Alessandro Cardoso recalls taking his mother’s expired eyeliners and eyeshadows and secretly recreating her looks “just for fun” when he was 8 years old.
Now 23, he has over 285,000 Instagram followers and 926,000 TikTok followers and has been nominated for the American Influencer Awards’ emerging makeup influencer of the year.
Beauty influencers are sharing everything online, from makeup tutorials to product reviews, and these viral personalities are gaining such a following that even celebrity makeup brands have taken notice.
“Beauty creators on social media, in particular, convert sales. “It’s really that simple,” says Amanda Marzolf, a partner at management firm Underscore Talent. “They have the ability to sell out products and expose products to new audiences and demographics in a measurable manner… And now we’re seeing celebrities like Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, and Hailey Bieber mimic influencers and use social media to sell their own beauty lines.”
Beauty influencers’ power
Users can better understand products and techniques thanks to the video tutorials and level of detail.
Celebrities are following in the footsteps of influencers, embracing social media to sell their own products.
People follow and trust influencers because they are relatable.
The power of beauty influencers rivals that of celebrities.
Cardoso has personally witnessed the shift.
“Beauty influencers have changed who has power in the beauty industry,” he claims. “Back in the day, it was just magazines, publications, and celebrity endorsements – those were the people who really ran the beauty community. And now, thanks to social media, it’s creators like me who emerge from nowhere.”
So, how did beauty influencers become so powerful? According to experts, influencers distinguish themselves through a combination of relatability and instruction.
For starters, beauty influencers provide an educational component that brand commercials and other forms of marketing do not.
“People can watch someone apply their entire face of makeup or expertly style their hair from start to finish with extensive commentary and tips. “Where else are you going to find that level of detail?” she asks.
For example, in 2018, mega beauty influencer Jackie Aina collaborated with Too Faced Cosmetics to create 11 new shades of the brand’s popular Born This Way Foundation, increasing the line from 24 to 35.
“I believe that people seek out creators for their stories, for the ‘why.'” Why are new foundation shades being developed? Because they couldn’t find their shade and it affected their self-esteem. Why are they chronicling their acne journey and recommending treatments that worked for them? “So that others do not have to suffer through insecurity like they did,” she explains. “Beauty content is far more complex and important than just eyeshadow and lipstick.”
The attraction to beauty influencers, according to Salima Popatia, chief digital officer for premium cosmetics brand collective Orveon Global, stems from this common ground connection.
“There is a relatability that makes the influencer and the content they create authentic and trustworthy. “That is the power of an influencer,” she explains. “I follow a lot of South Asian influencers because the content they share is so relevant to the issues I’m trying to solve.”
Cardoso understands that his fans appreciate the fact that he, too, began as a beauty product lover and consumer.
“I began by posting videos on my bedroom floor about makeup that I had spent my last dollar on. So I definitely feel like we’re more relatable and easier to connect with,” he says, especially when compared to celebrities, who are typically known first and foremost for their music or a role they played, rather than their connection with makeup.
According to Marzolf, celebrities like Gomez and her makeup brand Rare Beauty have embraced the power of beauty influencers in product promotion, collaborating with a variety of content creators ranging from Cardoso to 3.5 million follower TikToker Alix Earle.
The platform empowers beauty influencers.
Cardoso’s platform has not only empowered him, but it has also empowered him.
Growing up in a conservative Mexican family where men in beauty were not accepted, he kept his love of makeup hidden until he began his social media journey at the age of 20.
“Being able to break this barrier, especially from the position that I come from… it feels very empowering. I was able to go up against them and build the career I had envisioned as a child.”
Marzof believes that beauty influencing will retain its power in the future.
“We will see diversification and steady growth as we have in the past, but no extreme growth or extreme shrinkage,” she predicts. “Brands will continue to devote increasing amounts of money to various types of influencer marketing.”
And in the coming year, Cardoso hopes to show even more of himself in his content in order to inspire others with his story and message.
“I hope that who I am resonates with other queer people who feel like outcasts or other first generation individuals who come from nothing and have to make their own lives,” he says. “I hope they see that, s, se puede, you can do it. You have complete authority to do whatever you want.”