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At Beautycon, Social Media Stars Redefine Beauty

Beautycon's Social Media Stars Redefine Gorgeousness
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For the latest beauty and makeup trends, those in the know are ditching fashion magazines and logging onto social media.

At Beautycon, Social Media Stars Redefine Beauty
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For some people, makeup is not just about the latest lipstick product or eyeliner. It is about having power.

Just ask the people who attended Beautycon, a recent 2-day event in New York City. The attendees were able to see and test products from over 100 makeup and beauty care brands. They also could listen to talks by social media stars whose expertise is all things beauty.

At Beautycon, the “stars” were not famous supermodels or designers, but everyday people who have used social media to change the makeup industry.

Millions of people use social media to follow the latest news about beauty care. These Instagram and YouTube users are creating new markets in the business and forcing industry insiders to rethink their ideas.

Irene Kim, a Korean-American, is active on social media. Kim says she found a way to express herself through social media and “share her individuality.”

"Beauty is limitless. It's whatever you want to do and how you want to express yourself," she added. Kim was one of the speakers at the event.

Mecca Iman, who loves using makeup, agrees. "It's deeper than just how it looks. It’s how you feel," she said.

Democratization of Beauty

Moj Mahdara, the head of Beautycon Media, told VOA that beauty magazines no longer decide who is beautiful, or healthy-looking.

"Now you have a generation of young people who are creators,” she said. “(The) consumer is really their friend.”

Iman cried when she met social media star Raye Boyce. Boyce produces “how-to” videos on makeup and beauty care. She is better known by her online name, "ItsMyRayeRaye."

"I learn so much from her," said Iman.

Major manufacturers have noted the power of social media. Boyce recently partnered with CoverGirl to advertise the company's makeup products on her social media. She was also given the chance to visit the research and development laboratories of Coty, the parent company of CoverGirl, and other beauty brands like Clairol, Rimmel and Max Factor.

"I feel like they're listening to us, they're trying to understand the space," said Boyce.

Nabela Noor, a beauty influencer with 749,000 followers on Instagram, has partnered with companies like Sally Hansen, Benefit and e.l.f. Cosmetics.

"The reason why I wanted to do what I'm doing is because I wasn't seeing anyone else like me," said Noor, a Bangladeshi-American. "I wasn't seeing myself represented on television, in the media," she said. "I thought, if I'm not seeing it happen, I'm going to make it happen for myself."

Tokyo Stylez also was in New York for the event. Born in Nebraska, he started working in hair care by posting his wig creations on Instagram. He now works with performers like Nicki Minaj, Beyonce and Rihanna.

"People really support what I do - they trust my vision, they trust my judgement on things. So if I say, 'Go do this' they really go do it," he added.

Tokyo Stylez commands about $900 per person for all-day classes where he talks about hair care treatments. "I just do me, and it works for me," he said.

Beauty From the Inside Out

Self-acceptance is one of the main ideas used by marketers for Generation Z, the young people born from the middle of the 1990s to early 2000s. One area of Beautycon, called "B-Well," dealt mainly with health and well-being, with companies selling, vitamins and healthy treats.

"Beauty is both inside and out, and how you treat your insides and your mental health and your physical health and your spirituality is all a part of how you foster beauty," said Mahdara.

She believes the industries dealing with health, well-being and beauty are coming together.

“(It) will be a very big movement moving forward," she said.

I'm Susan Shand.

Tina Trinh reported this story or Susan Shand adapted her story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

makeupn. colors applied to the face for beauty

brand n. a category of products that are all made by a particular company

online – adj. of or involving computers

consumer n. one who buys things

wign. fake hair that one wears on one’s head

vision – n. the ability to see; the power of imagination

fosterv. to make, or to encourage