These days, it seems virtually impossible to scroll through Instagram® without being inundated with beauty advice. “A lot of you have asked me about my skincare routine,” begins every influencer on the platform as they speak into the camera, before launching into a long list of cleansers and serums . . . that they may or may not actually use. However, very few influencers are actually qualified to give skincare advice beyond recommendations, and many of us find ourselves asking whose advice we can actually trust. But that’s something that Olia Majd's followers have never had to consider.
Majd is one of only a handful of influencers who actually has a background in beauty and has been immersed in the skincare world her entire life. As the daughter of a French esthetician, she was shown from an early age how to take care of her skin and the importance of good products and practices. Majd was taken with the field, yet decided to pursue a “safer” career.
Instead, she studied accounting and spent the first few years of her adult life going through financial reports and preparing balance sheets. Unfortunately, the 32-year-old San Diego native quickly realized how much she hated her job and decided to go to cosmetology school, where she followed in her mother’s footsteps and became a licensed esthetician. She put on her finest lipstick and kissed the accounting world goodbye as she officially joined her mother’s salon and started working as a facialist, which she calls the “best decision [she] ever made.”
Soon after rediscovering her passion for skincare, Majd realized how much she wanted to share her expertise with the world. “This was at a time when Instagram did not exist,” she remembers, so she started a blog named Love, Olia®. There, she would write her best skincare tips and tricks, and share it with her friends. Within a few months, her site began picking up major steam. It was then that Majd heard about a new photo-sharing platform called Instagram. She saw that it could be a great tool to drive new readers to her blog, so she joined. “Slowly, I started to notice more and more people following me,” she says, humbly.
Since then, Majd has grown her Instagram fanbase to over 420,000 followers and continues to regularly post there and on Love, Olia. The esthetician-turned-influencer has also taken her love for beauty even further, by starting her own skincare line, O Cosmetiques®. She used her experience as both a customer (who once suffered from teenage acne) and a skin expert to form an essential selection of products.
Though Majd has expanded her influencer wings beyond just the beauty world, now encompassing all things fashion and travel, her passion remains with skincare, and that is evident in her Instagram behavior. She knows that thousands of young women and men are looking to her as inspiration, and she does not take that responsibility lightly. Read on to learn all about Majd’s rise to the top, how her French background influences her outlook on beauty, and how she keeps her skin glowing while traveling around the world.
Spotlyte: What was it like to grow up with an esthetician mom?
Olia Majd: Amazing! My mother started having me wash my face religiously at around 11 or 12. I obviously had a very simple routine (wash and moisturize), but once I got into the habit of it, I could never go to bed without doing so and never have since. Even on days when I feel so tired and don't want to wash my makeup off, there is still no way I can go to bed without doing it. My mom also started doing treatments on me at an early age, when I started getting teenage acne. I was very insecure and sad about having acne, so she had me come in about once a month to get facials. Since then, I have always taken care of my skin.
Spotlyte: How has your international background shaped your interest in and approach to beauty?
OM: Europeans, especially French women, are notorious for good skincare and minimal makeup. With that being said, I've always had a very classic approach to beauty and makeup. Skincare is my number one, and natural makeup is next. You will never see me wearing a lot of makeup. Foundation, blush, and mascara are my basic "go-to" look.
Spotlyte: How did you go from esthetician to influencer?
OM: While being an esthetician and working on clients regularly, I became extremely passionate about it — so much so that when others would ask my skin advice and such, I wanted to give them all the information I knew. Since I was always very much a homebody, I decided to occupy my extra time by creating a website and giving women tips about skincare! It was all about my blog and just connecting with friends and readers. Ultimately, that transformed into beauty and fashion as well.
Never in a million years did I imagine it could be what it is today, and I never intended to become an "influencer!" At the time, that wasn't even a thing. It feels amazing knowing I started from nothing, with no intention of getting anywhere with it, but just to share what I truly loved.
Spotlyte: How have you built your Instagram following?
OM: I was lucky enough to start when Instagram was just taking off. People were not using Instagram; it was more so Facebook® and Twitter® at the time. That being said, I shared all my blog posts on my Facebook page and grew a small following that way. Once I noticed Instagram was a fun new app, I decided to hop on — but trust me when I say it was extremely amateur. I just shared to myself and friends and not at all used it the way I do now. Slowly, I started to notice people following.
I never intended to become an "influencer!" I just share what I truly love.
Spotlyte: What are your thoughts on Instagram as a platform, and how do you stay authentic in an increasingly inauthentic world?
