Let's Talk: The feud between InstaGurus vs. Professional Makeup Artists

editorial spread tartelette in bloom flower necklace origins gingzing eye cream chanel lipstick

There's a bit of tension in the beauty world as we know it. 

Gone are the days that you have to be a makeup artist, editor, etc. to crawl your way into the beauty industry. Blogging, YouTube, and Instagram have made it possible to pursue your passion makeup and fashion while earning on the side. In the comfort of your own home! Okay, there's only a handful of those who made it to the millions upon millions, while collaborating with the big brands and curating a product with their name. How they blow up to fame and fortune leaves the professional MUAs scratching their head.

Everyone knows that the beauty gurus on YouTube and Instagram creates tutorials and creative looks for their page, with the purpose of promoting their own brand (therefore doing the makeup on themselves only), while the MUAs are the ones who's work you see on billboards, movies, runway shows, commercials and magazine spreads. There are those who overlap, such as Lisa Eldridge who is a top-notch celebrity MUA but has her own YouTube channel. Or NikkiTutorials, who actually did start out as a professional MUA but is the Queen of InstaGlam Fame. 

The InstaGuru look consists of at least 2 shades of foundation, "baking" your concealed under eyes, extremely sculpted contour (sometimes with cream contour, AND THEN powder), shimmering-from-space highlighter, a perfected cat eye that kills, carbon smoked eye, doll-liked false lashes, and a bee-stung matte lip.

instagram makeup
Instagram Makeup

The MUA's look varies. If it's an editorial or runway look, it is usually clean and has one bold color: in the eyes or lips. Sometimes you'll see a more avant garde and artistic technique, like a wet glossy eyelid. The makeup is not supposed to detract from the model or the clothing. If they are working on a bride, the look leans between romantic and sexy. There may or may not be contour, but it's nothing like Kim Kardashian's. 

editorial makeup
Editorial Makeup

wedding makeup
Wedding Makeup

commercial makeup
Commercial Makeup

It's like the contrast between Kendall and Kylie's makeup. If NikkiTutorials is Queen of InstaGlam, then Kylie is Goddess. She is known for her all-out diva looks and lip kits. Kendall, on the other hand, is most recognized for her clean, minimalistic beauty.

But why is there such a division between the two?

The MUAs feel disillusioned with the direction the beauty industry is headed. Even though I am not a MUA, I joined a MUA group on Facebook (which also consists of a handful of beauty enthusiasts like me). They are frustrated with how they worked so hard to get licensed (some states require a license to do makeup on clients), gain experience, build a portfolio and earn a living only to see that brands are only recognizing the YouTube Gurus and giving them all of the cash. Some of the Gurus have had no professional training or experience either. It's more frustrating when the brands to send the latest products for the Gurus to review, only for them to sometimes not give an honest answer. They are also worried about young girls who want to grow up to be MUAs too but learn from YouTube instead of getting training from books or masterclasses. They don't want them to think that YouTube is be-all, end-all of learning makeup. 

On the other hand, there are MAC or Sephora employees who wear a full face (similar to a guru) and sometimes ignore or look down upon a customer who doesn't wear makeup on. Little do they know that sometimes that customer IS a MUA or esthetician, or is a regular enthusiast who just wanted their skin to breathe. In fact, most MUAs don't wear a ton of makeup everyday.

I appreciate both types of people, and their forms of art are different. The MUA has an extensive portfolio and work they can be proud of as they are skimming through the pages of Vogue or driving by a billboard. They have a knack for making women of different races and ages beautiful. The InstaGuru is more accessible to the average woman who wants to learn more about makeup, whether for fun or to try new looks, or to get inspiration for being a MUA or beauty blogger. The InstaGuru pushes the envelope with creative looks, even if they aren't for everyday wear. They get women excited about makeup, and the newest product release.

As for most of the bloggers I follow? I love how you guys balance in between natural, everyday wear vs. a more dolled up look.

Do you guys think that there is a division between professional artists and beauty gurus?
How has it affected your buying decisions and influence as a blogger?


  1. I love this post and I'm just the same, I follow a little bit of both. Although something a little bit editorial is extremely inspiring to me, I like following youtubers and bloggers (although I don't follow a lot of heavy makeup, 3 shades of foundation and baking ones) because I know that if the products they use are easy to use and, in that sense, I valued their recommendations, whereas makeup artists' products are usually a little bit harder to work with!


    1. Yes that is true. Although I do like how some MUAs use pro brands and don't fall into the hype of the Youtubers.

  2. Ever since I started working in the beauty department, I am seeing and listening more and more frustrations from parents and certified MUAs about the rise of Instagram and YouTube makeup too. Many parents vented about their 11-14 years old caking layer upon layer of foundation and powder on their beautiful skin because they learned it from YouTube and I had so many very young teenagers with the most beautiful skin insisting they want the fullest coverage foundation. It's honestly sad to see...

    I don't watch many Youtubers, most are just not my style but again, I guess each to their own.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

    1. I know, right? I was lucky to skip the acne phase as a teen, but I never even wore foundation until I was 23!

  3. I love YouTube gurus for their product recommendations but in general I don't like the really heavy makeup tutorials that they do! A lot of my favorite YouTubers are professional MUA's so I feel like it's a good mix :) I can definitely understand why they're frustrated with the beauty community!

    Beauty From Katie

    1. Yes, I mostly follow YouTube for product reviews but sometimes a occasional tutorial when I am stuck!

  4. I loved reading this, I don't personally follow any instaguru's because they always pop up on my explore page and I'm not a fan of heavy makeup, so I prefer the low key natural looks :)


    1. I noticed that a lot of the small bloggers like us prefer less heavy makeup. The heavy makeup is what sells and attracts those brands though!

  5. This was such an interesting post! I think both have their place, but I prefer makeup artist's work. It's more varied and so I find it more interesting. It's also often more wearable, or easier to adapt for everyday wear. It's interesting that makeup artists are frustrated that brands are acknowledging YouTubers over makeup artists for promotional opportunities. I'm not sure how a makeup artist would be able to promote a product unless they have their own Instagram account or YouTube channel. This may just be my lack of knowledge about the working life of a makeup artist. To me it makes sense for brands to use YouTubers to publicise products as they already have their own audience. Xx

    Tania | When Tania Talks

    1. Absolutely. The makeup artist knows how to make a natural look.

  6. Thank you for sharing this. I watch a large number of youtube gurus and I find their content really interesting but I am definitely not a huge fan of heavy makeup. I watch them only for my entertainment but I also watch them to get information about new products that are released in the market since they are offered all the new products first.


    1. Yeah, it's usually the heavy makeup that sells, attracts brands and gets more advertisement though.