Michelle Obama’s Best Zoom Makeup Tips

Nearly eight months into our new reality, it’s safe to assume that you’re probably experiencing some form of Zoom fatigue. It’s not that you’re tired of connecting with friends and family from all over the world at any hour of the day—that a technological marvel, and it’s been great! No, the problem is that in addition to the person you’re speaking to, you have to stare at a washed out, digitized version of yourself the whole time. Worse still, what’s the other person thinking about how you look?

Let’s say you’ve already switched on your Zoom Beauty Filter. If you’re Michelle Obama, the next step is calling your trusty makeup artist Carl Ray. “I wanted her to be glowy and dewy,” said Ray about Michelle’s recent Zoom appearance for her nonprofit, non-partisan organization When We All Vote. On camera, the former First Lady looked fresh and energetic, two tough feats to accomplish with your standard fare camera. Want to steal their best tricks? Start here.

Add Glow, But Not Too Much

While Ray did prep Michelle’s skin with moisturizer and illuminate her cheekbones and the bridge of her nose with highlighter (Haloscope in Topaz, to be specific) he was careful not to go overboard on glow. The harsh, bright light from computer screens picks up excess shine easily, and no one wants to look like a disco ball when delivering an important presentation. After applying foundation, Ray grabbed Laura Mercier’s Translucent Setting Powder in Medium Deep to set Michelle’s base and mattify excess oil. “I used both a brush and a Beautyblender,” Ray told ITG, the former for an all-over sweep and the latter to concentrate on problem areas. “After I put on a light coat with the brush, I stippled a little more powder with the Beautyblender for extra coverage where I really wanted it.” In addition to the T-zone area, which tends to be shiniest, Ray added extra powder under the eyes for a low-maintenance take on baking. “I like it to sit for a minute, and then I brush it off,” he explained, adding that this quick trick helps keep the undereye area looking bright and clean.

Illuminate The Eyes

It’s easy for eyes to look washed out on-camera, so Ray brought life into Michelle’s by accenting them with shimmery, bronze-y shadows. First, he put a coat of foundation over the lid, which served a dual purpose: it created an even base for color, and it also gave powdered shadow something tacky to grip on to. Then, he packed on one solid color all the way from Michelle’s lash line to her natural crease—the goal was density, not subtlety, here. “First I used Ethernal from Tarte, which is a pure gold shade,” said Ray. After that, he blended a matte dark brown just above Michelle’s natural crease, which gives the illusion of a larger, more open eye. “When I was done with all the eyeshadow,” Ray noted, “I put Lidstar in Cub right in the center of the lids for a little extra pop of shimmer.”

Remind Yourself You Have A Face

Remember that three-dimensional, wholly dynamic mess of features between your chin and your forehead? That’s your face, and cameras (like the ones in your computer, or phone) tend to want to flatten it. Until someone develops at-home holograms, adding both definition and dimension back into your face with some strategic makeup tips can make you look more like yourself on camera. Ray focused on adding structure to Michelle’s face by defining her eyes and brows. “I used Colorslide in Brack to line her top and bottom waterline,” said Ray, “then I used Pro Tip on top to do a little wing.” Brows also got the dual-formula treatment: Ray started with a tinted gel to add color and shape, fine-tuned them by drawing in tiny hair-like strokes with Brow Flick, and sealed the look with Anastasia’s Clear gel to add sheen. “Mascara is the last thing I do,” Ray explained, “because when there’s a little bit of eyeshadow powder fallout on the lashes it can actually make them look fuller and thicker.” After curling the lashes and swiping on a coat of Lash Slick, Ray glued Lilly Lashes’ Miami strip lashes on top Michelle’s natural ones to make her eyes pop on camera. It seems like a lot of makeup, but what reads as glam and over the top in person looks a lot subtler through a screen—it’s a trick newscasters are familiar with, and now you are too.

Finish With A Pop Of Color

“You really don’t see Michelle in a red lip very often,” said Ray, but he chose the bold shade to not only define her lips but also add warmth and color. Since he kept Michelle’s complexion blush-free, the lipstick does the heavy lifting. (If red lipstick isn’t your thing, try mixing in an unexpected eyeliner or going for rosier cheeks to get the same effect.) On Michelle, Ray used The Lip Bar’s best-selling shade Bawse Lady, a true red that’s got a reputation for being flattering on every skin tone. In partnership with When We All Vote, the Black women owned brand renamed the iconic lipstick Bawse Voter for a limited time. “I put it on with a brush for precision,” Ray explained, “and then MAC Burgundy lip liner afterwards to clean up the shape and keep it all defined.” The lip liner second trick lets you find the shape of the lip more organically, instead of boxing your color into a harsh outline. It’s also great for those who aren’t the most steady-handed—your lips are already there, all you have to do is sharpen them.

Photos via ITG

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