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Claiming Your Queendom: Everyday Beauty Lessons From Drag Queens

Drag queens have lots of beauty wisdom to share for setting spicy trends and living your truth

Drag queens are fierce, confident, and oh so fashionable. They know what to wear as well as how to make a little (or a lot) of contouring go a long way. With some of the best personal brands in fashion, drag queens have a lot to teach us about living our truth each and every day.

Whether it’s rocking bold colors, keeping up on our skin care routines, or staying affordably chic, here are some beauty lessons from the best in the business.

Go bold with color

Take a trip to any drag show and you’ll be astonished by how well drag queens manage to play with striking colors and eccentric patterns — and that’s not a new trend. Drag queens have been using vivid colors to make an impression for decades, breaking them out as a means of self-expression as well as open rebellion against repressive social norms. Now, it’s not only okay to go bright and vibrant, but some of the most fashionable looks out there include striking colors for makeup. There’s no reason to limit your lipstick palette to reds or confine eyeshadow to dark colors. Experiment with your favorites to see what works.

Play with your features

Highlight, contour, and cut creases wouldn’t be nearly as bold or popular as they are today without drag queens leading the charge. They know how to make these looks work for them, highlighting their best assets in unique ways. And yet, this is another trend that drag queens haven’t been given credit for.

NYC drag legend Vivacious spilled the tea on the culture neglect to Elle magazine, venting the frustration the drag community felt about living in the shadow they helped create. “When was the last time you saw a drag queen in a commercial for L'Oreal, CoverGirl, anyone? We're not there.” So wear your features with pride and tell people exactly where the inspiration comes from.

Express your inner self

Drag queens go big to show off who they really are. That might mean rocking an important cultural piece in a fearless way or representing your defining character traits with a sharp look, but you can’t go wrong as long as you’re showing yourself. Betta Naanstop said it best. “For me, make-up is everything. I use make-up to express how Betta feels. Drag has empowered me – it taught me that if I don’t mean anything to myself, I can’t expect it out of other people.”


Ask any drag queen about their beauty routines, and you’re likely to hear some moisturizing tips. Skin care products also present an easy opportunity to give back to drag queens, as many of them have established their own brands. Drag queens also have a good habit of crafting their products to fit as many people as possible. Just look at RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Monique Heart, whose skin care line MoBeauty is intended for people of all genders, ages, and skin tones.

You don’t have to break the bank

Last, but not least, you don’t have to invest big bucks for superior style. The drag queen community has mastered the art of making outfits on a budget, often sharing tips with newcomers to help them rock creative looks without spending a ton. Simple resources like video tutorials will provide info on capturing your inner femme fatale with drug store beauty products, when and where to find the best discounts, and so on.

The world at large has only recently begun to appreciate all the work drag queens put in both on and off the stage, but they never let that stop them. If there’s one big takeaway from their lessons, it’s to know yourself, know your worth, and don’t let anyone deny it. Once your outer self is as fierce as your inner self, no one will be able to hold you back.

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