Hey makeup fam. So I’ve been trying to decide what it is that I want to do with the “Face Friday” posts. I recently posted a step by step makeup look that I did using the Too Faced Tutti Fruitti collection (if you missed that, you can check it out HERE), and while I really liked that post and I want to do things like that from time to time, it’s pretty labor intensive, not only to capture the photos at each step but also to upload and edit. I know, whiny creator problems, right?
I had originally planned to come into my office today (Sunday) and do a step by step makeup look, but I just wasn’t feeling it. However, earlier in the day I attended a Black History Month cabaret performance at my local community theatre. It was a really lovely community event with a mix of singing, spoken word, speeches and poems. It got me thinking about ways that I could lift up black voices on this tiny little corner of the web that I have, and I thought it might be fun to close out Black History Month by talking about some of my favorite black beauty and skincare YouTubers. For this list, I’m including a range of creators from a variety of perspectives and backgrounds. Some of the people that I am including are mixed race. I’m saying that because recently it has come up in some videos that I have watched that some people separate black creators from mixed race creators. I don’t know enough about that discussion to really comment on it in a meaningful way, and as a white person I don’t know that my contributions are necessary to that discussion, but I wanted to put it out there in case anyone was wondering about some of the creators that I chose.
These are some of my favorite creators on a very crowded platform, and I think there are all kinds of reasons to include more diverse perspectives in the media you consume. Yes, for makeup I get that it’s good to follow a fair number of creators who have a skintone similar to your own (to see how products look and perform on someone who looks like you), but anyone who is involved in the beauty space on YouTube right now knows that it isn’t just tutorials and product swatches. There are a lot of fun challenges and tags, commentary, product reviews, and other kinds of content that don’t require a matching skintone to listen and enjoy. And increasing the diversity of the perspectives that I consume has made me think more critically about the products I consume and the beauty culture that I participate in as a person who is both white and queer. But we’ll talk more about that soon. First –
Ugh, let’s talk about Jackie Aina…
I feel like a post like this would be incomplete without mentioning Jackie Aina. She’s a complex figure, and she’s one of the most prominent black women in the YouTube beauty space. She’s also someone that I unsubscribed from a long time ago and didn’t look back. In some ways, I unsubscribed from her for the same reason that I unsubscribed from a lot of the massive 1 million plus creators: her content became “less relatable” (whatever that means – that’s a whole dissertation on its own just waiting to happen!) and a focus on commercialism and promotion over love of makeup. But there was also something about her status as one of the top black creators and the way that was interwoven with the content she made and the brand partnerships that she had that just didn’t sit right with me. Jackie and Alyssa Ashley made a whole video absolutely reading tarte to filth when they came out with their Shape Tape foundation because of the limited shade range – and they 100% deserved all of that criticism! But Jackie has been notoriously silent on Too Faced and their lack of diversity (check her review of the Too Faced Peaches and Cream launch with 12 shades of foundation compared to the tarte launch to see what I mean) and didn’t really have anything to say during the whole “Rich Lives Matter” birthday cake debacle (if you don’t know what that is, give it a google). And why? Jackie has worked very closely with Too Faced on several campaigns, attends a lot of fancy parties, and generally makes a good chunk of change off the brand. Granted, some of these partnerships have been for good things, like working to expand the shade range of their Born This Way line, but you can’t help but notice how soft-gloved her approach is to the brand when shit goes down.
Having said that, I decided to share her Black Owned Makeup Brand (BOMB) Challenge video. That was one of the first videos of hers that I saw, and I love a good challenge video. I also discovered several brands that I absolutely love from this video in particular and also the videos of hers that I watched after discovering this. Coloured Raine, Sacha, Black Opal, and Lena Lashes are companies that I placed orders with specifically after watching this video, and she also introduced me to one of my top 3 eyeshadow brands of all time, Juvia’s Place. I’m pretty sure she also turned me on to Beauty Bakerie (look for a full face from that brand coming soon!). Because of all that, I decided to include that BOMB challenge video in this post, even if she’s not someone that I typically watch (occasionally if she’s reviewing something that I really want to see up close and personal in high definition, I might still catch a video – say what you will but her filming quality is top notch!).
