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Jul 28, 2021
Jodi Yip

3 Malaysian Avant-Garde Makeup Artists Who Keep Changing The Game


The beauty community has been an ever-growing garden blooming with makeup artists with their vibrant artistry, taking over social media by this very second! From recreating dramatic looks inspired by your favourite fiction character or birthing a whole new one, these avant-garde makeup artists aren’t afraid to go beyond the boundaries of traditional makeup.

WARNING: Hold onto your seats or stand if you’d like, but be prepared to be absolutely swept away! Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Lee Ming Hui (@minghui.psd)
(Source: @minghui.psd)

This 20-year-old graphic design student dove into avant-garde makeup in early 2018 when she stumbled upon @melovemealot, who sparked her interest in turning her face into a canvas of artistic possibilities. While taking a gap-year from pursuing her degree in Communication Design in RMIT, Ming Hui has been actively creating content, freelancing in design work and of course, enhancing her makeup abilities. Her down-to-earth personality together with her skilled online presence has made her one of Malaysia’s top avant-garde makeup artists. 

“You just need to believe in yourself, because if you do, you won’t get bothered by people’s comments."

Often times, she gets questioned if she were to wear her makeup looks out. So much so that she created a simple statement look, inspired by her answer paired with an eye-roll. Ming Hui plays with a variety of styles; bold and edgy, soft and fairy-like and in some cases like this, statement pieces.

Letting them know. (Source: @minghui.psd)

She also highlights on creative freedom where she enjoys making looks without limitations that often comes in briefs and strict guidelines from brands. “I really enjoyed the recent one, MyCafeLatte makeup, because they gave me the freedom to come up with my own storyboard for the video. A lot of brands tend to give you briefs and strict guidelines, but this brand gave me a lot of creative freedom. So I liked that."

Like most of us, Ming Hui uncovered hidden interests and talents aside from makeup amidst the pandemic such as crochet and recently signing up for an online pottery class by The Pottery Club (@jointhepotteryclub). “I like making hats. So far, that’s the only thing I know how to crochet. With clothes, it’s pretty hard. Other than that, I sketch, paint to get my mind going y’know and I’ve also been making clay trays”.

Favourite local brands: Gleami (@gleamionline), Nita Cosmetics (@nita.cosmetics) & Kamelia Cosmetics (@kameliacosmetics)

Hammada Bamadhaj (@hammadart)
(Source: @hammadart)

Capricorn avant-garde makeup artist, content creator, drag performer, and Artist of the Year of Nyx Cosmetics FACE Awards 2019, 26-year old Hammada Bamadhaj will always have you on the edge of your seat for every look he creates. Unpredictable and exciting, his kaleidoscope of makeup looks not only highlights his expertise as an artist who has been in the industry for five years, but also his bright and colourful personality!

Stemming from a pure science background, Hammada steadily discovered his creative identity through his younger years, beginning with face painting, SFX makeup and eventually, beauty makeup. His looks usually encompass a bombastic blend of all aspects of makeup artistry.

“Back when I was a kid, I was an avid reader. That’s how I think my building blocks started, it was all in my head. Now, makeup is my outlet to let all those creatures out into the world”.
Hammada's winning creation for NYX's Wonderland After Dark. (Source: @hammadart)

With collaborations from Universal Music, Warner Music and now Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia, Hammada’s talent is internationally recognised and we can clearly see why! He’s appreciative of the opportunities to express his creativity to non-beauty brands and companies, making them unexpected additions that complement his work.

Recounting one of his music collaborations, “I made a look for (insert inaudible singing) - wait no (more inaudible singing)...THERE’S NO PLACE I’D RATHER BE~ yes that group, I got to work with them”. It was Clean Bandit guys. And yes, he actually sang.

“Usually when I get a job, I would do everything and I would be all over the place. Once that’s done, I give myself a certain amount of time to do nothing. I taught myself to chill and look back and acknowledge my work. I’ve earned the time to rest”.

Favourite local brands: Hair Pot (@hairpothq), Breena Beauty (@breenabeauty), Velvet Vanity (@shopvelvetvanity), Root Remedies (@rootremedies), Vesper Lex (@vesperlex) & Glam X Cosmetics (@glamxcosmetics)

Afie Rohim (@ehfiiie)
(Source: @ehfiiie)

Cat lover, hardcore Avril Lavigne fan and fashion design graduate, Afie Rohim is an avant-garde makeup artist that is not here to play. When beginning her journey towards a makeup artist, she faced multiple doubts towards her passion but true to her calling, she never once strayed from her path.

“The only person that pushed and encouraged me was my sister. She was so supportive of my passion and believed that I was born to do makeup. Overtime, I built my own courage and confidence just to be able to show people my talent and skills”.

And that, she did! Her confidence overflowed through her work, creating makeup looks inspired by abstract art. From prismatic face-paintings to bedazzling jewels adorning her face, Afie’s facial works of art can also be seen on models for various photography projects and campaigns.

“It was worth it because my talent and skills were recognised by the one and only: Yuna. We had a live session together on Instagram and to be honest, that is one of my biggest career achievements as of now."

Her collaborations with photographer, Catherthea Potjanaporn (@catherthea) are by far her favourite with Divine Retribution: Wrath of Mercy being her most memorable one. It was then she showcased her most challenging yet beautiful and skilled makeup artistry.

Divine Retribution: Wrath of Mercy (Source: @catherthea)

Favourite local brands: Gleami (@gleamionline), IrisA cosmetics (@irisacosmetics) & Milky Moon cosmetics (@milkymooncosmetics)


Still attached to your seats or are you leaning on a wall for support? Catch these Malaysian avant-garde artists on their online platforms and while you’re at it, check out their favourite local makeup and skincare brands to recreate your very own avant-garde makeup looks!