American beauty YouTubers: A Look at the Top Influencers Shaping the Industry

American beauty YouTubers: A Look at the Top Influencers Shaping the Industry




The beauty industry has undergone a major transformation in recent years, thanks in large part to the rise of social media and American beauty YouTubers. These digital creators have built enormous audiences through their makeup tutorials, product reviews, and lifestyle content, becoming bonafide influencers with the power to make or break brands.

In many ways, American beauty YouTubers have shaped beauty standards, popularized products, and changed the way consumers discover and engage with cosmetics. Their impact on the $532 billion domestic beauty industry cannot be overstated.

This article will explore 10 of the top American beauty YouTubers, looking at their backgrounds, accomplishments, and influence.

Top 10 American Beauty YouTubers

1. Michelle Phan

  • One of the OG beauty YouTubers, launching her channel in 2006
  • First YouTuber to partner with a major beauty brand (Lancôme, 2013)
  • Co-founded subscription makeup box Ipsy in 2011, which now has over 3 million subscribers
  • Currently has 9.5 million YouTube subscribers and 2.1 million Instagram followers

2. James Charles

  • Launched his channel in 2016 at age 17
  • Known for his makeup artistry and over-the-top style
  • Became CoverGirl’s first male spokesmodel in 2016
  • Has over 27 million YouTube subscribers and 28.3 million Instagram followers

3. Jeffree Star

  • Started his channel in 2009 after building a music career on MySpace
  • Known for his makeup line Jeffree Star Cosmetics, launched in 2014
  • Brutally honest reviews and unapologetic persona built a loyal following
  • Has over 16 million YouTube subscribers and 16.7 million Instagram followers

4. NikkieTutorials

  • Nikkie de Jager, started her channel in 2008 in the Netherlands
  • Known for her skilled makeup tutorials and transformations
  • Collaborated with celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga and more
  • Has over 15 million YouTube subscribers and 16.2 million Instagram followers

5. Desi Perkins

  • Cynthia Perkins, started her channel with friend Katy in 2013
  • Known for tutorials, reviews, and collaborations with major brands
  • Creative style that combines technique with high-fashion editorial looks
  • Has over 5 million YouTube subscribers and 3.5 million Instagram followers

6. Manny MUA

  • Manny Gutierrez, rose to fame working at a beauty supply store in 2014
  • His helpful reviews and tutorials built a large following on social media
  • Landed collaborations with Maybelline and Morphe Cosmetics
  • Has over 6 million YouTube subscribers and 6.5 million Instagram followers

7. Patrick Starrr

  • Patrick Simondac, started his channel in 2013
  • Known for his fierce makeup skills and fun personality
  • Became a MAC brand ambassador in 2016
  • Has over 4 million YouTube subscribers and 4.6 million Instagram followers

8. Kandee Johnson

  • Jeannette Johnson, started her channel in 2009
  • Known for her colorful makeup looks and skilled transformations
  • Won makeup artist of the year at the 2016 Streamy Awards
  • Has over 2 million YouTube subscribers and 1.2 million Instagram followers

9. Jaclyn Hill

  • Started her YouTube channel in 2011 while working as a freelance makeup artist
  • Known for her honest product reviews and best-selling collab palettes
  • Launched her namesake beauty brand, Jaclyn Cosmetics, in 2019
  • Has over 7 million YouTube subscribers and 6.1 million Instagram followers

10. Tati Westbrook

  • Tati Westbrook, started her YouTube channel in 2010
  • Originally known for reviews and tutorials before branching into beauty drama
  • Launched supplement brand Halo Beauty in 2018
  • Has over 10 million YouTube subscribers and 2.5 million Instagram followers

The Power and Influence of Beauty YouTubers

It’s clear that American beauty YouTubers hold major influence over consumers and the cosmetics industry. Here are some key ways they have shaped beauty culture:

  • Driving trends: From cut crease eyeshadow to strobing and baking, beauty YouTubers spark viral makeup trends that are widely adopted.
  • Launching brands: Collaborations with brands can sell out instantly. Many top creators have launched their own successful lines.
  • Product recommendations: Honest reviews make or break purchases. A YouTuber raving about a product often leads to it selling out.
  • Shaping beauty standards: From makeup techniques to style/aesthetics, beauty YouTubers impact beauty ideals.
  • Providing education: Tutorials teach application techniques to millions seeking to improve their skills.
  • Career launching: For many, YouTube has paved the way to lucrative careers in the industry.
  • Diversifying beauty: The popularity of men like Manny MUA and James Charles helps promote inclusivity.
  • Industry disruption: Traditional cosmetics brands have had to rethink marketing and embrace digital creators.

Why Beauty YouTubers Have Become So Influential

There are several key factors that explain the meteoric rise and staying power of American beauty YouTubers:

  • Relatability – In contrast to celebrities, YouTubers often feel more relatable and authentic to everyday viewers.
  • Constant content – Frequent posts (often daily) keep audiences engaged and returning.
  • Technique demonstrations – Video allows for detailed, visual tutorials perfect for learning new skills.
  • Testing new products – Hauls, reviews and first impressions cater to consumers’ desire to see products in action.
  • Engagement – Comment sections and social media interactions allow for two-way communication with fans.
  • Passion – Top creators have an infectious enthusiasm and love for beauty that attracts loyal followers.
  • Production value – Many creators put significant resources into high-quality filming equipment and editing.
  • Business savvy – Monetization through ads, affiliates and merchandise creates lucrative media brands.
  • Evolution alongside technology – YouTubers have adapted alongside shifts in social media, capitalizing on new platforms.

The Future of American Beauty YouTubers

While American beauty YouTubers have already fundamentally changed the industry, their influence continues to grow. Here are some possible things to expect in the future:

  • Continued emphasis on inclusivity of skin tones, gender identities, ages and more.
  • Further collaborations between top creators and major brands.
  • More YouTuber-founded brands disrupting the market.
  • An increased presence on and migration to other social platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
  • More world tours, meet-and-greets, and offline experiences with fans.
  • Potential saturation of the market leading to declining viewership for some.
  • More scripted or produced (less DIY) content.
  • Stricter regulation around sponsored content.

The massive popularity of American beauty YouTubers is clearly more than just a passing fad. While the industry will surely continue to evolve, it’s clear these digital influencers are here to stay as a beauty authority. For generations to come, makeup lovers will still flock to YouTube to learn techniques, discover products, and watch the latest tutorials from their favorite creators.


  1. Forbes. (2022). The Highest-Paid YouTube Stars 2022: MrBeast, Jake Paul And Markiplier Bank Nine-Figure Paydays
  2. Insider. (2020). The explosive life and career rise of YouTube star Jeffree Star, who went from Walmart makeup counter worker to multimillionaire singer and beauty CEO
  3. Women’s Wear Daily. (2019). How YouTubers Have Changed the Beauty Industry

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