Features,  Interviews,  Regulars

One on One: BurgundyBeautyZA

BurgundBeautyZA. Between her simplistic, clean-cut flatlays, her down-right frank product reviews and her incredible commitment and consistency, I can’t actually pick what I love most about Simran’s Instagram account.

As one of the first people I followed after starting my blog, Simran’s stunning page is one that I will always hold in high regard. In my opinion, she stands out in the beauty community as someone who really does have her followers in mind in everything that she does.

Burgundy Beauty is the first Instagram-only review account that I have interviewed for One on One, and this article really capture the essence of why I started the segment. I wanted to give readers an insight into the personalities behind some of their favourite accounts and blogs, and give those content creators a chance to share some more about themselves.

Without further ado, let’s jump into the questions!

(My questions are in bold font and Simran’s replies are in normal font).

With almost 500 posts and over 2 000 followers, you’re definitely not new to the world of Instagram. When did you start your page?

I created my page in mid-2016 while I was on holiday (and in desperate need of a creative outlet).  I had only started experimenting with makeup and skincare a year or so before so I was very new to the beauty industry and had a faint idea of what being part of the blogging community in South Africa entailed.

I thought it would be cool to create my own platform to share my love for all things beauty-related and, after a while, I realised how much I enjoyed styling photos and writing about products.  Most importantly, the blogging community was – and still is – so welcoming and supportive.

Besides the fact that the shade seems to appear in a lot of your makeup choices, what inspired you to name your page Burgundy Beauty?

To be honest, I did not take the name of my page seriously at first.  I knew I wanted to use alliteration and have the word ‘beauty’ in the Instagram handle and, since burgundy is my favourite shade when it comes to makeup products, the words ‘burgundy’ and ‘beauty’ seemed to be a good fit.  It was meant to be a temporary name but it grew on me.

Your page’s interactions are fantastic, and you seem to have a real ‘cult’ following. What do you think makes your page different enough to be rewarded with such loyal followers?

I am incredibly fortunate to have readers who continuously support me and take the time to read my reviews.  I think part of it comes from the way in which I approach product reviews.  My readers know that I do not believe in sugar-coating reviews: if a product is bad, I will mention why it is not worth purchasing and, if there are any downsides to a product, it would be unfair to my readers if I did not mention them.

Another possible reason is the fact that I discuss serious – and somewhat taboo – subjects.  Not many bloggers interrogate the social issues or problematic elements of the beauty and blogging industries and I can understand why people prefer to leave politics and personal beliefs out of their content.  But I do think it is important to create constructive discussions and responsible dialogue concerning these issues and, if I can use my platform for this purpose, I am more than happy to do so.

I think that you give some of the most in-depth, honest and useful reviews of all the accounts that I follow. For me, the natural progression would be to start a blog. Why have you never considered it, or is it still on the horizon?

Firstly, thank you!  I had originally wanted to start a WordPress blog but the thought of SEO’s (Search Engine Optimization) and other ‘technical’ factors gave me a headache.  I decided to start on Instagram and see where that led.  Despite the annoying algorithm, I really like using Instagram as a blogging platform.

My readers see my reviews in the captions so that saves them time.  Instagram also makes it possible for me to post every day.  If I were to use a traditional blogging platform, I do not think I’ll be able to post as regularly.  With all that being said, I’m open to starting a traditional blog in the future.

What I also love about your page is that you are not afraid to share your personal beliefs and opinions on it, especially when something bothers you. At the moment, what do you think is the biggest problem in the South African beauty industry is?

I think the biggest problem is the lack of shades for people of colour.  In a country such as South Africa, it makes no sense to neglect the majority of its citizens.  I think this extends to retailers as well.  Sometimes a brand will have an inclusive shade range but only the lighter shades will be brought to SA.  I believe that the lack of inclusivity is a complex problem, especially when it comes to representation in various media platforms and the issue of colourism.    

That being said, which four brands do you think provide the best products for women of colour?

I think the obvious brands are MAC and Fenty Beauty.  MAC has always catered to a wide variety of skin tones and their foundation shades are even seen as a point of reference (how often have you heard makeup-wearers describing their skin tone as a NC- or NW- something?).

Other than the fact that Rihanna is the creator of the brand, much of the hype surrounding Fenty Beauty is a result of the extensive shade range.  Fenty Beauty’s success demonstrates how important inclusivity is in the beauty industry.

When it comes to drugstore/affordable brands available in South Africa, there are not as many choices for people of colour.  Two affordable brands that really stand out are L.A. Girl Cosmetics and NYX Professional Makeup.  The L.A. Girl concealers have reached cult status because of the shade range (of course, the price and formula are excellent as well) and many of their other products are suitable for people of colour.

I mention NYX because they cater to people of colour not only though complexion products but through other products, such as eyeshadows and lipsticks.  For example, the Lip Lingerie line is a range of ‘nude’ lipsticks that cater to a variety of skin tones – this is important since ‘nude’ shades are usually only ‘nude’ for lighter skin tones.

When it comes to your personal favourites, which store or brand do you spend most of your money at?

Definitely Clicks and Dischem in terms of stores – I love affordable or ‘drugstore’ beauty products.  When it comes to brands, I do not think twice before buying from NYX and Juvia’s Place.  I’m generally a fan of their products and I think it’s because these two brands are not afraid of bold shades.

If you could have any product in the whole world for free, which would it be and why?

Does a private jet to fly me to Sephora count as a product? Nope? Okay.  At the moment, I’d choose Dermalogica’s Superfoliant.  It’s such an amazing skincare product but that price tag is…not ideal.

If you could get locked in a store overnight, and be free to try out as many products as you wanted, where would you choose?

Probably Sephora.  Even though I have never been to a Sephora store, I feel like I would be in makeup heaven if I were to be locked in there.

How about a quick game of this or that?

Nudes, or pops of colour?

Colour all the way.  Nudes are boring in my opinion.

Underdressed, or overdressed?

Underdressed.  When it comes to my personal style, comfort is key so I will wear a graphic tee and sneakers to any event – no matter the dress code.

Splurge, or save?

Definitely save.  Affordable or ‘drugstore’ beauty brands are just as good as many high-end brands (if not better).

Makeup, or skincare?

This is so tough but I’m going to go with makeup.  I spend more money and time on skincare than makeup and I truly believe that a skincare routine is essential for all people (no matter how basic the routine may be).  But, makeup is art.  It is a form of expression and I think it’s such a beautiful way to be artistic on a regular basis.

Natural makeup, or full face?

Full face and natural, if that makes sense?  I like to keep my complexion makeup as minimal as possible so I go all out when it comes to eyeshadow and lipstick.  But I guess that counts as a full face?

If you could suggest one product that every beauty lover should go out and buy immediately, what would you recommend?

This is also such a difficult question but I’m going to say a burgundy lipstick.  It is such a simple yet transformative product and it looks good on every skin tones.  For a burgundy-brown, MAC’s Antique Velvet lipstick is a must.  But for a true burgundy, Wet ‘n Wild’s Cherry Bomb or Revlon’s Black Cherry are great options.

And finally, what do you hope for your page for 2018 and where do you see it going?

In 2018, I want my page to not only grow in terms of the audience it reaches, but also to grow in terms of creativity.  I’m always trying to improve my photography skills and research the science behind beauty products and I hope my personal and creative growth will be reflected on Burgundy Beauty.  When it comes to future, I cannot predict what will happen but my page has always been a hobby for me and I think it always will be.

I can’t that Simran enough for being a part of my segment, and for putting in as much effort into one of my articles as she puts into her own content. I have such respect for how thorough and dedicated she is to her account, and cannot recommend following her enough. For in-depth, quality reviews on makeup and skincare, as well as a much needed social comment on the beauty industry ever so often, follow Simran at @burgundybeautyza.


Disclaimer: All pictures used in the above article belong to Simran, who has kindly allowed me to feature them in this piece.


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