chaos makeup rainbow highlighter
photo: Instagram/__meganmartinez

When rainbow highlighters went viral on social media, a Latina was at the center of one of the trend's biggest hits. Chaos Makeup founder Megan Martinez launched a highlighter with a clear base that gave you the rainbow glow of your dreams in the light, and disappeared in the shade. It was genius, and the popularity of the game-changing product catapulted the indie brand into the spotlight. 

But if you had told Martinez that running a booming makeup company that could poise her to become the next Kat Von D was in her future when she was a teen, she never would have believed you.

"Makeup was not something I did because I love it," Martinez told Allure.

"It was something that I was just good at. At the time, it was a means of survival," she added.

Martinez became homeless at the age of 14, and made ends meet with gigs like working at Whataburger and doing makeup for her classmates.

By 15, she was a full-time freelance makeup artist who went by ChaosMakeupArtist on Myspace.

It was on that platform she shared her outside-the-box looks, and built a following.

Highlighter became one of the Corpus Christi native's signature items, which she wore way before it was cool. She even went as far as making her own colorful versions.

“I couldn’t find anything that would make the skin look wet," she told Allure.

"That was my goal at the time. I wanted something with a super dewy, wet finish, but at the time, there was nothing like that.”

Once she nailed her DIY formula, Martinez began selling her highlighters on the side, which led to collaboration opportunities with indie brands.

Eventually, she created her Chaos Makeup line where she came up with her innovative highlighter formula with a clear base.

"The idea was to make colors that you can wear out," Martinez shared with Allure.

"You shouldn’t be embarrassed by them. You shouldn’t feel like you’ve got a bruise on your face. You shouldn’t feel like you’re wearing eye shadow on your cheeks. You should feel beautiful, confident, and could go anywhere. The only time that this highlighter would show its color is when it hits the light. Even then, it should be beautiful, not like Halloween," she added.

The brand started out with six individual highlighters, and when rainbow highlighters went viral in 2016, Martinez made her own iconic version — and the rest was history.

Today, the 28-year-old is not only working on a color-changing makeup formula and cool new products like a holographic highlighter...

... but Martinez also told Allure she has other goals like becoming a chemist, and upgrading from hand-making her products with a two-person team in her small hometown lab to mass production.

The brand is strong!

Despite all of her success in the beauty industry, it still isn't everything to Martinez. "All of this is really to fund my dream, and my dream to be a scientist/humanitarian/animal activist. I want to fight for the planet," she said.