Lina Rahman isn’t your ordinary lifestyle blogger. The lady behind Make Up to Make Out is also a DJ, writer, sound engineer and, most recently, beauty editor to newly launched print mag Blogosphere Magazine. We picked her brains about the blogging world, her beauty regime and the products she’s currently coveting.
Firstly, what made you decide to start your blog?
I started my blog in 2009, before blogging became 'big'. It honestly stemmed from just loving makeup and being a huge consumer of it, constantly buying new products which I'd soon then discover weren't quite what I was expecting!
I found myself searching online for reviews before buying, but at the time (definitely not the case anymore), there weren't many good blogs. Lots of regurgitated press releases, no real user experience, and most importantly, no images or swatches. I figured if I was looking for content like I wanted, others must be too. So I started!
How long did it take you to decide upon a blog name?
Not long at all. Once I decided to set up a blog, I spent about an hour thinking of names, and it just came to me! As soon as it did, I knew it was the one.
What’s your favourite aspect of blogging and are there any downsides?
Obviously, the products! Trying new products, finding the perfect something that you can't wait to blog about, all of that. But really being able to write content, on my own terms, any time I choose to, in the comfort of my home. It's very rewarding. I’ve met some great people, too.
The downsides are being essentially in competition with your friends and realising not everything is what it seems. Bloggers featuring products they haven't used just to keep PRs happy (you'd be surprised!), lots of bragging, exaggerating and flat out lying. Someone might have been given a Coke can in goody bag but according to their Twitter they're now sponsored by Coke, etc. Also, there’s lots of greed. It does feel like some bloggers spend their lives just going from event to event, constantly collecting goody bag after goody bag and calling all new products in and then getting annoyed if they haven't received the new this or that when someone else has. I think it can become like an addiction - it's quite an ugly trait.
How do you balance blogging with other interests or jobs? Do you ever go offline?
I DJ, so I'm offline for that! And I'm also the Beauty Editor of Blogosphere Magazine - a new print mag which launched at the end of last year. However, really, no. I'm online so much it's actually embarrassing.
Regarding balancing, I only blog when I want to and try not to let it dictate my life too much. I also take breaks from blogging, so it doesn't become stagnant. I don't like the idea of being a slave to blogging, and always strive to maintain sincerity. If I feel I'm losing myself and just chucking reviews out just to get them out, I step back. I have a very laid back attitude towards it.
How do you decide what to feature on your blog?
There's not too much of a thought process with it, I just blog about what I feel like blogging about. Whatever I've been using (product wise) at that time. I don't schedule posts, as I like the idea of blogging being an instant feel and if it's scheduled it's not really in the moment, is it? I do however try to balance the content out, so I'll try not to have two fashion posts after each other, or skincare posts, etc. I'll break them up so there's a little variety, but other than that, that's it!
What beauty products or brands make you part with cold hard cash?
The saddest thing about me blogging is that I am still ALWAYS buying beauty products! My favourite brands are NARS, Bobbi Brown, YSL, Estee Lauder, Clinique, Cosmetics a la Carte, Makeup Atelier Paris, Hourglass... oh I could go on and on. Foundation is something that I am always buying, regardless of brand, as that's so important to me.
What's your skincare regime?
Generally, I use an oil cleanser to remove makeup, a cream cleanser for general cleansing, a serum, an eye cream, moisturiser and SPF. I messed up recently and used a face wash for a few months as you can't beat that super clean feel - but it's really aged my skin so I've cut it out now. At the moment I'm using L'Oreal Skin Perfection 15 Second Miracle Oil , £5.33, Kiehl's Abyssine Eye Cream , £30.50, SkinCeuticals Pigment Regulator , £67.50, Lancer Moisturiser , £79.91, and SkinCeuticals Ultra Facial Defense SPF50 , £30. I also use Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser , £34, once a week to exfoliate (always come back to this product!), followed with a nice, hydrating mask - at the moment it's Kiehl's Overnight Hydrating Mask , £28.
What's your haircare regime?
I'm loving Alterna Haircare at the moment, they have this Caviar CC Cream 10-1 , £22.45, that is fab for priming hair! Also, L'Oreal Extraordinary Oil , £9.99, is brilliant for damaged ends post-wash, and cheap!
