The top 20 beauty influencers that brands need to watch in 2021

Instagram beauty influencers are shaking up the industry with wide-ranging representation, bold looks, and out-of-the-box style that challenges mainstream, conventional beauty. As we’re sinking our teeth into this new year, let’s take a look at some of the top beauty influencers and bloggers you need to keep an eye on.

For this list, we’ve selected some of the top beauty influencers on Instagram, but also looked beyond pure numbers to bring you some rising stars and beauty influencers you might not have heard of just yet. Check it out!

1. Huda Kattan

Huda Kattan, better known through the cosmetics and beauty company she founded, Huda Beauty, is the top beauty influencer in terms of earnings. The account boasts a staggering 48.1 million followers! Although the page is for her own brand, she still reps and partners with other beauty industry leaders, like Sephora.

Much of her profile space is dedicated to other influencers, giving them a platform to show off their stunning makeup looks and tutorials – using her products of course.

On her personal profile, with 2.1 million followers, Kattan also reps fashion giants like Dior and Chanel, along with the photographers she has worked with like Chen Man.

2. Nyane Lebajoa

When it comes to make-up, wigs, and fashion, Nyane Lebajoa is one of the top beauty influencers to follow. She spent most of her life in the UK and she is originally from Lesotho, a small country in Southern Africa. 

From hair wig brands, Temper Hair, to professional makeup brands like NYX Cosmetics, Nyane knows how to model and create amazing beauty content. Nyane Lebajoa has now over 1.5 million followers and she serves her audience with high-fashion looks and spices up her content with a sassy edge. 

Nyane Lebajoa also scored an incredible 100 on the Socialbakers influencer scorecard, pointing to a strong follower interaction and growth, as well as influencer activity.

3. Nabela Noor

Nabela Noor, @nabela, is a beauty influencer with a following of 1.7 million on Instagram. Alongside with her lifestyle brand Zeba, she uses her personal Instagram to promote diversity and challenge dated standards of beauty. 

In February 2020, she was featured on the cover of Glamour Magazine UK, the Self-Love issue, and shared her experience with cyberbullying on social media. She is also an ambassador for GLAMOUR’s #BlendOutBullying.

Her inspiring motto is - “Redefining beauty one post at a time.” She has collaborated with multiple top brands, such as Sephora, NARS Cosmetics, Anastasia Beverly Hills, and GlamGlow.

4. Em Ford

Bringing something a little different to the table again we have Em Ford, a beauty influencer who got her start blogging and has expanded to YouTube and Instagram.

But Ford is different from your typical beauty influencer: she suffers from severe acne. That didn’t stop her though. She grew a following of 776k on Instagram, and 1.1 million on YouTube. She has built a platform for her powerful campaign, #redefinepretty, aimed at tackling stigmas and bullying around visible skin conditions like acne, scarring, and birthmarks.

Em Ford is currently an Olay UK brand ambassador.

5. Manny Gutierrez

The self-taught male beauty influencer, Manny Gutierrez has over 4.6 million followers on Instagram and posts a mix of makeup tutorials, product reviews, lifestyle, and even some makeup challenges, such as how to make low-quality makeup work. But really, he’s all about spectacular eye looks.

Gutierrez cooperates with subscription company BoxyCharm. He also reps brands like Lunar Beauty, and collaborates with other big-name influencers like Liza Koshy.

Manny Gutierrez’s lifestyle posts are what give him an authentic edge. He has opened up about being body positive and his experience with hair transplant restoration surgery.

6. Nikkie de Jager

Like many other beauty influencers, Nikkie de Jager or @nikkietutorials on Instagram started on YouTube.

Her makeup tutorials focus on looks that truly transform a person’s face – from high fashion, contoured and chic, to out-of-this-world looks that would be costumey if they weren’t pulled off with such talent. Just check out this Halloween look from October 2020, or her killer Grinch look from November 2018.

She always posts tutorials for her looks on YouTube mentioning the products and brands she uses. She has worked with brands such as FacialTox, Maybelline, and Marc Jacobs Beauty.

