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YouTube Beauty Guru Politics: A Bird’s Eye View: Upated!

jeffree starr youtube drama queen

YouTube is one of the great delights in my life. If I need to know how to do anything I look it up on YouTube. If I am thinking of buying something I check out the reviews on YouTube. If I can’t sleep I’ll watch YouTube beauty videos.

I am even planning on starting to post some videos for women who are over 40, because even though there are a lot of beauty gurus over 40, I have a unique voice, as I come from a painting/fine art packaground, with 20 years design experience in beauty, I was a make up artist for a bit, as well as being the art director of a skin care and cosmetics company. I’ve helped build beauty brands from the ground up. I see the drama on YouTube as distracting these very talented people from staying true to their path.

Drama is ruining YouTube!

Yes, I said it. It is making people like me, who want to share experience and knowledge through video, scared to do it, because look at what happens to the people at the pinnacle of their career. These people are slammed, slandered, dragged through the mud, name called and generally not supported or supportive of their other creative fellow posters in the beauty industry. I know I sound over sensitive and naïve, but I’m not. We people have so much power in our hands to effect change to the large company practices, but you are all getting caught up in the pettiest “he said she said” drama.

drama on
drama on

You could not make up this stuff, it is a soap opera in its own right. I don’t want to drag drama on my beloved blog, but the upper echelons of power as far as beauty influencers go, are engaging in some pretty ugly, dramatic behaviour.

These are lucky, talented people, who, with talent and being in the right place, said the right things and worked hard at the right time in our technological evolution. It is a gold mine out there for beauty icons and these folks are getting all that gold, but still don’t seem to be happy and are turning on one another.

Whether the money comes from endorsements from companies like Morphe (companies often pay influencers to use and/or promote their products), or brand collaborations (e.g Jaclyn Hill and Becca) or through the sale of their own branded products (e.g Jeffree Star) or simply affiliate ads and codes on their channels, these gurus and MUAs are very successful financially.

Battle of the YouTube Influencers

Nikki Tutorials

nikki tutorials

Nikki who has no last name I can find, is a very experienced, trained and professional makeup artist who knows what she is doing. Nikki is a bona-fide a professional Hair and Makeup Artist from the Netherlands and Beauty Guru on YouTube! She posts new videos every Wednesday and Sunday.

She’s exceptionally talented, and has done editorial, fashion show and commercial makeup and her goal is to become a household name in the same way the Pat McGrath is. Her work is beautiful, and I have to bring her into the shady corner, but it has come up whilst I was researching the drama on YouTube makeup.

OK the reason she is in this post with this scandal is mainly due to her links to Two Faced. Jeffree Star said Too Faced Cosmetics for allegedly grossing $9M on a product collaboration with NikkiTutorials who received, allegedly, just $50K for the project. Jeffree Starr felt this was taking advantage of the YouTube star Nikkitutorials and called out Too Faced for the disparity. Some say that the $50K was a signing bonus, and not the gross payment, so who knows. I have since heard that Nikki Tutorials has also got a 10% commission, which makes more sense. Nikki can never discuss this due to confidentially in her contract.Nikki, has managed to keep her nose so clean, because of Jeffree Star’s anger and vehemence about his issue with Too Faced.

[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”” text=”View Nikki Tutorials” ]


Tati Westbrook

One of my favourite YouTube stars is the incredibly hard-working and authentic Tati. He reviews are honest, real and not always nice, but I know I can trust if she hates a product it’s going to be bad and if she likes a product it’s worth buying.

Tati (@glamlifeguru) was recently insulted by Jarrod Blandino, the creator of Too Faced and former owner (he recently sold to Estee Lauder). I think Westbrook was snubbed very rudely and publicly at an event that he’d personally invited her to. She was so humiliated and offended she made it 100% clear that she cannot support the brand as she disagreed with the company ethos of philosophy. She even claimed to have cried all the way home as a result. Now Tati is not a sook and has a thick skin so I can only imagine what Blandino did/said to her to create so much drama.

