Tessa Thompson's beauty looks are a constant source of inspiration. You'll find the actress rocking cornrows and cool blue eyeshadow one minute. And the next, she's wearing a braided cowboy hat and perfectly draped blush. When I asked Thompson about her approach to beauty, one word kept resurfacing: "authentic." And honestly, it's the most fitting descriptor for her makeup and hair choices over the years. Every red carpet beauty moment feels true to her, with each highlighting the dynamic layers of her personality.
In January, Armani beauty made Thompson its newest face. For those who have fallen in love with her beauty chameleon ways, this partnership makes total sense. Thompson finds her new role especially exciting as she's admired the brand for years. "I'm proud to represent Armani beauty," she says. "It's a brand I've been using for a long time, and the first line where there was a range of colors that worked for me.
As Thompson prepared for an Armani beauty event in L.A. to celebrate her appointment, she walked me through her getting-ready rituals. From skincare prep to makeup application, she shared it all. Keep reading for all of the step-by-step details on Thompson's night-out glam.
The Makeup (and Skincare)
Thompson usually likes to keep her skincare routine simple. However, she treated herself to a FaceGym treatment ahead of the event. "I learned how to use a gua sha today, and we did some facial massage," she says excitedly. "I've gotten much better with skin prep and understanding my skin needs."
After thoroughly tending to her skin, it was time to sit in the makeup chair. Makeup is currently Thompson's favorite way to express herself through beauty, so the process of getting made up for events and on-screen projects is always enjoyable. "I think there used to be safe ideas about what you could do for the camera," she says. "Now, we're seeing so many creators in television and film be expansive with the makeup looks they are creating. It's been fun to bring that idea into my work and think about how to push boundaries with makeup."
Going into the evening, there was no set look in mind, and Thompson prefers it that way. "I'm lucky I get to work with artists that have become such good friends," she says. "We're pretty spontaneous. We usually go off of how we're feeling, what we're listening to, and what we're excited by at that moment," she explains. That night, her makeup ultimately played off of the mermaid-like Armani ensemble she wore.
Starting with complexion, Thompson's makeup artist Keita Moore applied the Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer ($44). Then he blended the Luminous Silk Foundation ($65) in the shade 7.5 into her skin. To contour, Moore used the Luminous Silk Foundation in the shade 8. Under the eyes, he applied the Luminous Silk Concealer ($38) in shade 7.
Through working with pros like Moore, Thompson has learned how to best apply products like foundation and concealer. "I've started to figure out that I can wear less makeup even when photographed," she says. "I didn't understand that not all areas of my skin need the same coverage."
Before moving on to her eyes, Moore added color to Thompson's cheeks using the Neo Nude A-Blush ($36) in 31 and Neo Nude Melting Balm ($38) in Brick Red. "I love the new Neo Nude Melting Balm," she says. "You can also use it on your lips and eyes or to warm up your foundation."
Moore used the multi-purpose balm in Cool Plum on Thompson's eyelid and crease. He then applied the Eyes To Kill Eye Tint ($30) in Senso on her lid for a pop of shimmer, finishing with a few coats of the Eyes To Kill Black Ecstasy Mascara ($32).
For a finishing touch, Moore swiped on the Lip Power Lipstick ($39) in 404, a burgundy red shade. Thompson tells me she's been playing around with lipstick more recently. "I like to put on lipstick, even when hanging around the house," she points out.
Shop The Look
Though her focus has been on makeup, we can always count on Thompson to show up with a chic hairstyle. She turned to her go-to hairstylist Lacy Redway to whip up a creative 'do for the occasion. "When we talked about hair, Lacy kept saying, 'Tonight is about lipstick and your lips,'" Thompson says. "For a second, I thought about putting a bunch of lipsticks in a floor-length braid."
While this isn't the direction they went this time, Thompson and Redway landed on a sleek two-braid style. She jokingly described the look as "simple in the front and party in the back." Thompson's lengthy braids were the perfect finishing touch to her stunning evening glam.