Lori Harvey
March 29, 2024

The 5 Black Makeup Artists Making A Splash In The Beauty World

Here are five beauty trail blazers making noteworthy strides in the world of beauty.

Much like the faces of the models who walked for the Maison Margiela Spring/Summer 24 Haute Couture collection, the current makeup zeitgeist has been coated in Pat Mcgrath pandemonium. Her now-renowned reflective glass skin makeup, which debuted at Galliano’s Margiela couture presentation in January, sent the internet ablaze as inquiring minds rushed to figure out how the makeup phenom turned runway models into living porcelain dolls. Before she revealed the actual key ingredient for the look (a combination of four different peel-off masks) countless users flooded TikTok with their own recreations of the mind-bending trend, mixing various concoctions in attempts to recreate the near-reflective look. 

Even rap star Cardi B took inspiration from McGrath for her “Enough” single cover, tapping makeup artist Erika La’ pearl to recreate the now iconic glass-like look. 

But long before this influx of well-deserved praise, McGrath has been consistently pushing the bounds of makeup innovation. Throughout her 25 years in the industry, McGrath has largely redefined the intersection of creativity and commercial success. To date her eponymous makeup brand, which launched in 2015, has been valued at a whopping $1 billion. 

Suffice it to say McGrath has more than paved her own awe-inspiring lane in the elusive world of beauty, but she is far from the only one making immense strides in representation and advancement.

Ahead, we acknowledge five Black beauty powerhouses who are also shifting the paradigm of makeup artistry.

Sir John

Photo courtesy of Sir John on Instagram

Makeup and music fans alike are probably familiar with this beauty maven. Best known for serving as Beyoncé’s go-to makeup artist, Sir John Barnett, known professionally as Sir John, got his start working at a makeup counter when he was 18. Shortly thereafter, he began doing makeup at a local New York strip club. He went on to work with industry giants like Charlotte Tilbury and our beloved Pat McGrath before becoming a part of Beyoncé’s beauty arsenal in 2010. Aside from being responsible for some of Queen Bey’s most feature-enhancing looks, he has also worked with Hollywood darlings, including Storm Reid and Zendaya. His contributions to the makeup space do not end with tending to generational talents, though, as he currently serves as the creative director of makeup for Kilian Paris.

Danessa Myricks

Photo courtesy of Danessa Myricks on Instagram

If you’ve been seeing an influx of cheeky little bronze compacts up and down your FYP on TikTok, it’s likely the viral Danessa Myricks Yummy Skin Blurring Balm Powder, an Allure Best of Beauty 2022 award-winner. But long before Myricks created the Sephora bestseller she made a name for herself as a self-taught makeup artist and beauty expert, helming product development titles for major beauty brands such as Benefit Cosmetics and KISS.

Now, with her own brand, which is making major waves online and changing the face base game forever, Myricks has become a pillar of representation in a world “overly focused on labels.”

Courtney Kareem

Photo courtesy of Courtney Kareem on Instagram

Responsible for some of Lori Harvey’s best makeup looks, Courtney Kareem is a master of the “soft glam” look that has gained considerable favor within the influencer and model circuit. She is also the founder of Made Beauty, a makeup line focused on bridging the gap in shade inclusivity, a recurring issue she has encountered throughout a decade of working in the beauty sector.

From her commitment to inclusivity to her knack for subtle bronze looks that highlight warmer skin tones, Kareem is definitely an act to watch.

Sam Fine

Photo courtesy of Sam Fine on Instagram

From revered runway icons like Tyra Banks, Iman, and Naomi Campbell to on-screen mavericks including Queen Latifah, Gabrielle Union, and even the first Black Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, Sam Fine’s Rolodex of clientele is undoubtedly robust.

These faces, which have shaped and shifted the standards of beauty and culture at large, have all trusted the masterful hands and talents of Fine. Fine got his start in makeup working at department store makeup counters, an era he refers to as “the real school of beauty.” His work has appeared in multiple publications, he was the first Black spokesperson for Revlon and Covergirl and has written a book, Fine Beauty: Beauty Basics and Beyond for African American Women, centered on the ins and outs of Black beauty for women.

Mali Thomas

Photo courtesy of Mali Thomas on Instagram

With over ten years of experience, Mali Thomas has built a standout client roster, including Kelly Rowland, Marsai Martin, Ryan Destiny and many more. The Mali Magic founder has become known for her luminous looks on brown skin, coining the phrase #DewyBrownGirls after struggling to find a term for the hydrated bronzy look, especially on deeper skin tones. Thomas is a Global Artist in Residence for Bobbi Brown and the founder of Mali Magic Studios, an immersive, art, design studio.

Tayler Adigun

Tayler Adigun is a style, culture, and beauty writer with a focus on Black involvement in beauty and fashion. Her work has appeared in The Cut, InStyle, Harper's Bazaar, Insider, People, and Yahoo Life. From Tokyo's inimitable second-hand market to the beauty playmakers pushing the needle in the celebrity makeup space, she is at the pulse of all the cultural moments that make us think or give us collective pause.
She has interviewed cultural change makers like renowned child of Destiny's Kelly Rowland and the people's mermaid, Halle Bailey, as well as industry experts at the intersections of style, culture, beauty and health.
She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Howard University and a Master of Journalism degree from the University of Maryland.

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