Like a lot of people of my generation who are obsessed with all things make-up and beauty, I feel like I can put a lot of the blame for my vast collection on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and the collection of beauty gurus and influencers that I have become more and more familiar with over the years. These people are great – they try the products so you don’t have to, and then review them on their various social media platforms and let you know what you should and what you shouldn’t spend your hard-earned money on.
And then you go out and spend your hard-earned money on it.
We are all susceptible to this kind of advertising. We all watch YouTube for a reason – these people are really living the high life, and they all look bloody brilliant in doing so. If they can talk to me about a contour kit that’ll give me perfect cheekbones, I’m all over that. If they can recommend me a lipstick that’ll last through me eating a Big Mac and drinking beer all day, then who am I to deny myself that pleasure?
Now, I have a lot of make-up, and not all of it, I must admit, is any good. And the thing about buying the products that these people recommend over and over is that despite their wondrous reviews, they might not work at all. We all have different skin tones, we all have different textures and undertones and gripes and concerns, and we want make-up to make that all go away, make us look radiant and flawless and like a 10/10. But sadly, it doesn’t work like that, and there are products that I’ve purchased that came so highly reviewed from all my faves, but they just… did nothing for me.
The list I have compiled on the stuff that YouTube Made Me Buy (and I use the term ‘made’ quite loosely as, let’s be honest, there wasn’t a gun to my head when I made that cheeky third BeautyBay order of the month) contains the good and the bad, the stuff I reach for on a daily basis to the stuff that’s just kinda… meh. So let’s get started.
- Morphe 35O palette (£23.50, buy here)
This palette is like the Number One in products that have been incredibly hyped up by the YouTube/Instagram community, and the second this came back into stock last autumn I snapped it up. I am a big lover of warm browns and oranges for eyeshadow, and the variety of shades, tones, and mattes and shimmers drew me straight in.The shade in the bottom right corner is almost a straight up dupe for MAC’s Coppering, which is one of my all-time favourite eyeshadows, and sometimes if I want softer eyebrows I’ll fill them in with a mix of the powders from here. I was on the waitlist for this for so long, and I was so damn excited to receive it, buuuut I have to admit… I don’t reach for it as much as I thought I would.
It’s a shame, really, because it is a beautiful palette and there are so many looks you can create with this. But it’s big, and the packaging is flimsy and I’m always worried I’m going to snap the top off, and the shadows are pretty good but formula and blendability-wise they’re not my favourite. It’s definitely something I’m going to strive to reach for more, and I think it’s an excellent staple for a warm-toned make-up lover to have, but they definitely aren’t the best eyeshadows on the market.
2. Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer (£25, buy here)
Now this… this is one product that is true love, we’re in a long term committed relationship and it’s going to be a summer wedding. It’ll have to be in summer, because this bronzer is a tad too dark for me to wear when I’m at my palest (but I’m a rebel and I’ll wear it anyway) but I honestly LOVE this stuff. It warms up my skin without making me look orange, it blends into any other powders I’m wearing on my face seamlessly, and to top it all off it smells like actual chocolate (tastes like it too, but I do not condone eating it). And I can see why so many people on YouTube and Instagram reach for this as their go-to. It’s hard to overdo it, and can be used to bronze and to contour. It’s a great all-rounder in general, a great staple that can be used with a light hand for the day or a heavy hand for a more dramatic look.
This also comes in a lighter shade (the aptly named milk chocolate bronzer) that I am eager to try. If I ran out of this tomorrow, I would definitely repurchase (and I hardly ever repurchase, so that’s saying something).
3. Kat Von D Lock-It Liquid Foundation (£27, buy here)
Oh, man, I just cannot make up my damn mind about this foundation. I bought the foundation and the concealer because I was super excited when Debenhams picked up Kat Von D in the UK. I’d managed to get my hands on Lolita and both Shade and Light Palettes after my mate went to the US, and I loved all three, and my favourite part of make-up is foundation and concealer. I had high hopes… but within two weeks I ended up giving the concealer away.
