Makeup is the pièce de résistance of YouTube: According to a spokesperson for the platform, it’s the most frequently searched type of how-to content, and users upload over 75 hours of beauty videos daily. There's a rabid audience with an insatiable need for more, more, more — and this subculture has taken on a signature aesthetic of its own. For every pretty, effortless look or dewy-skin tutorial, there’s an equal amount of over-the-top, full-coverage madness: girls and boys who believe in multicolored smoky eyes, ombré eyebrows, and overdrawn lips.
Celebrity makeup artist Nick Barose, himself an avid viewer, says over-the-top doesn't always translate to creative. “How many times am I going to see the same tutorial?” he asks. “To me, makeup should make you stand out. When you see people doing all of those techniques, it’s basically like they’re putting a mask on. It can be heavy on the technique, but light on the imagination.” That’s why he often posts spoofs of these overdone how-tos on his Instagram, poking fun at, say, the ubiquitous contouring transformations. “It’s makeup, so I try not to be too serious about it,” he says.
Inspired by the prospect of turning into completely different people for the day, we invited Barose to do some of these infamous looks on us, the beauty editors of R29. Then, we tested them on the streets of NYC to see what it's like to be YouTube stars for the day. The results were, to put it mildly, hilarious. Click through to watch us get made over — for better or for worse.