I have taken the liberty to translate it into English.
Their names are Michelle, Claire, Lauren, or Julia. They sit in their bedrooms, a desk lamp directed onto their faces. One last check of their webcams, then it's show time. No, these young women from places such as Chicago, Newcastle or Berne are not going to perform a striptease. They put on makeup. As soon as their masterpiece has been perfectly applied, powdered and primped, they will upload their newest video to Youtube. These young women produce what is known as makeup tutorials: Videoclips that show step by step how to apply makeup.
With a bit of luck, these young women are also able to jumpstart their careers as celebrity makeup artists for the web-generation. These makeup tutorials have been the front runners on the Youtube community for about the past two years. They are themes that interest 13 year old schoolgirls just as much as the 40 year old career women: how to achieve a perfectly straight eyeliner? How to wear red lipstick so that the color will really last for four hours? In these clips, often not longer than 3 minutes, the starring actresses paint with carefree ease and create magical looks that are good enough to be on magazine covers.
A Swiss woman applies makeup on Youtube with success
The most successful gurus are self-taught and simply learned by doing. They have become important sources of inspiration to their subscribers that are in the hundreds of thousands (viewers who receive automatic updates when their favorite makeup guru has uploaded a new video.) Three of the most watched tutorial stars are: Lauren Luke, a 27-year old single mother from England, who has caught viewers' attention under her Youtube name “panacea81” with her no-nonsense personality and her broad northern English accent, and has managed to inspired over 40 million users to recreate her looks. A success story which has helped her to create her own makeup line, a contract for a makeup book, and inspired a BBC documentary.
Also Michelle Phan, in the above photo on her way to achieving a Lady Gaga Look, has meanwhile launched her own skincare line “IQQU Beauty”. This American woman with Vietnamese roots has been presenting her tutorials for 3 years, is considered a master of the “smokey eye”, and is ranked as the 5th most subscribed Youtube “Guru” with over 200,000 subscribers.
Under the username “MissChievous”, even a Swiss woman has managed to reach the highest ranks within the league of makeup gurus. Julia Graf, an administrative and PR professional, has been creating makeup tutorials for roughly one year in her free time, in which she creates dramatic looks on herself.
“I have always been really interested in makeup, and through my previous participation on various online beauty communities, I finally decided to start my channel on Youtube.” The Swiss-Canadian dual citizen, who now lives in Canton Berne, is still not able to live full-time from her career as a makeup artist, despite having over a million unique channel views. “Of course it would be a dream for me to jet all over the world as a makeup artist. But I also love the creative freedom that I currently have – because I don't have to base my entire livelihood on my makeup career.”
Due to her popularity on Youtube, Julia earns a small income based on her Youtube partnership which forsees a revenue-sharing program for ads placed on her page; however, she still regards this as “pocket money”. She finds it interesting that many cosmetic companies are now sending out samples of their products to gurus, in the hopes that their newly developed products will appear in the next clip. Big brands such as MAC, Shu Uemura, or Bobbi Brown have long recognized the potentials of these online makeup artists: In the case of Lauren Luke, the marketing department of the British cosmetic line Barry M was finally able to explain their sudden popularity when they realized that Lauren used many of their products in her tutorials.
At the moment, such an exclusive deal is out of the question for Julia Graf: “I would like to maintain my current freedom to present the best products to my viewers – not only those products that I was paid to endorse.” Regardless of the reasons why these makeup videos are being clicked: No one can teach women the art of makeup application faster, more directly or enjoyable.