photo: Miranda Mendoza

Up-and-coming YouTube beauty guru Miranda Mendoza, 22, didn't get named a "Buzzworthy Beauty Blogger" by Allure for nothing. With a charming blend of humor and poise, the L.A.-based creator of “Slashed Beauty” loves experimenting with beauty products on a budget. 

“I wanted to send the message that my mission was all about getting the latest trends on a budget, without being so upfront about it,” Mendoza said. “'Slashed Beauty' is a play on the term 'slashed prices,' so it's a bit of a tongue in cheek nod to the fact that I'm broke and my blog is for other broke beauty lovers.”

Though Mendoza first began exploring the world of YouTube by making lip-syncing and homemade music videos in 2006, she started her beauty channel only a couple of years ago. Since then, she's attended the MTV VMAs with CoverGirl, starred in national ad campaigns, and even recently received an invite to the Grammy Gala.

The time has been short, yet the journey has been long, and Mendoza's ready to dole out some advice. Here are seven things she wishes she'd known before becoming a YouTube celeb in the making:

1. Don't delete your early videos. After transitioning from lip-syncing extraordinaire to a beauty vlogger, Mendoza got rid of her old music videos. “I regret it every day because they actually had a decent amount of subscribers and views,” she says. She turned to beauty because people would watch her YouTube videos and ask how she achieved her looks. With friends also constantly asking her for tips and tricks, the choice to make beauty videos seemed clear. Soon she got into the groove of doing makeup tutorials and gradually added product reviews and beauty event roundups to the mix. But it all started with her music videos — and now they're all gone.

2. It's so much work. Think all you have to do is get your eyebrows on fleek and rock a mean red lipstick? Think again. Mendoza discovered that beauty vlogging is not only a job but an intense one at that. “It’s not just being paid to do your makeup and hair on camera with a smile on your face,” she says. “There’s a lot of behind the scenes.” This includes editing her videos, recording voice-overs, taking care of accounting, replying to emails, and gathering supplies. She estimates that she spends at least 50 hours a week on her beauty career.

3. The competition is fierce. With vlogging taking off, don't expect to be the only one with dreams of YouTube domination. Mendoza says, “Especially at this time when there are SO many people just like you who want to 'make it big' and make a career on YouTube, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd.” Don't let the numbers discourage you, but do know the reality of being a teeny fish in a massive pond.

4. Find your niche. Because the competition is stiff, “something really has to set you apart,” says Mendoza. “For me, it’s focusing on drugstore/affordable beauty.” It's kind of like English class all over again: You need a theme and a subject for your channel and a topic or sub-topic for every video. That's not to mention a fun personality, a great camera presnce, and a developed aesthetic. 

5. People will underestimate your talent.
Family, friends, and enemies alike may judge you or at least not appreciate everything the vlogging craft demands. “We’re seen as kids who talk to a camera in our room and are self-absorbed, wrapped up in social media,” Mendoza says. “It’s also probably because this whole world of basically creating your own job is so new and hard for people to accept as a valid path in life.” But just because they say it doesn't make it true.

6. This is no get-rich-quick scheme. Just like you have to put in the time upfront, you've got to put in the money upfront — and don't hold your breath on getting immediate returns on your investment. “It can take years to actually start earning an income off of your work,” says Mendoza. “It has to be a labor of love, something you’re really passionate about.” (Mendoza declined to specify how much she earns from YouTube, but said the total amount can vary from month to month.)

7. The comments will surprise you. If you think that YouTube is a community for trolls, you're right. But you're also wrong. Mendoza says the vast majority of the comments on her videos have been positive. “Luckily, I have amazing subscribers and haven’t gotten all that much 'hate.'” What surprises is her most is that people make it a game of commenting “FIRST” on her videos. There are definitely worse comments to wake up to in the morning! “Some of my favorite feedback has come from longtime subscribers whose names I recognize after all these years — the ones that comment on every video with support and love,” Mendoza says. “Really any feedback that is a positive interaction is one I cherish.”