Easily one of my favourite beauty bloggers! I love all that her blog – Muslimah Beauty – stands for, beauty for women who the beauty industry sometimes overlook because they wear a scarf or a hijab. Somalian by heritage, a Londoner and with a blog birthed in Egypt, Hafsa Issa-Salwe waves the flag for diversity in beauty. She’s award winning, also an event speaker and a definite trail blazer putting Muslimah beauty on the map.
I love her effortless beauty and charm. Even with the best that beauty has to offer, Shea Butter still tops her faves, but Tom Ford fragrances make her swoon. Like most teenagers she struggled with the perfect eye flick and her ultimate beauty icon is rather close to home. You can’t not fall in love with Hafsa and her blog. So without, further fan girling, get yourself a cuppa and read on!
- What’s your earliest memory of looking after your skin?
Most of my early memories are centred around a lesson, and skincare is no different. Whether it was my mother slathering me with Vaseline and olive oil before heading off to school or my grandmother always having a tub of Astral by her side, I guess the earliest memory was learning about the importance of caring for your skin. Not to mention my mother encouraging me to purchase better quality make-up (instead of the £1 eye shadow I’d buy from the market with my pocket money!) once I became interested in all that is beauty.
- What’s your all time favourite product?
A tough question! Not quite a product, but I’d say shea butter simply because it’s a great multitasker. You can melt it and mix it into your hair conditioner for when your hair is feeling rather dry and parched or you can carry it around in a small container to use as a lip balm.
- How did you get into blogging?
I’ve always loved writing – whether it’s poetry or writing an article – but something else I’ve loved in equal measures is beauty. At a time where I was considering how I can get into working within the beauty industry a mentor of mine suggested I start a beauty blog, and I was visiting family in Cairo when things were a little shaky and unsafe during the revolution so there was no better time for me to have started blogging.
- What’s the best skincare advice you’ve ever been given?
I’ve been lucky enough to meet many professionals from facialists to dermatologists since I began writing, and whenever I do meet someone with experience I’m quick to ask them to impart some of their wisdom and advice.
“One of the gems I’ve discovered is to double cleanse every night and it’s been an absolute miracle for my skin”
- How do you handle a break out?
My skin is very prone to breaking out, and over the years I’ve come to learn how to keep the spots at bay but there are those moments where I unfortunately have no control over my skin. To handle a breakout I just make sure I’m eating well i.e. plenty of avocados, salmon, nuts, kale and spinach and in terms of skincare the Clarins Lotus Treatment Oil helps as well as Mario Badescu products like their Buffering Lotion and Drying Lotion. I quite like exfoliating pads too, Clearasil and Nip + Fab are great for those.
- What’s your favourite smell?
I’d say frankincense because it brings back childhood memories of my mother burning its resin over coal to scent the house, but I’m completely drawn to the smell of jasmine – it’s intense, powerful and very womanly. My favourite jasmine fragrances are Tom Ford’s Jasmin Rouge, Aerin Ikat Jasmine, Bvlgari Jasmine Noir and a solid fragrance from Lush called Lust.
- What are your biggest skincare/hair/beauty mishap?
There have been far too many beauty mishaps to count, but one of the biggest has to be winged eyeliner à la Amy Winehouse when I was 15/16.
- What do you never leave home without?
Hand cream. I cannot ever leave the house without hand cream, otherwise it won’t be a good day.
- What’s your perfect night in?
I’m a full-time student so my perfect night in would be to put the laptop and books to one side, whip up a face mask and catch up on my TV shows.
- Who’s beauty style do you admire?
There are so many women that I draw inspiration from, but it ultimately boils down to my mother. She was trained in beauty therapy, but she has a very relaxed attitude to it all. She rarely ever wears make-up except for a slick of lipstick and eyeliner on special occasions. She’s very into her Somali beauty rituals like turmeric face masks on the weekend and always applying henna on her fingers.
Thank you Hafsa for letting me delve into your life and thoughts!
Images collated from Hafsa’s Instagram.