What Jenna Marbles Taught Me About Beauty


It’s been almost four years, and I’m still in mourning over the retirement of beloved internet icon and certified beau-tuber Jenna Marbles.

At her peak, her channel had 20 million subscribers and over one billion accumulated views, pulling serious weight on YouTube without a midroll ad to be seen. While she was known for doing the bizarre (like the time she made herself a disco ball), dozens of her videos dive deep into the beauty world. Recently, I’ve been rewatching the nearly four hours of beauty-related content on her channel and couldn’t help but realize Sister Jenna had some pretty sage wisdom.

These are Jenna Marbles’ best beauty tips, of course. But it’s also a look back at one of the most influential voices in internet history and the impact she has to this day.

From Viral Comedian to 30-Year-Old-Lady

If you’ve been on the internet for a while, you might be familiar with her most viral video, “How to trick people into thinking you’re good looking,” which boasts a jaw-dropping 72 million views. A relic of it’s time (2010 was a long time ago), this was a beauty look you could find me trying desperately to make work for me in high school. Plenty of us saw ourselves in Jenna Marbles from the get go, but through her tenure on the platform, a lot about her (and by extension, our) relationship to beauty changed.

By the time I was watching her regularly, she’d already ditched a lot of those old beauty standards and started experimenting. Watching her do her own acrylic nails convinced me to avoid a do-it-yourself-manicure, and seeing her final E-girl makeup look had me head-over-heels for nose blush and “looking kinda sick” for at least a year. And overtime, themes started to emerge.

The Impact of Jenna Marbles

“Say what you want about my eyebrows in the comments, I know you hate my eyebrows,” she teases in one video. “Stop telling me what to do! I’m going to keep pulling my eyelids, I know I have wrinkles,” she explains while doing her eyeliner in another. “It is for you if you put it on your face and want it to be,” she says, applying JustForMen to her eyebrows.

There’s something to be said for her stubborn, do-it-my-way style. And that’s a quality that translated across her presence on YouTube. She never released merch because she couldn’t find a way to do it to her own standards, and her persona hinged on being real and relatively uncensored. You got the sense that hanging out with her would go exactly the same as watching a video, a trait that’s not easy to replicate in every influencer.

Maybe that’s why so many of her requested videos were just about her trying a trend of viral product—she wasn’t afraid to fail at something on camera. Viewers figured if she couldn’t make fake freckles work for her, we probably couldn’t either.

Jenna Marbles was firmly about having a good time. From giving herself a new face with prosthetics, to trying purple brows out for fun, a sense of joy permeates these videos. The combination of self-led creativity and the willingness to dive in and try something new led to some of the most iconic moments in her career.

And I think it’s what inspires people.

Jenna Marbles “Beauty Tips”

The Beautiful People Club:

Whether they want me or not!”

Quick on the uptake, Jenna fell down the beauty influencer rabbit hole early on. In terms of her content, it meant joining from the outside, asking formally to be admitted to the “beautiful people club.” When that didn’t automatically work, her strategy changed. Now it was about outdoing every challenge by an absurd degree, birthing the 100 Layers of Makeup Challenge, which took her seven hours to complete.

Ultimately, her presence in the beauty community came without subscribing to any of their rules. Engage with and build on what’s fun and interesting to you, with or without a formal invite.

Impulsive Image:

I’m gonna dye my hair because no one is watching me.”

Two of her most iconic videos have to do with drastically altering her hair when she’s alone. Calling to the wild 3 a.m. urge to cut your hair over your sink, Jenna was just as likely to end up in a compilation of “Hair Bleach Disasters” as she was to put out a video every week. Embrace this season of change, girl.

Fail Forward:

“I’m gonna come out of this looking regular.”

How do you know if something isn’t for you if you never try? That means lash extensions, lash perms, tape in extensions, fake freckles, E-girl makeup and even giving yourself a fidget spinner gel manicure is on the table. Don’t hold yourself back from engaging with the fun and ultimately harmless beauty trends. You might even get a new blush technique out of it.

Have More Fun:

“Welcome to me time, starring…me and my time.”

If your look isn’t making you happy, it’s time to think outside the box. Makeup isn’t supposed to be frustrating or upsetting, but the stress of beauty standards can get to any of us. Lean into the glam that gives you that good feeling, no matter how much color or glitter than might mean.

Haters Gonna Hate:

Put your hate comments about my eyebrows below.”

You won’t meet everyone’s standards. For Jenna Marbles, it was always the shape of her brow and her fill-in technique. But realistically, this applies to all of us—especially those who engage with social media. Someone will not agree with your choice of color, your application, your face. But you’re not doing anything for those people. You’re doing it for you.

Products Don’t Have Genders:

“Anything is for you if you put it on your face and you want it to be.”

We’ve all been hit by a Pink Tax at one point or another, but there’s no law that says we can’t buy JustForMen instead of a more expensive brow tint. It might be a men’s razor or even your next favorite fragrance, the world of products marketed to men holds so much potential. Don’t let the target audience put you off trying something you’re interested in.

Go Beyond:

It’s my too much gene.”

Jenna Marbles is known for overdoing it. Coining the term “too much gene,” her tendency to go overboard is less of a choice and more of an inability to stop. In the right time and place, there’s nothing wrong with indulging in this, though. Really think about it—what’s stopping you from covering your face in rhinestones?

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