Fact: Black makeup artists have been breaking boundaries in the industry since the beginning. They’ve navigated an industry that has not always been built to celebrate people of color, and considering the torrential cultural climate of our world, their artistry has stood the test of time and made women of all ethnicities and skin tones feel absolutely beautiful—on the inside and out. For that, they deserve to be celebrated. We’ve rounded up 15 of our favorite artists who have us glued to their Instagram pages, waiting for their next jaw-dropping look.
Keep reading to see the Black celebrity makeup artists who are redefining beauty standards in Hollywood.
Sir John is Queen Bey’s trusted makeup artist. In other words, the man’s got gifted hands. He got his start training under industry icons Charlotte Tilbury and Pat McGrath. Quickly after, he gained a star-studded clientele of women like Joan Smalls, Ashley Graham, Olivia Culpo, and more. Now you can catch him on the big screen for his new TV show American Beauty Star.
We have to pay homage to Pat McGrath, also known as the “Mother of Makeup,” who has been spearheading the industry with her insanely talented skills since the early ’90s. McGrath and her team of makeup artists are responsible for major international fashion week shows every year (think: Valentino and Alexander McQueen). Beauty junkies—us included—stay on our toes over the latest launches of her coveted cosmetics line Pat McGrath Labs.
Sam Fine has been paving the way since the ’90s when he was painting the faces of heavy hitters like Iman, Tyra Banks, and Naomi Campbell. Nowadays, he works with Queen Latifah and Vanessa Williams. He was awarded the title of the first Black spokesperson for Revlon and Covergirl, and is the author of his first book titled Fine Beauty: Beauty Basics and Beyond for African American Women ($15).
Let’s all thank celebrity makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff for Taraji P. Henson, aka Cookie Lyons’s showstopping makeup looks in Empire. She’s been Henson’s go-to MUA for years for her skillful artistry and impressive blending. She is also is the founder of Ashunta Sheriff Beauty.
No one nails a glitter cat eye faster than Michael Anthony. With celebrity clients like Katy Perry, Tinashe, and Cassie under his belt, he knows how to execute the boldest beauty looks in minutes—yet make it look so effortless. He got his start working at makeup counters in department stores, made his rounds at fashion week, and has been unstoppable ever since.
If you’ve seen any of Camara Aunique’s work, it’s clear she’s born for beauty. Her work has appeared on the runway stages of top fashion designers, in editorials, and beauty campaigns. Her list of A-list clientele includes Angela Bassett, Ava DuVernay, and June Ambrose, to name a few. She’s also the founder of CamaraAUniqueBeauty, a line of handcrafted faux mink lashes, as well as The Unique Beauty Podcast.
If you’re struggling to find inspiration for your next beauty look, head to pro makeup artist and creative director Moshoodat Sanni’s Instagram—trust us. She’s one of those artists who quite literally showcases makeup as an art form, exhibiting clean, colorful, looks that’ll long live in your mind even after you click out of her Instagram. She is also the founder of Crowned By Moshoodat, a line of bedazzled headpieces fit for royalty.
The talented AJ Crimson always put women of color first. His makeup line, AJ Crimson Beauty, was built on the idea of enhancing your natural features with an inclusive line of quality makeup products (including a foundation that is the bomb) meant to match every single shade of brown. His contributions to the beauty industry will never be forgotten. Rest in peace and power.
Many of those stand-out looks worn by Nicki Minaj, Zendaya, La La Anthony, and Serena Williams are done by none other than Sheika Daley. She takes away any fear associated playing around with colored products, and her bold beauty looks have a safe spot in our archives. (P.S.: her line of high-quality, handcrafted false lashes, Elora Lane, is seriously indulging).
Celebrity makeup artist Yolonda Frederick has a lineup of Hollywood’s hottest, including Ciara, Jennifer Hudson, and Cassie. She also understands the importance of a good selfie, so she developed the Glam.Or.Ring, a light-up iPhone case that features a makeup palette and a full mirror—genius, right?
What do NeNe Leakes, Fantasia Barrino, and Dascha PolancoIf all have in common? Celebrity makeup artist Keita Moore’s red carpet-worthy makeup looks, of course. Moore got his start with an art background then moved on to working at a MAC makeup counter. If you’re a fan of airbrush makeup, Moore’s work will serve up some major inspiration.
We can’t stop screen-shotting Mali Magic’s out-of-this-world work. Her artistry is top-notch and she’s known to create the most stunning, glowy makeup looks suitable for all skin tones. Celebrities like Tiffany Haddish, Niecy Nash, and Nicki Minaj have all sat in her makeup chair.
Skin, skin, skin. That’s the focus of many of Jerry Johnson’s looks, which has landed him clients like Paris Hilton and Courtney Love. Johnson is also the official makeup artist for Laura Mercier Cosmetics.
Adriana Lima, Naomi Campbell, and Angela Bassett are familiar with Renee Garnes’ talent. The bi-coastal makeup artist splits her time between Los Angeles and New York, and she continues to impress us with her master artistry and willingness to push the envelope.
Porsche Cooper’s refined approach to beauty makes for some pin-worthy looks. Her work has graced the runways of NYFW and her artistry has landed her clients from all industries including models Winnie Harlow and Iman to actresses Alicia Silverstone and Angela Bassett.
German-born Tyron Machhausen’s top-notch makeup artistry has led him to paint the faces of some of our favorite celebs–including Rihanna, Tessa Thompson, and Dakota Fanning. His jaw-dropping beauty looks have been featured in campaigns for some of the most beloved fashion and beauty brands such as Lancôme, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Maybelline, Nars, Biotherm, Sephora, Pantene, and Revlon. Machhausen’s makeup career highlights also include serving as a Chanel US makeup artist for the past three years.