Issa Rae's 2022 Emmys Makeup Look Is the Epitome of Classic Glamour

Her makeup artist used a $3 palette to create her cat eye.

Issa Rae Beauty
Photo: Getty Images

Issa Rae delivers a memorable beauty moment every time she's on a red carpet. And the 2022 Emmy Awards are no exception. The Insecure star is nominated for the final season of the hit HBO show, and she showed up to the red carpet with a simple, sophisticated look of flawless skin, dramatic cat-eye liner, and a sleek center-parted bob.

"Tonight, I wanted Issa to look timeless. Her skin is always the focus, and tonight, when she's up for best actress for her final season of Insecure, I wanted it to glow and let it be the focus," the star's makeup artist Joanna Simkin tells InStyle. "The graphic style of her dress felt like it would be best complimented with a simple yet dramatic cat eye, and we kept the overall look clean with a tonal brown lip."

While Rae's skin looks expensive enough to lower your credit score, Simkin used a mix of luxury and drugstore products to achieve a flawless base.

"Skincare prep is essential for a red carpet look — skin should glow from within, feel plump, luminous, and bright," Simkin shares. "I achieved Issa's skin look using Lancer Skincare, which felt really pampering and luxurious."

The makeup artist started by exfoliating with The Method: Polish, which helped create a smooth canvas for makeup application. For extra hydration, Simkin used a tag team of the Lift & Plump Sheet Mask and Triple Peptide Drops, which also imparts a healthy glow. To brighten the eye area, the Lancer Legacy Eye Treatment (Day) ensured Rae's eyes looked wide awake. For juicy, plump skin, the Lancer Legacy Youth Treatment was massaged all over the star's face and décolleté. The final touch was a swipe of the Volume Enhancing Lip Serum for lush lips.

As for makeup, Simkin turned to e.l.f. Cosmetics, including the new C-Bright Putty Primer, which offers a brightening effect and helps makeup stay in place. Then she applied the Halo Glow Liquid Filter with the Complexion Duo Brush for an airbrushed effect.

Next, Simkin softly sculpted Rae's face with the Putty Bronzer, brightened the eye area with the Hydrating Camo Concealer, and set the base makeup with the Halo Glow Loose Setting Powder. The Monochromatic Multi-Stick in Luminous Berry added a pop of color to Rae's cheeks.

Issa Rae Emmys Makeup
Courtesy of Joanna Simkin

While cat-eyes can be intimidating, Simkin created Rae's look with e.l.f.'s $3 Bite-Size Eyeshadow Palette in Truffles. "The two neutral shades contoured Issa's eye, to define her brow bone and overall eye shape, and just a hint of the sparkling shade to catch the light from cameras to draw attention to the eye," the makeup artist says. She used the smooth black shade for the actual wing. "I find using an eyeshadow over a liquid or pencil creates more of a sensual diffused look that elongates the face without it looking too harsh." Final touches included two coats of mascara, brow gel, and a brow pencil.

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Rae's hairstylist Felicia Leatherwood complemented the star's classic makeup with a sleek modern bob using Matrix products.

The artist began by prepping the hair for heat styling with Matrix Total Result Instacure Porosity Spray. Once the hair was blow-dried and flat ironed, Leatherwood followed up with Matrix Over Achiever 3-in-1 Creme + Paste + Wax to lay down Rae's edges, as well as Matrix Vavoom Triple Freeze Extra Dry Spray to curb flyaways.

And as for the key to achieving flawless, glowing skin off the red carpet? "Focus on skin!! Invest in fantastic skincare, and be consistent with it," Simkin says. "Pamper yourself. Your skin is worth it! Choose glowing complexion products, and apply with a damp sponge for a flawless, smooth finish."

Well, twist our arm; we're on it.