It’s Black History Month, which means we’re striving to put out even more content that celebrates the achievements of African Americans not just in U.S. History but in contemporary culture as well. Beauty continues to be one of the cornerstones of the influencer marketing industry, and in this article we want to spotlight the Top 10 Black Beauty Influencers who’ve made their marks on social media. The criteria used to select these influencers includes country (US), industry (beauty), and number of followers (between 5K to 1M).
1 – Darcei Amanda | @missdarcei | 53.6K Followers
Darcei is a nano-influencer on Instagram, but she boasts more than 500K subscribers on YouTube. What’s special about her is that she focuses almost entirely on Korean beauty, which is unusual for a black influencer. Korean makeup and skincare are widely known for catering to fairer and more East Asian skin tones so to have a black influencer carve her niche in this particular area is both refreshing and necessary.
Her most popular segment on YouTube is called “Black Girl Tries” where she does exactly what you would imagine: try various skincare routines and makeup tutorials that are internet famous. Her video where she tries Kylie Jenner’s makeup line + tutorial went viral, getting 2.4M views.
On Instagram, she charts an average engagement rate of 10.18%, which is more than 3 times the industry average for American nano influencers, and makes her the highest ranking in this entire list.
2 – Ashley | @itshotchiick | 237.1K Followers
Ashley experiments with bold looks on her feed, interspersed with very relatable memes that those of us who spend money on makeup would relate to. This is probably why her audience is growing so quickly — 7.71% on average.
This chart reflects her audience growth last year (2019), and we can see how rapidly the growth picked up somewhere in the middle of the year. Her content is relatable and popular because she doesn’t just do makeup tutorials on herself, she also demonstrates techniques and looks on other women of colour.
The reality of being a woman of colour and embracing blackness seems to be the core of Ashley’s persona, and this is further reflected by the fact that her most collaborated-with brand is @juviasplace — a brand built on the foundations of African culture.
3 – Kahlana Brown | @kahlanabarfield | 247.5K Followers
A “beauty aficionado” is how Kahlana describes herself. She also dabbles in fashion and is followed by other influential black women on Instagram like @alissa.ashley and @rachel.cargle, which means she must mean business.
Her Top Performing post this year is a collaboration with @hermes:
We wish we looked like that in transit. She also has an entire highlight curated for beauty.
She’s the sort of influencer that would be good for brands who are looking for a combination of fashion and beauty, or something more polished. So far, some of her Top Collaborations are with beauty brands like @fenty and @shiseido.
4 – Shanice Crystal | @naturalneiicey | 263.7K Followers
Shanice’s approach to beauty is focused on hair — specifically how to style and appreciate natural black hair. One of her Top Performing Collaborations is with @devacurl, a brand that is focused on hair care for curly girls, which is something that has been overlooked till recently.
One great thing about how Shanice manages her social media presence is the equal amount of time that she dedicates to both images and video. This is important, especially for influencers who post reviews and tutorials. Information is absorbed best when conveyed via different formats, and it also leads to higher engagement rates.
Here is her Top Performing Video last year, which is a snippet of a longer video on YouTube.
It got a 15% Engagement Rate, which is 5 times higher than the industry average for micro influencers in the US.
5 – Nauteya Whyee | @beautyrebellion_ | 277.5K Followers
Nauteya posts her pictures in sets of 3, which makes her look even more photogenic than she is. Her pictures appear a lot more professional than the average beauty influencer, like this one for example:
As a beauty influencer and professional makeup artist, she would be suited for brands who are looking to do high production value campaigns, or even run certain masterclasses as part of their campaign strategy.
Nauteya also exhibits all the signs of a high performing influencer, including positive audience growth. This is an important metric to consider in order to benefit from high ROIs.
Like most of the other influencers covered in this article, Nauteya also has a popular YouTube channel, which is an asset to any influencer marketing strategy.
6 – Megz | @ulovemegz | 284.9K Followers
Megz seems to wear many hats, but her two strongest niche areas are beauty and hair. Like other black beauty influencers, collaborations with Fenty Beauty and Juvia’s Place constantly rank at the top of their lists, but Megz also has collaborated a number of times with @blackradiancebeauty, a lesser-known beauty brand by and for women of colour.
They’ve been around for quite some time and cater specifically to black women, and has become a trusted brand and resource in the community.
Most micro influencers have a large local following (>50%) and Megz is no exception. In fact, more than 70% of her followers are from the US, which makes her ideal for a local campaign.
Here is her Top Liked and Top Commented on post this year. Not 100% beauty-related, but she does look snatched in that snake print dress.
7 – Jade Kendle | @lipstickncurls | 293.3K Followers
As her username suggests, Jane also focuses on hair and beauty. This is a common pattern we see amongst black beauty influencers, fundamentally because the combination of melanin and curly/kinky hair is so widely underrepresented. Each of them have made it their goal to represent themselves.
Jane is also a mommy influencer, which increases her value to brands even more. She also has a very high percentage of female followers, which means that brands who work with her will be targeting ideal audiences.
Majority of her Top Performing posts feature her family in some capacity, which is something brands can take note of for sponsored posts.
For example, even though this post is focused on her sweatsuit (fashion), she included her baby in it to maximise engagement. Overall it got a 7.5% Engagement Rate, which is more than double the industry average.
8 – Kaiser Coby | @kaisercoby | 342.8K Followers
Coby is one of the more well-known influencers on this list, and is well on her way to moving from the micro to the macro tier. Majority of her audiences reside in the US, Nigeria, UK, and France.
Additionally, almost 100% of her audience is interested in beauty which confirms her aptitude in this industry.
I like Kaiser because she’s always got such a radiant look about her, and this is likely what other beauty brands see in her too. So far, she has had numerous successful collaborations with big names in the industry:
Her Top Liked and Commented on post this year is actually an IGTV video, which is very impressive considering videos typically get a lower engagement than static posts. Watch it here:
9 – Nyma Tang | @nymatang | 424.6K Followers
Nyma is on the cusp of micro and macro, which often is a difficult adjustment to make especially in terms of Engagement Rate. However, it is clear that she is able to maintain the interest of her audience even as it grows bigger.
This is a great sign for brands who are looking to work with fast growing influencers. She also has a YouTube channel, and uses her highlights to share her experience & opinion of things outside of beauty, making her wonderfully all rounded.
Her Top Performing Post is a picture of her all dressed up for #blackwomeninhollywood with @lorealmakeup. Stunning.
10 – Shalom Blac | @shalomblac | 721.2K Followers
The most followed influencer on this list also happens to be the most inspiring. Shalom is a burn victim; an accident which has left her skin permanently scarred. While initially she ventured into makeup to cover up an insecurity, it’s now more of a passion for her, and something she’s incredibly good at.
She also has 1.4 Million subscribers on YouTube. She is followed by a lot of beauty brands on Instagram and James Charles too! Everyone’s got something to learn from her.
She’s had numerous successful collaborations with beauty brands:
Here is her Top Performing Post this year — also an IGTV video — which garnered a 5.5% Engagement Rate.
There’s so much talent in this article that the industry is privileged to have. Most of all, they teach us to love ourselves as we are, regardless of ‘conventional beauty standards’. Follow these women keep up with them, read our other Top 10 lists, or if you’re interested in how we used our Search Engine tool to find them, get in touch at email@example.com.
Rounding off with this lovely Oscar-Winning Short Film about an African American father learning to do his daughter’s hair for the first time. I’m not crying, you are.