The Bay’s Top YouTube Beauty Gurus — IRL!

We’ll be honest; half the time when we see a new beauty trend and blindly attempt it, we end up looking like a dunce who’s played around in her mother’s makeup kit. We need a little guidance sometimes. And, that’s where our beauty YouTube gurus come in by helming trusted videos and tutorials that provide crystal-clear instructions on everything from new trends to avoiding snafus.
Little did we know, though, that we have three all-star creators residing right here in the Bay. Naturally, we wanted to tap them to see what they had to say about their online success, fave products, and all-around must-spill tips. Click away to meet these inspiring ladies…IRL.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
Name: Jenn Im
Channel: Clothes Encounters
Subscribers: 561,744
Started In: 2010

Tell us how and when you first started making YouTube videos
"I started making YouTube videos with my best friend, Sarah, in July of 2010. At the time, there wasn't much emphasis on fashion on YouTube, and I thought it was a gap that Sarah and I could fill. That summer we picked up my point-and-shoot and started filming. In August of 2011, I transferred to a university and moved 400 miles away from home. Sarah and I both agreed that I would move forward with the channel from then on."

What drove you to specially create beauty-driven content?
"I've always been quite fashion and beauty conscious from a young age. It was probably because my mom raised me as a girly girl."

What’s one makeup or hair trend you’ve been vying to try out?
"A red smokey eye without having it look like I have a gnarly infection."

What are some misconceptions about the industry you feel people may have?
"That we're vacuous and superficial beings. Just because we've taken an interest in beauty and fashion doesn't mean we don't have opinions and views on issues around the world."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
What’s your all-time favorite video you’ve created?
"Right now, it's my Alameda Flea Market Haul video. I've been really into home decor as of late, and in that video I showcase all the awesome antiques I collected at the flea market."

Where else do you go to find beauty inspiration online?
"I'm a Tumblr addict."

What about real-life inspiration — where do you go to get your beauty fix offline?
"I find inspiration all around me. I can be inspired by a person walking down the street, a movie I've watched, or my mood that day."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
What are your must-have products?
"The Urban Decay Naked2 Palette, Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, and Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Pen."

What’s one beauty secret you’ve never told anyone…yet?
"I use Selsun Blue Dandruff Shampoo once a week even though it smells like men's cologne."

When you’re not making videos, where can we find you?
"Ikea's food court. Who can say no to cheap coffee and free Wi-Fi?"

From Left To Right: Urban Decay Naked2 Palette, Benefit They're Real Mascara, Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupté Shine Lipstick, Benefit Coralista Face Powder, Benefit Porefessional, Benefit Hoola Bronzer, Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, and Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
We’d love if you could share a secret or two of your YouTube success — any rules, dos, or don’ts to follow?
"Don't be consumed by numbers and stats: The number of views and subscribers do not define your channel. Instead, maintain your channel as if it were alive. A YouTube channel or a blog is like a pet. It requires consistent attention, maintenance, and content to feed it."

Who are some other users you’re loving right now?
"SoothingSista, HeyClaire, Annaleeandjesse, ShamelessMaya, ItsMyRayeRaye, Sunbeamsjess, essiebutton, and Fashionista804"
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
Name: Cassandra Bankson
Channel: DiamondsAndHeels14
Subscribers: 585,750
Started In: 2010

Tell us how and when you first started making YouTube videos.
"I first started making YouTube videos at the end of 2010. My mom is the 'no-makeup tomboy' kind who's never had a manicure, so I had been watching YouTube beauty vlogs for over four years to teach myself, and had learned to apply cosmetics because of them. When I decided to start posting videos, it was my way of 'giving back' to the YouTube community that had helped me so greatly."

