In the wake of current protests to support the Black Lives Matter movement, beauty really isn’t or shouldn’t be at the forefront of your mind. To help Black people secure safety and equality in their own country, participating in protests and donating to Black-led organizations or funds are top priorities. But if you’ve done or cannot do those things, it’s a good time to ask yourself: Who do you get your beauty content from?
You might think it’s the most useful to follow beauty professionals who look like you and share aesthetic tastes with you — but that isn’t necessarily the case, particularly for non-Black beauty lovers. Racial inequality exists just as much in beauty as it does in politics, which is why it’s important to expose yourself to as much Black talent in the industry as possible — especially if you’re white and benefit from that privilege — not just in this moment, but always.
Simply following more Black makeup artists, hairstylists, and nail artists on social media is a fast, free, and surefire way to diversify your environment in the long run. Not only that, but the beauty industry is overflowing with talented Black professionals who can teach you so much about hair, nails, and makeup, regardless of the color of your skin or the texture of your hair.
So keep in mind while you protest and make donations that you can also help Black communities by re-assessing your content consumption (that goes for beauty and everything else). To give you a head start, here are 34 of our favorite Black makeup artists, hairstylists, and nail artists.
You might already follow Danessa Myricks, thanks to her beloved eponymous makeup brand, but if you’re not, you’re missing out on a whole lot of pointers for flawless base makeup.
Clicking the follow button on Raisa Flowers’s page is like stepping into a beautifully strange fantasy world — one where bleached brows, glitter tears, and mismatched colored contact lenses are the norm. She is the makeup artist responsible for our recent spring beauty trends photo shoot, so we can testify to her top-notch skills from first-hand experience.
Delina Medhin’s apt Instagram bio sums it up best, so we’ll let it speak for itself: “makeup for people who love skin that looks like skin and bold color.”
If you love splashes of color in your makeup that are just as bold as they are approachable, take a page (or a few) from Bob Scott’s book. You’ve seen their colorful work on celebrities like Ashley Graham, Barbie Ferreira, and Nicole Scherzinger.
In so many words, Lennie Billy has the range. Following her will fill your feed with just about every kind of makeup look you could imagine, including, but not limited to, colorful graphics, old-school glamour, and fresh no-makeup makeup.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find Ashunta Sheriff-Kendricks without fresh, matte skin, long, fluttery lashes, and a statement lip. Her feed is absolutely full of application videos that you can follow along with as you refine your makeup skills.
Lavonne’s makeup style places lots of focus on the eyes creating flawless skin. Both a makeup artist and a hairstylist, she’s truly a jack of all beauty trades.
The dewy, glowing skin that dominates Pekela Riley’s portfolio will immediately tip you off to her skill level when it comes to base makeup. If you’re a sucker for a fresh face, a bold brow, or a classic cat-eye (and who among us is not?), she’s your woman.
Both a hairstylist and a makeup artist, Pierre Ellis V. is a master at pairing bold and colorful eye shadows with lipsticks that are equally so.
Whether she’s working on herself or on her celebrity clients (Janelle Monàe and Yara Shahidi, among others), Jessica Smalls always delivers natural-looking skin with standout lips or colorful, graphic eye looks.
TK IMAGE You don’t become a makeup artist for Chanel without knowing your way around a makeup kit, as is proven by Tyron Machhausen’s impressive portfolio of editorial makeup. Follow his feed and you’ll see loads of different ways to play around with color, shape, and texture.
Nicki Minaj’s perpetually perfect complexion and cat-eyes are the work of Thomas, her right-hand makeup artist. Even if Minaj’s makeup style isn’t your vibe, Mila Thomas has created a wide range of bold-yet-approachable makeup looks you can snag inspiration from.
Even you don’t realize it, you already know who Sir John is, thanks to his most notable longterm client: Beyoncé. If that somehow isn’t enough reason to follow, take a scroll through his feed and observe all that perfect applied base makeup.
Keita Moore’s makeup is a staple in beauty campaigns for brands like CoverGirl, Maybelline New York, and Iman Cosmetics. He also works with Regina Hall, Halima Aden, Tiffany Haddish, to name just a few of his clients.
Lacy Redway is a hairstylist whose work you’ll definitely recognize from the industry’s biggest red carpet events. Her clients include Tessa Thompson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Zazie Beetz, and plenty more.
