I’ve touched this topic before in regards to YouTube beauty gurus, back when I had just discovered the community. I wanted to voice my latest opinion.
The YouTube beauty community mostly consists of younger women purchasing things like make-up and clothes and then making videos talking about their purchases. It is also heavily focused on things like make-up tutorials, where the girls illustrate how to achieve a certain look using certain products.
Unfortunately, there’s a darker side to the community many are either unaware of or choose to turn their eyes from. What started as something girls did for fun somehow grew into a dog and pony show done every few days for an income. Girls are getting sent free products by companies to review. Getting paid by companies to be mentioned in their videos. Getting paid to host giveaways done by companies. The list goes on.
Here are a few examples of girls who have made the most of their popularity:
Michelle Phan is YouTube’s most popular make-up guru. She’s making over $200,000 a year on her main YouTube channel alone. (Source) That doesn’t include the money she makes from Lancome, who saw her on YouTube and hired her to do sponsored videos using their products. It doesn’t include profit she made from IQQU, a skincare line she advertised but recently withdrew from after legal troubles. It doesn’t include any money she has made through her other channels.
There are also girls like sisters Elle and Blair, who have made so much profit they’ve moved from their parent’s home in Tennessee to a high-end suite in L.A. to work on YouTube full-time. They’ve started a blog, forum, online boutique, and are working on a reality show. (Which I don’t think will ever see the light of day.) Some girls have really been able to take it this far.
BubzBeauty, yet another popular beauty guru, has her own line of make-up brushes coming out soon and was able to launch an online clothing boutique.
I’m not blasting these girls. In fact, I think they’re lucky. Who wouldn’t want to be paid a six figure income for casually talking about make-up? My point, however, is exposing a huge flaw in the community — the sincerity is lost. Many videos look like infomercials. When the girls claim they’re so excited to post a video, you have to wonder if they’re just meeting their weekly quota. The popular community topic “Favorite Products of the Month” is just another long advertisement.
The worst part of all, and the reason I’m writing this, is that young girls everywhere are falling for it. As soon as their idol on YouTube tells them to buy a product, they will run out and buy it. Check out Addicted2TooFaced, a 14 year-old girl who has more high-end make-up than I will ever own collectively throughout my life. I can’t help but watch videos like that and feel sad. This girl just hit her teenage years and she’s already wearing too much make-up, clothes that are too mature for her, and has developed an over-spending habit — using her parent’s money, no doubt.
I think the beauty community is just an endless cycle of spending money on things you don’t really need to gain admiration (and sometimes money) from others. I deleted my YouTube account. My subscription page became overwhelming — one huge commercial. I actually wanted to go shopping after watching. That’s not why I started watching these videos.
Realizing this about the beauty community has made me realize one more thing: The Beauty section on my website contributes to this cycle. Don’t get me wrong, I think honestly reviewing brands is a good thing and will likely continue doing it, but I’ve realized that I’d like to post more about natural do-it-yourself beauty tips and fun ideas that don’t focus on product names. I think that would be refreshing.
We live in such a “mediatized” society. It’s crazy when you sit down and look at all the ways we advertise for companies. What are your thoughts?