What drove you to specially create beauty-driven content?
"I think I'm drawn to beauty, fashion, and skincare because before YouTube, I never knew what it was like to feel 'beautiful.' All throughout my life, I was the tall, skinny, and awkward girl with a wide-tooth smile and terrible acne. The kind that 12 dermatologists couldn't fix. I had acne since the third grade, and was called things like pizza face, freak of nature, and the exorcist by my peers. I lived for quite some time simply hating myself. I found a passion in the practicality and creativity involved in beauty. My quest for aesthetic beauty and social acceptance lead me to the creativity and passion involved in beauty, which lit some sort of fiery passion I never new I had, but couldn't ignore."

What’s one makeup or hair trend you’ve been vying to try out?
"One makeup trend I'm obsessed with for fall is the burgundy cheeks extended to the temples and even brow bones. This season, Chanel had matte skin and natural lips that were understated compared to deep burgundy tones of blush that swept along the cheek and brow bones. It's a trend that I'm honestly a bit nervous to try — it's so bold! As daring as it may be, I think it's close enough to my comfort zone to let me step out of my box and give it a go."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
On the flipside, what’s one you are staying away from?
"I think I'll be staying away from the trend of leopard-print hair. I honestly love how creative and regal it looked on the Jean Paul Gaultier runways, but I don't know if it's something I can pull off, even for a special occasion."

What are some misconceptions about the industry you feel people may have?
"I definitely think there are misconceptions about the YouTube beauty industry. The first, and most prominent being that, 'YouTubers do nothing all day but laze around, put on makeup, and talk to cameras!' I certainly can't speak for everyone, but I consider myself, and so far every other YouTube beauty guru I've met, to be some of the hardest working people I know. There is so much research that goes behind every video. Once the research and filming has been done, then comes the tasks of editing, and putting together the video to prepare it to go online."

What’s your all-time favorite video you’ve created?
"One of my all-time favorite videos isn't my favorite because it's funny, creative, or practical, but because of what it personally taught me. I was so scared of posting a foundation routine video that exposed my acne and how I covered it, that after filming the video I didn't post it for months. Even after posting it, I abandoned YouTube, fearing commenters. When I finally stumbled upon it months later I was overwhelmed with emotions. It was the first time strangers had ever shown me kindness and acceptance for who I really was. People were saying they could relate to me, that somehow I had actually helped them with their own insecurities — something I never thought I would be capable or successful enough to do. If it weren't for that video, I would've never known what it is to beautiful in my own skin."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
Where else do you go to find beauty inspiration online?
"One of my favorite websites to draw beauty inspiration from is Pampadour. It's like a Pinterest just for beauty, but much more social. People share photos, videos, looks, and can ask questions. Also, everything links to where you can actually purchase a product, which makes things super easy If I'm trying to purchase foreign cosmetics! I love getting inspiration from the other tutorials I see there, beauty looks that are trending, or even what celebrities are wearing."

What about real-life inspiration — where do you go to get your beauty fix offline?
"On of my biggest ways of finding real-life video inspiration, is my day-to-day lifestyle and practicality. Personal questions that I want answered, quick fixes to something that takes me a long time, or just making life and beauty more practical inspire me to create videos on things I find or learn."

What are your must-have products?
"My must-have products change during the season depending on my skin's needs, beauty and fashion trends, and what new products are on the market. Benefit Badgal Plum Mascara has recently been my everyday go-to, it's one of the easiest ways to make lashes long and full, as well as making eye colors pop so vibrantly! Dermablend Cover Crème is one of my favorite foundations, it covers the color and texture of my acne, as well as my varicose veins! I love using Neutrogena Cosmetics Shine Control Powder over the top, or even on its own. And, Yves Saint Laurent lipsticks are some of the most moisturizing I've ever used."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
What’s one beauty secret you’ve never told anyone…yet?
"My best-kept beauty secret would probably have to be removing glitter nail polish. It's so adorable, but nearly impossible to get rid of! The polish has more of a contact area to the nail, making it adhere stronger and also meaning the polish is applied thicker. Instead of spending ages with an acetone remover, start off by applying a generous coat of nail polish over the glitter. Let this sit about a minute or two. The lacquer you've just applied on top will help to break down the polish underneath and help loosen it off the nail. You can then easily swipe off the polish with a paper towel and use remover to clean up the edges."

