A few months ago I reached out to Sugarbear Hair to ask if I could collaborate with them. I had seen numerous posts from hair gurus about how amazing their gummy bear hair vitamins were, and since I was being more active on Instagram and YouTube, I thought it would be a good idea to test them out for my followers. Before reaching out to the company, I was already taking Biotin, and saw amazing results from it. So with that in mind, I had high hopes for these gummy bears, despite being very sceptical in the past about their continuous use of youtubers to advertise their product. How did I get on?
A week or two after getting in contact with the company, the vitamins landed in my post. To say I was excited was an understatement. I’m on a natural journey to try and grow my hair as healthy and long as possible, and after seeing amazing results with Biotin, I was excited to document my journey with these gummy bears and to tell all my followers that it’s not a scam! Now the first thing I had to do before starting my journey was take a photo and upload it onto Instagram. This is the deal I made with the company you see – to post 3 photos on Instagram; one photo for each month of use. The sun was shining, it was hot outside, I had a day off work and I thought why not take a photo while I relax in my garden? I put on my makeup, got my canon 600d out and headed to the grass with my blanket for my first official branded photo. It was harder than I thought!! I had to look through Instagram for some inspiration and as I got an idea of the types of photos they liked, I got to work. I laid down, twisted, turned, flung my hair to one side, rolled onto another side, emptied the bottle and so forth. 20 minutes later I felt like I had a decent enough photo to show the team. I went ahead and forward this photo to the team….
…but they didn’t like it. Though the photo was nice, they fed-back that they wanted my hair to be curly in the photo and the gummy bear to be in focus (bottle wasn’t as important!). I was really disappointed by this because I put so much effort into trying to get a really nice photo for the team, one that would be Instagram worthy. I guess it was just my first taste of what it was really like to collaborate with a brand. Just because you think it’s good, doesn’t mean the brand will. Well, I did get the right photo but it took some time. That wasn’t because they were being difficult, but moreso because my hair was straight for the first time in 6 months and I wasn’t about to wash it out just to get a photo for the brand. I was travelling to Hong Kong the next day so I enjoyed my straight hair, holiday and then came back to deal with the brand. I must say, by this stage I had started taking the hair vitamins. I was taking 2 a day and really wanted to get the first photo out before I had finished the bottle. When I returned home, I got some direction from Sugarbear about the type of photo they wanted. They showed me a closeup photo on Instagram that they liked of me, so I basically recreated that but in a way where I would show the gummy bear aswell. This is what I came up with…
…they approved! Thank god because I really didn’t enjoy having to put on a full face of makeup just to take a photo.
Where Did It All Go Wrong?
You can probably tell from the photo that I used facetune to smooth the hell out of my face, but there’s a reason for that – spots! I never really edit my IG photos with facetune as a filter normally does the job, but for some reason I just couldn’t shake the pimples I was getting. Yes pimples! I started to break out on my cheeks and chin but I didn’t know why. On top of this, my hair began getting really dry and no matter what I did, I could fix it. I thought it was a change in climate, and I was going out buying all these conditioners and products to help fix the problem. I even posted my situation up on Instagram so my followers could offer their advice.
People on Instagram were telling me it’s most likely product buildup so I washed my hair using my clarifying shampoo, but nothing had changed. I couldn’t think what it was but after I finished the first bottle of vitamins it dawned on me that the only thing that has changed in my routine was the vitamins. I stopped taking them immediately and focused on getting my skin and hair back to normal. A few weeks passed and I received an email from Sugarbear Hair stating that the second photo should have gone up on Instagram already. Darn, I totally forgot about them. They were the least of my worries to be honest, but I felt terrible that I had reached out to them and let them down. I informed them of the reason why I hadn’t been posting but agreed to continue with my journey anyway. I did also tell them that should I start to get breakouts from the vitamins again, I will have to be very honest with my readers about my experience using their product. They responded very nicely asking me to take a break for 2 weeks, which really wouldn’t have made any difference because at this time, I hadn’t been taking their vitamins for a few weeks anyway. Moving on, as promised I wanted to get a photo for them as I had started the second bottle. I didn’t want another selfie of me and the product, and to be quite honest I just didn’t have the time to take a photo like that. At this point I had got a full time job (previously worked as a Freelancer so was super flexible) and as we were entering the winter months, it was starting to get dark very early. On top of this, I didn’t exactly have a photographer friend who could help me take a photo of me rolling around in grass or by the beach…as these IG models do. So I did the best I could do. I thought it would be nice to have the Sugarbear Hair Vitamins bottle in an outdoors setting, with a nice blurry background. So here is what I came up with and sent over to the team.
I thought to myself, this isn’t a bad photo and actually I wish I put more effort into my everyday Instagram photos like I do into this branded content. I was feeling good about this one and I couldn’t wait to post in on my timeline. Errrm well that was never going to happen because I got a response from Sugarbear saying they cannot approve photos of the product alone, and the ambassador needs to be present in the photo. It was at this point that I could have cried. No seriously! I knew deep down that I didn’t have the time or “skills” to post these amazing photos that I see all over Instagram. I just about learned how to operate my self-timer to take the selfie approved in my first posting. What was I going to do? I still kept a positive mind and thought I could do it, just not in the timeframe that they want me to. I felt a bit crap like I had let the brand down, but it also taught me valuable lessons about how much control the brand has. I started thinking that actually, this isn’t worth it at all. I would have rather spent my money on the product and had the flexibility to post whatever photo I wanted, with whatever caption I wanted, without both of them having to be approved by the team first. Honestly, if I was posting this product myself, I would be able to mention in the caption about my experience with my skin breaking out and of my hair getting dryer and more bristly as a result of the product, not product buildup.
Did I mention breakouts? Yes, within a week or even days of this photo being rejected, I started to get small pimples again. I knew at that moment in time it was the vitamins. I wasn’t wearing any makeup, my skincare routine using tea tree oil hadn’t changed and my hair routine hadn’t changed. There was only one thing I could put the blame on – Sugarbear Hair Vitamins.
Instead of scrambling my efforts to get another decent photo, I decided that it was time to give up my collaboration with the brand. Life had simply taken over and I didn’t have the time or resources to produce the quality photo they needed, without it being ridiculously off-schedule. I sent the PR team an email asking for details where I could make full payment of the 3 bottles that were sent to me – I’m still waiting to hear back. Even though I only used one and a half bottles, I just think for the sheer fact that I reached out to them and for their kindness towards me, it’s the least I can do. I don’t want to just stop and not honour my word with them because let’s be real, they didn’t reach out to me, I reached out to them. What I will say again is that this has been a great learning curve for me, one that I will think twice about before reaching out or agreeing to work with a brand again.
Did My Hair Grow?
In short, the answer is no but to be fair I only used one and a half bottles so maybe I’m not the best example. With that being said, I saw amazing results with Biotin in a month, which continued for the 3 months I was taking it.
So that was my story with Sugarbear Hair and why I decided to stop collaborating with them. If you have a story with a brand that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear it.