Why I Don’t Sell My Blogger PR Samples

You know when you’ve always believed something but you turn out to be wrong, and you feel like the world is a lie? Like the time I discovered there was a state called Wyoming in the US…it was an emotional day (seriously though, why is Wyoming never mentioned in anything, ever?). Something similar happened to me a while ago on the subject of selling blogger PR samples, i.e. the ‘freebies’ us online folk receive from brands, PR companies etc. I have never sold a sample I’ve received, or even entertained the notion, but apparently it’s a thing some people do. Today I wanted to explain why I don’t, and though I’m not judging those with a different approach to me, I’d like to take the opportunity to express why I personally don’t think it’s a good idea.

When I started my YouTube channel in 2008, and then my blog a couple of years later, the online world was a very different place. Never in a thousand years did I expect to be sent something for free, and I still remember the first sample a brand gave to me (a box full of false lashes, which I used in most of my early make up tutorial videos). I made videos because I loved it, and I still do – the commercial side of things didn’t even enter my mind until I was invited to become one of the first YouTube Partners. Even then (and until this day) I didn’t view the samples I received as anything other than something to review honestly and either keep afterwards or give to a friend.

The reason I don’t believe in selling blogger samples is this: I think, in the end, it’s damaging to the culture of the blogging industry. I know that sounds a bit dramatic (though not nearly as dramatic as my reaction to the Wyoming incident) but hear me out. Human beings are naturally inclined to keep going on a track they deem to be beneficial to them – if you sell one sample, and reap the financial ‘reward’ of doing it, it’s probably something you’ll keep on doing. On its own, it doesn’t sound too catastrophic. But imagine if everyone started doing it. In the words of the ever-eloquent Michael Scott, things would “spiral out of amok”.

Integrity Right Thing No One Watching quote

Integrity is a massively important part of the blogging world. People spend their hard-earned cash on our recommendations from the reviews we post, and we all hope that our fellow  bloggers are doing those reviews in a honest fashion. Raving about a product you love can win brownie points with a brand, which is awesome as long as you’re being truthful – they may send you more samples and want to work with you on projects…double awesome. What isn’t so great is forging these relationships dishonestly for the purpose of making £££ from selling those ill-obtained samples. I’d love to think this would never actually happen, but I’m not naive. There’s a level of trust between both bloggers and readers and bloggers and brands that must be maintained, or the whole thing goes to pot.

I personally don’t believe selling PR samples on is conducive to a culture of trust, or honest relationships. Often we’re sent samples without knowing exactly what we’ll be getting in the post, but we’re also frequently asked to choose a particular item from a collection (whether it be clothing, accessories, beauty) – imagine if the norm was that each blogger the brand approached would sell the item on afterwards. You could very well end up with people fighting for the highest value items, regardless of what their audience wanted to see featured or what it would bring to the blog. I am wearing my most cynical hat whilst typing  this, but it’s the only way to illustrate the effect it could have on the culture of blogging.

I understand that we can’t keep all of our PR samples, and that there are only so many eyeshadows you can give to your flatmate before they politely tell you to stop offloading products onto them. But there are SO many other things you can do with samples that don’t involve compromising the relationships that make up the blogging world. Charity shops are always grateful for clothing, accessories, footwear, decorative items…the list goes on. There are plenty of ways to sanitise make up you’ve swatched, i.e. barely used – it’s just about thinking outside the box in terms of who could benefit from it. Have a family friend who dreams of becoming an MUA? Make them up a practise kit, and offer to be their model! Know an artist who likes to do things a little differently? Send some lipsticks their way and see how they can use them as materials! There are literally endless opportunities to make use of used samples.

I’m definitely not expecting everyone to agree with me here, but I wanted to share my opinion with you all today anyway. What do you think about bloggers selling the PR samples they receive?

Stay Creative,

Chyaz xox

My Beauty Empties #2

beauty empties 2 make up hair

It’s that time once again! The little box I keep full of my beauty empties was full, and I wanted to share some thoughts on the products I’ve recently used up. Let’s dive straight in!

