5 Beauty Influencers to Follow Who Know the Industry Better Than Anybody Else

When it comes to the beauty community on social media, I’ve found it can be easy to be turned off by the toxic nature of some of beauty’s biggest names, especially with scandals like the Tati Westwood, James Charles, and Jeffree Star drama over the past year. Even without this toxicity, it’s easier to find overly gaudy looks on social media done only for views than something that can help me implement practical or elevated beauty tips into my day-to-day routine. Yet over quarantine, I’ve been able to revisit some of my favorite beauty moguls that I’ve adored over the years. These beauty artists are not your average influencers — they have been featured in your favorite magazines, have worked with your favorite celebrities, and have been named as the global directors for all your favorite brands. They have also stayed out of the fray of toxicity that can permeate social media, focusing on the tips and tricks that make them so cutting edge. With that said, here are five influencers to follow who have proved to be revolutionaries in the beauty industry.

  1. 1. Lisa Eldridge

    A few years ago, I stumbled over Lisa Eldridge’s YouTube channel when looking for an Emma Watson-esque makeup tutorial. (Don’t ask me why I was looking for that because I don’t even remember.) I found Lisa’s video, which drew inspiration from one of Emma’s magazine covers, and it soon clicked for me that the makeup look Lisa was referencing was actually the look she did on Emma for an Elle UK magazine shoot back in 2011. I thought it was extremely interesting to find someone who was such an insider in the fashion and beauty industry simply giving away her insights on YouTube, and truth be told, she’s become my favorite beauty influencer since. Some of Lisa’s most notable clients include Dua Lipa, Alexa Chung, Eva Green, Keira Knightley, and Kristen Stewart — the list goes on and on. 

    Her videos even feature some of these celebrities as guests, including other notable makeup artists with equally interesting repertoires — my favorite is this video with Mary Greenwell, Princess Diana’s former makeup artist, in which she recreates Diana’s signature look. Eldridge has worked for the cult drugstore brand No7, is a bestselling New York Times author, and is currently the global creative director for Lancôme. She has a wonderful knack for collecting vintage makeup for her studio archives, launched a brand of her own, and probably has the most beautiful living room I’ve ever seen. You can find her at @lisaeldridgemakeup on Instagram or on YouTube at Lisa Eldridge. Linked is her latest video, “Naturally Enhanced Makeup and Lighting Tips for Zoom,” which I’m sure we could all use since we’re confined to a virtual campus.

  2. 2. Adir Abergel

    I stumbled across Adir through an article on Harper’s Bazaar in which he was detailing how to get foolproof, effortless undone waves for the summer. He was definitely the first to introduce me to brands like Ouai and Oribe (he doesn’t work for them, but he does use a lot of their products) and was the first to show me how to play with textures and have fun with hair in an effortless way. His clientele is way too long to name, but some prominent names include Charlize Theron, Saoirse Ronan, Jessica Biel, and Anne Hathaway. Adir is also the creative director to Virtue Labs, which has an incredible line of damage-repairing hair care and hairstyling products. Look around for some more articles on Adir’s work (he’s absolutely everywhere), but in the meantime, Adir can be found at @hairbyadir on Instagram. Here’s a short clip in which he details how to create natural-looking waves.

  3. 3. Jillian Dempsey

    Does that last name look familiar? That’s right — she’s married to Patrick Dempsey, aka McDreamy on Grey’s Anatomy, aka Ronald Miller from Can’t Buy Me Love, aka Robert Phillip from Enchanted, aka… Well, you get it. Jillian is both a makeup artist and a hairstylist, with her products being used by almost every A-list makeup artist and celebrity (including Lisa!). She’s also collaborated with Adir in the past. Her body of work can be described as perfect for the effortless “it-girl” who wants to look polished and sharp but ultimately wants to be mindful of what she’s using on her face. Some of her most coveted products include her cruelty-free Lid Tints, which make for a natural glossy eye look, and her Gold Bar, the 24-karat gold vibrating facial roller everyone from Tracee Ellis Ross to Jennifer Aniston has been seen using. If you’re interested in following her, you can definitely find her at @jilliandempsey on Instagram. Linked above is a video of her putting her Gold Bar to work.

  4. 4. Pat McGrath

    If you don’t follow or know about Pat McGrath, it’s time to straighten out your priorities, because seriously WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Pat has been named in Time’s 2019 100 Most Influential People list and even named the most influential make-up artist in the world by some of the most prominent fashion magazines, including Vogue. She also has her very own makeup line, Pat McGrath Labs, which is safe to say has the most irresistible eyeshadows known to man. Her most recent collection is the Celestial Divinity collection, which I highly recommend checking out for yourselves. Her products have been used by a wide variety of celebrities, including Emily Blunt and, most recently, Reese Witherspoon and Regina King at this year’s Emmy Awards. To check out more of her work, she can be found at @patmcgrathreal on Instagram. This older video from Vogue’s YouTube channel helps to detail a bit more of her work on the red carpet (in this case, the Met Gala) and a little bit more about her.

  5. 5. Violette Serrat

    The final beauty influencer I want to mention is French it-girl Violette Serrat. Around the time I discovered Lisa Eldridge on YouTube, I also found Violette, and I was drawn in from the jump by her unique editing and ability to create a bold and effortless eye look in the middle of a café. She is probably the only person on this list who started out as a true social media beauty influencer in every sense of the term, but she’s gone on to become the global beauty director for Estée Lauder after being in the social media scene for some time. I’ve always been fascinated with French beauty, and Violette has been able to capture that "je ne sais quoi" essence of French beauty and translate it in a way that makes any woman of any nationality feel beautiful and empowered. Both her YouTube channel and her Instagram are @violette_fr, and her most recent YouTube video is linked here, in which she walks Emily DiDonato through a Brigitte Bardot eye look at a cozy, minimalist café.

I hope this list inspires you to start exploring YouTube makeup artists and try out some new looks! Good luck!