Confessions Of Zendaya’s Long-Time Makeup Artist, Sheika Daley

Nine years ago, no one expected Zendaya, then the star of Disney's Shake It Up, to become Gen Z's biggest beauty icon. Almost a decade later and she's not only moved on to more serious roles, like Rue on Euphoria, but she's established herself as the celeb to look out for on major red carpets.

Despite how naturally talented Zendaya, now a Lancôme ambassador, is at doing her own makeup (never forget her brief stint as a YouTube beauty guru), since she was 15, there's been one woman behind most of the star's memorable beauty moments: Sheika Daley.

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If you've ever admired Zendaya's beaming highlighter or poreless complexion from afar, you have Daley to thank. To this day, she's a key collaborator on Zendaya's glam team, which includes stylist Law Roach and hairstylist Ursula Stephen. In other words, she knows Zendaya's biggest beauty secrets — all of which she revealed, ahead.

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Meeting Zendaya

"I met Zendaya through Law. She was in New York doing something for her show on Disney when he called me and asked if I'd like to work with Zendaya. I didn't know who she was, so when I told him that I'd work with her he lost his mind. At the time, Zendaya was 15, so she was still traveling with her parents. They were so loving and warm and welcoming — and Zendaya was super sweet. We've maintained a relationship ever since."
Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images.

A Glam Squad Is Born

"Law and I work really well together and he's one of the people who orchestrates Zendaya's entire look. Ursula and I collaborate really well with him now, but we hadn't started working as a team until the 2016 Met Gala.

"Zendaya was wearing this gold Michael Kors dress and Law really wanted her to look ethereal and kind of otherworldly. He was looking for this one particular hairstyle and the wig that had been prepared just wasn't doing what he and Zendaya wanted. So, Law called Ursula. She dropped everything and came right over. She really saved the day because the hair brought the look together.

"From that point on, we've had this synergy between us. It's been amazing working and creating with her because she just gets it. Law's creativity is out of this world. He can think of anything and, with Ursula's help, we manifest it together. It just works [with us] — every single time, with no stress."
Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images.

New Hair, Who This?

"Once Zendaya changes her hair color, she's a different person to me, so I customize her makeup based off of that. When she dyes her hair red, she does have a different attitude — she's spicier. I try to match the makeup to her mood.

"She was red for the Emmys, but was tanner than usual because she just came off of vacation. Her skin was richer, warmer, so I wanted to play up the suntan. I also didn't want the makeup to compete with the color."

Shine Bright, Like Zendaya

"Lately, I've been using the Lancôme Dual Finish Highlighter on Zendaya. But her makeup is definitely a head-to-toe thing; any skin that's showing gets something on it. Whether it's lotion mixed with body makeup or some shimmer, she's covered down to her fingernails."
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Zendaya's Makeup Masterclass

"Zendaya is specific about the things she likes. It's better that way because I've also been able to learn exactly what she wants and doesn't want over the years. It's less about trial and error with us because she can tell me right away that, for example, she doesn't like cat-eyes on the red carpet, or that a certain look doesn't photograph well.

"She's always taken really good care of her eyebrows. She has great lashes, too, but her brows are always impeccable. I typically use Lancôme Brow Densify Powder-To-Cream on her brows. It goes on like a powder, but applies as precisely as a pencil. Then, I set it with Lancôme Sourcils Styler. I like to mix and match the gel shades to create dimension in her brows, but that all depends on her hair color at the moment."

The Thirst Is Real

"Most importantly, I keep her hydrated. Before we do makeup, I always give her a mini facial. I do a mask treatment, then hydrate and tone her. Sometimes we'll do a lip mask, too. I also always use a thick eye cream. We start the process with a nice massage to increase circulation, so I can really see what's going on with her skin.

"She knows how important skin care is to me, so her daily routine is amazing. By the time she gets in my chair, I have a great canvas to work with."

Unforgettable Red-Carpet Moments

"There have been so many memorable moments. The 2019 Emmys look was great. That one seemed to go around the world a couple times. The Met Gala is always major: the Met Gala when Ursula and I started working together, the one when Zendaya was inspired by Joan of Arc, and the last one when she went as Cinderella was amazing.

"Sometimes you have clients who could care less about their hair and makeup and just want to finish and go home, but Zendaya just gets it. She likes to look pretty, she likes the job to be done well, she understands the creative process and our roles. She doesn't underestimate it or devalue it. I adore that about her."

"She's constantly inspired by everything she sees and everywhere she goes. I'm supposed to travel with her to Rome in the next few months, so she might get inspired by what she sees there, which will probably affect whatever we do for awards season. I know we'll create something monumental that everyone will be talking about for awhile. What, exactly? I don't know, but it's Zendaya, so I know it's going to be magical."
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