This article originally appeared on VICE Australia.
I, like many of you, am addicted to watching Instagram makeup tutorials. I'm addicted to watching minute-long videos on Instagram of beauty bloggers doing very elaborate and precise things to themselves with makeup. What is this culture? How did it begin? What interests me about it? I have absolutely no idea. All I can tell you is that I watch them more than I do anything else on my phone. And it's only getting worse as Instagram's algorithms populate my entire explore page with makeup tutorials. Sad!
I can't take it anymore. It's time to talk about how every single on of these videos is evil.
Each Video Involves Far More Steps Than Anyone Could Ever Actually Follow
I don't know what happened exactly, but at some point these videos went from being pretty realistic and practical—you know, foundation, bronzer, blush, eye stuff, lip stuff—to being like… basically fucking rocket science. It happened so quickly that I almost didn't notice it. A makeup tutorial now includes approximately 100 different processes. First you've got these huge eyebrows you've gotta paint and you might as well be goddamned Michelangelo. You'll also need to use about seven different products. They're so intricate. So involved. They even draw tiny individual hairs! Which is all very stressful to me. What happens when you have an itchy eyebrow??? Can you even scratch it? Then you've got your eye stuff—thousands of layers of eyeshadow and glitter and shiny stuff and liner and liquid liner and then lashes! Then you've got that oil that you're dripping all over your face at a very weird angle. Then it's primer, concealer, foundation or BB cream or something. Then you do that white powder thing but only under your eyes and below your cheekbones. Then you're applying bronzer or contour or whatever, then highlighting, then some kind of spray to make it all stick there. Then you gotta paint your fucking lips on. I just can't help but imagine what happens when it's midnight and you're at a party. You're a bit sweaty and you hug a friend because you've taken a pill and you wanna tell them you love them. Then you eventually pull away and your entire face is on their white linen shirt. Does this happen? It has to. It just has to.
The goddamn props. These beauty bloggers use an unbelievable amount of props while applying makeup. And yes, I know that it serves a purpose: Your video looks different to the other five million videos because you've chosen to use a quirky little object! Sponges, blades, knives, tape, scissors, vegetables, fruits, preserves, lighters, cups, books, pliers, hammers. But listen to me: I'm going to watch all of these videos. All of them. You don't need to compete with each other. I'll get around to all of you. So with that in mind, a contour doesn't need be so straight it necessitates a meat cleaver blade. Am I wrong? Am I? No seriously someone please tell me because I no longer know what to believe.
Oh man, the pointing and the nodding and all the generally insane gesticulation. Just a quick head's up: You do not need to point to a feature before you apply makeup to it. I don't need you to walk me through this self-explanatory 30-second-long video like a fucking toddler. Must you point to your lipstick, then to your lips, and then back to your lipstick before putting it on your lips? And then pretend to put the lipstick on your eyelid? And laugh to yourself and shake your finger in my face to say "just kidding you idiot!!!" before going back to the lip to start all this madness again?? Fuck you, pal. I understand the function of lipstick and I don't care for being taunted.
All the Chipmunky EDM!!
The songs that these sinful videos are set to are just… horrible. It's either some chipmunky EDM shit or Ariana Grande sped up—whose voice at regular speed is already extremely high pitched—and it feels a bit like being tickled to death. It's funny but in a very, very sinister way. I think it's actually bullying.
The Very Slow Blinking
There is just so much blinking in slow motion. This is not sexy, it's weird. You look ill. I'm sorry.
The Clickbait Thumbnails
Look, I know you aren't going to use that match you're holding up to your concealer stick. In fact, it won't appear in the video like at all, ever, except on the one teeny-tiny frame you need to include to select it as the thumbnail in the fucking first place. Once upon a time this trick had, you know, small amounts of integrity. They'd hold up a match to the stick like "haha, what I am going to do with this match? What am I, crazy?" and then they would fricking melt the concealer!! They would actually do some crazy, Jackass style theatrics to keep us watching! Those tricks used to infuriate me, but now I yearn for them. Now they don't even use the thing in the thumbnails!
The Incredibly Slow Pace at Which They Apply Stuff to Their Lips
What is this about painting your lips one gosh darn millimetre at a time? With a miniscule paintbrush! I get that it's a bit ASMR but it's truly getting out of control. And don't even get me started with the quirky and wacky lip tutorials. Like applying forty seven very small jewels to the lip, or covering the lip in glitter, or painting each lip seven colours and then smacking them together at the end and being like "whoa surprise" and they're suddenly a mauvey-brown colour which is a) ugly anyway and b) a huge waste of everyone's time. Especially mine.
The Millions of Face Masks and Treatments and Gel Things
I understand the basic concept of having to promote products you've been sent as a "beauty blogger" but do you need to do eight of these face masks in one video? And then show the "before" and "after" shots and have your face looking the exact goddamn same? Like you literally just spent like five hundred dollars on a gold leaf facial and now you can't pay your rent and you've gotta call your parents in Michigan for help and you and I both know they're not on board with this whole beauty blogger thing and the phone conversation isn't going to make Christmas lunch very fucking fun, is it?
Basically Zero Point For Them To Exist At All
Lastly and most certainly not leastly: These tutorials are not even informative or helpful. Because the neo-beauty bloggers are not even that fucking good at applying make up. Hardly anybody looks hot at the end of these things. In fact, everyone always end up looking one of two ways: 1) like they never applied any makeup at all, and I am being Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher, or 2) like they are very very drunk in a bathroom of a club at two in the morning, and they just did a touch up. Their eyelashes are lopsided and their contour looks like actual dirt. This is the biggest head fuck of all. Because makeup tutorials as we once knew them are dead. Their function has ceased to exist. What in God's name will they morph into next? A scary thought, to be sure.
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