Before and after photos that show the magic of makeup

Makeup can be a way to express yourself and help to show the world the way you feel, without having to say one word. You can give yourself a fresh, natural look or you can go full-on glam, with fake eyelashes and a fierce lip — or find yourself loving somewhere in between. Makeup is, in my mind, one of a girl’s best friends.

And when a person uses makeup to transform their look, oftentimes the finished product can be bewildering — sometimes, the way makeup is applied makes someone look like an entirely different person. These next people did just that: they took their natural, beautiful selves and turned it up to the next level with dramatic tutorials showing how they made their “before” looks into “afters” that are incredible.

Shalom Blac – burn survivor makeover

Makeup is a powerful tool that can undoubtedly be used for fun, but can also help people in a much more dramatic way. Shalom Nchom (who goes by Shalom Blac on her YouTube channel) is a burn survivor who proves that makeup is a way to feel confident in your own skin, no matter what. 

After an accident involving hot oil when she was just nine years old, Nchom turned to makeup as a way to transform herself. Now, with nearly 400,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, she’s inspiring others who might feel uncomfortable in their own skin by posting incredible makeup tutorials that help highlight the most beautiful assets of a person’s face.

In one of her YouTube videos, Nchom starts off completely fresh-faced and smiling — and you can’t deny that she’s a natural beauty. But when she starts walking through her tutorial, first putting on a glamorous honey-hued wig, then using foundation and powder to create a perfectly-contoured canvas to start building her makeup transformation, it’s clear to see that she knows exactly how to make a face look extraordinary! At the end of the video, Nchom looks like an absolute diva, and with the help of makeup, it’s clear she feels like one, too.

Christen Dominique – glam beauty makeover

With more than 3 million subscribers on her YouTube channel, Christen Dominique is making a name for herself in the beauty world. But to Dominique, makeup isn’t meant to hide your face, it’s meant to enhance it. In one of her videos, she spreads positivity to her followers by showing half her face natural, and the other half completely done up, telling her audience that she loves herself both ways — and that they should feel the same about their face, with makeup or without.

In another video, the audience sees Dominique looking natural and casual, with her hair in a messy ponytail and a fresh face. But her transformation over the next ten minutes is show-stopping, with a winged eyeliner that looks beyond perfect and a glossy lip that adds just the right amount of shine to her pout. Seeing her evolve into such a put together, youthful-looking kind of glam is truly mesmerizing.

Monique Parent – mature woman makeover

Who says having fun with makeup stops as you get older? Monique Parent proves the age has nothing to do with the power of makeup. Her YouTube channel (which has over 100,000 subscribers) focuses on aging fabulously, and offers advice on things like treating acne on adult skin and tips on smoothing fine lines. But she also plays up her youthfulness by constantly coming up with tutorials that will give women an instant new look with little effort.

In one of Parent’s videos, she proves that looking flawless isn’t reserved for just those under 40. Unlike many YouTube stars who are all about the power of a “five minute face,” Parent addresses the fact that sometimes, perfection can take a little longer than just a few minutes, and jokingly tells her audience, “Buckle up, this is going to take a little while.”

Forty minutes of skin priming, eye-lining, and brow sculpting later, Parent finishes her tutorial with a stylish wig, and the transformation is unbelievable. If you didn’t have proof that beauty looks good at any age, you do now!

Em Ford – acne makeover

We’ve all been there: waking up and feeling unattractive, all because a pimple appeared overnight. Or, for those struggling with chronic acne, it can feel even worse, because the breakouts seemingly don’t end. Fortunately, there are a countless amount of people who struggle with the same thing, and some of those people chose to do something about it. 

Em Ford, a YouTube vlogger who gained recognition when she posted social media photos of herself without makeup on, then turned the negative remarks and comments she received into a video, is one of those people.

Choosing to ignore the negativity, Ford continues to post beauty tutorials and truly has the skills to transform her face into any kind of look. In another of her videos, she focuses her attention on how to cover up acne in a way that will still keep you looking natural in just minutes flat. She finishes her look with false eyelashes, a bold smokey eye, and a beautiful berry lip, radiating positivity and happiness.