This foundation is something I currently have a love-hate relationship with. A lot of the reviews that I’d heard on YouTube said that it was brilliant in that it was extremely full coverage – which is definitely my jam – but it was almost bordering on too thick at times, and also that it broke a lot of people out after prolonged wear. My acne prone skin didn’t like the sound of that, so after wearing it once on it’s own I’ve been mixing it either with another foundation (usually my Too Faced Born This Way) or a liquid highlighter, and that’s working out better. Yet it’s still not my favourite, and doing it that way can be more effort than it’s worth when there are other foundations I just like more. I would recommend it if you do like an extreme full coverage, but it’s definitely not for day to day wear, and not one if you’re about that minimal make-up life.
4. IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer ($24/£19.40, buy here)
This is the thickest damn concealer ever, I swear. I don’t use all too often for that reason, because I need to do some serious baking under my eyes if I don’t want this to crease, and I also have to wear it with a quite lightweight foundation, or else I will have some serious cakeface going on. I bought this under the recommendation of NikkieTutorials way back when she used to use it in every video, but like her I’ve moved on. I mostly wear it on nights out, or days when it really shows how little sleep I’ve had. Would I repurchase? Probably not. Would I have bought anything from IT Cosmetics without YouTube? Definitely not – they’re not easy to get hold of in the UK, and it’s expensive when you take shipping and customs into account. I do however want to try the CC Cream from them… it’s YouTube’s fault, I swear.
5. Laura Mercier Loose Translucent Setting Powder (£29, buy here)
I really wasn’t going to buy this… and then I did. This powder could give the Morphe 35O a run for its money with just how many people love it, rave about it, talk about it, bathe in it on a daily basis, etc. Now I’m not normally a loose powder gal – my MAC Mineralise Skinfinish in Light Plus has done me right for years, but this is SO hyped that I felt compelled, almost, to see what all the fuss is about. And it really is bloody good, I have to admit. I don’t bake under my eyes often, but recently I have been doing a light dusting of translucent powder over my whole face and preferring it. It’s surprisingly good for dry skin and the packaging is sleek and pretty damn good, nowhere near as messy as other translucent powders I’ve tried in the past. If it works well on my dry skin it’ll be an absolute dream on you oily skinners, and to be honest, I’d probably repurchase, which is something I never saw coming for me and a 29 quid powder.
6. Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer (£17.50, buy here)
Pretty much anything Jaclyn Hill, my wonderfully zany YouTube mother, recommends, I’ll probably try and get my hands on. Jaclyn’s tastes are usually the same as mine – dry skin with spots and texture here and there – and when she recommended this concealer as one that doesn’t crease and doesn’t highlight textured cheeks, I was all over this like a rash. I purchased this in April and the tube is almost empty – I’m at that point where I’m in denial about how empty it is because I don’t want it to be gone. The applicator is one of my all-time favourites on a concealer and it picks up such a good amount of product. It’s not drying at all, and I can look past the slight creasing I get because the colour matches me better than most. I’m going to have to repurchase it because I don’t want to not have it in my collection.
Thanks for this one, Jaclyn, you the real MVP.
7. Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade (£15, buy here)
I take my eyebrows extremely seriously, and it’s taken me a long time to find products that I like enough to keep going back to. This was another Instagram fave, and along with the other ABH brow products it’s a lot of YouTuber’s go-to. I started with the Brow Wiz and used about four of them up in the space of six months. It’s a brilliant product, but longevity wise it’s a bit poor. So I turned to this bad boy, and I really bloody like it.
This is pretty well used, but unfortunately it’s the wrong colour for me right now, deep sigh. I’ve never been one for a natural brow and I carve mine out every single day, so this was ideal as you could pretty much forgo the extra carving-out step thanks to its thick consistency and long life. I’ll probably never run out of this one in Taupe, and when I get the one in Medium Brown that should match my current hair I’m pretty sure it’ll be a daily staple. You’ll never run out of it either, so I’d say it’s definitely worth its price tag.
8. Mary-Lou Manizer by TheBalm (£20, buy here)
I remember when everyone who was anyone was raving on about this highlighter, and for a damn good reason. It was like the OG highlighter before highlighting became all the rage, and it’s still a standout product for me in my highlighter collection. It’s a beautiful gold-champagney colour that will flatter so many skin tones, and it can be built up to blinding but can also work for those who just want something subtle. I don’t reach for it a huge amount, to be fair, but I should, because whenever I wear it with any make-up look I remind myself why I bought it and why I love it. If you’re looking for something universal that’ll flatter you on any occasion, day or night, I highly recommend picking this bad girl up.
9. Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder (£35, buy here)
I… don’t like this as much as I wish I did, which sucks. It’s in the shade light, which I think is waaaaay too grey for my skin, which sucks because it was soooo damn expensive. KathleenLights, The Anna Edit, and NikkieTutorials are just a few of those who swear by this product, but I feel like just like them (bar Kathleen) I should have picked this up in Medium. It blends well but I find it’s also really easy to apply far too much quickly – just one swipe with far too much product has me looking muddy and patchy, and I have to bronze a lot to disguise it. Maybe one day I’ll pick up Medium and love it, but for now I think I’ll be sticking to my Kat Von D Shade and Light Contour Kit – my absolute ride or die.
10. Tarte Maneater Voluptuous Mascara (£19, buy here)
I placed a cheeky Tarte order with some Christmas money that I had, and this was amongst the goodies I picked up. I’m constantly looking for mascaras that will match up to my old Too Faced Better Than Sex or my Benefit Roller Lash, two I’ve recently had to chuck out because they were old and dried out. This is only okay, and that makes me sad because there was a lot of hype around this, particularly on Instagram.
But I primarily picked this up because of Jamie Genevieve, who I adore, and she says she uses it topped with another mascara by TheBalm. Her lashes look great with both mascaras, but then again I may as well go back to my old Too Faced one for the same price as this. I’m going to keep using it though, because it was absolutely fab for prepping your lashes for falsies but on it’s own… not the worst, but definitely not my favourite.
11. Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso (£7.49, buy here)
Holy heck, do I love this blush! It’s my summer staple – it just gives such a beautiful peachy-pinky flush to the cheeks, and sometimes I don’t even feel the need to highlight while wearing this, which is a damn bold move for me, who has more highlighters than clothes. Loved by everyone, raved about by everyone, and for a damn good reason. In my top five blushes of all time for sure.
12. NYX Eyebrow Gel (£5.50, buy here)
Some people loved this, some people hated this, and it’s only a fiver so naturally I had to try this out myself. It’s in crap packaging because it’s so easy to squeeze out too much, and therefore it’s really easy to go too heavy the first few times you use it. But it’s nice… just nice, and I definitely wouldn’t use it every day because that would be way too much of a faff. But for nights out and days when you’ve got a bit more time to spend on your brows, I’ll use it. 6/10 or thereabouts.
13. Morphe Pressed Pigments (£5.50 each, buy here)
These are bloody BRILLIANT. Morphe make-up can be a bit hit or miss for me at times – love some palettes, don’t reach for others, but these are so bloody good!! I have two – So Chic and Polish & Mimosa Sunday) and I’m so keen to pick up more in more bright and adventurous colours. With a little bit of Fix+ (though other sprays will work just fine) and a warm brown thrown through the crease, they just help produce the simplest but most beautiful eye look that can be worn in the days, and you feel like a million dollars. I bloody love ’em.
14. Urban Decay Full Spectrum Palette (£43, buy here)
I am so glad I picked this palette up on Black Friday when I could get it for 25% off, because if I had paid the full 43 quid for this then I would have been PISSED. This palette looks like a dream, and everyone was originally so excited for it… then I bought it, used it a few times, and then the negative reviews started coming in.
I WISH that this had the pigmentation and the blendability that other UD palettes have. It promised so much and delivered so little, and I have barely reached for this since I got it, favouring my Electric Palette (also by UD) when adding a pop of colour to my looks. It’s such a damn shame, because Urban Decay is one of my all-time favourite make-up brands, but this let me down so much. I’ve gotta do some more playing around with it and try and incorporate it into more stuff because it was a bit of an investment, but I still feel let down. Sigh.
I didn’t mean to end on a sour note there, but there we have it, just a few of the many products I have picked up thanks to social media. A goal of mine this year is to be a lot more discerning in what I pick up, and I’m rather pleased with myself in that I’ve only picked up three big buys this year so far, but they’re all ones I really wanted (and will be reviewing on here next week, so keep your eyes peeled for those!). That’s all for now folks, thanks for reading, peace out!