You’ve probably stumbled across a Christen Dominique video or two — she’s known for her “two face” looks and easy-to-follow makeup tutorials that have you looking fire in no time. In an industry where being different and standing out has become increasingly difficult, Dominique has carved out her space by being unapologetically her. Whether she’s opening up about her struggle with dark circles or keeping it real about her coffee obsession, she’s always being Christen, and that resonates with her audience. I recently caught up with the entrepreneur and makeup guru to talk about her new makeup line, Dominique Cosmetics, and how she got her unexpected start.
MDC: How did you get started in makeup and YouTube?
Christen Dominique: I actually started putting makeup on my face because I was teased for my under eye circles. I used to sneak my mom’s concealer, which was this yellow Maybelline [product], and I put it under my eyes. It actually helped my undereyes and I became really into color correcting, even though I didn’t know what it was. That’s when I started getting into makeup, from that insecurity. I started doing my friends’ makeup, and they really liked how it looked so I kept doing it. I would always do their makeup and it was to the point that I was 23 years old still doing the same thing. It was too much because I was a mom working, going to school full time, and my friends were finally like: “why don’t you just do videos? You can teach us from doing videos online.” I [thought], that’s perfect! But I was scared. I had this insecurity about being on video without makeup on. I didn’t even walk out the house without makeup. It was something I physically could not do. I sucked it up and I did it, and everything just started coming together. I started doing it more often and I got a company who wanted me to move to LA and do YouTube full time. I had just bought a house, so I thought that’s crazy I can’t do that. But my husband is very supportive and he said, “this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You need to do it.” We ended up moving out to LA from Houston, Texas. And now I’m coming out with my own cosmetics line — I just got chills saying that.
MDC:What’s the story behind your first product, the Latte Palette?
CD:I love coffee; coffee is the beginning of my day. It started with me and my mom having coffee together — just to have girl time and talk, and it just became a routine for me. Now I share it with my fans and they send me their snaps with their coffees and their mugs. So I was like a latte palette is perfect. They’re warm neutral colors — the yellow shade actually works as a brightening powder because that’s kind of where I started. You can use it underneath your eyes as well to brighten the area or even just the lid. I wanted to keep it more matte so you can add dimension to the eye. The three pops of color are perfect for the lid or the inner corner of the eye. They’re all named after coffee, like Hazelnut, Espresso and Cold brew. The color scheme is so everyday and you can use Mocha as a contour shade or Macchiato and Créme Brulee as a highlight — it’s really a multipurpose palette.
MDC: If you could give advice to your younger self, what would you say?
CD:Not to worry about what others think or feel about you.
MDC: Where do you see Dominique Cosmetics going?
CD:I see it flourishing. I see more products, and I see a long lasting brand. I wanted something that’s going to outlast my life — that’s my goal. [A company] that can be handed off to my family. I just want to keep it going in that way. I never want to sell it, I want to keep the passion.
About the Author:Tembe Denton-Hurst hails from Brooklyn, NY, but if you ask her, the answer will be much more complicated. She's passionate about YouTube, storytelling and swatching everything she can get her hands on. When the assistant beauty editor isn't brainstorming crazy ideas for makeup.com, she's lurking on Reddit, spending time with her cats Stella and Dakota or asking obvious questions.