Skip To Content

    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.

    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...

    Vadim_key / Getty Images

    Oh, and a lawyer to match.

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

    @mayasworld / Via

    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.

    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.


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

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

    Haydn Russell / Via

    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

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

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

    @theblondemisfit / Via

    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.

    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.

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

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

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

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

    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.

    Patricia Bright / Via

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

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

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

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

    Jaclyn Hill / Via

    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.

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

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

    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.

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


    You just can't please everyone.

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

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

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

    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.