What Does “MUA” Really Mean? Here’s a Brief History of the Term

July 02, 2020
By: Alanna Martine Kilkeary | Makeup.com by L'Oréal
what does mua mean
One Google search of the term “MUA” and you’ll find results from beauty sites everywhere. MUA is an abbreviation for makeup artist. Here, we’re breaking down the history of MUA and why we use the term today.

The Origin of MUA

The term MUA as makeup artist first appeared on the internet in 2017. Both Dictionary.com and Urbandictionary.com define it as a nickname for the term “makeup artist,” but it perhaps gained momentum thanks to beauty influencer Manny Gutierrez, who goes by Manny MUA on Youtube, Instagram and Twitter. In 2017, Gutierrez became the face of a Maybelline New York campaign, and shortly thereafter, fans and makeup amateurs alike suddenly realized that MUA was in  not Gutierrez’ last name. MUA quickly transformed from industry slang to a more common term that consumers now recognize.

The term MUA also has ties to MakeupAlley, a makeup product and review forum that was founded in 1999. The popular blog is renowned for its swatches and limited edition makeup reviews and has won over the trust of makeup lovers everywhere since its creation. Today, MakeupAlley is trademarked “MUA Inc” for short.

MUA Today

With social media colliding with the beauty world, the term MUA has endured. With short character counts, quick scrolling and a saturation of constant content (most notably, on Instagram), the term is  here to stay. All it takes is a quick search for “#mua” on Instagram for a whopping 66 million makeup posts — from cut crease liner videos to lip art — to become available at your fingertips. The term MUA has finally blurred the line between professional  and amateur,creating a space where any level  of makeup artist can live (digitally, that is) in harmony.

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