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Cosmetic connect

Don’t let an overabundance of cosmetics in a commercially thriving market confuse you. To your rescue come women from the region who have taken it upon themselves to rate, review and discuss every beauty product that finds itself on a shelf in a store. By Swati Goel Sharma

brunch Updated: Jul 28, 2013 00:10 IST
Swati Goel Sharma

Don’t let an overabundance of cosmetics in a commercially thriving market confuse you. To your rescue come women from the region who have taken it upon themselves to rate, review and discuss every beauty product that finds itself on a shelf in a store.





Dhara Singh from Amritsarspends hours prowling the beauty sections of the stores she visits to find out the latest and the noteworthy. When home, she logs on to her blog www.thehappitherapy.com, a beauty-focussed social network, and spills on it all she thinks of the products with the confidence of a beauty critic and enthusiasm of a makeup obsessed. Often, Dhara buys products that excite her and, again, uploads her analysis of these on the blog — be it about the sheerness of the eye shadow or the consistency of a lipstick.|



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Her blog was quietly introduced in September last year and has already signed up more than 80 users and seen 37,000 hits so far, with her views, uploaded photos and videos allowing netizens to digitally experiment the cosmetics and enjoy an unbiased, peer-to-peer review. "Beauty blogging helps connect the dots and make fashion simpler for the customer. And this is a lot about social credibility," says Dhara, mother to a six-year-old daughter, who says she takes inspiration from popular beauty blog www.clumpsofmascara.com by a US-based blogger named Brittany. Interestingly, the chic blog joins a small but growing number of similar social platforms created in the region (mostly during last year) that offer prolific gyan on beauty products, brands, makeup artists, do-it-yourself tricks, makeup blunders and everything in between. The no-nonsense data attracts thousands of users and hundreds of comments and reactions.



These bloggers are not professionally trained beauty specialists but amateur enthusiasts, in-the-know babes or just busy moms who love cosmetics and are savvy with jargon such as ‘statement brows’, ‘flushes of brush’, pastel shades, ruby red lips, radiant glows and smokey eyes. But wait, they are more than that: they make you want to go play with your eyeliner, spark lengthy conversations on what are the most stellar brushes and share trivia on subjects untouched by

fashion glossies, for instance, customer shopping experience with beauty websites. What’s more, their influence on netizens has spurred interest from beauty companies who have begun to approach them to review their products, offering even to dispatch free product samples.



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Be Beautiful

Dhara Singh, Amritsar
www.thehappitherapy.com

1) If glowing skin is a baby, then moisturiser is the mother and highlighters
are babysitters!
2) Concealing pigmented skin around lip area helps in achieving a flawless skin tone
3) Bold lips and bright cheeks don’t work well together
4) Try not to flood the nail cuticle with nail polish
5) Smile is the best makeup a girl can wear. Oh, and its free!

First-hand accounts

“Beauty blogging might be exploding in the metros, but it is only just catching up in the region,” notes Anupama Gupta from Chandigarh, who has achieved a bit of online stardom with her beauty blog http://longislandfashionterritory.blogspot.in. The 27-year-old practicing lawyer and a fashion enthusiast began to upload straightforward reviews about a slew of cosmetics that her US-settled aunt (mom’s sister) brought along as gifts last year.

Now, she spends an average of R5,000 a month on buying new products and unravelling the experience on the blog that has over 60 dedicated followers and earns around 6,000 hits a month. Anupama’s closet stocks over 50 lipsticks, scores of mascaras and hundreds of eye shadows, both from the Indian and American markets.

“When using imported beauty products sent by my aunt, I would wonder if I could exploit this hobby to reach out to other beauty enthusiasts. In the process, I got hooked to blogs on YouTube. Before I knew it, I was following popular bloggers from the UK and the US until I set up my own blog one fine day,” she recalls.

Though Anupama never advertised her blog, it’s popular enough to attract the attention of beauty companies, who have begun to reach out to her. "A few PR agencies have written to me in the past few months, requesting that I review their products. This is the most exciting part of my hobby," she chuckles.



