How Mikayla Nogueira Became One of TikTok’s Favorite Makeup Artists


If there’s a beauty challenge on TikTok, Mikayla Noguiera has attempted it. The 22-year-old makeup artist, who is based in Massachusetts, is quickly becoming one of the app’s favorite beauty influencers: Her page delivers candid reviews, helpful tips and hacks, and flawless makeup looks—all of which have earned her over 5 million followers. Her latest video to go viral is one in which she attempts a painterly contouring technique (it has over 28 million views and counting), but she has also created beauty looks to match her earrings, experimented with floral eye makeup, and even done glam inspired by retro Dunkaroos merch.

Nogueira’s large fan base is especially impressive given she only joined TikTok in March last year. At the time, the pandemic had just begun, and Nogueira had been laid off from her job at Ulta. “With so much free time on my hands, I really wasn’t sure how to spend it,” she says. She decided to download TikTok and to pursue her true passion: makeup artistry. “My first video was the ‘Catfish Challenge’ that was going around,” she says. “It was a clip of a before and after showing you with and without makeup. It was one of the first times I showed anyone how I looked without makeup. Shockingly, the video blew up.”

Since then, Nogueira has been experimenting with all sorts of beauty videos that showcase her talent and flair for makeup. “Creating TikToks is very easy for me,” says Nogueira. “My mind is constantly overflowing with ideas. I make sure to diversify my content as much as I can to keep my audience interested…But mainly, I am inspired by one thing: makeup!”

Below, Nogueira talks abouther creative process, her holy-grail beauty items, and what her most viral video is.

What’s your process for creating TikToks?

I wake up every morning around 7 a.m. to begin filming. My goal for each day is a minimum of three videos, and I will never go beyond six. Each video takes one to two hours to film. If I do an eyeshadow tutorial, it can take up to three hours to film. I am typically finished filming by noon. I save from noon to 2 p.m to post my videos and interact with my followers. After 2 p.m, I leave time for meetings, emails, phone calls with my manager, and editing. By the time I am done with everything it is usually 6 or 7 p.m., and I am extremely exhausted. I go to bed around 9 p.m.!

How has your love of makeup grown over the years?

My story with makeup is not the most pleasant, but I am not ashamed of that. It is the reason I became the person I am today. I was often bullied growing up for my appearance, my voice, and my weight. The biggest insult I have received all my life is, “she’s really a man.” Because of this, I genuinely questioned my femininity for many years, and would do everything and anything to appear more “feminine.” I started using makeup as early as 10 as a way to feel better about myself. Makeup was a safe zone for me for many years. I started watching endless amounts of tutorials and beauty videos everyday. This is when my mindset shifted dramatically, and I began to see makeup as art. Makeup has become my “healthy” obsession and my absolute world. And now, I get to share my passion for makeup with the world each day, an incredible honor and blessing.

It’s been quite amazing to see your follower base grow. Why do you think your content resonates?

My content resonates because of (1) my attitude towards life and (2) my authenticity. Because of everything I have gone through in my life, it has been incredibly important to maintain a genuinely positive attitude, and be true to myself. My videos are very raw and unscripted. While I choose what I am going to film in advance, I do not plan the actual video in advance, so it is entirely natural. I swear like a sailor, don’t give a damn if people don’t like me, I never compare myself to others, and I will always lift others up. I try to add humor into my videos to remind people that “it’s just makeup,” and it is meant to be fun. Everyone became very tired of the constant drama that was occurring in the beauty community, and I bring a refreshing perspective. My main goal is to make someone smile, or teach someone something new.

What’s your approach to reviewing products? What do you always try to keep in mind?

I remember my mom nervously called me when I posted my series, “Full Face of Makeup I Hate.” She thought I had made a big mistake, and that brands were not going to want to work with me anymore, or that I was going to be removed from PR lists. My response? “I don’t care.” Sure, the PR is incredible and I am very blessed—however, that is not why I am here. I am very honest in my reviews. I always share that what may work for me, may not work for someone else. Reviews are simply meant to be fun and a way for me to try a new product that I am personally interested in. I try to share the key product information for each product I review; I will mention the price, and show the packaging or PR box if it came with one. I also always share whether I purchased something or whether it is PR, too. However, just because I received something in PR, does not mean I have to review it positively. In some cases, I have absolutely wrecked products I have received in PR.

What are your top-5 holy grail beauty items you keep going back to?

The Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer, Nyx Brow Glue, Maybelline SuperStay Foundation, Glow Recipe Skincare, and Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Eyeliner.

What’s a new makeup product you’re really excited about?

I am incredibly excited about a makeup product that I created, which is coming very, very soon… It is something I have worked very hard on and am thrilled for the world to finally see.

What’s your #1 tip or “hack” when doing makeup?

My number one piece of advice is to properly understand your skin texture and skin type. For instance, I have a normal (balanced) skin type, and minimal-to-no skin texture. I always keep this in mind when purchasing or using makeup. This will determine the type of prep and primers one uses, along with foundation formulas, eyeshadow primers, mascaras. By knowing this information in advance, it not only helps with shopping for makeup, but also with your application.

When it comes to skin tone and color, having a 100 percent understanding of your skin tones is a game changer when choosing a foundation, too. For instance, I am certain that my “master” tone is fair and my “undertone” is neutral. I never have an issue buying foundations because I know to always buy the “fair neutral” shade.

What has been your most viral video, and why do you think it went viral?

My most viral video is a video of me trying a contour hack. It currently has 27.9 million views. Videos trying “hacks” go viral on TikTok for several reasons. The main reason is that people watch to the end to see the final result, and on TikTok, watch time leads to more views overall on the For You Page. Also, the contour hack was unique and easy to accomplish, so people were curious to watch the process and see if they could potentially do it themselves.

What’s the next big idea you want to attempt on TikTok?

TikTok is changing by the day, and I am in it for the ride. It is so, so fun and I enjoy it so much. I honestly don’t have a “big idea,” but I have to tell you, that is why I love TikTok. I can simply be myself, and make unique videos. I don’t have to put on some big performance or be someone I am not for views and attention. I am simply me, and I love how it is going. I think the better question is, “where am I going next?”

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