What is your current role and how did you get into it?
I’m currently a Fashion and Beauty Journalist at The Independent. I started my journalism career only 2.5 years ago after I quit my job in finance. I initially hadn’t planned on becoming a journalist; I fell into it. I knew I had a passion for writing and storytelling, so I launched a mental health and fitness blog which was created as a platform for people who had mental health problems to share their story. I realised how rewarding it was and didn’t look back.
I cut my teeth on the news desk and sports desks at The Evening Standard before moving to The Independent, covering current affairs and lifestyle. Often I feel like a fraud because it doesn’t feel like work even on the bad days, but I also feel fortunate, too.
What’s the most challenging thing about working in the beauty industry?
I’ve found it challenging getting people to take me and what I do seriously. I get a lot of people – men, specifically – being patronising and saying “you just write about lipsticks, that’s not journalism”, but it is. Like current affairs and politics, I too have to conduct research, interview and hold people in power to account. I also have to ensure my work is accurate at all times. Plus, beauty isn’t just about lipsticks. It encompasses a variety of things, such as fitness, mental health, wellbeing, inner and outer beauty, and science – my favourite part!
Who is your beauty icon?
God, there are so many.
Noemie Lenoir, who used to model for Le Redoute and Marks & Spencer, is just breathtakingly beautiful. She’s naturally beautiful completely makeup-free, and that’s the kind of thing I love.
I love Sai De Silva aka Scout The City who is a blogger and YouTuber. She’s a super cool mom living in New York City with her husband and two children, London and Rio Dash, sharing their pretty normal (yet glamorous) lives. I came across her on Pinterest when I was searching for hair inspiration, and I’ve been in touch with her a few times. What I love about her is the fact that she juggles a million jobs, kids and shoots (and the rest) yet still manages to fit her skincare and haircare routines. But not only for herself. She has this beautiful way of teaching her children to love themselves. She radiates good energy so an Instagram worth following.
I know it might seem cliché to mention this individual, but Meghan Markle has been on the icon list since I saw her on Suits many years ago. She is stunningly beautiful, natural-looking but also has a kind heart and that’s important.
What is something you wish you knew five years ago?
I wish I believed I was beautiful with my naturally curly hair. I was severely bullied at school for having curly/afro hair and was often nicknamed “Mop Head”. It may not seem like a big deal, but it affected me throughout my formative years, especially as – in those days *gulp* – there weren’t many celebrities or public figures who looked like me, only white women with bone straight hair and blue eyes. Often I was told my hair would look better straight or it was too unkempt or frizzy for school or college…or work. I only recently started embracing my natural curls; something I wish I had done sooner. But there has been a shift in attitudes towards “other” people, and finally, we are being celebrated.
What is your biggest skincare secret?
I don’t wear a lot of makeup. Most days I don’t wear any. I hate having to take it all off, but I realised the more you try to cover your blemishes with makeup, the less your skin has time to heal because it is continuously being clogged up. I always wear an SPF that protects my skin from UVA and UVB rays and carry it around with me at ALL times, even on the cloudiest days. Exfoliating and applying masks are part of my weekly routine without fail, and I always microneedle my face on Sunday evenings. Last year I started steaming my face because it felt good; that’s all!
One thing you would tell your younger self (beauty-wise)
Eat whatever you want and stop using face wipes.
How does Skin, Hair & Nails fit into your daily routine?
Like a glove. Sometimes I even put gel eye masks on at work, people think I’m crazy but needs must! Whenever I need a little afternoon pick-me-up, which is every day because my job can be stressful, a little TLC is necessary.
When it comes to nails, I’m not that fussed. I think it’s because I play a lot of sports and I also play the guitar, so often there’s no point getting my nails done professionally at the salon because I will break/chip them. But also, I am SO indecisive about nail colours I spend a lot of time giving myself a manicure, painting my nails then a few days later doing it all over again because I want to paint them another colour to go with my outfit. I suppose it does reflect my mood also. I do love giving myself a manicure while watching the telly; it’s so therapeutic!
My hair takes up most of my time. Because I have curly hair, I have a particular routine that can vary between a wash n go or crying until it stops being frizzy. Kidding, but I use a diffuser after I’ve combed product through it (usually Cantu and Sisley hair oils) and let it do its thing. I’ve given up trying to tame it these days.
Travel is a huge part of your life – How do you keep up with your skincare routine?
Can I be sincere, and you’ll think I’m mad here (I am) but I’ve packed a full suitcase of beauty products and forgotten the essentials, like my underwear. Keeping up with my skincare routine abroad is a priority because I like to ensure I have that time to myself, even if I’m travelling for work or with friends. My method is a ritual and is a holy period of self-care. I couldn’t live without it, so if I didn’t bring anything with me well, I’d be a mess. I dedicate 30-45 minutes in the morning, and the evening, I take the same amount of time but with added bath time and meditation. When I speak to people about their skincare routines, sometimes they tell me they don’t have enough time in the day, but I think that’s a total cop-out. You can make the time; it doesn’t take long at all!