AAPI Heritage Month might be over, but we celebrate the AAPI community today and always. In beauty, Asian American-American makeup artists are moving the industry forward with their conceptual and technical artistry. Together, they helm cult-favorite brands, preside over viral beauty trends, and craft radiant red-carpet looks for our celebrity favorites. If you’d like to beautify your Instagram feed, here are 16 AAPI makeup artists to follow.
Grace Ahn was the spider-lashed, sequin-lipped face of quarantine makeup artistry a month into the pandemic. Shown with seafoam-green eyeshadow and a cool pink lip, this Korean-American artist headlined a feature on beauty professionals crafting playful looks on their faces during the lockdown. Scroll through Ahn’s Instagram today, and you’ll find plenty of that playfulness on display. Some of her hallmarks include diffused blush on various skin tones and bold eyeshadow in colors from stark white to metallic violet.
If you've ever stopped in front of a magazine stand to admire Lupita Nyong'o's cover-model glow, you're already a fan of Thai-born artist Nick Barose. The Hollywood-favorite artist has worked with a large roster of celebrity clients, from Krysten Ritter to Tracee Ellis Ross. As an emerging artist, Barose trained under industry legend Kevyn Aucoin and has since developed his unique style. In his portfolio, expect to see natural radiance set off by an occasional, retro-inspired twist (think: frosted eyeshadow or lips in mid-century red hues.) Barose, a stylistic chameleon with a deep knowledge of vintage beauty, isn't afraid to experiment with historical allusions in his looks.
A daughter of Pakistani immigrants, Kirin Bhatty once envisioned herself working in media: It was a natural fit for her Berkeley English degree. But these days, she isn’t filing the stories that run in magazines. Instead, she’s crafting the beautiful looks that adorn their covers. Her celebrity clients—like Awkwafina, Tessa Thompson, and Julianne Moore—trust her to get them red-carpet ready. Bhatty’s repertoire ranges from barely-there washes of color to theatrical statement pieces like the gold-studded eye Awkwafina wore to the 2019 Met Gala.
Emily Cheng is Yara Shahidi’s go-to beauty guru. But the Canadian-Chinese makeup expert has also worked with other notable names like Kerry Washington, Constance Wu, and Janelle Monáe. Cheng credits her experience operating a Laura Mercier counter for her versatile approach to beauty. There, she learned how to make women of all ages and skin tones look their best. Today, Cheng channels that experience into her artful makeup editorials and fresh-faced red carpet looks. Her stylistic trademarks include dewy, sunlit skin, and a subtle playfulness with color.
Yuki Hayashi can do subtle. But for the most part, this Japanese-born makeup artist is all about an operatic, larger-than-life approach to beauty. A scroll through his portfolio will show a riot of color that wouldn't look out of place in a museum exhibit. You'll also find a streak of cobalt on the outside corner of an eye, color-blocked lips in crimson, coral, and coal, and a dusting of marigold yellow just over the cheekbone. Trained by legendary artist Pat McGrath, Hayashi's makeup artistry is technically precise and vibrant.
Emi Kaneko also pulls off conceptually rich editorial experiments like smoky eyeliner tendrils inked down the bridge of a nose or vampire-red mascara paired with a matte black lipstick. With her edgy use of color and her knack for illuminating skin, Kaneko, a Japanese-American artist, has lent her skills to big brands like Uniqlo as well as irreverent publications like Dazed.
You have Daniel Martin to thank for Meghan Markle's iconic wedding day look. Born to a Vietnamese mother and white father, Martin started in beauty roughly three decades ago, when prominent AAPI makeup artists were few and far between. Since then, he's risen to the apex of the industry. Last year, he took up a post as global director of artistry and education at Tatcha, the Japanese-inspired beauty brand founded by his long-time friend Victoria Tsai. He also works with a range of clients, from Elisabeth Moss to Jessica Alba.
