ACE BLOGGER AMBARINA HASAN ON TOP TIPS, TRICKS AND PRODUCTS Beauty bloggers have taken over the internet in a big way in the past decade and have become the go-to experts for women around the world wanting to look their best. The beauty experts use everything from social media and blogs to video sharing sites like YouTube to show the latest tips, tricks and products. London-based Ambarina Hasan went from writing for international publications to starting her Beauty Passionista blog, which has won awards and got shortlisted for other prestigious accolades. She uses Instagram, Facebook and YouTube to convey various aspects of beauty to thousands of followers worldwide. Eastern Eye caught up with Ambarina to talk about beauty blogging, top tips and her favourite products. Tell us about your beauty blogging? I focus heavily on skincare because my mantra has always been, ‘if your skin isn’t great, then no matter what makeup you apply, it will never look the way you want it to’. So I’m all about skincare, first and foremost. I also cover makeup, haircare, health, fitness, nutrition and lifestyle. As my blog and fan following have evolved, my readers have literally been the reason I’m covering all these other areas too. I believe in a holistic approach to beauty, which, for me, is not just about doing your hair and makeup, but also being beautiful from the inside out. Tell us, why do you think beauty bloggers are so popular? Beauty blogging has its roots in people telling how it is and sharing their experiences of products with anyone who is interested. Nowadays, it’s true we are sent samples to review, and I think there is beginning to be a little bit of distrust, but originally when we started out, we bought our own products and didn’t have to kowtow to PRs and brands; it was all about truth and honesty. Current Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rulings are trying to ensure all influencers and bloggers are transparent about their motives for featuring or recommending a product. Is there one most memorable project you have worked on? I’ve been lucky to work with amazing brands and quite a few stand out. The first one was a year-long project with fitness brand Slendertone, which was exciting because they told me my blog was being taken seriously as more than just makeup and skincare; it was all about health, fitness and nutrition. The second was a project with Tesco Beauty, where a varied group of bloggers, including me, were available online to give unbiased beauty advice to consumers. Which recent ones stand out… Last year, I was chosen as the face of Jane Iredale Mineral Makeup – it was thrilling to see my images in salons around the country. I’ve just done a fabulous campaign with global brand John Frieda Haircare, which was so exciting because it means my little blog and I are getting known all over the world. And of course, how can I forget documenting a different lipstick every day for a year – my 365-day challenge was featured in media and went viral. What is the secret of a good tutorial? A good tutorial is one the viewer or reader can recreate. I’m in awe of great makeup artists, but sometimes feel I could never recreate what they do precisely because they are so talented. So giving information on how to recreate that look in easy to follow terms is the way forward. My own tutorials are popular because I’m not a trained makeup artist, so my followers know that if I can do it, so can they. Do you think online and social media set unrealistic goals for youngsters? I think there is a very fine line when it comes to social media influence, young people and their self-images. There are some great positive role models on social media, but also many irresponsible bloggers and influencers on Instagram who put out highly photoshopped images. Young girls are wrongly led to believe that an unattainable level of perfection is the truth and that’s what they’re supposed to look like, so yes, I do worry for future generations and the effect social media is having on them – both girls and boys. What advice would you give young girls? I would urge them to look up and watch out for real women and real girls who are all about being positive and comfortable in the skin they’re in. Make the best of yourself, be as healthy as you can be and love yourself. It’s all about being the best version of your own beautiful self for your real life, not just for an Instagram picture. And use SPF every day. Where do you look for the latest beauty trends? Many beauty trends we see come filtered down from catwalk looks, made wearable for the average woman on the street. I tend not to follow trends slavishly, so you’ll never see me with a brightly coloured rainbow eye shadow look. But I’ll take from the main trends what works for me, my style and my readers. What top beauty tips would you give? My number one tip for beauty would be to look after your skin. Cleanse your skin properly at night and make sure that you are using SPF every single day, even if you’re living in the UK. Even in the middle of winter you should be using SPF every day. Oh, and drink enough water on a daily basis. What are the common mistakes women make? Women trying to follow trends to the letter. Those trends are often dreamt up by marketing people – unless there is a new trend every season, how are they going to sell new products? To my readers, I always say, have a look at the latest trends, see how could adapt them to suit you, but don’t feel like to have to be a slave to them. You run the risk of ending up with a look that is not you, so you probably won’t feel comfortable or confident in it either. Confidence is so vital to looking and feeling good, so don’t leave that to chance. What are your current favourite products? I’m all about the antioxidants for my skin right now, so a good vitamin C serum in the morning and a vitamin B serum at night. I also swear by using a retinol product at night. I believe in keeping my skin in tiptop condition, so a good collagen supplement is key to boost skin health and firmness as you get older. Why do you love beauty blogging? Because it’s my voice in my writing; I can talk to my worldwide followers directly and they can engage back with me personally. I spend so much of my time answering messages, questions and giving advice; my followers talk to me via the blog, my YouTube channel and Instagram. I absolutely love that immediate and direct contact with my followers, and then when they let me know that the tips I’ve given them have made a difference to them and their lives (and their confidence), that is the biggest thrill. BeautyPassionista.com, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr & Instagram: @BeautyPassionista and Twitter: @AmbarinaHasan