The skincare community is vast and complex -- because people are vast and complex! Ohlolly talks with some of our favorite skincare enthusiasts and beauty influencers about the ins, outs, ups and downs in the beauty industry. We discuss their skincare journeys, change in the industry, and of course, their beauty tips and tricks.
Today, we talk to Michelle from @thebeautyendeavor. A self-described beauty addict, blogger, nurse, and mother, Michelle has been in the beauty game for years. She’s seen changes, learned hacks, all to become the “skintellectual” she is today. We're so excited to have her share her wisdom. Hi, Michelle!
First, let's learn a little more about you.
I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. I spent most of my life there before moving to Montana for a few years, and I now reside in South Texas. I grew up in a very artistic family, so I went to college for Illustration. However, I ended up getting out of it shortly after graduation and decided to become a nurse instead. I’ve now been a nurse for thirteen years. I have a big passion for neurology and, in particular, brain injury and rehab.
I’ve been a huge beauty addict since I was young. Six years ago, I decided to start a beauty blog. It gave me the chance to have a creative outlet combined with my obsession of the beauty world. I’ve always loved testing products and have been obsessed with finding the next best product. Beauty is my happy place. I eventually got on Instagram, which is my favorite social media outlet. It was all just for fun, not to be a career.
What about your skincare journey?
I rarely had pimples, sensitivity or redness as a teen and could kind of just do whatever I wanted to my skin and it never really freaked out. I had no clue what skin types or skin conditions were. There was also no social media to connect with and learn from. You only had your mom, friends, commercials & magazines. It was a dark time, haha.
I got some premature wrinkles on my forehead in my mid-20s because I was a smoker. Smoking is terrible for your skin (among other things). I finally quit smoking and ditched the makeup wipes as my night cleanser. That, combined with proper skincare, made the wrinkles mostly disappear. Once I figured all that out, I got hormonal acne in my early 30s. After a lot of differing advice, I started researching online. I read blogs, websites and even started to look at ingredients closely. I started a regular routine with proper products.
What's your relationship like with the skincare community?
I finally got my hormonal acne under control right around when I joined Instagram and discovered the online skincare community. It was like heaven -- like-minded people just chatting about skincare and makeup. I had just moved to Texas and didn’t know anyone or have any family nearby. It gave me an outlet to be more social, and I’m very visual, so it just clicked for me. I actually had to google ‘what are hashtags’ back then, just to try and figure out how to navigate this new online arena.
Instagram and the skincare community have since become my favorite place to be for social media. Beyond the people and behind the accounts, the best part of the skincare community is discovering new brands & products. It’s like the best and the worst at the same time (worst only for my wallet!).
What is your take on the term “Skincare Influencer?”
I’m actually not a fan of the term “influencer.” I hated it when people called me that at first. I just wanted to talk about makeup and skincare for fun, and not be any kind of influencer on others. I much preferred the term Beauty Blogger.
Later, I started to understand that I am influencing others in their purchases, so I grew to tolerate the term. I think many have switched to Content Creator instead. This allows us to be seen more as creators and adds value to the work. The term “influencer” can seem frivolous, since some view blogging or running an Instagram page as easy. But they don’t realize how much time really goes into a post, from concept to execution to engaging an audience. It’s a second job.
What sort of changes to the industry have you seen over the years (for better or worse)?
Social media is a very fluid & dynamic thing that changes all the time. I’ve been on Instagram for almost five years now. It’s gone from feeling organic to very structured and almost commercial.
In 2018, Instagram had a huge boom in the number of new influencers and voices creating content (rather than just being consumers or followers). Brand involvement (PR product distribution and paid ads) exploded as well. Then, the algorithm changed from chronological to what it is now. PR gifts expanded beyond mega-influencers and celebrities to micro-influencers. The blogger market became very oversaturated. Instagram feels like an online magazine at times. The creativity and quality of the photos blows my mind now. Some buy a camera just for Instagram content; the skill is just insane. The amount of time some must put into these posts is just unreal compared to what it used to be.
Honestly, I thought the PR bubble would burst at some point. It seems that this is the new normal now. It has pros and cons. It does allow you to try and experience brands and products you never would have known about or considered buying. You may even find a new favorite. It allows small brands a chance to be seen in a very big market when they may not have been able to before. However, it’s also made it harder for the consumer to determine which influencers are being honest in their reviews or who’s just promoting it for more PR and good brand relations. This has led to some distrust with influencers (more so with mega-influencers and YouTubers). It’s also led to product overconsumption. It can feel like you’re just churning out content like a factory mill.
Overall, I think micro-influencers have started becoming more powerful than mega-influencers. They became a target for brands and their value is more apparent. It’s allowed some to make a job of their previous hobby without being a 1M subscriber YouTuber. This year, I think everyone is just trying to survive and keep their sanity. I also see a lot trying to reduce consumption and not get into every new launch. Brand ethics has become huge this year. That, combined with transparency and exclusivity when launching (and not just as an afterthought!).
Who (if anyone) has anyone influenced your interest in the skincare/beauty industry?
Magazines started it for me, but the first real person I remember was Kevyn Aucoin. I bought his books and read them cover to cover while imitating the looks. Gwen Stefani was also a huge influence on me. I wore black eyeliner and red lipstick through the mid-late 90s because of her.
The first bloggers I loved are @beautyprofessor, @beautylookbook and @temptalia. I read their blogs for years before starting my own. Caroline Hirons and Renee Rouleau were the first skincare blogs I got into. They saved my skin during my hormonal acne phase and pushed me further into skin care.
Do you have any too-good-not-to-share skincare hacks (could be for travel, daily routine, anything…)?
Turn your towel bar into a place to dry your makeup brushes upside down. Use a hair band to secure it on the bar. Easy and cheap. I also pat eye cream on my orbital bone since it tends to migrate a little bit towards the eye. That keeps the cream from stinging and getting into my eyes.
How have you been taking care of yourself these past few months? What does an ideal day of self-care look like?
I’m really bad at self-care. The most I usually do is a long skincare routine at night. I’ve been known to lock myself in the bathroom for twenty minutes to do a ten-plus step routine. It’s my alone time. I also shop and have a glass of wine; I find that relaxing (although not always the best combo -- buyer’s remorse!).
Sometimes the best day is ignoring all emails and texts while playing with my five-year-old. I also love to go to bed when she goes to bed, at 8:30 or 9. We just get ready for bed together and I sleep for ten hours. Once a month, I get a massage (it’s really more for pain relief, but it is very nice). I want to start doing a yearly facial in the future.