5 cosmetic brands that successfully capitalized on beauty trends on YouTube

By
Daniel Conn
,
CRO @ ThoughtLeaders
March 24, 2020

The beauty industry is ever-growing and has quickly managed to adapt to the online world. The $500B industry is driven by social media figures and influencers. By 2024, the online beauty sales will top $120B. Just like with clothing, millennials and Generation Z are looking for “fast-fashion” products that they discover on different social platforms. 


YouTube is probably the best platform for beauty brands: makeup tutorials, get-ready-with-me videos, product reviews… There are many ways to introduce products and make the content appealing to viewers.

Here are brands that are successfully capitalizing on beauty trends on YouTube:


1. Kylie Cosmetics | see data

Kylie Cosmetics was created by Kardashian family member Kylie Jenner. Her first lip kits, launched in 2015, sold out in minutes and caused her site to crash. Within 2 years and with a whole line of products, her brand made $420 million in sales. Her large social media following of 56M followers was a key part of her immediate and astronomical success before any product launch. Shortly after, Kylie Jenner was on the cover of Forbes magazine as the youngest self-made billionaire at 21. In 2018 Kylie Cosmetics had an estimated $177M revenue. Major beauty company Coty just bought 51% in Kylie Cosmetics for $600M and are looking to continue global expansion.

Kylie cosmetics has been featured in 286 YouTuber channels with almost 449M reach. The thought leader mentioning them the most is Beauty News with 105 mentions.


2. Drunk Elephant | see data

Drunk Elephant was founded in 2012 by Tiffany Masterson, a stay-at-home mom with an aim to offer clean products without any “nasties”. With the help of a chemist, she created a wide range of skincare products to help with all skin types. The brand has since closed net sales of $100M in 2018. As one of the top-selling brands at Sephora, its exclusive brick-and-mortar retailer, Drunk Elephant has been acquired by Shiseido for $845M in 2019. This acquisition is one of the biggest ever for a skin-care brand.


Drunk Elephant has been featured in 206 YouTube channels with almost 168M reach. The thought leader mentioning them the most is Dr Dray with 59 mentions.


3. Colourpop | see data

Colourpop is an affordable make-up line that was designed to be native to Instagram. The brand developed products specifically aimed for millennials that would also work perfectly for YouTube content. It has built a significant influencer relationship and has multiplied collaborations with digital influencers. To this day, the brand sells its products exclusively online in order to remain fast and affordable. Colourpop has been very attentive to pair each product to the right beauty influencer to capitalize on brand awareness. Thanks to this strategy, Colourpop has now become a major brand in the industry with more than 9M followers on Instagram. Their mother company Seed is now investing in other makeup companies such as Kylie Cosmetics.


Colourpop has been featured in 230 YouTube channels with almost 295M reach. The thought leader mentioning them the most is KathleenLights with 281 mentions.



4. Milk Makeup | see data

Founded in 2014, Milk makeup has been an advocate for gender-fluid marketing and clean ingredients, making it highly appealing for Generation Z. More than just makeup, the brand’s values and beliefs are an important part of their communication. After strong online sales on sites like CultBeauty, the brand is now also available in brick-and-mortar stores like Sephora. Their estimated sales in 2019 was $60M. Since then, giant Amorepacific acquired a minority stake - together they plan the expansion to new markets especially into Korea. 

Milk makeup has been featured in 225 YouTube channels with almost 272M reach. The thought leader mentioning them the most is Jkissa with 64 mentions.



5. Glossier | see data

Emily Weiss, then a fashion assistant at Vogue, launched her blog in 2010 which eventually became Glossier, a full-on makeup and skincare brand with $100M in annual revenue in 2018. Her winning strategy was based on a strong connection with customers and a direct-to-consumer business model. The brand’s marketing was spot on for millennials and the Instagram aesthetic and kept generating buzz. Glossier has raised over $190M to date and is now at a $1.2B valuation - making it one of the few unicorns founded by women. 


Glossier has been featured in 78 YouTube channels with almost 61M reach. The thought leader mentioning them the most is Allie Glines with 379 mentions.