Are Beauty Guru’s Bad Influencers? 

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

32 Comments Add yours

  1. Stella says:

    I agree, it is harder for me to take a good review of something that was free to them seriously. I really don’t think that the same value is attached to a free item. I like how they will often say that as a disclaimer – I love this product, it was $100 but I got it for free. Like that is a good thing? It is good for them, I guess…? I have really started limiting what I buy based on influencer recommendation. You just never know, enjoyed the post!


    1. lifewithmrst says:

      I tend to use the Facebook beauty groups for recommendations now, I have a lot of friends that will be honest about products. If the item is expensive I will hold out as much as possible. Thanks for reading

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a good point. I do tend to be a bit wary of things like this, and might get a recommendation and then google it too to check what everyone else is saying! Thanks for sharing 🙂


  3. Melissa says:

    Very interesting points you make. It is true the lines between opinions and paid advertisements have been crossed. Lots of “bribing” and perks. Plus the messages they send can be really daunting for young girls in particular who think they need to look this way, have all this, be like that rather than celebrate who they are.


    1. lifewithmrst says:

      It is scary, I have a daughter and I dread to think about the future if things carry on this way


  4. gloriagordon says:

    I enjoy watching YouTube Tutorials but I take everything online with a grain of salt until I really get to know the person. So famous YouTubers like Jaclyn or NikkiTutorials, I enjoy watching because they’re fun. But I wouldn’t buy a product from them until I saw it on someone I actually knew who reviewed it and decided it was worth the money. This article was an interesting read because people can’t always see that people(while with good intentions) aren’t giving the 100% truth.


  5. elizabethcolette says:

    I’m sure there are people who are just out for themselves, which is sad. I try to do lots of research before I buy something, not just trust someone I saw on youtube!


    1. lifewithmrst says:

      Unfortunately some people are either too trusting or too apathetic to do the research. People want things handed on a plate including what they should buy


  6. arcasela says:

    Big debate right here! I think there’s still some merit to the influencers that both get paid/gifted but also give honest reviews. But again I think it’s also up to the audience to decide if they trust the review as everyone is entitled to their own opinion. As long as influencers are transparent and state if they have been paid/sponsored/gifted.
    Amanda |


  7. Humaira says:

    I’ve pretty much stopped watching the “gurus” and instead focus on working makeup artists like Wayne Goss and Lisa Eldgridge who will give you an honest opinion. I do a lot of research and wait for a sale before I part cash.


  8. shaunacoleman79 says:

    I love your views on this! I watch reviews on youtube sometimes before I buy something but I always listen for them to say where “they” bought it and how much “they” paid for it.


  9. I think you need to be able to watch youtube videos of these influencers and still have your opinion of a the product being presented. As somebody who follows many beauty and fashion bloggers/influencers, I don’t judge them for the fact that they have been able to become successful doing something they love. I think it’s a great tool for consumers to hear from a “regular” person their view of different products. At the same time, I also know that just because a certain influencer claims a certain mascara to be amazing doesn’t mean I am going to like it. If they are sharing sponsored work it’s because their job is to try and sell a product just like any other form of commercial. I think this is a great topic of discussion!


    1. lifewithmrst says:

      I completely agree, we all have to do our job and earn money but there is a certain amount of honesty needed at the same time. When you watch an advert on tv You are fully aware it’s an ad. Where it blurs the lines is when people are not aware that it’s a paid advertisement. It’s a brilliant topic for discussion


  10. SC says:

    This was such an interesting post to share! I hadn’t heard about any criticism recently but I do feel like certain beauty influencers set unrealistic expectations for viewers, especially young girls. It’s unfortunate that many of beauty influencers are just reviewing what’s being handed to them. This system really removes authenticity from the final product. Ugh! I’m just not sure how it will/can change.
    Cheers, Sarah Camille //


  11. Ophelia Tang says:

    Your post is very insightful and a great starting point for discussions. Thanks for sharing.
    XOXO //SINCERELY OPHELIA | NYC Petite Fashion Blogger


  12. I would say that personally I am not swayed by free products. I’m still basically a “newbie” bloggger and I am not in the slightest a large influencer, however my blog has been noticed by a few brands, indie and commercial, that decided to send me something. I’m also a member of Influenster, and I sometimes get free products from various brands in a box for review. My every intention is to figure out if it is good enough to repurchase or not. If something is absolutely terrible, don’t care if it’s free or not, it’s terrible! Lol so I am never going to give something a pass for just because I didn’t pay for it. In fact I’d jump for joy that I didn’t pay for it, and encourage others it isn’t worth their money. My money may not had been wasted, but my time certainly was, which is more valuable to me.


  13. Pam Avoledo says:

    I think it’s unethical. The companies need to hire them as official spokespeople than hide behind the content. Once money exchanges hands, any objective review won’t happen. It aggravates me.


  14. Kari says:

    Such a great post. Thanks for the inspiration!


  15. Ive thought of this myself from time to time. How truthful can their statement and review be if they recieved a makeup product worth hundreds of dollars? I get that they all need to start somewhere and free products gets them a boost forward, but I do like the youtubers that actually are being truthful like Linda Hallberg that says it like it is regardless of products worth. Great post.


  16. Autum says:

    I think a lot of people are becoming hip to what these YouTubers are doing. But again I don’t buy into everything they are saying for the most part I just watch these videos for entertainment. Given I do have my favorite YouTubers who I will buy what they recommend just because of their proven loyalty to their subscribers. But they are also smaller channels. I wish brands would pay attention to the smaller YouTubers and bloggers because I actually trust them more than the big ones.


  17. Angela says:

    Very informative post. I rarely wear makeup so I don’t watch many of these videos. But I agree completely!


  18. This is such a brilliant point you have put up. Everybody should love what they are. Keep it up!!


  19. Jennifer F says:

    You would have never known!
    Great post.


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