In the top photo, you can see the John Frieda Sheer Blonde Colour Renew Shampoo – this is a long-time favourite of mine, and I think I’ll continue to buy it forever more. I just know it’s going to keep my highlights fresh and bright, and it’s never let me down. Next to that there’s the Ojon Color Sustain Pro Shampoo, which I did like but it took me a while to use it up. It’s not my go-to shampoo but it’s a good alternative – I tend to use it when my hair need that little extra nourishment alongside a good cleanse. Finally we have the Redken Color Extend Conditioner, which I really enjoyed using and would definitely recommend to any fellow blondies!

On the bottom left is the Batiste Blonde Dry Shampoo, which is probably my favourite one of all. It’s perfect for giving my roots a boost, especially when I haven’t had my highlights freshened up at the salon for a little while. I love this product, and it’s really affordable too. Next up is the Pearl Drops Restore White toothpaste, which did a decent job but I rarely notice a HUGE difference with whitening toothpastes. Not a bad option though!

Next up, the bottom right of the photo. This lovely Gok Wan Body Lotion lasted for ages and I really enjoyed using it – all of his bath products are gorgeous, and this was no exception. I also used up two of the Natural Collection Green Concealers that I go on about at every opportunity (they are AMAZING) so that’s no surprise! Then there was the Maybelline Colossal Go Extreme Mascara which was a good, affordable drugstore mascara choice. I rarely think mascaras are mind-blowing, but this one seemed to work well – no complaints!

beauty empties 2 simple skincare

Skincare products are the most frequent feature in my Empties post and videos, and as you can see there’s no exception to that rule today! As many of you know, I work for Simple as their Kind Creator and am lucky enough to be sent lots of goodies from the brand. I always get through a million packets of the Kind To Skin Cleansing Facial Wipes, which I absolutely love, and I’ve already finished up a whole bottle of the new Kind To Skin Micellar Cleansing Water! It has totally changed my skincare routine and it’s hands-down my favourite new beauty product of 2015 so far. If you haven’t tried it, I’d highly recommend picking one up soon!

On the bottom of the image, we have a few Simple staples that I’ve gone through. First up, the Kind To Skin Replenishing Rich Moisturiser – this was my go-to moisturiser throughout the early months of this year, when the weather was super cold and rough on my skin. I love it! I’m equally a huge fan of the Simple Soothing Facial Toner, and this bottle lasted me forever – it’s really kind and gentle, and fits perfectly in my routine. The Vital Vitamin Foaming Cleanser has been my favourite morning cleanser for years now, and I’ve probably featured a bottle of this almost every time I’ve talked about my beauty Empties! Finally we have the Vital Vitamin Night Cream, which I finished a little while ago and absolutely adore for the evenings once I’ve taken off my make up.

Phew! There are all of my most recent Empties – have you tried any of these products?

Stay Creative,

Chyaz xox

Chyaz Loves: River Island Studded Mule Sandals

River Island Studded Mule Sandals Very.co.uk

Summer feels like it’s just around the corner (I think the sunny weather is lulling us into a false sense of security…) and some amazing sandals have been popping up in stores and online. Very.co.uk kindly sent me these River Island Studded Mule Sandals a few days ago, and I’ve totally fallen for them. They have pretty much everything I look for in a summer shoe – they’re versatile, light and studded. What more could I ask for?

River Island Studded Mule Sandals very.co.uk

I’m a long-time fan of River Island’s footwear (and everything else for that matter!) and these tick every box when it comes to summer sandals. Not only do they look great – and make a perfect choice for those who like an alternative style, like me – but they’re actually really comfy too. If studs aren’t usually your thing, why not release your inner rock chick and add a little punk influence to your summer wardrobe? If the shoe fits…

River Island Studded Mule Sandals very.co.uk

I was actually mega impressed with the selection of summer footwear on the Very website, and I’ll definitely be stopping by when I’m shopping for my summer travels (at the moment we’re thinking of heading to Rome for a few days…how cute would these look whilst wandering around the city?). I love fashion but I do like to be comfortable in what I’m wearing, so these are a pretty awesome choice for me. They’re super reasonable too, at £35 – pretty good going for River Island!

