“Put some care into making sure you’re truly yourself.” That’s the takeaway for Twitch streamer Melissa Croft, which is interesting considering the self-titled “Xtreme Makeup Athlete” is best known on Twitch for her full-body cosplay designs using just makeup and body paint. But no matter how many different colours Croft, who goes by MCroft07, blends to cover her body, she's still authentically herself underneath the elaborate designs — and bringing fresh content to a platform that people primarily associate with gaming.
Twitch has slowly but surely been developing into something much greater, evolving into more than just a space for games. With categories like Just Chatting and Art now some of the most popular types of content to exist on Twitch, streamers like Croft to have even more freedom when it comes to the type of content they feature, allowing pop culture lovers and artistic minds to really shine.
Twitch originally wasn't at the top of Croft's mind as a place to showcase her art. “When I first found out about Twitch, I was like, what the hell is Twitch?” Croft says on Refinery29 Twitch, which launched Thursday. It took eight months of simply watching streams and understanding the space for Croft to launch her own channel five years ago. Since then, her unique streams have resonated. She has amassed almost 30,000 followers who tune in to watch her body paint in real time. Croft estimates she's created more than 560 looks that include the likes of Marvel’s She-Hulk, Borderlands’ Tiny Tina, and League of Legends’ Jinx. She also creates original designs, sometimes including headpieces she's made herself, like her horoscope-inspired Aries ram and a biblical angel flamingo.
For other artists looking to jump into Twitch, “definitely learn the space because it is very different,” Croft says. “It’s not the same as YouTube. It’s not the same as Instagram. It’s a separate world, it’s got its own jargon.” And as cliché as it might be, definitely be yourself, she adds.
Croft is just one streamer showing the strong ties between gaming and beauty, and the beauty industry has taken interest. Ten years ago, the idea of the cosmetic industry tapping into the gaming scene would have been a laughable concept. However, recent successful collaborations between the two spaces highlight how the intersection between these two juggernauts could be the next big consumer space.
M.A.C Cosmetics was a pioneer with its Sims 4collaboration in 2020. But in the last year, brands such as Colourpop, e.l.f., and Besame Cosmetics have created a unique brand and identity through their gaming-inspired collections. And for those who still might not be convinced by the strong ties between beauty and gaming, just look at Colourpop’s Animal Crossing collaboration, which featured eyeshadow pallets, lip tints, and powder blushes featuring Timmy, Tommy, and the rest of your fave characters. The limited edition collection sold out in less than an hour when released back in 2021. Clearly, gamers are eager and willing to get their hands on these products. So why is it only now that the makeup industry is targeting gamers?
Gaming and beauty go hand in hand, says Beauty Director Sara Tan, who also joined Entertainment Director and host Melissah Yang on R29’s Twitch debut. While admitting that she “isn’t much of a gamer,” Tan notes gaming and beauty are slowly but surely crossing over in more ways than many may realize. Tan points to a study from consumer insight company GWI that said 39% of people who consider themselves beauty fans also play video games while 22% also enjoy esports. From Tatcha launching a cleanser in game to UGC creators creating mod packs to customise players’ in-game characters makeup looks, “the innovation that gaming and the metaverse offer these beauty brands to think of new ways to feature their products is just so cool,” Tan says.
“The gaming industry is an untapped market,” Yang says, an untapped market that in recent years has become more and more dominated by female-identifying members. In 2020, women accounted for nearly 41% of all gamers in the United States. And in Asia, which accounts for 48% of the world’s total gaming revenue, women now make up 40-45% of the Asian gaming population, according to Google and Niko Partners.
I admit I’m not the most makeup savvy and have often found the beauty industry an intimating space. However, the emergence of collaborations with gaming and pop culture brands and industries has piqued my interest and created an accessibility to the beauty and cosmetic space that didn’t feel attainable to me in the past. And with more and more artists like Melissa Croft making their mark on Twitch, and more beauty brands jumping into the game, the intersection of beauty and gaming will only get stronger.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.