The Key to a Big Beauty Launch: YouTube

Let's lay it all out there: the beauty industry has never been bigger.

A beauty launch today commands the same amount of attention as the release of a pop star's concert tickets. The same amount of marketing, mystery, excitement and desperation surrounds both scenarios. We wait with anticipation for a product to go live, we type in our billing and shipping information at an impressive speed and we click "complete your purchase" so fast that we barely have time to blink. Then, we wait for the hard-earned package to arrive so that we can say that we are a part of the group that owns the first run of a coveted product.

Even four years ago, we didn't approach makeup launches in the same way. We weren't hyper-aware that a new lipstick was launching or that a new mascara was dropping at the drugstore. If we were lucky, we would happen upon a display and be interested enough to try something new. It could be a holy-grail find or a major dud and we wouldn't know until we made the purchase.

It's safe to say that the game has changed, and there's one major thing that has contributed to that shift: YouTube.


YouTube's Beauty Empire

Since 2005, YouTube has been the home to beauty content creators. Young women and men created hobby channels dedicated to working with makeup and reviewing products. It was soon clear that there was a demand for these types of videos, and the category began to grow exponentially.

Big-name brands have taken notice of the importance that YouTube holds in the beauty community. With stats like "63% of people aged 13-24 would try a brand or product recommended by a YouTube content creator", it's hard to look past the power of the video platform. With this in mind, well-known beauty companies like Too Faced, Pixi Beauty and M.A.C. collaborated with YouTubers on limited edition collections to draw more millennial dollars.


Is This Launch a Hit or a Flop? Let YouTube Decide.


It's a Hit :)

These collaborations have largely been successful in consumer space. Because consumers place their trust in YouTubers, they're more likely to buy a product that has gained approval from a content creator.

One great example of a successful collaboration between a YouTuber and a makeup brand was the Jaclyn Hill Palette for Morphe. Jaclyn Hill is an extremely popular YouTube content creator, with about 4.5 million subscribers to her name. Her effervescent personality makes her an easy choice for a collaboration, but she has turned down opportunities in the past because she wasn't able to have enough creative control over the product. This is why her collaboration with Morphe was so successful. She was able to spend time (think years) working on her eyeshadow palette to make sure that the formula, the shades and even the packaging was absolutely perfect. As a product reviewer herself, she had the knowledge needed to create a product without flaws.

The verdict? Everyone on YouTube cannot stop raving about this palette. Because of the many ultra-positive reviews, the Morphe palette has sold out of three separate runs. Jaclyn Hill knows what she's doing.


That's a Flop :(

Not all launches go quite as smoothly as Jaclyn's. In fact, if a product leaves a lot to be desired, you can bet that the YouTube beauty community will be the first to shut it down. See: the Anastasia Subculture Palette.

With so much hype built around a palette, you would think that it would be an instant success. I was one of the people who was counting down the minutes until I was able to purchase this palette. All of the leaked photos of this new launch showed gorgeous shades, and I am still in love with my Makeup By Mario palette with Anastasia. I knew I needed more of that formula in my life.

Except that this palette did not have the same formula at all. Right after the palette launched, YouTube creators came out in full force against the product. Complaints of the shadows being too powdery, having a ton of fallout and falling apart in the pan made the rounds in the beauty community. Within days, it was clear that this palette was not going to sell out of another run. Verdict's still out on if Anastasia will keep this palette in their permanent lineup, but if YouTube has anything to say about it, it'll be forgotten before the year is out.


Say Yes to YouTube

YouTube can be the key to a successful launch or the downfall for a beauty brand who isn't prepared to defend their product. As YouTube has become more popular, consumers have become far more intelligent about their beauty products. We demand more from our eyeshadows, our foundations and our highlighters. Now we know what ingredients work for us and which we'd like to see be nixed from further formulas. We can describe the problems we have with makeup with almost surgical precision.

If brands want to flourish in the digital space, they will need to rely on YouTubers to do so. By either collaborating with creators or keeping their preferences in mind when developing a product, brands must tune into the conversations that are taking place on YouTube to survive. It's not just about placing product with the most famous YouTubers for review, it's about learning from their critiques and adapting to the new age of beauty.

If you're interested in keeping up with the latest beauty launches, keep in touch. I've got a secret project in the works, and you won't want to miss a thing.