Cara Brook, Elizabeth Dehn, Eric Bandholz, and Michelle Phan are some of the beauty bloggers who have expanded into launching their own beauty lines. (Photos: Cara Brook, Elizabeth Dehn, Eric Bandholz, Michelle Phan)
Move over, supermodels. The biggest names in beauty right now aren’t models, actress, or makeup artists. Right now the superstars of the beauty world are bloggers—and vloggers—who have made the leap from computer screens to shelves with their own product launches. While some have struck out on their own, others have partnered with larger companies to create co-branded products pairing the power of their online fan base with big name distributors.
The decision to tap into beauty bloggers’ star power comes as no surprise to Virginia Lee, a senior research analyst with Euromonitor International. “Beauty bloggers are today’s makeup celebrities and authorities,” said Lee. When a large cosmetics company joins up with a big name blogger, they are tapping into an instant market—and more. “The product is being curated by a trusted source,” said Lee. “It’s not being created by a faceless corporation.” In addition, many of the bloggers seem like a good bet compared to celebrities. “Celebrity spokesmodels can be tricky, because they sometimes have poor personal judgment. You don’t really hear about beauty bloggers behaving badly.”
Vlogger and entrepreneur Michelle Phan launched her own makeup line, em, with L’Oreal. (Photo: Michelle Phan, L’Oreal)
The biggest vlogger turned entrepreneur is arguably Michelle Phan. Her YouTube makeup tutorials have made her into a star with over 7 million YouTube subscribers. Her videos have been viewed over 1 billion times. She launched her own makeup line, em Michelle Phan, in August 2013 with backing from L’Oreal. Her line includes a range of palettes, lipsticks, and concealers available online.
Eric Bandholz has a men’s grooming line called Beardbrand. (Photo: Eric Bandholz, Beardbrand)
Other big name bloggers taking the leap include Emily Weiss of Into the Gloss, who launched her Glossier line of beauty products, which include affordable moisturizers and lip balms. Beauty blogger and vlogger Julie G teamed up with Jesse’s Girl Cosmetics to create the Julie G Nail Polish line. The boys are also getting in on the act. Eric Bandholz started off as a beard blogger before launching his own mens products at Beardbrand.
Cara Brook of Maskcara used her blog as a stepping stone into the world of cosmetics. “When I was pregnant with my first son, I was thinking long term about what I wanted to do with my life,” said Brook. “I knew I wanted to start a makeup line but had no idea how to do it.” Her blog, which launched in April 2011, quickly garnered a cult following and Brook debuted her first product, IIID foundation last year, after spending two years developing it. Brook said it sold out in about 48 hours, and she relaunched the foundation in January after improving the formula.
Cara Brook uses her blog audience to help develop her makeup line. (Photo: Maskcara)
Brook said that direct feedback from her audience has been crucial part in developing her foundation. “I always keep reader feedback into consideration,” she said. “I see that my readers are super busy women who want a great product they can put on quickly.” Brook said her most popular blog posts deal with “no fuss, no muss” makeup. “I get honest feedback from my readers. Sometimes it’s tough love but they are rooting for you.”
Elizabeth Dehn collaborated with One Love Organics on six products. (Photo: Elizabeth Dehn, One Love Organics)
Suzanne LeRoux, the president and founder of One Love Organics, had been a big fan of beauty blogger Elizabeth Dehn before approaching her to create a co-branded line of products. They created six products together (the first one launched in 2013) and LeRoux said her company’s top selling product is Dehn’s vitamin B cleansing oil ($38).
LeRoux says the partnership has been a massive success – and Dehn’s 6 million Pinterest followers were also a boost to her company, which doesn’t advertise. LeRoux says the duo complement each other. “I’m based in St Simon’s island in Georgia so the climate here is like a sauna, while Dehn lives in Minnesota which is super dry,” she said. “Elizabeth is great at doing super dewey moisturizers while that’s something we just don’t need in the south.”
Jaclyn Hill collaborated with Gerard Cosmetics on a mutually beneficial project. (Photo: Jaclyn Hill, Gerard Cosmetics)
Jennifer Gerard, the founder of the new Gerard Cosmetics, created a collection with vlogger Jaclyn Hill, and said the partnership happened organically. “We were at a beauty convention and she said, ‘You have to do a rose lip gloss.’ She knows what she’s talking about and all I had to do was get her in front of the chemist.”
Gerard said the partnership has been a boon to both of them. “There is no such thing as a casual Jaclyn Hill fan,” she said. “People have a strong personal relationship with the people they see on YouTube and bloggers and beauty gurus have a different trust level with their audience.”