After 10 years in the marketing and advertising world, Toronto-based Bahar Niramwalla fell into blogging, which then opened the door to television. Now, she is one of Canada’s most sought-after on-air beauty experts, known for sharing tips and advice on Cityline, The Morning Show on Global, The Marilyn Denis Show, and more. She has partnered with brands such as Pantene, Nivea, and Dove, produced content for The Globe and Mail‘s style section, and launched online Canadian beauty authority beautydesk.com. Her CV just keeps going on.
Here, she walks us through her career path, shares her top beauty secrets, and gets real about what trends she really wishes would just disappear already.
Walk us through your career path! How did you get to where you are now?
The long answer: Back before blogs were a thing, and when I had about 14 seconds of makeup experience under my belt, someone who knew someone (who knew someone) happened to work with me in one of my first marketing gigs asked me if I’d want to be a blogger for Yahoo Canada. My response: “Yes.” But, in my head, I was thinking: “What’s a blog?” Fast-forward to when someone who knew someone asked me if I’d like to write a column and present Beauty 101 videos for The Globe and Mail‘s style section relaunch. My response: “Yes.” But, I was actually thinking: “I’m not a writer and I’m not good on camera.” Jump ahead to The Marilyn Denis Show‘s open casting call for experts. Someone who knew someone asked me If I wanted to audition as a beauty expert. My response: “Yes.” But, I was actually thinking: “Do I even want to be on television?” That last forward jump was about eight years ago.
The short answer: I just kept saying “yes.”
What is a typical day in the life for you?
The mundane: I start the day off with a to-do list, industry news, an espresso, and a glass of water.
The thick of it: it all depends on the type of day it is, and where I am—home office, downtown office, filming at the Cityline studio, or hitting up press events. Those often spark brainstorms of pitches and ideas, which I then jot down, research, and pitch to my producers. I’ll also make sure to make time for much-needed coffee catchups with my friends. That last part is a necessity when working for oneself, as it can be isolating if you let it! And whenever downtime comes, in whatever form, I tend to grab it. I’m not great at shutting my brain off, so instead of fighting it, I take whatever I can whenever I can. A balanced life in my world is less about daily proportion and more about really noticing the moments of joy/calm/relaxed when they do come.
What is your favourite part of your job?
It’s all pretty damn sweet! Since I work for myself, I kind of have to do it all, which includes the creative parts, the procurement, the problem solving and navigating curve balls and, finally, a presentation. If I had to choose, I’d say the most fun is the curve balls that force you to think fast and, obviously, filming because, really, it’s a joy to be able to share the work I do on camera!
You were named one of the “Top Canadian Beauty Insiders to Follow” by the Huffington Post. How does it feel to have this sort of recognition as a leader in the beauty industry?
It’s always flattering and encouraging when someone thinks you’re good at what you do, but I actually focus more on my work than what others are saying about me. It’s more important that *I* think I’m putting out useful content, and that reflects from audience feedback more than industry feedback. I am much more excited when I have a viewer/follower question that I can help answer or when some kind person just drops a note saying that they loved what I shared last week on my Instagram.
What are a few of your top beauty tips and secrets?
The best advice I can give: don’t live and die by every new trend that pops up (remember that “wavy” Betty Boop eyebrow?!). We get caught up in celebrity. Some of my secrets (which aren’t very hush-hush) are that I don’t wear black eyeliner or mascara during the day. It’s just a touch too much for my liking during the day, so I stick to medium/dark brown shades for definition without the harsh effects that black shades can cast. And please note: It is never too late to start taking care of your skin, because something is better than nothing. Hashtag SPFforLife!
Are there any fall beauty trends you’re particularly excited about?
Glossy lips and lids: I love me a hit of shine and glow, especially for a night out, and this is my fave instead of using glitter.
Pops of blush: using it more as a statement. It was all over the runways in some major hits of colour, and it crept up the temples, which is way dramatic. But in real life, blush is a life-giver! It totally shouldn’t be overlooked and trying out some different shades may turn out to be more fun than you think! Smudged liner (less perfection and more reality FTW!).
Bronzed kissed glow: it’s all about *super* subtle bronzing, which, when done properly, gives you a lovely, natural flush of colour that can seriously cut down on the rest of the products you need for your face (i.e. concealer, foundation, blush etc.).
What about current beauty trends that you hope will fade into the past?
Let the brows breathe. I just want the painfully precise, perfect, heavy handed brows to soften up (pssst, it might be on the way in 2020) and look like they used to in the ’80s: healthy, busy and real.
Also, heavy, full-coverage foundation for more than an Instagram photo. It’s not great for your skin long-term to be smothered in these thick, heavy formulas during an entire workday and beyond. Also, there isn’t a need to completely wipe out your entire face and build it back up from scratch with cosmetics.
How would you describe your own personal style?
I appreciate small details on classic, casual pieces. I’m a jeans and T-shirt kind of girl, but I love throwing in something unexpected to change things up. My TV wardrobe is pretty much the same, except I wear dress pants and a dress from time to time.
Who do you look to for style/beauty inspiration?
I look at women on the streets! I love to flip through a magazine as much as the next person, or to admire a celeb’s latest gift from a luxury designer, but I like real-life style and fashion.
What’s next for you?
Anything and everything. All the risks, all the decisions, all of life. I don’t plan as much as other people do, so I am pretty open to what comes next. I have a bad habit of not setting big lofty, long-term goals and I think I should try harder at that. But then I also argue (with myself) that I’ve come to this point in my life without having set lofty, long-term goals and that I am super lucky (and happy) to be where I am right now. So, perhaps, some things are better left unsaid.