Writer, content creator, and now podcaster, Sydney-based Alisha Bhojwani is likely to be a familiar face for skincare enthusiasts in Australia. She’s been making waves in the beauty space in the last few years, especially in her reviews specifically for South Asian skin.
“Growing up reading Cosmo and Marie Claire, no one looked like me, and their make-up tips and product recommendations ended up looking completely different on my Indian features and skin tone!” she told Indian Link.
“My make-up journey started with trying to replicate the over-the-top glam style of the Kardashians, and I quickly realised it just didn’t suit me.”
Determined to meet this gap as a South Asian beauty influencer, she’s been making great strides on social media, drawing on her master’s degree in journalism from UTS to delve into writing. Some of her mainstream by-lines include Mamamia and Adore Beauty where she’s become a reliable ‘road-tester’ of dozens of mainstream products along with sharing her own skincare experience.
Alisha says all this is the result of a journey that’s been almost a decade in the making.
“I spent 10 years in marketing where I built communities for major clients like Coke and eBay. It was when I had a bad health scare and was in the hospital for a while that I got the reality check I needed – this wasn’t what I wanted to be doing,” she explained.
View this post on Instagram
Instead, she decided to use her years of self-taught skincare knowledge from trying on dozens of products and researching individual ingredients to build her own community online.
The Instagram page was activated and deactivated numerous times over the years. Eventually, when the pandemic hit, Alisha found plenty of time on her hands when she was among thousands stood down by Qantas.
“I decided to take redundancy and continue working part-time – I think I had six roles in six months!” she laughed. “Then two days before my 30th birthday, I decided to quit to take up writing and content creation full time.”
Two years in, her social media is a fun amalgamation of product reviews, reminders for self-love, make-up tips, and the occasional dating story.
“I’m single so sometimes I do share these stories. They’re not my mother’s favourite part of my Instagram content,” Alisha quipped. (‘Come for the skinfo/beauty tips, stay for the bad date stories,’ her Instagram bio jokingly reads.)
Earlier this year, she pivoted to podcasting as the host of the Skinfluence podcast alongside celebrity make-up artist Michael Brown. Some of the topics tackled in their two-season run so far have included how to replenish hungover skin, applying make-up based on specific eye shapes, tips for dry lips, and the effects of caffeine on your skin.
When it comes to addressing the most common skincare mistakes, Alisha ranks not using sunscreen right on top.
“I’ve heard people say things like ‘I’m from India, I’m used to the sun, I don’t need sunscreen’ but that’s not true at all! Regardless of your skin tone, everybody should be applying sunscreen – and reapplying it every two hours,” she elaborated.
“The next common skincare mistake people make, without even realising it, is constantly touching their face. It’s little things like scratching your face, leaning forward and resting your head on your head, that can spread dirt, oil, and bacteria from your hands to your face.
“And finally, a lot of people don’t cleanse their faces properly at the end of the day, especially if they’ve been wearing make-up. It’s important to double cleanse (using an oil-based cleanser followed by a water-based cleanser) for 60 seconds, to really get all the impurities of the day off your skin.”
It’s interesting for many observers how she works in this beauty space, fighting off comparisons to Eurocentric beauty standards on a daily basis.
“As representation grows in the media, we’re seeing different looks and sizes, so it’s quite surprising to me to see how deeply rooted beauty bias can be,” Alisha observed.
Born in Hong Kong to Indian parents (her mum is from Kolkata and her dad is from Mumbai) she moved to Australia when she was five years old. She still recalls receiving bizarre ‘compliments’ about her look as an Australian of Indian origin – including being called ‘really pretty… for an Indian.’
She exclaimed, “What does that even mean? Is that supposed to be a compliment? There are so many different types of beauty, it’s beyond time to embrace all these different features!”
Ultimately, her main message for her community is to aspire for beauty that’s beyond skin deep.
“I always tell people to not solely focus on their skin and looks because looks will fade. Instead, focus on kindness, gratitude, how you can do your part to make others happy. Over the years, these are the little things I’ve started to appreciate and I now gravitate to people who radiate beauty and good energy from within,” she affirmed.
View this post on Instagram
Up close and personal with Alisha Bhojwani
Your go-to skincare brands? Murad, La Roche Posay, DMK (especially for hyperpigmentation), Skin Better, Alpha-H – I could go on!
Currently watching? I just finished season 2 of Indian Matchmaking. It’s such a hate watch!
Your favourite beauty influencers? Ruchi Page is a really talented Indian-origin content creator that I follow. She’s really creative with her makeup and she’s such a strong advocate for body positivity. My friend Liz Claire is another digital creator I follow, who discusses acne struggles, gut health, and self-love. Also, Hannah English is a skin scientist whose work I find fascinating.
Tips for those who want to get into content creation? Just start! I know a lot of people stop themselves, wondering if they’re good enough, but the key is to be authentic and put out content that resonates with you, because that will definitely then resonate with others as well.