Date Posted: Tuesday 25th July 2017
DIARY directory recently caught up with beauty blogger and YouTuber Safiyah Tasneem. Professional make-up artist and mum Safiyah started her blog in 2010 when she worked on beauty counters in department stores and realised she could help other women find tones to suit their skin.
|Date of birth:||07/05/1988|
|County & country of residence:||London, UK|
|Biggest Readership Locations (list top 3):||US, UK, UAE|
|5 specific areas of interest:||Beauty swatches/reviews, Make-up looks, Health/Skincare, Parenting, Retail industry experience/advice|
|Dress size:||UK 8|
|Shoe size:||UK 3/4|
How did you get into blogging?I've always been into social media and the internet (from hi5 and MySpace days!) so when I saw blogger via my Gmail account I decided to check it out and use it to keep it as a kind of diary for my beauty buys while working on a beauty section in a department store. I started my blog in 2010 (as "frootibeauty") and hoped to blog about health and beauty as I was a fresh BSc Human Nutrition graduate, but it just became a beauty blog in the end!
How has the industry changed since you began?I never ever would have thought blogging would be this big when I started. Blogging has always been a hobby for me, somewhere to write about beauty products or create endless make-up looks that I hoped to inspire others (and better my own artistry). Back then, there weren't any paid/sponsored posts, the blog reviews were raw and unedited and the pictures were more than likely shot from a phone camera. It was a simpler time and in a way, I preferred it as it was easier to get noticed by brands but it also is nice to see so many more bloggers join the community especially when they're honest with their reviews and you really trust their opinions.
What's an average day in the life for you?When I had my son in 2014, blogging inevitably took a back seat as it was all a crazy new world of motherhood that no one is ever fully prepared for! My blogging is heavily reliant on his routine and dependent on when he sleeps; so when he has his daytime nap, I try to get some PR package unboxing done on my Instagram story/Snapchat or take my blog pictures. Once he's asleep at night (and all the housework is done!), I can get back to blogging and usually this is the time I either sit at my laptop and write up my blog posts or film for YouTube if I have the energy. Basically, juggling being a mum of a boisterous 3-year-old and keeping up with socials as well as my home duties requires great time management, but I see blogging as a welcome escape sometimes!
Who are your core readers and what do you hope to offer your readers/followers?From the messages and emails I've received since starting my blog, I'd say my core followers/readers are predominantly British South Asians, with a high % being Muslim. I do have a strong blog readership in the US and European countries as well as the Middle East. I’m seemingly popular in Russia and Far East countries like Malaysia and Indonesia too which is cool. My guess for this is because of the types of brands/products I usually blog about which are most likely available in their countries too, so they want to see swatches that they can relate to and ultimately trust, so that’s what I hope to offer.
How do you make your content different to others?I realised that I struggled to find two things when it came to makeup: the perfect (yellow) undertoned foundation and (nude) lipsticks that suited darker/pigmented lips. So I've made it my mission to swatch as many of these for others around my skin and lip tone to help make a decision as to whether it will suit them too or not, and that's what I concentrate mostly on now on my blog with skincare and other posts in between. I do however offer advice to anyone who emails/messages with specific concerns as I've been in the beauty industry for over 10 years now. Working as a beauty retail sales advisor for various brands (including Urban Decay, Estee Lauder, Elizabeth Arden, Chanel and more) gave me massive insight and hands on experience with customers and products; then I became a freelance makeup artist for bridal and party makeup as well as editorial shoots too, which gave me, even more, experience of all skin tones and types. So I feel I have a fair amount of knowledge and experience in various beauty roles that I hope can help my followers and make my content more reliable and different.
Muslim/hijab wearing bloggers are a fast-growing niche in the beauty industry – have you faced any challenges because of this?Initially, when I started blogging and first got invited to events I did feel a sense of being the odd one out. Inside I felt no different of course, I shared the same passion as all these other bloggers but wearing a hijab meant I had limitations in terms of a certain "look" a brand could be going for. I remember attending an Illamasqua event where Alex Box created a hijabi inspired look for their Human Fundamentalism collection and felt so inspired by it. Now with this growing niche, I finally feel like I have a place in the blogging world, as long as it doesn't clash with my personal values/integrity. In terms of the future, I'm not too sure as it could be a fad, but I'm embracing the fact brands are recognising there's a market for us too and it feels great to be included but also personally to be representing Muslim/hijabis when attending brand events. This is definitely a source of inspiration to keep going because I know how important representation is.
