Beauty editor, side-hustling Sinead Martin tells us just what sparked her biggest #BossBabe move to date, and how it’s led her to deliver little boxes of joy all around the country…
‘I always wanted to be in fashion journalism. I mean, I grew up watching The Hills and to me, there was no better place to be than inside the Teen Vogue fashion closet.’ Sinead laughs. Having matriculated from Kingsmead College as Deputy Head Girl (shout-out to class of ‘09), Sinead landed her dream internship in the fashion department at a women’s fashion magazine while in her final Honours year at UCT. ‘Some of the time I loved it. I really did … but if I’m honest, something was amiss: I didn’t quite fit in with “the fashion crowd” . I didn’t smoke and I certainly didn’t wear all black.’
A few years later, having worked as a lifestyle writer for a weekly fashion mag back in Jozi, Sinead was promoted to Beauty Editor. ‘I was actually the youngest beauty editor the team had ever had, and I felt pretty intimidated. Like at any point someone would discover that my whole life I’d only ever flipped to the fashion pages in a magazine and pretty much always skipped the beauty section.’ But this all changed fairly quickly, ‘I walked into one of my first beauty launches, I’m pretty sure it was an Estee Lauder event, and I immediately knew I’d found my tribe. For starters, most people were wearing colour, and the event actually started on time … but what stood out the most was just how friendly and inclusive the other beauty editors were,’ Sinead recalls. ‘In fashion, at the time, I had experienced a weird competitiveness amongst other titles but us “beauties” felt like a little community… and I feel like that’s even more true today.
‘What is the thing I love the most about beauty? Inclusivity. When I was at school, I remember feeling self-conscious about the breakouts on my skin, and that my eyebrows were really bushy (it was the 2000s and pencil-thin brows were in) but what I love about today’s Gen-Zers is how they’re so much more encouraging of individuality. And this is really reflected by the diversity and inclusivity in the global beauty boom.’
That ‘beauty boom’ Sinead is talking about is currently worth $511 billion dollars globally. And it’s growing. Plus, it’s one of the few industries in which, despite pay cuts and retrenchments over the Pandemic, people didn’t cut their normal spends. A PowerReviews survey on 2021 beauty trends revealed that 59 per cent of people are spending the same or even more money on cosmetics, especially skincare than they did before the Pandemic. The same survey revealed that people are now 40 per cent more likely to try new beauty products than they were in 2019.
‘But while I harp on about the beauty industry being so inclusive, I know it can also feel incredibly intimidating,’ says Sinead. ‘I get what it’s like to stand in a beauty aisle – whether it be at a department store like ARC in Sandton City or even just Dis-Chem, and not know where to even start. It’s especially tricky when you’re on a budget and you can’t risk splashing cash on the wrong match for your skin type. And even more so if you’re a young adult and you still don’t even know what your skin type is. And that’s why I created Glosspel.’
Just four months ago, Sinead launched her own Cruelty-Free Beauty Box Service, Glosspel. Each month, she selects up to six beauty products to include in the box. The boxes are R450 each but are always valued at way more than they’re worth (think R1500+). ‘I want our Glosspel members to use the service to discover brands and products that work for them. It’s a more affordable method of testing things out, and it also gives brands an opportunity to stand out in a fairly saturated market,’ Sinead explains.
‘Another thing I commend Gen-Zers on is their commitment to the environment. And with the growth of slow/ sustainable beauty, clean beauty, and their pressure on big brands to end testing on animals, I decided from the outset that Glosspel would only include cruelty-free products,’ Sinead continues. ‘Initially my thinking was to only target young beauty enthusiasts – Gen-Z and Gen-Z only. But my millennial babes have more than shown up for my little business. In true millennial style, the side-hustler community welcomed me right in. And while Gen-Z might be the environmental enthusiasts, it was millennials, after all that sparked the self-care movement. Glosspel kinda meets them both somewhere in the middle.’
If you’ve yet to order a Glosspel Beauty Box, you’re missing out on the joy of unboxing – an experiential element of her business that Sinead deems very high. ‘As a beauty editor, I receive press drops for new skincare and makeup launches almost every day.
And opening up that box to discover what pot of delight sits inside is honestly a thrill. I wanted to share that moment of joy with our Glosspel members. So we’ve gone the extra mile with custom thank you cards, stickers, tissue paper, boxes – the works!’
And beyond cute Glosspel tissue paper, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a box that doesn’t feature local beauty brands. This is another element at the core ethos of Glosspel, Sinead explains. ‘It goes back to that inclusive, community-vibe that exists within the beauty industry. I was lucky enough to travel to Seoul on a press trip a few years ago, and I was just blown away by the amount of local Korean beauty brands that existed. I was probably even more surprised by the fact that local Koreans favoured K-Beauty brands over most of the popular French ones.’ This is a trend Sinead says she can see gaining momentum in South Africa as well. ‘I am so proud of our local skincare scene. We have so many science-backed, sustainable, cruelty-free, and clean beauty brands to choose from, and how fantastic is that? If I can help our local industry even a tiny bit, just by giving them a different platform to reach consumers through Glosspel, then that’s exactly what
I’m gonna do.’ Details: IG @sinead_martin, @thisisglosspel or glosspel.co.za
Better than chocolate
Not one to miss a hot beauty trend, Sinead hints we need to look out for the Glosspel Advent Calendar launching this festive season. 12 days of cruelty-free beauty? Uh … yes, please!
Sinead’s top local beauty brands to shop:
OOLASKINCARE @oolaskincare • Smooch Skincare @smooch.skincare • Skin Creamery @skincreamery • Skin Republic @skinrepublic • Lumi Glo @lumi.gloskin
Sinead’s top Summer beauty essentials
Ren Summer Limited Edition Daily AHA Tonic, R695 • Skin Creamery, The Balm, R325 • Lulu&Marula Refreshing Tonic Mist, R320 • iS Clinical Eclipse SPF 50+ Perfect Beige Tint, R914 • Herbal Essentials Himalayan-Inspired Miceller Water, R324
Sinead’s ultimate Summer scent?
I’m not really a floral scent kinda gal, so in Summer I prefer to wear a fresh, citrusy scent. Valentino Born In Roma Yellow Dream is just that.
Photographer: Nicole Moore. Details: nicolemoorephotography.co.za • Location: Arbour Café & Courtyard. Details: arbourcafe.co.za • Hair: @moneytoblow.sa • Nails: @graceskinandwellness