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5 Rising Legends Leading the New Age of Beauty Influencers


As we move into fall, it’s more evident than ever that the beauty industry is at a crossroads. Down one path is a homogenous and outdated standard that’s growing ever stale, and down the other is a new frontier that celebrates the unique and calls for more diversity, more inclusion, and more acceptance. Leading the charge toward this new frontier is a wave of beauty influencers with a special knack for expressing what beauty means to them in entirely new ways.

Meet Vi Lai, Hannah Harris, Sarah NovioNawel Moummad, and Joyjah Estrada, five influential voices in beauty who do more than just post pretty pictures. With hundreds of thousands of followers between them across Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, these ladies represent the new voice of the internet. Each of them has something to say, and they aren’t shy about expressing what makes them uniquely themselves. From showing us the most editorial eye makeup looks to sharing the ultimate hair hacks and spilling the tea on their must-have skincare staples (even dishing major product flops), these beauty connoisseurs are here to turn the internet on its head with a new brand of authenticity that’s inspiring real change.

Ahead, get to know this new generation of pack leaders and learn all about the trends, products, and practices they’re most excited about for fall and beyond.

Why are you here?

I’m here because there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. There is literally nowhere else where I could be unapologetically myself and be accepted and supported wholeheartedly by a community of like-minded people who share my experience and root for me every day. 

What beauty advice do you completely ignore?

I am a caffeine fiend. I drink more tea and coffee than water, which is a huge sin among beauty gurus. On top of that, the caffeine and anxiety keep me up late every night, which is another crime. I deserve jail.

What top five products have earned a permanent place on your vanity?

This is a genius cleansing balm that removes all traces of makeup and water-resistant sunscreen effortlessly. It’s pure luxury.

This is one of the only retinol products my skin can tolerate consistently over a long period, and it has the clinical data to back it up.

This is the only moisturizer I’ve ever truly loved, like ever, period.

This is an easy sunscreen that can be worn all year round.

My dry skin and lips can’t live without this ointment. I’m not exaggerating.

What's one thing you’ve done to your skin (product or treatment) that has provided the biggest result?

In sunscreen I trust. Rain or shine. Indoors or out. 

What’s the question people slide into your DMs the most about? And what’s the answer?

“What’s your Cash App? We wanna send you money.” LOL… kidding! The most commonly asked question is “What’s your favorite sunscreen of all time?” This is the true devil of a question because I need multiple sunscreens for my multiple moods. If I’m feeling fancy and need to see people, I’ll put on a tinted sunscreen that also multitasks as a foundation. (My fave is Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield SPF 50, $39.) If I’m in bed all day chilling with my depression and anxiety, a simple, affordable one like Purito Comfy Water SPF50 ($16) will do. On a hot and humid summer day where I feel somewhere in the middle, EltaMD UV Clear SPF46 ($36) is my jam! My goal in life is to be rich enough to have a collection of my favorite sunscreens to choose from every day.

What makes or breaks a product for you as someone who has tried so many?

Because I’ve tried many products, I kind of have an idea if the product will work for me from researching the ingredients alone. I’m not interested in being a guinea pig, and therefore, I don’t need to try every single product knowing well my skin doesn’t like the ingredients. Since I’m dry and sensitive, some of my deal breakers are drying alcohols, witch hazel, and common irritants such as fragrance and essential oils. Unless the formula is AMAZING with these ingredients at the bottom of the list, I don’t even want to put my moneymaker through it. On the positive side, I love products that contain powerhouse ingredients, such as niacinamide, retinaldehyde, and azelaic acid, and are gentle on my skin barrier. The key is gentle. Guard your skin barrier as much as you protect your peace. Glow guaranteed!

Follow Vi Lai on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter.

Why are you here? 

My goal is simple: to bring awareness. It's not about pointing fingers but creating space. Representation in terms of shades of foundation and who’s modeling in your campaign has garnered a lot of attention in recent years, but I am seeking to diversify a rather niche sector of the industry. A social media editor mentioned that they didn't post Black hands because they didn't perform as well. Brown Girl Hands proves that Black hands can be aesthetic, they can be beautiful, and people want to see them and engage with them. What I love on the front end is the little community we've built. Behind the scenes, I love that brands are reaching out to create more inclusive content, which I'm happy to offer, and at the same time, you're supporting Black creators.

What beauty advice do you completely ignore?

Getting my brows done. I know a lot of girls love to shape, tweeze, wax, and thread. I've never had my brows touched, and I love them for it. 

