Tracee Ellis Ross Wore No Foundation & 7 Different Lipsticks To The AMAs

Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images.
"It was like pit stop, Formula One racing style." That's how Lisa Storey, the woman in charge of host Tracee Ellis Ross's makeup during the 2018 American Music Awards, describes what it was like backstage.
"She’d be dressing and I'd be taking makeup off," Storey tells Refinery29. "It was a challenge to keep cooling her down. She'd just be so excited and full of energy after entertaining everyone, and then I'd have to precisely put on some new lipstick."
In total, Storey estimates that during the show she changed Ross's makeup 10 times, and used seven different Pat McGrath lipsticks. But even before the quick makeup changes, Ross's makeup was noteworthy.
For a night when the camera would constantly be on her, Ross chose not to wear any foundation, even on the red carpet. "Tracey’s skin is looking so amazing so we thought no foundation, just concealer and beautifully moisturized skin throughout," Storey says. "I didn't even use powder, just an anti-shine press paste — Madina Crystal Glass Powder." Storey revealed that Ross's facialist, Terri Lawton, was also by Ross's side, using her own serum throughout the show to keep Ross's skin looking dewy and fresh.
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images.
In another unexpected makeup move, Storey and Ross agreed on purposefully clumped lashes, which Ross sported throughout the night. "We were just so into it," Storey says, adding that they used Dior's Diorshow Pump‘N’Volume Mascara. "It really opens the eyes and it just gave a cool, young look to everything. She wore gowns, but you still wanted an edge."
Once Ross stepped off the red carpet, she took a shower in her suite backstage and then the real work began. Storey and hairstylist Larry Sims worked simultaneously on Ross's look throughout the night. When Ross left the stage after entertaining the audience, Storey would remove Ross's lipstick with Sephora Charcoal Cleansing & Exfoliating Wipes, and swipe on a new lip color. Meanwhile, Sims would be busy braiding Ross's hair in just nine minutes time. "No matter what she was doing, whether she’s struggling to get in or out of a jumpsuit or ballgown, I had to start taking stuff off," Storey says.
But there were undoubtedly some fun moments backstage too. As Storey says: "The leopard outfit was really a highlight for me. I had only seen it in the picture. When she put that on and the gloves and the glasses, she turned into this character and we were just so delighted."
Among the seven different Pat McGrath MatteTrance Lipsticks Storey used throughout the night were Christy, a beige peach for the red carpet, Extravaganza, a hot pink seen during Ross's opening number, Elson 2, a bright red for Ross's final look of the night which she also used for blush, Paradise Garage, a bright orange, Major Red, a cool red, 1995, a warm nude, and Forbidden Love, another classic red.
It was a masterclass in how to do a completely new makeup look in under 10 minutes flat, and clearly Storey succeeded. "It was all such a rush, but so exciting," Storey says. "Tracee's so talented and really handled everything like a star."

More from Beauty

R29 Original Series