Marie Claire has been covering beauty news since 1994, and we can say with authority that 2019 is a watershed year in the history of the industry. In honor of our 25th anniversary, Marie Claire is celebrating the people changing the face of beauty and moving the conversation forward. From artists and scientists to advocates and entrepreneurs, we tapped each of these influentials to see how they've been leading their respective fields. Below, meet the people revolutionizing the way we think about makeup, hair, skin, and more.
Entrepreneurs: Founders Making A Difference
Founder of StyleSeat
The Salon Renegade: Melody McCloskey
After a series of haircuts gone wrong, McCloskey created StyleSeat, an app that makes it easier for people to find a great stylist. Browse stylists’ portfolios and book appointments without picking up the phone—like OpenTable, but for your hair.
Founder and CEO of Finda
The Guardian Angel of Modeling: Mariya Grinina
Grinina’s platform, Finda (finda.co), aims to make the modeling industry safer and more transparent. The company champions “modelpreneurship” via a booking platform that empowers talented women to represent themselves, manage their own careers, and receive fair treatment—and fair pay—from employers.
Cofounders of CAP Beauty
The Retail Rebels: Kerrilynn Pamer & Cindy DiPrima Morisse
When CAP Beauty, a New York City shop and spa, opened in 2015, it helped usher in a new level of coolness to natural products, and its cofounders are uncompromising in their dedication to educating consumers. Now they do more than sell products they believe in; they’ve also started making their own supplements, snacks, and drinks designed to address beauty from the inside out.
Artists: Need-to-Know Makeup, Hair, and Nail Pros
The Cool-Girl Colorist: Kirsten Stuke
Stuke once studied oil painting, but everything changed when she began applying color to strands instead of canvases. A former assistant to industry vet Aura Friedman, Stuke is quickly becoming New York City’s resident hair-color magician. She’s known for her double-process makeovers, and her loyal clients visit her downtown at the Sally Hershberger salon for playful pastels and multidimensional blonds.
The Editorial Game-Changer: Allie Smith
This New Yorker, who has already done photo shoots for brands like Glossier and Milk Makeup, gives makeup an edgy twist just quirky enough to make a statement without turning theatrical. She’s also got a hand in shaping future trends in her role as beauty director at independent fashion magazine NicOtiNe.
The MoMA-Worthy Manicurist: Sylvie Macmillan
A background in set design and model making is evident in this manicurist’s avant-garde nail art, and she takes her inspiration from the fringes of the design world. (Think sex toys and car paint.) Though she still offers expressive, one-of-a-kind manicures to clients in London, where she’s based, her work really shines in editorial features and on runways.
The Gen-Z Face Painter: Mata Marielle
At 21, Marielle already has a resume—shoots for British Vogue, Fenty, and Nike—that rivals those of industry veterans twice her age. Working with boundary-pushing clients like Skepta, Ray BLK, and Lauryn Hill, she has nudged celebrity makeup in a more experimental direction and developed her own line of unisex products, Mata Labs, to expand the range of “nude” shades available to people of color.
Founder of Very Good Light
The New Beauty Boy: David Yi
Yi created men’s beauty site Very Good Light (verygoodlight.com) to blur the boundaries between heteronormative grooming and the hyperfeminine makeup looks espoused by content from other beauty boys on the scene. For Yi, a Korean American influenced by both Korean men’s grooming standards and American culture, the conversation is much more nuanced, and his site is the middle ground where men can learn and experiment with makeup and grooming in a less polarizing way.
The Red-Carpet Specialist: Georgie Eisdell
Eisdell moved to L.A. from Australia 13 years ago and has stealthily become the go-to name for celebrities who are after a done-but-not-too-done look. Her golden client list includes Sophie Turner and Anya Taylor-Joy, and she’s using her newfound platform to recommend sustainably sourced beauty products to the celebrities in her chair and the women who admire them.
The Fashion-Insider Stylist: Kiyoko Odo
From her whimsical runway looks (Junya Watanabe) to her graphic editorial work (AnOther, I-D), Odo has the rare ability to tweak traditional hair motifs just enough to make you look twice. The fact that she got her start at 19, with no formal salon training, makes her career all the more impressive.
The Special-Ops Stylist: Nikki Nelms
Sculpting strands is like breathing to Nelms, who dubs herself the “hair MacGyver” and can take any inanimate object and turn it into a wicked accessory. (See the safety-pinned coif she created for Yara Shahidi earlier this summer.) Nelms, a stylist to stars like Janelle Monáe and Zoë Kravitz, says she’s proudest of her work when it helps bring other black artists’ visions to light.
Scientists & Technologists: Chemist, App Developers, and Other S.T.E.M. Standouts
The Color Creator: Balada Atis
The leader of L’Oréal’s Multicultural Beauty Lab in Clark, New Jersey, is working to change the way brands like Lancôme, L’Oréal Paris, and Maybelline make cosmetics, opening things up for more accurate colors at all points of the color spectrum. Her breakthrough? Figuring out how to stabilize an ultramarine blue pigment so it could be used in foundation formulas for the first time. She says the hue is key to creating makeup for deep skin tones that has the same radiance as natural skin without looking too ashy or red.
Founder of Lab Muffin
The Chemist for the People: Michelle Wong
Wong believes fearmongering and shady pseudoscience are problems in the beauty industry, and she’s out to rectify that. On her site, Lab Muffin (labmuffin.com), the chemist demystifies scientific lingo and product labels to help inform laypeople and promote critical thinking about abstruse beauty claims.