Let me preface this by saying that I adore Tati Westbrook’s videos and have watched them for years, so am devastated for her. I still love the Too Faced products, but if I can find a dupe, I will be buying that in support of Tati and will publish a dupe list for Too Faced products in the near future. If Jerrod mends the rift and get down of his unicorn, I’ll start buying Too Faced again. I was a die hard fan, and I am also a Too Faced affiliate, but this may change all that. Jerrod, love the products and branding but you need to clear things with Tati.

[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”” text=”Visit Tati’s GlamLifeGuru” ]

Jerrod Blandino

I love Too Faced products and have used them for years and years, in favour of other less pricey alternatives. I’d love to see him apologise to Tati, so we can all go back to playing with makeup, which is what originally led us here in the first place. Apparently he did something unforgivable and humiliating to the professional and talented Tati Westbrook.

Unicorn Tears and Tarte

Jeffree Star's INstagram of Chloe Morello's lips no credit and also casting major shadow over Tarte Cosmetics who use Amazonian Clay in their products.
Jeffree Star’s INstagram of Chloe Morello’s lips no credit and also casting major shadow over Tarte Cosmetics who use Amazonian Clay in their products.

Jerrod Blandino has sent social media ‘shade’ to Tarte Cosmetics on social media, implying that Too Faced has a monopoly and were the original creators of the unicorn trend. The reality of the matter is that Two Faced owns the trademark ‘unicorn tears’ and was first used in 2015, so Tarte needs to remove it from their line legally if it is called Unicorn Tears (not unicorn). Tarte has been sent numerous crease and desist letters, but there are claims now that the  social post was “meant to be just playful”. The post which was of Australian YouTuber Chloe Morella, untagged, no credit. Jerrod Blandino did not invent unicorns. They are cute, pretty and need rainbows, no shade guys!

[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”” text=”Visit Too Faced’s Channel” ] Screen Shot 2017 12 26 at 10.54.35 am

Jeffree Starr

jeffree starr androgynous makeup guru
jeffree starr androgynous makeup guru

Jeffree Star’s passion for makeup and colour began at 13 I discovered makeup at the age of 13 are remain his passion to this day. Like all makeup addicts, he used to copy looks from fashion ads in magazines and steal her eye shadows (year, I did that too LOL).

After graduation high school, he hightailed it out of the OC to La La Land. After working on numerous makeup counters worked at makeup counters, freelanced and worked on several celebrities, music videos, fashion editorials and weddings, he now teaches makeup classes around the world.

Since playing with cosmetics is his favourite pasttime, favorite thing to do he wanted to create his own colour line and brand.

“My brand is for anyone who’s fearless enough to be their own person. Let’s inspire each other to stay true to who we are and have fun doing it! – Love + Beauty, Jeffree Star”

Jeffree Star with an impressive 5.8 million subscribers is a force to be reckoned with. He is not to be messed with and he can pretty much do what he likes. In this day and age when men are able to fully express their inner feminine desires, Jeffree carries the torch for boys in makeup,. He is known for his androgynous, angular and chiselled looks, long hair and beautiful makeup techniques, using unusual colour combinations and also has own range, which includes a “Dirty Money” green lipstick.

Jeffree Star also calledout Jerrob Blandino for being petty and insecure for taking a dig at the new Tarte Unicorn Collection claiming mr Blandino had I quote” no balls”. His words.

Too Faced now has cut Jeffree Star from the PR list (obviously as a result of not being 100% positive about the brand), which is a real shame because it seems ego based and the products suit Jeffree’s outlandish, inclusive and alternative style. Maybe no now Estee Lauder owns the brand. Seeing to Lauder is a major windfall but a little bit like a gourmet cafe selling to Starbucks. The brand will remain, but it will all be safe and profit driven.

NikkiTutorials with Jerrod Blandino and the collaborative product
NikkiTutorials with Jerrod Blandino and the collaborative product (image via Youtube) shows you cannot believe everything your hear on YouTube.

[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”” text=”Visit Jefree Star’s Channel” ]


Laura Lee

Laura Lee's Cat's Pyjama's Palette – pans are great but the paper palette seems cheap
Laura Lee’s Cat’s Pyjama’s Palette – pans are great but the paper palette seems cheap

Popular YouTube makeup artist (3.9million subscribers), Laura Lee, released a palette called Cat’s Pyjamas which is held in a very poorly designed and brand rationale for marketing. The branding, web design, everything shouts “we couldn’t want be bothered employing a brand specialist”. According to John Kuckian 9 who says his sources are impeccable), apparently she is paid $75K per month from Morphe (a brush company)  for recommending their products.

