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May 19 2022

How TikTok Killed the Beauty YouTuber

The beauty community emerged online well over a decade ago. Prevalent particularly on YouTube and Instagram, the beauty community flourished online and gave us beauty YouTubers that have gone on to become household names and create some of our favourite beauty brands. 

Creators Michelle Phan and Nikkie de Jager (AKA NikkieTutorials) are often hailed as the founders of the beauty community, with their channels starting back in 2007 and 2008. Top beauty creators helped the beauty industry turn into the multi-billion dollar business it is today.  

But over time, drama, feuds, and new platforms, the once-ruling beauty YouTuber finally lost its grip. 

Now, the beauty community is run by TikTok creators. 

How TikTok stole the beauty space

Up until 2020, it seemed like YouTube would never lose its position as the home of the beauty community. Even with many beauty creators shifting to Instagram, the YouTube beauty scene seemed indestructible. And yet, here we are. 

That’s not to say the beauty community has completely abandoned YouTube—it’s still alive and well—but it definitely isn’t what it was. Why? TikTok.  

Throughout the pandemic, TikTok rapidly grew to become one of the most popular social media platforms available. With easy, digestible content, many social media users switched from long-form content to favour the new quick clips and addictive endless-scrolling. 

In addition, with the rise of TikTok, attention spans have dwindled to a meagre 8 seconds. This has resulted in users stepping away from long-form 20-minute videos. Why would they spend 20 minutes watching a tutorial they could watch in 1 minute? 

YouTube beauty videos still have their place—sometimes it’s relaxing to find time to sit down and watch your favourite influencer talk about products they’re loving. But, if users are just looking for a snippet of entertainment during a break in the day, setting aside 20 minutes is a lot. 

Another reason TikTok has overthrown YouTube as the home of beauty is because of the creators themselves. TikTok has paved the way for authentic makeup artists and lovers to rise to internet stardom. While gaining popularity on YouTube would have taken years, many beauty creators have gained thousands of followers within weeks. 

Most beauty creators on TikTok weren’t influencers before reaching TikTok fame. This means the new creators weren’t saturated with brand deals and their opinions were trusted as their own. 

Towards the end of 2019, many YouTube creators became embroiled in various dramas and scandals, resulting in a turbulent beauty community. TikTok made space for drama-free beauty influencers, and breathed new life into the beauty community. 

In terms of beauty brands, TikTok offered a new audience and way to communicate with them. Marketing on TikTok isn’t like marketing on other social media platforms, it’s much more laid back and reactive. 

On TikTok, brands can join in on or create trends that users enjoy. Many brands have created filters, sounds and hashtag challenges that have resulted in multitudes of organic user-generated content. Not only does this help organically increase brand awareness, but makes the brand culturally relevant to its target audience. While this is possible to achieve on platforms like YouTube and Instagram, it is seen as more authentic on TikTok—something consumers crave. 

TikTok is still growing, even now, and we don’t expect it to stop dominating the social media world and beauty community any time soon. As it continues to develop social commerce features, new creator tools, and advertising opportunities, TikTok is cementing its position as the platform to be. 

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