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Best Pageant Makeup Artists: 2018 Edition

04, August 2017

Every year Pageant Planet compiles a list of the best pageant makeup artists from the previous year based on our Best in Pageantry Awards. Not only will this list help you find your next pageant makeup artist, but it can even assist when finding the pageant makeup artist best suited for your pageant system. If your favorite pageant makeup artist isn't on this list, you can shop our entire list of consultants by clicking Find a Pageant Makeup Artist

If you're a pageant makeup artist who would like to be listed in our directory, click Create an Account to get started. It's completely free and takes about five minutes to get set up.

Top 10 Pageant Makeup Artists of 2017

Top 10 Pageant Makeup Artists of 2016

Top 10 Pageant Makeup Artists of 2015

Top 10 Pageant Makeup Artists of 2014

USA National Miss California 2018 Morgan Lawrence with pageant makeup by Kara Knudsen. Photo: Instagram via @makeupbymaskara

Top 10 Makeup Artists of 2017

Each year, Pageant Planet hosts its Best in Pageantry Awards to recognition excellence in the pageant community. This year's Top 10 Pageant Makeup Artists of 2017 have been chosen! Read below to find out if your favorite pageant makeup artist made the list!

10. Ashley Tart

Ashley Tart knows how to bring out the natural beauty in her clients. She flawlessly applies foundation to present each woman as her best, most confident self. Each of her finished looks is always just enough and never too much. The soft looks are glamorous, yet graceful. Her work will give you a glow-from-within type of beauty.

Hair and Makeup: Ashley Tart Photo: Suzanne Brewer Photography Model: Tiffany Robertson

Hair and makeup by Ashley Tart on model Tiffany Robertson. Photo: Suzanne Brewer Photography

9. Yuko Takahashi

Yuko Takahashi is known in the pageant world for her beautiful work on the Miss Universe Organization titleholders. Takahashi has created some of Olivia Culpo's most iconic looks. Her eye for what look will fit each individual client best is what makes her an excellent makeup artist. She is an undeniable talent in her art form. Every client who sits in Takahashi's chair leaves looking gorgeous and red carpet ready! 

Makeup: Yuko Takahashi Photo: Yuko Takahashi Model: Olivia Culpo, Miss Universe 2012

Makeup by Yuko Takahashi on model Olivia Culpo. Photo: Yuko Takahashi

8. Lisa G

Lisa G will make your makeup flawless. Her perfect glam makeup looks beautiful for pageant headshots. She uses a lot of lovely neutral tones and has perfected the art of contouring and highlighting, an essential tool in pageantry. Some of her work resembles the glamorous and perfect makeup of Mario Dedivanovic, the Kardashian's makeup artist. The pageant world is certainly happy to have someone of her skill level in the industry! Her work photographs well and is consistently show-stopping.

Makeup: Lisa G Photo: Lisa G Model: Jaanu Patel, Miss California Teen USA 2017

Makeup by Lisa G on model Jaanu Patel. Photo: Lisa G

7. Gaspar Cruz

Gaspar Cruz is a pageant guru in every aspect of the industry. He has the ability to make his clients appear ageless and his expert technique brings out the ladies' true beauty. You will be in good hands with Cruz. He is a very trusted individual within the pageant world with a lot of insight and talent to share. He even has his own line of cosmetics called Gaspar Cruz Cosmetics! This successful man is a modern legend in the industry.

Makeup: Gaspar Cruz Photo: Gaspar Cruz Model: Kim Schiltz

Makeup by Gaspar Cruz on model Kim Schiltz. Photo: Gaspar Cruz
 

6. Sherri Jessee

Sherri Jessee is an accomplished hair and makeup artist. She has a plethora of clients and her creative work has been featured in magazines. Her bold use of color is tastefully done and matches the skin tone and coloring of the client perfectly. She has perfected the dreamy smokey eye and is your go-to girl for stunning, dramatic makeup. 

Hair and makeup: Sherri Jessee Photo: Mickey Baker Model: Christine Williamson

Hair and makeup by Sherri Jessee on model Christine Williamson. Photo: Mickey Baker

5. Emerie Jones Gifford

Emerie Jones Gifford is skilled at painting a wide variety of faces. She can create and modify the perfect look for any age and skin tone. She is very trusted among her clients. Though she is young and does not have as much experience as some other makeup artists on this list, she has accomplished so much and is already moving up in the pageant world. A former titleholder herself, she knows the ins and outs of the industry like a pro. You will be in good hands with this blossoming artist!

