We live in a world where social media sites, like Instagram, can influence every aspect of our lives; from mental health to self-esteem, from what we buy to what we wear, from how we exercise to how we decorate. Being selective of the people you choose to follow really can have an influence on your mood, lifestyle and fashion.
In the not-so-distant past, Instagram feeds would be filled with pictures of people caked in makeup. While it may have been very impressive art, it also looked as though you could scrape layers of their faces off with a spoon. We had eyebrows that may have had hair under if you looked close enough, lips so over-lined they couldn't even see the line and contour which only really looks good from one selfie angle.
When the influencer tides started turning, you could almost hear the sigh of relief from behind the walls of foundation and powder. We have now welcomed to the stage a new breed of influencer with dewy skin, fluffy brows and a fine-tuned skincare routine. Introducing the SKINfluencer.
At first glance, this #iwokeuplikethis revolution seems to be exactly what we need. Embracing our natural skin, taking care of ourselves and loving our flaws. Check, check and triple check. However, while it may be a step in the right direction, we still need to take what we see with a pinch of salt.
When admiring a skinfluencers feed, beware not to fall into the TRAPS:
For a skinfluencer, a big part of their personal brand is their aesthetic. They want followers to scroll through and be blessed by pretty looking glass dropper bottles and pastel-coloured lotions and potions. When was the last time you saw a giant tub of Cetaphil in the background of a skinfluencers gram post? Never. But this doesn't mean they don't use it or it isn't a good product, it just doesn't make the aesthetic cut.
It also just so happens that these pretty looking bottles have a pretty hefty price tag. While in many skincare products you may pay more for a higher quality product, you may also be paying for looks. Some drugstore alternatives do just as good a job but without the grammable finish.
*Top tip: if you want to create an aesthetically pleasing skincare cupboard on a budget, invest in some pretty looking pots and bottles to decant your favourite budget skincare items into and label them up!
So, don't be fooled by the beautiful array of products. This is usually just the portion of their skincare collection that actually looks attractive. A lot of the time, the products they use the most will be out of sight in the 'ugly cupboard'.
One problem with photos is that they are just a snapshot in time. It's very easy to look at a picture of someone and assume that they are having a perfect day and have their life in order. These are great things to aspire to be, but can also lead you to feel bad about yourself when you have a bad day.
It's important to remember that skinfluencers are human too. Somedays they wake up on the wrong side of the bed or have bags under their eyes from a restless nights sleep. They might have a breakout from exam stress or catch a cold. Some influencers may be honest with their followers when they're feeling like this, but others like to stay 'on brand' and push through.
The latter isn't a bad thing, but you should always take into account that they may have put a bit of highlighter on to make dull skin glow or dabbed some concealer on spots or dark circles and claim to have 'just woke up'. Behind the scenes, there may be a huge amount of effort put into one 'effortless' selfie. Just remember that everyone has bad days and that's ok.
Selfie-takers are basically mathematicians because they know their angles. The key to a good selfie is the best angle for your face and the most flattering lighting. Wrong angle? Delete. Bad lighting? Delete. Wrong angle and bad lighting? Banish off the face of the earth.
The beauty of Instagram is that you don't need to post outtakes. You can show the world all of the best bits and they are none the wiser. With skinfluencers, their goal is to look natural and glowy, so you can't blame them from utilising bright sunshine or studio lights to maximise the look.
If you try to recreate their skincare routine but don't end up looking like they do in their selfie, don't worry. You haven't done anything wrong. You probably look the same as they do 99.9% of the time and your skin is thanking you for it too.
For many skincare brands, the best form of advertising is social media. They target skinfluencers with a strong following to promote their products and increase sales. Smart-thinking. Some skinfluencers may stick to brands they already use or try out and love (we love a bit of honesty). But it's always best to tread carefully around paid partnerships.
A big red flag is if the product only appears in their feed on the paid post. This usually means that they posed with the product, got paid and never picked it up again. If you like the look of a product a skinfluencer promotes, activate detective mode. Check their feed over the next few days to see if they use the product in a routine or if it stays in their cupboard. More importantly, do your own research and look at customer reviews on websites selling the product.
Your skin is a labour of love and if you treat it right it will be kind to you (for the most part). Skinfluencers take pride in their mammoth skincare routine and their skin rewards them for it, but that doesn't mean the flawless finish comes naturally.
Everybody has pores, whether they're large or small, clogged or clean, they're there. Skinfluencers often appear to have poreless skin, which will partly be down to them being clear but is also thanks to the good lighting and occasionally a bit of cheeky photoshop. They may also appear to have a natural flush in their cheeks but, again, this may be great genes or simply a touch of blush or a pinch of the cheeks.
The main takeaway message here is that skinfluencers are doing a great job at being the role models of embracing our natural skin, but in order to do that there is a lot of behind the scenes work.
Everyone's own version of natural beauty will look different, which is what makes it beautiful. This movement is all about loving the things that make us unique and taking care of the skin you live in. Just be aware of the aesthetically-pleasing mask that this movement wears.