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The way I understand this question, I'd say none. The YouTubers I watch don't work for cosmetic companies or labs, so they can't tell me how it works in terms of planning, production, strategic marketing, finances, etc. That's how I first understand the question. They do teach me about news and history and of course about how things like PR or adsense work, which is invaluable, but still from only one foot in, as I see it. I don't mean to offend anyone by this. Edit: I'd say I might learn more from their commenters or people here, when people with all sorts of jobs which connect somehow to the cosmetic industries give insight.


Came here to say this. I work in marketing in the industry and I’ve never actually seen an influencer talk about what happens behind the scenes (except for brand collabs etc). Stephanie Nicole was/is a sales rep for a brand and had very limited knowledge about the development and marketing of products.


Totally agree


Stephanie Nicole. Is that her name? The lady who exposed Morphe ( and Joffree)


I know this will be a controversial answer, and I abhor both of them, but Jafar & Shame's series about the development of their pallette really opened my eyes to how much mark-up there is on cosmetics, and how much money there is to be made - even from unsatisfactory products.


Yeah it was fascinating to see how little work they actually do


Are there specific points they made? I don't want to give them a view.


If I recall correctly they just have the idea and that’s it. They chose the colors and everything but they don’t create them, actual workers do that. There is very little work involved. They just chose the concept and then chose the design they like best etc but they don’t actually do more than a few meetings


i agree, this is also how I remember the series going. basically they just had him pick out a few shades and put together the color story and pick cover designs but other than that the JS cosmetics marketing team and development and design team did all the hard work. they did pretty much nothing and took credit like “omg i made a palette!! hehe”


Stephanie Nicole. Where is she these days? The owner of Melt did a few instagram reels on how products come to be, including some BTS knowledge


Melt actually did a Facebook reality show years ago when they were producing their stacks - it was excellent!


Stephanie Nicole was my gateway. She works in the industry as does her mom, and it was fascinating to learn about some of the behind the scenes practices that at the time, the average consumer didn't know about. Private labeling and Morphe was a big one she exposed years before it became common knowledge.


Definitely came here to say Stephanie Nicole.


I didn't know her, I'll definitely check her video out thanks :)


Sadly, she stopped putting out content around a year ago, due to health problems. Hopefully, she'll recover soon.


Oh I'm sorry, ll'watch her old videos while she recovers then


I LOVED her. I loved her voice too. I used to clean house listening to her videos.


100% Stephanie! I miss her content so much!


I mean I guess Jaclyn Hill and her fuck ups taught me a lot about how labs work lmao


I so miss Kat and Hailey and the weekly beauty news! It was a ritual to sit down with a snack and a drink and watch!


Same! I understand why they stopped doing it but I really miss Beauty News. Sometimes I'll go back and watch the older videos for the nostalgia


I work in the industry and can try to answer questions you may have 😊


Ohh seriosulsy than thanks!!! I would love to know how they develop the concepts of the collections in big brands like the umbrella ones, like who works for that aspect (product designer,graphic and maybe others?)and maybe how it works and maybe how long it takes to starting to produce it I'm studying design so obviously this aspect of the beauty industry is the most fascinating to me


Of course! I still think it’s so interesting so I’m happy to share. I do work for a large brand owned by a conglomerate (umbrella) so I can also definitely answer your questions. Product development always begins with the marketing team, and usually a specific department of the marketing team that focuses on product innovation (as opposed to marketing execution). This team will spend months and months researching and conducting focus groups and qualitative studies to determine the viability of a future launch. If someone were to start the research process this week, it would likely be for a product that wouldn’t be ready to launch until later 2024 or 2025. The quickest I’ve seen it happen is one year and that’s without developing a formula or components from scratch. Once the innovation team has validated the new product(s) they will work with the labs or R&D (research and development) to finalize the formulas and packaging. This process takes the longest, around a full year at least. There’s usually continued focus groups and qual studies during this phase. Once aligned, testing will begin on formulas and packaging. The formulas will be stability tested to ensure their quality and that they won’t spoil before they should. The packaging is compat tested to again ensure quality - no leaking, formula consistency easily travels through any pumps or sprays, etc. The shipper boxes are also tested for durability in the mail. This testing process can take 2-4 months. Once eberything is given the ok, components are ordered and the formula goes into production. This part can also take months as component lead times are insane (sometimes 12-20 weeks and much worse during the pandemic) even for conglomerates with buying power. Throughout this whole process, the team has an idea of what the packaging design will look like (based on their initial studies). A rendering will have been made pretty early on so that the teams can use them in presentation and for buy in. Throughout the process there are likely many iterations of these renderings as variables change - a cap was not available in time, the product name changed, etc. These are not always super polished. Final label and packaging doesn’t typically come in until 2/3 of the way through the process once packaging and formula has been finalized. The final part of this process is the actual production of the product which is typically the quickest - once you get line time at the lab or manufacturer, this process could be completed in 1-2 weeks depending on how many products in the initial order. At this point, we are probably 2 months away from launch. From there the products are shipped to warehouse where they will make their way to retailers or ship out directly for D2C. A year out from launch, the innovation marketing team will likely brief the executional marketing teams so that they are able to build their marketing plans around the launch of the product. They will continue to update the execution teams on key product communication based on formula benefits, etc. up until launch and the official hand off. The execution team will usually get samples about 3-4 months ahead of launch (made especially for them) for photo shoots, review and influencer seeding, etc. Hope this was helpful!! I just wrote it super stream of conscious so let me know if you have any questions!