Vernon François hosts a ton of content on his feed about styling and caring for wavy, curly, kinky, and coiled hair. His page is a must-follow if you want to educate yourself on black hair textures (or just want to watch him sing and dance with his adorable baby daughter). He also owns a self-titled hair-care brand which, if you ask Allure editors, is also a must for anyone with textured hair.
If there were a Grammy Award for the music industry’s best wigs, weaves, and extensions, Tokyo Stylez would be a shoo-in. Just take a look at her most notable celebrity client: Cardi B.
If you’ve ever mooned over Kerry Washington’s sleek cuts or structured curls, you have Takisha Sturdivant-Drew to thank for that.
Megan Thee Stallion and Nicki Minaj both turn to Kellon Deryck for their red carpet looks and music video looks. So does Missy Elliot, who enlisted him to create her Iconology cover look.
Otherwise known as the Hair MacGuyver, Nikki Nelms isn’t just a hairstylist — she’s a structural artist. Alongside working with clients like Zoë Kravitz and Janelle Monàe, Nelms uses black hair to create stunning shapes and structures that reflect black culture.
Whether it’s long and sleek, stacked and structured, or in its naturally curly state, Lizzo’s hair is always camera-ready, thanks to Shelby Swain. She’s the self-proclaimed “Beyoncé of baby hairs,” which should clue you into her biggest strength.
Whether or not you realize it, you’re very familiar with Kim Kimble’s hairstyling skills. Beyoncé’s iconic 2018 Coachella performance? That was Kimble’s styling at work, as are many of the singer’s beloved hair looks.
Kehlani’s hairstylist, Kahh Spence, uses his Instagram platform to share hairstyling tutorials on just about every topic you could imagine. If you’re looking to watch videos about wig installation, bang-trimming, heatless styling, or even grooming, hit that follow button.
There simply isn’t much Ursula Stephens can’t do when it comes to hair — regardless of hair texture. Just take a look at this impressive list of celebrities she’s worked with: Zendaya, Rihanna, Angela Basset, Charlize Theron, Tiffany Haddish, Mj Rodriguez, Laverne Cox, Bebe Rexha… need we go on?
Braids, twists, knots: You’ll find endless amounts of each when you scroll the Instagram feed of Susy Oludele, who operates one of New York City’s best and most-beloved braiding salons.
If voluminous hair is a weakness of yours, Ted Gibson is about to become one of your favorite hairstylists. Billowing waves, sky-high bouffants, and bouncy curls of all types can be found on his Instagram feed — and you can achieve those for yourself at home with Gibson’s eponymous hair-care line.
Eric Williams brings elements of decades past — bumper bangs, face-framing layers, finger waves — to the modern-day for fashion brands, magazines, and celebrities alike.
Nicole Newland adds creative flair to every updo, braid, and ponytail she creates. Whether it’s with ribbons, chains, faux butterflies, or leather, she always makes a gorgeous statement.
You’ll find most of Gina Edwards’s intricate work on global runways for fashion designers like Alice + Olivia and Rebecca Minkoff. She can teach you more than a thing or two about appliqués and press-on manicures.
Mimi D’s work focuses on negative space, clean lines, and bold colors, so she’s got a little bit of something for everyone. She sells her own collection of nail-art-themed merchandise and hosts nail-art courses.
Janelle Monàe, La La Anthony, and Faith Evans are all a part of Skyy Hadley’s club of celebrity clients. In addition to her work with nails, she’s also a microblading and eyelash extension technician.
Gracie J’s curated Instagram page, @theeditorialnail, might already be one of your favorite sources for nail-art inspiration. When she’s not gathering nail-art looks “for the artsy, minimalist, and chic,” she’s working with celebrity clients like Teyana Taylor and Karreuche Tran.
Kylie Jenner’s nail looks always go viral, thanks to her right-hand nail artist, Chaun P. With his signature long, rectangular nail shapes and statement colors, it’s no wonder Jenner’s followers love his work so much.
You’ve seen Dawn Sterling’s manicures and nail art on celebrity clients such as Alicia Keys, Zendaya, and Janet Mock (to name just a few). With statement jewels and creative use of negative space, Sterling makes big impact with seemingly simple looks.
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