The untold truth of Christen Dominique

From her popular YouTube channel to her guest appearances on shows like The Real and Style Code Live, Christen Dominique (whose real name is Christen Irias) is one of the hottest names in the beauty industry today. Dominique first came onto the scene in 2009 and, since then, she has amassed more than 4 million followers across her social media platforms, and was named as one of Forbes top beauty influencers in 2017.

Her makeup videos range from showing you how to create an everyday, glamorous look to more dramatic projects like transforming yourself into a character from Monster High. Dominique’s ambitious and entertaining tutorials have made her a fan favorite, but she’s not stopping there. Dominique’s star is still very much on the rise. Here’s how the now-famous makeup maven went from juggling school, work, and motherhood, to becoming one of the most recognized names in the YouTube beauty universe.

Her mom has been her beauty inspiration since childhood

Dominique shares a very close relationship with her mom. It was her mother who was her earliest beauty inspiration and who first sparked her interest in what would one day become a successful beauty career. “I got into makeup when I was about five when I would watch my mom do her makeup — it was almost like a magnet for me!” Dominique told Beauty Bay. “I instantly grabbed her lipsticks and put them all over my face and stuffed animals, and when I couldn’t put it on my face I would color it into the drawings I would do of faces.”

It would be a few years before Dominique actually started applying makeup on herself, but her early admiration of her mother stuck with her throughout her childhood and adolescence. That early fascination with makeup would prove to be a solid foundation for greater things to come.

Battling her under eye circles put her on the map

When Dominique first started experimenting with makeup, she wasn’t looking to transform her entire face — something she excels at these days. Instead, she was looking to just cover up the circles under her eyes. Hers were prominent enough that her classmates would tease her so, insecure due to their taunts, Dominique started borrowing her mom’s concealer. “It actually helped my undereyes and I became really into color correcting, even though I didn’t know what it was,” she told Makeup.com. “That’s when I started getting into makeup, from that insecurity.”

Dominique became so skilled that her friends began to take notice of her new talent. They began asking her to do their makeup, too, and Dominique soon became the de facto makeup artist of her circle of friends. This not only kept her interest in beauty alive, but also gave her a way to slowly refine her technique over the years. 

Before becoming famous, she worked in this "mundane" job

Dominique’s pre-beauty blogging career was far from glamorous. She was focused on being a wife, mother, and going to school, all while holding down a job in medical billing for half a decade. She wasn’t discontented with her life, although she said it could “get mundane.” “Everywhere I worked [people] would ask me, ‘What are you doing here?'” she told Refinery29.

It was her friends who finally got Dominique to break away from the monotony of her job and embark on a new adventure. They encouraged her to begin putting videos on YouTube, and she soon found herself hooked in spite of being a self-described shy person. It wouldn’t be long before YouTube took over Dominique’s life, and she began to change her lifestyle for the benefit of her channel. “I worked in a cubicle,” she said. “I didn’t wear makeup because I wanted to save my skin for the weekend, so I could film a video!”

"I love coffee"

Like so many of us, Dominique needs a caffeine boost to get through the day. “I love coffee; coffee is the beginning of my day,” she told Makeup.com. “It started with me and my mom having coffee together — just to have girl time and talk, and it just became a routine for me. Now I share it with my fans and they send me their snaps with their coffees and their mugs.”

That morning cup of joe is more than just a pick me up, though. Coffee also provided the inspiration for her debut makeup palette, The Latte Palette. With color names like Hazelnut, Macchiato, and Vanilla Creme, Dominique’s palette appeals to the Starbucks lover in all of us. It’s also designed to “suit most skin tones,” said Dominique, and “was truly made to be an everyday versatile palette.” Cheers to Dominique for giving us another way to get our daily coffee fix!

Launching a makeup line fulfilled a childhood dream

The Latte Palette was the realization of a lifelong dream for Dominique. While she hadn’t planned on a career in the beauty industry as a little girl, she had been unknowingly developing the skills that would one day make her famous. “I’ve always had a dream of creating my own line, I’ve been drawing pictures of people wearing makeup since I was about 5; I would try to draw it on paper after watching my mom do hers,” she told Beauty Bay.

