Celebrities and Friends Pay Tribute to Late Makeup Artist AJ Crimson

Multi-talented. Inspiring. Shining star. True. These are just some of the words used to describe the late makeup artist AJ Crimson. News of his untimely death began circulating on March 30 as friends and others took to Instagram to show their love for him.

In a statement his family shared with People, they praised the young artist’s impact on the beauty industry and in their own lives. “AJ Crimson was a makeup industry leader who set a high standard of beauty that was beautiful and accessible to people of all colors,” they wrote. “As a family, we are heartbroken and devastated by his passing, but we are grateful for the lessons he taught each of us with his truth, his candor and his leadership.”

The career of the Detroit-raised makeup artist began in the early 2000s. Crimson began working in the costume department for the film 8 miles, and during filming, her boss, Oscar-winning costume designer Mark Bridges, noticed her talent and opened up his spare room in Los Angeles to help launch her career. From there, Crimson was lucky enough to work with Will.I.Am and then Fergie, eventually developing a long list of clients that included Christina Milan, Hilary Duff, Angela Bassett, Raven Symone and Estelle.

Working with Estelle inspired him to launch his eponymous beauty brand, he previously said Seduce in a 2017 interview. At the time, it was virtually impossible to find a dark enough outline for the British singer, and he wanted to change that. The result led to the launch of Dual Skin Creme foundation with the darkest shade, called #8, a hickory shade. “AJ Crimson Beauty is about the end of girls having to put themselves in other people’s boxes,” he shared. “I wanted to build a box around this girl.”

He worked hard to ensure that women of color, especially black women, of all shades could feel represented in a beauty industry that often didn’t cater to them. But her impact goes even further than her makeup artistry and beauty brand, as many have recounted in their social media tributes. It’s hard to distill someone’s memory into a single Instagram post, but many who knew AJ Crimson did a magnificent job of showing their love and admiration for him.

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