Her Haircare is gorgeous, too, especially their Trecento Treatment , and also (obviously) Philip Kingsley Elasticiser , £28. Lastly, I have a soft spot for Tommy Guns as their shampoos smell so lush. I indiscriminately use lots of dry shampoo, too; any brand will do for that!
I don't have a massive regime, I sometimes use a pre-wash mask, shampoo, condition, apply serum, blow-dry spray or primer and then blow dry! After that I don't really use any styling product till the next wash. Unless it's Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray , from £9.50 - love that stuff for sexy beach waves in summer.
Down to the nitty gritty, what’s in your make-up bag currently?
Estee Lauder DoubleWear Foundation , £28.50 (that I mix with Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum , £45), Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer , £21, Clinique Even Better Concealer , £18, Clinique CC Cream , £28, Clinique Bronzer (any, they're all good!), Rimmel Gel Liner , £6.99 (great for waterline with a fine brush!), Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara , £10.99, Estee Lauder Paint Pot in Chained , £19, Stila Eye Collectable Beach Palette in No.4 , £10 (I use all the shades except the blue!), YSL Ombre Solo in 1 , £23.50 (my favourite black eyeshadow!), Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Calypso Coral , £19, Pixi Tinted Brilliance Balm in Unique Pink , £12 (the best moisturising lip product!), Hourglass Rouge Opaque in Icon , £23, HD Brows in Vamp , £25 , Suqqu Liquid Eyebrow Pen in Moss Green , £20, and MAC Fix+ , £14.50.
What’s your personal favourite hair and beauty look?
Easy; Tousled hair, dark roots. Dewy, but perfect skin, smokey eyes and smudgy liner, pink or orange dewy cheeks with matching, matte lips. Done.
What’s your ultimate favourite beauty treatment?
Venus Freeze facials ! They are the best. They revive all the collagen in your face so it lifts everything back up - amazing, amazing, amazing alternative to Botox. If I was made of money I'd get one every week.
What’s your top health and beauty tip?
Other than the usual 'drink water, moisturise and wear SPF daily', I'd say exfoliate and apply a hydrating face mask once a week, ideally in the evening before bed so you have the whole night for your skin to drink it in. When I don't do this my skin looks terrible.
Can you tell us about any hair and beauty blunders that you’ve experienced?
Definitely when I was a teen and started experimenting with plucking my eyebrows. I had a horrible phase where I essentially plucked them all out and drew them back in. Yuck. Repulsive.
What do you like to take with you when you go away?
I pretty much take the full makeup bag listed above! I'm terrible at going without.
Who is your favourite blogger?
I like Sunday Girl for her always honest reviews, also Try My Hand does adorable nail tutorials. My favourite blogger of all time is probably Tavi from Style Rookie .
What would be your advice to aspiring bloggers? Is there anything you’d do differently if you were to turn back time?
If I could turn back time and knew what I did now I wouldn't have been so easily courted by all the freebies and nice events, etc. I think I had a phase where I didn't want it all to stop, and it was all so new and exciting; I struggled writing bad reviews as I didn't want to ruin PR relationships and I attended and wrote about every event I was invited to as I was so honoured to just be invited.
Six years on, things are very different now! My advice is keep your integrity, stay grounded, see the big picture and don't sell out, especially to keep PRs happy. Your job is to be honest - try and maintain that throughout, and don't do it just for the freebies! When I started I didn't even know about press samples, I did it for love alone. It has to be a passion, if your passion is getting lots of free stuff that will show through and it's not a good look.
Also, watch your back! Not everyone's your friend, especially a fellow blogger and PRs will cross you off their list as easily as they put you on it.
If you could invite anyone dead or alive to guest blog on your site who would it be?
The Olsens during their grunge phase. Or Gwen Stefani.
Is there anything you don’t like about working through the internet?
I try to keep a low profile and not overshare so thankfully don't suffer many issues, however I've seen with other bloggers the nasty side to the internet. Mean comments, their lives discussed on forums, their family's lives discussed. It's pretty insane stuff. So yeah, that's not nice.
What does the future hold for your blog? Are there any exciting developments in the pipeline?
I'm having a real transitional period with my blog right now, I'm getting it completely redesigned but instead of going with the magazine/editorial format lots of blogs have been going down, I think I'm going to make mine even more personable. This is my life, this is what I use, this is how it effects me. I feel that's the real spirit of blogging and the route I'm working towards.