Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Lupita Nyong'o's Red Carpet Beauty Routine

Lupita Nyongo
Photo: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

There's no question about it: Lupita Nyong'o is an incredible actress, a stunning woman, and one of our very favorite beauty icons. So naturally, when we got the chance to hit up her go-to makeup artist, Nick Barose, for all of the insider-y details and beauty secrets on Lupita's regimen, we gleefully pounced. Here are four game-changing tricks we learned from our chat.

Moisture Matters

On days when Lupita needs an extra dose of hydration—such as cold fall and winter days when moisture gets pulled quickly from the skin—Barose uses an interesting technique. First, he applies a generous amount of Lancome's Énergie de Vie Day Cream ($59; lancome-usa.com) all over Lupita's face and neck.

"Then, I let it absorb into the skin and wipe away with warm wash cloths, gently rubbing in a circular motion to get rid of excess and to avoid making the makeup greasy," he says. "It also gently exfoliates the skin so foundation goes on extra smooth without any dry spots."

That Glow, Tho

When we asked Barose how he gets Lupita's skin to look so fresh and glowy, he responded with "her skin glows naturally." Go figure! Retaining that glow while still using makeup is the goal, then, he says.

"When I use foundation or powder, I don't use it to cover or hide, but rather to enhance. A lot of people make the mistake of covering it all up, but I like a certain part of the cheeks to have her natural glow peeking through," he explains. "I prefer liquid foundation. I use Lancôme Miracle Cushion in 555 on Lupita ($35; sephora.com) because it blends like second skin. You can layer it on certain parts to get more coverage and make it extra sheer on other parts of the face. So even though she is wearing foundation, it still looks skin-like and polished."

Another trick he uses on Lupita to maintain that glow is to first lightly dampen a beauty blender before applying any foundation.


Though contour continues to be all the rage, Barose says he does a very tiny amount—if any—on Lupita. He also does very little correcting, saying that it's the fresh face and effortless luminosity he aims for. From there, he enhances her lips, eyes, and cheeks.

"If I play up the eyes, I try not to make it too dark and avoid heavy, black shadow or liner because she has very animated eyes," he tells us. "Same for the lips. I can use dramatic, bold colors on her features, but I follow her own natural features so the effect is dramatic, but not fake. I always keep it fresh, fun and glamorous!"

Casual Versus Glam

If you couldn't tell, Lupita's red carpet look is very fresh and natural with an emphasis on glowing skin and pops of drama here and there. Beyond that, her and Barose keep things interesting by never replaying the same look over and over again.

"I don't think we have a 'go to' look, which is why it's fun to work with her," he tells us. "We're very spontaneous. Sometimes we plan things loosely and let it evolve, and other times I change the lipstick color at the last minute. Lupita looks great with bold colors, so I get to do more with color."

Her casual makeup is a subtler version of the above. Says Barose, "I keep it soft and focused on the skin, with a bit of berry tones on the cheeks and lips. This adds a hit of color to the face, but is still natural."

Want to channel Lupita's look yourself? Barose insists it's a lot simpler than you think. The key is to make your skin look fresh and natural, then play up your lips and eyes. "Pick interesting colors, but keep the application simple," he urges. "When you get complicated, too many layers and steps is when it will start to look too done and made up."

Don't know about you, but this week's beauty to-do list includes perfecting that beautyblender trick and moisturizing like a pro.

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