Beauty advocates in an age of change

Blog, Influencers

In every market, there are a select few beauty influencers whose reach and authority are more crucial for your brand’s success than others. Our international research team curates lists of relevant lifestyle media contacts and saw an increased need for a list that selectively showcased these specific personas; Top 10 Beauty Advocates. The advocates we have chosen are continuously updated to reflect the markets’ climate, they are influencers and industry insiders – but it’s not just about how many followers they have, it’s about who follows them and why.

There is an ongoing movement that is increasingly pushing the beauty industry standards to embrace inclusivity, mental health, and sustainable practices. For that reason, we decided to speak to Terese Ask, Co-founder of Impression PR, a beauty and lifestyle PR agency based in Copenhagen to share with you why you should aim to work with this new generation of outspoken beauty advocates.

​Beauty influencers a power still to be reckoned with

The rise of beauty influencers and social media has quickly changed the beauty industry. Prior to the social media boom, beauty brands relied heavily on traditional advertising and magazines to reach customers. Fast-forward to now, social media has introduced consumers to a wide range of beauty content covering different types of needs.

From wanting more cleaner beauty products to a more extensive and inclusive range of foundation shades, the increased exposure social media has provided to brands has had consumers beginning to question how commendable their favorite cosmetics brands really are. They are now able to react to campaigns in more direct forms than ever before.

According to Terese, the old-school approach to reaching the new generation of consumers is definitely outdated:

« Before, the beauty industry was mainly dictated by huge media houses and brands. That means a board of people who need to agree, and often it takes a long time to convince big organizations to try something new.

With the rise of beauty influencers, we’ve seen regular people create their own media platforms without having to ask anyone but themselves what they would like to share with the world.

We’ve seen people from different genders, ethnicities, sizes, etc. create huge followings on social media, and today many of them have their own brands or partner with world-renowned brands on collaborations. »

Terese Ask, Co-founder of Impression PR

The importance of collaborating with the right influencers is even more crucial in the beauty realm. According to Forbes after a study made by Harvard Business School MBA graduate Alessia Vettese: « 62% of the women she surveyed in her study said they follow beauty influencers on social media. When asked where these women search information about beauty products prior to purchasing them, social media influencers ranked highest at nearly 67% (…) Advertisements made by companies ranked much lower at 44%. »

When evaluating beauty products before purchase: « The women said influencer marketing sways their purchasing decisions most, while direct-mail marketing is the least effective way to reach them. » – Alessia Vettese

Strong authentic opinions are key

Nowadays, a wide range of social media influencers put authenticity and integrity above all. They are very assertive about who they are and feel responsible to let their followers know that it’s okay to be different and not fit the norm.

Last year, in our article Beauty and Fashion: A powerful alliance, we had the pleasure to speak with professional makeup artist Marie Thomsen, based in Copenhagen who worked with the likes of GANNI, Stine Goya and By Malene Birger. She advised brands to not be afraid to collaborate with influencers that are not only different but also opinionated:

« I think we are going to be very bored with the pretty influencer with good skin. Instead, fashion brands should look for audacious beauty bloggers, as long as they have a really good style. Find the right people to stand out because less perfection gives a stronger impact.

My advice would be to collaborate with strong personalities, daring and opinionated influencers that match the brands and be inspired by people who opt for different standards of beauty.”

And according to Terese, beauty brands are understandably catching up on that:

« I’ve noticed a huge change in how beauty brands work with influencers. Just a few years ago a lot of brands were afraid of working with influencers who are political or in any way take a stand in certain areas. Today they love it and the more they can work with influencers who speak up, the better.

I think it has taken a while over this past decade for brands to understand the value of influencers and how to utilize them as part of their PR and marketing strategies. In the beginning many viewed influencers as models with lots of followers.

Today they understand that it’s not just a pretty face but a person who shares strong opinions on topics. If you work smart with influencers that fit your brand and values, the right match and campaign can make a huge impact on your brand value. »

Powerful messages to create stronger bonds 

Makeup, skincare, haircare, etc…Have in various ways helped many boost their self-esteem, and be more accepting of who they are. This feeling of self-care – exacerbated by the pandemic which forced us to retrieve and pamper – has made a lot of brands realize how important it is to emphasize the message of taking care of oneself both on the outside and inside.

Selena Gomez is one of the latest celebrities to launch her beauty brand. However, instead of just relying on promoting the tangible benefits of her « Rare Beauty » range of products, or her fan-base, her company also puts attention on mental health and empowering people to feel confident in their skin.

A direction, alongside good product reviews, that has helped the brand successfully launch and flourish. The brand has fortuitously reached out to many more with a universal message, and influencers and consumers alike have responded positively.

Rudolph Care is another prime example of a beauty brand that has decided very early on to make sustainability the heart of their business with a powerful message « born sustainable ».


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Une publication partagée par Rudolph Care (@rudolphcare)

The shift we are currently seeing is in full motion, and as we are seeing more and more societal changes occurring in our present times. Outspokenness and subsequent accountability are bound to happen. But how will this keep evolving? Terese believes that the shift we are currently seeing will continue on the same path:

« I think the beauty industry will only keep getting closer to the consumer. Whether led by the brand or ambassadors such as influencers or celebrities, we will see the brands take even more of a stand on societal, ethical, and sustainability issues because this is simply demanded by the consumers today, especially by the younger generations such as millennials and Gen Z.»

Our Top Beauty Advocates Picks

In the slides below you can see an example from each market, hand-curated by our research team. (1-The UK, 2-The US, 3-France, 4-Germany, 5-Denmark, 6-Sweden, 7-Norway, 8-Belgium, 9-The Netherlands).

