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Beauty Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Top Beauty Bloggers In Singapore #003: VivaWoman

Written by  Kaeyen Wong


Blogger: Sesame Chew, 44

About: Started in 2007. Has about 270,000 blog page views a month; 732 Twitter followers and 1,048 Facebook fans. The majority of her readers are from Singapore, and the United States. She also gets readers from Malaysia. In case you are wondering – and you probably are – Ms Chew named herself after the herb because she "liked the sound of it". The part time polytechnic adjunct lecturer in communications focuses on lesser-known, natural and organic skincare brands in her blog.


It currently ranks among the Top 10 beauty blogs on Blog Rank, a blog ranking system based on factors like monthly visitors and Google and Yahoo indexed pages.

The mother of one is a former senior marketing manager in the petrochemical industry.

How did you become a beauty blogger?

I was introduced to the idea of blogging in 2005 when my students started talking about it in class. I started blogging to be in tune with them and my first blog was on parenting. I turned to beauty blogging soon after because I realized that there were a lot of beauty bloggers in the United States, but not many in Singapore. I also wanted to find out more about anti-ageing treatments instead of relying on what sales assistants tell me. So I started to do my own research and share my findings online.

How much do you earn from your blog?

About $500 a month from the advertisements. It's just a passion project for me to share information.

How much time do you spend on your blog?

More than 20 hours a week on writing and taking pictures.

What qualifies you to dish out beauty advice?

I don't call myself an expert. I'm just a beauty fanatic who loves to write. Whatever I write is my opinion and from my own experience. But I try to back up my posts on ingredients that work for the skin with supporting evidence from books or clinical studies.

How do readers know if they can trust your reviews?

I have an editorial policy which states that my reviews are independent and honest and will not be influenced by the brands in any way. I tell readers which products were bought or given within the first two paragraphs of my posts and they can make their own decisions. I spend about $100 to $200 on skincare products every month.

I have not accepted fees for my reviews although companies have approached me because I am not comfortable with the idea.

With all the launches and freebies, beauty blogging sounds like a glamorous pastime. What are the downsides?

I feel jaded sometimes because some companies just want to make use of us. They think that by giving us products, they will get positive reviews or some form of mileage from it. Some PR agencies do not even both to check out my blog to see what I specialize in. Others have even asked to look at my posts before I publish them or to remove negative reviews. I asked them to give me good reasons for doing so and they have not responded. I've since declined products from brands that I don't feel comfortable working with.

Which are your must-have beauty products?

The American brand Marie Veronique Organics skincare because the formulation is mostly natural and it works for me.

What would you say to those who think that beauty bloggers are freebie-grabbing narcissists?

I never ask for freebies because I don't think it's right. And when I write my posts, my primary concern is whether I provide value to my readers.

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