Thanks you this is really helpful, I was wondering if for the packaging maybe along the render someone make even a model maybe in 3d or with some material, like I know for the cars thery do a model made with clay but maybe with makeup it's different


Yes this happens sometimes! We call them comps. The comps would usually be made for items that will hit retailers to better understand the dimensions, presence at shelf etc. Or for real blockbuster launches to help with continued buy in from management. From what I’ve seen these are super expensive like $10k a comp or more which is wild so I think brands try to create them sparingly. A more cost effective route is of course the 3D digital renderings or just securing similar but not exact packaging from the supplier.


Learnt more from your post than any YouTuber 😂


Happy to help!


Oh ok thank you for the information, this is really helpful and has give me a lot more of clarity, It sounds like a really fun job, seriously thanks for the time you have dedicated to my questions :) 👍


I've always wondered what exactly do people mean when they say "lab"? What is this entity & what do they do exactly? Do every company own one or several labs, or labs are able to be their own separate entities that can accept outside contracts from individual companies? Furthermore, do these labs themselves always own their own manufacturing line(s), or manufacturers (people who own the factories actually making the products or their components)? Do this (entire line of question) varies from an independent company (not under an umbrella, typically self-funded and/or running on low funds) to an massive umbrella company? Also, do you know a rough percentage of how much America cosmetics is actually (qualified to claim) "made in the USA"? It's always been wild to me that (the very few) American cosmetics can just claim to be "made in the USA", or even when they're not, *never* disclose the location they were made in, while this is the standard regulation in many other countries, we're entitled to know the exact location every product we consume, foreign & domestic, are made in. And honestly I've been meaning to ask this whole time, do we know/guestimate how many "made in the USA" products/which products from which company are made with prison labor? Everything I've tried to look up in this is super opaque, or has a strong anticommunist slant (the Falun Gong one), whataboutism way about it. I find it hard to believe that companies claim they "don't/can't know for certain". This happens on American soil, not a thousand mile away. With the exception of ColourPop, I'm afraid to buy "made in the USA" products, and even then, it's noticeable in ColourPop's own promotional video they made about themselves that's a lot of color in their production floor compare to their upper management floor. What hurdles does "bring back jobs to Americans" in cosmetics face, are they the same as with many other manufacturing industries (costs of investing in facilities, education, high cost of actually paying workers, etc), and/or are there many other specific factors?


Hey! Great questions. In regards to the labs, they are truly labs in the sense that they employ scientists and cosmetic chemists. These individuals will literally be mixing ingredients to fine tune formulas (im talking makeup and skincare) based on a brands desires (explained all of this above). There’s usually many teams focused on different areas of formulation, dedicated to specific brands, etc. For the huge umbrellas there is also typically a research and innovation arm of the labs as well where they look to study and develop new ingredients and formulations that will be proprietary to the group and their brands. There is also typically a testing, legal and claims department of these labs to understand effects and marketing claims that can be made on the ingredients themselves and products as a whole. You definitely got it that it varies from indie brands to conglomerate owned. I’ve worked in both. Most (probably 99%) of the indie brands will work with a third party contract manufacturer to formulate and produce their products. The contract manufacturer will have their own lab and sometimes their own manufacturing arm too, or at least a manufacturer that they recommend and work closely with. The umbrellas will likely have all of this including the manufacturing lines in-house and at multiple facilities across the country. That said, it’s also not unheard of for a brand owned by an umbrella to use an outside manufacturer for something very specific. Sometimes it is less expensive to go this route than to adapt internally to produce this specific item or formula. This has to be fiscally proven though for approval to deviate from the norm. When it comes to components, most of the time they are coming from China or elsewhere overseas. The prices simply cannot be beaten. That’s why I mentioned the insane lead times for components in a comment above. They are almost always coming over by boat in a shipping container. For this reason, most brands will not be able to LEGALLY claim “made in the USA”, (some still might risk it) because their FULL product has not been made in the USA, although their formula has been made and manufactured here. Their components were most likely not. On top of that, all ingredients must be sourced from the USA to claim “made in the USA” as well, so for something as simple as aloe Vera imported from Mexico, “made in the USA” is out. It’s not so much about exporting labor and more about importing the ingredients and components. Unfortunately I don’t see “made in the USA” in its current legal framework becoming more of a thing for cosmetics because it’s truly so complex. Aside from cheap component costs from Asia that I don’t see anyone turning away from soon, it would be nearly impossible to continue to formulate new, interesting, and effective products with ingredients ONLY grown, harvested or made in the US. It would be extremely limiting for the brands. Hope this answered all of your questions. Let me know if any other Q’s 🙂


