MediaFebruary 2, 2016

Who is the fleekest of them all? Power ranking the top beauty vloggers on YouTube


YouTube is packed to the gills with expert makeup vloggers telling you how to contour your features, fill out your lips and generally draw a better face on your own face. In her first weekly column looking at beauty issues, Zoe Scheltema picks her favourite 10. 

I sometimes wonder how people ever did anything before technology. If you wanted to get to someone’s house, you had to look it up in a bloody book while you were driving. If you wanted to find out about the capital of Nicaragua, you had to trudge down to the library and get a damn encyclopedia out. If you needed to make yourself up for a night out on the town with your gal pals, you basically had to go to the pharmacy, buy some blue eyeshadow (because this was the 90s and that was all that existed) and apply it in a haphazard way.

You probably didn’t know what you were doing, and probably had never seen your face in the cold hard light of day before. Luckily, with technology comes information, and some of this information chooses to present itself in the form of the beauty vlogger via the wondrous medium of YouTube.

Beauty vloggers, or gurus, as they are also commonly referred to, are a breed of YouTube star that regularly share their makeup expertise with the general public.

Mostly this consists of online tutorials, tips and ‘get ready with me’ videos. You can watch how they do their makeup for a night out while they have a casual chat with you – not always as easy to recreate without the blow-by-blow account of how they’re doing what they’re doing, but mesmerising to watch all the same. Not to mention the many, many ‘hauls’ and ‘unboxing’ videos, in which you’re invited to watch them open 20 million parcels full of stuff they’ve been sent for free (also mesmerising).

They’ve amassed a crazy number of followers: for those that have been around for a couple of years, a million subscribers is not even a big deal anymore. They’re also making serious coin (we’re talking at least six figures and, thanks to sponsorship deals, some are definitely close to, if not actual millionaires by now) from what is essentially demonstrating how to apply makeup and be a bit more stylish than you were before.

The videos are addictive and informative and the vlogging train isn’t slowing down anytime soon. If this is your first foray into this crazy world, then get ready to throw away your makeup CDs because shit is about to get real.

1) Shaaanxo

Shaaanxo is arguably the most famous local beauty vlogger and much of her success is surely down to her absolute disregard for how many ‘a’s should be in her moniker (it’s three, it’s a lot and it was almost definitely a mistake).

While her beauty channel is her bread and butter, she also has an offshoot called Shaaanxo Vlogs. There you can follow her while she buys a Porsche and makes a lot of smoothies in her fancy Nutri Bullet. No K-Mart knockoffs for her: thanks her stupidly large 2.25 million subscriber base, she can afford name brand blenders all the way.

Shaaanxo 1

Her makeup demo repertoire is large and most people seem to find her relatable. I mean, I saw her in New Flavour at three in the morning once and I can tell you that she’s just a normal gal wanting a midnight dumpling like the rest of us.

Best vid:

Look, no one really knows what’s going on here.

Shaaanxo 2

2) Lisa Eldridge

If you’re going to do anything on the internet, you should watch a Lisa Eldridge tutorial.

She’s a celebrity makeup artist, she’s been the creative director for Lancome, she’s written a book about the history of makeup, and she’s probably going to become the first makeup artist in space or something similarly great.

She does celebrity makeup tutorials WITH THE CELEBRITY IN IT THEMSELVES. That is all sorts of cool. It also makes the looks seem slightly more unattainable for us mere mortals, but hey ho.

LE 1

Lisa is knowledgeable and she’s a straight shooter. None of that excitable chit chat for our Lisa. She slaps the makeup on, she looks great doing it, and she’s out.

Best vid:

This “chic and simple 5 minute makeup tutorial” because I love the idea that it is possible for me to look chic in just five minutes (spoiler alert, it’s not).

LE 2

3) Sally Jo

I’m a huge Jim Hickey fan. Swooping into our living rooms in the evening with a wave and cheeky “how are ya”, Jim brought us news of the future like a wise old woman. I, for one, was sad to see him go.

Lucky for us he has procreated in the form of NZ beauty vlogger Sally Jo. Her genes alone are reason enough to follow her.

