Anna Gardner, founder of the hit blog Vivianna Does Makeup and YouTube sensation, is a girl after our own hearts; obsessed with make-up and downright nutty about skincare. GTG's Kiran Branch sat down with the self-confessed beauty addict to talk about her blogging journey so far, hero products and beauty secrets.
Firstly, what made you decide to start your blog/vlog?
I was a bored uni student, procrastinating from revision and trying to think of what make-up to do for a ’40s themed party. I typed that into YouTube, found a tutorial by Samantha Chapman from Pixiwoo and the rest is history.
How did you decide upon a blog/vlog name?
After weeks and weeks of pondering the thought and countless lists of downright bizarre name suggestions.
What’s your favourite aspect of blogging/vlogging and are there any downsides?
The best bit is the conversation. I love that I get to have this one-on-one conversion with beauty lovers all round the world. The downsides? You start to hear the tweet alert from your phone in your sleep.
How much of a techie are you?
My techie skills are pretty low. I’m a numbers girl so I get the stats side of things, but the coding and back-end stuff? I have a very nice mate from my uni days that I call on for that.
How do you balance blogging/vlogging with other interests or jobs? Do you ever go offline?
I try to switch off after dinner in the evenings, though it isn’t always that easy. The phone goes on to silent, laptop closed and I indulge in my other passion - watching TV series at an obsessively fast rate. I just managed a whole two seasons of Scandal in ten days.
How do you decide what to feature on your blog/vlog?
If a product makes me swoon a little inside and has me telling every person that I come into contact about it whether they care or not, then it’s simple. On the blog it goes.
What beauty products or brands make you part with cold hard cash?
As you’d expect the list is endless, but it’s a very rare occasion that I manage to exit a Space NK store without a product laden bag in tow.
What's your skincare regime? What products do you use?
I love skincare, so it’s pretty step-heavy. I start with the Oskia Renaissance Gel Cleanser , £32.50, and then tone using P50 (No longer stocked in the UK) and La Roche Posay Serozinc , £9.11. I like a good serum and during the day I use Indeed Labs Hydraluron , £24.99, come night it’s Estée Lauders Advanced Night Repair , £65. Moisturiser-wise I’m currently using the Sarah Chapman , £39, one for my eyes and Kate Somerville’s Goat Cream (Not available in the UK) and to keep my skin protected during the day I slap on a good dose of Kiehl’s SPF 50, £31.
What's your haircare regime? What products do you use?
Bumble and Bumble Surf Shampoo , £18.50, and Conditioner , £20; Oribe’s Maximista Thickening Spray , £25, and Unite’s 7 Seconds Conditioner, £5.10, are ruling my haircare roost exclusively at the moment.
Down to the nitty gritty, what’s in your make-up bag currently?
YSL’s new Youth Liberator Foundation , £34, is all sorts of fabulous - dewy, good coverage and lightweight - Bobbi Brown’s Creamy Concealer , £18.50, is doing its thang on blemishes and bags and I’ve been attempting to carve out some kind of cheekbone with Kevyn Aucoin’s Sculpting Powder , £33. For eyes I’m loving Clinique’s All About Shadow in Black Honey , £16, with a loading of Max Factor’s False Lash Effect Waterproof Mascara , £7.33 on the lashes. All finished off with a slick of MAC’s Lipstick in Patisserie on the lips, £15.
Who are your top people in health, fitness, hair and beauty? Who do you rely on in a crisis?
For health and fitness, it’s got to be James Duigan . That guy knows what he’s talking about; I’m a big believer of his Clean and Lean principles (though the odd Ben’s Cookie slips in). For make-up I love watching Lisa Eldridge’s tutorials.
What’s your personal favourite hair and beauty look?
Born and bred on the coastline I will always have a special place in my heart for the beach babe look. Soft, wavy, tousled hair with bronzed sunkissed make-up. Perfection.
What’s your ultimate favourite beauty treatment?
A face mask. They really do treat a multitude of skincare sins. Aesop’s Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque is my favourite, £27.50.
What’s your top health and beauty tip and your biggest beauty bugbear?
Knocking back pints of water really does work wonders. Whenever my complexion goes down the pan I top up on the stuff and my skin magically sorts itself out. My biggest beauty bugbear, on me personally, is eyeliner. My little lids just can’t handle it. Whenever I apply it I spend the rest of the day mopping up smudges and smears.
Can you tell us about any hair and beauty blunders that you’ve experienced?
Pink glittery eyeshadow in my Year 8 school photo. That one always haunts me. Don’t do it kids.
What do you like to take with you when you go away?
I always have the This Works Deep Sleep Stress Less Rollerball, £12, on hand to calm any pre-flight nerves and make any bed in the world feel homely. Then there’s the ear plugs of course and good scarf that I can fashion into a blanket/pillow/makeshift jacket if required.
Who is your favourite blogger/ vlogger?
Lily Pebbles ! Who doesn’t love a bit of Lily? She’s also my number one enabler. It’s dangerous when we go shopping together.
What would be your advice to aspiring bloggers/ vloggers? Is there anything you’d do differently if you were to turn back time?
Write a blog or make videos that you yourself would like to read or watch. That’s the one rule that I like to blog by.
If you could invite anyone dead or alive to guest blog/ vlog on your site who would it be?
Leandra Medine, the writer/could-be-comedienne behind Man Repeller. Her posts make me cry with laughter on a regular basis and she’s just got that ‘I just rolled out of bed like this’ beauty down.
What does the future hold for your blog/ vlog? Are there any exciting developments in the pipeline?
Oh, now that would be telling!