9 of the Most Inspiring Beauty Influencers

Which Instagram Influencers Influence You?

Your favorite social media beauty gurus weren't always flaunting thick brows and plump lips! Check out these nine "rise to fame" stories of the biggest influencers online. Like them, if you work hard, dare to dream, you too might live to be one.


nikki tutorials green makeup look from instagram

Image via @nikkietutorials

IG followers: 11M

YouTube Subscribers: 10M

At a Glimpse: We can't ignore her edge, daring creativity, and ability to versitalize her hooded eyes.

Her Story: A Netherland-native, Nikkie De Jager is one of the originals with a YouTube presence that is a decade old! In 2008, 14-year-old Nikkie was sick in bed watching "The Hills". Inspired by the glamorous makeup looks of Lauren and Heidi, Nikkie searched "The Hills Makeover" on YouTube, which sparked an interest in creating her own content. After a couple months of learning more about makeup and videography, Nikkie uploaded her first video, receiving only 8 views and 3 comments. She didn't let low viewership hold her back, she was hooked. She continued makeup classes and posting weekly tutorials encouraging fans to accentuate their natural, beautiful features. Nikkie has been featured in magazines and ads for her artistic, individual spirit. Her rise to fame may have been a sudden happy accident, but her edge and bubbly personality make her unique, inspiring, and so fun to watch.

"In a world of mattes, be a blinding highlight".

nikki tutorials anime look from instagram

Image via @nikkietutorials


jaclyn hill smoky eye look from instagram

Image via @jaclynhill

IG followers: 5M

YouTube Subscribers: 5M

At a Glimpse: Jaclyn Hill's passion is the driving force for this relatable, self-taught artist. She copes with anxiety by unapologetically being her goofy, unique self.

Her Story: Jaclyn lived on a fourth-generation family farm in Illinois before her father's evangelical missionary work turned them into a nomadic family. Between homeschooling, her parents' divorce, herself marrying at just 19 and divorcing nine years later, and relying on food stamps before her rise to fame, YouTube sensation Jaclyn Hill became an empathizer and a giver. She is real and open about being cyberbullied, her mental health, and reminds her fans that nothing comes before being yourself. While young Jaclyn was making a living as a MAC makeup artist, she decided to upload a Kardashian-inspired tutorial to YouTube, having no idea that it was only foreshadowing her future a few record-breaking years later.

"If you believe in yourself, follow your passion and stay true to you, that's your recipe for success. I am so grateful for all my hardship because it has taught me so much and made me who I am. To any of you who want to take the next step in building your dream... stop waiting, stop doubting and take the leap of faith. If a girl like me can do it, so can you".

jaclyn hill edgy modern image from instagram

Image via @jaclynhill


Sam Fine's scandalous makeup podcast

image via @iamsamfine

IG followers: 121K

YouTube Subscribers: 10K

At a Glimpse: He may not have a comparable online presence to some others, but Sam continues to go against the grain representing African-American pride and beauty.

His Story: Samuel Fine was adopted into a family of females where he gawked at his mother and sisters applying makeup and styling hair. His interest grew as he paid his sisters to let him give them makeovers. Sam quickly learned that makeup was seldom formulated to accommodate African-American skin tones, so he concocted his own to properly match his sisters' skin. After years of experience, Sam took the risk of leaving his steady cosmetic counter job to pursue full-time freelance for diverse cultures. He also developed a line of mineral foundation for women of color with Fashion Fair Cosmetics. He believes in makeup that suits all skin tones, eventually becoming Revlon's first African-American spokesperson. Catch Sam's work on your favorite icons like Beyonce, Halle Berry, and Tyra Banks.

"Makeup is not about conforming to unrealistic ideals, but about finding what works for you".

image via @iamsamfine


miss ashley diana's classic pink hair from instagram

image via @missashleyhair

IG followers (@missashleydiana): 135K

IG followers (@missashleyhair): 36K

At a Glimpse: This southern peach was determined to make her passion that was "not a career", exactly that.

Her Story: Early in cosmetology school, Ashley Diana developed a passion for a certain beauty facet: installing hair extensions. Despite years of hard work, trial and error, Ashley remained determined to make a living as a hair extension specialist rather than a hairstylist. She moved across the country, became serious about marketing herself online, networked, and never gave up. Ashley worked on her services, developed a brand and a blog, shared messages of health and being a working mother. She is now the most highly sought after hair extension specialist  in Las Vegas, Nevada. She also offers vegan recipes and life or business coaching. If you're an aspiring hairdresser and want to grow a social media presence, learn how with her online master class.

"The coolest thing is that when we align with our passion and our purpose, our whole life starts to fall into place".

miss ashley dianas mermaid hair look from instagram

image via @missashleydiana


guy tang with highlights selfie from instagram

image via @guy_tang

IG followers: 2M

YouTube Subscribers: 2M

At a Glimpse: Guy Tang is a trilingual American and an experimental hairstylist. He is always learning, refining, and trying something new, especially across the entire color wheel.

