Like most great sharing platforms on the Internet, YouTube is an endless outlet that sources everything from music and film to how-to’s and tutorials to — of course — cat videos. But what makes YouTube particularly special is its access and availability: Basically anyone with wi-fi and a camcorder can post content to the site. And there is just something beautiful about how easily you can gain knowledge and information from YouTube. Especially when it comes to makeup and the subsequent world of the beauty vlogger.
When I first dabbled in cosmetics, I was terrible at the whole application process. I would smudge lipstick all over my mouth and I would don wads of blush that made me look like Little Bo Peep. Eventually, however, a friend introduced me to the industry of YouTube beauty vloggers, and I haven’t looked back since. There’s a whole community of YouTube accounts that focuses solely around beauty and makeup artistry. Users teach you exactly how to get a perfect cat eye with the eyeliner type of your choice; professional MUAs show you their work on IRL sets; and you can finally learn how to get Kylie Jenner’s plump, overdrawn lips (even if they don't bode well in everyday life).
There's simply no doubt that vloggers have contributed to my grander knowledge of beauty and makeup artistry, as they have for many other millions of viewers out there who also get caught up in the entertaining yet informative videos. And whilst I’m always willing to watch tutorials, hauls and tag videos, there’s just one type of beauty vid that endlessly fascinates me: Makeup collections.
Makeup collection videos are exactly what you think they are, and even more. Beauty vloggers lead viewers around their extensive amounts of makeup — collections that rival the stock at any Sephora, Ulta or any friendly neighborhood department store. Usually organized very neatly and in large chests or units, vloggers open each drawer and go through their extensive blushes, designer eyeshadow palettes, and rows upon rows of lipsticks — naming them and giving us mini reviews in the process. As soon as you think they are nearly done — could anyone possibly have any more makeup? — they move on to the next cabinet or vanity that holds yet another set of products. And this is something extraordinary and terrifying about this all (in equal measure).
Usually prefaced with a, “This is very highly requested,” disclaimer, the vloggers' makeup collection videos rack up a considerably large amount of views as compared with their usual work. When doing a search for “makeup collection” on YouTube, almost all of the videos have at the very least hundreds of thousands of views. For very popular vloggers like Zoe Sugg (also known as Zoella), we see the difference on an even larger scale. The British beauty guru turned author's makeup collection vid currently has a whopping 3.7 million views — when her average video gets around 2 million views. This makes Zoella's collection her third most watched video of 2014, only behind a messy bun tutorial and a seven-second challenge video featuring Miranda Sings.
Other notable makeup collection videos belong to Elle Fowler of All That Glitters, with 3.5 million views of her beautiful vanity; The Beauty Bybel's Carli Bybel's glamorous setup, with 1.1 million views; Aussie Lauren Curtis' modern "unit" with 1.1 million views; and Zoella's friend and fellow British vlogger Tanya Burr with 1.3 million views.
Like I said before, I'm a sucker for beauty videos, and the aforementioned vloggers are some of my favorites. Their talents are undeniable and I have definitely learned a ton from their work. And while I get sucked into watching beauty videos for well over a few hours on a weekly basis, there's just something so exhilarating yet petrifying about full-on makeup collection videos. I'm aware that most of these vloggers have dedicated themselves to their channels and made a living out of their videos, but seeing the amount of makeup they have makes me question their rationality, as well as my own.
Observing as these vloggers go through tons of makeup from every brand, from every store, from every collection makes me wonder whether they simply cannot control what they buy, and just splurge on everything because they've cultivated a consumeristic obsession (no judgment — but so much makeup). On the other hand, I know that the way they purchase and consume makeup has a lot to do with the experience I — and millions of other people — have when watching their videos. As a consumer of their content, I should be glad that they're willing to share how they feel about new products. I should be glad that they explain how they incorporate those new products within their makeup routines. I must admit that I have made purchases based on their opinions, but I just cannot fathom how much time, money and work goes into maintaining a makeup collection so large that it requires a whole room to store. Sure, PR reps for beauty corporations will often gift them review products, but still.
I know my fascination with these women is definitely shared (I promise, I didn't watch Zoella's video 3.7 million times on my own), and I'll never get over the hype about makeup collection videos. From the fact that vloggers have that much makeup to the excitement of being able to catch a glimpse into their personal collections, every aspect of their work somewhat confuses and delights me. Maybe I'm just jealous that I don't own that much makeup. But honestly, I wouldn't know what to do with that many products. And a part of me thinks that vloggers don't either.
Images: YouTube; Giphy