Ok, now let’s get to the faves!
Since I mentioned my love for Juvia’s Place eyeshadows, it seems appropriate to start this list with Fumi Desalu-Vold! Not only does she do amazing colorful eye looks and tutorials, but she was the first YouTuber that Juvia’s Place chose to do a collab collection with! The collection included a 6-pan palette for eye and face and two intensely pigmented glasses as well as a makeup bag: The Queen Collection! It was gorgeous, and the looks that Fumi created with the palette were amazing – as are all of her makeup looks! If you like colorful makeup looks, she combines bright and vibrant colors in the most unexpected and inspiring ways. I absolutely adore her videos. She’s started to do some other non-makeup content like vlogs and house tours, which I’m not really into (from any creator – call me a bitter, aging Gen X-er but I just can’t get into the erratic nature of vlog videos!), but when she has a new beauty video I am all the way here for it! I’m including one of her new videos using the Juvia’s Place Violets mini palette as well as her reveal video for the Queen collection. I love the Violets video because it shows off her expert use of color, and the reveal video is fun because you get to know more about her, the process of doing the collab, as well as see her genuine enthusiasm for the products she created. I love that she is an “older” YouTuber (Gawd, I hate that moniker, but you know what I mean – the world acts like people over 25 disappear into the mists!) and she’s confidently and unapologetically living her best life.
I really enjoy watching Ti’s GRWM-style videos. She does some great looks, fairly simple and usually not drag-inspirational maybe, but she plays with fun colors and interesting techniques, and what I like most about the videos is her insightful and direct discussion of social issues including racism and privilege. She speaks very frankly about things that impact the beauty community and that contribute to various forms of marginalization. Now, she’s very direct and she’s not everyone’s “cup of tea” as it were; in fact, she’s also a fitness enthusiast and says some kinda gross things about fat people. There is part of me that wants her to be better, to take the issues of privilege that she explains so beautifully when talking about race and apply them to her own thin privilege, but I respect that she owns her perspective, she recognizes that people are critical of her for her viewpoints, and she’s never dismissive of anyone’s criticisms. She is nothing if not consistent and she stands behind what she says, and she’s always open to hearing other perspectives even if she’s already made up her mind about a topic. If you like your beauty content with some meaty social commentary, this is a great channel for you.
I’m not sure how to spell her name but I’m going to go with Alycia – Ah-LEE-CEE-ah, like Silverstone for my Clueless fans! – and I found her channel through Ti, the NappyHeadedJojoba. She’s like Ti’s less salty sister: the same interest in makeup and fitness without saying nasty things about fat people (at least that I’ve seen). She tries out a lot of the bougie brands that I’m super interested in but can’t bring myself to spend the money on, like Pat McGrath. I decided to include her recent video about the Melt Cosmetics Millennial Pink palette. I generally enjoy Melt Cosmetics, but I think they are just too expensive for the quality you get, and she shows off some of the problems that you can experience with their formula and gives you guidance on how to make them work for you. She’s got a fun, enthusiastic delivery and she makes some gorgeous everyday looks, ranging from neutral and simple to colorful and glam. I love watching her application all zoomed in; she gives you some great techniques to use for a stunning wash of color.
I found Candice Victoria when someone I watch (I think Jen Luvs Reviews? I can’t remember for sure) was doing a video boosting up some of her favorite smaller creators. The first video that I watched was like a beauty room tour, and I was in love with her organization and the way that she customized some of the staple beauty room pieces like Ikea’s Alex drawers and various acrylic storage containers. She does some gorgeous looks and I enjoy that, but my favorite videos that she does, outside of the organization videos, are her hauls and declutters. I love to hear her talk about the products that she purchases. She also does amazing halo eyes, which is why I included the video above. And it’s using one of my favorite black-owned makeup brands, Juvia’s Place!
UPDATE: I logged onto YouTube today, and Candice Victoria had a video with her favorite Black Owned Makeup Brands! It was such perfect synchronicity, I needed to include it here!
