Beauty influencers: they can do a perfect winged eyeliner, they know which of the latest beauty products will change your life, and which you should skip, they teach us to contour, and will try 50 shades of red lipstick so you don’t have to.
But beauty influencers have much more value than simply teaching the rest of us how to contour — they’re an important (and lucrative) marketing channel for beauty brands. By leveraging the devoted followers of an influencer, your brand can reach more potential customers than you could with your own social media account.
What is a makeup influencer?
A makeup influencer is an online personality who creates and shares content about makeup on social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. Their content includes tutorials for how to put together a certain look, reviews of products, and hauls. They also partner with brands to promote products. Some, like Jeffree Star and Lauren Luke, may even create their own product lines.
Some creators, like Bretman Rock, intersperse makeup content with personal or humorous content, or their channel might cover other, beauty-related topics, such as fashion or lifestyle content.
There are makeup influencers at all levels, from micro influencers to mega influencers. Many beauty influencers use their platforms to influence their followers’ purchasing decisions, and because they are trusted by their followers, they are quite successful at it: 50% of Millennial respondents to one survey said they trust their favorite influencers’ product recommendations.
Who are some of the most popular makeup influencers right now? Below is a list of big names in beauty, from top beauty influencers to up and coming stars.
List of the most popular makeup influencers on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok
YouTube: 23.9 M subscribers
Instagram: 21.1M followers
TikTok: 38.4M followers
Known for his dramatic makeup looks, James Charles rose to fame early in life, becoming the first male brand ambassador for CoverGirl when he was just 17. Charles has since released a makeup line. His content includes viral makeup challenges, entertainment content, and celebrity collaborations.
Nikkie de Jager
YouTube: 14.3M subscribers
Instagram: 19M followers
TikTok: 8M followers
Makeup artist Nikkie de Jager’s @NikkieTutorials has been a source of beauty inspiration for 15 years. Dispensing beauty advice (such as tips and tricks) with a sense of humor, de Jager is entertaining as well as informative. Her content includes reactions to other beauty tutorials and reviews, whimsical makeup looks, and appearances by celebrities like Idris Elba and Lady Gaga.
Instagram: 8.9M followers
TikTok: 14.4M followers
Nikita Dragun joined YouTube in 2013, and began to rapidly gain a following for her tutorials. In 2015, she came out to her followers as transgender, and since then, she’s used her platform to both share beauty tips, and share her transition journey.
YouTube: 1.19M subscribers
Instagram: 1.9M followers
TikTok: 18.8M followers
With millions of subscribers, Meredith Duxbury is one of the biggest new influencers. Duxbury’s content includes get-ready-with-me videos, celebrity cameos, insider looks at her modeling career, and slice-of-life content.
YouTube: 399K subscribers
Instagram: 97.6K followers
TikTok: 1.3M followers
The beauty industry has always had an inclusivity problem, and influencer Golloria George uses her platform on TikTok to try to make change. George, who is of South Sudanese heritage, created The Darkest Shade, a series of videos on her channel, to review the darkest foundation shades from various makeup brands. She also posts makeup looks, and fitness content.
YouTube: 4.84 subscribers
Instagram: 4.1M followers
TikTok: 1.7M followers
Manny Gutierrez, or Manny MUA, as he’s known to his fans, is a beauty influencer, and was the first male brand ambassador for Maybelline. He also has his own makeup line. Gutierrez’s content is a mix of tutorials, first impressions of beauty products, and tips.
YouTube: 4.12M subscribers
Instagram: 2.8M followers
TikTok: 8.7M followers
Makeup artist Huda Kattan began her career as an influencer as a blogger, offering tips and tutorials via WordPress. Since then, she’s founded her own line of beauty products, and of course, moved to YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, where she’s gained millions of followers. Kattan is choosy about the brands she works with, but she still puts out plenty of beauty content, mostly on TikTok and Instagram.
TikTok: 5.1M followers
Julie Kay’s content is multifaceted. Although she does produce plenty of beauty content, like reviews and tutorials, she also creates videos about organization and shopping. Her unboxing videos get thousands of views, for example.
YouTube: 251 subscribers
Danielle Marcan might have a TikTok full of makeup looks and reviews, but she’s also got a quirky side. Her latest content includes a tutorial for making yourself up like Stephen King’s Carrie, and another for 2D from the Gorillaz. Her distinctive personality and sense of humor makes her a favorite on TikTok where her bio is simply “i paint my face”.
Instagram: 2.4M followers
TikTok: 25M followers
Mari Maria is a Brazil-based influencer with her own beauty line. Her content, which is in Portuguese, features looks, product reviews, tutorials, collaborations, and personal content featuring her family.
