Beauty Bloggers Continue Their Dominion Over Brands on YouTube

Image via Getty; (L-R) Kate Mason with Rosanna Pansino, Michelle Phan and Bethany Mota at Unleash YouTube in 2014
Image via Getty; (L-R) Kate Mason with Rosanna Pansino, Michelle Phan and Bethany Mota at Unleash YouTube in 2014

Beauty bloggers should take a minute to dust the foundation residue off their shoulders because a new study confirms that bloggers have increasingly generated much larger interest online than beauty brands.


According to research conducted by the advertising firm Pixability, YouTube’s biggest beauty influencers earn far better numbers and popularity than consumer beauty brands. WWD reports (emphasis mine):

The study, called “Digital Makeover: The Social Video Beauty Ecosystem,” found beauty brands commanded a mere 2.6 percent of the beauty conversation on YouTube this year, down from 4.6 percent last year, and 86 percent of the top 200 beauty YouTube videos are produced by creators.

The five most-watched beauty bloggers of 2016 (based on YouTube views) are the usual suspects: Michelle Phan, Rachel Levin, Bunny Meyer, Promise Tamang Phan and Bethany Mota. Pixability rep Jackie Swansburg Paulino told WWD, “The creators who are growing the fastest are growing over 400 to 500 percent year-over-year and the top brands are growing 30 to 40 percent. There is a huge difference.”

This seems to mirror general consumer consensus that online beauty gurus have become much more reliable than brands. The brands are, in turn, increasingly reliant on bloggers for marketing.

Predictably, makeup tutorials, which have grown overwhelmingly in the past several years, own the biggest share of YouTube viewership. Here’s how the numbers break down further:

Makeup tutorial videos are responsible for 68.5 percent of the views recorded for the top 200 beauty videos, up from 45 percent last year. Trailing behind makeup tutorials in terms of share of views are commercials (7 percent share), branding videos (7 percent), beauty tips (5 percent), routines (4.5 percent), vlogs (3 percent), product demos (2 percent), and the rest (3 percent), including video fare focused on reviews and men’s grooming.


According to the study, videos about skin care had the highest viewer growth, with 96 percent. In comparison, cosmetics-related video views increased by 82 percent and hair videos rose 42 percent. YouTube remains the prime source for beauty guidance. There, “total beauty views soared 65 percent year-over-year,” per WWD.

This research is especially enlightening given the current very serious conversation pitting traditional fashion elitists against fashion bloggers.


The beef stems from a Vogue roundtable published on Sunday in which several editors discussed Milan Fashion Week and denigrated style bloggers in the process.’s chief critic Sarah Mower turned a nose up, stating, “The professional blogger bit, with the added aggression of the street photographer swarm who attend them, is horrible, but most of all, pathetic for these girls.”


Despite the criticism from elitists, the point of Pixability’s study is that online beauty and fashion influencers, who’ve essentially pulled up their own seat at the table to which they’re widely un-welcomed, aren’t going anywhere.



I work for a big brand so I have a love hate with beauty bloggers. It’s great when they like a product of ours, and I love that makeup is so popular and women are really embracing it. On the flip side, a beauty blogger can’t give you a personally tailored, hands on experience like myself and other beauty advisors etc. can. We have detailed product knowledge that the bloggers don’t, and extensive training to help us help you.

Watch these folks and learn, but don’t forget about all of the old school makeup ladies (and gents, and non-conforming folks too) who are ready and waiting for you in shops and at counters, because we too are passionate about cosmetics and we want to work with you to create a personalized cosmetics regimine that makes you feel and look amazing.