I first met makeup artist Nikki DeRoest last year at a BareMinerals event in the UK. She was doing Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's makeup on stage in front of a group of journalists and influencers. Yes, Rosie is stunning, but I was hooked on watching Nikki. Partly because her makeup skills were blowing my mind, but also because I was obsessed with her whole aesthetic— from her effortless L.A.-girl glow and laidback-glam sense of style (I mean, you're seeing those vintage Chanel earrings and layered-to-perfection chains in the image above, right?).
DeRoest is a celebrity makeup artist and beauty influencer herselt, but also recently co-founded makeup brand Róen Beauty with world-renowned photographer David Roemer, who is a regular contributor to Vogue and Harper's Bazaar.
Needless to say, I have been following her on Instagram and hanging on her every word on Instagram Stories and in IG captions ever since. If you don't follow Deroest, who paints the faces of some pretty epic women like Hailey Bieber, Emma Roberts and Bella Hadid, I recommend you do—but not before you check out the beauty tips and tricks she shared with me below.
Byrdie: For starters, I would love to know how you came to be such a hugely successful makeup artist.
Nikki DeRoest: "Such a huge compliment, thank you! I still think every day how many things I still haven’t achieved yet in my career, and I still feel like a baby in the industry! In regards to getting to where I have thus far, I think it’s about saying yes, grinding through the hard things or the less glamorous jobs, and working collaboratively and checking your ego at the door."
Byrdie: How did Róen Beauty come about?
NDR: "I have always said I wanted to have my own line (naïvely not really knowing what that meant), but felt I had a point of view and vast knowledge in the beauty space, and wanted to express myself with RÓEN. It is a treat and a privilege to work for so many incredible companies, but it takes on a whole new meaning when it’s yours that you’ve created from scratch. It’s been countless hours, passion, and obsession that have made RÓEN come into existence, and it’s the most rewarding but terrifying thing I’ve ever done in my career."
Byrdie: We're inspired by you, but who are your beauty icons?
NDR: "Ooooh this is a tough one. I love Lauren Hutton, Cindy Crawford, Cate Blanchett, Zoe Kravitz, and my dear friend Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Try hanging out at her house on a Sunday night when she’s fully fresh-faced and hair pulled back and thinking, okay, you are real, and this is just always you."
Byrdie: Okay, what are your top tips for nailing your L.A.-glam girl vibe?
Tip 1: Blur Things Out!
"I always like to blur things out a little bit, now that I am thinking about it. It’s a rare moment to see anything too sharp when I create. For sure on myself, I always blur things with a finger, and in my artistry, I like to soften the edges to make it feel a little more lived in or effortless.
"I guess a school of thought is to choose one feature to play up, but honestly I don’t think there are any hard rules with makeup anymore. I think it’s more about what makes you feel your very best to tackle your world in the most confident way possible."
Tip 2: Leave Your Face Alone
"If I’m being really truthful, I never touch up my complexion after I do it in the morning. In that way, I am pretty low maintenance. I think it’s more or less about not touching your face. I know that sounds silly, but I am pretty aware of being careful about smudging things and make it a point to put earphones on if I’m on the phone and not resting my hands on my face.
"It’s also smart to do to save your skin from getting any bacteria which could result in a later breakout. But as far as products go, there isn’t anything in particular I do to “set” my makeup. I also don’t powder much because I end up liking my makeup more as the day goes on. I think people get afraid to embrace the lived-in look, but I promise it’s the best!"
Tip 3: Find the Best Textures For You
"When it comes to contour, highlighter and blush, pay attention to your consistencies and the moisture level of your skin... If you are more oily-prone, you may choose to go down the powder route, but make sure you dust a little translucent loose powder on underneath first to guarantee a smooth application.
"I prefer creams, and I like to press the contour into my skin instead of swiping it on. Also, using a great brush and starting with a little and then adding as you go gives you control."
Tip 4: Always Line Your Lips First
"I am ashamed I never got into lipliner sooner. I look at old photos and I’m like, oh, that’s how you fake a pout! The lip liner needs to be almost ugly-looking (meaning you wouldn’t particularly want to have it as your full lip color); it’s the best way to cheat your lips bigger."
Tip 5: Be High Maintenance to Be Low Maintenance!
"I always say it’s about being high maintenance to be low maintenance. On the daily, I can get ready in 20 minutes or less (that’s including hair and dressing) but it’s because I do all the things along the way to be able to be easy all the time. I take really good care of my skin, I have the best esthetician in LA named Lynne, and by doing regular facials every month, it keeps my skin relatively clear so that I don’t have to fuss too long with makeup."
Tip 6: Have a Daily Makeup Wardrobe
"Come up with a daily makeup wardrobe. Have your go-tos that you can rely on so that you can get ready in the best and quickest way possible, and feel amazing. Leave experimenting for nights or the weekend."
Tip 7: Always Have Neat Nails
"Keep a manicure up, or keep your nails clean but groomed. You could be completely undone, but if you have a great manicure, it makes you look automatically put together."
"I have always been more of a finger user when applying and then add or blend with my brush," says DeRoest. "The secret with whatever application method is to make sure you dig into the product. I formulated them to be firm, and they can handle a lot of pressure. If you use your fingers, you will get the most color payoff, and if you use the brush, it will be more of a beautiful wash."
A quad of cool-toned shimmering eyeshadows that you can mix or layer.
We love this quad of warm-toned sparkly eyeshadows that you can mix or layer.
Disco Eye is a universal shade that suits everyone. Worn alone it gives a wet-look effect to lids or layer over other shadows to give them extra shine and oomph!
A burnt sienna, this seriously shimmery shadow will, according to DeRoest, look good on every single skin tone.
Use the Everything Brush to blend and perfect edges after applying shadows with your finger or to create a wash of colour on your lids.