His Story: From cosmetology school in Tulsa, Oklahoma to opening his very own salon on Sunset Blvd., Guy does it all from unicorn ombres to rose gold color-corrections. If you can dream it, he's tried it. With out-of-this-world creativity, Guy is the hairdresser everyone looks up to, always trying the most daring styles that leave awed fans wondering, "How?" Be inspired not just by his success but also his ability to bring the hair of anyone's dreams to life. He may not always be taking new clients (tears) but he is always offering help on YouTube and through classes and seminars around the world.

"Judging a person does not define who they are; it defines who you are".

Pink and purple pixie cut from instagram

image via @guy_tang


em ford's sparkle pink look from instagram

image via @mypaleskinblog

IG followers: 965K

YouTube Subscribers: 1M

At a Glimpse: Em Ford is a beauty who knows that being flawed is still being fabulous.

Her Story: Sure, this Brit is known for creative halloween costumes like SnapChat filters and Regina George getting hit by a bus. But she is also renown for a viral video entitled, "You Look Disgusting", a video of her baring her natural, acne-stricken face and the horrible hate comments that came from it. She has built an empire around finding beauty beyond flaws. She may suffer from an undisclosed skin condition but maintains that it is not what defines her. Em's skin positivity reminds her fans that even if you can't make everyone happy, you still can be, battle wounds, scars, and all.

"If you could suddenly change the ONE thing you dislike about yourself the most but in return, you would have to lose the ONE thing you love about yourself the most, what would you gain and what would you lose? Would you do it?"

natural em ford's no makeup no edit picture from instagram

image via @mypaleskinblog


nikita dragun in makeup from instagram

image via @nikita_dragon

IG Followers: 2.9M

YouTube Subscribers: 1.7M

At a Glimpse: Nikita Dragun used to be far from the confident WOMAN you see today.

Her Story: As a child, Nikita always felt like a woman trapped in a man's body, at first unaware that she was considered a boy. With the loving support of her family, teenaged Nikita began the process of becoming a woman, living out loud for others to feel confident in who they are. Nikita is an entrepreneur, an artist, an open book, and a trans woman. Despite previous doubt, bullying, and low self-esteem, Nikita has transformed into a queen on the ultimate journey to self-discovery. As her online presence grew, Nikita continued to experiment with makeup and working with brands like Morphe and Benefit. Through platforms like YouTube and Instagram, Nakita has become the confident, inspiring woman of her dreams, urging her fans to follow their dreams too.

"...a little boy with big girl dreams".

image via @nikita_dragon


shalom blac wearing a full face of makeup from instagram

image via @shalomblac

Followers: 600K

YouTube Subscribers: 1.1M

At a Glimpse: Shalom Black is the type of role model we need more of.

Her Story: When Shalom was nine years old, a pot of hot oil fell and landed on her face and scalp, burning off her skin and hair, and fusing her ears to her head. After a grueling four months in the hospital, she was released. Her friends didn't recognize her. She was told she looked like a monster. Shalom was constantly harassed, bullied, teased, shamed, and even suicidal. Shalom instead found confidence in her darkest place, moved to America from Nigeria, and sought to inspire women with her story. Shalom makes YouTube tutorials teaching women how to cover up scars, acne, burns, and cuts. She also shows fun makeup looks and how to apply wigs. She is a successful makeup artist and an icon for strength, bravery, and confidence.

"Loving Yourself Isn't Vanity. It's Sanity."

shalom blac without a wig from instagram

image via @shalomblac


Huda Kattan on the cover of Arabian Business

image via @hudabeauty

Followers (@hudabeauty): 27M

Followers (@shophudabeauty): 4.5M

YouTube Subscribers: 2M

At a Glimpse: Huda Kattan

Her Story: Huda majored in finance before moving from the U.S. to Dubai, UAE. She returned to the states and became a celebrity makeup artist and worked for Revlon. Huda's makeup blog for tips and tutorials was a suggestion given to her by her sister, and ultimately led to Huda founding Huda Beauty, the fastest growing cosmetics brand in the world. Huda is Muslim, a minority, a wife, a mom, a dreamer, a doer, a world-renown influencer, and considered the Kim K of the beauty economy. Huda Beauty is a symbol of female success, entreprenuership, and turning dreams into goals.

"I'm proving dreamers can make it."

huda beauty products from instagram

image via @shophudabeauty

Are You Inspired?

At Jean Madeline Aveda Institute, we believe that if you want it, you should go for it.

Regardless of where you come from, it's about time the world saw your talents. If you've gotta start somewhere, why not start right where you are? For tips on how to create a killer beauty Instagram account, click here!

Did these influencers inspire you to start a career in cosmetology? If these gurus can, so can you! Make that long-lived passion a career that pays off. Click here to learn what Jean Madeline can do for you.

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