What top five products have earned a permanent place on your vanity?

The perfect, next-level face oil to finish your routine. It feels like a dream and smells like a spa. I love that it's organic (check out the ingredients!) yet creates a prestige/luxury experience.

I always have a jar of this in my shower to remove my makeup at the end of a long day, and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

This is the best lip balm/gloss I've ever tried, hands down. It feels like a moisturizing cloud, and I love how overly glossy it is

I'm known for my brows, and while I don't alter them, I do fill them in. For the most natural, feathered look, I use Brow Flick in Black and Boy Brow in Brown. I love mixing the colors.

My signature makeup look is super light and sunkissed, and this palette helps me achieve both. I use the highlighter side for a natural glow and the pink blush over my nose and cheeks for a fresh beach look. I am from South Florida, after all.

So what’s on your hands? 

When I'm shooting, instead of hand lotion, I actually use Glossier Futuredew ($24) for a beautiful but natural glow, especially because I shoot in natural light. I also constantly apply cuticle oil. (My favorite is from Bare Hands.) At night, I love a good hand cream to moisturize. I use whichever one I have at that moment, whether it be more luxury like Augustinus Bader or something I grab at Target like Nivea, which I love.  

What are your top three nail polish colors of all time?

Literally any color from J. Hannah. For shooting, I love the Expressie line. They dry super quick for my million polish changes. My faves are Expresso Double Shot (warm brown), Energized & Wise (tan coral), and Don't Hate, Curate (mustard yellow). 

What’s the most powerful thing your hands have done this year?

Vote! I bubbled in my choices for the primary election, and I'm ready to do it again in November.

Follow Hannah Harris on Instagram.

Why are you here?

I am on social media to give women and men inspiration to create looks that are colorful, adventurous, and approachable. I believe in skin looking like skin but also want to show that it is fun, too! I give brutally honest reviews on products, I aim to make sure the products I promote have a wide shade range, and I always give affordable options. I suffer from adult acne and have really sensitive skin, so I always recommend and review products that will help people with the same skin concerns. 

What beauty advice do you completely ignore?

I ignore the "You need a 10-step skincare" and the "You need a full morning skincare routine" rules. The reason I do this is because of how sensitive my skin is. It's just not practical every day and night to use all of those products. As long as I wash my face without it feeling tight or without residue left behind, moisturize, and WEAR SPF, then I'm good to go! 

What top five products have earned a permanent place on your vanity?

This is a bit of a skincare investment but so worth your money! It melts off your makeup so easily—even stubborn mascara. No other oil-based cleanser can do it as easily as this one, and it does so without making my skin feel stripped!

Out of the extensive cleansers I own, this is the one that I always reach for! It feels like milk on my face, literally! My skin always feels clean and also moisturized at the same time.

Brows are probably one of the most important steps in my routine and the feature I get the most compliments on. This brow product is my secret weapon. It gives you the perfect, natural, hairlike strokes. With a little bit of practice and a light hand, this could be anyone's brow secret weapon!

This is another product that is worth the money! These lip liners really help get that overdrawn lip look without looking fake. It pairs really well with pretty much any lip color I wear! The shade Pillow Talk is a great “my lips but better" shade, and Foxy Brown is that perfect neutral brown that looks good with even red and berry lip colors.

Finally, a bronzer I can recommend to all of my friends! The formula is perfectly matte (not drying) and the shade range is PHENOMENAL!

What’s one beauty dupe that’s surprised you with how close it is to the original product?

One dupe that I am surprised how close it is to the original product is the Milani Cosmetics Cheek Kiss Liquid Blush ($10) for Glossier Cloud Paint ($18)! They are both liquid blushes, and most of the Cheek Kiss shades look just like Cloud Paint's shades. The opacity of the product is really similar, too!

What are the top three elements for your signature editorial eye look?

Fluffy brows, long lashes, and either bright-colored eye shadow or eyeliner. 

What are your secrets to catching good light? 

Living in the Sunshine State! Also, standing near a window (not directly in the light) will get you the perfect lighting for your skin and your makeup. 

Follow Sarah Novio on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

Why are you here?

I discovered the creative and cosmopolitan universe of Instagram—I love the vibe—sharing, interactivity, support, and the creative mood board side of social media. I studied design and love textures and materials, but I always found it difficult to express that until I got into beauty. I’m such a makeup enthusiast, and through Instagram, I have been able to express not only my art but my personality as well. 

What beauty advice do you completely ignore?

