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Indeed, this shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, given that she's a makeup mogul in her own right, thanks to the empire that is Fenty Beauty. But it would be remiss of us to speak about Rihanna's always perfect red carpet looks without also laying praise on the woman behind the looks: Priscilla Ono.
Ono is the global makeup artist for Fenty Beauty, as well as Rihanna's personal makeup artist, and is responsible for iconic looks that include Rihanna's recent Super Bowl and Met Gala glams. The pair have been collaborating for years, and not only has she also painted the faces of Normani, Megan Thee Stallion, and Gigi Hadid, but Ono has since earned It-status in her own right, boasting an impressive 899K followers on Instagram.
This month, hot on the heels of Fenty's Eaze Drop Blur + Smooth Tint Stick launch, Refinery29 Australia caught up with Ono to discuss everything from viral TikTok beauty moments to the importance of skin prep and the make-up trends she foresees for 2024.
Refinery29 Australia: Rihanna is known for her flawless skin. What are your go-to products and techniques for achieving that radiant complexion?
Priscilla Ono: For me, it’s more about the prep and less about the technique. For Rihanna’s skin type, I usually prep her face with a quick cleanse to remove any excess oil, and follow with a light-weight moisturiser [that's] not too heavy and won’t cause any pilling. Then I’ll always follow with the Pro Filt’r Mattifying Primer to create the most even base for our complexion.
Since becoming a mum, Rih’s been into a quicker glam session. We’ve been really into using the new Eaze Drop Blur + Smooth Tint Stick for an effortless blend that just melts into the skin for a smooth-as-butter complexion.
Could you share some of your favourite makeup products from the Fenty Beauty line and how you like to use them?
Personally, I always have a stash of Invisimatte Instant Setting & Blotting Powder in my kit. Rih’s skin tends to be more on the oily side so we’ll always apply this strategically in the T-zone with a plush sponge to mattify the mid-face and blur any pores instantly.
I know I’ve already mentioned it, but the Eaze Drop Blur + Smooth Tint Stick is honestly one of my new favourites. I have quite dry skin and I find that the formula feels so buttery and hydrating on the skin — and it stays that way all day! It’s honestly a go-to no matter whose face I’m working on. I simply swipe this straight onto my face and buff out with a dense foundation brush for an ‘I woke up like this’ complexion.
Finally, no Fenty Face would be complete without applying a fresh coat of Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer. Depending on Rih’s mood, we’ll apply a different shade. If she’s feeling fresh, we love to finish a look with ‘Glass Slipper’ or ‘Fenty Glow’. On her bolder days, she loves ‘Hot Chocolit’ for a sexy, '90s lip.
Rihanna’s makeup often reflects her mood and the theme of the event. How do you stay in sync with her creative vision for each occasion?
Usually for events, Rih and I will meet up, or she’ll send over snaps from her fitting and I’ll go in and create a mood board — sometimes focusing on colours or the overall ‘vibe’ she’s giving off. From there, we freestyle it and let the ideas come through organically. From conception to execution, that idea always grows and transforms into something entirely new and exciting.
TikTok is known for its hits and misses when it comes to beauty trends and hacks. What’s one TikTok hack you actually like?
I feel like Rih and I naturally gravitate towards the big '90s makeup moments — frosty eyes, bold lips and shimmering cheeks — but there’s one we can’t seem to let go of. When I first saw Cherry Cola lips, I knew we had to try it the Fenty way. I like to line the lips with a chocolatey-deep brown liner, and gently pat Poutsicle Hydrating Lip Stain on the lips for an all-day, foolproof colour. Then, we’ll top off with Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer for a luxurious-looking shine.
Just working with Rih, every day seems like a viral TikTok moment. When she showed me Blemish Defeat’r BHA Spot Targeting Gel, I knew it would blow up — there’s nothing really like it out there.
How important is skincare in your makeup routine, and what are your favourite skincare products for prepping Rihanna’s skin?
I’m a firm believer that good makeup starts with good skin. Even washing your face and applying the quickest layer of sunblock and moisturiser can help your look last longer.
Rihanna is all about the glow — especially a glow that comes from within. Before a heavier glam, like her Superbowl performance, we’ll always use the Pre-Show Glow Instant Retexturizing 10% AHA Treatment for an instant facial. She loves to scrub around her nose and chin to buff away any dead skin for a brighter, more radiant complexion, [and then] add some moisture back into the face.
We're about to head into summer in Australia, what do you foresee being the three biggest makeup trends over the next year?
I think we’re seeing a lot more sheer, glowy bases on the red carpet and on the streets, and we want Fenty Beauty products to reflect that. The Eaze Drop Skin Blur + Smooth Tint Stick, for example, provides the skin with just enough coverage for that ‘my skin but better’ complexion that Rihanna loves!
The third trend would be thin eyeliner and wispy flirty lashes. Big lash extensions are finally dying down, and we want to see those eyes again! Fenty Beauty’s Hella Thicc Volumizing Mascara is the perfect long-lasting finishing touch to any look.