Jools Annie Marie
YouTube: 5.07K subscribers
Instagram: 12.6K followers
TikTok: 938.2K followers
Jools Annie Marie, or Joolieannie, as she’s known on her social media, may not have more than a million followers quite yet, but she is one of the up-and-comers on this list. A Gen Z trans, plus-sized creator of color, JoolieAnnie creates looks, reviews products, and shares slice-of-life stories. Her frank discussions of beauty, her style and her sense of humor has made her a favorite on TikTok. She specializes in short-form videos, mostly using the Shorts feature on YouTube.
Youtube: 380k subscribers
Instagram: 1.1M followers
Tiktok: 3.6M followers
Monet McMichael is another young influencer who produces a mixture of beauty and personal content. She produces how-to videos (such as how to do a photoshoot in your bedroom), as well as weekly personal vlogs, room tours reviews, and hauls.
YouTube: 9.87M subscribers
Instagram: 2M followers
TikTok: 2M followers
The content Safiya Nygaard puts out is a cross between beauty and entertainment. With videos like “I Let Robots Give Me a Makeover” and “Melting Every Soap From Whole Foods Together” Nygaard takes a comedic approach to beauty, while also reviewing interesting products, like convertible heels.
Youtube 8.68M Subscribers
Instagram: 1.8M Followers
TikTok: 398.9k Followers
Often hailed as the world’s first makeup influencer, Michelle Phan first went viral for a YouTube makeup tutorial in 2007. Now she’s the CEO of EM Cosmetics, and the co-founder of cosmetic subscription service Ipsy. Despite all that, Phan still makes videos, posting tutorials and the occasional review.
YouTube: 21.4K subscribers
Instagram: 456 followers
TikTok: 11.9M followers
Pinup Pixie lives up to her handle, showing off retro looks on her TikTok. Her content covers beauty, fashion, and general videos about her life.
Amra Olević Reyes
YouTube: 96K subscribers
Instagram: 5.5M followers
TikTok: 831.5K followers
Known as Amrezy to her followers, Amra Olević Reyes has a Kardashian-esque presence on her Instagram, where she posts glamorous photos showcasing fashion and her lifestyle. On TikTok, her Get Ready With Me content demonstrates how to create makeup looks.
YouTube: 8.85M subscribers
Instagram: 18.9M followers
TikTok: 15.8M followers
Long before he was appearing in Maybelline commercials with Martha Stewart, Bretman Rock was a beloved influencer online. He got started with contouring videos, but has branched out into comedy, fashion, and critiques of the beauty industry.
YouTube: 15.8M subscribers
Instagram: 14M followers
TikTok: 5.6M followers
Jeffree Star has truly blurred the influencer-celebrity line. Star started his career as an influencer on MySpace, although at that time he was promoting his music. He moved into makeup tutorials and reviews after launching his cosmetic line in 2014. After a brief hiatus, Star returned to social media in late 2022 and began creating content again.
YouTube: 32.8K subscribers
Instagram: 33.1K followers
TikTok: 2.5M followers
Ester Tania, known to her followers as the Self Care Sister, believes in self-care, and that’s reflected in her videos. She also loves to tell a good story, so while she’s reviewing products or demonstrating looks, she’s also sharing stories. They aren’t always hers; followers write in with anonymous stories — often, pretty juicy ones.
YouTube: 38.7K subscribers
Instagram: 114K followers
TikTok: 1.6M followers
Sarah Wolak is an influencer who focuses on beauty and fitness. Her content includes product first looks, reviews, beauty challenges and some personal content. Wolak reviews TikTok filters as well, especially those related to beauty, such as the Choose Your Brow Eras filter.
Why work with a beauty influencer?
It’s often been said that word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising. The reason behind that is simple: prospective customers trust the opinions of their family and friends over advertising.
Influencers fall into the family and friends category for many of their followers and subscribers; they connect with their audience on an emotional level, and they’ve earned their followers’ trust. Because of that, when an influencer recommends a product, their followers are more likely to purchase it. One survey found that 56% of people aged 18-44 bought a product after seeing an influencer recommend it. In fact, the more an influencer interacts with their followers in general, the more their followers are likely to buy the products they the influencer recommends.
Their reach makes them valuable to companies; influencers are a highly sought-after form of marketing for beauty brands. In fact, 82% of companies told researchers they are dedicating part of their budget to influencer marketing in 2023.
Interested in influencer marketing? Get started with a beauty influencer now by creating a free account on Glewee’s end-to-end influencer marketing platform here.