Hello, it's me, reporting from the afterlife. Beyoncé's history-making performance as the first woman of color to headline Coachella knocked me dead and sent me straight into heaven where the Queen's syrupy voice reverberates through the airwaves on repeat. She performed with a full HBCU marching band, she reunited with Michelle and Kelly, and served as a human generator, electricity running through her body as she perfectly hit every step. Oh—and she's doing it all again next weekend.
As we continue playing back the performance, our eyes are repeatedly drawn to Bey's unsurprisingly on-point beauty look—long, flowing blonde locks courtesy of longtime colorist Rita Hazan, glitter lids, and a perfect pink-brown lip thanks to L'Oréal Pro Matte Les Chocolats Scented Liquid Lipstick. You might imagine that preparing Your Beyjesty for a long set in the desert heat would require lots of skin prep, but according to her makeup artist, Sir John, moisturizer wasn't even used. We'll give you a second to process this information.
At Byrdie HQ, skincare is paramount—we're always sharing the products that help brighten, smooth, and plump our complexions, so the idea of putting on makeup (let alone headlining a music festival) without properly moisturizing first ignites an internal panic in all of us. Sure, maybe Beyoncé just tells her skin to hydrate itself like she instructed all of us to do prior to her show, but it turns out there's a reason Sir John opted out of creams and serums.
"I don't use moisturizer on [Beyoncé's] skin before a big set or concert," he tells Elle. "The moisturizer will lift the makeup, which we don't want. For a big show like this, I use a primer to prep the skin." Knowing Bey, she probably has the type of complexion that takes well to skipping this step, but if you, like myself, suffer from dry patches, you can try spot-treating these areas with an emollient moisturizer prior to foundation if you need your makeup to last through a long, sweaty evening. These hydrating primers might also do the trick.
Where Sir John didn't create a glow underneath her makeup, he certainly made up for on top. Using Alleven London Color Shield, an aerosol body concealer for high definition, he explains, "I sprayed shade Amber all over her body 30 minutes before she got dressed, with a focus on legs and cleavage. I also gave her face a light spray as it really evens out the complexion and makes her makeup stay in place. It’s so lightweight it doesn’t even look like makeup." And if you're wondering about transfer, there is none. "She doesn’t sweat it off, and when she’s changing her clothes so many times, it doesn’t come off in between."
Another trick Sir John uses to keep makeup in place is what he calls "cooking," as opposed to "baking." He explains, "It's all about duality. I layer cream and powder for every stage. Cream and powder foundation, cream and powder blush, cream and powder eyeshadows and matte and cream lipstick. It's the only way the makeup stays anchored throughout the day." In classic baking, you place a thick layer of loose powder on top of concealer, let it sit (or "bake"), and then dust it off. But Sir John finds an excess of powder, especially around the under-eye area to be "super aging."
So there you have it—Beyoncé's long-lasting stage makeup is the result of cooking and a lack of moisturizer, a combination that certainly seems counterintuitive for the fields of Indio but flawlessy fit for the Queen.