drag's influence on the beauty industry

Drag’s Influence on the Beauty Industry

Last updated on: 2022


Drag’s influence on the beauty industry is undeniable!


It’s no question that drag artists and entertainers have influenced the beauty industry; drag itself is an industry now, too! Even before RuPaul’s Drag Race became the phenomenon that’s put drag front and center, drag entertainers have worked within the beauty industry in various ways, from being invited into the creative process as consultants or makeup artists to just being Divine inspiration. The rise of social media, especially the crossover of cultures that social media brings, has given beauty fans even more opportunities to see drag’s influence on the beauty industry, letting fans follow makeup artists that do drag looks or that work with famous drag artists. No matter where you look in the beauty industry, you can see the glamor, camp, color and fun that drag brings to the industry!

drag's influence on the beauty industry

Image from Women’s Wear Daily

An Indelible Beauty Mark

Drag artists are beauty lovers at heart; it’s the makeup that makes the fantasy come to life! Creating a new face through makeup is drag’s transformative power and the techniques queens use to achieve these faces have found their way into the routines of even the most beginner of beauty lovers. It’s not just about the transformation for these performers, though. There’s a practicality in the makeup for performers as they are under intense stage lights, in layers and layers of costuming and usually must stay in face through multiple performances.

Obviously crazy colorful makeup on the eyes or overdrawn lips are signature to more creative drag artists and might be too adventurous for the daily routine. But contouring, cut creases, “baking,” intense highlight and more are techniques that all beauty lovers use anytime thanks in part to the knowledge of these artists and their ability to mix stage-ready or durable makeup with fashionable and exciting looks.

@ellis_atlantis I’m obsessed 😅 This lip has me gagged!! #dragqueen #dragqueenmakeup #fyp #foryou #bleachedbrow ♬ Mercy Alex Chapman remix – Alex Chapman

Social media has also helped drag tips to find beauty lovers everywhere. The amount of drag makeup looks and tutorials for those looks you can find today is crazy. But it’s the ultimate expression of a love for beauty to get to experiment with our own looks and to get creative!

The Marketing Miracle of Drag

RuPaul’s Drag Race has become a television juggernaut, but it only made RuPaul more of a household name. RuPaul’s prominence in the 1990s was extremely important for queer visibility, including her appearance in an iconic marketing campaign: RuPaul for MAC Viva Glam. The 1994 campaign was an early entrant for drag’s influence on the beauty industry as RuPaul put the leg in legendary and spelled VIVA GLAM with her glamorous, statuesque figure.

drag's influence on the beauty industry

Image from Daily Maverick

The campaign married camp and glamor with a message as portions of purchases from the Viva Glam line were contributed to the MAC AIDS Fund, a fund MAC still contributes to today. MAC has worked with RuPaul since the campaign but the original remains fresh for so many today, being continually referenced and even replicated by model Winnie Harlow. The success of the campaign’s imagery and of Drag Race has inspired the beauty industry (as well as the fashion industry) to lean further into tapping drag artists and queens for different campaigns and magazines. Queens have been given holiday features in LUSH and Sunday Riley, and have often been asked to contribute to Vogue and Cosmopolitan’s YouTube channels!

Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves

Inspiring the industry is not enough for some artists; drag is now totally taking over the beauty industry. RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni like Kim Chi and Trixie Mattel have started their own makeup lines, KimChi Chic Beauty and Trixie Cosmetics. Known for their impressionable makeup styles, these two are perfect for having their own makeup brands. Their platforms have allowed them to invite other notable drag artists to join them on campaigns and creating their own lines within the brands. I’m sure that other queens have their own brands in development as well!

drag's influence on the beauty industry

Image from Allure

Fans absolutely adore KimChi Chic Beauty’s Puff Puff Pass Set and Bake Powder and The MOST Concealer. Both products get rave reviews for the drag tricks implemented right into the formula. Trixie Cosmetics has found success in the toylike packaging that calls back to Trixie’s namesake – talk about marketing genius! Trixie’s brand is known for matching the packaging with hyperpigmented and super colorful product. Plus the two queens just collabed for KimChi Chic with a really cute BFF line!

Drag’s influence on the beauty industry may have started as being just inspiration but artists and performers are taking the industry into their own hands. The beauty industry is all about what’s next, new and exciting, and drag artists are always creating new ways of expressing their love for beauty. What drag makeup looks have you tried? Have you tried KimChi Chic Beauty or Trixie Cosmetics? Are you just a RuPaul superfan? Let us know below or tag us in your looks across social media!

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