People talk about a hierarchy in beauty blogging and vlogging, with the most popular at the top, the newbies at the bottom, and somewhere in between on a sliding scale are literally thousands of blogs with different size readerships (or subscriber and view counts for YouTubers). I'm in no way saying the biggest beauty gurus are the best, sometimes I marvel over how some of them still don't know how to apply makeup, or pretend to like something for a sponsored 'evening beauty routine', then they'll mention in a daily vlog that they have sensitive skin so they only ever use a certain product, as anything else breaks them out. Facepalm.
What does surprise me is how naive and gullible a lot of beauty bloggers are at the other end of the scale. I've seen countless people on Twitter talking about a popular beauty guru's latest video and saying something like "did you SEE how good their skin looked? I'm getting that foundation tomorrow." Wait. What? Do you really believe that foundation made the YouTuber's skin look that good? It's not just ultra-bright studio lights that make any cosmetic product appear to be erasing every pore, every line, every blemish, and giving an unworldly glow, there's another tool that let's someone control how their skin looks on camera. Living Photoshop has been widely used by YouTubers and by brands in their promo videos for a while now, basically placing a filter over a person or people on film as they move and speak. The flawless look that can be achieved on Instagram can now work wonders in video, doing a much better job than post-production colour correction ever could. Here's makeup artist Wayne Goss explaining (and demonstrating) how it works in a very short video:
You'd expect the punters to fall for this, but not fellow influencers – surely? Not that people who watch YouTube and read blogs aren't savvy consumers, I'm sure most people are aware of digital manipulation. But beauty bloggers should know that makeup is always going to look more striking under lights or through a filter than it does in daylight, and that's why you don't really know for sure how something looks in the pan or on the skin when filters are used in force. When I see smaller bloggers reaching out to YouTubers on Twitter and saying things like, "wow that foundation was amazing on you, I'm going to get it", it makes me not only sad that the smaller blogger has gone out and bought that foundation based on the faked video, but that they are then going to blog about it on the strength of said video, and no doubt create even more useful SEO links for the brand. I'm not knocking photoshop as a blogging tool – I digitally manipulate my photos. I add light and play with the warmth and saturation, I want pretty pictures on my blog, but I always try to ensure that the makeup looks as close as it does in photos to real life – otherwise what's the point in reviewing it?
The power of photoshop has saved us all from a bad photo, it's well on it's way to becoming the norm in beauty videos too, but don't make yourself look like a basic blogger by not realising when and how it's being used – otherwise you'll just be sucked in by marketing instead of being the broad-minded, investigative, non-biased reviewer that beauty blog readers want you to be. And if you use Living Photoshop and don't tell your viewers, well – thanks for playing your part in denigrating the authenticity of the beauty blogosphere. No, really.