SJ 1

Sally Jo is a younger, girlier version of her dad. She shoots the breeze about her love for makeup with as much enthusiasm as Jim had when he talked about northeasterlies.

Like her dad, she loves to have a chat. I learned that she has a love-hate relationship with setting spray, because it makes her baby hairs go curly again right after she has straightened them. I mean, I didn’t know that was a thing, so thank you Sally.

Best vid:

It’s a tie between his galaxy-inspired thing that looks very similar to one time I was trying to be avant garde at makeup school and another time when I made someone up to look like they’d been punched repeatedly…

SJ 2

… and her summer proof/sweat proof look in which she throws all caution to the wind and brushes her brows with Jim Hickey’s comb (probably).SJ 3

4) Wayne Goss

Now here’s a bloke that knows what a lady wants. And what this lady wants is some TIPS.

Wayne is absolutely brimming with knowledge, and he has no problem whatsoever with bunging some slap onto his own face to show you just how it’s done.

WG 1

Best vid:

Definitely this series which I can very much get behind.

WG 2

5) Nikkie Tutorials

Nikkie is crazy talented and she also has a funny accent. It’s Dutch, but I’m also Dutch and let me tell you, it still sounds weird.

I particularly love her candidness about getting lip fillers. None of this Kylie Jenner-style beating about the bush. She’s straight up and informative. Get me some of those fillers.

Best vid:

She did that with no mirror?! I can’t even find my own nose without looking in a mirror.


6) Pixiwoo

Pixiwoo are two sisters who are both makeup artists and they really know what they’re talking about. They’re old school YouTubers who were once asked by a client to film a video so she could recreate her makeup look at home, and the rest is history. It’s a true rags to riches tale.

Best vid:

Uhh obviously this…


7) Tanya Burr

If there was ever a poster girl for YouTube it’s Tanya Burr.

She and her husband Jim Chapman (who is the brother of the Pixiwoo sisters – makeup vlogging is a small world) have become proper celebrities in their own right. She has all sorts of merch including – but not limited to – an advent calendar.

TB 1

She has all the enthusiasm of a five year old and although that can get tiring, it’s quite clear she knows how to hone in on her tween market.

Best vid:

How to make homemade pizza’. It just doesn’t make sense. If you’re making it, is that not automatically homemade? Classic Tanya, I love it.

TB 2

8) Zoella

Coming in hot right in next to Tanya Burr is Zoella. She’s one of Tanya’s best mates and not too different in terms of what she offers to the beauty and lifestyle scene. They both have cute dogs, cute YouTube boyfriends and cute hoards of screaming girls following them everywhere.

Among Zoe’s merch is soap and at least two books. She’s going good.

Best vid:

Her November favourites, featuring this Christmas pug, featuring eyes.


9) Makeup with Jah

Surprisingly, this channel has nothing to do with Bob Marley.

Jah is a trained makeup artist who turns herself into a beautiful Disney princess crossed with Kim K, every damn time. I can’t take my eyes off her. You could slice a loaf of bread with those flicks, they’re just that sharp.

Jah 1

Best vid:

This Valentines one because I’m going to do it on myself and sit in my bedroom by myself with no Valentine but feeling fabulous anyway.

JaH 2

10. Kris Fox

His bio states “What it is, Whats up? My name is Kris Fox A Fierce & Flossy You Tuber from New Zealand.”

What does that sentence mean? What is flossy in this context? After watching his channel you’ll probably be none the wiser, but you will feel like you’ve just run 30 marathons because this guy is HIGH ENERGY.

He’s not strictly a beauty vlogger in the sense that he doesn’t do tutorials as such. Instead he makes videos about, well, this I guess…

KF 1

He definitely hangs out with the beauty set (I saw him with Shaaanxo at New Flavour) and he definitely loves makeup.

Best vid:

A tie between all of these:

KF 2

As you can see there’s definitely a vibe for everyone’s distinct beauty tastes on the web, and a wealth of knowledge to make you look red-carpet ready (or the opposite) for absolutely any occasion.

Alternatively, you could just do this and call it a day.

Shan Final

Keep going!