Vogue Beauty Secrets
Emily Bennett discusses Vogue’s Youtube tutorial makeup series, ‘Beauty Secrets’
Vogue’s YouTube series ‘Beauty Secrets’ is a collection of videos that showcase the beauty routines, and makeup tips and tricks of celebrities. The videos detail the routines of countless models, musicians and actors like Emily Ratajkowski, Rihanna and the Kardashians, as well as drag transformations and male beauty.
Standing in opposition with Vogue’s ‘Extreme Beauty’ series that includes the intense routines of artists like Salvia and Juno Birch, ‘Beauty Secrets’ markets itself as a more natural, achievable and everyday image of beauty. The videos themselves are somewhat unique in their format, adopting a vlog-like ‘self-filmed’ style, and these “get ready with me”s expertly create the sense of exclusivity modern celebrity culture increasingly desires. It is a format that feels more personal, and it is refreshing to see A-Lister’s go makeup free and expose a blemish or two on such a public platform.
‘Beauty Secrets’ markets itself as a more natural, achievable and everyday image of beauty
What is potentially problematic are the video’s tutorial-type presentation, many of which are titled explicitly as beauty “guides”. This creates the guise that these videos are beyond simple personal beauty preferences and creates the risk of these routines being construed as an indication of the exemplar, and therefore setting standards of beauty. The videos are in danger of creating the perception that in beauty, expense is necessary (for example, the products used in musician Doja Cat’s ‘Guide to E-girl Beauty’ comes to total of over $480,) and is a requirement for participation in beauty trends – perhaps inferring that lower-end budget products will not suffice.
While these tutorials do not go as far as saying that their methods are authorative through the safety-blanket of their ‘this is what works for me’ stance, it is easy to forget the financial reality of these celebrities’ lives that in this format appear so relatable. Khloé Kardashian’s ‘New Mom Beauty Routine’, which totals over 13 million views, will not be an obtainable routine for the majority of new mums, Madeline Petsh’s $239 microcurrent roller (a device which gives out low level electric shocks in order to reduce wrinkles and eliminate dead skin) will not be something the average woman keeps in her bathroom cupboard and Kourtney Kardashian’s use of a $235 facial serum is hardly offset by her homemade honey and sugar lip scrub.
The videos are in danger of creating the perception that in beauty, expense is necessary
Additionally, while these routines might not be explicitly #ad, it is important to not overlook the likelihood that some of the products used could have been gifted or are even part of the celebrities’ own beauty ranges and collections as well, privileges that are not generally afforded to those without at least 100k followers on Instagram.
Beyond the price of the products themselves, it is also tempting to disregard the beauty treatments that exist within these celebrities wider routines and lifestyles that are outside the scope of these 10 minute videos. The pretence of natural make-up is one that fails to include treatments including eyebrow threading, lash extensions, professional dermatological guidance and even plastic surgery that all may contribute to someone’s appearance.
These videos are undoubtedly a display of the kind of high-end luxury that is associated with Vogue’s brand, this is their market, and is something to be expected, perhaps for many viewers it is even the main part of the series’ appeal.
One viewer commented underneath Madeline Petsh’s video that “if I had the salary she did, I’d have a 38-step beauty routine too”, and for me this is exactly the right attitude. For many of the celebrities in the series, their appearance is the basis of their career and to criticise them for investing time and money into it would be a harsh thing to find fault with.
Nevertheless viewers must not be naïve to the fact that these routines definitely cannot be sustained on an average income.