When you’re not making videos, where can we find you?
"When I'm not making YouTube videos, I'm usually enjoying nature and getting my cardio on by hiking. If I'm not at a photo shoot, runway practice, or a casting, I may be in a library. I have to study for homework and school, and many times I spend extra time in the Stanford Library researching medical facts, and history for not only my research papers but for YouTube videos as well. When I'm not inside working on my nonprofit charity, I love to be what we call 'in the field' by volunteering at a local animal shelter or senior center, and helping get materials ready for a food or clothing drive."

Who are some other users you’re loving right now?
"I'm obsessed with MissChievous' positive energy and makeup creativity. Her looks are so intricate, amazingly pigmented, and flawlessly blended. MacBarbie07 and I used to live about two hours away from each other. When I heard about her videos I started watching and they are some of the most entertaining ones out there! Goss Makeup Artist is one of my favorite people to learn from. Blogilates is one YouTuber who makes workouts fun for me! Casey Ho is one girl whose routines can really kick my butt!"
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
Name: Ally Chen
Channel: Fashions By Ally
Subscribers: 90,697
Started In: 2009

Tell us how and when you first started making YouTube videos.
"In high school, I watched and admired the beauty and fashion videos that Michelle Phan, Xteeener, and Ahanhbarbie34 created. Then, in June of 2009, my best friend convinced me to start my own channel! It's all history from there and I've been hooked ever since."

What drove you to specially create beauty-driven content?
"I want to be like a sister or a friend, someone who my viewers could relate to and learn a few cool beauty tips and tricks. I also found an amazing community of girls who also shared the same creative passion."

What’s one makeup or hair trend you’ve been vying to try out?
"I have been curious about the ombré hair trend, it's such an interesting look!"
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
On the flipside, what’s one you are staying away from?
"I tend to shy away from brightly colored eye shadows. I don't think I can pull it off."

What are some misconceptions about the industry you feel people may have?
"The beauty and fashion industry stresses the idea that beauty is a tall, thin model. Often times this standard is unattainable because we are all different shapes and sizes. That is why I love how YouTube is transforming the standards of beauty in social media. All ethnicities can have a platform to express their creativity and view."

What’s your all-time favorite video you’ve created?
"My favorite video has to be my DIY: Long Sleeve Shirts into Skirts piece! The idea was quite simple, but seemed to capture a lot of interest, making it my most viewed video on my channel. You take a long-sleeve button-down blouse and transform it into a skirt. I have made a few variation of the video since."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
What about real-life inspiration — where do you go to get your beauty fix offline?
"I find inspiration from nature, architecture, and people watching in San Francisco."

What are your must-have products?
"My must-have products include a natural Korean BB Cream, my all-time favorite Clinique Blushing Blush Powder in Sunset Glow, a champagne eye shadow, and a super-black liquid eyeliner."

What’s one beauty secret you’ve never told anyone…yet?
"The key to achieving flawless skin is by avoiding sugary sodas and processed food. I love cooking my own meals and eating tons of vegetables, fruit, and drinking water!"

From Left To Right: The Body Shop Mango Body Butter, Urban Decay Naked2 Palette, Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
When you’re not making videos, where can we find you?
"You can probably find me studying at the library, exploring the city, enjoying great food, or hiking a scenic trail!"

We’d love if you could share a secret or two of your YouTube success — any rules, dos, or don’ts to follow?
"Show passion for your craft and don't be afraid to be yourself in front of the camera! Think outside of the box! As for an insider tip, create stand-out thumbnails with PicMonkey. It even has the 'bokeh' effect that everyone loves."

Who are some other users you’re loving right now?
"I love watching Michelle Phan, Clothes Encounter, ThatsHeart, Missglamorazzi, MissTiffanyMA, and Syntheticcdoll! All women I admire with a unique personality and point of view."
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