Face painter Francesca Tolot is Beyoncé’s go-to makeup artist—and has been since the Destiny’s Child days. She also counts Madonna, Diana Ross, and Elizabeth Taylor among her current and former clients. Helmut Newton, too, frequently called upon her services. NBD. The only time the pro has ever been starstruck was upon meeting Taylor on one of Newton’s shoots. “My mom adored her—she was her idol. She even dressed me like Cleopatra when I was little,” she said. “I took a Polaroid with [Taylor], and I never ask [clients] for a picture or autograph, but I had to do it so I could send it to my mom. To the day she died, she had that photo in her wallet.” I imagine many people’s parents today would feel the same way about Beyoncé. Here, Tolot reveals everything (well…almost everything) you ever wanted to know about the Queen:
Being a Member of the Carter Crew Is Like Working in the CIA: When asked how she kept the visual album under wraps, Tolot said, “The way I do it is I completely erase it from my mind. There are some things I don’t even tell my family, like when she was pregnant. I literally told no one, that way I’m sure if it goes out, it’s not me. It’s not that I don’t trust my family, I just don’t want to put the pressure on them to remember not to talk about it.” So essentially it’s like being an agent in the CIA? I quipped. “Exactly.”
Yoncé’s Tastes—Like Her Music—Have Evolved: Rewind to 2003 and you’ll see Tolot’s influence. “When I first met her [on the set of “Crazy in Love”], she was wearing a lot of makeup, as probably most people did around that time—especially in the music business. That was one thing I brought to her: no-makeup makeup, which made her look and feel good. She knows who she is—it was just a matter of presenting to her. She definitely bought into [the idea] immediately.”
You Have as Many Hours in a Day as Beyoncé: But you’ll never be Queen—even Tolot has never seen a celebrity with so much “drive.” When asked if Beyoncé ever sleeps while getting her hair and makeup done: “No, never. I’ve never seen that happen. She’s not one of those people that comes and falls asleep on set or in the makeup chair.”
Madge and Bey Have More Than Just Their Makeup Artist in Common: Tolot noted that both Beyoncé and Madonna run the show and don’t skimp on the details. “Madonna was always very much in charge in what the final look would be. She was very observant—she would remember if I did the liner one way and the next time I did it [differently]. She would know.”
She Gets Gorgeous on Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: As for the toughest place Tolot has ever had to primp Beyoncé: “On a bus on a windy street driving up a mountain—I get car sick. That was with Destiny’s Child when we were in Europe for some promotional tour.” And this coming from the woman who has applied mascara on a landing jet.
There’s More Than One Way to Get Her Glow: Shimmery bronzer or highlighter from MAC and NARS Blush in (what else?) Orgasm are the tools Tolot frequently employs to achieve Beyoncé’s luminous complexion. “Sometimes it’s just not using powder and leaving the sheen of the foundation,” she added. From the neck down, MAC body makeup, NARS Body Glow, and RCK Luminous Body Glow are all frequently on deck.
Queen Bey Is a Fearless Beauty Leader: “There isn’t anything she won’t try. She’s open to whatever it takes to achieve the idea and the result [she’s after]. As far as makeup goes, she’s not scared of anything.” As if I ever had any doubts.
“I learned that when you’re up onstage, your makeup should be dramatic in order for the last person in the last row to be able to see it. [Through dance] I learned to have fun by becoming a character, by telling a story with what I wear and what I put on my face and how I style my hair…I still enjoy telling stories—even when I’m walking a red carpet.”
Despite her minimalist aesthetic—red lips and black liner—the beauty lessons Saldana learned as an aspiring dancer continue to serve her well as she embarks on her latest role as a L’Oréal Paris spokesperson. While she says she “walks a very fine line with looking like a drag queen” the more makeup she wears, her multiple roles that require a total transformation prove otherwise—Saldana is probably the most gorgeous girl with green skin we’ve ever seen in Guardians of the Galaxy. In this month’s Beauty Essentials, the starlet reveals her top tricks, her drugstore buys, and the spray she’s still using from her days at the ballet barre.