Hair and makeup: Emerie Jones Gifford Photo: Brooke Peck Model: Brooke Peck

Hair and makeup by Emerie Jones Gifford on model Brooke Peck. Photo: Brooke Peck

4. Makenna Barnes

Makenna Barnes' makeup skills will make you stand out on stage. Commonly, the bold eye makeup looks she chooses are sultry and sophisticated. She has also mastered the art of contouring and highlighting for any face shape. She also does adorable looks for young girls who desire more natural looks for pageants. Her versatile skill set makes her a great asset to any pageant contestant or system.

Makeup: Makenna Barnes Photo: Logan York Model: Logan York

Makeup by Makenna Barnes on Lauren York. Photo: Lauren York

3. Meredith Boyd

Meredith Boyd is one of the most recognizable names in pageantry. Her work can be seen from pageant stages to red carpets and she is a true master of her craft. Her dazzling looks can be seen on numerous big names in the pageant world, including current Miss America Cara Mund and our last Miss America Savvy Shields. Her eye for beauty and proportions make her popular throughout various systems.

Makeup: Meredith Boyd Photo: Matt Boyd Model: Kristina Camille Sims

Makeup by Meredith Boyd on model Camille Sims. Photo: Matt Boyd

2. Austin Ryde

Austin Ryde can do any look from the All-American girl to full glam. His ability to enhance a contestant's natural beauty is amazing. Not a single eyelash will ever be out of place when Ryde does someone's makeup. His work looks to be that of a perfectionist, a very admirable quality in any art form. He is both likable and a true artist, and he can help you look and feel your best for your next competition.

Makeup: Austin Ryde Photo: Austin Ryde Model: Kathryn Dunn

Makeup by Austin Ryde on Kathryn Dunn. Photo: Austin Ryde

1. Kara Knudsen

Based out of North Hollywood, California, Kara Knudsen is a professional makeup artist with expertise in the pageant industry. Her wide set of skills has been lent to many contestants of various ages and skin tones, proving her ability to master any look. Knudsen even hosts free pageant workshops for those interested in learning more about the industry. Just like last year, Knudsen takes the cake for the top makeup artist of the year! Her looks are undeniably perfect for any pageant headshot. Just ask one of her many clients!

Makeup: Kara Knudsen Photo: Kara Knudsen Model: Victoria Piekut

Makeup by Kara Knudsen on model Victoria Piekut. Photo: Kara Knudsen

 

 

Top 10 Pageant Makeup Artists of 2016

Each year, Pageant Planet hosts its Best in Pageantry Awards to recognition excellence in the pageant community. This year's Top 10 Pageant Makeup Artists of 2016 have been chosen! Read below to find out if your favorite pageant makeup artist made the list!

10. Thomas Dunn Studios

This full-service salon located in Roanoke, Virginia offers hair, makeup and even photography services. Although I have never been there myself, I was a fan as soon as I read that the salon uses Oribe products. I am a full-on fan of Oribe products for hair. Thomas Dunn Studios has numerous makeup artists that can enhance your inner beauty for photography sessions, bridal looks, pageants and interviews.  If you are located near this salon, don't hesitate to contact its makeup artists for your next pageant. You can even have the makeup artist travel to you!

Thomas Dunn,pageant makeup

Thomas Dunn Studios expertly creates hair and makeup looks for pageant contestants and titleholders. Photo: Thomas Dunn Studios

9. Liz Everett

Talk about glam makeup! Liz Everett of Liz Everett Glam is perfect for your next pageant or headshot, as she is able to create perfectly airbrushed makeup looks. Numerous youth, Teen, Miss and Mrs. contestants have utilized Liz's skills for their makeup sessions. Liz is a glamorous lady herself, with evidence in the photo below! She knows her way around a makeup brush set and can help you feel your best during the competition.

Liz Everett Glam,headshot makeup

Liz Everett can create a glamorous makeup look for your next pageant or photo shoot.

