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14 Beauty Influencers That Are the Best Brand Ambassadors

January 28, 2021
9 MINUTES
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Danica Popovic

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From huge influencer marketing names to efficient micro-influencers, here are some notable Internet personas to teach you how to boost your beauty brand marketing.

It’s not easy becoming an internet star these days… and yet, the possibility has never been more accessible. Upfluence has over 4 million registered influencers, with numbers steadily growing.

Of course, the reason for this is that influencer marketing is also growing, as a majority of businesses (63%) increased their influencer marketing spending in 2020. Of course, this type of social media marketing is especially prevalent in the beauty industry, as people turn to their favorite influencers to learn (e.g. makeup tutorials), but also to get honest information and product reviews before purchasing.

If you’re trying to come up with a strong marketing campaign for your beauty brand, partnering with a beauty influencer can be a huge advantage. On this list of top beauty influencers, we’ve included some huge names that demonstrate what good influencer marketing looks like, as well as micro influencers that might be a better fit if you have a small marketing budget.

Top beauty influencers you must know

1. Huda Kattan

This American makeup artist turned businesswoman and beauty guru started blogging way back in 2010 and has since launched her world-famous line of beauty products, Huda Beauty. A sponsored post from Kattan will cost several thousands of dollars (and more accurately, tens of thousands), and she is rumored to be selective about the brands she works with.

But if you’re trying to reach a vast younger audience, then spreading the word to her impressive 48 million Instagram followers is probably going to yield some new sales. On the other hand, if you’re just looking for a lesson in influencer marketing, Huda’s Instagram account is a great place to start. Even though she’s a huge social media star, she keeps the posts focused on her audience, responding to their queries and reposting other people’s content of them using her beauty products.

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2. Nikkie De Jager

If you didn’t know her name, then you’ve probably heard of her famous YouTube makeup tutorial channel NikkieTutorials.

As a proud transgender woman, Nikkie’s personal brand is all about being your authentic self and breaking free of old social conventions, norms and labels. If your beauty brand adheres to a similar worldview, then partnering with Nikkie De Jager can turn out to be an amazing power move. And not just as a way to increase your sales (although that’s very likely to happen as she spreads the word to her 14 million followers and YouTube subscribers). Getting Nikkie as the voice of your brand can also help you build a better brand image and stand out from other beauty brands that may view beauty as only skin deep.

3. James Charles

In this day and age, there are very few rules left to be broken. But let’s face it, the world of beauty influencers is still largely dominated by women (even if they are women from diverse cultural and personal backgrounds, which is awesome).

And it wasn’t that long ago (2016), that James Charles became the first male ambassador for the renowned brand CoverGirl. James has his own unique aesthetic to a tee: futuristic and rebellious, androgynous and daring. If your target audience is Gen Z, then James is definitely the right address to turn to, even if you’re just looking for someone whose influencer marketing pricing is going to be a little more affordable (as a top influencer Charles’ rates per post exceed tens of thousands of dollars).

For example, he hosted a reality competition called “Instant Influencer”, searching for the next big beauty vlogger. Later on, the brand Morphe partnered with the competition winner, Ashley Strong last year. Ashley now has over 700 thousand Instagram followers of her own.

4. Michelle Phan

This YouTube veteran (many sources even cite her as the original beauty vlogger), took the Internet by storm with her makeup tutorials, created her own makeup line, and then made an even bigger public stunt by disappearing from the web in 2015.

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However, she came back a couple of years later, explaining that she was unhappy with a life that revolved around her changing from a girl with dreams to “a product, selling, smiling, and selling”. Fortunately, she seems to have found a way to navigate her life and take care of her mental health whilst building an incredibly successful career; after her first beauty brand Ipsy, today she owns another one called EM Cosmetics, which she bought back from her initial partner L’Oreal).

With a story like that it’s pretty evident that when it comes to partnerships, Phan chooses hers carefully. So use her example as a useful takeaway: when choosing an influencer to partner with, make sure that they are genuinely excited about your brand, and don’t just view you as the next paycheck.

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5. Jeffree Star

When it comes to successful YouTubers, Jeffree Star is definitely someone to aspire to. His YouTube channel boasts a staggering 18 million subscribers and an estimated $4000 daily profit from YouTube ads alone! He has his line of beauty products called Jeffree Star Cosmetics (and you might recognize the memorable beauty logo of this brand).

When it comes to social media marketing, Jefree uses his YouTube channel predominantly to talk about his own products. However, there’s still plenty of room for collaboration and you can also try and send something so he can do a product review. This beauty influencer has had his public image put into question, although he finally addressed the (racist) controversy last year. Star is by no means an ambassador fit for every brand, but his influence is indisputable.

