This summer Beyoncé is On the Run and her makeup artist, Sir John, is keeping pace. We caught him on a rare day off between the tour and shooting an ad campaign with Joan Smalls before he heads back to Bey’s side for the remainder of the summer. Here, the pro breaks down how to get the “Rolls-Royce of smoky eyes,” Mrs. Carter’s fifteen-minute face, and the secret to her allover glow.
—Amber Kallor, Style.com
Get Beyoncé’s “Three-Point” Gilded Lids:
“I think a lot of girls feel like, ‘I can’t do a smoky eye unless it’s a navy or a black or dark brown,’” said Sir John, “and I wanted to totally get rid of that myth and do a gold [version].” To get the look, he begins by “anchoring” the eye with a coffee-colored eye kohl on top and bottom, elongating the silhouette to create a feline shape. To keep Beyoncé’s shadow completely budge-proof while she breaks it down onstage, he bases the entire lid with a long-wear cream liner before topping it with matte taupe and brown shadows on the outer and inner corners and along the bottom lash lines. For more dimension and shine, he places “antique gold” pigment in the center and around the tear ducts to reflect light. “This technique works well for [anyone] with flatter lids because it gives the eye a three-dimensional quality,” he noted. And since Tammy Faye Bakker served as a beauty reference, there’s naturally tons of mascara and plenty of falsies. “We’re using about seven [clusters of individual lashes] per eye on the top, and about two on the bottom,” he explained. The true key to achieving a stage-worthy smoky effect, he said, is to start with the eyes before applying foundation or concealer and setting aside ample amount of time to get it right—Sir John suggests giving yourself at least twenty minutes. The finishing touch (aside from her signature glow) is a swipe of shimmery “cinnamon” lipstick.
Get Beyoncé’s “Fifteen-Minute” Face:
On nights when Bey and crew are pressed for time, Sir John whips out her second signature look: cat-eyes and shocking orange lips. “We’re going to go back and forth between the two, but what’s going to run parallel in both looks is the fact that there’s this feline sensibility to the eye,” he explained. Inspired by traditional Arabian liner, Sir John uses a black waterproof gel formula and brush to apply—placing a point on the outer corner where the wing will end to avoid any “lopsided situations.” He also rims underneath the top lash line for extra intensity. On the lower waterline he employs a coffee shade, blending it gently down onto the bottom lashes. “I do black on the top and [brown on the bottom], but all of this registers as black onstage,” he said. “If I do black [all the way around], it can make a person look tired.” After perfecting the shape with skinny cotton swabs, he polishes off the look with a shimmer-free “Crayola orange” lipstick. “It’s summertime, so there’s no better time to pull if off,” he said. “We’re in stadiums—like World Cup-size stadiums—so we wanted something that would read to the rafters and give her face a sense of life and vitality.” While he was inspired by ladies in straw hats and tangerine lipstick on the beaches in Florida, Sir John assured us that Bey doesn’t appear anything like a “retiree from Boca” onstage. “Shout-out to the retirees from Boca, though!” he quipped.
Get Beyoncé’s Summer Glow:
Unlike the Mrs. Carter tour, there’s no “dolly-ness” to the blush this time around. Sir John uses a “rusty peach” to add warmth to Beyoncé’s skin and create a “seventies, Bianca Jagger in the daytime” feel. The trick to her gorgeous sheen (and not a shiny T-zone) is to keep the front of Bey’s face free from shimmer—applying a matte peach on the apples and a “dark cinnamon shimmer” along the hollows of her cheekbones for shadow and depth. “It’s the perfect dichotomy of luster without looking sweaty,” he said. For additional color, he employs a trick used by music legends like Diana Ross and Cher: “Sometimes I’ll use that same matte peach—almost like the eighties—behind the brows, on the temples of the cheeks, and on the chin. When she’s onstage, you don’t know there’s blush on her forehead, it just gives her this ‘alive’ appearance.” For the rest of Bey’s body, Sir John lubes up her limbs with a rich face cream in lieu of a formula designed for all over. (And for her complexion, he reaches for eye cream.) “A lot of people expose their body to sun so much more than their face, so they should really approach [caring for] the skin on their body maybe even more [carefully] than they do their [complexion],” he said.
Get Beyoncé’s Budge-Proof Base:
In show where at times the Queen wears fishnet over her face and her makeup is up against sweat and humidity, Sir John’s biggest task is to prolong the life of her maquillage. His first step is to create a smooth canvas via a glycolic scrub or enzyme peel—something Bey uses once or twice a week. “When you increase your cell turnover [via a scrub or glycolic peel], your foundation is going to adhere a lot longer, your primer is going to work better, and your moisturizer is going to penetrate deeper,” he said. And when it comes to the cosmetics he layers on her complexion, if it doesn’t have long-wear technology or waterproof properties, Sir John doesn’t go near it. His other trick is to double up: “I use a foundation and also a powder. I use a cream highlighter and then a powder highlighter. I use a cream blush and then a powder blush. Everything I apply has a dual layer and doesn’t move.”
Come Clean Like Beyoncé:
With waterproof formulas comes the challenge of removal. Sir John packs Bey’s kit with an oil-based makeup remover so that she can apply it to a cotton pad, hold it on her eye, and wipe away that stay-put smoky eye en route to catch a flight to the next locale. “You don’t need to scrub or be so aggressive around your eye area,” he said. He also tucks a toner into her toiletry bag to “normalize and balance her complexion’s pH before she goes to bed.” It’s a step every woman should take. As they say, you have as much time in the day as Beyoncé, so don’t skimp on skincare.
Photo: Instagram; Beyonce.com/ Mason Poole; Beyonce.com/Robin Harper; Instagram; Getty