Biggest lessons learned while working in the industry?It's easy to get caught up worrying about follower numbers or views but I've learned to steer clear of it as much as possible as it doesn't benefit or have any positive effect. It's not actually about the follower numbers, it's about the impact and effect you have on the internet and I feel like the only way you can do that is by being true to yourself. Being original can be hard when the market can seem saturated compared to when I started, but I know what works for others won't necessarily work for me, so I've learned to trust my own instincts and do what *I* love because that's the only way you can enjoy blogging, especially if it's unpaid - you need passion to motivate you when you're in a slump.
Blogging can - to an extent - be seen as a numbers game, however, we know that numbers don't always measure up to engagement. What does success mean to you and how do you measure it?For a short period of time I was fixated on my numbers and no matter what I did it wouldn't change. I looked at others and thought maybe I should try doing what they were but I knew I wouldn't enjoy it and it wasn't me, so I decided to get back to the reason why I started my blog - to keep a log/diary of products I love, create makeup looks to inspire etc - and as I started to fall back in love with blogging about what I'm passionate about and works for me, my numbers went up anyway. I currently measure my “success” when followers go out of their way to message me personally to say my content has helped them a lot or when I’m recognised and approached by new brands that want to collaborate. Long term success would be to execute a business idea (or two) I have in mind once I find the right brands to work with!
What are your favourite beauty brands/products?Oh, there's so many! I've been an Urban Decay junkie for years (so much so, I made sure I got an interview and worked for them on counters in the past). Other brands I frequently use and love include Too Faced, NYX, L'Oréal, Armani, Stila and The Body Shop. I feel my favourite beauty products change with the seasons but a good full coverage concealer is something I'm constantly on the lookout for and always willing to try.
Who would be a dream collaboration that hasn’t yet presented itself?Aside from Urban Decay, I think another dream collaboration of mine would be with a brand like The Body Shop who I've recently rediscovered and absolutely love their Himalayan mask amongst other amazing products they've released. The feedback I get from my followers about The Body Shop is amazing, I love that they are also passionate about their skincare products so I'd love to represent my followers in a collab one day.
What’s been a career highlight for you?Being scouted for the L'Oréal Matte Addiction campaign was a definite highlight this year! Being able to work with such a globally recognised brand was amazing and really helped to cement my feelings that there's room for everyone at the table. Over the course of my blogging career, other highlights include meeting Alex Box at previous Illamasqua events (she's such a beautiful soul!), forming great PR relationships with super lovely ladies, meeting influencers at amazing events and just being part of an ever growing blogging community who all have the same passion/hobbies as me!
How important is social media to your blog? What platforms drive the most traffic to your site?Social media is essential to my blog. It's hard keeping up with more than one platform but as I've always made an effort to create an account on every platform and I try to keep up with them as much as I can. My main platform to help drive traffic is Instagram, especially since they've included Instagram stories and Instagram live. It really feels more interactive with these features even though the original picture posts can be quite disheartening with the algorithm.
You also have a YouTube channel; will this ever be your sole focus or will your blog continue to be your main platform?I've always been more of a writer (keeping diaries etc) so I definitely feel like my blog is my "home" and every other platform is just an extension of it. It is nice to be able to expand my blog from words to dialogue as different forms of social media appeal to different people.
Do you think traditional blogging will fade out in favour of YouTube and social channels like Instagram and Snapchat?I have wondered this a lot; despite YouTube and other social platforms being very popular, I do feel like it's easier to skim read a blog post rather than watch a video that could be over 10 minutes long on YouTube etc, so personally I hope blogs are here to stay, especially for those who love to read and are old school like me! I've actually had comments from followers on YouTube who appreciate that my videos are to the point and not "rambly" but then I ramble on my blog instead haha.
Which other influencers do you follow and why?
Ohh I follow so many, but the ones I actively check up on are usually ones I can relate to either due to similar skin tones/lip tones, honesty of reviews or genuine creativity. I am obsessed with bloggers like Halima (Fashionicide) who clearly put effort and time into creating unique (and magical) content; my eyes love her Instagram feed!