8. Danielle Doyle

Danielle is the creator of The Perfect Face Cosmetics. She is also a backstage makeup artist for Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA. Danielle is the official makeup artist for Miss Texas USA, Miss Louisiana USA, Miss Utah USA, Miss South Carolina USA, Miss North Carolina USA, Miss Mississippi USA, Miss Alabama USA and Miss Arizona USA. Danielle has a great portfolio, and is definitely the artist to use if you are competing in a Miss USA state pageant!

Miss Alabama USA 2013 styled by Danielle Doyle. Photo: Select Studios

Miss Alabama USA 2013 styled by Danielle Doyle. Photo: Select Studios

7. Clay Spann

Clay Spann is really a powerhouse of talent. Not only can he do your makeup for a photoshoot or pageant, but he also sells his own line of cosmetic products and makeup – and did I mention he can also take your headshot photos? Clay Spann's headquarters is a one-stop-shop for your glamorous look for your upcoming pageant. Clay is located in Dothan, Alabama. (To read more about Clay and other headshot photographers, read: Top 10 Headshot Photographers of 2016.)

Clay Spann

Clay Spann is not only a makeup artist and photographer, but he also has his own line of makeup available to purchase in-person or online. Photo credit: Clay Spann Facebook

6. Sheila Strassburg

A native New Yorker, Sheila is no stranger to the beauty and image industry. After working with numerous Miss America New York titleholders and pageant contestants to hone in on their personal images, she has been dubbed the "Queen Maker." Sheila is great at working with pageant contestants of any age and is based in the East Coast. She currently does the makeup for numerous Mrs. titleholders, including the Mrs. Virginia USA Universal 2016, Kristyn Ream.

Sheila Strassburg,headshot makeup

Kristyn Ream, Mrs. Virginia USA Universal 2016 looks gorgeous with her makeup look by Sheila Strassburg.

5. Gaspar Cruz

Gaspar Cruz is a full-service pageant coach, gown designer, has his own makeup line, and is even a makeup artist. In 2005, Gaspar left his position with Bobbi Brown cosmetics to pursue his passion of creating his own makeup and running a business as a makeup artist. Gaspar has worked with all ages for pageant makeup and can complete a glamorous or more natural look for any level of competition.

Gaspar Cruz,pageant makeup

Kim Schiltz, Mrs. Continents 2016, looks gorgeous with her makeup look created by Gaspar Cruz.

4. Yuko Takahashi

Located in New York, New York, Yuko is extremely talented at makeup looks and creates a flawless finish for each of her clients. She has worked with numerous Miss USA and Miss Universe titleholders, and she even works closely with Fadil Berisha photography to ensure his photo clients look like celebrities. (Read: Top 10 Headshot Photographers) Yuko's portfolio doesn't stop at pageant makeup. She also has done makeup for print ads like Ted Baker, Rolex, and she has even worked with numerous celebrities. If you are located anywhere near Yuko, she will definitely help you win your next pageant by making you look flawless.

Yuko Takahashi

Yoko Takahashi works with numerous Miss USA state, national, and even Miss Universe contestants. Pictured here is Candace Kendall, Miss New York USA 2014. Photo by Fadil Berisha.

3. Meredith Boyd

Talk about a triple threat powerhouse! Meredith Boyd not only does phenomenal makeup, but she also does hair for print photography/ads, media and pageant contestants. The triple threat factor? She can also hook you up with Matt Boyd (who just happens to be her husband) to take the perfect headshot. Savvy Shields, Miss America 2017 is just one of her clients. If Miss America trusts Meredith for her hair and makeup, you can definitely depend on Meredith to have you looking spot-on for your next pageant. Meredith is based out of Georgia.

Savvy Shields

Meredith Boyd has made Savvy Shields, Miss America 2017 look red-carpet ready numerous times! Photo credit: Meredith Boyd Facebook.

2. Austin Ryde

Austin is a Los Angeles-based makeup artist who knows his way around a makeup brush. He has worked with numerous Miss USA titleholders and contenders, as well as other pageant system contents such as Miss International, Miss High School America, and even the National American Miss program. Not only can Austin do your makeup, but also has the skills to create a flawless hairstyle for your next pageant. If Austin is already booked for the date of your next competition, he can even give you a lesson in advance so you can recreate his masterpiece. The current Miss Washington USA 2017, Alex Carlson-Helo, took a lesson with Austin prior to her competition in October, 2016. Is it any wonder she won her state title on her first attempt?

