YouTube has many niche subcultures—video-game walkthroughs, product unboxings, DIY tutorials—but one of the strangest might be make-up tutorials. There are a handful of vloggers who draw millions of views for their videos of them putting on makeup in front of a camera, and some—like Michelle Phan and Lauren Luke—have transitioned into careers as makeup artists/spokespeople as a result.
The popularity may seem a bit confounding, considering many of the tutorials these women present aren’t exactly everyday looks—Phan’s videos have covered turning yourself into a Gothic Lolita Doll and Sailor Moon; Luke favors garishly dramatic music-video-inspired looks—but after watching a few of these videos, their appeal becomes apparent. They’re strangely hypnotic, often scored with soothing music and, in Phan’s case, accompanied by dreamy visuals, as the girls ramble on about make-up or whatever else is on their minds. It’s positively narcotic.
It’s also silly and superficial to the extreme ("Are you needing to look like a beautiful enchanted forest fairy?" OF COURSE I AM!), which means it’s ripe for parody. Unfortunately, that usually means boys doing shitty drag or girls ranting about how stupid make-up tutorials are, which is usually more annoying than the videos being parodied. But one YouTuber named Gloria Shuri Nava (a.k.a. glowpinkstah) has achieved minor YouTube fame for her straight-faced make-up parodies: Her Avatar na’vi one racked up nearly 3 million views, and her “Chola Make-Up Tutorial” video got so much attention that George Lopez invited her on his show to give a game-but-clearly-terrified Sandra Bullock a “chola makeover.” Now Nava has taken on the latest bewildering craze in make-up tutorials: Natalie Portman’s Black Swan look, complete with perfect white, not "slave-like" skin, frickin' feathers the color of your aging dance teacher's grey pubes, and obsessive-compulsive red lips.
Now that you know about the world of make-up tutorials, you can't un-know. Sorry about that. Might as well stab yourself in the face with a nail file and get it over with.