An interview with... Fiona Klonarides
Have you always been a beauty addict?
I’ve always been a beauty addict in the widest sense, and although I’m a writer, I think our eyes and noses are the doors to wonderful things – like gorgeous design, nature’s magical beauty, and fragrance and aromatherapy.
When did you decide to ‘go clean’ so to speak, when purchasing beauty products and what benefits do you see in using them?
I’ve always felt very connected to nature, so green beauty was an obvious direction for me, from the start. I know how plants can energise and heal, in my next life I’d like to be a herbalist, I find the world of healing through nature utterly fascinating.
What keeps you blogging despite establishing a very successful blog?
The Beauty Shortlist has a life of its own, I think…I just follow along! In all seriousness it would never occur to me to stop, it’s part of my life and has been since 2009 (prior to that I was already writing about beauty for magazines).
"I like the fact that it's a very protective balm for lips - brilliant if your lips suffer in frosty winter weather or harsh sun. Our lips are delicate, we need to protect them." - Fiona Klonarides
You started your blog in 2009 – what changes have you seen in the clean beauty world since then?
Interesting question. And interestingly enough, I think the really pivotal year in the UK was around 2014 when organic beauty, you could argue, officially went mainstream. When I started blogging in 2009 there were still a lot of gloopy homemade avocado masks around, green beauty was quite ghetto-ised but that’s history now. Natural is where it’s at. If you look at what I call “the modern organics” with sleek packaging, full of active phytonutrient and exotic plant extracts, it’s a very appealing sector, even for the affluent/luxe/YSL crowd, for example.
And the more unstable our world feels, the more comforting nature feels, too. I think we’re going to see green beauty absolutely skyrocket – I follow a lot of Australian and Californian brands, and it’s fascinating and just wonderful to watch this whole sector thrive. Anyone still buying high street beauty “off the shelf” without checking the ingredients is missing out on all the gorgeous green beauty around. I remember a top blogger Tweeted “I was never into organic beauty until I discovered The Beauty Shortlist – so many brands to try, now!” – that’s exactly why I blog. It was lovely to see that Tweet.
Was there a motive behind starting giving Awards off the back of your successful blog?
No, to be honest. I just wanted to acknowledge the best products I’d discovered in 2011/12, and the first awards were in 2012. Then, in 2013, brands were suddenly emailing asking if I was running them again, and how could they enter? They’ve grown so fast every year, and our mini awards (Mama & Baby Awards) were up by almost 150% on last year, too, so the Baby Awards are getting bigger by the year as well. This year, for 2017, we have judging panels in the US, Australia and Scandinavia, as well as London, and possibly France, so that will make the awards even more eclectic, we’re looking forward to discovering some unique international brands. The awards are now the largest, non-sponsored, completely unbiased, thoroughly judged (ten judges) awards in the UK.
Since 2009 there also must have been a massive change in the way you blog – how have Instagram and other social media platforms effected your work?
Gosh – yes! I still blog in the same way, the same voice (me) but you’ve got all those other platforms to juggle. I don’t do vlogs, and probably should, but the older I get the more I savour time for myself so with Instagram, FB, Twitter and the blog, I feel people know where to find us when they’re looking for stellar beauty recommendations. The whole social media thing cuts into your spare time, I know brand founders are so busy with this side of things, and I feel their pain! It’s exciting but time-consuming. I think ageless beauty has come of age and that’ll be a big theme for 2017. Ageism is damaging to women – we’re over it, and we’re thriving. “Beauty has no age because any age is beautiful” is my motto. Be glad you’re alive. Thrive. Enjoy the little things for they’re (usually) the big ones!
You mentioned you do lots of charity work. Can you tell us about it?
I’m usually doing some sort of fundraising or charity work behind the scenes and it’s one of the reasons I visit Morocco a lot – I’ve helped the local orphans there (e.g. we donated Awards entry fees last year) and I used to do a Twitter 10p charity follow campaign, for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and Just A Drop (clean water for third world countries) so for every new Twitter follower in one particular month, I would donate 10p per follower, I haven’t done that in a while but the lovely thing was, the followers stayed with us, after the campaign was over and I was able to write some cheques for these charities. I am a big believer in the ancient system of tithing – donating 10% of what you make to those in need.
Is there anything you dream of doing, that is other than blogging about beauty, or doing charity work?
I’d love to build an eco home in the style of a whitewashed cube house, like the little sugar cube houses in Mykonos in Greece, and I’d also like to organise a beauty awards retreat one year soon – maybe in Morocco…maybe on a Greek island! I love dogs, so I’d have two big dogs at the house and grow my own veg and plant fig and lemon trees. I adore the Mediterranean lifestyle, did you know the inhabitants of Ikaria in Greece live healthily to 100 and beyond? It’s one of the world’s Blue Zones (along with Sardinia – another dream destination!)
How did you first come across Dr.Lipp? Do you ever wonder what he is like?
Honestly I can’t remember discovering Dr. Lipp, I just know I loved the first tube I ever had, it lived in my handbag right down to the last drop. I think Dr. Lipp is charming and a bit cheeky! Maybe one day I’ll meet him 😊
How do you use your Dr.Lipp?
On lips, nails and dry patches (on elbows, sometimes). I like the fact that it’s a very protective balm for lips – brilliant if your lips suffer in frosty winter weather or harsh sun. Our lips are delicate, we need to protect them.
Now onto a different matter, what’s the weirdest kiss you have experienced? Do you have a name for it?
Name: Disastrous (!)
It was the big Millennium New Year’s Eve when people were worried that computers would go down and people were both nervous and excited about such a significant date. I was quietly sipping a glass of champagne at a party, chatting to a lovely woman when a young guy suddenly made a beeline for me at midnight and without saying hello just kissed me (over zealously, to put it mildly) on the lips. He left a tiny crack on my front right tooth, it doesn’t bother me that much but if I ever find him, I’m sending him a dental bill! It was a bit weird. I’d forgotten about it totally…until you asked.
Kissing is a wonderful thing. I love the Mediterranean 3-kiss greeting, the more kisses you have and give everyday, the better…they’re unlimited and they’re free and they can change someone’s day in one kiss!