Ok, so not technically a beauty channel (though sometimes she does talk about beauty products!), I had to give a shout out to my friend Nicque! This is one of her original songs, and I think it’s a lot of fun. Nicque did a lot of theatre when she was living in Grand Forks and I had the pleasure of working with her on a production of Hairspray and she is a joy and a delight, and so talented. I know that she is also on Tik-Tok, and I think some of her videos there have gone a bit viral, but I’m way too old to understand how all of that works, so I’m just posting one of her YouTube videos!
Life With Meech
Life With Meech is one of the smaller channels that I really love. I honestly can’t remember how I found her; I think I was looking for reviews on the Lena Lashes Lemonade Highlighter palettes and stumbled across her when she was still under 100 subscribers. I have been subscribed ever since, though her content has wandered away from just beauty and into vlogs and hair which I don’t really keep up with. But I just really enjoy her honest enthusiasm and she just seems like a really sweet, genuine person who loves makeup. I’m going to include that Lena Lashes video below as well. It’s not super slick and produced like the bigger YouTubers, but that’s what I love. It’s just really honest and you can see the growth from that early video to the makeup collection video above. I can’t believe that was 3 years ago!
Dena C is someone that hasn’t been very consistent, but I’m hoping that she has the time to get back into it. I honestly can’t remember how I found her, and at first I wasn’t sure I was going to jive with her content – at first glance she can seem a little low energy. But what I appreciate about her is that she has this dry sense of humor that sneaks in from time to time, and her videos are shorter, so if you just need a quick video to watch and don’t want to invest in these 20+ minute behemoths that seem to be the YouTube norm, then I think she’s a great addition to your subscription list. Again, some people may not vibe with her because she’s not super high energy, bounding off the walls, but I love her bluntness when talking about products and there is something about her that I’m just drawn to. Do I need a reason?!
She’s a lot, I get it. But Nisipisa is a different sort of YouTuber that I really enjoy: she talks about anti-consumerism a fair amount, but her collection reflects what she claims to believe (which I feel like is harder to find than you might think!). So many YouTubers will complain about how ABH is releasing too many things and is over-saturating the market…but then they buy every single palette that ABH releases. Nisipisa has a much smaller collection that she works in very interesting and artistic ways. She does some comedy skits about makeup brands (some more successful than others – the Barbaras from tarte are generally funnier than any of the other random characters) and if you follow her other channel she also does music covers. She’s good people.
Audra At Home
To round out this list, I wanted to include the newest YouTuber that I’ve discovered in my travels around the Beauty Sphere. I have noticed her name in some of the live chats of some of my go to YTers (like Emily Hanhan and Spooky Lips & Fat Hips) but I didn’t know that she had a YouTube channel until Lacie from Spooky Lips and Fat Hips shouted her out about a video on PR Truths on her community tab. I’m still getting into her content, and it seems like she’s more interested in skincare than makeup, but I’m excited to see this person that I’ve seen interacting with other people that I follow make interesting content of her own!
Honorable Mention: Makeup Struggles
We’re still in mourning that Makeup Struggles decided not only to stop creating YouTube content but that she took down all of her old videos. I don’t want to talk about it. RIP Makeup Struggles!
(Editor’s note: she’s still alive. It’s just her channel – and the pieces of my heart – that have died)
There are a number of other black women that I follow on YouTube, including Mayhem Beauty, Lisa ala Mode, and The Tastemaker (though she doesn’t really do beauty content anymore, more wigs and hair), but these are my favorites and the ones that I want to recommend in this post. Whether you subscribe to all of them, some of them, or none of them, if you are a YouTube consumer I definitely recommend expanding the range of people that you watch and follow.
Here’s a note: as I was looking through my subscriptions, I realized that there is a blind spot in my own YouTube consumption: men in makeup. I’m not sure why I haven’t found more men who do beauty content that I click with, but I couldn’t find one subscription in my list. So much of what I’ve found just feels like a loop of Drag Race catchphrases (you get one “Yaaaasssss Queen!” and/or “Slaaaaaaay” – you hit two and I’m clicking off!) but I know there are some men in makeup who are doing some amazing artistry and I want to track them down.
Maybe we’ll do an update next year with some brand new faces making gorgeous face! And if you have any recommendations of creators that you love to watch, be sure to leave them down in the comments section below!