The Makeup Shake-Up

Illustration by Erik Carter

Excerpt from this article:

A search for “make-up tutorial” on YouTube retrieves more than 20 million results, most of which aren’t as dramatic as Phan’s gender-bending performances… Many of these videos simply help viewers learn professional makeup techniques at home: the angular wings of a cat-eye, say, or smoky eyes just like Kim Kardashian’s. But with those basics covered, the ironclad law of web content — that there must always be more — has now brought us tutorials that go beyond these utilitarian roots and into territory that is artsier, weirder and far more subversive… These are more than viral stunts. The looks and trends explored in the more outré tutorials are often ones that are ignored by mainstream beauty publications and outlets, perhaps because the videos’ techniques are geared toward those with darker complexions and gender nonconformists. But the Internet can afford the space to include them, because the Internet has room for everyone. Seen this way, even a tutorial as seemingly impractical as Phan’s is about much more than learning extreme contouring techniques — it’s a means of expanding traditional notions about beauty, to the point where they explode.