Combining tales of true crime with makeup tutorials is not a format that should work. At all. In theory, the makeup part could trivialize the suffering of the people in the true crime story. And the true crime story could, in theory, be too dark and distracting to pay any attention to the makeup tutorial. But somehow, when Bailey Sarian does it—puts on a full face, while recounting real-life horrors—it doesn’t just make perfect sense, it’s compulsive viewing.
Sarian’s Murder, Mystery & Makeup series is already enormously popular. On YouTube, the 31-year-old has almost 4 million subscribers, but her most successful videos rack up even more views than that. As far as content goes, she talks about everything from the most famous serial killers to obscure little murder mysteries most people have never heard of.
Sarian, previously an employee of both Sephora and Urban Decay, started out on YouTube in 2013, doing traditional makeup tutorials. Six years later, when she asked her subscribers if they’d like her to talk about news items in her videos, the response was overwhelmingly positive. And she quickly realized that true crime was what viewers wanted to see her talk about most of all.