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Rihanna’s Makeup Artist Taught Me Everything About Getting Her Glow

I felt beautiful like diamonds in the sky.

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Maya Allen

I don't like to label myself, but I will say I'm a proud member of the Rihanna Navy. Rih is my spirit animal, my sis in my head, and the woman I look to whenever I need a reminder that I'm that girl. Of course, I love Fenty Beauty and all that it stands for. The brand has singlehandedly revolutionized the beauty industry with game-changing products made with all skin tones in mind. From the long-lasting foundation that actually stays true to its name to the untouchable glow I get from Trophy Wife highlighter, every formula is A-1.

Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Concealer
FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna sephora.com
$26.00

And now Rihanna has gone and dropped a concealer in not 40, but 50 shades. The new launch coincided with a few other products joining the Fenty family: Pro Filt'r Setting Powder in eight shades, a Concealer Precision Brush, a Powder Puff Setting Brush, and a Lil Precision Makeup Sponge Duo.

I got to test the new concealer for the first time with THE Hector Espinal. Espinal is the global makeup artist for Fenty Beauty who went from working at Sephora to working for Rihanna. Their first interaction was actually sparked by a foundation mistake. During a fashion show, he was the only person backstage who had the correct foundation shade for her in his kit (a lesson in doing your research and always being prepared). Now, he does Rihanna's makeup on the regular. Read on for his top makeup tips and snapshots of the glowy makeover of my dreams.

Lesson #1: For Easy Shade Matching, Pay Attention to Undertones

"Finding foundation can be tricky for people of color because we have very distinguished undertones, and our surface tones can change so drastically based on sun exposure or if we flush very quickly. So, the shade range of Fenty Beauty has four families: 100, 200, 300, and 400. Within each family, there are 10 shades. The point of difference is that within those shades there are groupings of warm, cool, and neutral tones."

"When creating the line, Rihanna wanted shade-matching to be very easy, so that, for instance, if her mom in Barbados wants to go and buy the right foundation, she’ll be able to understand. It's simple: If your shade foundation is 420, so is your concealer. The concealer is formulated to be one to two shades lighter than your natural color. I spent so much time in the product development lab testing shades. If you’re more makeup savvy and you want to go a little lighter with your concealer, you can do that, too. Or, if you want to color-correct certain spots, you can try a darker concealer."

Lesson #2: Less Is Always More With Makeup

"Building your coverage—as opposed to throwing ten pounds of foundation on your face—is always ideal. Oftentimes, because of social media people feel like they have to apply ten coats of foundation and tons of concealer. You don’t need all that. Although, I will say, I believe everyone’s under-eye area should be matte, or else it doesn’t photograph well. It's the one traditional makeup rule I follow."

Lesson #3: Pick One Area to Make Pop

"When you're doing your makeup, always choose a focus. Draw attention to either your eyes or your lips. This way, you’ll never feel like you’re wearing too much makeup or that it looks overpowering."

Lesson #4: Use the Right Tools for a Flawless Application

"Always match the size of your tools to what and where you’re applying makeup. Sometimes, I’ll see women using a big brush to apply eyeshadow, which is wrong. But, if you match the tools to the size of where you’re applying makeup, you won’t feel like you’re wearing too much."

Lesson #5: Your Highlighter Will Never Look as Popping as Rihanna's Without Prepping Your Skin First

"To get Rihanna to look so glowy, skin prep is crucial. You have to make sure your skincare regimen is on-point. Start with clean skin, use moisturizer to prep, and then primer to mattify. With highlighter, it’s all about placement. When you’re applying highlighter and want your skin to look nice and dewy, make sure your T-zone is matte. This creates dimension and gives your highlighter a 3-D effect, without looking too heavy or shiny."

Lesson #6: Make the Most Out of Your Products by Repurposing Them

"Have fun. I’m always thinking about what else I can do with products. I love using a darker concealer as eyeshadow to create balance on the face. Or, taking a classic lipstick color and using it as blush. I dislike when people associate rules with makeup."

Lesson #7: Fenty Beauty Is for EVERYONE

"My makeup for men tutorial tutorial is one of the most successful videos on the Fenty Beauty YouTube channel. This is what makeup is supposed to be about. As a makeup artist, it’s extremely upsetting for me when people put boundaries on beauty. Rihanna told us from the jump that she wanted her brand to be for everyone. 'I don’t classify my fans. So, I don’t want the people who come and buy my makeup to feel classified either,' she told us. 'If they like it, and it looks good on them, they should wear it—bottom line. I never want to hear anyone say they can’t wear it because of their gender. It’s meant for everybody.'"

And...After all those lessons, here I am all Glowed-Up from my Fenty Beauty makeover

Hector finished off with a touch of gloss that stayed put for hours and hours. I only know because I clearly didn't want to wash this look off, ever—but for the sake of my skin, I eventually did.

I'm basically Rihanna...in my head, and one step closer to meeting my spirit animal.

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Maya Allen


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