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How Social Media Transformed the Beauty Industry

If you step into any Sephora, America’s largest retail beauty chain, you’re bound to see at least one product or line of products created by a former “beauty blogger.” Many of these makeup artists, like Huda Kattan, garnered a following by creating popular tutorials on YouTube or Instagram. While a few are available at large chain retailers like Sephora and Ulta, others teamed up with existing brands, such as Jackie Aina collaborating with Too Faced Cosmetics (owned by beauty behemoth Estée Lauder). Some bypassed retailers altogether and sell directly to their audience, on their own websites through e-commerce.

Launched in 2013, today Huda Beauty is a billion-dollar brand. It started when she, a young mother and former business student, decided to leave her job in finance. She was looking for a new passion, and cosmetics caught her eye. After spending a few years doing makeup, mostly for free, things really started to take off in 2010 when she created her makeup blog. As her popularity on social media and knowledge of beauty products grew, she decided to make products of her own. With 31.8 million followers on Instagram, Huda Kattan says her brand has never once paid for advertising. Huda Beauty is a testament to the power that social media has on the beauty industry today.

Almost every new product released on the market now, if popular enough, is bound to be tried and tested by dozens to hundreds of influencers across social media. Consumers now make purchases of beauty products based on reviews from their favorite vloggers — and for something as personal as beauty, it makes sense! Why wouldn’t you want to see a product you’re interested in tested by someone who shares your skin tone, hair texture, or other attributes? In an industry that was for so long dominated by one kind of beauty standard, consumers can now make more informed choices about their products from real people — all thanks to social media.