The Internet is awash with visually-pleasing images on Instagram, skincare reviews articles on Facebook, and great makeup guides on Youtube, largely produced by beauty bloggers. To many of us, beauty bloggers lead a life most can only dream about. After all, they’re given the newest products to try, get invited to awesome parties, and even get sponsored by companies. However, that’s only a small part of what beauty bloggers do. We asked popular three beauty bloggers – Carrie, Linda and Qi Yun to pull back the veneer and tell us more about what it’s really about.
When and why did you first start blogging about beauty?
Carrie: It was sometime in 2010. It started as a hobby. I started The Cambelles in April 2010 with my partner-in-crime, Rachie, and it came as a sort of a lightbulb moment. We shared a Tumblr where we re-blogged stuff and it was a collection of emotional quotes pertaining to our previous relationships. Then when we broke up with our then-boyfriends, we decided why not do something light-hearted together and we set up The Cambelles. We wrote about anything we wanted and loved. Beauty was one of those things.
Linda: I started blogging about beauty in October 2012. I’ve always had a passion for beauty, and have been wanting to create an unbiased platform to share insights on beauty products that is more than just the superficial.
Qi Yun: I started in mid-2013 when I was called on by company that runs a beauty community, to help them in their marketing efforts. I witnessed the vibrancy and excitement happening in the community – all the beautiful up-to-date beauty and makeup launches, as well as the different looks talented ladies created. To me, makeup is like paint and the face is the canvas. It was like re-igniting the artist in me and I got on the bandwagon ever since.
I wanted to create an unbiased platform to share insights on beauty products…
What’s your favourite part about being a beauty blogger?
Carrie: Finding products that aren’t just good, but amazing. I absolutely love it when I am introduced to a brand or product that is just perfect for my skin and which I end up going back to, even after testing a myriad of products. I think if I had not blogged about beauty, I wouldn’t have access to that variety of products, and I might even miss a couple of personal favourites that I repurchase even when I get plenty of products now and then.
Linda: I’m very blessed to have grown to a stage where I have been given the opportunity to try out products that I may never have heard of if left to my own devices, and sometimes before those products are even out in the market. It is very exciting and fun for a beauty junkie like me. At the same time, I really appreciate the readers who make the effort to leave me comments, or reach out to me privately via email or Twitter, etc, even hopping across platforms to leave me notes on Instagram about my blog posts. I’ve definitely made a lot of like-minded friends, and they are the ones who drive me on.
Qi Yun: Having like-minded beauty junkies as friends cause they’ll never judge you for the number of products you own. In fact, they might have more!
As a person who holds a day job, how do you cope with the demands of blogging, especially now that social media requires you to be “always on”?
Carrie: I really enjoy writing. I really enjoy photography. I really enjoy styling. These activities are already things I do on a day-to-day basis and it’s just about planning my schedule in a way that allows me to shoot the products while I’m on the go or in between appointments. As for how I cope, it’s just natural for me to be online and “on” in social media. Linda: I have to admit I’m not always on… although it has grown into a rather unhealthy obsession. But I think my followers understand that I have my own life and a little 3-year old boy who is growing too quickly. At the end of the day, it is about prioritising. I sleep much later than most people I know, and it is not because of K-drama! Qi Yun: Beauty and travel blogging is like a little hobby to me – I love taking photos and looking at fellow bloggers’ photos and reviews. It helps me relieve work stress. I usually plan and prepare my posts before hand and post during lunch or dinner time. I just take it easy and enjoy the process :) In fact, I might get withdrawal symptoms if social media is removed from my life!
Blogging is like a little hobby to me… It helps me relieve work stress.
What is your #1 beauty tip?
Carrie: Behind every successful woman is a good skincare regime. Find products that work for you and in order to get access to a variety of brands and products, share the costs for new beauty items with friends and split it into smaller portions in travel-sized bottles and tubs. That gives you more than just a sample-size to really test the efficacy, and doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket until you find your personal holy grail product.
Linda: Always cleanse your face thoroughly, twice a day! Morning cleansing is important for removing dead skin cells that accumulate as you sleep, and the evening cleanse is for removing all the dirt and grime of the day. And always apply moisturiser afterwards! No matter how oily your skin type is, you still need a moisturiser!
Qi Yun: Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! Many skin issues arise from insufficient moisture.
Tell us, what’s your definition of “beautiful”?
Carrie: The beauty about being “beautiful” is that it can’t be defined. But if we were to turn the question around and you were to ask me when do I feel most “beautiful” then my answer would be, when someone can say otherwise and the criticism rolls off me because I am content with who I am and I love what I see in the mirror.
Linda: Healthy skin and a happy soul!
Qi Yun: Beauty is confidence + intelligence. Skincare and makeup helps with confidence. Being humble and constantly learning helps with intelligence.
I am content with who I am and I love what I see in the mirror.
Q: What is the “must-have” item in your beauty kit?
Carrie: For Beloved One Vitamin C Plus Melasleep Whitening Ethyl Ascorbic Acid Surge Cream. My skin just completely drinks it up and even when I change my chosen day and night cream for review purposes, I’ll always come back to using it because it just works!
Linda: Oh this is tough… but I can’t do without some sort of base product, be it a tinted sunscreen / BB cream or foundation. But a good base is everything!
Qi Yun: Mattifying powder with SPF. I’ve got oily combination skin and I love products that are multi-purpose.
Finally: what is the biggest misconception people have about beauty bloggers?
Carrie: I have friends, and sometimes acquaintances whom I’ve just met, who would ask me repeatedly if a particular product I write about is really “all that jazz”. I guess there is a misconception that since beauty bloggers are sponsored products, we write out of obligation and they are not all as good as what we claimed. For me, I choose to share about those that I have had great experiences with. It’s just about finding a brand and product that you love enough to stick with. If I spent the time to write about it in detail, I most definitely liked it enough to do that!
Linda: That we are shallow and frivolous! The beauty bloggers I know are some of the most hardworking bunch of people who are dedicated to their work and take a lot of pride turning out honest, comprehensive reviews in time. Most of us have to juggle full time work and family alongside blogging, and it is really a lot of work taking photographs, trying out the products (often at the expense of our own skin’s health!) and writing out reviews. These are often missed by our critics.
Qi Yun: The biggest misconception about bloggers or instagramers is that we get free stuffs just by taking nice photos or posing with them, which sounds very easy. However, the truth is that having a good picture takes time to plan which begins with selecting (and buying) the correct props that fits the theme, then arranging the layout and props for a good overall image balance, finding the best angle and post editing to improve the image, and finalise the image mood. Sometimes the picture that you see on my Instagram can be 89th photo which I am finally satisfied with, one hour later!
Most readers also want to see something different everyday, so I find myself spending lots of time cracking up different ways to present a product and seeking inspiration from daily life with different perspectives. These are additional time spent beyond the actual photo taking.
All these on top of having to write our reviews on the product, which can also be very time consuming as I don’t exactly have a flair for writing – it all comes along with practice :) Watch a blogger work and you’ll realise there’s a lot of creativity and hard work involved.