August 29 2014

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How to Glow Like Beyoncé: Tips From Her Makeup Artist



Anyone with eyes knows that Beyoncé has incredible skin, but what most people don’t see is Sir John—one of the trusted makeup artists behind the icon’s gorgeous glow. Sir John, despite what the name will have you believe, isn’t British or an ordained knight, but he’s been appointed by Queen Bey to do her maquillage for the On the Run tour kicking off tomorrow in Miami. (Honestly, Bey, Jay Z, and Blue are the closest thing we Americans have to a royal family, so we’re going to say the “Sir” title is totally warranted.) He traveled with Beyoncé during her Mrs. Carter tour and painted her face for eight of the seventeen videos from her now-legendary visual album. Sir John also works with supers such as Karlie Kloss, Iman, and Joan Smalls. For those of us who don’t have the pro at our disposal 24/7 (likely because he’s serving Sasha Fierce), Sir John spills the secrets to getting the signature glow models and music moguls crave.

STEP 1: Prep your skin

Sir John recommends using an intense exfoliator twice a week for a smooth, radiant complexion. “I like to use a glycolic peel with a fruit enzyme. The goal in any girl’s routine is to increase cell turnover so that you need less foundation and concealer—Beyoncé hardly has to use any,” he said. His other dewy skin trick: Apply a generous amount of face cream, then put on your tinted moisturizer or lightweight foundation while your skin is still moist.


STEP 2: Apply the right bronzer

“If your skin isn’t naturally golden, pick a shade with an olive base as opposed to orange. For a light complexion like Karlie’s, I use a sheer liquid bronzer in a taupe-y color,” noted Sir John. It’s a common misconception that brown-skinned women don’t need bronzer, but he uses it on everyone. “Bronzer adds a sense of warmth to dark complexions, and it photographs well. For skin tones like Beyoncé’s or Joan Smalls’, something with a caramel color creates a naturally sun-kissed look. And on Iman, I go with a cocoa-colored bronzer,” he explained. Apply it along your T-zone, in the hollows of your cheeks, and just beneath your chin. If you’re using a powder, stick with a matte formula—it creates more depth.


STEP 3: Dab on something luminous

This is the part that really gives that glowy effect: Use your ring finger or a BeautyBlender sponge to smudge creamy highlighter above your brows, right above your cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose, and onto the center of your chin. “Choose a product that has a pearlescent finish to it—not shimmer. You don’t need shimmer if your skin is radiant from the core. It can read as juvenile or inexpensive,” Sir John stressed.


STEP 4: Add a hint of color

“I love creamy blushes. They look more natural, especially in the summertime, and they give that post-sex glow. I get inspiration from women when their skin is super-flushed from the gym or hot weather. That’s the look you want to emulate,” said Sir John. Press the blush into the fleshiest part of your cheeks and gently blend. Try a sheer berry shade if your skin is light, opt for soft peach if you’re medium, and to flatter dark skin, reach for bright pinks.


STEP 5: Mattify with powder

A word of caution from Sir John: “You never want to be shiny on your nose.” To prevent unwanted oiliness, grab a fluffy brush and dust translucent powder around your nose and your chin. A mattifying primer that you can use on top of makeup will work, too. “Leave everywhere else as lubricated as possible,” he said.


STEP 6: Never (ever) skip mascara

Once you’ve ‘yoncefied yourself to perfection, the last thing you need is a few coats of mascara. “Sometimes the eyes can look naked if there is nothing there. I’ll whip out individual lashes like I have them in a gun holster, but I know most women don’t have time for that, so mascara is key. It brings everything together. If there was a fire and one of my girls was running out, the one thing I would give her is mascara,” said Sir John. We imagine after Beyoncé sets the stage ablaze with her performance, she coolly sashays out of the building with her go-to tube in tow.

Photos: Beyoncé visual album; Courtesy of; Getty

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