This Makeup Artist Is Challenging Instagram's Beauty Norms

If you're a beauty nerd with an Instagram account, you've probably noticed that the makeup aesthetic on the app can veer a little...homogenous. Don't get us wrong: We love a good sculpted #Instagram brow or strobed cheek, but the app has even more to offer when it comes to daily beauty inspiration.

Case in point: Lauren Leonard, a 25-year-old, Chicago-based makeup artist who is using her skilled artistry to raise awareness for the skin condition vitiligo. Leonard has two symmetrical patches of lighter skin around her eyes — a result of the condition, which causes skin to lose pigment in patches. Rather than covering them up, however, she decided to embrace it. Now, the patches around her eyes have become somewhat of a signature.

Leonard first started developing vitiligo on her knees as a child, but it wasn't until she was 20-years-old that it started on her face. "At first it was really hard for me to get used to it because I wasn't in a confident place," she told R29. "I thought the spots on my face would take away from my looks, but now I think it adds to it — and makes it even cooler!"

After showing the world via the social platform, Leonard was overwhelmed with positive feedback. "I love hearing from people who have vitiligo or other skin conditions," she says. "I didn't have anybody to look up to when I was a kid and I love being a source of inspiration for people."

They may come for the inspiration, but they stay for the artistry. A quick peruse through @Laur_Elyse — which nearly 300k people follow — reveals Leonard's creative tilt. High-shine lids, dot-inspired makeup, and graphic eyes take center stage, many of which were inspired by music, paintings, fellow artists, and editorial shoots.

Ahead, we asked Leonard to give us the scoop on seven of her favorite looks — not just to inspire makeup obsessives, but to celebrate what makes us different. To quote Leonard herself: "I've never been a traditional person, so why start now?"

Photo: Via @laur_elyse.
"I'm obsessed with anything glossy or red. The point of this look isn't to look perfect all day or traditionally pretty...so embrace the creasing because it will happen. I use a little flat brush to pat Maybelline's Shine Shot Lip Topcoat on top of my shadow, that way you're not disturbing anything underneath."
Photo: Via @laur_elyse.
"I did a Chance The Rapper look. I was inspired by the album art for Acid Rap. I'm a huge fan of music in general, but album artwork sticks out to me. I freehand everything, sometimes that's a good thing — and sometimes it's not."
Photo: Via @laur_elyse.
"I smeared liquid lipstick on my eyes [for this look]. I just took a fluffier brush and started swiping it, then I took a liner brush and drew in little strokes.

"As for foundation, I wear it on most of my face. I have two spots under my nose that I [cover up] because they aren't symmetrical, but I don't try too hard to make it perfect. If I [accidentally] get foundation around my eyes I'll take a [wet] cotton swab and clean it off.

"I love Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation, NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation, Becca Ultimate Coverage Complexion Crème, Revlon Colorstay, and L'Oréal TrueMatch."
Photo: Via @laur_elyse.
''I've seen artists like @tralee.stack and @robertavixen do a lot of dot work and I've been inspired by them. It's something simple, but it makes a bit of a statement, too. I thought it was an easy way to take a simple or basic look and elevate it."
Photo: Via @laur_elyse.
"I often take inspiration from drag makeup. I've been interested in it for years and I started watching RuPaul's Drag Race when it first started. I was inspired by Kimchi and Trixie Mattel who have really extreme looks that are very artistic and conceptual.

"If I'm doing a drag look it takes me two hours or so — but surprisingly, the eyes are the quickest thing to do! I actually go out in drag makeup...Sometimes I'll tone it down, but I have no problem with looking kind of crazy [to some people]."
Photo: Via @laur_elyse.
"I'm a huge Sailor Moon fan and this look was inspired by Sailor Mars. I used to watch the show and when I discovered there were books I collected and read them all."
Photo: Via @laur_elyse.
"White liner is really hard to work with because it has a tendency to get crumbly because of all the pigments in it. [I was inspired by a look by] Jordan Liberty here, he's a makeup artist who does a lot of editorial work. I thought it was simple but really detailed at the same time."
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