Cynthia Ess, Beauty Blogger and Designer


Cynthia and I met a few years ago through a direct message, saying something along the lines of: “I like your instagram. Lets meet up!” As a newbie in the city, I wanted to expand my horizons and surround myself with those who oozed all things creative. Cynthia was kind enough to accept my request and we scheduled a meet at Perk. Although I had already gathered that she had a great eye for design through her social presence - it is this very night that I discovered her exceptional taste in everything, even her cool-mom style. Read her story below on being an artistic influencer, designer, and a wonderful mother and wife. 

Cynthia you are a New Yorker born and raised, how has moving to LA shift your lifestyle and changed you as a person - and why LA?

I was actually born in Beijing and moved to the states when I was two! Our family moved around a lot and it wasn’t until after college that I found myself in New York. I really identify myself with New York because I got there when I was 21 and really grew up in that city. Living there really shaped me and fueled my love for design and beauty and it’s just filled with the best memories with all my friends.

We decided to move to LA three years ago to start a family. We now have a beautiful 1 year old boy named Miles who has completely changed our day to day lives. Raising a kid is exhausting but I’ve always known I wanted to be a mother. You barely have any time to think but it’s made my relationship with my husband stronger and we’re both just in awe of raising our son together.


What did you hope for when you launched your beauty instagram account @cynthialions? Do you ever feel that being a beauty influencer has become challenging and competitive?

I’ve felt insecure about my skin since high school and still to this day. I always thought I wouldn’t have to deal with adult acne but it runs in my family. I started watching beauty youtubers six years ago and I just got sucked in. I simply started my blog to share my own experiences and tips!

There are so many beauty influencers out there now! It can definitely feel overwhelming and at times I feel as though I’m not putting in enough work, but I have to make sure I’m loving what I’m doing and not just posting for numbers.

Now that I have an established theme and aesthetic, I try to just stay true to myself and hope others enjoy that!

How do you stay your authentic self in the digital process?

I’m very privileged to have brands reach out to me, but I am definitely a lot more selective on who I want to work with. I am very aware that most of my featured products are gifted but I only feature ones that I truly love and I don’t mention the products that didn’t work out for me. I’m still trying to figure it all out, but staying consistent with your work and being honest with your reviews has always worked for me.

What inspires your designs and do you enjoy what you do?

The beauty community on instagram really inspires me. There are so many amazing and creative accounts out there that constantly push me to create. And yes I do really enjoy it! If I didn’t I would have stopped years ago!

Miles is the cutest baby, what has been some challenges with balancing the multiple roles you’ve taken on (designer, influencer, mother, wife, etc)? And what has been rewarding?

Thank you! I’m very lucky that my job allows me to work from home. I’m currently working part-time at Product 360 Creative where I get to work on fun beauty packaging and web projects and I’m just starting to go back into the office more. The routine is always changing and Miles actually just started part-time daycare which will allow me to get a lot more work done!

The most challenging is just balancing my time. I end up missing out on a lot of beauty events because I prioritize work and taking care of my son. But honestly, I feel so lucky that I got to watch and spend the first year of his life together. Nothing is more rewarding.

What is the next milestone you’re looking forward to?

Expanding the family!


Stay updated in real-time with Cynthia via instagram @cynthialions or to read more of her beauty reviews here. Trust us, you won't regret it.

interviewed by Chary