One of the best things about social media is the way it connects us to so many different voices and viewpoints, offering amazing learning resources to feed any current—or discover entirely new—passions. As a skincare enthusiast, I am always on the hunt for interesting, relatable, and informative beauty content, but the YouTube and Instagram algorithms sometimes make it hard to find new hidden gems in a sea of constantly repeating faces and topics. Through hours of sleuthing I’ve managed to find some of these hidden skincare influencer gems, however—many of them with only a few thousand followers, despite their high quality, often expert level content.
Are you tired of the same big-name beauty influencers on your feed? Curious about smaller, more niche, and indie beauty oriented content creators? Let me introduce you to five of my favorite, lesser-known skincare influencers from around the world!
The Monodist (Odile Monod)
I came across Odile’s excellent YouTube videos while researching traditional Korean herbalist (or hanbang) skincare, a topic she is particularly passionate about. Even though K-beauty has become seemingly mainstream these days, that mainstream is usually dominated by the same better-known brands and by all sorts of half-truths about the Korean beauty industry.
On her YouTube channel and blog, the digital art director with ties to the beauty industry regularly debunks myths and mistaken beliefs about Korean skincare, with a calm, knowledgeable demeanor that feels soothing in a world filled with over the top “reaction videos.” No clickbait-y titles or thumbnails to be found here. Instead, you can discover new, lesser known Korean brands and learn about current trends and industry news, plus take a deep dive into the historical origins of Korean beauty products.
Based in London, Lateef is a hobby skincare enthusiast with excellent taste when it comes to Asian and niche brands. I found his YouTube channel while browsing for dark-skinned influencers’ sunscreen recommendations, and his videos were so helpful for me. His perspective on skincare as a Black content creator is very much needed, and I would love to see his channel and Instagram account grow more.
Though lesser-known, this skincare influencer’s product reviews are in-depth and no-nonsense, and I especially love his debunking of common misconceptions about darker skin, such as the erroneous assumption that dark skinned people shouldn’t use AHAs.
With over 900K subscribers on YouTube, you would think that Director Pi shouldn’t appear on this list of lesser-known skincare influencers. But the Korean beauty editor and advisor on a number of Korean variety shows, such as Get It Beauty, is still virtually unknown in the wider global beauty community. Her videos are, of course, all in Korean, but about two years ago she started adding fan-produced subtitles in English, thus finally making it possible for K-beauty lovers like me to binge-watch her content.
If your main concerns are the efficacy and safety of skincare ingredients, then this is a fantastic resource for you, as Director Pi is known for her in-depth ingredient list breakdowns and critical reviews. Of course, you can mainly find Korean products discussed on the channel, but Director Pi also regularly features Western high-end and European pharmacy brands, as long as they pass her stringent review criteria.
Ahn Unni (Ahn Insuk)
Another beauty industry insider from Korea and Get It Beauty alumna, Ahn Insuk is the CEO of the Korea Institute of Dermatological Sciences, which is one of a number of independent organizations that rate the efficacy and safety of beauty products in Korea. Ahn Insuk started her YouTube channel—which offers subtitles in English, Japanese, Russian, Thai and Vietnamese—as a means to bring Korean beauty products to a global audience and provide expert knowledge about such topics as whitening, pigmentation issues, and, more recently, the sunscreen scandal that rocked the Korean beauty industry.
I am pretty obsessed with this accomplished, smart, and yet super approachable woman, who isn’t afraid to voice her opinions about an industry that she clearly loves but often wants to do better in terms of empty marketing claims. Her level-headed, science-oriented voice was much needed during the sunscreen controversy, which led to unfortunate misunderstandings about the safety of Korean cosmetics.
The Eco Well
If you are a fan of science-based beauty advice communicated in an easily digestible, layman-friendly way, then The Eco Well YouTube channel and podcast are must-follows. I am always surprised that this excellent resource for anyone interested especially in natural skincare isn’t more widely popular, given the often high-profile guests featured in the panel discussions hosted on YouTube: big name skinfluencers such as Caroline Hirons, James Welsh, or Skincare by Hyram make an appearance, as do science bloggers such as Michelle Wong, aka Labmuffin.
The Eco Well founder Jen Novakovich is a science communicator and formulation chemist who works as a consultant and product formulator in the beauty industry. You can sometimes get a glimpse of the products she is working on in her Instagram stories, and it is pretty fascinating to see the process. As the host of The Eco Well podcast and YouTube channel, Jen has made it her mission to dispel misinformation in the beauty industry. Especially the recent rise of the “clean beauty” movement has unfortunately led to many misconceptions about ingredient safety in skincare, and problematic, junk science-y marketing techniques are rampant. Jen regularly tackles controversial subjects such as sustainability in the industry, the use of parabens, and lately, the worrying overlap between the green beauty movement and conspiracy theory circles.
Who are some of your favorite lesser-known skincare influencers we all need to know about? Let us know in the comments below!