Over the past couple months, Chaos Makeup has learned what its like to go viral. Between its clear-to-rainbow highlighter and color-changing mood cream, the Texas-based beauty brand has gone from under-the-radar to one to watch. (Some of its highlighters have even ended up in professional makeup artist Val Garland’s kit.) About 144,000 people — and counting — follow Chaos Makeup on Instagram to check out what magical makeup it comes up with it next. With my fellow Allure editors completely mystified by its products, I chatted with Megan Martinez, the founder of Chaos Makeup, to find out her secrets. Turns out, the 28-year-old makes everything by hand in a small lab in south Texas with the help of two other people. Unfortunately, Martinez keeps her formulas tightly under wraps, but she shared what the production process is like and how Chaos Makeup came to be.
The name Chaos Makeup was originally used in another context. At 14, Martinez was a homeless teen. To make money, she worked at Whataburger, picked up odd jobs, and did her classmates’ makeup for school dances. “Makeup was not something I did because I love it,” Martinez shares. “It was something that I was just good at. At the time, it was a means of survival.” By the time she was 15, Martinez considered herself a full-time freelance makeup artist and created a Myspace profile as ChaosMakeupArtist, and she built a following for her punk aesthetic. “Everything I did was crazy,” Martinez says. “Just like the name Chaos Makeup, I did everything chaotic. The way I was was chaotic, my appearance was chaotic — especially for south Texas — so I stuck out. But it actually worked for good PR. In the long run, I became well-known for that.”