I’ve never understood why we associate the use of specific colors with the color of the eyes. For me, beauty is an art. It's up to you to play with colors and dare to break the rules.

What top five products have earned a permanent place on your vanity?

I’m so excited that I discovered Uzza. The products utilize high-quality ingredients from Morocco, and the composition is safe. I love the smell, and the finish is hydrating and light. My skin absolutely loves it. The moisturizer is a must!

I am obsessed with the products from SVR Laboratory. A friend of mine introduced me to the brand, and they absolutely crush it. All of the products are awesome and easily adapt to different skin types and any type of routine. I love their cleanser, their SPF products, and their targeted skincare!

The Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder from Charlotte Tilbury is WOW. It’s so fine, natural, and radiant. It blurs imperfections and brightens the complexion.

All the shades are beautiful, but my favorite is Diamond Milk. The finish and the color are amazing on all skin tones. My favorite tip is to apply it as a highlighter for a glossy and dewy finish!

I discovered the brand MUA Academy on Beauty Bay, and the blushes are game-changing. Plus, the price is so affordable. For those who love liquid blushes, you need these on your vanity!

What’s on your beauty mood board? Where do you source from for your beauty mood board? Where do you find inspiration? 

Oh my god, that's an interesting question! Whenever I’m feeling inspired with makeup, my office becomes a mess! I need to perceive, observe, and test the products with each other so that I can play with interesting color combinations and textures. So I basically take out all my makeup, I put everything on the floor, and I create my mood board. I also spend a lot of time on Pinterest. It's an amazing app.

What do you think is next for Instagrammable makeup trends?

Definitely the graphic-liner trend, and I think we’ll be seeing more three-dimensional takes and accessories like stickers—floral patterns, logos, fruit… LOL. l I would love to start this trend!

Will you share any secret, under-the-radar places where you find cool accessories?

When it comes to fashion, I love going to thrift stores, especially when I’m hunting for cool accessories! But I also buy a lot from ASOS Design.

Follow Nawel Moummad on Instagram.

Why are you here?  

I’m here to celebrate young girls and women, whether it’s in my personal life or via my platforms! I try my best to lift others up and promote confidence because I really believe you need to fully love yourself to achieve your dreams and live your best life. From my perspective, everyone is beautiful in their own way, and I really want my followers to love what makes them unique. I used to get teased for my freckles and my curls. Crazy, because those are two of the most captivating things that make me, me. What I was once made fun of for I am now celebrated online for.

I will always give thanks to my parents who instilled confidence in me from a very young age. They really guide me along the way to fully love myself for who I am, and I want to be able to do the same for my supporters. I’m doing my best! But can always do more, and 2020 is really teaching me that. 

What beauty advice do you completely ignore?

I model on top of the influencing side of things, and most photo shoots I participate in weirdly don’t let me wear my curls out, because they say it distracts from the clothes and the makeup. I actually do not agree with that whatsoever. So one day when I own my own brand, I will be sure to ignore the previously mentioned beauty and fashion standards. Whether it’s clothes, hair products, makeup, or jewelry, I will book models and celebrate their true beauty through my campaigns. 

What top five products have earned a permanent place on your vanity?

It has minimal coverage but evens out my skin tone, canceling all my redness.

This is a liquid cream blush that looks so natural and beautiful on the skin, almost as if my cheeks have been kissed by the sun.

This is a cream highlight that gives you the most beautiful glow. I use this on both my face and body.

Ugh, this is everything. It keeps my lips super moisturized for a long period of time, and it comes in a number of color tints as well.

I have a couple of these. The magnifying mirror and lighting features are amazing—perfect for when I’m doing detailed makeup looks or when I’m in a room that’s not well-lit.

Walk us through a typical wash day.

Wash days always start with a hot-oil treatment and a deep-conditioning mask on top. I let this sit and penetrate my strands for approximately 45 minutes. Then I hop in the shower to shampoo and condition. Next, I style my curls with my signature concoction starting with a leave-in conditioner, followed by a curl cream, and lastly a jelly to set my curls into place before I let them air-dry.

What’s the key to snatched edges?

Pairing a gel with your favorite pomade is key! Do this, and your edges will literally stay in place all day and all night. Also, swoop and sleek your baby hairs into place using an edge brush. Magic. 

Freckles are a trend now with people drawing them on. What’s your take on the freckle-love movement?

It’s cool. However, as someone who was called out their name for having freckles, it shows me that we should never get too caught up with what people have to say about us or with beauty trends.

Follow Joyjah Estrada on Instagram.