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FunTimes Magazine

7 Black Makeup Artists Who Are Changing the Game

Feb 27, 2021 08:00AM ● By Boitumelo Masihleho

Black makeup artists have been breaking boundaries in the beauty industry, despite the challenges of establishing a successful career where Black women have not always been celebrated. Inclusion and diversity have improved dramatically in the beauty industry, with many brands finally creating products suitable for women with darker skin tones. These seven Black makeup artists continue to show their creativity and Black excellence.

Sir John

Sir John Barnett is Beyoncé’s trusted makeup artist and has a star-studded list of clients including model Joan Smalls, Gabrielle Union, and Zendaya. He began his career working under industry icons Pat McGrath, Charlotte Tilbury, and Pat McGrath. He is an ambassador for L'Oréal Paris and collaborated with Woolworths’ beauty range W.BEAUTY to launch a makeup line for South African women in 2019.


Porsche Cooper

Porsche Cooper’s hands have graced the faces of Iman, Beyoncé, Angela Bassett, and Mary J. Blige. Cooper has worked with an array of international brands such as Harpers Bazaar, Vogue, Garage, Schön, and L’Officiel Paris. “I started doing makeup on my friends in high school and started working professionally as a makeup artist during my collegiate years,” said Cooper in an interview. “Believe in and invest in your talent from the very beginning of your career.  Taking uncomfortable risks is ultimately necessary, and you must take a chance on yourself.” Cooper shows off her talent via Instagram live to give great tips and tricks on how to get that glam look in everyday life.

Pat McGrath

Known as the Mother of Makeup, British make-up artist Pat McGrath is the leading Black makeup artist in the world. Pat McGrath, or ‘Mother Pat, became the first makeup artist ever to receive a damehood this year. In 2015 she launched her Pat McGrath Labs, and in 2018, it was valued at $1 billion, surpassing Kylie Cosmetics’ $800 million - the first Black-owned beauty brand to do this. She has worked with brands such as Prada and Miu Miu, and even developed a line of cosmetics for Giorgio Armani. McGrath is also the first-ever makeup artist to grace the cover of allure.

Mali Magic

Nigerian-born Mali Thomas, known as Mali Magic, is a talented makeup artist who has worked with Nicki Minaj, Adrienne Bailon-Houghton, and Tiffany Hadish. High-key glamour is Magic’s forte, which is why her work is mainly seen in editorial and red carpet events. She began her career as a visual artist, but upon moving to New York, she started building her portfolio with photographer Maya Guez, assisting and working on countless production sets. Now, the rest is history.


AJ Crimson

AJ Crimson is the founder and CEO of AJ Crimson Beauty, a makeup brand focused on enhancing natural features, with an extensive foundation range to match every shade of brown. His products are also used on the television series’ American Horror Story, Empire, Scandal, The Real, and the box office smash The Hunger Games“I wanted to create a product inclusive of women of all ethnicities, a product all women could find ownership in and believe in,” said Crismon on his line. This self-taught makeup artist has worked with Christina Milian, Brandy, Estelle, Regina King, Angela Bassett, Keyshia Cole, and Missy Elliott.


Lola Okanlawon

Lola Okanlawon has dedicated many years to develop her career path as a professional makeup artist. She has had several years of training under a multitude of large-scale cosmetic companies including M.A.C, Chanel, Nars, Anastasia Beverly Hills, and Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. She is the CEO of Lola’s Beauty Mark and holds a Master’s Degree in Business Management from the University of Maryland University College. Okanlawon offers many makeup services including  male grooming and airbrushed looks. She worked with celebrities such as Leslie Jones, Yvonne Orji, and Beyoncé’s mom, Tina Lawson.


Keita Moore

Keita Moore is a New York-based celebrity makeup artist who was drawn to the makeup industry after he had initially studied art. His makeup artistry has graced the faces of NeNe Leakes, Fantasia, Tiffany Haddish, Dascha Polanco, and iconic supermodel Iman. Moore got his start working at a MAC makeup counter. Now, Moore has worked with various beauty brands,  including Anastasia Beverly Hills in their “Stick to Flawless” campaign, which is featured in Sephora stores all over the world.





 Boitumelo Masihleho is a South African digital content creator. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Rhodes University in Journalism and Media Studies and Politics and International Studies.  

She's an experienced multimedia journalist who is committed to writing balanced, informative and interesting stories on a number of topics. Boitumelo has her own YouTube channel where she shares her love for affordable beauty and lifestyle content.