The Rise of Skinfluencers: How YouTube Has Changed the Beauty Industry

Influencer marketing revolutionized many industries, including the travel and food industry, but few underwent such drastic change as the beauty industry. YouTube has emerged as the primary source of referral traffic for major cosmetics and beauty brands, forcing the biggest names to leverage new content to stay ahead.

Beauty content has been on the rise on YouTube for years with billions of skincare- or makeup-focused content uploaded. Skin influencers, or skinfluencers, bring the power of influencer marketing to the beauty industry’s success on the platform, combining to form an unstoppable force.

Why YouTube Works for Beauty

YouTube was an early source for beauty content. In 2017 alone, the platform had 88 billion beauty-related video views.[1] Each month, YouTube registers over 700 million more views of similar content.

One unique thing about this is that the content is almost entirely from beauty influencers and content creators, giving beauty brands little share. Many of these influencers have tens of millions – if not hundreds of millions – of subscribers, which may include beauty brands, talent agents, and other industry professionals.

These influencers managed to capture so much of the market by truly understanding their audiences – the average person isn’t looking for a fantasy of a supermodel wearing makeup and the idea that they could look like this with the right product.

They want actual benefits. They’re looking for long-form content that highlights new brands and products, beauty trends, and beauty inspiration. They want to see what a foundation looks like on imperfect skin, not on an airbrushed 20-something, or how to do winged liner on a hooded eye.

That’s where the revolution happens. These audiences see how a product is used by people like them and put it into context in their own lives, which is far more valuable than seeing perfectly applied makeup on a beautiful and perfectly Photoshopped face.

What are Skinfluencers?

Skinfluencers are the next big thing for beauty and cosmetic brands. These influencers offer everything from makeup tutorials to skincare tips to product recommendations, giving younger audiences a trusted source for cosmetics and self-care trends.

These influencers are mostly young – the perfect audience for beauty and skincare brands. Younger audiences care more about transparency in products and want healthy skin over a conventionally beautiful face, as well as effective anti-aging products and other corrective products.

With the shift in content on YouTube, skinfluencers became the gatekeepers. Beauty brands need to leverage skinfluencer marketing to reach their audiences, promote new product lines, and get their brand name out there. These audiences don’t care much for a high-end brand name as much as what it can do.

How Big Beauty Brands are Harnessing the Power of Skinfluencers

So, who’s cashing in so far? Big names like L’Oréal Paris, which shares the brand umbrella with Yves Saint Laurent, Helena Rubinstein, Shu Uemura, IT Cosmetics, Maybelline New York, Redken, and NYX Professional Makeup.

L’Oréal Paris managed to leverage influencers by identifying the top skinfluencers and gifting products or putting ads in their videos, driving traffic to the website. But the traffic isn’t nearly as beneficial as the influencer, who can talk about a product and generate real interest from real people.

Here are some tips for leveraging skinfluencers:

  • Skincare product reviews: Influencers’ audiences trust them like friends and family for product recommendations. They’re credible – many of them are estheticians, dermatologists, or makeup artists, meaning if they like a brand’s beauty product, they can recommend it and the audience will listen.
  • Creative content: One of the most important aspects of working with skinfluencers is giving them artistic or creative freedom over their content. They know their audiences and take their commitment seriously, so it’s important to let them create their own way, without blatant promotion.
  • Organic content: Some skincare or beauty brands luck out and gain organic interest from influencers when they praise a product they believe in. It’s important for beauty brands to use social listening to see who’s talking about their products and make a list of influencers providing organic praise. If they already like the brand and the product, it’s possible to approach them for brand partnerships in the future.

Again, these content creators are the gatekeepers to a highly lucrative audience. The market is shifting in their favor, meaning that beauty brands need influencer marketing to stay ahead of the pack. Runway shows, full-page ads in fashion magazines, and overly produced television commercials with top models aren’t enough.

Elevate Your Beauty Brand with Skinfluencers

Skinfluencers and YouTube are a match made in heaven for skincare and beauty products and trends. With their unique content, credibility, and organic growth, these skinfluencers cornered the market and account for the majority of YouTube’s beauty content. Brands need to develop effective skinfluencer partnerships to reap the benefits.