Every December, YouTube takes a look back at the year in viral videos with YouTube Rewind. Though there are gaming videos and even advertisements included in the mega-compilation, one category that is sorely missing, in my humble and only slightly biased opinion as a fashion and beauty writer, is the best YouTube beauty challenges of the year... because in 2015, there were plenty.
There are hundreds of amazing YouTube beauty gurus to follow if you're looking to learn a new technique or refine your skincare routine; and in 2015, these talented vloggers really upped their game and pumped out some memorable videos, many of them with an empowering, body positive message. Take, for example, Kandee Johnson's spin on "1 Face, 5 Makeup Looks," or Em Ford's powerful "You Look Disgusting" video, in which she gets incredibly honest about Internet hate.
But it's impossible to talk about the year that was in the YouTube beauty community without talking about all of the beauty challenges, many of which spread across the Internet like wildfire, worrying and inspiring adults in the process. Some were hilarious and helpful, while others kind of missed the mark. All of them, however, had some kind of impact and were certainly unforgettable. So if you're already feeling nostalgic for almost-yesteryear, here are seven beauty challenges that went viral on the Tube this year.
1. Vogue Beauty Challenge
For New York Fashion Week this September, Vogue took over the YouTube offices and posted a series of collaborations with some great beauty YouTubers like Lisa Eldridge and Karlie Kloss. Vogue and YouTube also put together their own beauty challenge, in which they invited these gurus to recreate some of the season's most memorable makeup looks. The winner, as announced by Kloss and Eldridge, was Sona Gasparian with this recreation of the makeup from Diane Von Fursternberg's runway show.
2. One Product Makeup Challenge
Kat Von D is a late entry into this year's competition for best YouTube beauty challenge, since she only launched her new series Kat's Beauty Chat in November. But her one product makeup challenge, in which she creates a cohesive, dramatic look using a single tube of lipstick and a lot of fancy brushwork, has already been replicated a few times on YouTube. It serves as a good reminder that you don't need a lot of different makeup products to have fun and be creative with your look.
The #DontJudgeChallenge might have been more of a Vine challenge than a YouTube one, but it made such a splash on the Internet this summer that it deserves a spot on this list. In these short videos, teenagers did their makeup to appear "ugly," with lots of fake zits and frizzy hair, then cut to reveal a highly polished, conventionally beautiful look. The challenge was nominally empowering, with the potential to encourage acceptance of individuals regardless of their physical appearance. But it quickly warped into a way for conventionally attractive individuals to mock those who don't fit the mold.
4. Clown Contouring
There are literally thousands of contouring tutorials on YouTube, but none of them are quite as whimsical as this one from YouTuber Esther Isabel Amado Romo, also known as BellaDeLune. In this "tutorial," which she says was never actually meant to be a tutorial at all in the video itself, Romo paints her face like a clown, even drawing a poop emoji on her forehead. She then blends it all together with a beauty blender, creating a seamlessly contoured look, with no signs of clown makeup remaining.
5. No Mirror Makeup Challenge
This YouTube challenge is a perennial favorite — going as far back as 2012, when Michelle Phan gave it a shot — and for good reason. It presents a somewhat realistic situation, because haven't most of us needed to blindly put on makeup while sitting in the back of the Fung Wah Bus from Boston to New York City, on our way to meet a partner for a romantic date at some point in our lives? This is the kind of challenge that had the potential to turn into a streaky mess. But it turns out YouTubers, and Web editors, are much better at doing their makeup blind than you might think.
6. The Power Of Makeup
YouTube beauty guru and professional makeup artist Nikkie posted this much-repeated challenge on her channel NikkieTutorials in June. Inspired by an episode of RuPaul's Drag Race, Nikkie does a full-glam makeup look on only one side of her face and leaves the other bare, making a point about the power of makeup in entirely transforming one's look and a very public statement against all the haters and makeup shamers out there.
7. Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge
No list of beauty challenges would be complete without the Kylie Jenner lip challenge, which hit Instagram and YouTube with a vengeance in 2015. Those hoping to get luscious lips like King Kylie herself stuck their lips into shot glasses and sucked out all the air. Sometimes it worked, but more often than not, it didn't; and in the worst case scenarios, some people really hurt themselves and ended up with aggressively bruised lips. Jenner herself disavowed this eponymous lip challenge on Twitter. So even though it looks funny, in all seriousness, don't try this one out at home. Besides, you don't need surgery or a shot glass to get Jenner's luscious lips; that's what makeup is for.
And if this year in review has taught us anything, it's that there are always plenty of YouTube tutorials to guide us in our dearest and weirdest beauty experiments.
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