Photo:ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images.
I am not ashamed to admit that I didn’t bat my eyelashes in excitement around the idea of makeup until Rihanna declared she was a makeup girl. Yes, that may seem a little excessively fangirl-ish, but to be fair, until recently, women around the world, myself included, were underserved by the beauty industry. Before Fenty, women of color didn’t have an array of foundational shades catered to us, and while the products and the world of tutorials have exploded to cater to everyone, Rihanna has always been a rule-breaker and led this change within the beauty industry with the launch of Fenty's foundations.
For the cosmetics-averse like me, something about Rihanna giggling while contouring is life-affirming. Her tutorials and her breakthrough in the industry are an invitation to explore beauty in a way that previously felt intimidating or exclusionary. And while I’m still clamoring for another album (and no amount of Fenty gloss is going to give me her perfect Cupid’s bow lips), in the interim, I’m totally okay binge-watching every tutorial she releases and enjoying every product drop she blesses us with. With that in mind, I’m sharing 11 beauty tips I’ve learned from Rihanna that newbies or makeup artists everywhere can appreciate.
Tip #1: Contour for your face shape.
I learned this one from Rihanna’s beauty tutorial with Vogue. Honestly, it’s a game changer. How many of us follow a tutorial without taking into mind the way we actually look? In addition to using contour techniques and products to highlight your own best features, she suggests going into your hairline with a contour to blend your face naturally and avoid the obvious line created from the foundation. Another pro tip: If you use contour on your neck, do it in a triangle shape down to make your neck look longer.
Tip #2: Concealer is the cure-all.
“Concealer is made for hiding bags, dark circles, and hangovers, and bad decisions—it is the cure,” continues Rihanna in her Vogue tutorial. When applying, feel free to take a cue from RiRi herself, and apply it to your hand first to warm it up. Then, you can blot in the spots that need a little extra TLC.
Tip #3: Mascara application is everything.
If you’re in need of a laugh, I highly recommend watching Rihanna’s mascara tutorial.Trust me—it’s pure gold. While hearing dirty jokes from Rihanna will leave you with some wild thoughts, the main takeaway from the tutorial is mascara application is everything. As Rihanna suggests, don’t forget to apply mascara to your bottom lashes too, and when you do, use a circular motion to apply it to avoid smudging.
Tip #4: Match your brow product accordingly.
As Rihanna states in her Fenty Brow MVP tutorial, “Eyebrows are the framing of the face. If you get that wrong, everything else falls short.” To ensure you complement your face, she suggests picking a brow product that matches not only your skin tone but your hair color as well. In addition to emphasizing the importance of choosing the right color, she advises viewers not to be afraid to use two different colors when filling in your brows to mimic the natural gradient you often see in eyebrows without product. When applying, take a cue from RiRi, and start by encasing the arch of your brow with the darker brow color. Then, move to the top, and use the lighter color to fill in the beginning of the brow in an upward motion. Finally, use the brush to clean up any lines and smooth out the tones.
Tip #6: Smile when you're putting on your blush.
Blush can be, well, bad if not applied properly. Luckily for us, Rihanna dropped a gem in her tutorial and said, “As soon as you smile, you’ll know exactly where to apply your blush.” Where has this tip been our whole life?
Tip #7: Don't be afraid of highlighter.
Let’s be real: Rihanna isn’t ever afraid to shine like a diamond. I mean, who can forget when she wore her Adam Selman gown made of 230,000 Swarovski crystals? But you don’t have to wear a see-through diamond gown to channel Ms. Robyn. Instead, add a little highlighter into your makeup routine. As she quipped in her Vogue video tutorial, “The key to highlighter is not being afraid of it. There’s always ways to play with highlighter. It doesn’t only belong on your cheekbone. Makeup is fun. It’s there to play with.”
Tip #8: No matter the lip product, start by applying it in the middle.
Okay, so some of us aren’t as blessed with Rihanna’s Cupid’s bow, but despite that, her lip tip from her "Wild Thoughts" tutorial applies to us all. She suggests, no matter if you’re using a lip gloss, lip paint, or lipstick, start by applying the product in the center of your top lip to ensure that the height of the application of your lipstick is even so you don’t have to go over the lip a million times. Another Rihanna tip? If you’re opting for a light nude, she suggests tapping the edges of the lip after you’ve applied it because you don’t ever want it to get to the edge of your lip. Otherwise, it won’t give the full effect of a nude lip.
Tip #9: Blotting powder should always be in your purse.
As Rihanna confessed in her Vogue tutorial, she never leaves the house without her blotting powder—and if it doesn’t fit in her purse, she changes her purse. Blotting powder is essential for everyone (not just for Rihanna on the red carpet), as it will keep your look intact all day and avoid the dreaded shiny sweat spots. Just plop some on when you need touch-ups throughout the day.
Tip #10: Your body is also fair game.
You don’t have to limit your sparkle to the highlighter on your face. As Rihanna explained in her Diamond Bomb tutorial, makeup is all about having fun, so why not take a little inspiration from her iconic "Kiss It Better" video and extend your shine beyond your face? Rihanna suggests using a body brush with either her Diamond Bomb product or Body Lava to not only re-create this glowing look but also shine bright like the diamond you are. Call it the "Kiss It Better" effect, but we should all embrace our shine.
Tip #11: You are your best teacher.
Yes, Rihanna is out here putting us on to all the beauty tips, but as she professed during her tutorial, “I’ve been watching women do makeup their whole life, since my mom … and then I started working in an industry where makeup was going to be a part of my life every day, so I picked up a lot of tips there. But the best teacher is yourself. You have to practice on your own face because there are going to be things you can do better than makeup artists for your own face.” So the moral of the story is to have fun with makeup. Don’t be afraid to play with products, because when you do, you’ll be channeling your inner Rihanna. And trust—she’s definitely in there.