Monthly Archives: December 2015

All That Glitters Isn’t Gold

This is going to be the longest, the realest, the most important, and very possibly the last post I ever make here but I need to get all of this out.

I don’t really know where to start so let’s just start at the beginning.

Once upon a time, I was just a girl who really liked makeup. Now makeup, like most things, requires practice to do well so despite the fact that I loved makeup, I simply wasn’t very good at it. I soon discovered /r/makeupaddiction on Reddit and it totally fed my interest. I knew I wasn’t great at makeup but I really wanted to improve so I began posting pictures of my makeup and asking for constructive criticism. Initially it was kind of hard to hear how so many things you’re doing to your face are wrong but I wanted to improve so I took all the suggestions to heart and would remember them each time I did a new look. I started posting pretty frequently, always looking for more suggestions on how to improve, and before long I could really see a difference. Super!

I kept posting and at some point I started getting fewer suggestions and more praise and requests for tutorials and reviews and such. After making a few review/tutorial posts, I found out that I really enjoyed it so I decided to create this blog to host it all.

On Reddit, I always made it a point to try to respond to as many comments and questions as possible. I figure that if someone takes a moment out of their day to compliment my makeup or to ask me a question, it’s only common courtesy to respond. Being around so many people who also loved makeup just made me fall deeper and deeper in love with it.

Then it got to a point where nearly every post I’d make would make it to the top of /r/makeupaddiction. I suppose many people really enjoyed what I was doing but I guess others were getting sick of seeing my face. I started getting pissy comments and private messages frequently. And heaven forbid anything I post would actually make it to the front page of Reddit because then the flood gates would really open up. Now I like to think I have pretty thick skin so I never really took any of this personally, but it often just left me wondering why. Just why take time out of your day to be an asshole to a perfect stranger who’s doing something they love? Still beats me.

I’m not going to get into details because it just doesn’t really matter but at some point I started getting a lot of shit. People would accuse me of doing things I wasn’t doing, saying things I wasn’t say, whatever. Then I’d see my name around other areas of Reddit and occasionally on other parts of the internet. It was weird. One part of me was like “Oh, well I guess this means I’m doing something right” but another part of me was still left wondering why people just wanted to be assholes for no good reason. I eventually stopped posting on Reddit all together, just like many other girls I know.

Now before I knew it, my blog and Instagram account really starting growing. I started receiving emails from companies asking if I would like to try out their products. Well, of course I would! I could only spend so much of my own money purchasing the hottest new makeup dropping each month for reviews/looks. Receiving free products allowed me to make more posts and gain more experience! Win/win, right?!

Well, all that glitters isn’t gold.

Being a beauty blogger/YouTuber/Instagrammer looks so easy from the outside. All you need to do is slap on some makeup and take a few pictures, right? Wrong. It’s infinitely more time consuming than I could have ever imagined.

You spend 1-2 hours on the daily doing makeup that’s ready to be photographed with a macro lens. Then you rig up your expensive camera equipment and lighting that you’ve bought just for this purpose and spend a whole lot of time trying to get the perfect shots while melting under the hot lights and dabbing the sweat off of your upper lip between photos.

Next you need to edit your photos. Now I don’t know how many of you have looked at hundreds of high quality pictures of your face a week but eventually it starts to be a real fucking bummer. You see every detail, every flaw, every pore, every line, every mistake and it’s mentally exhausting. You don’t see your pictures the way others do, or at least I didn’t.

Okay, now that you’ve got your pictures ready, you need to make a blog post and then share the picture all over social media, being sure to tag every company you’re wearing on your face because much of it has been sent to you for free for this exact reason. You’re gonna want to share on social media at different times throughout the day to hit the most people so this isn’t a “once and done” type deal.

Alright, now you have comments and questions everywhere. Your blog, IG, FB, Twitter, Reddit, all over. I never felt right about just ignoring all these nice comments from people so I always tried to respond as much as I could. This takes up a lot of time. At this point, you might need to send out emails to a couple of companies to let them know you’ve used/shared/reviewed the product(s) they’ve sent you.

Okay, here’s where it really starts to get under my skin. I can’t lie to people who are looking to me for the truth. I don’t have it in me, I’m just not that person. So if a product isn’t great, I’m going to say so. Now you’re getting backhanded compliments from companies saying things like “Oh, thanks for your review. We definitely appreciate your honesty.” when you know damn well they don’t.

Products work differently for everyone and some people are going to love things others don’t. But let’s be real. Some products are just garbage all the way around. I frequently started seeing girls raving about products that I knew were absolute crap all for the PR brownie points, fans, likes, cash, whatever. I could never do this. Everything about it felt wrong to me, because it was. I couldn’t lie to my followers for a pat on the back from PR or a few bucks. Well, honesty definitely isn’t the quickest route to the top in the beauty industry.

Now don’t take this wrong. There are tons of honest beauty bloggers/YouTubers/IG’s out there but for every honest one, there’s probably five others who aren’t.

It might look like beauty bloggers are making a lot of money off of their blogs but the truth is, unless you’re way high up on the totem pole, your blog is probably making chump change. Sure, you might be receiving a ton of free products and that’s nice and all but this isn’t exactly a great way to earn cash. Despite this, I kept at it because I simply loved makeup and loved doing this. I never intended to get this deep into the beauty industry, it just all sort of happened.