River Island Studded Mule Sandals very.co.uk

So, what’s your verdict? Do you love these studded mules as much as I do?

Stay Creative,

Chyaz xox

Outfit: Back In Black

Listening to & inspired by: Back In Black by AC/DC

outfit black asos topshop misguided ootd

I’m back to linking my outfit posts with the songs they’re inspired by – today’s look could be about no other musical masterpiece but AC/DC’s epic Back In Black. It was the first song I learned to play on the guitar and I adore it to this day. I am equally a massive fan of black clothing (this should come at no surprise to long-time readers!) and this ensemble is a tribute to that…with a splash of shoe extravagance.

Bodysuit: ASOS (similar from Boohoo)

Jeans: Topshop

Shoes: Missguided

Sunglasses: H&M

outfit black asos topshop missguided ootd

One of my fashion resolutions for 2015 is to wear jeans more, and really figure out the style of denim I love. I have always naturally gravitated towards black jeans – I have it in my head that I can’t pull off lighter coloured denim, and I really need to change that. But for this look I adored my old favourite Topshop Baxter Washed Black Jeans, paired with this Black Plunge Bodysuit I bought from ASOS. It’s now sold out, but there’s a similar one you can find on Boohoo which I linked above.

outfit black asos topshop missguided ootd

But as with any mostly-black outfit, it’s important to add those little accents to break things up. Let’s talk about my shoes first and foremost – aren’t they amazing? They were kindly sent to me by Missguided, and the incredible holographic-meets-snake print is perfect for spring and summer. I’m going to wear these as much as possible this year, especially with darker ensembles like this!

outfit black asos topshop missguided ootd

Next up, sunglasses! I love wearing sunnies with pretty much every outfit I put together, as I feel they add a totally different dimension. I bought these from H&M last summer and I was thrilled to find they still make them, or at least a pair so similar you’d never know the difference! Aviators have always been my sunglasses style of choice, and I know I’m going to invest in even more pairs this summer. When they’re as cheap as chips it’s tricky not to fall in love with every different hue and shape you come across!

outfit black asos topshop missguided ootd

What do you think of my Back In Black outfit? Leave me a comment below!

Stay Creative,

Chyaz xox

Exclusive: Simple Kind To Skin Micellar Cleansing Wipes

Simple Kind To Skin Micellar Cleansing Wipes review

I have a very exciting, exclusive new product to tell you about today! Through my work with Simple, I get to hear about their new releases in advance, and I’ve been buzzing about this one for weeks. I’m thrilled to introduce you to the Simple Kind To Skin Micellar Cleansing Wipes!

By now I’m sure many of you have tried out the Simple Micellar Cleansing Water, and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear you’d totally fallen in love with it – I know I have! When I found out Micellar Wipes were on the cards I did a little happy dance, as I love the convenience and performance of Simple’s current wipes range. Could these be my new favourite?

Simple Kind To Skin Micellar Cleansing Wipes review

The wipes contain Micellar Technology, to gently cleanse and unclog pores – the wipes remove make up and instantly hydrate the skin. I tried out one of the wipes to see how well it removed my stubborn mascara, and it handled the task beautifully – my lashes were make up-free in next to no time, and there was no sign of stinging or irritation. I have sensitive skin and Simple products are perfect for me…the Micellar Cleansing Wipes are no exception!

My skin is also really dry, so these are even more ideal for me. The science behind the Simple Micellar products is really interesting – not only do the little molecules called micelles sweep away impurities, but they also leave the complexion gorgeously hydrated too!

Simple Kind To Skin Micellar Cleansing Wipes review

I will definitely be using these wipes in my cleansing routine! They’re wonderful for getting rid of the make up I wear when filming or out and about, and keeping handy when creating a look for a tutorial. I’m really happy to finally be able to tell you about them, and try them out for myself’!

Will you be picking up this latest product from Simple?

Stay Creative,

Chyaz xox