To Youtube or Not to Youtube: That is The Question

As I've tried to expand my makeup knowledge, I've gone deeper into the abyss that is Youtube. I've found a few makeup gurus - as they're called - that I've taken to and some that I've learned from on what not to do.

Youtube is an interesting leveling game: Anyone can post about virtually anything of interest. It doesn't matter if English is your first language and you still need subtitles or even if those subtitles would still explain nothing.

I've learned to watch it with a note-taking eye: what works really, really works and what doesn't really doesn't. About a month ago, I began following a newscaster who does beauty product reviews. Her Youtube name is Emilynoel83 (in the professional news realm she's Emily Eddington).

The first time I watched her, I was overcome by how much of a newscaster voice she projects even when dissecting lipstick colors with names like Cinnamon Buns and Sunset (which I still can't find, btw!). Her hair and makeup are always perfectly coiffed. She is someone, to be honest, that I'd normally find artificial.

But her style is captivating: She gets straight to the point in her reviews, bringing that journalistic sensibility into things like analyzing the best bronzer. And she is blunt and direct with her criticisms of brands, even while smiling like a pageant queen. Once you begin scanning Youtube, you understand how hard it is for someone to get to the point and explain it well. Then there's the honesty factor: You can sense authenticity; you want to connect and feel like those five minute clips gave you something for your time.

Once I created my own makeup page and began posting pictures, I began to get a few requests for video tutorials. This is so commonplace now that most people almost expect you have a corresponding Youtube identity. I didn't and still don't. As I consider ways to broaden my reach and push myself out of my comfort zone, this is almost a daily consideration.

The concept was and still does scare me. I've read the comments sections, which seem to range from borderline hero-worship to vile attacks. Both extremes equally alarm me.

And so I've held back, keeping my real identity (I don't even use my full name on my personal Facebook account) hidden behind a cloud of makeup tips and images of other people.

Then this morning I watched a video Emily put out called, "Tagged: Your Beauty Story." I guess there's a Youtube game of tagging a guru, which prompts him or her to answer a series of questions that others have answered. Most of Emily's answers were light: she began wearing makeup when she was cheerleading; she learned about the basics from her mother and sister.

The final question she answered was about Youtube itself. She described the experience as positive - even for the negatives it involves. She said it teaches you a valuable life lesson that is easier the sooner you learn it: Not everyone will like you, what you're about, what you have to say. The point of it was it's OK: keep doing what you do and keep going. It's not just on Youtube that you learn this reality. It's in life.

I still don't know if I'll post a video tutorial and come out of hiding, but something about that last answer nudged me much closer.

Because makeup really isn't about hiding. It's about showing yourself, in more ways than one.

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