Sure, we're all makeup geeks in our own right, but Marlena Stell is one of the few who can truly claim the title. If you're the type who has been watching YouTube beauty tutorials for years, you'll probably remember seeing of the makeup artist's step-by-step videos—under her online moniker MakeupGeekTV—gracing your feed. Flash forward to eight years after her very first post, and Stell now has a successful makeup line under her belt, and has become an internet legend in her own right. After achieving YouTube beauty guru fame, thanks to equal parts makeup skills and her warm personality, her fans and followers began requesting she start a range of her own, which is currently available at makeupgeek.com.
"There was a little bit of a demand from my fans to start a makeup line, but for me as a consumer, I was frustrated with not having certain things I knew would be great products, or having to spend $12 to $14 on a single eyeshadow pan," Stell tells InStyle. "In particular, there was a lack of products for medium and dark skin, as well as porcelain skin products—those end ranges were left out of a lot of things. Even products like blushes and contours were marketed toward fair and medium skin, so I wanted to fix that." During the creation process, Stell had friends of every complexion try out the products, and give their honest feedback about what worked, and most importantly, where improvements could be made. The line began with a rainbow of shadows and blushes, but has expanded into contouring products and eyeliners, with foundations and liquid lipsticks to come later in the year.
Contouring is obviously nothing new in the makeup world, especially if you're into that Instagram aesthetic, the Makeup Geek contouring palettes are unique to the market in that Stell developed shades for both cool and warm skin tones so that the finished result perfectly complements your own complexion. "We're the only company that has a range for both, and they're clearly labeled, so it's easy to find your color," she tells us. "Some of the contour pans out there are either too orange or too grey, so you either look sick, or like an Oompa Loompa." Perhaps as a departure from the trend, Stell has noticed many of her fans and followers taking a liking to highlighting over contouring, and predicts that multi-tonal highlighters in unconventional colors will be huge for the summer.
Even more than celebrity inspiration, Stell notes that social media plays a huge role in the creation of a makeup trend, which in turn, influences her product lineup. Case in point: the metallic liquid lipsticks she has in the works for the holiday season. "It's so different how it was when I started in that social media dominates what the trends are going to be, almost more than fashion shows and celebrities," Stell says. Despite whichever contouring pattern happens to be going viral on Instagram at any given moment, Stell sees the importance in having a signature look she knows works for her—with hers being a balanced effect with either the lips or eyes on display, paired with lots of lashes. "It's important to wear and do anything that makes you happy, and not care what others think of you. Regardless of what lipstick you wear, everyone is gonna have an opinion," she adds. "All that really matters is what you truly like and what makes you confident and happy. That's what shows through all of the makeup." Preach, sister.