They watch beauty tutorials daily and spend all their pocket money on make-up. Can three beauty-obsessed teens teach Stylist’s resident experts a thing or two?
In just five weeks YouTube vlogger Zoella’s video 2014 Beauty Favourites reached 2,007,172 hits. It’s almost 20 minutes long, features her pet pug Nala and is set in her own living room. Don’t be fooled by its modesty though; cultural trends don’t get much bigger than the behemoth that is the beauty vlog. And their teen audience can’t get enough – beauty is the most frequently searched topic when it comes to how-to style content in that age category with 77% of teenagers subscribing to a YouTube channel, and 63.5% watching YouTube daily.
Views for beauty have increased from 300 million per month in 2010 to 700 million last year, while 14.9 billion of the videos on YouTube are beauty related and upwards of 75 hours of beauty themed videos are uploaded every single day.
Through their laptops, teenagers are equipping themselves with the tools to navigate their worlds, and that includes creating supermodel cheekbones or a killer blow-dry.
Of course, it’s a very different landscape to the one we were faced with as teens where a beauty tutorial was sketched out step-by-step on the pages of Sugar or Mizz magazine. We loved make-up, but we had scant resources to learn about it.
Today’s teens have an enormous community of vloggers to draw from and all that info-laden content has created a generation who confidently experiment with their looks in a way we never did. The world of beauty has responded with a slew of brands offering professional quality make-up at pocket-money prices.
These teens watch, listen, repeat and practise until they get the techniques and tricks down pat. It’s not dissimilar to learning a language and begs the question: if teens are so immersed in these tutorials are they as fluent in all things make-up as a team of professional beauty journalists? We found three young make-up enthusiasts and asked them to evaluate the Stylist beauty team’s daily look. Turn the page for the eye-opening results.
Contouring is key
Caoimhe Doogan Clarabut, 16, shows Joanna McGarry, Stylist’s associate editor (beauty), how to get the details right
“I watch beauty tutorials when I don’t have any homework. I’ll practise my own make-up and have them on in the background. I love the Ugly Face Of Beauty starring Gracie Francesca; she’s mixed race, has curly hair and is from London – a lot of YouTubers are from America. I also really love Shani Grimmond – she’s hilarious and really pretty. Sometimes it’s nice just to listen to what they get up to. My friends always ask me to do their make-up. I do their eyebrows in the toilets at school.”
Sponge on your foundation “Joanna says her foundation wears off too quickly so she should use a BeautyBlender [£15] to apply it. I squirt foundation onto the tip of the blender instead of my hand so I don’t waste any.”
Wax and powder your brows “She doesn’t really groom her brows, so I showed Joanna how to use an old, clean mascara wand to brush them and to apply a wax [Brow Kit in Dark, £8.49, Sleek MakeUp] to define and set them before powdering over the top to make them last. I remember a few vloggers saying that brows are sisters not twins – I think it’s nice if they’re not exactly the same.”
Good light makes for better contouring “Joanna never attempts contouring, but after my brows, I spend a bit of time getting this right using a small, flat face brush [Expert Face Brush, £9.99, Real Techniques]. I go into the bathroom where the light is better and look down into a mirror at the shadows on my face. The shadows are where the contour should go – I just make a line from the top of my ear and follow it down until it’s in line with the end of my eyebrow. I blend it with a buffing brush and highlight the tops of my cheekbones, my Cupid’s bow and my brow bone.”
Spend more time on your lashes “I don’t curl my lashes because I don’t think it makes a difference. And I’ve never used eye shadow. My perfect mascara is really fresh and moist – the one Joanna has been using is a bit old. I don’t care about the wand itself, but I always use the tip to get at the roots and apply about three or four coats. My favourite mascara is Benefit’s They’re Real! [£19.50]. I don’t know how they did it, it’s so good.”
“Caoimhe quickly exposed the fact I’ve become lazy with my make-up. Her passion for perfect application is infectious. She proved that contouring is not just for the catwalk, it’s a form of modern make-up trickery that every woman can master – quickly. Ultimately, Caoimhe has taught me that if you make time to get the details right – the complexion and the brows – you’re on to a winner.”
