Let’s Leave It To The Pros: Why We Need To Stop Replacing Professional Hair Stylists And Makeup Artists With Influencers

By Keelia Clarkson··  6 min read
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Influencer culture has a way of taking over an arena – but here’s why, sometimes, it’s better to leave it to the pros.

With the millions of beauty tutorials on YouTube and TikTok and the explosion of influencer culture, it’s hard to imagine there was a time when beauty YouTubers hadn’t become a thing yet.

Michelle Phan is often credited with posting the very first influencer beauty video, having run a blog called Rice Bunny for a few years beforehand, where she often shared makeup tips. One day, Phan decided to record a video of herself applying makeup – and the beauty tutorial was born. Phan is now the founder of her own multi-million dollar cosmetic company, EM Cosmetics.

This made way for a flock of other beauty influencers like Kat Von D, NikkieTutorials, and Chiara Ferragni to amass millions of dedicated followers across their social media platforms, and eventually launch their own lines.

How Influencers Reshaped the Beauty Industry

It’s not surprising that influencers easily took over the beauty industry, which had been fraught with marketing myths, a lack of representation, and products that often contained harmful chemicals. People were ready for a change.

To say that the beauty industry was changed by influencers posting their own tutorials would be an understatement. Makeup products are no longer just an extension of a big, faceless cosmetic company, or sold by a smiling celebrity who has likely never used the product before. 

Now, brands and products are recommended by “real people” – high-energy, personable influencers whose fans will make a purchase with their endorsement. And we get to watch them apply whatever foundation, mascara, or highlighter we’re interested in, making us feel as though we’re buying eyes open.

This, in turn, caused a great replacement of beauty industry professionals with more winsome, well-known, self-taught influencers in the limelight of our attention. We’d rather watch a beauty influencer we feel like we know, who cracks silly jokes and invites celebrities to join a tutorial, than a face we’ve never seen before, a professional with less charm.

Beauty Influencers Haven’t Always Been Honest

With the massive sway of beauty influencer culture and the size of their followings, it’s hard to believe it has only been 15 years since Michelle Phan posted her first tutorial in 2007. And what’s even harder to believe is the amount of drama, lies, and scams that have since ensued.

While we had come to love beauty influencers for what we perceived as authenticity, as they began launching their own lines and reaching new heights of fame, influencers were constantly faced with criticism for scamming their followers with subpar products for profit.

Jaclyn Hill was slammed for selling defective tubes of lipstick covered with debris. Kylie Jenner got a lot of backlash for releasing a walnut face scrub that she claimed was “gentle enough for everyday use,” but which dermatologists warned would cause damage to the skin, as well as premature aging. And just 2 years earlier, Kylie had released a set of eight makeup brushes that cost a whopping $360, causing widespread outrage. Makeup influencers Laura Lee and Manny MUA were caught lying about buying a slew of makeup products that fans found out they’d been given for free, all while encouraging their followers to go buy the same products (for which they had commission codes).

It seems that, as authentic and friendly as beauty gurus come across in their tutorials, the reality is that many of them are more interested in turning a quick profit, getting their viewers to buy tons of overpriced products they didn’t actually need, and creating mountains of content than being honest with the followers who’ve given them their time, attention, and a platform from which to make a living.

Why We Should Be Listening to the Pros Instead

We might get the idea that professional makeup artists and hairstylists use techniques that are unachievable for those attempting to gussy themselves up at home, without proper training and expensive tools, but the truth is that hair and makeup professionals are often far more trustworthy and trained than the latest beauty guru to pop up on social media.

Just to state the obvious, cosmetology school isn’t something that can be finished overnight, or even in just a month. Beauty professionals in most states have to pass a written exam, as well as attend around 1,000 hours of education in order to pass. Influencers can set up a camera and a ring light at the drop of a hat.

And whereas influencers will often do full-glam, trendy looks with countless products we’ll never see them use again, makeup artists and hair stylists that have been trained and carry cosmetology or esthetician licenses have a deeper understanding of what makeup looks and hairstyles will work with their client’s unique skin type, face shape, or hair type. Their philosophy when it comes to doing hair or makeup is to enhance their client’s natural features and beauty, as they’ve been trained extensively to do.

Where you see influencers taking their skills to the real world to replace professional hair stylists and make-up artists on set for photoshoots or even offering bridal services like doing your wedding look (or entire wedding party) is where this really becomes a problem. While they may be incredibly personable and have the ability to do their own makeup or hair beautifully, they haven't had proper training on the best way to serve others and produce an equally amazing result.

Professional hair stylists and makeup artists like Wayne Goss (who started off as a YouTuber before becoming a professional) have said that despite the sense of honesty we get from beauty gurus when we literally get to watch them apply whatever product we’re interested in, we really can’t trust the end results we see in their videos: “There are people editing the videos, there are people helping with the wording, there is lighting that you can’t see, and there are multiple cameras at every different angle to create the most beautiful shot.”

Closing Thoughts

We can’t make a sweeping statement saying that every beauty influencer is only out for money – some do have helpful tips and good product recommendations. But we also can’t treat them like professionals, because ultimately, they’re not. They haven’t earned the title, and it’s worth it to prioritize the tried-and-true tips hair and makeup professionals offer up.

If you're seeking out makeup or hair services for a special event or planned photoshoot, booking a licensed professional may not be the glitzy and exciting route, but ultimately it will give you the gorgeous result you're looking for (and deserve!).  

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