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.
Apart from the series, Nyma is recognized for her smooth, luminous skin which seems to defy all laws of science, and her glamorous, glittery makeup looks that match her chic and sophisticated outfits.
5. Evie (@sknperfct)
Skincare influencer and London native Evie will stop you dead in your tracks with her perfect skin. Seriously, take one look at her poreless face and you’ll be listening to everything she says.
Evie’s Instagram motto is “I waste my money so you don’t have to,” and with countless product reviews and recommendations, she definitely lives up to it.
I hope you have your notepad, because Evie’s a skincare teacher, and her class is always in session. She teaches her followers about the essential steps of skincare, like cleansing and toning, through her IGTV series Skincare Basics. Also, when she reviews products, she always makes sure to go in detail about specific ingredients and their purpose.
6. Jackie Aina
Last but certainly not least, Jackie Aina is basically a household name in the beauty and makeup community. If you’ve ever watched a makeup tutorial on YouTube, you must’ve seen her.
Jackie is bold, outspoken, and brutally honest – which is exactly what her nearly 3.5 million YouTube subscribers love about her. Although she’s a major star, she won’t hesitate to roast brands and call out makeup companies for their lack of diversity.
As a subscriber to Jackie for a while now, I may be a bit biased, but her personality is just off the charts (in the most amazing way).
She’s funny, entertaining, and extra in the best sense of the word. She doesn’t just create beautiful art on her face, but she’s a comedian while she does it.
We know that having one ideal image of beauty is unrealistic. We know that Black has always been–and will always be–beautiful, but beauty companies need to start showing wider scale support.
But for now, we can show our support for Black creators on an individual basis by streaming their content and trying out their makeup tips as our newest quarantine activity.
Maya Lang is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. She enjoys playing guitar, staying up far too late, and daydreaming about living in the '80s. You can reach her at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and movie recommendations.