OM: Instagram has definitely changed a lot since I first started. I'll be honest and admit I'm disappointed in the direction it has gone, and it's definitely extremely difficult to grow a following nowadays just with all the algorithm changes and such. I try to be as authentic to myself as I can and not change what I did to get here in the first place.
I get messages all the time from followers who remember the beginning! It means so much to me that they have continued to follow throughout the years, so I always want to make sure I'm being authentic to not only myself, but to them as well. I have struggles, I have insecurities, and I always try to express to my followers that Instagram isn't a reality we all need to compare ourselves to. It's important to be open and honest with my followers and share why I started this.
Spotlyte: What do you think is the biggest misconception about influencer life?
OM: Probably that life is so easy. People think we don't actually work and that our lives are perfect. I'll be honest, I probably work 10 times more nowadays than I ever did as an accountant, but the difference is [that] I actually enjoy what I do for a living, and, in turn, the work doesn't feel like work. My life is far from perfect, and I always try to tell my followers that Instagram is not everyone's reality.
Everyone on Instagram is showing the best part of their lives, especially influencers, and trust me when I say it would be a rare thing for an influencer to post a terrible photo of themselves. We all have issues, relationship difficulties, struggles, and insecurities. It is human nature! I have good days, and I have bad days, but I love what I do, and I will always put my best foot forward.
Spotlyte: What is your overall beauty philosophy?
OM: Less is more!
Spotlyte: What are your biggest skin concerns, and how do you address them?
OM: I have an olive skin tone, which means I tend to get sun spots and acne scars very easily. Getting rid of them is a struggle at times, so I focus on products to help with this. I also have extremely dry skin, which can result in fine lines and wrinkles, so keeping moisturized is key!
Spotlyte: What is your everyday skincare routine?
Spotlyte: What are the skincare and beauty products that you absolutely could not live without?
OM: As far as skincare, I'd say my glycolic milk cleanser and just a good moisturizer. Makeup-wise, I'm obsessed with blush!
Spotlyte: What has it been like to develop your own skincare line?
OM: Products are a whole other beast, I've learned, but it's been extremely fun and exciting to develop something that I am so passionate about. There is a lot that goes into product development — it's been a lot of work, but extremely rewarding!
Spotlyte: How does O Cosmétiques differ from other brands?
OM: When I worked on clients as an esthetician, we focused on many people who suffer with problem skin (acne, clogged pores, rosacea, et cetera). We found that there were certain products that worked tremendously well to help combat issues like this and saw huge improvements in people's skin. I felt there was something missing in the market, and because of my background, I think it differs from others.
Spotlyte: What are your thoughts on anti-aging?
OM: Invest in good products, take care of your skin early on, and wear lots of SPF regularly!
Spotlyte: What are your favorite beauty trends of today?
OM: I am thrilled to see that people have moved away from wearing tons of makeup and are now really focused on good skincare, since I grew up with that philosophy.
Spotlyte: How does living in San Diego influence you and your thoughts on beauty?
OM: San Diego is very much a beach town, which is great because women are very natural — but, then again, they spend a lot of time in the sun. SPF is key in San Diego, and I always tell that to all my friends!
Spotlyte: What are your thoughts on injectables? Have you ever tried any?
OM: I have definitely done injectables and am not opposed. Of course, use [filler] in moderation. It can be very easy to get carried away once you see good results with injectables. That's why I always say to be very careful with how much [filler] you do and keep it [subtle].
Injectable wrinkle reducers temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face, including the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet; they should not be used more frequently than every three months. Injectable filler is a temporary treatment that adds volume to areas of the face such as the lips, cheeks, and laugh lines. Like any medical treatment, both injectable wrinkle reducers and injectable fillers have potential risks and side effects. Talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you.
Spotlyte: How do you keep your skin healthy and glowing when you're traveling around the world and busy with events?
OM: I never wear makeup when I travel in a plane, and I hydrate like crazy while I'm flying. I bring all my essential skincare products with me when I travel, and I always try to bring a mask or two to do while I'm away to refresh. I also don't wear makeup a lot when I travel unless it's totally necessary!
Spotlyte: Obviously, managing a successful Instagram and blog and launching your own skincare line can be stressful and time-consuming. How do you maintain a work-life balance?
OM: To be honest, it can get difficult at times, but I because I love what I do so much, it never actually feels like work, and that is key to anything in life. I truly love what I do, and when I'm not doing it, I feel like I want to be doing it.
I've learned nothing in life comes easy, so it’s important to surround yourself with the right people who will truly understand your responsibilities and commitments. I try to take one day a week to completely unwind and do small trips with friends to de-stress. It can be hard, but no one said life was easy, right? I love where I'm at and wouldn't change it for anything.