Six Black Beauty Gurus Who Serve Looks and Inspo

Meet the makeup artists and influencers who are dismantling the Eurocentric world of beauty.

(@varijstylez / Instagram)

We’ve all heard that the pen is mightier than the sword. But in the case of fighting discrimination and racist standards in the beauty world, it seems the makeup brush is the strongest tool of them all.

The beauty industry is making strides to become more racially-inclusive, but from whitewashed foundation lines to skin-lightening products, to tokenism in brand campaigns – it’s clear we still have a ways to go.

Beauty and makeup standards are largely Eurocentric, or focused on the features of white people. This only contributes to cultural erasure and leaves other races feeling like the outcasts of society.

For centuries, the definition of “beauty” was having fair skin, a small nose, light eyes and straight hair. Not only is this impossible for the majority of people to achieve, but it’s also extremely discriminatory towards BIPOC and other non-European groups by implying their unique features aren’t beautiful, too. 

Clearly, a new face of beauty is long overdue. One that ALL people can see themselves in, no matter their background. 

So, here are six6 of the most inspiring Black beauty gurus on Instagram to not only diversify your feed but also to inspire your next stuck-in-quarantine makeup look:

1. Kiitan Akinniranye

Kiitan’s signature curly locks and glowy complexion are sure to provide major hair and makeup inspiration on a daily basis. 

The beauty, lifestyle and hair influencer is also a business owner on the side. Her lifestyle brand, Kiitana, focuses on providing beauty tips specifically for BIPOC. She’s also the owner of the major hair accessory line Atarah Avenue, which sells gorgeous headwraps specifically for Black women. (And for the record, they’re amazing.)

2. Tavaris Jefferson

Tavaris isn’t afraid of a bold, colorful makeup look, and he doesn’t want you to shy away, either. His Instagram tutorials will show  you step-by-step how to create unique and vibrant looks, even if you’re new to makeup.

He’s also a featured finalist in Sephora’s second annual #SephoraSquad: a  yearly campaign to highlight some of the most talented artists in the beauty industry.

But the most vibrant thing about him isn’t his makeup looks. Rather, it’s his effervescent personality that attracts his loyal audience on his YouTube channel, where he uploads makeup reviews and hot takes.

3. Crystal Obasanya

If Van Gogh’s Sunflowers was a beauty influencer, it’d without a doubt be Crystal Obasanya. Not only do fun florals make up a majority of the Nigerian-American creator’s makeup looks and Instagram feed, but her infectious smile is just as bright and sunny.

Crystal also champions the importance of mental health. As a licensed therapist, she’s not afraid to sit down, get real and express her thoughts and feelings on camera. Major kudos to her.

In her YouTube channel, she talks about makeup and beauty, but also her thoughts on faith, identity, lifestyle and fashion.

4. Nyma Tang

The iconic Nyma Tang is most known for her YouTube series called “The Darkest Shade Series” where she tests out the darkest foundation and concealer shades from various makeup companies. 

Not only is she able to point out some of the brands that don’t have a past of inclusivity in their shade range (we’re looking at you, Tarte), but she recommends other companies to support which do cater to a diverse range of skin tones. In order to pressure brands to become more shade-inclusive in their products, it’s important for Black influencers like Nyma to call out the companies on their bullshit.