Kathryn Dunn, Austin Ryde

Austin's makeup skills as showcased by Kathryn Dunn, the 1st Runner-up to Miss CO USA 2017. Photo credit: Austin Ryde Facebook.

1. Kara Knudsen 

Kara Knudsen is a seasoned freelance makeup artist, director, coach and hairstylist based out of North Hollywood, California. Her clients have included all age ranges, from youth competitors to Teen, Miss and Mrs. contestants. With her expertise in the industry, she can help you look and feel your best as you head into your next competition. (Read: How To Transition Your Makeup Throughout the Pageant) Do you feel like you need some tips to help you look and feel ready for an upcoming pageant? Kara even hosts numerous free pageant workshops where you can learn about the pageantry industry and become involved with the Miss California Jr. High, High School and Collegiate America pageant. Don't hesitate to contact Kara for your upcoming pageant hair and makeup session!

Kara Knudsen only enhances the natural beauty through cosmetics for Olivia Jordan, Miss USA 2015. Photo courtesy of Makeup by Maskara.

Kara Knudsen only enhances the natural beauty through cosmetics for Olivia Jordan, Miss USA 2015. Photo courtesy of Makeup by Maskara.e

 

Top 10 Pageant Makeup Artists of 2015

10. Ginger McClelland 

Ginger McClelland is the definition of professional. She is truly an expert at her craft and has become extremely skilled at making pageant girls look their best on and off the stage. Good makeup products are important, but technique is the queen when it comes to creating a perfect pageant look. Ms. McClelland is truly an expert in this field.

9. Liz Martin 

Liz Martin is the type of artist who was born to work in the beauty field. She has a gift that allows her to transform women into their most flawless selves. It comes as no surprise that Liz has worked with multiple winners in the Miss United States system! 8. 

8. Liz Everett 

Liz Everett and flawless makeup go hand-in-hand. This world renowned artist is slowly changing the world of beauty with her flawless creations and natural expertise. Liz has experience creating flawless looks for those who work in the entertainment and film business, as well as pageant girls around the country. Liz has become an icon by using her skills to help clients with makeup, hair, personal styling and event imaging. It comes as no surprise that Liz named her company “Crown Style Glam”. She is the epitome of an artist!

7. Sheila Ybarra 

Sheila Ybarra is an incredible makeup artist based in Houston. Her roster includes an array of celebrities from wedding planner Colin Cowie to rock stars Steven Tyler and Kris Rock. Take one look at her stunning work and you will see that Sheila is an artist capable of transforming pageant women into their absolute best selves.

6. Michele Strom

Michele Strom is truly a beauty mogul. In addition to being an accomplished make-up artist with over 15 years of experience, she is also a reality television star and pageant dress designer. You may have seen Michele on her WE tv reality show “Obsessed with the Dress” where she uses her vast pageant experience to help hopeful queens find the perfect dress. She is also the owner of a specialty pageant store, Winning Crown Boutique, located in Omaha, NE.

5. Sara Delarosa 

This Las Vegas beauty enthusiast is a Youtube sensation with over 15,000 subscribers. She has made a name for herself styling clients for print shoots, formal events, weddings and pageants!  She is best known for her work with the stunning Nia Sanchez, Miss USA 2014.

4. Yuko Takahashi

Yuko Takahashi is one of New York City's most accomplished makeup artists. She has worked with an array of top photographers on major global print campaigns for brands such as Rolex and L'Oreal Paris. Her clients, including Beyonce and Naomi Watts, have also appeared in top print publications such as Vogue and GQ. Most recently, Yuko has traveled the globe working with the Miss Universe Organization. Overall, Ms. Takahashi is a connoisseur in and out of the world of pageantry.

3. Amin Kabani

"Flawless by Amin" as he's known on social media is a powerhouse in the beauty industry. He has worked with a wide array of pageant queens across various pageant systems. He is known for producing ultra glamorous looks that are absolutely show-stopping. If you are looking for an artist that will truly go beyond the call of duty to make you feel beautiful, look no further than Amin Kabani.

2. Danielle Doyle

Danielle Doyle, founder of The Perfect Face, is an incredible makeup artist who has worked in the beauty industry for over 15 years. Her portfolio includes national ad campaigns with Mercedes Benz, Laura Mercier Cosmetics, and the world renowned Sherri Hill. Similarly, publications such as The Knot and Pageant Magazine often seek Danielle when looking for an expert's opinion. In 2004 she was chosen as one of the backstage and photography makeup artists for the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants. Since then, she has had the opportunity to help thousands of women striving for their goal of achieving a national or international title. However, you'll need to move fast if you're considering booking Danielle, as she is normally booked solid 1-2 months in advance!

