Beauty Blogger Amber Katz of Rouge18 Shares Top Makeup and Skincare Picks for Spring

A contributor to TeenVogue.com, Elle.com, Daily Glow and Refinery29, Amber Katz is making a name for herself as a preeminent beauty blogger. She’s been noting trends on her hugely followed blog, Rouge18, which was listed as one of the top ten hottest beauty blogs by Women’s Wear Daily. It has since been featured in The New York Times, Glamour, PEOPLE Style Watch, Star, Marie Claire, Vogue among other top tier editorial.

The Hubba team was so thrilled to catch up with Amber who’s recently joined Hubba as an Influencer for the Beauty category. We were eager to learn about the hot new trends she’s seeing and even more excited to share them. Hint: Amber is seeing brows, lip tints, contouring, tinted treatments and masks all having their moment. Read on to hear about how she discovers new products, what she looks for and what key items go into a personal kit:

H: Please tell us a little about yourself and what inspired you to create a blog about beauty?

AK: I have always loved beauty products and was undergoing a quarter-life crisis working in marketing at a big four audit firm in 2006. I’d tried for years to get a job as a beauty assistant at a magazine to no avail. I found myself recommending hair products to (straight) male auditors in their 50s constantly on elevators at work. They couldn’t have cared less, so I decided I needed an outlet. I was also constantly fielding phone calls from my friends regarding salons and product recommendations. Nearly ten years ago exactly (April 4th, to be exact), I started Beauty Blogging Junkie, which I later rebranded/renamed to be Rouge18. It’s been an amazing experience. I absolutely love being able to find about new collections before they hit shelves and meet so many phenomenal people in the industry.

What are the kinds of topics and products you like to cover?

I cover anything that falls under the heading of beauty: fragrance, hair, nails, skin care, makeup. I also cover a bit of fashion, personal care and travel. As for products, I try a ton of new items on the market and I focus on covering the stuff that makes it into my personal stash or anything that’s especially innovative. New delivery systems (i.e., a new sponge-applicator tinted lip oil from Lancome is a refreshing twist on the sea of tinted balms on the market), inspired colors, solutions for problems (self-tanner that doesn’t smell like DHA, for instance).

 

What has been hardest about finding an angle as a beauty influencer?

I found my angle in 2006 when I started my blog, it’s pop culture-infused product reviews and news. It wasn’t hard for me as I naturally tend to incorporate pop culture references into my day-to-day, but it’s become a common voice in the beauty-blogging community, which is kind of frustrating. When I started, there were only a few beauty bloggers and we all had distinctive voices. Now there are millions, in addition to YouTubers, Instagram influencers, etc.

What can you say about the beauty blog loving audience?

Obsessive beauty enthusiasm has become much more mainstream, and perhaps that’s due to all the tutorials you can so easily find online to create whatever celebrity look you’d like. Even my friends’ children tend to be super into makeup, hair and nails. When I was growing up, only a couple of my friends were as fanatical about this industry as I was, poring over magazines and ordering products from catalogs. It’s great for the industry!

What has been the most surprising thing to become popular on your blog?

My 5 Rules For Life series, in which I interview various experts, celebrities, fellow bloggers and writers about the 5 rules by which they live. My readers love these and it’s definitely the most popular series on my site. Red carpet beauty breakdowns are also exceedingly popular on my site. I get 4 times the traffic during awards season.

What kinds or brands of beauty products are considered essential in any personal kit?

It’s not so much about brands specifically, it’s more about the items themselves. I think everyone in 2016 relies on dry shampoo, a good concealer, a tinted moisturizer, bronzer or blush, tinted lip balm and eyeliner at a minimum. Some cult favorites: Oribe Dry Texture Spray, Maybelline Baby Lips Tinted Balms, Cle De Peau Concealer, Nars Laguna Bronzer. Urban Decay’s Naked franchise is also a staple, specifically the eye shadows.

Curious what your highest trending post has been to date?

It’s a post that my intern Rachel Fulton wrote about Younique products, because the brand linked to it from their Facebook page. Their fans are incredibly engaged and they have over 280K on Facebook, so I got a ton of traffic from that. Other than that, it’s what you’d expect. Kylie Jenner does extremely well on my site, as does Kim Kardashian. Any post with a beautiful photo tends to do better for me, as my site is on the iPad app Flipboard.

How do you find out about new products? How do you evaluate them?

Typically by attending product launch events, but also via mailings and deskside meetings. Word of mouth from friends and other beauty writers, as well. I am sent at least 10-100 products per week for editorial consideration. I simply test them out! I write about what I like the most, give some to my interns to test and they’ll also write about what’s really blowing their hair back. I test out skin care for at least a month before I can write up the products. Hair and makeup can be written about after a few tests.

What would you say are the hottest trends in makeup or skincare right now?

Makeup:
– Brows are a major thing. There are tons of brow kits, pencils, tattoos and pens on the market right now. It used to be that brands would offer a single brow product and now there are a suite of offerings by each brand, almost a sub-category all its own.

– Contouring is still huge, as is strobing (just the highlighting aspect of contouring). The most popular Instagram/YouTube influencers all have very sculpted faces and wear a lot of makeup in nude shades, heavily inspired by the Kardashians.

– Lip tints are big, Glossier just launched tints in a balm form that are long lasting while imparting a hint of moisture. I’m loving these peel-off lip stains from Korea by a brand called Berrisom, which last for about 12 hours. Duo lip/cheek stains are still popular, as well. Kjaer Weis and & Other Stories are two brands who make good ones. Lip colors still run the gamut. Nude is popular, but so is red, purple, mauve, etc.

– Bronze lids are big in makeup. Just ten years ago, the go-to for everyone was a pinky-purple shadow shade and now it’s all about bronze smokey eyes like Gigi Hadid wears a lot on the red carpet.

Skincare:
– Tinted treatments are big. Less BB/CC creams, more salicylic acid-infused tinted moisturizers. Lots of “packs” inspired by Asian skin care, i.e., moisturizing products that you put on a night. They’re also called sleeping masks, which have all but replaced the concept of night creams.

Masks are having a moment, both sheet masks and regular ones. “Greens” masks are a thing, as well. Origins and Glossier have both launched these, which are inspired by juicing/nutrition.

Exfoliating toners are popular, I love one by Paula’s Choice called 2% BHA Liquid. Biologique Recherche also has one called P50 that’s wildly popular. Pads seem to be less important right now. Glycolic acid is very popular.

Probiotic skin care is also taking off. Tula is a new brand based on this principle. In that vein, there’s a new line called Mother Dirt which is actually bacteria-based that’s supposed to improve skin. I haven’t tried it, but it’s getting a lot of press and I’ve heard good things.

Asian skincare is still very popular, as well. Essences have become mainstream in the US, as well as many of the brands based in Seoul, like Etude House.

– Gadgets are still having a moment, as well. The various skin care cleansing brushes are a hit.

– Coffee scrubs for body are popular, i.e., Frank.

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