By: Gabby Melfi
Upon creation, YouTube has been a platform for creativity, entertainment and education. Think of any concept and there may be a video online about it. The first makeup tutorial was uploaded in 2006 and these tutorials have grown dramatically since then. According to Statista, as of June 2016 more than 5.3 million beauty videos were published on YouTube, and hundreds, if not thousands of channels feature what we would call a “beauty guru” or “beau-tuber” today.
YouTubers often classify themselves based on the typical content they upload. Many beauty channels feature makeup artists, general style guides and overall lifestyle advice. The makeup industry has grown in the past few years, leading to an increase in makeup-related uploads. This content can range from everyday makeup tutorials, glam styles, beauty hauls, get-ready-with-me vlogs, to beauty brand reviews and first impressions.
The reasons why everyone should check out a makeup tutorial are simple: entertainment, education and appreciation. Each beauty guru is different, and there are creators catered towards different audiences. For example, Laura Lee, a YouTuber with her own product line, adds personality and humor to her videos while she applies her makeup—you get to hear a funny story or commentary while also being entranced by a flawless application of products. Many gurus are also joining the bandwagon of makeup challenges, which typically feature an odd and unconventional way of applying makeup, such as using only highlighter or kids’ makeup, putting on products while upside down, having a significant other poorly apply the products and many more challenges. These videos are for entertainment purposes specifically, which means that any type of viewer can watch and enjoy.
Anyone can watch makeup tutorials, even those who—shockingly—do not wear makeup. Ever watch a Bob Ross painting tutorial without painting along with him? For many people, these makeup tutorials are watched in a similar fashion. Brandon Bass, a fourth year art education major says, “[Makeup tutorials] are really entertaining to watch. Since I can’t do makeup myself it’s enjoyable to see makeup artists use their creativity to make good looks. Plus when the M.U.A. has personality then it makes the video worth watching.”
Makeup can easily be classified as an art form, seeing as how it transforms the surface and takes considerable concentration and skill. There is little difference between painting a canvas with brushes and applying makeup onto skin with brushes. I personally do not wear much makeup, especially the styles I view online, but I still watch makeup tutorials every week. If edited correctly, a makeup tutorial can be fascinating and hard to look away from.
Seeing the before and after results is also an incredible and sometimes drastic transformation. Kelly Pulliam, a third-year communication studies major, says, “I like watching the makeup transformation because it’s really satisfying and interesting to see how everything they add builds up to a good final product. Sometimes you don’t understand what they’re doing with each application, but in the end, it usually looks cool.”
If general makeup looks are not your thing, there are also special effects channels dealing with special effects makeup that could be classified as more dramatic tutorials—these channels, such as Glam&Gore, create tutorials on nontraditional looks, including monsters, zombies, aliens, classic horror-movie characters and so much more. These are definitely the videos to start watching if you have yet to appreciate the art of makeup.
Beauty gurus have transformed the makeup industry as a whole, increasing awareness to certain brands and products as well as developing their own brands and products for purchase. Jeffree Star, Laura Lee, Manny MUA, Huda Kattan, Kathleen Lights, Michelle Phan and Tanya Burr are just a few well-known YouTubers with their own product lines. Many fans may view these products as more trustworthy, especially if viewers have been following along to certain channels for many years—these gurus have been using makeup and showing others how to use makeup as a profession in most cases, so they know what is expected of a quality product, which typically would play a part in the creation of their own line.
These gurus are also important for the industry because they teach others how to properly use certain products. There are endless beauty products available in the market and it would be extremely difficult for someone to learn how to use them all on their own. In makeup tutorials, gurus show viewers how to use these products, why the products are worth using and where to buy affordable options. “I really like YouTube makeup tutorials because I can find ways to make professional looks using drugstore products, which I’ve found work just a well as designer products,” says Presley Sneed, a freshman with a double major in criminal justice and psychology.
Whether you want to learn, create or simply distract yourself, the YouTube world has endless possibilities. Beauty gurus are more-than-meets-the-eye, and with a fast-growing industry, these content creators are here to stay—the time to appreciate makeup tutorials is now.