I have learnt SO much about hair and makeup by watching Youtube videos. Growing up information on foundation shades that suit me, or how to get my weave laid were pretty non-existent.
Now there are thousands of videos that cater to these beauty hacks.
When Shalom—who goes by Shalom Blac on YouTube—was nine years old living in Nigeria, an accident changed her life forever.
An incident involving frying oil at her family’s food store left her with serious burns all over her face, head, and shoulders.
She has described the horror of that day with her almost 300,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel).
Most of her hair was gone, and the tops of her ears fused to her head. The then toddler spent almost four months in the hospital.
But if the trauma of being burnt wasn’t bad enough, the public reaction to her scars was brutal.
“People began to stare at me, or look at me in a nasty way,” she recalls.
“One of my neighbors, we used to play together, came in my house and when he saw me ran away crying.”
Shalom says she reacted by lashing out at people.
An aunt who lived in the United States helped Shalom’s family get visas so she and her baby sister (who was also badly burned) could have reconstructive surgery.
But despite getting expert help she’s had to live with very noticeable scarring.
“I was bullied very badly in middle school; I always had a scarf and a wig on, so people wouldn’t know I was bald,” she says.
Things got so bad for the 20-year-old, now living in Maryland, she began to have suicidal thoughts.
But as she met other burn survivors – some who were worse off than her – her perspective changed.
“You have to be grateful for what you have, because you never know what someone else may be going through,” she says.
Then at age 13, she discovered her passion for makeup.
“I started young, just so I wouldn’t get made fun of at school,” she said.
Then three years ago, she felt confident enough to begin posting videos of her own.
Now she’s inspiring others, including those who have scars from burns or acne, to embrace their flaws.
In one video, she details exactly how she covers her own scars so expertly. “Of course you cannot make it disappear,” she says—but the difference is pretty incredible.
While she says she doesn’t consider herself a professional makeup artist, she loves the community she’s discovered through her videos.
“I find makeup to be a universal thing that connects us together, letting us express our own style in our own ways,” she tells us.
“There are no rules to makeup. And as a burn survivor, it gives me a chance to share my passion with others that may be going through similar things—or better yet, inspire someone to love who they see in the mirror.”