- Most Viewed Make-up Vloggers
“Hi everyone!” the pretty, young girl cheerfully greets her audience, which is technically the eye of her webcam. “I am going to show you how to get these crazy, googly Lady Gaga eyes in her music video Bad Romance!” This vlogger (video blogger) is Michelle Phan and she is speaking to millions of followers from all over the world through her YouTube video tutorial. At the time of writing, the particular video, one of 161, boasted 24 million views and 80,000 Likes. Phan also has 727,000 Likes on her Facebook page.
As Lady Gaga bellows in the background, Phan takes the viewer step-by-step through the application of various cosmetics. Captions appear at the top of the screen explaining the technique while her voice carries over the music. She encourages fans to “take their time, paying attention to the tear ducts” and “to extend a white cream base eyeliner to give the illusion of larger looking eyes”.
Phan’s popularity on the web earned her a job in 2010 with beauty giant Lancôme, where she holds the title of Official Video Make-up Artist. She went on to work backstage at New York Fashion Week plying her trade on the world’s top models on behalf of Michael Kors and Chris Benz. She is 23 years old.
Phan is not alone in the realm of online beauty power players but she is the most popular based on viewership and measurable feedback.
Lauren Luke, aka panacea81, a 29-year-old single mother who lives in the UK, also became a bonafide celebrity after her videos were watched over 31 million times. She went on to develop an eponymous make-up line and write a weekly column in The Guardian newspaper.
What is common amongst the most popular beauty vloggers is their connection to their audience. They are entertaining, personable and candid. Their tutorials are oftentimes based on viewer requests. Dope2111 apologized to her 400,000 subscribers for the lapse in tutorials, confiding that she suffered from a kidney stone. Before instructing how to get Kim Kardashian’s look, she advised her loyal audience to “drink a lot of fluids” and wished them health.
What is perhaps the biggest draw for viewers is the fact that these are not models nor professionals, but rather average women doing their best to put their finest face forward using products that are available to the masses. The tutorials are accessible, short (ten minutes on average), and as long as you have the basics in your make-up bag, you are set to go. And if you don’t, chances are you’ll go out and buy the ones recommended to you by your personal, online artist.
With their emergence, vloggers have forced iconic beauty companies to get on board with interactive marketing. After viewing various tutorials, it is quite evident that product placement is an integral part of the business. In one post, xsparkage reviews MAC’s mineral makeup and teaches her impressive 66,000 viewers how to use the products – and all it costs the company is a few testers. Dope2111 holds products up to the screen with the branding exposed and a caption appears citing its make. “I’m going to use this white eye shadow from Urban Decay called Polyester Bride,” she coos.
Burberry, a new player in the beauty realm, immediately engaged the online community by posting videos on how to achieve their ‘Festival Look’ starring make-up artist Wendy Rowe on their own site and Facebook. Alongside the video, each cosmetic is listed enabling clients to click and buy directly.
Estée Lauder invites site visitors to upload their own photos and partake in a makeover by navigating consecutive slides with numerous options for skin tone, coverage, intensity and so on. The total look can be bought and shipped through ‘live chat’, naturally.
As with the fashion industry, the Internet has transformed the beauty business. It is now at the mercy of a relatively small and influential group of enthusiasts who dictate trends, endorse brands, and ultimately drive sales.