7. Thuy Le

Meet Thuy or @xthuyle, a London-based makeup artist, YouTuber, and beauty influencer who creates beautiful (and hilarious) makeup tutorials. And this makeup artist is not shy about her life at all. On her Youtube channel, you will find dozens of vlogs about her life, her experience with plastic surgery, Brazilian butt lifts, and more. 

Alongside the fun, quirky, and help tutorials, Thuy is an honest YouTuber when it comes to reviewing high-profile makeup and skin products, especially her in-depth review about Kylie Cosmetics skin care line. Having almost 2 million followers on Instagram, she continues to collaborate with huge brands, such as Urban Decay, Too Faced and Fenty Beauty.

8. Zoë Sugg

At just 29, Zoë Sugg is a top beauty influencer with a diverse portfolio of work going back nearly a decade.

This British influencer started on YouTube by creating beauty products and fashion haul videos. Sugg has since built a veritable beauty empire with nearly 12 million subscribers on YouTube and 10 million followers on Instagram. She has also launched her own beauty and lifestyle product lines, founded Zoella, and broke the record for highest first-week sales of a first-time novelist with her novel Girl Online.

In a Zoella and Lush Cosmetics collaboration, Zoë and her team created an IGTV to promote a mental health campaign, #DigitalDetoxDay.

9. Shayla Mitchell

Shayla Mitchell, or @makeupshayla, is a beauty influencer brand ambassador for ColorPop Cosmetics and has 2.7 million followers on Instagram.

She posts a mix of makeup, beauty, and fashion on her Instagram, ranging from casual to glamorous. There’s a little something for everyone, and no matter what looks she’s serving, they all look glam.

Mitchell uses YouTube as a platform to publish her makeup tutorials, with teases posted to Instagram. Her other Instagram posts are heavy on promotion and since the release of Instagram Reels, she has been posting great makeup tutorials in Reels.

10. Cohl

Competitive cheerleader turned Instagram beauty influencer, Cohl is another male influencer on our list with 344k followers. This rising star shares looks and tutorials for glam, highly contoured, and often extravagant makeup looks.

He has partnered with cosmetics brands like Benefit, Sleek, and Raldh Cosmetics.

11. Rin Rodriguez

Beauty isn’t all diamonds and gold. Bringing non-binary representation to this list is alternative beauty influencer, Rin Rodriguez, or @gothfruits on Instagram with 141k followers.

With spectacularly bright hair, multiple face piercings, and hectic makeup and fashion color combinations, Rodriguez still comes off as both high fashion and adorable.

Their bold color combinations challenge preconceived notions of how “natural” makeup should look, and incorporate at least a touch (often more) of whimsy.They rep brands like Milk Makeup and Urban Decay Cosmetics, and have posted ads for Ink of Elation.

12. Penelope Gwen

While Rin Rodriguez serves up whimsy and lighthearted goth, Penelope Gwen is here serving stark, high fashion to her 287k followers. Straight up, no chaser.

This model and beauty influencer’s style is often in sharp lines and powerful poses. Her makeup tutorial videos, on the other hand, often have funny freeze frames that simply demand to be clicked.

Gwen reps brands like Fenty Beauty, ColorPop Cosmetics, Kat Von D Beauty, and more.

13. Anna O’Brien

The one and only confidence queen, Anna O'Brien or @glitterandlazers on Instagram. Her growing fame comes from TikTok, which has a following of over 7.4 million followers and has over 257k followers on YouTube. In a recent collab with Netflix, Anna created a TikTok to promote a new series called The Prom.

@glitterandlazers Never be afraid to be who you are! Watch The Prom On @Netflix, streaming now #ThePromChallenge #ZazzSquad #ad #TheProm ♬ Tonight Belongs to You - The Cast of Netflix’s Film The Prom

Stepping into a whole new realm, Anna is one of the top beauty influencers for Savage Fenty, lingerie by Rihanna. Her modeling and confidence is challenging the traditional beauty standards and has become an inspiration for her followers.

Keep in mind that every social media marketer should consider having a TikTok influencer marketing strategy. With over 500 million active monthly users on TikTok, you’d be surprised how much organic reach you can get for your brand.