Entirely self-taught, Japanese-born makeup artist Ayami Nishimura has made a name for herself as a virtuoso of color. Her chromatically experimental editorials photograph like high art. A photobook of her looks, captured by the influential fashion photographer Rankin, made the rounds at several gallery exhibitions from London to Tokyo. Today, Nishimura lends her facility with color to the Japanese-founded luxury beauty brand Pola, where she released a line of vivid lip colors in warm hues from blood orange to brick.
Chiho Omae’s quietly magnetic, lived-in looks pair beautifully with tousled hair, rugged denim, and bare skin. Omae’s work is sought after by iconic brands like Diane von Furstenberg, DKNY, and Gap. And it’s easy to see why. Her artistry, centered on enhancing natural beauty, is at once unpretentious and aspirational.
Grace Pae trained under Rihanna’s and Fergie’s makeup artists. These days, she’s the go-to pro for Normani, whose onstage and editorial looks she crafts with impeccable attention to detail. With the Fifth Harmony alum as her canvas, Pae has pulled off makeup stories that range from glossy and natural to glamorously experimental—like a shimmery purple cat-eye set off by plenty of negative space.
Nina Park originally studied to be an illustrator before swapping out her fine-tipped pens for a set of makeup brushes. Trained in Paris, she now works as a Chanel artist, operating under a philosophy of beauty that aims to enhance the "natural structures and shadows of the face." Her celebrity clients, including Zoe Kravitz and Brie Larsen, go to her for a light, thoughtfully considered touch that makes them look gorgeously authentic. Park is also a beauty educator. Together with hairstylist Bryce Scarlett, she produces Adjoining Rooms, a web series that delves into the intricate conceptual labor behind designing celebrity looks.
Maki Ryoke is all about the eyes. This Japanese-American makeup artist’s portfolio is full of fresh, surprising colors swept over the lids and visually striking shapes framing the lashes. Ryoke, who frequently works on models with monolids, takes a bold and fun-loving approach to enhance the eyes. She produces unconventional looks that make you blush with delight and stare with intrigue.
At only 30 years old, Vietnamese-American makeup artist Patrick Ta has already carved out an enviable space for himself in the beauty industry. Aside from a long list of celebrity clients like Gigi Hadid and Kourtney Kardashian, his eponymous brand, celebrated for its creamy, pigment-rich blush formulas, is rapidly expanding its offerings. A contouring collection dropped in April, and a buzzy new line of eye products followed in June. Overall, Patrick Ta Beauty offers rich, wearable earth tones in flattering finishes that work on various skin tones.
Hung Vanngo'sVanngo's 2.3 million Instagram followers often see famous faces staring back at them from his page. His clients include Jodie Comer, Emily Ratajowski, and Karlie Kloss — to name a few. The Vietnamese-Canadian makeup artist tends to treat the stars who flock to his chair with a precise and well-modulated hand. If you'd like a closer look at how he achieves these subtly gorgeous looks, Vanngo is happy to share. His YouTube channel is a treasure trove of beauty secrets. Guest stars like EmRata often accompany him in his videos, where he breaks down all the products and techniques needed to pull off his coveted looks.
If you've ever wanted to glow like a "dewy dumpling," Nam Vo was probably your inspiration. The Vietnamese-American makeup artist has won Instagram's adoration for the magical things she does with highlighter. Visit her page, and you'll see soft light reflected off plump, well-moisturized cheekbones. She has mastered the art of making skin look as luscious as a dumpling wrapper. Still, Vo's luminescent signature isn't achieved with highlighter alone. Her secret deeply rooted is skincare. She offers periodic masterclasses on how to oil cleanse, dermablade, and microneedle your way to delicious, #dewydumpling perfection.
Yuui, who splits her time between Tokyo and NYC, has lent her makeup skills to brands as minimalist as Glossier and as baroque as Thom Browne. Her artistry is versatile and draws from inspirations like high fashion and kabuki theater. Her portfolio encompasses both fresh-faced looks that center flawless skin and maximalist affairs—think a rainbow cat-eye. Taken as a whole, Yuui’s take on beauty is bold, irreverent, and richly allusive.