Examine Beauty Gurus: Are You Spending Your Money Wisely?

Examine Beauty Gurus: Are You Spending Your Money Wisely?

You have probably seen a few, if not all of their YouTube videos. Videos where they do make-up tutorials for certain looks, or review a new product coming out to see if it is worth buying. These people are known as beauty gurus. A beauty guru is essentially just someone who knows a lot about beauty products, and are seen as people who can teach you tips & tricks on skin care, make-up, and DIY.

Advertisement: Magazine vs Social Media

These beauty gurus reach over a million subscribers on YouTube, with the best of them reaching a million views a day. These million of returning viewers + the added bonus of constant new viewers opens many opportunities. For the viewer, the beauty guru, and companies looking for marketing.

Why pay high amount of dollars to have your beauty company be advertised in magazines, when you can just use social media accounts that have access to millions of views?

Rate for advertising in a magazine. Source: Cosmopolitan 

Based on the image above, you see how expensive it would be for a company to advertise in a magazine that sales millions a month. The risk with advertising in a magazine is the payout. Your product will be featured, but sales are not guaranteed. On top of that, the magazine’s reader will have no influence or incentive to try out your beauty product.

This is where our beloved beauty gurus come in. While I am in no way talking down the skill & dedication these gurus put into their work, I still have my opinion on how this marketing strategy works.

YouTube Beauty Gurus

When these companies use beauty gurus for advertisements, the beauty gurus not only give marketing for the product, they also give a review. And the review is usually positive. The gurus have incentive to give a positive review over an honest one. Why? Because if you, the viewer, click on the link the guru provides to purchase the product, they get ‘commission’. Part of the sales goes to them.

Here are a few examples from the HFTT video:

The names of all these beauty gurus are different, but it looks like everything else is the same. All of them are promoting the same Morphe palette, and all of them have over 1 million subscribers on YouTube. These are just 4 examples by the way. I am not going to bother showing the many other beauty gurus on YouTube who also posted about this same palette. I picked these specific 4 because of their large fan base. And when a bunch of beauty gurus promote the same product, this happens:

Interesting note! They actually had a backup restock ready to go on a limited edition palette because Morphe KNEW they would sell out after employing a bunch of YouTube channels to promote their product.

So the question here is, are you spending your money wisely? Are you buying your beauty products based on your own experience or thoughts, or because someone on YouTube is hyping a product? Not to say that the Morphe products are bad, but what is bad is a collective hype by the owners of a huge platform. There is nothing wrong with buying something that you like, but when someone you like is convincing you to spend your money for them to profit, it just isn’t a good deal.

And yes, if these beauty gurus want to stay in good grace with the companies they are promoting, they must give good reviews. Just recently, Jeffree Star, a beauty blogger with 6 million subs, was removed from the press release list of Kylie Jenner Cosmetics. Reason? Because of his honest reviews of her products. Here is his YouTube video on Kylie Jenner’s lip gloss. He gave his honest feedback on a product he felt was ‘janky’. Here is another review he made on her $360 brush set. Note, Jeffree Star has been in the make up industry for 20 years, as compared to Kylie who has only done it for 3. Even in his brush set review, he calls out how gurus are paid to give positive reviews. 

Star definitely has room to be as honest as he wants with a net worth of over $5 million & his huge reputation in the industry. Also, Star isn’t part of any affiliates, so his reviews on products usually have no incentive to sugar coat. His beauty colleagues however can’t take such risk. When you’re trying your best to gain trust from brands to get more exposure, complying to loving and exaggerating positivity is the best route. Star, as crude as he may be, cannot be bought out for positive reviews. Is that a good thing? Yes. Is that to say all of his reviews are honest? No, but if he has no affiliation or relationship with the brand, the review will more than likely be an honest. Honest reviews again, when negative, get you removed from commissions & from receiving products before they are released. The people who end up losing? You.

