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How Drag Queen Makeup Has Shaped Todays Makeup Trends

How Drag Queen Makeup Has Shaped Today's Makeup Trends

The makeup we love today didn’t pop up overnight — it took heavy influence from the drag community. Here’s everything we know about drag queen makeup.

Drag queen makeup has shaped today’s makeup trends over the course of history.

When we think of drag queens, we think of RuPaul’s Drag Race, costumes, heavy makeup, performers, entertainment, and fun. However, you probably would never have thought that the makeup tricks that we love and use every day were actually influenced by drag queen makeup. Keep reading below to learn how drag queen makeup has shaped today’s trends.

Brief History of Drag

Drag didn’t start overnight with the premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Instead, drag has been around for hundreds of years. Historians have traced men dressing up as female impersonators aka drag since before the 1700s. By the 1980s, drag started to make a scene in New York City’s nightlife for queer people when the Pyramid Club and other gay bars opened. At these bars, men would dress in drag and alter their faces to look more feminine and perform in balls and dance competitions.

Drag started to become mainstream in the 1990s when drag queen RuPaul started to make a rise. RuPaul became a national celebrity with his song “Supermodel (You Better Work)" and soon after that became the first drag queen to be a spokesperson for MAC Cosmetics.

After the 90s, drag didn't trend anymore until RuPaul made a comeback with RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2009. Ever since then, fierce queens have dominated social media to spread love, equality, and of course their tips in the makeup industry.


Instagram Makeup

Social media platforms have taken over the world for people to express themselves artistically with makeup. Instagram is full of influencers and celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Jeffree Star, James Charles, and more who are constantly changing the beauty world. These influencers use makeup techniques to transform their faces to look flawless and glamorous.

Before social media, makeup for everyday people was natural and minimalistic. But, with the rise of social media, people wanted to start looking flawless and trendy. Influencers and celebrities didn’t create the techniques needed to create this illusion of perfection with makeup but instead took great inspiration from drag queen makeup.


Nowadays highlighting your face so it glows everywhere you go is a must. You can’t leave the house without the point of your nose and cheekbones sparkling under the sun. And, this is all thanks to the influence of drag queens. Before we were applying highlight, drag queens were highlighting their faces, so their audience can see them perform shine while they are sitting in the back.


Before Kim Kardashian showed the world her contoured face in 2012, contouring wasn’t part of our normal makeup routine. Instead, the entertainment world and the drag queen community were doing it for a long time. Once Kim started contouring, the whole makeup community was ready to follow. However, Kim Kardashian’s makeup artist who taught her how to contour confessed that she learned from the drag community. You can thank drag queens for teaching us how to transform our faces into the perfect shape that we want.



When we say baking, we aren’t talking about some delicious cookies that are cooking in the oven; instead, we are talking about a technique where you apply a heavy amount of translucent powder under your eyes and high points of the face to set your base makeup. Before celebrities were baking their faces, drag queens already perfected the technique. They ‘baked’ their faces to keep their makeup on while they were performing under bright lights.

Cut Crease

Glamorous eye makeup is very popular right now. Everyone wants to look like they are ready to walk down the red carpet every day. A really popular eye trend that people are into is doing a cut crease. A cut crease is where you make a line with concealer, eyeliner, or eyeshadow above your actual crease. This technique is a way to make your eyes bigger. And guess what, drag queens have been doing a cut crease for decades.

Overdrawn Lips

The one thing that many drag queens love is big, overdrawn lips. Overdrawn lips help their audience see them as they perform lip syncs. Celebrities like Kylie Jenner took inspiration to this overdrawn lips technique back in 2015 with her lip kits to create plump lips. 5 years later and people are still drawing big lips.

The makeup world is forever changing, but we can thank drag queen makeup trends for teaching us some of our favorite beauty techniques.


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