The Surprising Timeline Of The Rise Of Beauty On YouTube

YouTube is a Gen Z success story; she's only a little over the age of 15 but she's seen enormous growth in that time. The video platform now has over 2 billion monthly users who engage with its content on every device they own, per BackLinko. And while each user has video recommendations on their homepage based on the kind of genre they like to see, the algorithm has to sift through thousands of genres within the multiverse of YouTube. Based on who you are, you're going to find Vine compilations that can "end my depression," step-by-step recipes from Italian grandmothers, redundant conspiracy theories, and a rabbit hole of beauty tutorials.

Quite like YouTube itself, the rise of beauty on the platform has been continuous and explosive: in 2008, the genre had 2 billion views, which increased to 169 billion by 2018, according to Statista. As noted by Insider, early beauty YouTubers like Michelle Phan and NikkieTutorials contributed to that rise with easy makeup tutorials, paving the way for content creators like Zoella and Bethany Mota to integrate lifestyle content within their beauty tutorials. Low-quality shaky cameras and application-oriented videos soon turned into highly edited productions. Now, the $500 billion beauty industry depends on influencers and YouTubers to spotlight and market their products.

Individual beauty influencers are bigger than brands

As beauty eclipsed many other genres on YouTube, it became clear that beauty brands weren't the ones claiming views. Individual vloggers and content creators control about 97% of the space, according to Digital Surgeons, and loyal audiences watch their makeup hauls and tutorials intently. This is probably why you see more sponsored posts than you'd like to; brands picked up on the fact that audiences trust the YouTubers they watch and prefer to buy products based on their recommendations.

As a result, beauty YouTubers became marketable brands themselves; people are invested in who they are, what they like and what they're up to. With over 20 million subscribers, YouTubers like Yuya and James Charles are celebrities in their own right. Other beauty influencers like Tati Westbrook, Jeffree Star, and Jaclyn Hill also have communities of millions, allowing each of these influencers to craft their brand after themselves. Some have channeled that brand into books, some launched their own makeup lines, and others collaborated with newer personalities. 

Either way, the beauty community on YouTube has certainly eclipsed its humble beginnings — mainly because of individual influencers.