How many times have you scrolled past an ad on social media and wondered, “Is that $1 makeup is actually worth it?” Well, Safiya Nygaard may have your answer.

On her YouTube channel, Safiya reveals the weirder side of fashion and beauty to her nearly 9 million subscribers. Her unique videos take on everything from ridiculous designer fashion to the history of your favorite makeup product. No matter the topic, Saf lets her personal style shine through — bats and all.

Familiar formats with a unique twist

Creating unique videos can certainly pay off on YouTube, and Safiya’s channel is proof. Her uploads put a new twist on established formats like haul or makeover videos.

For instance, her popular “What we wore: Fashion throughout the decades” series combines history lesson with outfits-of-the-week vlog. In these videos, Safiya tries on a selection of iconic styles from each decade. The series begins in 1967 and marches through the fashion timeline to those nostalgic 2007 looks. In addition to providing modern commentary on the trending fashion of each era, Safiya also gives us the historical context behind each outfit.

Weird products spark curiosity

If you browse the Safiya Nygaard YouTube Channel, you’ll notice that her videos are organized conveniently into categories. This makes it easy to explore Safiya’s vast catalog to find videos that interest you. One of the channels most popular categories is humorously titled, “the internet made me buy it.” In these internet haul videos, Safiya tries different products based on specific criteria. This is where her curiosity becomes apparent.

Would you by an entire box of Amazon customer returns just to see what was in it? Don’t worry; Safiya’s already done it for you. She’s also tried on those questionably cheap clothes from sites like Romwe and Fashion Nova — with varying degrees of success. She even ordered several wedding dresses from Wish, though none of them made the cut for her actual wedding.

This unique approach to the fashion haul takes on deeper questions about fashion retail and advertising while still keeping the mood light. One video in particular that stands out is “Trying Products That Asked to Sponsor Me (Not Sponsored).” Not only is the video highly entertaining, but it also shines a light on the sometimes-absurd world of video sponsorships.

A Stanford grad, Safiya has an obvious lust for knowledge. It’s one of the reasons her videos have attracted such a loyal audience. Saf isn’t satisfied with a surface-level understanding; she wants to dive deep into the most interesting trends from around the world. Like her “What we wore” series, Safiya’s trend videos explore both the fashion and its historical context from the inside out.

Safiya Nygaard dressed in Lolita fashion

For instance, in “I Got A Japanese Lolita Fashion Makeover,” Safiya learns about the history and nuances of the oft-misunderstood Lolita fashion trend as she tries the style out for herself. With fellow YouTuber RinRin as her guide, Safiya tours some of the most famous boutiques in Japan and figures out how to mesh the Lolita style with her own personal taste.

Lolita fans applauded the video as one of the most respectful and accurate videos on the topic. One commenter wrote, “I love the fact that Safiya doesn’t just try outfits/trends but she always talks about the background of the trends and really immerses herself in the culture.” This willingness to immerse herself in each trend certainly sets Safiya apart from other fashion YouTubers.

Bad makeup science makes for great content

We’ve talked a lot about Safiya’s passion for fashion history, but her curiosity doesn’t stop there. Safiya is also what you might call a scientist — well, sort of. By that I mean she’s been known to ask crazy questions like, “What would happen if I mixed every beauty guru’s eyeshadow pallet together?” And then, she answers them.

In her “Bad makeup science” series, Saf has made franken-eyeshadow, fraken-candles, franken-bath bombs and, perhaps most successfully, franken-lipstick. In fact, “Melting Every Lipstick From the Drugstore Together” was so successful that it eventually led to a twice-sold out collaboration with ColorPop showcasing the resulting fraken-shades. To celebrate the lipstick set’s release, Safiya and the ColorPop team overcame many obstacles to create the World’s Largest Lipstick.

Safiya Nygaard and a huge tube of lipstick

The Safiya Nygaard channel isn’t limited to fashion and beauty

Though fashion is Safiya’s primary focus, she doesn’t restrict her content only to beauty and style. She also lets viewers in on her other strange adventures — like the time she went to that Cheese Theme Park in South Korea. Or when she and her now-husband Tyler got (unofficially) married at a McDonald’s in Hong Kong. In addition to showing viewers a side of the world they might otherwise have missed, these videos help build a tighter connection between Safiya and her fans.

Leaving room for growth

If you follow Safiya Nygaard on YouTube, you’ll have noticed a recent lull in her upload schedule. It seems even the most successful YouTubers are not immune to burnout, especially in these trying times.

Fortunately, however, Safiya is making efforts to regain her footing, as revealed in her latest blog post. Taking time to stop and evaluate her channel and her workflow can only make her more successful. We can’t wait to see what comes next.