of all things beautiful, in and out.
Vasudha has been a Beauty Director with publications like Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Women's Health in India with 16 years of experience. Her honest opinions and practical tips and tricks as a holistic beauty guru garner blind faith in her words. She practices and preaches 'Clean Living' & 'Luxe Looks' through her own blog 'V beauty'. At a time where feedbacks are sold as commodities, her authenticity is refreshing and as needed as her love for classics over commercials.
In this exclusive interview with BeBadass, Vasudha discusses her career as a Beauty Editor, Clean Living, Skincare and much more.
How did you begin your career?
I began my career as a beauty writer way back in 2002 with Cosmopolitan. I had interviewed for another role but when this came up I convinced the editor to give me this role. I’ve always loved everything beauty related so it was a dream come true for me.
What is a Beauty Editor’s job?
To be aware of all the new technology in the business. To also have knowledge about traditional techniques and of the ingredients, therapies and products that really work. A beauty editor must not just have an opinion based on her experiences but also do a lot of research to know if certain claims are true. They must explore the idea of beauty multidimensional, meaning health, peace of mind, behaviour instead of looking at it just as mere physical appearance. And of course beauty editors must mentor their team and support them whether they’re working with them or not.
We know that countless beauty products are the perk of the job. What are some downsides, if any?
Actually there are no downsides. Who doesn’t want a job where you get countless products. But I would say that sometimes we are expected to try something that isn’t great because they come from advertisers, or just because they’re new products. Especially testing products during beauty awards can be very taxing. When I used to run the Harper’s Bazaar Beauty Top 100, I would get nightmares about the cartons of beauty products that needed testing!
Is there a vocational degree that one should think of, if one wants to become a Beauty editor?
"Be honest, be true and have fun! Beauty is to be enjoyed to the fullest!"
Not at all! I am a Bachelor in Fine Art.
You need passion for the business, real interest and not just wanting to get into it for free products. You need to write well and know how to network.
Apart from relevant training and a passion for beauty, what else is required to become a Beauty editor?
People don’t understand how hard this job is. I remember one press junket that I had gone to and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were there in our hotel to party wearing matching tuxedos. Some other beauty editors and I thought about joining the party (which we were invited to) but then decided not to because we were so tired. So the biggest trait other than a genuine passion for all things beauty would be to be a hard worker.
Is a Beauty Editor different from a Beauty Influencer? If yes, then how so?
I think as a beauty editor you need to do a lot more research. If you are writing for a big magazine then you cannot claim things based on your knowledge, every claim has to be backed up with research. Also beauty editors are constantly looking out for new faces, fresh writers, makeup artists - more collaborations than influencers I suppose.
There are a lot of bias reviews on the Internet. Do you think they are unethical or simply trait of the trade?
Unethical is such a heavy word!
I would say that responsibility also lies with the reader. If someone is buying a beauty product then they should research it themselves instead of just taking the advice of one person. If I have to buy any product (and trust me I buy a lot of them) I look at websites like makeupalley.com or at reviews on e-tailers like Sephora. And while I do have my favourite bloggers I don’t just rely on them or hold them responsible for my choices. So people really have to stop being lazy and do their own research. You may hear about a new product from an influencer but study the ingredients to see if they work for you.
How can one differentiate between honest opinions and paid ones?
I think you need to be smart about it. And I would say look to differentiate between knowledgeable opinions versus incorrect ones. Someone may have an honest opinion, but they may or may not be right. Similarly someone may get paid for a post but what they say is completely on point. I look for more details - for e.g. a person should talk about the ingredients, skin types, long and short term effect etc. If someone just says ‘oh this makes my skin look amazing!’ they may be honest but I wouldn’t listen to that opinion.
Your personal blog vbeauty, offers your honest opinions on brands and products even if commissioned for promotion. How can one be honest and not offend a brand that is commissioning you?
It is very important not to be negative or bitchy. Often I find that people go overboard when it comes to criticism. It’s not the question of offending anyone, it’s just basic manners. If I don’t like a product I just don’t talk about it, I wouldn’t go around town talking about how disappointed I am, unless I spent a lot of money on it. The products on my blog and on my Instagram are the ones I really love. I personally hate trolls and haters, so why wouldn’t I show the same courtesy to someone else?
When and how did your inclination towards 'Clean Living' begin?
I have always been fairly healthy but I started really taking care of what I ate because after got diagnosed with endometriosis.
What is 'Clean Beauty' really?
Products that comes without parabens, silicones, phthalates etc. Basically anything that can clog your pores, disrupt your hormones or is potentially carcinogenic is not in these products.
Are clean beauty products always better than the ones that aren’t?
I’m not very sure about it. This clean and green beauty movement is very new so we’ll just have to see where it goes. I use a mix of both clean and regular products.
What are your favourite 'Clean Beauty' brands?
Twelve Beauty, Julisis, Purearth, Kama, Organic India
Is homemade beauty always clean?
It may be clean but it could cause some serious damage because the ingredients would not be stabilised.
Your favourite homemade beauty recipe?
Just using plain aloe vera as a night cream
What is Beauty to you?
Feeling happy, energised, radiant and peaceful.
What should one prioritize, skincare or makeup?
When should one begin using anti ageing products?
Name the key elements people should look for in skincare at the following ages –
What elements should people absolutely avoid in skincare and makeup?
I would say silicones because they majorly clog pores.
We hear you are working on a book. What can we expect?
You can expect a new way to look at beauty. 60 Indian ingredients and more than 100 ways to eat or apply them.
Define a Badass Woman.
A woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. But who uses her words not to talk people down but to make them feel uplifted.
Name some women you consider Badass.
OMG I could fill a whole page with names. My mom (we call her The General at home), my former editor Nishat Fatima, my editor at The Hindu Rosella Stephen, dermatologist Kiran Lohia, integrative medicine specialist Dr Amy Shah, my best friends Abhiroopa and Payal, and my yoga guru Seema Sondhi.
Your words of wisdom to young souls who want to make an authentic mark in the beauty industry like you.
Be honest, be true and have fun! Beauty is to be enjoyed to the fullest!