tactics? Sound off in the comments and I’ll see you next week!

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Why TF Are We Still On Instagram If We Hate It?

On Sunday, I posted an Instagram post basically unloading my frustrations with Instagram, its algorithm and all of the mental behaviors associated with it. When I really started thinking about it, it almost felt like I was going through some jacked up version of the 7 stages of grief. Denial that IG isn’t the god-like platform we’ve all built it up to be, guilt over having contributed to its rise, anger and bargaining over multiple algorithm changes, and now I’m in the reflection stage.

Why TF Are We Still On Instagram If We Hate It?

1) The Algorithm

I’ve been blogging since I was 15 years old. These years are obviously very formative, and being one of the first generations who really grew up with the omnipresence of social media, I think my being so involved with Instagram and figuring it out as the platform grew wasn’t the healthiest thing I could’ve done? That said, I remember back then, that chronological order was far better for discovery purposes than the new “engagement” based algorithm. I could see my friends, brands and other bloggers I follow all in the order that they posted. Now, I can refresh the page upwards of 4 or 5 times and the same few photos will still be sitting on the top! This is actually why I discontinued my Best of Instagram series. I couldn’t find anything new or interesting anymore! All because IG decided that their “engagement” (like and comments + follower counts) made that photo worth promoting towards the top of my feed. I put engagement in quotes because a lot of engagement these days are inauthentic.

2) Like and Comment Pods + Individual Users

Firstly, you’ve got blogger like and comment pods. I’ll be fair and say I’ve been in a few, but I left because the work involved in keeping up with liking and commenting on a few other bloggers’ posts was never worth the return on your own. Not to mention, half of the people participating in these groups are already in the thousands of followers, so I don’t see why they need our engagement. But basically, a member of the pod will post a photo and then everyone in the pod is required to go like and/or leave a “substantial” comment (ie 4 or more words, no emojiis). I found that while some of the smaller pod members would leave actual comments on the subject of a photo, others would say something like “Love it” and keep moving.

Plus, between F4F (follow for follow) hashtags, spam accounts, and users who “blog” so they can “get free stuff”, blogger Instagram, at least, is oversaturated with those that, it seems, have forgotten about the craft of blogging. It feels inauthentic and as part of a generation that values authenticity in everything, I constantly wonder why we subject ourselves to something like IG.

3) Stories, Shadowbans and Beyond

There are a few other smaller things about IG that get on my nerves but not as much as the aforementioned problems. IG as a platform is shady AF. How on earth we all let Facebook (who owns IG if you missed that) blatantly rip off Snapchat’s stories function, I will never understand. I guess it all depends on who you actually want to see what you’re doing because on Snap, it’s more for your friends, and on IG it’s for your “business contacts”. Regardless, as a business that’s irritating to watch and doesn’t put IG in a great light for me. Add on the fact that only accounts with 10k+ followers can utilize links in their stories (which are often more viewed than photos), and it just seems unbalanced.

Then we’ve got hashtags and shadowbans. It’s bad enough that in order to try and move my photo up, I need to utilize all 30 hashtags that we’re allowed in the caption of a post. But now, if I use the hashtags that have garnered the most attention too much, IG will just stop showing them in the search results! It’s like all of the chips are stacked against smaller accounts as opposed to a platform like Twitter or Pinterest where good quality content is the only thing required to gain a substantial platform.

Final Thoughts

I feel like I’ve let a massive load off of my chest. No, I don’t claim to be “not like the other girls” or “not basic” or whatever some people my age who shun social media claim to be. I just believe that my generation has the power to enact change in most everything we do, so sitting here and subjecting myself to a platform I really don’t like just because it’s what’s there and it’s what everyone else is using. Am I going to keep using Instagram? Yes. Will I be changing the way I interact with the platform? Also, yes. Instagram only has as much power as we the users give it, and I think there are much better ways to interact with it in an authentic way without trying to trick the algorithm or other users.

I hope you guys enjoyed this introspective type post because I think I’m going to be doing more of these, starting with Taylor Swift’s merch marketing! What are your thoughts on Instagram and social medias in general? Leave me a thought in the comments, and I’ll see you next week.

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