Abby Buchanan, creator of One Stiletto at a Time, fills her blog with everything she loves: fashion, beauty and lifestyle. She tells us why Lupita Nyong’o is her makeup icon and how she created her own BB creams as a teenager…
How did you get started as a beauty, fashion and lifestyle blogger?
Way back in 2009 I first started reading international fashion blogs. I then moved on to beauty blogs, and finally in 2011 I decided to start my own blog. It grew so quickly – within three months I was attending product launches with dozens of beauty editors. Now, after eight years, the event landscape has changed so much, with only a handful of print editors and mostly bloggers and influencers being invited.
What inspired you to start One Stiletto at a Time?
I was working as a health advisor and studying towards my BCom Retail Management degree part time. It was all very academic… I needed a creative outlet, and so my blog was created.
Do you work in retail management and blog on the side? Or has blogging taken over your life?
No, even though I graduated and got my degree, I am working as a social media manager/professional blogger. The skills that I have learnt help me tremendously and it is crazy to think that my once little blog is actually something I earn a living from and is on my CV!
When did you realise makeup was a passion?
I am not a makeup artist by any means but makeup and skincare have always been a passion of mine. From stealing my mum’s red Chanel lipstick at the age of five to mixing (and selling) my own BB creams at 13. Back in 2003 BB creams didn’t exist, but we wanted something “light” so that we couldn’t get into trouble for “wearing makeup” at school. I used to blend a Garnier moisturiser with some of my older sister’s heavy-duty foundation to create the “BB cream”.
What are some big wins and challenges you've had while growing your brand?
I started the blog back when it was seen as a hobby and not something aspirational or a way to become “famous”. It is a challenge now because there are too many people who are in it for the perks and not for their readers. I love blogging and it will always be a passion of mine. To this day I write for my readers, so getting emails saying that they saw a certain foundation or lip colour on my blog and wore it on their wedding day or on their birthday to give them extra confidence is a win for me. I don’t care for titles or magazine features.
What does a typical day look like for you?
After waking up, the first thing I do is check Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I then get ready for the day and start at around 9am with a fresh espresso in hand. For the next few hours I work on my social media clients’ tasks, and then head off to lunch (sometimes with friends for catch-ups – a perk of the freelance lifestyle). Afternoons are for replying to emails and shooting products, and in the evenings I edit and write posts while watching series.
Tell us a bit about your must-do beauty routines…
Skincare, skincare, skincare! Take care of your skin and any makeup look will look good. Also don’t wear a makeup look if you don’t feel comfortable in it. Winged eyeliner doesn’t work on me, I’ve accepted that. Find what you like and what works for you. It’s good to step out of your comfort zone for a trend or two but study your face and skin tone, then you’ll know if something will work for you or not.
What's your holy grail makeup product and why?
Garnier Micellar Water, the original pink one. Because I am lazy AF (can I say that? [Laughs]) and I need to remove my makeup and cleanse my face at night no matter what!
What's your favourite makeup trend of the moment? And any trends you don't love right now?
What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Use an SPF and start on retinol as soon as you hit 25.
Who is your celeb makeup icon and why?
Lupita Nyong’o – her skin is always impeccable and she has fun with makeup. Many women with darker skin tones shy away from colour but it often actually works better. You can see that she expresses her personality through her makeup and that’s beautiful.
And finally, what does beauty mean to you?
Have fun, don’t follow the rules too much and learn your face shape, skin tone, etc. Beauty can be an outlet for personal expression or it can simply be a way of enhancing your best features. There is no right or wrong, as long as you are true to yourself.