Makeup As An Art Form

Euphoria, the hit HBO show featuring Zendaya, released in 2019 and brought a new era amongst Instagram makeup artists. Gone are the days of blocked eyebrows and cut creases and in comes the dawn of gemstones and glitter. The experimentation of makeup has risen, with makeup brands bringing out colorful eyeliners like the Underline kajal eyeliners of Kulfi Beauty

Makeup has always been used for beauty purposes. The first recorded use of makeup was in the first dynasty of Egypt as tombs of this time contained jars of unguent (a substance that both men and women used to keep their skin hydrated and to avoid wrinkles) and also of scented substances. Women would use kohl on their eyes as well. Throughout Asia, makeup is used to meet certain beauty ideals. For example, during the Heian period in China or 794 BC, women would wear their hair straight and long to the point that it could touch the floor. Their face would have white face powder and their eyebrows would be plucked and repainted higher on their forehead. Their teeth would also be blackened, which is found in Japanese and Vietnamese cultures too. It was because objects that were pitch black were thought of as beautiful. In Japan, blackening of teeth through a solution called kanemitsu (ferric acetate of iron filings mixed with vinegar and tannin of vegetables and tea) was applied to girls at the age of 15 to mark one’s coming of age. 

Thus, makeup has been used as a way to fit into beauty standards regardless of what it is of that time. In today’s society, we see an increase in skin whitening products or a lack of diversity in a foundation’s color range. This issue is particularly evident in Asian countries like the Philippines or India. However, Euphoria definitely brought change, at least on social media, in terms of how we use makeup. It has marked a change from solely being used for vanity or societal purposes to being characterized as an art form. 

Further, I’ve realized how this era of makeup has brought in a lot of fresh faces, especially of people of color. If you are looking for some colorful inspiration, here are some to follow: 



Mei has been a huge inspiration to me since 2019. Her eye looks always blow me away and recently, she has been featured by Nikkie Tutorials on her IG stories (so you know she’s good!). Alongside her insanely creative makeup looks, her unapologetic sense of self makes you as a follower feel empowered, which I always love. 



June is a Filipino-American who does makeup with a slight hint of goth. If you are looking for graphic liner inspiration, you will find that tenfold, as well as meticulousness to match. Her process reels are some of my favourites to watch too. 



Rowi is a creative genius, especially when it comes to monochromatic looks. I love how she brings Desi culture into her makeup looks too! Her creativeness is out of this world, and her use of color is always exciting and inventive. She also matches her outfits to her makeup sometimes so if you love doing the same or want some inspiration for the summertime, she is the one to go for!



Niharika uses color in vibrant ways as she plays around with certain shapes as well. I love using her as inspiration for makeup looks that are wearable and are easier to follow for everyday. She has stated in an interview with Kulfi Beauty that “[her] idea of beauty has shifted toward what I want to express & create and not about striving toward what society defines as beautiful”, which is definitely something important to keep in mind!



Tahmina is known for her graphic liner looks. You may recognize her from her viral Tik Toks titled “What I’d wear in the front row at a designer runway show”. In these, she emulates brands like Prada or Chanel but in graphic liner forms. I love how clean her looks are. Her creativity is inspiring! 



Monica is an Indian makeup artist who does over-the-top makeup looks that oozes in creativity. I love how she grabs inspiration from everywhere. Her fruit series is one of my favourites. She also incorporates Desi culture into some of her looks, which I love seeing. 



Jasmin is a multifaceted creative as she does illustration, lettering, and of course, makeup. Her out-of-the-box looks are very reflective of the way she uses different avenues to express herself. Also, similar to Monica, I enjoy the fact that she takes inspiration in her looks from many areas. 



Linasha shows that graphic liner and color can be beautiful on every skin tone! Her tutorials are really helpful as well and I find myself gravitating towards her tips and tricks each time I do my own makeup. 



Sarah’s pop of color is fresh and fun and I love the different shapes that she employs in her looks. She is also a senior commerce writer for Allure!



Mi-Anne Chan is a senior of creative development at Teen Vogue and Love Magazine. I love that she uses graphic liner as an extension of her outfits, thus showcasing its versatility. Also, if you need inspiration on how to incorporate graphic liners into everyday life, she is definitely the one to follow. 

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

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