Are beauty vloggers the new activists? Two guerilla PSAs use makeup tutorials to spread social messages

Stills from "A crash course to shine" and "How to look your best the morning after"
Stills from "A crash course to shine" and "How to look your best the morning after"

Over the last few years beauty vloggers have gone from teenage favourite to mass market. The largely self-taught YouTube mavens, who are known for sharing everything from cosmetic counter hauls to impressive makeup tutorials, are frequently courted by top beauty brands—so much so that’s it’s almost common practice. Given the large and loyal audiences that many vloggers have, these relationships make sense. However, now other companies are tapping into the vlogger network to spread some important—and not necessarily beauty-related—messages.

Read on and watch the makeup tutorials-meet-PSA videos »

Take 17-year-old Nikkie de Jager from the Netherlands, who first became involved in the online makeup tutorial world at the tender age of 14 and has since developed a following of over 180,000 subscribers. Volkswagen, frustrated with the 500,000-plus road crashes that are caused by female drivers applying their make-up every year (in Britain alone), tapped De Jager for a guerilla PSA, reaching women “exactly where [they] spend time thinking about ‘make-up’”. So far, “a crash course to shine,” which depicts De Jager crashing in slow motion while trying to apply a rhinestone applique, has received over 500,000 views.

Domestic abuse is another message that’s been interpreted into a unique PSA, this time by British domestic violence charity Refuge. “How to Look Your Best the Morning After” shows beauty vlogger sensation Lauren Luke, who has well over 440,000 YouTube subscribers, with bruises and cuts across her face. Apologizing for having been MIA, Luke explains that she’s been going through a “rough time,” then goes on to demonstrate how to cover up cuts and bruises brought about by being nicked by rings or watches and being thrown into a coffee table. The video closes with the message “65 per cent of women who suffer domestic violence keep it hidden. Don’t cover it up.” The video has racked up over 300,000 views since it was posted three days ago.

While some YouTube viral sensations can be pretty vapid (see Ultimate Dog Tease… so cute, but so silly), these PSAs are spreading valuable messages in an unexpected and unannounced way. After Luke and De Jager’s success in sharing the messages through their haul channels—and beyond—it will be interesting to see which companies or organizations will jump onto the vlogger bandwagon next.

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