Date Posted: Wednesday 21st March 2018
DIARY directory recently caught up with skincare expert and beauty blogger Caroline Hirons. Famous in the beauty-sphere for her no-nonsense approach to skincare, Caroline has over 30 years of retail experience and has worked as a consultant to brands in the industry for over 10 years. Having launched her blog eight years ago after being horrified by the amount of bad skincare advice being given out on Twitter, Caroline is now an influential figure in the beauty industry with a successful blog, YouTube channel and her own product with Pixi Beauty. Known for her straight-talking style and honest opinions, Caroline shares with us why she dislikes the term 'influencer', skincare myths she'd like to banish and what she thinks about the ever-changing social media landscape!
|Date of Birth:||25 July|
|Country of residence:||England|
|Biggest Readership Locations:||London, Dublin, New York|
|Main areas of focus:||Beauty, Skincare|
|Skin tone/type:||Olive, ageing, old hag|
|Hair colour:||Who knows? Blonde on top, brown underneath|
|Hair type:||Dyed, frazzled and abused|
|Shoe Size:||9 shoe / 10 trainer|
|Who are your audience?||Female 34 - 45 biggest group|
Having been at the centre of the beauty industry for the past 20 years, what are your thoughts on the ever-changing social media landscape?
I think there is a growing divide between old-school bloggers/Instagram celebrities and YouTubers. Sometimes people cross over, but the term ‘influencer’ to me, describes someone who has a large audience, predominantly on Instagram, and has a photographer, that takes lots of pictures of them in beautiful locations that someone else has paid for them to travel to, and is usually unnecessarily photoshopped, sometimes beyond recognition. It’s perfectly fine if that’s what your audience wants, and clearly, there is a big audience for it or they wouldn’t be successful. I’m not judging at all. I just wonder how sustainable it is as a business model…
You’ve been vocal about disliking the term 'influencer' - why is this?
‘Influencer’ takes what I do and makes it about what I can do for a marketing team or brand. I’m a blogger/YouTuber. I have influence, but it’s not why I do what I do.
How do you think brands & influencers can work better together - Any PR pet peeves?
Not really. PR is ever-evolving and they are just trying to manage a minefield of changes in their roles. Print is changing/social is constantly evolving, the landscape is very different now than how it was even five years ago. I feel for PRs trying to navigate it and keep everyone happy. In terms of working with bloggers in a sponsored situation, it works best if you leave the script at home and let the blogger advise on what will work. We know our reader/viewer better than anyone. And brands that won’t listen/think they know better are best avoided, no matter how much money they wave in front of you. The reader comes first.
How should brands measure an influencer’s impact?
Outside of the obvious uplift in sales: Engagement. How much are they talking to their readers? And what about? Is there daily interaction discussing more than complimenting their appearance? Are the readers invested in their lives? Is it reciprocated?
What beauty fads drive you mad & what skincare myths would you like to banish?
I’m over sheet masks, well, I was before they even began to be honest. We’re trying to get rid of wipes, and we’re bringing out bigger ones that are just as bad for the environment and calling them masks? No thanks. The usual skincare myths make my eyes glaze over. The fact that there is still packaging out there that says ‘opens pores’ is beyond me.
What are some upcoming brands that you are loving at the moment?
Anything green and usually from the US, Josh Rosebrook, Jordan Samuel, January Labs, May Lindstrom, Drunk Elephant coming to the UK, De Mamiel from the UK, lots! It’s an exciting time. Young brands started by people with passion, not shareholders.
You launched your own product with Pixi Beauty with great success, do you have plans to launch any more products?
You’re known for giving your honest opinion – have you turned down potential lucrative collaborations because of your ethics?
Weekly. I can’t give specific brand examples, that would be beyond unprofessional, but I am asked to endorse products that I don’t use all the time. We all are. It may be turning down a fortune but it’s not worth your reputation with your reader.
Some bloggers have come under fire for buying followers, do you think brands are naïve to this?
I think some PRs/media agencies don’t care or turn a blind eye because it ticks a box for them for their client reports. They can send out a report saying they’ve seeded product to ‘XYZ who has X amount of following’. We all see the ones we know have bought followers getting work, and it’s frustrating, but you have to keep doing you. The truth will out eventually. Some PRs are great and see the fakers for what they are. Some just want the box ticked, it’s like any job, including blogging, good and bad come with it - And it’s not just bloggers that buy followers, it’s brands and brand owners too.
Is the rise of sponsored content & other certain marketing practices damaging relationships between brand/consumer?
I’m not sure how? It has always existed. It still exists now. The Daily Mail will use endless affiliate links under every single showbiz post saying ‘shop this outfit!’ and none of it is ever declared. Ever. Magazines still say ‘In collaboration with’ instead of saying ’ad’. If a blogger properly declares, there should be no issue. You either trust the person you are reading or you don’t.
Do bloggers/influencers still have the same level of trust as they used to?
I can’t say...I’m too ‘in it’. I know I’m (mostly) trusted, I take the trust of my reader extremely seriously and I, in turn, read people that I trust implicitly, so I would probably say if you have doubts, ask the blogger. Every time I do a sponsored post I get questions, some reasonable, some aggressive. Some people will always believe you are lying, but that says more about them and nothing about me. I sleep easy. I’ve never taken payment for a product I didn’t believe in, and I turn down 95% of what comes my way.
Increased areas of interest for consumers include vegan/ethical beauty & sustainability/packaging - what are your thoughts?
People are obsessed with animal testing these days (understandably) – the focus on China is at an all-time high. I’d love to see the word ‘toxic’ banished from our lives forever, but yes, ‘clean’ is trendy!
Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years?
Running my business and using more and more retinoids. ;)
Listed in DIARY directory in the blogs & vlogs section, Caroline is one of over 1500 categorised influencers that PRs could work with. Subscribers can sort blogs according to social media following across Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, and filter by country and UK region. See our previous DIARY Influencers here!
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