One woman making waves in the beauty industry is Danessa Myricks. As a Black makeup artist, educator and owner of Danessa Myricks Beauty, Myricks is constantly upping her game to ensure inclusivity in the industry. And with more than 20 years of expertise, she knows what the beauty world needs, and she’s here to deliver. Her educational courses, which are offered at her own Danessa Myricks University, are accessible at all price points with videos ranging from $0-$50. Not to mention, each of her brand’s products are formulated with every person in mind — no matter their race, gender or style preference.
We had the opportunity to speak with Myricks about her contribution to the industry, the importance of education and how she’s climbed the ladder to success.
The Tease: How did you get started in the beauty industry?
Danessa Myricks: I often consider myself an accidental makeup artist. Immersing myself in makeup was never quite on my radar. A job in publishing introduced me to the world of beauty and when I was laid off at the age of 30, I decided to reimage what my work life could be and decided to explore a career in makeup.
What inspired you to launch Danessa Myricks Beauty?
When I started my journey in makeup 20 years ago, it was a very different landscape than what it was today. There were lots of gaps in the shade and textual options available. I often had to be a mixologist to get the shade and performance I wanted from the products in my kit. I wanted to create the products of my dreams and with the experience I had gained creating products for other companies (from mass to prestige), I felt I was ready to share my voice in the industry in a more meaningful way.
What are your overall goals for the brand?
I’ve always wanted to cast a wide net with the products I create, and through innovation paired with formulation, create a space where everyone could see themselves as part of the brand. I wanted to reimagine what makeup could be. So, I look to create products that fit all our basic beauty needs but also allow you to play outside the box and create with freedom.
Can you share a little bit about the re-launch of Danessa Myricks Beauty University?
Education has also been at the forefront of my career in this industry. It was a struggle for me in the beginning of my career, as there wasn’t a lot of access to education and limited opportunities to learn from veterans or people I admired. When I did have opportunities to learn, it was either very textbook or held back on those pro secrets that would really help me expand and grow.
I’ve been blessed to have had the opportunity to teach throughout my entire career on every continent and to have so much to share! I enjoy traveling, doing masterclass sessions and connecting with artists and beauty lovers in a very intimate way. When the pandemic hit, a year of travel was cancelled. In the silence of quarantine, I reimagined what the university can be and what it can offer to this community I love so much.
My main intention is to connect and train in a way that is very accessible, offering courses from new perspectives, by me, and by artists I’ve connected with from around the globe.
University courses range anywhere from 5-minute digestible bites of tips & tricks to 4-hour intensives. We have education on everything from mastering “no makeup” looks to starting a beauty brand. Plus, many classes are free.
What are the biggest challenges you have experienced within the beauty industry and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge I’ve experienced is having the courage to create beyond what is considered safe and share my unique voice and point of view. There is a lot of homogeneity and repetition in the industry because for most, it’s a safer space to create. There are track records of success that you can trust and rely on. Carving out a new space and articulating your vision in an alternate direction can be challenging and have its roadblocks.
But when I think about why I’m doing this all in the first place, I always go back to the impact I want to have and the ideas I want to shift and change. I knew I had to do more than just create the next new eyeshadow palette. I want to build a legacy, and that takes trusting your intuition, imagination and having the courage to execute your ideas without fear.
Danessa Myricks Beauty is designed with all races, genders, ages and styles in mind. Why is it so important to you to have such an inclusive brand?
I know what it feels like to not to be seen and how deeply that can cut. I’m a mother of two and think about the journey ahead for my children. I always want them to see positive reflections of themselves in the world, to feel significant and important. Everyone wants that. I want to always, in my small way, be contributing to moving that conversation forward.
Can you share some words of wisdom with other Black-owned business owners?
I would want them to know that they can and will prevail, in spite of it all. And by “all,” I mean the huge disparities we face comparatively to our counterparts. We have value. We have purpose. So, keep creating.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I’m so madly in love with this industry and all the possibilities we have to create. I’m extremely honored by the love and support that the brand has been given since inception, and I’m incredibly excited for what’s to come!