Spotlight : Upasana Sharma
They say "Beauty lies in the eyes of the Beholder", and spreading this beauty everywhere is our very own Upasana Sharma or Upsna to be short. Her YouTube channel "UpsnaaPicks", has been giving all the women the real advice and reviews, when it comes to make up and beauty products.
In these days, when you have so many cosmetic products, churning out different products for different issues and problems, you need a friend to advise and to tell you, which one to use and which one to throw away. Upsna has been doing the same thing with her channel and has gathered quiet a good amount of following. Let us talk to her and ask her what makes her do what she is doing.
Interview Courtesy : Veena Priyanka.
What led you to vlogging and especially make-up vlogging?
I have always been interested in making beauty videos—I believe the fascination started back in my early college days when YouTube tutorials were really starting (circa 2010). One of the reasons I always thought I would be a good fit to start a YouTube channel was because I have always loved helping people in regards to beauty. I love helping people get ready for weddings or special occasions with light makeup that still has impact. I noticed that lot of people either did makeup too lightly so it wasn’t noticeable or it was too heavy handed and it was too evident.
I honestly did not think it was something that I had the skill to do and therefore waited a good eight years before venturing into this world. I am not a professional makeup artist, so I never thought that I should teach people, but there are so many excellent YouTubers that are not certified. I created this as a journey so I can teach people the techniques that I know now and as I learn in the future.
What keeps you motivated to consistently upload quality videos?
I LOVE pushing myself and doing things even bigger and better than my previous attempts. I am always looking for new ideas and taking inspiration—I don’t want my videos to be formulaic. I don’t want each video to be the same so I really try to do something with my back drops, editing, timing or filming. I also keep looking for ideas at all times so I continue to have ideas flowing through my head for filming. For example, I can pass by a lipstick or a foundation and then think what can I do with this or what can I make with this? I also love to get help from others on what they want to see—there is no point in making videos if you’re not creating content that others want to see and learn from.
Who is your inspiration – do you follow any specific vloggers and what do you like about them?
I gain inspiration from a lot of beauty vloggers, but my top five are: Pixiwoo, Pony Makeup, Nikkie Tutorials, Jackie Aina and Desi Perkins.
Pixiwoo: two sisters in England who are professional makeup artists who have been making videos for a long time. They are very educational and know a lot about products and technique. I love Sam because she is so knowledgeable and doesn’t focus on perfect makeup—something that I think more people should realize—makeup has to be neat but it doesn’t have to be perfect because then you will look like the others out there.
Pony Makeup: a very talented woman living in South Korea and sharing amazing makeup techniques. I love how she does her transformations into Kylie Jenner, Taylor Swift, Scarlett Johansson, etc. She is a true artist! Her regular tutorials are great because not only are they packed with information and tricks, but also because she shows lighter makeup that is dominant in South Korea.
Nikkie Tutorials: Nikkie really gave me the courage to start my own blog and YouTube channel. She started as a 14 year old girl just posting videos on YouTube and now she is at 10 million followers at the young age of 23. It has been amazing to see her progress and also gives others the courage to try something. I also like that even with the massive influence she has she is down to earth and still focuses on the makeup, not advertising.
Jackie Aina: if you want to see someone who is having fun on YouTube then you should visit Auntie Jackie (as she affectionately called). She is great in her approach to makeup and has a voice! She really created a niche for herself by representing women of color (something that wasn’t focused on when she started YouTube) and has a great and loyal following. I think YouTubers should really help others with what they create and she is a great example of that.
Desi Perkins: Desi Perkins is amazing in so many ways! Not only are her makeup skills on point, but so are her editing skills. Her videos are not simple makeup tutorials; they are full on video productions. Everything from the lighting, backdrop, filming, editing, and music is professional! The best part—she’s self-taught and great at helping others. Her makeup tutorials and Vlogs give me a lot of technical inspiration (lighting, editing, etc.)
All those ladies combine above give originality, variety, a unique voice, courage, and production value that really inspires me.
What, in your opinion makes one an excellent make-up vlogger?
I think there are two components to what makes an excellent makeup vlogger, a specific voice and helpful content. When I say unique voice I don’t mean psychically, but instead what sets you apart. There are thousands of beauty vloggers out there….what makes you stand apart? I think a lot of this has to do with personality as well as trying to show different content. So many people can do a smokey eye, but the person that shows you a different technique from all of the others will get more views. I would never copy a technique that I saw on Desi Perkin’s channel because I know people would just go to her channel to see it. You have to put your own spin on things.
I also think that what a lot of established vloggers do well is help people. You are teaching a technique and adding helpful tips and tricks is going to benefit your audience. You will see that sometimes people will just show the technique without explanation, but it is not going to help without some explanation. I also think that when vloggers talk about the different methods of application and physical make up of a product it is extremely helpful. Jackie Aina has such a loyal audience because she helps women of color and teaches them on the why of certain techniques and products.
What kind of preparation do you put into your videos?
My videos start out in my head—I have to first have an idea that I want to work with. This idea can come in many ways: a video that I see, a concern that I see people state, a request, new products, finding a new technique, a challenge/tag, and so on. After the idea is set I have to make sure I have my products selected to get the right look. Sometimes certain ideas need research as well, so I will dedicate as much time as needed for research. If it is something I am familiar with then maybe an hour or so, but other things that I have no experience with take a longer research time. For example, I had no experience with vlogs, so I watched a lot of them for a few weeks to learn.
Next I have some technical setups with the backdrop, camera, and lighting. All in all it takes me close to 30 minutes for a full setup. I also have to make sure that my hair is set, my skin is freshly cleansed and prepped, my outfit is correct, and that I include the correct accessories. Filming takes anywhere from 14 minutes to 45 minutes depending on the look and video. The next step is editing, which can take up close to three hours, so about 4 hours goes into producing a video. The last step takes the longest and that is to advertise the video and show support to fellow YouTubers who are also supporting me. That can take the entire day, but is incredibly worth it at the end of the day.
Currently I am attempting to upload one video a day, so what I like to do is film one or two days and then edit the other days and upload to keep up with the pace.
Do you stick to a specific brand/ set of products or do you experiment?
I try to always experiment when I can. I definitely have my favorites but certain looks demand a certain type of product, so I always try to find the best fit. I also feel if you follow only brand then you limit yourself with the looks you create as there is no one brand that creates all the products you need in a look. For example, I wouldn’t use Huda Beauty as my only brand as she doesn’t have any lightweight foundations.
As my makeup collection expands I like to feature more products. I always encourage viewers to use whatever they have in their own collection because it would be madness to go out and buy the same exact products that I, or any vlogger, uses.
What are the biggest challenges (in your opinion) of any make-up vlogger/you?
I think one of the biggest challenges for me right now is the set up. I really feel like I need more lighting, a higher quality camera, and a microphone. I feel like that is common for most new vloggers. Those technical hurdles aside I think that makeup vloggers will always run into the issue of not being able to please everyone. If you take something like a DIY channel you will see that a lot more people will agree to it because it is not something they do daily. It is different with makeup because so many people do their makeup and they are set in their own routines and techniques.
There is also the issue of different concerns—for example, I have dry skin and many people out there have oily skin. It can be difficult at times to please all those are out there, but I think that’s why finding a niche is important.
What is your daily skincare/make-up routine?
I keep a very simple daily routine. I think skincare is extremely important and should always come before makeup. I have a separate skincare routine between night and day, as your skin needs different things at different times. I need to head out quick in the daytime so I keep it short, but I am very thorough during the nighttime (it’s when your skin cells are rejuvenating).
Daytime: cleanser, toner, moisturizer, eye cream, and sunscreen SPF
Nighttime: cleanser, exfoliator (2-3 times a week) toner, mask (2-3 times a week in conjunction with exfoliating), serum, eye cream, moisturizer, spray, possible second moisturizer (for winter time), lip balm
My every day makeup routine is very simple as well. I am never one to go for fancy things in the morning, unless there is a special occasion. I believe if your skin has been prepped well then you can go light on your makeup and be good to go.
My daily makeup routine: Concealer (to hide dark spots) and a bold lipstick (to bring color to the face)
What do you think is more important – technique or product?
This one can be tough to answer as I think technique and product goes hand in hand, but technique over product. Sometimes you will get a certain product that will be difficult to work with—this is where you need to have a different technique. For example, the beauty bakery foundation is difficult to work with as a product for most. You will need a specific technique for the specific product. Once you have a good technique down then you can use whatever product and make it work. You will see a lot of vloggers using drug store makeup and still be able to achieve high end makeup results.
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty is unique. Everyone is different—different skin color, different skin tone, different eyes, lips, and nose. There is no one size fits all in beauty. I think it is important for everyone to realize that they are unique and they should accentuate their own uniqueness instead of trying to make themselves look like someone else.
What are your future plans for your YouTube channel?
I have a few things up for my YouTube channel. One of the things I want to do is continue creating series for my channels. One of my most popular series is beauty vs food and I really want to keep continuing on with that, especially because I don’t see that in the beauty community.
I am really looking for more request and engagement so I can create more content to help others!
I would also like to partake in more beauty challenges since they are fun and creative!
Any advices for fellow beauty vloggers?
Try and establish a niche for yourself
Film in good light (you can use sunlight instead of expensive lighting) and have good audio (speak up if you don’t have a good mic)
Be comfortable when filming and be yourself
Keep challenging yourself and keep trying out new techniques
Step up your editing game—this will make a huge difference—find good music, use transitions, spend time making a good thumbnail
Make sure you are advertising your content in as many places as possible
Interact with your audience via the comments section
Film ahead of time and edit—this will make the process a bit easier and not so time consuming
Get a backdrop—using fabric is cost effective and gives the same effect
Keep creating and have fun