News flash: mascara is recession-proof! At present, the most popular and recession-resilient videos on YouTube come from the "makeup tutorial" subgenre. Now, don't let those $5 words fool you: this cottage industry is composed of girls barely out of their teens, producing tutorials on everything from applying mascara with a business card to how to look like Lady Gaga.

The top five of these sites have generated over 150 million views and averaged over 600,000 a day, TubeMogul reports.

The eye-candy quality of these vids has advertisers clamoring to both sponsor them and get their products featured in the hands of these girls. The tutorials send loads of traffic to their makeup sites of choice.

What makes these videos so downright viral? Well:

  • They've found their niche. (Heck, they've grown organically from their niche!)
  • They aim their messages at a captive (enthralled) audience in the right voice and style.
  • They're way easy on the eyes.
  • They appeal to playful vanity. (Nothing like reinventing yourself!)

What's more, these girls have found a way to make a vice—buying really expensive makeup and accessories—seem almost practical and technical! Watch Michelle Phan's stuff (links above), and tell us you don't feel like you're being educated!

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