When you’re as heavily involved in social media as London and New Delhi-based lifestyle influencer Shagun Khanna – who did not originally set out to be a beauty blogger– the experiences ought to be unique, organic and honest. Her rise in the beauty space was the result of her struggle with PCOS, which she was diagnosed with after the birth of her first child. Between figuring out motherhood and her body’s fluctuating needs, Khanna found her niche in the digital space--beauty and wellness--where women with similar struggles found support in her balancing act.
“It was not a well-thought out or a pre-planned career decision. However, overcoming PCOS by all-natural means was a turning point for me. I felt the need to share what I had learned, so I started blogging,” explains Khanna.
Social media is not just young people’s game anymore and Khanna proves that with her rising follower count. However, shooting extensively when you have a family that doesn’t understand the online world the same can be quite challenging. You can call it an occupational hazard for 21st-century multi-hyphenate housewives and mums finding their footing in the expanse of social media. “My family has laid down ground rules for my social media presence – no phones after 10 pm. I also often have to pester my way to get them clicked with me for social media,” she reveals.
Strategising Social Media
Shagun is one of the original voices in the Indian beauty bloggersphere, having already been on the jury panel for Vogue India’s Beauty Awards, and being named Elle India’s top beauty influencer in 2018. Her approach to beauty, however, is certainly not in-your-face hard-selling of the best beauty products to buy. She turned to holistic beauty and wellness to tackle her condition, which was something she practised from an early phase in her life. “I was interested in natural skincare right from my teenage years and was the go-to person for tips amongst friends.”
Khanna suffered from symptoms of PCOS a little after having her first child and wanted to educate herself about this condition through research from books and the internet. In hoping to restructure her life that was affected by the condition, she opened up on her social media and eventually gathered a following, a community of women who found her content not only relatable but also informational. It was after three years of writing about her experiences with products and the trial and errors, on her blog, that she started to gain momentum.
The content strategy that has sustained her till now is just being honest in her efforts. “I like to stay regular with my online presence. I research and plan my content and am always on the lookout for good products and new treatments,” she explains, adding, “I do not believe in following trends. Unlike other influencers, I am shy on camera.” Khanna also mentions that she has set boundaries at work and works at her own pace. “Fortunately, my audience understands this,” she says.
The big problem when it comes to finding a routine that suits you is the ample number of products one has to try before reaching satisfaction, but trial and error was a price Khanna was ready to pay. “Of course, no adventure is flawless. I wanted to try out too many things at once, I was very ambitious about increasing my follower base. That has certainly changed with time. I now focus only on producing meaningful content and engaging with as many followers as possible,” she explains.
The one step forward and two steps back method brought her results in the end-- she’s got her step-by-step day and night time regimen in place. “These days I am using iS Clinical Cleansing Complex, Medik8 retinol, Zo Skin moisturiser and eye cream,” she says. “I tweak these whenever I stumble upon a good product.” However, she does not recommend the same to her followers. Her skincare adventures have brought her to the realisation that overdoing products or treatments is never a good decision. “Keep it simple and stick to it,” she advises. Khanna also champions natural remedies to maintain the health of your skin, “The more natural it is, the more effective it will be. I believe in going in for safe, potent products for treating issues.”
Khanna has also found risk-proof products with benefits for skin that can be used when going out for an occasion or event. “These days, I’m using Chantecaille oil-free gel foundation, By Terry hyaluronic hydra powder, Benetint by Benefit, Urban Decay glide on eye pencil- Perversion, Pixi large lash mascara and Pixi peach pout tinted lip balm.” The key is to concentrate on skincare rather than make-up, which automatically gives you the glow and texture that one hopes to achieve through surface-level enhancement. This is supported by make-up, taking beauty further than skin-deep.