The typography on the site is so bad at, punctuation is embarrassing. The punctuation was fixed in a second batch, but I feel that the naming of the palette was not obvious for a first palette as so many millennials had no idea what “The Cat’s Pyjamas” meant:

noun: cat’s pyjamas informal: an excellent person or thing.
“this car is the cat’s pyjamas”

The palette appears to have been collaborated with Jeffree Starr with his company Killer Merch.

The palette has been panned (no pun intended) widely, as a great colour selection with cheap packaging that didn’t make a whole lot of sense for a first palette. Having designed paper palettes myself, I have found that you need to define the branding before you do the packaging, and create a style guide so that the packaging has a strong branded base.  The packaging doesn’t come across as worth the price. The pans are standard sized so there is so much she could have done.

Packaging I have designed for a paper palette for Harlotte Cosmetics, with a boudoir theme, lace like a garter belt and tufted pink like a chaise lounge.
Here is some packaging I have designed for a paper palette for Harlotte Cosmetics, with a boudoir theme, lace like a garter belt and tufted pink like a chaise lounge. The idea was for bedroom eyes.

I honestly wish that Laura Lee had come to me, an experienced designer for beauty, paid modestly for a professional job, and really made the most of her first palette. I could have helped her make a huge impression in the beauty world and it seems like such a wasted opportunity. Laura, if you are reading this, get in touch. I’m not outrageously expensive and my design makes sense.

[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”” text=”View Laura lee’s Channel on YouTube” ]

John Kuckian Cowan

14/1/17 Update: John Kuckian in his 23 year old wisdom has decided that after having to delete his accusatory post of Peter Monn, accusing him of being abusive to children because he had young looking men on a now non-existent Tumblr feed. John Kuckian has now posted another video, with essential the same content. He is so obviously fabricated a series of ficticious messages. I don’t even want to give him more air, but I felt it was important to note that this is a man, who is the CEO of a “makeup brand”, which has 3 eye shadows and a cheap website, “launching” this brand, and has the time and energy to try to implicate Peter Monn, a well respected therapist and author as well as funny youtuber. I don’t understand why if you were so busy launching products why you you’d worry about “taking Peter down”. Go to the police with your evidence and let them do their jobs. JK says that he doesn’t trust the police, but it reminds me of a hypochrondriac complaining about doctors.

The makeup “line” which so far consists of Chinese made private label eyeshadows, in white clam shells, which is the cheapest way to package shadows. Had he been more experienced, he would have gone to a private label company called Auraline beauty who customise exquisite pans which are identical to MAC, but plain labeled and could have had a custom sticker on a magenetic pan (his pans aren’t magnetic – what???!!! Who doesn’t have magnetic pans? His pans also don’t  have shade identification or branding labels at the back, so the artist cannot tell what the colour is unless they are kept in a clam shell. So many mistakes which will cost him a fortune. Why did he not consult a private label expert? Ibeileive he tried to cut corners. Any all the BS about the intricate production lid of the liquid lipstick applicator and lid and the colouring of the tube? Sorry but I have designed makeup lines and he chose the components from a manufacturer on Global Sources or Alibaba, and had them filled but a Chinese cosmetics manufacturer because it is about 1/4 of the price of USA manufacturers. That’s not a bad thing. But it is not luxurious, USA or European made. Don’t believe these lies. Spend you money on reputable lines from Ulta, Priceline, Sephora or Mecca. Don’t purchase from this snake oil salesman.

31/12/17 Update: I spent the evening watching Youtube Videos of the carnage left behind by a John Kuckian video directed at drama channel owner Peter Monn. Now Peter seems like a lovely bloke, very genuine and just loves Youtube and having his 2 cents worth. John Kuckian is claiming, without any proof, that Peter Monns targets and grooms “boys” on the internet. There is no proof of this, it is slander, and from what I can tell, John Kuckian is a nasty piece of work. My comments below were before I watched the drama videos and looked into John Kuckian’s unethical approach to brand building, coupled with this bridge burning. This is 100% how not to start a reputation as a beauty brand. I will not endorse, purchase or support John Kuckian in anyway. He is a silly little boy who needs to go back to the paddling pool or he will be eaten by sharks.