Thank you so much, this has been very illuminating! I guess the only question I have left is the one about prison labor, if there's any involvement in cosmetics at all. There's so little info about it out there, not even a statement from any company, or a debunk sort of article anywhere, it's just "they force prisoners to make a lot of stuffs, but we can't tell you what exactly". Am I being too paranoid? It's weird to me in a world where they're so enthusiastic to create all sort of certifications (organic, cruelty free, non comedogenic), there's zero interest in creating a "no prison labor/fair labor" certification where they will have to work to provide proofs of compliance. Does this make sense?


I have not heard anything whether overt or covert that would lead me to believe that prison labor is something that is common within the cosmetics industry. These products are manufactured in sterile environments on an on-site production line with trained individuals. I’m not saying it’s not possible, I only work in marketing so I’m not THAT close to production, I could be naive but it’s not anything that has even remotely been on my radar in my time working in the industry.


Samantha Ravndahl, I’ve followed her closely for years and she’s talked at length about creating her own brand. She used to go live on periscope and get feedback from the viewers about what type of products they prefer and what they look for in a product. I learned about stock packaging and formulations from her. Also I hate to say it but back when I used to watch J* pre-drama he was one of the few gurus back then that reviewed makeup while also having their own brand and he would talk about why a brand did a certain thing like types of packaging or formulations and the cost etc.


Also wanted to add that I just watched her videos about no longer accepting pr and that was fascinating (to hear about the costa involved in all the added recycling she has had to arrange and the duties involved in accepting some items that came across border etc)


Yeah I definitely didn’t think about how annoying and wasteful just the trash aspect would be to receive PR before I watched her video. As a minimalist I think I would get overwhelmed by PR so fast. When I get two or three large boxes in the mail from shopping at once I’m already struggling to fit it in our shared recycling.


Sam is always good at giving insight into things I don't care about but I hear her anyways cause she makes it interesting.


Love sam!


Remember when she did blackface?


I think that’s pretty low/unrelated to bring up in this context, and also considering her detailed apology and ongoing allyship and the fact that she was 18 at the time of that incident, and not to mention her own mental health journey. I never knew about Sam until a month ago but I’m so impressed by her thoughtfulness, intelligence, and her openness! She seems to have had to do a lot of growing up in the public eye when influencers and social media were a truly new thing and I respect her a ton.


I think Dr. Dray has shed a lot of light on bullshit marketing in the beauty industry. Everything from opening and closing pores, the meaning of hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested, fragrance free claims when there IS fragrance, clean beauty BS, to how collagen applied topically isn't doing anything but moisturizing because if collagen became a part of your own skin that would be like smearing blood on your face and calling it a blood transfusion. She also talks a lot about the FDA.




Yes! I love seeing the behind the scene peek at Trixie cosmetics!!


Elle S doesn't post anymore but she had some really great deep dives into brands. Kelly Gooch kinda sorta does similar content, but it's not as well researched


I miss Elle S videos on the history of makeup 💄


Jamie Dana and Framar’s video collab was the only real one that gave me more in depth of how putting together a tool collection is in the hair world. Other than that, none.


As problematic as she’s been in the past, Jen Luvs Reviews discusses the ins and outs of being an influencer and working with brands / sponsorships / etc a LOT on her Sunday livestreams.


The Garsow Twins both work in beauty product development and have insightful commentary on products out on the market based on their industry experience.


Back in the day, Marlena of Makeup Geek.


lol why are Kat and Hailey mentioned here so often recently?


I don't know for the others but I just miss those videos😂😅 maybe it's for Kat's Project Apocalips? That is a fantastic serie


Nostalgia, me thinks. They certainly weren't industry experts!


They surely are more experts than me, but that's how I've started learning more of the industry, before I was only watching tutorials, they probably got me with the makeup breakup 😂


Honestly, aside from people like Stephanie Nicole who genuinely worked for the industry or those with successful brands that can offer insight, most beauty gurus are enthusiasts at best - take with a grain of salt something they can't have first hand knowledge of.




honestly, I don't mind 😅😂


Bailey Saruman has an older video about how she got her job at Sephora then went to urban decay and how she was assisting at photo shoots. It was super interesting to me to see how it worked.


