Kiran Branch interviews Alix, founder of beauty and fashion blog I Covet Thee to find out how it all began and what beauty buys she can't live without
The success of super blog I Covet Thee is all down to make-up and skincare obsessive Alix Coburn. Renowned for her beauty style and engaging blog posts, Kiran Branch finds out more about her hero products, autumn/winter make-up and what exactly goes into creating a successful blog...
Firstly, what made you decide to start your blog/vlog?
I’d been reading blogs for about a year and had become utterly hooked to YouTube. Eventually I was so full of inspiration from others creating amazing content that I had to start my own. I'd just finished college and found myself with far too much free time so it became an exciting new hobby - I really never imagined people would end up reading what I had to say.
How did you decide upon a blog/vlog name?
It took a long time and a long list of rejected names. At the time I hadn't decided which direction I wanted to take the blog in - if it was going to be about beauty, fashion or something else so I didn't want the title to be too specific. I decided on I Covet Thee in the end as the blog was a compilation of everything I 'coveted'.
What’s your favourite aspect of blogging/vlogging and are there any downsides?
Definitely the interaction with the people that watch or read what I have to say. It's amazing to think one person is paying attention let alone hundreds! Being able to hear other people's opinions and even share some of their own beauty knowledge with me is very rewarding. The downside would be the back-ache from leaning over my computer all day!
How much of a techie are you?
I'm getting there. It took two weeks of trial and error to master the code for my latest blog redesign and that's definitely something I'll be avoiding again for as long as possible! I'm getting a bit handy with Photoshop now though, I've actually learnt that there's more to editing photos than changing the brightness and contrast!
How do you balance blogging/vlogging with other interests or jobs? Do you ever go offline?
I think finding the right balance is important but I have to admit I struggle with it. Some days I'll work from the moment I wake up into the early hours of the next morning and when I down that fifth cup of coffee I have to tell myself to stop and walk away. I try to have at least one full day off from everything a week but I usually end up doing a sly bit of blogging for a few hours, I really can't help myself. I'd love to go completely offline for once but there’s always Instagram to check, Netfilx to watch and blogs to read!
How do you decide what to feature on your blog/vlog?
Sometimes I'll have the week completely mapped out with things that have been in the works for a while and other times I'll have to talk about something as soon as I get my hands on it, it just depends how I feel. Either way though I only want to feature things that I'd wholeheartedly recommend.
What beauty products or brands make you part with cold hard cash?
Origins will always find a way to take my money. I seem to pay the counter a monthly visit to stock up on their Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask, £11, and Plantscription Concealer , £17 - two products I couldn't be without. I'll always pay up for a good foundation too. Fashion wise, I have to avoid even walking past Zara most days for fear of walking out penniless.
What's your skincare regime? What products do you use?
I'll always love Emma Hardie, particularly the cult Moringa Cleansing Balm , £34 - need I say more! I try to use an exfoliating toner rather than a manual one and the Pixie Glow Tonic , £16, is a favourite at the moment. After that I use two serums from Indeed Labs - Pepta-Bright , £29.99, and Hydraluron , £24.99, and they really are the glue that holds my routine together.
Origins will always play a big part in my skincare too and their GinZing Moisturiser , £23, is currently being reached for on a daily basis.
Down to the nitty gritty: what’s in your make-up bag currently?
I've recently given my make up bag a good autumn shake up so there's quite a lot of berry toned lip products in there (amongst as many other things as I can cram in!). I'm loving MAC Rebel , £11, at the moment and Shade 107 from the Kate Moss for Rimmel range , £5.49, will always be a firm budget favourite. I've been opting for a more sheer base these days and the NARS Tinted Moisturiser , £28, has been keeping things evened out with a glowing finish. Other highlights include the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder , £38, and Bobbi Brown Corrector , £18.50. Also I cannot be without these two: the Balm Frat Boy Blush , £16, and Clinique High Impact Extreme Mascara, £17 is the best mascara in the world!
Who are your top people in health, beauty and fitness? Who do you rely on in a crisis?
Caroline Hirons has definitely become my unofficial skincare guru - what she says goes! For a crisis I turn to Twitter, people are always willing to help and often come up with the best solutions.
What’s your personal favourite hair and beauty look?
It has to be a classic red lip, whether it's with bold black eyeliner or clean dewy skin, it just pulls an entire look together. Everybody should own a red lipstick. I have to say I'm a fan of the Alexa Chung-esque 'just rolled out of bed with perfectly tousled hair' look, although for me it takes hours of messing around and applying products to achieve!
What’s your ultimate favourite beauty treatment?
I'm not really one for shelling out on salon treatments, I've never had one actually, although I would love to. The ultimate at-home treatment for me is a nice hot bath and a good face mask. A thick layer of Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel, £29.50 (http://www.timetospa.co.uk/anti-ageing/exfoliators-and-masks/Elemis-Papaya-Enzyme-Peel/) left on for 20 minutes makes my skin feel amazing.
What’s your top health and beauty tip and your biggest beauty bugbear?
Moisturise! Your skin cannot get enough of it. Also drink plenty of water and eat well (although sometimes I forget to follow my own advice!). When it comes to bugbears I think I'm pretty tolerant. Things being out of stock when I need them is the most annoying thing that comes to mind. I once visited five different Space NK stores in a single day looking for a NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla , £21, and still walked away empty handed.
Can you tell us about any hair and beauty blunders that you’ve experienced?
I suppose a bad fake tan has to top the list, orange fingers are not chic. Various bad hair cuts too but I'm sure everyone's been there. The most embarrassing thing I seem to do, and this happens all too often, is having full blown conversations with people while completely oblivious that I have lipstick plastered over my teeth. One day I'll learn...
What do you like to take with you when you go away?
I try to pack light and take products that multitask. Things like lip and cheek tints are always handy - I love the Stila Convertible Colour in Gerbera , £16. A travel size bottle of Bioderma Crealine H20 , £4.50 will always be with me wherever I go and I really can't be without a set of Real Techniques Brushes , £20.99 - they just change they way my make up looks.
Who is your favourite blogger/ vlogger?
Without doubt Anna from Vivianna Does Makeup. Her style is flawless and she has impeccable taste in beauty products. She could sell me anything!
What would be your advice to aspiring bloggers/ vloggers? Is there anything you’d do differently if you were to turn back time?
Write about what you know, not what you think other people want to see, and make your blog into a place that you'd be excited to visit and read. I'm a big one for good aesthetics so a well laid out, clean website always draws me in but there's nothing better you can do than (cheesy cliché coming...) be yourself!
If you could invite anyone dead or alive to guest blog/ vlog on your site who would it be?
This is a tough one, but who wouldn't want to know the beauty secrets of the world's biggest beauty icons? Marilyn Monroe doing a 'What's In My Make Up Bag' or Audrey Hepburn talking about the perfect winged liner would definitely make for interesting viewing.
What does the future hold for your blog/ vlog? Are there any exciting developments in the pipeline?
I'm excited to see what the future holds but for now my laptop and I are quite happy working away in the spare room. I Covet Thee has already grown beyond my wildest dreams and I intend to keep that going for as long as I possibly can.