Los Angeles born and raised, Nikki La Rose (@makeupbynikkilasrose) is a celebrity makeup artist specializing in all-things beauty. “I dreamed of being a famous guitar player growing up and realized in my early early twenties that that wasn’t a realistic career path and quickly shifted to the only other thing I was truly passionate about- makeup. I’d spend any spare money on the makeup I found at drug stores trying to find the perfect lipstick and blackest eye liner. I was obsessed with the idea that you could throw a mascara on your lashes to make your eyes pop. I learned that makeup could make you ‘prettier’ and more confident in yourself.”
Once La Rose realized music wasn’t in the cards, makeup seemed like a total no-brainer and went to makeup school. “After graduation I made the rounds working my butt off on free shoots or ‘trade for print’ shoots just to gain enough experience in the real world. Then I did what a lot of artists do when they are struggling - I got a job with MAC cosmetics.” She then freelanced for a couple of years and got her foot in the door working on big budget commercials for clients like Cadillac, Nissan, Verizon and Taco Bell among others. Now her work is almost solely in beauty and celebrity, traveling all over with my clients for various press and red-carpet events with clients including Brooke Burke, Tara Lipinski, Tori spelling, Molly Sims and Rachel Zoe. She also landed campaigns for hair brands such as Olivia Garden and beauty brands including JOUER, Knesko skin and more. “My favorite part of what I do for a living is simple - I go to work everyday to make women - and sometimes men - feel beautiful and confident,” La Rose says. “I couldn’t be more grateful to do so.”
Although La Rose ordinarily carves out two hours for a red-carpet makeup design, there have been those times when she is asked to make someone glam in less than 30 minutes. MODERN actually saw her in action as she helped transform a presenter for the North American Hairdressing Awards (NAHA), whose makeup was lost along with her luggage. The presenter stopped in backstage to the Olivia Garden prep room with less than 15 minutes before her call time. La Rose jumped in to action and calmly and patiently applied lashes, lips and then bronzer as the other beauty pros got busy on the hair and nails. Afterward, all agreed that the 15 transformation was simply incredible.
Here La Rose shares her top quick fixes that can be performed by any makeup artist for that client on the run:
LIPS: A classic red lip can take her from undone to polished in mere seconds. I suggest using a super matte red and lining the lips first so the color doesn’t feather around the lip line. My go-to has always been “Cherry” lipliner from MAC, paired with NARS power-matte liquid lipstick in “Star woman”. You can’t go wrong with this combo!
LASHES: Next play up her eyes with lashes. Grab a strip of wispy lashes and cut them in half, focusing the lash placement on the outer half of the eye to give you an instant cat - eye effect. Next blend two coats of lengthening mascara on top to blend the two together,
BRONZER: Red carpet lights can quickly wash her out so pick up a neutral warm bronzer and buff and dust along her temples, cheek bones and gently across her nose. My favorite trick is to use bronzer as eye shadow. Take the same one and blend all across the crease of the eye to instantly define the eyes and give them a soft smokey depth. Finish eyes with a soft smokey brown liner (my go to is MAC’s “ Costa Riche”, a creamy bronze brown). Start in the outer corner of the eye and line top and bottom only going halfway across the lash line. Then smudge slightly with a pencil brush for the perfect amount of smoke.
BROWS: Don’t forget about brows! Eyebrows quite literally frame the face so take the time to groom / define them. I love using tinted brow gels for this - they are like a two in one and will give them color, definition and groom them into place. I suggest brushing them up and then sweeping the brush to the side for the tail of the brow.
SKIN: Choose a medium coverage foundation to even out skin tone. My go to is a medium coverage cream that gives a flawless skin like finish. Buff onto the skin with a fluffy foundation brush like MAC's #187 brush rather than a flat stiff brush. This will give a flawless airbrushed finish. Follow by setting the makeup - but ONLY in her T zone - to eliminate shine in the center of the face leaving the rest of the skin naturally glowing. I recommend a loose, light weight setting powder.
WHAT TO AVOID: Even if the event is in the middle of the day, when the sun is strong, avoid loose translucent setting powders with a high SPF. They tend to flashback under red carpet cameras.