1. Meredith Boyd 

Meredith Boyd is the type of makeup artist you hear about whether or not you’re immersed in the world of pageantry. Meredith and her husband, photographer Matt Boyd, have become somewhat of a household name over the years. This award winning artist is best known for her vast experience in using HD makeup to create flawless makeup looks. In addition, Meredith is an accomplished titleholder who has won over 12 titles in her pageant career. It’s no wonder that she is a connoisseur in the world of gorgeous pageant makeup! That rounds out our list of the Top 10 Makeup Artists of 2015! With so many amazing makeup artists it was incredibly difficult to choose only ten, so we would like to give a shoutout to ALL of the amazing makeup artists who help us to look and feel our bests on pageant day!

Top 10 Pageant Makeup Artists of 2014

10. Casey Mac

This Canadian based hair and makeup artist specializes in creating flawless pageant ready looks. She is best known for her work in the realm of glitz pageantry.

9. Cory King

Cory King may just be the king of makeup. This South Carolina based makeup artist has vast experience in fashion, print, runway, theatre and film in addition to pageantry. Cory also has a full line of make-up available for purchase. Fans love Cory because of his keen attention to detail and ability to create flawless looks that are glamorous yet natural.

8. Britney Eskew

Britney Eskew is a Tennessee based makeup artist with more than 20 years of experience in the pageant industry. In addition to being skilled at making pageant girls look their best, she also has vast experience with pageant coaching and consulting.

7. Heather Daum Randall

South Carolina based freelance makeup artist, Heather Randall, has made a name for herself styling clients for print shoots, editorials, weddings, formals and of course pageants. She is best known for her work with Miss America titleholders. This well accomplished makeup artist uses the motto, “to make the ordinary extraordinary,” to explain the passion behind her work.

6. Morgan Bolen

Some would say that Morgan Bolen is a magician of sorts. She truly has a gift that allows her to transform women into their most flawless selves. Morgan has helped girls around the country prepare to dominate at their pageants.

5. Michele Strom

Michele Strom is truly a beauty mogul. In addition to being an accomplished make-up artist with over 15 years of experience, she is also a reality television star and pageant dress designer. You may have seen Michele on her WE tv reality show “Obsessed with the Dress” where she uses her vast pageant experience to help hopeful queens find the perfect dress. She is also the owner of a specialty pageant store, Winning Crown Boutique, located in Omaha, NE.

4. Meredith Boyd

Ms. Boyd is the type of makeup artist you hear about whether or not you’re immersed in the world of pageantry. Meredith has become somewhat of a household name over the years. This award winning artist is best known for her vast experience in using HD makeup to create flawless makeup looks. In addition, Meredith is an accomplished pageant girl who has won over 12 titles in her career. It’s no wonder that she is a connoisseur in the world of gorgeous pageant makeup.

3. Ginger McClelland

Ginger McClelland is the definition of professional. She is truly an expert at her craft and has become extremely skilled at making pageant girls look their best on and off the stage. Good makeup products are important but technique is queen when it comes to creating a perfect pageant day look and Ms. McClelland is truly an expert in this field.

2. Removed

Though this makeup artist is very talented and was highly recommended for his skill I have chosen to remove this artist from our list after reading numerous inappropriate comments online. Though my heart-felt desire is to connect my followers with the best in the industry I want to connect my girls with people whose professional ability match their personal conduct. Should anyone have issue contact me directly. - Steven Roddy, Founder of Pageant Planet

1. Liz Everett

Liz Everett and flawless makeup go hand in hand. This world renowned artist is slowly changing the world of beauty with her flawless creations and natural prowess. Liz has experience creating flawless looks for those who work in the entertainment and film business as well as pageant girls around the country. Liz has become an icon by using her skills to help clients with makeup, hair, personal styling, and event imaging. It comes as no surprise that Liz named her company “Crown Style Glam.” She is the epitome of an artist. Here are the top 10 picks for best hair and makeup artists of 2014 as voted on by you! What do you think? Did we miss your favorite?

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