If you've ever wondered why Rihanna's skin always looks so amazing, we can confirm it's not all down to good genes or expensive facials. Whether she's serving jaw-dropping red carpet looks or more of a natural vibe, it's Hector Espinal, her longtime friend and Fenty Beauty global makeup artist, who is behind her glow.
In lockdown, it's safe to say most of us aren't wearing that much makeup but there's no denying the uplifting power of a touch of mascara and highlighter here and there. Ahead, Hector reveals the tips and tricks his celebrity clients (including Rihanna, of course) swear by for enviable everyday makeup in just a few moments. Oh, and they're all face mask-friendly.
Good skincare creates flawless makeup
"When people tell me they want "celebrity skin," I tell them to start with skincare," says Hector. "Without skincare, I can't do a makeup look. It just doesn't work. If you really take the time to moisturize, everything you apply on top will look great. The minute you don't do that, though, and that's when you'll see a little more texture."
Of course, skin texture isn't a bad thing but if you want to minimize the appearance of your pores, pimples, or dry patches, then moisturized skin is key. "A nice cleanser, toner, moisturizer followed by eye cream and you're done," says Hector. He rates the Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer SPF 30, $46, for moisturizing skin and protecting against UV rays. Also try By Beauty Bay Day One Moisturiser, $9.50, which is super silky, and Bobbi Brown's Vitamin Enriched Face Base, $79, which makeup artists love for creating the ultimate Velcro base for makeup to stay put.
For even-toned skin in a flash, Hector combines a pump of foundation with primer or moisturizer. "I mix it up with my fingers or a sponge and that's it," he says. According to Hector, Rihanna loves building up thin layers of foundation to achieve a natural and radiant end result, and her favourite is Fentry's Pro Filt’r Hydrating Foundation, $45, which gives skin a nice, dewy effect when applied with a damp sponge.
For natural makeup, you only need three products
While Hector thinks the no-makeup makeup look is actually one of the hardest to do (he tells us it often involves around 20 layers), there are three products he looks to for speedy, natural makeup — and foundation isn't involved. "I go straight in with concealer, usually Match Stix Matte Skinstick, $30, which melts into the skin with just your fingers," says Hector. "Concealer is the quickest cheat product for achieving this look, because it's like you're faking hours of sleep. Then I apply cream blush to the apples of the cheeks and lots of mascara for that truly awake look." TikTokers are going wild for Maybelline's Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara, $10.96, right now, while Hector likes Full Frontal Volume, Lift & Curl Mascara, $32.
How you apply concealer can transform your face
Lots of us were brought up on YouTube makeup tutorials, where loading on concealer to cover dark circles or "bags" was a thing. But Hector thinks a little goes a long way and product placement is important. Instead of applying concealer in swathes or triangle shapes, Hector targets the inner corner of the eye and up into the socket to blanket any darkness. He then blends the concealer downwards to conceal any dark under-eye circles. "Less is more," he says. "Fingers are a great tool for blending concealer, or you can use the tip of your sponge. But I always have a fluffy eyeshadow brush to hand because it gives that nice, buffed, airbrushed effect. I prefer this over a flat concealer brush because it's much softer."
Hector also has a great tip for finding your perfect concealer shade. Instead of testing on the back of your hand, test concealer on your inner forearm, just underneath your wrist for a much better colour match.
This quick hack will make your skin gleam instantly
Hector says there's a fine line between looking oily and dewy, and it's all down to the T-zone, so your nose and forehead. "I make sure the T-zone is nice and matte," says Hector, who likes Invisimatte Blotting Powder, $42, for absorbing shine. R29 also loves Gucci Beauty Poudre De Beauté Mat Naturel Face Powder, $81, and Maybelline Fit Me Matte & Poreless Powder, $9.99.
Hector rates a multipurpose product and often uses a lip gloss (namely Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer, $25) as highlighter on cheekbones. "Put a little bit on the back of your hand and blend it in with your finger, so it'll give you the perfect dewiness without looking oily," he says. "If you want to look really natural, take a hydrating facial spray and spritz it on the sides of your face to create a nice, dewy effect."
Monochrome makeup suits everyone
Rihanna's signature everyday look is monochrome makeup: matching your cheeks to your eyes. You only need one product, which is bronzer. "I feel like monochromatic makeup is in right now," says Hector. "Using your bronzer, subtly sculpt your cheeks and instead of eyeshadow, use it on your eyelids, too. It really is the easiest look for everyone and all you do is finish with mascara and a touch of lip gloss." Hector would avoid whipping up a monochromatic makeup look using blush. "You have to be really mindful here," he says. "If you put blush on your eyelids, you have to be prepared that it might look like you're having a bad reaction." So stick to your favourite warmth-enhancing bronzer.
Powder foundation is a game-changer
Not only does powder foundation feel a lot more comfortable under a face mask but it will make your skin look seamless in seconds, says Hector. "I like to take a big bronzer brush and apply powder foundation all over my face for an airbrushed look. It doesn't feel heavy or transfer, which is great if you're wearing a mask." Hector also sometimes ditches concealer for a light layer of powder foundation to blur blemishes and uneven skin tone, as it looks a tad more natural. Putting back a little sheen with either lip gloss or highlighter on top of cheekbones is a must to ensure skin doesn't appear flat.
This is the pro way to apply blush for sculpted cheekbones
When it comes to blush application, Hector has a great tip for lifting and sculpting cheeks. "Place two fingers directly at the sides of your nose and using the width, you'll know where to start applying blush from," he says. Basically, keep the space where your fingers are resting free from blush. "Otherwise, you'll look like you’re flushing too much," says Hector. "Then, work from the apples of your cheeks upwards." Apply your blush too low, and it could drag your cheeks down. Hector also sometimes skips bronzer entirely and contours with blush for a more subtle look. Just suck in your cheekbones and apply to the hollows of your cheeks, working your way up towards your temples.
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