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6. Shannon Harris

Shannon Harris started her YouTube channel back in 2009, and today she is well known for her vlogs that deal with all things makeup: from glam retro looks to decluttering and testing out new products, Shannon is versatile, yet focused on makeup. She’s got a great, down-to-earth style; for example, she always starts her vlog with a sans makeup look, blemishes included, which makes her very relatable to a wide range of potential customers.

Remember that finding a perfect brand ambassador for a makeup brand will require someone who is genuinely passionate about it.

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7. Manny Gutierez

Manny Gutierez, also known as Manny MUA is a makeup artist, who has over 4 million subscribers on YourTube and just as many followers on his Instagram account. For years now, he’s been the partner of Maybelline. He was the makeup brand’s first male ambassador, and brought them immense coverage with his drugstore brand makeup tutorial vlog, using just Maybelline products (over 2 million people have watched the YoutTube video so far).

Aside from Instagram beauty hacks, he does a great job at connecting with his audiences on a more personal level, as his posts include funny TikTok videos, as well as longer videos and Instagram posts where Manny talks about pertinent social issues.

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Micro-influencers to watch out in 2021

If you’re looking to invest in influencer marketing, but the 5-figure numbers these top beauty influencers charge is out of reach, don’t fret!

Micro-influencers are the next big thing in digital marketing, as trends suggest marketing is moving to smaller, niche audiences. This report suggests that conversion rates are 20% higher with micro-influencers than any other type of social media influencer. A great success story to learn from is Sephora’s marketing campaign, Sephora Squad. In 2019, the brand created an affiliated program that invited Instagram influencers (without any restrictions on how many followers you have to have) to apply and become their brand ambassadors. This was a great effort from the brand to go beyond quantitative metrics, and showcase people with unique stories and backgrounds, making their brand image more inclusive, diverse, and therefore appealing.

So, without further ado, here are some promising names you ought to remember if you’re looking for your next brand ambassador.

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8. Rachel (@theskincarestandard)

Although she has just 35k followers on Instagram (I use the word “just” fully aware of my 150 Instagram friends), this blogger is definitely a name to remember, especially if you have a line of skincare products.

She has a highly engaged group of followers, but more importantly, very carefully curated content. Whether it’s bits of makeup like new highlighters or bronzers, or skincare products like moisturizers and toners, Rachel is all about skincare. And as a chemistry student, she doesn’t just curate her content beautifully, she also knows what she’s talking about! Lengthy product review posts always invite her followers to chime in the discussion.

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9. Karen Camargo (@karenncamargo_)

If you want to reach Gen Z consumers, then there’s no way you can avoid getting on TikTok. But if you’re apprehensive about the idea yourself, then a terrific way to create a buzz about your brand on this social media network is to partner with an influencer who’s got their foot in the door.

A great choice for you, in that case, might be Karen Camargo, who uses both her TikTok and Instagram account to share videos and about makeup. She often partners with brands to create customized products which she shares with her followers.

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10. Lesley Marie (@lesleymarie1213)

This beauty blogger based in New York is known for her bold eyeshadow looks, and would therefore be a great choice if you’re looking to promote a new palette. She has a solid following of 44k, so she might not be the most affordable influencer to work with, but definitely worth inquiring if you wish to promote this type of beauty product.

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11. Raoul Alejandre (@raoulalejandre)

This stylist and fashion influencer has already paired with some big brands, such as Revlon, showing his makeup chops on a range of beautifully diverse models, including some red carpet looks! Raoul certainly has a knack for fashion, so if you’re looking for someone to help you boost your luxury brand image, then he could be a great person to partner with.

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12. Sarah Kane (@topknotnails)

Moving further into the world of niche markets, here’s a beauty influencer that specializes in nail care. This content creator uses her Instagram account to showcase incredible hand-painted nail art.

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13. Becky Adams (@beckyaddams)

This popular beauty influencer certainly doesn’t disappoint when it comes to being unique. She is known for her stunning gothic glam looks that will certainly inspire anyone with an artistic streak. However, she’s also a fierce advocate of cruelty-free products, which is definitely a positive trend all makeup brands should be paying attention to.

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14. Zoli Couture (@zolicouture)

If beauty Instagram accounts are the focus of your influencer marketing strategy, then Zoli is certainly a potential partner you’ll want to consider. This UK-based content creator and nano influencer focuses all of her efforts on her Instagram account, and by the looks of it, has a well-established routine of partnering and promoting various beauty brands.

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She has less of a personalized approach (e.g. many of her makeup tutorials don’t include any talk about the products). However, this really helps her focus on the makeup products themselves, so if you want to keep your brand in the limelight and perhaps are a small brand just starting out, partnering with someone like Zoli can be a great first step. Although she only has about 5k Instagram followers, this can be a great way to jumpstart your brand and get the word out!

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Danica Popovic

January 28, 2021

Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.