When YouTube was founded back in 2005, no one thought that the first ever makeup tutorial would start the chain reaction for YouTube to become one of the biggest influences for the beauty community. According to Defy Media (2015) and Variety Magazine (2014), teenagers engage in more digital content from sites like YouTube with an average of 11 hours a week. They are more likely to identify with YouTubers than with traditional movie stars. Today, YouTube is a platform for hundreds of both male and female beauty “Gurus” who not only perform makeup tutorials but test out and review upcoming beauty products for the average consumer.
The perks of being a well-known beauty vlogger goes beyond receiving money from ads on videos. It includes being on exclusive PR lists from brands to receive the latest makeup- absolutely free of cost. However, this comes with a benefit to brands providing free products. According to a study done by Florida State University, the higher the user engagement with a video, there was a higher probability for viewers to buy products. More recently, brands such as Tarte, Nars, and Too Faced have even started to send beauty gurus on fabulous all-expense paid trips to exotic islands in order to promote their latest products. As their following and influence levels grow, many gurus have started to expand and build their own cosmetic lines such as Jeffree Star Cosmetics, Laura Lee Los Angeles, and even Dominique Cosmetics. Tati Westbrook, known as “Glamlifeguru” has recently started Halo Beauty, a multivitamin line.
However, as many videos become sponsored by cosmetic brands, all the perks come with a price- credibility. Many viewers have started to distrust the opinions of beauty gurus due to the rapid influx of sponsored content. The question arises of whether a product is being promoted due to its actual quality, or if the vlogger is just being paid to say good things.
The battle for credibility has severely impacted many beauty gurus. Research has shown that social attractiveness, measured as how kind someone is perceived to be, has the largest influence on consumer buying intentions. If a viewer distrusts the vlogger, they are less likely to engage in purchasing viewed products.
As the beauty community expands, so has the distrust in the market. The question becomes- can we trust the guru?
Defy Media (2015). Acumen report: Youth Video Diet.
Variety (2014). Survey: YouTube Stars More Popular Than Mainstream Celebs Among U.S. Teens.