While dashing around The Makeup Show today in NYC, we bumped into blogger Brittany Thomas, the vivacious, free-spirited girl behind Clumps of Mascara. Brittany's a Florida native, but she's packing up and heading here in a few weeks to make NYC her permanent home. We can't wait to have her in the 'hood—the girl has contagious energy but also a refreshingly humble viewpoint. We talked to her about blue mascara, learning from your mistakes, and the power of Twitter.
1. Why did you start a beauty blog? I was a senior at University of South Florida and my friend took me to a M.A.C. Cosmetics counter. Up until then, I didn't know much about makeup. My mother is conservative—she's not the type who wears red lipstick. I watched as the saleswoman did a makeover on my friend, explaining every step as she went along. I realized at that moment that there's an actual technique to applying makeup, even for the average girl. It's not just about "slap this on and go." The saleswoman showed my friend and me that women of color can wear bright shades—we can wear red lipstick, too! I would have never thought to even try it before. So I started testing different products on myself and writing about it on a blog. In the beginning, I was just writing for myself. But then I stumbled upon specktra.net, a cosmetics fan community, and found myself in touch with other beauty junkies and bloggers, and that's when I started writing to connect with other people.2. Why the name "Clumps of Mascara"? No matter how many different formulas I tried, my mascara would always clump. That's when I realized that makeup is never perfect. So I decided my blog would be about the mistakes and frustrations I experience with makeup, and about learning from those problems. A lot of beauty bloggers are makeup artists, but I'm not a professional—my day job is actually working as a legislative aide to a state representative. I've learned about makeup from the ground up, and I wanted to speak to other people like me who are figuring it out as they go.3. Your blog is barely three years old, and yet you have a huge audience. How did you connect with so many people so quickly? Twitter changed everything. Before, I had maybe one comment a day on my blog, if that. But once I joined Twitter, I learned about Follow Fridays. That's when you can suggest to your followers who else they should be following, and they in turn will often suggest you to their followers, and it just builds from there. Suddenly, I was connecting with other bloggers and with beauty companies. Twitter helped me get my voice out to so many people.
4. You've tried over 80 mascaras—which ones are your favorites? Lancôme Ôscillation vibrating mascara is amazing. It does what it says it's going to do—you get incredible volume. For insanely dramatic lashes, nothing beats L'Oréal Voluminous. I think it's just as good as a certain popular-yet-expensive carbon black mascara for a fraction of the cost. I also love Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effet Faux Cils because it comes in cool colors like blue and purple. I swipe just one coat of the blue along the tops of my lashes, as opposed to the usual underside of them, and it gives just the subtlest hint of color.5. What's your advice to an aspiring beauty blogger? First, you have to write well. This doesn't mean you have to be a formal journalist, but you need to be able to present your voice in a clear way, so if you're not very good at writing, take a writing course or have a friend who's a good writer give you pointers. Next, be consistent—you have to post every day, otherwise people will forget about you quickly. Also, find your niche. There are hundreds of beauty bloggers out there, so you have to find what sets you apart and make that your hook. Lastly, blog about what you really love. People can tell when you're not genuine. I certainly don't know everything, and I'm honest with my readers about that. But I think that's why they trust me.
PHOTO FROM CLUMPS OF MASCARA