Hello. Beauty. Again. Yaaasss.
When I started getting into makeup and before I went to Korea with my foot-long shopping list, I hit all the beauty channels to find out more about the items I wanted to buy, especially the vlogs. Watching beauty vlogs was a great way to see products in action, their size, sometimes the actual prices, any updates about the product or the brand, and reviews. And it’s just sometimes more entertaining than reading ten blog posts that say the same thing. Ahehe.
After spending countless hours on YouTube, I’ve come to really like a few vloggers because they put a lot of work into making their videos look great, their reviews very clear and honest, and their tutorials really helpful. I can watch these people all day. And I have. Some weekends I just literally lie on my bed like a sack of potatoes and watch beauty hauls and tutorials. If you can imagine a sack of potatoes trying to put makeup on in bed, that’ll be me.
1. Michelle Phan
Michelle Phan was the first beauty vlogger I ever encountered on YouTube. This was back in the day when she was just putting on makeup in her living room with a simple voiceover in the background and zen music, just like any other start-up beauty vlogger. She made makeup look really easy. Now, she’s a superstar. Her YouTube channel gets a crazy amount of views and subscribers. She has her own mid-range makeup line called Em Cosmetics, made possible by L’Oreal. She co-founded ipsy, a massively successful beauty sampling service. She has a book out, and I want it. And on top of that, she has an adorable French boyfriend who pops up every once in a while in her videos. She’s like the Beyonce in the YouTube beauty world. You can’t talk about beauty on YouTube and not mention Michelle Phan.
But what I really like about her is her consistency. Her videos have changed from simple beauty tutorials to comprehensive lifestyle vlog posts, but her voice is still the same. In my opinion, some beauty vloggers make makeup intimidating and complicated, but Michelle will forever be my homegirl. Her tutorials, tips, and advice have remained incredibly easy to follow, really down-to-earth, and, most importantly, fun. And she seems like a really, really, sincerely nice person. She really does make you feel like she’s your beauty bestie.
2. Isabelle Lee (MintLaces)
Hi! It’s Isabelle. Unlike the vloggers on this list who are on their way to building and expanding their beauty empires, Isabelle Lee is still in high school. She’s still in her teens. I found her when I was watching haul videos before I flew to Korea. The reason why I enjoy watching her stuff is I find her really funny and relatable (because I’m really 14 years old inside). Her personality and A+ sense of humor shines through every video.
True story: I spent an entire week watching her videos the minute I got home. The entire week. I’d just keep replaying her videos over and over and over again like some kind of freak fan. But she’s hilarious, you guys, and I love how she’s so real. She is all of us when we were 14, 15, 16 and just having fun painting our faces and buying makeup just because it was cute. (This Halloween, I’m totally going to do her DIY sushi costume.)
But behind every polished face is a person dealing with problems, ups and downs, and life in general. Isabel recently revealed she has bipolar disorder and struggles with depression, which was amazingly courageous of her because people on the (largely unregulated) Internet can be so crass and hurtful over the tiniest things. In her latest video, she gave her viewers an update on her life: She’s currently in the US right now, planning to take her GEDs so she can start college in the fall. She’s known for promoting Korean beauty products when she was still living in Korea, but now that she’s half a world away, I’m not sure how much we’ll be seeing of her Korean beauty segments. But I wish her all the best. I hope that big move will help her heal so she can keep doing what she loves doing. You do you, Isabelle. More power to ya, girl.
3. Lisa Eldridge
Lisa Eldridge is an uber successful celebrity makeup artist and decorated beauty guru. She has worked for and with famous British brand No. 7, Lancome, Shiseido, and Chanel. Emma Watson, Diane Kruger, Helena Christiansen, the Kates (Bosworth, Moss, and Winslet), Vogue, H&M, Prada, Marks and Spencer, PPQ, princesses (the legit kind), and many, many, many more go to her for her expertise in all things beauty. Her signature look is a modern, bright, fresh, and flawless face. I think she’s famous for her no makeup makeup look, which you can watch above.
Lisa’s videos aren’t scored with music; it’s really just her, you, and her 20 years of experience in the beauty biz. But somehow, she still manages to make me stay the whole 10 minutes just watching her explain very, very clearly the product she’s using, why she’s using it, and how I can make it work for me. I feel like I’m getting sound professional advice whenever I watch her videos—for free!
