Sunday, June 17, 2012

YouTube Intervention Request

Who knows exactly when it became a problem, somewhere along the line the switch flipped from casual interest to full 'monkey on the back' addiction. My name is Sarah and I'm addicted to YouTube makeup tutorials. Let me clarify, tutorials were the gateway drug. I had to figure out that winged eyeliner. False eyelashes, leopard print nails, after that it was contouring with powder, then with foundation. A haul video snuck in there, suddenly I needed those too. It went beyond makeup--the fishtail braid, the fat hipster bun, the amazing rookie 2 minute beehive.
I needed my own YouTube account and subscriptions. I know I'm not alone--some of these videos have hundreds of thousands of views! And there is not one cat playing piano to be seen!
Once upon a time I was a womens' magazine junkie. Throughout high school and university I read about 10 magazines monthly. I still love them.  Over time though, I came to feel I was wasting time and money reading them. I started feeling guilty about loving something so superficial and wasteful, and for spending hard earned cash on the beauty myth. All those hours spent poring over fashion spreads--couldn't an educated woman think of better things to do? In the interval between fashion magazine obsession and online video obsession I came to a conclusion--I like what I like. I like fashion, I like makeup, I love a big fat September issue with insane pictorials. And apparently I like watching strangers execute the smoky eye with surgical precision using a particular Wet'n'Wild palette that was limited edition last fall.
The beauty of online makeup videos is that 1) the women are real, not airbrushed and often not professional; and 2) most of the time they aren't getting anything from their endorsement. On occasion there is an endorsement arrangement and the vlogger tells you upfront. These women actually use and like the products they demonstrate, and often have an encyclopedic knowledge of what else is available. What is worth spending money on and what to avoid. This is where I`ve learned what products to spend money on (foundation) and what to get on the cheap (most everything else).
The best videos are probably those by actual makeup artists, but those aren't my favourites. My favourites are the amateurs with encyclopedic knowledge. The girls and women, mostly from all over North America who live and breathe makeup. I love that they`re all different types of real women and you kind of get a sense of their personalities after watching a few vids. They`ve done a lot of work and research so I don`t have to, once you get to `know`them, they can save you time and money. They know the best products, the best techniques. The amateurs aren`t often pretentious, they`re funny, self deprecating even....real.
Makeup ads lie all the time, I kind of like the hyperbole. But in makeup vlogs, there is usually no incentive to mislead you.
I also love the `haul`videos, especially hauls from drugstores and fast fashion retailers. You kind of get a shopper`s high without spending money. If something looks really amazing, you can get it yourself and you haven`t spent that much money. I like the way the women talk through their purchases, explaining why they like this or that thing. I don`t know why I find it entertaining.
For some I like the personality of the vlogger, others share my taste, still more are totally taste divergent but still interesting for some reason, and then there are a handful that I might watch because I dislike the vlogger or her taste (hate-watching in other words). The tutorial videos with tens of thousands of view might be amazing, the ones with a handful of views might be amazing in a different way.
I'm the kind of person who wants to look into your makeup bag. I love that feature in US magazine where the starlet opens her purse for the readers, but even more fascinating to me would be the handbag of the woman sitting next to me on the bus. I know I"m not alone here, I remember a ski trip in my twenties where the first evening was spent not at the chalet, but with 5 women swilling wine and excavating our makeup bags. I love hearing what products other people swear by.
 I don`t even care that much if the video production is poor (it`s usually not even that bad), the vlogger awkward, the products useless to me--something about the amateur makeup tutorial is just riveting mindlessly riveting. The comments on the videos aren`t usually that scathing, which is nice--most people watching are doing so because they like the vlogger. There seems to be fewer trolls on the comments. The piece de resistance? I get to see someone else's bathroom.
Do you like fashion or beauty video blogs? Which ones are your favourite?

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