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19 Beauty Experts Explain How Makeup Has Shaped Their Self-Image

Because it's about so much more than just covering dark circles when you're tired.

1. Jordan Hanz, beauty YouTuber

Jordan Hanz

"Makeup in this day and age doesn't have to be used to just look pretty, it's used as an art form — a way to express yourself creativity every single day. I don't need to use makeup to hide my flaws, I simply enjoy the beauty of creating something new and different. I get to use my face and body as a canvas, turning myself or another person into a piece of living art. Makeup isn't permanent, so that's taught me to be adventurous and try new things. Whether we wear no makeup, a little makeup, or a face full of glam — makeup is whatever the hell we want it to be."

YouTube: Jordan Hanz

Instagram: @jordanhanz

2. Jacob Tobia, speaker, writer, and activist

Jacob Tobia

"Growing up in a male body, makeup was off limits, so I was never taught how to shape my lips, line my eyes, or put color in all of the right places. I learned about makeup much later in life, only gaining the courage to buy my first tube of lipstick from the Dollar General during my freshman year of college. Ever since I started wearing lipstick, cashiers, baristas, waiters, and strangers on the subway alike will compliment me: 'I love that shade!' 'Where is that from?' 'You look good!' When I hear these compliments, I know that they're really saying something deeper. By praising my lipstick, they're really telling me that they see me, affirm my femininity, and support my identity as a genderqueer person. That sort of solidarity from other femmes has meant the world to me as I've been coming into my own."


Instagram: @Jacobtobia

3. Deepica Mutyala, aka Deepicam, on-air beauty expert and YouTuber

Deepica Mutyala

"My body was always something I was insecure about growing up. I was never the size zero and found myself fluctuating. If I'm being completely honest with myself, I think makeup was the way that I deflected from that insecurity and brought attention to the part of myself that I felt good about.

"Now that I'm older, that's changed. I've finally found a balance in life and happiness within myself and my body. My body size is more than's beautiful and who I am. I realize that body image is really more of an internal battle rather than something perceived by others. The second I came to terms with that, the significance of makeup in my life shifted. It's no longer something I use to deflect my insecurities but more a tool of self-expression and empowerment. You're in control of your beauty and and can decide how to shape it to make you feel like the most confident version of yourself. More than anything, beauty should be fun!"

YouTube: Deepicam

Instagram: @Deepicam

4. Chanel Boateng, plus-size style, beauty, and lifestyle blogger

Chanel Boateng

"I am extremely confident and comfortable in my own skin and very often, day to day, I am makeup free. However, very often also I have on a full face of makeup. It gives me a boost of confidence and makes me feel extra girly! It has shaped my image as I am a lot more outgoing, chatty, and assertive when I am out and about!"

YouTube: Chanel Boateng

Instagram: @Chanelboateng

5. Jake-Jamie Ward, aka beauty vlogger The Beauty Boy

@makeupbyjakejamie / Via Instagram: @makeupbyjakejamie

"Society made me feel like I shouldn’t admit that I was a guy who wore makeup, but I am so pleased that I decided to ignore social pressure as my work has not only helped me to grow, it’s helped thousands of other men (and women!), too. Makeup enables me to put my best face forward, giving me the confidence to walk down the street with my head held high. Honestly, cosmetics have changed my life!"

YouTube: TheBeautyBoy

Instagram: @makeupbyjakejamie

6. Lucy Edwards, aka Yesterday's Wishes, motivational speaker and blind beauty blogger

Lucy Edwards / Via

"Through learning to apply makeup as a blind woman, it has allowed me to control my appearance even when I can no longer look in a mirror. Makeup has empowered me as I feel I have conquered such a sighted action. My self-confidence has massively increased because of this and I am able to bring the sighted and non-sighted communities together through the love and appreciation of makeup. I love makeup because it is not only a hobby and a passion but a way of making me feel a lot better about my disability. Beauty is for everyone and makeup is definitely an outward expression of my personality!"

YouTube: YesterdaysWishes

Instagram: @yesterdayswishes

7. Irene Khan, photographer and beauty blogger

Irene Khan

"There seems to be a misconception (especially on the internet) that women who wear a lot of makeup do it out of self-hate or insecurity. I believe the opposite. My love for makeup has gotten me so in touch with with every nook and cranny of my face. I’ll find a beauty mark I haven’t noticed before or realize I have a great natural contour. The more you spend time with something (or someone!) the more you know it and love it."

YouTube: Irene Mahmud Khan

Instagram: @Irenesarah

8. Zahrah Aliyah, beauty vlogger

Zahrah Aliyah / Via

"Wearing makeup doesn't change my self-image as much as it might for others. I only started wearing makeup when I was 19 and now I wear makeup for special events, or if I have too much time and get bored I'll play around with new products. I can easily leave the house with no makeup on and feel confident about myself. When I wear makeup, it makes me feel more put together and organized and of course it makes me feel prettier. But that being said, I still feel pretty without makeup."

YouTube: Zahrah Aliyah

Instagram: @zahrahaliyah

9. Jouelzy, writer and YouTuber


"I've found makeup to be both empowering and a crutch. But overall it's helped me to find the beauty in me. Whether it's becoming comfortable wearing brightly colored lipstick instead of attempting to hide my full lips with neutral colors or feeling like I don't always have to wear a full beat because my 'imperfections' are beautiful."

