Tutorial videos are extremely popular on YouTube. Many people regularly use the video platform to educate themselves and solve everyday problems.
The beauty sector on YouTube is particularly strong when it comes to tutorials and educational content. Thousands of channels offer in-depth makeup tips, suggestions for new looks, and helpful product reviews. Ironically, most of this content is produced by individuals, and not by major beauty brands. The “haul video” phenomenon — young women discussing products they “hauled” back from the mall — has recently turned into a cottage industry of YouTube beauty gurus. One notable example is Michelle Phan, who runs multiple channels and has signed sponsorship deals with major cosmetics brands.
Brands struggle to catch up with all this activity. Much of the content on YouTube channels owned by big cosmetics brands is very corporate, still stuck in the era of the 30-second TV commercial.
Just recently, however, some brands have started becoming innovative and adapting to the YouTube environment, frequently copying the success recipes from the haul video community. At Pixability, we recently ran several benchmark studies on the state of the worldwide cosmetics industry on YouTube. We found the best examples to be of strikingly high quality. More importantly, we discovered that some of the best innovation isn’t happening in the United States; it’s happening in major markets abroad.
Our favorite recent example of a corporate beauty tutorial series was produced by L’Oréal Germany. The series is called “Beauty Minute” and consists of a complete portfolio of tutorial videos that clearly shows the current state of the art of tutorial videos on YouTube.
Here’s a link to the series: L’Oréal Beauty Minute.

Credible host. The video has a credible host (a makeup artist), who speaks directly to the audience (this directness is typical for YouTube), and is consistently featured in every video of the series. Much like an anchorperson on TV news, having a recognizable presenter is essential to building a connection with the audience.
Story. The video is not just a dry tutorial, but has a little story, typically introducing a fashion designer or fashion brand.
Objective. The tutorial itself is crisp and to the point, but still detailed enough to follow along. Our research shows that viewers watch YouTube beauty tutorials while actually applying makeup, so providing enough detail is crucial.
Sales direction. The videos are designed to sell: They have conversion links directly to Amazon, where viewers can buy the products immediately.
Call-to-action. The videos finish with an end card with a very clear call-to-action– asking people to subscribe. It also promotes other videos and encourages viewers to comment. This is a very effective way to increase viewer engagement on a YouTube channel.
Obviously it’s quite an effort to produce this kind of YouTube-specific content, but for brands that want to reach an elusive young audience who doesn’t watch much TV, this YouTube strategy is a very effective way to capture their attention.