Photo by Leah O’Connor
Sitting in front of her fuchsia wall, junior Jean Phillips sets up her camcorder and places her makeup mirror on her desk. Four containers of eyeshadow, blush, contour and powder brushes line the table. In the corner sits her seven-drawer IKEA cabinet – each drawer overflowing with makeup products bought from places ranging from Sephora to CVS. She sits down at the desk, takes a deep breath and presses record.
Phillips wanted to start a makeup YouTube channel for two years, but couldn’t find the time between work and school. Determined to take her hobby to the next level, Phillips finally uploaded her first video, “Get Ready With Me: Friday Night Out!” Posted on March 2, the video has more than a thousand views and has attracted more than 60 subscribers to her channel of makeup tutorials and tips.
Since freshman year, Phillips has discovered her love of makeup through watching various YouTubers’ makeup routines and tutorials. She then began collecting all types of cosmetics. Now, Phillips spends more than $1000 a year on makeup alone. She is also a VIB Rouge member at Sephora – a membership that includes free two-day shipping, free makeovers and invitations to exclusive events once you spend $1000 at the store.
“I spend all of my money on makeup basically,” Phillips said. “Whenever I see something I don’t have, [I think] why not have it?”
But when Phillips wakes up on a school morning, she doesn’t always reach for one of her 13 different brands of foundations or her eyelash curler. Instead, Phillips feels comfortable going to school without makeup. Phillips didn’t always have the self confidence to go makeupless to school. Prior to her obsession with watching makeup tutorials, she wrestled with her self image.
“I used to struggle with the way I looked,” Phillips said. “I feel like any girl really does.”
Even if it was a minor detail, she would always find something wrong with her face. She dealt with acne and uneven skin textures, plus she thought her face was chubby. Through Youtube and her obsession with makeup, eventually she was able to love the way she saw herself in the mirror. She found countless videos on how to manage acne, contour tutorials to slim down the appearance of her face and foundation tricks to cover up uneven textures.
“Watching Youtube really helped me with my insecurities because I would see these Youtubers with more facial problems than me,” Phillips said. “Youtube just really boosts your self confidence.”
Now makeup serves two purposes for Phillips – a hobby and a confidence booster. She doesn’t wear makeup for the purpose of hiding her face, but because she has the ability to make every detail of her face perfect and loves putting it on.
“Usually when people think about makeup they think people wear it because they are insecure,” Phillips said. “They never really think that someone puts on makeup just because they purely enjoy putting it on.”
Phillips doesn’t only produce YouTube videos to share her talents. She also loves to do other girls’ makeup. Since freshman year, she has done makeup for prom, homecoming and WPA.
“I was very skeptical because I always preferred to do my own makeup, but I had heard good things and wanted to try something new for prom,” junior Anna Dierks said. “I was very pleasantly surprised. She works miracles, I swear.”
Word of Phillips’ makeup skills have reached grades other than her own. Freshman Megan Walstrom went into Jean’s house with low expectations, but came out wanting to come back.
“When I looked at myself, I was so happy because my makeup was exactly what I wanted,” Walstrom said. “You can really tell how much she enjoys makeup.”
Phillips hopes that her tutorials will inspire viewers to feel more self confident about themselves, just like other YouTubers did for her.
“I think if [YouTubers] can have an effect like that on me, then I can help at least one person with their self confidence too.”