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Brad Mondo

The beauty experts saving you from YouTube’s worst tutorials

From skincare to DIY hair techniques, these vloggers are here to help you navigate the sea of misinformation and give honest and useful advice

They say a relationship is nothing without trust. So when we started being told to rub lemon juice on our faces and that no look was complete without under eye baking, we knew our one with beauty YouTube was on the rocks. That was until the experts came along. 

“I just recorded myself watching this girl ruining her hair and I just gave genuine reactions to what was going on. At the time, I wasn’t even really getting into the specifics professionally about what she did wrong. I was just laughing and joking with the whole situation. The next day, I had like 100,000 views,” recounts hairdresser turned YouTuber Brad Mondo, who has worked between salons and freelancing since he was 15 and now has his own hair care line – XMondo. As a leading creator in the ‘expert reacts’ community of YouTube, he now has over 5 million subscribers and a total of over 750 million views.

Hyram is also a trailblazer in the community. Although he doesn’t call himself an expert – “The internet crucifies me for it,” he says – but a specialist instead and he works for a brand giving skincare training and consultations. Hyram fell into the industry after working as a make-up artist and realising the lack of knowledge around the ins and outs of the skincare products which he also sold. “I was seeing a lot of people who were supposed to be the ones selling products and teaching customers about skincare products that really knew nothing about the actual formulas and were just selling based off of what other people were telling them,” he explains.

It was this same disbelief in information out there that led 455,000 subscriber-strong make-up artist Robert Welsh, who has 13 years of experience, to start his channel too: “It wasn’t until recently I realised, a lot of people have grown up with online make-up tutorials as their main knowledge of make-up,” he explains. “There are channels that do crazy make-up hacks for example, that really aren’t realistic and generally don’t work yet they have millions of followers taking their advice.”

These expert vloggers don’t just make a break from the sea of misinformation out there, they watch, pause, comment, and repeat their way through it, debunking hair and beauty myths and products in their reaction videos to other content on YouTube. 

Ripping out blackheads with dental floss, using sunglasses nose pads to contour your nose instead of a brush, and literally ironing your hair are among some of the wildest stunts in the videos. Yes, people really do these hacks. We’re not sure why either. “I would see videos that would suggest techniques that really don’t work when you aren’t on camera. I thought it would be a great way to talk about the differences in terms of what influencers do, and what a professional might do on a client,” explains Robert. 

The biggest selling point of YouTube was always that anyone can start a channel. It gave it that relatability and the sense that you really could be getting ready with them. But, anyone being able to start a channel is exactly where the problems can lie too. “A lot of people make up (the) hair knowledge or even professionals, they think that they know everything, and they don't actually do their own research about a topic. I try to not put my own feelings towards things and actually look at scientific data sometimes,” points out Brad.

“It wasn’t until recently I realised, a lot of people have grown up with online make-up tutorials as their main knowledge of make-up” – Robert Welsh

It’s the internet-born DIY skincare hacks that Hyram cites as the worst out there – that toothpaste and baking soda combo that’s meant to ‘clear acne overnight’? Yeah, it will actually burn your skin and potentially damage it for years. Not quite the bang you thought was getting for your buck. 

However, these experts actually know their stuff. They have real-life industry experience and pride themselves on the extensive research on products and techniques they all do before sitting themselves in front of a camera and telling the world. Slightly more trustworthy than someone telling you “it worked for me”. 

“I started to realise that people actually had an interest in understanding the professional aspect of it all,” says Brad. “I was so surprised that the more complex I got with it all, the more people seemed interested and kept coming back to my channel to keep learning. Not only did they come back for the entertainment of it all but to continue their education with hair and better their own hair.” 

“People initially click on the video thinking: ‘Oh this will be interesting to see what this person says about it’ and then accidentally learn information,” says Hyram. “I was able to combine the pop culture element, the entertainment elements of my genuine reactions, and information. I found that kind of package was the perfect catalyst to be able to have the widest reach for skincare information because it no longer felt like a skincare video.” 

Unlike cancel culture or the drama that the beauty industry seems to gravitate towards, there’s no shade thrown when it comes to these reaction videos. They all steer clear from reacting to the YouTuber or celebrity themselves and instead focus on their product choice and methods. They might roast the choice of plastic beads in an exfoliator or overuse of highlighter, but they won’t be coming for any personalities of life choices any time soon. “My reaction videos are only about the make-up application, tips, and how I would improve that individual’s technique. I’m not into ‘drama’ or ‘spilling tea’ so I keep things professional just like I would if I was actually teaching a client,” says Robert. 

”It's been encouraging to see how the industry is changing, and how brands actually respect that,” muses Hyram on the future of these voices in the online beauty world. “The industry is really changing. Brands are recognising that viewers respect content creators that are very transparent with their emotions and opinions, and also who have standards.”

Though it can’t be promised the culture of misinformation will die its deserved quick death, the sway towards said standards in the beauty community means potential beauty hack victims can be educated before they permanently scar themselves with a chemical peel or fry their hair with bleach to the point of no return. Those ‘six easy steps!’ or ‘unbelievable beauty hacks!’ might look like they’ll do the trick, but trust the experts when they say they probably won’t.