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Bailey Sarian’s ‘Murder, Mystery & Makeup’ Series is (Surprisingly) Compulsive Viewing

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Bailey Sarian, mid-'Murder, Mystery & Makeup.'
Bailey Sarian, mid-'Murder, Mystery & Makeup.' (YouTube/ Bailey Sarian)

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.

The key to Sarian’s success is that everything she does on camera—the makeup, the story-telling, the engaging but empathetic demeanor—appears effortless. In fact, watching her videos feels a bit like getting ready for a night out with your favorite chatty girlfriend. And since so many of us haven’t shared that ritual with anyone since the pandemic started, right now, Sarian’s channel is a strange source of comfort, even when she’s talking about incredibly dark events.


The very first episode of Murder, Mystery & Makeup concerned Chris Watts, who was convicted in 2018 of murdering his pregnant wife, Shanann, and their two daughters, Bella and Celeste. And even Sarian seemed skeptical about the new format at the start of her video.

Last year, the Los Angeles resident told Allure: “I’ve heard from people before they started to watch that automatically they thought, ‘Oh my God, this is the most disrespectful trash I [will] ever see. But then they watch, and they’re like, ‘Oh, okay. I get what she was trying to do.’ I don’t ever want to come across as disrespectful toward the victims.”

Bailey Sarian posts episodes of Murder, Mystery & Makeup to her YouTube channel most Mondays. 

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