Thanks to beauty influencers on platforms like YouTube and Instagram, we now have skin care tutorials and beauty product reviews at our fingertips 24/7, driving consumer curiosity and purchasing trends. Meanwhile, the internet has gotten an upgrade with 4K resolution on new TV screens, and YouTubers and Instagrammers are seeking out treatments to look their best in HD.
Some influencers are going to extreme lengths to get their skin camera-ready amid this daunting new technology: Lailli Mirza and Madi Bernard have shared their maintenance routines with their viewers, with Mirza spending $30,000 in one week.
Jackie Aina released a 30-minute YouTube video last month titled “$7,000 Maintenance Week! High Maintenance Is Expensive Honey” chronicling a visit to her longtime esthetician for a facial and microdermabrasion treatment followed by laser hair removal, which is her “most expensive treatment.”
“When you’re watching someone in 4K, they tend to show up a little differently,” Aina notes in the video. “So there are things that I do because I am a person of influence and because I’m a YouTuber that I probably wouldn’t do if I just had, like, a corporate, regular day-to-day job.”
She adds: “You can only do so much at home, you know?”
Dorión Renaud, an influencer, actor, recording artist and owner of Buttah Skincare, agrees. He told HuffPost: “HD was a game-changer! I mean, as a viewer, I love it, but as an actor and entertainer, it can be daunting. It’s one of the reasons I started undergoing treatments on my skin and really going the extra mile with my product usage.”
“I’ve tried microdermabrasion, micro-needling and laser treatments, but my favorite is the HydraFacial that I get,” Renaud said. He isn’t the only one investing in this popular medical-grade facial that vacuums pores, exfoliates and hydrates without any downtime. The 30-minute, three-step HydraFacial is performed every 15 seconds worldwide, with the cost varying from $200 to $300 per session. One treatment every four weeks is suggested for maximum results.
Racquel Natasha, who boasts over 180,000 followers, views skin care maintenance as a part of her job and has tried trendy procedures like Forma, which is a $600 noninvasive face-lift. The treatment requires at least five sessions for best results and monthly maintenance thereafter.
“I tried the Forma treatment and it was good,” she said, noting she prefers the Vampire Facial and “will absolutely be going monthly for those.”
The Vampire Facial became a beauty trend after Kim Kardashian shared a photo on Instagram of her treatment in 2013. The procedure, which involves extracting platelet-rich plasma from a client’s blood and performing a micro-needling treatment that injects it into the skin, made headlines in 2019 after two people who received a Vampire Facial in New Mexico were diagnosed with HIV.
But that hasn’t slowed down the popularity of the procedure, which can cost between $800-$1,200 per session, with multiple sessions (usually 3-6 visits) required every four to six weeks and including two to three days of downtime.
Aside from looking flawless in 4K, influencer Aileen Olmedo uses her platform to share her journey with hormonal, cystic acne.
“I try to be as honest as possible and absolutely appreciate how different my upbringing and hustle are from other influencers on the scene,” Olmedo told HuffPost. “I feel that resonates strongly with my readers and followers – everything [from college education to my apartment to my everyday expenses] has been on my dime.”
Olmedo applies that same transparency to her skin care as she shares her journey with no filter. “It was intimidating at first. I’m fully aware of how screenshots and social media work, so to put my face out there for frenemies and ex-Tinder baes to judge was a risk. But once I started, the messages of support and solidarity in the fight against unexplainable cystic acne made me feel so comfortable in my skin.”
Olmedo told HuffPost she’s likely spent “over $2,000” on skin care this year, and “it would’ve been higher if I didn’t scour the internet and Reddit for promo codes. The most expensive treatment(s) have been my facials [and peels] at Heyday.”
“Their facials make up the bulk of my expenses but I can’t give it up just yet,” she added.
With all of the new technology, do influencers feel more pressure than ever to be “Insta” perfect?
“It is inevitable not to feel that way,” Natasha said. “Since I was young, I was always a perfectionist. I would definitely say that plays a huge part in my career. Sometimes it is hard to find that healthy balance.”
Olmedo takes a bit of a different approach: “I couldn’t be perfect if I tried! Like Cardi B once said, ‘I’m a regular, degular, shmegular girl’ from Queens.”