Makeup Inspiration: Nicki Minaj at the Grammys 2012

The 54th Annual Grammy Awards were held in February earlier this year, yet I’m still in awe of the whoever did rap extradionanaire Nicki Minaj’s makeup for the event.  While so overtly known for her flamboyant costumes and wigs (that are just as unforgettable as her eccentric accents and lyrics), for her big night, returning to the Grammys as a nominated performer, she ditched the heavy false eyelashes, copius, loud eyeshadow, and even her go-to a little bit pale, somewhat frosty baby pink lip shades, and arrived on the red carpet as a golden brown porcelain doll, and I was all over it.  It wasn’t just because she looked refreshingly different, docile, and even charmingly distant from her usual gaudy get-ups, it was simply beautiful look for her as her face was glowing without a greasy shine but a distinct sheen that was wholly luminous.  This is change of makeup for Minaj was definitely noticed by fashion critics, but I was likely one of very few that since then have been infatuated on how or what her makeup artist(s) did to achieve that glow.  The soft salmon pink blush and semi-thick cat-eye liner on only her top lid and very minimal mascara I knew was achievable (minus the penciled eyebrows) but that glow…I needed that effect as a part of my revolving routine!

Minaj’s Grammy look also reminded me a product by Scott Barnes, who became famous in makeup circles to being the first to give Jennifer Lopez her now staple all-over bronze, which became like her second skin (especially during her album J-Lo to the “Jenny from the Block” era).  Barnes eventually released his secret weapon product for said bronze-y appeal called Body Bling to the public afte many requests.  Body Bling can likely be found in luxury department stores like Saks and Neiman’s, but I knew I had some powder, cream and liquid bronzer that could just as easily do the trick.  I thought of how I could concoct a quick at-home fix to get the Grammy glow, and I took the makeup tip of mixing your foundation shade with your current moisturizer to create your own tinted moisturizer, and figured you could do the same with a bronzing and/or glimmer product and foundation for what I’ll call the Grammy Glow.

I subsequently thought of two products from my array of cosmetic items: my NARS Illuminator in Orgasm, and my Wet ‘n’ Wild MegaGlo Face Illuminator in Toasty (now re-packaged as a powder illuminator in three different striped sets of pink and bronze shades).  I also have an old Maybelline Brush Blush Bronzer in Copper Cobana, but I wouldn’t be able to easily mix it as much with my Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse in Cocoa.  Now, I’ll be honest, I’m not really big on products made for a shimmer and bronze affect.  Along with doing eyebrows, I just never really got the hang of it, as the closest I get to shimmer is when I already have it in my lip gloss, shadow, or liner, and sometimes I try to highlight my brow bone with a light stripe, as I read to do from multiple magazines.  I like how this glow look appears on others usually, and so a main reason for obsessively fawning over Nicki Minaj’s was that I wanted to see I could finally learn how to effectively use the aforementioned items correctly, or at least in a more fun way I suppose.

So easily enough, STEP 1 I took a swig of my Toasty Face Illuminator (a strong mellowed auburn with a peachy-rose undertone) and with my mousse on a fingertip of my other hand, I mixed them together and starting to smooth it on my face.  The first time I did this, I was worried about a possible allergic effect from the Illuminator, but I did the next day seeing that I was fine.  STEP 2 I added a little bit more of my foundation and Illuminator to even it out, and I loved the look I saw in the mirror.  I could see a subtle shimmer on my skin even after I STEP 3 finished it off with a few sweeps of a CoverGirl Queen Collection powder, and even tad of that Maybelline bronzer.  STEP 4 I continued the Grammy Glow with blush on the cheekbones, but choose to wear my regular raspberry hue from an old Revlon holiday set than a pale pink like Minaj’s but I still achieved the same look, just in my own slightly altered version.

I was really satisifed with the final result and for the most part, it lasted throughout the day.  For touch-ups, I would suggest carrying your powder and a bronzing product with you (I suggest a powder for the bronzer as well for compliant travelling), and with a brush take sweeps of both and then apply lightly to your face.  I would go lighter on shadow and liner with this look if you really want the glow look to stand out adequately, but play around a bit and if anything, just apply the rest of your products with caution and add on depending on how it looks along the way.

–Carmen S. J. Chambers

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