Last but by no means the least, John “Get the tea, OMG, everything… and I mean everything… is kicking off.  I honestly thought we were over this…” Kuckian, has a drama channel. I believe he’d like to rebrand his online presence to that of a  sophisticated makeup channel, but he gets more attention for the drama in the short term.

From a branding perspective, I think he should start fresh and build a beautiful brand and stop trying to bring down other people’s products. I have designed refill containers for palettes that are a significant step up from the clam shells that he is currently using. John, if you read this, please listen to brand experts on how to launch a brand, not your YouTube followers. They say they want a clam shell over beautiful packaging, but this is not true and will weaken your brand. Look at how MAC sells their individual shadows and take that cue.Also making the pans magnetic is a major move, when you sell individual pans, so they can be used in magnetic palettes.

Alternatives to John Kuckian's plastic clam shell
Alternatives to John Kuckian’s plastic clam shell

John Kuckian has now “launched” his beauty line, albeit totally underfunded and flying by the seat of his pants, but that’s what it is like when you don’t have the umbrella of a large company and advisers such as Kendo or Lauder behind you. His brand strategy is wonderful and sophisticated however his drama channel doesn’t reflect this. If he wants to do well with this brand he needs to tone down the drama and focus on his brand’s core values. Starting by not calling the very popular Jeffree Star ‘Voldemort’ would be a good move. It looks petty and mean and not what a cosmetics brand should be about.

 beautiful pigment shadown from Kuckian Cosmetics.
Kuckian Cosmetics.

Hat’s off though, he’s made his brand look pretty but the production is limited at best. I just think he needs help with logistics, fulfillment of inventory and quality control as well as a better site. The launch was another matter, asking people to pay to attend the launch and then cancelling it (not sure where that money went – I’ll do some more digging on that).

Kuckian, being the protagonist of a a drama channel has pretty much declared open season on himself, and the channels that have received shade from him, are coming out all guns blazing.

Dirty Money Green Copycat or Innocent Mistake?

john kuckian dirty money green lipstick
john kuckian dirty money green lipstick – Jeffree Starr has the exact same colour in the same name.

One point I will raise is that I am a bit perplexed as to why John Kuckian would name his matte green lipstick “Dirty Money” when Jeffree Star already has a green lipstick of the same name, when there are so many other names that he could have selected. I think it’s a dig, and a brand built on pettiness will never be successful or have good karma (in my opinion).

[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”” text=”Kuckian Reviews on Youtube” ]


Power battle between brands and the influencer

These dramas highlight the shifting power play between influencers and cosmetics brands and PR companies. In the past the cosmetic brands and their PR companies had all the power, and we, the public had to fall for whatever campaign the ad agencies came up with, and never heard about the negative side of the industry.

In growth of the influencer means that brands are losing their power as the influencers’ collective and singular power to make and break products and brands themselves. Not that I am saying Tati Westbrook will pull down Too Faced significantly, but it will affect sales and the brand’s perception with the 3.5 million loyal Tati followers.

I am a die hard Too Faced Cosmetics fan but Jerrod upsetting the lovely Tati Westbrook and some of the petty shade he’s cast upon other companies, such as Tarte, has really turned me off the brand. I want to support a positive, inclusive and none bullying brand and Too Faced appears to be living up to it’s name. I think that between Benefit and Tarte, I can find all I need. Now, if he was to apologise to Tati and makeup, I’d think again.

There are a gazzilion makeup gurus and artists that are lining up around the blog, so please, let’s get back to playing with makeup and encouraging one another’s success!

If Estee Lauder can have multiple brands under the one roof, why can’t YouTube? The audience is huge, the potential boundless. Get off the drama, go back to informative and quality posts, and make some serious coin from amazing products and collaborations. Use your power for good!

If you are interested in my makeup and beauty packaging skills visit my services page.

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