Why Following Black Beauty Professionals is Important Now and Always

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

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.

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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.

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.

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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 and 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.

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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 Mon e and Yara Shahidi, among others), Jessica Smalls always delivers natural-looking skin with standout lips or colorful, graphic eye looks.

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.

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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 ishonest 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.

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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 Mon e, 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.

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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.

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?

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.

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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 Mon e, 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.

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.

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