16 beauty lessons she learnt as a beauty editor

You can find her words on Vogue India, Vogue Business, the Soho House app, Byrdie Beauty, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Lifestyle Asia India, Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong, Lifestyle Asia Bangkok, Vogue Australia, Vogue Arabia, Vogue Italia, Tweak India, Elle India, Prestige Thailand and PopSugar Middle East. In less than a decade, Anjan has transitioned from being in the edit team of leading publication houses to being a contributing writer to some of the most recognised global editorial platforms. And while she has been doing this, she also carved a niche of curating bespoke beauty pop up for homegrown brands and of course, her labour of love – her Instagram blog – The Red Lipstick Club. All of 27, she is the winner of the Parcos Editorial Beauty Voice of the Year 2022.

Whether you are a beauty junkie or want to build a career in beauty, ahead are some insider insights that will leave you equally inspired and entertained.

1. What do people think you do versus what do you do? 

Most people think I simply wear lipstick for a living, since I also have a blog called The Red Lipstick Club. I’d be making a lot more money if that’s all it took. My job involves a lot more science than I signed up for, which I’ve come to enjoy. No day is the same, which makes it even more interesting. Researching new ingredients, textures, packaging, trends, learning about new skin types, and makeup techniques, it’s all a whole lot of fun. Writing and beauty have individually always been two things I’ve enjoyed, I never thought I could make a living off of them.

2. With so many products vying for your attention, how do you decide which one to test and which to skip? (The selection process)

I’ve been writing on all things beauty for 8 years now. Over time, I’ve come to understand my skin well. While I do swatch almost every product that comes my way to understand its texture, I only use the ones on my face or hair that have ingredients that have worked for me, or new ingredients that I’ve researched and promise to work for my skin type and concerns. When
brands are in question, a lot of it depends on the reputation the brand has along with my own research via reviews I read online. Our beauty editor crew in India is a small but lovely community so I always keep an eye out to see what others have been raving about, in case I’ve received the same product and am keen to try it.

3. What’s your skin type? Give a glimpse into your skincare routine, AM & PM.

I have fairly normal skin which turns to combination during the warmer months and a few breakouts that show up before my period. I like to keep my routine very simple and love lightweight textures. My AM routine starts off with a cleanser (I pick one depending on how my skin feels at the time), followed by moisturiser and sunscreen. My PM routine involves cleansing and moisturising. I don’t like to overwhelm my skin with products it doesn’t need and follow a very intuitive approach to skincare. I use exfoliating cleansers, and brightening and nourishing face masks as treatments. I also love acne patches to treat my breakouts when I need them.

4. Tell us where to save and where to invest when it comes to buying skincare products.

Cleansing is my most favourite skincare step and I find that some of the most expensive products in my kit are in this category. I think the best way to curate a kit is to use products that do more than one thing for your skin, which will reduce the number of steps you incorporate and of course, the products you use and money you spend. I use a gently exfoliating cleanser and sunscreen with Vitamin C — that’s four benefits in two products. If you’re in a fix and unsure what to spend on, invest in the products that will live on your skin, like moisturisers and serums, and you can pick a cheaper alternative for a cleanser, but make sure it’s made for your skin and has the right ingredients to meet your needs. An expensive moisturiser won’t make up for a cleanser that doesn’t do the job well. I believe there is a budget-friendly alternative for almost every product out there, all it takes is trial and error.

5. If you were to pick just five things to look glamorous, what would they be?

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer
M.A.C Cosmetics Mac stack Mascara
Australis Cosmetics Fresh & Flawless Pressed Powder
Chanel Fleurs De Printemps Limited Edition Blush and Highlighter Duo
– Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Le Lion De Chanel in Rouge Triomphal

6. What’s your number 1 hero product, one which has stood the test of time/ your most frequent skincare empty?

I have two and they’re both cleansers by 111Skin — the Exfolactic Cleanser and Vitamin C Brightening Cleanser. They’re both incredibly gentle and do what they promise while leaving my skin feeling super fresh. I started using them in 2018 and always have had either one by my sink ever since.

