So long Anna Wintour, hello Michelle Phan: beauty bloggers are the new beauty editors

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Please offer a warm welcome to our first-ever guest blogger, Kat Shermack. While I’m sure my words and commentary are pure gold, every so often, I’d like to feature the thoughts and opinions of other journalists in the industry. Kat Shermack is a freelance journalist who has contributed to Toronto Life, Investment Executive and The Grid. You can find her on Twitter at @katshermack.

When I was in high school and I was supposed to be doing homework I would find a lot of ways to procrastinate: talk to my friends on the phone, see if my crush was on MSN Messenger, or flick through the channels on T.V. Now when I’m procrastinating, I text my friends, see if my crush posted anything on Instagram, and watch YouTube videos.

Some of my favourite YouTube videos to watch are beauty videos. There are over 45,000 channels on YouTube specifically devoted to beauty, and their videos get millions of views a month. Mostly young women, who actually don’t need makeup at all, post videos about their favourite products, discuss the hottest makeup trends, and do makeup tutorials.

There is nothing new about the content. Magazines like Vogue and Cosmo have been doing these types of stories for decades. What’s different is the connection the viewers have with beauty YouTubers. Most of the videos are filmed and edited by the young woman themselves, usually right in their home. You’re not getting advice from an editor sitting in the Conde Nast office in New York City. You’re getting advice from someone who feels more like your friend.

Don’t get it twisted though — beauty YouTubers don’t work for free. Unlike my colleagues who work at newspapers, YouTubers have figured out how to monetize their business, and a lot of them do quite well for themselves. A lot of videos are sponsored by established makeup brands. Some YouTubers partner with makeup companies and put out their own products. This is all in addition to the money YouTube pays its content creators for all their videos.

It might seem silly to spend time talking about the business of beauty on YouTube. But I think these young women have figured out something a lot of people haven’t. Young people don’t have the same connection to traditional media that their parents had. They would rather listen to someone shooting a video in their living room than a mainstream magazine or T.V. show. Take a closer look at a smokey eye tutorial. It says a lot about how the way we consume media has changed.

—Kat Shermack

Image credit: YouTube

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