In the realm of beauty, one glossy pigment can be an eyeshadow, lip balm, blush, highlighter — the list goes on. With so many possibilities for what to talk about, it can be daunting for beauty vloggers to add their own content to the billion hours of footage watched every day.
Luckily, 13 years after YouTube was founded, the beauty vlog has full genres now! We all know how a basic makeup tutorial generally works, so here are a few more established forms to inspire your videos.
Get Ready With Me, or GRWM
The creator applies makeup while talking in some intimate setting, typically a bedroom or bathroom. These videos feel friendly and personable, and the creator typically preps for some specific event, such as a school day or a night out, to lend credence to the tutorial and perhaps further relate to the viewer. It can be tricky to apply makeup and chat simultaneously, so it’s best to outline some talking points beforehand. Because of the sociable setting, these videos are a good place for Q&As, updating people on your life or even potentially opening up more difficult discussions; the last few years have definitely seen a rise in political and health-related conversations on YouTube.
Having bought a fair amount of products, the creator now details the purpose behind the purchases. If vlogging is an actual source of income, then you can write these hauls off in your taxes. For smaller channels however, this can be a big investment depending on where you shop. It’s also one of the most consumerist forms, easily critiqued for encouraging viewers to shop thoughtlessly. That said, these videos can still be super entertaining to watch, and there’s always a sale someplace!
Credited to Kimberly Clark, this recent form focuses the criticism that swirls around any new product or traditional beauty practice. The creator discusses why they won’t be purchasing an array of products for the season, with reasons ranging from a lack of skin tones, problematic company executives, sheer uselessness,s and beyond. This format is great because it’s literally free to produce and allows for some necessary critical discussion.
The creator does a full face of makeup using only products that fall under a certain umbrella: all drugstore, all luxury, vegan, et cetera. This is a good chance to explore a certain brand, giving viewers a blanket look at the respective offerings; products from the same brand also tend to work well together, so this is another opportunity to test that. The thrill of a full face of luxury makeup is practically tangible, but for more affordable or vegan makeup, it’s cool to see that those looks are just as feasible.
This format is pretty popular for the immediate, authentic reactions of the creator as they test new products on camera. In my opinion, cosmetics take at least three weeks of consistent use to form a full opinion — and longer for some skincare — but it’s fun to have a quick look as well. These videos involve swatches, of course, and some light testing to figure out what works.
Truly a bolster of any beauty channel, these videos are routine lists of currently beloved things. It’s common to produce these on a monthly basis, but this can easily fall to the realm of disbelief: Can a person really have a new favorite, must-have lipstick every month? It’s advisable to space out these videos, perhaps on a seasonal basis, as well as include things besides cosmetics to give viewers a more rounded look into your life.
Red carpets have historically nudged along beauty trends, and this is no different on YouTube. The good news is that all you have to do is find a makeup look on a celebrity you like; the tricky part will be figuring out how they got that exact blend of four different eyeshadows. These videos usually center on achieving a specific look from the celebrity — a great place to put in drugstore dupes of super shmancy products — but sometimes the creator will review cosmetics that the celeb is known to use, testing products to see if they deserve that starred approval.
What’s In My Bag/Vanity
The creator gives a tour of their bag or vanity; the format of this video really hinges on the intimate exploration of a space so close to them, as expounded in this article. It’s a chance to talk about the daily objects of your life and what makes them so necessary. Jenn Im has a clever take on the format, framing the casual bag video with a fun narrative device. The flip side of this format would be decluttering your vanity, as Tati’s recent series proved: Her collection is large enough to warrant videos dedicated to each segment of makeup. Similar to the Anti-Haul, Decluttering is a good opportunity to discuss what’s worth keeping in your collection as you tidy up.
Morning / Night Routine
The creator details their daily routine, typically revolving around skincare with some mentions of food and other activities if they’re ambitious. Given that these routines revolve around just waking up or winding down to fall asleep, the imagery and sounds are soft. It’s easiest to film this with a later voiceover in mind as you bounce around the bathroom and kitchen.
Some of these formats are staples of the beauty blogosphere while others have evolved more recently in response to changing consumer culture. When figuring out your next video, it’s necessary to consider the materials you have available and how much you want to invest in your channel given your level of production.
Beyond the practical information conveyed in any of these videos, the established forms are also pretty comforting as a viewer. After years of watching beauty videos myself, I can say that such forms are familiar to me. I know just what I’m getting when I click on something titled “SIMPLE DEWY MORNING LOOK”, and that’s what I want when I’m stressed: to slide into the warm soup of algorithms.
Most important, though, is what appeals to you. What do you want to talk about, and how? These formats might seem cut and dry, but there are still endless possibilities for invigorating content. Break a brush!