What Happened When I Took a Private Jet with Beyonce's Makeup Artist

I now know all of Queen Bey's beauty secrets, and I'm going to share them with you.

Beyonce 2013 Los Angeles performing
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As a beauty editor, I get to do some pretty cool shit, like that time I drank my way through wine country in the name of skincare, or that night I casually spent ice skating with Olympian Johnny Weir. (No, it's not lost on me how super fortunate I am to have this job.)

But last week, in what might be the highlight of my life, I found myself flying at 45,000 feet courtesy of Luminess, getting my makeup done by none other than Sir John himself—one of the most sought-after makeup artists in the beauty world, and glamifier of the one and only Queen B. So I did what any makeup-obsessed human would do: I interrogated him until my lips turned blue—then asked him what shade of gloss would complement them.


“Prep your lips with an eye cream rather than a lip balm," advises Sir John, blowing my damn mind. "The sensitive skin on your lips should be treated the same as your eyelids." Yes, that means step away from your favorite minty, waxy lip balm if you're using it underneath a lipstick. "Lip balms can change the texture of a matte lipstick, while eye cream stops the pigment from sinking into lip lines," he says.

For an option that does double-duty, try the lightweight Auto Correct Brightening and Depuffing Eye Cream from Sunday Riley, which softens skin and hydrates with watermelon rind extract. "After dabbing on the cream, apply lip liner over the entire lip, filling it in," says Sir John. "To finish the look, layer on a rich, emollient lipstick in a beautiful, highly saturated shade.”


Whether you're Beyoncé or, well, not Beyoncé, you should still have a handful of tried-and-true basics in your bag at all times, especially when you're rushing through TSA security. For Sir John, that includes wipes, Q-tips, blush, mascara, and a little bit of moisture. Which, same.

“Sure, Q-tips are a must, but witch hazel toner wipes are great for getting rid of shine and leftover makeup," he says. "You can also use a cream blush—I like Stila's—to give yourself a quick balmy, monochromatic look." As for mascaras, Sir John swears by Luminess mascara, noting that "the tip of the tiny brush looks like a ladybug, which creates amazing separation, so it's easy to use on your bottom lashes with precision." And, as a finishing touch, Sir John says he likes to warm up a few drops of L'Oréal Paris Rosy Tone Cream in his hands, and then "press it in over a finished, fully made-up face for an organic-looking glow."



The trick to looking put together fast? A big lip. "When you’re about to land in a new city, a statement lip can take you only five minutes, and you just look put together," says Sir John. "For a crazy-colored lip that’s still flattering, look for a formula with blue undertones—they make everyone’s teeth look whiter."My personal favorite? Nars Powermatte Lip Pigment in Starwoman. "When it comes to choosing something new, just pick something you feel is innovative for your personality, from an inky navy to a subtle orange," he adds. "Go big or go home!”


Because, hey, your face is not a kitchen. “You can skip the whole 'baking' process—it’s so unnecessary," says Sir John. "When you’re leaving powder to sit on your face for that long, you’re inundating your skin with a heaviness that's going to weigh it down and dry it out, especially near the sensitive skin around your eyes." Instead, he says, opt for a light dusting of translucent powder to finish of your look and set your makeup.


The secret to keeping your makeup intact, even if you're Beyoncé in the middle of a sweltering Coachella performance? Mattifying moisturizer. "I like starting with Shiseido Matifying Moisturizer," says Sir John. "It's oil-free and it settles down to a powder-like finish, so it’s a dream for muggy places like New Orleans or the New York City subway in August."


After that, he says, the key to a matte face is layering on different textures without adding on any extra weight. Sound impossible? "It's easy," he says. "If you apply liquid foundation, just seal it with powder; tap on cream blush, then top it with a powder formula; add gel eyeliner, then set it with powder shadow on top." The result? "Teflon-level staying power, whether you're dancing, moving, or sweating," he says. "That makeup is not going anywhere."

You may now go forth and live your best Beyoncé life. Good luck, and god speed.

Taylore  Glynn

Taylore Glynn is the Beauty and Health Editor at Marie Claire, covering skincare, makeup, fragrance, wellness, and more. If you need her, she’s probably roasting a chicken, flying solo at the movies, or drinking a bad Negroni at JFK.