NikkieTutorials regularly uploads videos about makeup for her millions of followers. But when one of her posts went viral, it sparked a discussion about makeup shaming. And, after that, women took to social media to share an important message using their selfies.
Nikkie de Jager, better known online as NikkieTutorials, is one of the world’s leading beauty vloggers. Indeed, since posting her first tutorial in 2008, the Dutch makeup artist has built a vast online following, with over nine million subscribers to her YouTube channel and even more followers of her Instagram page. People have watched her makeup tutorials over 700 million times, and Forbes named her one of the top beauty influencers of 2017.
And the 24-year-old’s YouTube channel features myriad videos of herself applying makeup in a bid to teach and inspire other young women. She is, however, also an advocate of people expressing themselves in whichever ways they wish, using makeup as their creative outlet. She’s a passionate believer that makeup should be fun and that there are no rules for its application, in fact.
Nikkie’s videos are arguably as entertaining as they are educational, though. And a playful streak is evident in one 2016 YouTube tutorial, where the vlogger gave herself a makeover using only cosmetics designed for children. Remarking in the video that “kids’ makeup is expensive,” she nevertheless added, “I had so much fun doing this. It was a really tough challenge, but I kind of pulled through in the end!”
But there’s one NikkieTutorials video that has created a lot more noise online than some of her others. The clip in question is entitled “The Power of MAKEUP!” and to date, it’s garnered more than 39 million views.
And while the idea behind the video was a simple one, it nevertheless made for a popular post, even among those who don’t normally watch makeup tutorials. YouTube visitors found themselves fascinated by what they saw, in fact, and the clip itself has since inspired 30,000 people to comment on it.
The video begins with the beauty vlogger, from Wageningen in the Netherlands, telling viewers that she is about to show them “the power of makeup.” And while it may sound at first as though she’s simply going to give herself a glamorous makeover, there’s actually a more powerful message to come.
There, the YouTube sensation explains how she feels like, nowadays, “it’s almost a crime to love doing your makeup.” She also discusses how, in her opinion, women are often judged for their use of cosmetics. “When you say you love makeup, you either do it because you want to look good for boys, you do it because you’re insecure, or you do it because you don’t love yourself,” she says, responding to negative perceptions of cosmetics enthusiasts.
But Nikkie wanted to upend such preconceptions by letting people know that it’s okay to enjoy dolling themselves up. Indeed, the video caption itself reads, “I feel like lately makeup shaming has become a thing. It’s as if putting makeup on to have fun is a shame. Therefore, I thought it would be cool to show you the power of makeup. A transformation. Because makeup… is FUN!”
And to show her subscribers how transformative cosmetics can be, Nikkie applies makeup to only half of her face in the video. The footage sees the makeup expert slowly turn one side of her visage into a glamorous masterpiece, in fact. To start out with, though, she begins the makeover by applying foundation and concealer.
“Contouring is my religion,” Nikkie also proclaims as she adds bronzer onto her cheeks to help give her face more structure. And when she’s finished applying liner and shadow to one of her eyes, the contrast with her makeup-free eye is astonishing.
To complete the look, the beauty guru then applies a touch of baby-pink lipstick, followed by a dash of lip-gloss. Then, with one side of her face perfectly made up, and the other remaining, as she puts it, “raw, unedited, just me,” she announces, “And that, guys, is the power of makeup.”
The video would go on to spark an outpouring of comments from viewers, fueling a discussion about the powerful message behind the footage. “You are such a beautiful person with or without makeup! I admire your creativity & love for makeup,” wrote one fan. But Nikkie’s message went further than just to those on YouTube.
Indeed, Nikkie inadvertently launched a social media movement with her viral video. By expressing her opinion that makeup should, first and foremost, be fun, and that no-one should feel ashamed when they use it, she started an online craze boasting its own hashtag.
Adopting the #ThePowerOfMakeup tag, women across the world have taken to social media, posting images of their half-made-up faces. Their selfies have helped to amplify Nikkie’s credo that wearing cosmetics or choosing to forego them are both acceptable decisions.
Instagram, for instance, has since been inundated with half-made-up selfies. There, some women also took the opportunity to clarify why exactly they paint their faces. One participant wrote, for instance, “Because when someone asks who I’m trying to look good for, my answer is always ‘myself.’ I wear makeup because it’s fun, not to hide my insecurities or to look nice for a boy.”
Meanwhile, another woman who uploaded a photo in response to the trend said that she was “not afraid to go barefaced,” despite insecurities about her eyebrows. “Yes, my skin isn’t flawless… But it’s me,” she wrote.
Adding to this powerful sentiment, the woman said, “No one is perfect. Be happy in the skin you’re in.” She concluded by saying, “Makeup doesn’t define you!” And in doing so, she echoed what is arguably the very essence of NikkieTutorials’ message.
But perhaps the last words should go to a makeup artist from Adelaide, Australia, who wrote “I love makeup & you should too” alongside her selfie sporting the movement’s hashtag. She added, “It’s all about how happy you are on the inside that counts most, and if drag queen makeup does that for you, then bloody rock it out.”
In today’s society, with seemingly perfect Instagram feeds and airbrushed beauty magazines, it’s easy to feel pressured into looking a certain way. But NikkieTutorials’ “The Power of MAKEUP!” video is a reminder to us all that we are free to do whatever we want with our appearance without feeling bad about it.