Can You Really Trust Sponsored Beauty Product Videos?

There was once a time, not long ago, when the only way you would see celebrities linked to beauty products was through some cheesy TV ad. Your favorite new actress would become the face of Lancôme. Somehow, our brains were wired to believe that we, too, could look flawless if we just purchased that mascara

Fast forward to 2021, and that same effect has exploded into thousands of young and seemingly average people now telling you what you should buy, partnering up with your favorite brands. Their earnest relatability fools you to an entirely new extreme of believing that one product must be the secret to their edited reality. 

Starting with YouTube, beauty influencers have now expanded to share their tutorials and product recommendations across all social media platforms. Now, consumers turn to them to discover what to buy next. The industry seemingly exploded overnight, and we forgot to take a second to consider the immense power suddenly placed into their hands.

What often begins as a person sharing their secret to the perfect smokey eye from their kitchen explodes into millions of followers and the launch of their own beauty brand, as we've seen through Jaclyn Hill. Influencers quickly realized this hobby could turn into a business, and that's all due to the boost in sponsored beauty posts. The "regular" people who seemed just like us slowly morphed into not-so-regular celebrities. So, can we still trust them?

Take every sponsored post with a grain of salt

Fortunately, today's influencers must legally disclose when a post or video features a sponsored product — but have you noticed that once you see that "spon" text overlay, you lose interest? Why?

Over time, it's grown clearer that these influencers often accept deals to make money. You can't exactly fault them, as they have to make a living, too. Suddenly, your favorite YouTuber's entire makeup collection consists of products she hasn't spent a dime on, yet your bank account is struggling to keep up. 

The problem lies in the fact that it's tempting for influencers to always accept paid opportunities. While that may start innocently, it can easily spiral into simply accepting the highest bidder. Even influencers within the community have spoken out about the exploitative nature of sponsored posts. Marlena Stell posted an exposé, accusing influencers of being too money-focused (via YouTube).

Unfortunately, there's no failsafe tip for figuring out who to trust — all you can really do is trust your gut and judge of character. If you believe that the product the influencer was sponsored to talk about is something they've bought themselves and would use, perhaps they're reliable. If your favorite luxe-beauty YouTuber is suddenly recommending a drugstore brand they didn't know existed, however, you might want to think twice.