Everything Old Is New Again
Back then, beauty editors talked about products, application techniques, and makeup trends ONLY after doing research and consulting professionals. Allure was considered THE cosmetic expert, and if their editors featured a product, it became a “must-have” immediately. The Ben Nye wheel sold out in days after the magazine hit the newsstands.
Focusing such influence on a “pro only ” product was unheard of. Pro makeup artists knew about Ben Nye, but suddenly the power of Allure’s beauty editors thrust a company catering to professionals, into the consumer consciousness. Ben Nye Makeup was suddenly something new, a trend – and the pro community shrugged their shoulders at the sudden spotlight and enjoyed the inside joke.
Fast forward to the 21st Century; the internet's reach far exceeds any printed media.
Social Media has given birth to a new type of beauty expert -YouTube (YT) and Instagram (IG) Beauty Influencers. Their sole purpose is to influence their followers to purchase whatever product they’re talking about.
Just to be clear, MOST of these beauty influencers are not trained beauty professionals; they are cosmetic enthusiasts motivated solely by InstaFame and monetizing (free products, sponsorships, affiliate programs, etc.).
So now anyone with web access can become an expert – even if they have no formal training or credentials. All that’s required is building (or buying) a large enough group of followers.
The most bizarre twist of fate – these beauty influencers have become the voice of the cosmetic industry, and a driving force behind trends and sales promotion. The most popular influencers have agents and demand huge payments to mention a product. Cosmetic companies pay tens of thousands ($$$) for a single YouTube or Instagram post from these heavy hitters because they know the conversion to sales is going to make their money back – tenfold. Wouldn’t you write a check for $10K if you knew the post would result in $100K in sales?
In an internet environment where information flows at blinding speeds, these beauty influencers must constantly create new content to keep their followers engaged. But there are only so many things you can say about a lipstick or bronzer.
To remain relevant, provide fresh content and keep monetizing, beauty influencers have turned to the pro side of the industry and are claiming our products and techniques as their own, renaming them and promoting them as “trends.”
RCMA No-Color Powder has been around for over 50 years and in my professional makeup kit for over 20 years. A SUPER popular beauty influencer (not a makeup artist), with an enormous following “discovered” it…and it’s suddenly a new again.
I can’t be upset when
They’re even digging up makeup mistakes and calling them INNOVATIVE.
Example #1 – Old Technique, New Name(s)
I never thought we needed to rename “applying powder” – it’s pretty self-explanatory, right?
Obviously, I was incorrect, because beauty influencers adopted the drag term baking to describe setting makeup…and announced it as a trend.
This technique didn’t even originate with drag queens, they borrowed it from the theater. Drag queens, like stage performers, wear a theatrical amount of makeup. Stage actors have always pressed a ton of powder into theatrical makeup to make sure it stays put under hot stage lights.
Foundation + Powder + Hot Lights = Baking makeup into place.
And how long ago did that start? Well, how long have stage lights been around? That’s how long.
I must admit, it makes sense for beauty influencers to adopt this technique when you consider the theatrical layers of makeup they apply to their faces (did that sound like a read, because it was – all tea, all shade – lol).
Unfortunately, in the time I’ve wasted explaining this technique’s actual origins, it’s already suffered a loss of relevance and was recently replaced with “sandbagging” (I said sandbagging, not tea-bagging).
So we’ve gone from cooking terms to flood control? What?
Example #2 – Making Wrong, Right?
Professional makeup artists would cringe when a photographer complained that our work was strobing in a flash photo. It meant we had done our job incorrectly and created ‘hot spots’ that were flashing back at the camera. It was a BAD thing; that needed fixing, FAST.
Beauty influencers on the hunt for fresh content decided it needed praise, not punishment, and announced that strobing was an exciting new trend. So overtly shiny, sometimes glittery, often greasy looking hot spots in a photo are now considered attractive?
Can you see how ridiculous all of this sounds to a well-trained pro makeup artist? We know our job and correct terminology. Imagine our frustration when a client sits in the makeup chair and starts reciting bogus “influencer” terms and demands we perform the latest trend interpretation of a fundamental application technique…even if they don’t need it.
I’m not hating on your hustle influencers, but when this insanity creeps into my work environment – I WILL speak out. I have no time or patience to keep up with these shenanigans, so when folks throw an incorrect term at me, they will be SCHOOLED.
What many beauty influencers haven’t realized:
Fundamental cosmetic techniques are not infinite. You can only reinvent the wheel so many times before people start raising an eyebrow and questioning your validity. We’re already seeing signs that this phenomenon has a limited lifespan.
The influencers living on the bubble better be prepared for it to burst.
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