4. Wayne Goss
That is my answer to what you’re thinking. Yes, Wayne Goss is a man. And he’s a man that knows more about makeup than you, me, and our grandmothers combined. He has a lot of videos on foundation, concealer, and contouring, which is what I love about his channel because I think I’m such a base makeup noob. Mastering base basics is probably the most important part of makeup because the entire face is involved plus the neck and chest area. That’s a lot of space to cover. And if you don’t get that right, everything you do afterwards just looks off.
What I like about Wayne Goss is he tells it like it is. He’s not afraid to call beauty trends, practices, and products out for being ridiculous or if they’re just going to waste your time. What he’s really good at is identifying what most people are doing wrong with their makeup and telling us how to correct those bad habits. He’s also very thorough and honest. Even with the products he absolutely loves, he doesn’t just rave and rave about them for five minutes straight because what he’ll do is he’ll tell you the good points first, the situations when they work best, and the times they won’t.
As a professional makeup artist, his kit is probably 90% high-end products, but often he’ll feature beauty items that are very affordable and accessible. He’ll say something like “Hit! The $1 mascara that beats them all!” And you’re hooked before you know it. He’s not afraid to go against something prescribed by other professionals, especially if they don’t work on him. He’s just a great model for finding what works for you even if you have to come up with it on your own. So, hit it! Wayne Goss, makeup artist.
5. Jennifer Kim (meejmuse)
I found out about meejmuse through another YouTube beauty vlogger, The Beauty Breakdown, which is also a lovely channel if you’re interested in Korean skin care and makeup. Jennifer Kim, or meejmuse, is a Korean-Aussie beauty vlogger. I think she’s currently based in Korea right now. She’s really beautiful. Really, really beautiful. Her skin looks HD, shine-bright-like-a-diamond flawless. And like Michelle Phan, she looks like she’s a very nice person. She’s all about products both drugstore and high-end that really work hard to improve and enhance the face, the body, and the look you’re going for.
Actually, yknow, she’s kind of like the Korean-Aussie version of Michelle Phan. With the makeup, the skin care, the lifestyle bits, and her oppa. She has her own adorable French boyfriend. But it’s her husband, and he’s Korean and they are the cutest when they’re together. If you don’t find them adorable, what’s wrong with you? Do you hate love?
So, to the men out there, if you’re going to date or marry a beauty vlogger, aside from staying together through sickness and until death doth do…um, part you or something, make sure you’re cool with offering your face up for her beauty tutorials and reviews. Because it will happen. Like it happened with Jen’s oppa.
So, those are my favorite YouTube beauty bloggers right now. And if I were to identify what they all have in common, I have three things to share:
- Know the basics of beauty. All these beauty vloggers recommend a ton of products, and if you’re like me, you’ll be tempted to get them all, but they all stress that it’s important to know what works for you and what doesn’t based on your face shape, your skin type, your eye shape, the color of your complexion, and other basics. That’s going to be the jump-off point when you’re choosing products and techniques. Skin care is supposed to help moisturize, correct, and heal your face, while makeup is supposed to highlight what you already have. The right products for you do wonders. The wrong ones just make everything bad worse.
- Just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean it’s the best. There are so many budget or drugstore brands that are kicking high-end makeup brands’ butts when it comes to good-quality makeup, and the guys on my list can confirm this in their videos. Again, it’s what works best for you. Skin care products and excellent brushes might be the exception, but makeup is an even playing field for everyone. Doesn’t matter if it’s Estee Lauder or Etude House. If it works for you, it works. And who wouldn’t want to save a pretty penny looking like a million bucks?
- Makeup is fun. Unless you’re a professional makeup artist, makeup shouldn’t stress you out. It’s okay to experiment, play, and make mistakes. I feel really good when other people tell me I’m improving, and they start coming to me for advice. It’s been half a year since I started becoming more interested in makeup, and I still call myself a beginner because that’s how I want to approach makeup. Curious, bright-eyed, adventurous, with an open mind. I am the painter, and my face is the canvas. Or oyster. Or blank space…baby. And I’ll write your name…using my foundation. Practice, practice, practice. Play, play, play!