The Renaissance Woman: Ani Liu
With a master’s degree from MIT, Liu is blurring the line between arts and sciences with her creations. Her project “Holding Back Is Another Kind of Need” consists of “human perfumes” she created by extracting scent molecules from people’s clothes and turning them into sprayable solvents. Her goal was to create a fragrance that smells like an emotional experience, not an object—and to explore how science and technology shape our identities in the process.
Founder of Fakespot
The Reviewers’ Reviewer: Saoud Khalifah
Khalifah came up with the idea for Fakespot, a site that uses artificial-intelligence algorithms to authenticate product reviews, when he received Amazon products that didn’t live up to their five-star ratings. (Paste a product link into fakespot.com and the site will grade the reviews, based on things like suspiciously positive language and how many times a user’s comments have been altered.) By filtering out paid reviews and counterfeit sources, he hopes to make e-commerce a more authentic space for beauty companies and consumers alike.
The Dermatology Disrupter: Richard Weller
It’s traditionally been thought that vitamin D, which our bodies produce during sun exposure, is associated with cardiovascular health, but research conducted by this dermatologist, a professor at the University of Edinburgh, suggests the vitamin may simply be a by-product of UV light and that sunshine itself is the key to improved heart health. While the Skin Cancer Foundation still discourages people from exposing their unprotected skin outdoors, Weller believes that, for many people, the health benefits of the sun may outweigh the cancer risks. And with more research, others may begin to see his POV.
Founder of Alpha Medical
The Wellness Democratizer: Gloria Lau
An engineer and computer scientist, Lau brings her technological expertise to the world of beauty and wellness. Her company, Alpha Medical (helloalpha.com), simplifies health care by allowing patients online access to doctor consultations and prescriptions, which ship at no extra cost. The affordable Rx options include skincare treatments that target acne and wrinkles as well as most major brands of birth control.
The Surgeon With a Soft Side: Anthony Youn
After practicing medicine for over 15 years, Youn was disturbed by the glorification of plastic surgery in media, which convinced people that going under the knife isn’t a big deal. Now he promotes a holistic approach to aesthetics, relying on surgery only as a last resort.
Influencers & Advocates: Actors and Content Creators To Watch
The Fame Truther: Jameela Jamil
The host of the upcoming game show The Misery Index (TBS) is out to destroy the traditional notion of stardom. From her anti-retouching stance and her criticism of influencers who promote antifeminist products to her “I Weigh” movement encouraging women to quantify themselves with the things that matter (e.g., their personalities) rather than the numbers on the scale, Jamil is redefining the picture-perfect presentation we used to expect from celebrities and boosting our confidence in the process.
The Acne Advocate: Em Ford
When her video “You Look Disgusting,” which features some of the abusive comments she has received online about her acne, went viral four years ago, Ford took on the role of the Internet’s skin-positivity advocate. Her recent short film RedefinePretty helps prove how damaging beauty standards can be by examining the brain’s emotional reactions to images of faces that enforce or defy such ideals.
Content creator and founder of Live Tinted
The Shade Shifter: Deepica Mutyala
The Southeast Asian entrepreneur’s career skyrocketed after she posted a tutorial on how to hide under-eye circles with orange-red lipstick. (She says the shade neutralizes her discoloration.) Her makeup philosophy demands inclusivity for all, and two of her newest projects follow suit: In 2017 she launched Live Tinted (livetinted.com), a digital community focused on diversifying representation in the media, and she also created Huestick, a color corrector for all skin tones.
Founder of Beauty 2 the Streetz
The Influencer on the Streets: Shirley Raines
In 2016, Raines realized her talent for makeup could be used to lift the spirits of the homeless women on Skid Row in Los Angeles. Now the founder of Beauty 2 the Streetz (beauty2thestreetz.org) and her team offer showers, makeup application, hair color, and wigs to displaced people every week. Her mission is to provide dignity and comfort to those who wish to feel seen and to share their stories through social media.
The Curl Queen: Franchelli Rodriguez
What started as an online diary documenting one woman’s journey to wearing her hair natural has since become Rodriguez’s beloved YouTube channel, Chelli’s Curls. She creates step-by-step tutorials to remedy the lack of hair-type diversity she’s noticed in media and to take the guesswork out of styling different curl patterns. Her priority: to be positive and instructive, helping women embrace their natural texture.
The Special-Effects Star: Kat Sketch
Sketch goes way beyond basic makeup tutorials with her videos (she has nearly 800,000 YouTube subscribers), which incorporate special-effects artistry to create looks that range from quirky to downright twisted. (Her makeup how-to for the demon nun from The Conjuring 2 is the stuff of nightmares.)
This article appears in the September 2019 issue of Marie Claire.
Jennifer Goldstein is the former beauty & health director of Marie Claire and co-host of the award-winning beauty podcast Fat Mascara. In her quest to uncover the world's beauty secrets, she’s gotten tattooed in New Zealand, dug up turmeric in India, harvested shea nuts in Ghana, and squeezed enzyme-rich eggs from salmon in Norway. She can pluck eyebrows like a pro and has read the FDA monograph on sunscreen labeling and effectiveness—but she still can’t get liquid eyeliner to look the same on both eyes.
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