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16 Industry-Changing Black Makeup Artists You Need to Follow


When it comes to naming the most iconic makeup artists of all time, no list would be complete without Pat McGrath and Sir John. But so many Black makeup artists are consistently changing the beauty game in addition to those two household names—and we wanted to bring attention to their artistry. From building incredible, inclusive makeup lines to working with the biggest celebs in the industry, these artists never cease to amaze. Trust us, you won’t want to miss a beat—which is why we made a list of some of the absolute best Black makeup artists you need to know.

1. Pat McGrath

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In the makeup industry, there’s only one “Mother,” and her name is Pat McGrath. A backstage fixture since the ‘90s, McGrath has created some of the most iconic makeup looks in fashion. In fact, Anna Wintour called her “the most influential makeup artist in the world,” and Queen Elizabeth II made the English-born pro a Member of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

McGrath has overseen multiple beauty brands throughout her career, but her greatest legacy may be her own makeup line, PAT MCGRATH LABS, which catapulted her to billionaire (yes, with a B) status. Still, she somehow has time to showcase stunning looks for her 4+ million followers on Instagram, for endless inspo.

2. Sir John

Yes, he’s known as Beyoncé’s MUA, and that’s reason enough to land a spot on this list. But Sir John (whose full name is Sir John Barnett) has been breaking barriers for years. The beauty expert got his start at makeup counters before working with (who else?) Pat McGrath, as well as Charlotte Tilbury. Eventually, he started doing Queen Bey’s makeup—and continued to do so for years, along with the likes of Ashley Graham and Gabrielle Union. He’s also been an ambassador for L’OREAL PARIS since 2015, and was named Makeup Artist of the Year at the 2016 InStyle Awards.

3. AJ Crimson

AJ Crimson was a self-taught makeup artist who worked his way up in the industry to eventually work backstage at Paris Fashion Week, create editorial makeup for publications including Glamour, Vogue, and Essence, and paint the faces of many celebrities, like Regina King, Lauren London, and Hilary Duff (to name a few). Then in 2012 came his eponymous makeup line, AJ CRIMSON BEAUTY, where, as founder and chief executive officer, he crafted makeup products for all skin tones. AJ sadly passed away in March 2022, but his efforts to make the industry a more accessible, enjoyable, and beautiful place for people of all colors lives on.

4. Yolonda Frederick

If, like us, you’re obsessed with Ciara’s glam, you have Yolonda Frederick to thank. The two have worked together for years, creating a signature sleek style, and experimenting on looks such as Ciara’s triple TLC Halloween costume. It was likely an easy task for Frederick, who used to work with the trio back in the day—and has also teamed up with Keke Palmer, Angelica Ross, Jennifer Hudson, and tons of other celebs throughout her career.

5. Sheika Daley

Anyone who has googled “Who does Zendaya’s makeup?” is already well aware of Sheika Daley’s work (and that would be—*checks notes*—everybody). Daley is responsible for many of Zendaya’s most iconic makeup looks, including the Cinderella-themed 2019 Met Gala look. She has also worked with Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, and Normani, just to name a few, and also her own eyelash line, ELORALANE LASHES.

6. Tyron Machhausen

If you love a lewk-with-a-capital-L, Tyron Machhausen is a must-follow. The CHANEL BEAUTY makeup artist is known for his dramatic, bold style, which you may have seen on clients including Zazie Beetz, Margot Robbie, and Whitney Peak.

7. Danessa Myricks

Myricks herself is self-taught, and came up in the industry at places like KISS and BENEFIT. But there’s a good chance you already know her name thanks to the popular DANESSA MYRICKS BEAUTY makeup brand, which MUAs have loved for years. Not only are her products high-performance and multi-functional, but they’re also created with representation in mind—what’s not to love?

8. Mali Magic

As an artist in residence for BOBBI BROWN COSMETICS, Mali Thomas—a.k.a. Mali Magic—is leading the #DewyBrownGirls movement on and off social media. In addition to showcasing her work on celebrity clientele including Tiffany Haddish, Adrienne Bailon, and Niecy Nash, her Instagram is a treasure trove of inspo, from makeup tutorials to odes to fellow powerhouses in the industry.

9. Raisa Flowers

Flowers assisted the great Pat McGrath (sensing a pattern?), though perhaps her biggest breakthrough came via another titan of Black beauty: Rihanna. Flowers was cast as a model in the Savage x Fenty fashion show, and went on to create makeup looks for the star, including her Jan/Feb 2021 cover of Essence. (The magazine also named her 2020 Makeup Artist of the Year, no biggie). Flowers’s expressive work has appeared on Simone Biles, Precious Lee, Gigi Hadid, and more—as well as on her own face, which you can see regularly on IG.

10. Porsche Cooper

When legends like Mary J. Blige and Regina King have magazine covers to shoot or red carpets to slay, they call on none other than Porsche Cooper. You’ll love following her equally for her celeb looks—seriously, she never misses—as much as you will for her signature red lipstick and over-the-top personal style.

11. Michael Anthony

After earning his stripes under makeup greats like McGrath, Tilbury, and Diane Kendal, Michael Anthony became a name on his own. So much so that he’s got the music industry on lock: With a client list that includes Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, Doja Cat, and Gwen Stefani, we move that he officially be called the pop star whisperer.

12. Mila Thomas

Being Glam Coordinator on Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood may have been Mila Thomas’s initial claim to fame, but her career has only continued on the up and up. For instance, you’ve definitely seen her work on Nicki Minaj (yes, she even did that glam pregnancy reveal!), June Ambrose, and Jasmine Sanders.

13. Keita Moore

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Keita Moore’s mom was a director at Mary Kay, so you could say beauty is in his blood. Eventually, he ended up working the counter at MAC COSMETICS before a regram from Rihanna blew up his spot—and brought in the offers. Now, he works with more A-listers than we can count, including legends like Mariah Carey and Iman.

14. William Scott

Talk about range: On stars like Padma Lakshmi and Rowan Blanchard, William Scott’s looks run the gamut from barely there to bold and colorful. Oh, and their beauty game knows no bounds: Scott’s hairstyles have gotten nearly as much attention as their incredible makeup work.

15. D’Andre Mitchell

You know him as Angela Bassett’s go-to for glam, but D'Andre Michael has also worked with Mary J. Blige, Garcelle Beauvais, and Sanaa Lathan. Oh, and fun fact: Mitchell also started a line called U.G.L.Y. GIRL COSMETICS, which stands for “Undeniably Gorgeous Lovely and Young.” We love!

16. Camille Thompson

Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Camille Thompson moved to New York and became one of the most sought-after celebrity makeup artists in the game (have you seen those smoky eyes?!). In addition to working with the one and only Iman, Thompson has also teamed up with beauties like Adrienne Warren, MJ Rodriguez, and Elaine Welteroth.

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About the author
Lindy Segal
Lindy is a contributor at IPSY, a beauty and lifestyle writer, and Real Housewives aficionado. She was an editor at People and Glamour, and her freelance work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Who What Wear, and Cosmopolitan, among other publications.
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Article Last Updated January 8, 2024 12:00 AM