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June 2021 Beauty Collabs: 4 Influencer Collaborations That Work & Why

June 29, 2021

Welcome back to our monthly series where we investigate which beauty brands are producing the most interesting and successful influencer collaborations! 

  • Brands featured: Milk Makeup, Yves Rocher, Maybelline and e.l.f.
  • Key learnings: social listening and imaginative content pay off, how to tastefully talk about post-pandemic living, and a great example of innovative experimentation feat. the first beauty NFT. 

For more in-depth beauty trends and influencer campaign breakdowns, subscribe to our monthly Beauty Newsletter

Milk Makeup

Best influencer collab: Kevin Ninh (@flawlesskevin)

  • High engagement 
  • Quality content

What makes it work?

  • Social listening. Some of the best influencer collaborations start from an organic place! In order to catch those opportunities brands need to be really good at quickly spotting influencers who are talking about them and reciprocating the love. On June 1st and 2nd, Kevin posted Pride looks on Instagram using multiple products, including products from Milk Makeup. Nine days later, Kevin posted on his Instagram stories thanking Milk Makeup for sending him a Pride package full of colorful products. The great social listening and fast reciprocation from Milk Makeup has likely earned them a new, authentic brand advocate!
  • Brand values match. Not only is Kevin a rising influencer with growing audiences on both Instagram and TikTok, he seems to share a lot of the same values as Milk Makeup. Both Kevin’s motto (in his Instagram bio) and Milk Makeup’s slogan are focused on folks being able to live authentically and be true to themselves. For comparison, Kevin’s motto is, “To be flawless is to be yourself” and Milk Makeup’s is “Live Your Look”. When an influencer and brand’s values are tightly aligned, it creates an environment for collaborations that are more dynamic and genuine.

Yves Rocher

Best influencer collab: Doris Blanc pin (@dorisblancpin)

  • High engagement 
  • Quality content

What makes it work? 

  • Experiential. For our non-French readers, this collaboration between Yves Rocher and Doris is actually a fairly common giveaway mode where folks wanting to enter have to follow and comment on the post. However, what we found so compelling about this collaboration was the way Doris molded her content to the products. In this video she gets high quality product shots of Yves Rocher’s Pure Algue (pure algae) products at the beach and uses soothing ASMR sounds of the waves to create an experience of the product. Not only is this content nice to watch and listen to, but it is incredibly efficient in getting across the main selling points of the product (hydrating, cleansing, refreshing, botanical) without needing to use any words.

Maybelline

Correction made July 9, 2021: we were informed that the #makeupforwhatyoumissed campaign originated from Maybelline, not Superdrug. Even though the sound and hashtag originated from Maybelline, influencers appear to be using both for paid content for other brands.

Best influencer collab: Nikki Patel (@nikkissecretxx)

  • High engagement 
  • Quality content

What makes it work? 

  • Tastefully relevant. Over the past year, consumer attention on makeup dipped due to the fact that everyone was staying home and wearing masks. But now that things are slowly returning to normal, makeup is making a comeback. Maybelline's new #makeupforwhatyoumissed TikTok campaign, featuring influencers like Nikki Patel, is timed perfectly for this return and is aimed at turbocharging excitement. The campaign concept is simple: create the makeup looks you would have worn doing all the activities you couldn’t do during the pandemic. It’s not salesy, it’s not overblown — it’s just giving people a stage to show off all the makeup creativity they have held back during the pandemic. It has a wonderfully fun and hopeful tone for all the things we’ll do in the coming year.
  • A new kind of challenge. Makeup challenges have taken off on TikTok because they are a fun and easy way for followers to put their own spin on a piece of content. It not only creates a sense of community, but is also a great way to amplify brand awareness. What’s cool about this campaign is that Maybelline took the power of makeup challenges and repackaged it in retro style. It’s no longer one challenge amongst many — it’s a mixtape! People are definitely loving this retro branded challenge… the hashtag already has 20.7M views on TikTok.

e.l.f.

Best influencer collab: Murillo Alessandro (@mualesandro), Stephanie Valentine (@glamzilla) and arynlei (@arynlei)

  • Innovative topic
  • Content/brand fit

What makes it work?

  • Innovative. NFTs* or non-fungible tokens are rising in popularity and have mostly been used in the art and gaming industries. Now, e.l.f. is one of the first brands to bring NFTs into the beauty world. Its cryptocosmetics campaign centers around “Ne.l.f.Ts”, nine crypto-collectibles that are digital versions of some of its most popular products. To promote this, e.l.f. partnered with some of the biggest and up-and-coming beauty influencers like @glamzilla and @mualesandro as well as influencers in the NFT space like @arynlei. So far it's unclear whether this first foray into NFTs will pay off - the #cryptocosmetics campaign hashtag currently has 207.6k views on TikTok, which is a good start but nowhere near typical makeup launch numbers. On the other hand, this is a fantastic way for e.l.f. to continue to show that it is ahead of the curve with trends and a leading creative and innovative brand. We can’t wait to see where they go next with it! 
  • Brand fit. Not every beauty brand can pull off a product NFT. For something as experimental and quirky as this, it’s critical to have the right brand identity and fan base. With its cult following and playful personality (that is super tuned into internet culture), e.l.f. was set up perfectly to be the beauty brand to experiment with NFTs. The brand has an audience of die-hard fans who buy out pretty much every new product launch… if the idea of owning a piece of e.l.f. brand history would appeal to anyone, it would be these folks. 


*For an in-depth explanation of NFTs, check out this Forbes article. In sum they are a “digital asset that represents real-world objects like art, music, in-game items” and more. The big selling point is that NFTs are unique digital assets (verified/certified by blockchain), making buying a digital asset equivalent to buying a unique piece of real-world art.

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