No featured image for this post – I don’t mean any influencer in particular, but beauty YouTubers with big following as a whole. Not that long ago I stumbled upon an article titled ’10 beauty bloggers you MUST follow’ and it inspired me to write a whole post about it. Well, first of all, I am choosing my own heroes and people to be inspired by. I’ve just started blogging and I’ve already found so many awesome fellow bloggers who inspire me in such a genuine way (girls, you know who you are – I’m your new regular reader ❤️), that YouTube and Instagram simply fall short. Secondly, I’m all about no bullsh*t all day every day and seeing things as they are. Finally, I’m struggling to validate spending time watching this type of content when I can be investing it in something much more valuable. Warning: BRUTAL HONESTY!
Let me preface this post by saying all the good things about beauty influencer content (I’ll be focusing primarily on YouTube):
- can be a great distraction
- you might discover great products
- you can learn a lot (exclusions apply)
I started watching beauty blogger when I had a severe case of acute bronchitis and couldn’t get out of bed for 5 days straight. I found this content by a complete accident and I even remember the first channel I ever watched – Asian Beauty Secrets (now called ‘Beauty Within’). I can’t say that beauty channels were the type of channels I watched the most (I much prefer podcasts and lectures, such as The Daily Swole or Joe Rogan podcasts), but I consistently watched KathleenLights, Tati, BeautyWithEmilyFox, and Zabrena. I found this content to be a good distraction, but gradually felt less and less compelled to watch it.
Here are the reasons why I stopped watching beauty ‘gurus’ on YouTube:
1.It’s not girlfriends sharing about makeup – it’s careful marketing (and sometimes not so careful) that exploits trust. Beauty blogging as we know it today had started before YouTube developed into a huge ad profit generating machine. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for creative people making money off of their videos! The way I see it, more power to them. However, it’s time to call beauty blogging as it really is – makeup promotion force.
2. Honesty is a luxury we can’t be counting on anymore. Fool me once – shame on you, fool me twice – shame on me. The first time I bought a raved about product and it didn’t work for me, I ignored it because everyone has different skin, preferences, etc. Same I did the second time. The third time I got a lip oil that presumably ‘smelled like a tropical paradise and was nourishing and beautiful’ and in fact I got a chemical plant in a tube that dried my lips to a point when they started to physically hurt, that was it. YouTubers must disclose their affiliation with different companies, but in practice often skip it, so there’s no way of knowing which is which.
3.Endless ‘favorites’. I understand that for someone who’s constantly getting PR and purchases new makeup the favorites can change. However, I don’t see how any product can become a favorite after several uses. In some eyeshadow palettes, there’s a surface layer that has different texture than the rest of the pan, while in case of foundations the irritations can occur after a few weeks of regular use. I totally get that this type of content helps beauty YouTubers promote products, but it just doesn’t make sense for regular consumers.
4.All hail the ring lights! You’re almost guaranteed to never get an actual REAL look at how something looks like. It’s almost funny how some beauty YouTubers claim that they ‘don’t know how to turn the skin softening filter on the camera’ or that ‘the lighting is bad’ – these are all excuses designed to maintain that ‘picture perfect’ image. The videos that big creators upload are like movie quality 4K, and yet all we see are perfectly blurred and smoothed pores, while we also have to believe that the foundation performed well. I’m not buying it.
5.Too picture perfect. The most popular beauty YouTubers always appear in front of the camera all dolled up. It’s true that people like to look at nice pictures, but at this point the image of these ‘beauty gurus’ is too far from reality. Many of them has done plastic surgery, they appear to live in dream houses, with vanities worthy of a real-life princess, with hundreds of drawers full of clothes, makeup, and shoes. Their life appears just ideal. The truth is that nobody is that perfect! We’re all human and it’s normal, while comparing ourselves to someone else is also normal, and this is exactly what many do watching these ‘gurus’ and then end up feeling bad about themselves because of it.
6.All the waste. I think everyone is free to decide how much makeup they want to own. In case of beauty ‘gurus’ though, they promote the idea that all of the things they talk about are absolutely vital for creating a great makeup look. Well, they do it to make people go buy all of those things, but for a person who doesn’t have much info about makeup except from YouTube it’s really hard to navigate in this realm. As a result, consumers go out and buy everything that these YouTubers suggest and rarely use it up until the products expire. This whole industry creates a lot of waste that we and our environment suffer from.
7.There’s little to no celebration of individuality. If you take a look at the major creators in the ‘beauty guru’ realm, you’ll notice that nearly all of them use the same techniques, products, and create the same looks. The colors change, but the routine remains the same. All of them go for that chiseled jawline and cheekbone look, for instance, which isn’t even remotely flattering on many people (depends on the bone structure). I watched one small beauty YouTuber who aplologized every time she applied concealer under the foundation, while she didn’t even have to apologize for doing things not the way every ‘beauty guru’ does. This is one of the key issues with this industry – lack of celebration of individuality and unique beauty of everyone. I strongly believe that every woman is beautiful, but in order to uncover her own beauty she needs to stop trying to be like someone else (this is why David Kibbe’s approach is so useful for me).
8.All the hype. Whenever a beauty YouTuber comes up with a collab, the fans set alarms to be ready with their credit cards prepared for the purchase. The dirtiest marketing trick is claiming that something is limited edition (while it’s really not), which makes people rush to buy it, despite whether they really need it or not. Beauty YouTubers create a lot of buzz around certain products and make them desirable for many customers, which is a great selling strategy, but the value that the buyers get is questionable.
9.All the drama. The drama follows the YouTube beauty ‘community’ as if it was its shadow. I feel like in many cases the drama is there to warm the audience’s interest up before upcoming launches or when the views drop. This might be harsh, but I find it hard to believe that savvy business people (like many big creators are) would really take the time to air their dirty laundry unless there’s something for them in it. All of this is just negativity which I don’t want to witness.
10.There’s a deep chasm between beauty gurus and their audience. Even if beauty influencers try to relate to their audience, they truly can’t successfully do that. Let’s face it: their job is making videos about makeup, working with companies, reviewing products, and working on their own brands (nearly every big influencer does it). This lifestyle hardly resembles the life of an average makeup consumer. It’s great if influencers inspire people to become a better version of themselves, try new things, learn new things, and embrace their beauty. However, I can hardly see it – I mainly see advertising, exploitation of trust, and setting unrealistic beauty standards.
Hopefully this post doesn’t come across as negative or ‘tea spill’! That’s not my intention at all.
In my opinion, it’s important to start changing our mindset as beauty product consumers and realize that beauty YouTube is mainly there to market things to us – not be a good and honest friend who shares information about their faves. If they make a business out of it, then more power to them, however it would be great if there would be more transparency in the industry.
See you in my next post,
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