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A-list beauty tips from Beyoncé's makeup artist

Makeup artist to the stars, Sir John, dishes on working with Queen B, the most flattering red lipsticks and more

26 October 2017 - 12:20 By Staff reporter
Makeup artist St John styles Beyoncé.
Makeup artist St John styles Beyoncé.
Image: beyonce.com

Sir John is one of the most sought-after makeup artists in the world. His star-studded client list includes the likes of Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Viola Davis, Joan Smalls, Chrissy Teigen, Margot Robbie and Beyoncé.

He's worked with Queen B on tour and also does her makeup for major red-carpet events. "I'm the last person Beyoncé sees before performing in a stadium filled with 80,000 people, and she feels comfortable knowing I'm obsessing over every little detail," he says.

"Beyoncé and I work well together because I respect her formula. It's important to know your client's style and the essence of who they are. The wardrobe and hair create the look. Makeup is the icing on the cake.

"For concerts she lets me do whatever I want. But for a cover story there's a director and a fashion editor that will want her to look a specific way. Then I bring my secret sauce to the look."

Sir John is currently in South Africa to host beauty masterclasses with Woolworths for their W Beauty label, as well as to style the makeup at SA Fashion Week.

We caught up with him and asked him to share some A-list beauty tips: 

How can women use makeup to make the most of their features?

Statement lips look great on most women, then treat your brows as a feature. Highlighters, luminisers and bronzers have different effects, so use your skin as a feature. I always advise tons of mascara.

Is there a red lipstick that looks good on everyone?

There are so many different complexions from Harlem to Hong Kong.

When you want your skin to pop or your tan to come alive, choose an orange-based red.

Tomato red will make your skin look healthier.

If you want your teeth to look really, really white and your smile to illuminate, go for a blue-based red from raspberry to dark Merlot.

What's your most requested Beyoncé look?

The 2017 Grammys.

Beyonce at the 59th Grammy Awards on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
Beyonce at the 59th Grammy Awards on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
Image: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Who was your first celebrity client?

Naomi Campbell. I met her during my first Paris Fashion Week, and next thing I knew I was getting called to do her makeup.

Name a major new beauty trend.

Unicorn highlighter; it's a prismatic highlighter for women under 35.

If you're more mature, lean towards under-eye smudges, smoking out the bottom lash line and no eyeshadow or liner on top, just tons of mascara. It gives you rock star vibes.

 • This article is adapted from one originally published in The Times.