7 Avant-garde MUAs that push make-up boundaries

Make-up is a powerful tool and these makeup artists use it as a form of activism and self expression

2020 was definitely the year of creativity. This summer, you couldn’t miss these bold and colourful lines and shapes on these black creatives’ faces. More than regular make-up artists, they use the power of make-up to create inspiring bold looks, and spread strong messages about inclusivity, and gender identity. Get to know these seven avant-garde artists that literally use their faces as canvases. By Trishad Atanga

Wendy Asumadu – WendysWorldXOX

With over 36,000 followers on Instagram, Wendy Asumadu, 24, is one of the UK influencers you couldn’t miss this year. This London-based make-up artist and content creator broke the ‘Gram during Spring with a beautiful and ASMR-inspired face paint video (above). On her page, she creates mesmerising colourful looks, and our eyes are literally stuck on her brush as she creates her magic. With her growing influence, she ended up creating Editorial BLK, one of the most stylish UK accounts of 2020: with 10k+ followers and counting, and which aims to highlight black beauty creators and help them to get more visibility, in an industry where they’re often ignored. Wendy has launched a fundraising campaign to help the platform get bigger and bolder.
Editorial BLK: @editorialblk

Ali Hicks – Sweet Mutuals

Young, bold and energic: these words describe Ali, an American makeup artist who goes by the Instagram handle Sweet Mutuals. With her shiny and pop looks, she aims to showcase black creativity in the beauty game. This self-taught makeup artist plays with colours, shapes and textures to create art with glitters, electric shades and neon accessories. Her creations helped her to raise awareness on the fights the United States had to face this year: police repression, racism, the Black Lives Matter movement and a strong support to black businesses. For the Georgia-based makeup artist, her name Sweet Mutuals, is also a way for her to thank her supportive audience.
Instagram | @sweetmutuals

Myla – Pradaolic

At only 19, Myla aka Pradaolic is very en vogue in the UK! The Manchester-based creative editorial creator and plus-size model is a true make-up enthusiast. From tiny butterflies perched on the corners of her eyes to a face full of green and red, her looks celebrate her identity as a queer black creative. Flowers, neon colours and rainbows brighten her face and our mood. She’s also a fashion fanatic and aims to push boundaries in the fashion industry, which is very often codified (even for plus-size models!). This led her to collaborate with high-end brands such as Gucci and Instagram.
Instagram | @pradaolic

Maud Acheampong – Daintyfunk

Maud Acheampong aka Daintyfunk (uses they/them pronouns) and is a 21-year-old self-taught artist based in Maryland, United States. With their curious and different makeup looks, Maud developed an aesthetic based on alternative and contemporary art. They explore what is beautiful or grotesque, and what a more expressive canvas that their face itself? Their ‘crazy’ universe is just like their personality. They also write and share their poetry on YouTube and TikTok, where they have a solid base of fans. A beauty doll, an elf or a witch, Maud can easily transform themselves while spreading strong messages on gender identity and black beauty.


La-Vern is an incredibly talented London-based beauty creator based, who also happens to be blind. Yes, blind, and she still creates awesome magic with her brushes! She’s a strong make-up and fashion enthusiast, and chose not to let her disability stop her doing what she loves: creating beauty and magic with make-up. This year, she took part to the #100DaysOfMakeupChallenge, in which she shared how creative she can be with daily make-up looks. La-Vern is also a Youtuber. On her channel, she shares her work and thoughts as a young black British woman.
Instagram | @la__vern

Naezrah Nikole – Naezrah Looks

She calls herself, ‘the eyebrow girl’, and for good reason! Naezrah’s make-up is all about strong colours, unconventional shapes, and a bold contouring that highlights her cheeks and round face. Shine is not an option, and she uses the power of make-up with creative tutorials and imaginative looks. With her art, she aims to highlight black content creators: ‘I create to uplift and encourage black artists, especially darker-complexioned artists, that they can absolutely do what they want, unapologetically, creatively and artistically.’, Naezrah said to Instagram.
Instagram | naezrahlooks

Raisa Flowers


With her bleached eyebrows, cyborg lenses and neon hair, Rai, aka Raisa Flowers is unmissable. What’s on her mood board? Glitter, sparkles, neon colours, with a strong touch of futurism. Editorial or soft makeup looks, she can create everything. This NYC-based make-up artist, with an endless creativity, is the muse of many celebrities, including Rihanna and Pat McGrath. Make-up addict since the age of 13, she decided to pursue a career in the beauty industry after being made redundant from a retail job. A decade later, she’s growing a little empire in the beauty game, pushing limits and boundaries of this domain. Part-time model, Rai champions diversity in the fashion industry, and is a strong advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.
Instagram | raisaflowers

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