As a beauty editor, I'm often asked where I get my inspiration from. The truth is, I'm the most inspired by real women. Not airbrushed, stick-thin women who all look the same and fit into the generic box of Eurocentric beauty standards. I'm inspired by women who define beauty on their own terms, in their own way. Women with an array of hair types, skin tones, body sizes, and racial backgrounds have always been the ones that energize me.
I use Instagram's Save feature—which allows you to create a collection of photos of your liking—to store my gems, mostly photos of women of color who are breaking beauty barriers and challenging their followers to do the same. Models, activists, content creators, and business women who post fire photos on the regular. Ahead, the 20 accounts I highly suggest you follow if you need a dose of beauty inspiration.
Model and content creator Mominatu always blows me away with her beauty and wanderlust.
Elizabeth and Victoria Lejonhjärta, @lejonhjerta
These sisters, based in Sweden, showcase the most stunning images of their pristine skin and thigh-grazing dreadlocks.
Aiyana Lewis, @aiyanaalewis
I can't get over model Aiyana Lewis' gorgeous freckles and the wispy cut she wears so well.
Two words: that skin. Even better, her photo captions aways resonate with me: “Your hair is your glory. Afros, braids, twists, and locks, to unlock black minds lost within a white box.”
Diana Veras, @mynamesdiana
Model Diana Veras has the most glorious curls and an outlook on self-love everyone can relate to, which shines through in her photos.
Aysha Sow, @aysha.sow
Aysha Sow inspires followers to feel beautiful inside and out. My favorite caption of hers reads: “To be black, Muslim, and a woman. Here is to all my fellow Muslim women breaking barriers and remaining always true to themselves. Happy Muslim Women’s Day.”
Khoudia Diop, @melaniin.goddess
I've had the pleasure of shooting supermodel Khoudia Diop and her beauty is undeniable in person, too. Also inspiring: Her love for her skin tone.
Ebonee Davis, @eboneedavis
Model, activist, and writer Ebonee Davis is simply a phenomenal human. She uses her platform as a powerful force for good.
Sarah Feingold, @sarah.feingold
German-born entrepreneur Sarah Feingold has one of the most authentic approaches to beauty I've ever seen. Unsurprisingly, she's the founder of Vice's digital magazine No Basic Girls Allowed, which presents an alternative take on beauty and style.
Model and aesthetician Simone's skin glows like nobody's business. Whenever I need skin inspo, I head to her page.
Paloma Elsesser, @palomija
Model and activist Paloma Elesser is known for disrupting the status quo, speaking up for what she believes in, and dropping the most breathtaking beauty photos on the 'gram.
Adrienne Raquel, @adrienneraquel
Photographer and art director Adrienne Raquel, who I've also had the pleasure of working with, curates the most stunning shoots that show beauty in the most magical form. She's also such a beauty herself, and her page showcases both.
Leyna Bloom, @leynabloom
Model and transgender activist, Leyna Bloom, has the most beautiful exterior with a stunning soul to match.
Salem Mitchell, @salemmitchell
Salem Mitchell never shies away from bold beauty looks. Whenever I need an extra push to play around with color, I scroll her page.
Gabrielle Richardson, @fridacashflow
The caption of this photo will encourage you to embrace every single ounce of your beauty: “I can’t believe I used to let some of y’all convince me my teeth were ugly.”
Chavi St. Hill, @chavisthill
Her afro, her face, her everything. Model Chavi St. Hill is unreal.
Kristen Noel Crawley, @kristennoelcrawley
Founder of skincare line KNC Beauty, Kristen Noel Crawley is the flyest mama, wife, and businesswoman I follow. I can't get over how she does it all, and manages to look flawless.
What I love the most about this model is how her absolutely gorgeous face looks in the most avant garde beauty looks.
Dominique Babineaux, @addictedtodom
This monochromatic liner moment worn by model Dominque Babineaux has my heart.
This is my all-time favorite Instagram page of all time, one that illustrates how regal black women and men are—and have always been.
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