"Top Gun: Maverick" Is Your Unlikely Summer Beauty Inspiration

The blockbuster film's makeup artist breaks down Jennifer Connelly's sun-kissed look.

Jennifer Connelly's Top Gun Makeup Look
Photo: Skydance Media

It's a myth that sequels are always worse than the original. After extensive delays, Top Gun: Maverick has finally arrived in theaters, and if the film's record-breaking opening is any indication, it's worth the 36-year wait.

While Top Gun is known for its heart-racing flying scenes and soundtrack, the sequel delivers a breathtaking beauty moment, too. With her sun-kissed glow, golden hour-inspired eye makeup, and wind-blown waves, Jennifer Connelly's character, Penny Benjamin, is your unlikely summer beauty inspiration.

"I wanted her to look like she got herself ready and went to work," says Vasilios Tanis, Connelly's makeup artist for the film. "Her character is a woman in San Diego that manages and runs a bar. She's definitely going to be socializing and playing hostess to a bunch of different people at work, so she's going to take a little time, but not too much time. So she's not super glam; she puts on a little mascara, some eyeshadow, little lip gloss, and has glowing skin from living in California."

Ahead Tanis breaks down how he achieved Connelly's California glow for the film.

Skin Prep Is Key

While foundation, concealer, and bronzer are important for creating a radiant complexion, proper skincare prep is key. "You always have to get your actor prepared, even before you start shooting," Tanis shares. "You get them on a skincare regime and you follow what they do and you implement it with your own products that you supply them."

In the Maverick makeup trailer, Tanis says he relied on Talika's Eye Therapy Patches to plump and hydrate Connelly's under-eye area. His tip is to do a mask session while styling your hair to save time — and reap the benefits of the patches' soothing and nourishing ingredients during that time. He also calls out Talika's Bio-Enzyme Mask as another go-to treatment used to plump the skin "as much as possible."

Tanis also relied on a massage tool for a bit of lymphatic drainage and to boost circulation. He double-fisted Pause Well-Aging's Fascia Stimulating Tool to massage both sides of the face at once. "I have one in both hands and keep it in unison, stroking underneath the eye, cheekbones, and chin, the décolletage, the neck, and the forehead," he says. "It gives you a little mini massage, but it also boosts your circulation and lymphatic drainage, and reduces swelling because of the cold." (He likes to keep the tool in the fridge.)

The last skincare step before moving on to makeup was Payot's Crème Glow. "This fights signs of fatigue and brightens and illuminates the skin," the makeup artist shares. "It has a lot of vitamins in it, as well as extract of pomegranate and açai. So it really revitalizes the skin — especially with the early hours that we had to be on set. It's a good little wake-me-up."

Self-Tanner Isn't Necessary for Glowing Skin

Tanis didn't use self-tanner to achieve Connelly's head-to-toe glow. Instead, the makeup artist used full-body makeup, mixing a few products to achieve a natural, sun-kissed look. "It depends on who you're working with, but it's never one thing out of one bottle — ever, ever, ever," Tanis says of creating the perfect base for film. "You have to make your own skin tone, whether you're matching it perfectly or altering it. You have to be really careful and you have to know the ingredients and you have to also know how it's going to have wearability."

The makeup artist calls out MAC, Pat McGrath Labs, and Chanel as favorites that he mixes and matches.

And Connelly's bronze glow came courtesy of Chanel products, too. "I used the Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream and Luminizing Blush Powder on various parts of her body —not just her face," Tanis says.

Jennifer Connelly's Top Gun Makeup Look
Skydance Media

Brighten Up Your Eyes and Lips, Too

Tanis illuminated Connelly's eyes to compliment her radiant skin using neutral eyeshadows and gold eyeliner.

"I use an eyeliner from MAC called Power Surge, which is my secret weapon, and that goes in the waterline on the lower lash line," the makeup artist says. "It's a muted gold-bronze shade. There might be a little bit of residue that hits the lashes and just gives it a nice little reflective glow without being too sparkly."

For lips, Tanis went with lightweight balms for a natural, your-lips-but-better look with a hint of shine. His favorite on set was Chanel's Les Beiges Healthy Glow Lips in Warm.

VIDEO: Here's How to Properly Apply Concealer

Don't Forget to Touch Up

It turns out eye cream is the perfect mid-day touch-up. Tanis says he used Payot's Lifting Eye Care throughout the day on set. "Whenever you add an eye cream, especially a revitalizing eye cream, it boosts the skin and plumps it up — you just look fresher," he shares. "We would start at four o'clock in the morning and go late into the night, so you go through little phases of touch-ups. You might remove a little bit of concealer underneath, put a little eye cream, pat it in, and then add a little bit more concealer."

And for the body, Tanis used Payot's My Payot Brume Éclat. The fine mist adds a little extra glow without compromising the makeup, and it can also be used before applying makeup, too. "I would give her a little mist of that and pat it in a little bit," he says.

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