It’s not easy to host an awards show with zero audience members, but if anyone was up for the challenge, it was Taraji P. Henson. Her performance last night as host of the 2020 American Music Awards is proof of that.
Not only was she captivating and charismatic in a way that only Henson could, but she looked radiant as ever — we’re talking makeup, that is. For that, we have Ashunta Sheriff-Kendricks to thank, Henson’s go-to makeup artist responsible for that sultry beat that we’ll surely be talking about all season. And while it looked effortless, coming up with one versatile makeup look is no easy feat, which is why Kendricks looked to the past for inspiration.
“Tonight’s looks for the 2020 AMAs were a take on the modern Mrs. Roper,” Sheriff-Kendricks tells ESSENCE. “The looks leaned heavily towards ‘70s glam with Studio 54 influences like Pat Cleveland and Bianca Jagger. It gave me creative freedom to play with a range of bold fun as well as neutral lip colors. We had ten costume changes tonight so the looks were from sexy to powerful.”
To create this versatile look, Sheriff-Hendricks first prepped the skin using all Alpyn Beauty products. First, was the Wild Huckleberry 8-Acid Polishing Peel which was used to help “gently polish away dull, dead skin.” From there, she used the Plant Genius Based Serum to help brighten the skin and reveal an effortless glow. She finished the skin off with the Plant Genius Line Filling Eye Balm around the eye socket which plumped fine lines and hydrated the skin, creating a smooth base for the striking eye makeup.
It was from there that Sheriff-Hendricks began applying makeup, all compliments of Armani Beauty. For that radiant complexion, Sheriff-Hendricks used a combination of the brand’s beloved Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer, the Neo Nude Foundation, Luminous Silk Concealer, and Neo Nude Fusion Powder. For a pop of color in the cheekbones, she dusted a bit of the Neo Nude A-Blush in 54 to the apples, adding some dimension to the otherwise neutral-toned look. From there, she applied the Neo Nude A-Highlight in 10 to accentuate the high-points of Henson’s face.
Most memorable, of course, was the eyes. Sheriff-Kendricks aimed for a glowy lid and defined cat-eye that paired seamlessly with any lip color. To make that happen, she first coated the entire lid with the Eye Tint Liquid Eyeshadow in 9, topping it off with the Eyes to Kill Lacquered Liner. The look accentuated Henson’s already deep-set eyes and struck the perfect balance between a neutral and statement look. Finally, Sheriff-Hendricks applied the Silk Eye Pencil in 2 to the lower lash line for a smokey smudged appearance that added more sultriness to the eye.
For Taraji’s neutral lip look, Sheriff-Hendricks based the pout with the Smooth Silk Lip Liner in 7 to make Henson’s lips appear fuller. Inside the liner laid the Lip Maestro Liquid Lipstick in 105, followed by the Lip Maestro Liquid Lipstick in 103 for a gradient appeal.
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