I don’t know how many of you know this about me because I’ve only touched briefly on the topic once or twice before but I struggle with depression and anxiety and have for most of my life. I started having issues with my mental health when I was only nine years old and it’s been a bumpy ride since then.

I always tried to to hide it. I didn’t want people to view me as weak or to think that I was just using my illness as a crutch. I didn’t want to need help. Well, hiding mental illness definitely won’t make it go away. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs and have been on and off medication many times but at some point, about 3 years ago, my mental health was getting SO bad that I was truly scared for myself.

I was miserable, utterly and completely miserable, nearly every single day. The kind of miserable where all you want to do is lie in bed all day and cry. The kind of miserable where you only go grocery shopping at 2am because your anxiety is so bad that you don’t want to be around anyone, period. The kind of miserable where a crowded store could send you into a full blown panic attack, complete with leaving everything and running out the door crying and trying to catch your breath. The kind of miserable where something as simple as walking the dog absolutely drained you. The kind of miserable where you have no idea who you are anymore. The kind of miserable where you truly feel hopeless and all but completely dead inside.

I was losing control of myself and my emotions. I was really afraid of what was going to happen to me so eventually I had to break and agree to seek help. I found some great doctors. I started back on my medication. Then my dose was upped. And upped again. And upped yet again. Now I’m on the highest dose of my antidepressant that you can have as an outpatient plus a separate medication for my anxiety. I honestly feel like it’s saved my life. I know how utterly hopeless mental illness can make one feel but if you struggle with mental illness, please seek help. There’s no shame in it. You can be “fixed”. You can regain control of your life. You can be happy. You might still have bad days here and there but life can be worth living again, I promise. If any of you want to talk about mental illness, mine or yours or both, you are more than welcome to reach out to me at anytime. Sometimes just having someone to talk to can help and I’m always available.

Well, as you may imagine, the beauty industry is even harder for those with mental illness. It is absolutely mentally exhausting to wake up everyday, spend hours looking at yourself in the mirror and in photographs, and then trying to convince the world how beautiful you are that day. It is completely draining to have nearly all of your success weigh totally on your appearance. It’s just flat out brutal.

I felt like the beauty industry was literally eating away at my soul, slowly but surely. Many days it all but killed me to complete a look and write a blog post. Mental health aside, I started getting really sick of all of the lies and fake bullshit I was seeing on the daily that was just completely over saturating the industry. I was losing interest in being a part of this.

Now to sort of jump to another topic, my Papaw passed away unexpectedly a bit over two months ago. We were really close my whole life. He meant the world to me and his death hit me hard. I took an unplanned hiatus from all of this to mourn and try to cope with my loss. I had every intention of coming back but I started to realize that being away from the beauty industry made me a happier person. The longer I stayed away, the more my mental health improved, the happier I became. Soon I realized I completely wanted out.

By this point, I had already invested an awful lot of time and energy into the blog and my IG account, not to mention quite a bit of money on Ash Noir Cosmetics. I almost felt like I had to stay. Hell, we had moved to a bigger and more expensive apartment to give me more space for Ash Noir cosmetics. I was afraid my husband would be upset if I told him that I wanted out but luckily, I happen to be married to an amazing man who’s main concern is my happiness and well being. He told me he understood and that it would all be okay. So after both my husband and my therapist confirmed to me that I’m not crazy for dropping out at this point, I officially decided that I’m done. I’m out! Woo!

Life changes, people change, situations change. What I once really, really wanted, I no longer want. I want to focus on myself, my family and my happiness. I want to spent my little bit of time on this earth being happy, not focusing damn near every bit of my time and energy on my appearance and trying to claw my way to the top of a superficial totem pole. I’ll always love makeup but it’s just not the future that I want to pursue.

I feel truly honored to have had this opportunity and infinitely grateful for all of the amazing people that I’ve met along the way. I have so many amazing followers who have supported me from the beginning and it’s meant so much to me! I recognize usernames and pictures; I see many of you following me and supporting me on various platforms and I can’t thank you enough for all of the continued love and encouragement. I’ve had the chance to work with so many wonderful companies, most of whom have been nothing but incredible, and I am so extremely thankful for all of the doors that have been opened to me. Seriously, thank you all so much! <3

So this very lengthy post has pretty much summed up what I wanted to say. I’ll be leaving the blog up for a while. I’m not sure how long but probably at least a few months. I doubt I’ll be posting again but never say never, eh?

In the meantime, I’ve been focusing my time on another love of mine, vintage goodies! I’ve always loved treasure hunting but I can only bring so many things into my own home so I decided to create my Etsy shop, Retro Suburbia, to share my goodies with the world! It makes me happy in a way the beauty industry never could. So yeah, if you’re wondering where I’ll be, now you know! 😉

My emails will still be open and checked so if you ever want to reach out to me privately, for whatever reason, feel free! I’ll see it and I’ll respond!

This is really bittersweet for me. Saying goodbye to one chapter of your life and hello to another is never easy but I know that I’m doing the right thing for myself and I’m excited for my future.

Thank you again for all of the love and support that you guys have given me. It’s truly been a wonderful experience; it’s just time for me to move on.

Best wishes and so much love,

Ashley