When she got older, she started experimenting with her friends’ beauty products when doing their makeup, but even then she was putting her own unique spin on things. “I’ve always mixed my shadows and colors together to make my own unique shades,” she said. “I would never use what only one product would give me. I reached the point where all my makeup was mixed into my own little concoctions and I knew then I would need to create my own cosmetic line that I could customize for everyone.”

She didn't want to move to LA, but her husband made her

At first, Dominique’s YouTube channel was just a way to explore her creative side, and that’s all she really expected it to be. Even after her channel began to take off, Dominique still didn’t plan to pursue it as a full time career. When a company wanted to help her pursue beauty full time and asked her to move to Los Angeles to focus on her channel, Dominique almost turned them down. “I had just bought a house, so I thought, that’s crazy I can’t do that,” she told Makeup.com.

Fortunately, her husband had other ideas and wanted his wife to pursue her dreams. Dominique said that her husband “is very supportive” and told her that she couldn’t turn down the chance of a lifetime, so they ended up making the move from Houston to LA. It was a risk, but one that ended up paying off big time.

She views her fans as her friends

Everyone vows to remember their friends if they ever become famous, but how many celebs really follow through with it? It can be easy for the rich and famous to lose touch with their roots, but Dominique remains grateful for her fans. In fact, she doesn’t even view them as fans, but looks upon her many followers as friends. After reaching the milestone of having one million subscribers, the makeup guru expressed her gratitude for them to TubeFilter. “It feels like I have a million friends,” she said. “To my fans, you keep me going and inspire me to do great things!”

She believes that, aside from her makeup knowledge, it’s her personality that keeps her friends tuning in for more videos. “I’d have to say my personality is what makes my channel so unique,” she said. “There is no one out there like you and when you embrace it people tend to relate to you more.”

Makeup isn't the only thing way she makes her eyes pop

Dominique may be a genius with a makeup brush, but not all of her secrets can be mimicked with creative uses of cosmetics. If you want to get some of her eye-popping looks, you’re going to have to branch out beyond eyeshadow and mascara. The secret to her stunning eyes? Colored contacts. While she doesn’t need them to correct her vision, Dominique looks at colored contacts as yet another way to express herself through color and to change up her look. 

“I wear them purely as a cosmetic to change up my makeup looks,” Dominique told Allure. “I love exploring with different shades.” Dominique isn’t alone, either. Other beauty bloggers have jumped on the colored contacts wagon. Many celebs, including Selena Gomez and Kendall and Kylie Jenner are also taking part in the rising trend. They might not be a necessary item to add to your beauty arsenal, but colored contacts are a quick and easy way to transform your look.

Her videos aren't just about makeup

If you skim through Dominique’s channel, it would be natural to assume that she just posts standard makeup tutorials. If you’re a dedicated fan, though, you know that her videos go deeper than the application of cosmetics. Dominique wants her viewers to come away with more than makeup tips. Dominique told Beauty Bay that she has been passionate about helping people her entire life, and even considered becoming a psychologist at one point. That desire to help people was part of her motivation in launching her YouTube channel.

“I started making videos to help people learn techniques with makeup and give inspiration but I didn’t just want to stop there, I wanted people to leave with not only knowledge but a feeling,” she said. “So at the end of every video I give either an encouraging, motivating piece of advice or I leave them with a simple note to love themselves. I love my audience and I want them to take something with them in every video that would help them in more than just one way.”

Inner beauty is the most important thing

While she has made a name for herself through enhancing outer beauty, Dominique believes that inner beauty is even more important. She told Trending All Day that this is one of the most important things she learned in the beauty industry, along with focusing on her goals and staying driven. “The beauty on the inside will always overpower the outside,” she said.

At the end of the day, it’s all about staying positive, and this is something she tries to communicate to her viewers. “Inner beauty is the key to any form of beauty,” Dominique told TubeFilter. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but Dominique said that the key is to hang in there. “Start to tell yourself you are who you feel you are and your mind will start to believe it,” she said. “Sometimes you have to fake it until you make it happen.”

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