As you might know, there has been some controversy surrounding certain ‘influencers’ on YouTube. (Too much drama in makeup) There is a growing trend of people questioning the ‘integrity’ of influencers in the beauty world and calling into question whether or not their opinion on products is genuine or an elabourate plan to make the unsuspecting public to part with their hard earned money.
When I use the word ‘influencer’ I am talking about social media celebrities such as Zoella, Jaclyn Hill, NickieTutorials, Manny MUA, Shaaanxo and Tati Westbrook that use YouTube and other social media platforms to either make tutorials, do reviews and hauls and possibly promote their recent collabouration or book (in the case of Zoella who has three). Most of these people started out recording in their bedrooms, using what products they could afford at the time on their ‘day job’ salary and relatively few followers. Now they are host to millions of subscribers that eagerly tune in to see what latest products they are going to talk about.
As time has passed and competition for sales has become an rife in an over saturated market, brands have turned to these channels to help show and sometimes promote these products. Imagine getting your brand out to millions of people without having to pay for the latest film star to strut around in your cosmetics on an advert or photoshoot. Most of the time all brands have to do is to send the influencers the products for free and they will be featured, who does not like getting free stuff?
This does not apply to all YouTubers, I am led to believe some of the elite charge the company a set fee for them to even review the product and feature them on their videos. Is that review genuine if money has exchanged hands; how could somebody give an ‘objective’ review if they are being paid to review it? Even if the influencer has not been paid to feature it and received it for free, does that immediately lower the value of the product and hence ‘devalue’ the review itself?
Picture this, you have bought two different eyeshadow palettes, one of them cost £40 and the other was given to you for free. If the free one isnt very good you just say ‘Oh well, at least it was free, its not that bad really’ whereas if you try the more expensive palette and the quality is not there you will be left feeling ripped off, angry and probably vowing to do your research next time before you believe the hype. How can somebody who got the product for free really objectively review a product; for me a £40 palette is quite a few hours worked, a trip to the cinema or toys for the children (they have enough though, honestly the house is full of them).
Of course people could argue ‘They know the price so they can be comparable and say whether they would pay for it themselves’, but for many of these influencers money is not really an object. Again, if influencers can buy a £40 palette in the same way I would buy a £1 mascara (it’s only a pound, a gamble like a lottery ticket) then does that review still apply when many of us have to save to buy luxary, high end products?
There is also the issue of coupon codes and affiliate links. I am well aware that people do need to make a living and affiliate links can provide a good source of income, but again, does that influencer have the code because they really are passionate about the products or is it just because they pay well.
A perfect example of this is the case of Jaclyn Hill and Morphe. It has been outlined by many people that Jaclyn is over saturating her video content with Morphe products when actually she much prefers higher end products but has to feature Morphe because her coupon codes provide her with a hefty income. Many of her followers have hit back in anger at the quality of Morphe, in particular, their brushes.
Another thing is the fact Morphe is a ‘private label’ company and consumers are actually paying often roughly £8 more just to have the ‘Morphe’ label on it. Are you really a ‘good influence’ if you knowingly support a brand that is making a huge markup on their products? Products that can easily be duped cheaper by brands such as Makeup Revolution and still have good quality. They have released a line of 35 palettes that are very similar to the 35P, 35O and 35F and knowing the quality of Makeup Revolution eyeshadows they would not dissapoint.
Another Morphe controversy involving Manny Mua and Laura Lee blew up last week all over YouTube with the ‘drama channels’ calling them out about a series of Snapchat posts where they are out ‘shopping’ at the Morphe store. They where heard saying they were going to ‘buy everything’ and in reality, the store gave it to them as a gift. It was only when people zoomed in on the receipt that they realised hundreds (maybe thousands) of dollars worth of cosmetics and brushes were actually given to them for free. How can you really be objective when brands are buttering you up with as many goodies as you can shake a makeup brush at? Laura Lee hit back at the drama channels in a Snapchat rage, again, is this the right image that we want influencing beauty addicts?
Did you know that makeup brands take their favourite influencers on holiday? I did not know this till recently that brands like Tarte jet their YouTubers off the tropical paradises to enjoy themselves; again does this scew the opinion of that brand in the influencers mind. They are presenting a lifestyle where excess is celebrated, is this a realistic role model to influence people with. The rise in these influencers has generated peoples desire to ‘have it all’, is this really responsible? When people have bills to pay, is it really appropriate to be constantly telling us ‘you ned this product’ when in actual fact they got it for free in the first place and you buying it is actually paying for their next holiday in the Carribean.
I think that the topic of ‘bad influencers’ could be spread over more posts, I have so much still to say on the subject. As with all my posts, I will let you make your own mind up on things. In the future I am going to take YouTube with a massive pinch of salt. Ciao for now makeup fans xx