‘Awkward fail’ behind 21yo’s bikini fame
SHE'S just turned 21, but Lottie Tomlinson is the mastermind behind one of the UK's most talked-about new beauty brands - Tanologist.
The social media star and younger sister of One Direction member Louis found a love for beauty after meeting her big brother's make-up artist Lou Teasdale.
At just 15, she became Lou's assistant, going on the road with her brother and getting a crash course in make-up artistry.
Fast-forward six years and Lottie's talents have amassed her own huge following, allowing the self-confessed "tan addict" to develop a range of fake tan products after spotting a gap in the market.
"I've always been into tanning, even at school I would spend my money on tanning things. I just loved the way it made me feel so much better about myself," Lottie told news.com.au.
"As I got older, I knew I wanted to make something that does everything I can't find in the tans I was using."
Revealing many of her bronzing products would cause her sensitive skin to breakout and ruin her sheets as well as have that all-too familiar biscuit smell, Lottie set about with Lou to create a product that didn't have those dreaded downsides.
"Every fake tan I ever used before would result in some sort of awkward fail," she said, explaining at night she'd remove her make-up to reveal an "up to my neck" tan but a white face because she couldn't put the tanning products on her face as they caused "bad breakouts".
However, her tanning mistakes led to a "passion" to create a solution to her problem, and that's how Tanologist, a clear tan formula that doesn't contain any "horrible chemicals", was born.
Armed with a "perfect", streak-free tan, Lottie began sharing bikini snaps of her golden glow, an Instagram style her 3.3 million followers have come to know and love.
But despite her effortless appearance online, Lottie explained it could be "stressful" getting the right shot.
"We can't chill until we've got the shot, it can be stressful," she said. "Especially as in London you don't get the opportunity to get good bikini content, but Australia is perfect."
Lottie arrived in Sydney on Monday to celebrate her tanning products launching in Priceline this week and has been busy capturing a string of stunning bikini snaps to share with her followers.
Her close friend and mentor Lou, a creative director for the brand, also admits there's a pressure to post when you have so many followers.
"We landed at 8am in Sydney and we went straight down to Icebergs because we felt like we needed to pose," Lou told news.com.au.
"We went for dinner last night and people were laughing at us because we whipped out this portable light as we needed to get our picture and people were looking at us like, 'Oh my God, are you guys for real?' But soon people were asking if they could have a go with the light, it was pretty hilarious."
Lottie, who tragically lost her mum Johannah Deakin back in 2016 after a battle with leukaemia, credits Lou for teaching her "everything I know" about the beauty industry.
Meanwhile Lou, who has 3.6 million followers of her own, credits her former student with getting her up to speed with YouTube and Instagram before the platforms blew up.
"When Lottie was my assistant, she taught me what was going on with these YouTubers, and we realised there was something really exciting going on in beauty there," she said.
"A lot of industry people were quite rigid and tried to keep away from it and do it the old school way, but I got to learn from Lottie."
But the pair admit their followers want more than just a stunning bikini selfie, saying photos with substance get the most attention.
"I can post a selfie and it will engage OK," Lou said. "But I can post the same one a few months later and talk about my eyebrow journey, discussing how they were originally compared to how they are now and it will get four times the amount of likes.
"Our fans want something they can relate to."
Of course, being so open with fans can sometimes have a negative effect, but Lottie and Lou said they used that to improve the product.
"We're really lucky as our followers are so positive and nice to us. We very rarely get nasty comments except the odd one or two," Lottie said. "When people do give us feedback we use that and take it on board for the brand. We always try and use things in a positive way, even if what is being said is negative."
It's a method that appears to have worked, with Tanologist regularly topping "best fake tan" lists in the UK.
The range is vegan and includes clear mouses, waters and drops you can add to make-up.
Lottie told news.com.au that water was her favourite item.
"It's so easy to use and I use it all the time," she said. "If I've got a bare patch, like my chest or even my knees in a pair of ripped jeans, I'll literally just spritz a little bit and it doesn't stain my clothes, but it gives a gorgeous glow."