In conversation with a beauty editor: Sukriti Shahi

I have seen her grow from a beauty writer in Hair (magazine) to the section head in Femina, a role in which she also managed beauty carnivals and beauty awards shows. She is cheerful and warm but doesn’t shy away from calling a spade a spade. And of course, with her long hairstyles and elegant style, she makes a pretty picture always! Meet Sukriti Shahi, the beauty editor for Elle India, one of the leading global lifestyle magazines focusing on fashion, beauty, health and entertainment. Besides writing extensively on beauty and mentoring a team of beauty writers, Sukriti is also an avid yoga practitioner and a loving aunt to her 18-month nephew.
I caught up with Sukriti to discuss what life is like as a beauty editor, what are her favourite product recommendations (having tried hundreds of them), what is she trying right now, and what turns her off from a product.

What do you wish people would know about a beauty editor’s job which they don’t? 

Beauty journalism is often perceived as frivolous. People think it’s all about glamour, media kits and expensive goodies. While it’s an integral part of the job, it’s not all. The fact that people often overlook or are unaware of is that we have to write about everything we get on our desks. It’s fun till the time your skin and scalp become an experiment ground that starts to give up! At the same time, it’s a demanding job – it requires you to read every day, be aware of what’s happening in the global beauty industry, know its retail and business aspects, and learn and unlearn things quickly. As a beauty editor, apart from enjoying free products on my desk, I write, edit, conceptualise the beauty section for each issue, plan beauty events, and research and suggest social media tools to grow our audience in number. It’s a lot of work to write about beauty for a living!


With so many products on your desk, how do you decide which one to test and which to skip? 

For me, it starts as soon as a brand representative reaches out to me to make a pitch. Their know-how about the brand usually tells me how interesting the brand or the product is. The next step for me is the packaging – big boxes, secondary layers of packaging, clustered design language, and run- of-the-mill product names are enough to tell about the brain behind it. I also give it to my experience in the industry that holding a bottle in my hand will tell enough about it. A unique offering, effective design language, and minimal packaging usually do the trick. Believe me when I say that a beauty editor has a skill set to know if your promises are a hoax or worth a try.

What is your skincare routine?

I have a tricky skin situation; I have combination skin that changes with every season, change in city, water, or even a minor shift in my diet. Therefore, my skincare routine has to be simple. Layering or overloading products often confuses my skin and makes me break out. It might come to you as a surprise, but I have successfully eliminated activities from my routine. For AM, I use my moisturiser with a drop of peptide booster and SPF, and for PM, I only use a moisturiser. I never skip my under- eye cream.

Sukriti-Shah-beauty-editor-Elle-lists-products-she-never-travels-without

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

My constant travel companions are Dermalogica Prism Effect Sunscreen, SebaMed Lip Balm with SPF, Innisfree No-Sebum Mineral powder, and my Bioderma Micellar water and face wash.

What are the 3 beauty habits you feel everyone should follow?

Here you go:

  1. Stop following viral skincare trends without understanding your skin’s needs and type. Your
    skin doesn’t need every powerful product/ ingredient.
  2. Befriend sunscreen
  3. P.S. don’t ignore your hands and feet.

When do you feel most beautiful? How do things change around you when you feel beautiful? 

For me, beauty is in emotions! What’s more beautiful than being able to express yourself without the fear of judgement? I feel my best after my yoga session each morning; that’s my best version in the whole day. Yoga grants me control over my body and teaches me to use my thoughts and energy to achieve something challenging. It’s the most constructive way for me to release my emotions before starting my day.

I love your hair videos where you experiment with different braiding styles. What are your
credible sources of finding hair inspo?

I can’t count the number of people I follow just for their hairstyle content or posts I have in my saved
folder. However, my two favourite pages/ people for the same are Anissa Sojka and Lale Temora.
I absolutely love the hair content they post. Sharing them here, have a look:

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

A concealer, mascara, a few u-pins, a tinted lip balm, and my favourite fragrance.

What’s your favourite hero product, one which is your most frequent skincare empty?

Tough choice, but it has to be Bioderma Sebium Gel Moussant.

List your favourites…

Cleanser: Bioderma Sebium Gel Moussant
Toner: Paula’s Choice Pore Reducing Toner with Niacinamide
Moisturiser: d’you in my defence
Serum: Wishful Thirst Trap Juice HA3 and Peptide serum
Mask: Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Mask
Shampoo: Olaplex No 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
Conditioner: Olaplex No 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner
Hair Mask: Pantene Pro V 1-Min Wunder Ampulle
Hair Serum: Don’t use a serum but can’t do without K18 Leave-in Molecular Hair Mask
Lipstick: Fenty Lip Paint in shade ‘Uncuffed’
Foundation: Kay Beauty foundation (can give high-end brands a run for their money)
Blush: Glossier Cloud Paint
Mascara: Huda Beauty Legit Lashes
Eyeliner: The Balm Schwing Eyeliner
Eyeshadow: e.l.f Bite-Size Eyeshadow in Cream & Sugar

Editors-Picks-Sukriti-Shah

Lip glosses, lipsticks, lip stains, lip crayons, lip liners – what’s your pick and why?

Lip tints and stains. Because I prefer a natural flush of colour over perfectly-lined and filled lips.

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

A lip balm, and a comb! I don’t carry any kit unless I’m heading out for an event and require a touch-
up.

As a beauty editor, you get to interview many celebrities about their beauty secrets, which is the
most cliché answer that works and one that doesn’t work.

I drink a lot of water – Doesn’t work.
I never go to bed without removing my makeup – Hell ya, sister!

Tell us about your favourite beauty (skincare & makeup) influencers on social media, And what
about their content do you love?

To be honest, I don’t follow too many influencers because they lose the plot at times when it comes
to paid promotions and sponsored content. I quite like Komal Basith for her knowledge of ingredients, Aparrna Gupta for fragrances and Dr Michelle Wong for her fabulous reviews and beauty insights.

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

Use your sunscreen, girl and stay away from over-plucked eyebrows.

What is the product that you are testing at the moment?

I recently tried the much-hyped Maybelline’s Sky High mascara and Supergoop’s Glow Stick. For hair,
I’m trying Pantene’s Pro-V 1-minute Wunder Ampulle which sadly is not available in India.

Glow Stick

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.