For decades, the way we wore our makeup and the products we used were dictated by white men. The Eurocentric male gaze informed the look and feel of ad campaigns, beauty aisles, and Fashion Week backstages. Now, women are taking the lead and redefining the industry, one A-list celebrity client at a time.

For International Women’s Day, we’re recognizing the female makeup artists who are shaping the industry into something bigger, better, and bolder than ever before. We look to legends like Pat McGrath, who parlayed her 25+ years of experience into an eponymous brand while taking emerging artists under her wing. As more women aspire to follow in her footsteps and pave their own paths, makeup becomes more about celebrating beauty and expression in all forms.

From Rihanna’s trusted guru to the #dewydumplings originator, these are the women who are setting the trends and pushing the limits when it comes to makeup in 2020. Be sure not to miss out on a single mesmerizing look by following their Instagram accounts, ahead.

Emily Cheng

Cheng, who started her career as an assistant to McGrath, has risen to fame with her fresh and natural approach to makeup.

The Vancouver native is now the go-to makeup artist for Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi, and also works frequently with Laura Harrier and Ella Mai. One look at her Instagram page, and you’ll see that she loves to play with neutrals (with the occasional flash of color) and create enviable complexions on a variety of skin tones.

Erin Parsons

When it comes to the boldest Fashion Week makeup, there’s a chance that Erin Parsons is the woman behind the job. From multicolored foil lips to graffiti-inspired smoky eyes, you can count on the Maybelline Global Makeup Artist to deliver some of most unique looks backstage.

Before finding her calling, Parsons joined the United States Air Force at 18 but left after nine months. Far from her days on the base, she doesn’t just work behind-the-scenes for renowned designers now, but is also frequently called on by runway royalty, including Gigi Hadid and Adriana Lima.

Sheika Daley

Sheika Daley is the long-time go-to makeup artist for one of Gen Z’s biggest beauty icons: Zendaya. The two have worked together since the Euphoria star was 15, and they’ve been slaying red carpets ever since.

Daley also shares her talents with other celebrities, including Kelly Rowland, Serena Williams, and Nicki Minaj. In 2017, with years of expertise under her belt, she launched Elora Lane, a line of handcrafted lashes frequently worn by her celebrity clients that received investment from Rowland herself.

Mary Phillips

If you follow any of the “It” girls in Hollywood — the Kardashian-Jenner clan, Hailey Bieber, Chrissy Teigen — then you’ve definitely seen the work of Mary Phillips. The makeup pro, who fell in love with cosmetics by going through her mother’s stash growing up, is known for creating flawless complexions and supermodel brows.

When working with her A-list clientele, Phillips runs the gamut from barely-there beauty to glam smoky eyes. One of her most memorable looks is the bright-green graphic eyeliner she created for Kendall Jenner in 2018. “It’s super fun to play with pops of color on the eyes because the details are so minimal,” she previously told Refinery29.

Carola Gonzalez

If you’ve ever wondered who’s behind Kerry Washington’s unforgettable looks on the red carpet — like her crimson lip color that perfectly complemented her edgy ensemble and deep-parted bob at the Golden Globes — all fingers point to Carola Gonzalez, who’s been working with the actress for nearly 15 years.

While Puerto Rican makeup artist is a dedicated member of Washington’s glam squad, you can also catch her working with celebs like Mindy Kaling and Amandla Stenberg. She loves to take her followers behind the scenes of her glam sessions, which involve lots of bold lips, statement eyes, and bronzer moments.

Pati Dubroff

If you’re in search of the dreamiest, most wearable makeup looks on Instagram, look no further than Pati Drubroff’s page. This in-demand pro grew up in New Jersey and went on to assist François Nars. She now paints the faces of stars like Priyanka Chopra, Margot Robbie, and Zazie Beetz.

Dubroff’s dreamy looks require preparation, and if she has the time to plan ahead, she likes to create mood boards to illustrate her vision. “They help create a story within a look that otherwise would sound flat without reference photos,” she previously told us.

Priscilla Ono

If you’ve come across Priscilla Ono’s Instagram feed, it’s easy to see why Rihanna trusts the makeup pro with her red-carpet looks and Fenty Beauty campaigns. Her portfolio serves up bold liner, heavenly glowing skin, and tons of color.

That’s not all: If you want to be the first to know about Fenty Beauty launches, the brand’s global makeup artist is always sharing the inside scoop — and with helpful tutorials on how to use the products, too.

Nam Vo

Highlighting was never the same once Nam Vo entered the scene. The makeup pro has mastered the three-dimensional statement glow that is now famously known as the “dewy dumpling.”

Not only has the makeup artist been able to snag a number of brand collaborations for her glow expertise — including Supergoop and Pat McGrath Labs — but she’s also taken her talents around the world with her own masterclasses.

Katie Jane Hughes

There’s no running out of inspiration when following makeup artist and influencer Katie Jane Hughes. She doesn’t just find new ways of playing with makeup — from floating eyeliner to abstract shadow — but she’s also mastered glossy, realistic-looking skin that makes you want to zoom in.

When she’s not showcasing her talents with selfies, the pro is working on celebrity clients like Ashley Graham and Hailey Bieber. “The thing I love most about makeup is the transformative effect it has, and how it can really make you feel powerful and free and fun and quirky,” she previously told R29.

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

Thatiana Diaz Read More