Beauty influencer Ester Tania has made a name for herself on social media, sharing skincare, hair care, and makeup tips with a community of over two million. She’s your self-proclaimed self-care sister and TikTok storyteller. But — who’s the girl behind the face mask? 

First of all, she’s incredibly warm, someone many would happily spend a self-care Sunday with. But she’s also exceptionally knowledgeable and passionate about all things beauty. 

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Tania was born in Miami but moved to her family’s native Nicaragua when she was only two months old. She grew up in Managua until she was 15, which made for a very colorful and joyful upbringing. 

“I remember being surrounded by trees and mountains and lakes and volcanoes,” she shared. “You typically don’t get that experience living in the U.S., so I’m very grateful for that.” 

Tania and her five siblings were raised by a single mom, resulting in a tight-knit family dynamic. “My mom and my siblings are my best friends,” Tania stated, adding, “I tell them everything!” 

She told mitú everything, too, from her must-have beauty products, to the trends that give her a rush of dopamine, to why Latinos are the picture of resilience. Hint: it has to do with how hard we love, even in the face of adversity. Or maybe because of it.

mitú: How did you get into the world of beauty?

ET: I actually started a long, long time ago when I became vegan in 2014, which lead me to realize that there was a whole world of natural, cruelty-free products. And so, I became really interested in making my own lipsticks and SPFs. 

At that point, I had already been exposed to so much beauty culture because of my sister, who works at Estée Lauder. And my mom, who was always chasing us with sunscreen and Ponds, and my grandmother too. She’s 97 and applies makeup daily; she taught me how to brush my hair. 

So, my family definitely influenced me. But then I went over to the cruelty-free side and it became such a natural, organic thing for me. I started doing research, learned how to oil my own hair, and all these things I’d never known about before. 

But it was just a hobby back then. So, I got really lucky that in 2020 I was able to turn that hobby into a job. It’s so much fun to sit in front of a camera and put makeup on and talk about skin care or hair care. I’m really lucky.

How would you describe your personal aesthetic?

ET: I call myself a colorphile. I love color, I love prints, I love furry hats and purses. I really like to dress for the way that I feel. The other day, I said that I have a self-care sister aesthetic, and that means I’m dressing for dopamine. So, dressing colorfully to make yourself feel better.

I dress in a way that makes me feel good, and if I feel good, I know I look good. And I’m not going to be afraid of people looking at me. Having people look at me, even if it was just to give me a compliment, used to make me feel a little strange. I didn’t feel comfortable enough with myself.  

But now I’ve moved past that, because when I get ready to go out with my friends or to an event, I see the effect my clothes are having on people, and I know it’s making them happy. 

I see girls looking at me, and asking me, “Oh my god, where did you get this sweater with the strawberries on it?” And I’m so happy to share that information. So, I think dopamine dressing is my thing. 

What skincare, hair care, and makeup products do you swear by?

ET: For skincare, everybody needs a good sunscreen. The Supergoop SPF and Kinship SPF are two of my favorites. I also love the Tatcha Texture Tonic, but it’s a bit pricey, so if you don’t want spend the money on that one, I recommend the Mario Badescu Witch Hazel Toner, which helps hydrate the skin. And finally, the Versed Moisture Maker, which is a hydrating serum. 

For makeup, the first is the REFY Brow Gel. You know the trend right now is a bushy brow — this helps with that. Next is the Kosas Lip Oil. It’s like a lip gloss and it hydrates. I have one of those in each of my travel bags. Also, the Pacifica Vegan Collagen Mascara, which really helps your lashes grow. 

Finally, this is probably the product I’ve been using the longest: the Glossier Brow Flick Pen in the color brown. I’ve been using this since the inception of my TikTok account, and I just love Glossier as a brand, I love what they stand for. 

For haircare, there’s a brand called Ceremonia, and they have a whole line of products — scalp scrubs, hair oils, masks, such a wide range of things. They’re so innovative and they also do such a good job at incorporating natural fruits rich in nutrients for the hair. They have this guava scalp scrub that’s amazing. They’re Latina owned, and they have products for all hair textures. Everywhere I go, people ask me what shampoo I use, because it really smells so good! 

In terms of success, when was the moment when you realized you’d “made it”?

ET: [Laughs] It happened two different times. In 2020, I was in Nicaragua, and I was there for about a year and a half. By the time I left Nicaragua, I had 100,000 followers. And I was like, “I made it! This is it!”

That’s when I started getting emails from brands asking how much I would charge for a video, and I had no clue what I was doing. I was severely lowballed, but I was still so grateful that I was getting these offers at 100,000 followers. 

And that’s when I told my family, and they were like, “Make sure you get contracts, make sure you do this and that,” and I slowly started learning how it all worked. It wasn’t a lot of money, but it made me so happy to know that these brands thought my content was good enough to pay me for it, which was a huge boost of confidence. 

And then the second time was when my first video went viral. I think it got like 20 million views the first day. I closed the app — I was actually shooting a movie in Utah — and when I opened the app again after a full day of filming, I had 200,000 new followers. That was a pinch-me moment. 

I sent screenshots to my friends, my family, I called my agent… I was like, “What do I do?” And they were like, “Nothing, just wait for the offers to come.” And that was when I knew that I was doing the right thing, that I was going in the right direction, and that I just needed to trust my instincts and keep going. 

What does being a Latina mean to you?

ET: Being a Latina is the way that I love, how close I am to my family, how resourceful we are as a people. I think Latinos, especially Latina women, are incredibly resourceful. 

Because I come from Nicaragua, I understand what it’s like to live in a government that oppresses its people, and I think being Latina just means having the courage to fight, to speak up, to stand up for what you believe in. 

Also, to be extremely grateful for everything, all the good things in life. I just think of it as the picture of resilience. And strength, and passion, and love — for your family, for your community. 

It also means being able to help each other. In Managua, people really do help each other, and you don’t see that everywhere. If a family is in need, people will cook a pot of rice and beans and bring it to them, along with some school supplies for their kids. That’s amazing to me.