Laurel Charleston

New York, United States


"I create looks that are not merely accessory, but rather an extension of a larger artistic vision."
Laurel Charleston

Having trained and worked as a classical music conductor, creating boundary-pushing make-up looks for Doja Cat perhaps wasn’t the most obvious next step for Laurel Charleston. But that’s exactly what she’s done. Fast forward to today and she is a regular collaborator of Doja’s, responsible for the star’s recent awe-inspiring, blockbuster make-up including the No Face-esque painted look and the swirling white patterns that spread across her face like a sea creature.

But it’s not just her work with celebs proving her Instagram bio – “Turning makeup into fine art” – true. Using her own face as a canvas for mind-bending paintings, Charleston creates a steady stream of optical illusions and experimental graphic looks, plus painstaking recreations of famous works by Van Gogh, Miro and Af Klint, which sit in her ‘Masterworks Alive’ series.

Charleston follows in the footsteps of countless drag artists and Instagram MUAs, rejecting traditional beauty ideals and pushing make-up’s transformational potential. But it’s been her ability to bring this anti-beauty mentality into the public eye that sets her apart. In her own words, she “creates looks that are not merely accessory, but rather an extension of a larger artistic vision.” For the rest of us, that means seeing a female superstar like Doja publicly reject beauty ideals, and instead use her body as a vehicle for art. There’s no doubt that it’s an exciting time for beauty. And with artists like Charleston setting the standard, sky’s the limit. 

Text Letty Cole