Ever since I entered high school and started puberty, I've been obsessed with all things skincare and acne. I've struggled with mild to moderate acne for several years, and about two years ago, I decided I was going to do something about it. I began researching ways to mitigate the number of active pimples, how to reduce scarring and how to get all-around dewy skin. I eventually stumbled across Instagram pages with genuine, tried-and-true advice with product reviews and recommendations. One of said pages was Hannah's account, @sakura.skin. I had been following her for awhile and bought a few products on her recommendation, so I knew I wanted to interview her and finally got the chance to!
1. How did you get started in the beauty community? What made you want to be a skincare influencer?
"I got started because I had been posting some routines on my personal Instagram, and I had friends always asking me about products and routines so I decided to make a separate account just for skincare stuff. I never set out to be an influencer (I don't think I am one at all!)"
2. What are your thoughts on influencer sponsorships and their relation to the potential honesty of reviews, especially when it pertains to skincare?
"I've personally never done a sponsored post or anything since I'm such a small skincare Instagram right now but when I receive a product from a brand for my honest review, I definitely do keep it honest. My following is small, but I know people take what I say pretty seriously so I would never lie about a product that actually broke me out or something. Having a following of any size comes with a responsibility, so it's definitely frustrating when someone's review isn't honest just so they can get some ad money or free products."
3. What advice would you give someone who is just starting out with skincare?
"My advice would be to start out small and in your budget. I'm a full time student, so I can't afford all these fancy new skincare brands. Start off slow and with what you know. Always test out products before you take the full plunge!"
4. Who has been your biggest influences in terms of which products you buy before you started your Instagram?
"I followed the Into the Gloss blog and that was the first skincare blog I followed that really taught me a lot. I didn't follow individual skincare bloggers until I started mine but the community I've made is honest, and I trust everyone's recommendations."
5. What 3 holy grail products would you recommend for people of your skin type?
"I have oily/combo/acne prone skin. I'm super hormonal so my skin breaks out a lot when I'm on my period. I'd recommend the Cerave gentle foaming cleanser, Cosrx snail mucin, and Saturday skin glacier water cream. All three have been amazing at balancing the oils on my face while not drying me out."
6. Are there any brands you’ve boycotted/simply stopped purchasing from? If so, why?
"No. I wouldn't stay I boycotted a brand, but one of my resolutions for 2019 is to stop buying from skincare companies that still test on animals."
7. How much do you trust customer reviews?
"It's pretty easy to tell when a consumer review is falsified, at least it is for me. So when I read reviews written on websites I typically take them with a grain of salt. There are reviews that are totally trustworthy, and it's easy to tell which ones are. I get most of my honest reviews for skincare from fellow bloggers."
8. Have you ever gotten a product based on the recommendation of other influencers? If so, which product and who?
"Yes! I've gotten most of my products based on recommendations of others. Most recently I bought my first Klairs product because so many followers and people I follow recommended the brand. I bought the midnight blue calming calming cream."
9. Has anyone ever reached out to you after buying a product you recommend? What was their reaction?
"Yes! I remember a lot of people reaching out about the Cosrx snail mucin, especially people I know in real life. Everyone raved over it! So I'm happy I was able to introduce a K-beauty must have to a few people."
10. Do you have a best and worst skincare tip?
"My best tip is to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! My skin used to be super oily because I thought moisturizing it made it that way. Wrong! Oily skin needs all that moisture too! I moisturize all year long with moisturizers, toners, and serums. It's so important!
"My worst skincare tip would be to follow what everyone else is doing. Everyone's skincare journey is different. So if a product doesn't work for you, it's not the end of the world! It takes time. And I see so many skincare newbies get frustrated when a specific person's routine doesn't work for them. Know it's fine and totally normal and you'll find your own routine in no time."