THE UK - Freddie Harrel

Freddie Harrel is a French-born, Cameroonian, Londoner. One of the most prominent beauty influencers in the UK right now, Freddie is a content creator, entrepreneur, and activist. She’s an influencer who has been in the industry for almost 10 years, making her one of the UK’s original beauty-go-to-gurus. She is an example of someone who is extremely well versed in the ins and outs of not only the beauty and fashion industry, but the wants and needs of the consumer. She recently launched her own beauty brand: Rad Swan – “the conscious brand built with, and for the Global African Diaspora”. The launch of Rad Swan and the social media platform for the brand itself shows how in touch she is with her audience and her knowledge of where the gaps in the beauty market lie.

Georgina Juel – UK Market Coordinator

THE US - Nyma Tang

Nyma Tang is a Sudanese beauty influencer based in Texas as well as Los Angeles. She is self-taught and has the following base of nearly 2 million (IG + youtube combined). She has gained a lot of recognition as she’s been a strong and loud advocate for greater inclusion, wider shade ranges, and more diversity within the beauty industry, mainly the makeup world. It started off with her youtube series ”The darkest shade” where she reviews the darkest shade of makeup products different brands offer and it quickly became a hit. She felt a need to do this as she herself did not feel represented when buying the products she needed to be able to create her content. Her insights on inclusion and greater representation are highly regarded and valued. 

Cerena Kulego – US Lifestyle Researcher


FRANCE - Fatou N'Diaye

Black Beauty Bag is a fashion and beauty blog created by Fatou N’Diaye in 2007. Originally from Mali and Nigeria, the 43-year-old Parisian is one of the first bloggers to focus on empowering and sublimating the beauty of black women in France. When she first created her blog, it was a way to say “I am black, I love myself, and I want to talk about the reality of being a black woman in a society that is not made for her, which goes beyond a lipstick story.” (lemonde.fr). Today, Fatou continues to inspire as a content creator and is also a consultant for major cosmetic and luxury brands.

Ines Boubazine – Research & Marketing Coordinator

GERMANY - Farina Opoku

Farina is a 30-year-old Beauty and Fashion influencer from Cologne. She was one of the first influencers in Germany, who made a name for herself on a larger scale. Her blog was very successful, with Instagram being a logical addition back in the day. Today she has over 1.3 Million followers and collaborates with all relevant beauty brands out there. Farina does very glamorous, yet wearable makeup looks, which her followers love to see. Her hair routine is copied by many and accompanied by her chic sense of style, the influencer from Cologne has a unique audience of followers, covering various areas and niches.

Isabelle Kube – German Market Coordinator

DENMARK - Carla Mickelborg

Carla has a broad lifestyle profile, with a focus on much more than beauty alone. Her life is all about inspiring others to pursue their dreams, focusing on the journey to get there – not just the goal. She covers topics such as well-being, health, and self-development. On her Instagram, you will see traditional beauty tutorials as well as a lot of self-love. She has recently started Carla Club – a community for her followers with live broadcasts on self-development. She also produces 4 podcasts, no specifically about beauty, but about life and love, and has written multiple books.

Sarah Friis – Danish Lifestyle Researcher

SWEDEN - Leyla Aksoy

Leyla Aksoy is a professional beauty junky from Stockholm, Sweden. Her expertise within skincare and beauty products began when she as a teenager tried to manage her oily skin and from there a passion and career was born. When Leyla isn’t working as a teacher, which is her day job, she runs a popular Instagram account called @leyglow where she makes beauty tips and tricks accessible for all. Leyla is also one of the Elle Swedens beauty bloggers and is definitely a beauty advocate to trust and seek inspiration from.

Josefine Forslund – Swedish Market Coordinator

NORWAY - Eveline Karlsen

Eveline Karlsen previously worked as a makeup artist and as a salesperson in a luxurious beauty store but has in recent years stepped up her game as a beauty influencer and businesswoman and been successful at it. She has acquired an impressive following on both YouTube and Instagram and has become one of the leading influencers within beauty. She is outspoken and is not afraid to talk with her viewers about personal subjects or her opinions – which has strengthened her integrity.

Sara Linvåg Næss – Norwegian Market Coordinator

THE NETHERLANDS - Nikkie de Jager

Nikkie de Jager is a Dutch makeup star. She started her YouTube makeup tutorial channel in 2008 and now has over 14 million followers on Instagram, almost 14 million on YouTube with more than a billion views for her videos. In January 2020 she reached global news when she revealed she was transgender. She is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations in The Netherlands focusing on themes like racism, gender equality, and women’s rights. The first Dutch YouTube Original series was launched in December 2020 and is a documentary series about her called NikkieTutorials: Layers of Me.

Wided Bouchrika – Lifestyle Researcher for Belgium and the Netherlands

BELGIUM - Anouk Matton

Anouk Matton is a Belgian DJ and model who took her passion for makeup and launched her own beauty brand AM Cosmetics. With this vegan makeup line, she wants to boost people’s confidence. What makes it different is that it is made with crystal extracts because she believes in their healing power. The products are divided into three lines based on the crystal: there are products with pink quartz, amber, and jade all in the color palette of the gems.

Wided Bouchrika – Lifestyle Researcher for Belgium and the Netherlands


References: A special thanks to Terese Ask, Co-founder of Impression PR find them on Instagram and impressionpr.dk – Forbes and Harvard Business School: How Influencers are making over beauty marketing.



Ines is the Research and Marketing Coordinator at VOCAST. After spending most of her life on the beautiful African continent she has chosen Copenhagen as her home-base. A self-proclaimed “beauty curator”, she previously worked in the beauty industry and is now exploring her passion for digital marketing, fashion PR, and design.




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