Eunice Lee spends much of her day watching celebrity cosmetics tutorials on YouTube and scrolling through makeup aesthetics on Instagram.
For many students the videos are just another way to procrastinate; however, for the fourth-year biology student, they’re part of her job.
Lee is the president of UCLA’s Beauty & Cosmetics club, an organization for students to discuss the purposes of beauty and the latest trends in the cosmetics industry. Club members also network with industry professionals and internet celebrities. B&C will host an event Nov. 16 with ColourPop, an online beauty store based out of Santa Monica.
Lee said she joined B&C because she wanted to express her creativity and learn more about opportunities in the beauty industry. With makeup, she can transform her appearance to fit different moods and events, like parties and business functions, she said.
“Makeup allows you to be anyone you want to be without judgment,” she said. “It changes not only the way you look, but the way you feel.”
B&C began in winter 2015. Alumna Suhee Jeong, a cofounder for the club, said the club’s original mission was to provide an area where like-minded individuals could discuss the latest trends and products in makeup and skincare.
“I had always been interested in beauty and cosmetics, but none of us really knew how to start a club,” Jeong said. “So we started small with beauty talks and tutorials.”
B&C expanded its mission by reaching out to YouTubers and representatives from cosmetics companies to come speak to the club about internships and full-time jobs in the makeup industry. Jeong said many members, including herself, have been successful in securing positions at top cosmetics companies like Murad.
Conversations with YouTubers are their most popular events, Lee said. Last year, Korean makeup artist Ssinnim gave a skincare tutorial using her own line of cosmetics and answered questions about the entertainment industry and beauty from the audience.
“Students at UCLA can’t always go to celebrity meet-and-greets, so it’s our job to bring them here,” Lee said.
Third-year financial actuarial mathematics student Deborah Kim said while many students join to work on their appearance, appearance isn’t everything the club is about. The club member said she wants students to be aware of the kind of products they put on their faces, since a lot of cosmetics companies add preservatives and cancer-causing chemicals to their products.
“It’s important to know what is good and what can impact you in your 40s and 50s,” she said. “We teach our members to be responsible with what they put on themselves.”
Students should also be conscious of makeup they buy online through companies like eBay, where the products have less standards to abide by, often resulting in lower quality, Lee said.
Lee said while makeup can help with someone’s appearance, it is by no means a necessity for beauty. UCLA students often feel pressured to wear too much makeup due to school’s proximity to Hollywood and celebrity culture. At B&C they emphasize wearing makeup to boost self-confidence, she added.
“There are definitely people out there who wear makeup in a superficial way,” she said. “(But) it’s all about how you feel and what you want to do.”
It is important to provide a place for meaningful discussions about beauty at UCLA because makeup allows students to express themselves, Kim said. Business professionals can distinguish their personalities with softer or more dramatic looks while partygoers often go over the top with cat eyes and red cheeks, she added.
Lee said the club right now is entirely female, but she’d like to see men join as well to learn about beauty.
“We have to be a comfortable place where people can come together to enjoy beauty.”