7. Tell us about a product that you are testing at the moment.

The Kama Ayurveda Eladi Hydrating Light Cream. Every single time I use it, my skin looks so incredibly radiant without any stickiness. It sinks in quickly even in Bombay humidity and my skin feels hydrated till I rinse it off. I’m hooked!

8.  When it comes to travelling, which are the products that travel with you always?

Two products that have been mainstays in my travel kit are the Kama Ayurveda Rose Jasmine Face Cleanser and the Pure Rose Water. The cleanser has taken me from beaches to mountains and back and works for my skin every single time. I’ve also been using their rose water (and the cleanser, actually) since 2016 and it’s my go-to bottle for everything from skin sensitivity to dry, itchy eyes. I have never travelled without these two in the past 6 years.

9. Tell us about The Red Lipstick Club. What’s the idea behind it?

I started The Red Lipstick Club as a space for me to share my love for products and treatments that won’t necessarily be a part of my next editorial story. The name stands for the empowering aspect of beauty, inspired by how my first red lipstick empowered me. I tried my first red at the age of 16 at a beauty store and was intimidated, to say the least. A woman standing next to me saw the colour on me and said, “If I was you, I would buy that colour without a doubt.” So I did, and over the past decade, it’s become my signature. Red lipstick has been known through history and today to instantly make a woman feel confident in herself. That’s exactly how good skincare, makeup and hair care haircare work. If you have clear, plump, glowing skin, healthy, bouncy hair and the perfect winged eye, it’s an instant confidence lift. That’s what The Red Lipstick stands for. Today, it’s grown into a brand that also curates physical events and seasonal beauty kits — there’s so much more to come, I can’t wait to see where it goes.

10. List your favourite red lipsticks, glosses, lip stains, lip crayons, lip liners.

This is a tough one because there are so many. The brands I reach out to are usually M.A.C Cosmetics and Chanel for stunning, velvet matte reds. I had my own limited edition red lipstick in collaboration with Tinge that will always be close to my heart. I love the tinted red balms by Benefit Cosmetics, Kiko Milano and Innisfree as well. For me, the perfect red is a bright, cool hue with a velvet matte finish.

11. If I look inside your bag, what will I find? No cheating!

Lipstick, lip balm, mini perfume, a carry-on nail file, tissues, sanitiser and my card case.

12. What, according to you, is the most overrated product or category? A category of a product that does not work at all.

Sheet masks for sure. There is only a handful that truly works, like the ones by 111Skin, Simply Nam and Innisfree. Most of them are gimmicky and do absolutely nothing.

13. Is there any product you never thought of using but now is part of your routine?

Blush! I’ve always liked it but over the past 3-4 years, it’s become a mainstay. I didn’t realise the transformative powers of a soft hint of colour on your cheeks till I started using one regularly.

14. As a beauty writer/editor, you get to interview many celebrities about their beauty secrets, which is the most cliché answer, which doesn’t even work.

Everyone who says their skin looks the way they do by “just drinking water” and “sleeping well” is lying. It takes a lot for celebrities’ skin to look the way it does so these clichés are very misleading.

15. Who are your favourite beauty (skincare & makeup) influencers on social media? What about their content do you love?

I think Natasha Patel is undoubtedly my favourite because of how honest and raw her content is. Even if she wasn’t a close friend, I would still feel like she is because of how she connects with her audience giving them a very real peek into her life.

16. What skincare advice will you give to your 16-year-old self?

Dial down the kohl — there will come a time in your life when you won’t use one at all!

Author

  • Aparrna Gupta

    Transitioning from crafting stories for The Asian Age and Bombay Times to setting beauty trends in Verve, Aparrna Gupta’s journey has always revolved around resonant storytelling. Her prowess in content creation is unparalleled, with articles featured in renowned publications like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel India, Lifestyle Asia, Elle, and Femina. She also excels in content ideation, trend identification, mood board creation, and product styling. Her expertise has proven invaluable to homegrown brands, enabling them to authentically connect with their audience.

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