Alix Earle and the Power of Influencers

Three months ago, Alix Earle celebrated surpassing 400,000 Instagram followers. A week later, she gained another 100,000. Now, she’s at 2.3 million on Instagram, and 4.7 million on TikTok. The 22-year-old University of Miami student features a combination of her beauty favorites, lively outfits, gorgeous looks, and charismatic personality.
Her climb to fame started with her “Get Ready With Me” videos on TikTok, with her UMiami “storytimes” and sorority events also catching a lot of attention.
In her pre-college years, Earle was born and raised in New Jersey. Her family operates a construction company, where she works as an intern. However, Earle’s extreme popularity has resulted in many sponsorships and brand deals that she features in her astoundingly popular videos, making that the career she portrays.

Alix Earle posing in her car

Alix Earle’s presence has caused many to purchase the entirety of her makeup routine, outfits, and hair products, and is even rumored to have increased UMiami’s admission rate. Throughout TikTok’s “For You Page,” and Instagram’s “Explorer Page,” users are able to see more than the people they follow, and these portions of social media apps are often the birthplace of up-and-coming trends. Just about all of Alix Earle’s favorite makeup products made their way to Sephora’s bestsellers list… and now they are all sold out. “I wouldn’t have bought the Rare Beauty blush if it wasn’t for TikTok,” says a CHS Student.
In a broader sense, many influencers have achieved enough fame to have this effect on consumer trends and popular products: a concept now known as the “Alix Earle Effect.” When a CHS student saw an aesthetic soap-making account on their TikTok FYP, they purchased a soap. A million or so views later, a successful, small business was born. Youtuber Bailey Dedrick, whose channel features weekly fashion, beauty, daily vlogs, and lifestyle videos, brought forth a Princess Polly code for her audience of 777,000 subscribers. A CHS student and one of Bailey’s fans used the code and purchased clothing from Princess Polly: “I got a discount and cute outfits.” It’s a total win-win situation. Bailey gets paid for her advertisement and Princess Polly gets traction on their website and more brand visibility. At the same time, the customer gets cute clothes and the satisfaction that they are also saving money while supporting one of their favorite influencers.
While many brands benefit from the words of influencer marketing, many can vanish from the face of the Earth from a viral 30-second TikTok or a three-word tweet. Skincare company St. Ives is just one example. Once found in every bathroom cabinet in the early 2010s, the brand got canceled through beauty influencers as social media apps became more popular. The effect was so strong that the brand was taken to court and was involved in a lawsuit for its walnut-shell exfoliant alleged to be causing skin damage to consumers. Although the lawsuit was dropped and the product and brand is still around, it is labeled as “the most controversial product in the drug store” and Gen Z beauty content viewers wouldn’t be caught dead with it after the scandal. St. Ives especially faced a huge hit when it was taken off Target shelves.

A similar situation happened with Mario Badescu, a higher-end company that grew and then fell off the social media mountain after a 2020 video by skincare guru SkincarebyHyram criticized the company for colors and harsh chemicals in their products. Although Mario Badescu has featured blue and pink and red colored products for years, Hyram’s viral videos and loyal subscribers took its name right off the market just as quickly as Hyram gained a large following in just a matter of weeks with a viral video.
The “Alix Earle Effect” is real. Loyal followers immediately buy the products that their favorite influencers promote, and run to cancel the products that have been talked down on. The power that influencers have in today’s tech-heavy society is astounding—enough to make or break an entire brand overnight—just as quickly as an influencer can rise to fame.