Do you have to be RICH to be a YouTube beauty guru?

No, but it sure seems to help…

I don’t know about you, but I’m often lured to click on a YouTube video when the title is something like “$3,000 Full-Face Makeup!” I just gotta know which companies are offering makeup at such exorbitant prices, and do those products actually WORK?

Sizing up the products… and competition

As I’m watching the video, I’m also paying to attention to a few other things besides the makeup the YouTuber is using. Things such as the age of the YouTuber (mostly just a guess), what their chosen background for their video looks like (ubiquitous white room, anyone?), how are they dressed (trendy or jeans & T-shirt), how fancy/expensive-looking their jewelry is. What I’m trying to figure out is if the beauty guru is someone who can actually afford to spend that much money on high-end luxury brands and tools.

A lot of the beauty gurus that I like to watch are pretty well established. Now, whether they make a living only doing YouTube or whether they have a day job as well as a YT channel, I don’t know. Most of the beauty gurus I see who are really popular look like they may come from money and may actually be able to afford that $125 foundation out of pocket. Now, it could be that it’s just the persona they put on screen, but trust me, if you’re struggling financially you don’t drop money on super expensive makeup.

Where do they get all those wonderful toys?

So, I’m wondering as someone who is just starting out and wants to be a fairly successful YouTube beauty guru, how on earth do they afford all that stuff? I’m not just talking about the equipment they use to light, film and edit their videos, but the makeup! I know there are affiliate programs and PR lists you can get on as a beauty blogger, but in most cases you have to have a certain amount of traffic to your site and/or channel before you will even be considered for most of those.

I have watched videos from fairly young beauty gurus (teens to early 20’s) who are using a bunch of high-end makeup and brushes, and I’ve added up how much everything they used in the video would cost if I wanted to go buy it. The amount is usually shocking. When I was in my teens and 20’s, I never could have afforded to spend that much on makeup and beauty tools. Even as an adult with a full-time job and a little money to spare, I still wouldn’t spend that much on makeup and tools. (Then again, I get sticker shock just walking into Sephora sometimes. “You want HOW MUCH for 1 ounce of product?!?”)

Doing more with less

That being said, I’ve also watched videos from beauty gurus who do pretty amazing things with drugstore makeup and tools. Those tend to be my favorites. I personally love drugstore makeup and affordable online makeup and skincare brands. Anytime I can get something that’s just as good as the high end stuff at a drugstore price, I’m happy! ($125 for a Foreo sonic facial cleansing brush? No way! I got a very similar style sonic facial cleansing brush from Amazon for about $25, and two years later it still works fine.)

It’s one thing to create a fabulous makeup look using a bunch of high-end makeup and tools. It’s quite another to get the same results with drugstore makeup and tools. THAT takes a bit of talent. You point me to a channel where the beauty guru recreates high-end looks using nothing but drugstore and affordable online beauty brands and I will subscribe! Remember, “high quality” doesn’t necessarily mean “expensive.”

Use what you’ve got…

So, I guess starting out I will have to just use the products I already have. I will have to “shop my stash,” as they say. If I can’t create tutorials or reviews using what’s already on my shelves, then this YouTube beauty guru thing may not be for me. And I certainly don’t want to spend a ton of money buying every new beauty product that comes out. That would be madness! It would also be highly irresponsible. After all, I have a cat I need to keep in the lifestyle to which she’s become accustomed…

That’s not to say I won’t do haul videos or new product reviews. I’m GOING to buy new makeup anyway, so I may as well make videos and write posts about it, right? I just won’t be doing that sort of video or post every week. And the hauls will be pretty small, at least for now. Besides, I already have more makeup than any average person who doesn’t have a YouTube beauty channel should have. (Technically, I don’t have a channel yet. I just have a LOT of makeup.)

You don’t have to be rich to do great things.

For the time being, I will reign in my spending on beauty products and concentrate on the stuff I already have. If my aim is to produce content that’s useful and informative, then I shouldn’t need to go out and buy new stuff every week. I couldn’t afford to do that, even if I wanted to. And I know that as much as I like watching new product reviews, it gets really tiresome feeling like there’s all this new makeup I need to go out and buy. I don’t really want to feed into our consumer culture and be the reason someone spends a bunch of money they may not have on items they don’t really need. I would rather try to make people see they can do great things and look fabulous with what they’ve already got. And for that, you don’t need to be rich.

Do you like watching haul/PR unboxing videos? Hate watching them? Would you like to see more videos that focus more on technique than on products? Do you prefer to watch videos that feature affordable products over high-end? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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