14. Kelseyanna Fitzpatrick

Vancouver-based makeup artist Kelseyanna Fitzpatrick, is a beauty influencer with a twist. With 215k followers, Fitzpatrick has tossed the rulebook aside for ‘how to make it in the industry’ in favor of one motto: “Be aggressively yourself,” she told Dazed Digital in November of 2018.

Fitzpatrick’s account is a wonderland of deliciously colorful goth aesthetic, from eye makeup looks to fashion shoots, and her own stunning professional work on others.She reps brands like Look Hunter Apparel, Noctex Cosmetics, and Joanna Keller Beautique. She is also a staunch advocate for cruelty-free cosmetics and actively fights animal testing in cosmetic products.

15. Kuu Kivelä

Where Kelseyanna is serving us dark goth glamor, Finnish beauty influencer Kuu Kivelä, or @roseshock, is here to bring us some “main character aesthetics” along with her eclectic mix of goth, cosplay, whimsy, and high fashion, almost virtual looks.

Based in Helsinki, she has a following of 191k and boasts some big cosmetic brands, like NYX Cosmetics Nordics, Rockstar Wigs, and SugarPill Cosmetics. She also works with haircare and coloring brands like Living In Colour.

16. Kiitan

When it comes to beautiful big hair and glowing skin, follow Kiitan or @kiitana. She is a fierce beauty influencer with over 834k followers on Instagram and 295k subscribers on YouTube

She provides tips and tricks on how to edit Instagram photos and promotes her very own presets. Not only does she provide tips for photography and content creation, she also worked with huge brands, such as Walmart and TJ Maxx.

17. Marianna Hewitt

Marianna Hewitt is an established top beauty influencer and businesswoman.

Along with the next influencer on our list, Hewitt founded Summer Fridays, a line of natural, vegan, and cruelty-free face masks for a range of different specific cases – from dry skin to helping you cope with jet lag.

Hewitt has over a million followers on Instagram and has partnered up with brands like Smith & Cult, Ipsy, Estée Lauder, and Armani Beauty.

18. Lauren Gores

Meet the other half of the influencer businesswoman pair behind Summer Fridays.

Lauren Gores has 240k followers on Instagram, but sets herself apart with effortlessly natural looks and makeup, along with easy hair care tutorials and pictures of her child, family, and lifestyle.

She reps brands like Ouai Haircare, Igk Haircare, and Pantene, and of course her own brand, Summer Fridays.

19. Euniunni

Our smallest influencer on the list, Eunice or @Euniunni is a beauty micro influencer who’s making waves from Youtube to Instagram.

Don’t let the size of her Instagram following discourage you. Smaller influencers often have incredibly engaged followers that help drive engagement. Sometimes smaller influencers can create more conversion-focused campaigns than macro influencers. Check out our blog on choosing micro vs macro influencers to learn more.

Eunice’s posts are casual and fun, but showcase real talent in makeup and skin care. Whether it’s a natural on-the-go look, or secret Korean skin care routines, she gives the best advice and tips for anyone looking for youthful healthy skin. 

20. Aaron Storms

This Instagram beauty influencer is making a name for himself with unconventional eye makeup creations. The production value of his content is a little on the low side, but the vision and talent behind the makeup artistry speaks for itself.

He’s from Indiana and specializes in eye makeup that pops out of the frame. From a stunning Black Swan look, complete with black and red lenses, to understated floral designs, and intense 3D geometric design looks, Storms is slaying it already with just 102k followers. He’s one to watch this year.

The takeaway

Choosing the right Instagram beauty influencer depends heavily on your brand and its individual audience and needs. To truly succeed in this competitive space, you need to find influencers that will help you reach new audiences. Finding influencers who are a natural fit for the product will help your collaboration go beyond producing a simple ad.

With Socialbakers, you can access the largest influencer database, allowing AI to do the heavy lifting. Save hours of valuable time and find influencers with smart recommendations based on your specific audience personas and easy-to-understand scorecards so you can choose the best influencers at a glance.

Curious about other influencers? Check out these other influencers lists: 

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.

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