If you’re a fan of Youtubers, or generally social media stars, then you surely have come across those labelling themselves as “beauty gurus”, an ambitious name for a perhaps overly ambitious type of person. They manage to make a career out of being “relatable” and “approachable”, but how does that even work? Oh, maybe just a mix of addressing teenagers’ cheapest instincts, putting up a facade to convince us they are just like us, and keeping you so distracted with 10 different types of videos they have no reason to do that you don’t focus on their lack of a specific talent.
Here’s the thing: It’s not exactly a bad thing how they operate their business, but rather how they milk said business, and maybe, yes, I do have a bit of an issue (even if it’s not their fault per se) with how successful beauty gurus can be instead of much more talented, sincere, or hard-working Youtubers. Or perhaps it is. Because as much as I would love to believe in the honesty and kindheartedness of people, I’m certain beauty gurus know exactly what they are doing, how they are marketing and “selling” themselves to their audience.
Everything starts with the right backdrop. No, simple, average income, inconspicuous viewer, despite their earning millions a month for saying the name of a shampoo as many times as possible in the course of one Q&A video, and subsequent living in a mansion, your favourite beauty guru totally spends all her time in her small, average girl bedroom with a pastel wall, cute canopy bed, and butterfly-shaped Christmas lights. She’s just like you! She also has an adorable dog, cat, or, in the case of extreme quirkiness and “omg random”-ness, some type of disgusting lizard to remind you how much of a weirdo she is. Like, she once went out without a bra-level crazy.
And of course, we can’t possibly forget collabs! The key to success in any kind of Youtube videos, but especially in generic, teenage-interest videos, is collaborating with anyone else who has over 100k subscribers and pretending like you’re having the time of your lives despite just having met each other after an LA-NY flight. As long as you manage to casually and relatable-y sit on the cute canopy bed, giggle at any given phrase, and compare your favourite (totally non-sponsored) face masks, then you’ve earned your million for the month.
A serious issue I have with beauty gurus is their lack of an actual specialization, not that doing many different things is bad (I’m known for always striving to learn something new without actually finishing other projects), but simply because they become known for talents other Youtubers are much more adept at. A mediocrely skilled MUA who also does DIYs, challenge videos, and hairstyle tutorials will get much more attention than a genuinely excellent MUA who lacks the same… well-rounded content. If that same mediocrely skilled MUA is also able to maybe hold a note to the tune of a ukulele, she will be praised for it double as much as a trained singer showcasing their musical escapades online.
But the ride doesn’t stop there, oh no. What would a beauty guru be if she didn’t celebrate and enforce gender roles? Don’t get me wrong, girls actually celebrating their femininity is a beautiful thing in a world where they’re stigmatized for it (just like for literally anything else they do), but Youtubers of this kind spend so much time around nothing but makeup, fashion, beauty hauls, baking, and of course inevitably introducing us to boyfriends who attempt (and fail) to do their makeup in an effort to remind us how “ugh, boys just don’t get it!” that it reaches a point of resigning to stereotypes.
Beauty gurus are a very enjoyable way to spend your time on Youtube, and surely offer some useful content, but I just feel that they hype is simply not backed up by much else than a false sense of friendliness and bright colours. Their kind of videos do deserve a certain amount of recognition, I simply wish the same attention would be given to more alternative, artistic, or less commercial content that, at the end of the day, is made by people looking for appreciation and not profit.