Time was when beauty on the internet was a poor relation to fashion. All the viral buzz and brand attention centred on fashion and lifestyle blogs. Well, not anymore. Beauty blogging has come of age, from professional tutorials to poetic perfume musings and even men’s grooming advice. Here is our guide to some of the best.
For industry insights
Who: Global creative director of Boots No7. Cheryl Cole, Emma Watson and Kate Winslet are just a few of Lisa Eldridge’s regular clients. She gets 1.5m visitors per month.
Why you should read this: Often the celebrity looks that the bedroom bloggers are trying to re-create have been created in the first place by Eldridge. Her speciality is understated beauty and classic looks such as Marilyn Monroe’s (the Monroe tutorial is fabulously authoritative and well researched). Her manner of communicating is both kind and clear, and she is marvellous at making difficult inside techniques appear simple.
Who: Freelance journalist, regular FT contributor and creative consultant Emma Hill is also a talented artist – her Japanese-style botanical pen and ink paintings have been bought by fashion designer Britt Lintner and PR supremo Tom Konig-Oppenheimer.
Why you should read this: Especially good on beauty aesthetics and meditations on everything from ingredients to the psychology of our grooming rituals. “I love the fact that you can illustrate your stories with a film or an illustration you’ve made – endless possibilities not available in the print format,” says Hill. She was nominated for Best Independent Beauty Blog at the P&G Grooming Awards.
Get The Gloss
Who: Thirtysomething Susannah Taylor, former health and beauty editor of Vogue and Glamour.
Why you should read this: This beautifully designed blog carries interviews with industry experts, as well as practical advice (some good tips on getting French Vogue editor-in-chief Emmanuelle Alt’s hair and Alexa Chung’s complexion) and style musings. Nothing negative, though: like the glossies where she used to work, Taylor only covers the things she loves.
Bois De Jasmin
Who: Created in 2005 by New York-based Victoria Frolova, this bijou blog has won a FiFi award from the Fragrance Foundation and gets over 200,000 hits per month. Frolova says Bois De Jasmin is aimed at “those who are interested in a broad range of topics: perfume, food, travel and other sensory pleasures”.
Why you should read this: Posts include elegant meditations on fougère (fern-like) fragrances and women wearing men’s perfumes. She also muses on the inadequacy of the language commonly used to describe perfume, while expanding it considerably with her own words and thoughts.
Who: Dariush Alavi, 36, the author of this up-and-coming perfume blog, is something of a mystery: he’s based in the south of England and works in education but won’t reveal any more.
Why you should read this: Though less than two years old, the blog is fast becoming essential reading for many journalists and powerbroking PRs from big brands such as Christian Dior. It gets 30,000 hits per month and has already won a coveted Jasmine award and been shortlisted for another three. Alavi is also concerned about how limited our language is when it comes to smell: in one post he defends Guerlain’s widely panned Idylle as an “interesting chypre-like construction” and goes into technical detail about quantities of ingredients.
British Beauty Blogger
Who: Fortysomething mother of two Jane Cunningham, who also writes for several newspapers, started the blog four years ago. The blog now attracts 150,000 hits per month.
Why you should read this: It is known for being controversial and taking brands to task over false or over-inflated claims. Though Cunningham does accept advertising, she has remained uncompromising. The result is best for news and views, although the content does sometimes err towards big names, giving it broad rather than niche appeal.
Now Smell This
Who: Started in 2005 by fortysomething Robin Krug, it has now become her day job. Krug is based in Pennsylvania in the US and “employs” unpaid contributors/enthusiastic amateurs from around the US.
Why you should read this: This is the most powerful perfume blog out there and is read by a million users a month worldwide. The site consists of regular updates on what’s launching in fragrance, peppered with the occasional “agony aunt” letter where NST helps a reader find a signature perfume; there is also a useful directory of noses and Krug does take some brands to task for dubious commercial formulations and/or advertising.
Who: Ahmed Zambarakji, 31, is a grooming guru for Arena, GQ Style and Attitude. Typically he gets around 30,000 hits a month.
Why you should read this: Men’s grooming blogs are still in their relative infancy, but Zambarakji’s literate exploration of male beautification rituals is written with a commendable penchant for recherché and off-piste brand names such as Aesop, as opposed to endlessly buttering up the big industry players. “I wouldn’t say men’s grooming is as exciting as the women’s market in terms of innovation,” says Zambarakji, “but it’s really interesting to see how our perception of masculinity is evolving.”
The Grooming Guru
Who: Lee Kynaston is possibly your ideal grooming editor: the 45-year-old has been a journalist for over 20 years, eight of which were as grooming editor of Men’s Health. He was the one of the first significant male grooming bloggers, starting Grooming Guru back in 2009.
Why you should read this: Kynaston’s background makes him the perfect insider to deconstruct the £1bn male grooming industry in a mainstream, approachable way. His blogging tone itself is chatty and convivial and sometimes very funny, even for grooming refuseniks – it gets 40,000 hits a month.