Angela Wright is 59 and lives in Dallas, Texas. Whenever she’s curious about how a skin care product will work on her skin, she knows who to consult: Angie “Hot and Flashy” Schmitt, a 55-year-old YouTuber who demos and reviews beauty products.
Wright found Schmitt's videos on YouTube about six months ago.
“We just clicked,” Wright said. “And what I mean by that is, she's close to my age. She explained every product in detail, including what was inside of every product. And she actually did demonstrations, before and after photos, showed you how to use the product, different techniques for different problems, like crooked eyes or disguising pores, enlarged pores, things like that.”
Before discovering the Hot and Flashy channel, Wright would go to beauty counters for skincare recommendations. But it seemed like all of the people trying to help her were younger, and didn’t know how to address skin issues for the over-50 crowd.
“I ended up with a lot of jars full of a lot of things that did not work for my skin,” Wright said.
When she first started browsing YouTube for help, Wright felt a little awkward. Many of the beauty bloggers she found were younger, and it felt like the platform wasn’t for her. But then she found Hot and Flashy, and Schmitt won her over.
“She's very personable,” Wright said. “She's funny. She's honest. Upfront.”
Wright is part of a large — and growing — audience made up of people over the age of 35 who are interested in beauty videos on Youtube.
“We refer to that industry as the 'mature beauty' audience,” said Jackie Paulino, vice president of customer success at Pixability, a company that makes and researches ads on social media.
According to Paulino, the YouTube beauty industry is already pretty massive — and established.
“The beauty industry is huge, and continuing to grow on YouTube,” Paulino said. “Specifically it's [at] 222 billion views across beauty and personal care. It is one of the top industries on YouTube. It is, you know, bigger than fashion, as well as consumer electronics.”
And within that already massive industry, Pixability has found that mature beauty has the fastest growing audience.
“It's actually outpacing the normal market,” Paulino said. “It has reached 104 million monthly views in 2017”
This seems like a recent development to 55-year-old Angie Schmitt, aka Angie “Hot-and-Flashy.” When she first started the channel five years ago, the blog did not come screaming out of the gates.
“It was like the crickets were chirping, and nobody was watching,” Schmitt said. “Because people in my age group just don't consider YouTube a vehicle for them.”
But now Schmitt’s channel has over 250,000 subscribers. She’s able to make a living off of her content work — something she wasn’t able to do when she started out.
“I definitely make enough to buy everything that I need to buy, to show people, you know, all the makeup and all the skin care and all the procedures that they want to see and then to have some profit leftover,” Schmitt said.
According to Schmitt, there are three main revenue sources for YouTubers: advertisements, sponsorships, and affiliate links, where YouTubers can post links to products they like and get a commission from the sale. That commission can range from as low as 2 percent to as high as 15 percent, depending on the product.
For Schmitt, affiliate links are her largest source of income. She doesn’t have the subscriber numbers to make a profit from the ads that YouTube runs, and if she takes sponsorships, she risks losing the trust of her viewers.
“If you're taking sponsorships, which is basically a paid commercial for a product, you know, then people tend to not trust your opinion,” Schmitt said.
Schmitt has seen this first hand. When she accepted a sponsorship earlier this year, it upset some of her viewers. A few even said they’d unsubscribe because they felt she’d gone “commercial.”
“I'm like but, but, but I make a hundred videos a year! And I only took one sponsorship this year,” Schmitt said. “So you know, don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. But that's why I rely much more on affiliate commissionable links.”
Still, Schmitt doesn’t see her channel — or this part of the beauty industry — going away any time soon. After all, a lot of people who started watching YouTube videos eight years ago are now in their mid-30s.
“As the audience ages, you know, the whole category will become bigger,” Schmitt said. “And, of course, you know, every year that goes by, more and more people who are currently [...] over 50 are getting more comfortable with social media, and technology, and they are coming more around to it.”
In Dallas, Angela Wright is still watching Schmitt’s videos. Her husband used to make of fun of her, but then Wright showed him Schmitt’s daily skin care routine.
“He was kind of unsure about it at first, but he's been actually using the serums that she suggests on her videos,” Wright said. “And has seen a difference.“