YouTube make-up artists are ruining the beauty industry


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YouTube make-up artists are ruining the beauty industry

It’s become a community of bitchiness and backstabbing

I started watching YouTube makeup tutorials when I moved into my second year uni house and my housemate was obsessed with them. At first, I didn’t watch them for the techniques, instead, I watched the ten-minute videos in lieu of TV (I have a short attention span). I started with some of the most popular ones, Desi Perkins and Lustrelux (Katy), two very cool best friends who aren’t just good at makeup, but they’re hilarious too (sidenote: I recently met Desi and she’s just as dreamy in real life).

I followed them on Instagram and Snapchat. I never really copied their makeup tutorials, but I always wanted to know what they were up to, where they were going, what they were having for lunch. It was then that I realized I had stopped watching them to learn about makeup products anymore, I was obsessing over them as celebrities, as one might do with the Kardashians. Desi’s 10 second Snapchat videos were my version of KUWTK.

Let me be clear: YouTube Makeup Artist aren’t ruining YouTube. Makeup artists with a commitment to helping people achieve their potential on a free platform are excellent. What is ruining the community, however, are disagreements, pettiness, hatred and jealousy.

YouTubers like Desi are the exception

Now, let’s remove Desi and Katy from the equation – because they are sweet earth angels too pure for this world and I would never talk trash about them. Recently Jeffree Star and Kat Von D have publicly had a massive bust up that began when Kat did a series of tweets ‘trashing’ Jeffree, and then promised to upload a YouTube video with further details (sidenote: is Kat really perfect herself? No one ever see LA Ink? Or her lipstick named ‘Celebutard’?). She did, and basically said Jeffree hadn’t paid for his packaging artwork. Long story short, Jeffree hit back with a video (and proof) that he had done. If you’re not into YouTubers or make-up artists – and, to be honest, even if you are – the whole thing seems like a bizarre and petty slanging match.

But this isn’t the first time this has happened. If you type ‘Jeffree Star’ into YouTube and ignore his own videos, you’ll find hundreds of YouTubers weighing in on the situation, and on Jeffree’s past. In the last few weeks, after the photo and video were discovered, YouTube has been rife with video thinkpieces on the matter. In his ‘scene’ days, Jeffree made a racist video in which he has a (poorly acted) telephone slanging match skit with a black girl and says things like ‘little black bitch’. There are also photos of Jeffree at a costume party with a friend who was in blackface.

Jeffree has acknowledged he did shitty things years ago and apologised, and Kat, a highly respected MUA, YouTuber and celebrity, took it upon herself to make this video knowing that the controversy around Jeffree had just started to die down; and immediately before the launch of his new summer liquid lipstick line. I am in no way condoning Jeffree’s actions. I’ve never been racist, sexist or homophobic, but since getting Twitter I have realised (from my privileged, pretty un-offendable position) that small things can be hugely offensive, and that I have said some shitty stuff in the past. We all have. And before any YouTuber (or, anyone) slams another, they need to look at their own past.

I’m not saying Kat was trying to sabotage Jeffree’s launch out of jealousy. She needn’t be jealous, her line is carried exclusively in Sephora. What I am saying is that pettiness between YouTubers is ruining the industry.

Beauty YouTubers have had a hard time being respected, with huge companies like MAC still tarring them all with the same brush as amateurs and rarely sponsoring them. And sometimes this is a true, with a platform as huge and interactive as YouTube, there is a mixed bag of tutorials and skill sets, and the fact that many big YouTubers sell out to companies when offered large sums of cash furthers this agenda. To add petty arguments, slur videos and huge rifts between the biggest YouTube ‘influencers’ is only further giving them a bad name.

Many ‘famous’ makeup YouTubers are allowed to collaborate with a brand to create products, or in the cases of Kat and Jeffrey, create their own brands. As anyone that owns a pair of eyeballs would admit, love him or hate him, Jeffree has some mad makeup skills. The focus here should be on his products. He put his life savings into the brand and is clearly proud of it. His makeup is notoriously hard to get hold of. The attention here should be on the quality of his makeup and how to apply it; just like how YouTube videos used to be. YouTube is now saturated with beauty vloggers climbing on the back of the success of people such as Michelle Phan and Nikki Tutorials.

Beauty videos used to be a sanctuary for makeup beginners wanting to learn some tips, or more experienced MUA’s looking for honest product reviews before investing. I can understand an interest in knowing the ethics of someone before purchasing a product from their line, but the people bashing Jeffree Star will call him out for racist slurs (that he’s recognised and apologised for), but continue to buy from huge brands that test on animals and pay their workers little to nothing.

YouTube is now a community of bitchiness and backstabbing, and no longer the relaxing place where you could watch a quick, five minute video of someone doing their eyebrows. If the ‘celebrity culture’ and politics around famous YouTubers (and the drama that comes with it) continues like this, YouTube is going to look nothing like it did eight years ago.