Lift and illuminate
Rhiana Ridoynauth, 18, teaches Loretta De Feo, Stylist’s contributing beauty writer, how to master the natural look
“Aaliyah Jay and Carli Bybel are my favourite YouTube beauty tutorials. I watch about an hour a week but if a video is too long or I don’t like the look I’ll switch off. The best tips I’ve learned are how to highlight and use setting powders. What you need to remember with highlighters is that they lift the area you’re highlighting – so you’re basically trying to bring out your cheekbones, that’s the goal. The trick is to pick a colour one or two shades lighter than your skintone.”
Multitask your concealer “Loretta uses her fingers to apply concealer, but I always think it looks better if you use a small eye shadow brush to blend it. She says she isn’t that good at applying concealer under her eyes so she adds eyeliner on top to take the attention off any puffiness. I told her to use concealer to highlight – it’s not just for covering up blemishes or dark circles. I put it under my eyes, down the bridge of my nose to make it look straighter, on my Cupid’s bow and maybe a little on my chin. I rub it in with a BeautyBlender [£15].”
Don’t fear the contour “Then, I showed Loretta how to use Mac Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation [£21.50] in two shades darker than her skin colour to contour – it makes her face look slimmer. Then I would highlight to keep it all together with a lighter powder. The most important thing is to blend, blend, blend.”
Groom your brows “Loretta doesn’t use anything on her eyebrows, because she says they’re pretty much non-existent but I have hardly any eyebrow hairs and always pencil them in. I like mine to have a higher arch so it can take half an hour sometimes to get them right. I actually use a black eye shadow with a small brush and my trick is to start heavier and fade it out – it’s a technique I learned from watching lots of videos.”
“I’ve been buried in a make-up rut for years – a smidge of foundation, bright lipstick and copious amounts of black eyeliner – I’d always wanted to try a more natural look, but didn’t know how to approach it. Rhiana opened up my eyes. I’m amazed at the number of steps to achieving said natural look, but I’ve got to hand it to her, it totally works: I look younger and well-rested. She showed me I didn’t really need to ditch anything but if I applied my foundation and concealer in a certain way using her techniques there’s no need to wear as much eyeliner and lipstick – a trade-off that creates a whole new look without investing in any new products.”
Brighten the eyes
Stevie Hilton, 15, reminds beauty editor Samantha Flowers about making the most of her professional skills
“I spend about nine hours a week watching videos online. I watch vlogs in the evening instead of TV, when I’m brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed. I used to watch Zoella and Tanya Burr but now I watch American beauty vlogs like HeyClaire, she lives in LA and has great fashion sense.”
Don’t be scared of powder “Samantha’s make-up look is quite natural like mine. She never uses powder, which for me is a must. I wear a light BB cream [BB Cream Skin Perfector, £9.99, Garnier], I don’t apply too much otherwise it looks cakey, then I add a little bit of powder – I’ve used this Maybelline Matte Maker Mattifying Powder [£3.99] so much you can’t really read the label anymore. I have oily skin, so I re-apply at lunch time.”
Define with a ‘backwards three’ “I was surprised that Samantha doesn’t use any of the tricks she says she knows. One of the best techniques I learnt was from [beauty vloggers] PixiWoo on how to sculpt and contour. I showed Samantha how to draw a strong line under her cheekbone with Too Faced Matte Bronzer [£25] and then blend it with a bigger, softer brush. That’s the way I usually do it, but sometimes I do the ‘backwards three’, which I saw in another video. It makes a really big difference to your face. I was scared to do it for ages because some people at my school have a visible line when it goes bad.”
Brighten eyes with highlighter “Samantha says her concealer always fades throughout the day, so I showed her an eye-brightening trick that I learnt that from Tanya Burr. You add highlighter to the inner corner of the eyes to make them ‘pop’ and under the arch of your brows to define your brow shape. It’s subtle, but really opens up the eyes.”
“Somehow, I have regressed in my ability to apply make-up. That became abundantly clear when Stevie started rattling off all the insider tricks she’s picked up from vloggers. Years of backstage reporting have taught me how to master the perfect contour and I know that using a little white eye shadow on the inner corner of the eye is a key red carpet secret, but I don’t use any of it. Stevie has reignited my love for the artistry of make-up and I’ve vowed to spend an extra five minutes each morning paying attention to my routine.”
Have vloggers revolutionised your beauty routine? Do you have a favourite video you've bookmarked? Share your recommendations and tips in the comments below.