“Hi sisters! James Charles here and welcome back to my Youtube channel!”
It’s a line heard millions of times across the world.
Boasting 1.1 Million Youtube followers and 2 Million Instagram followers, James Charles is the face inspiring many faces all around the world. At 17 years old he was the first Covergirl cover boy, and a year on his brand continues to expand as people learn how to beat their mugs, get contoured for the gods, and sculpt brows on fleek.
You see, long gone are the days of barely there brows, clumpy mascara lashes, frosted eye shadow and orange fake tan. Beauty is back, and it’s bigger than ever.
In 2015, there were a total of 1.8 Million beauty videos on Youtube, with 45.3 billion total views. With the growth rate of beauty videos uploaded to YouTube increasing by 50% from 2014 to 2015 alone, YouTube has become the number one destination for online beauty video consumption.
No wonder there are so many teenagers running around looking like Kylie Jenner! In my day if you wanted to get real dolled up you’d attempt a winged eye liner – it would be wonky AF, and maybe a red lip if you were feeling particularly chic. Amazing make up talent wasn’t really a thing amongst any of my friends – or any one we knew.
Now, at the tender age of 22, I am a make up wiz! I can turn my sparse over plucked brows (thanks early 2000s) into Cara Delevinge caterpillars in 3 minutes, using just 3 products. I own more pallets and lipstick than I have time to wear them. I can do a perfect winged eye liner in as much time as it takes you to read this sentence. Yep, I can do it…. Just don’t ask me to show you.
While the average YouTube viewers are between 11 – 16 years, the beauty category gains the attention of 16 to 65 year olds, one of YouTube’s the largest demographics of viewership.
However, beauty blogging goes beyond the beauty tutorial. The successful bloggers invite you into their lives, and speak to you like a sister, all while letting you in on their beauty tips. It’s about building a community, a networked public of like-minded people with shared interests, utilising social media to extend the relationship from just blogger and viewers, instead feeling more like a group of friends kicking back and shooting the breeze.
Probably one of the biggest contributors to the rise of the beauty blogger is the all inclusiveness of the community. It’s an industry that is priding itself on individualism; the idea that regardless of your age, gender, sexual orientation, race or cultural belief, you can use beauty as an outlet of self expression. While mainstream media continues to pigeon hole ‘beauty’, beauty bloggers are ‘taking back the make up brush’ so to speak. They’re saying stuff your beauty standards by creating looks that are unique, and embracing of differences.
They encourage their followers to participate in the creation of new content by trying out the tutorials, playing around and tagging them in their social media posts of their completed looks.
Some beauty brands are cottoning on to this “be inclusive of everyone” thing *gasp!* and putting their money where the beauty blogger’s mouth is! Founder of NARS Cosmetics Francois Nars succinctly breaks it down for you…
“For us as a brand it’s great because a lot of bloggers believe in our products, and when people talk and blog about the product, people listen. They are very influential.”
He ain’t wrong! When online magazine Company announced that they’d be featuring beauty blogging juggernaut Zoella on their April 2014 cover traffic to their website immediately increase 87%. On the day of the issues release, a live stream hang out with Zoella received 20,000 live views! More than they had received with celebrities like Jessie J and Demi Lovato.
The appeal lies in the fact that beauty bloggers are just regular people, filming and writing from their bedrooms, living rooms, or studios. They’re relatable, and vulnerable (wearing no make up on camera to thousands, sometimes millions of people is pretty damn brave!). They really are kind of like a friend, who just happens to have some mad skills.