Sorry but I just choked on my coffee at Bailey Saruman 😂😂😂 Oh I love autocorrect sometimes


Oh my god. I didn’t notice until you said it. I’m not changing it 😅


I hope it sticks. It’s fantastic.


I'm sorry this is not a youtuber but i urge you to read Jess Defino's newsletter [https://jessicadefino.substack.com/](https://jessicadefino.substack.com/) I have never learned anything from youtubers that hasn't been proven to be complete lies later on


Ohh thanks I'll definitely check out her articles!


u/Fantastic-Actuary-41 just saw that jessica defino is giving away premium access to this newsletter for three months, if you're interested pls PM me your email :)


Angelika Nyqvist has done a few videos about the industry in general and been pretty informative about how things work. I like her a lot.


She still shills ofra & gives out false info on their trump supporter owner


In her travel blog she put up today, she talks about being naive and signing something she shouldn't have and not feeling able to back out because she doesn't want to be sued. And how this is really impacting her mental health. I wonder if she's talking about Ofra?


Yeah she is very distressed over this. I feel for her. For this to happen when she is so dedicated to running her business in an organized & professional manner, shows how slippery things can be behind the scenes. I do hope she can eventually share what happened.


Yeah. I unsubscribed.


Me too, and cancelled my channel membership.


Def speak up about it! Power in the numbers of comments. She’s very malleable about her opinions. While it does suck that she has to be told, I would rather her understand what her audience wants


I unsubbed when I saw that. I’ll still watch a video here and there but I’m not impressed at her backtracking at all. The money must be real good.


I think her doing this as her full time job now has a lot to do with it. I think she has done a pretty good job not changing too much, but it’s really hard to me to completely trust YouTubers that do this as a job vs a hobby. There is nothing wrong with this as a career but I feel like it changes your perspective regardless of how much you insist it doesn’t.


I don’t think I’ve heard her mention Ofra lately but I could be wrong. I know Samantha March still raves about them although she also has a collab palette with them so I’m not surprised.


She was sponsored by Ofra recently. Big bummer because she was one of my favorites.


Booo😭 I still like her but I wish she wouldn’t use them. But so many brands have problematic owners that I just ignore it at this point. If I know someone’s trash I won’t buy from the brand but I won’t necessarily knock the influencer. It takes me a little more than that to be turned off.


I hold her pretty accountable because she’s seemed pretty aware of problematic brands before. I don’t expect all YouTubers to know about brand issues, but Angelica has definitely spoken about not showcasing some brands because of issues before. And Ofra is one of those ones that I feel most influencers knew was a baddie. She also had some other “strikes” for me, so the Ofra sponsorship was the nail in the coffin.


She was on a "break" from Ofra. I wonder if Sam being her friend and being pro Ofra helped end her "break"?


She recently used them in a GRWM


Ok that explains why I haven’t seen it then. I don’t usually watch GRWM vids


Yeah I don’t trust her comments while using products it doesn’t feel as authentic as many others — but she does damn good makeup.


And also had a sponsored video with Ofra recently


Stephanie Nicole and Hanna Louise Poston. Stephanie for reasons already listed in other comments and Hannah because I feel like she got a lot of insight into purchasing vs marketing during her no buy year. She still falls for things but is always trying to do better. She has some good videos with The Financial Diet about how the beauty industry manipulates you into buying.


I’d say Samantha ravendahl and RBK have taught me the most about it.


Raw Beauty Kristi has for sure!


Samantha Ravendal


Nadine Baggott and Not Fit for Print Beauty. Both long term beauty editors.


Samantha Ravndahl! 100% she’s been so honest and transparent, my favourite for a reason


Caroline Hirons, Caroline Hirons, and Caroline Hirons. More on Insta these days but she has been on YouTube.


I really enjoy Kackie because she has a marketing background and explains some of the PR tactics.


I’m surprised no one here has said Jackie Aina. She’s don’t a segment on how there’s a big gap on how black creators are paid in comparison to their white peers. She’s very open about her work and how the beauty industry affects her (and her and fellow BIPOC influencers) compared to her other coworkers.


Steph Toms as well - she’s done a fantastic job as being a living example of a successful UK beauty influencer


I’m newer to makeup, I didn’t realize that some companies used the same lab formula. I thought it was their formula. Jafar and Kylie Colourpop and more recently YT I Am Jamila who said there were some indie brands using the same formula.


Jen Luvs?? She exposes the beauty industry


Hannah Louise poston