Because you as the consumer can no longer differentiate on whether or not you are hearing the truth, or a facade. Do you actually want to purchase a product that works for you or you like it, or because someone is telling you to buy it?

Advice Before Spending Your Money

Check descriptions on YouTube videos 

It is law to call out if you are being sponsored or not. So in descriptions, there will always be a disclaimer or some sort of notice letting you know if the video is indeed being sponsored. On top of that, people might try to loop-hole through that law, but don’t be fooled. Understand how to read the subtext of that text.

The only reason they can claim they are not getting paid, is because they are affiliated. That is the loop hole.

Check out those video descriptions, see if they have affiliations, and make a judgement for yourself if the product review has any incentive to hype up a product. While they weren’t paid to MAKE a video, they still make some sort of compensation. So yes, it is still sponsored, just through a loop hole.

Be Aware Of Private Labeling

A private label product is manufactured by a contract or third-party manufacturer and sold under a retailer’s brand name. As the retailer, you specify everything about the product – what goes in it, how it’s packaged, what the label looks like. While innocent enough, and usually cheaper, some make-up brands have been known to mark up the price because they are using a celebrities name.
A good example is Kylie Jenner Cosmetics.
When Kylie Jenner launched her new make-up line, it was rumored that she rebranded ColourPop and simply added her name to it. While she denied these claims, a beauty YouTuber known as Stephanie Nicole looked into the matter by comparing the ingredients.

Screen Shot 2018-03-11 at 1.19.43 PM

Screen capped from Stephanie Nicole’s video. Shown are the ingredient list for Kylie’s lip liner, and ColourPops lip liner

Ingredients are always listed by highest concentration down to lowest. When compared, you see that Kylie’s Lip Liner and ColourPop’s lip pencil have all the ingredients listed in the same order. ColourPop still has more ingredients, so it should cost more, right? WRONG.
A lip pencil from ColourPop will put you back $5. A rebranded ColourPop pencil with less ingredients will cost you $14.
Why the price difference? Because Kylie Jenner has her name on the rebranded ColourPop liner. Because they know her fans will purchase it without questions.
This doesn’t just happen with Kylie Jenner Cosmetics. Other companies also take a cheaper product, slap their name on it, and sell it for more than its worth.
And it works because YOU, the consumer, give products value when you see an idol promote them. There is nothing wrong with wanting to purchase the product to support your favorite artist, but if you ARE looking to save your money, then do look into products that brand a celebrities name.

By leaving the illusion of value, and really seeing where the real the worth is, you can spend your money on products that are budget friendly, good quality, and satisfaction guaranteed.

Try Products Out Before You Buy Them. Do Homework!

Don’t let the hype get to you. If you see your favorite YouTuber promoting a product before release, don’t let that convince you to purchase the product before there are any customer reviews. Part of the trick is to hype up products on release, as seen with Morphe, and have customers go bananas for them.

Be patient. Wait till customers have given their opinions on the internet, because people will, and make the judgement for yourself on whether or not you wish to purchase. Research past products a company has put out and see the reactions. Is the brand trusted? Do they have a great reputation of quality products? What are their return policies? Are there cheaper duplicates you can use if the product is too expensive?

All of this stuff sounds boring to do, but if you really want to make sure your money is going to bring you value, then you should research where it is going. You research where you put your kids in school, you research what you put in your body, you look for Yelp reviews for services you have never used before. So you should also research the products you will be spending your hard earned money on.

Understand that your favorite gurus will not always give an 100% honest review. C’mon, with people like Kim Kardashian entering the beauty industry while boasting over 100 MILLION followers on social media, who would want to piss her off?

Enjoy not being part of the hype, enjoy being patient. Having something early isn’t worth the risk of not being satisfied with your purchase. You can use those discount codes from your favorite YouTubers, but just make sure you actually want the product because of your own opinion, and not what they are telling you to think.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I’m a total freak who loves looking into specific topics and am happy I have the platform now to share my findings!

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