YouTube: Jouelzy

Instagram: @Jouelzy

10. Em Ford, aka My Pale Skin, beauty YouTuber

Em Ford

"I started learning makeup techniques as a hobby, something to pass the time in the evenings after work, and two years later I'm very lucky to have turned it into my career. When I developed adult acne, makeup was a powerful tool to help bring my confidence back. Learning how to correctly conceal my acne both boosted my confidence with and — most importantly — without makeup.

Makeup can be a powerful tool to help boost self-esteem, but it's also fun, too! So throw out the rule book, and try something new — it doesn't matter how silly, extreme, or colorful it is. The beauty of it is, it comes off in an instant."

YouTube: My Pale Skin

Instagram: @Mypaleskinblog

11. Paolo Ballesteros, television host and actor

Paolo Ballesteros

"Makeup definitely shaped my self-image. I'm a TV host and actor by profession and I've always loved doing different characters and roles. Makeup took it to a whole new level. It brought out the true artist in me. From a normal guy to Hollywood celebrities, it still amazes me that I can be who I want to be...literally!"

Instagram: @pochoy_29

12. Miryam Diaz, aka Makeup_Amor, beauty vlogger

Miryam Diaz

"Makeup has helped me find my fierce side. I've learned to love my flaws and celebrate my natural features. Give a woman her favorite lipstick and a pair of heels and she can take on the world. There's nothing more rewarding than making another woman feel beautiful and unstoppable."

YouTube: Makeup_amor

Instagram: @makeup_amor

13. Marlena Stell, beauty expert and founder of

Marlena Stell

"Makeup has changed my self-image in simply providing a boost to my self-esteem. It isn't just something superficial, but how it makes me feel knowing I took time out of my day just for me. Makeup isn't just about 'feeling pretty.' It's about having fun with colors and textures. I can change my mood from just OK to feeling fierce with one swipe of a vivid pink lipstick."


Instagram: @makeupgeekcosmetics

14. Jovita George, aka MrJovitaGeorge, fashion and beauty blogger

Jovita George

"There are days when I'm not up for a difficult day ahead. As silly as it may sound, a winged eyeliner and loads of mascara gives me the confidence I need to walk out of my door and conquer the difficult day. There are times when I feel tired and a little less attractive. A swipe of my favorite red lipstick, and I feel right on top of the world. As women, small things are enough to give us that confidence boost that's needed to do things that we would shy away from otherwise. Looking and feeling good about oneself is one of those small things, and it's amazing that makeup can help us get there!"

YouTube: MrJovitaGeorge

Instagram: @MrJovitaGeorge

15. Sonjdra Blood, aka SonjdraDeluxe, makeup artist and YouTuber

Sonjdra Blood

"As a makeup artist, I like to think of makeup as a decoration and self-appreciation. In my mind, I have to be able to love myself in order to spend the time decorating myself with makeup. My makeup tutorials are filled with bold colors and playing with the artistry of makeup in unconventional ways. Makeup has shaped me in just that way: to be bold, unconventional, and always striving to do my best."

YouTube: Sonjdradeluxe

Instagram: @sonjdradeluxe

16. Manny Gutierrez, aka Manny Mua, beauty vlogger

Manny Gutierrez

"Makeup has helped me shape my self-image by allowing me to be creative and use a different outlet such as makeup to express myself. I believe that makeup has no gender and that if you want to wear makeup you can; there are no rules saying you can't. Makeup is such a confidence booster, if you're ever feeling down or not yourself, add a little makeup and BAM instantly you feel better. I love that."

YouTube: Manny Mua

Instagram: @mannymua733

17. Rose Crespo, aka Beauty by Rosita, beauty and fashion vlogger

Rosita Applebum

"When I found the makeup community on Youtube, I used it as a creative outlet, and makeup has changed my life. The freedom behind choosing the colors, products, and the look that you're going for every time you put on makeup is very liberating and freeing. Being bullied about my overgrown bushy eyebrows, pale skin, and long, frizzy hair really took a toll on me during my childhood, but today makeup has helped me embrace those features and has made me realize how special every feature is. Makeup not only changes how people see us, but for me it has changed how I see myself. I turned something negative into a positive. Makeup does not always have to be as superficial as we make it out to be. It makes me happy and feeling good about ourselves is what life is all about!"

YouTube:Beauty By Rosita

Instagram: @beautybyrosita

18. Stephanie Nadia, beauty and lifestyle vlogger

Stephanie Nadia

"When most people look at me they see a 'brown girl' or a 'big girl,' they hardly ever see me. On the inside I'm a multifaceted women with big dreams and a passion to inspire. I'm a little awkward, intelligent, obsessed with creativity and all things fantastical. The beautiful colors of my Ecuadorian and Trinidadian heritage pulse through my veins; there's immense history and stories living inside me. I need that to be expressed on the outside. Makeup is an outlet to express all that I am — there's no limit to the possibilities of color and glitter!"

YouTube: Stephanie Nadia

Instagram: @stephanienadia

19. Raye Boyce, aka ItsMyRayeRaye, beauty YouTuber

Raye Boyce

"Makeup has given me confidence and allows me to express my creativity and use my face as a canvas. It's so simple yet it can give you the confidence you need to take on your day. Makeup is my fairy dust that makes everything better."

YouTube: ItsMyRayeRaye

Instagram: @ItsMyRayeRaye

Body Positivity Week is a week of content devoted to exploring and celebrating our complicated relationships with our bodies. Check out more great Body Positivity Week content here.

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed