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28 Covert Instagram Secrets Straight From A Beauty Influencer

Did you pay for those products, or are they sponsored boo?

Hey BuzzFeeders! I'm Jamé, a NYC-based style and beauty junkie who's constantly asked to share the ~secrets~ to being an influencer, building a personal brand, and working with top beauty companies.

@theblondemisfit / Via instagram.com

If you've ever been curious about the world of beauty Instagram influencers, here are a few of my secrets!

1. Some influencers have marketing and PR teams to help expand their brand...

Oh, and a lawyer to match.
Vadim_key / Getty Images

Oh, and a lawyer to match.

2. ...but the majority of us are doing it all on our own.

We're shooting videos, taking photos, editing, testing products, returning products, pitching ourselves to brands, etc.
@mayasworld / Via instagram.com

We're shooting videos, taking photos, editing, testing products, returning products, pitching ourselves to brands, etc.

3. We make money a ton of ways — endorsements, sponsorships, video views, ambassadorships, speaking engagements, and more.

@Carlibel / Via instagram.com

Some influencers, like Carli Bybel, can make up to $29,000 a month on YouTube views alone!

4. But really, half of us are still broke after paying taxes.

Bank of America

Yes, some of us still have 9-5 jobs to keep the lights on.

5. A lot of people think you only get on PR lists if you have a million followers, but that doesn't even matter.

Bravo

6. While we do get a ton of free products simply by being on beauty brands' PR lists...

@shaaanxo_clan / Via instagram.com

7. ...beauty influencers know ENGAGEMENT is what matters — how often people are interacting with your content, not the number of followers you have.

Haydn Russell / Via youtube.com

So yep, you could be on Benefit or Nars' PR lists with as few as 5,000 followers. You're welcome.

8. We don't just post photos all willy-nilly — there are specific hours of the day that the algorithm works in our favor.

Later / Via later.com

Time zones, hours, days of the week — nothing is unintentional.

9. We use hella hashtags to make sure our posts are trending.

Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags, and we need them all!
@theblondemisfit / Via instagram.com

Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags, and we need them all!

10. We actually use a ton of technical equipment to get that Insta-worthy makeup shot.

We use microphones, ring lights, self-timers, and more.
Azmanl / Getty Images

We use microphones, ring lights, self-timers, and more.

11. And when we ~do~ use natural lighting, we ALWAYS face towards the sun, never away.

instagram.com

12. Those street-style photos that look unplanned? All staged, boo.

@theblondemisfit / Via instagram.com

I walked across this street four times to get this shot. This is not a game!

13. And those beauty products that look random yet beautiful? Nope, all staged too.

@hivebeauty / Via instagram.com

14. And though it looks like our photos are effortless, we're working some weird angles for that perfect shot.

@theblondemisfit / Via instagram.com

You can't even tell I had to take this photo upside down for my camera to fit on top of my light, can you?!

15. Speaking of the perfect shot, we take about 200 photos to find that one blessed pic that'll grace our IG feeds.

@kahlanabarfield / Via instagram.com

We may just throw out all 200 and start over! We 🗣 want 🗣 that 🗣 pic!

16. Oh, did you think those photos weren't edited? Some of us use up to three apps to edit our photos just to our liking.

VSCO, Snapseed, and Facetune are some of my favorites. You're welcome.
Patricia Bright / Via youtube.com

VSCO, Snapseed, and Facetune are some of my favorites. You're welcome.

17. We legally have to disclose when a product is sponsored.

@jackieaina / Via instagram.com

Despite what some think, just because we put #Ad or #Sponsored in there doesn't mean we HAVE to give positive reviews of the product.

18. And half the time, we only make it ~look~ like a brand sent us something to help gain credibility.

@overglowedit / Via instagram.com

I'm not sayin' I do that, I'm just giving y'all the facts.

19. We could actually put Sephora out of business with how much stuff is in our beauty arsenals.

Literally just the tip of the iceberg.
Jaclyn Hill / Via youtube.com

Literally just the tip of the iceberg.

20. We know the beauty secret to avoid a double-chin in photos is pushing our faces forward.

@Jamescharles / Via instagram.com

21. And that you never want to face the camera head-on — more at an angle that'll chisel your jaw, honey.

@thatsheart / Via instagram.com

22. We will almost always use a backdrop, because backdrops are part of a brand aesthetic.

@monicastylemuse / Via instagram.com

'Nuff said.

23. Unfortunately, there are STILL a ton of brands that omit people of color as influencers — but others, like NARS, help show that beauty is diverse, just like their products.

@cydneeblack / Via instagram.com

24. Most times, we get some type of backlash for any and everything we post.

ET

You just can't please everyone.

25. We actually work hard AF, despite people thinking it's all glitz and glam.

@makeupshayla / Via instagram.com

26. We produce themed content, like color swatches, that keeps you comin' back.

@swatchesbyeva / Via instagram.com

Makeup hauls, reviews, how-to tutorials, and get-ready-with-me's are all intentional. We know what y'all like.

27. While we know you may think so, we don't always have a full beat every day.

@juviasplace / Via instagram.com

Who has time for all that?!

28. Lastly, we all have different reasons for why we love beauty, but most of us just want to show that it truly belongs to everyone.

@theessenceof_ / Via instagram.com

Beauty doesn't belong to one skin shade, ethnicity, hair type, or body size. And that's fuckin' awesome.

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