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Be Beautiful

Anupama Gupta, Chandigarh

longislandfashionterritory.blogspot.in

1) Never wear blush before you wear a lipstick
2) Never pump your mascara wand, always swirl it in and out to prevent it from drying
3) Never, ever sleep with makeup on
4) Never use brushes that have not been washed for a week
5) Never use your friend’s foundation

Credibility at stake

Harman Nagra from Ferozepur, whose blog gogzbeautytipsandtricks.blogspot.in bubbled onto the web last year, bears a strong opinion about beauty bloggers writing on request by cosmetic companies. “Companies offering products for review is both good and bad,” says the 23-year-old who is often approached by beauty product manufacturers to review their products.

“To be flooded with gifts is an awesome feeling, but freebies can kill fairness and sincerity that is really the USP of blogs. Girls follow beauty blogs because they want to know what advertisements don’t say,” she adds.

Harman is a trained engineer who works for an IT firm in Chandigarh. What got her into blogging? "Knowing my love for cosmetics and makeup, I was approached by a few bloggers to write guest columns for them. This happened through contacts. I found it interesting how people followed and commented on what I wrote and decided to develop a full-fledged blog and build my own brand," says the avid follower of beauty blog www.temptalia.com and YouTube guru Camilla Coehlo. Not looking to earn revenue out of her hobby, Harman says she loves her little virtual world where she, with her beauty tips and opinions, rules.



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Be Beautiful

Harman Nagra, Ferozepur

gogzbeautytipsandtricks.blogspot.in

1) In the summers, sunscreen must never be ignored
2) Always match your foundation to your neck, so that if you skip using it on the neck, your face and neck are still of the same colour
3) Exfoliate at least once a week to get rid of any dead skin cells
4) Don’t forget about foot hygiene
5) Make lip balm a part of your everyday skin regime

Professional innings

Not all wish to keep this as a mere hobby though. Meet Upasana Das from Panchkula, who, inspired by the success of her blog that enjoys a following of over 600, is determined to make a career in beauty business. Moving beyond product reviewing, she has begun to give makeup tutorials on www.makeupmypassion.com, sharing through content, photos and instructional videos how to get a perfectly airbrushed and immaculate face.

This fresh post-graduate in information technology, who swears by YouTube beauty guru Misschievouz, has been blogging for a little over two years now.

"In the future, I would be looking at associations with beauty companies and events to enter professional blogging. After all, I am dedicating 10 hours a day to run my site, just like a full-time job," argues the 23-year-old.



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Be Beautiful

Upasana Das, Panchkula
www.makeupmypassion.com

Five must-checks before you pick up a beauty product:
1)
It should be of a known and familiar brand
2) Know your skin type and buy makeup accordingly
3) See if it matches your skin colour, don’t lust for a ‘white’ skin tone
4) Check for the expiry date
5) Keep your previous experience with the brand in mind

For a cause

In some cases, blogging may not necessarily be writing about M.A.C’s latest eye shadow. For instance, Tamanna Kanwar often touches the serious side of beauty industry, such as
promoting cruelty-free products and going natural in approach. At 38, this Panchkula-resident is perhaps the most senior of these writers.

Over 160 people follow her blog madwomanintheatticblog.wordpress.com that started only six months ago. The former Indian revenue officer and mother to a seven year old believes beauty
writing is a skill that many modern women pick up these days, given the huge market and hit-and-trial.

Besides the battle of freebies, heavy cosmetic stocking and several laborious hours on the computer, these women say they love what they do. Sums up Harman, "I am a fashion addict and would have been dressing up women if not writing codes. Blogging about beauty is therapeutic for me."



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Be Beautiful

Tamanna Kanwar, Panchkula

madwomanintheatticblog.wordpress.com

1) Don’t follow everything your favourite blogger says, like “must-have red lipsticks” or “lust lists”. The choice must be yours
2) Don’t blindly go after the ‘best seller.’ Try out variety in the product and then choose
3) Don’t do up both eyes and lips or you risk looking clownish
4) Don’t use products that are loaded with chemicals. There are plenty of natural
options in the market
5) Don’t use foundation as a means to look fair. Instead, choose a shade that matches your skin colour