How This Influencer Deals With The Sexism Around Beauty Blogging
Skincare blogger, Sharmili (@sharmtoaster) was one of the first Instagram accounts we fell in love with when we started Mirra. Maybe it was her "millenial pink feed," or maybe it was her brutally honest reviews of the trendiest skincare products. Whatever it was, it was enough to catch our attention. We sat down with Sharmili to talk acne, double cleansing, and dealing with the sexism around beauty blogging.
What inspired you to become a beauty blogger?
I became a beauty blogger on accident! I had a personal style blog for a few years but started losing steam after graduating from high school. I started sharing occasional beauty posts because in all honesty, they were easier to shoot. I didn’t have to location scout or worry about finding someone to photograph me. And after discovering the Asian Beauty subreddit last summer, I completed my transformation into total beauty addict! And my newfound interest was reflected in my blog.
At the moment I would call myself a beauty blogger but in the future I hope to start style blogging again and incorporate more lifestyle posts in addition to beauty.
What have been some of your most challenging skincare issues that you’ve dealt with?
My skin is dehydrated and acne prone. I’ve been suffering from some form of acne ever since I was a pre-teen and it’s been a bumpy road. Literally.
While it’s negatively impacted my self-worth in the past I’m happy to say I’m in a place where I mostly give no f*cks when it comes to my acne.
Of course there’s the monster zit that occasionally comes around and messes with my psyche but most of the time I’m okay with the state of my skin. I have visible pores and scars and texture but I’ve learned to be OK with it because I’m human. Plus, most people are hyper-focused on themselves. 95% of people won’t care or notice if you’re having a bad skin day.
On a related note, what is the greatest challenge you face as a beauty blogger?
I think there’s still a lot of sexism and stigma around being interested in makeup, skincare, self-care, etc. and that definitely colors my conversations.
I feel so uncomfortable talking about blogging with my family and friends. It’s not a topic I willingly bring up but sometimes it comes up in conversation and I’m forced to awkwardly mumble about it. The worst is when people bring up how much money I must be spending on beauty products, or even worse, how much money I must make from blogging.
How has your beauty routine evolved over the last few years?
My beauty routine in high school and the beginning of college was mostly no frills. Cleanser, prescription acne medication, and sunscreen. I didn’t really care about skincare so I would use sunscreen as my nighttime moisturizer as well.
Over the years I’ve come to learn about all the extras—wash off masks, sheet masks, toners, mists, eye creams, moisturizers. My skin is thankful for it! I discovered I had dehydrated skin and the sunscreen I used in high school was nowhere near moisturizing enough to combat the dryness caused from the acne medication.
Now I can’t imagine my routine without all the extras.
What are your favorite beauty essentials at the moment?
Mists! Because I can use them at any time of the day. Not only do they add a kick of hydration to my skin, but I also enjoy the ritual of applying them. I love the cooling feeling, the smell, and even the sound of the spritz itself.
It’s hard to narrow down my favorites but one I’ll always have in my arsenal is the La Roche-Posay thermal water mist. Spraying literal water on your face sounds a bit silly at first but people have been flocking to thermal springs to heal all sorts of maladies for centuries. The minerals and trace elements found in their thermal water are beneficial for the microbiome on your face.
What beauty tip do you swear by?
So if I had a beauty tip I swear by—double cleanse! You won’t regret it.
My life changed when I learned about the magic of double cleansing with an oil or balm cleanser - it properly cleanses off all the makeup, dirt and grime from my face without stripping my skin of moisture. My current favorites are the Green Clean Cleansing Balm and the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm.
I actually noticed a sharp decline in my acne when I started following a double cleansing routine. And now I can’t go a night without double cleansing.
We believe that self reflection, and self love, is critical to achieve that the feeling of beauty. How does self care play a role in your own life?
At the end of the day it doesn’t mean anything that my face looks nice if I’m not happy on the inside.
So personally, I view skincare and beauty as a way to treat myself because I deserve to be cherished (even though I’m slightly cringing saying that out loud). Sometimes, if I’m having a bad day, something as simple as using a sheet mask or burning a fancy candle can lift my spirits. I hope everyone can find a little ritual that makes them feel valued.