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Makeup Artist Christen Dominique’s Future Is Getting Brighter by the Day

Written By: Jordan Nishkian
Photographed By: Damien Noble Andrews Christen Dominique
Photography Assistant: Maxx Kaitlynn Christen Dominique
Styled By: Teresita Madrigal Christen Dominique
Hair By: Julia Savitskaya Christen Dominique
Makeup By: Brian Bond Christen Dominique

If you speak to Christen Dominique and see how gracefully she carries herself, it would be difficult to ever imagine the beauty-influencer-turned-CEO as anything but confident. With 1.5 million followers on Instagram and 4.2 million subscribers on YouTube, the makeup artist has taken the world by storm with her makeup tutorials, and, more recently, her own cosmetic line. But according to this self-proclaimed “super shy, reserved” woman, a childhood insecurity is what started her journey to success.

“I was super self-conscious about my [dark] under-eye circles and I was constantly getting teased. It’s so sad that it started that way, but it did,” Dominique recants. After two years of getting teased for her under-eye circles, a seventh-grade Dominique decided it was time to do something about them. Even though she wasn’t allowed to wear makeup at the time, she found herself getting into her mom’s purse and discovered a yellow corrector. “After [putting it on] I went to school [and] I feel like everyone treated me so much better. This was seventh grade—those little things make such a difference. In my head, everything was just better. And I felt more confident.” From then on, there was no going back. “I started doing makeup for my friends in the locker room—I was literally a locker room makeup artist,” she laughs and shakes her head. “It just happened that way. Everyone went to me for makeup.”

What began as a fun, creative thing to do with her friends soon launched into a full-fledged passion. “I knew that I wanted to continue to pursue it even after high school because it made me happy,” says Dominique. “I love making people feel good about themselves. So eventually, I just [freelanced] on the side, [and I did that] for a long time.”

For Dominique, it was clear from the beginning that she had a natural knack for makeup. “I just fell in love with it,” she expresses. “I was contouring when I didn’t even know I was contouring. It was before Kim Kardashian made it a thing. I was brightening all the way up to the temple and I didn’t realize that I was almost, like, highlighting, and I was doing this to everyone!” By teaching herself, she found a lot of successes, but she was also able to see where she needed to improve. Starting out as an artist, she “was broke, but really had a passion for it.” She was working and experimenting with $10 makeup products, but after a while she decided to plan for the long term and “save for better palettes so that [her kit could] look a little bit better.”

While her choice in products and tools began to evolve, her schedule was becoming busier by the day. No stranger to juggling a busy lifestyle, Dominique recalls how she was balancing school with work and her personal life with her passion. But soon, she found herself facing the very real possibility of having to give up her freelancing gigs as well as her new YouTube channel. “When I first started I was really shy; I didn’t want to go on YouTube. But then I went on YouTube, gained confidence and then I just found a love for it. I was creating content and getting to connect with so many people. I kind of felt like maybe this could be something, and I’ve always wanted to create my own cosmetic line just starting out as an artist. It was a fantasy for sure for me at the time, but when I got a call from a company [where] I wanted to [work] full time, I took the job.”

Thankfully, her husband, Cesar, had other plans. “My husband pushed me [and] was like, ‘No, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Let’s go and try it,’” Dominique gushes. “I’m so grateful for him. He is my rock. I mean, [without him] I would have stayed in my comfy little Houston home behind the cubicle doing insurance.”

With that, Dominique immediately set to work. She and her then-six-year-old son, Jaden, moved out to LA, and even though they were on their own in SoCal for two months, Dominique only used this to keep pushing forward and to continue building her following. What started as 45,000 subscribers when she made the move swiftly flourished. “Within about two years I went to one million, and then my views kept growing and I was like, ‘Woah! You guys really like me! We’re like friends!’”

Similar to her experience with perfecting her makeup skills, creating her content and editing her videos took time, passion and patience. “I just had fun with it, and I always had technique education in [my videos]. If I had inspo for a beach look, I’d go to the beach and I’d cut to music and that was a cool thing I liked to do,” Dominique explains. “I also really enjoyed editing, but I knew I had to take it to the next level. It took hours and hours to learn how to change color and use Final Cut Pro. There were so many editing techniques that I really had to learn.”

Since then, she has gotten her routine down pat. Her studio is always set; the only things that change are the background and the light filter. She also has a professional editor to help her with her videos, but she still likes to be hands-on. “I’ll still take another two hours to kind of go through it and make sure he didn’t take out any of my ‘personality moments.’ I don’t want it to be too boring!” she adds. “Honestly, nobody’s in front of me. It’s just me by myself talking to a camera. It’s for fun—just me connecting with my fans.”

Through her videos, Dominique has seen so much success as a beauty influencer that she has been able to launch her own makeup line: Dominique Cosmetics. She has always dreamed of creating her own brand, so when she had the opportunity to create her own products, she built them according to what she thought was missing in the industry. “[With other brands,] my brushes would dip into all the other colors—they weren’t big enough for me. And the placement of the color was never right, like I would have to grab a bronze or blush and blend it in. I’d really have to get creative with it all the time,” she explains.

Currently, the line consists of three eyeshadow palettes—Latte, Berries & Cream and Lemonade—four shades of lipgloss and six shades of a Cream Matte Liquid Lipstick that won’t dry out your lips. “My main reason for creating the brand was to create something suitable for an artist as well as a makeup lover. I always wanted to create and customize [an eyeshadow palette] with a bigger pan size, which is what we have, and when you look at the palette you automatically know what you’re going to do with it.”

“We also just launched our lips, our permanent line, which is gonna grow into a full-color range, and they’re doing really well. They’re amazing. Oh, my god,” she grins. “They are super-hydrating, fill in all the lines and when you take off this matte lip, your lips are smoother and softer than they were before.” And for anyone who’s rocked a matte lip, it’s easy to see how amazing a feat this is. Although long-lasting, mattes are typically very drying, uncomfortable and have a tendency to crack. But according to Dominique, “the Cream Matte Liquid Lipsticks are non-drying and very wearable.”

Watching and listening to this powerful, well-spoken woman present her work and share her story, it’s clear that Dominique has truly come into her own. From her humble, hopeful beginnings to her rise to success, there’s no doubt in our minds that the future is bright for Dominique—and we can’t wait to see what she does next. But until then, you can find her in her natural habitat doing what she does best: inspiring and motivating her fans in front of the camera. “Know that you can literally do anything you want if you just believe in yourself,” she says and flashes a brilliant, genuine smile. “And don’t ever stop!”