Promise Phan – J.Lo transformation

I’m always amazed when makeup artists can transform themselves into looking like celebrities or characters. To me, it’s absolutely mystifying to figure out how to even begin to look like someone else! With the power of makeup, the right tools, and the right person, it’s clear that anything is possible.

Promise Phan knows exactly what she’s doing — and her YouTube channel with nearly 5 million subscribers proves it. But there’s one video in particular from 2014 that truly caught my eye: it depicts Phan bearing a striking resemblance to Jennifer Lopez, all from simply using the right makeup techniques. She applies white liner to her water line a là J.Lo, creates a chiseled cheek bone using bronzer, and goes with a classic nude lip just like the singer does. The end result is a true look-alike of the famous singer!

Marina Mamic – Johnny Depp transformation

Like I said before, anyone who can pull off making themselves look like another celebrity has some serious talent. But it’s another thing entirely when you can pull off looking like someone famous who isn’t even your gender! That is a feat that takes precision and skill, and a ton of studying up on how exactly to mimic the characteristics of that person.

Marina Mamic’s love of Johnny Depp led her to posting a tutorial that shows how she transformed herself into looking like his character Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. Becoming a swash-buckling pirate takes a lot of work, including a bunch of foundation, eyeliner, and even some fake facial hair, but Mamic’s portrayal of Jack Sparrow is so good that it would make nearly anyone do a double-take!

Lisa Eldridge – rosacea makeover

Trying to wear makeup when you have rosacea, or redness of the skin, can sometimes be a challenge because your face’s coloring isn’t even and can end up looking splotchy. Makeup artist Lisa Eldridge understands the struggles that come with having rosacea and, in a YouTube video, shows how to counteract the redness with some simple techniques that she demonstrates on her model, Dani.

Instead of giving Dani a natural look, Eldridge opts to go bold, because she wants anyone with skin issues to see that you don’t have to settle for a soft and simple look — that you, too, can have an eye-popping lip or a bold brow. The end result is chic and stunning, and Dani is quite literally glowing after her face is all done up. Who says you can’t have porcelain skin, even with a breakout or two?

Chrisspy – spooky skull transformation

Maybe you’re a makeup expert or maybe you’re a total makeup novice who can’t tell the difference between a mascara wand and a brow brush. YouTube vlogger Chrisspy (who’s real name is Christina) aims to teach women how to use makeup as a tool to feel empowered, and it seems to be working, considering she has almost 2 million subscribers!

Chrisspy has dozens upon dozens of videos that show the hottest trends going on right now, but one video in particular stands out — her transformation from nice and natural to a scary-looking skull. Chrisspy uses the tools that normally enhance her beauty to mold herself into a menacing creature. With all of the videos out there that really flaunt an artist’s work, there’s definitely something to be said about someone who chooses to take their talents and apply them in a way that’s spooky and daring.

Destiny Godley – contour makeover

If you’re anything like me, you admire anyone who can contour — because it just seems way too difficult to practice and perfect on yourself. Beauty YouTuber Destiny Godley understands that contouring can be scary and her YouTube video that focuses on applying foundation and highlighter to create the perfect contour look is truly eye-opening.

Godley starts by creating a blank canvas, covering her skin with foundation to achieve flawless-looking skin. With the right powder and brushes, she accents and highlights segments of her face, and finishes her looks with a bright and daring purple lip. If Godley wanted to show the world that contouring isn’t as scary as it appears, she totally nailed it.

NikkieTutorials – vintage glam makeover

To me, there’s nothing more lovely than a bold red lip and a winged eyeliner, a look that evokes a 1950s pin-up model vibe. But getting that vampy, sultry-yet-sweet style isn’t always easy, as there are plenty of ways to look overdone or not done up enough. YouTube celeb NikkieTutorials knows that this look can be a struggle to achieve, and posted a video that is seriously next-level.

Nikkie proves that it really is all about the eyes and lips with this look, with a precise winged eyeliner that extends perfectly to the edge of her brow, and a cherry red lip stain that looks absolutely phenomenal. When the look is completely finished and put together, it seems as though Nikkie could be from a completely different era, totally nailing the vintage glam look she was going for.