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What is makeup today? From YouTube to TikTok, a beauty encounter
What is makeup today? From YouTube to TikTok, a beauty encounter
What is beauty? Its definition has always been a subject of philosophical reflection, but in the current context of the cosmetic industry, this question takes a central role. A combination of factors has sparked profound transformations in a sector that used to focus primarily on enhancing people's aesthetic appearance. We tried to imagine a new beauty industry where YouTube and TikTok meet beyond trends, generations, and businesses, involving six makeup artists and content creators: Adriana Spink, Loretta Grace, and Nicole Husel, born and raised in the beauty universe of YouTube, Alessia Morelli, Miriam Maddalena, and Pierangelo Greco, hailing from the world of BeautyTok.
The concept of beauty has now transformed into a form of social currency, gaining influence through the evolution of digital platforms. TikTok, currently favored by beauty content creators in 2023, has taken the place of YouTube, which once dominated the beauty influencer scene. «I am, I say it myself, a visionary. On YouTube, I used to sing while doing my makeup, and now on TikTok, we see many people doing makeup while lip-syncing,» shared Loretta Grace. A versatile artist, from YouTuber to beauty influencer, from starring in the musicals "Sister Act" and "Ghost" to being a face on the small screen. One of the most recognized figures in the social media generation, who has been followed since 2013. Loretta, also known as Grace on You Dash, has always challenged the unilateral idea of beauty: through YouTube and later Instagram, she stood out for advocating greater inclusivity and consideration by cosmetic companies towards Black individuals. «I used to be much more polished before, now I'm more spontaneous and focused on entertainment,» shared Loretta.
I am a girl who grew up in the 2000s, and my first encounter with makeup was through the magazines' gifts at the newsstand, not to mention I'm not the only one. «I remember that when I was little, I had a small bag where I kept all the makeup products found in the Easter egg,» confessed Miriam Maddalena, a makeup artist who speaks about acceptance and mental health on social media. After giving up Medicine and Economics, Miriam chose to fully dedicate herself to makeup, turning her passion into a job that served as an escape route in difficult times: «Today, since makeup has become a real job for me, I avoid putting on makeup as much as possible because I know that I can channel my creativity onto others.»
TikTok has taken over YouTube. But YouTube's legacy must not be forgotten. The countless videos on "How to apply eyeliner" remain today as a precious visual archive of makeup trends from the 2000s to the present. Nicole Husel, a vlogger also known as KissAndMakeup01, on YouTube since 2009, believes that «Today, expectations are higher because, in my opinion, we are all much better at doing makeup.» Building on this, Pierangelo Greco has made theatricality his distinctive trait. Thanks to videos where he presents his face as a work of art, Greco has quickly gained a large following on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, becoming a reference point in the Italian beauty and LGBTQIA+ community. «TikTok has accelerated everything; we went from long videos to short ones, and this makes people glued to the screen. People are increasingly passionate about makeup and feel closer to this world,» shared Pierangelo Greco and continued, «I am an example of inclusivity; I think it's beautiful and important to see a guy talking about makeup and doing it.» The influence of social media on how we conceive and consume beauty content is constantly evolving. While TikTok has democratized the beauty world, making us believe that everyone can become the best version of themselves, the long-standing connection that YouTube has cultivated with its community makes a return to this channel a desire for many authoritative figures in the industry.
Before this decade comes to an end, the beauty industry, currently valued at 427 billion dollars, will shape itself around a wide range of products and continuously expanding markets. Consumers, especially my generation, will play a key role in this process, redefining the concept of beauty as perceptions of sustainability and self-care importance evolve. «I find that skincare before makeup is fundamental to prepare the face for everything it will receive during the makeup phase,» shared Alessia Morelli, an influencer and content creator who offers makeup and beauty-themed content to her followers.
«If I could speak to my past self, I would say, be less trashy. Don't shout while making videos, don't argue with people, be honest, but with politeness,» shared Pierangelo Greco. «To those who dream of becoming makeup artists, I would advise always finding a way to enhance the person you are doing makeup for, and to those who dream of becoming content creators, I would say to always stay updated on trends because it is a very, sometimes too, fast-paced world,» shared Adriana Spink, a content creator since 2014, whose mantra is #BeautyPositivity as a lifestyle. For Loretta Grace, the advice she would like to give to boys and girls who want to approach this world is, «Whether you want to become a makeup artist or a content creator, do it for the passion, focus on that, and not on everything surrounding this job, as that could dry you up.»
As we reach the end of our interview, a concept resonates in my mind and doesn't go away. Today, at 26 years old, I am part of Generation Z, a generation that tends to think of itself as, for lack of a better word, awake. We are people who go out to protest and vote on issues we care about, from abortion access to climate change. More liberal than our parents, we use our spending power to support brands whose values align with ours. The most ethnically diverse generation in history, we are invested in addressing significant issues such as war, systemic racism, gender bias, and the growing wealth gap. We demand equity at work – and we are not afraid to challenge older generations who adhere to the status quo. We are also a generation that doesn't like itself. Reflecting on these experiences, we realize that beauty is not just aesthetic but a powerful vehicle for expressing ideas, values, and representation. An invitation not only to dream but also to anchor beauty to the challenges of our society, without compromising the charm that characterizes it.


Photographer: Francesca Buonocore

Photographer Assistant: Giulia Marras

Videomaker: Sofia Atzori

Video Assistant: Alice Atzori

Talents: Loretta Grace, Nicole HuselAdriana SpinkPierangelo GrecoMiriam MaddalenaAlessia Morelli
Interview: Anna Paola Parapini