Fashion Bomb reader L.B.FLAIR recently asked “Danielle do you think it would be possible for you to do a beauty (makeup) post on Janelle Monae? It’s flawless. I would love to get an idea of the products even if it’s simple and easy. Please?”

And of course I obliged. Janelle’s makeup did look flawless! But for everyday people (© Arrested Development) we’ll need to make some tweaks to the look. Her spiky lashes are great for a performer, but could be a bit costumey for the rest of us.

1. First things first, beautiful makeup starts with beautiful skin. What makes this look work so much is Janelle’s smooth as silk skin. A post on skincare and adult acne is in the works for those who might need some help.

Be sure your brows are properly groomed. Even if they aren’t as thick as Janelle’s, you still want them to be properly manicured.

2. Apply stick foundation only where you need it. Becca Foundation Stick is seriously the truth (and it comes in like a gazillion shades for women of color). And Becca Fine Loose Finishing Powder? Yeah, you need it. I mention it all the time because despite it being a powder, it makes your skin look like your skin but better.

3. The eyes will be a simple black liner on both the top and bottom waterline. You want one that lasts, so try Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes in 0L Mat Black. It’s waterproof and lasts all day. I even tested it against a full-on sweaty cardio workout and it still didn’t budge.

If you want more definition in the eyes, after applying an eyeshadow base, work with two matte (no shine) eyeshadow shades: one the same color as your skin (apply on the lid) and the other 1-2 shades lighter than your skin (apply on the brow bone).

Applying lashes can be a relatively quick process once you get the hang of it. Just please no nail salon applied broom lashes with zero makeup on the face–they give me the world’s biggest unhappy face. If you want a little drama in your lashes but still want them to look more on the natural side, try Ardell Fashion Lashes Demi Wispies. Or for more drama like Janelle’s (tough to pull off but if you have the gusto, go for it) try Ardell Fashion Lashes 106 Black.

To apply, remove the lashes from their container. Measure the lash to ensure it will fit the span of your eyelid. Cut if necessary. You want a bit of curvature on the band of the lashes so they contour with your eyelid. This can be achieved by wrapping the lashes around your finger for a few minutes. Once you’ve got a bit of a curve, apply lash glue (Duo Lash Adhesive in Dark is my favorite, but if your lashes are lighter in color try it in white) to the lash band. Allow the glue to get tacky (but not dry) and apply them as close to the area where your lashes meet your lid. Gently press down to ensure the lash sticks to the area. You can blend the lashes in with your natural lashes by gently pressing them down together with a lash curler. Fix any gaps with black liner.

Not feeling the lashes? You can skip them and just apply mascara.

Highlight the undereye area with a cream concealer about a shade or two lighter than your skin tone. I love YSL Touche Éclat for this.

4. Janelle’s bright cheeks were achieved with a bold reddish-orange blush like NARS Blush in Exhibit A. Don’t be afraid of this shocking hue–it only looks intimidating in the pan but looks gorgeous on the range of tones found in Black skin. I’ve seen this blush rocked by ladies with porcelain skin as well as deep ebony skin.

Just make sure your blush lines aren’t as obvious as Janelle’s are here. That’s a look that’s super tough for mere mortals to pull off. Blend it out with a blush brush and apply loose powder over it in case you get carried away.

For tips on how to apply blush based on your face shape, check out my Blush Application Tips post.

5. For the lips, try a light pink lipstick like MAC Viva Glam Gaga—it has a lustre finish making it wearable for a range of skin tones. Darker skin tones can make it work by using dark lip pencils like MAC Lip Pencil in Chestnut or Nightmoth. When using lip pencil, blend it out with a lip brush so that there aren’t obvious pencil lines.

Set your makeup with a finishing spray like MAC Fix+ or for oily skins Urban Decay De Slick Makeup Setting Spray.

And you’re done! Questions? Ask ’em in the comments or contact me.

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