British makeup guru Katie Jane Hughes posts close-up photos of her face on Instagram almost daily for her 336,000 followers: shimmery gold eyelids; glossy pink lips that complement her auburn hair; eyebrows tinted with tiny brushstrokes of brown gel to fix her mistake in overplucking as a teenager.
During the video’s 12-plus minutes of step-by-step instructions, Hughes holds up product after product close to the camera so viewers can get a good look at each brand name. Because, after all, Hughes isn’t merely sharing beauty tips. She’s also selling makeup.
While Hughes is not your typical celebrity cover girl, her social media posts compel thousands of customers to purchase the products she recommends.
This shift is challenging for many longtime players in the beauty market, prompting some legacy companies to trade vamping models for online tutorials featuring more “regular people” as they struggle to play catchup with cutting-edge brands that partnered with influencers much earlier in the game.