YouTube can be a messy place. But usually, beauty vloggers can be counted on to class up the joint. Except when they don’t. This is the case with the various “makeup challenges,” where beauty vloggers (and other YouTube personalities) turn the tables and go about using the cosmetics that help bring out their best features to do just the opposite.

Here’s just one example. In the “3-Minute Makeup Challenge,” “bubzbeauty” (2.8 million subscribers) gets very nervous as she tries to beat the clock. The video has been viewed 1.6 million times.

4 Types of Makeup Challenge on YouTube

There are several kinds of challenges, which include:

  • The “3-Minute Makeup Challenge Tag,” where the vlogger gets ready in a big hurry, then tags other beauty vloggers, challenging them to do the same thing.
  • The “No Mirror Makeup Challenge,” where a vlogger does on-camera makeup application without being able to see themselves. The best part is when they finally do look in the mirror to see the results.
  • The “Blindfolded Makeup Challenge,” where a friend puts the makeup on the vlogger while wearing a blindfold.
  • The “My Boyfriend Does My Makeup Challenge,” because many men just don’t get it.

The results of these challenges are often hilarious, and probably not at all what the cosmetics brands had imagined as good promotion for their products. But in fact these videos, if not professional examples of the right way to do things, get huge traffic, much of it totally untracked by the brands in the videos. And the reach of these types of videos extends beyond the normal audience of beauty vloggers to other popular YouTubers who just want to try something fun.

Makeup Challenges: Earned Media Views for Beauty Brands

The vast majority of “earned media views” like these, which include brand products but are not created by the brands themselves, are unknown to the companies who have sold the products.

Bubzbeauty uses a number of brands in her videos, including Revlon (she’s fond of concealers and is always testing different kinds). But Revlon may not have spotted some of her videos. It’s no easy feat to see a brand’s true footprint. The Octoly system found that 76% of all views about Revlon were from fans like Bubzbeauty – more than 70 million views overall.

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Brands Are Missing Out on Collaboration Opportunities

And, depending on the video or the creator, brands may be missing out on a big trend. In this video Tyler Oakley (5.7 million subscribers) does a “collab” while blindfolded and things quickly go wrong for his friend “MissGlamorazzi” (3 million subscribers). The video Blindfolded Makeup Challenge with Tyler Oakley!!! was viewed 1.6 million times.

Often the stunned looks of surprise-and-horror of these beauty vloggers is the real payoff, as with this screen grab from LoveFromLiyax “No Mirror Makeup Challenge GONE WRONG!” below, where, as you can see by her expression, Liya is very disturbed by the way her eyebrows came out.

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Here’s the moment of truth from “Blind Folded Makeup Challenge!” from “Rclbeauty101” and “krazyrayray”:

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This is what it looked like a moment before, with the blindfold on:

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This video “BLINDFOLD MAKEUP CHALLENGE!” with iJustine (2 million subscribers) and JoeyGraceffa (4.1 million subscribers) went entirely off the rails and was viewed 1.4 million times.

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On the JustKiddingParty channel, the video “Blind Makeup Challenge – Round 2” showed men putting makeup on men while blindfolded with a group of friends at a party. It was viewed 90,000 times.

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The queen of YouTube, Jenna Marbles (14 million subscribers), did her own test with the “Not My Arms Challenge” (2.9 million views), where her male friend sat hidden behind her with his large forearms coming out of her shirt and applied her makeup. This is a version of the popular “My Boyfriend Does My Makeup” challenge.
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Here’s a “My Boyfriend Does My Makeup” challenge by Aspyn Ovard:

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While these videos are mostly from beauty vloggers, these silly videos rarely get brand mentioned. Perhaps with good reason – they look anything but classy, and creators might worry about harming their relationships with their sponsors. But these kinds of challenges, and others like them, demonstrate organically-grown trends that are wide open for engagement by brands willing to be a little avant garde. So brands – what are you challenging your fans to do?