Muslim beauty vlogger Habiba Da Silva talks YouTube fame and diversity

She's leading the way to a more inclusive beauty industry

22 Feb 2018

Beauty Festival
Saatchi Gallery, London
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is not your average beauty vlogger. The 23-year-old Birmingham-based influencer films videos in her bedroom, but she's passionate about using her platform to celebrate diversity.

A Muslim of Lebanese and Brazilian descent, she launched a sell-out hijab collection called in 2016. With a combined online following of over 1.5 million, we caught up with her to talk beauty favourites, inspirations and her rules for success.

When did you start wearing makeup and who did you look to for advice?

I started wearing makeup properly when I was around 18. I wasn't allowed to before then. I was artistic anyway when I was younger so it was something I naturally got into, I wanted to express myself through it. My mum didn't really wear makeup, but I was inspired by my aunties. They're from Lebanon and in the 90s it was popular to have a neutral lid then green or blue eyeliner below your waterline.

Who are your beauty inspirations now?

I really love , I've watched her for years and I've loved her from the start. I also like .

How did you become a vlogger?

I was blogging about beauty, skincare and fashion, and slowly people started requesting me to make YouTube videos. I wasn't comfortable to begin with because I was really shy. Whether you like it or not, when you have a blog you're kind of in the background, but when you have videos of yourself speaking it pushes you a lot more and makes you feel very vulnerable. The support and positivity I was receiving from my followers, family and friends helped me to conquer the anxiety and stress of putting myself out there.

Did you consciously notice a gap in the market for a Muslim beauty blogger? Is that something you were looking for when you were growing up?

Absolutely. Representation at the time was very scarce. There were very few bloggers out there who were of colour and wore a hijab and were Muslim. It was definitely something that helped to build me as a person, because I was out there representing so many people who had never felt represented before.

What do you think about the visibility of Muslim women in the beauty industry today?

I think it's changed. A lot of brands are reaching out and working with Muslim women, but I do think it's still going very slowly. Unfortunately, these brands see that wearing a hijab is becoming a thing now so they want to get a token hijab girl to represent them. But we need to have more hijabs at the forefront of campaigns, a lot more than we're seeing now. I think we will be going in that direction soon, but there's a lot more work to be done.

Which beauty brands do you feel are the most inclusive?

For drugstore brands I think Sleek is one of the best. They've been making a wide range of makeup and foundation shades for a very long time, ever since they started. For high-end brands, I would say NARS, MAC and Fenty.

How did your hijab collection come about?

I had the idea for a long time, because I'm quite passionate about culture and identity. I'm someone who comes from two completely different cultures and two completely different worlds. I had the concept in my mind, but I didn't have the budget to make it a reality until last year. Honestly, it went a lot further than I expected it to. I released it during a time that beauty inclusivity, colour, race and identity were starting to become a big thing in beauty and fashion. The whole concept of colour and identity alongside the hijab made it blow up because no one had really done anything like it before, so I'm proud of that.

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What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own YouTube channel?

I always say, just don't think about it too much. If you overthink it, it becomes complicated in your mind and you don't end up doing it. Obviously, it's important to sit down and think about what you want to do and what direction you want to take. A lot of people start YouTube because they think they're going to make loads of money, but for me Youtube started as a passion. I never thought it would become my full-time job. Just create something you're passionate about, and go for it.

What's next?

I've just released SKIN II. It's the same concept as the first collection, but using better material and with different shades. I'm so excited about it. The hijab is something that represents me and I want to hold on to that for a bit longer, but I'd also love to go into perfumery. I'm really into perfume.

Do you have a signature scent?

An Abu Dhabi fragrance brand called Widian launched in Harvey Nichols recently and it's incredible. I love the .

Top three desert island beauty products?

I can't get enough of the , it's my favourite. , because I can't do without eyeliner, and the .

Habiba will be speaking at The GLAMOUR Beauty Festival 2018. From 9th-11th March the beauty pages of GLAMOUR will spring to life at London's Saatchi Gallery, with treatments, celebs and a free goodie bag worth over £180! Get your tickets on

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