Ask a makeup artist about eye makeup (which we saw a lot of on the runways this season) and he or she can likely wax on for hours. Ask a face painter about eyeglasses and the ones that look best on you and you’ll likely hear crickets chirping. While the two are typically disparate subjects, they should, in reality, go hand in hand. Here to bridge that gap is Bobbi Brown, a beauty mogul who has worn glasses “every single day” since her late 30s and is launching a new collection of optics in tandem with her Perfectly Defined range of makeup (including new gel liner pencils, smudge-proof mascara, and a gentle lash curler designed for women with almond-shaped eyes). With more and more celebs ditching the contact lenses in favor of traditional lenses on the red carpet (hello, Tina Fey and Meryl Streep), it’s about time someone focused on framing your eyes with more than just eyeliner. Here, Brown’s best tips:
Set it and forget it. To avoid having concealer or foundation transfer onto your frames, skip the primer (“It’s too thick,” Brown says), minimize the amount of eye cream you apply, and dust the area under your eyes and around the bridge of your nose with a thin layer of powder.
Define your brows. Lightly filled-in arches provide a “bit of lift” and lend a “polished” finish, she explained. “Makeup under glasses gives you more style and strength in your face.”
Disguise dark circles. Not only do frames help hide a multitude of sins—like crow’s-feet and fine lines—but they’re excellent camouflage for shady areas, like the inner corners, notes Brown. “You don’t see small, tired eyes, you just see the glasses,” she said.
Beware of the tortoise. The pattern is timeless, but a too-orange tone can make skin look sallow—especially if you fall into the fair category.
Skip the sticky stuff. The wet-eye look often created by coating shadow with gloss or Vaseline? Just don’t. “The only trend [you can’t wear with glasses] is really textural,” said Brown.
As a beauty editor, investigative reporting is part of the job and I’ll go to great lengths to get a scoop—even if it means enduring intense heat (sauna), icy waters (plunge pool), or fog so thick you could slice it with a knife (steam room). Tracking a source down at the spa is no easy task, but if you want an exclusive with Choupette Lagerfeld, then you just have to suck it up and take a hot stone massage for the team. Here, how I penetrated the Kaiser’s high-security forces and managed to steal a few words with the fashion world’s most in-demand feline.
[Clad in a white, terrycloth robe, I slip past the bodyguards lulled to sleep by the spa music. In the middle of the dim treatment room I notice the fluffy fashion muse enjoying a thermal seaweed wrap—cucumbers delicately placed over her blue eyes.]
Choupette, is that you in there?
Excuse moi! Why must you interrupt my spa session?!
My apologies, your highness, but coordinating an interview with your people is next to impossible—even for Style.com.
Why, hello there, dahhhling! Hopefully you take as good care of me as my maids.
I wouldn’t dream of anything less. Let’s talk about your claws—seems like everyone is sporting the pointed shape these days.
Long overdue for my PET-icure and manicure at @JINsoon salon. These talons must be at their peak performance for catfights!
The only catfights I’ve seen are at sample sales and I imagine Daddy Karl is vehemently against those, correct?
Every year I await the @diptyqueParis February sample sale. Not that I need anything to cover up my odeur de litterbox.
Shocking, but I do imagine you to be a Baies kind of girl. Since you mingle with the masses to do your candle shopping, do you stock up on your own Fancy Feast or leave that task to the help?
Can you picture me in a grocery store? Non!
I should have known—all those ladies in their loungewear, the majority not wearing pieces from your father’s supermarché-themed collection.
Grocery shopping is still no excuse to wear sweatpants!
You and our associate news editor Katharine K. Zarrella are on the same page. I think the two of you should meet. What type of company do you keep?
If your LinkedIn profile says Social Media Guru or Style Expert, we are not friends, professional acquaintances, nor have we worked together.
So who is a member of your inner circle, exactly? Aside from Cara Delevingne, of course.
I feel a bond with women who sit at the salon while sipping champs. Does that make me pretentious?
Not at all—I completely understand. Is there a beauty trend you absolutely despise?
There’s a reason felines hate water: the wet hair look is just NOT the cat’s meow. #PleaseStop #NYFW
I love that you speak in hashtags—then again, you are a social media guru with your own Emoji. What are your other pet peeves?
Is there anything worse than when your tuna roll gets delivered without the crunch? #FirstFelineProblems
Ugh, the worst. I hear you rouse Daddy Karl at 7:00 a.m. to feed you fresh croquettes. You must have one hell of a meow.
The only mewing noises I make sound like Miu Miu.
Naturally. For those of us who aren’t a “kept woman” and don’t have a staff to style our hair, what’s your best piece of grooming advice?
Remember to Ask Yourself: What would Daddy @KarlLagerfeld think?